Category: Environment

Nature Notes

Nature Notes: June

Whilst the weather may have turned, what a glorious spring we have had! The hedges are looking luscious and green, and unmown verges are bursting with Oxeye daisies and Red Campion. Our garden has been full of bumblebees, honeybees and ladybirds flying from flower to flower.

It is also definitely fledgling season – my bird food reserves are being eaten at an incredibly fast rate by hoards of new great tits, blue tits, house sparrows and greenfinches – I can’t keep up!

The star of our garden are the swifts – we spent the hot days having a squad of swifts screeching their way over our garden like the Red Arrows doing a display, with quick dips into their nests in our house now and again to feed some noisy broods!

Red kites and buzzards circling high in sky, enjoying rising plumes of warm air, accompanied them – there’s no way they’re doing that for anything other than fun! Some of the things I’ll be looking out for over the next few months include elderflower – to make cordial – and watching the foxgloves become wonderful towers of purple as they keep growing higher and higher.

Environmental tip: Have a go at making a pond! It can be any size (ours is only 50 x 50 cm), and it could just be a bucket. Fill a container with water; rainwater, if you can, and make sure there is something in it (like a plank of wood) so that if anything goes in, like a frog, they can get out.

If you can, get hold of some pond plants, and put a few stones in the bottom. Then wait – it took less than a day to get our visitors in there. If the water goes green, don’t worry, just leave it, and if you remove any plants or leaves from the pond leave them by the pond for a day before clearing them away, so any tiny creatures can crawl out and back into the water. For more tips on creating ponds go to www.rsbp.org.uk and search for creating a mini pond.

Morgan Jones

Notes from the Garden Shed

February Notes

Now that the Christmas festivities are over and the New Year is firmly in place, it seems like a good time to start thinking of the season ahead in the garden.

Chips are a very welcome form of ‘comfort food’ during the cold winter months. I am sure a lot of readers will agree with that sentiment, and occasionally indulge in the consumption of the odd bowl of the popular potato based speciality. Chips, of course, are made from potatoes which are one of the most versatile of our vegetables crops.

There are many different varieties of the humble ‘spud’. Old Gumboot has grown several of the dozens of varieties available to gardeners to try.

The early maturing varieties are normally split into two groups, first early or second early. These take approximately 14-16 weeks from planting to harvesting, of course this is weather dependent and not a hard and fast rule. Well proven first earlies worth trying are ‘Rocket’ which is probably the earliest or ‘Casablanca’ which is a good all-rounder with very white skin and a creamy flesh.

Second earlies take slightly longer to mature. Varieties of note are ‘ Maris Peer’ which is a heavy cropper, or why not try ‘Kestrel’ which is an award winner with a good ‘old fashioned ‘ flavour and purple eyes.

There is a much wider choice when it comes to maincrop varieties; these need a longer growing period, which means harvesting later and storing for winter use. ‘Maris Piper’ is probably the most popular and widely grown potato for chip making, and is well loved by the fish and chip industry.

‘Cara’ is a good variety in dry summers as it is fairly drought resistant and also resistant to some of the common potato diseases. If you prefer a red skinned spud ‘Desiree’ is probably the one for you.

There are some newer types in the ‘Sarpo’ range that are supposedly resistant to potato blight, which is a problem down here in West Wales where the atmosphere is more humid than some other parts of the country.

Why not try a different variety this year? There is a very wide range available at your local garden shop, just waiting to be planted out in March/April, then look forward to your own home grown bowl of chips!

Happy Gardening

Old Gumboot

December Notes

 Old Gumboot is rather partial to vintage agricultural equipment and likes to visit shows that display vintage items.

We are fortunate in this part of West Wales to have several ‘working shows’ and vintage working days during the season. 2019 has been a good year, weather-wise for the organisers and visitors to these events.

