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. Michelle S.

    You are very welcome Fiona, and thank you for creating a wonderful place for all of us to congregate, visit, learn and share!
    Take good care of yourself, we miss you when you don’t feel good and can’t post!

  2. Joanna

    Glad your feeling a bit better and I pray your recovery continues but may you also continue to enjoy the process. I haven’t been able to pop into the forum over the last few days with assignment deadlines looming but looking to catch up soon.

  3. Paula

    Actually, your blog does a lot for me. I’m kind of isolated too, but for different reasons. Maybe the Powers That Be want us to find something else to do?

    Here’s a question: since you’ve been forced to slow down due to your health, do you find that you’re happier for it?

    There are lots of article and several books regarding the subject of simplicity and slowing life down as a way to find greater contentment and solace. I know that I’m much happier busting about in my garden than I was commuting by bus into town and putting in my 40-45 weekly. I just haven’t figured out how to turn my new life into something profitable (I don’t have the location mojo that you do and we all know it’s location, location and location!)

    So- do you think you’re happier now than when you were working? Say, all illness and weariness aside?

  4. Jo @ LittleFfarm Dairy

    Fantastic to know you’re feeling better, Fiona – & that the garden is proving such an inspiration & a recuperation. I think what you’ve achieved is fantastic & wish I could put such energy into my own garden (alas the majority has to go into the goats & the business, of late.

    But as ever you’ve created something positive & worthwhile from what most would give up on as gloomy adversity – inspirational.

    BTW give your spellchecker a smack – it has changed your mistle thrush into a thistle thrush…!! Bloomin’ technology (I’m not even going into that after the week I’ve just had ;0) )

    Love & hugs,

    Jo Madhouse Menagerie (only four little goats sharing the cottage with me now – phew!!) xxx

  5. Magic Cochin

    I’m so pleased you’re feeling a little better as each week goes by – don’t over do things, it’s easy to get carried away in the garden!

    I hope that your garden is beginning to pay back all the planning and work you’ve put in – with produce and with some tlc for you.

    I always drop in to the blog to see what you’ve been up to, I’ve also (secretly) purchased a pot or two from your stand – the Three Fruits Marmalade is so yummy! I used it to glaze a bacon joint the other week, and sometimes have a sneaky afternoon snack of rice-cakes with your marmalade spread on it, to help me meet an illustration deadline 🙂


  6. Toffeeapple

    I’m so pleased to hear that you are feeling better even though it is a gradual process. I’m sure being in the garden will help with the recovery.

    We have to thank you, Fiona, for starting the blog and then the forum.

    Big Hugs!

  7. kate (uk)

    Good to hear you are feeling better, albeit slowly,being out in the garden in Spring is the best medicine!

  8. Veronica

    Fiona, I am sure you provide at least as much pleasure to your faithful readers as we do to you! I haven’t had time to pop by much recently, but a new CSH post is still a bright spot in my day. So glad you are gradually feeling better, and that you have found morale-boosting ways of turning enforced idleness to your advantage. Let’s hope you keep getting stronger.

  9. Although I’m a relative newcomer to posting (have been a lurker for a few years now)

    I have found your posts/forum to be a wonderful resource which is very inspiring. So thank you so much too.

    I hope you feel much better soon

  10. Diane

    Always a total delight to pop by. Thanks for the inspiration that you providwe everyday. Hope you feel much better very soon. xxxx

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