The recent events in Japan and New Zealand have served to underline just how invincible, unstoppable, and unforgiving the power of nature can be. It makes me wonder why we tempt it. Whatever your opinion on global warming, shouldn’t we err on the side of caution? The gases in the atmosphere may come from natural cycles or from human activity, but for me we should take every step to minimise our part in it, if only because you shouldn’t meddle in things we do not fully understand. Tread lightly and leave as little evidence of your business as possible.
These thoughts inspired me to look into alternative heating and get some wood stoves. I am afraid that despite the philosophy I outlined above it hasn’t gone as environmentally friendly as I had planned. It just takes so much wood to keep the fires going when they are your main source of heat, 23 tonnes in winter 2009-10. All collected, cut, stored, and then fetched to the fires. This year I was unable to collect as much and we have had to resort to coal, the antithesis of treading lightly many would say. It was the only way to do it I felt, a phrase I can hear echoing in industries all over the world when pressed on the damage they could be causing.
There are other areas we have been more successful in. I have maintained a compost bucket for many years and used its product as a peat free compost for growing vegetables. The best of these has been one that acts as a wormery. If you are unfamiliar with that term ( the spell checker always selects it as wrong) it is a bucket with worms in it that actively break down the food waste added. I really love my worms, and have kept them working (or their descendants) for about five years now. They are another part of nature and, thank goodness, a side that we are more used to.