Tuesday 11 December 2012

Tidy Up Time At The Smallholding. (Time For Some Thin Lizzy).

Well we did it.  We borrowed my brother and his trailer and we collected a years rubbish from a round the Haggard (Where the moo cows and the silage and tractor live) and farmyard.  We filled a full 6 x 4 car trailer to the top.  The square plastic tank with the metal cage isn't part of the rubbish.  That's for carrying (wait for it) WATER to the cattle when get a drought.  Laugh I nearly got my cigs out then.  Not that I smoke any more, of course!

The farmyard detritus was mainly old silage plastic wrappings  baling string, animal feed paper bags and silage netting.  Why is everything made from plastic?.  How much does it cost to pay for it and how much does it cost to get rid of it?  Well it only cost me eighty Euros.  But what cost will it be to to the environment?  

Right time for a song.  Seeing it's near Christmas I would like to play: 'Dedication': Thin Lizzy.  If they had played Live Aid, I think this would have played this song.  I play Thin Lizzy every week, religiously.  I think they are the best band to come out of Ireland.  Did you know Phil Lynott was born in England?  No, nor did I.  I once saw them on the 'Renegade' tour way back in 1981 at Manchester Apollo theatre.  Fantastic band.  Fantastic lyrics.  See you later in the week.  Thanks for reading.


  1. i only have one field and it always amazes me how much shit accumulates!

  2. Good to see you doing a bit, Dave.

  3. Totally agree John. We seem to live in a 'plastic' world and everything is made from oil. Even the computer I am tapping these words on.

    I wonder how much does it cost us in packaging every year? First to buy it and then to get rid of it.


  4. Yeah Pat. I can still do a bit. Not that there's any chance of digging over the veg plot at the moment with the rain.

    We try to recycle what we can like plastic food wrappings and beer cans. We keep a big polythene bag in the kitchen for the food packaging and fill it every week. Just to see how much we make. Then we take it to town and a a man and a van collects if for free from a town car park. The tin cans and beer cans can either be placed in one of those 'wasp nests (bottle banks) one at a time or we just take it to a skip hire place and they charge you two Euros to just open your bag and throw it in a skip. We usually just pay the 2 Euros rather than spend 10 minutes putting cans in a bottle bank, one at a time. Rubbish is a big problem and most of it seems to go into land fill.

    Is there much recycling in Poland Pat?

  5. Funnily enough we've just borrowed our neighbour's trailer and have been to the landfill with a load of stuff that was here when we moved in, plus some of our own domestic rubbish.

    The recycling facilities were much better in Wicklow were we last lived - and they were free.

    At the moment we're saving all glass jars etc for preserves for next year (wishful thinking on my part!), all of the milk containers to line the polytunnel paths, using newspapers for lining the chicken houses, all other paper for starting the fires.

    It really is the plastic that is the problem isn't it?

  6. Hi Lorraine, Thanks for telling us about your recycling efforts. I have just read: Blueprint For a Green Planet: John Seymour. It's very cheap to buy on the Internet. The diagrams are incredible. JS says plastic will never decompose. White glass is supposed to be perfectly natural and does no harm to the environment. We use an office shreder for paper and use it for bedding for the ducks and starting the range. Like you say plastic is a big problem. Everything seems to be made from oil.

    Thanks Lorraine.

  7. Yes, amazing where the rubbish comes from and how much accumulates when you're not looking.

    Wishful thinking on the drought.

    Weather frosty, bright windless morning, pleasant even.
    Raggy cat resumed its hedonistic milk & biccies and fireside lifestyle.

  8. And even plastic bottles can be useful for building with. The only answer for the wrapping is to attempt not to buy anything with it on, which is hard.
    Dave, I'd say that the 10 minutes would be well spent, if you keep the cans out of the landfill site. We sat and watched 'The Age Of Stupid' last night, which always reminds me that right now, we have the chance to make changes, not to do things 'because thats what people do', and that we might not notice the effects of our behaviour right now, but our kids sure will.
    Watch it if you haven't already, it'll be 2 euros well spent - and remember that it was made 6 years ago, and that it's a pretty realistic view of what is happening. Also remember that some of the best case scenarios mentioned won't now happen because we haven't collectively got our act together to stop the world going down the toilet. (end of rant). Sorry folks.

  9. Hi Cumbrian, Are you well? Jean was only asking asking if Raggy Cat was OK?

    Yeah we could do with a drought, couldn't we? Glad to hear it's fine and frosty over there. It's just stopped raining here. Don't think I will ever do any digging on the veg plot. Just going have to wait until it dry's up.


  10. Hi Steve. It's never a rant if it's important. That's why I like reading your blog because you talk sense.

    I think the 'food hygeine' police determine a lot of the food wrapping. Yet so much of isn't bio-degrade-able and it ends up in landfill.

