Wednesday, 24 February 2010

It's been snowing again!

Last week was one of those weeks that the temperature just seemed to keep dropping. We'd have glorious clear blue skies streaked with red, pink and mauve at dawn and dusk then the black skies would glitter with stars with not a wisp of cloud to keep the chill out of Frugaldom. We were starting to feel warm when the temperature rose to -3C! But then the winds began, the snow clouds whirled around te edge of our weird vortex and then the snow came thick and fast. Thankfully, it's almost gone again but I'm still glad that we chose last Thursday to stock up on supplies.

My mini orchard tree count will increase to 12 when the ground thaws enough to let me plant the latest acquisitions - 2 morello cherry trees and a Bramley apple tree, a frugalicious bargain buy at only £3.99 each from our nearest Aldi store! I bought 4 of these Aldi fruit trees a year ago in the same offer and they all look to be surviving so far, so let's hope we're here long enough to see the fruits of our labour (pardon the pun).

On Saturday 6th February, I set 6 eggs into one of the small, homemade incubators to test fertility. 3 were from our purebred birds - Silkies and Pekins - and 3 from the free rangers who roam the garden along with the Silkie trio. Only the three purebreed eggs are fertile. Last night, I gave these three eggs their final turn before topping up the water dish to increase the humidity and closing up the incubator in anticipation of a hatch this weekend. This could be anytime from Friday if we're lucky enough to have any of them hatch!

This year's plan is to increase residual income from home to raise enough to buy, amongst other things, a fully automated incubator for hatching quail eggs. Last year, I managed to hatch out only 6 quails, one of which died within 24 hours or so of hatching. The other 5 are all males! My theory of temperature affecting the sex of the chicks is still holding true, regardless of what science says! If there's a tiny dip in the overall incubation temperature, chances are I get more males than females. With a slightly raised temperature, the results are reveresed. With this lot, the eggs would have cooled quite a bit during power cuts. Anyhow, I need to focus on raising residual income for funding what I call the 'EEK'. (Everything Else Kitty). This has to pay for everything else that isn't a basic household expense, so comprises things like livestock care, garden stuff and anything extra into a longterm savings account with life assurance attached, so the kids don't get lumbered with funeral costs when the time comes. Sobering thoughts, but I'd rather die happy than die a debtor and cost my family a small fortune they may not have at the time. Let's face it, they ain't going to inherit a mansion when we rent a cottage in Frugaldom! :)

Procrastination must stop! OK, I have uploaded my first experimental listing of this current challenge to eBid online auctions to make a proper start on turning everything surplus to requirement into cash to help fund the Frugaldom project. I've been with eBid for almost 10 years and have spates of listing. I do get a few sales along the way, but nothing serious. Now, however, the time has come to get serious. I have absolutely no intentions of returning to mainstream employment after being home based for so long, so eBid it is. (Plus all my other regular haunts for some extra savings, winnings etc.) 

Northern Exposure was one of my favourite TV series of the 90's, so when I managed to get the entire box set on DVD, my lone copy of Series 1 became surplus to requirement. If I can get £1 for it, it's £1 less I need to find to help feed the chicks - I'm selling my surplus for chicken feed! :)

There are now 6 tiny tomato seedlings growing from the pots on the kitchen windowsill plus 3 lots of the 5 assorted herbs doing well. In the greenhouse, I have mixed salad leaves beginning to sprout. This is a new lot after the ducks managed to get in at the tray planted end of last year. I managed to rescue one seedling from that, which is now growing in a pot on the windowsill alongside the tomatoes. There's one chilli pepper on a last year's pepper plant and that about sums up the extent of edible growing for now. 21 new fruit bushes have been planted outdoors and the 3 new fruit trees are soaking in a bucket of water in the greenhouse. The newly extended square foot garden hasn't thawed for several weeks, so nothing more has been done to that. The hens and ducks are managing to provide us with enough eggs for ourselves and for selling a few each week. I'm now hoping my 3 Pekin hens, Fonzie (lemon cuckoo), Bernice (blue) and Mrs Splashy (lavender splash) will all start laying. The cockerel, Mr Chirpy, is wheaten coloured, so I haven't a clue what colours to expect when these start breeding. I'll be selling all the surplus fertile eggs and hope to try selling these on eBid as well.

Indoors, baking and batch cooking have been the mainstay of kitchen life. I made a start on attempting my first rag rug and I listed my first DVD of the year on eBid. Everything is being documented on site at http://www.frugaldom.co.uk/ and we now have several threads and discussion forums going to cover most of what I'm trying to accomplish here. I welcome all constructive comments and/or criticism and hope there are many more people out there following the frugal and debt free way of living. Now I am going to investigate the Amazon links at the side of this page to see what that's all about - if there's a few pence to be made there, I'll be on it. :)

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