Welcome to GLYNELWYN - a smallholding in South West Wales

Glynelwyn - News

2009

Christmas and into New Year

The Turkeys and Geese went off on their final journey as few days beforeChristmas but getting them there proved to be slightly more challenging than we had planned due to a snow fall and ice! However, we did get them to their destination and duly collected the 'Oven Ready' versions the day before Christmas Eve. The last Turkey to leave Glyn Elwyn was delivered in a bag, inside a Rucksack and strapped to the Quad......but it was delivered at 3pm Christmas Eve - We aim to please.

We were very pleased with the extremely encouraging feedback in respect of the 'free range' flavours . One customer even said "that was the best Turkey we have ever eaten, and for the first time, we used every single bit of the bird". Goose was on our own Christmas Day menu and the dark 'gamey' flavour was truly delicious.

Just before New Year we experienced further snowfall and feeding of the stock took on a whole new regime!!

December

The Dutch Barn work continues and today (14th) it is finally completed. We are delighted to have another very useful animal house and we have several critters lining up waiting to use it!! The Free Range Christmas Geese will move in tomorrow for their final week. This means they can put all their efforts into 'finishing' off and be clean and dry for their final day. On the subject of Christmas dinners....the turkeys too have now been moved into the other barn for the same reason!

A young Male Anglo Nubian Goat has now come to stay for a couple of months too and is keeping himself busy "entertaining" our two Nanny Goats.

So, we have a rather busy Spring coming up with Lambing in March, Farrowing in April and Kidding in May.........all so exciting and always mesmerizing as these new lives begin to appear.

October into November

With September and October being wonderfully dry, November brought with it more damp weather which made all the jobs around the farm very difficult due to the ground being so waterlogged. However, work carried on regardless and as you will see from the photos, the old Dutch Barn is being treated to a well overdue face-lift! The old rusty corrugated sheeting was removed completely and the inside was reinforced with 5' high concrete block walls. A new concrete floor was laid too....and the building was finally beginning to look like it might actually be useful in the not too distant future!

The Rams were introduced to their respective groups of wives during mid October...and very happy they were too. However, just prior to these rendevous', a visit to the local Machinery Mart gave us the opportunity to bid on and (happily) purchase a sheep turnover crate. This piece of kit meant that we could run each of the sheep through a race and into the crate one at a time; turn them over and trim their feet before they were released into their respective fields. Money well spent, and our own Back's saved the agony of manually turning each one over !!

We were delighted to welcome back our old friend "Quaker" the Gloucester Old Spot boar and who has taken us residence with Gertie for a couple of months.

October

The beginning of October saw the last 6 ram lambs go on their final journey and they are now safely tucked up in customers’ freezers.

In the garden, the Autumn Raspberries are growing in abundance and along with the Blackberries from the hedgerows, ‘Summer Puddings’ – or maybe they should be called ‘Autumn Puddings’ – are a regular on the Dessert Menu.

September

Following Augusts’ Rain, rain and more rain; September was wall to wall sun and dry warm weather - Fantastic. The grass is shooting up again following the haylage cutting ….. actually, we won’t talk about that – very disappointing crop – but lessons learned for the future. So, lots of grazing still available for the stock before winter sets in and which is already an improvement on last year.

We attended our first Sheep Auction in September, which was the Lleyn Sheep Society sale at Carmarthen. We were on the lookout for a nice Lleyn stock ram to cover our Pedigree ewes for the next couple of years. There were some nice looking Rams on sale and we practiced our ‘selection skills’ and picked out 4 that we thought were particularly good. We sat through the auctioning of all the lambs, yearlings and ewes before getting to the Rams – which was a very interesting experience. Two of the rams we’d selected turned out to be much sought after, and subsequently were outside our price range. The third one we did start bidding on, but again it went over our ‘budget’ which we were determined to stick to and the 4th went straight in at an opening bid above our limit. So, although a good date, very interesting and educational, we sadly came away empty handed. However as we were particularly impressed by the one we were outbid on, we contacted the owner the following day to enquire if they had any others for sale…..and to cut a long story short – we collected ‘Po’ a few days later. A 4 year Pedigree Lleyn, bred by the vendors and used by them to produce some excellent ‘true to type’ stock.

So, we are now a 3 Ram family, and they are all due to start work mid October. We have something of a complicated flocking arrangement now, what with having 3 different flocks – White Ryelands, Coloured Ryelands and Lleyns. Our “Rams Gallery” is on the photos page.

During September, all the piglets went off to their new homes with the exception of 3 which we will raise for Christmas Pork.

August

Well, August came and went with rain, rain and more rain. However, we did manage to find a few warm, dry, sunny day in order to make a couple of acres of hay for the winter. Our 'Guru' farmer from the next village kept tabs on the weather with us and then struck when the time was right and cut the crop. Derek then spent the next 7 days (in between bouts of rain!) turning it and Darren was back on the 7th day and baled it for us. We knew we were extremely lucky to have got it off the fields at all.

