New Year Lunch

The DSA New Year Lunch will be on Sunday 25th January at Tafarn Pantydderwen in Llangain, which is about 5 miles out of Carmarthen on the Llanstephan road. One two or three course lunch at £8.95, £12.50, £15.95. Bookings to Liz Phillips, Treasurer by January 20th please. Contact details can be found on our Contact Page

January Meeting

Our monthly meeting will be an auction conducted by professional auctioneer Nigel Hodson. This is your opportunity to sell on all those Christmas presents you don’t want, or any items you no longer need. If small enough then bring them along. For larger items and livestock leave them at home but bring along a good picture and description of the item. You may also bring along a promise to auction. The DSA will charge you 10% commission, minimum £1, of the selling price of the item with the option to give more if you wish. So get into those barns and sheds and start looking for those potential money spinners.

The auction will take place on Wednesday, 14th. January, 2015, 8:00pm at the Gremlin Club Carmarthen. See you there.

Christmas Social

This month there is no formal meeting, instead we are having a social evening. There is no door fee so you will save yourself £1 by coming. Instead of buying a raffle ticket if you bring a present for the “pot” then you will receive a drawer ticket. Please bring something for the communal food table and be prepared to join in with the beetle drive and quiz for which I believe there is an alcoholic prize (that is a bottle, not a person!)

Our social takes place  on Wednesday, 10th December, 8:00pm, at the Gremlin club Carmarthen. See you there.

November Meeting

32834This Wednesday, 12th November, there will be a talk by the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service on the topic of fire safety.  As many of us live in fairly remote locations some distance from the nearest fire station, it is a subject that has relevance to many members.  So come along and learn what you can do to protect yourselves! Normal time, normal place, Gremlin Club Carmarthen @ 8:00PM. See you there.

October Meeting

index_11_286526301October’s talk comes from Judy Lewis of the Dexter Cattle Society, (http://www.dextercattle.co.uk).  According to their website, “The Dexter breed are the smallest native breed of cattle in the British Isles, they are hardy, dual-purpose cattle, producing excellent beef and milk, an ideal suckler cow for conservation grazing.” Sounds ideal for smallholders! To find out more, come along to our monthly meeting at the Gremlin Club Carmarthen, on the 8th of October, at 8 PM. See you there!

Hedgelaying & Coppicing courses available

hedgelayingIt is a delight to see a newly laid hedge ready for the new growth to spring up from the ground. It is an unmistakable pattern in the landscape. But it is not just the beauty but the benefits it gives to the whole farming environment. A maintained laid hedge is stock proof as one farmer said ‘what the shep sees through they go through’ another trait of an animal prone to misadventure. The black thorn is the best for this, although it takes a litle longer to establish it can be left longer betwen laying and can even be restored easily if neglected. The windbreak hedges provide is invaluable for stock and crops, it is worth having especially with the winter storms we have ben experiencing. The laid hedge also creates shade and shelter for stock. The natural wodland coridor is extended through the farmland along the hedges; this is a habitat for flowers, insects, birds and other wildlife. Many of the insects being
controls for aphids and other pests. The standard tres present in the hedges can be maintained to provide a sustainable source of firewod and timber.

The loss of hedgerows is a sorry tale but neglect has been almost as bad an enemy as hedgerow removal. The convenience and economics of flail cutting has meant that many hedgerows have been given an annual cut and not allowed to grow up, thicken and develop. Frequent and heavy trimming result in hedgerows being reduced to an intermittent line of shrubs, bare at the bottom and the so-called birds nest on top. However if hedges are looked after properly, maintenance costs are not high. It is the restoration of neglected hedges and bringing them back into a proper cycle of maintenance that is more expensive.
Let’s start by asking ourselves what we can do about it? In fact if we want more laid hedges we need more hedge layers. As small landowners even if we lay or renovate a small proportion of our hedges each year we are doing something to buck the trend or if we pay a local farm worker we are supporting our local economy and employment. This autumn the Rural Skills Trust is offering Hedgelaying courses on a local small farm in Newcastle Emlyn. Why not come along to learn with other local people with an accomplished teacher. This will give you the confidence to tackle your own hedge. The Rural Skills Trust has been set up to train people in the skills that can encourage and sustain a useful rural economy and livelihoods. We are promoting rural skills to build our community and tackle climate change. We are based in West Wales

Hedgelaying Course dates

Oct 6th-9th
Oct 13th-16th

Saturdays
Oct 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th

Cost £120

We will also be running Coppice Practice courses in November; this is an introductory 3 day
course on a Newcastle Emlyn smallholding.

Coppice Practice Course dates
November 3rd-5th
November 24th-26th
Cost £90

For more info please email or phone Jules Wagstaff Mob 07964530436 Email deassart@btinternet.com Website www.ruralskillstrust.org

Farm Walk Sunday 20th July

Visit to Ruth Watkins’ holding at Llanddeusant. The walk will start at 11am. Please bring a packed lunch and a chair or something
to sit on. Ruth has kindly offered to provide tea/coffee. Part of the walk is over uneven, marshy ground so wear suitable footwear. Sorry, no dogs.

Ruth says:

“Pengraig goch is a traditional 70 acre farm in the western half of the Brecon Beacons National Park. I have maps going back to mid 19thC and most of the traditional pasture fields still exist, now SSSI. Though it does have some dry parts I affectionately call it “the bog on the hill”. Most of the land is marshy grassland, fen or wet heath. lt is interesting that soft rush and agricultural weeds are not problematic on the ancient swards. Molinia, sharp-flowered rush and even compact rush seem to limit the growth of soft-flowered rush; I can show you how they interact (though I have not discovered any explanation for this). There will be lots of flowers to see and if the weather is nice views of the Black Mountain. There is also a ravine with ancient woodland. I farm Welsh Black cattle and sheep, Herdwicks and Brecknock- hill Cheviots. Though I am not now organic, I do not use mineral fertiliser and the plants on the farm are natives of the area.”

 

Should be interesting, see you there.

July Barbecue

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been making hay whilst the sun shines, and in need of a rest. Well never fear, it’s time for our annual barbecue which this year is being held at John & Penny Hooton’s holding on the 9th of July. This is a great chance to meet and chat with other members and enjoy a hotdog or two. Details and directions are in your newsletter. Remember there is no meeting at the Gremlin Club this month!

Forthcoming events – Eco Tour

An Eco Tour has been arranged for Sunday June 15th 10-4pm. It will involve visiting 7 houses or communities in the Newport Pembs. area to view various form of eco-power and heating. Cost £10. Places are limited so don’t delay phone Pam Willey for details on 01269 870976

DSA AGM 12th Feb

DSA’s Annual General Meeting will be held next month, and we’d really like you to be there! Whilst I appreciate that AGMs might not seem to be the most interesting of our meetings, they are perhaps the most important. This is your Association, and this is your chance to have your say.  You’ll get to hear how the year has gone, and be a part of electing a new committee. If you would like to be part of the committee then come along, and make yourself known! The meeting is on the 12th of February  at the normal time and place, 8.00PM, The Gremlin Club, Carmarthen.