Homemade Yogurt

With more people at home and more time to be in the kitchen, it's the perfect opportunity to try new things. Why not try making your own yoghurt? Kids will love to help and see the process, and you'll support our dairy farmers at the same time!

You will need

1 litre of full fat milk

3 tablespoons of live yogurt (Llaeth y Llan natural yoghurt works perfectly)

You will need the following equipment:

Thermometer, Saucepan, Wooden Spoon, Flask

 

Method

  1.     Start by putting the milk in a saucepan, and heat the milk to 85 degrees celsius.
  2.   Once the milk has reached 85 degrees, remove from the heat and leave to cool, until it reaches 45 degrees (about 5-10 minutes)
  3.   Once the milk is 45 degrees, mix the live yoghurt in with the milk.
  4.   Place the mixture in a well-sealed flask and let it stand for 8 hours.
  5.   After 8 hours, place the mixture in sterile jars or pots and place in the fridge. The yogurt will be fine to eat for a few days. Remember to smell and check the yogurt before eating it, as live bacteria is used, it is important to be careful. Like any food, if it smells bad, don't eat it!
  6.   The yogurt can be used for a healthy breakfast with fruit, in delicious desserts, or when cooking a curry or soup.

Working from home - how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything and nothing

It came out of nowhere and hit us hard from the outset. Nobody here could have fathomed the changes this global pandemic would bring in terms of the economic impact, and changes to lifestyle. 

One minute we were watching scenes on the telly that could have been mistaken for a Hollywood blockbuster or a new Netflix hit, the next we were scrambling in supermarkets to get our hands on tinned peaches, mince meat, chips, nuggets and toilet roll. And not to mention the handwash and sanitizer. Crazy!

Overnight, restrictions came into place. Offices and businesses were forced to shut their doors, children were sent home with schools closed and there is no end in sight. 

All of this has of course changed the way we do things. Parents are facing the challenge of working from home whilst trying to look after and home-school children, others are suffering mentally from isolation measures and the economy is set to take the biggest nosedive possibly for hundreds of years. 

Watching the news terrifies me. As we see the death toll rise, people in despair, farmers in serious distress over milk and red meat sales, the predictions for the economy bleak to put it mildly and some people completely ignoring the restriction measures - I find myself muttering in the kitchen, sometimes in disgust about the sheer and utter ignorance of some, whilst in awe of others who go above and beyond the call of duty, and pondering over the financial crisis.

So when everything around me seems to fall apart, I like to look for the positives. I wouldn’t call it blind optimism but a gentle reality check. When you can’t go outside, go ‘inside’ a friend told me the other day as I was lamenting the dire situation. Take note of what’s good - it might be different, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.

Things will get better

Yes! I'm here. Cornel Clecs is a little different this month under the circumstances. I started writing the column on Monday 16th March. Things were pretty 'normal' then – whatever the definition of normal is by now! Life was plodding on, Ladi Fach Tŷ Ni had a hospital appointment, and it was 'business as usual' there. The schools were still open, but the supermarkets and larger shops were showing signs of something big that was about to happen.

“I love living on a farm!”

Yes! I'm one of the thousands of people who spend an hour, or two (or three…) on social media every day! Social media is all about sharing, learning, interacting and marketing. But for you and I, its main purpose is to stay in touch with people.

Looking through one of the social media channels a while back, I came across something interesting that has inspired this latest Cornel Clecs. The blog, by the Faithful Farming Family, focused on children born and raised on a farm, and their unique qualities.

It got me thinking about our perfect example, Ladi Fach Tŷ Ni, who was born with a passion for agriculture.  So, why are farm children so unique? The most important element is what they learn from the farm, which shapes them into great people.

When a child grows up on a farm, they learn about work ethic. Everyone has a specific responsibility and a certain amount of time to carry out a task effectively. They learn from their parents and extended family, from dawn to dusk, without complaining because this is their only way of life.

A child learns about life and death from a very young age. Watching a young lamb take its first delicate steps, and seeing the disappointment when the same lamb doesn’t survive for whatever reason. Losing a pet is a very raw experience, but new hope comes in the spring with new life on the farm.

It is important to learn about sacrifices. There is often little opportunity for days out during the spring half-term holidays as lambing and calving take priority 24/7. Summer babies often have to sacrifice birthday celebrations because the harvest needs to be done. Fathers who are dairy farmers may have to miss the start of school concerts as they often start early. Sometimes the whole family has to make sacrifices.

