Tag Archives: Transition Horncastle

Catching Up with Work

Forgive me for it has been nearly two weeks since my last post, and I find myself with very little exciting Smallholding stuff to update you on, but quite a bit of the more mundane work. For much of the past week I have been distracted from the real work that needs to be done, by family matters, and Transition Town Horncastle work.

We had visitors for the whole weekend, from Friday through to Monday, and I was not able to do as much work as I needed to. On Sunday, I spent all of the morning feeding the flames for my Pizza oven, followed by eating and drinking for the rest of the day. Great fun, with my two daughters, along with husbands, eight Grandchildren, a sister in law, and a mother in law. We made pizza, bread, and rhubarb crumble. The oven needs more insulation, but this will have to wait a few weeks.

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The Sustainable Smallholding End of Year Roundup

2009 was another busy year at the Sustainable Smallholding, with changes to the management of my bees, an increase in the number of chickens, and hives, the addition of ducks, the creation of swales, and lots of experimental growing. This included growing tobacco, manuka, eucalyptus, acacia, small scale wheat growing etc. So I thought that I’d do a short summary, and a look forward to my plans for next year.

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And Now we Wait for Leadership

On Saturday I attended The Wave, in London, which was a demonstration designed to remind politicians that we want them to come away from the Copenhagen Summit with a strong agreement to tackle Climate change.

I’m really glad that I went, as I would have felt pretty hypocritical if I hadn’t made the effort. Sadly, I don’t think that enough people showed up to make ministers sit up and take notice. Too many people either don’t care, or don’t care enough. Here in Horncastle, we have around 10, 000 people, and yet I know of only six adults, and two kids who went to London. There may have been more, who went independently, but even so, the it was a poor show, that was obviously repeated all around the country.

So now we have to wait for leadership from our politicians. The same politicians who took us into Iraq, fiddled their expenses, and wasted £14,000 pounds per person propping up a banking system as corrupt as themselves. Perhaps this really is the Age of Stupid.

So what do we do if World Leaders fail to live up to the title of  ‘Leader’ ? Probably what we all should already be doing. Acting now, without waiting for the nanny state to tell us that we should. I think that deep down, we all know that we have to do something, even if we don’t really want to change. Probably the first thing to do is to sign up to the 10:10 campaign. You sign up to reduce your own emissions by 10% in 2010. By signing up, you show the government that you want to reduce emissions, and help give them the backbone that they need to to act at their level. You can sign up here

The more people that sign up, the more that politicians can see the support for action, and we start doing something NOW.

Even if they let us down, we are only responsible for our own actions, not theirs, but we are TOTALLY responsible for all of our actions, or inaction.

It’s time to act.


Permaculture Courses

Well the last few weeks have been focussed on preparing for running an Introduction to Permaculture Course, which along with another Lincolnshire based Permacuture designer, I ran at the weekend.

The Introduction to Permaculture Course followed a taster session, which Nick Vowles and I ran in August. That session was for the Lincolnshire Organic Gardeners’ Organisation.


This meeting, held in August, was also attended by members of the Lincolnshire Smallholding and Self-Sufficiency Club


and by members of Transition Horncastle, Louth and Lincoln. Here is a picture of the audience during the first session, Permaculture Ethics, taken by Nick

Audience at Permaculture afternoon

Audience at Permaculture afternoon

Nick and I were asked to teach the Introduction Course, which was held last weekend at the Riseholme Campus of the University of Lincoln. Twenty people came for the weekend, and judging from the feedback it went pretty well. As this was our first course, there were things that we can tweak to improve things, but the feedback was pretty good.

Here is a picture of us at the end of the weekend, taken outside the fantastic building that we were given to teach in.

Students on Introduction to Permaculture Course

Students on Introduction to Permaculture Course

I have to say that it was a fantastic place to teach, and I hope to get the chance to repeat it.

Preparing to teach something also helped me to broaden my understanding of Permaculture, which has already fed into my own plans to re-design my own smallholding. So I’m pausing with my current plans and taking a few more weeks to think about it.

If any of you would like to check out Nick’s blog, you can use the link below.

Nick’s Blog

Now I need to find some good, cheap/free Landscape Design software, to use in my future projects.

Take Care


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