A little inspiration, because we all need inspiring sometimes

It has been a tough day here on my little farm. 

We are in the middle of the second storm in less than two weeks, it's brutal to work out in but my animals need tending so we just get on with it.

There's a warm fire waiting for us when we get inside and the promise of creamy hemp hot chocolate topped with homemade marshmallows, that thought of the cosy bliss keeps me going through driving sleet that's burning my face, 80 mile an hour winds and fingers that went numb not long after I walked out of the door.

My usual morning rounds were interrupted by sadness this morning.  The first thing I do when I go out is check on Stanley and Dorothy, my hand reared calves from the spring time (if you follow me on social media you'll know Stanley and Dorothy, if you don't you should!)  

It's the best job of the day, especially on days like this; their little faces light up even the darkest days.

I call to them as I approach their pen and they call back but this morning it was only Stanley's voice I heard.

Looking over their door I could see Dorothy curled up fast asleep.  A slumber my sweet precious Dorothy will never wake from.

On a farm animals come and animals go, it part of this life we chose to live.  But some animals are just that little bit more special and Dorothy was very special.

I don't do well with grief.  I spent a long time feeling like the grim reaper when friends and family were dropping like flies.  

Now I chose to treat death as a momentary parting and celebrate the lives instead.

So, I took to the farmhouse kitchen to create.  I've been trying out some pudding recipes I've concocted and that I will share with you on the Cook from Scratch blog, today was the day to perfect them and name one after Dorothy - Dorothy's cakes.

Anyway, whilst baking away I drifted to back to Christmas past.  Christmas is my favourite time of year, I have so many fond and treasured memories, but the Christmas I drifted too was more special than most.

If you have read my book you'll recognise the story.  If you haven't, I'll share a snippet with you here.

It's back to 2009, I had no money, three small children, my farm and Christmas to pay for and I was on my knees with no where to turn.

Twelve years down the line I now know there is always hope and that sometimes opportunities come to us from the strangest places.

Lot's of people are going through a tough time right now, frankly the world has gone mad.  If you are one of those people, it is my biggest Christmas wish that this inspires you, even just a little, keep the faith and keep going.  I can tell you my friend it is worth the fight and battle scars.

Back to Christmas 2009 and a short excerpt from my book...

I still needed to increase my income and have something more sustainable to work on, I was just figuring things out as they came along, and I was doing ok paying my bills and tucking little bits away when I could for Christmas that was approaching. 
I had done Christmas for the whole family for the past ten years, it was still expected I would do it that year but, I was worried how I’d manage to feed all those people and I wasn’t going to ask them to chip in and help with the cost – I could just imagine the looks and sniggers, I wasn’t going to allow them that satisfaction.
Miraculously my mother unknowingly came up with a solution to that problem!  She’s stopped of for a visit one October afternoon, when she got to the farmhouse she excitedly exclaimed that my half a mile farm drive was lined from top to bottom with blackthorn bushes that were heaving with sloe berries!  I didn’t know much about blackthorn bushes but I did know that every year my mother would go hunting the county wide for sloe berries so she could make sloe gin – her favourite Christmas tipple.
She proceeded to tell me that sloes were rare, loads of people hunted for them and every time she went out to pick them someone had already got there before her so for years she’d missed out on her homemade sloe gin.  Low and behold I had millions of the apparently very sought-after berries!  My mother rallied the household, and we all went out collecting berries for her.
A thought was hatching in my mind – I wonder, do these sell on ebay?  Keeping my mouth shut I waited until everyone left and searched to see if I could sell the berries.  Much to my utter delight they were selling on ebay like hot cakes!
Over the next week I went out and picked every single last sloe berry from every bush, carefully weighed them in to 1kg batches and sold every box of berries equating to just short of £4000!  More than enough to pay for Christmas – it was enough to pay for Christmas and buy me my first four cows!
I threw my usual magical farmhouse Christmas for the whole family, little did I know then, that would be the last time the family would be together again.


If you would like a copy of my book and genuinely can't afford to buy it, please contact me I will send you a copy free of charge.

If however you are in a position to support my work and in turn my little farm, you can get your copy here.


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