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Ffarm Moelyci Bulletin February 2017
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Ffarm Moelyci Bulletin February 2017

Ffarm Moelyci is a Star!

A few months ago we wrote about the farm being the venue for Cegin Bryn, cooking local produce, including Cosyn Cymru cheese and interviewing our own Carol from Blas Lôn Las.  We promoted eating local fresh foods and watched Bryn Williams cook up some tasty dishes in our own polytunnels.  The program will go out in the spring.
 
We back on the screen again!  This time Cwmni-Da have been filming the next series of the locally based comedy program; Run S’bit. One of the episodes features the farm and it’s market garden as a stage.  We had a really fun day watching them set up and film and really enjoyed their company.  We can’t ruin the story for you but needless to say Moelyci featured the odd one or two nuns!  Look out for the program on S4C in the coming year.

Orchard News

On Saturday 28 a gang of dedicated people came together to plant the first part of the new cider orchard. The timing fell tidy between the morning rain and the lunchtime showers, and there were enough of us to almost finish by that time – including a few children. The twenty trees were planted along the drive coming to the farm; you will see them there in a row in their anti-rabbit tubes. They are trees of four different varieties: Enlli (Bardsey), Gwell na mil (Better than a thousand), Pig aderyn (Bird’s beak), and Perthyre.  Aren’t they poetic? Now we look forward to the first twigs and blooms. Thank you to all of you who were digging holes, wheel-barrowing compost and mulch and muck, and thank you children for stamping your feet to firm the trees in and for making sure they are fairly straight.
 
During February we will continue to keep the older trees in Cae Mariad clear of fast-growing vegetation and keep an eye out for damage by nibbling animals. If you’d like to join in, we meet on Friday mornings at 10 in the yard. We now have a contact email orchards@moelyci.org. Remember to wear solid footwear.
 
The next date to remember is our pruning training day with Ian Sturrock on Saturday 11 March 2017. There are enough trees that need attention in Cae Mariad, and it will be an opportunity to learn how to use different pruning tools and how to prune your trees in order to encourage growth and fruiting in the best places.
Judith Kauffman

Allotment Group

Firstly, many thanks to Gill Winstanley who has written all the inspiring words for the allotments for the last year’s bulletins.  It’s a difficult job to follow.
 
So the New Year is well on its way and the days are noticeably lengthening. Despite the occasional frosts and cold blasts there are signs of new green life. Snowdrops are in the farmhouse garden and by the time the bulletin appears maybe daffodils too.
 
Hopefully you will have used the winter evenings to choose are order your seeds. You can now buy your seed potatoes. Moelyci soil is slightly acid and not very fertile. It will benefit from liming and addition of manure. Also, don’t forget to rotate your crops to avoid diseases and to allow crops to benefit each other. A 3 part rotation is easiest as follows.
 
                 Plot A                 Plot B                 Plot C
Year 1       Legumes            Brassicas          Potatoes
Year 2       Brassicas           Potatoes            Legumes
Year 3       Potatoes             Legumes           Brassicas
 
The rabbit problem is still with us so think about getting some wire netting to cover or fence your beds.  Home Bargains has some very cheap netting. Slugs are a constant problem.  Sow your seeds at home in trays and then pot on before planting out.
 
If you are starting on a new allotment that needs a lot of work just dig one area to start with and put black weed stop fabric over the rest, which will help clear the ground for later attention. The main point is to start small and enjoy the growing and being out in the fresh air. A bench to sit and rest on should be a must. Please get in touch if you have any suggestions or problems. We plan to have more social events this summer and hope everyone will work together to improve the allotments. We are very lucky to be able to garden in such a lovely place. So here’s to a productive Spring and Summer and lots of healthy organic veg.
George Smith

Cosyn Cymru

The sheep are lambing and the milk is flowing.  So that means yogurts are back.  Plenty of yogurt at Blas Lôn Las.

The glass yogurt jars mean that we can re-use practically all the packaging.  And you have been really very good about returning the empties - 60%+ re-use, which is impressive – Diolch!  But we need to change the system a little now and would like your feed-back.  Rather than offering a reduction on the purchase of the new jar when you bring back the old, there is now a ‘yogurt card’.  Collect a stamp each time you bring a jar back…..and when the card is full…….the next yogurt is free.  Why not give the system a try and see what you think?

Brefu bach should be back by mid-February.  And last but not least…..have a look at the new(ish) website:  www.cosyn.cymru
Carrie

Wildlife Group - Survey of Moelyci grassland fungi

Last autumn Cwm Harry funded local mycologist Charles Aron to survey a selection of Moelyci's fields for grassland fungi: waxcaps and species with similar ecological needs (Hygrocybe, Entoloma., Geoglossum, Dermoloma and clavarioids). Moelyci is already known to be in the European league of importance for this suite of fungi, and that reputation is based on surveys of only a few of our fields, mainly Cae Newydd, Cae'r Wrach and Gweirglodd Goch. So Charles' work focussed on fields for which information was lacking.

