A smallholding in South West Wales

Glynelwyn News - 2016


November - December

Faithmead Dorset Down lambsAs the year ended we had 2 gorgeous Dorset Down ram lambs out of Daisy and Aeronwy, although Delia was once again empty, which was a shame. 6 of the 8 girl goats are in kid and will start to kid at the end of January. They have been scanned and we know there are 13 kids expected, 2 sets of triplets, 3 sets of twins and a single.

Christmas and in fact the whole of December was a lovely month. The weather wasn't too bad and in fact, far too mild for the time of year but the grass continued for longer than ever and so the need to start feeding the sheep additional haylage was delayed until the middle of the month, which was great.

Fern pig is due to farrow around 11th January but has kept me guessing right up until a couple of weeks ago as to whether she is actually in pig or not. But I'm happy to report that she is and is suddenly growing bigger by the minute.

On a devastating note, we had a fox attack in November at 1.30 in the afternoon and lost 6 of our 10 Turkeys. The big dog fox was out there when I went out at 2pm and slunk off down to the stream when he saw me. I can only be thankful that we had 4 remaining who were unhurt if a little stunned and stressed for a few days after. It was a horribly wet, windy day and perfect hunting weather for a fox, especially one that had likely been a re-released urban fox who are generally the ones who have no fear of hunting day or night.

Faithmead Wensleydale FleeceOn the crafting front, I sent off the wonderful Wensleydale fleeces at the beginning of December to the Mill and sometime during mid January I should receive my first ever delivery of beautiful knitting yarn. Faithmead felted soapAlso, I had a very busy December felting Goats Milk Soaps for customers and for the first time, I used my own pure fleece from my own sheep which came out looking far better than I envisaged.

At the time of writing it is 1st January 2017 and so a new year has started and we now look forward to all those new lives (piglets, goat kids and lambs) over the coming months and of course, the onset of Spring. In the meantime we are enjoying getting out with the dogs every so often and enjoying our beautiful surrounding countryside.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year


July to October

Faithmead Anglo-Nubian goatsWell as usual the 'month' has flown past and here we are nearly 3 months from the last update! It was a pretty good Summer on the whole and the weather was reasonable, so we can't complaint. Autumn however, has been pretty wonderful. Lots of long dry sunny days and its only the last few weeks (mid Oct) that its actually got quite chilly .... perfect for this time of year.

Fern is now in-pig and Heather has moved in with Oliver up into the rested paddock in the north field which is now full of long grass to keep them busy.

6 of the 8 goat girls are now in-kid; the other 2 are having time off as Galaxy has worked hard these past few years and so deserves a well earned rest. Jeni is once again 'running' through and although only now giving about a pint a day, I'll keep her going to see if she manages to pick up again in the Spring. Otherwise all goats have been in the peak of health this summer with the glossiest coats I've seen for a long time.

The Summer Show went reasonably well. Our first one was Cardigan and who once again couldn't quite seem to understand what a Rare Breed is. Sadly the Judge not only had never seen a Greyface Dartmoor OR a Devon and Cornwall Longwool before, but hadn't even HEARD of them. Faithmead Dorset DownHowever, he did seem to take a shine to my little Dorset Down home bred ewe lamb 'Branwen' and awarded her a 2nd in a very strong mixed class. Next we went to Lampeter and my lovely GFD Ram 'Dylan' got a 2nd, again in a strong ram class and little 'Branwen' was awarded a 1st place and then went on to get overall Reserve Champion so we were delighted with that. Last was Pembrokeshire which now produces some very large and strong classes of lots of Rare Breeds. The only one to be placed here was once again 'Branwen' who got a 4th in the ewe lamb class. So, overall not a bad result from 3 shows especially when you're up against so many different rare breeds.

Next month we're due to parcel up our small stash of Wensleydale wool to be sent off to a mill on the Scottish Borders for processing and turning into wonderful knitting wool. Very excited about this new venture and hope we can market it well enough to get some nice orders. Unfortunately we'll miss the Christmas market but not to worry, we'll hopefully manage to get stock into the mill in better time next year, but they are very busy places and the waiting list is always several months.

Faithmead felted ribbonI've been messing around with some wet felting work and have produced a few odds and ends for a 'Baby' Photographer who uses them as 'props' for her photos. She's a brilliant photographer and has some wonderful ideas for 'staging'.

