Saving Water in the house

Using water wisely is significant to help protect our natural world. I’ve written about the advantage of using a water butt before. Since adding the water butts to the front and back garden we’ve had a few people in the neighbourhood tell us they’ve added one. By saving water this helps protect habitats within the countryside. If we have water shortages streams will be potentially be redirected for reservoirs harming existing wildlife. Yorkshire Water was offering a free pack of water-saving devices for the house. As it was free I thought I’d order and see what we got. I have few DIY skills so if it was anything too complicated I wasn’t going to be tackling it and ending up needing to call out a plumber.

In the pack, we got a cistern pack. This is a bag with a biodegradable polymer. Pop it in the toilet cistern and the bag fills up and the polymers enlarge taking up space in the cistern. This is much like the old advice to stick a brick in as it reduces the amount of water used with each flush.

The pack includes tap inserts. The website reckons this can save a household up to £36 a year. These reduce the velocity of the stream and limit splashing. It was easy to fit. It came with a little tool for unscrewing the end of the tap. The pieces slot in and screw back together. 2 minutes work. I don’t know how much of a difference it makes to the water use but out the end of the tap was so gunked with limescale it feels like it flows better. I think it tastes better but this may just be in my head.

The shower regulator is again designed to regulate the flow. The website states 25% of the average UK utility bill is on heating water. This may potentially affect the pressure of the water so I will give it a try and see if it stays.

Then the last item in the pack is a four-minute timer that suctions onto the wall. Trying to cut down the time in the shower cuts both water bills and even if you’re not on a water metre it will save money on heating the water.

If you’re interested in the set check here.

Saving wastewater has made it into the news this week with the Guardian pushing people to give street trees a boost with their washing water.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/01/use-your-waste-water-to-save-street-trees-experts-urge

Well worth a read. Too many trees are planted to expire within the first year. Enjoy!

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Bay and Bempton

We’ve returned from visiting the in-laws at Robin Hood’s Bay. We’ve had a lovely time despite the grey weather. It’s been back and forth between glorious sunshine, mizzle and thunderstorms. But we did manage to get out and about a bit.

We made it to the local Horticultural societies competition. Some very good veg entries. Alice liked the children’s gardens.

She was also quite taken by this sardine tin display.

The all-important amusing vegetable category.

We’ve had plenty of time playing in the garden but I will probably save that for this weeks six on Saturday.

This was the weather for much of the weekend. Grey with a mist of light rain blowing in.

Though we didn’t let that put us off. We just got kitted up.

Alice did really well going up and down the cliff. It’s a steep walk and we see lots of tourists panting back up every visit but Alice has managed walking up and down several times this trip. Previously she’s travelled in the baby howdah but she’s too big now and the pram is useless at the Bay.

Alice had a good time rock pooling though we didn’t find much beyond snails. She did enjoy throwing seaweed back in the pools. Though she couldn’t handle getting her shorts wet. We’ll need a swimming costume next time. Previous visits she hasn’t even wanted to go in the water at all though. Whereas now she’s happily exploring.

Lots of dead crab shells around.

Her best catch.

At the bottom of the hill, there are these big belly bins. They have solar panels on the top and we’ve been wondering what for.  I looked it up and they are rather fascinating. The solar panel powers a compressor so the bin can hold more for busy locations. It can also signal when the bins need collecting to reduce the number of pickups lowering its carbon footprint and saving trips to difficult to reach locations. The bottom of Robin Hood’s Bay is as bad a location as you could ask for. It has a steep narrow road with little turning room. So these seem a very clever solution to keeping the place neat.

On the road down the walls are covered in ferns. the ravine is one of my favourite parts of the bay with a mass of ferns and mosses growing from every crack. I could happily replicate this in my garden with my fern obsession.

Alice has enjoyed very too many ice creams in the last few days. She has been going through lots of tantrums recently and we’ve been making it clear whiney whingey girls don’t get ice cream.

Alice is becoming very adventurous at the park climbing and jumping off greater heights.

We had some moments of sunshine.

The Victoria pub has finished its extension since we got married last year. It’s looking good and has probably the best view out of the bay of any of the pubs and restaurants.

On the way home, we stopped off at Bempton Cliffs. Traditionally it rains whenever we visit but we actually had glorious sunshine for a change. Alice wasn’t up to walking very far as she was in a tired, hungry mood. We did make it down to the first observation spot to see the cliffs. The seabirds flying from the cliff swooping down to the water is always a spectacular sight.

We managed to see one of the star attractions up close. Normally we’ve seen the puffins at a distance through telescopes but there was one close enough for a recognisable photo rather than a blur in the distance. I’m not winning wildlife photographer of the year with this one. But nice for Alice to actually be able to make one out.

