Thursday, 24 January 2013
The rest of the country had snow and we had none...until Tuesday afternoon, when it started to snow really quite heavily!
It even snowed on Mwnt Beach!
But when we took the dogs out today, plenty of people had been walking down the back lane to the beach! Hardy souls!
Posted by Katieowl at 11:34
Thursday, 30 August 2012
Also, when I make a post I do like to have a nice photograph to go with it, rain has stopped play with that also! But this one is a corker, courtesy of my Mum who was here a couple of weeks ago. I was saying to her only the day before, that I'd seen a lizard up the road, the summer we arrived, and that I'd not seen one since, although my daugter and her BF had spotted some on the sand dunes over at Poppit. She's a very keen photographer and likes to go on mini-beast safaris when she's here, she went to have a little look on the bank opposite the house to see if there was anything interesting there, and came rushing back in to tell me there were lizards sunbathing! JUST across from the house!!! Very excited! There were several and also some tiny dark juveniles. It's a common lizard but obviously they are happy enough to be breeding there.
I'm planning on offering evening meals here by arrangement for B&B visitors, so hopefully that will appeal to some walkers. We also will offer to collect visitors who want to come walking from the local stations (Carmarthen, Aberystwyth, Fishguard) and can drop them off at points of interest and arrange to collect them later if they want!
Posted by Katieowl at 04:58
Thursday, 9 February 2012
When I was coming home from Cardigan last weekend, there was an obstruction in the road. My neighbour was bring the sheep from a field near town, back home to the farm just past Blaen-y-ffin, as they are about a month off lambing. "Go the other way" she told me "we'll be a long time if you follow." Slipping an icy hand through the window for me to feel she declared "I'm frozen already!" It was bitterly cold, and there was that damp sleetyness in the air. I took the twisty road home, and decided on the way back to get a photo of them coming past the house for the blog! She was right, they were a long time, I not only had time to find my camera, but also to have a cup of tea (very glad I didn't follow!) I was watching out of the kitchen window to see if I could see any sign of them coming, and spotted a mysterious low cloud coming up the lane. Sheep steam!!! They completely filled the road as they came past me, wild eyed when they spotted me in the way, I slipped behind my car for cover.
As they disappeared off up the road their cloud of steam followed. You can just make it out in this picture.
Living side by side with the farming community is not always so picturesque. The other day when my daughter and I went to walk the dogs down the back lane. It was quite late, the light was beginning to fade. The other farm had moved some sheep into a newly fenced field. As we got near the back end of the field there was a sheep over, struggling to get up. My daughter and I watched it for a minute, and spurred on by her telling me that when she went to stay on Michael Morporgo's farm with the school as a kid, they were told to watch out for sheep that were down as they can't always get up themselves (major design fault IMHO) I ran back to the farm to look for help.
There was no answer at the farm house, all the lights were off in the son's bungalow too, but I managed to find the farmers daughter in, they live across the yard. All the farm staff were off in town watching bloody rugby! She grabbed her wellies and came back out with me, Jumping into the ancient land rover and telling me to get in. Now I have no fear of dogs, but the farmers Jack Russell - Rocky the terror of Mwnt was actually scraping her teeth down the passenger window to try and take a chunk out of me, so I did hesitate for a moment...Farmers daughter flung Rocky in the back with Fly the Sheepdog, I got in and we hurtled off, past my daughter and our very confused dogs standing on the corner who are terrified of Rocky and Fly..."OMG" their faces said "They've kidnapped MUM!"
I pointed the sheep out, and she jumped over the gate, I followed in a much more creaky and inelegant way. Sheep wasn't moving anymore. I pressed down on it's chest a couple of times but it didn't seem to be breathing. "Oh God" She says "this is why I can't cope with the farm stuff" but she said she'd go off to get help anyway, as we couldn't leave it there...five minutes later she re-appeared to tell me that she'd tried to turn the Landie round in the lane, and the transmission had gone "Me dad'll kill me" she said! We left her to it...
Posted by Katieowl at 04:16
Friday, 4 November 2011
Lonely Planet have put the Welsh Coastline as the best place on the planet to visit in their 2012 guide.
Here is the BBC link to the story. We couldn't disagree really could we!
We had a fabulous walk down by the estuary the other day with the dogs, when we saw herons, oyster catchers, cormorants and the more usual swans and various gulls.
The changeable weather over the last couple of weeks has lead to some memorable drives with alternating heavy showers and rainbows making the landscape truly magical. Wales 'out of season' is one of the best kept secrets! I truly believe that the wild beauty here is at it's best and most magnificent when the summer has past.
We can look forward to some more amazing mist over the River Teifi, such as the shot above, where I captured it one day at the Estuary, looking over towards Poppit Sands. Some late autumn, early winter days it goes up the river past Lampeter, 30 miles inland, clinging to the river as it winds its way down to the sea. I'm still waiting for another chance to photograph it as it was the first time I saw it, coming down from above on the road into Gwbert, and the mist sitting like a cloud over the water below me.
Posted by Katieowl at 03:39
Monday, 10 October 2011
And with that mellow fruitfulness comes heaps of fruit and veg in the kitchen.
