Friday, 16 April 2010

The D.B.B.

The D.B.B. put in its first apperance on Monday...............
D.B.B. stands for Dreaded Brown Bucket lol
Our District Council is about to start kerbside collection of kitchen/food waste, giving each household a brown plastic bucket and "bio-degradable" liners for putting their food waste in. This information they dissemianted via a leaflet and the council's newsletter, delivered to each household. I presume they think not everyone reads these/this, and they could well be right, as on Monday a woman appeared at the door, to demonstrate one of these buckets.(I read everything from the Council as I"m very nosey and would hate to miss anything lol)
I explained to her that I really had no need for the bucket - the part I was apprehensive about, hence the D.B.B. I expected the "Ah, but you *must* have one etc etc line, but no, she was fine, made a note on her list, but couldn't promise it would't actually turn up next week; in which case I'd have to get the men on the lorry to pick it up and take it back.
I can see a lot of folks would make use of it, but not here. With a large selection of offspring, OH and various livestock, there is virtually no food waste here apart from the occasional bones. These will now go on the compost heap.
It has forced me to look into the last bit of recycling a bit harder- bones; they can be cooked and crushed and added to the compost, or dug straight into the soil, as long as as much trace of smell of meat, fish etc is removed as much as possible.
Another loop closed.
I don't want another piece of plastic hanging about; something else to keep track of; to keep clean; tkae the onus off me to work harder at dealing with my waste that I produce - kick up the bum time.
So, while I appreciate that not everyone can use up their food "waste" like we can, this is one household in Dorset that will be D.B.B.- less.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

A day of simple pleasures

Plenty of sunshine and a good breeze; sitting out in the garden with a mug of hot tea - twice; good friends; fresh bread baking; clean sun dried bed linen; sunbathing chickens and goats,; bees flying well; hot bath with scented candles; first walk of the year barefoot through the orchard.
Best of all, feeling 100% recovered and recuperated at last after my pre-Christmas brush with the NHS.
Hope your day was as lovely as mine :)

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

You could sell that !!!

Well, yes, you're quite right, I could; but I'm not going to. LOL
Over the years, I've had that sentence thrown at me more times than I care to remember. A lot of the things I do are creative and produce an end product - knitting, gardening, cards, painting, sewing, flowers, eggs, etc. On occasion, I've sold some stuff, but then it starts getting out of hand a bit - people always want more, or something slightly different, then the pressure is on. I've often ended up doing not what I want because someone has asked for something. I don't like compromising my ideals and ethics, ways or working and reasons for doing so.
So - I don't, any more.
I sell surplus eggs, or preferably barter for them, or just give them away when I have a lot extra. A woman in the village used to phone me up fairly often and "order two dozen for Friday, please" - well, not really. The concept of surplus was completely missed, let alone the fact my hens don't lay to order! Next it was FIL and runner beans. I don't grow many because I'd rather have climbing French beans, but he had this idea to turn over about quarter of the garden for runner beans and sell them on the table at the gate and to the pub over the road. Again,; everyone has runner beans in the summer, the pub would want phenomenal amounts, pressure to provide , so, again, no.
W.I. craft stall - a good idea, yes, but if your items don't sell, you're stuck with them, and the prices put on them certainly don't reflect the work involved, so,no.
I don't mind making or growing the odd thing here and there for some folk, but I'm very choosy now, and finding it easier to say no when I mean no!
Having to work to someone else's instructions takes a lot of the pleasure and creativity out of what I do
and the monetary returns rarely compensate for the time, effort, deadlines, etc that inevitably loom.
I'm happier cooking, growing and baking for our own use and sharing around the suprplus if there is any left. Sharing makes me happier these days, it's good for the soul.
I really don't need any more hassle than that.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Thought for a sunny Tuesday...........

"Nothing has a stronger influence on children, than the unlived lives of their parents"

Carl Jung

The gentle colours of spring

Sometimes, no words are needed.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Singing for your supper..............

When I'm happy, I tend to sing - at home, out in the garden, out walking, in the shops even. I don't sing loudly enough to attract attention, I thought, but it's obviously loud enough for some folks to hear. An elderly man said to me in the supermarket how nice to was to hear someone singing and sounding happy.
In an ironic way, I found that quite sad; more people should sing when they're happy :)

Do you? I think you should..............

