When you arrive Mairi will greet you with a cup of tea or coffee and some homemade cake. We'll have this either outside in the garden, or, if the weather is bad, inside one of the growhouses. We'll then head out into the garden to meet the chickens. We currently have 10 chickens (9 of which are rescues), and they free-range around our large garden all day. They are friendly, and enjoy being stroked and picked up. We'll tell you a little bit about the smallholding that the chickens are part of, and we'll spend some time watching them and learning about how they spend their days. You'll be able to feed them chicken food and treats (they love frozen corn!), and we'll teach you how to pick them up and hold them. You'll also have the opportunity to hunt for eggs, and you're welcome to keep any eggs you find. You might also meet our other pets - we have 3 ducks and 4 cats, and if you'd like you can also meet our bouncy dogs Archie (a bearded collie) and Lulu (a dalmatian).
I'm Mairi, a smallholder who moved to the Highlands in 2012. I am the founder of 'Highland Seedlings', and grow the vast majority of our the food I eat myself along with my husband Seamus. I also keep chickens and ducks, and I sell vegetable seedlings and help others set up their own vegetable garden. I am passionate about gardening organically and in harmony with nature, and with as little effort, time and money as possible (we don't dig here at 'Highland Seedlings'!). I love nothing more than getting folks excited about growing their own food! As a former academic learning and teaching are second-nature to me, and I am also well versed in accommodating any support needs you might have as I myself am disabled with chronic conditions.
Cake or savoury home-made items
A cup of tea or coffee (or water if you'd prefer that)
The experience takes place in the 1/3 acre 'no dig' smallholding in Fearn in beautiful Easter Ross, about 45 minutes north of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. We will spend time outside but can move to one of the polytunnels if it rains. We have been turning our garden into a smallholding since 2013, and we currently keep ducks and chickens and grow loads of fruit and veg.
Please wear sturdy shoes, preferably waterproof, as it might be muddy in the garden. It might be possible to borrow a pair of overalls/dungarees if you are worried about getting dirty, and we have some adult-sized wellies we can lend you.
Children under 12 do not need a ticket but can attend with an accompanying adult. Please message us to let us know they'll be coming along. Please contact us if you'd like to do this experience on another day or at a different time.