Saturday, 17 September 2011

Being Green part 3 - Farewell To Summer

The sun is starting to weaken, the evenings are drawing in, and Mabon is fast approaching.  I guess I can no longer deny that summer is over and autumn has graced us with its presence.

Actually, autumn is probably my favourite season here in the UK.  On a nice day, the sun is still warm enough to bask in, while the nip in the air gets the circulation going.  The trees are starting to turn beautiful shades of red and gold, and berries start appearing on bushes, bringing bright dots of colour to the hedgerows.  It is a time when I start looking forward to dressing a little warmer; those pretty tea dresses I've been wearing all summer are now teamed with opaque tights and a cardigan, or the vest top I'm wearing with my jeans is covered up with a shawl or poncho.  Oh, and don't get me started on the casseroles I'm going to make, packed full of healthy vegetables and lean, more traditional cuts of meat, filling my home with delicious smells ready for when I get in from work.  Yep, I'm looking forward to the next few months :)

However, there's still plenty to be done to prepare for the colder weather. Firstly, the home.  Is your house as energy efficient as it could be?  OK, this is a big question to ask, I know.  Money is tight, some of you may be living in older properties, or like us you may rent and therefore not have much control over your housing.  We live in forces accommodation so have to make do with whatever house they allocate us.  Last winter we were in a house that had a simple wooden front door and old aluminium window frames, and the draughts that used to come through the gaps were horrendous.  Knowing nothing would be done about it, we got insulating tape and my husband put several layers around the window frames to try to block the gaps.  On the front door he put up draught excluders; one on the letter box and one along the bottom of the door, and we converted an old throw into a door curtain we could pull across in the evening to try to keep some heat in.  It wasn't perfect, but it did help.  We also tried to keep the lounge door shut to keep the room warm, and lit candles not only to supplement the light and create a cosy glow, but also to generate some heat - it's amazing how much warmth can be generated by a shelf of tealights!

This year we are in a much newer house, one with brand new double glazed windows and doors that actually fit their frames - the luxury!  We also know the loft has adequate insulation so hopefully our energy consumption can be kept to a minimum.  I'll have to see jus how efficient it is, then I can get on to my energy supplier and hopefully get my bills down for next year.

But what about the outside of your home?  Do you put food out for the birds? We've got a feeder that you can hang different things on, so we normally have seed, peanuts and fat balls (often home-made) as well as water.  I'm hoping to pick up some shrubs that bear lots of berries so the birds can help themselves too.  I think I'll do a full blog on looking after the wildlife at a later date, as it's quite a big subject, but for now plan ahead and even if you only buy a cheap peanut feeder and hang it from your washing line, the birds will appreciate it.

For more information on energy efficiency check out the Energy Savings Trust

Enjoy the turning of the wheel.

Blessed be )0(

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