RWAS Spring FestivalRSS feed

Posted: Tuesday 24 May, 2011

by Rosemary at 3:26pm in Smallholding Comments closed

Or the Smallholder and Garden Festival as was.

Dan and I, with our friends, Andrew and Janis, headed to Wales last weekend to visit the Smallholder Show in Builth Wells. Dan, Andrew and I have been before, but it was Janis's first time. Unlike last time, we stayed in a B&B, rather than camping.

The weather was pretty good on the Saturday, and on Sunday, early rain gave way to lovely sunshine. Of course, with the prospect of a new national Smallholder Show for Scotland, we were looking at the Show a bit differently.

Adam Henson was much in evidence. As well as judging some classes, he also has a new range of feed supplements. Ah, the power of celebrity. We can't afford him for the Scottish Show, unfortunately.

As well as showing classes for pigs, sheep, goats and poultry, there were cattle classes for the first time. No Shetlands, either showing or on breed stands, which was a bit of a shame but a fair number of Welsh Blacks, Traditional Herefords, Shorthorns and, maybe surprisingly, a good smattering of Highland cattle.

There were many breeds of rare sheep, dominated by local Welsh breeds. Ryelands, originally from the border area, were well represented. We watched a wee bit of the judging on the Sunday, but we had to be on the road at 12noon, so couldn't stay long.

As in previous years, there was an auction of "vintage memorabilia" on the Saturday. There was Shetland harness, but I didn't get back in time to bid. There was also a lovely four-wheeled flat trailer for a Shetland - but I don't think we could have got it home, towed behind the car.

The food hall was great. We had homemade Scotch eggs - a Smokey Joe (with smoked bacon) and a Casablaca (with harissa and peppers) - fresh single variety apple juice (Irish Peach) and two lovely cakes for lunch. I could have spent a fortune - mostly on cakes.

The eco-hall had some interesting stuff, although now we've got the ground source heat pump and the PV cells, we bypassed a few stalls. Andrew was interested in the biofuel system that was on show. We didn't look closely at it, but if you can source oil, it seems like a no-brainer.

The only thing we bought, apart from food, was a new feeder for the chooks. It's one that's operated by a treadle, so can be left outside at night. It also takes 18kg of pellets. Kind of begs the question why they don't make it big enough to take a full bag but hey ho. At the moment, we bring the two feeders in at nght, but once we have three flocks going, this will save time for us. We haven't tried it yet - we're waiting for the gales to stop, then we'll start training the birds to use it.

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