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.
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 sitebotanicgarden.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.
Wednesday 9th August 8:00pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre. Mr & Mrs Rose who are Rhosyn (Carmarthen Market) will talk about making sausages. Meeting Report
The August meeting saw a really packed house all eager to listen to Emma & Neil Rose of Rhosyn Farm Produce talk about how they make their Sausages. First was an introduction to the animals they have now, followed by how from small beginnings, through sheer hard work and determination to produce the best that was possible, they developed the thriving Award winning business that they have Today. For more information head to their web site www.rhosynfarmproduce.weebly.com
The technicalities of making sausages from their Gloucester Old Spot pork was discussed in detail from the importance of at least a small amount of rusk, the source of flavouring, to the types of casing used and the final packaging, all helped by two important pieces of machinery and governed by lots of food safety rules & regulations. Thank you to Emma & Neil for giving up some of your very valuable time to inspire us all. A more detailed report is available in your September Newsletter.
Sunday 20th August 10:30am. The Big Kit Show & BBQ near Blaenycoed An opportunity to spend a day looking at all the equipment that DSA Members can gather together that a smallholder might use. From hand tools to tractors, kitchen scales to milking equipment, apple peelers to cider presses. If at all possible there will be demonstrations of equipment in use and an opportunity to compare different approaches to farm tasks e.g. scything versus mechanical hay cutting, an axe versus a 13 tonne log splitter, hand milking versus machine. Some of the equipment will have been bought new, some second hand from dealers, some bought at auction, some built by our members, or it might have been adapted from something quite different We will have a sort of Car Boot sale for smallholding equipment – but please keep it relevant! There will be a BBQ going with various burgers, sausages and possibly some other things available – but contributions of other foodstuffs would welcome.
From hand held seed/fertiliser spinners to tractor winches for pulling 4 logs up hills. It was all there as were a large number of members as it drew a different cross section to a normal farm walk. From tunnels within poly-tunnels and tomato support structures to having a go at welding. In the animal shed if the bedding builds up too much just mount some more bolt on gate hangers higher up the post. Lots to see and think about plus a boot sale and a barbeque. A good day. Well done and thank you to Alan and Margaret
Wednesday 12th July 7:30pm. Barbeque near Llangynog. There is a cost of £2.50 per person, £5 to guests/non-members. This includes burgers sausages, veggie option, buns, tea, coffee and soft drink. A contribution to communal table, in form of salads and sweets would be appreciated. Bring something to eat from and with, something to sit on and something to drink from. If people want to enjoy a tipple please bring your own Event Report
A good time was had by all who attended, with the gas BBQ proving a success.
Sunday 30th July 11am. Farm walk near Horeb. July’s farm walk is a visit to Barry & Julie Gwilt at Horeb. Meet 10.30 for 11am. start and don’t forget your picnic. Barry and Julie will welcome you to their 27 acre smallholding on the edge of the Brechfa forest. They keep horses, sheep and chickens. Walk around holding followed by lunch, then a small quiz. Hope to see lots of you. Event Report
Barry and Julie took us around their holding where they indulge their passion for horses. We met the exceeding tame sheep, which do an excellent job following their many lively horses’, so helping to keep the fields sweet. Once back at the stables we met two more horses who are shown. Then having feasted on sandwiches and various cakes we had a flower recognition quiz that got quite serious as there was chocolate for the winner.
Sunday 11th June 11:30am. Visit to Down To Earth Project on the Gower. An opportunity to visit this worthwhile project, where smallholding, sustainability and eco builds are used to help the disadvantaged. SA3 1ED will get you in the area but not to the site! Event Report
We would like to thank Jon and Amanda for giving up their Sunday to show us around the Down to Earth Project. It was very interesting and as one who cannot even saw firewood straight I was very impressed with all the carpentry. Amanda also supplied us with excellent cakes.
Wednesday 14th June 7:00pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Mart, 200metres further up the road from up the road from Carmarthen Veterinary Centre A visit to Carmarthen Mart where we will be shown the facilities available and the process of selling and buying your stock at the mart will be explained by the auctioneers. Please note the start time will be 7:00pm not the usual 8:00pm. Meeting Report
The market is owned by Bob Jones Prytherch & Co Marts Limited (BJP marts). We were shown around by the Manager and his Clerk who explained how the market is run and what we would need to do as buyers or sellers of livestock.
All of the details about sales (including sale catalogues) can be found on their website www.bjpmarts.com. Further notes by Amanda are available in your Newsletter.
Sunday 25th June 10:30am for 11:00am start. Farm walk at East Williamston on two neighbouring smallholdings. 1) Approx 17 acres, with sheep, poultry and ponies. 14 years of environmental schemes with extensive tree and hedge planting and a wildlife pond. 2) Approx 10acres, with wildflower hay meadow, fruit orchard and woodland. Large veg plot, one chicken and beehives. Glastir for 5 years.
