Five laws of smallholding

by Max Akroyd

I’m new to smallholding, but already some inescapable laws are becoming discernible:

1. Murphy’s Law: The daddy of them all. Is there any greater enaction of it than in the garden? Watch out for tell-tale indicators of job-slowing slackery: looking at the view, chasing the dogs around, “I fancy a coffee”…

2. Monday Morning Law: A smallholder’s take on Sod’s Law. Feeling happy? No rush-hour commute or stuffy office for you! Birds singing and sun shining? Unfortunately, it just means something important has broken/fallen over/blown away somewhere on the smallholding. The slugs have eaten your dinner. An animal is poorly. There’s a tax return in the mailbox. A form of  Monday Morning Law is also always visited upon smallholders nursing a monster hangover.

3. The Law of Houdini Pigs: That bit of fencing looks a tiny bit wobbly. I wonder if a pig could get out that way? It will.

4. The Law of Broken Eggs: Hens’ laying slows down in autumn. This law means the fewer eggs you have, the more eggs you accidentally drop on the floor. Always accompanied by choice expletives.

5. The Law of Dogs and Seedlings: Worked your soil to a fine tilth? Seeds germinated beautifully and forming healthy, but fragile, seedlings? That dog, presently a kilometre away, is going to chase that ball right through them. The effect of this law is made worse by a dog’s happy, slobbery-tongued incapacity to understand the point of seedlings in particular and gardening in general. Also remarkably applicable to kids too.