Our philosophy has always been to make do and mend wherever possible, but never have we been more aware of the need to limit waste of all resources. If we can all take small steps then collectively it must have an impact. Equally we are certainly not going to preach. There has to be a balance and we think everyone should be able to to make an individual choice, bearing in mind where you live and how you earn a living. As we are located in a rural village, the facilities here are limited so we need to plan ahead with purchasing and running a store cupboard. It is not viable to pop out in the car just to get a pint of milk or a loaf of bread.
So to begin our green policy for 2019, we have made a list of where we stand today and the intentions for the short and medium term future.
Firstly, lets hold up our hands and admit that we have an AGA in the kitchen (obvious really) but because of its gentle radiant heat, we keep the central heating to a minimum. We also do not run a tumble dryer (apart from finishing the guest towels), toaster, microwave, slow cooker and a kettle (except for event days). Our household ironing is kept to minimum and laundry is gently aired over night.
We buy fresh produce locally and direct as much as we can. This includes, fruit, vegetables, honey, meat and some bread.
We also grow fresh herbs and flowers for the house, some vegetables, keep hens and bake our own bread (apart from much more).
Milk and dairy is sourced from Wimborne as we are searching for a local delivery company since our supplier ceased trading.
Sustainable fish and shellfish is delivered to us directly from Wimborne and is sourced ethically.
Grains, pulses and store cupboard essentials are purchased direct from an independent family store in Wimborne.
We also purchase fresh vegetables from an independent store in Wimborne and organic produce by an ethical online store.
Household consumables are also purchased in bulk from the wholesalers and we make a supermarket shop once or twice a month.
Cleaning materials, detergents and guest toiletries
We want to make sure that cleanliness is never compromised. So during January 2019, we are trialling a variety of eco products.
We are also trialling a variety of products for the guest bathrooms. Ideally we would prefer to opt for bars of guest soap but the cost may be prohibitive.
Another confession, is that living in the country we find our 4 x 4 invaluable for towing, collecting supplies for the animals and garden as well as during the winter of 2017/2018 when we would have been unable to get out of the village. Equally we always consider and plan journeys so that we can make the most of a trip away from the farm.
On the other hand we also have a hybrid which is used for commuting. There is a charging point available at the house which is available for guests use at a small charge.
There is a community bus once a week but unfortunately this route does not fit with our working schedules.
Longer journeys are made via the train station at Salisbury.
During the colder months, the central heating is run during the early mornings and evenings for guests. We try to ensure that this is kept at a constant temperature of 17 so that the house is always at a comfortable heat.
Logs for wood burning stoves and open fires are sourced within the village. We collect our own kindling.
Kitchen waste is limited as most vegetable peelings (including potato which is cooked) is fed to the hens or added to the compost heap.
Bones from stock are disposed in the weekly green waste collection bin.
Water and sewerage
We collect rain water for irrigation in the garden and our waste system is connected to a bio-bubble. This means we have to limit and monitor what is flushed down the drains very carefully. All waste enters a tank and this is broken down anaerobically. It then passes through a series of gravel filled chambers until the water at the end of the system has been completely cleaned and suitable to re-enter the water cycle.
We ask guests please do not flush anything down the drains apart from the obvious and toilet tissue provided! Otherwise any damage to the system can be very costly, both financially and to the environment.
Bees – we would love an apiary at All Hallows, so if you are a local beekeeper and looking for a suitable site please do get in touch.
Single use plastics – as we purchase direct, most suppliers have already opted to use brown paper bags or boxes which can either be re-used or added to the compost heap. We have always HATED plastic bags with a passion and have an ever expanding collection of reusable shopping bags and baskets.
Cling film – we have opted to use a combination of grease proof paper (always better for storing cheese) and pudding bowls fitted with china saucers as a lid, for storing leftovers in the fridge rather than cling film. We are also keen to try beeswax wrappers too.
Jam jars – we recycle these and have done for years! However we always use new lids to ensure a great seal which will avoid spoilage and wastage. We also re-use kilner jars and large cookie jars for storing dry ingredients.
Foil – we rarely use foil in the kitchen. As the AGA has such a gentle radiant heat it does not dry food out.