Our farm walk with Cliff & Tim and then onto Sue next door gave us a chance to see sheep horses and chickens with a walk around fields, orchards woodland and ponds. Cliff and Tim have done a lot of work and had photos mounted at various places so that we could see how their holding was when they took over. Good productive vegetable areas making full use of poly tunnels with automated watering systems using collected rainwater. The otters in their pond make life dangerous for toads which they skin before eating. Sue has a big problem with her pond with one of these foreign invasive weeds taking it over.
Wednesday 10th May 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre. One of our members will talk about ‘Pig Keeping for Beginners’. Meeting Report
There was a full room for the talk about keeping pigs aimed at the newcomer to keeping these animals. We were advised to start at the end of the process before getting pigs so that aspects such as slaughter, transport and sufficient freezer space are all sorted before the day they are needed. Types of housing were then considered from temporary straw bale to permanent constructions, all with correct insulation to ensure food intake is converted to growth. It was highlighted that access for pigs and keepers is important as what is fine when they are weaners may not be adequate when they are porkers. Methods containment of were discussed as pigs are powerful and dig well. The advantages of weaners against buying a sow were covered. Feeding and diet were explained along with options on inseminating sows. Finally health and common diseases were discussed.
Saturday 20th May. St Clears Show at Carmarthen Showgrounds We will again be in attendance and this is an opportunity for members to sell non-perishable produce. Volunteers are needed to man the tent on the day and to help set up on Friday evening. If you can help contact a committee member. Event Report
This year DSA won shield for best stand at the show. Thank you to everyone who came and contributed to our win. One visitor said it was the liveliest, or did they mean noisiest, did they mean noisiest, marquee there!
Wednesday 12th April 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre Power Of Attorney and Inheritance Planning with RedKite Solicitors
Once again Mathew Bowen from Red Kite Solicitors came to give us a very informative talk, this time on Lasting Power of Attorney, New Inheritance Tax rules & proposed new Probate fees. Power of Attorney (PoA): There are 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney, one for Finance and another for Health & Wellbeing. Both comprise of 3 parts that need completing. New Inheritance Tax Rules from 6th April 2017: Allowances before Inheritance tax becomes payable these apply to a person and their main residence. Probate Fees: There was a draft proposal, awaiting final approval in Parliament during May 2017, which would alter the fees from a flat rate to a banding rate depending on the value of the estate. This has not come into force as a general election was called.
Further information available from Red Kite Solicitors www.redkitelaw.co.uk
Wednesday 8th February 8pm. Monthly Meetings at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre. DSA AGM Your only chance to attend a DSA AGM this year. Please come and support your association. Meeting Report
At the AGM two committee members stood down and the committee is pleased to welcome two new members. All other officers and members remain in post. Members expressed a wish to again be at the St. Clears Show. So now is the time to think about and start preparation of items you may wish to put on display or offer for sale. First aid kits are present at all meetings and events held by DSA. We have at least two qualified first aiders. Anyone willing to use their first aid qualification please inform any committee member.
Wednesday 8th March 8pm. Monthly Meetings at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre. The Hand Made sausage company will talk on making your own sausages and bacon.
Wednesday 11th January 2017 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre. Weed control with Andrew, one of our members. Get prepared to defeat those weeds before the season starts and January is a good time to plan your strategy for controlling weeds on the holding. With new legislation this is no longer a case of splashing on the spray, so Andrew who is fully certified in weed control will lead us through our options on this invasive subject. Report It was a good turn out to the first DSA talk of the year, despite avian flu and the threat of thunder and snow. I’m sure this reflected many of our battles with invasive weeds on our smallholdings. Andrew has been in business providing weed control since 2003, he provided a knowledgeable and helpful talk with many tips for us all. He started explaining that he has to operate within 16 pieces of legislation from the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) to the Ragwort Control Act(2003); with 6 alone relating to spraying near watercourses. Good to remember for any of us considering the best options to manage weeds on our plots.
Sunday 22nd January 2017 1pm. New Years Lunch at The Smiths Arms in Llangyndeyrn. Meet from 12.30 on wards in the bar for pre-lunch drinks.
Menu To start
Chefs leek & potato soup
Garlic mushrooms on toasted ciabatta
Crispy Cajun spiced strips of chicken with sweet chilli sauce
Homemade salmon & cod fishcakes with tartare sauce Main course
Grilled fillet of hake with roasted peppers & pesto
Roast breast of turkey with all the trimmings
Pan fried breast of chicken with a bacon, red wine & thyme sauce
Baked peppers stuffed with spinach, cous-cous, roasted vegetables & topped with goats cheese
Served with a seasonal vegetables & potatoes Selection of homemade desserts