April, May 2019 Meetings & Events

Please remember that all DSA meetings, farm walks and other events are NO SMOKING, which includes e-cigarettes.

Wednesday 10th April 7:45pm for 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Introduce Yourself
This is intended as a social evening with tea/coffee and biscuits and an opportunity to find out a little about other members and what they do. Don’t worry you don’t have to take part if you don’t want to! Just enjoy an evening in the company of like-minded smallholders.

Sunday 28th April 10am onwards at Blaenycoed 
Goat-keeping Day  
Margaret and Alan your hosts will concentrating on all things goaty. They will look at breeds, housing, milking, fencing, feeding, breeding and general management issues. Along with cream separation, cheese making, butter making, yoghurt making and ice-cream making.
Consideration will be given to slaughter, meat production and produce storage.
For those who have never hand milked, their trusty ‘practice goat’ “Boardy” will be on hand. They will be at the end of the kidding period–but there is a small chance that something might pop out on the day!
More details on how to be involved are in the April Newsletter.

Wednesday 8th May 7:45pm for 8pm.  Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Hay Meadows
Andrew Martin, Chair of Carmarthenshire Meadows Group will be a talking on managing this precious resource.

Sunday 12th May Woodland/Hedgerow themed Farm Walk. Further details in  May’s Newsletter.

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Further details of all the above activities are available to members in their DSA monthly Newsletter. For non members who would like to find out more please use our ‘Contact Us’ page.

March, April, May 2019 Meetings & Events

Please remember that all DSA meetings, farm walks and other events are NO SMOKING, which includes e-cigarettes.

Wednesday 13th March 7:45pm for 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Polytunnels
We will be having a talk on growing in polytunnels by Cliff and Tim, the writers of our regular newsletter article ‘Horticulture Corner’. This is your opportunity to come along and ask any questions you have on this topic of interest to all gardeners.

Saturday 23rd March. Carmarthenshire Meadows Group Spring Meeting at Drefach Felindre. Details on this link

Wednesday 10th April 7:45pm for 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Introduce Yourself
Everyone gets a chance to introduce themselves and say what they do or plan to do on their smallholding. It is a great way to get to know everyone.

Wednesday 8th May 7:45pm for 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Hay Meadows
This will be a talk on managing this precious resource.

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Further details of all the above activities are available to members in their DSA monthly Newsletter. For non members who would like to find out more please use our ‘Contact Us’ page.

 

February 2019 Meeting & Events

Please remember that all DSA meetings, farm walks and other events are NO SMOKING, which includes e-cigarettes.

Sunday 3rd February
Biomass Willow Workshop

An opportunity to experience the production processes i.e. ground preparation, planting and pruning of biomass willow and to collect starter whips for your own project.

Wednesday 13th February 7:45pm for 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
AGM Report
This was well attended. Various points on the constitution were discussed and updated. There were some changes to the elected posts of Secretary & Treasurer as current holders were unable to commit their time in the coming year. Both were thanked by the Chairman and members present for their sterling work over the past few years. This meant some new members were encouraged to join the committee and we wished them well. Cheese and wine were enjoyed after the meeting.

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Further details of all the above activities are available to members in their DSA monthly Newsletter. For non members who would like to find out more please use our ‘Contact Us’ page.

January 2019 Meeting & Events

Please remember that all DSA meetings, farm walks and other events are NO SMOKING, which includes e-cigarettes.

Wednesday 9th January 2019 7:45pm for 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
A talk on farm accounts. One of our members will give a talk, on what your accountant can do for you and accountancy in general.  A chance to explore this subject, whether or not you currently employ an accountant, and to put any financial questions you may have.

Sunday 20th January 2019 1pm for 1:30pm. The Carpenters Arms, Broadway, Laugharne, SA33 4NS. Telephone: 01994 427435.

New Year’s Lunch It will be a carvery and the cost is £8.45 for just the main course or £10.45 for main and dessert. Come along and enjoy a lunch time out with lots of other members.To get to The Carpenters Arms, 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.
Book your place with our Membership Secretary by Monday, 14th January

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Further details of all the above activities are available to members in their DSA monthly Newsletter. For non members who would like to find out more please use our ‘Contact Us’ page.

October 2018 Meeting & Events

Please remember that all DSA meetings, farm walks and other events are NO SMOKING, which includes e-cigarettes.

Wednesday 10th October 7:45pm for 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Tanning: Emma Allum from the Welsh Organic Tannery will give a talk on what they do and the services and products they have to offer and will have some examples of their work. If you’ve ever wondered what to do with the skins from your sheep and goats or are just interested in the tanning process, come and find out how the tanning is done and what is possible.
Report
Our thanks to Steve Allum for a fascinating talk. The Welsh Organic Tannery is the only certified organic tannery in Wales and specialise in producing sheepskin and goatskin rugs, providing a service to smallholders and farmers to enable them to gain extra revenue when they take their animals for slaughter. The tannery is purpose built and is situated on a smallholding nestled on the Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire border. The organic tanning process takes a minimum of 3 weeks and can take up to 3 months depending on the age, breed and sex of the animal for example an old ram will take much longer due to the thicker skin and increased levels of testosterone.
After going through several processes the skins are then branded with our logo and stamped according to their origination. Skins that have come from certified organic flocks and herds are stamped organic and those which come from non-certified farms are stamped as natural. Another plus is that not only the rugs organically tanned, they are machine washable. For further information visit their web site www. welshorganictannery.co.uk

Sunday 14th October 11.30am. Visit to Food Centre Wales in Horeb.

