Environmentally Sensitive Smallholding
Olivia is in charge of the garden and has been since the family’s arrival to Gwalia in 1979. She has been dedicated toward self-sufficiency for over 30 years and is quite an expert (although if you ask her a question she will always start the answer with “I don’t know really, but what I do is…”). Self-sufficiency is hard work and was not always appreciated by her children – it often involves long periods with limited variety (“Sprouts AGAIN?!”) but is amazing come July or August when there is an abundance of fresh fruit and fresh raw vegetables.
Our goat, Snowdrop was born in the early spring and in keeping with many of our goats is named after the flowers which were out at the time. She likes to be milked in the morning and goes to bed around dusk. She is fed with oats morning and night. Most of the day she spends grazing in the yard or the field and likes to play with humans if they are around. Children need to be accompanied if they are near Snowdrop as she can be quite scary.
We have about 20 chickens in total. We have lots of space for them to run around. They are fed with wheat in the morning when they get up and before roosting at night. We have to keep them very secure at night to make sure they are protected from predators (Fox, Badger and Mink), and the door has a double lock – foxes can be very clever!
We usually have just one cockerel and we think he is very fabulous. He is a very good farm cockerel and looks after the flock well, he’s very large and likes to stand on the gate and “Cockadoodledoo”. Fortunately the chickens are some distance from the campsite and the cabin so you won’t hear him in the morning. We eat our surplus cockerels.
The hens produce plenty of eggs, although they are not the most efficient of flocks as we keep our hens even after they stop laying eggs. The eggs are delicious! If you are in the cabin we’ll include some in your welcome hamper when available. If you’re camping and we have surplus they are for sale.
Our cats, Nutmeg and Tansy are working cats. They live outside all day and all year and help to keep the mice, rabbits and squirrels away from ours and the animals’ food. They are both very effective hunters and happen to also be extremely friendly and love a cuddle. They are also opportunist so you’ll need to keep an eye on your food and your beds if you don’t want to find a cat napping there.
Amy and Dee would like to have a cow. We prefer cow milk to goat milk and also enjoy beef. We are also interested in getting some pigs to raise for pork. We’d love to sell home grown bacon to our guests. Maybe next year!
Surplus produce is often preserved in pickles, kilner jars or the freezer. Last year’s bumper crop of blackcurrants resulted in some interesting experiments – cordial, chutney, creme-de-cassis and of course, jam. Sometimes the surplus is sold to visitors, local restaurants or to friends.