Our Journey from England to Wales ...
A hard days' snoozing!
A hard days snoozing for the cats!
Black Jacob lambs 'helping' with DIY
The newcomers to the smallholding
We moved here in 2017 from the South of England where we had a 3.5 acre smallholding.. Here we had some 10 Jacob sheep, 2 pet pygmy goats and a few rare breed weaners each year. All were extensively reared and slow grown. We also had a very productive vegetable garden; along with fruit trees and soft fruit. All of which we ran following organic principles. We had installed a pond which encouraged wild life, especially frogs, newts and dragonflies. Over the years we were there the number of hedgehogs visiting the garden also increased; over one night over 30 hedgehogs were counted. We also planted trees: including 2 English Elms from the Great British Elm Experiment.
All this; plus we both worked full time as well!
We decided to move when it became evident we needed more land for our holding. Buying around the South of England was not in our budget so we looked further afield and came across this property tucked away up a valley in Radnor Forest. It was at that time being used as a equine stud, but had previously been an organic smallholding, as well as a foresters cottage.
Our cats became suddenly very useful in keeping the rodent population down and are employed as chief mousers. As you can see from the photo; they work very hard!
We are currently in the process of returning the property back to a smallholding based on its origins of an organic smallholding. Andy runs the small holding which is a full time job in its self! while Sharon works full time as a Health Professional at the local hospital; getting her wellies on to muck in when she gets home; plus weekends and days off.
We have Jacob sheep which are a traditional breed, they are black and white with both males and females are horned. Our black Jacob lambs came about by mating one of our Jacob ewes with a Black Welsh Mountain ram. Because we are small we get to know our sheep, and believe me, they are individuals with their own personalities!
The pigs we buy in as weaners. It is too wet to keep them here in an extensive system all year, and keeping them indoors is not in the spirit of the ethos we aspire to. The pigs have the freedom to wander around large areas of woodland and root as they please; and when it all gets too much for them they can be found snuggled up in their straw-packed arc; having a dust bath or wallowing in the mud.
Our goats are two rescue pygmy goats who are our pets and help to keep selective leaves under control. They have been with us for nine years.
We now produce for sale quality Welsh lamb, hogget - lamb over 9 months old - mutton, both wether and ewe; and pork and sausages from our own pigs.
All our pork, lamb, hogget and mutton is slow grown; and grass fed as nature intended with additional supplements as needed.
We also grow our own veggies, soft fruit, pears, apples and plums. Expansion is in the plan regarding the veg garden and is work in progress with plans for larger beds and growing space ... maybe a polytunnel ... or two...