Farm children have vivid imaginations. They spend hours outside creating and building a masterpiece out of spare materials, knowing the farmyard like the back of their hand. Out all day, every day, and only go into the house to have some food.

Yes, Ladi Fach Tŷ Ni has a healthy attitude towards work, sometimes has to learn to lose the precious pet lamb, having to sacrifice something at some point - but it doesn't matter - there will be an opportunity again, and for sure, the imagination is very vivid! I feel very lucky, that this is our child's way of life. She may never be wealthy, but will hopefully have the most important qualities in life thanks to the farm.

Finally, I asked Ladi Fach Tŷ Ni, why does she like living on the farm, and the answer is: -

"Yes, I wouldn’t choose any other life, I love living on a farm, it's a way of life!"

 

“Where’s the breakfast?”

For many years now, January has been the month of breakfasts here at the FUW. A great opportunity for people to come together around the breakfast table to chat and enjoy the best local produce that our hardworking farmers produce. But one of our members from the Caernarfon branch, Rhiannon Jones, went one step further to ensure the success of the breakfast held at Caffi Ty Newydd, Uwchmynydd. Rhiannon will explain:-

“When Gwynedd asked me to organise a breakfast this year, I really had no idea what I was letting myself in for! I’m ashamed to say that I have never been to a FUW breakfast before. (I knew someone who had been going to the breakfasts for years, so I rang her for advice!!)

After doing a check list and getting everything ready, and whilst talking to my friend, we thought it would be a good idea to get some sort of sign made to advertise the breakfast.

I had noticed some eyecatching colourful birthday banners in the area, and after doing some research, I found out that they had been created by the pupils of Glan y Môr School, Pwllheli who do all the design and creative work and the money goes towards buying art resources for the school pupils! So I kindly asked the teacher for a banner on Sunday night for the Tuesday! What better way to support a local school!

The idea was that the banner would draw new attention to the breakfast and lead everyone else in the right direction! My aim is to always succeed in all I do, and by promoting the breakfast, it would perhaps attract more people in the future!

I was very lucky that six of my friends were willing to help on the day, so I thought of a way to thank them for their trouble, by designing multicolored aprons for the day and that it was a reminder for them afterwards! Once again supporting a local business in Pwllheli. A personal present, something unique!

It wasn’t all about raising as much money as possible for the three charities.  I'm a determined person and always have a passion for success!  I have great pleasure in organising things like this, and seeing the fruits of my endless labour.

On the morning of the breakfast, I quickly realised the social element of the breakfast.  I would go as far as to say that some saw it as the highlight of their week and had been looking forward to it!

It was great to see so many new and old faces, and an oppotunity to chat with everyone! Breaking the habit of an annual breakfast would be a great shame! The feeling I got was that it was normal for groups of people to come together, and looking back at the FUW breakfast pictures I came across some familiar faces, and it was nice to see people enjoying a chat over some delicious food!

I thoroughly enjoyed organising the breakfast and immense pride of seeing local companies so supportive. It was good to raise so much money for such worthy charities. Thank you for this opportunity!”.

Thanks to people like Rhiannon, and many other volunteers across Wales who have been busy organising and feeding several hungry mouths, the FUW 2020 Breakfast week was a successful one to remember. Thank goodness for national campaigns like this to keep our rural communities buzzing! Bring on the 2021 breakfasts!

Catching up with Mared at the mart

 

 

Happy New Year to you all, hopefully this will be a kind and successful year for us all as we positively look forward to the start of another year.

It's hard to believe it's 2020! Time really does go quickly. Ladi Fach Tŷ Ni is growing and is no longer little! But the passion for farming continues! She has also developed a keen interest in going to the mart, when school holidays allow. Looking back at my own childhood, I also loved going with my father to Tregaron mart every fortnight during the summer holidays. But what is the importance of our marts today?

One who knows better than anyone is our Account Executive Mared Hopkins who looks after insurance customers in north Ceredigion, from Talybont down to Tregaron and over to Llanrhystud. A crucial element of Mared's daily work is attending the area's livestock markets, a cattle mart in Tregaron alternate Tuesdays and a sheep mart every Friday. Aberystwyth mart is monthly, with a mart held in Devil's Bridge weekly from July to December, then monthly from January to May.

