Past Events

Here you will find details of some of our past events to give you an idea of the sort of things we do.

 2021

Produce Show and Follow On Lunch

11th September 2021

 

We held a produce show on the supposed day of the AGM which was judged by our former chairman Hugh. He

took a lot of care in choosing the winner of each section despite there being only a few entries, and gave the

reasons why he had chosen the winners. There is a plaque awarded to the overall winner - Liz Jones this year!

Well done Liz.

Margaret Knox gave a fascinating talk on the history of the SSA. She was one of the original members when the association was formed in 1977 as The Smallholders Association.

 

Margaret pointed out that the number of members has gone up and down throughout the Association’s existence. At the time when Devon separated the membership decreased and then recovered again. She felt that despite membership

decreasing again now, it is still a valuable association.

The AGM was due to be held on 11th September 2021. Unfortunately as we did not have a quorum of members

according to the constitution, we were unable to hold the AGM. There had been an accident on the A358 just

north of the venue on the morning of the AGM which resulted in the closing of the road and may have

contributed to the lack of attendees.

Spring vegetables

Sheep 101 – 25th September

Crowcombe, Quantocks

On a cloudy day in September, guided by an excellent system of red bucket lids, we were vectored in to Thom’s farm near Crowcombe where she and her partner put on a superb Sheep 101 from her wonderful sheep shed. We got to meet a variety of breeds; all on show seemed to have a name and an individual characteristic. As each sheep was coaxed out, it reminded me of the sheep show that tours the agricultural shows, with the stars of the show coming out except this time we got to be up close and personal, so to speak.

We were shown handling, vaccinations, worming, minerals, suppliers, borrowing a

ram etc. Whilst many of us there already keep sheep, we all go on learning, and

listening to an experienced sheep farmer as well as exchanging ideas, was extremely

useful.

Thank you to those who came and made it an event, the excellent food that they brought

for the “bring and Share”, and especially to Thomasina and Cam for hosting, instructing, and providing refreshments.

Ian Jones

Watercolor sheep in field

Open Smallholding including Tool Sharpening 
Saturday 21st August   

Venue: near Castle Cary BA7 


A visit to a smallholding with poultry, Zwartbles sheep and polytunnel run with conservation in mind. A great

opportunity to see how others do things and  pick up some ideas and tips.

A professional tool sharpener was at the event who, for a small charge, sharpened smallholding tools including all

types of shears, knives, mower blades etc 

Renting Holiday Accommodations – a Workshop with Kate Morel    July 
Kate’s background includes holiday property rental and ten years working in the glamping sector. As an industry professional, she now works independently supporting land and business owners to effectively develop or diversify into boutique and experiential types of holiday lets. This was a great opportunity to meet Kate and learn from her considerable expertise.

Trowel

The Mid-Somerset Agricultural Society Show Sunday 15th August at Shepton Mallet Showground
Better known as the Shepton Show.

A big thankyou to the organisers for a fantastic show. We met so many wonderful people and spent a busy day talking 'smallholdering' and other things.

Carrot
Beetroot

2020

Skittles

Saturday 15th February  Always a fun evening.

.

Peg Loom Weaving Workshop

The workshop will cover the setup and basics of weaving on a peg loom. For those who are more experienced we can look at weaving circles or 3 dimensional items and other fancy techniques.

Peg loom weaving is probably the simplest form of weaving and can be used to make rugs, wall hangings, placemats and even bowls from a variety of materials and with quite inexpensive/homemade equipment. It is an excellent way of using sheep fleece without the need to spin it first. The thrifty among you will appreciate making useful items out of old tee shirts and other fabric scraps. If you want to come but don’t have a peg loom let us know when you book.

Hedge-Laying For Beginners

This session does not follow any specific code of hedge-laying (and as many of you will know every region has its own unique style) but will focus simply on making an otherwise untidy and unkempt hedge into something which is stock-proof – to all but the most determined escapees! We will use only manual tools to achieve this and attendees will work together to lay a section of hedge having been shown the basic principles being used. Given we will be working in January you should come suitably dressed for potentially cold and/or wet weather. Good thick thorn-resistant leather gloves, safety glasses, a hat, old coat and waterproof footwear are fundamentals as we may well be working in and amongst hawthorn, blackthorn and brambles. If you have your own tools, a pruning saw/bow saw, and/or billhook please bring these with you. Our Host has very kindly agreed to provide us with hot soup for lunch, but please feel free to bring other food and hot drinks for yourself or to share. 

SOMERSET SMALLHOLDERS ASSOCIATION ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Our AGM followed the trend and went onto Zoom.

Thurs 10th Dec 6pm
Christmas Party – get dressed up, have your Christmas meal ready, glass of wine etc and come to our Zoom Christmas Party! A general chat and social gathering, maybe with a performance or two! If you would like to play a short piece of music, read a poem or extract from a book or perform some other type of entertainment suitable for all ages, please book. We look forward to seeing you there!

Zoom Workshops

During the Covid era we have held a series of Zoom based Q&A workshops covering all sorts of smallholder topics. 

The usual format is that we talk about what we do relevant to the topic, what works and what doesn't. People pass on hints tips and ideas and we all learn lots of useful things.

Topics so far include poultry, sheep, veg and some more general smallholder discussions. 

December 2019

Preparing Poultry For The Table

Christmas is coming and the poultry are getting fat…..

 

This workshop will cover dispatching, dressing and preparing poultry for the table. We will be demonstrating all stages of the process and there will be opportunity to practice dry plucking.

 

If you would like to prepare your own bird following the demonstration you are more than welcome to bring them along. This will give you the opportunity to practice the process yourself with someone on hand to guide you through.

Bring and Share Christmas Buffet

This Year we will be having a Bring and Share Christmas Buffet. Come along to this event and enjoy some festive cheer with fellow SSA members. I’ve heard rumours that Safety Elf might be there in his Christmas outfit! 

Shows in 2019

If you were out and about in 2019 you might have seen us at:

The Game Fair                            Priddy Folk Festival

The Green Scythe Fair              Yesterday's Farming

 

Each show is different but whatever the show we look talk to people about smallholding. 

There have been no Shows in 2020