Immediately we moved in I started work, from home, for a friend's new travel website, www.addictedtotravel.com, whilst Louise worked out her notice as a PA. On the last weekend of her work I went back to Hampshire to collect a whole load of stuff we'd left at the allotment - plus the chickens. We had already bought a brand new chicken house and they setted in well.
Next to move up to Wales were the 4 sheep. These we had transported for us - at this stage we didn't have a trailer. They settled in well to. At this stage we had no veggie plot, no stabling, just plans on how we wanted things. I bought a lawn mower and strimmer as there was lots to do in this area. We spent the first summer planning what infrastructure we needed:
3 x 8 foot stables
1 veggie patch
No big deal you say, but as we are in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, each of these requires planning permission! We also needed:
Electric fencing for the pigs
We got our first pigs at the beginning of June 2007 from a local farmer - 3 x Welsh cross Landrace weaners about 9 weeks old. We invested in some eleccy fencing and turned them out into an area that needed clearing of brambles; with the help of a new friend, neighbour Ed Morgan, we built a pig ark.
In these first few months we also re-roofed the garage, installed electric in it, and got plans approved with the PCNP, bought more chickens - 3 light Sussex and a laced Wyandotte bantam and promptly had our first visit from Mr Fox, losing one bird! When we moved we decided we'd let the chickens range over the whole field, knowing it was a risky strategy - anyway, undeterred we carried on regardless.
By the end of October we'd had a wet summer but the pigs were slaughtered and were now in the freezer, having been butchered on the kitchen table by a local guy we had heard about. In November we borrowed a neighbour's Suffolk ram and we tupped all 4 ewes.
By January 2008 we had started digging the footings of the stables
and had planted fruit trees - apples (2 x Lord Lambourne, 2 x Sunset, 2 x Adam's Pearmain, 1 x bramley) 1 x conference pear and 1 x Victoria plum.
A couple of weeks later the stables went up - 3 Polish workers from Smiths Sectional Buildings doing a huge job in no time at all! By this time the ewes we starting to fill out.
We'd also done our first term at Welsh evening classes... what a mistake THAT was! I had a smattering of 3 or 4 foreign languages - Greek (I can still swear quite well), Hindi, Mandarin and Arabic, picked up on my travels, but the difficulty of all these paled into insignificance when compared with Welsh, a beautiful but complicated language. We had (still have - we are still going to classes...) a great tutor in Gaynor and we made some new friends in Babs, Jane, Myra and Lins, but it remains a struggle despite Lins and I constantly telling each other how very well the other is doing!
The website was doing OK - I was still travelling a lot overseas on business which made for slow progress in work at home sometimes, and in Feb 2008 Louise joined me working as an Admin Assistant, again at home - better money and no weekend and Bank Holiday work for her!
In March we lambed successfully - 5 lambs - 3 ram lambs and 2 ewe lambs! Fantastic result, we were so pleased. No. 1 ewe had not come into lamb (problems ahead methinks) but to get 5 from 3 was a good result we thought, however disaster was waiting just around the corner!!! Stay tuned to see what happened next... Thanks for following!