Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Diwedd y blog

Tried to post the other day and my browser won't work. Came to the general conclusion that modern computers require a nearly constant Internet connection to keep updating themselves, and I don't have that any more. I could take my computer round somebody else's house and update it, but the same thing would undoubtedly happen again before long, so have just decided I can't be bothered.

I am now going to produce a paper newsletter monthly with news from Heol Cennen and thoughts regarding sustainability. If you would like to receive this, please send a stamped addressed envelope to 60 Heol Cennen, Ffairfach, Llandeilo, SA19 6UH, United Kingdom.

I am going to leave this blog here for posterity and as a point of reference but I will not be posting or reading comments any more.

Thanks to everybody for reading it over the years and for all your support.

Sunday, 27 September 2009


Jon the plumber is working as I type, and he assures me that he expects me to be able to use the Rayburn by the end of the week -- yippee!

In other news, earlier in the week, my friend Andy was making fun of me for having my electricity generated by wind, but really this a very simple thing that anybody can have, regardless of where you live. Good Energy provides 100% renewable electricity -- I think their mix is something like 99% wind and 1% solar, and if you are generating your own electricity, they will buy that back off you as well. Lots of other electricity companies offer so-called green tariffs, but they are more green-wash than actual green.

When I first moved into this house, the electricity was supplied by Scottish Power. I had to keep them as my electricity supplier for a few weeks until I could get switched over to Good Energy, and this process of course generated the obligatory phone call from somebody at Scottish Power trying to convince me not to switch. He started going on about some new competitive rate they were going to offer me and I explained that I wasn't switching to save money but because I wanted to be on a green tariff. He replied that Scottish Power was a green electricity supplier but when I asked him to send me details about where their electricity comes from he ended the call and I haven't heard from them since. If you're on a green tariff from somebody other than Good Energy, ask them what their electricity mix actually comprises -- you'll be surprised. Also, bear in mind that even if they are supplying you with 100% renewable electricity, they are still selling non-renewables to other customers. Really, you have no reason not to switch now.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Y gegin

Rayburn flue has now been fitted, and am just waiting for Jon to finish making hay so he can come install the new hot water cylinder, etc. Still won't have kitchen units for a while as I haven't even ordered them yet (although I might do that tomorrow) but have got thoroughly fed up with eating out all the time and am so desperate to be able to cook again that I think I am going to try to rearrange the boxes in my dining room so that I can get at the table and use David & Angela's gas camping stove again...

Work has been very busy this week -- was up at Aberystwyth Food & Drink Festival on Saturday and it was mad -- I didn't stop to breathe at all between about 9:30 and 1:30! A good day, but hopefully this week will be a bit less insane. Also, I know I should have written about this before rather than after the fact, but you should still be able to see it on iPlayer or something -- the goat farm was featured on Hairy Bikers on BBC2 last Friday evening, so check it out and you can see where I work!

Also had an interesting conversation with the people at Dŵr Cymru. At Bwlchyrhyd, we had spring water and a septic tank, so didn't have to deal with water rates, but now that I'm here in town, I do. A lot of people (myself included) mistakenly think that if you have a water meter installed, that's it, and you can't ever go back, which makes them reluctant to take the chance in case it ends up costing more. The good news is, that's not true. You've got 12 months to change your mind about the meter, which is more than enough time to see if it's saving you money (or if you should be reducing your water usage!) Give it a try -- if you are conserving water like you should be, odds are it will save you money as well. I have filled in my application form and will keep you posted when I discover how much water I am actually using (I suspect it's quite minimal...)

Sunday, 13 September 2009


Still no luck uploading photos, and at this point, I don't think there's going to be -- was speaking to a friend last night who said that she'd never succeeded in uploading photos on a dial-up connection either, so sorry folks, but I think this may become a text-based blog. If you want to see photos of anything I write about, send me a letter at 60 Heol Cennen, Ffairfach, Llandeilo, SA19 6UH with photos of what you're up to, and I'll send you one back.

Not much news to report really -- no new progress on the Rayburn so I will have to ring Down Home tomorrow morning and see what is going on there. Have been working full-time at Cothi Valley Goats so that is occupying most of my time at the moment.

If you're in Aberystwyth next Saturday, pop by the market and say hello!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Cymru am byth!

Back home and very happy to be here!

Rayburn has been installed but flue not fitted yet so I am still in the land of not cooking...

Also, still can't upload photos. Has anybody else out there succeeded in uploading photos on a dial-up connection? Have tried making the images smaller and doing them one at a time to no avail...

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Mae hiraeth arna i...

Still in America. Didn't make it to the fibre festival yesterday due to the incredible unhelpfulness of the folks at Avis yesterday, so don't have much to say now as I was planning on writing about that, so sorry I didn't get to meet up with you Cyndy...

Back to Wales on Thursday -- can't wait! Cymru am byth!!!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Dw i'n teithio...

