As you will know, my blog is about my journey to a smallholding. I’m not there yet, so I gather as much information as I can and try as much as possible in the space I have, while looking for that perfect smallholding (see previous posts, such as ‘Looking for a needle in a hay stack’.
So for Christmas I was given a book: Pigs in Clover by Simon Dawson. It looks like this:
It’s a true story about how Simon Dawson went from being a London estate agent, to a self-sufficient smallholder in Exmoor.
Whilst it was given to me so I could read someone else’s journey, so I could gather more information as to how it is done and how difficult it is, and this book certainly provides this information, it is also the funniest book I have read in a very long time.
I read the book in a week, and that was me trying to make it last. I just couldn’t put it down. Every chapter is full of witty tales and surprises.
It covered lots of areas. I hadn’t considered how poor we may be when we move to a smallholding. I have planned all the different business ventures we could have depending on the smallholding we purchase, but never really thought about how we’d cope before they are set up and successful. The book also covers death, I’ll admit I cried a bit. I haven’t had to deal with animals dying yet and I know I won’t be very good at that at all. I’m too soft. He also questions the food chain, and eating meat. Whilst I could never be vegetarian, I’m not sure how I’ll manage sending my animals (which I’m sure will end up as pets) to slaughter. I don’t want to give too much away about the book, so I’ll stop there.
The back cover says: “So join Simon and his extended animal family on this laugh-out-loud rural adventure and learn what it takes to truly survive self-sufficiency.” And that’s exactly what you get from this book. I certainly learnt a lot from the book and it also gave me a lot to think about. But it was also highly entertaining.
Whether you are like me, wanting to be a smallholder but not there yet, or already living the good life, I have to recommend this book. Such a fantastic read. He has a second book, The Sty’s The Limit, which I hope to get for my birthday next month.
There is also a website, which I have found since reading the book. It gives lots more information about them, their smallholding and what they offer, including courses to learn about running a smallholding, how to look after free-range animals, rearing pigs and butchery. http://www.hiddenvalleypigs.co.uk/