After BSE & Foot & Mouth, farmers these days have to comply with so much ministry and local authority paperwork, and  inspections and testing. And of course we do, often agonising over why the cumulative number of our sheep / cattle / pigs doesn’t quite reconcile with the previous return, and dashing out to the fields to re-count sheep without falling asleep. But when it comes to poultry, we do not have to be so rigorous – our few hens and cocks are totally free range, we only have eggs when we find out where they are laying, and usually they don’t cause us any trouble, just providing colourful additions to our farmyard. But this year they’ve been very productive, over the last few weeks one old hen after another has emerged from undergrowth with a line of multi-coloured chicks. At the last count we have over 30 chicks and half-grown hens and cocks. SO IF ANYONE LOCAL WANTS SOME NEW YOUNG HENS, CALL US!  In the best supermarket tradition, and bearing in mind hens should be kept in small groups, Barbara says - the price will be right, and its buy two, get two free! Hurry hurry, limited stock! Email Barbara on

And while I’m advertising our wares, we were at Usk Farmers Market again today, selling mainly beef, and we have some over. The beef is from our indigenous Welsh Black cattle, which are extensively grazed on our grass and silage, and the herb-rich Blorenge Common, all their lives. They are never fed concentrates, never housed indoors, have as good lives as any cattle while they are with us, some for many years. They grow more slowly than continental breeds, and so, we say, the beef (hung and prepared properly) tastes top class. Email Barbara if you want to try a joint, steak or mince.