Apologies for having missed the last two Sundays. I'm currently travelling around America for a few weeks, so am writing this from my friend Noah's house in Richmond. Was going to try to post last Sunday before I left but was busy ripping out the last of my kitchen so didn't get a chance.

The upshot of this is that I have no kitchen at the moment. Handily, as I'm not there, it doesn't really matter, and, fingers crossed, my Rayburn will be installed while I'm away.

I've also been talking to some people about the image uploading thing so hopefully I'll sort that when I get back as well.

More news to follow after 3 September...

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Gwaith tŷ

Well, can't seem to manage to upload photos for some reason, so...

Just been trying to get things sorted out in the house. I'm putting a Rayburn in the kitchen, but there's no cooker there at the moment, so am using a gas camping stove that Angela & David have kindly leant me.

Also working on getting the damp in the bedroom sorted -- we've discovered that there's no flashing on the chimney, so O is putting that up and hopefully that will solve it.

Got my new chest freezer delivered -- the old one was too big for the world's smallest house -- so am back to eating my own lambs again.

Not much else really -- just realising that I haven't got rid of enough stuff as there's no place to put it all! How did I come to own so many things and do I really need them all???

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Dw i wedi symud!

The move is all done, I no longer own Bwlchyrhyd... Everything all still in boxes and chaos, but will post more soon...

Friday, 17 July 2009

Dw i'n symud!!!

The long awaited exciting news is finally here -- we have found a buyer for Bwlchyrhyd and I am moving!!! As you will see, the name of the blog has changed, but the URL will stay the same.

In a way, this will be even more of an exciting challenge than Bwlchyrhyd was -- it's one thing to live on a smallholding in the countryside and say you're going to be self-sufficient -- it's another to say you're going to do the same thing on the edge of a small town. I do realise that not everybody is lucky enough to have the opportunity to live somewhere like Bwlchyrhyd, but my new house is probably a lot more similar to more people's living situations -- so hopefully this can be a useful and educational experience/experiment.

Am posting this from a friend's house as I am literally mid-move right now, but will try to blog as regularly as I can, so watch this space!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Newyddion Banc Olive

This post is mainly stuff Bridget could be posting herself, but her computer's not working and I don't have much news of my own at the moment, so...

Bridget has had lots and lots of chicks this summer -- this one is a Sablepoot. If I remember correctly, there are four of them, and they are tiny -- this one is already three weeks old!

These are Light Sussex chicks from my hens (but sadly not my cockerel as he proved to be infertile and then later got eaten by a fox...)

The ducklings are still doing well and growing much more rapidly than chicks do:

And finally some photos of my own -- these were taken at 6 am the other morning on my way up to Cilwr:

Sunday, 5 July 2009


Sorry, no pictures this week. Just to let you all know, I will be at Haverfordwest Farmers Market this coming Friday, 10th July, representing Cothi Valley Goats, so if you are in the area, pop down and say hello!

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Hwyaid eto

The good news is, the ducklings are all growing rapidly and are all doing very well. The sad news is, Del died last Sunday. Of what, we don't know...

Sunday, 21 June 2009


Lookit -- Del had little ducklings! This was actually the other week, so they are older now, but these pictures were taken the day after they hatched -- so cute!!! And swimming already!

In other news, Angela brought me back this lovely looking flour from Worksop -- can't wait to make bread with it!

I know I have been bad about posting regularly, but I am going to try to post something every Sunday -- perhaps if I have a bit of structure it will help...

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Egni/Carbon/ac ati...

Here's a question for all you number crunchers out there:

Say you're designing the heating/hot water/cooking system for a small 1 bedroom house, not a new build. Which of the following is the most efficient/has smallest carbon emissions?

1. Heat (and hot water in winter) provided by wood burner with back boiler connected to hot water cylinder & radiators. Hot water in summer provided by solar thermal panels, backed up by an electric immersion heater powered by either PV panels or wind turbine backed up by connection to green electricity supplier. Cooking to be done on electric cooker.

2. Heat provided by wood burner in lounge & wood burning Rayburn in kitchen/diner. Hot water provided by back boiler on Rayburn. Cooking to be done on Rayburn. Either PV panels or wind turbine to provide for electricity needs (lighting, etc.)

3. Is there something else out there that I haven't thought of yet?

All answers greatly welcomed...

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Banc Olive

Tuesday night I stayed up at Banc Olive and looked after Bridget's animals -- it was a lovely night, one night after the new moon.

Recognise these?

Thomas the calf, less than 24 hours old:

And, of course, Jessica engaging in her favourite activity -- bottle-feeding little April!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Bara Saffrwm

Angela brought me back this beautiful (and delicious) saffron loaf from Cornwall -- it reminded me a bit of a sweet Rosh Hashanah challah, but according to Jane Grigson's recipie, it doesn't contain eggs -- all that lovely colour just comes from the saffron!

