Tag Archives: environment

Ulula Down on the Farm

Week beginning 4th March 2019

What a very exciting weekend!!! Not only did Storm Freya try very hard, unsuccessfully thankfully, to blow us all to Kansas City, but Ulula enjoyed a wonderful birthday sandwich weekend too! The youngest of the Farm’s sheepdogs turned 4 on Saturday, we celebrated on Sunday for Ulula’s birthday, and then on Monday it is eldest brother who has a birthday… It used to be a quiet birthday month for us, but not anymore!!

If I am being completely honest, we were quite glad of the storm winds on Sunday afternoon, as a walk against them helped us recover from the large amounts of birthday cake eaten 😉 What made us a little less jolly was seeing all the early blossom, which last week felt it was safe to bloom, being blown about like confetti – a reminder if we needed one to live in the moment, and so we enjoyed the scent from the plum blossom while the children danced under the falling petals. Beautiful.

Our soil is a heavy clay, which means that if the cows were outside on the fields during the winter the grass would quickly be churned up and turned to mud. The cows are normally let out of the barn around the end of March which is always a wonderful sight. For the younger calves, it will be their first experience of grass under their hooves and blue sky directly above them.

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The Cow – Roy Wilkinson
Heavily, wearily, moves the cow
In the peaceful country scene,
Sleepily nodding towards the ground
As she grazes the pastures green.

Her big, bulky mass of a body
Flops on the earth and she seems,
Chewing and chewing and chewing
Lost in her own world of dreams.

Ulula Down on the Farm

Week beginning 25th February 2019

After a wonderful play-date with a school friend, the end of the half term was celebrated with a two night sleepover at their cousin’s house… two very happy and very tired children arrived home!! The sunshine this week has been simply glorious, and allowed for lots of rushing about outside, be it on foot, bike or scooter – everywhere was reached as fast as possible – I wish I was talking about the grown-ups, but no, it was the children who had the speed at their heels!!

The birds in our hedgerows, to the cattle in the barn, the farm is feeling this weather means spring is here, but they aren’t privy to watching the weather forecasters warn us about the cold making a return once March reaches us…eeek!

The bird song has been absolutely amazing. We hope that you can hear it on the following video we took at the spinney by the brook that runs through the farm.

Ulula Life – Down on the Farm

Week beginning 18th February 2019

Hoorayswallows-amazons-book-cover!!! We’ve reached half term, for which we are all very grateful – the children are tired out but very cheerful; there was a play to perform twice to an audience before the holidays started, and then an older class were putting on a play of Swallows and Amazons – top stuff and well worth a late bedtime!! And now, the sun is shining, the dogs are so happy to have their playmates with them all day long, and to top it all, the snowdrops and cyclamen are making the garden look so pretty too – all in all, this week looks like it will be the perfect setting for one or two Winnie The Pooh’s Expotitions… “sing ho for the life of a bear”, or in our case, sing ho for some very happy children.

At this time of year our ewes have their ultrasound scan. This happens at around 3 months into their pregnancy which lasts 5 months in total. Scanning was scheduled for 8am on Sunday morning, with our lovely scanning lady Stacey, who set up her machine at the barn. Stacey’s sister Sophie is also trained in scanning sheep. She lives in New Zealand and scans around 250,000 sheep a year! It took Stacey just 45 minutes to scan all our 130 Ulula ewes. The good news is that we are expecting 1 set of quads, 18 sets of triples, 84 sets of twins and 23 singles with a due date starting around the 10th of April!

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Harbingers Of Spring – Poem by F. Kenrick

‘Springs just around the corner
The harbingers we see
The bulbs are pushing through the earth
And bulbs adorn the trees
Now days are getting longer
Nights not quite so dark
The sun rays getting stronger
And fields don’t look so stark
The hedgerow starts to thicken
As plants begin to grow
This forms a perfect hiding place
For the birds to go
They nest and fledge their young there
And fill the air with song
They know they’ve got to hurry
Spring doesn’t last for long’

 

ECOlunchboxes Silicone vs Plastic

ECOlunchbox-Silicone-vs-Plastic-Better-for-People-and-Planet

When it comes to choosing the right materials for their products, ECOlunchbox always do their research. They want to make sure you’re getting the safest, most eco-friendly options for your family. That’s why, when they were creating their leak-proof Blue Water Bento product lids, they chose silicone over plastic.

“Silicone is durable, and more ocean-friendly than plastic. It lasts longer, and stands up better against heat and cold than plastics. It’s safer for your family, too, with no estrogen-mimicking toxins like BPA to worry about. It is odourless, stain-resistant, hypoallergenic, and has no open pores to harbour harmful bacteria.

