The rhythms of our bed and breakfast, Thyme in the Country, revolve around green practices: recycling, renewable resources, minimizing our environmental impact, full support and interaction with local community initiatives, and sharing the knowledge and benefits of this lifestyle with our guests.
Our attempts to become sustainable started gradually. We know we will never reach complete “sustainability,” but we continue to adopt behaviors that reduce our carbon footprint. We are fortunate to live in a scenic area with a rich agricultural heritage at a time when people are looking for simpler and more meaningful vacation experiences, and earth-friendly accommodations. Even the economy of the city of Hudson, an antique destination, is largely based on recycling.
Living this “simple life” is not so simple, and sustainability takes sustained effort and will, but the benefits are great. Living “Eco”-nomically takes on new meaning: less consumption and more conscious contentment with what you have grow into clarity and self-control. The value of an hour’s work relative to the value of a dollar brings about respect for others – people, animals and the environment – and in turn, builds peace and love.
We invite you to share your insights and experiences about eco-friendly living through our blog. Ask questions, try out new ideas and help us learn more ways to be environmentally aware.
Minimizing Environmental Impact
Water: We minimize water use in laundry and dishwashing with very efficient appliances. Rain barrels collect water for the gardens. Our driveway and parking area absorb excess water through a recycled polyethylene grid that decreases runoff and returns water back into the ecosystem. It also keeps the yard cool and green in the summer.
Electricity: Three solar panels supply 66% of our electricity. Our appliances are Energy Star-approved, and we use a root cellar to store much of our harvested and bulk foods. We use CFL light bulbs and turn them off when not in use. We use a clothesline instead of a clothes dryer.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Restore: We use recycled building products as much as possible. For example, the cabinets in our guest pantry were built of reclaimed lumber from an old silo.
To make it easier for our guests to recycle, we have set up easy-to-use garbage separators in accessible locations. We line our trash baskets with recycled tissue paper and eliminate disposable plastics wherever possible.
When we traded a large closet for a new bathroom, we used as many recycled and reclaimed materials as possible. Shower walls and countertops are cut from an old schoolhouse chalkboard. All electrical fixtures, sink, mirror, and window are reclaimed, and the shower pan is lined with recycled zinc. The lumber was milled from our property. The flooring is a linoleum-like material made from jute, wood pulp and linseed oil. Although our toilet is new, it is a dual-flush, water-saving toilet.
We use rags for cleaning, and cloth napkins and tablecloths at meals. Our toilet paper and tissues are made from 100% recycled paper.
Cleaning products: We use vinegar, baking soda and other non-chemical cleaners to clean the house, dishes and laundry. Chemical-free cleaning helps eliminate built-up soap residue in our linens, environmental pollutants, and reduces petrochemical consumption. Fresh air is a key part of keeping things clean at Thyme in the Country. We open windows when we clean, to air out the house. We hang out the area rugs every week and vacuum with a HEPA-filtered vacuum. Curtains are washed seasonally, and floors are wiped by hand weekly. In this way, we reduce allergens and keep the indoor environment fresh and healthy.
How Food Fits into this Picture
Our five-acre property contributes in many ways toward providing a sustainable experience for our guests. Many diverse flower gardens surround our bed and breakfast containing native plants and attracting a diverse bird and insect community. We provide seating and hammocks so guests can relax and observe this natural habitat.
Beyond the B&B lie pastures with our cows, two pigs, and free-range chickens. Waste generated by these animals creates the energy to grow the nutritious food that we serve our guests. We are continuously striving to build up these harmonious circles of life to keep our farm free of pesticides, fertilizers, and our animals chemical-free, simultaneously reducing our dependence on petro-fuels and our production of trash.