Welcome to GLYNELWYN - a smallholding in South West Wales

Glynelwyn - News

2008

December

Well, December weather has been a mixture of very wet (more mud!) during the first half of the month and then very cold, frosty, freezing weather during the latter part over Christmas and New Year. So, lots of frozen water buckets and troughs all of which have to be attacked with a pick axe at least twice a day.

All the Berkshire piglets are now well grown healthy weaners and will be going to their new homes during January. Things are not always 'rosey' when you're dealing with livestock and sadly we ended up with only 2 Gloucester Old Spot piglets from our Sow, Corky. However, both these 2 are healthy little girls and being very well looked after by 'Mum'.

We've received our first holiday booking for the Annexe for 2009 and look forward to hopefully seeing some of our previous holiday-makers back again next year.

We ended 2008 popping the cork on a bottle of Moet & Chandon over the huge Ash Trees in the garden and toasted our successes and our failures - which we are glad to say were few. We look forward with great excitement and enthusiasm to 2009 and to experience our first Spring here at Glyn Elwyn.

And what does Spring always bring........Lambs. Lovely.

November

Tash, our border collie, looking sorry for herself with an injured paw. It's not often that she is in one place for more than a few moments! She is normally herding the sheep, the ducks, horses, in fact anything at all really.

The list continues to grow!! Yes, we are great lovers of "lists", especially "To Do" lists!!! Trouble is....you cross off one item and 10 more have been added to the bottom. Oh well, never a dull moment!!

Daisy the Berkshire Sow caught us completely by surprise and farrowed on the 12th November.............and we had an "Expected" date of 27th !!!! Hmmmm, she obviously decided to be covered (and successfully) on the DAY she arrived at Cwmbran when she moved in with her husband. BUT, all is well and she had 9 piglets which are all thriving....and have doubled in size in just one week. Corky, the GOS is due....as far as we know....on ........Christmas Day!!

The horses finally had to come in at the beginning of this month due to the continuing wet weather, and they, along with the sheep and the goats are very enamoured with the haylage we made. So much so, that any nice hay added to the evening feed, is tossed aside in favour of this delicacy,....so a big success which we are delighted with.

The Ryeland ewes have arrived now having been covered by an unrelated Ryeland Ram. Hywel (OUR Ryeland Ram) has been running with our Xbred ewes and has successfully covered them - so a few good meaty lambs are expected from them. PLUS, despite having given up hope of finding some registered Lleyns, we suddenly came across a small flock being dispersed the other side of Cwmbran. Thus, we are now the proud owners of 10 Registered Lleyns and which SHOULD be in lamb to a registered Lleyn ram. We're gonna have a busy March and April, as lambing is likely to be rather spread out next year.

The Sasso broiler hens are now free ranging and are having a lovely time scratching and pecking around, and 'helping' Derek whilst he is trench digging!!! There are one or two juicy worms coming to the surface during this piece of work. The birds will be ready around Christmas time and should make some very tasty 'roasts' having had a lovely life outside and doing what hens loving doing best - foraging.

The Laying hens are beginning to cease to lay now that the daylight hours are so short. A few are also going through a moult and this too means that egg laying is the last thing on their minds. However, on the whole, the flock have laid a magnificent crop of eggs this year, despite the trauma of a move of 300 miles. We have high hopes for next year.

October

Water, water and more water......rain and drinking!!!

We have the benefit of our own spring water here at Glyn Elwyn, and which, up until a few weeks ago, was all fine and the process worked well. However.......for a few days we noticed a sort gurgling when we turned on the taps and on inspecting the header tank (located at the top end of the pig field), all appeared normal and the tank was filling satisfactorily when we switched the pump on. We decided to ignore the gurgling and put it down to just one of those things......that is until we ran out of water. Frantic rushing backwards and forwards between header tank and pump switch brought about little effect and the header tank subsequently ran dry. We panicked (ever so slightly) and tried to logically think about the entire process to identify what might be the problem. Having drawn a sketch on the back of an old envelope showing what fed what, we decided the next place to check was the holding tank down by the stream and next to the pumping station. The cover to the holding tank is large concrete slabs and so shifting them was no mean feat since they'd not be moved for some considerable time. However, we soon discovered part of the problem - no water in the holding tank!! So, the previous owners having experienced a similar problem some years ago had very kindly typed up the procedure for getting the syphoning going again. This involved inserting a piece of hose (hidden by the stream for this purpose) into the inlet pipe and then 'walking' the rest of it back up the hill as far as it would reach. Ten or so buckets of water later, all of which were poured into a funnel inserted in the top end of the hose, kick started the syphoning once again.....and we were away. Huge sighs of relief and water 'back on tap' followed a few hours later.

The next water problem a few days later was that which fell out of the sky. All one Saturday night and then persistent again 24 hours later, once again meant the land was full to overflowing.....and overflow it did. It came rushing off the fields into the lane ...... and down through the barn and the goat shed. The goats were evacuated to the stables for 48 hours until the water had drained away and the floor dried out again.

JCB in ...... drainage channel dug.......water pipe inserted.....channel filled with stones.............and HOPEFULLY the first stage of the operation has been successful and all future downpours will be redirected down the lane. A similar operation has yet to be carried out in order to prevent further flooding of the goat shed - but we're getting there.

The new chicken shed we bought some months back and which had been lying in a heap awaiting erection, has finally been put together and is now awaiting some internal work in order to provide suitable nest boxes. However, the first incumbents will be the Sasso broiler birds who will be free-ranging from mid October (at about 6-7 weeks old) until their time is up around Christmas.

One other thing......."who's got a new Tractor then" ?????

Mid September

Our first attempt at making our own goats cheese mixed with chives from the polytunnel proved to be a great success (see photo) - Delicious.

