In the May issue Smallholder loves books and equipment.


My Chickens and I by Isabella Rossellini with photographs by Patrice Casanova (pictured above)

The beauty and intelligence of chickens has captivated actress and filmmaker Isabella Rossellini and this beautiful ode to them is full of love for her feathered friends. Isabella ordered 38 yellow chicks but when the delivery arrived at her Long Island farm, she was surprised with a diverse mix of heritage breeds. Fascinated, she researched their traits, behaviour and history as she fell in love with them. Patrice’s photography is stunning and when combined with Isabella’s hand-drawn illustrations and wry observations, make for an unusual book, a bewitching one that is full of heart and soul. It’s a wonderful tribute to the new feathered members of her family.

RRP: £18.99

Reasons to love: Quirky, witty, passionate  


Sabre Tooth Saw from Darlac


A saw that is both strong and light to manoeuvre is a delight to own. This is one of the best we’ve used and it’s down to the design. The foot long blade is sabre toothed so it offers an easy cutting angle. It has precision ground, razor sharp, tri-edge teeth which are uniformly even and precise enough to almost eliminate die-back and disease. The teeth leave a smooth, clean cut and slice through live or dead branches up to 4inches. Premium quality Japanese carbon steel make it light, which makes an afternoon of cutting back that much easier. Refreshingly, It comes with a lifetime guarantee against defect in workmanship and materials, which shows how much faith the manufacturer has in this excellent design.

RRP: £19.99

Reasons to love: Design, price, guarantee


The Fruit Forager’s Companion by Sara Bir


“A small act of civil disobedience” is the rather wonderful way Sara describes foraging. She teaches foraging basics, demonstrates gathering and preservation techniques and shares her recipes in this wide-ranging guide. She writes that she returns from foraging trips enriched, whether she has had good pickings or not, since she’s been in contact with nature, has heard animals and birds and has seen things growing. It encourages foraging as a joyful, ever changing activity and her recipes are mouth-watering. She is American but the principles and many of the food types are consistent to the UK. It’s a wild and at times wittily irreverent foray into the fun of foraging.

RRP: £22.50

Reasons to love: Informative, knowledgeable, infectious


Showa 306 gloves from Lovely Hands


The beauty about these gloves is that they suit all outdoor conditions and a multitude of tasks. They reduce perspiration when it’s hot but give warmth and dryness when it’s cold and wet outside.

They are breathable, so no more sweaty hands and they are completely waterproof. Cleverly they have no seams so they do not rub or catch but they do have grip, but not so much that you can’t feel through them. They are made from latex and have a nylon/ polyester liner and, accordingly, are durable. They are tough enough for DIY projects around the smallholding but flexible enough for the finer planting tasks.

RRP: £11 (+ P&P)

Reasons to love: Flexible, waterproof, value