Friday, 29 February 2008

Y Dafarn

As I think I may have mentioned here previously, our village pub closed at the beginning of February and the owners have put in for planning permission to convert it into houses and build more houses in the car park. We don't have a village hall here, so the pub was where we held all sorts of community events like the village pantomime, the village dinner, the church Xmas fete, Talley Fun Day, etc. In addition, of course, it was somewhere to go for a drink and get out of the house and see people. Now that's all gone.

I've spent most of the day wading through Carmarthenshire County Council's Unitary Development Plan and writing my objection to the planning application. If you live anywhere near enough to me that you might ever visit the Edwinsford Arms, I encourage you to do the same. If you need help, just ask. The deadline for responses is 4 March, so do it now!

In other news, today is the last day of the month of February, and hence the last day of my daily blogging insanity. There are still something like three hours left to run on my poll, but the consensus is that I should blog weekly -- so what I will do is blog a minimum of once a week, unless I have something superduper to report like a lamb being born (which hasn't happened yet) or seven eggs in one day (which did happen today!)

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Noson Sgwrs Cymraeg

Just got back from the inaugural Welsh conversation night that Shelley has organised in Cwmdu and I think I can say that it was a success. Come along to the next one -- last Thursday night of every month, 7:30. Alternatively, come along next Tuesday (first Tuesday of every month) to the Angel in Llandeilo for more of the same...

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Gwaith Tŷ

Six eggs, no lambs (yet). Made bread, did some ironing, roasted a pheasant and made stock from the bones. Washed the sheets and towels and line-dried them outside for the first time in months. Read an interesting article about perennial chicory in the NSA magazine.

Phoned the camera place and they said that they think my camera will be fixed Friday, so please keep your fingers crossed...

Nos da.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008


I realised that my query about frogs was a bit random (thank for answering Jimmy!) so I thought I should explain a bit more...

We have a pond, and every year, there is one night (or sometimes two) when hundreds of frogs come across our lane and go up to the pond. They mate and leave lots of frog spawn which then develops into tadpoles and then, at some point in the summer, I see lots of little baby frogs hopping across the garden field towards the lane.

I never see the frogs that come here to mate leave after mating. The past few days, Greg and I have seen a number of dead frogs around the pond. Is this a case of that they mate and then die? Or is something else killing them? Do ducks eat frogs? Do ducks eat frog spawn? The ducks weren't in the pond at this time last year...

And what do the frogs do all winter? Where do they go?

Monday, 25 February 2008

Dysgu Cymraeg

Went to Welsh class and then afterwards ran into a woman who was in the very first Welsh class I ever went to three years ago. She stopped going to classes after a few months, and both she and another woman who was standing there expressed the belief that learning Welsh was such a hard thing to do -- GET OVER IT PEOPLE! Learning Welsh is not necessarily any harder than learning any other language. It has just become this self-perpetuating myth. If you want to learn Welsh and you set your mind to it, you can. Yes, there are things that help like having a good tutor, people to practice with, etc., but I know people who have learnt Welsh in all sorts of difficult situations like WHILE LIVING IN ENGLAND... So for all you people out there who think that Welsh is a difficult language, stop whining and go to class.

Six eggs today.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Mwy o bethau eto...

Baked some peanut butter cookies this morning and then took some of them up to Bridget's where Greg saw TWO lambs being born!

Bridget & Jon were kind enough to give us a trailer-load full of cow manure -- which our garden will much appreciate!

Our first daffodil is finally out:

And I have put the first egg in the waterglass!

Random question of the day: Does anybody know the lifespan of a frog? Jimmy?

Saturday, 23 February 2008


My camera is still in the shop, but Greg is home for the weekend, so I bring you these beauties from his posh camera phone...

We have started making the doors for the shed -- we've made two out of five doors so far...

Friday, 22 February 2008

Does dim alergeddau gyda fi...

Back from Swansea for the last time and the results are that...I am not allergic to anything. On one level I suppose this is good news (if true) but it is also bad news in that we have no idea what caused my face to explode back in September... I have had a long bath and feel much better now!

Angela bought me an early birthday present -- Poultry Keeping To-Day: Pictured and Explained by Walter Brett F.R.H.S. -- of course, as with all chicken books, the first thing I do is turn to the page where they tell you how to kill chickens -- and there are three feathers stuck to this page -- so way back in 1944, the previous owner of this book was standing there with the book in one hand and a chicken in the other, trying to figure out what to do... How do I know this? Because it's exactly what we did the first time round!