Though it’s not all about the birds. The insect life was pretty amazing too in the sun.

The wildlife at Bempton face so many threats with habitat destruction and changing climate that I continue to support the RSPB even though we probably only manage a trip a year. Each time we visit I hope for Alice’s sake these wonderful birds are still there as she grows up.

Amy was taken with this lovely little chappy so he was brought home which is now stopping the door rattling in the wind helping Amy’s dislike of noises.

We’ve had a lovely time and have more holiday left to enjoy.

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30 Days Wild: Idea 22-Get closer to the grass

Previous years I’ve walked barefoot on the grass but as Alice doesn’t like going barefoot very much we’ve just looked today at getting closer to the ground. While she might not like going barefoot she is quite happy rolling it and sniffing it.

Grass has many potential benefits. It can improve air quality by capturing carbon and it acts as a pollution filter. Areas of grass stay cooler than many hard surfaces. Then there are the mental benefits of green spaces. Green spaces can lower blood pressure and help mental well-being. Well worth celebrating and getting a bit closer with to connect with.

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30 days of wild: Idea 18-Listen to birdsong

With the break in the rain, the birds are back out in force. The dusk chorus has been singing away and it was a joy to listen to.  Taking a few minutes to sit and listen to birdsong is a simple pleasure but a very enjoyable one. Earlier in the year, the RSPB put birdsong in the chart with let nature sing. If for some reason you are unable to get outside or to a spot you can hear birdsong through this track and it gives a donation to the RSPB.

Robinhead

While it is nice to hear the songs I’ve been working on tuning into the bird’s songs to be able to identify through their sound. The RSPB has a new book and CD set out to help identify birdsong. Earlier in the year, I was gifted this lovely set that gives details of each bird then has tracks it plays through a built-in speaker.

For a free option, the long-running BBC Tweet of the day gives you a way to gradually build your knowledge. There is a massive back catalogue of episodes to listen to all for free. With many people following this blog for my gardening content you may enjoy Monty Don on the return of the swallows.

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30 Days Wild: Idea 17-pick up litter

Today might not be the most glamorous act of wild but it can make a huge difference. Wildlife can suffer very badly with waste humans have left. More an more plastic has made it into our oceans. It is now thought that this may be having an impact on us through the water we drink and the food we eat.

Just picking up one or two pieces of rubbish during the day could save an animal. My local community is aiming for the plastic-free beach. They have set up a beach hut where on weekends you can go pick up a litter picker and a bucket to collect. Across the country, there are many 2-minute beach clean stands. I keep a set of work gloves under the pram for if we find anything on our strolls. It doesn’t take any time out of the day but helps make a difference to the community and wildlife. Our beaches are much cleaner since these initiatives began. On recent strolls, I’ve hardly found anything. The main find being cig butts.

30 Days of Wild: Idea 16-Download the app

So we are halfway through 30 days if you’re short of ideas you could try and download the 30 days app. I downloaded the app today in seconds. It then gives you a suggestion of something to do. f you don’t like it you can select again. It then gives options to share what you’ve done by taking a photo or sharing on social media.

Today it gave me this idea.

A quick trip out into the front garden I discovered a fern growing up the cracks in the brick wall. I think it’s some form of Asplenium it is slowly colonising the cracks. We are looking to rebuild the wall so I may have to try and transplant this to another spot.

The top of the wall has patches of moss. If you stop and take the time to observe moss it is rather interesting with a soft carpet of green and red spikes coming out.

Very quick task but satisfying achieving.

A lot of people expressed concern about the seagull chick in my garden featured on yesterday Six on Saturday. It has moved around to the back garden where it has found a number of spots it can hide from the rain. I’ve seen the neighbours cats in at the same time and so far it isn’t bothering the chick. It has found one of the apples I put out for the blackbirds and seems happy tucking into this for breakfast.

Enjoy your Sundays. The weather is looking a bit better and might be able to get outside a bit more.

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30 Days Wild: Idea 15-Butterfly banquet

Today’s idea will get some use out of any overripe fruit. We buy in a lot of fruit for Alice but as her tastes shift from one week to the next we find we usually have a bit left over. Bananas are commonly left over.

The peel is cut and put under the flowering shrubs. The hydrangeas seem to benefit from the extra nutrients. They don’t show under the hydrangea as it has thick enough growth.

Then the banana I put out in a bowl. As it ripens the smell brings in many insects but butterflies particularly like this. Red admirals seem to be the commonest visitor I attract.

Last year grapes brought in many visitors. This idea works well in Autumn when many of the flowers are fading away and the butterflies have few choices available.

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If you give this a try. Have some patience. The butterflies seem to like it as it gets well past the point we’d eat it.

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