Tupping has been a bit of a hit and miss arrangement this year due to me having a sort of flu virus for several weeks which has laid me a bit low and without much energy. So, at the time of writing I still have Casper the Corriedale to put in with this 3 little girls otherwise everyone else is fully occupied. We'll only be lambing a select 20 this year as we're concentrating almost totally on the fleece side although we will no doubt have a handful for the meat side next Autumn.

We've now got a lovely handful of Leicester Longwool sheep (amazing history to these sheep who are responsible for a LOT of our native breeds). The 3 ewes are currently running with a top Tup and so am hoping for some cracking lambs from them. The 3 Wensleydale girls are once again away on lovely Brechfa running with a ram belonging to the fabulous Ystrad flock.

Our first lambers will again be the Dorset Downs who are due in January. Fingers crossed for another 'Branwen' amongst them.

The 'She-Shed' has some fabulous new paths leading up to and around it. Its a fabulous studio for all my crafting stuff and I'm very very lucky to have it. It's still in need of some more shelving units especially when my wonderful knitting wool comes back.

Think that's about it for the moment.


June to July

Glynelwyn hayIts been a busy summer so far. The hay and haylage is done and dusted and so we're well set up for winter now.

Especially proud of our 'Faithmead goat herd' this year. "Faithmead Zephyrus" has gone to a wonderful new home near Cardiff and will be earning his keep very soon. His new owner is delighted with him as he is the most stunning array of colours. "Faithmead Orion" will be off to his new home across in Leicestershire next month and will be joining 2 Faithmead girls purchased earlier this year. "Faithmead Warrior" will also be away next month to his new stud home in East Yorkshire. So, the 'Faithmead boys' are spreading far and wide across the country now. "Faithmead Apollo" who travelled all the way across the UK to the far reaches of Norfolk last year, has produced some stunning coloured and beautiful kids in his first year of work. Its lovely to keep in touch with all these new owners and see and hear how the boys AND girls are getting on.

Thus, goats milk has been plentiful this year and we have a good stock in the freezers ready to keep us going all over winter so that we can continue with out daily dose of Kefir. Lots of soft goats cheese has been consumed too and which is one of those cheeses that you eat an entire tub of without realising it.

The various breeds of sheep too have also been travelling a fair way with the two delightful Corriedale ewe lambs now in a superb 'fleece only' home across in Northampton. Gotlands will be travelling to Yorkshire and Leicester in a few weeks too and some of my now dispersed flock of Zwartbles are over in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. I am still busy preparing fleeces for the Pembrokeshire show which is a slow process, but also means they will be lovely and clean ready to go off for processing later in the year.

Faithmead Berkshire pigletsHaving reduced the number of Berkshire sows this year and also ceased to provide for the restaurant trade, life is a little easier on the piggy front. We sadly lost our lovely 'Belle' in January at the grand old age of 12 but our youngest sow 'Bracken' produced her second litter a few weeks ago and threw 14 piglets. Sadly 2 didn't make it, but the other 12 are fat and flourishing and all of them are already booked at weaning at the end of August.

Oliver the boar will be delighted to greet 'Fern' once again in a week or two and so our next planned litter will be somewhere around Christmas time. Perfect.

We've just participated in our first sheep show of this year and not too excited about the judging, BUT we did get a 2nd place with our utterly devine young Dorset Down ewe lamb, 'Faithmead Branwen' and so we have high hopes for her at Pembrokeshire County later in August (with all fingers crossed too).

Will report back again in another month, so keep popping back to keep up to date, or of course, you can always give us a LIKE on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.


February to June

Faithmead sheepWell, after one of the worst Winters we've experienced ... and not through snow and ice, but through 3 solid months of rain, the Spring has actually been rather nice. At the time of writing (10th June) we've had wall to wall sunshine and very warm temperatures for a good part of May and all of June so far ... other than the odd shower. Would you believe, we're now saying "we could do with a drop or rain", to help the grass grow ready for haymaking later in the year!

Lambing all went reasonably well and we had a nice crop of lambs. The last one lambed on 1st April which was a relief. The Gotlands, this year, have done especially well - 8 lambs, 7 females and 1 ram lamb. Good result.

Faithmead Anglo-Nubian goat kidKidding went well too and at this moment in time all the females have gone to their new homes. We will be delivering the beautiful coloured male "Zephyrus" to his new owner in the Cardiff area in a couple of weeks and one of the new males out of Galaxy will be making the long trip to East Yorkshire in a few weeks time. That just leaves one stunning male kid for sale.