    Here in West Cork there are very few rubbish bins on the roads or streets. The few that there are have letter box type openings. Ireland's beaches are full of rubbish because there are no free bins. The councils want everybody to pay for everything be it transport (private cars) or waste disposal that you have to pay for. It really annoys me when I see fly tipping on the beaches or countryside all because the council won't provide 'Free' waste disposal facilities. People will always dump rubbish and then the council have to collect it. So why not provide the facilities for free. You say you can rant, Steve.

    Great thoughts!


  11. Yes, big problem is waste disposal in todays throw-away society.
    We have 3 wheelie bins, garden, paper and general waste, plus a purple bag for tins, bottles and plastic containers. And a community waste disposal site, a series of bins for different types of waste, seems fairly efficient, with men there to assist and guide people. It's free but you need to take your stuff there.

    Difficult to by-pass plastic, just about everything comes wrapped in it, even loose fruit & veg get put in a plastic bag. When I had an open fire the small amount we got usually went up the chimney, but this isn't an qption for bigger amounts.

    Lovely crisp day now, white frost everywhere, no breeze, sunshine and blue sky.

  12. Thanks Cumbrian for that. It sounds like you're all on the ball in terms of recycling. I really like the idea of a 'community waste' disposal site.

    John Seymour says in his book: Blue Print For A Green Planet. That nearly all plastics are chemically very hardy: they resist any form of biological decomposition. Most plastics are made from oil. Biodegradable plastics are made by the fermentation of of natural substances like sugar and carbohydrates. Biodegradable plastic is readily broken down by fungi, algae and anaerobic bacteria. A 'plastic' bag made from this will completely disappear within 12 to 15 months or three months if put in a compost heap.

    I suppose it's the manufacturing of oil based plastic that needs to be stopped rather than just recycling?

    Wet here today. Could do with your blue sky.


  13. The recycling issue seems to be slowly catching on with a few younger people, Dave, but the Poles are still too shell-shocked from years of communism/attempted Sovietisation, to care much about things like recycling.

    Rightly or wrongly, many Eastern Europeans would view the recycling cause as some kind of Western fad or fancy. In a nutshell, they don't really give it a second thought, as they have what they consider to be more immediate/pressing concerns.

  14. Just thinking back to when I was younger , everybody had one small metal dustbin that was emptied weekly by a crew of fit men who picked up the bins and deposited in their wagon. so there can't have been so much weight in them?
    Most of the contents would be ashes from everybodys open fires, with a few tins, usually burned out from placing on the dying fire last thing at night to keep a bit of heat, it also had the advatage of steralising them so as not to attract vermin.

    Milk came in bottles, left out each night for the milkman.
    Beer and lemonade came in bottles, returnable for the deposit.
    Butchers and fishmongers came round in vans, housewives brought a plate out to the van, when bought in the shop they were wrapped in grease-proof paper.
    Fruit and veg came in paper bags, which usually went on the fire.
    Newspapers were delivered early morning by an army of paperboys before school, when read they either went on the fire or to the chippy to wrap supper up in.
    Bread came in waxed paper, went on fire or used to wrap bait-time sandwiches in.
    Bones were given to the dogs.
    Garden waste stayed in the garden via the compost heap.
    Housewives had a shopping bag.
    Scrap timber was used on the fire.
    Worn-out clothes were collected and presumably used for something, worn-out shoes went on the fire.
    Plastic was non-existant, carrier bags were brown paper with string handles.

    There wasn't really much waste to land-fill, and what there was didn't rot, it was mostly inert.

    Keeping cold here, but dry.
    Raggy cat been out, back in front of fire till later.
    How's Domino getting on?

  15. Thanks Pat for telling us about Poland. I sometimes wonder if recycling would not be such a big issue if the likes of the UK was still an industrial country? Most industrial pollution is now made in Asia, whilst Britain is said to have the cleanest rivers for 200 years. Thanks Pat.

  16. Keep thinking back: Cumbrian. You raise so many interesting points. Years ago, we all used to shop at place like the C.O.O.P or corner shop, where everything was fragile and perishable and sold loose.

    Men went to work and women mainly stayed at home, housekeeping and having a meal ready for the family at tea time.

    Most people had coal fires and they burnt the rubbish to get rid of it and to keep warm... The Clean Air acts have virtually put an end to burning fossil fuels (what about cars?) and most rubbish goes into land-fill sites. It seems to be only rural areas where you can still have a coal fire.

    Today, men and women need to work full time, have 2 cars, pay a forty year mortgage and eat 'convenience' food, because they haven't got time to make it....

    One other thought comes to my mind: How much enery is wasted taking rubbish to land-fill, recycling it and using mechanical equipment to bury the stuff?

    Fascinating, Cumbrian.

    Domino is fine. He's got a really thick fur coat at the moment.


