Welcome to GLYNELWYN - a smallholding in South West Wales

Glynelwyn - News

2020

October

We are well and truly into Autumn now. The leaves are dropping in their thousands and all of nature is preparing to settle down for the winter ahead. I love this time of year, although not as much as Spring, but it does bring its own rewards. I actually love seeing the nights draw in and getting the wood burner alight and glowing in the lounge. Its the perfect time of year for sitting down with my knitting (obviously using my own @faithmeadyarns wool of course).

So, despite the Covid restrictions we have carried on much as normal albeit making a few adjustments when we have to go and collect animal feed etc, but on the whole, it hasn't affected us too much. Its the time of year that the horses now come in at night and the two older boys are rugged up night and day because of their ages. So, it means more mucking out of stables along with the goats who need mucking out constantly!. Awaiting a large delivery of straw this week in readiness too. Straw is going to be in short supply this year because of the odd weather we had through the summer which went from incredibly dry very early on to wet wet wet at harvest time. The grass however, has continued to grow green and lush even now in October, so the sheep will be happily grazing for a good while yet.

We did manage to make our annual crop of haylage back in July but it was a bit touch and go with the weather. Trying to guess at the ideal day to cut it is always a nail biting time because the forecast can change in the blink of an eye. We did however get it cut, turned and rowed up before the rain started but the rain did start whilst baling, so we have everything crossed that below those 3 layers of wrap, our winter crop is in good condition.

The sheep have all flourished and of course being a non breeding flock these days, have no stress. The Gotlands feet are an ongoing saga of care as they don't cope with wet ground well. They have all been through the foot bath a few weeks back and this helps to harden them off. Breeders such as the Wensleydales, the Bluefaces, the Teeswater etc, everything that originates from around the Yorkshire area have brilliant feet and need very little intervention which is a relief.

We bought in more porkers at the beginning of July as Oliver and Bracken had failed to produce another litter. We also took part in a little 'exchange' back in July too. Bracken went off to one of our top Berkshire Breeders in the UK and he brought one of his sows to run with Oliver. The experiment was to find out if Oliver is still 'working' and if Bracken is able to still conceive. At the beginning of September, both returned to their rightful homes and we are all keeping our fingers crossed. At the time of writing Bracken looks pretty 'large' and if it hadn't been for the fact that she looked like this last year, but failed to produce, I would be announcing her pregnancy. However, I'm still not convinced but the next one or two will tell for sure. I think the same applies to the sow who ran with Oliver.

A new addition to the 'wool' family arrived in the summer in the form of 3 Angora wether (castrated) goats. Hector, Digby and little Elliott are the sweetest little characters ever and I can totally see why they can become addictive. These are from a breeder in england who specialises in naturally 'polled' angoras (hornless). This is not a trait a lot of breeders believe in but for me it is the PERFECT solution as I don't 'do' horns on animals in any way, shape or form.

The wool side of the business has continued to grow slowly but surely and we have regular customers worldwide. The USA are particularly avid followers of british wool, which is brilliant. With Christmas on the horizon I am thinking up new items that may appeal to the general public as gifts. Crafting is fast becoming a popular pastime and with all the emphasis on NOT using plastic, natural fibres are rapidly coming back into fashion in all areas of everyday life.

All for now. Stay well and safe everyone.

 

 

June

What a Spring and Summer to remember and not necessarily for all good reasons, BUT we're still here and the smallholding doesn't stop for any reason.

The weather has been bizarre and once again a lovely Spring which the lambs and the goat kids appreciated. Its continued into summer although the grass situation was becoming increasingly worrying until we finally had some good heavy showers (and storms) over the past couple of weeks. The hay field which was sitting almost dormant for weeks has suddenly burst into life and looking very healthy, although I suspect cutting is unlikely to take place until August, which is a bit later but as they say "Better late, than never".

The Dorset Down Lambs grew like weeds during the first couple of months of life and have continued to increase in size and become very sturdy young stock which I am very proud of. The little Dorset Down flock though, is now for sale. The 2 breeding ewes, the shearling ewe (last year's ewe lamb) and 3 ewe lambs from this year. They are a delightful breed and make excellent Smallholders sheep. However, I am having to seriously consider just how many sheep I now keep due to the changing climate and the fact that the Spring and Summers seem to be getting warmer and the grass just isn't growing like it used to. The DD flock don't quite 'fit' with the rest of the sheep as their wool is not something I generally use in the yarn business. Having said that, I have this month sent off the 3 ewe fleeces to be spun up into 4ply and DK yarn, so we'll see. If the right home comes along, I will let them go; otherwise they stay.

The goats all kidded well and 'Faithmead Jitterbug' produced 4 singles and 1 set of twins and incredibly 5 girls and 1 boy. 3 of the girls are with their new owners and family and are having the best fun. I've stuck to my guns this year and not kept any kids back for myself, but it was very hard not to.