ECOlunchbox-Silicone-vs-Plastic

Yes, it’s recyclable like plastic even though you might not be able to leave it with your wheelie bin. Plastics recyclability however, is no panacea, since the global market for this petroleum-based material is sinking and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find buyers in China and elsewhere to recycle the discarded plastics. Another good option for end-of-life silicone is incineration, which converts silicone back into its harmless ingredients: amorphous silica, carbon dioxide, and water vapour.

 

Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about silicone breaking or cracking for a long time! It’s super durable, resisting melting, breaking, and warping. Chances are our Blue Water Bento silicone lids will outlast anything your family can throw at them.”

To read more about how ECOlunchbox decided to use silicone in their products and why they think it’s the best option when it comes to leak-proof food containers, click here!

Shop the complete ECOlunchbox Blue Water Bento lunchbox range and 100% Stainless Steel collection.

MOGLi Sustainable Packaging

It’s not only the content that counts!

Demeter quality in sustainable packaging

Sustainable product packaging is always an issue, because packaging waste is a major problem worldwide. MOGLi have made it their mission to continue to work on adapting all their product packaging into sustainable packaging and are constantly working to reduce plastic waste. MOGLi’s team has already achieved:

1. Packaging of 85% renewable raw materials

To keep product fresh and safe, plastic packaging is currently the “best” solution for packaging many of the MOGLi products. Nevertheless, MOGLi are constantly looking for sustainable packaging solutions. That’s why they’re especially pleased with their new Fruit Pouch packaging. Sugarcane-based and completely aluminium-free: this is their first step towards a more sustainable packaging future.

mogli-no-aluminium-packaging-fruit-pouches          mogli-no-aluminium-packaging-fruit-pouch1

2. Packed 100% aluminum free

All of the MOGLi Fruit Pouch and Spelt Bites packaging is completely aluminum-free. As a rule, deep-fried or oil-baked products, such as aluminium-free-logoMOGLi Spelt Bites, are packaged in aluminum-lined inner packaging. This helps to ensure freshness.

On the one hand, aluminum is harmful to the environment and energy-intensive, and on the other hand aluminum cannot be recycled when used in combination with other film layers of packaging. MOGLi are happy to have found an alternative packaging without aluminum what works as well in terms of freshness and continue to work hard to adapt their other products to more sustainable packaging.

Join us and MOGLi in making that first step and take a minute to think about packaging when you’re shopping.

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Crafted wooden toys, made with Love

When we are looking for new products to bring to Ulula, we use our heads and our hearts equally, in the belief that if both are in agreement, we feel that we have found the right product!

When we started looking to expand our range of toys, our hours of buying and trying led us to Hohenfried.

In this modern world, Hohenfried Heimat feels to us a real gem in our midst. Hohenfried is an open community of learning for disabled adults and children, providing sheltered accommodation, schools, and employment in organic agriculture, craft workshops, carpentry, gourmet kitchens, and bakeries. Hohenfried is not simply a ‘place’. It is a home; a field of learning, a gathering of people, wildlife and most importantly of all, purpose.

Sitting in the Bavarian Alps, the landscape alternates between woodlands and meadows with flowing transitions between nature and the areas of living and working.

For Ulula, the wooden rattles that came to our attention made us fall in love! The rattles are made in the community workshops, and are made entirely of local timber, cut mostly (and sustainably) from trees grown in the communities own grounds; the toys are beautifully machined, and finished only using pure vegetable oils.

The various rattles or greifling (clutching) toys are handmade to the renowned carpenter, pedagogue, and educational theorist Hugo Kükelhaus’s original 1930s ‘allbedeut’ designs. Kükelhaus was a well-known German architect, educator and environmentalist, who designed a range of special baby toys which promote sensory, motor skills and the imagination.

Hohenfried Dreilochring Rattle
This beautiful, chunky, handmade wooden rattle, containing two balls of beechwood securely enclosed within an outer ring of strong cherry wood, makes a lovely, gentle sound when shaken. The silky, smooth surface is finished with a natural oil so you can rest assured it is safe for little mouths, and the size is perfect for little hands to grab, hold, explore and shake. A quality rattle, made with love, that is certain to become an heirloom. Comes packaged in an unbleached cotton drawstring bag.

Hohenfried Kugel Rattle

This handmade wooden ball rattle is made of pear tree wood with an inner ball of hard cherry wood. The ridged, textured surface is finished with a natural oil so you can rest assured it is safe for little mouths, and the size is perfect for little hands to grab, hold, explore and shake. Comes packaged in an unbleached cotton drawstring bag.

