Friday, 30 January 2015

Slippery stuff

More snow - and I hope you are all coping with the white stuff ... Even where there is only a light covering, do be careful about icy patches which can be just as treacherous - in some ways more so, because so often it is unexpected. I nearly went flying the other day when I put my foot on a slick spot on an otherwise dry and clear looking patio while emptying Archie and Angel's poo dustbin. The peril doesn't just extend to people but your dogs too - Archie skidded across exactly the same spot as he came flying at full pelt back into the house from the garden. DON'T however, put salt and other ice-melting substances down as they can be harmful to your pets - both to their skin and if they ingest it when licking their paws later. Simply exercise a bit of caution and encourage your pets to do the same!
If you walk your dog along pavements, consider washing your dogs paws when you return home to remove any such substances, or splashes of spilt anti-freeze which they may have stepped in.

Update on the dog poo wormery - it has arrived (thank you Jill!) and will be posted here next week. I'm definitely going to save up for one - it sounds like such a good idea. But more about it all next Friday - in the meantime wrap up warm! 

Friday, 23 January 2015

A nip in the air

Only a light scattering of snow for us softies in the south, and which Archie and Angel are duly grateful about.  Even with fleece jackets on, after a quick look round they decided it was far too cold outside in the garden and would rather be indoors.

This morning we woke up to find that Jack Frost had been busy during the night: the temperature was -4C but by the time we went out for our morning walk it had warmed up to a more temperate -2.5C!
It did all look rather beautiful and to my mind at least, the frost rimed plants and grass make up for the lack of flowers. No sign of any snowdrops yet, although daffodils, narcissi and crocuses are all pushing pointy little green stems up, and I even spotted a couple of daffodil buds the other day ...
there are also plenty of catkins around which I always think is a welcome indicator of Spring being not too far away.  Although I am baffled as to why they are called catkins - more like wiggly lambs tails when there is a breeze.

I'm hoping to put the post up about the dog poo wormeries soonish - the nice folk at Earth Essentials did send it to me, but unfortunately it was in a format I couldn't download on my computer. But in the meantime, here are some comments from satisfied customers - both about the dog poo wormeries and the conventional type - to help whet your interest ...

"I saw the dog poo wormery at Crufts last year and so in the summer I bought one.

The trouble is I got so addicted to composting I had to go to Crufts this year to buy a home waste bin - so that I could make room in my original bin for the dog poo.

I was surprised that there is virtually no smell from the bin and no blue bottles hanging round it - which is a plus.
My advice is - if you have edible plants in your garden - get a home waste and a dog poo bin - if not - go for a large bin.
- Marian Wolff"

"I bought my dog poo wormery 12 months ago and was very sceptical about it as I've had various gimmicks in the past which have been a complete waste of money. However, I followed the instructions which came with the wormery and have been amazed by it. 
I have 7 dogs and although the bin isn't big enough to accommodate the waste from them all, which I didn't expect it too, so I shall buy another bin in the future.
One of my concerns was that the bin would smell - but it doesn't.
I would give the bin 10 out of 10 and would recommend it to anyone with dogs.
- Sue Ashbourne, Canine Hydrotherapy Centre"

 "I saw the Earth Essentials wormery when we were at the Berkshire show this summer. I was a little dubious as I had a wormery before from a well-known maker and it was terrible. All the worms kept escaping and after three bags of worms and a replacement lid I gave up. I really wanted to have one though so after a lengthy conversation with Jill I decided to give it another go. This one is BRILLIANT! It works! My top tip is though, when you first put your worms in put an old pillow case or similar laid over the top then close the lid onto that so it is sandwiched between. Then no "Steve McQueen" worms can get out and then they soon settle down. Within a week or two they were happy and are now munching their way through our peelings. It doesn't smell either, it is great and I would definitely recommend them. I will purchasing a dog poo wormery as soon as I have cleared a space for it. Thanks again.
- Emma"

"We have been using the Big wormery at Elmwood Golf Course since April with the aim of reduce the amount of food waste generated in the clubhouse from going to landfill. The system is well built, easy to maintain and backed up with an excellent aftercare service from Earth Essentials. The system generates a lot of interest from visitors to the course who are interested in our many environmental initiatives and the compost created by this system allows us to produce high quality compost teas which we then use out on the course to help reduce our inputs of chemicals, fertilisers and water.

                                                - Kind regards, Greg"

Friday, 16 January 2015

More poop stuff ...

Following hot on the heels of last

 week's post, we nearly all trod in a pile of poop which someone had considerately left right outside the front garden gate. It's not the first time this has happened either ... while my initial urge was to lie in wait for the culprit to pass again and catch them in the act of poo-abandonment, when I would then leap out on the unsuspecting owner and rub their nose in it in the hope they might not do it again, more modern training tactics plus a violent rainstorm made me decide to try a different strategy. I wrote a short piece of doggerel instead. So far, no more poo - and several people have stopped to comment on how cross it makes them too. Worryingly, one dog-owner hadn't even realised there was a council poo bin so close - maybe the council should paint them in a more dazzling dayglo colour to draw attention to them? If you don't like having to carry your dog's

poo around while trying to find the nearest poo bin - I agree it isn't very pleasant -  then I recommend investing in a Dicky Bag. I acquired one myself a couple of months ago, and it really is brilliant: it contains any poo-smells and leaves your hands free and is altogether much nicer than tying it onto the leash or a bag. I wish I'd bought one years ago in fact. Disposing of your dog's poop at home can also be a bit of a chore at times, especially if you have multiple dogs, it can tend to build up. I'm looking forward to finding out more about the Dog Poo Wormery, and have started to save up for one of my own ...

 Finally, on a more cheerful note, I found this butterfly the other day in the bedroom. Interrupted during hibernation, I was informed by a friend. It has been carefully relocated to a dry, cool spot and seems to have resumed its dreams, presumably of nectar filled sunny days ahead ...


Saturday, 10 January 2015

We're back!

An orgy of present-unwrapping ...
Hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year!
Archie and Angel were thrilled by all the turkey and probably had more presents than anybody else. It's nice to get back to normal though and to start planning for the gardening year ahead - although it is mainly planning at the moment as the weather isn't really on my side at the moment. Either the ground has been frozen solid, or the rain has kept me from catching up on work on the allotment ... this morning I took advantage of a dry moment to go and dig some leeks. I had only just finished when torrential rain appeared out of nowhere and by the time I reached the car I was quite literally wet to the knickers. The leek and potato soup (with extra garlic) was welcome for lunch though ...
Sensibly staying in the warm and and dry


One of my other chores this morning - before the rain set in - was to empty the poo bin. I keep a mini metal dustbin with a close fitting lid into which I pop Archie and Angel's poo (suitably wrapped in biodegradable bags), and empty it every couple of days into the council poop bin nearby.  I've written about various methods of poo disposal in my book, and have been thinking for some time about saving up to buy one of the dog poo wormeries as being a more eco-friendly idea than the council poo bin. 

Dog Poo Wormeries has kindly agreed to write a blog post here explaining a bit more about it - watch this space! As well as clicking on the link, you can also find them on Facebook as Dog Poo Wormery.

Click HERE for info