City Hippy

The diary of our struggle to live a green and fair life.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

REVIEW: Final Episode - Its Not Easy Being Green

In the seventh and sadly, final episode of this BBC programme the Strawbridge's made some further additions to their self-sufficient lifestyle by building of a compost toilet and new wind turbine. To erect the 'loo', Dick and co built two big concrete holes covered by a bench and toilet seat, all concealed by a shed with a view. Briget was worried that with all the visitors to the farm there would be "too much poo", which takes two year to decompose. Dick was not concerned, especially after he had calculated that there was enough space for 4000 poos! My other half however pointed out that the sawdust, used to absorb the liquid and smells, would also add to the pile. So perhaps Dick may need to recalculate, but I'm sure Briget's got nothing to worry about. The design to ensure that the urine is re-routed down a separate waste pipe was also impressive. Moving swiftly on.....

Briget was busy reaping the rewards of a well stocked organic garden - did you see how many compost bins she had?! Then she set to work hand blending some body butter, before trying it out on Dick and Jim. I think the blokes were more impressed by the hand made chorizo sausage rolled from the leftovers of their dearly departed pigs.

Another star project of Dick and Jim's was the substantial wind turbine, used together with the smaller wind turbine and water wheel, to provide electricity to the farm. The turbine set Dick back about £1500 and will apparently pay for itself in 4 to 5 years. It was designed to be fitted to the side of the house but because their farm is a listed building, this was not possible. Dick was keen to put the wind turbine at the top of a mast on a high, windy point in the garden. His plans paid off and the turbine set off at enormous speed.

Donnachadh McCarthy visited the farm in his capacity as environmental auditor and was "very impressed". The Strawbridge's have achieved more than anyone could imagine in such a short space of time - probably down to all the expert and student helpers! Dick with his go getting attitude was not afraid to embrace alternatives and its really paid off.

Links / Of related interest:
As previously mentioned you can read more about the Strawbridge's journey through their book, at their website or by actually going to the farm and attending a course. If you've missed episodes from the series, you can still see clips at the BBC website, if you're quick. You can also read my recent reviews at CityHippy and earlier reviews at Hippyshopper. Briget will also be appearing at the MAD sustainability show. As will some of the UK's Green Bloggers, including Al, of course.

If you're interested in finding out more about the growing use of small wind turbines across the world, Thomas at ecofusion has sent a link to information from the American Wind Energy Association.

Does the sound of making natural cosmetics like Briget appeal? Michael Van Straten has treatment recipes in his book 'Organic Living'. Or check out the Strawbridge's site for Briget's preferred cosmetic companies.

There's also a new book out, reviewed at Hippyshopper, called 'It's Easy To Be Green' (not linked to the programme) based on the author's (Crissy Trask) website, Greenmatters.


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At 8:21 AM, Blogger Andrew said...

I was wondering how they had got planning permission to erect the wind turbine up on that slope - do you think they needed it? Anyway it was a really great show - I'm going to miss it - maybe I'll go down and do a course or something and meet them in the flesh!

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Ella Rabaiotti said...

I did consider the same thing Andrew. They painted it black - which I thought makes it stick out more than silver. You could see the row of neighbours houses in the background. Perhaps this is covered in the book (which I have yet to buy)or you could e-mail the family through their website.

I will definately come back to the issue of wind turbines, planning etc. I've just come across a website that suggests that rooftop windturbines are not very successful......


At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Mongoosefred said...

Ella, the book does go into some of the issues to do with wind turbines and planning permission. Think it comes down to not being an eye sore.

On the book, well worth a read. Goes into some more detail, but still done in the same fun style as the show.


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