  17. Yes, I'm doing the comparison now;-

    Milk comes in cardboard or plastic, the milkmans's gone.
    Beer comes in tin cans, lemonade in plastic.
    Butchers and fishmongers don't have vans any more, and not many shops left, then you get your purchase in 2 layers of plastic.
    Fruit & veg, superstore stuff often ore-packed in plastic trays shrink-wrapped in more plastic or loose in plastic bags. We haven't got a greengrocer left here so I don't know what they use, probably plastic bags.
    Newspapers aren't used at the chippy any more, it's special paper they wrap up in, and often a plastic bag.
    Bread comes in plastic bags.
    I suppose bones are still given to the dogs.
    Garden waste gets put in a wheelie-bin.
    Houewives don't have shopping bags, they have big trolleys and lots of plastic bags.
    Scrap timber goes in the skip.
    Non-worn-out clothes are thrown in the wheelie bin.
    Plastic is everywhere.

    There's no fires any more, or very few, even rural dwellings have central heating, it seems it's too much time and effort to keep an open fire going, or maybe they're too busy working to pay the mortgage and utility bills?

    The councils are trying, with their different wheelie bins for different things, and community facilities for waste disposal, but there's still far too much (re)usable stuff in the land-fill sites. In some facilities the men have a display area selling all sorts of things, there's working TVs and white goods by the hundred, tons of almost new toys and furniture.

    Not a bad morning here, still freezing but fine.
    Raggy cat in, milk & biccies, now sleeping. Like Domino, it's grown an even raggier coat for winter.

  18. Great list and thoughts, thanks for that Cumbrian. I even see so called 'organic' meat wrapped in plastic packaging and I bet it's not biodegradable. The experts reckon that a plastic bottle will take thousands of years to decompose, if at all.

    Here in Ireland, they introduced a plastic bag levy in 2002. Today you have to pay 31 cents if you want a plastic bag for your shopping. Shame they don't levy the manufacturers who package the meat and vegetables. The levy is said to be very successful and the legislation had immediate effect on on consumer behaviour. With a decrease in plastic bags use from an estimated 328 plastic bags to 21 bags per capita over night. All proceeds from the plastic bag sales go to the: Environment fund. The levy is even put on biodegradable plastic bags. A lot of supermarkets sell 'A Bag for life."

    Watched a programme a while a go about people in India recycling plastic. They said there are 160 different types of plastic. The majority of which ends up in our land fill sites because we only select a few of them for recycling.

    Bought a bike the other day. The bike seller told me that Raleigh stopped making bikes in Nottingham and they are all being produced now in China. The West seems to be moving into a consumer led, post-industrial society. Clean air and environment and very few manufacturing jobs. Would we rather have a clean environment or lots of jobs? What do you think?

    Love the idea of some recycling facilities selling goods. They won't even let you donate electrical goods to charity shops here in Ireland. It's such a throw away world.

    Fine here, but very cold.

    Thanks Cumbrian.

  19. Yes, the plastic bag levy, it operates in Europe, and you very rarely see anybody paying for one, they either use a cardboard box or bring their own. As you say, it works.

    Personally I have the bags-for-life, donated to me by Tesco and Asda, and still going (Tesco after 2 years, Asda just replaced free after 18 months, the till girl noticed it had a hole) so I haven't contributed to the plastic bag mountain for 2 years at least and don't intend to unless they stop issuing bags for life.
    But I'm as guilty as everybody else in buying milk in plastic bottles, fruit & veg in plastic trays and meat & fish in plastic bags. It's impossible to avoid it completely.
    Strange thought I've just had; flour and sugar, which are very susceptible to damp, still come in paper bags, about the only products I can think of that do.

    Yes, the Western world seems to have lost the ability to produce anything, just about everything we buy is made in China or some other Eastern country. I suppose we're living on the memories of past empires, but these empires are now fully fledged competition, and they're winning. Wonder how long it can go on for?

    Sun's still shining, lovely day.

  20. Never thought about flour and sugar in paper bags, Cumbrian.

    I complained to the wife last year about the cattle beef nuts being packed in paper sacks. There wonderful when they get wet and you find half a sack full spread all over the ground, especially in a gale. So we started buying them in 'plastic' bags just for their practicality.

    I stopped drinking milk over 2 years a go because the milk didn't taste right any more, probably because of the milk cartons. I drink a lot of 'Sprite' though and that comes in a plastic bottle.

    I suppose the health and safety, hygiene people make sure that every food product is packed in plastic? This could be biodegradable or just paper if it's only vegetables.

    I think the people in Government thinks the Western world is jut made up of bank clerks and secretaries and nobody wants to actually make a physical product any more. Even Brazil's economy is more powerful than Britain now. Shall we go and live in China? At least it would be warmer. May be not.

    Thanks Cumbrian.

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What We Had For Our Smallholding Tea.

 The polytunnel and veg plot keeps on giving and we seem to be eating new spudatoes every day at the moment: Snowball onion, kale and new po...