Welcome to GLYNELWYN - a smallholding in South West Wales

Glynelwyn - News

2019

November

Time flashes scarily past and I guess that means that we just fit a lot into our daily lives. We've been busy on the smallholding as per usual. Derek has just finished re-roofing one of the goat sheds that has had to stand empty for a few months due to a badly leaking roof, but it had been on there for some years and it was only Coroline sheets. Derek ripped off all the old stuff and has just finished completely re-boarding the roof and THEN covering it with Onduline sheets. It look amazing now and is ready for all sorts of weather.

On the goat front, Anubis has now gone off to his new home in Yorkshire and his son Faithmead Jitterbug has taken over as 'head boy' . Although only this years kid, he has successfully managed to cover at least 2 of the goats and am now waiting to see if the other 2 'return' or if they too, are in-kid. This is the first time I have EVER kept back one of my own male kids but as he is completely unrelated to all but one and he is such a stunner, I was able to keep him. Looking forward to Spring 2020 now.

Sheep. We took 6 fleeces to the brilliant Pembrokeshire County Show again this year (August). Our Leicester Longwool Tamzin produced a stunning fleece and this took Champion Fleece at the British Wool Marketing Board run class at the show. Awesomely, Faith's fleece took the Reserve and so we were absolutely over the moon. All 4 other fleeces either took 1st or 2nd places. It was a great result. The Champion fleece has once again gone off to the Wales Hub to be judged against all the other Champion fleeces from the shows and the Sorting Offices around Wales. We await results but I think we'd be very lucky to get a second bite of the cherry. Last year's amazing "Best Knitwear/Speciality Fleece for Wales" is still an award we are immensely proud of.

The fleece flock remain just that, but the little Dorset Down flock once again invited 'Wesley' to come stay for a couple of months and hopefully he has done the deed. He did seem to spend an awful lot of time lounging around though!

Poultry. The old girls are indeed getting too old to bother about laying eggs these days and so a couple of months ago we managed to re-home 6 ex commercial Black Rock hens from the local Rescue Centre. They are doing incredibly well and here we are, well into November and STILL getting 3 eggs a day. Can't ask for better than that.

Laddie, our ex HDT Cob is getting on in years now (27) and is clearly beginning to get a little bit stiff and so he will have extra TLC this winter and onwards. Cello, the big Hackney X is still doing incredibly well although Summers are his biggest problem due to midges driving him nuts, but he is sensible enough to go stand in the field shelter both ends of the day. Little Shanty is just fat and happy, bless him.

The dogs have kept us on our toes this year one way and another and we've had some awesome weekends away at Dog Agility Competitions. Pip has gone from Grade 1 to Grade 3 this summer although at some point later in the season he suffered an injury which he kept well hidden until it DID become obvious. However, with the help of an amazing local Vet Physio he is now back up to speed and we are off to a local indoor winter event tomorrow (Sunday) just to run him in the Steeplechase classes, so no weaves and no 'touch point' equipment, just jumps and tunnels. Tig had her OCD operation in July and then had 2 months of almost complete 'bed rest', gradually increasing her amount of exercise over that period. This was a lot of hard work as she was only allowed out on a lead. However, she is now fully recovered and for the past couple of months has been having Hydrotherapy which she LOVES. We now just take here once every 3 weeks for maintenance reasons and because she clearly enjoys it so much.

So, that's it for now I think. Winter has arrived as suddenly the temperature has dropped and no doubt the grass will now stop growing, so Winter Routine starts today with the horses coming in over night. Off out to start those evening rounds.

 

 

July

What a summer we've had. Lots of rain but lots of sunshine too and being one of the highest villages in the West Wales peninsula (actually we're a Hamlet) we get a lovely breeze too.

So, what's happened so far this summer? The sheep have been sheared and for the first time ever, we had them dipped. This was a pretty scary experience for us and no doubt for the sheep too, but it was a necessary operation due to a mite brought in on a ram returning from stud duties the previous winter. A young chap with his own home/farm built mobile dipping unit turned up one sunny day and all the sheep had been assembled in the big shed ready. Other than the fact we knew they had to be immersed totally for some seconds (the mite lives and breeds in the ear), we had little idea of how this monstrous machine would work but work it did and the whole lot where up the race into the dip and back down the escape race and out into the field. Not one of them appears stressed by the experience and a few even hung around taking advantage of the grass outside the shed!!! A job well done and some very relaxed, itch free sheep lounged around from that day on.

The piglets born last December grew as pigs do and in fact went off on their final journey only yesterday 24th July. The 3 porkers will probably produce around 150kgs of pork when we collect them next week. As always, some very faithful customers who have been having our pork for years, will be the recipients of this lush product and of course, our own freezer will once again be bursting with joints, sausages, chops and of course BACON which Derek processes here using his own recipe.

Later today will also see another lovely batch of meat chickens ready for the freezer.

The remaining egg hens we have these days are all getting very old now and so finding an egg is quite an exciting experience these day. I'm going to be on the look out for some rescue hens very soon as there's nothing like a fresh laid egg. The ducks however are laying reasonably well, although I suspect there is a hidden nest somewhere out there amongst the iris as the numbers are definitely down.

Today is the start of haylage making. We were late shutting off the hay field this year and its been a little slow growing. However, the rain last week gave it the boost it had been waiting for. Its now a constant watch on the weather to make sure we get that precious fodder turned, baled, wrapped and stacked ready for winter.