Six eggs today -- I am going to start putting eggs in waterglass tomorrow.

There's only one week of my month of daily blogging to go -- I've put a little poll for the future up there in the right hand corner -- please have a look and vote -- AND BE HONEST! I will not be offended if you all decide that what I write is a waste of space... However, I do reserve the right to do whatever I want in the future regardless of the results of the poll... :)

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Dim lot...

Took my scanner in to be fixed, picked up a book from the library, went to Welsh class, and dropped by to see Bridget. Off to bed now as I'm still tired from not having slept well when I had sticky tape all over my back...

In case other people out there are experiencing the same confusion as my father, my allergy testing has nothing to do with my being ill over the weekend, just a coincidence of timing...

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Mwy o bethau...

Down to Swansea again this morning... I took the same bus at the same time, got on at the same place, and asked for a ticket to the same destination -- and on Monday the fare was £2, and today it was £1.90. Do they have any idea what they're doing???

Got all the sticky tape removed from my back and the doctor said that nothing looks allergic yet, but he said that sometimes these things take time to come up, so we will see what it looks like on Friday.

Found two fabulous books in a charity shop for 10p each -- the first is a hardback copy of I Bought a Mountain by Thomas Firbank which I borrowed from Bridget last week -- it is out of print so I am quite pleased to have my own copy! The second is the Ilford Manual of Photography from 1942 which is full of all sorts of lovely geeky technical information...

Also went to the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery where I saw a very interesting exhibition of photos by Keith Arnatt.

Five eggs today.

Off to Cwmdu for the quiz now...

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Dim lluniau...

Greg let me have a lie-in today as I didn't sleep very well due to all this crap on my back. Luckily I just have one more night of feeling like a zombie as I get to go down to Swansea again tomorrow morning to get the samples removed...

When I finally got up I made some bread and also some vegetable soup but I have no pictures because my camera is STILL in the shop.

Also, my scanner broke, so I will have to go see about getting that repaired on Thursday... :(

Monday, 18 February 2008

Cludiant cyhoeddus

Had to go down to Swansea this morning to go to Singleton Hospital to find out which miracle of modern technology I am allergic to, and I will have to go there twice more this week, so, rather than drive all the way there, I drove to Llandeilo (9 miles each way, but until I get a bike, there's no other way to get there -- too far to walk really...) and then I took a train and a bus to get to the hospital and two different buses to get back. Carbon emissions saved: 4.5 kg!

More about Swansea to follow later in the week, but I'm off to attempt to sleep with lots of sticky tape on my back now...

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Another guest post from Greg

Thankfully Jessica is a lot better today but I am doing another post as she is busy this evening - normal service will resume tomorrow.

The following picture does not really get the image across but a tiny bit of shade causes the frost to stay on the ground. As the sun is so low at this time of year the shadow from a gate means we get stripy frost.

As there is very little grass at the moment and the low temperatures prevent any new growth we are giving the sheep hay:

This bale will last the six ewes a week and one small bale handily fills this empty feeder:

And then when I step aside - Happy Sheep - (I nearly wrote 'Hay Presto' but that would have been awful).

A friend has given us 30 beech seedlings so we have been busy replanting gaps in one of our hedges:

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Guest post from Greg.

Unfortunately with Jess still under the weather (and duvet) I have the dubious pleasure of producing today's blog entry. So here are some dodgy photos from my mobile phone and some equally shoddy commentary.

It is freezing overnight causing a hard frost.

But with clear skies it soon warms up to be above freezing so today was the day to turn the compost and extract some 'good stuff' from the bottom.

Lots of worms - we are not eating them but apparently they are a good source of protein.

And using the mandoline I got for Christmas I made Potato Dauphinoise for dinner.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Dw i'n sal...

Nothing to report today as I have felt like crap all day and aside from a few brief trips outside to feed the animals, I have spent all day lying on the sofa alternately sleeping and watching crap TV. The chickens are in bed now, and in about five minutes, I will be too. Nos da.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Y tafod glas

So there I was thinking how difficult this blogging without a camera thing was going to be, as most everything I've done today is pretty uneventful, when the news comes along and gives me a story.

If we have got all these movement restrictions and controls here in the UK, WHY on earth are we allowed to import animals from a country where there is known to be bluetongue circulating???

