Recycling is something we have practised for many years. We send very little to landfill because we have the luxury of being able to reduce our waste by other means. Composting is one way. We produce several tons of good compost each year with which to feed our garden and grounds. Garden waste, lawn clipping, fallen leaves and kitchen waste are mixed with old paper and card before being digested by worms and microbes, with regular aeration – the hard labour of turning the heaps by hand.
We have two compost bins in which the raw materials are laid down in layers. When full, these are layered, in turn, onto the first of a series of bays. The bays are turned from one to the next, at intervals, until the last bin fills with mature compost ready for use. In spring and in winter it gets distributed to various parts of the grounds. The plants, the new trees and the birds are all very happy with the results.
It is a chore – but also an honour and privilege to participate in this basic cycle of nature. It provokes reflection on life cycles. Recommended reading The Garden Jungle by Dave Goulson. Our work sustains the bugs and the worms. It helps them turn waste into raw material for new life – a wonderful metaphor for meaningful living.
Humanity is increasingly city-based. Countryside is seen as irrelevant or as a decorative background to economic activity. Nature’s contribution is marginalised because people have no direct experience of it. And yet this phenomenon is a major contributor to humanity’s threat to the environment which supports all life on earth.
Having a low environmental impact has underpinned the High Trenhouse project since its inception in 1976. Of course, what seemed ahead of its day back then, has been overtaken by events. We thought we were well insulated but standards have improved and now we are only moderately good. For more than 30 years we have been planting trees in the grounds, to the point we are vanishing into a forest.