Today is exactly three months since Christmas Day – a good day to let you know what has been happening here at Ty Cerrig during the first quarter of the year, I thought!  So here goes…..

You may remember that, at the beginning of the year, before the big rains, there was a window of blue skies and dry weather .  We took that opportunity to give Henry a good wash down.

Poor Henry had lost one of the weights from his front end and was plastered in mud.  He had worked hard this season collecting cut Christmas Trees and bringing them down the hill to the Barn.  We had thought that we would be able to haul some of the Trees by hand but soon found that this would be too difficult, we were busier than we had imagined and the Trees were SO heavy!!!  Poor Henry had probably never expected to work so hard in his retirement – he used to live at a school in Devon mowing playing fields…sounds idyllic!

In the middle of January, we were able to enjoy a bright frosty walk through the trees, jumping on icy puddles, and counting tree stumps.  With this information we were able to calculate our order for baby trees to replace those that we had sold.  We ordered plenty of Nordmann Firs and Norway Spruces, which were our biggest sellers, and some Fraser Firs and Lodgepole Pines which had also proved popular.  Unfortunately, our Scots Pines had begun to get a bit big and were blocking the light from their neighbours, so we decided that some of them would have to go.  They made room for us to try out a new species of Christmas Tree:  the Corkbark Fir.  They are native to Arizona and as the name suggests develop a thick, corky bark.  The needles are flat and soft and the Trees grow tall but narrow.  We’ll have to wait and see if they like South Wales as much as the Southern States of America!

At the end of January, our Chief Netter and Bird box builder celebrated his birthday, somewhat appropriately, climbing around in trees.  He would have liked to do the high ropes course but the low ropes were considered high enough for an eight year old!!

Most of February was spent like the rest of the country, hiding from the rain and hoping that the wind wouldn’t do too much damage.  We lost most of the glass from our greenhouse in the garden, but fortunately the Barn and all bar one or two of the Christmas Trees came through unscathed.  There were a few casualties at the entrance to the Farm but these were swiftly dealt with – it’s always good to know somebody who is good with a chainsaw!!

We also spent a ridiculous amount of time on the telephone to our bank trying to understand why it could possibly take three months (!) to issue a cheque book on our business bank account.  Eventually it arrived and we were able to send out cheques to all the School PTAs who had supported us by advertising our business.  Just over £1,400 was shared by local schools and hopefully, despite the wait, they will be able to put the money to good use.

Of course the rains did eventually subside.  Henry’s lost weight was discovered in the mud when a puddle had dried out.  And we were able to get outside at last!  The second sign at the entrance, which we had run out of time to put up in December, was erected, and the Barn had a thorough tidy up.  It looked as if we may have had a lodger in the Barn for a couple of months, or maybe it was just being used as a dry storage place….

And finally, the baby trees arrived!

Andrew single-handedly planted the vast majority of the Trees, with a very welcome helping hand on one day from one of the lads who helped us at Christmas.

As lots of customers had asked if we have any Trees that they could plant out into their gardens after Christmas, I spent a morning putting some Norway Spruce saplings into pots, too.  They’ll take a few years to establish their roots in the pots, but we’ll let you know when they are good to go!

So now all we need is a little more rain to water them all in…!!

Check back later in the year to see how things are progressing….

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