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Another beginning – the sawmill

Gwernybustach has trees.

Lots of trees. and not just the ones we’ve planted. We’ve got an acre of Christmas trees, which are now about 50ft high, and several acres of native forest, mostly Alder with some Ash and Beech.

So making something out of it all seems sensible, especially as Jackie has lots of idea for wooden structures: seats, buildings, raised beds etc, so a sawmill seems sensible.

Well, we have the sawmill, but nowhere to put it. So the plan is to re-use some of the timber and wriggly-tin from the the old office barn to make a new structure. We had a space made last year, but a few weekends of using the sawmill has highlighted the need for more space around the sawmill, as well as a hard surface underfoot. This is needed because I’m going to be very naughty and use the digger as a crane. And this would tear-up a non-concrete surface.

Enter the digger, to make a bigger space to put the new shed:

Job done!

With a concrete surface, we can get started making a sawmill.


Starting the Orchard

On a cold and snowy Friday in January, we went to fetch our new orchard, from the depths of the Welsh mountains.

Seems an odd place to find a apple-tree grower. And it was. But Bill infections enthusiasm for growing trees was very engaging. See Welsh Mountain Cider

A few photos:

Honestly, who would grow trees 1200 feet up in the Welsh mountains ?
He would.

We bought 40 apple and pear trees, for planting this winter, so if you’d like to come along and help, please come along.

Starting the year

2016 is starting the same way that 2015 ended – with rain.

No chance of getting out onto the farm at the moment – even driving over grassy fields leaves two muddy tracks. Doing it twice, and we risk getting stuck.

So we had a walk around, to see how many stray sheep we’re entertaining.

Strange fungus, uop by George's spring
Strange fungus, up by George’s spring
The Problem Pole
The Problem Pole

This is the one which BT OpenReach have been trying to replace since May 2015. Apparently, its so far away from the road that they can’t doing it, owing to the bad weather. And I do mean the pole in the middle of the picture. And you wonder why rural broadband is an issue.

Sshhhh. Bees asleep.
Sshhhh. Bees asleep.
Yet more randon sheep
Yet more random sheep
Flowers in January
Flowers in January
That was 100% bracken two years ago. Now it's looking like a real field
That was 100% bracken two years ago. Now it’s looking like a real field
View from the outside meeting room
View from the outside meeting room


The Office

A big part of the reason for moving here was that we had the space -and the existing building – to create some offices for the company. And for other people as well.

Office - beforeThis is what we started with. A steel-framed barn, covered in wriggly-tin

So here are the plans at the Brecon Beacons planning site.

So here’s the story of the the offices:

P1010382Before: a very dilapidated steel-frames barn, with  corrugated steel covering.

P1020334The team from Smith Builders, proving that nothing happens on site without tea.


P1020335 P1020366 P1020398 P1020401We got a bit carried away with the gabions, but the result looked good.P1020622 then lots of building happened….

then some more:


Then lots more stuff happened, which is only interesting for us, then suddenly:

Office - after DSC_0521

Welcome to the Office

Keeping warm

First full weekend at the farm.

Jackie concentrated on putting some paint on the walls, to make the inside look a bit more friendly, whilst I was in the Stone Barn, trying to get ready for New Year, by blocking up the major holes in the walls (with perspex), and installing a wood burner. None of your fancy woodburners here: these came from Hereford, from a very friendy chap who’s firm makes them on site. £200 for a 12kW stove can’t be bad. It’s a top-loading, very simple design, but it pumps out a huge amount of heat, and burns down to a tiny amount of waste. Should come in useful at New Year.

Next challenge is to to get a more practical vehicle for use on the farm. We’re looking a 4×4 pickup, like a Ford Ranger, or a Toyota HiLux. Not very glamorous, but sensible. Land Rovers might be ok later, but for now something more prosaic is needed.

Also noticed lots of sheep wandering about the place. Yes, I know this is Wales, but i’ve still no idea whose sheep they are.