Archive for June, 2011

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Green Tips from Transition Keyworth (June 2011)

Like many people these days, we only have a small garden. It does, however, perform a wide variety of very important functions – my chickens live in it, I grow vegetables in raised beds, we have a lawn and a small patio for sitting and relaxing, a couple of fruit trees,  and most recently we added a wildlife pond. Do not imagine though, that this is a large area of water surrounded by lawns and trees – on the contrary, it is probably the smallest pond it is possible to build, squeezed into a tiny space approximately 2 metres square.

The decision to build the pond came just a couple of years ago, when the slug population really was proving to be a threat to my vegetables. As an organic gardener I had tried all the available methods to control them, but they were winning the battle for my seedlings every night!

Digging the pond took just a day – we marked out an irregular shape using a hosepipe, and set to with our spades to create a hole with a deeper area at one end for wildlife to retreat to when the weather is really hot or really cold, and a sloped bank at the other end to allow easy access for the creatures I was hoping to encourage. We bought a proper pond liner and lined the hole with sand to prevent stones from damaging the liner – then came the exciting moment when we could fill our pond with water!

We carefully chose a range of plants to go both in the water, in order to keep it clean and oxygenated, and around the edges of the pond to provide shelter for wildlife. We planted it up, added some large pebbles around the edge and it very quickly began to look quite established.  The final touch was a bucket of water from a friend’s pond, in order to introduce some beneficial insects and some extra plant life.

Now, two years on, my little pond is teeming with tadpoles. The beautiful yellow marsh marigold is smothered in flowers, the edges are softened with a variety of flourishing plants, and we frequently hear the distinctive ‘plop’ of a frog retreating into the clear water. And I cannot remember when I last needed to patrol down the garden with a torch hunting for slugs!

If you cannot safely have a pond because you have small children there are lots of designs for small water features which have lots of the benefits of a wildlife pond. I would highly recommend The Rock and Water Garden Expert book” by Dr. D.G. Hessayon, which has lots of practical advice and ideas.

And finally…….the Abundance Project will soon be up and running again – look out for our stall in the Square on Sat 11th June – come and say hello, we’d love to meet you!

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Green Tips from Transition Keyworth (April 2011)

Chickens in the Garden

I have been a small-scale chicken-keeper for quite a few years now, but I thought it would be nice to share with you the story of my three latest acquisitions! On a freezing cold December Sunday last year we drove to Coventry, to one of the hen rehoming centres run by the British Hen Welfare Trust (www.bhwt.org.uk) Here we found two whole stables full of hens who had been rescued from a battery farm (they are normally culled at the age of 18 months as soon as they stop laying an egg every single day) Due to the cramped, overcrowded conditions these girls had been kept in, they were a sorry sight. Many of them could hardly stand as their claws were so long and their feet were ‘locked’ into a hooked position. They had very few feathers, and were quiet and subdued. Choosing just three of them to bring home was heartbreaking, but we eventually went for one tiny, almost bald one, one slightly perkier one with lots of golden fluff on her back and a more active one with a few more feathers. On the way home we named them – Ivy, Angel & Holly (well, it was almost Christmas!)

I was so worried about the possibility of these poor featherless creatures freezing to death during their first few days of normal life, that I actually made them little jackets to wear!

We decided to keep them in our shed for the first few days, in a small run which I covered with a duvet every night to give them a little extra protection. As the temperatures crept ever lower, I worried more and more, and each morning I rushed out to check them, convinced there would be a frozen chicken in the run!  Amazingly though, they survived, and after a week of intensive care they were fit enough to move into the outdoor chicken house with my other hens.

Seeing my girls take their first tentative steps outside in the sunshine, watching their natural instincts to scratch, and preen, and make happy chatty chicken noises, has been incredibly rewarding. In the last couple of months they have made amazing progress, they are almost back to being fully feathered, and they each lay a delicious egg almost every day. Chickens are not difficult to look after, and they are a real asset to the ‘green’ household. Interested? Have a look at the BHWT website, or get in touch with us here at Transition Keyworth and we will be happy to advise!

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Green Tips from Transition Keyworth, February 2011

It’s February. It is cold and dark, and mainly wet, or snowing, or both. The bright promise of the New Year, the resolutions and the decision that ‘this year is the one when things will really change’ all seem a long way away. Fear not though, good citizens of Keyworth, for I have a new resolution for all of you that will last throughout the coming months and years to come; that will save you money, allow you to use new skills, and give you that warm glow of really doing something to save the planet. My new mantra is ‘Make Do and ‘Mend’.

Now, those of you amongst us with great wisdom and experience, who lived through the 2nd World War, will be muttering that this is nothing new. I am sure that many of you still maintain those careful habits of being frugal, wasting nothing and really looking after every penny. But for others of us, who have grown accustomed to our throwaway society, and take for granted the £5 toaster or £3 jumper, it  might come as a shock to realise that we can make or repair things ourselves, or use second-hand things instead of new ones. Give it a try – you will save money, have fun, and maybe even meet some new friends!

For example, many of you probably already sew or knit – if so, why not look around for one of the many opportunities in the village to get together with like-minded people to share skills and ideas. If you can’t find a group that suits you, why not start a new one! It is also worth looking at the Internet for ideas and inspiration – websites such as www.makeitandmendit.com are increasingly popular. Its aim is” to grow a community keen to share ideas and inspiration and which empowers all of us to re-use more and throw away less. And have fun along the way…” Couldn’t have put it better myself!

O f course, if you have unwanted ‘stuff’ cluttering up your home – or you are looking for something ‘new to you’, you will be eagerly looking forward to our exciting and innovative new project, the Garage Sale Safari on Saturday 21st May. More details coming soon – keep the date free and watch this space!

For more information about this event please call Tracey on 07816899978

www,transitionkeyworth.org.uk