In June we have the first significant Show at Pontargothi show field. This Show is organised by the ‘Towy Valley Vintage Club’ and usually provides a good line up of working barn engines, many of them driving sheep shearing sets, generators, water pumps, root cutters etc. which would have been their job in bygone days.

There are also vintage tractors on display, classic and vintage cars, and masses of other items.

A little later in the year there is the Teifi Valley Vintage show. Here you will find a massive display of vintage tractors (usually more than 100) along with classic cars, commercial vehicles etc and working threshing drums, balers etc. Auto jumble stalls are a good source of those hard to find spare parts too.

Later still in the season we are treated to the Camrose vintage working day, down in Pembrokeshire. This show features large working fields where a corn crop is usually harvested using binders and vintage combine harvesters. A working threshing drum is set up to separate the grain from the straw, often powered by a steam traction engine or a stationary vintage tractor. Tractors, horses and ploughs are to be seen turning in the stubble followed by other implements breaking down the soil to create a seedbed in preparation for re-seeding.

September means it is also time for the Talgarreg working show; this event incorporates a produce show in a separate marquee. Working and static tractors also feature here, along with a large display of tractor collections and barn engines. This year 2 threshing machines were in use, driven by local vintage tractors, one Field Marshall and a Fordson Major, both from the 1950s. In previous years potatoes have been grown and harvested the old fashioned way, potatoes collected by an army of pickers, and sold to the public.

As you can see we are fortunate enough to have an abundance of events down here throughout the season, along with Classic car shows, tractor road runs for charity, and Autojumbles. There is usually something of interest to vintage enthusiasts on most weekends through the season.

Maybe Old Gumboot should attend one of the many local auctions in the area to find some ‘treasure’ to display at the local show!

Will have to get back to the garden next time, but the ground is saturated at the moment!

Old Gumboot

 

October Notes

Every year around this time, when our bedding plant displays are still looking good, the postman drops a stream of bulb catalogues through the letterbox, it is at this point that you suddenly realise that summer is really coming to an end and that you need to focus on selecting bulbs for flowering next spring.

Daffodil and narcissus bulbs are the most popular, types for planting in our gardens, and are probably the most showy of the spring bulbs, except maybe the tulip family.

This Autumn I am going to plant a fairly short growing daffodil, commonly known as ‘the Tenby daffodil’ ( proper name Narcissus Obvallaris,) this variety is not so widely available as some, but it is a super little daffodil, ideal for naturalising in grass areas where it looks most natural without appearing too ‘domesticated’. If you are unable to obtain them locally they can be found on line at www.dutchbulbs.co.uk. If you are lucky enough to also find the variety Narcissus Lobularis (the Lenten Daffodil) you will discover this little gem is as close as possible to the English wild daffodil. This is one of only a handful of daffodils native to the UK, and was reputed to be responsible for the poetic verses famously penned by Wordsworth. I find some of these smaller, less blowsy types can be just as rewarding as some of the more modern varieties, which in my mind tend to look almost ‘artificial’.

A carpet of crocus in flower is a most welcome sight in early spring. Crocus are equally good planted in a border or in a grassy position, but remember that you will not be able to mow where they are growing, which could make the area look untidy until they have died down later in the spring. Crocus are inexpensive smaller sized bulbs, which makes them easy to plant in bulk, to create impressive ‘drifts’ of the various colours available. There are of course many other types of spring flowering bulbs available from your local garden shop or online supplier. Now is the time to plant most species, preferably before the weather turns too cold and wet. Always try to obtain bulbs grown in the UK, as more and more are being grown here now. Also make sure that the bulbs have not been collected from wild sources but have been commercially grown.

Let’s hope you manage to produce an impressive display next spring in your beds, borders and pots.

Happy Gardening,

   Old Gumboot

 

2019 Fun Garden & Craft Show

The sun shone brightly on Saturday 14th September at the Pavilion when some 40 competitors brought in their various entries for this year’s Show. There were several new faces plus some faithful participants and it was a delight to see the paintings from the children from Ysgol Cae’r Felin lining the walls as you went in. There were 240 entries as well as many paintings from the school children. It had been a good summer this year and there were some wonderful entries on display, particularly the runner beans. As well as the colourful paintings and drawings there were some very imaginative robots and windmills.