Our luck almost ran out when it came to making the haylage though. Days and days of rain left the ground permanently wet and so when a gap in the weather meant Darren could come back and cut, out hearts were in our mouths and our eyes were glued to the internet weather forcast waiting for an opportunity to bale and wrap. Again, another week passed and with one day only showing no rain, the big baler turned up at 10.30 pm to bale and wrap our very disappointing crop. BUT, at least we got it.

On a happier note, our Ryeland Sheep flock increased early in the month with the addition of 7 Coloured Ryelands. 3 Shearlings, 3 Ewes and 'Harvey' the Ram. Harvey was under the misguided impression that 'Humans' meant 'Food'!!! Not so mate. After getting butted on more than one occasion, I took serious measures and armed myself with the crook every time I needed to go into his field. This, I hasten to add, wasn't to bash him with, but to simply put across at an angle between him and me, so that I could reach him to give him a pat, but he was prevented from getting to me. A month of training in this manner had the desired effect and although I wouldn't turn my back on him for very long, he does now understand that getting cross with me ... doesn't mean he gets a bucket of food!!!

More on the sheep front, and the first of this years ram lambs went off on their final destination and produced some very impressive weights "on the hook". The prices this year have improved and so we were very pleased with this our first crop. We have 6 more to 'finish' at the beginning of October in order to supply our local customers, as well as fill our own freezer.

The other home produced meat - gorgeous Rare Breed Pork was 'finished' and was snapped up by some very happy customers. The next batch will be ready just before Christmas. On the subject of Christmas, the Christmas Geese are all looking good and should make some superb weights for the table.

One piece of kit that I'd been harping on about for over a year - was a Quad bike. Having done some research into 'which one', I'd settled on a Honda being the one to look out for. By coincidence, a fellow Forum user had exactly the beast I wanted and offered it to me for a very good price, complete with trailer .... AND ... delivery from Exeter. Despite Derek's protests that this was NOT an essential piece of equipment ..... he seems to have had a change of mind having used it for carting hurdles, fencing posts etc AND for even doing the harrowing without having to churn up the already very wet fields by using the tractor. Was I right ..... or was I right?

July

Guess what we've been busy doing? Well, as you can see from the photos alongside, our Sows have been producing some fantastic litters for us. Daisy, our Berkshire, produced 8 gilts and 2 boars all of which are big, fat, healthy little critters. These are by last year's Champion of Champions "Peter Lad" boar belonging to Chris Impey from Cwmbran. Then the following day Gertie, our Gloucester Old Spot, popped out 12 gorgeous little bundles of spots! Haven't managed to check out the sexes yet as there are so many of them dashing around. We are going to have to have a sort out over the next day or two but for the moment, they are all such a joy just to stand and watch.

We have also added to our flock of Ryelands with some 'Coloured' stock. We have 'Harvey' the ram, plus 3 ewes and 2 shearlings.

The first of the 'Welsh Lambs' for the meat market went off a few weeks ago and the next 4 go at the end of the month. All sheep are quite high maintenance as there is a constant regime of vaccinating, worming, ear tagging, foot trimming and so on - so its not for the faint hearted to go into Sheep-Keeping! 'Tash', our border collie, is an invaluable assett when it comes to rounding the sheep up and getting them penned in. She's still learning (as are we), but we know we couldn't manage without her.

With Christmas in mind, we have 6 goslings grazing in the small paddock next to the house.

For any Livestock for sale - do keep a check on the 'Livestock' Page for the latest info., and more photos can be found in the 'Photos' section.

June

Well every season I think to myself "this is the busiest season of the year" ..... but then the next season kicks off....and I think the same thing again!!! So .... when it comes to farming, even on a small scale like us - there is NEVER a dull moment and it takes a lot of careful planning to get a day off!!

For starters, the sheep are a constant challenge. We herded them up and transported them back to the farm and installed them in the new barn ready for shearing. This gave us the opportunity to set up the shearing pen and which is a huge help when it comes to having to do the seasonal 'tasks'. So, all the sheep had their feet trimmed; the adults had their Blue Tongue vaccines and the lambs had their 1st Pasteurella vaccines. Then on Sunday 14th the shearing took place and I got some more tuition and managed to have a go on a few of our sheep. It all looks so easy when the experts are doing it, but believe me ...... it is NOT.

We have bought in a new Gloucester Old Spot sow by the name of Gertrude. She is a fantastic natured pig and thus is very easy to handle. She is a registered Princess Joan line and is currently in pig with a farrowing date of 22nd July - so fingers crossed for a nice big litter from this lovely sow.

On Tuesday 16th, our lovely Anglo-Nubian 'Jane' gave birth to three wonderful kids. Two females and one male meant that my 'orders' were instantly covered. We'll be keeping one female back to increase our own herd. At one week old they had the unenviable task of having to be transported to the vets to be dis-budded (have their horn buds removed) ; but all went well and all of us were back home from the vets in record time.

With the very warm weather interspersed with the occasional downpour, the grass is growing exceptionally well. This has a two fold effect in that the grass for the sheep grows too long ... and therefore has to be 'topped' (which is what Derek is busy doing in the top photo), but on the other hand means that its growing well in other fields ready to produce our winter hay and haylage.

