Friday 28 August 2020

Goats on the run - the video!


Monday and Tuesday are not necessarily days I wish to repeat. The billy goats' disappearance and their return took up most of Tuesday but I did manage to capture what happened in my video diary above.

Tuesday 25 August 2020

They're back!


We eventually caught up with the missing billies today. After a brief social media campaign, the word got out into the local community that we needed their eyes and ears at the ready. The campaign worked. We were put in touch with one of the riding stables about a kilometre from our main field. They had found the goats in a neighbouring piece of woodland. So this evening we headed over to collect them. They were looking rather pleased with themselves when we got there. They are now in our most secure paddock where they will remain until we have repaired the fence of their usual paddock.



Yesterday, three of our billy goats escaped from the smallholding. Snow, Sunny and Perky disappeared through a small hole in the fence of their paddock when we were in Yorkshire buying a ram for the ewes. Despite an extensive search before it got too dark last night, and a further search this morning in heavy rain, we have not been able to find them.

I am aware of local residents who read this blog so if you see any goats wandering around near Sunniside or Streetgate in Gateshead, please email me on saying when and where you saw them.

Saturday 22 August 2020

Softfruit ketchup


Yesterday I made 6 jars and one small bowl of softfruit ketchup. This is a by-product of making jelly preserves. Once the liquid is strained off to make the jelly, the pulp is left over. Instead of discarding it, I press it through a sieve and the resulting fruit puree is used to make the ketchup (just add a pinch of salt, red wine vinegar and sugar). Lots of gooseberries went into this so it has a very tangy taste. It is great with smoked fish.

Monday 10 August 2020

Hawthorn galore

We are overrun with hawthorn hedge trimmings and branches. Not that I'm complaining! One of the other allotment holders on the Whinnies today took a metre off the height of his hedge. There's still more to do but the result was a huge pile of hawthorn trimmings which the goats love. It means I don't have to pick nettles and willowherb for them for at least a couple of days.

Friday 7 August 2020

Diary 1st and 2nd August 2020 hen adopts chicks

A broody hen took up residence in an old oil drum on our smallholding. We gave her some fake eggs and three weeks later we gave her three recently hatched chicks. This video shows how we got her to adopt her new babies.

Thursday 6 August 2020

Guest post - Revealed: Companies committed to reducing their carbon footprints

The following post is a guest post written by John Hannen of Mediaworks.

The impact of climate change is being felt in eco systems all over the world. From warmer temperatures that are causing sea levels to rise to erratic weather patterns that present a threat to human life, it’s clear that action needs to be taken to reduce its effects.


Thankfully, a strategy is now in place to reverse the effects of climate change and restore harmony to the planet. Back in June 2019, the UK government became the first country to sign their ‘Net Zero’ target into law – marking it as the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions.[1] Since then, other governments have followed suit, introducing their own laws and policy changes to help reduce the amount of carbon we emit.


These changes have had a huge impact on the way businesses work, inspiring many to introduce new ways of reducing their carbon footprint. Here, we look at those businesses that are  going above and beyond to ensure their emissions are kept as low possible or are offsetting the carbon they unavoidably emit as part of their daily operations. 


Aviation – EasyJet

Airlines are a significant contributor to carbon emissions globally. In fact, it’s estimated that the flights we catch account for some 12% of all transport emissions annually.[2] Yet there are airlines that are making significant efforts to try and reduce this figure – one of which is EasyJet. In a recent report, EasyJet ranked top of the list of airlines trying to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change and has since become the first airline to operate net zero flights across its whole network.[3]

This has been possible through carbon offsetting initiatives which helps to offset the emissions the airline uses during flights. It’s estimated that the company will spend around £25million each year carbon offsetting, lowering their impact on the environment and positioning themselves as market leaders in reducing CO2.


Automotive – BMW

Regularly named as the world’s most sustainable car manufacturer, BMW has gained a reputation for its creativity and innovation in terms of reducing carbon emissions. The company’s long list of green credentials speaks for itself – for example, from 2009 to 2019 BMW has been able to reduce its delivery fleet emissions by over 40%.[1] The company has also invested heavily in electric technology, turning to more renewable fuels to reduce carbon emissions even further. As it stands, BMW is currently on track to ensure that a quarter of all the vehicles it sells will be electrified by 2021, with a third in 2025 and half of all vehicles by the year 2030.[2]


Fast food restaurants – McDonald’s

As one of the most iconic restaurants in the world, McDonald’s are firmly under the microscope when it comes to taking sustainable measures. Luckily, the company is making considerable efforts to reduce its impact on the environment wherever possible. With around 36,000 restaurants located in over 100 countries worldwide[3], McDonald’s has now began switching to energy efficient appliances to help cut energy waste by around 25%.[4] It also aims to source all its packaging from recycled materials by 2025.[5]


Manufacturing – Siemens

Manufacturing often requires energy intensive processes that create high levels of carbon emissions. However, this didn’t stop electronics manufacturer, Siemens, from becoming the first global company to commit to carbon neutrality by 2030 through using renewable energy at its factories.[6] It’s also set out sustainability goals within its ‘Serve the Environment’ programme which details how it intends to create zero waste. As it stands, zero per cent of its waste has been sent to landfill from its factory in Newcastle and the business currently boasts a 92% recycle rate overall. [7]


Software – Google

With a reputation for creating innovative software, it comes as no surprise that Google is one of the IT giants leading the way in terms of sustainability. As well as reducing its carbon footprint through company-wide efficiency improvements, Google also uses on-site solar power as a renewable fuel supply. [1]The company then uses carbon offsetting to bring its remaining footprint to zero and goes to great lengths to ensure that the projects it supports help provide long-term global benefits.[2]


Off-grid energy – Flogas

As one of UK’s leading off-grid energy suppliers who help companies offset carbon emissions, Flogas has quickly become a market leader in the fight against climate change. In its ‘2040 Vision’ manifesto, the company has laid out plans on how it intends to the support the government’s carbon emissions targets by supplying its customers with 100% renewable energy solutions by 2040. As well as aiding its customers, the company has also undertaken several landmark steps in its own carbon reduction strategy such as promising to offset all Level 1 and Level 2 CO2 emissions for 2019 and became one of the first 0ff-grid gas suppliers to add BioLNG powered delivery vehicles to its fleet. Since then, Flogas has also launched its Carbon Offsetting Initiative for both its commercial and consumer customers.

Sunday 2 August 2020

Adoptive mother

One of our hens unhelpfully decided to go broody in a rather difficult location on our livestock plot - in an old oil drum. We gave her three fake eggs to sit on. (Our experience of giving hens fertile hatching eggs is a bit mixed as they often get damaged when other hens have access to the nest on which the broody hen is sitting.) Her three weeks was up yesterday, so last night we removed the fake eggs and gave her four chicks that we recently hatched in one of our incubators. I'm pleased to say that mum and the children bonded!

We moved the hen and her chicks to the nursery unit in our back garden today. They will be there for about 3 to four weeks watch which point we will move them to the chick run.