I've now made three batches of red tomato and red onion chutney, using ripe tomatoes either from our garden or from my friend's poly-tunnel at the smallholding 'next door'.
The red onions I've used were from our garden too! This is one I've been making for a good few years, and it really is my favourite breakfast thing, I love it with eggs and bacon.
However much I make, we always, always get through it really quickly. Originally a Women's Institute 'Preserves & Pickles' book recipe, I've made a couple of changes - namely using red onions instead of ordinary ones, and using a fabulously smoky sweet paprika, the best I can find.
We were given a bag of pears, which have become pear and ginger chutney after I tried some someone else had made and thought it was really nice. It was fab with some farmhouse pate, and my first taste of my batch is pretty similar, so that was a success.
You know there is an old wives tale about an abundant harvest in the hedgerows being a portent of a hard winter? Well before the papers were predicting snow for three months - we'd already been saying if the tale was true we were due for a cold winter.I've never seen anything like the fruit down the back lane here this year. We saw sloes and crab apples in the hedge there for the first time, and I've also made a batch of hedgerow jelly, which has sloes, crab apples, elderberries, blackberries, rosehips, and haws in!
Also I've made some mango chutney this morning, the mangos were reduced in Tesco! They are not as yet growing wild in West Wales! (But the red chilli I used was from the greenhouse here)
I couldn't find the recipe I used last year, and I'm pretty sure I used the fruit/sugar/vinegar from one recipe with the spice blend from another, so this year I made sure I've written down what I used!
I've also tried a batch of preserved lemons for the first time, made some lemon and lime marmelade, a large batch of bramble Jelly, and some bramble cheese, made from the fruit that was drained for the jelly and I've also got a small batch of crab apple and sloe jelly on the go at the moment, I must say I do like making jelly type preserves it's very satisfying when it sets
We've got a bottle of sloe vodka on the go, and a bottle of blackberry whiskey, both will be ready for Xmas. I've also made a couple of bottles of elder rob, an elderberry cordial, which is recommended for seeing a cold off. The second batch has been given an extra kick with some star anise, which is also supposed to be good for colds and flu.
My last thing to make will be some lemon curd. I've never tried to make it before, but I've always enjoyed homemade curd when I've bought it, much nicer than the shop stuff. I've got a few lemons left, and a few eggs from our chickens so I want to make some. Then I really must stop. I have nearly run out of jars, and of course all these preserves need to be stored, my cupboard is totally full, so if we DO get snowed in - LOL - we will have plenty of jam and pickle to keep us going until someone digs us out!
Posted by Katieowl at 06:47
Monday, 29 August 2011
We've had lots of lovely people staying here this month and it's been incredibly busy at times, but everyone seems to have enjoyed staying here, and has loved the Cardigan area. Several guests have visited the small beach at Ceibwr, which is so unspoilt, it's on the Pembrokshire coastal path, which has just ranked No.3 in the world's best walks the path runs right across the beach, and the geology and wildlife here is amazing. The picture above was taken on one of my trips down there this month, someone had been busy balancing rocks down there, and left a collection of very Andy Goldsworthy sculptures!
I also discovered a 'new' wild flower (below) which we identified on our return as Sheeps Bit, it's such a pretty colour. I've discovered a small patch near the house too, strange how each year seems to bring a flush of new wildflowers.
I had my Mum here for a bit and we got a chance to go exploring ourselves, and we went to visit the gardens at Aberglasney (about an hour away). The garden was really lovely, and I've made a mental note to go back in the spring next year when I'm sure it will be really fabulous. I loved the 'Ninfarium' a ferny humid garden in the middle of the old house...and there were lots of unusual plants growing there too, that I'd like to have
a go at getting growing in the garden here. I loved the Japapese toad lilies, and a plant mum somehow managed to ID from a photo she took which is called Willow Gentian, a fabulous shade of deep blue.
View of the house from the Aberglasney Gardens
Saturday, 6 August 2011
I've been trying to capture the peaks of North Wales on camera since I arrived here! It's proven to be a very elusive shot, as often when they are as clear as anything with the naked eye, the camera just doesn't pick them up. The furthest point that you can see is actually over 40 miles away as the crow flies across the Irish Sea.
Locally, they say that if the 'islands' are visible then it's going to rain within two days. They really do come and go though, sometimes you don't see them for weeks, and suddenly one evening they are amazingly clear, evenings and late afternoons are a good time to spot them, the light must be right then. Oddly they were all very clear all day when it snowed! Guess they were lighter than the sky?
Only one of the 'bumps' is actually an island. Bardsey - the furthest to the left when they are visible (not in this picture). Then we have the various hills in the Lleyn Peninsular, then the peaks of the Snowdonia Range, which are seen a lot less often. On a really clear day you can see the whole sweep of the bay right up from here, round past Aberaeron, Aberystwyth and all the way round to Bardsey. This picture shows some of the Lleyn, and Snowdonia, with Snowdon itself far right, with the sort of triple peak at the top.
This picture was taken from one of the farm camp sites near us, and they are at a slightly different angle to Cardigan Bay than the back lane where we usually see the 'bumps' as we call them. at about 8.30pm the sky was light just behind the peaks, so for once the camera has captured them!
Posted by Katieowl at 10:46