A place of calm-yeah right!

Friarshawmuir, FSM as we call it, is a place of calm. We have purposely developed it to be calm. Our animals are calm, the place is calm and the atmosphere is calm. Unfortunately sometimes we are not!

When we moved here five years ago we didn’t know just how much hard work it would take to run FSM. Up early, to bed late. And every hour just about filled with activity. Creating calm is sometimes filled with not being calm. So this last weekend Jane sent me away for a calm weekend for myself.

I set off in our camper van and parked up for two days of serenity. It worked. I returned re-energised and calmer. Some guided meditation helped. Some thinking time helped. And some sleep helped.

So here I am back at FSM ready to make the place calm again. So if you, like me, need a little bit of calm head down here and experience the calm we create.

Yoggy’s story

So many of you who have come to Friarshawmuir will have met Yoggy. What a story he has to tell. He was born in Cyprus on the streets. He survived by eating scraps that were left out and about. When he was about 6 months old his “pack” was targetted by someone. They were fed food with broken glass in it. Yoggy survived and was taken in by a rescue centre. They are kept here for 6 weeks and then put down if a home cannot be found.

At that time we were looking for a dog for Max. We had visited several rescue centres in the Scotland and the questions were the same.

“Have you had a dog before” ….”Yes”

“Do you have a secure garden” ….”No we live on a farm”

“Do you work regular hours”….”No we work all hours”

“Will the dog be left alone”….”We leave this place sometimes”

“Are there other animals on the property”….”Yes Its a small farm”

“Do you have a cat”…”Please shoot me..”

Hence we looked elsewhere.

We found Yoggy and paid our fee. He was transported to Manchester Airport where we met him and brought him home.

He has settled in and become somewhat of a mascot for Friarshawmuir.

You either love Yoggy or you havn’t met him yet!

You cannot please everyone

We have spent years working with the general public in the workplace and we vowed we would never get involved with them again. But hey when you run a  smallholding you need to supplement your income in some way and we choose to do it through AirBnB, Horsemanship and what Jane calls Duncan’s grown up work, consulting with companies about business performance.

Monday is always a “get your head round the week” day and this week was no different.

We are going through haylage at a rate at the moment and we need to go and get some more. Luckily this year we bought forward and have a supply on the shelf for us.

The horse trailer has developed a dodgy wheel and needs to be serviced.

The goats have decided maybe they are not pregnant as we have seen no sign of any kids from the Togenburgs.

The guttering at the back of the house has developed a leak.

The Rayburn stove chimney needs to be swept.

It looks like we are not going to finish the low power outside lighting before the days get lighter again.

The idea to frost proof the drinking troughs goes to the bottom of the pile as the days get warmer.

And the list goes on.

But we wouldn’t have it any other way. Oh and we have guests this week so I will have to wear clean jeans and a smile!




I think the goats built a tunnel

As usual in the winter up about 6:30am. Turned out the fresh bread and pulled together a breakfast hamper for our guests. I just love waking up to the smell of fresh bread. Made fresh coffee and sat and listened to the BBC World Service as we conteplated going out to “do the animals”. The BBC World Service is my channel of choice as it does not assume London is the centre of the universe and brings interesting chat from all round the world.  Try it. It is refreshingly different.

Tipped out to feed the animals and check on the guest horses. It is very unusual for guests to bring horses and something that we are not pursuing. It was a one off.

Fortunately the sun was shining and Jane began to prepare for the first lesson of the day. I took the opportunity to nip out on my motorbike, a Yamaha Thunderace, for anyone that is interested and headed off to Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre just outside Langholm in the Scottish Borders. Jane and I often visit there for some mental relaxation and always come back with ideas for Friarshawmuir.


Unfortunately it began to rain and I arrived home a little chilled. As I came up Friarshawmuir lane I spied two horses ahead. Jane and Robyn on their way back in.

As we all dismounted we spotted the goats in the feed area. I am convinced they have built a tunnel. Tomorrow I shall investigate. Law Abiding Citizen springs to mind.  Ah well coffee calls.


A day off, its Saturday

So Jane and I have a joke. It goes like this.

Question “What time is it?”

Answer “February”

Living on a smallholding can feel like you do the same thing day after day and you never get a day off.  Well today we decided to have a day off because we discovered it was Saturday. And then we remembered all the things we had to do.

Jane tootled off to East Lothian to chat some errant horses and had a super day putting them back on the right track.

Duncan on the other hand decided to spring clean Friarshawmuir on the outside. Gravel, whats left of it, was harrowed. Yes harrowed. All the rubbish lying around was put on the trailer for the tip trip.

Our BnB guests arrived about 4 into a freshly cleaned and prepared Sleepery.

The goat pen was secured and the feed area was fenced off with watchtowers and machine guns to keep the goats at bay.

My friend David then caused havoc by turning up and wanting to stop for a cup of coffee. He brought his two new dogs with him for a leg stretch.

Jane came back and began making the evening meal whilst I got half an hour in the garage fixing my motorbike. Now that is a seperate blog in itself.

So tomorrow we look forward to February again and who knows what we shall do to relax.



Its tidy-up friday

We have a mission at Friarshawmuir to reduce waste and to use less stuff in the first place. Just about everything we need for Friarshawmuir comes wrapped in plastic. From the ubiquitous Amazon parcels to animal feed there is waste. We live at the end of a 1km road and whilst we pay our rates to the council to collect and recycle waste they refuse to come up the road to our house. We are therefore left to deliver the waste to the recycle centre ourselves. So today its tidy-up day. Collect the waste, load the trailer and drive to the recycle centre. I suppose the upside is that we do one trip everymonth rather than everyday.


Todays task-keep the goats in!

It is only a week since the baby goats were born. They are already running around like olympic athletes. They know no boundaries on FSM and follow the herd of goats wherever they go. The one thing that is confusing us at the moment is the other goats seem to be pregnant but show no sign of giving birth yet. Its a mystery.

Welcome to the Friarshawmuir blog.

Running and living at Friarshawmuir is a challenge! This blog is designed to inform you on a day to day (if we keep it up to date) just what is happening at Friarshawmuir and the challenges we are dealing with. Its like the inside track on the peace adn tranquility you experience. I hope you find it interesting.

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