How and Why to Deal with Dog Poop

Why do we pick up dog Poo?

Well, today I read a great infographic from Earth Rated, our new Poop Bag manufacturer. It got me thinking about the reasons why we Brits pick up dog Poo.

Civic Duty

I think f0r most of us, we think more about the awfulness of stepping in dog poo above all else. We don’t want to put someone else though that, so we see poopa-scooping as a civic duty mostly. Part of being a good dog parent for sure.

Eco Actions

However, the Earth Rated infographic reminded me that actually politeness is not the most important reason to pick up doggie poo. Protecting wildlife, other peoples pets and our water systems are the real consequences, and totally vital!

Infograophic

What’s the Dog Fouling law in the UK?

There is a good summary of the UK law on environmentalaw.org.uk. Here are the highlights:

  • Blind people are not required to pick up after Guide Dogs (so don’t tell them off please)
  • You don’t legally have to pick up on farmland, woodland, rural common, moor or marsh land – but it’s certainly better for wildlife, pets and people to do so.
  • You don’t legally have to pick up when walking along a road with a 50 mph or more speed limit – it may be unsafe to do this.
  • Many local authorities now require people with a dog to have 1 or more empty poo bags on their person and can issue fines if you don’t. So it’s a very good idea to have a Poo Bag Dispenser¬† and Poo Bag Refills.

Thanks to Earth Rated for the Infographic.

Beastly Bamboo (on our allotment)

The quest to impress the allotment powers that be continues. So, after a brief break for Christmas and New Year…

… we are back to laying wood chip and weeding.

The wood chip mulch under the Apple trees is slowly taking shape. We have done two patches and dug in some of the green manure.

The next big task we have to contend with is removing some rampant bamboo, which is spilling over from a neighboring garden.

Luckily Anna’s Brother, Joe, has a mattock – a pickaxe like tool that’s just perfect for the job.

He worked for about an hour and made some good headway, but there is more to do still. We will be back to it tomorrow!

So far we are really enjoying the allotment. Purposeful time spent outside is just what we needed. It’s a struggle with our various health conditions, however, taking small steps gives a wonderful sense of achievement which is great for confidence and wellbeing.

Chips away! A freebie wood chip mulch for our allotment

This week on the new allotment we have been putting a wood chip mulch under the apple trees.

On trial

Given the time of year there isn’t much we can do to impress the allotment bosses in our six week trial.

Putting a mulch down under the apple trees is simple enough. It helps control weeds and it will feed the soil ahead of my brother’s wild flower lawn idea.

Freebie wood chip

We weren’t too enthralled by the idea of paying for wood chip though.

We found that on Facebook “for sale or swap” there are quite a lot of people offering fresh wood chip for free / cheap if you will bag it up and transport it yourself.

Many thanks to Luke for ours! He gave it us in exchange for a donation to a homeless charity.

Fresh v rotted wood chip

Ideally wood chip should be rotted down before using it as a mulch. This means it will add nitrogen to the soil. If you use fresh wood chip it can leach nitrogen from the soil.

However, I did a bit of research online and found that under trees it’s not a big problem to use fresher wood chip. It won’t leach enough nitrogen to affect the trees.

Presumably nitrogen will be added to the soil again later when the wood chips are more rotted. Either way I decided to risk it and get the job done.

So far we have bought two car loads of wood chip over from an industrial estate 8 miles away.

Little by little

Because of my health problems I can’t do lots of work all at once. However the dark days and miserable weather are on my side for once: there isn’t actually enough time to exhaust myself!

First we fetched the wood chip and then today I laid the first section of it.

I decided it best to work out in circles from under the trees as this is where it’s most important to lay it. If we can’t get enough we can always grow things in the further reaches of the patch.

So today I dug the first section: turning the soil and breaking it up a little in a semicircle round the tree then laying the wood chip about 3 inches deep.

I covered over the exposed soil afterwards. Tomorrow I will do the next bit!

Veganic allotment day 1 & 2

After a while on the waiting list, we finally got an allotment this week. We have a six week trial period in which to improve the site and show a commitment to looking after it. Once that’s done it’s fully ours!

Given that it’s the middle of winter, we decided to start with maintenance rather than planting.

Exploded poached egg

On the first day my brother came over with some tools and we hoed down some of the stray poached egg plant in the paved area by the shed.

Here’s before:

And after!

I personally liked the plant growing in the cracks but it was quick easy task that shows the allotment bosses we care.

So for now we will keep it tidy/bare and then in the spring we can perhaps put some herbs etc in the paving cracks.

Thirsty Shed

It’s been unusually dry here for the past week, but rain was forecast for this afternoon.

The shed needs some urgent tlc so I decided to make treating the exposed wood an urgent priority.

I ran down to the hardware shop first thing and discussed with the experts there what to use.

The silvery driftwood colour of the shed is gorgeous so I didn’t want to stain it or paint it.

They recommend a chemical wood treatment but it had fungicide in it which I didn’t think was nice or necessary. I went for teak oil in the end: it’s still pretty toxic but it’s a simpler product with fewer nasties.

Given that we have dogs and humans sitting right next to the shed I felt it would be a safer choice!

Rushing against rain

I zoomed up to the allotment and got started right away! I finished up literally just as the first drops of rain started to fall!

In the end I did the top 2/3 of the shed front and the bench in front. The bottom part of the shed was a bit damp, so I think that will have to wait till it’s drier for some tlc.

Both the shed and the bench really soaked up the oil! I went through a whole can, which isn’t great. I guess it was a thristy shed and I was also rushing a lot.

Before

After

The next things for the shed are some repair work and new windows. I’m not sure about doing that in winter though, the wood might warp as it dries out. I think we might have to staple some plastic up between now and springtime!

Our new Veganic allotment!

Hi all, exciting news for us! WE GOT AN ALLOTMENT!!

We don’t have much outside space at our house and almost no sun, so growing veg has been hard for us so far.

Now we have an allotment we plan on growing our own fruit and veg “stock free organic” style, aka vegan organic/veganic.

This means we will use things like green manure and mulch instead of animal or chemical based fertilisers. Also, we will use cruelty free pest control measures rather than chemical sprays or pellets.

We’re both beginners at growing veg though so we have a lot to learn.

Also it’s the middle of winter right now so we are just focusing on tidying up the place at the moment.

Here’s some photos of the plot on day 1.

Apple trees

Our plot has two apple trees that we will keep for at least the first year, to check out what the fruit is like. This also means that we don’t need to do much with that half of the allotment yet. We plan to put a mulch down below and maybe make a wildflower lawn later.

Green manure

Someone has already sown a green manure (poached egg plant) which has protected the soil. This means we can dig it in a few weeks before planting in the spring. However, we will probably need to put in some raised beds so I’m not sure how we will get maximum use of the existing soil at this stage.

Potting Shed

The most existing thing on our allotment is a shed! It’s pretty awesome, we didn’t expect there to be a shed already in place. It’s gloriously rickety and wonky, just perfect for an allotment potting shed!

Tidying this up one of our first jobs. It needs some new windows and some repair before the snow and heavy rains come.

Fruit bushes

There are some existing fruit bushes in place, however they are mostly blackcurrant which I’m not a huge fan of. We will probably dig up some of them and give them away. There’s a gooseberry bush, some rhubarb and some holly we will keep.

Compost bins

We also have a compost heap and two bins that are full of composting material. The mix isn’t quite right so it’s not rotting down well at the moment. We will turn out the compost bins into the empty heap and give it a bit of help.

Bamboo-zled: the science sustainable bamboo pet products

According to science, not all bamboo products are more sustainable than their non-bamboo alternatives. Shipping bamboo products over from China has a big environmental impact so the products need to be eco enough to mitigate that. Here’s some science and some bamboo pet products to consider!

Continue reading “Bamboo-zled: the science sustainable bamboo pet products”

eXtinction Rebellion – the climate crisis must end now

The climate crisis must end. Irreparable damage has been done to our home causing dangerous global warming.

This is an emergency.

A desperate fight to save our species from extinction, before it’s too late. Our families our friends and our children are in danger. Millions, maybe even billions, will die. And yet nothing is happening.

In the quiet parts of our day, when we get a moment to think… so many of us feel it. We feel devastated. Terrified and helpless. We are grieving. It’s time to act: act now, together, peacefully.

Continue reading “eXtinction Rebellion – the climate crisis must end now”

Science versus Veganism

One of my favorite podcasts is Science VS, by gimlet media. It’s a science show headed by Wendy Zukerman, who delves into the science of things like vaccines, climate change, essential oils and…. in September this year Veganism!

You can listen to the podcast here.

Here’s what I learned… Continue reading “Science versus Veganism”

Prepare NOW for traveling with pets after no Brexit deal

EU flagIf the UK leaves the EU without a deal then those who travel to EU countries with dogs, cats and/or ferrets can expect difficulties. However, you can prepare in November 2018 to avoid these difficulties in March 2019.

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10 lessons from science on World Vegan Day

It’s Word Vegan Day! Want to know what would happen if everyone went vegan? Or just 25%? Want to know if it’s actually healthy? Or if Vegans need to engage with anti-poverty campaigns to achieve their goal? Well you are in the right place!

I read a fascinating scientific paper in the Lancet today [1] which models the impact of changes in diet across the whole world, depending on the motivation/specifics. It predicts changes country by country depending on how they farm and eat right now, which is WOW SUPER COOL (and so so nerdy)! Here’s a summary of what they did and 10 lessons I learned.

Continue reading “10 lessons from science on World Vegan Day”