The cup for the most points in the Garden Produce section was awarded to Eric Jones, Dwylan seen here receiving his cup from P&DRG Chairman Stuart Wilson

 

 

 

 

Janet Jones, Dwylan, won the Oliver Evans Trophy for the best entries in the Flower section.

The cup for the most points in the Handicraft Section was won by Edwina Davies, Davies Street, Pencader.

 

 

 

 

The Helen Rose Wilson cup for the highest number of points in the Cookery section was presented to Janet Jones

 

 

 

The trophy for Overall Winner with the highest number of points was won by Janet Jones

 

 

 

The Children’s prize was awarded to Elsi Williams.

 

 

 

 

The Committee would like to thank all those who helped in any way: PIDA for the use of the Pavilion, Premier Stores and Pencader Bakery for the refreshments to keep everyone going, all those who loaned tables and fetched and carried them, the Judges and Stewards for giving up their time, donors of cups and trophies and anyone else who helped towards the event. However our main thanks go to the residents of our Parish who proudly brought their entries to support this community event. Without them there would be no Garden & Craft Show, so thank you and we hope to see you all again next year.

CHAIRMAN’S BLOOMERS

This year instead of a Garden Competition, our Chairman has been watching local  gardens as he has been out and about and certificates will be awarded to those he felt had shown a consistent display of colour.

Best Estate Gardens
Rose Davies 2 Maescader
Derek James – 55 Maescader
Irene Jones – 18 Maesderwenydd
Pencader
Sue Jones – Cartrefle
Eric & Janet Jones – Dwylan
Gwyn & Delyth Griffiths – Delwyn

In the general opinion of the judges, there were fewer good displays this year;  watering had been a problem during the very hot spell. There were fewer
good basket displays. Having said that, there were a few highlights, do not be discouraged, try again next year.


 

Greetings Cards

Letters to the Editor

October 2016

Sir

I would like to say what a wonderful day we all had on Carnival Saturday. The sun shone all day, it was warm and relatively wind free; the crowds were generous with their money and everyone was very happy with the new Carnival Committee.

There were five floats plus plenty of attractions in the stalls arranged around the field. It was a really good effort and next year is bound to be even better.

I know I am a bit late but I do want to say “Congratulations” all round!!

Sincerely Stuart Wilson, (Cwmgwen, Dolgran Road, Pencader)

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December 2015

Dear Editor,

With reference to the sentiments voiced in the ‘Parish Pump’ section of Clecs, I have to agree with the writer that “Speed Kills” this has been proven beyond doubt on several occasions in recent months on the A485 between ‘Windy Corner’ and Carmarthen. I too have taken part in various forms of motor sport over the years, but fortunately have managed to curb my enthusiasm when on the public highway.

If some of these ‘speedsters’ were to leave for work 10 minutes earlier, they would be able to drive at a more sensible pace, arrive feeling less stressed, and in time to enjoy a cuppa before starting their work. I think this would be preferable to spending time in A&E or even worse!!

Maybe the ‘speedwatch’ initiative being introduced by the local police and community volunteers will have some effect.

Drive safely,

Concerned motorist

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Dear Editor,

I am writing in reply to a couple of issues that have been mentioned in the last issue. The first is speeding…if a car is going through the village at 50 mph it has either slowed down or is speeding up. Either way that same car on the roads outside of the village will have been going really fast.

I live near to Windy Corner and on quiet evenings and early mornings I can actually hear some of the cars and motorbikes accelerating as they exit the village and when they pass my gate they have to be travelling in excess of 80mph. Obviously the 50mph speed limit has had no affect on these individuals.

