In August, we eventually got around to investing in a woodburner. It meant making a bit of a dent in the 'rainy day' savings, but by doing much of the work ourselves we were able to have the job completed by September, including building a second log store by recycling some old pallets.
Now, we're planning ahead for 2011. We're now exploring the possibilities for rural enterprose development within 175 acres of nearby forestry and woodland. It's a site of special scientific interest as well as home to an ancient historical 'monument' by way of an Iron Age hill fort. If nature's on our side, future plans include willow planting, edible hedging, orchard planting and reclaiming whatever we can from the edge of the forest for rearing some livestock whilst helping preserve the local wildlife. But it would be fantastic to see something along the lines of a replica round house being constructed near the foot of the hill fort.
The Frugaldom fowl are slowly completing their moulting processes, although we aren't getting many eggs just yet. We've had the first of the blue eggs from the lavender Araucanas and one of the ducks has started to lay again. Meanwhile, a new quail run has been built that now houses 15 hens and 6 cockerels - next year's foundation breeding stock that will form the basis of the Frugaldom Freerange Quail Eggs project. The birds are as freerange as is possible for quail. As migratory birds, they need to be kept within secure enclosures, but they have constant access to the outside plus a relatively large indoor area.
So much going on, so many challenges and so many jobs to be done before winter really sets in for the rest of the year. The cupboards are filled with whatever long-life food bargains we could source, the shelves are filled with homemade jams, jellies and other preserves, there's plenty of rhubarb and elderflower Champagne-style wine, the freezer is full of the summer garden produce and the winter veggies have all been planted. It may sound organised, but we're still racing against time to complete hen & duck housing repairs and to get all the woodchips laid before the back yard turns into a mud bath. LETS trading has been fantastic this year. Regardless of what I 'buy', it has no real impact on the finances as no cash changes hands. Frugal bartering is a 'must have' opportunity for anyone trying to live and build a lifestyle business on a very tight budget. Trade it, swap it, barter for it, give and receive freely - community spirit is alive and well in Galloway. My recent 'acquisitions' - some electric fencing, grass roller, firewood and the woodchips - will testify to that.
Back soon with more updates about life in Frugaldom and any progress we make with the forestry project.