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2018 heatwave

Summer news 2018

2018 heatwave

July 4, 2018

Wow!  What a beautiful summer we are having this year.  It’s not often that you can mow hay and not be constantly worrying that it will rain before you can make it and get it to the barn.  No such worries this year, in fact Brian has had to keep a close eye on the ‘making’ process so that he could bale before the grass dried out too much.  All the haymaking is done now - the small bales are safely in the barn and the big round ones are still out in the field curing.  Our grandson Zack loves to ‘help' Brian bring the big bales in with the tractor and he is coming to stay next week, so that will provide some amusement.

Our small flower garden in front of the farmhouse is particularly beautiful at this time of the year, as you can see.

Flowers at Pen Y Caeau Farm

This year I have also ventured into growing vegetables in two small, raised beds.  We are currently enjoying spinach, chard, kale, salad leaves and giant, mutant courgettes, which seem to grow wider and longer as you look at them.  There’s nothing for it, I am going to have to make a batch of courgette chutney!

All in a spin has been busy - I enjoyed a lovely weekend at St Fagan’s National Museum of History in June, demonstrating weaving and spinning during the museum’s Woolly Weekend.  Over 60 people had a go at weaving and between them wove this lovely scarf:

handdwoven scarf All in a spin

Congratulations to the latest group of Level 1 Hand Spinning students who have achieved their accreditation.  The next Level 1 courses are in the autumn, with dates to choose in September, October and November.  The first group of Level 3 Hand Spinning students are almost at the end of the course - just one more taught session and then they have a couple of months to complete their project.  The progress they have made in just six months is really astounding and they have gained a broad and deep understanding and level of skill in hand spinning that makes me really proud.  A new Level 3 course will start in November so if you would like a place, don’t leave it too long to book because the class size is just 6 students and the first two courses have been fully booked.

Brian and I are looking forward to the sheep showing season.  We are kicking off with Monmouth Show this Saturday, where we take our Lincoln Longwool sheep in the Countryside marquee.  It’s a chance to show rare breeds to the public and also to show what you can make with their wool.  The highlight this summer will be the Royal Welsh Show where we will be competing with our Clun Forest sheep.  I am really hoping the temperatures will drop a little before then, as the show is four days of hard work - very early starts to be there by 7 am each day and not leaving until about 7 pm.  We have been halter training the show sheep for the past few weeks and now all we need to do is give them a bath and trim them into shape.  That’s Brian’s job!  Here’s one of our lovely Cluns and her (mule) lamb - obviously I can’t post a photo of one of our competing sheep just yet!

Clun ewe and mule lamb Travelly flock

It’s not all work at All in a spin though - I recently had a lovely day out with a friend at the Welsh Quilt Centre in Lampeter and the National Wool Museum in Drefach Felindre.  Both are well worth a visit.  We even managed to tag on to a tour of the Wool Museum which was being coducted in Welsh.  I managed to understand some of it, with my six months worth of Welsh lessons.  We saw the carding machine at work as well as one of the Hattersley looms, which was fascinating.  I still prefer weaving on my Finnish countermarche loom though, operating it in a slower and less frenetic way.  I will leave you with this image of cloth I wove recently for a blanket, using yarn spun from our own natural and hand dyed Clun Forest wool.

 Clun Forest handwoven blanket All in a spin

Happy spinning and weaving everyone.