“My mum had a rattle just like this, and as soon as she saw it at Ulula she had to get it for my little one – it already feels like an heirloom because of the familiarity, and my LO loves it so much x” Johanna

Hohenfried Urfisch Rattle
This fun, eternally classic, quality handmade wooden rattle contains a wooden inner ball which makes a pleasing sound when shaken. The multi-textured surface is finished with a natural oil so you can rest assured it is safe for little mouths, and the size is perfect for little hands to grab, hold, explore and shake. A delightful rattle, beautifully made with love, that is certain to become an heirloom. Comes packaged in an unbleached cotton drawstring bag.

 

Hohenfried Greifling Rattle
This lovingly handmade wooden ring rattle contains a central bar holding three loose disks which make a lovely sound when shaken. The silky, smooth surface is finished with a natural oil so you can rest assured it is safe for little mouths, and the size is perfect for little hands to grab, hold, explore and shake. Comes packaged in an unbleached cotton drawstring bag.

“Love this so much – it is so beautiful to hold, and just brilliant for my son – he is teething, and he loves a good gnaw!!” Anna

 

Making family traditions – celebrating Christmastime together – the countdown to Christmas Eve

Ulula is based at Rush Farm, a biodynamic farm in Worcestershire.frozen-scene

Between March and October, Rush Farm is supported by a wonderful group of volunteers who find us through the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms Organisation – a movement linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers.

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our December arrival

The volunteers are fondly known at the beginning of their stay at WWOOFers, but by the time we are all hugging goodbye, they have become one of the family. This means that we are now very much an international family on the Farm, as is Ulula with all its wonderful worldwide customers.

We may not be ‘together’ on the farm across the winter months (a time of ‘rest’ for the farm so no volunteers are needed), but sharing our winter traditions and memories is very special.

frozen-plantOur winter family and community traditions are instilled in us when we are little, and these memories and feelings stay with us as we grow up, and we bring them into our world anew when our own little ones arrive. For us, we always decorate the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve – our German roots!

These traditions are unique to each family, region, country and each generation, and we carry them with us, whether we stay in the country of our birth, or find ourselves somewhere different. ‘Different’ brings opportunities – for both enjoying, and learning other families’ traditions. We blend them into our very own happy ever afters. Just as it should be x

Christmas Eve in Poland (PL: Wigilia)

polish-ceThe Supper. On this special evening, we sit together with our family and have a supper of special food, singing carols (PL: kolendy) and opening Christmas gifts (dedicated only for good kids!). Gifts may be found under the Christmas tree – we can be very lucky because on 6th December we have Santa Claus and he leaves gifts under the tree, and then again on 24th Dec under the Christmas tree we have presents again – nice! 

 At first we pray together. After that, we share between each other something like communion wafer and we wish each other all the best. People are living in a hurry these days. It happens that it’s once in a year when people have time to visit their families to say warm words of love to each other. I hope this tradition will never die and become everyone’s daily “routine”. We polish-christmas-eveare lucky to have such a great people around us, and it concerns you too, guys.

Then, we eat. We eat a lot. Nobody is proud of it, but we do it anyway!! 

After hours of eating, singing, all the gifts and food, most people start to watch Home Alone. In some families they can sit without telly and talk and sing bit longer. We are going to the Church for ceremony that is on 12:00 AM – in cities that could be earlier.

Food: There are some differences between sides of Poland. The old tradition says that should be 12 dishes (but nobody I know is quite sure how to count, for example is bread a dish or not 🙂 ). Main thing is that the dishes are not with meat at all. Mostly is Fish, things are made from flour, and vege stuff.

Menu for Wigilia:

  • Beetroot soup with small raviolis with mushroom stuffing (PL: Barszcz czerwony z uszkami)beetrot-soup
  • Mushroom soup (PL: GRZYBOWA)
  • Polish dumplings (ravioli, pierogis) – with cabbage and mushroom stuffing, and common ones with potato and cottage cheese stuffing. (PL: PIEROGI)
  • Very popular are fried Carp Fish in the bread crumbs. But other fish is sometimes now used, and is cooked in different ways 
  • Second popular fish is vinegar herrings with onion apple and sour cream pierogi
  • Beverages: drink is special compote from dry fruits
  • There are always some cakes – a popular one at this time are poppy cakes

There is also a tradition that one chair & one plate by the table is empty. That means we are ready to welcome any refugees or homeless people on this day, so they might join us.

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Radek and Asia, Poland x