Even at busier times of day living on the outskirts we have to contend with other issues, one of the main being slow moving, heavy vehicles followed by frustrated drivers just itching to overtake, which they do without safety in mind. Are they doing 50mph when they overtake.. not a chance.

The Windy Corner end of the B4459 has now become somewhat of an accident zone with the Air Ambulance having to attend three accidents in the last 12 months, a couple of which had fatalities.

Driver impatience took the mirror off my neighbours parked car. You measure that distance and see how close the car actually skimmed past him, frightening.

People keep requesting a footpath between the village and Tremle House because of the increased traffic flow but these same pedestrians do not help themselves. I often drive from my home into the village and I see walkers on the wrong side of the road. The majority are wearing dull colours so they blend in with the foliage.

Perhaps it is a new ploy…I cannot be seen therefore I cannot be run over! It is a very dangerous practice. I have to date only ever seen one woman wearing a fluorescent jacket walking down that stretch of road and as it was intended, she stuck out like a sore thumb. With the nights drawing in and afternoons being dull, fluorescent jackets or safety vests are really something every pedestrian should have and wear. You can buy them cheaply now from many places.

The council could replace 5o benches in the village and that would not even come close to the cost of widening the bridge, something that they should have done when they rebuilt it and something that will need to be done to create a footpath. All councils are crafty in the way they operate. As I said, they had the opportunity to widen the bridge but did not.. why not? The bench replacement…it was nowhere near the cost of putting down a pavement but it could have lowered the spendable budget just enough to make the footpath unaffordable! You know how they work, if something is going to cost them £50 they will not start the work with only £49 to spend so by simply not spending £1 they save £49. I do not know what is in the coffers but I do know that swapping the benches would have certainly have dropped that amount. By enough to stop a footpath being built…your guess is as good as mine.

They installed a zebra crossing situated in the wrong location. It is hardly ever used where it is but if had it have been situated further into the village, perhaps by the small telephone exchange, it would have been in an ideal location for pedestrians However locating it where it was needed would have robbed it of the councils intended purpose. Installing a pedestrian crossing made them look as though they were providing for pedestrian safety but actually its purpose would have been to slow down incoming traffic. Putting it where it was needed and would be used, deeper into the village would have left the Maescader entrance exposed and more dangerous to exit. It is a practice not only done by our council but by many others…for them it is a two for one situation…make themselves look good in the public eye but really they are just meeting their own agenda.

These are my own opinions and assumptions, I have no factual evidence except using my own eyes and brain but after reading this letter I think that more people will see the light and realise how they are being ‘conned’.

Bryan C Perks, Pencader

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Letters are welcomed on any topic of local interest. They will be printed in the language in which they are written. The right is reserved to edit or decline to publish any letter. Please be concise and supply your name and address.

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 October 2015

To the Chair Person of local Parish Council        

Dear Editor,

I am writing a letter to inquire what prompted the Council to dispose of perfectly good quality benches and replace them with new benches. We had the original benches for years and they only needed a fresh coat of good quality paint that would have made them last for many more years. I inquired what they were going to do with the benches and was told that were going to be given to the surrounding football fields and parks. The majority of local people are deeply disappointed as this money should have been spent for a pavement as many local carers are risking their lives with traffic, please note that these carers are dedicated to caring for our local senior citizens that live in Tremle House.

Yours truly

                           Liz Beynon

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Dear Editor,

Innocent Knitted Hat Campaign

So far over 300 hats have been knitted for the Age Cymru campaign. Many thanks to knitters, Gillian, Mrs. Griffiths, Joan, Catherine, Carol, Maisie and those people who have left packets of hats on my doorstep!!

I have yarn if anyone wants to have a go with the hat pattern below. There is no closing date, just keep knitting!!!!

