Thursday, 29 November 2012
It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Winter
As the icy grip of winter tightens, so, too, do the purse strings, in a bid to stem the flow of cash needed to heat out homes. How are you managing to stay warm and how is that affecting your budget? For me, it's (ice) crystal clear that we need to take stock of everything from home insulation to pipe-lagging, draught-proofing and just basically keeping warm. All of this needs doing 'within budget', so this could explain why folks like me show renewed enthusiasm in crafting and an increasing interest in producing a vast array of culinary delights. At best, it helps absorb extra spending by way of the DIY gift production, at worst, we'll not starve or freeze, because we can eat or wear our own creations. It's a fabulous time of year!
For our feathered friends and fruit-bearing trees, it's a bit of a sad time, I would think. What with the frosted ground, bare, dormant trees and frozen ponds, there's not much cheer to be seen, and even fewer eggs being laid (if any). For the ducks, it's time for extra layers of straw, warm mash suppers and extra players in the ice-breaking games. (I wonder if ducks would like winter woolies and fur-lined wellies, or is that just quackers?)
Indoors, staying warm is just as difficult if you're mid-renovation, but the sub-zero temperatures are stark reminders to last winter, when we had no proper kitchen roof, therefore no proper kitchen. Now I have more than half a kitchen and work well underway towards completing the bathroom and the hall, with it's salvaged stone-flagged floor. I love my 'new' hall floor and know for sure that few will have similar, unless they also recovered their 1805 original, dug it up, cleaned it up and then re-used it.
Earlier this week, we had two wooden steps replaced - it was a necessary job, owing to the discovery of a bit of wood rot at floor level that had obviously been temporarily mended at some stage over the years.
To our amusement, our lower step had been partially constructed from what resembled part of a wooden, Aberdeen fish crate! You can just make out the word 'Aberdeen' stamped to the right of the old box handle, but I can't quite decipher the company name, as this was all that remained of said box. Later, of course, this got used to kindle the fire.
Onwards and upwards, the weather is staying a little kinder to us, despite the -8 Deg C on the thermometer this morning. There's been no more rain! Indeed, we have even had a little more sunshine, further prompting me to investigate alternative transportation and pick up a few extra tips along the way. First tip was call the garage and ask for the car battery to be removed before they scrap the car! I'd never have thought of this, but am now convinced by fellow-frugaler's suggestion to utilise this in my quest for quail-house lighting. The car battery should easily power an LED light. But back to the car costs...
Cheap cars aren't always as economical as we might think. £1,000 to buy, then there's insurance, road tax, MOT, servicing, general wear and tear, savings needed set aside for a replacement and, lest we forget, the astronomical cost of the fuel to power the blasted thing in the first pace. It all mounts up and, in this case, it amounted to a massive 65p per mile driven. In steps frugal-friend, once again trying to convince us of the merits of cycling. So d'you know what? We've agreed to have bikes! The carbon footprint of Frugaldom has been slashed. All I need to do now is try to cut down on the number of electric heaters I have plugged in, in an effort to reduce the costs of trying to heat the house.
And now for some fluffy stuff, because I love being part of this little global family of frugalers, bloggers and forum posters. Some kind person has given me these colourful goodies to help me on my way to starting the previously mentioned 2013 Frugaleur Challenge, which will see Clan McGonk come alive for the new year. It's all very exciting and I can't wait to get started, especially as the pink wool almost matches the original pink gonk. I can just picture it now... Granny McGonk with her pretty shawl, keeping her extended brood in order over the coming year. I'm itching to get started on this project and wouldn't surprise myself in the least if I cast on a few huge loopy stitches this evening, while sat in front of the fire.
I wonder how long it will be before someone pops up and suggests a rocking chair! (It's not like I have my eye on one of those for when the eco-renovation is completed.) :)
Stay safe, stay warm and stay dry, everyone, and let's keep up the good work of making life fun and affordable for all. Best wishes to all, from a happy Frugaldom.