Monday 1 September 2014

Smallholding Trash Or Treasure?

"Nothing should be wasted on the self-sufficient holding.  The dustman should never have to call."


It was a lovely day today, Monday.  Number one son made himself a new bucket for the mini digger and he was itching to try it out.  So we decided to take down a scruffy looking fuchsia and stone hedge or is it a fedge?  We saved the stones for drains and any old roots and branches were thrown away.  He leveled it with the digger and I will rake it out tomorrow and throw some grass seed down for the birds to eat (ever the pragmatist) and for the mower to keep the grass down.

I noticed the green bottle in the picture peeping its neck from out of the ditch.  I carefully scratched back the soil and was delighted to find it was still intact.  I think it would contain about half a pint and it's got the writing: Beamish and Bandon on it.  We had found ourselves a very old stout bottle brewed in West Cork.

One is always wary when destroying anything my ancestors made and I am always finding old horse shoes, ashes and cinders, broken clay smoking pipes and lots of broken crockery and bottles.  It was great to find no plastic.  There were no dustbin men years ago and everything they used and made was organic.  Makes you think doesn't it?  What do you think about plastic and do you believe in recycling? 


  1. Don;t forget that in "fat of the land" John Seymour also came across the old dump where people would just fill old holes with rubbish, I think some were better than others at getting rid of their waste in the past.
    You're right though, I find that anything that goes in the bin is brought from outside and most of what we grow and use on the holding gets recycled back into it.

  2. Hi Kev. I have four wheelie bins of smallholding rubbish at the moment. It's all been brought in: silage plastic, plastic netting round bales, old paint tins, scrap metal... Now we have to pay to dispose of a lot of it. Suppose the majority of it will go to landfill?

    Every food product we buy seems to come wrapped in plastic. Even organic food like meat and vegetables are wrapped in plastic packaging.

    If you want to read a brilliant book: John Seymour & Herbert Girardet - BLUEPRINT FOR A GREEN PLANET. It's on Ebay. You will buy it for a couple of quid. The post and packaging will probably cost the same. Hopefully that is paper so you can burn it or shred it or compost it! Thanks Kev for your comment!

  3. Digging up in the yard of a house I used to own, about 3' down came to a layer of ash and a lot of old bottles, don't know how old, but some with the mane of the maker cast into the glass, all very thick and heavy, bit different to the fragile things we have today.

    Can't understand why the old system of re-using bottles ever went out, as kids we used to search out bottles, lemonade and beer, to take back to the shop and get 3d deposit, we could buy sweets with this.
    And the milk was delivered daily in bottles, collect the empties and leave full ones.

    I shudder to think how much plastic goes into land-fill, everything seems to be in plastic bottles now.

    Dustbins didn't have much in them except ashes and a few tins, everything seemed to go on the open fire, even the tins were put through the fire, they were supposed to keep the heat in.

  4. Hope you enjoy the book, Kev. Slowly but surely I keep collecting the John Seymour books.

  5. We use to collect the empty Ben Shaws minerals bottles, Cumbrian. Think you got ten pence a bottle, back in the 1970's? Haven't seen a glass milk bottle for years. It's all cartons or plastic.

    The dustbin collection service is private here in rural Ireland. You pay a service/collection charge and pay by the weight. The council household charge doesn't cover your rubbish. We take our empty cans to the bottle banks in town. These annoy me because you can only put one in at a time and the wasps take up residence in them - wasp pubs?

    I suppose the tins would reflect the heat in the open fire? We burn paper and wood in the range and the farm animals get any left over vegetables. Thanks!

  6. Me thinks I shall be ordering that book too...guess I'm not the only one getting into trouble!

  7. It is an excellent book, John. It's hardback and got loads of very interesting information and pictures. Let me know if you enjoyed it - please! Thank you kind sir.


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