Using 4mm ( No. 8 ) needles and any DK yarn –

Cast on 28 sts; knit 2 rows; starting with a knit row, work in stocking stitch for 12 more rows. Row 15: knit 2 tog. to end of row (14 sts); Row 16: purl 2 tog. to end of row (7 sts). Cut yarn leaving say 25cms. Thread the yarn through the 7 sts and remove from knitting needle. Tighten the yarn and sew the little hat together along the side seams. Once sewn, turn inside out.

Approximate measurements are 5 – 7cms along the bottom and at least 3cms high.

Frances Fuller

01559 384499

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Letters are welcomed on any topic of local interest. They will be printed in the language in which they are written. The right is reserved to edit or decline to publish any letter. Please be concise and supply your name and address.

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April 2015

Too Trusting                            

Dear Editor,

At 4pm on the 30th of January I was driving along the hill top road that the old Dragon Concrete works used to be on. The majority of it being single lane you do encounter other traffic and have to give way, sometimes reversing to a lay-by. This happened to me but unfortunately, as I pulled out of the lay-by, I found that I had a flat tyre. I reversed back to a safer spot and then tried to use a can of ‘Instant fix’ repair. No joy. Thinking that it might have done the job but not blown the tyre up I flagged down several people and asked if they carried a foot pump. I had a spare but was not well enough to fit it myself so in the end I called out the recovery people. While waiting for them to arrive, one person who I had spoken to earlier actually returned and offered to change the wheel for me but I explained the AA were on their way and he left. There are two points to this story: the first is to thank those who did stop and especially the fellow that returned. The second point is a bit more of a warning. In Wales, especially in this area, people are friendly, helpful and trusting, and it is the trusting bit that worries me. I am in effect a stranger standing in the middle of a very quiet lane, just before dusk, waving at the odd car when a young lady pulls up in her works van. We spoke through her wound down window and then without hesitation she jumps out, opens the van, a rental, to see if there was a pump inside. I could have been the Yorkshire Ripper for all that she knew but her rural upbringing probably never even made her give such a thing a thought. It is this naivety that worries me. In any city or big town in the country, with people and cars everywhere, the most that I would expect would be to talk to a driver through a small gap in the window, and even if they could help, they would probably refuse to. This is because those city dwellers are knowledgeable of the risks they are exposed to daily. All I am asking is that people in our area be aware, never put yourself in a situation where you could be at risk, no need to worry all the time but just think twice and ask yourself this question before you act…”Am I putting myself at risk?” This applies to everything from stopping for a stranger to simply opening your front door.

Regards,

Bryan Perks

Pencader

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Letters are welcomed on any topic of local interest. They will be printed in the language in which they are written. The right is reserved to edit or decline to publish any letter. Please be concise and supply your name and address.

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December 2014
Cais am gymorth

Annwyl Olygydd,

Sgwn i a fyddech yn gallu fy helpu. Hoffwn i blant a myfyrwyr Ysgol Gymraeg yr Andes Trevelin ac Esquel ddod i adnabod pentrefi, trefi a dinasoedd Cymru yn well, ac felly buaswn wrth fy modd petai pobl Cymru – unrhyw un sydd â diddordeb – yn anfon cerdyn post atom ni o lle maen nhw’n byw yn cynnwys ambell i frawddeg fach am y lle dan sylw. Gallwch eu postio i Ysgol Gymraeg Esquel, i Ysgol Gymraeg Trevelin, neu’r ddau os ydych chi’n dymuno.

Dyma’r cyfeiriadau:

Ysgol Gymraeg yr Andes Esquel,               Ysgol Gymraeg yr Andes Trevelin,

Centros Galeses de la Cordillera,              Casa de la Capilla Bethel,

Rivadavia 1065,                                         Trevelin 9203,

Esquel 9200,                                              Chubut,

 Chubut,                                                     Patagonia

Patagonia,                                                  Argentina

Argentina

Diolch

Denise Davies

 
 
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Letters are welcomed on any topic of local interest. They will be printed in the language in which they are written. The right is reserved to edit or decline to publish any letter. Please be concise and supply your name and address.

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