Sunday 28 February 2016
A cold but sunny Sunday morning, blue skies and nodding daffodils with blackbirds trilling and the occasional clarion of Canada geese travelling overhead to the river.
The Farmer & I have just come back from a much-needed few days away in Dorset. An invitation to a party in Lymington combined with visits to family & friends near the New Forest & a niece at university in Winchester made for a busy holiday but it was time away from the farm and a change of scene in a lovely part of the country.
We went to see the renowned Badbury Rings near Dorchester. An extraordinary place which when it was built must have been a truly impressive sight when it was constructed in about 800BC using the white chalky flint of the area,and would have gleamed & shone out of the landscape, visible for many miles.
Spring was no further on in the south of England than it is here and we had lovely sunny days and no rain though the drive down was wet all the way with really awful driving conditions on the motorway which was ghastly.
Our time away was certainly well-filled and we ate too much in some very good pubs, but catching up with old friends was great and the Dorset/Hampshire borders are beautiful and very different to West Wales...but the traffic!!! It made us realise how very lucky we are to live where we do, away from constant streams of cars & lorries and ceaseless noise. When all one can hear each day is the sound of birdsong and the distant rumble of tractors it is quite a shock to come across the intense busy-ness of the outside world!
The day after our return we hosted a visit by a primary school from Gorseinon near Swansea. A group of 30 or so 4-6 yr olds arrived clad in wellies and warm coats for a walk around the farm and a chance to see cows at close quarters. The first thing we do when they get off the bus is take them into the fields and let them just run & run...it is lovely sight and the joyous shouts of small children expending energy in a vast green field is one of the reasons we have such groups come to the farm. Urban children have so few opportunities to enjoy large open spaces & the teachers who accomapny the children are always thrilled by them being able to run freely to say nothing of splashing through mud and seeing a real working farm.
Monday 15 February 2016
With the improved weather over the past few days the Farmer has been able to replace the cover on the polytunnel after the old one blew away. Now we have a lambing shed ready for the end of the month, thank goodness.
Younger Son has returned home having been working in Wiltshire for a week and attending a wedding in Cornwall and then this weekend going to see Wales beat Scotland in the 6 Nations game at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff...a pretty mad week all in all. He said the game was great, (though it was a hard call for this household being Scots living in Wales!)and of course the atmosphere in the Millenium Stadium with 80,000 spectators must have been amazing especially with Wales playing on their home ground.
Younger Son is now straight back into his tractor to go carting slurry for the day; it never stops!
On Friday evening we went to the Ceridwen Centre (www.ceridwencentre.co.uk)which is just 5 minutes up the road for an Open Mic night. It was wonderful, there is an astonishing amount of varied musical talent in the Teifi Valley!
The Farmer played his fiddle, playing some traditional Welsh dance tunes, there was an 8 piece band doing covers 'Mustang Sally' & 'Valerie' amongst other, an amazing guitarist who played the guitar as a percussive as well as stringed instrument...brilliant, and several guitar and drum duos. There was trio of a singer, drum, and guitar singing tradtional old Welsh folk songs and to top it all off there were two poets reading their lovely works. A full evening's entertainment and right on our doorstep. It was fine example of local people getting together to play and sing for the pleasure of the community...as someone said, 'Who needs the X-Factor when all you have to do is go a village hall in Wales?!!
I am now off to prepare the cottage for guests who arrive later in the week. It has been empty for a few weeks now and so needs airing and dusting and generally made warm and welcoming.
Thursday 11 February 2016
At the beginning of the week we were battered by Storm Imogen which resulted in the second polytunnel being badly damaged, though the plastic sheet did not fly off the frame but was ripped and pulled away from its anchorages. It will be a fiddly job to get it back and patched up which we must do otherwise we have nowhere to bring the sheep in for lambing at the the end of the month having lost the whole sheet on the other tunnel in previous storm. The Farmer is just waiting for a calm wind-less day to put the replacement sheet on. Unfortunately today though dry is not without a breeze.
As from the beginning of February we are now full members of OMSCo, (Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative)(www.omsco.co.uk). We ended a 56 yr contract with First Milk (formerly the MMB)along with 40 other organic milk producers across the country to become part of OMSCo who have been buying our milk through First Milk for anumber of years anyway. It just seems to make sense that we sell directly to them as full members rather than as associate members. They supply milk to Yeo Valley Yogurt amongst other organic dairy processors & are doing lots of good work in the USA with British manufactured organic cheese, Kingdom Cheese, which is proving popular.
Yesterday I spent a lovely long day at Cariad Glass (www.cariadglass.co.uk), a local stained glass studio, making a rather pretty, though I say it myself, coloured glass hanger. It is very intense, satisfying creative process from choosing glass from a huge library of incredible colour, variety & texture, to cutting out the shapes, and then leading them into place. It was my second time on a Cariad Glass course and so I was able to make a rather more complicated design than my first one.