Saturday, 21 November 2015

More Tree Planting at Frugaldom


In between the rain, the hail, the sleet and the snow, we finally got some blue sky and sunshine at Frugaldom, so it was all hands on deck to get more of our 'World War 1 Centenary Woodland' trees planted.

Frugaldom in November with snow on the Galloway Hills

We set off for Frugaldom this morning armed with wellies, gloves, hats and scarves after waking up to a frozen wonderland. Ice was thick after yesterday's rain, hail, sleet and snow but the sun soon thawed the frosted grass while salt melted the ice on the caravan decking. The visitors arrived around 10.30am, so the junior members were wrapped up like it was the middle of winter. Easier to peel off a layer when it warms up than it is to warm up while not wearing enough layers!

The Galloway Horse with snow on the Galloway Hills on the horizon

We've had more than a few worrying nights with gales howling over the past few weeks so it was great getting back out to site and finding 'The Galloway' still standing, safe and well, keeping his eye on the distant snow-topped Galloway Hills. Now that everything is dying back we should be able to get a little nit more of the garden around him done. Several of our members have sent off for their free Corn Poppy seeds from The Woodland Trust, so I think some of these will be sown around the horse. His bloodline, after all, ran through many of the horses shipped overseas during the War.

Snow on the Galloway Hills

A fine sprinkling of snow covering the hilltops on the horizon made for quite a few photo stops during today's planting, but it's such a great view and one that I hope will never change.

Tree planting at Frugaldom

Littlest tree planter seemed to spend much of her time attempting to make new paths through the grass in an effort to find short-cuts between planting areas and the wheelbarrow that held the trees, canes and tree guards… Read full post here

Friday, 20 November 2015

Frugaldom’s World War 1 Centenary Woodland

By NYK Media as part of

World War 1 Centenary Woodland Project

Phase 3 of our planting began this month with the arrival of our next tree pack from the Woodland Trust, after being awarded a place in their World War 1 Centenary Woodland project last year.

Woodland Trust Tree Packs

Frugaldom was accepting onto this scheme last year, receiving our first tree pack for planting in November 2014. The planting is part of a nationwide project to plant millions of native trees throughout Britain and, thanks to generous funding from lead partners Sainsbury’s, IKEA FAMILY, players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Yorkshire Tea, the Woodland Trust is awarding the free tree packs to all those taking part in the planting. Trees are essential - we need trees!

The woodlands that these new trees create will become living memorials to commemorate all men, women, children and animals who were affected by the outbreak of the First World War. Here at Frugaldom, we hope to plant a new phase of our woodland every year from 2014 to 2019.

Edible hedge planting at Frugaldom

After starting our edible hedging last year with the hazels, sloes and elders, we have now filled in many of the gaps with crab apples to form a wild food foraging area near the barn. Pictured here is... read more here

Published by NYK Media

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Scottish Multimedia | How to Make Crab Apple and Rosehip Jelly


How to Make Crab Apple and Rosehip Jelly

20 Oct 2015

Environmental art, fuel and food foraging, preserving and preparing for the winter - that's what autumn is all about - being prepared. How to make crab apple and rosehip jelly is a handy skill to have, especially as the recipe can be adapted into foraged or hedgerow jelly.

The Galloway Horse

Mr Ecoarts has been hard at work getting 'The Galloway' reassembled and set into its permanent position at Frugaldom. Now, it takes pride of place, rearing from it's recycled tractor tyre plinth in the middle of the garden area, where we hope to incorporate some seating in the future, as part of our Garden of Gratitude project.

The Galloway horse at Frugaldom

The Galloway is an almost forgotten breed of horse that once roamed the Galloway and Lowther hills. These little horses and ponies became world famous for their surefootedness, speed and endurance and through selective breeding to imported Arabian and Turkish warm-blooded horses, were eventually bred into extinction. However, their bloodline lives on - in almost every racehorse that wins on any race track almost anywhere in the world thanks to the great 'Eclipse'. Likewise with trotters, pacers and polo ponies, by way of the great Hambletonian. In fact, trace back any great horse pedigree and the chances are that you'll find a Lowther or Galloway name somewhere at the root of it, as these fabulous horses were bred to many of the royal mares that visited Britain during the 17th Century.

Keeping with the Galloway theme, we are hoping to plant a small orchard of Galloway Pippin apple trees in the near future - finding a local supplier is proving to be quite a task, so please do get in contact if you know of anyone. In the meantime, we are harvesting a selection of crab apples, including the tiny but bountiful Siberian crabapples - they are smaller than many of the rose hips

Foraged crab apples and rosehips


I picked a couple of kilos of assorted crab apples and rose hips, which were all topped, tailed and thrown into a big pot with about a litre of water and left to simmer until all the fruit and berries were soft. You can do similar with most foraged fruit and berries for making hedgerow jellies and jams.

Having stewed down the fruit, I strained it through a sieve lined with a piece of muslin - I didn't leave it dripping overnight, I just squeezed through the juices and ended up with 700ml of liquid, which I returned to the pan and added 500g of ordinary granulated sugar, stirred until it all dissolved and then brought it to a rolling boil, keeping it boiling vigorously for 10 minutes.

I prepared 2 jam jars by scalding them in boiling water and tipped the jelly into the hot jars. This was enough for one large and one small jar of jelly from this amount and it set to a lovely consistency, ideal for serving as an accompaniment or even for spreading on toast.

