The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Update on the first Cottage Smallholder party – Saturday, July 23rd 2011

Tiny cockerel and hens in our pen

Tiny cockerel and hens in our pen

It’s just three weeks to go until our first Cottage Smallholder annual get together. We’re very excited by the prospect of meeting you and putting faces to the names.

Years ago we used to throw a lot of parties. Big affairs that started with lunch and went through the night til dawn. We had a larger lawn and much more energy back then. Someone always fell in the pond. Sometimes there was live music but generally old favourites warbled from the open Velux window in The Rat Room.

Fearing that not many people would actually show up to our first party, we bought ten human sized inflatable Martians from a pound shop and nearly killed ourselves inflating them the night before – the pump was lost somewhere in the barn. We needed have worried. Everyone came and the Martians were the surprise hit – so many people wanted to adopt one.

These parties began at lunch time. Older friends of my mother’s generation and families with small children sat under green and white striped gazebos, whilst the dogs hurled abuse from a bedroom window upstairs. At around 5 pm the wilder guests arrived. There were slow cooked casseroles, crusty bread and a well stocked bar for them. Colourful characters like Gilbert and The Llama danced the rumba.

This summer the Cottage Smallholder party will begin at 1pm on Saturday July 23rd and will go on until late. There’s no need to stay the entire course but we hope many will. People will be popping in throughout the day.

Our cottage is very small but there will be opportunities for artists and craftsmen to show off their work. There will be a swap or buy stand for plants, preserves and crafts. The big highlight of the day is Simon’s (SumpRat on the forum) demonstration of home smoking food. Danny will be instructing groups on the operation of the swing seat to anyone who would like to sit beside the pond and just chill.

Conversation and relaxing fun will be supplemented by an all day cold buffet, DIY barbecue and drinks (sober and soft as well as wine and beer).

It’s many years since we’ve thrown a party and we’ve calmed down a bit since the old days. We’re eager to meet our virtual friends in the real world. People are travelling from all over the UK to join us. We still have some space for more if you would like to come. Please leave a comment or email – fionaATcottagesmallholderDOTcom – as we need to know the numbers for the catering and the bar.

Looking forward to meeting you in July!

  Leave a reply


  1. I do hope there will be another next year. 23rd is my little boy’s birthday and I’ll be partying with him and his chums, but shall raise a glass to you all. Same as casalba above, hope to see pics and read your blog the day after, it sounds like it will be a fantastic afternoon/evening.

  2. casalba

    I’m another one who can’t make it, but how I wish I could! I’d love to meet all at Cottage Smallholder and Magic Cochin too. I can’t wait to read your post after the event.

  3. Sissi

    It’s such a pity I live so far… I hope you have many wonderful guests and lots of fun!

  4. MaryN

    I wish I could be there, but we have a student with us and it would be difficult. Hope you have another summer party next year though, or perhaps an autumn one…?

  5. Paula

    I so wish I could be there! Please have a glass of rose or a gin and tonic for me (It’s summer, after all)!

  6. It sounds like it will be a wonderful day. I hope you all have oodles of fun, learn new skills, meet your online chums and generally have a super time. Too far for us to travel, but I’ll be there in spirit. (Or in wine).

  7. Terrier

    Hi Fiona
    I am also hoping not to fall in the pond, I’ll be there and will either have my OH, or more likely a friend whom I have been encouraging to join the forum, but I think she’s still just a lurker (Are you reading this Judith?)
    Looking forward to meeting all my new found friends and swopping ideas. I’ll probably not be staying late though, unfortunately..maybe next year

  8. Sharon

    Hi there, Just stumbled on your blog by searching for labels for my first batch of jams. . Ironically, we actually don’t live a million miles away from you and would love to gatecrash your party, if it is appropriate. If it is a private “do” then apologies for my misunderstanding.
    I love the blog, we are new to smallholding – and blogging – though neither is as slick as yours.

  9. veronica

    Hey Fiona, I am still planning to come, and I will bring some litres of rosé with me 🙂 Really looking forward to it!

  10. danast

    Oh I am so looking forward to this day. I just hope I am not the one to fall in the pond this time. Hoping to meet lots of friends and of course our hosts and the minpins.

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