Speaking of food, I just finished reading a really scary book called The Death of Grass by John Christopher. I originally caught part of this a couple of months ago when it was dramatised for Radio 4, and I would highly reccomend it. It was written in 1956, and either John Christopher just has a vivid imagination or else he's psychic -- it's uncannily relevant right now.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Penblwydd Hapus i Fi

Yes, last Sunday was my birthday, and I am now a staggering 37 years old...

Spotted this lovely rainbow on the way to the Cawdor for a lovely meal with T who also gave me the most beautiful book in the world...

Also got from Angela & David the most clever bowl in the world -- it has got a foot to help it keep steady when you are beating things! I will most definately be cooking with it tomorrow...

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Clychau'r gog

The white bluebells are here again and I heard the cuckoo yesterday, so spring must be here.

In other exciting news, from this coming Friday (24/4) my homemade bread will be available for sale in Pinc, so if you're in Llandeilo on a Friday morning, check it out!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Newyddion -- Bron...

I know I keep saying exciting things are coming soon, and they are; you will just have to wait a little longer.

The above photo was taken seconds before the sun came up properly. I was getting ready to go to work and stepped outside and saw that. Nipped back in, grabbed the camera, took the photo. By the time I'd put the camera back inside and gone back out again, the sun was up properly and that lovely pink glow was gone -- that's a bit what my life feels like at the moment -- the sun will be up shortly -- but I am not going to say anything now and jinx things so you will just have to wait a bit longer.

The peacock has come to visit again today -- not quite sure why, but he does seem to like spending time over here at this time of year. It's a lovely day so I am now off out to hang my laundry on the line.

Sunday, 29 March 2009


Something to reflect on as the clocks change:

"Imagine the Earth devoid of human life, inhabited only by plants and animals. Would it still have a past and a future? Could we still speak of time in any meaningful way? The question 'What time is it?' or 'What's the date today?' -- if anybody were there to ask it -- would be quite meaningless. The oak tree or the eagle would be bemused by such a question. 'What time?' they would ask. 'Well, of course, it's now. The time is now. What else is there?'"

-- from The Power of Now by Eckhard Tolle

Monday, 9 March 2009

The Age of Stupid

I went up to see this film in Aberystwyth last Friday night and I highly recommend it. It will make you think.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Gŵyl Dewi Sant

Happy St David's Day... Daffodils are not out yet -- I have seen some open in other places, but not here at Bwlchyrhyd -- but I have finally succeeded in seeing last Wednesday's new moon (I guess it's not really so new now, but...)

Thursday, 26 February 2009


What are you doing tomorrow morning? Fancy buying some of my home-made bread? Come along to the Country Market in Llandovery this Friday and every Friday thereafter...

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Have been doing some tidying up and getting rid of junk -- what a difference it makes!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


What an auspicious day -- first a visitor I've not seen in a long time, and then tonight hopefully I will see the new moon...

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Mwy eira!

Sorry folks, but for as long as this wonderful weather continues, this blog will continue to feature far too many gratuitous snow photographs!

This was Saturday morning and was a lovely bonus as I hadn't realised snow had been forecast overnight...

This was about lunchtime today -- no new accumulation today, but snow showers are so much nicer than rain showers -- and you can barely even see the top of the mountain -- lovely!

AND, there is MORE SNOW to come! Yippee!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Y Tywydd

Still rather wintry up here, although the lane is now largely cleared. However, and I don't have a photo of this I'm afraid as I was in the car and didn't have my camera with me, but I was driving home through Salem this evening and I actually saw daffodils by the side of the road, in full bloom -- shocking!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The snow has arrived!!!!!

Here we have Mr Snowman. Whenever it snows I just have to build one. It's the child in me it takes over!!!

A picture looking up the valley towards Jessica's:

Ben with lots of snow and ice all over him. He did look funny!!!!!!!!

Jon feeding the rams, the dogs are having lots of fun in the snow.

In the foreground we have Fred with Whitey behind her and Mrs Sorrowful at the hay rack.

The sun was on its way up this morning, this was at 07.40:

The white fluffy flakes have now landed on Banc Olive and it looks beautiful.


Wow -- if I thought I was happy yesterday, that was nothing... At some point in the middle of the night I woke up and it was quite bright as the moon is about half full, and I could see that already there was more snow, and now there is even more. This photo was taken about an hour ago from the top of the field looking down the Cothi Valley -- and it's snowed even more since then -- I am sat here now looking out at my footsteps across the yard and they are rapidly getting covered over!

This was taken about 8:00 this morning just as the sun was trying to peek over the edge of the mountain:

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Sunday Morning

After checking the ewes this morning I just had to get a couple of pic's of the sky.Is this the lull before the storm ( Red sky in the morning Shepherds warning?) We will have to wait and see!!!

Thursday, 29 January 2009


We have had more lambs born this week. Some of them are really small so I have been bringing them into the house for some colostrum. They are that small Willow the Jack Russell looks huge against them. To keep the lambs warm I put them into the Rayburn bottom oven of course its only warm not hot. Some of the lambs are very rattly on the lungs, once they get over that they seem to go on and live. We have lost a few.