Monday, 18 October 2010

Meet 'George', our pot belly stove.

Falling behind with the blog, so the New Year's resolutions for 2011 will be to keep up to date! Hopefully, I can incorporate the blog into the website and forums whilst integrating Facebook and Twitter. I don't understand all this modern technology and haven't quite got the gist of social networking, but I get the point of maintaining the diary and keeping up communications with the 'real' world.

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.
With a 'cold snap' warning from weather forecasters, we'll be making the most of the new log burner in an effort to reduce electricity consumption. Living in a fairly rural location means living without the luxuries of mains gas, dependable power supplies, public transport or, even, shops within walking distance. That's why stockpiling those bargains is an essential when it comes to ensuring there's enough food in store for us and any livestock. Temperatures here, despite us being in the southwest of Scotland, have already plummeted below zero twice during late September, with many more frosty mornings over the past fortnight. In between times, we had soaring temperatures reaching near tropical conditions, so we shouldn't be surprised at these climate extremes, especially being located in a frost pocket. It does make growing fruit and veg a bit more of a challenge but 2010 produced quite healthy and varied crops from the Frugaldom garden. I think the funniest thing to happen recently was the arrival of the Scottish Power meter reader. I suspect that they suspected foul play, as our electricity use has dropped dramatically since installing the stove.

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.

Follow Frugaldom on Twitter for the latests news and announcements. You can also join us in the Frugaldom Forums where we've set the challenge to live for a year on £4,000.00 We've no reason to doubt it can be done, as the same challenge has been completed for the past several years whilst building up a financial safety net, 'just in case'.

Back soon with more updates about life in Frugaldom and any progress we make with the forestry project.

4 comments:

  1. the stove is beautiful, I want one haha in my little terraced house.

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  2. 'George' is minute compared to some and there's a smaller version again - a friendly builder and an extra piece of flue might do the trick. I'm led to believe that you don't need an actual chimney in order to install a logburner. :)

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  3. Hey love 'George' - we also have the same kettle!

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  4. George has been doing us proud - managed to keep the big pot of water on the boil for 4 hours, long enough to cook a clootie dumpling. :)(Recipe is on the Frugaldom forum)

    The Le Crueset kettle has started to rust on the base (I didn't buy it new, don't know how old it is) so that gets kept on the go for hot washing water rather than for the odd cuppa.

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