June 2018 Meeting & Events

Wednesday 13th June 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
‘Buildings’ Ask The Panel.  A panel of members, who have been Smallholders for some years, will give a short talk on the pros and cons of old and new buildings. There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion.
Report
Peat, Karen and Alan supported by Doug presented slides and information on the many and various farm buildings that they have been involved with and highlighted the joys and complications they have encountered in sitting, designing, sourcing materials – both new and reclaimed, and constructing or renovating the structures.

Peat concentrated mainly on new builds whilst Alan added in the challenges of modifying older farm buildings to modern needs. Karen introduced the use of recycled materials, in particular the value some reconstituted plastics as answers to the ever present problem of keeping things clean.

Sunday 24th June. Farm Visit
This will be on holding near Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, where cattle and horses are used for conservation grazing. There are also sheep and willow which is grown for a variety of different uses.

Report
A good number of members turned out on this lovely sunny day and enjoyed a tour of the farm, heath and gardens. The long spell of hot weather had dried everywhere out and for once wellingtons were confined to the car boot.
Tea, cool drinks and cakes were an added bonus. Thanks to our hosts for an excellent and informative tour.

For further information this holding is featured in July’s newsletter.

May 2018 Meeting & Events

Wednesday 9 May 2018 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Goat keeping for beginners a talk by Alan & Margaret.

Report
This was a well attended illustrated talk covering the basics of keeping goats as a productive resource. Breeds, housing, feeding, breeding, milking, fencing and shelter from the elements were all covered along with what to do with the milk, meat, muck and a bit on how to keep them reasonably healthy.

Sunday 20 May 2018. Demonstration at Blaenycoed
Goat keeping for beginners in practice demonstrated by Alan & Margaret.

Report
A small group attended and were able to see the way they kept their goats and now hopefully understand better the problems, pitfalls and pleasures of livestock management.
The highlight of the day was the opportunity to “milk” the somewhat undernourished training goat “Boardy”.
Margaret explained the various bits of equipment and the processes involved in cream separation, cheese making and ice cream making and samples were available for members to taste.

 

April 2018 Meeting

Wednesday 11 April 2018 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Talk and demonstration of peg looming and equipment given by Janet.
Report
The April meeting saw Janet surrounded by erstwhile peg loomers seeking the knowledge of how to turn almost anything into a usable fabric. Her sampler showed that you can use fleece – carded or uncarded, sisal, spun wool, old sheets, or even plastic shopping bags to create something that could be used around the holding. As they say – your imagination is your only limitation. Several members got their hands exercised twisting wool around the pegs and quite quickly gasping the rudiments of the operation. The simple equipment – a length of 3”x 2” hardwood with holes drilled to accommodate pieces of dowel, a bit of bent wire strapped to a short stick, some smooth string, something to weave with and a lot of patience seemed to be pretty well all you needed to get started.

March 2018 Meeting

Wednesday 14th March 2018 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Agricultural Steam Machinery, an illustrated historical perspective of the role of steam power in agriculture. A talk by Doug.

Report
This was a very interesting step back in time and one could clearly see the development of early basic machinery to the sophistication of present day equipment. Some present could clearly remember seeing some of the original types in action.

January 2018 Meetings & Events

Wednesday 10th January 2018 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.

Arwyn Davies from Food Centre Wales will be coming to speak to us. Arwyn is their Business Development Manager, who will be talking about the services they can offer to small producers (such as smallholders) including training and technical advice, food safety, help with product development and business start-up.

Sunday 21st January 2018 1pm for 1.30pm. New Year’s Lunch at The Carpenters Arms, Broadway, Laugharne, SA33 4NS. Telephone: 01994 427435.

The cost for a carvery main course will be £8.45 and for two courses (main & dessert) £10.45.
This is a very popular event so if you would like to come along please book your place with our Secretary at the January meeting as we need to confirm numbers by Monday 15th January.
Directions
Take the A4066 out of St. Clears to Laugharne. Continue through Laugharne on the A4066 to Broadway, less than a mile from the centre of Laugharne. The Carpenters Arms is on your right in Broadway village with their car park just beyond the pub.

