The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Inca hiding a half wet walnut. You can see it just right from her left ear!

Inca hiding a half wet walnut. You can see it just right from her left ear!

As I said on Twitter this afternoon, I was lucky to find a great lawn mower that cuts grass up to 30cm (12 inches) last year. It was relatively inexpensive and, being mainly built of plastic, it’s light and easy to manoeuvre. Lawn mowing is not a regular job here. We tend to mow when we are expecting visitors. Unexpected visitors are welcomed with meadows instead of rolling lawns. Their shock is gently quelled by my excuses.
“This is a haven for baby frogs and of course we’re reducing our carbon footprint by only cutting every other month…”
Their nods are goggle eyed at my audacity.

And of course it looks atrocious.

My mum always says.
“Cut and edge the lawn and the garden falls into place and looks good.”
She’s right of course. But rather like hair washing, the prospect of lawn mowing is always more ghastly than the actual act. Even with grass a foot high I’m always surprised that the process of mowing is actually quite fun. And of course the transformation is amazing.

The dogs love a well cut lawn as they can have a pee without dewy grass brushing their flanks. Danny smiles too as it is generally a last minute operation before the visitors are piped on board.

I expect that by now you’ve twigged that we don’t have many visitors. That’s true. It’s years since the cottage was the local drinking hole and party zone. It’s become a bit more of a retreat – Danny works long hours and I’ve had to reinvent myself after over two years on sick leave. I’m much better now but our projects fill most of my time.

This morning I came down to find that the Min Pins had discovered the large bag of walnuts that we collected from the allotment. There were shells and nuts in every dog bed. MPs are  v keen on wet walnuts. So I prepared the rest for drying as I bunged a bucket of ripe tomatoes in the slow cooker/crock pot for sauce and deep cleaned the larder. There’s a big bag of pears beneath the kitchen table that I keep kicking as I write. Our apple tree is weighed down with fruit that needs attention too. Sometimes the bounty is overwhelming.

I would have left the larder but we have Invited Guests arriving on Monday. I will be at Cambridge station to collect them and we’ll spin back to the village in The Duchess. Michelle and Dan Sheets have travelled from Oregon. Our cottage is just a blip on their journey as they visit virtual friends all over the UK. They have made contact with many of these friends through our website and forum. That gives me an enormous buzz.

It will be so good to welcome them both and give them a taste of our part of England. Michelle heroically defended us on the Great Guinea Pig Drama so the first thing that I will do at Cambridge station is give her a very big, warm hug. There will also be a kiss for Dan too!

Meanwhile, Danny is scrubbing the bathroom.

  Leave a reply


  1. Michelle from Oregon

    You’re the reason why we’re HERE!!!!!
    I only met all of these’s wonderful people because of YOU!!!
    We are on this journey because of You! AND DANNY!!!
    Blip indeed!
    See you soon! 8)

    • Fiona Nevile

      Really looking forward to welcoming you both at Cambridge station! Delighted that we are the pivot of your trip! Lots of cleaning going on here…

  2. You could alway either buy a scythe, or a push reel mower. Or turn the lawn over to wheat!

  3. Fiona, I have to tell you, you are very far from being ‘ just a blip on their journey’. You and Danny are the highlight of their journey. If it was not for you, there would be no journey!! I have had a wonderful time with Michelle and Dan and I know the rest of their British hosts will too. Enjoy!!

  4. I’m sure they’ll love the place anyway Fiona, whether long or short grass, and I’m sure they’ll fall in love with the Minpins, the same as i did, especially dr Q.

  5. The reason to mow the lawn short here is to keep the mosquitoes down. Long damp grass is a haven for them, but closely mowed dries out and they go elsewhere. Not to worry about our frogs – they have plenty of safe havens in the pond and woods.

  6. I’m sure the cottage won’t be just a blip on Michelle’s journey. Whether the grass is an inch or a foot high, it’s a magical place to be 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,237,272 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder