There were three cats, two dogs (one of them big enough to count as three!), fourteen chicks (at that time “homeless” and living in a cage in the bathroom!), two feisty geese, half a dozen grown-up chickens and a hamster. Simon and I were to help build a chicken coop for the current brood of chicks that had nowhere to go, as Amy also had an incubator full of eggs due to hatch in a week’s time... so there would soon be a further 20 or so tiny chicks in need of a place to call home!
All in all we had a fantastic stay with Amy and co. The chicken coop was duly built, including a few key developments designed and built by another HelpXer – a skilled young carpenter and woodworker – “on loan” from Amy’s boyfriend’s farm. The chicken coop soon grew in scale and scope, earning itself the name “Cluckingham Palace”!
I’ve already mentioned lots of eco-ideas in previous blog posts... feel free to read them if you’re interested in biogas cars, compost toilets, solar-heated water, food from nature, etc.!
Here, though, I’m just going to go over the basics! Changes anyone can make without buying new technology or changing anything intrinsic to their home :) Interspersed with all sorts of photos from our time in Norway...
A key first step is to reduce waste... preferably in several areas! For example, there’s no need to leave taps running and let clean drinking-water drain away unused. Speaking as someone who has recently completed a few very long, multi-day, back-to-basics hikes in remote places, I can assure you of one thing: you become hyper-aware of the value of every sip of water if you’re not sure how many hours lie between you and the next hut/spring/clean river! On a similar note, there’s no need to fill a kettle to the max level to make just one or two cups of tea... save the electricity!
So it’s worth having a look in the fridge before you go to the shop. You might have been about to buy a new sauce for dinner... but if there are already three open jars in the fridge, do you need an extra one? Also, check the bread bin before buying bread, as bread doesn’t keep well at all and is not a good thing to suddenly find you have piles of! I don’t eat much bread – a few slices a week maybe – so a new loaf goes straight into the freezer and slices are taken out when I need them. The freezer is also your friend when it comes to leftovers; if you have a huge pan of delicious stew left over after a meal, it certainly shouldn’t be chucked, but it doesn’t need to be all you eat for the next four meals either! Put it in pots in the freezer. Oh, is your freezer full to bursting? Then you probably don’t need to go shopping at all – why not take some yummy food out for tea and save the cash for another time?
Something I’ve noticed here in Scandinavia is that people living away from major towns can find it hard to recycle. They’re often happy to take the time and trouble to sort glass from paper, card from plastic and so on, but then the council may only collect from their home once a month or so, if at all. So their recycling bins are overflowing and becoming more of a hindrance in the kitchen than a help. However, there are often recycling stations close by, and anyone should be able to find their nearest one by using the internet. In that case, it’s just a question of remembering to put the recycling boxes in the car before going out, and then remembering to stop as you pass the recycle point! An easy habit to keep once it’s started, surely?
So there we have it... a handful of ideas for simple changes that might help streamline certain areas of life and keep some cash in your wallet until you need it for something unavoidable (or purely pleasurable :)
We had SUCH an amazing time in Norway. Amy was a truly kind, caring hostess and a whole lot of fun, and we felt really sad to say goodbye to her and all the gang in Helgøya. Here are a few more photos from our time in Norway (the Olympic ski jump in Lillehammer – thank you again for taking us, Amy!), sculptures in Oslo's Frogner Park, a high-altitude train journey through mountain snowfields - in June! - and Bergen).
Thank you for reading, and see you soon in the Faroe Islands!