Tag Archives: fossil fuel

Sustainable Transport

Well, I’ve finally got rid of my van. I figured that whilst there were many good reasons to keep it, the reasons for letting it go were more compelling.

Most of my traveling is fairly local, and we have a decent bus service, roughly one an hour. So many of my journeys could be done using public transport. I have a bicycle, but it’s pretty hilly here, and I’m not as fit as I used to be. Nevertheless, I gave my van away to the Doris Banham Charity, who rescue dogs. They have a shop in Horncastle, and I was moved by the work that they do.

Their website is here


The home page shows my van, which has been sign written.

The site shows a number of dogs looking for homes, and as our greyhounds pass on, I’m tempted to rehome a Staffie. I’m not sure that my wife will approve, but that’s something to look at later.

I’m Fifty later this year, so my mother, when she discovered that I was giving my van away, offered to buy me an electric bicycle for my birthday. I accepted, and here it is.

bElectric BicycleThe battery is where the water bottle would be. So far I’ve been reasonably pleased with it. The motor needs some pedaling assistance whilst climbing the steepest hills, but it’s easier than pedal power alone. I’ve been using it quite regularly. It’s very cheap to operate. I charge it at night, when we get a cheaper tariff, and we use 100% renewable electricity, from Good Energy. My rough calculation reckons that I’m saving £50 per month, without taking into account what I would have spent on diesel. As I get a bit fitter, I may start to use my normal bike more frequently. My wife has just bought a normal bicycle, so I’m probably going to have to keep her company on some riding from now on.

Where will I find the time?

All of the best


Ex Battery hens arriving Monday

Monday is arrival day.

We wanted to increase our stock of hens, and decided to re-home some ex battery hens. One of our friends, and fellow LSSSC member, is the local coordinator for Lincolnshire.

The hens are going into a one acre field with a young Light Sussex cockerel.

Light Sussex Cockerel

Light Sussex Cockerel

He is a little big for them, but our last batch went in with a Silver Gray Dorking cockerel, and they’re doing OK. It was a bit worrying watching him at work at first. He was without experience, which meant that the hens suffered a bit until he got the hang of it. Now they just let him get on with it. The last batch were from a Free Range unit, supposedly organic, but the conditions were still not good.

The new batch will be from an indoor unit, so may feel a bit agrophobic with all of the space. In the photograph, you might be able to make out some trees behind the fence in the middle ground. I’m going to take the fence down on Monday morning, so that they have some cover. Now that the sheep will not need to go back into the field, I don’t need to protect the trees from them. The field also has a small amount of willow in it, around a hundred small trees, at the moment. This will be expanded later this year to produce about 1/2 an acre of Short Rotation Coppice (SRC), with the rest planted with Alder, Hazel, Lime, Eucalyptus, and Cherry Plum. Some of my earlier posts refer to this.

The second photograph shows the last batch, enjoying the sunshine yesterday. The tree that they are sheltering under, is the one which features in the shot with the bee on a catkin, in yesterdays post. An example of multiple outputs, a Permaculture principle, in action. The chickens are sheltering under the tree, the bees are taking pollen from the same tree, the leaves from the tree are fed to the sheep in late Summer/Autumn, when the grass starts to lose its nutritional value. Finally, the twigs left over from feeding the sheep, are used as kindling on the log burner. Not bad from a single tree .Just imagine what you could do with lots of trees.

The way to real self sufficiency on our smallholding is going to be to maximise outputs from a smaller area, to reduce the input of fossil fuel, and labour, which might  perhaps allow us to leave more land for wildlife.

If anybody is thinking of giving living space to some ex Battery Hens, the Battery Hen Welfare Trust site can be found here:  http://www.bhwt.org.uk/

Have a great weekend


Dorking and Commercial Chickens

Dorking and Commercial Chickens