Crab apple and rosehip jelly

The above has now been added to the stores of blackcurrant and other assorted fruit jams and jellies that have been made whenever fruit or berries are plentiful and sugar is relatively inexpensive. At 39p per kilo at the moment, I would call it downright cheap - a frugaler's dream and time to stock up in plentiful supplies wherever and whenever possible. As all good frugalers know - there is no sell by or best before date on sugar - if it's stored cool and dry, it can last a lifetime.

Hope this helps someone and if anyone is within easy reach of Frugaldom, get in contact - we have plenty of crab apples and berries growing about the place.

Scottish Multimedia | How to Make Crab Apple and Rosehip Jelly

Friday, 16 October 2015

The Process of Frugalisation - part 2

Part of

How to become frugal and follow an extremely frugal lifestyle is something I am often asked - how it all started, why I do it and what keeps me pursuing such a lifestyle when I no longer seem to need to do so? Keep pecking away at those debts or adding to the savings, as the freedom to be frugal is well worth it. (Part 1 can be found here.)

Sorry this second part was delayed but I don't exactly work regular hours in a regular place of employment. I'm home based, self employed and slowly developing my frugal kingdom, so it's starting to take me out and about a bit more while preparing for a slight change of direction. Or perhaps it is better said that I'm preparing to add another business venture to my existing writing and publishing work, as I have no intentions of giving that up any time soon.

First of all, I began this lifestyle because I had to - in the grand scale of things, my entire life changed almost overnight and … Read more here

Monday, 12 October 2015

How to Make Hot Spicy Apple Sauce

Latest frugal blog post from NYK Media in Frugaldom 

How to Make Hot Spicy Apple Sauce

Autumn sunshine, showers, wind and windfalls! Yes, frugal friends, it's that time of year again in our corner of Scotland - the time of apples, brambles, berries, chilli peppers and tomatoes! We don't have a heated greenhouse or polytunnel and winters can be long with summers short, but it shouldn't stop us eating seasonal produce.

Autum foods - fruit crumbles, apples, brambles and homemade jam

The trees at both Frugaldom and Thrift Cottage are laden with apples, so these are being picked and shared with whoever wants them. At the moment, I'm processing about a bucket of apples each week, mostly stewing the fruit for freezing to use over the coming months as puddings and accompaniments. Apple crumble spiced with cinnamon is a hot favourite here and costs less to make than apple sponge. Indeed, crumble is just like crumbly sponge mix without the eggs, so it's ideal at this time of year when the hens and ducks slow down or stop  laying!

Having already stewed down the garden plums with raspberries and apples to turn into jam, I saved some of the juice to turn into jelly, so that was another few jars into the store cupboard. The addition of some lemon and the pectin from the apples ensures a good set.

How to make compost jelly


After stewing apples, there's no point in wasting what's left over, so into the pot go all the peels, cores, lemon skins (I was given lemons by a neighbour to make her some lemon curd), two chopped chilli peppers and some cinnamon, just to spice things up a bit. Some people call this jam-making from leftovers 'compost jam' or jelly, if dripping it through the strainer, but this time I am making a sauce that can be used as a spread or a meal accompaniment. There's less waste in making sauce and what does get leftover can be composted.

Having boiled down all the cores and peels, I press the softened 'pulp' through a sieve to create what looks like a runny apple sauce, then I stirred in approximately 500g sugar per 500ml of fruit pulp. A rapid, brief rolling boil (about 5 minutes) thickens it up without turning the mix into jam and then it can be decanted into warm, sterilised jars. I got 3 jars from my peels and cores this time and the sauce has a lovely hot kick to it that will be ideal either on hot toast or served alongside pork.

Next time, I'll add some cloves to the mix before boiling it - you can easily experiment to discover which flavours you prefer. It's also fair to say that while cooking is going on, I don't need to turn on any heaters as the kitchen heat is sufficient. Better still is if I make the sauce over the logburner while it's stoked with foraged wood from Frugaldom - we have plenty of that lying about and are forever offering others the chance to collect some.

This being Scotland, we aren't known for our prolonged hot weather and summer sunshine, so without an artificially heated greenhouse or polytunnel, the chances of growing a huge, perfect crop of anything that needs heat are somewhat limited. As usual, my tomatoes in the makeshift plastic greenhouse have grown in proliferation but are having to be picked green and ripened on the windowsills. The chilli pepper plants have survived their stint  outside on the caravan decking but these will be brought in very soon to try and over-winter them for another year. Not being a great fan of chutneys - they aren't frugal in the least when you can buy pickle for next to nothing - I prefer to use my tomatoes and chillies for making sauces, either chilli, Bolognese or curry. I find these much more versatile than having jars of chutney that few around me ever eat.

That's been my past week here in Frugaldom - jam, jelly and crumble making. Today I have another batch of apples, more chilli peppers, tomatoes and a tub of blackberries to process so I'm thinking it's going to be chilli for dinner followed by an apple and blackberry crumble. It's probably just as well that the weather has taken another turn for the better to allow me out to work off all these extra calories!

If anyone would like to join us in Frugaldom to sample this lifestyle, please get in contact. There are still plenty of blackberries, crab apples and rosehips ripe for picking so you could make it a fun foraging trip and take advantage of our Frugal Breaks, specially while the heated swimming pool is still open on the site nearby. Contact me before booking and I'll provide a special 'Friends of Frugaldom' discount to make sure your impromptu break is affordable! :)

Scottish Multimedia | How to Make Hot Spicy Apple Sauce