Welcome to GLYNELWYN - a smallholding in South West Wales

Glynelwyn - News

2014

End September to End December

Well, I'm not sure what happened to the last 3 months but we were obviously fairly busy as the time has whizzed past once again and I'm not quite sure where to start.

However, our Middle White sow Dottie's husband stayed for a 6 week holiday before we returned him to his owners just north of Cardiff. Dottie is currently looking fairly plump and by my estimation I think should be due around end of January. Belle, one of our Berkshire sows. has also moved back in with her hubby 'Oliver' in early November and thus she should be due around mid March. As the time of writing (Boxing Day !), the 4 Berkshires from Heather's last litter are due to come into the barn this weekend in order to check them over and make sure they are nice and clean before making their final journey in early January. The 3 from Fern's litter are looking a little too plump at the moment, but they have plenty of time of change shape!

At the beginning of December we were lucky enough to be given a brace of pheasants and as we absolutely love 'game', they were a very welcome addition to our larder. The freezers are currently still rather full and still a nice lot of bacon, sausages, chicken, lamb, beef, etc etc hiding away in there.

The Turkeys proved to be the best we've ever had and not only were they extremely well behaved compared to previous residents, they turned out to be the biggest and most delicious ever. The final weights ranged from approx. 5.5kgs up to 10.5kgs with most being around the top end! The cooked result for Christmas Day was THE most succulent, juicy, flavoursome bird ever, but then again they enjoyed 4 months of wandering around outside happily pecking away at vegetation and sunbathing on those lovely sunny autumn days and then coming into the safe confines of a pen in the big shed at night where they could eat to their hearts content. Success.

Some very welcome breaks in normal work regimes took place during December when we managed to venture out and visit some lovely places and enjoy browsing and shopping at the fabulous Craft Fairs held at each one. As is normal, we also attended the Winter Fair at Builth Wells which was probably the best one they've had, so far.

On the 18th of December we welcomed the arrival of our first lamb this 'season'. Our first ever Rare Breed Dorset Down - and to make it even better, it was a ewe lamb and she has been called Aeronwy. She is doing extremely well as a single lamb on a Mum who has udder that could feed quads ...... so she's not going without, that's for sure.

Also during December, lots of baking has been taking place in preparation for Christmas and included a couple of lots of Fudge (well I did have to have a practice run didn't I!!!), as well as 3 Christmas Puddings, and the usual thousand or so Mince pies, as well as Sausage Rolls (made with out own sausage meat), chorizo puffs, and a few other 'goodies' to indulge in over Christmas.

Christmas Day and Christmas Eve were both beautiful sunny, blue skied glorious days, but today, Boxing Day, the heavens have opened once again and its lashing with rain outside. Its nice to know that Delia and Aeronwy are safe and sound in the shed along with 3 other tegs for company, and that the horses are all tucked up in their stables and the in-lamb ewes are all settled in the straw filled field shelter.

On that note, I'm away to see if Derek has got around to making that Mulled Wine yet and to wish you all

 

A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

 

Mid August to End September

The glorious weather continued all through August and indeed nearly all of September too - what an amazing year. The grass hasn't stopped growing and the veggies in the poly tunnel have grown like stink with amazing crops of everything especially tomatoes, courgettes, peas, beans and onions. Lovely.

Sold all the 'spare' lambs that we had from each breed and even sent a little flock of 6 Greyface Dartmoors all the way up to Aberdeen which is FANTASTIC news. The Gotland lambs have grown admirably and are such a stunningly beautiful breed with a fleece that is like no other. I've even managed to find a bit of time to do some wet felting again and the Gotland fleece felts so quickly - brilliant.

The flocks have now expanded to include a tiny flock of 2 Corriedales; a breed of sheep I wanted to include last year, but missed out. Casper and Charlotte and delightful (unrelated) lambs and there again, their fleeces are gorgeous. Very excited to see how they turn out next year as adults.

Still on the subject of sheep, we entered about 4 shows again this year but Pembrokeshire County was our best and favourite for obvious reasons. We came home with a haul of 12 rosettes. 5 for the sheep and 7 for our fleeces, so we were overjoyed by that.

Moving on to the pigs; Fern and her first ever litter (on only 5) are doing extremely well and Fern is a superb Mum albeit somewhat surprised by the first birth of a piglet which was quite funny to watch as she clearly couldn't believe her eyes that this little wriggling thing was what was causing her lots of uncomfortable contractions.

Belle's litter went off to the respective new homes other than 4 which we are keeping back for meat orders and who have caused much mischief but are becoming a little more restrained in their antics. Having said that, Fern's litter are taking over as the latest bunch of hooligans..... but very comical hooligans at that.

Our Middle White Sow Dottie is currently sharing accommodation with a new husband who has been here nearly 2 weeks (as I write) but seems to prefer eating or just lazing around and sleeping so far!!!

