Welcome to the SRT blog No. 40

12th February 2021 – Welcome to our blog post No. 40

Today is Chinese New Year. China celebrates Chinese New Year between 21 January and 20 February when the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar falls.

Lion dance

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.

You may know what your Zodiac sign is but do you know what your Chinese Zodiac sign is. Look up your year of birth in the below chart and then check out what it means.

Chinese signs which are you

To wish Happy New Year in Cantonese (spoken mainly in Southern China & Hong Kong), you have to say “Gong hei fat choy”. 


The snowy conditions over last weekend meant that the first job on Monday morning at the Activity Centre was to make sure that the site was safe and accessible for everybody. This meant the first session was spent gritting our walkways and wood-chipping the lawn and paths so that everybody could work safely.











After warming up with hot drinks Ian’s group were in the woodshed to make a start on a project – repairing and redecorating our herb pallets. These are used to grow plants at the front of our building for our kitchen group to pick and pop into our cooked meals. Noreen Shazadee and Tim Abbotts worked very carefully to partially dismantle the existing pallets using hammers, chisels and a crowbar in the end, to reduce the pallet ready for revamping.






After a safety check of the site to make sure the overnight snow wasn’t a concern, a group went to Bovingdon to do the litter pick of the housing estate there. Despite it being very cold, the trainees (Niall Shawkat, Noreen Shazadee & Becca Campbell) coped really well and were extra careful to avoid particularly slippery and icy patches. When they got back they did some beehive frame cleaning, removing all of last year’s dirt, dust and set honey, ready for use later this year once the bees finish hibernating.

Ian’s office day was spent partly on a zoom meeting on a staff committee meeting with other Sunnyside staff and trainees to share and discuss the latest updates from across the company. We all love a zoom now.

David and Ian met with Matt from NC in the afternoon to visit an allotment tidying contract job in Berkhamsted that we will be completing with trainees next week.

Lewis Davies and Aisha Lilley did some more work with David in the woodshed, continuing to make progress with the wormery project.


What a beauty at Northchurch….a whole perfect snowflake on the carpet






Cat paw prints in the snow & icicles on the bubble greenhouse

You can still harvest a few veggies at this time of year, if you can get them out of the frozen ground – here’s some Jerusalem Artichokes. Well done whomever managed to dig these up.

The chickens were fed more sprout plants this week as the ground is still frozen so they can’t even dig around at the moment, as they normally would.

Oliver is helping to saw up some birch wood for wooden plant labels for the feature herb bed at Northchurch.

And Michael in Bovingdon with Jack, was very persistent and a good spotter doing the local litter pick.


Bit of a cold snowy theme still this week at all the sites. Jules at Hemel Food Garden was a bit concerned about the predicted drop in temperature, particularly overnight so the outside perennial plants were wrapped in blankets!

Keeps them protected and cosy.




Monday was ‘Bingo’ afternoon.







Joseph, Lewis and Robert were the first 3 to get a full house.

As part of the cleaning routine around the sites we are ‘fogging’ and steam cleaning. Not a clue whose in this very elegant outfit.

Apparently it’s Ian Barrow – Head of Horticulture. Oh and it’s dusters not pink underwear on the drying rack!

The shop & café have been very busy and creative over the last week or so. The pallet that the new fridge was delivered on didn’t go to waste. After a bit of re-purposing with saw, hammer and nails Rebecca was out with the paintbrush and protective bin bag.











Who’d have known it could be made into something so useful.

It’s now a painted shelf unit with all the new gifts beautifully displayed and ready to sell.








There are the *Made with Love* pots by Sunnyside trainees. Grow yourself a pot of beautiful flowers with this gift which includes a decorated terracotta pot, compost and a paper heart containing the seeds. All you do is water the heart in, when placed in the compost, and watch it grow. All for £3.49. Available from our farm shops.








Spot the new arrivals – Sherry the sheep and Perry the pig, at £5.99 they are all edible!

Have you bought your raffle ticket yet? There’s just 3 weeks to go to win a hamper worth £115







By donating £5.00 you will be buying one raffle ticket to enter, to win this superb selection of food & drink. Wow, it’s a superb prize. Just go to https://localgiving.org/…/sunnysi…/project/hamperraffle/

A big Sunnyside thank you and Good Luck! This event ends on Sunday, 28th February 2021 and the winner will be announced on Monday, 1st March for collection only from the Sunnyside Up Cafe & Farmshop.


Do send in your photos of snowy views, snowflakes, footprints etc. that you see around you. publicity@sunnysideruraltrust.org.uk

Clare sent in her video feeding the birds. Spot her home made cone from the Sunnyside kit.