Here is Mared to explain more about her work at the mart: -

How important are the area's small marts to your work?

In my area of ​​North Ceredigion, there is a livestock mart in Aberystwyth, Devil's Bridge and Tregaron. I try to attend each one within reason. I'm from a farming background so I have an interest anyway and it's a chance for me to have a chat with existing clients and welcome new customers. My background enables me to understand the anxieties associated with farming, while also being aware of the uncertainties ahead.

Often when I call to see people at home to discuss insurance etc - the subject of mart prices almost always comes up, so it's handy to know the trade. Word of mouth is key to how I have developed in my work and attending these marts has played a big part. Showing my face in a mutual place is sometimes enough, and if there is an opportunity to give advice or provide an insurance quote, I will make every effort to do so with care and attention.

Do you see a future for the marts?

These marts are full of kind rural characters of all ages, with generations before us who have farmed the area for centuries. Because of this I feel that the support for these marts is strong and that people are aware of the importance of preserving, maintaining and supporting them. The world is changing and the recent negative coverage of agriculture is encouraging people that local, sustainable produce is playing a big part in the future of farming worldwide. The biggest concern of these small marts is the price they get for their produce - we hear of falling and rising prices - farmers have no guarantee from week to week.

I often notice that many of the people who come to these marts use it as a place to meet their neighbours, discuss their work, the area's news and even their concerns – it’s part of their week. You often hear about how lonely working in agriculture is, it is important that the community has somewhere like this to attend, and make time to go, our lives are so busy most of the time and not enough hours in a day.

I very much hope that there is a future for these markets - they are a huge part of our industry for selling our local produce on the doorstep, and above all another tradition we don't want to lose in the countryside. The world is changing very fast and as we know - once you lose something it is very hard to get back.

Mared refers to Devil's Bridge mart, which is a fine example of a mart, albeit relatively small in size, which has been at the heart of the agricultural community for over a hundred years. The importance of the marts is invaluable to farmers, and the local area, a great example of #FarmingMatters!

Important theme of Ceri's poem

Looking out through the window of the Corner Clecs office, the leaves have now gradually changed to the autumnal colours and although we are now in November, surprisingly the leaves are holding on to the trees. Aside from nature’s signs that winter is upon us, there are also other events such as the Winter Fair imminent as a reminder that the end of another year is fast approaching.

The YFC is also busy at this time of year with each county in turn holding its county eisteddfod. It was lovely to hear that one of our staff won one of the main competitions at this year's Carmarthenshire YFC Eisteddfod held at St Peter's Hall, Carmarthen in mid-October. Ceri Davies, our Policy Officer, won the Chair for her poem under the topic 'Voice'. Cornel Clecs had the opportunity to question Ceri about her success:

COVID-19 - Important Information for our members and customers

 

In view of the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve taken the decision to help protect members, customers and colleagues by closing all FUW offices.

All staff will be working remotely for the foreseeable future, meaning our team will be continuing with exactly the same service but over the phone/email/skype or other means of remote communication instead. 

Members and customers should continue to contact us as they would, as all our team can be contacted via the usual phone numbers. 

We will be making sure that our service levels are maintained. SAF/IACS appointments will carry on as normal but will be conducted over the phone. 

Contact details for your local office can be found here: https://www.fuw.org.uk/en/contact-us 

 

Important links relating to the Coronavirus:


The TB Hub have prepared a list of FAQs regarding how TB procedures will be affected by the virus: https://tbhub.co.uk/statutory-tb-testing-of-cattle-in-gb-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Red Tractor Updated Covid-19 position here: https://assurance.redtractor.org.uk/contentfiles/Farmers-7085.pdf?_=637206600290507095

Livestock Auctioneers Association LAA - 25/03/2020: https://www.laa.co.uk/news/3989/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-to-members-and-farmers/

Business Wales (including details of coronavirus support for businesses): https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) available through participating lenders: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) guidance on Coronavirus: https://www.naac.co.uk/coronavirus-guidance-issued-to-contractors/

National Milk Recording services 24/03/2020: https://www.nmr.co.uk/about-us/coronavirus

Senedd Research Blog: https://seneddresearch.blog/2020/03/17/coronavirus-constituency-support/