On the poultry side, 8 fantastic Norfolk Bronze Turkey poults arrived at the end of August and are currently having a great time in a very large pen outside although they do come into a pen in the big shed at night. We have 7 new Salmon Favourelle Pullets to replace a lot of aged and/or deceased birds so looking forward to some additional eggs in the near future. The 'pet' ducks have increased to 7 which means we have 5 layers and 2 drakes. The 8 meat chicks that we got as day olds back in May along with 12 Welsh Harlequin Drakes were all 'done' early September and we now have lots of lush poultry in the freezer as well as the usual pork and lamb.

Next 4 Middle White Porkers are going off on their final journey this week and so next week Derek will be very busy curing oodles of Bacon, both Back Bacon and Streaky. Derek makes the BEST BACON I have EVER tasted. I rear 'em but my goodness he sure knows how to turn them into the most lush edible meals ever....and on that note, I'm off to put my feet up for the evening.

Catch you all again soon and don't forget, if you're a Facebook person, then DO go and give us a LIKE as the Fb page is updated daily.

Mid June to Mid August

Well, what a fabulous summer we've all had and not before time too. Lots been happening here but been so busy, the news updates have slipped a bit - however, hopefully the following will fill you all in on what's been going on.

We had a fantastic hay harvest this year and made plenty of small bales which are mainly for the goats throughout the year. Having said that, we did have trouble with the baler and I ended up having to hand string and tie about a hundred bales !!!! I really, really, really don't want to do that again. Blisters and cuts to my fingers lasted weeks! We've still got about 5 acres to make into big baled haylage but we are currently waiting for a long enough spell to get that done.

At the end of June the shearing finally happened and once again I have a lovely selection of fleeces that I need to crack on 'skirting' and picking over ready for entry into the Fleece Class at Pembrokeshire County Show on 21st August. Takes a long time to do each fleece, but it does mean they are beautifully ready to sell on after the show to all the crafting/spinning enthusiasts.

A lot of very good lambs (various breeds) this year have already been sold but still have a few crossbreds for sale. The ram lambs have been 'finishing' well and quickly this year too and 3 went off to Llys Meddyg restaurant at Newport at the end of last month along with their normal quota of pork carcases. Still on the subject of lambs, I am delighted that the triplet Gotland lambs born in April have turned out beautifully and the ram lamb looks to have oodles of potential as a future registered tup. Very excited about this and hopefully I can make use of him on the 2 shearling ewes that I bought in last year.

Having lost a couple of our lovely milking goats this year, we have been lucky enough to replace them with another couple of lovelies, still Anglo Nubians of course, one of which produced a stunning male kid in early July and who was snapped up instantly for future stud buck work. All the 'girls' (and Bacchus) have thoroughly enjoyed the summer too as they've been able to get out into the fields and make their way around the hedges of all the fields - trimming ! Its a lovely sight when I call them late afternoon to come back in for dinner/milking and bed time as they come cantering across the field with the 3 kids skipping, jumping and twisting in the air in sheer delight at being alive and being out in the sunshine all day.

The last batch of Berkshire piglets are being weaned at the moment and 7 of them are going off to their new homes this weekend. We're keeping the usual 4 for our regular pork orders. These make the best bacon ever.

Unlike last year, we kept on top of the polytunnel production this year too and have had a glut of peas, broadbeans and currently rather too many courgettes. The potato bags are proving a success too and we'll be digging deep into those next month although we have already sneaked 2 or 3 out. There's something about the taste of a freshly dug potato that is like no other.

The Hideaway holiday annexe has been very busy this summer too and we've had old 'friends' return (because these lovely people DO become friends when they return again and again) and new 'friends' come to enjoy this stunningly wonderful area and enjoy the peace and quiet of our small farm.

 

Early April to Mid June

Lots of piglets born during April. Dottie who is our new Middle White Sow has reared a fantastic litter of 13 and Belle the Berkshire has just reared a good litter of 7. Belle isn't a young sow any longer but still copes extremely well with farrowing and is a superb Mum. Heather the other Berkshire is due to farrow around 19th of this month and already the order book for weaners is full which is why the Berkshire herd has expanded to include 'Fern' a young very rare 'Mermaid' line gilt and whom should be in-pig but a bit too early to tell at the moment.

Another fox attack recently saw the roof of one of the chicken houses eaten away so that the fox could gain access and take all 5 of our young pullets. Very upsetting to find this loss and we assume must have been a vixen as she'd taken all 5, presumably to feed her cubs.

