Sustainability is a loaded word that encapsulates a variety of activities and approaches to life. It can inspire visions of worthy people dressed in sackcloth living by candlelight, but really, at the simplest level, it is the applications of common sense to the knowledge that we are gleaning about how our actions affect the environment we live in. It can also save us a few pennies!
Living sustainable, for us, means acting in way that helps to ensure the continued survival of the community and environment that supports us, so that it can be enjoyed by future generations. It also means fostering a sense of place by utilising what the immediate environment and community produce, minimising energy consumption, and minimising waste.
Some methods of dealing with the increased pressure on our natural resources are simple to implement, and are being implemented by many of us daily. Following is a list of some of the things that we are doing at Rezare House.
- Buying as much locally sourced SA produce as possible. This supports and encourages a thriving community from which everyone can benefit. It also cuts down on food miles.
- Encouraging visitors to look around the immediate area rather than travel for miles during the day in the car. This has obvious environmental benefits but also means that you can spend a greater proportion of your day pursuing the whole point of a holiday - relaxation!
- Implementing a resource-conscious policy in the rooms (more below).
- Growing some of our own vegetables and fruit as space, time and energy will allow.
- Fitting energy saving bulbs into as many lights as possible.
- Collecting rainwater from the house roof and shed for supplying the house – showers, toilets, washing machine.
- Composting all organic matter, or feeding it to the chickens.
- Recycling all paper, cardboard, glass, plastics, foil etc.
In order to help us keep our energy usage to a minimum we would like to ask you to do three very simple things. With thanks in advance.
- When not using the television, we would appreciate you turning it off rather than leaving it on standby. Leaving any appliance on standby uses almost as much energy as having it in use.
- When checking out, could you leave those towels that have been used either in the shower or bath, so that we do not needlessly wash clean items.
- Use the provided jute bag to separate out any recyclable materials.
Cornish Wool Blankets
When moving from Cornwall to Wallaroo from our Bed &Breakfast in Rezare, we brought as much of our existing furniture and belongings as was practical. The original owners of our bed & breakfast in Cornwall were very keen on sustainability and the environment. Although now not functioning as a business you can see the house and gardens via the old website: - www.rezarefarmhouse.co.uk/view_old_site.php
Nan & Anthony had the following in the welcome pack in each room. We include it here for your interest.
We first set up the bed and breakfast we decided to provide wool blankets and sheets instead of duvets in our bedrooms. We prefer the flexibility and tactile comfort that they offer. The natural attributes of wool can promote a healthier, better quality of sleep. It is breathable, has the ability to wick away moisture, and allows the body to maintain a constant temperature, keeping you cool in the summer, and warm in the winter.
In 2010, we had noticed that a specialist mill just five miles from us in Launceston, The Natural Fibre Company, were selling blankets made from the yarn that they produce. At the time we had no real need for them, although it was very difficult to resist the temptation to buy a couple on impulse.
Going back to Blacker Design's website in Spring 2011 we noticed that the blankets were no longer being offered, and so-called to find out when more would be coming into stock. We were told that small runs of blankets are expensive to produce, consequently expensive, and difficult to sell, and so they would not be producing any more. However, it was suggested that they could produce a special order for us if required. We went to chat about what we might need, and to show them what we were using at the time. It quickly became very apparent that there is a reason why real blankets, woven by skilled craftsmen, last for many many years, and are passed down as family heirlooms.
We were shown around the processing areas, from the point at which the raw fleece is separated into different grades and colours, then passed through the scouring and carding machines, and finally on to the huge spinners that create the finished yarn. It was fascinating, mesmerising and exciting. Yarn made from a 50/50 Jacob and mohair mix was recommended. Jacob are native to Cornwall, an ancient breed of horned sheep with a distinctive dark brown and white fleece, which produces a hard-wearing fibre. Mohair comes from the Angora goat, is also very hard-wearing, but is smoother, and so is blended with wool for softness; it also has a lustre which enhances the appearance of textiles.
The yarn was sent to Melin Teifi in Wales to be woven as a single fifty-metre length on a wide loom; apparently there are no looms large enough in Cornwall. The company continue a tradition of very fine craft weaving, operating from the site of the Museum of the Welsh Woollen Industry in the Teifi Valley, which has been the centre of the Welsh woollen trade since the nineteenth century. The woven cloth was sent to a large Yorkshire mill for finishing, a process that involves further washing, and brushing to lift the pile a little to accentuate the softness. The finished cloth was then returned to Wales, as a complete piece, for cutting and blanket-stitching to our required dimensions.
After several months we received the finished articles. The commissioning process was a lot more involving that choosing a colour on a computer screen, clicking submit and receiving the goods the following week, but the sense of satisfaction is incomparable.