Saturday 27 October 2018

Pembrokeshire Holiday, Jack Russell Puppies

Last week the Farmer & I ran away for few days and spent a lovely time down in Pembrokeshire near Abermawr. Although it is not far for us to go it is real break from the farm routine and if need be we can be back very quickly. We had glorious weather and walked sections of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in beautiful sunshine. We saw many seal pups lounging fatly on tiny inaccessible beaches whilst their mums kept a careful eye on them from the water, as well as choughs, kestrels and even a homing pigeon grazing on the edge of a a field of stubble...I hope it was not lost. We went down to St David's and walked around the lovely cathedral once more then visited a very good second-hand bookshop & came away with good haul of vintage reading matter. The cottage we were staying in was opposite an old church and wandering around the churchyard in the gloaming we came across the grave of an unknown man found washed up on Abermawr beach in 1916 who was buried by the local people in the churchyard. It is thought he may have been a mariner from a ship lost to enemy action. An intriguing and sad story of another unknown warrior but given decent burial by compassionate strangers in what may have been a land unknown to the dead man.

The flood waters have receded but we are hearing of many people in the locality who are having to dry out their homes and are in temporary lodging. The Farmer is being kept busy dealing with fallen trees both on our own land & on that of neighbours. A silver lining to the storm is that we will all have plentiful supply of fire-wood for some time to come.

Two days after we came home my Jack Russell terrier produced two dear little puppies, one boy, one girl. They are doing very well and spend their time with Dottie snug in a bed by the Rayburn in the kitchen. They will be allowed to stay indoors until they start to become mobile at which point we shall put them out in a lovely hay-lined nest in one of the buildings where they will be safe and not piddling all over the kitchen floor!

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Storm Callum hits the Teifi Valley

This is the scene near our village over the last weekend when we were battered by Storm Callum. The villages in the Teifi Valley have suffered badly with massive flooding and many houses and businesses have been badly damaged. We here on the farm came of lightly being half way up a hill but we had torrential amounts of water pouring down of the fields and through our yard and several trees came down. Our electricity supply was affected which was frustrating especially at milking times but it was all manageable. The Farmer and I remember the last time this happened 30 years ago. There are strange sights to be seen such as canoes stuck up in trees and silage bales in odd places having been washed down by the torrent. Many of the bridges across the river have been damaged and are closed to traffic which is going to make life difficult for many of us as most of our villages have to be accessed by crossing the river.
The Farmer was hero of the hour going to the aid of some friends of ours who live in an old mill right on the river. When the river water came into their basement the Farmer went down to rescue them and their 5 week old baby before they were completely trapped. As it was he had to piggy-back the new mum down from the first floor of the building as their steps were under water to almost waist height. Mum & baby spent the night with us, the dad having opted to stay put and do what he could to rescue things. Fortunately the water did not quite reach to ceiling of the basement so did not enter their their first floor living area but the resultant mess now that the waters have dropped is pretty awful.
Neighbours have also called upon the Farmer and Sons to go and cut trees that have fallen across their tracks.
The most tragic story from the weekend was of course the death in a landslide of a young man from our small market town. He was known to us slightly and his death has shaken the community far more than the material damage done to bricks and mortar.

Saturday 6 October 2018

Holiday Cottage with Hot Tub

The past couple of weeks have been spent installing a wood-fired hot tub for the use of our guests in the holiday cottage. It is a handsome piece of kit looking like a large barrel. It is made of larch with an internal fire-box and can take 4 adults comfortably. The Farmer has been busy cutting planking for the decking around it and it will eventually have some sort of fencing or trellis around two sides to give it a little more privacy while still having a view across the paddock and pond. My daughters-in-law have said there need to be solar-powered fairy lights and such prettinesses draped around it and no doubt it will be dressed up to look very attractive but we've got to get the basics finished first. It will be available to guests from the first week in November. A deadline is always a good spur to get on with a job!

Autumn is certainly upon us now with the days drawing in & leaves falling & colours changing across the landscape.Tthe hedgerows are full of berries and as I sit here now I can see blue tits and great tits foraging in the cotoneaster which is laden with rich fruit with blackbirds and sparrows trawling the field hedges for late blackberries and rose-hips. The hawthorns & rowans have been heavy with berries and the sloes are ripening which as soon as there is a frost we must gather for making sloe gin. Walking around the farm there are fungi everywhere of all kinds especially on fallen timber which is gently decaying into the woodland floor.

We have managed to get a third cut of silage in the recent good weather and the supply of winter fodder is looking plentiful, always a good thing.