 

 

Following on from the talk given by Arwyn Davies, Business Development Manager at the Food Centre Wales, in January there will be an opportunity for a tour of their facilities.
Followed by an optional lunch afterwards at the Ffostrasol Arms, cost of £14.95 for two courses.

Saturday 20th October 11am – 3pm approx. Basic chainsaw maintenance at Blaenycoed
Jon will be your mentor for basic chainsaw maintenance. For all those who have a chainsaw but don’t really know how to look after it. We’ll cover routine maintenance, sharpening technique, and safety features. If time permits, we’ll look at good practice for using your saw too. Some of the information will apply to petrol saws only but lots of stuff will be relevant to electric chainsaws too.

September 2018 Meeting & Events

Please remember that all DSA meetings, farm walks and other events are NO SMOKING, which includes e-cigarettes.

Sunday 2nd September 11am. Farm Walk Brechfa
We are invited to Dawn and Martins holding where they keep water-buffalo among other animals. Please can we ask no dogs are brought along.

Report
A sunny day saw an excellent turnout for the walk around Dawn and Martin’s 20 acre holding high up in the Brechfa forest. In only four years, they have transformed the holding from a badly pony-overgrazed disaster area into a highly productive and attractive site. They are now almost self sufficient for meat, fruit and vegetables and are working to establish a willow rotation coppice to keep them warm as well. Much fencing work and erection of animal shelters has been undertaken and there is now a patchwork of permanent paddocks and further options for division using electric fencing. The current horticultural area, with its polytunnels, fruit cages and raised beds is destined for future extension. Much of the produce is preserved for year round availability by drying, bottling, freezing and canning. Goats provide milk and associated dairy products whilst Hebridean sheep give wool and meat. Alpacas provide fleeces for Dawns craft enterprise. Water buffalo are a recent arrival and are already proving their worth as high quality meat producers. Pigs complete the four legged picture Bees, hens and turkeys are all catered for and in turn cater for their hosts.
All-in-all the assembled throng were awed by the amount of work that has already gone into the enterprise and congratulate Dawn and Martin on their achievement to date.

Wednesday 12th September 7.45pm for 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre
Farming and Wildlife: A talk on by Alan, one of our members, who will hope to persuade you that farming and wildlife, can co-exist. It just takes the right mindset for the farmer and a few basic facts of life to consider.

Sunday 30th September 11am. Basic skills event at Blaenycoed
Stock Fencing: A day to learn basic fencing techniques by actually creating a stock proof post and wire fence. This will be weather dependant so be prepared for postponement.

 

August 2018 Meeting & Events

Wednesday 8th August 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Steve Lucas from the Bat Conservation Society is coming to talk to us and give us a chance to do some bat spotting!
Report
Steve gave us an excellent informative and illustrated talk on bats. We learnt about the species found in Wales, their population status and the kind of habitats each species preferred. It would seem that Pembrokeshire is particularly well-endowed with bats both in species, type and numbers. Steve also covered bat physiology, emphasising their differing needs for feeding, breeding, overwintering and raising young. As well as emphasising that the best way to help conserve bats is to manage their habitats appropriately.

Sunday 12th August 11am. Farm Sale Mynyddcerrig, Llanelli
This is a chance to pick up a bargain or sell a no longer needed item that is related to smallholding items.
Pam has sold her holding and although her purchasers are buying it as a going concern there are still some items to sell.  This is not an auction but more of a car boot or farm barn sale.
If members have related items they would like to sell then they are welcome to bring them along.

Just to remind to members that it is normally necessary to bring a cup and sandwiches for lunch and if you wish a chair to sit in. We are often offered cake at these walks but this is entirely at the host’s discretion.

July 2018 Meeting & Events

Wednesday 11th July 7pm. Summer Barbeque near Llangynog.
It’s BBQ time and once again we will be gathering on one of our members holdings.
BBQ basics will be provided – burgers, sausages, bread rolls, all cooked under the supervision of Andy but members are asked to bring along supporting eatables – salads, puddings etc – for the communal table.
You will also need to bring your own crockery and cutlery and something to sit on. A £2.50 charge to members and £5 to guests will be collected on the night.
Report
Despite intense competition from a certain football match on the TV, 35 members turned up for our annual BBQ. Andy controlled the cooking with consummate skill whilst keeping an eye on his mobile phone for any news of England’s potential demise (later confirmed). The communal table was well laden with a range of very tasty contributions. Our thanks to Penny and John for once again hosting our annual summertime gathering.

Sunday 22nd July. Farm Walk at near Solva Pembrokeshire.
There will be Icelandic sheep and horses, as well as goats chickens and ducks. The farm is also involved in conservation grazing.

We apologise but due to unforeseen circumstances this Walk has been cancelled.

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.