Welcome to the SRT blog No. 35

8th January 2021 – Welcome to our blog post No. 35

2020 was a challenging year that it’s with some relief that 2021 has arrived, with a renewed start to the year and even though we have moved back into a national lockdown, we remain open to all and there’s lots going on.

How did you manage to welcome in the New Year?

Firework displays are now televised from around the world  marking midnight of the old year and the start of the new. We see them over the bridge & opera house in Sydney at UK time 1pm, in Hong Kong at 4pm and London over the Thames at midnight. The first country to celebrate is Christmas Island (see below) at 10am and one of the last is Samoa 11 hours after the UK

China celebrates Chinese New Year later between 21 January and 20 February when the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar falls. This year it is Friday 12th February and 2021 is the year of the ox.

Chinese celebrate by giving red envelopes with money and celebrating with lion dances in the street, fireworks and gathering with family for meals.

Brazil makes it easier to choose your New Year’s Eve outfit – everyone wears white for good luck and peace. Plus, matching outfits make for good photos!

Also in Brazil, if you head to the beach, you can increase your luck by and jumping over seven waves. You get one wish for each wave. Maybe not one to try in the UK!

Stay warm, exercise when you can and keep an eye out on the blog later this month on how to get involved with the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch.


We carry out work for ‘Thrive Homes’, a professional landlord and property management company in Herts, and one of our outside contracts with them took the Hemel team to South Oxhey for a garden makeover, what a difference a day (or 2) makes.













Back on site Mikes team are rebuilding the chicken fence using ash poles coppiced from the Activity Centre.






They have also been pruning the espalier apple trees around the allotment space as it’s the perfect time of year to do this now, before the sap rises.

The café made some lovely shortbread to sell in celebration of Shortbread day on the 6th  as the Farm shops and Café remain open to customers

With the cold weather there was a bonfire this week with hot soup (potato & leek me-thinks, one of my favourites) rustled up by team pink with bread rolls – all made in-house. Joanne was in charge of the proving.



















Finished off with the Ginger Bread house which was quickly demolished!


Northchurch found some nice fungi in the fruit cage wood chips. This one is called birds nest fungus!



Here’s a good picture to show why the goats help us. This lane at the end of the site has had brambles growing over it for many years. It’s very difficult to clear as humans but look what the goats did in a year! Before and after goats.






Whilst tidying up bramble branches just before Christmas, in the goat area to help with land management, the goats couldn’t help themselves and climbed in our wheelbarrow!

As the weather is colder and more damp, all 5 of the feral cats are coming in for dinner and they now need a bowl each. However, when the sun is out they’re making the most of it – even though there is only room for one at a time!






A team were out this week helping with more work at Breakspeare School in Abbots Langley, putting up new fencing and re-turfing.





And adding a path to the patio on the Northchurch site, behind the mess.







Now that it’s been frosty and cold this week the goats and pigs have come into their shelters with plenty of straw to keep them warm – or will they just eat it all?








Lots of cooking of hot meals at the Activity Centre this week using produce from the Sunnyside allotment, of course.













How many of the squashes grown last year and harvested have now been added to chutneys or meals I wonder?


Happy New Year everyone – remember Sunnyside is here for you.