Friday 24 October 2014
Plug over, now onto other stuff!
Yesterday the Farmer & I went to the delightful small town of Narberth in Pembrokeshire for a meeting held in the Plas Hyfryd Hotel by OMSCo (www.omsco.co.uk) the organic milk buyer who, with First Milk (www.firstmilk.co.uk) sells our milk to whoever needs it.
It was a good meeting with the usual group of attendees (& only 3 wives) in which the chaps from OMSCo explained the current market regarding the organic milk industry. OMSCo is the largest organic milk buyer in the country and supplies organic milk to many retailers and manufacturers of organic products. A very exciting developemnet for the co-operatve is the huge success of Kingdom Cheese in the States. This is an organic cheddar-type cheese that is produced solely for the American market & is proving very popular over the pond. It has just won three gold awards in the International Cheese Awards held in Nantwich, Cheshire recently which will give it even greater attraction to American cheese buyers. It seems the demand for organic cheese in the States outstrips supply hence OMSCo being able to promote a British made organic cheese there.
Although Kingdom Cheese is not available in the UK we have been given samples of it and it is very good.
Tomorrow sees the the first shoot of the season for the Farmer & Younger Son. They are busy sorting out guns, cartridge, thorn-proof clothing and making sure the dogs are in fine fettle for a good first day. The weahter should be quite kind to them though even it is raining stair-rods they still all seem to have a wonderful time.
I shall be spending the day, or the morning at least doing a changeover in the cottage. We have had a delightful Lancashire farmer & his wife staying for 3 nights having come down to collect their Jack Russell puppy from us. If prosepctive dog owners are prepared to travel so far then I am always confident that the puppy will be going to an excellent home.
Saturday 18 October 2014
The past week has been taken up with the end of season sprucing up of the holiday cottage. This year I employed a friend to paint the main rooom & kitchen which involves high ladders and painting of beams...a job I have always hated so it was great to have someone else do it. I have also changed some of the furnishings, replacing pieces that had become rather shabby. The cottage works very hard as a building, constantly, though inadvertantly, battered by the ever changing inhabitants. I am always touching-up paintwork where it has been chipped by suitcases bashing against walls.
I've also replaced the china & the Farmer has fixed up new lights in the kitchen area over the cooker which were much needed. It is all looking very clean and fresh now, ready for out next guests who arrive next week.
We had some very dramatic weather last week, a whole day & night of thunder & lightening..the thunder was incredible, the whole of this solid old stone house shook at time and windows rattled in their frames fairly constantly. There was much damage reported locally to telephones, computer & internet connections. We came off quite lightly but Elder Son lost his phone and internet. Some of our neighbours have only had their phones reconnected today!
Wednesday 1 October 2014
We are still picking sweetpeas from the poly-tunnel which on a grey damp day such as today is very cheering.
We have had a change in the weather...the Indian summer has come to an end though the Farmer is not too unhappy about it. He had reseeded a field last week in the sunshine aqnd the rain that we have had since has been perfect for the seeds, light & not too persistent.
Autumn has come, the leaves are falling & the swallows & martins left us some weeks ago, which is very early, they are usually around until the end of Septemebr.
This summer we acquired an extra few acres,acres that have been almost totally neglected for the past 20 years. So, there has been a concerted effort by the Farmer & the Sons to reclaim fields that have been taken over by aggressive brambles and bracken to say nothing of the self sown trees, mainly willow and blackthorn. This clearance work has involved chainsaws, tractors with mowers and even a digger at times. The fields are adjacent to our main holding but seperated by a lane and whilst one can walk there more quickly than driving they are a great opportunity for the farm which will enable us to milk a few more cows.
As well as these neglected & overgrown fields there is also a beautiful woodland of twisted mossy oaks & with a small river running through. In the spring this wood is a mass of bluebells.
The best thing for me about the land is the fact that there is an ancient historic site on the top field. It is large stone banked enclosure, possibly neolithic in origin though I have not been able to find much information on it, but I will keep digging in the internet. I do not think the site has been the subject of a an archaeological dig.
This area has a number of ancient 'fort' sites all within reasonable distance of each other. They may have formed a chain of settlements across the this hilly & wooded countryside. The name of the land is Gaerwen which translates as White Fort. The local geology provides plentiful quantities of white quartz which may have been used in the construction that made a gleaming white enclosure.
Arrow heads have been found nearby but a couple of thousand years of of farming will have obliterated much of whatever evidence there may have been of the previous inhabitants of the valley.
The change of the season means an end to our sea swimming days out. The sea is less enticing in the cooler weather and I am only a warm water swimmer. Another reason not to enter the sea at the moment is the presence of bull seals in our favourite cove.
When we went down there last week there was a lot of roaring & bellowing coming from one of the small caves that run into the cliffs and we learned that it was seal cow giving birth to her cub. Out in the shallow waters of the cove (just in the area where we swim) a large bull seal was patrolling up and down waiting for the cub to be born so that he could then go to mate with the mother as is the way with seals, post-partum copulation & insemination.
That particular beach is known for having seals pups on it and the local people set up a watch group to guard the babies from over-inquisitive onlookers (& their dogs!). The cubs can be viewed from the sea wall but no-one should venture onto the beach itself.