Monday, 25 July 2011

Starting to See Some Results

The New Garden is Coming Alive!

We're still getting some great weather here, with temperatures soaring to 26C at one point today. It levelled out around 24C for this afternoon, so more watering needed this evening.

After having the best year ever with our strawberries, I can see even more fruit forming, so I have my fingers crossed for a few more fresh strawberry desserts. The plants are still all in their wooden planters, but I'm considering making a raised strawberry bed for next year.

It's great seeing more produce following suit. Today's little haul comprised peas, courgettes, carrots and yet more rhubarb.

I picked the first courgette about a fortnight ago and this is another three from the same plant. The peas are growing in abundance, as are the carrots. What I'm picking at the moment are just the thinnings, but they're big enough for eating.

This afteroon was spent shelling, scrubbing, slicing, blanching and freezing the vegetables and then the rhubarb got chopped, stewed and made into rhubarb crumble. By the looks of the rhubarb patch, I should be able to get a few more stalks before it gets to be too late in the year.

My rhubarb 'champagne' is fizzing away fine style, although we've already drunk the first bottle of that. It isn't as pink as last year's but tastes every bit as good, perhaps better, as I added fresh lime to it, as well as the lemon. Which reminds me, I had better go and release some of that fizz lest another bottle goes pop!

Work on the new duck house and duck run continues, with their secure enclosure being almost complete. The new one has now been attached to the old one, so we have semi-detached duck runs. The second house is a bit larger than the first, but still based on a pallet framework. The sides and roof have beem built from the wood that was saved after dismantling the big quail enclosure.

Each run measures 10' x 3.5', so there's plenty of space for the ducks when they need to be locked in at nights. There are certainly plenty of foxes about at the moment, so the new run has also been wired underneath in an effort to prevent anything digging down and under the fence.

All that remains to be done now is the gate into the run attached and then the felt laid along the top to provide some extra shelter. The entire structure, including the houses, measures nearly 25' in length and is sheltered on one side by the dry stone wall that borders the entire garden. Being sited along the edge of the orchard, where the pond is being constructed, means the ducks have free access to as much space as they need all day, every day.

This afternoon saw the delivery of the paving slabs, which will be used to edge the pond and also to build a small seating area further down the orchard. I'm not sure when these will get laid, but it will, hopefully, be soon.

Tomorrow, I'll work out exactly what wood is needed for repairs to the outbuilding, construction of the permanent raised beds and, possibly, the new log store, then allocate a budget for the timber. I'd really like the outbuilding completed before the new windows start going into the house, but that might be a bit ambitious, as the first window has already been ordered. (As could only be expected, we have odd-sized windows and doors, so each needs to be made to measure!)

The pond has come in slightly under its £100 budget, even allowing for buying brand new paving slabs.

The quail project has been allocated £150, of which I have spent less than £20 so far, stocking up on plastic egg boxes. These should be delivered tomorrow, then I'll need to design labels to reflect the new details. (These will be printed from home... won't they, H?)

The duck runs have cost us nothing to build, as they're constructed from salvaged wood, pallets and nails (thanks to the hundreds that were carelessly dropped and had to be collected from the hen runs during reroofing of the old place). We're reusing wood & wire from previous runs, so no extra costs incurred there, either. Things like handles, bolts, catches and hinges are being salvaged from wherever we can get them but I'm sure I have a couple of brand new bolts somewhere, which may be safer to use with so many foxes on the prowl.

Is anyone else attempting to create their own microholding on a frugal budget? If so, I'd love to know how you are progressing. Feel free to make suggestions or point out any glaring mistakes we may be making and feel free to join us in the Frugaldom Forums to discuss all aspects of frugal living, homebased working, microholding and the concept of the frugal entrepreneur. You might even like to join in with one of our cost-cutting or money-saving challenges.

PS: Just in case you missed the origins of this challenge, the Frugaldom microholding is our version of a tiny smallholding, created within an ordinary garden setting on a frugal budget, aimed at being self sustainable.


  1. It's looking really good. You'll have some very happy ducks, a lovely semi detached palace, nice and safe from Mr Fox AND a glorious pond.

    We're currently advertising on Greenshifters for a rental property cheaper than the farm we're on at the moment with the aim of being able to save to buy our own version of your place. Fingers crossed.

    I'm already looking forward to your next instalment.

    Sue xx

  2. Me too, your updates are so interesting!

    So glad to hear that the duck runs were free-good old pallets!

    Sft x

  3. Sue, you should check out some of the properties in this tropical southwest corner of Scotland. Property market isn't stagnating here, it's looking more like going into landslide.

    I'll try to make more of an effort to keep the blog up to date, I just don't know where the time goes.

  4. As my Lovely Hubby works in Aldermaston, Reading I think the commute could be a tad too much....Lol xx

    Sue xx


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