His report is now in. Overall numbers of fungi were low, probably because of a dry October and the low levels of grazing during 2016 having left the turf rather rank. Buarth Helyg has been identified as an important field with 17 species found including 7 species of waxcap. Bryn Golau also scored highly, with nine species. The most interesting fungus found was Entoloma pratulense. This species has not been found previously at Moelyci and there are only five British records in the Mycological Society's database. It was found in Buarth Helyg, Bryn Golau and a single specimen in Cae'r Refail.
 
Charles noted that oases of grassland on the ffridd are still providing good habitat for grassland fungi, but this area is increasingly over-run by bracken and scrub.

Not all fungi produce fruiting bodies every year and it typically takes surveys over several years to build up a full picture of the species present in a pasture, so Charles' results indicate which fields are rich in species of fungi but they are not the full story. There are likely to be more discoveries in the coming years.
John Bratton

Website

The website has undergone a few changes underneath its shiny exterior.  Take a look at the woodland group page to see pictures about what they have been up to over the last few weeks.
 
We’ve also spent a lot of time on the wildlife group page.  Alice and John have provided lots of highlights and information about why Moelyci is such a special place.  You’ll find pictures of some of the plants, fungi and insects here, alongside a 45 minute dawn chorus from May last year, taken near the veteran oaktrees on the farm.

Snowdonia Donkeys

We will be starting up our young person's club in February. If you know someone who is between 8 and 16 years and would like to learn more about how to look after donkeys watch out for the dates on the notice board by the cafe or checkout our Facebook site.

The donkeys love to watch the comings and goings at Moelyci and they already have a number of regular visitors.  Thank you for your interest in our special animals. 
Ruth

Blas Lôn Las

We're back!  After a well earned festive break the shop and cafe are back open their normal times.  Come along and see what fresh produce we have in store alongside some really tasty treats made by our local community producers and farmers.  Carrie, along with her stunning cheese and yogurt, has been making a wonderful spicy veggi chilli served hot with baked potato and we have local pies and pastries and cakes to be enjoyed by the meat lovers and vegan alike.  Love gardening?  Take a look at our range of winter flowering bulbs, herbs and plants for giving the garden a boost.

The Vegboxes are still ongoing too, it's wintering crops at the moment ideal for making warming soups, stews and roasties.  Perfect for these colder months.  We have our own greens going in there too and local leaves so there's a bit of sunshine around the corner.  They are only £8 and we don't mind how frequently you want them - just let us know.

We also want to give a huge shout out thanks! to the shop's volunteers and staff.  With illness and the winter they have really stepped up to make sure it runs very smoothly and keep up our friendly warm welcome.

The woodstove and the coffee machine are on, pop in and warm up with us.

Carol Williams

The Growing Space

The days are lightening and the small seedlings are beginning to grow. Look out for fresh salad packs, kale, chard and herbs coming from the polytunnel to the shop.
There are changes in the garden this year as a new ‘Herb’ and edible flower enterprise develops and transforms this space.
 The ongoing courses to give you the skills to GROW YOUR FOOD on the first Saturday of the month are popular.  The range of courses in the Growing Space is expanding, look on the website to see what’s on offer.
 
Coryn’s Courses
 
Saturday 4th March, 10:30, only £10.
 
Grow your own food.  The final course in the winter-spring session is about caring for your seedlings ready for planting out for a wonderful harvest later in the year.  We’ll also have a seedling swap if you want to exchange your excess for ours.
Coryn

Moelyci Woodlands Update

Coppicing season has started with work being done in the 2bd Cae r Wrach enclosure (Hazel), the ancient oak woodland (hazel and ash), the old railway track (hazel) and along the stream (willow). The material s generated will be used for hurdle making, basketry and sculptures. We have also put access pathways into the lower broadleaf plantation field by the Moelyci gate site. Although they don’t go anywhere yet, we would like to see them link back to the Blas Lôn Las café/shop area via the course of the old railway line.
 
Following a visit by Bangor university forestry students, several of them have been attending the Sunday sessions. In fact it got quite busy for a few weeks with spoons and bowls being popular items to make. Our plans for a new timber framed workshop building are ongoing. This will be sited by the old composting/ new biomass zone and will hopefully have a footprint of 16ft by 32 ft. reclaiming some un-used land. We are looking at ways of paying for the cost of materials for this and any helpful suggestions will be gratefully received. Wednesday work sessions continue in January (10am – 4pm) – meet by the workshop in the farmyard. Current activities are bringing 12 year old hazel into coppice rotation, and layering some of these from cut stools to increase stocking density. Sunday sessions continue from 10am till whenever at the workshop in the farmyard. Bring your own creativity and inspiration (plus food and drink) and we will supply the rest.
Contact Mike Bithell on 01248 602397 or email woodlands@moelyci.org
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