The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


my first shedA couple of years ago Danny bought a very fancy shed from Freddie, who was selling up to go and live in Cromer, on the Norfolk coast. Freddie had bought the 10′ x 8′ shed as a spacious apartment for his wife’s rabbits. And as the Cromer site wouldn’t accommodate large sheds, the rabbits and shed had to go. Freddie had found a good home for the rabbits and Danny assured him that we would provide a great home for the shed.

Danny told me that this shed would finally solve his storage problems. As an addict of the eBay wholesale job lots section, he had accumulated enough laser pointers and mobile phone aerial boosters to equip everyone in Cambridgeshire. He could also give a flashy dress watch to the first two hundred people who expressed even an interest in buying a pointer or a booster.

Freddie’s wife clearly loved her rabbits. The shed was well insulated and the entrance was a stable door to give them plenty of light and air. Danny engaged John Coe to line the shed with wide shelves and to make a long packing table under the windows. John toiled for hours and eventually the inside of the shed looked like a miniature warehouse.

The weeks passed, and Danny still had not moved his eBay lots from the barn. Every time I went down to feed the chickens, I passed the empty shed.

I put a couple of boxes into the shed, just until I had time to sort them out. Then a few more. And an occasional carrier bag. A client gave me some handy carpet off cuts: I slid them in under the workbench. Our chickens bed down on wood chips: the bale fitted nicely under the shelves in the shed. We bought a shredder – no space in the barn, so I heaved that in too. Then we had to store all the winemaking equipment somewhere. No problem. Suddenly, the shed was filling up and Danny started to mutter.

Our neighbour, Catherine, was offloading a dinky little shed and we snapped it up. Danny smiled and nodded as I repaired and painted it.

At 6′ x 4′, it was a lot smaller than his shed. Soon John Coe and I were plotting. Its size and location, near the kitchen garden, demanded that it should house the gardening tools and paraphernalia. My shed would make our vegetable smallholding tasks more efficient. In time, Danny acquiesced. Then we got the bees.

You can see from the photo that we keep the bee suits in my shed. Most of the other bee equipment has crept into D’s shed. It was all getting a bit awkward until a friend told me that she was going to buy a new shed, as the one she had was not big enough. Within seconds we had a deal.

Danny, John Coe and I assembled my new shed yesterday. It’s the shed of all sheds, with proper opening windows and a conduit for electricity. I will be moving most of my stuff out of D’s shed this weekend.

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1 Comment

  1. Danny Carey

    Hmmmm – it’s now after midnight on Saturday night and still there is no sign of the removal truck(s).

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