Tag Archives: waste

Mending – a Radical Act of Value

Another Vlog post is up.

Josh (having listened to my rants on long journey’s far too often!) suggested that I talk about some of our values and philosophy behind our choices.

So I did…


A Huge List of Things Part 3.

The inspiration for the Huge List of things is here  and Part 1  and Part 2.

I have finally got round to finishing it!

A sunny afternoon photographing my father-out-law' garden.

A sunny afternoon photographing my father-out-law’s garden.

On with the list…

Following: I just added some more people to my feedly feed including the Zero Waste Chef, Westywrites, Mammasauras, MargotandBarbara, dayspringacres, Doing it For Ourselves , Chasing Piggens and Eco Thrify Living.  I’ll probably sort out a side bar in the blog at some point but for now I’m enjoying catching up on so much news and so many ideas and thoughts.  Long may it continue!
Noticing: The contrast between the weather reports (promises of non-stop rain and tropical storms) and the reality (a little bit of rain, but gloriously warm sunny days).  Long may it continue.
Knowing: That bringing up a child in this world of consumerism is going to be tough.  I don’t want him to feel different (in a bad way) from his friends, but I want to bring him up with values that don’t revolve around consuming and that is really hard today because advertising, and advertising at children is so much more aggressive than it was.  I honestly believe that he will be happier into his adulthood if he can navigate consumer culture without letting it consume him – but not to the extent of ostracising him from his friends. I’ve just got to keep thinking about it, discussing it with Josh and working out together how to do the right thing.
Thinking: About waste mostly.  I am watching how much waste we as a society are producing and like many before me it is making me worried and anxious to do something to change it.  I thought we were doing well in terms of waste.  And we might be compared to the average person, but compared to what we need to do it probably isn’t enough.  Momentarily I felt completely overwhelmed by that.  But I am not the sort of person to let that get me down for too long.  I’m looking at what we can do better and maybe by blogging about it here we can give other people ideas they wouldn’t have thought of and slowly, one step at a time we can recover ourselves.
Feeling: Sore – I have a very stiff neck, I’ve had it for about 2 weeks and it is getting betting but so very slowly and it hurts all the time. I’m poised to make a wheat bag and then get myself to a physio/aromatherapist.
Admiring: My Auntie H.  My Aunt H is one of those people I would love to be more like. She has this fabulous *Can Do* attitude.  She will try her hand to anything (especially DIY) and doesn’t worry about getting it perfect – she just gets it done.  I wish I could be more confident to dive into things generally but DIY in particular because I’m sure I’d get a lot more accomplished if I did. But I greatly admire her confidence and her ability to get stuck into a job no matter what.  In my new life of smallholding I try to be more like her.
Sorting: My study.  I have a home office/study/studio/retreat space  at the front of the house.  It is a lovely little room but still a little cluttered from the move.  By the end of the month I really want to get it cleared and ordered as a space so that I can get more use out of it and so that I have a space which is always tidy (free from baby finger smears, toys, clutter) so that whenever I have the opportunity to grab a bit of creative time for writing, knitting, sewing etc I can just dive up hear where it is all ready and laid out, get 20 concentrated minutes and then get back to other things.  I have already learned that if I’m going to keep up a creative output with a baby then I have to be really efficient at using the time I do get wisely.  Clearing out my study will help with that.
Buying: Not much at the moment.  We are not on a Buy Nothing New challenge or anything (yet!), but we are not buying things for the sake of it.  We have plenty of books, role-playing games, knitting yarn, seeds, clothes and a Netflix subscription and I have a real desire to get stuck into enjoying all the cool stuff we already have rather than looking for more. We bought the presents for R’s birthday ages ago so we don’t even have a birthday present spree planned.
Bookmarking: A whole bunch of posts like this here and here on mending.  I have a big pile of clothes which could do with some mending and I want to learn how to do those almost invisible patches on jeans.
Disliking: This article on slavery in the prawn trade.  I eat a fair amount of prawns because I was under the impression they were relatively sustainable.  Other sustainable fish is hard to find where I live and Prawns (I thought) were a good option.  Now I’m being extra careful where I get my prawns from, but generally I am absolutely disgusted that people are being worked as slaves to get cheap prawns in the supermarkets.   If slavery is illegal in the UK (thankfully it is!) then it should be illegal to sell good produced using slavery, even if they were produced in countries where slavery is illegal.
Giggling: This piece of writing An Open Letter to the Child I Hit – sounds like it is not going to be funny… it really is!
Snacking: Blueberries.  I’m really trying to clean my diet up.  Snacks at the moment are fruit cacao nibs and similarly healthy biznitz.
Coveting: Gardening success.  I’m not really interested in more stuff right now, but at this time of year I’m seeing lots of people’s pictures of their veg gardens all of which look far more lush and abundant than mine does.  I really wish things would hurry up and grow already!
Helping: Transition Chesterfield.  I’ve only really starting working with the group recently and I’m trying to help out in a number of ways, balancing it with the rest of my life.  But I love the Transition Network which is a grassroots organisation which empowers and upskills local communities in the face of climate change.  They do small scale activities but which make a direct and powerful impact on local communities and I love that, because the little things all add up.
Hearing: A mixture of traffic and birdsong – such is the nature of our eccentric house.  One side faces a mini-tescos on a fairly busy road, the other side comprises our 1/4 acres garden and backs on to 5 acres of fields with a line of popular trees at the bottom.  It is like living on the cusp of town and country (and I love it!)

A Hop, Skip and a Jump… mostly a skip.

I’ll start with a quick picture of my mortal enemy.  Sorry about the bad lighting.  The sluggy body count is over 150 now.  I hope I’m making some headway.  This is a leopard slug which thankfully seems to prefer a rotting orange half to the tasty cucumber plant next door.  It did not survive long after this photo was taken (Sorry but I couldn’t take any chances).

Public enemy number 1

Public enemy number 1

[Apologies for the bad lighting – it was dusk.]

We have a few small building projects in the pipeline at Westwick all in the name of greening:

1. Putting up the old shed we want to put up in the Orchard to keep spare straw, chicken feed etc. in (when we get chickens).

2. Making a chicken run and putting up a hen house.

3. Building a couple of brick plinths to stand our water butts on.

4. Making another cold compost heap in the Orchard.

All of these require materials, time and possible money and we are trying to be as inventive and green as possible in making these happen.  So when I noticed that five of our neighbours down our (very long) road all had a skip outside I was very, very interested.  Although I consider myself quite green I’ve never really considered looking at skips before.  I know that it is a good idea to ask permission (and so we did) but after a quick 30 mins work we walked away with the following:

9 Concrete slabs for the base of the shed and the hen house.

37 Bricks, some for the base of the compost heap and some for the plinths.

Bricky treasures.

Bricky treasures.

It probably didn’t save us that much cash but it was more about re-using other people’s waste.  As I looked at the skips I was suddenly struck by and filled with sadness about the levels of waste.  I know we have had building work done and skips of rubbish taken away ourselves and there are probably things which can’t be recycled in this way.  But the further we go on this journey the more I notice these things.

We are probably going to go back and get more bricks and the rest of the composter at least will be made from pallets we are sourcing from a local friend who has a farm. But I’m still on the hunt for some of our other materials.

But it also feels good to know that a little bit less landfill was created today and there is a little bit more money in our pockets that there would have been.