Romantic cottages for two in the Peak District

Going green

Son Nick digging the hole for the green cone. He came home to relax. The green cone fully installed.

At the moment we are on a ‘green’ splurge. We have bought some rather attractive compost crocks to use indoors and have replaced the normal kettles with ‘Eco-kettles’ . We have put in each barn a slow-cooker so that our guests can come home to some hot soup or stews or even rice pudding on their return from a day’s walking in the Peak District (assuming they’ve popped in all the ingredients before setting off!). We are delighted to learn that they are already proving a great success.

Please note, we are keen to do our bit, but only where it is practical. We are not going to become obsessive about it, either for ourselves or our guests. We are keenly aware that people come to relax and get away from all the rules and regs that increasingly beset modern life; if you want to make compost and feed the green cone, that is lovely; if not, that is also fine.

Meanwhile, for the record, below is our Green Cone and other green (slow but well-meaning!) progress :

24 Oct: Our guests and we appear rapidly to be filling the pit; we are obviously putting stuff in faster than it can degrade. Perhaps we are going to need another. We won’t tell Nick just yet!

17 Oct: Chicken bones, herring skin and bones…we keep waiting for it to start smelling but – so far – the perfume is sweet, believe it or not. The butts are now full to the brim, with no obvious need to use the water so far collected!

9 Oct: The pile of waste food in the green cone is growing impressively, with no obvious signs of it seeping away obediently silently. The water butts after some heavy rain last Tuesday are reassuringly half full already.

4 Oct: At last we’ve had some rain (never thought one would be quite pleased about that) and the butts are successfully collecting water: enough to mean that water will actually come out of the taps.

26 Sept: Water butts all installed – still not a drop of rain yet to test them out but we can’t imagine this is a long term worry.

24 Sept: Shaun, our lovely Parwich builder, is coming on Saturday to install several water butts which will make watering all our pots easier. Since we ordered them I don’t think we’ve had a drop of rain but that cannot be a permanent anxiety…

19 Sept: It is pleasing to be able to discard fat, bones, and stale bread crusts (hope the Parwich ducks are receiving enough crusts from elsewhere). The mound of food waste is growing with no obvious signs of self-digesting but we hope that is happening silently and unseen under the heap.

5 Sept: We are becoming increasingly impressed. We’re absolutely determined not to become green bores or even bullies, but have been delighted to see that most of our guests are as intrigued as we are by the whole process and very keen to use it.

18 Aug: Reassuringly undramatic progress – the pile of sweet smelling debris is growing, slowly, and all being well will start digesting itself!

14 Aug: We and our guests have managed to muster some more left overs, including meat and fish and well-boiled up (for stock) chicken bones. Nothing dramatic seems to be happening down the hole yet, but remarkably it all seems to remain very sweet smelling and inoffensive.

1 Aug: A solemn procession – John, Janet and Marion – went to witness the first feeding of the cone! We had actually managed to accumulate some more left overs like bacon rind and some tired remains of a pudding. We were impressed how warm the interior of the solar heated cone had become.

28 July: Well, we are all set up but have nothing to go into the hole yet apart from a shoulder of lamb bone; I made all the vegetable left overs and gravy into soup! Have to do better than this if we are going to become competent green cone users. We will have to hope between us and our weekly guests we’ll soon be making better use, but it is early days yet!

26 July: John did much of the digging until it got deep. Our son, Nick, up from London for a weekend of rest and relaxation found himself doing the rest – very competently I might add, and the green cone is now installed.

15 July: – No – all is well, only seven weeks after we ordered it , it has come, quite undigested but with no instructions at all… For those that aren’t too sure about these things, it should ‘digest’ cooked food left overs including meat and fish but not the veg. and fruit etc which goes into the normal compost. It sounds more complicated than it probably is!

8 July 2009: We ordered about six weeks ago a Green Cone food digester; one hopes as John suggested, that it hasn’t self-digested en route.

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