Sunday, 20 March 2011

Swatting Up, Before We Start Microholding.

10 Days and Counting...
I decided to have a really lazy morning, so I went back to bed for a couple of hours, after seeing to the feathered friends and sticking a loaf into the breadmaker. It gave me time to catch up on some reading, rather than sitting at the computer or, dare I say it, doing more laundry!

Yesterday, we took the new (secondhand) car for a trip out to view our prospective new (tumbledown) home. The sun was shining, so it would let us see the place in dry weather - something we weren't blessed with during the official viewing, nor were the surveyors, when they had visited.

A quick look about the strip of rough, untended land that could become our next garden confirmed that it was as bad as we remembered from the first viewing! But it still had my head absolutely choc-a-bloc full of ideas and longterm plans.

Microholding may soon become our entire way of life, so I'm swatting up on all the helpful information I can get, while reading all the books I can lay my hands on, without it eating into the 'house fund' or regular budget.

I allowed myself the luxury of buying The Back Garden Self Sufficiency book, using some of my Amazon Vouchers 'stash'. (See my earlier post about how to earn vouchers free from Topcashback - I call these my cyberdosh earnings, as it's like online cash.) This book is very practical in nature, very easy to follow and gives concise 'how to...' information, so it's an easy read with loads of helpful information, hints, tips and suggestions, along with some simple-to-follow recipes. (We all love foraging for fruit, flowers and berries, then preserving, don't we?)

Whilst we'd been out gallivanting, stopping off for coffee with friends and generally having a relaxing day, another friend had popped in at the house and dropped off some of her homemade goodies - lip gloss & bubblebath - along with a few surplus duck eggs she needed using up. My son, being a body-building, health and fitness fanatic, makes short work of almost all the eggs produced by our small flock of garden hens, so the extra duck eggs were going to be used to top up the baking. That plan, however, fell through, as beloved son decided to scramble them for his supper last night!

But I digress... among the assorted contents of the bag found sitting on our doorstep was a copy of , 'It's not Easy Going Green', by Dick Strawbridge. I just had to get started on that as soon as I could. Despite being of a practical nature, it has a bit more of a story to it, so that was my choice of reading material for this morning's luxurious lie-in.

So far, it's a great read. This is especialy so if I look at it as being a much grander and far more expensive version of what we're about to (hopefully) commence. I'd love to generate some of our own power and reduce our waste to almost nothing. We currently manage to fill about one bin bag per month with household rubbish, mainly plastic and polythene, but we have been doing our best at composting and recycling as much as possible, plus anything suitable gets chopped and fed to the hens.

Yesterday's trip out to see what will, all going well, become our new, permanent home, was just the ticket. We're fairly rural about these parts of southwest Scotland, so the roads can be quite quiet at weekeds, apart from milking times. The house we're after has a reasonable sized garden, probably the largest I've had since renting a smallholding many years ago. Apart from being in need of complete renovation, the house could offer us tremendous potential to create a longterm home, along with our very own microholding. This, however, would need to be done on a very tight budget! Basically, it's going to be on a shoestring, if we're to succeed in avoiding any form of longterm debt.

I guess that's why I'm really looking forward to reading 'Archie Sparrow's Book of Useful Tips to Beat the Recession with...Baling String' by Dave Dealy. It sounds much more in keeping with our budget. My guess is that, with a combination of this book, my assortment of twine, string and garden wire, and all those 'fandabidozy' pallets that can be salvaged locally, we should be able to DIY construct just about anything for our new microholding.

Last night I lay plotting and planning all sorts of things - baling string cargo-style nets for the peas & beans, crocheted twine 'baskets' to support butternut squash and all sorts of lovely wooden items - hen houses, picket fences, trellis, raised beds, compost corners and, even, floor boards - each lovingly created from recycled 'stuff'. From what I could see from our recent visit, there's certainly plenty of 'stuff' that would, ordinarily, be dragged off and carted into a skip.

With only 10 days remaining until we hear, for definite, if we'll be making the move to our dream 'home in the making', it's getting quite exciting. The garden here is slowly being dug up, as we repot as much as possible into buckets, tubs and old bins. The little greenhouse that might, one day, become my vine house, still needs dismantling, as does the shed and the hen runs, but the logistics of a move at such short notice are complicated, to say the least. We have a total of 18 days remaining of our challenge - to find a house and move within 45 days.

We haven't started packing anything indoors, but in my head the plan is clear... from rental to chaos, then from chaos shall spring the 'forever' house of Frugaldom, complete with it's own microholding. After 10 years of renting an assortment of places, even if it ends up being built from pallets and held together with baler twine, I'll care not a jot! It will be home, at last.

Feel free to follow the challenge of moving house and setting up a microholding online for free in the Frugaldom Forums. You'll need to register, but that's just to prevent anyone spamming the pages with utter trash that irritates me when I have to delete it. :)

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