Renewable energy

The event in town on Saturday turned out to be exactly what I expected. There were quite few trade stands there, though, and the attendance seemed fair to middling. However, as I thought, the companies were selling hugely expensive equipment, well out of our range even if we decided to invest in some of these technologies. There was absolutely nothing at all on the really small, domestic, do-it-yourself scale, which I found sad and a bit dis-spiriting, to be honest. As I see it, people are being coaxed into investing in these new things, very soon to go out of date and become obsolete as the next new thing follows hard on it shells; the cost and energy expounded in teh making, transporting, marketing and seeling must be phenomenal. All the usual energy saving tips were there - insulation, light bulbs, etc. Nothing enw or startling. An awful lot of brochures and glossy bits and pieces, even from our own Transition town group, a small separate leaflet about their allotment and garden share scheme they are tyring to get going.
An excellent leaflet on solar photovoltaics was produced by the Dorset Energy Group, which gave a lot of details, and importantly the cons as well as the pros. From this :

Dorset has an excellent solar resource - on average a south facing roof inclined at 30 degrees will receive between 100 - 1200 kWh of solar radiation per square metre per year. A 2kWp PV array facing due south at an angle of 45 degrees might produce 1800 kWh of electricity per annum. This is approximately half of the annual electricity requirements of an average house. However, there is evidence that hosueholders with PV installations are also likely to install low energy lighting and appliances, power down adaptors to turn appliances off standby etc. In these circumstances a 2kWp PV array may meet 3/4 of the annual electricity demand.

For sola water heating, if your roof faces between south east and south west, with no buildings or trees overshadowing it, then it should be suitable. If the roof surface is in shadow for part of the day, the output of the system is significantly reduced.

For an average domestic system, total costs can be around 5,000 - 8,000 pounds.
In order to get paid for surplus electricity not used in the home, which is then exported to the grid, you will need an export meter costing 400 pounds.
Domestic grants for renewable energy may not be available once the Feed-in Tariff is introduced in April 2010.
Pros of photovoltaics: easy to integrate into existing buildings; virtually no maintenance.
Cons: technology with relatively high capital cost; might require lifestyle changes to gain maximum benefits;need large areaof roof space and aspect between SE and SW;5 year carbon payback

I found all that lot very interesting, and exactly the information I was after, and in plain English too.
I think the concerns of property suitability for the desired ssytems are just not stressed enough; wind turbines need good wind to function well and efficiently, as in the above references to aspect for the phtovoltaic panels; is there really enough sunlight to make these worthwhile on several levels?
As for me, I'd like the emphasis to be put on using no energy, or less energy, pure and simple. Just switch the things off; change to hand powered, wind up, etc; use candles or other forms of lighting; use less or no gadgets - that's where the elctricity goes, with not much being used for actual lights.
So, I'll continue to switch off manually - I don't need an expensive plastic overpackaged gadget to do that for me - and eschew the electric powered versions of things that can be done perfectly well by hand, or some other form of power.
I really don't think the answer lies in us all having wind turbines, solar panels or mini hydro systems at a domestic level.
Just consume none, much less and cut back drastically. Free to do, no gadget required, good for the planet and good for the soul - it's the best way to actually address the problem, in my view.
Don't like sitting in the dark? Then go to bed and get up when it's light - it really is as simple as that.


A rather lovely new take on one of my all time favourites - give it a listen.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Out of sorts

That's me at the moment..........
The ktichen is still in major upheaval, and as I spend the majority of my time in there, I'm really feeling it. Plastering and filling is finished and sanded down, but OH ran out of time tonight, so stabiliser wil have to wait until tomorrow night - and then only if he feels like it. I don't expect him to work on the hosue after he comes home, so that really only leaves Sundays, which is why our house looks like it does after 12 years LOL.
At least I can still get to the stove and the sink, the larder and dishes and things, so it's not as bad as it could be.
To trot out a well-worn phrase, it'll be nice when it's done! I'll put up some pics when that happens too. :)