The swallow numbers have certainly been down again this year, which is sad. Only about 3 or 4 pairs as far as we can tell whereas 5 or 6 years ago, it would easily be at least a dozen and more likely 15 or 20 pairs.

The poly tunnel is looking lush with the usual tomato plants and different varieties of beans all thanks to a lovely smallholding friend who is very clever at growing all sorts from seeds in her greenhouse. I never seem to have much luck with seeds, mainly because they take such a lot of looking after. The plums are doing well again this year and having fresh plums on your morning cereal feels rather decadent. The Autumn Raspberry bushes have taken a nose dive these past couple of years and the numbers are now well down. Hopefully enough fruit to make a summer pudding though.

Our small wool business is having a make over at the moment. We have re-branded and are in the process of putting together a new website to make things a little more up market. All this of course also takes time and photographing skeins of lovely yarns in their true colours is a challenge to say the least, but with the massive help of "Business Wales" we have been given lots of pointers, suggestions and advice which has been a real eye opener.

We very sadly had to say "Nos Da" (Goodnight) to our wonderful Senior Anglo Nubian Buck "Bacchus" last week. Failing health meant his quality of life was beginning to suffer and that was the last thing I wanted him to do. He was the reason behind our successful "Faithmead Herd" and although I've had other Bucks come and go, Bacchus always had my heart and never ever left the farm for any reason until the day he was PTS. He is missed every day and a little bit of the magic has gone from the goat sheds at the moment. He's left me with 3 stunning daughters and 3 granddaughters too who carry on his fabulous genes. I still have his Beach ball that he had with him every day of his left and which he played with as a kid and then rested his chin on as an adult.

 

March

OK, so I'm a little behind with the news and not only are we into 2019 ...…. its the 1st April TOMORROW!!!

The winter wasn't too bad as amazingly the grass kept growing for ages and so the amount of extra feeding for the sheep was reduced which was useful. We lambed the 3 Dorset Down girls during December and January and had 2 singles and 1 set of twins....2 rams, 2 gimmers.....perfect. The first tup lamb out is now HUGE and is definitely a show possibility, if I can just find time to slot in a show somewhere.

We had an all expenses paid evening for the Golden Fleece Awards ceremony at The Midlands hotel in Bradford in December. This was our first night away from the smallholding, which we thoroughly enjoyed knowing that the farm and livestock were in the capable hands of some dear friends. We did not manage to win the coveted Golden Fleece award, but were really chuffed to be awarded the Welsh Champion Fleece for speciality/knitwear.

The Faithmead Felt Fleece 'n' Fibre (www.faithmeadfeltfleecenfibre.html) has been quite busy and we've now finally gone down the popular route of COLOUR. The majority of the yarns are now dyed in some wonderful colours; some solid, some semi-solid/heathered and a few spacedyed. We're trying to get them all photographed and into the on-line shop, but its a bit of a mammoth task. Also, we have our first ever stand at the fantastic WONDERWOOL WALES at the end of April (www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk) which is a MUST to visit if you've not been especially if you are into crafting in any way, shape or form.

The first batch of sheep (the mature ones) have now been sheared and so busy sorting fleeces for showing, selling and to go off to the Mill to be turned into more lovely yarn. Its all very exciting and a whole new branch of the smallholding life. We've had an article in the Country Smallholder magazine appear and is all about equipment that we can't do without on the farm. Its very much US although I have absolutely no idea where the photo of the Stanley Range came from as its certainly not our kitchen, although I wish it was HAHA...

We lost our beautiful Border Collie 'Tash' on Boxing Day in a tragic accident. It was utterly devastating to both of us and we were torn to pieces by the event. However, a week later 'Tig' an 11 week old Border Collie bitch came into our lives and has helped hugely in mending our heartache. She's a cheeky, clever and very determined little madam but Pip loves her and so do we.

We've decided this year that its time to try and have a little more 'us' time and so because the Dog Agility has become quite a big player in our lives, we've bought ourselves a little caravan and will be trundling off for some weekends away playing Dog Agility. We have some amazing friends who look after everything here and being ex-crofters, they are totally on the ball if anything is amiss and so we have no worries about leaving the place in their capable hands.

In December, Bracken the Berkshire sow farrowed 10 lovely piglets and we currently have 3 running here and looking rather good (and tasty). Some new smallholding friends have taken on 2 for the first time and are thoroughly enjoying the experience of rearing them and learning all about a pigs life. I get huge satisfaction is starting off new smallholders to the world of home reared food, especially rare breed pork.

The usual batch of Sasso meat chicks will be arriving in April and so the freezer will once again be bursting with delicious chicken in the Autumn.

Four of the goats have kidded and we having some stunning looking kids this year. 5 boys to 3 girls so far but already 2 boys are reserved. Manuka is due to kid at the end of April and Belair in May. We still have the 'oldies' and who have come through the winter amazingly well although they were rugged up in the coldest of the weather this year. Dear old Bacchus the senior buck is still going strong although his counterpart 'Anubis' is definitely in charge and we have to be careful to keep them apart at this time of year. They act rather like rutting Stags and the young one will endeavour to take over the herd and fight to the death. Thankfully ours don't have horns.

So, the clocks went back last night and Here comes Summer (there's a song there somewhere )