Winter is coming and with it its own set of energy challenges. Even Cornwall, with its mild, maritime climate winter, can be bitterly cold, so this week I have been looking at ways to help reduce energy consumption whilst trying to keep warm.
Unfortunately I have been unable to participate in this week’s opening task, tallying monthly energy usage via electricity, water and gas bills, for utilities are included in the rent however I am still mindful of how much is used. Nevertheless I have tried to find ways to reduce the amount of energy that is needed; obviously as I live in rented accommodation I am unable to make any permanent, property level changes such as the installation of loft or boiler insulation. I have however finally gotten around to pestering my landlord about fixing the broken windows and now we can actually close them our living room is an awful lot warmer and at last waterproof, no more rain dancing in through the cracks.
I also have next to me a pile of blankets and throws that I can wrap myself in when it starts to get cold. I am hoping not to have to turn the heating on until at least mid-November when the first frosts hit the ground but we’ll have to wait and see, and invest in a couple of new (organic) cable-knit jumpers!
Outside the home I have been spending a lot of time thinking about waste and food mile. Halloween, like all festivals, seems to involve a little bit too much overindulgence and a lot of waste, although it is not a festival I have ever celebrated before I thought it would be interesting to have a bit of fun whilst trying to keep my meals as economical (both environmental and monetary) as possible. I believe packaging is a very important thing to consider whilst buying food although it can sometimes lead to a bit of a dilemma when you are faced with organic produce in plastic packaging verses locally grown, unpackaged vegetables – it can be difficult to decide which one to go with. Packaging can also be a problem when it comes to crisps and sweet wrappers with each individual toffee individually wrapped, all we can do is try to selected the product with the least amount of packaging or turn to alternatives such as cakes and crisps baked in our own homes but even then sometimes the ingredients comes in needless boxes and wrappers.
My Samhain has consisted of locally grown, organic potatoes, swede, homemade bonfire toffee and a cute little carving pumpkin from the English county of Somerset (131 miles away) carved using a template from a certain environmental charity. Not a sticky sweet wrapper in sight!
If you are looking for something simple to do with your leftover pumpkin innards try putting them in a pan with half a swede and 3 sliced potatoes, 1 pint vegetable stock, a sprinkle of pepper and cinnamon. Leave to boil for 15 minutes before mashing (with a potato masher), serves 2.
Goodnight and Happy Samhain!