Zero waste : a better legacy

This new world of plastic processed everything is unsustainable. It is leaving a legacy of waste that many many generations will have to deal with.

Living and working on the land where one treads in the feet of peoples going back to when the Ice Age left us 9,000 years ago, one is conscious of being just temporary custodians of this small area that once was considered important enough to have a neolithic burial cist built on it.

Plastic has no place : it has only become important in the last few decades and it is produced from the most unsustainable raw materials. However we have become dependant on it – its moldablity, its “cleanliness”, its adaptability, its colours ! its durability .. but it will NEVER break down !

so we are trying to find ways to reduce our plastics, to reduce our carbon footprint, to become more self sufficient..

We have a small farm, so are lucky to have the space to create somewhere where we can grow more fuel, more food, build more habitat, find other ways to live that leave a positive legacy here.

Hotmax

This is a brilliant product for getting you warm good and fast. Perfect for those early chilly days when you have got wet outside and need a quick warm up. Guesthouses love them for make a bright warming fire for guests arrival. And in the summer, the cleanest route to warmth, food and fun.

And its soo environmentally friendly as its made from the waste products from making the Bedmax (the best bedding for poultry we think, which, in turn, becomes a great activator for the compost). Bedmax is dust extracted, so they have compressed the dust into tubes, and these becomes little brickettes for the fire. Great recycling.

Hotmax burns hot and fast – it is not suitable for keeping the fire in, but it is the BEST at getting it lit. And very little ash at all.

In the summer, Hotmax is great at keeping you warm as the twilight comes in, perfect for firepits, and hot enough for Barbeques, odourless too so does not taint your delicious food. A clean burn means you do not have to keep moving to avoid the smoke!! And a good fire helps to keep the midges away !! very useful in the Highlands. The “logs” are clean and easy to transport; by breaking up one into small pieces you have a very effective firelighter, and then a good hot clean burn – perfect for camping.

For Rayburns etc, we have also found it remarkably effective at raising the temperature from idle to cooking in short shrift.

you can find out more here about this remarkable product here :- http://www.hotmax.co.uk/ For extra sustainability, the company is committed to planting trees to replace those they use.

Currently we can only get the 20kg bags.

Jacob Sheep Society visit

What an honour to host a visit by Jacob Sheep Society members to our wee flock. 
We were delighted to be able to offer them refreshments, a display of fleeces, spinning, and humbled by the very kind words about our girls.
We do not show, but to be told that our flock was quite good enough to stand up beside others that frequent the show ring and getting prizes was really encouraging.
The glass Society “award” will be a treasured possession for life. 

Plant Centre history

When we arrived at Kintaline there was a fence down the side of the house, and a small flower bed in the rough grass on the other side. 

The area by the house soon became a home to make shift houses for the first birds, to entertain our two Munsterlanders they thought! 

Then a caravan appeared as an outlet to sell whatever we could produce, and opened up to others with crafting talents. 

More plants were grown and a space for these needed .. a more permanent home for the shop space was built, and the plant centre area evolved. 

Avian Influenza for domestic poultry keepers

The bird flu lockdown across the country throughout the winter 2017 in the face of the Avian Influenza strain H5N8 that flocks of the wintering migrant birds from the Arctic had picked up was a new and significant change in our domestic poultry keeping regimes.

If you want to receive the alerts from our agriculture department about  exotic and notifiable animal diseases through the APHA alerts service sign up here.

Selling Eggs

If you are only selling / giving eggs to the people who are eating them, you have to simply follow sensible food safety.
But the moment you sell / give to anyone who is either using them for baking or cooking for somoeone else to buy; selling / giving them to someone who will sell them on; or in any other way breaking the direct food chain then you need to register as a packing station with Edinburgh egg and poultry unit.
Good food safety is to collect them daily, several times if very hot. To keep nestboxes very clean; not to wash eggs; to store them in trays somewhere that has a stable cool temperature.
You should not call them free range unless you are registered as it is a legal special marketing term. but Free Roaming is fine.
If you can take an elementary food safety certificate locally that is a great way to show you have the understanding and are prepared to fulfil the necessary due diligence to take care of your customers.
Class A eggs are again a specific term, and require particular grading and care.
Putting sizes on eggs requires accurate weighing scales.

these links are for Scotland, if you live elsewhere you need to find the appropriate department for your area.
Egg Inspections

Treats for hens

The main need for birds is to get plenty of protein and food with high nutrition. Laying birds give us one of the most nutrient dense foods every day, and that comes from the food we give them. If not, they will deplete their bodies causing a nutritional starvation.

 

People want to feed their birds more than layers pellets –

Good hen house design

Good house design

  • ship lap timber
  • simple
  • great ventilation – long narrow strips of mesh protected as well as through the corrugations of the roof for bigger houses
  • high ventilation – not around the heads of the birds

Bad house design

  • plastic, tin,
  • felt roofing – which attracts and promotes red mite infestations
  • slats in the floor as roosting bars – very unnatural, and causes breast bone issues
  • no perches – chickens want to roost from only a few days and weeks old.

Creating a Living Larder : Food, Fibre & Fuel from a few acres in North Argyll