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Harvest Time

It’s that time of year when we’re beginning to reap some of what we’ve sown – we are both passionate about food and cooking and this weekend we ate like kings!!

Broad beans from the polytunnel became part of a smoked haddock and broad bean risotto and the strawberries took pride of place on one of Andy’s magnificent pavlovas.

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Still to come this year we’ve got tomatoes, brussel sprouts, peas, runner beans, celeriac, onions and carrots to name a few so we’ll have to start getting our recipe books out. :)

The Best Birds!

Every single time we meet other smallholders we are always bowled over by how helpful, knowledgeable and passionate they are about what they do. I guess the smallholder way of life is to do what you love – and it shows at Camddwr Poultry. We’ve visited John and Cath a few times to collect various birds for our smallholding (they even supplied our Christmas turkeys) and they’re always so pleased to help and answer any questions we have.

We recently lost one of our ducks to what we think was a mink :( So after reviewing and improving the enclosure where they live we went over to Camddwr on the other side of Aberystwyth to collect a few more ducks to keep our solitary girl company (When we lost her sister she quacked solidly until the new ducks arrived).

John and Cath were so helpful – giving us advice on which ducks to have and we now have a male in the mix – with a view to breeding some of our own. Everytime we embark on a new venture on the smallholding it always helps knowing that we have some experts on the end of the phone willing to help. So thank you  Camddwr Poultry and we’ll no doubt be back to see you soon! :)

First Tunnels

In our first year – our entire harvest consisted of  about 10 green tomatoes, so this year we’ve taken the plunge and got a polytunnel.

Big thanks to First Tunnels for their amazing customer service, brilliant tunnel and the masses of helpful advice – everything from the purchasing to the assembly was easy peasy!

We had to do alot of clearing – including digging up some tough tree roots – to make space for the tunnel, so it was great that it was so straightforward to put up!

You can read all about the full adventure in the forthcoming edition of CS magazine – so for now we’ll leave you with some pics.

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Tudful Tamworths

We met the lovely Liz Shankland on her smallholding and got to meet her flock of sheep and all her pigs. We spent ages asking her all about keeping pigs and learnt loads of handy facts. We even had a crash course in catching and carrying piglets as we had to get them in the dog crate in the back of our car – (the dogs weren’t in there with them!).

Liz has written the Haynes Pig Manual which has become our pig bible and as a parting gift she handed us some pork chops which were the tastiest we’ve ever had. If you fancy rearing some pigs contact Liz, her Tamworths have been a complete joy, really friendly and easy to look after. They don’t seem at all phased by the cold and wet Welsh weather and we’ll be genuinely really sad when ‘they move on’.

 

Welsh Mountain Cider

On the Helpless Homestead we’ve got a small patch that we’ve set aside as a mini apple orchard. When we wanted to find varieties of tree that would thrive in the wet and wild slopes of Corris we went to see Bill and Chava at the Welsh Mountain Orchard.

These guys specialise in growing trees in the exact conditions we’ve got, making them hardy and ready for planting. Bill and Chava had a wealth of knowledge about the trees and helped us select the best ones for our needs. We wanted a mixture of eating, cooking and, of course, cider apples.

Bill has written a book about growing apples and making cider which we’re using to make sure we don’t make any mistakes. So thanks guys. Once we’ve brewed our first batch of cider we’ll bring some over for you to try.

You can find out more here.

Bramble Farm

A day on a city farm!

Thanks to everyone at Bramble Farm in Bristol for all the help this weekend. We paid them a visit during their open farm weekend and learnt loads from all the friendly people involved in the project.

We are in the process of preparing for our first weaners and Steve from the farm was more than helpful – telling us about how they care for the pigs at Bramble Farm, what to feed them and lessons they’ve learnt along the way. Even after running off to catch the tent that was blowing away in the wind, he came back to answer our endless list of questions!

Thanks also to Cat and Chris who took time out from the busy day to chat to us about how Bramble Farm works and how much they enjoy growing their own crops and raising their own livestock. They both have a great outlook on the process and are great ambassadors for showing how rewarding and fun the whole experience is.

Thanks guys – and we’ll no doubt see you again soon!

 

What a great gift!

A ma-hoooo-sive thank you to our friends at It’s Exqusite for the brilliant new logo they sent to us. They are super talented and our mates from our days in the big smoke (does Bournemouth count?). They’ve also been to visit us here in Wales and we had great fun exploring the Llyn peninsular with them.

Everyone should check out their talents on their website and like them on facebook too!

Thanks guys, see you soon x

 

Tom and Katie!

Something’s (home) brewing!










Thank you to the lovely Tom and Katie for coming to stay and introducing us to the wonders of homebrew! They started us off with some straightforward plum wine.

Tom and Katie are our friends from Bournemouth and they make their own homebrew all the time. They’ve made everything from Banana to Potato and brought us some samples to try out! Yum! (Although the courgette wine wasn’t to everyone’s taste!)

So thanks guys for the help, It’s been a few months and the plum wine is delicious! We’re contemplating what to do next, any ideas?

Hannah’s Herbs

As beginners we love talking to new people, seeking out their words of wisdom and learning things along the way! That’s why we love using Twitter. Following people involved in smallholding is a pleasure as everyone is happy, friendly and helpful (perhaps it’s all the fresh air).

Our first piece of Twitter advice (Twivice?!) came from the lovely Hannah at Hannah’s Herbs. She helped us to contain our fence jumping chickens with some useful hints on fencing and wing clipping. All our hens are now happy, laying and not able to get on the roof of the coop anymore!

So thank you Hannah! After the help we visited Hannah’s excellent website. It’s a treat to find people passionate about what they do and you won’t find anyone that knows more about herbs!

So here’s to the future of learning through Twitter and Facebook. Now, does anyone have any good ideas what to do with too many eggs?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After an incredibly long and fruitless search to find some chickens at point of lay we were lucky enough to come across Lisa and Chris, at Pencwarre Farm. They were really helpful, talked us through everything and showed us their amazing set up. Thanks for all the advice and some great chickens – we’ll be back!

They keep an accurate list online of available birds, so take a look – a great mix of  point of lays, cross breeds and rare breeds.

The girls have settled in well and we’re now up to 4 eggs a day! Any ideas on recipes to use them in would be great! (Especially ones that can go in the freezer!)

 

 

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