I just finished reading an excellent book that Bridget loaned me about a man who is farming in North Wales in the 1930s -- and he says then that the government is ruining agriculture and farming -- do things never change???

Wednesday, 13 February 2008


Went to Carmarthen today to take the camera in for repair. Managed to take a few photos before dropping the camera off, but after this, no more photos until Greg comes home at the weekend with his posh mobile phone...

Had planned to take the bus to Carmarthen today, but various things happened and I ended up sitting in traffic -- I know Carmarthen has only got a population of 13,000 people, but it was like driving in New York again!

You can't really see that well in this photo, but this morning when I went out to feed the duckies I saw that Dewi had what looks like a bloody nose -- is this possible? After a while, he got fed up with me photographing him and jumped in the pond and as soon as his head went underwater, the blood was gone, and he's been fine the rest of the day. Anybody have any ideas? Bridget?

Today was another five egg day -- they are so bright and sunshiny-yellow!

I think this little one might need to go in the freezer soon as it looks like his horns are starting to grow into his head...

Spotted these little ones on the way to Carmarthen -- can't wait until we have our own little lambs!

Off to eat my lamb's heart leftovers...

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Haf! (wel, bron...)

We've been having lovely summer days here the last few days -- but at night it drops down below freezing, and this morning I noticed that the frog spawn looked frozen -- does this mean they are dead?

Dug over this bed in the garden again and will be starting to plant things in it shortly -- I think it needs still MORE sand!

For supper tonight I made Stuffed Lambs Hearts -- I must admit, I got a bit nervous at the last minute as I was talking to Faith on the phone and she said that she needed to get off the phone as she couldn't bear to talk to me whilst I was eating a lamb's heart -- but they are absolutely yummy -- a bit like liver!

Today I think is the first time I have succeeded in drying a whole load of laundry outdoors since November...

And in other news, I took out the trash today. Unfortunately, I didn't set out to see how long I could go without taking it out, so I don't know precisely when I last did, but I would guess that there is about 7 weeks worth of rubbish in this bag...

Monday, 11 February 2008

Hwn a hon

Now that the roof is done, I tried to get various bits and pieces organised so that we can finish off the last remaining tasks on the shed. One thing that has been lurking for some time is this borax-based wood preservative. The doors are going to be made from untreated wood (unlike the rest of the shed which has been tanalised at the sawmill) and thus they need to be treated before being stained. I bought this ages ago and when it turned up and I saw that it was red I kind of freaked out but the woman from the shop who sold it to me said it wouldn't look red when it was on the wood -- and she was right!

Wood before:

And wood after (I imagine it will look a bit less shiny when fully dry):

Two good eggs today, plus this soft shelled egg -- is this the pullet hen's first egg?

Got a refill for the LPG for the cooker (I did warn you that if I blogged every day it would get boring):

My friend Angela gave me a jar of the marmalade she made yesterday -- and it does look like a jewel when the light is shining through it just so...

Bart dropped by with another pheasant:

And I will leave you with these last two photos that I took at sunset today while putting the chickens to bed:

My camera has been playing up again and I will shortly need to take it to the shop to be re-repaired -- so this blog will shortly be text only, and then my life will be even more boring -- so if there is anything you want to see a photo of before the camera goes away, ask now!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Dyn ni wedi gorffen y to!

It started off with a cold frost this morning...

...but with the aid of this lovely "full Bwlchyrhyd" that Greg cooked (egg from our hens, sausage from Goetre Farm shop in Llandysul, bacon from Julian Cooper in Llandeilo, bread made by Greg from flour ground at Bacheldre Watermill in Powys)...

...we were able to get the roof of the shed finished at last! Yippee!

Saturday, 9 February 2008


Now that eggs are no longer the rarity they have been of late (if I recall correctly, I think we had three today?), Greg treated us this evening with Yorkshire puddings AND pancakes filled with home-made apple sauce and real maple syrup that his parents brought back from Canada...

We went over to Llandysul this morning and looked into me getting a bicycle... Watch this space for further details. Or should I just say, watch the Talley Road!

To get there, we drove across Mynydd Llanllwni:

Bart's peacock came to visit us again today as well -- I think the chickens and the ducks were a bit confused...

And last but not least, I saw my first daffodils of the season in bloom today! Not ours I'm afraid, all the way over in Felindre -- perhaps it is warmer there?