Summer 2018 Meetings & 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 presentation on the pros and cons of old and new buildings. There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion.

Sunday 24th June 11am. 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.

 

Wednesday 11th July 7.30pm. Summer Barbeque near Llangynog.
Details to follow nearer the time.

 

 

Sunday 22nd July. Farm Walk at near Solva Pembrokeshire.
There will be Icelandic Horses & sheep. More details to follow.

 

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Further details for any of 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 Contacts

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.

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Further details for any of 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 Contacts

March & April 2018 Meetings

Wednesday 14th March 2018 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Agricultural Steam Machinery, an illustrated historical perspective of the role of steam power in agriculture presented by Doug.
Report
This was a very interesting step back in time and one could clearly see the development of early basic machinery to the sophistication of present day equipment. Some present could clearly remember seeing some of the original types in action.

Wednesday 11 April 2018 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Talk and demonstration of peg looming and equipment given by Janet.
Report
The April meeting saw Janet surrounded by erstwhile peg loomers seeking the knowledge of how to turn almost anything into a usable fabric. Her sampler showed that you can use fleece – carded or uncarded, sisal, spun wool, old sheets, or even plastic shopping bags to create something that could be used around the holding. As they say – your imagination is your only limitation. Several members got their hands exercised twisting wool around the pegs and quite quickly gasping the rudiments of the operation. The simple equipment – a length of 3”x 2” hardwood with holes drilled to accommodate pieces of dowel, a bit of bent wire strapped to a short stick, some smooth string, something to weave with and a lot of patience seemed to be pretty well all you needed to get started.

 

January – February 2018 Meetings & Events

Wednesday 10th January 2018 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Arwyn Davies from Food Centre Wales will be coming to speak to us. Arwyn is their Business Development Manager, who will be talking about the services they can offer to small producers (such as smallholders) including training and technical advice, food safety, help with product development and business start-up.

Sunday 21st January 2018 1pm for 1.30pm. New Year’s Lunch at The Carpenters Arms, Broadway, Laugharne, SA33 4NS. Telephone: 01994 427435.
The cost for a carvery main course will be £8.45 and for two courses (main & dessert) £10.45.
This is a very popular event so if you would like to come along please book your place with our Secretary at the January meeting as we need to confirm numbers by Monday 15th January.
Directions
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.

Wednesday 14th February 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Annual General Meeting.

Further details are available to members in their DSA monthly Newsletter. For non members who would like to find out more please use our Contacts

October – December 2017 Meetings

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 8th November 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
One of our members Tom Bailey of Origin Vets, has kindly agreed to talk about the Management & Health of Backyard Poultry. This is instead of the scheduled talk by Food Centre Wales (Horeb), which has been postponed until January 2018
Meeting Report
Tom came armed with a huge amount of useful information to impart to a very pack meeting.
Tom started by reminding us of our duty of care to all our animals by referring to the Animal Welfare Act this is a piece of legislation which aims to ensure that animals are not mistreated by humans, whether through improper care or sheer cruelty. … Its aim was to update the Protection of Animals Act 1911, making the law reflect 21st century practice and the developments in veterinary science. It is based on the five freedoms and the five needs, more details can be found on the following web sites: www.gov.uk/guidance/animal-welfare and  www.animaladvocacy.ie/legislation/the-five-freedoms/

Red Jungle Fowl

He the went on to impart:

Our thanks to Tom for sharing his wealth of information

Wednesday 13th December 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Christmas social. An evening to chat to friends and have a go at one of Keith’s quizzes. Please bring something for the buffet and you will need to bring your own plate and cutlery. If you wish you may bring your own alcoholic drink.
Entry is £1 per member with a FREE raffle ticket for the superior Christmas draw.
Event Report
The Christmas get together seemed to go well, as always the communal table was a success, and not too many committee members won raffle prizes!!!!

Further details are available to members in their DSA monthly Newsletter. For non members who would like to find out more please use our Contacts

September 2017 Meeting & Events

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 site https://botanicgarden.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 banks, 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.

Further details are available to members in their DSA monthly Newsletter. For non members who would like to find out more please use our Contacts

August 2017 Meeting & Events

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.
Event Report
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

Further details are available to members in their DSA monthly Newsletter. For non members who would like to find out more please use our Contact page.

July 2017 Events

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.

Further details are available to members in their DSA monthly Newsletter. For non members who would like to find out more please use our Contact page.

June 2017 Meeting & Events

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.
Event Report
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.

Further details are available to members in their DSA monthly Newsletter. For non members who would like to find out more please use our Contact page.

May 2017 Meeting & Events

Wednesday 10th May 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veternianry Centre.
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
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!

 

Further details are available to members in their DSA monthly Newsletter. For non members who would like to find out more please use our Contacts