Preparing for autumn the green way

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woodburnerThe other day I posted on my facebook wall that I could really feel a sense of autumn.

I was awake at 6am and there was a definite coolness in the air; a mist hanging low in the valley, that lovely golden glow to the sunrise.

It seems Small Footprints is feeling it too because this week’s change the world Wednesday challenge has us preparing for autumn already.

She writes “This week clean and test the furnace. Did you know that your furnace needs cleaning? Yep … it collects all kinds of dust and debris which not only affects it’s performance but could cause a fire”.

After figuring out what a furnace was, I decided this wasn’t the challenge for me. Here at Chez Green we run a woodburner and our home is heated solely by fallen wood.

In that case we were asked to share another Eco-tip or idea for the fall months.

Well I don’t know about you but around February time I feel like shaking off the winter dust and doing a spring clean. The thing is, by the time autumn comes around I feel like doing another one.

Not so much a ‘clean’ but a ‘cleanse’.

I think I sense that I’ll be spending more time indoors so I want it to be my sanctuary. I don’t want to put up with clutter or be surrounded by things I no longer love. Running a wood burner creates a lot of dust and I don’t want that dust falling onto things I don’t want to clean. Winter is a time of renewal, of slowing down and recuperating; not a time to be stressed by all the housework you feel you need to do!

I want my cave, my nest to be simple and nourishing like the foods we’ll be eating and the activities we’ll be doing. I want my space to be clear so that good energies can flow bringing us good health and happiness.

On a ‘green’ note we’ll be using LEDs powered by solar. Although we might not get much solar power, they are hooked up to old car batteries and when they go down it’s time to burn natural candles or gather around the flames of the fire. Using energy in this way makes you value it more. How easy it is to turn on the light and leave it on all day. If they start to flicker because we haven’t had any sun for a couple of days, it’s a reminder that we are trying to use more power than we have generated. It’s a reminder of our unsustainable lifestyle.

I’ll be using a slow cooker (crock pot) and cooking things on the woodburner to reduce our electricity consumption. The woodburner itself is a lesson in using energy wisely. All through the summer Mr Green and I have gathered wood. We’ve collected it, cut it, stacked it and gradually we’ll carry it into the house basket load by basket load. We’ll see our store become more depleted as the winter months come and if there’s the choice to wear extra layers, wrap up in a blanket or use a hot water bottle rather than burn extra wood we take it. Again, it’s so easy to flick a switch and pay the bill at the end of the month, spending time detached from the real expenditure of energy.

Our current lifestyle is one of deficit. We buy food and throw it away. We burn heaters and have tanks of hot water we don’t need. We buy the latest fix only to become bored of it in a week or two…

This autumn then, the ‘greenest’ thing we can do is opt for a life of simplicity. One which nurtures our soul, lights the fire within and brings us closer to the rhythms of nature.


  1. Small Footprints on August 25, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    It is so true … we take so much for granted … flip that switch without thought to what is actually happening. I really like the idea of solar energy … or natural energy such as wood. It encourages a “live within your means” mindset … if we have sun, then we can turn the lights on … if we have wood then we can heat the home. And when we don’t have those things … we find other ways to live. My husband’s family didn’t have a hot water tank … they lived in a tropical environment and had a tank on top of their house which was heated by the sun. So … when they used the hot water, it was gone until the sun came out again. It made so much sense.

    Ahhh … winter as a time of renewal … I love that concept! Thanks, Mrs. Green!

  2. Mrs Green on August 28, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    @Small Footprints: Solar energy is ok, but I don’t think I would recommend it unless you can invest in large tracking panels. Solar is about 13% efficient (despite what marketing will tell you 😉 ). I think wind and geothermal are probably better. Wonderful to experience hot water in the way your in laws did…

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