Farrowing so far this year has been a challenge. Belle, whom we sadly very suddenly lost at the grand old age of 12, had 5 piglets, all of whom went off to their new homes at weaning. Then Heather only had a very small litter too, but after the first one was born .... nothing ... for 2 hours and I had to call the vet in at 3.30am !!! All proceeded reasonably well, although she only ended up with 4 live piglets but at least Heather herself was fine and is certainly back to normal now. Our next litter is due in July and for Bracken, this will be only her second litter.

We've been working quite hard in the garden this year and now have some nice new paths which means no more slopping around in mud next winter .... well, not in the garden anyway.

Sheep shearing went well and lots of lovely fleeces are waiting to be picked over ready for showing at the county show in August. This year we're also going to be sending a selection to a small mill to have professionally processed into spun wool. Watch this space as there will be some LUSH knitting wool for sale.

The 'Hideaway' has been busy this year and we've had some wonderful visitors from not only Belgium and Holland but also some returning people from Australia. We have some returning friends in July and August (they've become friends because they've stayed with us before). One couple are coming for their 5th visit. Wonderful.


January to February

January weather continued its pursuit of all things wet and windy but, where livestock is involved, we just have to get our heads down and get on with it.

Belle, our 11 year old Berkshire sow farrowed a few days early and unfortunately was still out in her ark. We had to do some very rapid cleaning, pressure washing and disinfecting to get the barn ready for her to come in with her litter of 7. Sadly, she managed to squash 2 whilst we were busy preparing her accommodation, but the remaining 5, although very small, put up a good fight and within 24 hours were thriving, warm under their lamp and drinking well from Mum. However, on day 5 of their lives their lovely Mum suffered a massive haemorrhage during the middle of the night and we found her deceased the following morning. A huge shock to us and then it was all go once again preparing one of the pig stables to move the litter into.

Faithmead Berkshire pigletI'm delighted to report that after 2 weeks of bottle feeding 5 little piglets, I managed to get them trained to drinking their milk from a tray which made life a whole lot easier. At the time of writing they are nearly 7 weeks old and are today going of to their new homes, all looking fit, fat and very healthy.

In the middle of January, whilst up feeding the yearlings and the 'Misfit' gang, I noticed that Aeronwy the yearling Dorset Down was away from the rest of the gang. Wasn't long before I noticed why!!!! She's had a lamb!!! Shock .... but not horror. Raced back for the quad trailer and loaded her and her little ram lamb into the trailer and brought them back and into the shed for safety. She's obviously been got at by 'Faithmead Edwyn', our retained Greyface Dartmoor ram lamb from last year and the outcome was the cutest little lamb ever. He was very quickly offered a pet home with a friend who keeps a handful of sheep just as pets and to keep their little caravan site mowed.

Earlier this month (Feb) I got a message to say that a local breeder of Blue Faced Leicester sheep had a triplet orphan COLOURED female BFL that needed a home. Guess what? Yep, she's here and she's called Faith. She came with her little mate - a Ryeland wether who had wonky legs ..... and was instantly christened Wonky by name. Managed to splint his legs and help strengthen and stretch his little leg tendons but it is still 'work in progress' but we're getting there.

Faithmead Greyface Dartmoor lambWe are currently in the early throws of lambing and had a couple of early Dorsets in January with the main flock all due from end of February onwards. To date (the last day of February) we've had our little Greyface Dartmoor 'Holly' lamb a lovely single ewe lamb and good old Crossbred 'One Twenty', as she's affectionately known, had twins last night (ram and ewe lamb). The ram lamb was huge and took a while to come into the world and gave me a few worrying hours when I wasn't sure whether he was even going to make it, but thankfully he has and is now happily suckling his Mum.

For the last few weeks we've had odd days of sunshine and in fact for the past week, we've had some rather fantastically sunny, dry days which has meant the goats have been able to go out for a romp around and the pigs are currently sunbathing out in pig paradise.

Faithmead Anglo-Nubian goat kidTalking of goats, Belair kidded at the beginning of February and has a gorgeous female kid at foot who has been named "Faithmead Blackberry". Faithmead Tayberry is due to kid around 6th March and Gilda is due on 3rd March. We know from scanning back in early January that Gilda is carrying a single and Tay is carrying twins. These will be her first kids, so am on tenterhooks awaiting their arrival.

Glynelwyn daffodilsThe glorious daffodils are blooming and the garden, despite looking a bit like a war zone at times, is beginning to come back to life. Spring is well on its way now. Happy Days.


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