We've also taken delivery of a new 8' x 6' hen house for 'the girls', although we have yet to erect it. The Dominique bantam trio - which have subsequently turned out to be 2 males and 1 female ...... have now been transfered to one of the outside runs. Whilst in the brooder area, the 6 Light Sussex and 6 Welsummer chicks are now nearly 4 weeks old and feathering up well. Pullet to cockerel ratio looks much more promising in this department ... but time will tell.

Also, our lovely Berkshire Sow 'Daisy' is finally back home and is (fingers and everything else crossed) in-pig to a 'Freight Train' Boar. Piglets due late November if the we have the timing right !! She is looking very well in herself and is happily rooting around in between.....sun-bathing....YES, believe it or not we are experiencing the most wonderful and glorious sunshine and warm weather - an Indian Summer maybe?? The fantastic sunsets over the Preseli Hills have to be seen to be believed - breathtaking to say the least.

Early September

Our lovely Ryeland Ram "Hywel" has now arrived and is currently out with a ram lamb for company, pending tupping around mid October, when he will be allowed to run with our Cheviot crosses. He has been shown very successfully by the previous owner/breeders and is therefore halter trained - which is a huge asset. The Ryeland ewes will be arriving later in October once they have been covered by an un-related ram at their current home.

End of August!

Well, following weeks and weeks of indecision regarding haymaking, we eventually decided we'd just have to 'go for it'. So, we had it cut on Thursday 28th and then Derek turned it 4 times over the following 2 days. On the Saturday we decided that the forecast was again not looking too good and so we made a decision to have it wrapped and turned into big baled Haylage the following day. There are some photos of the 'work in progress' over those few days on the Photos page. Phew, did we ever make a better decision.....other than to move here of course.....as late Sunday it poured with rain. We had the pleasure of looking out at our nice neatly wrapped haylage and sighing a huge sigh of relief.

On the veggie front, we seem to be a re-homing centre for every slug in the whole of Wales....or so it seems. Devastation in some parts of the veggie patch and the poly tunnel, but there again, they seem to have left alone the courgettes, the peas and the carrots...so far! There have been masses of different butterflies around this year, including of course the dear little Cabbage White (aaarrrgghhh). They have left their off spring feasting on our brassicas and we now have the prettiest delicately laced leaves you could wish for!

The Red Kites are making themselves known again now, and are busy swooping down picking up the slugs from the hay fields. I did wonder if I could put a sign up and re-direct them to the veggie patch.

We have been test-driving a new Compact Tractor, but there will be more news on that scenario in September (Autumn).

Late August

'Quaker' the Rufus G.O.S boar has now arrived for a stop-over for a couple of months (courtesy of Emma and Neil Rose from Talog) and is turned out into a grassy paddock with 'Corky' and 'Clover'. See pics of the gorgeous boy on this page and on the Photos page. So, all being well we should have some G.O.S piglets around Christmas time.

'Jangalli' the Anglo Nubian milking goat has also arrived from Lincolnshire and settled in very well following a very long journey. We still need to get a decent photo of her for the site, so keep watching.

We had a fantastic 100% hatch rate from the 6 Light Sussex and 6 Welsummer eggs in the incubator and there are some pics of the fluffy bundles for you to "Aaaaahhhh" over

The two porkers are now in the freezers ........ and Derek is having his first go at 'curing' some bacon. Day 2 and it already looks tasty! A week later and we have the end result.!!

Early August

Our old Fergie gets it's first outing in preparation for a late haymaking, we hope! Its a 1953 Ferguson TE20 and has been living in the chicken shed since we arrived here and as a consequence it is covered in rather a lot of chicken droppings as the hens found it a good place to roost!

On the subject of hens, we visited Cardigan Show a couple of days ago and came home with some more hatching eggs - 6 Light Sussex and 6 Welsummer and which have now been 'set' in the incubator. Somehow, we also came back with 3 Barred Plymouth Rock pullets too......well, we needed a few more hens for the flock, didn't we?!?

Lots due to happen this month including: Goats to be collected from Sussex on 6th; new Anglo Nubian Milking nanny to be collected from Aberystwyth on 16th; Daisy the Berkshire Sow due home in a couple of weeks and hopefully in-pig; Rufus, a local Gloucester Old Spot Boar is coming for a "sleep-over" for a couple of months and will be lodging with Corky and Clover!; and the 2 porkers are due to go off for slaughter and butchering before the month is out too. So keep checking for updates and pics regularly.

We have also been be see some very 'posh' Ryeland Sheep and are very excited to say we have 'reserved' 1 Ram, 1 Ewe and 2 Shearling Ewes. They are all from a registered flock and have been bred by the Donovan Family under their "Dolwen" prefix. Will post some photos and more news following their arrival here at Glyn Elwyn later in the month.

July

We finally -- after a 60 day standstill following Blue Tongue vaccinations -- collected our sheep from Sussex, and after spending 2 days in a stable, being wormed and sprayed for fly strike prevention, they were able to be released out into a small paddock adjacent to our pigs and chickens.

We took our Berkshire sow, 'Daisy', to 'stay' with a Berkshire 'Freight Train' boar in Cwmbran. She will be coming home, hopefully in-pig around the end of August.

We have also now arranged for our Gloucester Old Spot sow 'Corky' and gilt, 'Clover', to meet up with their new husband 'Rufus' later in August too. So there will be weaners for sale early next year.

From the 14 eggs in our incubator - a mixture of Dorking hen and Dominique Bantam - we have now had 4 hatched so far.

Whilst mucking out the stables, we came across another 'animal' that seemed to have taken up residence ....... a Toad (see photo).