Archive for February, 2011

The main problem with attempting self-sufficiency is the almost non-existent income.  OK, we sell a few eggs at the gate, but that’s…erm….chicken feed (sorry!).  So, an important addition to the self-sufficient economy (such as it is!) is of course the concept of barter. 

Friends of ours have started bee-keeping and producing their own honey – something which to me sounds extremely labour intensive and way too complicated to get involved in personally.  And so, in a jolly exchange for a brace of pheasant, we now have local home-made honey – how lovely is that?

I’m particularly impressed by the professional labeling.  Apparently this honey in now on sale in a number of shops in the Market Drayton area.


Hypothesis proved wrong…

Well, the whole “key words in the title” thang didn’t suddenly get me a gazzillion hits.  And, thinking about it, I’m actually quite pleased about that, given my key words are more likely to be “carbon footprint” or “paper logs” or similar.  So, no more weird syntactic departures for the moment – back to good old-fashioned wholesome eco-ish blogging!  😉

Sorry – just in case you thought you’d log onto the wrong site just then, I’ll explain… I’m experimenting to see if the words in the title of the post make a difference to the number of hits the site receives!  Obviously, anyone attracted to this post by the key words in this title will be a tad disappointed to find themselves on a site devoted to self-sufficiency and environmental issues!  So to those people – my apologies for bringing you here under false pretences.  Still, perhaps you’ll stay and…em..expand your horizons!  😉

The log burner is in – toasty warm lounge… 

And it’s all free…!  Hurrah!


Whilst the government appears to have abandoned for the moment its plan to sell off some of our national woodland, The Woodland Trust is keen to point out dangers still exist.  Please read the info on their site at which raises concerns about changes to planning policy which even now could detrimentally affect our ancient woodland.

Muddy Boots has performed magic and mystery (well, carpentry anyway!) and made posh new wooden slatted fronts for the three bay compost heap – soooooo much better than the chicken wire fronts we had before.  Easier to use, and looks much neater too.  Very pleased with them!  MB – have a house point!  😉


They’re coming to sort out the flue for the log burner on Monday (just as it’s getting milder – some irony there after the winter we’ve had!).  We suddenly realised we have nothing much to burn on said log burner.  Those paper logs are still in the pipeline but tricky to dry successfully this time of year.  So, wheelbarrows to the fore, up the lane by the wood we went, collecting wind-fall timber.  As Muddy Boots observes, “Wood keeps you warm three times – once when you collect it, once when you chop it up, and once when you burn it.”  Plus, it’s carbon neutral since the carbon wood releases into the atmosphere is only equivalent to the amount it’s absorbed while it was growing.  And it’s free (though I appreciate we’re quite lucky being so close to woodland – if you live in a more urban environment, I guess stealing branches from nextdoor’s trees isn’t really on!).

I suspect what we’ve collected won’t last long though and (depending on how the weather goes over the next couple of months) we’ll be back out there with those wheelbarrows many more times in the future.   😉

As you may or may not know, Friday 5th February was “Save Our Libraries Day” – around 400 public libraries are currently facing an uncertain future or potential closure owning to spending cuts.  Does this matter?  Yes, I think so. 

Libraries are a valuable resource for everyone.  Whether you’re a student researching something for your course, a child exploring the world of books for the first time, a passionate reader, or simply someone embarking on a new project and in need of advice, your local library is there to support you.  While it may not have all the books you’ll ever need, you can check their on-line catalogue and, if the book you want is at another library nearby, order it for delivery at your local library within a few days.  And this resource is free to use.  You simply join, and you’re part of a whole reading community. 

The whole idea of a library seems to me to reflect the current government’s ideals of localism, of the community society.  Everyone has access to the library – it is a resource for all.  Everyone has to obey the rules to make it work (i.e. bring the books back by the right date, bring them back in a decent condition).  And it’s not just about borrowing a few books – libraries also offer computer facilities and internet access, not to mention the wealth of knowledge and information provided by the librarians themselves.  Libraries help to provide one of the most important things for our society – education. 

If you’d like to find out more about the work of libraries, or the “save our libraries “campaign, why not visit the following sites for more info:   and

“Save Our Libraries Day” may be over, but the work of the libraries themselves certainly is not.

Just put in the first of the “first earlies” in my lovely new potato patch.  Is it too early?!  I’m not sure (instructions say February onwards – and it’s definitely gone milder in the last couple of days).  I’m encouraged by the weather.  The rain held off until I’d finished two complete rows, and is now watering them so I don’t have to.  Nice when it works like that…  😉

Size Matters!

They give you a wheelie bin for your rubbish….  It’s big and heavy – too heavy for a man to lift in the way they used to do in the old days with those metal dustbins (Health & Safety!).  These wheelie bins are lifted by some kind of hydraulic lift on the dustcarts themselves. 

Then they decide recycling is important – so they give you boxes (or possibly another wheelie bin) to collect your recycling.   In theory, this means you will have less rubbish to throw into the “land fill” wheelie bin, so you now only half-fill it.  So you could, in theory, now manage with a small bin, which would take up less room in your garden, and help accommodate the recycling boxes.

But I’m guessing the wheelie bins will always remain oversized – because they’ve been built to fit the dustcarts, and in order to change the size of the wheelie bins, they’d have to change all the dustcarts and all the wheelie bins at the same time…which in itself might be considered unenvironmentally friendly. 

So we stick with the huge wheelie bins.  And the problem with that is probably something to do with nature abhorring a vacuum – because weirdly, those big bins tend to get filled.  How does that happen?  Are we just producing more (non-recyclable) rubbish?  Or is it just that we don’t stamp it down to get the lid shut any more?!

I think size matters – and I think sometimes small is better!  😉