Welcome to the SRT blog No. 39

5th February 2021 – Welcome to our blog post No. 39

Hello –  I had some photos sent in from Michael Letts making his bird feeder cone from the kit and Matthew Mulhall, who takes part in the RSPB Bird watch each year.






So we have said good bye to January and February is upon us already.

February facts:

  • February is the second month of the year, in the northern hemisphere usually considered the last month of winter – spring is on its way!

  • The month has 28 days or 29 in leap years with the 29th day being called the leap day. (2020 was a leap year)
  • Its birth flowers are the violet, the common primrose and the iris
  • February’s birthstone is the amethyst. It symbolises piety, humility, spiritual wisdom, and sincerity.
  • It’s zodiac signs are Aquarius and Pisces
  • Valentines Day – February 14th, is celebrated in the UK. An old tradition, thought to have originated from a Roman festival for the start of their springtime. It’s thought that as part of the celebrations, boys drew names of girls from a box. The day became associated with romantic love in the 14th and 15th centuries when notions of courtly love flourished, apparently by association with the ‘lovebirds’” of early spring.

In 18th-century England, it grew into an occasion in which couples                  expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards – known as “valentines”.

We may celebrate Valentines this month but for the Chinese it’s their New Year and they celebrate in a very big way! More on this next week.


We put a call out on Facebook last week for 3 new under counter commercial fridges for the Sunnyside Up Café & Farm shop. Was there a fridge fairy out there, able to help? Amazingly there are and we have been able to buy 2 of the 3 needed. A private donor very kindly stepped forward and also Tring Lions https://www.tringlions.org.uk/index.html who have continued to fund raise  themselves in new ways, over the last year, due to the pandemic.

A Big Sunnyside Thank you to all!

So, one has been delivered already. The old one was un-ceremonially removed and the new one popped in, in it’s place to great fanfare and a big beaming smile from Rebecca!

Last week we mentioned the great welly-wanging event that took place. Here’s some more taking part under the watchful eye of referee Alison whose checking there’s no cheating, measuring the distance made or rescuing the welly from a shrub! Maybe an annual event?

The staff winner was Mark, with a staggering 80ft throw – with the winning sponge cake to share.

In first place Ashley with a brilliant 69ft throw.






In second place was Michael with 66ft and in third David, only just behind Michael with 65ft & 7”.

Each was presented with their own certificate, a homemade cupcake (courtesy of Tanya) with the Scottish flag on and hat with fiery ‘celtic’ hair. David will receive his soon as he wasn’t in yesterday.

Well done all – what will they do for St David’s Day on March 1st?


The Activity Centre have been prepping for valentine’s day, making wooden hearts out of surplus wood material.

Due to the recent rainy weather they laid wood chip over mud patches on the pathway leading to the fruit tree area. Keeping the area safe for a full progressive week’s work within that area.














They have marked out a new beech tree bush line and planted it. In a few years these saplings should be as large the current beech tree hedgerow.


















Within the same fruit tree area the team have marked out and dug the first part for the new allotments.





The new project doesn’t stop there! Within the fruit tree area the team have begun making raised beds from willow and hazel. These eco beds should last up to 3 years.













Over the road at Sunnyside new lavender plants have been planted, running down the main pathway of the orchard. When the bees are active again they will use the nectar from the lavender just on their doorstep to make great tasting honey.











Did you know that rhubarb tastes best when it has younger, juvenile stems to pick before it begins to flower. To trick the plant in to thinking it’s younger you split the rhubarb and re-plant it, every 4 years. This will create younger off-shoots and encourage the growth of those tasty shoots.







The whole team is doing a fantastic job with all of these tasks and we are making a lot of positive progress with expanding our growing plots. A massive thank you to you all for your hard work.


The Norfolk Horn sheep were moved to a new grazing area at Northchurch by Matt. This happens every couple of weeks as they are very efficient grass eaters and help with the grass maintenance in the fields around the site. See Goldie, Suzie, Ratchett & Clara – oh and that’s Matt at the front.

With a lot of team effort the native mixed hedge planting was completed this week alongside the car park area. A trench was needed and dug out along the required length, the whips added and then backfilled and gently heeled in. Each whip had its tip pinched out and now they can settle into the earth and wait for the better spring weather to come, to start to fill out and grow on.

Seed sowing has really increased this last week – with around 10 varieties of veggies already sown and labelled. You always think you will remember what you have sown – but I never do, so labelling is so important. The pots have hyacinths and daffodils in and will soon be ready to sell in the shops.

The chickens had a treat – sprout plants that were starting to go over with blown brussels. They love them! The chickens are also in ‘lockdown’ because of the avian flu so there is a giant net over their space at the moment to stop ‘wild’ birds landing near to them.

Owl the cat is keeping guard on the compost heap where it’s nice and warm – probably mousing.