Also on the goat side of things, young Faithmead Lindyhop, who had a stunning single female, had one closed teat. This meant there was a layer of membrane/skin across the end of the teat preventing it from milking. I decided to leave her until her kid was weaned and then investigate further. There was always the risk she may develop mastitis through not milking it out, but all stayed well.

Last week two vets came out and after injecting anaesthetic around the teat, they managed to shave off the extra layer. The next part was very tricky as they had to insert a needle into it in the hope to open up the canal and to reach the milk channel further up inside the teat. Lindy was incredibly good throughout all this but then again, I don't think she could feel much at that stage. Following the needle insertion they used a 'spoon' type tool (very very slim) to reach up inside the teat and scrape out any old matter. Then with baited breath I watched as one of the vets attempted to get the teat to 'work'. After several seconds - WEYHEY - a spurt came out and having passed her an old bucket she empted that quarter completely of a very watery (and by now, bloody) fluid. After this stage, she had some antibiotic cream squeezed up into the teat followed by a 'plug' to prevent the new opening closing up again. Several injections of antibiotic, painkiller and anti inflammatory later, she was allowed back in her pen none the worse for wear.

I had to follow up with a few days of mastitis cream squirted into the udder and another couple of antibiotic injections as well as replacing the plug twice a day. This was clearly a very painful experience for her (and me as her back legs flew out in all directions catching my bare arms on several occasions) and on day 3 she had decided she didn't want the plug in here anyway and as soon as she was back in her pen, turned her head to her udder and pulled it out!!! So, here was 5 days later and so far, so good although there is only a spoon ful of watery milk coming from the udder still at the moment, but fingers crossed will settle down in another few days.

The polytunnel is looking very green. The Borlotti beans are going mad as they always do. The Brocolli plants are also doing well and dare I say it, have so far stayed caterpillar free!! Carrots are coming along nicely and the tomatoes are still small but growing well. A smallholding good friend of mine who lives about half an hour away, very kindly gave me some other tomato plants as well as some pepper plants which are all growing really well. She started well ahead of me and so everything is more advanced.

Another farming friend gave me a climbing rose as 'payment' for looking after her pregnant sow a while ago. This is looking beautiful as are all the roses this year. We have some sort of aphid attacking the young apple tree this year which is a shame, but some squirts of washing up liquid may have done the trick!

We sadly had a mink attack last month and lost 4 of our 6 young laying hens. We haven't had this happen for 2 years and so were caught completely unaware and it was during a lovely sunny dry afternoon. We have now decided that a far better house and run are needed in order to try and protect them and these should arrive during July and August. In the meantime, the hens are confined to barracks unless I am about over in that area mucking out goat pens and where hopefully my presence will deter the blighters.

We've just picked up 3 young Berkshire weaners as it would appear Oliver and Bracken have decided to retire from breeding! We may try one last attempt with Oliver who is now getting on in years but is incredibly one of only 4 - YES FOUR - 'Orlando' blood lines left in the world. Forget about all those TV ads for adopting tigers etc, the Rare Breed Survival Trust need everyones help in preserving our own animals. The hope is that one of the top breeders of Berkshire pigs will drop off a sow to run with Oliver to see if she sparks any interest from him. Will update you later on in the year.

 

 

March

Well what a Winter we've all been having. Relentless rain, flooding, landslides and total devastation for so many people. Heart breaking to say the least. Thankfully for us, being so high up and all the land being on a slope, all the water just drains off. Actually it gushes in absolute torrents and you have to see the quantity of water to believe it. Our biggest problem is the mud. Trying to push a full wheelbarrow through thick mud is no joke!

Anyway, Christmas came and went, New Year came and went and now its very nearly Spring and we have spring lambs. The 3 Dorset Down girls lambed 2 sets of twins and a single. Sadly one of the lambings needed vet assistance as there was a large ram lamb with his head back causing a problem. It took the vet a fair while to finally straighten him out and delivery, but sadly he had taken on too much fluid and passed away. His twin sister, however, was fine. So we have 3 gimmers and 1 tup lamb from the 3 girls. This little flock will be up for sale in a couple of months. This is because I don't 'show' the sheep anymore and the wool is not something that I want to include in the Yarn business. They are a Rare Breed and so I'll be looking for a RAre Breed enthusiast when the time comes.

The first goat kid has been born too - a male kid who is bouncing around very happily with Mum Jasmine. The next one is due to kid in about 2 weeks and then there might be a little flurry.

We have Wonderwool Wales coming up next month and so I absolutely mush crack on with preparations but there always seems to be something else to distract me! A last minute panic will no doubt ensue.

In January it was time for the Gotlands to be sheared and so they came into a pen in the shed where they've stayed until today, whilst their coats grow back. Today, because the sun is FINALLY shining and the mud is drying up, they got to go back outside for a while.