December 2017 Meeting

Wednesday 13th December 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Christmas social. An evening to chat to friends and have a go at one of Keith’s quizzes. Please bring something for the buffet and you will need to bring your own plate and cutlery. If you wish you may bring your own alcoholic drink.
Entry is £1 per member with a FREE raffle ticket for the superior Christmas draw.
Event Report
The Christmas get together seemed to go well, as always the communal table was a success, and not too many committee members won raffle prizes!!!!

November 2017 Meeting

Wednesday 8th November 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
One of our members Tom Bailey of Origin Vets, has kindly agreed to talk about the Management & Health of Backyard Poultry. This is instead of the scheduled talk by Food Centre Wales (Horeb) that is postponed until January 2018

Meeting Report
Tom came armed with a huge amount of useful information to impart to a very pack meeting.
Tom started by reminding us of our duty of care to all our animals by referring to the Animal Welfare Act this is a piece of legislation which aims to ensure that animals are not mistreated by humans, whether through improper care or sheer cruelty. … Its aim was to update the Protection of Animals Act 1911, making the law reflect 21st century practice and the developments in veterinary science. It is based on the five freedoms and the five needs, more details can be found on the following web sites: www.gov.uk/guidance/animal-welfare and  www.animaladvocacy.ie/legislation/the-five-freedoms/

He then went on to impart:
• General Information
including a couple
of useful websites
chickenvet.co.uk/ and
http://vu.org/courses/00046.html

• Interesting facts about chickens
• Chicken terminology
• Why we keep chickens
• Chickens for eggs
• Chickens for meat
• Common problems
Our thanks to Tom for sharing his wealth of information

October 2017 Meeting

Wednesday 11th October 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
‘Making Wine’. A follow up talk from Tristan, who last year tempted us with his brewing talk and samples.
Meeting Report
Tristan titled his presentation ‘Country Wines’ and began by recommending some essential books to read before we started. We were then guided through the ingredients that could be used, equipment we would need, a basic method step by step, pitfalls to avoid, problems we may encounter and how to resolve them. This was followed by a lively question and answer session and then the best bit, the tasting of some very fine samples. It was a very informative evening, once again thank you Tristan.

September 2017 Meeting & Events

Wednesday 13th September 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
A talk by Rob Thomas, Head of Development at the National Botanical Gardens Wales. This will cover the history of gardens, the organic farm, charcoal and their green technology.
Meeting Report
Rob joined the National Botanical Gardens team in 2010, when the future of the gardens was uncertain,  his role is fundraising for the gardens. The mission of the garden is Conservation, Education and Inspiration.

The aims are for the gardens to:
♦  Provide a model for international botanical gardens
♦  Be dedicated to the well being of people, plants and the planet
♦  Give visitors a rich and rewarding experience
♦  Be good value for money

The estate itself has an interesting and intriguing history. The current Gardens take conservation seriously by working to demonstrate good practice they also support a scientific team who are working on a number of exciting projects. Volunteers are always welcome to not just help in the gardens but with one of the many ongoing projects including heritage restoration work. To find out more visit their very informative web site botanicgarden.wales

Sunday September 24th 11am. Farm walk in Meidrim.
Visit a small plantation of young Christmas trees and see how the experiment growing biomass (Willow) is progressing. With easy care sheep & bees to add some animal interest.
Meeting Report
About 20 of us were welcomed with tea & coffee to the last farm walk of 2017. The holding is rather steep, which makes clearing the bracken and gorse in order to succession plant their Christmas trees challenging. Other members talked about how they cope with managing steep ground. The up side is that it makes a good site for solar panels, which in turn provide shelter for their small flock of easy care sheep that shed their wool naturally. The bottom of their holding meets the river and after a lot of rain can flood its banks causing erosion and we could see how they had been working on trying to stabilise the bank with willow as well as plant it for biomass. Unfortunately they also have the very pretty but invasive Himalayan balsam growing along the bank, which is dealt with by cutting before seeding. As with all farm walks there is plenty of discussion and exchange of ideas as well as a sense of camaraderie. A very enjoyable day thanks to Adrian and Marion.