The shearer has been and all the sheep very pleased to be rid of their heavy fleeces. The lambs this year have been doing extremely well and the sheep showing season has just started, which took us at St. Clears show for our first show of the season with the Greyface Dartmoors. The general public as always adores them and the kids love to have their photos taken with them. We also have a small flock of Gotlands which originate from Sweden and are a delightful friendly sheep with a fabulous fleece very much sought after by spinners and felt makers particularly. The skins or pelts as they are known in Sweden and Denmark are truly beautiful with a glorious glossy tightly curled fleece varying in shades of almost black through to a fantastic silver colour.

Haymaking season is now underway and the first field has been cut and turned and should be ready for baling in a couple of days (around 3rd weeks of June). Looks like a good crop this year.

The usual collection of swallows returned and have nested in every outbuilding there is and the first clutches have hatched and fledged, but there will be more to come. We've also had a Robin nest in a rather unusual place in the workshop - the top shelf of a cluttered up cupboard !!! All hatched and subsequently fledged with one taking rather a bit longer than the others before he decided to leave completely.

 

Late February to Early April

Well, a bit of a jump here as we are now just into April. Lambing started on 16th Feb and carried on .... and on .... and on .....  and we've still got 4 stragglers!! Heyho, on the whole a very good lambing. A lot of singles but so far out of 37 lambs we've had  25 ewe lambs and 12 ram lambs. Not bad.

The weather has been unbelievably diabolical as it has for the whole of the UK. Very hard work for everyone in those conditions and  when the high winds and storms hit we lost our Pole Barn but the builder was brilliant and came back and re-built it within a few  weeks. The machinery in the barn at the time was saved by a sheep ring feeder!!!

At the time of writing the weather has settled into a more normal Spring type weather and on the whole is now dry but switches from  positively humid to chilly, but the incescent rain has at least decreased.  Alongside lambing, was kidding, which went relatively well and we have 3 cracking females who have now joined the herd as they are  just too good to sell on this time. We did however, have to say a sad farewell to the very aged Doe Jemini who at 11 and after a  rather traumatic kidding remained somewhat unwell and so she was PTS on the 1st April along with Hywel our old Ryeland Ram who'd  suffered a stroke several years ago but carried on covering a few ewes each year but it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep condition on him as only half of everything that went in his mouth actually got to his stomach. So, a sad day but I was with both of them and they went to sleep in my arms.

A fox attack a couple of nights ago sadly meant the loss of our little trio of Lemon Sablepoot Bantams. Such a shame but we suffer  predator attacks so rarely that we actually have to think ourselves rather lucky compared to a lot people.

Another sad farewell was to Mollie the Millie White Sow. She was 7 years old and unfortunately wasn't able to breed any more.  However, we have been extremely lucky in being able to find one of her daughters who is 4 years old now, and who has today produced  a litter of 16 piglets. Welcome Dottie ..... and family.

As with all pigs, their eventual demise isn't ever ever wasted and we are currently preparing to make the next batch of delicious  sausages, having already stocked up the freezer with delicious back and streaky bacon.

Once the weather had changed for the "more normal" we were able to finally get some more water pipes mole ploughed into the ground  which means we now have working water troughs in each field - brilliant. And at long last the polytunnel has been cleared out,  weeded and filled to the brim with well rotted farm yard manure and the first veggie plants are now in situ. 

 

January/Early February

Well, like the majority of the rest of GB we are constantly being battered by heavy heavy rain and high winds. It's taking its toll just about everywhere and our wonderful coastline is certainly taking a bashing. Fortunately living 600' above sea level and everything being on a slope, we aren't flooded but the fields are so waterlogged we've had to abandon going into them with the tractor. This means we've not been able to bring out our big bales of haylage for the animals, and have therefore had to buy in small bale hay and use our small bale haylage in order to keep the livestock fed.

The lambs (or tegs as they are now) spend so much time in their field shelter that they don't want to go out and graze what little grass there is and so are eating hay, hay and more hay! The pigs spend most of their days sleeping in their arks until feeding time. The goats haven't ventured out for weeks now (which they don't actually mind). The chickens rush out each morning for their food and then go and take cover somewhere. The horses are turned out each morning, go and eat their hay and then just stand with their backs to the weather until it's time to come in again. The only things that don't actually mind it, are the ducks!!!!

We've also had an outbreak of Pink eye in the in-lamb ewes which is proving difficult to eradicate. Its very contagious and at the time of writing (9th Feb), just keeps going around and around them. We will eventually get them all clear but its going to take a while. I just hope we can clear it before the first one lambs which is in about a weeks time. They are all in the big shed now ready and it means we can catch them up to treat them reasonably easily, plus they are all being fed concentrates now in readiness for their forthcoming lambs and can be safe and dry during this dreadful weather.

 We have a new little addition to the misfit gang of tegs. She's a miniscule little Torddu called Maisie. You can see a photo of her on the photos page.

That's about it for the moment - we just take each day as it comes and try to deal with everything as best we can whilst these storms persist.