My blog for September has nothing to do with plants but has all to do with the earth! I hope you enjoy it.
Driving home one early evening I became acutely aware that we are on the September side of summer. As it was late enough for the adders to be curled up and sleeping, we stopped on Goonhilly Downs to walk Woody, our dog, around the firebreak that separates the perimeter fence of the Earth Station from the moor.
After the warmth of the day, a low mist was rising from the ancient heath and diamonds of dew clung to the spiders’ webs draping ectoplasmic strands between the gorse and heather. As the darkness of night descended, the stars were visible above the mist lingering eerily around the shadowy crossroads: it’s what we call a ‘headless horseman’ night!
Dry Tree menhir is an ancient standing stone around the back of the Earth Station. Today, this marks the boundaries of five parishes on the Lizard peninsula but in reality is a relic of a lost civilisation. Throughout the county there are stone circles, dolmens, hill forts and ‘holy’ wells; enigmatic and haunting, belonging to a culture potent with mystery and conjecture. There are many theories why these sites are in remote places, maybe they mark a precise alignment on the power grid of ley lines or are strategically placed signposts marking tracks from one location to the next. I have read that standing stones signify the conjunction between earth and the cosmos; perhaps Megalithic man was mathematically sophisticated and calculated eclipses, solstices and equinoxes by the stones and they had little to do with ritualistic goings-on and supernatural energy and were merely proof of how clever the local druid was at sums.
Whatever the reason, for me the answer is simple; human intelligence and ingenuity has always been awe-inspiring; at that moment we were in touching distance of icons of the ancient and modern world. In its time, the message from the menhir may have been no less powerful than that transmitted from giant aerials that paved the way for satellite and internet communication – on that precise spot, the first broadcast was received to tell the world that men had landed on the moon.
We share more than history with ancient people. They were entirely dependent on the radiation of the sun for warmth and food and since the beginning of time, the earth has stored that solar heat. A metre or so down, the temperature is maintained at around 10C, and being perpetually replenished, this can provide renewable and sustainable energy, almost doing away with the use of fossil fuels and reducing carbon emissions to zero.
Ground source heat pumps can tap into this heat store to provide one of the most energy-efficient ways of warming homes and providing hot water with low environmental impact. The heat is extracted from the ground from ‘slinky’ ground loops containing water, with a little antifreeze, buried in either a shallow horizontal trench or a vertical borehole.A heat exchanger then extracts the absorbed heat and transfers it to the pump, it is then distributed around the home via radiators or underfloor heating. The pump can be reversed in summer to provide air cooling.
OK, I’ll quit before I dig myself into a hole! I know as much about anthropology as I do plumbing and I’m stumbling towards one of those, " Stop talking rubbish mother" moments. All I need to know is that it works! I live in a home that is always warm and I will never have to see an oil tanker again or worry too much about the cost of electricity: the energy I use is renewable, sustainable and as green as the leaves on the rowan tree outside my window.
- 3 Sep, 2009
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