Ever fancied living off the land? Meet a woman who is doing just that at her smallholding in Sibford Ferris

You can get a glimpse into how smallholdings are run at an open day on Sunday September 12

By Philip Hibble
Friday, 4th September 2020, 9:32 am
Sue Sabin at her Suneday Smallholding - with plenty of onions!
Sue Sabin at her Suneday Smallholding - with plenty of onions!

Have you daydreamed about buying a smallholding and living the Good Life?

Well, that is what Sue Sabin has been doing in Sibford Ferris - and now she is trying to live exclusively off the land for a whole year.

On Saturday September 12, she will be opening the gates to her smallholding for members of the local community to learn about animal keeping, sustainable living and smallholding life.

The Suneday Smallholding in Sibford Ferris.

The Suneday Smallholding began life three years ago, and is run single-handedly by Sue in an attempt to achieve a certain kind of life.

Home to three Oxford Sandy and Black pigs, three Toggenburg goats, a goose, numerous chickens, a cairn terrier and a collieXlab, the smallholding offers produce throughout the year, including goats milk, cheese, vegetables, eggs and fruit.

Not without its challenges (animal illness, dark soggy evenings milking and adventurous dogs escaping in search of village barbecues) the lifestyle offers a unique, privileged perspective to see what can be grown, foraged and reared on the land; life without a supermarket in sight.

Sue said: "Over the past two years, the smallholding has received fantastic support from the village, with neighbours and friends helping out with milking and feeding duties, whilst I have balanced family life and work.

The Suneday Smallholding in Sibford Ferris.

"They’ve also become loyal customers over the past few months, as the smallholding pop up shop has taken place on the roadside with a honesty box gratefully made use which has helped towards animal food."

On September 1, Sue began her year of living self-sufficiently, in which she’ll live off only produce from the smallholding.

She added: "This has required dormouse levels of stockpiling, from jars of pickled walnuts harvested in summer to plums and fruit put straight in the freezer to be dug out during the winter months.

"One of last year’s goats has provided chops, and much-loved and well looked after pigs made way for delicious sausages, as is the cycle of smallholding life."

On September 12, there will be workshop sessions running during the day, although places have now all been filled.

However, the cafe will be open all day, for those who want more and to see the animals. This will be a family event, and dogs on leads are very welcome. In line with Covid19 government guidelines, there will be a one-way system and social distancing guidelines in place.

For more details please see @sunedaysmallholding on Instagram.