A smallholding in South West Wales

Glynelwyn News - 2017


December to January

December was a month we tried to do a few things for US. We love going to the local craft fairs and there are some cracking ones in the lead up to Christmas and so we pulled out all the stops and managed to visit about 7 of them. Nothing nicer than buying and receiving something that's been hand made locally with love, care and a dedication for their craft. We've also managed to fit in a couple of hill walks with the dogs which have been wonderful.

Here we are mid January and we have a litter of pigs due from Bracken again at the end of the month, which is brilliant. The goats are due to start kidding in early March and having had 6 of them scanned, we know we are expecting 10 kids. Sadly one of the girls who was pregnant is in the process of re-absorbing her kid/s which is a shame, but she is certainly none the worse for it and hopefully will come back into season and she can be covered again. The older girls weren't covered until December and so too early for them to be scanned at the moment.

Farmers Country ShowdownWell, the "Farmers Country Showdown" is currently being aired and our 'slot' was on Monday 15th. We were really pleased with the result and have had endless lovely comments about it, which has been just fabulous. Derek certainly wouldn't want to do it again but I rather enjoyed it in the end.

The woolly side of things has slowed down, which was to be expected but having now got 2 lots of lovely fleeces (from the October shear and the January shear), I'm about to start sorting them in readiness to send off to the Mill. I am also introducing a new "collection" which will be announced in the Spring.


June to November

Faithmead Berkshire pigletsWell, last time I said that I'd try not to leave it as long before I update the NEWS but I seem to have left it even longer ..... just goes to show how busy we are. Bracken Pig farrowed successfully and had a really lovely, healthy litter of which I've kept one back as she's a bit of a cracker for a future breeder.

Faithmead YarnsMost of the longwool lambs were shorn at the end of September and I now have a lovely stash of beautiful lamb wool in the store waiting to be sorted ready for the next processing date in the next year. Talking of wool, and I seem to talk about wool a lot these days, we have now launched our woolly / yarn business and the website is www.faithmeadyarns.co.uk. Faithmead Felt Fleece 'n' Fibre made its debut at The West Wales Wool Show in mid October and we had a great day and it was wonderful being on the other side of the 'tables' this year.

Farmers Country ShowdownBack in August we spent two whole days filming with the BBC crew for the next series of "Country Farmers Showdown". It was a very exhausting first day here on the farm especially as it rained hard all day, which was such a shame. However, the following day at Pembrokeshire County Show, the weather did brighten a little and although over cast, the rain held off until all the showing was done and dusted. I felt much more at ease in front of the camera this time but not sure I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product which is due to be aired in the Spring (as far as I know).

All the goats are now in-kid (fingers crossed). I had one 'returner' - Jasmine, who was covered by our new young Buck Ivans Anubis, and so hopefully she's now in kid too. Will be kidding 7 this year as Jeni is now officially retired. Galaxy, who had a year off last year, is in kid again this year but I will probably retire her too after this kidding.


April to June

Can't believe we're over half way through June already ... where does the time go. We've had a heatwave over the past week or so which has been wonderful although as I write this today, the temperature has dropped and we have a very slight drizzle. For the animals, this is a welcome relief as they've all been getting uncomfortably hot and the pigs especially are vulnerable as they cannot sweat, so we have to be constantly topping up mud wallows for them to cool down in.

Talking of pigs, Heather farrowed in early May but had a similar occurrence to this time last year. She had 12 piglets but sadly 8 were born dead which means there is something in her mechanics which isn't really working properly anymore. Of the 4 survivors she managed to squash 2 and so she's only rearing 2 piglets who are of course doing VERY well as there is no major competition for a teat. We're due to collect 4 Berkshire weaners from a breeder friend down in Cwmbran and also borrow a boar at the same time. Oliver is still running with the other 2 sows keeping them 'returning service' until the new husband arrives.

Faithmead Anglo-Nubian goatsGoats have been thoroughly enjoying the good weather and have disappeared across the fields each morning and not returned until tea time. The new male kid from top breeder Jane Scales arrived safe and sound and is growing like a weed. He has legs like a dancer; never seen such a leggy kid before. We have high hopes for him and his future progeny.

Goats milk and soft goats cheese is of course plentiful and the freezers are beginning to bulge under the weight of frozen milk which keeps us going (and our Kefir) right through the winter whilst the goats are 'dry'.

Faithmead YarnsIn a fairly new venture, we've been having some of our rare breed longwool sheep fleece spun into super yarn. It's a very exciting time as it's already on sale by a British Yarn Fan over in the USA. I still stop and stare at my lovely little flock of sheep and think, "wow, your last clip is now being knitted up into something wonderful by someone in America" .... it's an awesome feeling that from our small farm in deepest South West Wales we are producing such a fantastic natural product.

Will try not to leave it as long next time before updating the News, but I think that's about it for now. Catch you soon.


March to Early April

Faithmead lambingLambing is now done and dusted and the usual dramas in the lambing shed. We had some losses including one of our gorgeous Wensleydale ewes, Wilma, who had to have a dead Scmallenberg lamb pulled from her by the vet one Sunday evening and never really got over the trauma, which was very sad. However, on the plus side some lovely lovely lambs now running about in the sunshine including the most ENORMOUS Leicester Longwool ram lamb whose Mum decided she didn't want anything to do with him and so has been on the bucket feeder and grown like a weed.

Faithmead Anglo-Nubian goat kidsThe goat kids have started to go off to their new homes which include Norfolk, Wiltshire, Yorkshire as well as locally to Swansea. We've had some magnificent kids this year and a new young buck who is currently only a month old will be making his way here sometime over the coming weeks and all the way from Lincolnshire.

The garden is just beginning to come back to life and now that Derek has cut all the grass, looks a whole lot better than it did a couple of weeks ago. The weather has been rather fabulous so far this April and long may it continue.


January and February

Glynelwyn daffodilsLots of signs of Spring about including hundreds of daffodils coming into flower not only in the garden, but along the banks of the fields and the lane too. Snowdrops are in abundance as well, but the Daffodil is our absolute favourite.

We've had a busy couple of months mainly due to reduced daylight hours and the fact that we seem to spend all day feeding, watering, mucking out and bedding down livestock. However, the days are drawing out now as so its getting a little easier.

Faithmead Anglo-Nubian kidsFebruary has been 'Kidding month' and we had 11 kids born during the month (and another set of twins early March) and have one more girl due to kid on 11th March. Its been a 'boy' year this year and the tally so far is 6 boys to 5 girls. Am hoping Manuka will present me with a girl but who knows.

Faithmead YarnsOne particularly exciting event was getting our Wensleydale Fleece back as actual processed knitting yarn. Absolutely delighted with it. We had 96 x 50 gm skeins and it all sold within 6 days. Half of it is now in America and most of the other half went to an Indie-dyer near Swansea.

Glynelwyn PotteryI'm still managing to get to pottery classes once a month and was particularly pleased with my first attempt at some little coffee mugs that I made. I even have a proper 'order' for 6 more for someone!!! Does this now make me a 'Potter' do you think?

Getting ready for lambing as I type and the first ones are due in a couple of days. We have 17 ewes in for lambing this year. 12 having twins and 5 having singles.

We've had our little snug holiday home 'The Hideaway' redecorated inside and its lovely and bright again now. We've also had a wall built outside so that its now contained and a 'dog free' area for our visitors. A little porch is next on the list.


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