Friday, 5 October 2012

Autumn 2012

Autumn 2012 Has Arrived

I'm not sure where all the time goes but I am sure that it goes somewhere!
Frugaldom has been rather quiet, barring all the renovation works that are slowly, but surely, going on around us.
Now that October has arrived, we've had a sharp reminder to prepare for winter. The above photo was taken at sunset, looking out across Luce Bay towards the Rhins of Galloway. This is the inspiration for the colour scheme in the kitchen, just as soon as we get around to creating one. The option to buy a brand new, fitted kitchen has been removed and, instead, I'll be makng do with whatever I have available and adding a few units as and when possible. A lovely frugal friend has kindly offered us some solid wood doors, so these will be collected soon.
The arrival of the first frosts was duly marked and a renewed attempt made to get the garden under control. This year certainly hasn't been the best for growing much of anything, apart from herbs and, surprisingly, tomatoes!
But the time has come to begin serious preparations for winter, so that's what life is going to be all about in this frugal household - in the hope that we can get the heating sorted out before the onset of winter. The little pot-belly stove is still sitting boxed, ony slightly closer to being installed than it was the day I bought it. And there's still no kitchen, so frugal grocery shopping has been severely hampered by lack of choice in these rural parts. Proper cooking has been off the cards for many months now, so the grocery budget has taken the brunt of that.
Food, electricity, telephone line rental, fuel, logs, coal and anything else you like to mention seems to be increasing in price at an alarming rate, but still we plough on with the challenge of living on £4,000 or less for the year.
I'm guessing that as soon as the kitchen is done, I'll be hoping that batch cooked meals can incorporate all these herbs that are taking over the garden. I even have bunches of herbs indoors in vases, as per the photo at the top of this post! Have to say that this is proving to be far superior to any room freshener, costs nothing to replenish and has the added bonus that some of the herbs root whilst sitting in the water. I fear I may find myself living within a field of mint by Spring 2013!
So, indoors is chaos, but what of the frugal microholding? Well, the delapidated outbuilding has now been transformed into a suitable workspace for 2013, providing a bright and airy 'studio' for all the eco-art projects we have planned.
One part of the old building simply wasn't worth saving, so it has been cleared away to make space for the log store and an area specifically for chopping wood. In the shed, we now have a lovely sawbench, donated by a frugal friend. It has been put to excellent use, sawing and chopping all the old wood that was removed from the outbuilding and from indoors during the strip-out of the rear of the house. This is proving to be ideal for burning on the open fire and soon warms the radiators and heats a tank of hot water. Luxury!
Back on the eco-renovation front, we're trying hard to reuse whatever we can. Can anyone remember the lovely tiles I found when clearing out the rotten hall floor? Well, you'll be pleased to know that the original hall paving remained intact after we lifted out all that old flooring. It lay hidden beneath the layers of plastic, wood, cement, vinyl and carpet.
Over the past couple of weeks, the entire hallway has been lifted, dug down, raised, backfilled, damproofed and those ancient tiles are in the process of being relaid. I know this may seem a little extreme to some and that it may have been cheaper to simply have covered over the whole lot with new wood, but have you seen the price of decent hall carpet? Added to the fact that the restored 1800s floor will become a main feature, there's the fact that I'm saving a small fortune on not having to carpet it!
The ducks, hens and quail are all still laying well, so eggs are still commonplace meals in the Frugaldom household. Souffle omlettes are cooked up at every opportunity and there's been lemon drizzle cake aplenty throughout the summer. In fact, I think it's time to make another batch while I still have the use of the old cooker. (It's misbehaving more and more, so the current 'big' savings challenge is to invest in a shiny new one, by way of compensation for not installing a brand new kitchen. But I'll still be waiting for the very best deal and making sure I get cashback!)
My latest frugal-craft project is the unravelling of two old cardigans in the hope that I can knit up some wooly cushion covers, but the recent temperature drop is making me think more along the lines of knitting a wee blanket for over my knees while sitting at the computer! I'm also planning on knitting some nice deep pockets for my favourite cardigan and doing a repair job on it, as I am loath to throw it out - it's so long and so warm, jst what I need during the cold winter months.
Preparations for winter are now fully underway:
  • Summer clothes folded and packed away, winter attire now at the ready. 
  • Kindling sticks being chopped and stockpiled daily.
  • Big bag of candle wax sat nearby to aid in kindling.
  • Saw bench and axe in daily use.
  • Insulation being added wherever possible in the house.
  • Matches, candles, firelighters, rechargeable torch at the ready
  • Coal bunker filled
  • Garden produce prepped and into the freezer whenever possible.
  • Enough preserves in store to last until next year
All that remains now is to kit out a kitchen, get the bathroom and cloakroom completed, finish restoring the paving in the hall, plasterboard the hall and stairway, build a cupboard and install the logburner. Hmm... I somehow cannot see all that being done before the end of 2012, certainly not on a frugal budget. But never mind - this winter we have a solid, insulated roof over the back of the house, that's progress!
That's it for now, but don't forget you can follow @frugaldom on Twitter and join us in the free forums at anytime.
If you are Scottish based, work from home or have a small business and a genuine interest in keeping costs down, join us in the new Scottish Web Directory ( for some free advertising and promotion. A penny saved is a penny earned, as they say, so never feel backward at coming forward with ideas or suggestions about how we can help one another to succeed in our frugal living and frugal working challenges.


  1. Someone mentioned having problems trying to add comments here, so this is just a trial - doesn't seem to be a problem here, though. :)

  2. I see now why you don't have a kitchen. Get the wood burner in as keeping warm through the winter makes life so much easier.

    We put a wood burner in when we moved to this house and it's worth iit's weight in gold!!

    Next time we come to Britain we'll have to pop in for a visit, as my mam lives in Carlisle and my brother lives in Gretna.

    Gill in Canada


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