The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Thank you


Photo: Cherry plum blossom

Photo: Cherry plum blossom

Today marks ten months off work and I think that finally I’m gradually getting better. But progress is achingly slow.

I’m too tired in the evenings to develop new recipes at the moment. Instead we are looking back over the Cottage Smallholder archives and resurrecting some long forgotten recipes. The problem with constantly developing new recipes is that there is little time to enjoy past ones. So this has been a surprising solace.

The focus is now on the garden and trying to achieve a stream of income from growing flowers, fruit and vegetables. This gets me out in the fresh air for a few hours a day and is hugely therapeutic even if it’s just sitting by the pond poring over my garden design plans.

One of the many positive sides of my situation is that I’m constantly trying to find ways of working more efficiently in the garden rather than just bumbling about. My new gardening tools have helped a lot making each job easier and faster. Danny gave me a wonderful swan necked hoe which makes weeding a doddle. It’s very sharp and come the revolution will be a great tool to have in our armoury.

Spending a lot of my day out of doors is heartening too. Who could watch the mistle thrush bathing each morning in the pond and not feel blessed? Yesterday I lifted a tray of seedlings out of the cold frame and curled beneath was a newt. Tiny with enormous eyes, it peered up at me until I gently covered it up again with an empty tray. In the past I was so busy I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it.

Due to me being off colour we are very isolated socially. The blog and the forum are a brilliant resource for both of us. Being able to communicate with so many people all over the world is wonderful. So thank you for all your support over the past ten months – it would have been very lonely without you.

  Leave a reply


  1. cathy

    Your efforts to work more efficiently in the garden… that’s how I’m approaching my gardening this year, too. It’s rather interesting to approach the garden and the gardening from this direction, I think. More and more, I’m asking the plants to help one another and trying to get out of the way of their growth. I’m trying not to force things either, and that means that I’m not rushing to plant some vegetables. This year I’m waiting until it’s warm enough for them to grow with minimal care from me.

  2. Denise

    I do admire you for what you have achieved. I too had to give up work, in my case because of stress and depression. Unlike you I haven’t really managed to get myself onto a new life path as yet, in spite of the best of intentions. But I haven’t given up yet :-).

    Anyway,I came here to pass on a tip, although I suspect that you already know about what I’m about to tell you, having been a blogger for some time. You can earn money writing on other people’s blogs. I found out about this when I came across a blog by a young woman called Ali hale ( Ali works as a staff blogger(her term) writing for various blogs, and seems to make a decent living by it. She’s also written a couple of ebooks, and has an interesting self-development blog of her own.

  3. I love reading your blog and trawling around the site. You give so much pleasure to so many people, I’m very glad you get some back as well!
    J x

  4. brightsprite

    Dear Fiona – good to hear your news, and even better to know that sometime (hopefully) soon, it will all be behind you.
    You are inspiring, as everyone else has already said, but what you have created here is very special. Be very proud of it. A lot of us have made new friends through your blog and forum, and it is something I look forward to reading daily.
    Thank you Fiona. xx

  5. casalba

    And… THANK YOU! xxx Love your positive outlook. Hope you get better soon.

  6. Huzzah for your creating the blog and the forum – both are wonderful and I try to pop in daily. It’s a great way to keep “in touch” with home and I wish I could pop by the gate side stand. It’s good to hear you are seeing progress in your health, even if it seems annoyingly slow.

    Give the min pins some back-scratches/tummy-rubs from me.

    *big hugs*

  7. Cookie Girl

    When I saw your post the same went through my mind as you other readers, and that is that you do a lot more for us out here reading you than you realise. That is the beauty of this means of communication – the connecting of worlds that would previously have remained unconnected. I cherish it every day. All the very best to you.

  8. bluenose

    I am so glad to read that you are feeling better, that must be encouraging for you. I realize that it must seem at a snail’s pace for you sometimes but I do so enjoy reading about your life at the cottage. You have a way with words that usually brings a smile to my face. Take care, and know that there are people out there who anxiously wait for your next blog.

  9. Bridget at Cabbage Tree Farm

    Greetings and best wishes as always. Glad to hear you are recuperating. Gardening is a great pastime. I’m always interested to hear how your gate side stand is doing. The posies look beautiful.

  10. angiemay

    Good to hear how you’re feeling better: slow progress better than no progress, and I hope it all continues to move in a positive direction.
    As a newcomer to the site I’ve been really enjoying going through your past blogs, and wish I’d stumbled upon them years ago!
    Am hoping my attempt at pickled walnuts will be a success this year by following your advice (previous attempt inedible!).
    I have two tomatillo recipes waiting to be typed up for you, and also will be posting a link to a cassis recipe from the mtp blog as I don’t think you have one in the drinks section yet? A very good use of blackcurrants!!
    Cheers Fiona & Danny, and may the sun shine on us all sometime this weekend…

Leave a Reply

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

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,241,090 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2023 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder