Sunday, December 14, 2014

Winter Projects - moving towards island sustainability

We've been quite busy over the last few weeks with various projects...
After a spell of dry weather, we managed to burn some of this year's allocation of European Gorse on the mountain, just before the storms started to roll in again!

One new approach to gorse control on the mountain, which is more sustainable,  is to hand cut the more accessible mature bushes, and use a chipper to provide biomass for burning on our wood stove.  So, Steve and Ben have been tackling a small area near Pen Cristin...prickly work!

Another new project involves using seaweed, mainly kelp, as fertiliser.  The seaweed is deciduous and is deposited in vast quantities on the beach after the winter storms.  Traditionally it was spread on the fields over winter as it is rich in minerals and trace elements.  We have always used a small quantity on the veg garden - with really good results, particularly for root crops.  We can take up to 50 % off Solfach after each storm, making sure plenty is left for the over wintering chough population to forage on.
So Steve used the new tractor grab to collect a few loads this week, and spread it on one of the arable fields...

Spot the difference!

We also now have a small wind turbine which is working hard in this windy weather.  Over the 10 days since it was erected, we have been able to run most of our electrical needs off the power produced, reducing the need for the diesel generator significantly.