Home for the month of June has been Mur Crusto Organic Farm, Llangybi, near the town of Pwllheli in northern Wales. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying doing some gardening, exploring the local area, dabbling in the kitchen and befriending the ducks. With the variable Welsh weather, I’ve also had plenty of time to catch up on my writing (hence the steady stream of blog posts over the last week and a bit).
I’m lucky enough to be staying on the beautiful Mur Crusto Organic Farm while owners Val and Bry Lynas trek around the Scottish Isles on a much deserved holiday. Lyndsay and I met Val and Bry via the online house-sitting site http://www.mindmyhouse.com. After several lovely skype chats, we were deemed suitable caretakers for their fruit trees, vegetables, ducks and holiday rental cottage. Thus we found ourselves picked up at Pwllheli train station on the 5th June by this smiling pair of retirees, and whisked away to the tranquil realm of their small farm.
|Mur Crusto. It’s gorgeous.|
Over the first week of our visit, we worked together to finish off some final planting and maintenance jobs around the farm, as well as learn how to care for the beds inside and outside the polytunnel. They welcomed Lyndsay and I into their home and amalgamated us into their daily routine with ease. I was impressed with their approach to sustainability and the environment. They’re both excellent vegetarian cooks and regularly make their own delicious hommous, bread and muesli.
Bry has a PhD from Cambridge in Earth Sciences and worked for many years as Principal Scientific Officer for the British Geological Survey. He now also produces a website about climate change for children called Tiki the Penguin (http://tiki.oneworld.net/). He’s witty, discerning and a lot of fun. Val is a kind, knowledgeable and skilled multilingual languages teacher. They’re both fantastic organic farmers to boot.
|Bry and Val.|
Now for a bit of an introductory tour:
Mur Crusto Organic Farm comprises 13 acres of fields, a large vegetable plot, polytunnel, fruit trees and berry bushes. The homestead is a lovely stone farmhouse with a bright, open conservatory surrounded by a wildflower garden. The farm has views of the ocean and surrounding mountains. Also on the property is a lovely holiday rental cottage that is generally booked solid during the summer months. It’s a restored stone dairy named Gwyndy.
|Mur Crusto homestead, with conservatory in the foreground. Perfect spot for breakfast/brunch.|
|Cottage garden outside the conservatory.The bird feeder brings plenty of colourful visitors and several mischievous squirrels.|
The vegetable garden
The outdoor vegetable beds include kale, cavolo nero, carrots, potatoes, leeks, beetroot and peas. There are also rows of strawberries, gooseberries, blackberries and raspberries.
|Vegetable beds (the kale and cavolo nero are tucked in bed on the left hand side, and the carrots on the right hand side – no pests allowed).|
|Several of the many rows of berry bushes.|
The warm environment of the polytunnel houses tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, capsicum, corn, beans, lettuces, basil and onions. Over the last month they’ve all shot up remarkably and should be ready to harvest soon.
|Inside the polytunnel|
|More veg in the polytunnel|
Francis and his two ladies are housed in a palatial portable duckhouse and are free to roam the property during the day. They’re a great slug patrol.