Aside from all the livestock happenings, the Poly tunnel is in full flow and is in a highly productive stage. Also, gooseberries, blackcurrants, strawberries and rhubarb are all giving us fantastic crops and as well as lots of lovely yummy 'puddings', Jam is again on the "To Do" list!!

You may also remember that our 1953 Fergie Tractor had moved on and into the hands of a local friend to restore her to her original condition. Well we were in for a suprise recently when our Fergie turned up, looking like new, and not showing any signs of her 55 years! Have a look at the 'Before and After' Photos for some more piccies.

May

The beginning of May still sees us waiting for one last ewe to lamb - who obviously missed the boat the first time around!

Two of the Berkshire weaners from the last litter, along with Clover our 2 year old Old Spot Gilt are delivered to their new home just half a mile away. All 3 are destined for breeding and its good to be able to keep in contact with them.

Daisy has returned home and due to farrow late July. So we'll again have lots of little piglets running around in the summer. Orders for both breeds are coming in, although the "Gloucester Old Spot" seems to have become a firm favourite of late and has developed quite a following.

April

Lambing continues into April with more large single lambs and 3 sets of twins. These are moved to some fresh new grazing half a mile away and its wonderful to see the lambs 'springing' around on the warm and sunny days.

With one of the last two Lleyn ewes to lamb showing signs of stress on her 'due' day, this culminated in the vet being called and an emergency caesarian operation out in the field. Fortunately it was one of those lovely warm, sunny days and so the conditions could have been worse! Phil, the vet delivered a very large ewe lamb out the side door but unfortunately it all got a bit too much for the ewe and we lost her just as the last few stitches were going in. The lamb took some stimulation as not having come out of the normal channel, they don't go through the usual 'process' of being born. However, she pulled through and other than giving us a scare on day 4 when she decided to collapse (back to the vet ..... put on oxygen, filled with antibiotics and vitamins), she is now doing really well and shows great promise as a good sized future breeding ewe.

Also, and finally, our new barn is finished. What a relief to be able to store the trailers and other machinery and equipment under cover at long last.

March

To us, Spring has arrived and so has the first lamb (2nd March). A tiny ram lamb born to the oldest of our 3 Ryeland Ewes and who needed a little bit of TLC for the first 24 hours. 2 days later another ram lamb but this time - HUGE! This was out of one of our original Crossbred ewes but by our Ryeland Ram, Hywel.

Corky comes home from her stop-over with Quaker and her litter is due mid June. Meanwhile, Daisy has gone to the "Champion of Champions" Peter Lad Boar over in Cwmbran. The owner (Chris Impey) is a very well knows breeder of Berkshire Pigs and has fantastic success on the show circuit, so we are looking forward to some little stunners from her next litter.

Also, finally, work has started on our new barn.

February

Snow!! Proper softly falling, flakey snow fell on us at the beginning of February .... along with a good proportion of the rest of the country. Fortunately for us we'd stocked up on animal feed the day before (phew) and so were able to stay put for a week without having to venture out in the car anywhere. The ckickens couldn't work out what the stuff was and stayed within the confines of their houses. The pigs weren't too impressed either and decided to hibernate for a couple of weeks. However, we did (of course) manage to build a Snowman complete with carrot nose and coal eyes etc.

With Spring rapidly approaching we decided to put a new roof on the holiday annexe and this has now been completed and looks lovely with its new slates. We then decided the interior needed a freshen up and so we are currently in the middle of redecorating in preparation for the coming holiday season.

Thousands of snowdrops are bursting forth all over the garden and hundreds of daffodils bulbs are just waiting for the right moment to drop their heads and open up. Very exciting to see so much life coming back into the garden.

Jane, our Anglo Nubian goat had a lodger staying with her for a few weeks, by the name of Tomas. (Photo on photos page) He has now returned to his home near Aberystwyth and kids are due early June. Corky the Gloucester Old Spot has gone to stay with her old mate "Quaker" for a few weeks and so hope for a better success this time around.

The latter part of this month has been wonderfully dry to ours and the animals relief. Its amazing just how quickly the ground starts to dry out after just a couple of days. Pigs busily rooting around to their hearts content once again. Hens scratching around right across the fields ..... and once again laying copious amounts of wonderful eggs. And the lambs???? ........ due any day now.

January

On a very wet and windy Saturday in the middle of January saw us finally dispatching our Sasso Chickens (at around 18-20 weeks). We enlisted some help from a local expert (Paul) who brought along his stunner and showed us how to dispatch them. Another local friend from Talog (David) who actually came along to take a look at an old Finger Mower we have for sale, also pitched in to help Derek and I with the plucking and we thus set up quite a good production line in the barn/stable area. Paul finished the process by drawing the birds for us and we ended up with 10 fantastic looking oven-ready birds weighing in at a marvelous total of 25 kilos. Fantastic.

Our 1953 Fergie Tractor has also moved on and is now in the hands of yet another local friend who is lovingly restoring her to her original condition. We will be monitoring her progress and hope to update the site with photos showing the changes over the coming months.