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Personal stories and messages from Keyworth people

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Tduty_callshis blog is a space for people to recount personal experiences, stories etc on their road to Transition.

Sorry but due to high spamming activity we have had to remove the facility to comment on items. If you would like to get it touch you can always email us, we would love to hear constructive comments.

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

Garage Sale Safari

Monday, October 4th, 2010

If you are interested in having a stall at the Garage Sale Safari, please download the leaflet from here.

Garage Sale Safari Leaflet

Giving it away…..

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Okay, having spent much of this week up trees, making jam and frantically texting the Amazing Abundance Team, I am incredibly proud to report that on Saturday morning we finally managed to get to the whole point of the project – giving stuff away! In just two hours (and in a monsoon) we managed to give away well over 60lb of plums, and 20 jars of jam. We also collected a good amount in donations, so I’ve been able to reimburse all the dedicated jam-makers for the sugar and other bits they had bought out of their own money.

It was an amazing couple of hours -we really enjoyed being able to hand out bags of plums to lots of lovely people, and it was great to hear so much approval and enthusiasm about the project. It led to lots of interesting conversations, and lots of new trees being signed up for picking – we are certainly going to be busy once the apples really start to ripen!

So……..how do you feel about getting involved? It honestly isn’t difficult, and it need not take up hours of your time – in fact, the more volunteers we have, the easier it will get! Right now we are short-handed as several of us (myself included) are about to go off on holiday – so your contribution will really make a difference. We are planning to go picking on Thursday and/or Friday evening, and we will be giving away fruit on Saturday morning. Do please come and join usthis is Transition Keyworth in action, in our own community!

Abundance!

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

We began this project very tentatively, not at all sure whether anyone would want to get involved……but suddenly I am getting calls from all over the village about plums being ready to pick, and my hall is filling up with crates of empty jam jars waiting to be filled! I am SO excited….but also a little worried as there are so few of us, and so much to do….and the apple season has not even begun yet! So this is a bit of a ‘call to arms’ for any of you out there reading this….we really DO need your help over the next few weeks to pick fruit, lend out ladders, and make jam! We are hoping that the preserves we make can be given away to those in need, but that they will also bring in some donations so that we can afford to buy some proper equipment for next year. This is just the beginning…..we really are going to make a difference!

How Much is Enough?

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

So there are plans afoot for a Tesco store on the site of Wright’s Garage on Selby Lane. If its plan in the exhibition is accurate, Tesco will also have to purchase at least two of the adjoining properties. Apart from the objections to Tesco as a corporation which are eloquently set out in Andrew Simms book “Tescopoly” which as a reviewer says on the back cover “shows the creeping, invading, unsustainable world of the supershop, its tentacles strangling the life out of our communities” I got to thinking about the impact of this on our community and the transition town objectives in the village.

When I got to thinking it seem that just about everything that a supermarket with the market dominance of Tesco holds dear (the bottom line being profits for shareholders) runs counter to building a sustainable and resilient community in Keyworth. Then I just got so depressed that the thought of running away to the hills became (as it often does) an attractive proposition. And that’s kinda the point, massive organisations like this with seemingly infinite resources want you to despair and give up believing that there is a chance for a better world………………..they would like us to run away leaving them free to do what they want.

We have shops already. How much is enough? For some ideas on this I recommend the book “Enough” by John Naish (I have copy for loan)

A little bit of magic in my dining room.

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

I have always grown a few bits and bobs of veg in my tiny garden – potatoes in big buckets, a runner bean wigwam, a few tomato plants squeezed in here and there. We have built some small raised beds and I’ve done really well with salad leaves, radishes and even courgettes (they actually tried to take over the whole garden last summer!)
This year though, I have been looking forward to the spring even more eagerly than usual, because I finally have a bit more land to play with! Last year I placed a ‘wanted’ ad on the Landshare website, and managed to find a lady who had an area of her garden that she would be happy to let me use for growing. My friend Sue and I have since spent many happy hours weeding and clearing, as well as planning what to grow in such an amazing space!
The astonishingly cold winter has meant that we are a little behind with what we had planned, but last weekend I managed to plant the first seeds in the propagator which fits into my dining room windowsill. Now there are tiny seedlings bursting through in each pot – a real sign that the long winter is finally over and the growing season is really getting under way. Next Christmas, with any luck, we will be eating Brussels sprouts from the plants just germinating in my dining room. That feels like a little bit of magic to me.

For more details about Landshare have a look at http://landshare.channel4.com/

Nottingham Transition Market

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Yesterday we went to the Transition Nottingham Market in Sneinton. It was a bitterly cold morning, and part of me wondered if it would be worth bothering with, but as we were out and about anyway we decided to make the effort.
It didn’t look too promising at first – the stallholders were all huddled against the freezing wind, and there weren’t many customers, but as we drew nearer we could hear funky music coming from a bike powered generator, and smell delicious food cooking. We wandered around for about half an hour, and in that time I had a really interesting chat with a guy from Ecoworks about their veg box scheme, bought a beginner’s crochet kit for my daughter’s birthday, and stocked up on homemade cakes and free range eggs. There was a stall selling bread made with flour from Green’s Windmill, and another with a huge range of organic seed potatoes. Everyone was friendly and happy to chat, and everything on offer was carefully made or sourced, with a real emphasis on local and sustainable produce.
This was only the second market organised by Transition Nottingham, so the scheme is very much in its infancy. Having gone to it almost by accident, I am now keen to find out when the next one takes place, and I would certainly recommend it as a welcome alternative to the normal ‘Saturday shopping’ experience, which tends to leave me short on patience and vowing never to go back! This market was less about ‘things’, and more about meeting people, exchanging ideas and building up a sense of community, and it was a great way to see some of the basic principles of the Transition movement in action.
Rachel.