Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Round-up in Frugaldom

First of all, I'd like to share the news that we have just managed to break through the £200 mark with our fundraising, trying to help raise cash towards replacing the local lifeboat. Our main challenges takes place Bank holiday weekend on 24th May, 2013, when we'll be leaving Port William and travelling to Fort William with the aim of taking members of Clan McGonk to the summit of Ben Nevis - UK's highest mountain.

Today, which also happens to be Easter Sunday, is the first day of British Summertime here in UK but our local Scottish weather wouldn't have you believe that. It's around 5 Deg C in the sunshine, the ponds are still frozen and there are still lanes blocked by snowdrifts. It is, however, dry and breezy, so frugal line drying of laundry is a boost. The roads are also clear enough to gt back out on the bikes, assuming you're careful and stick to main routes. This is the bike sitting next to the roadside on the main route into our area - still quite deep with snow, to say the least.

I took the opportunity to stop for a couple of photos to show how much had melted on the exposed areas - vast swathes of grass now showing through, but with lengthy drifts along the walls. The above was taken at lunchtime today, over a weeks since the blizzards hit us.

Yesterday, we cycled down to the local village to meet with someone who is keep to establish a project that really appeals to me - one involving a food co-operative for local growers and producers, along with a community based cafe and work space for the local artists and crafters among us.

The project revolves around the old corn mill and adjoining 16 acres of land. There are already hens, ducks and pigs there, plus the two Clydesdale horses that are being put to work, hauling out debris and ploughing the land where a heritage variety of wheat will be grown. It's hoped that the old water wheel can be restored and put back into use, powering the mill, while outdoors can be run as a self-sufficientish smallholding, providing fresh food locally. There's also a small fishing boat and scope for a wide variety of fruit and vegetable plots. And lest we forget, the favoured mode of transport could help reduce carbon emissions if work and local travel was done by horse power, on foot or by bicycle. It all sounds great, I just hope the project can get off the ground and achive success.

The bartering system may well come into play, but the project needs
to establish itself and garner the support of the locals in order that it may progress.

Spud, one of the Clydesdales, has already endeared himself to the village by being put to work during last week's power cuts, when he was out and about pulling fishcrates filled with fuel and delivering it to places that modern vehicles simply couldn't reach. Photo here is of Charlie and Spud relaxing by the side of the burn that flows alongside the mill.

Aside from visiting the old mill, we also had a stop off at the shore, where it was rather amusing to see snow lying along the edges of the slipways, right to the water's edge. Sunny it may be, but warm it is not. Who knows how or when anything can be sown in this weather but one thing's for sure - we'll be needing many more logs and pinecones before it's warm enough to do without the stove indoors and the prospect of being warm outdoors is still looking pretty distant, even in the greenhouse. Speaking of which, I wonder if there's space for a couple of fullsize polytunnels at either of the nearby frugal projects? Must ask!


  1. this is the first time, ive posted, but ilove your blog, the place your hopeing to set up sounds fantastic i wish you all the luck in the world, im just looking into geting some chickens

    1. Good luck with yor chickens. Ours are now back to laying most days, so eggs aplenty here at the moment, trading out duck eggs and swapping for other stuff. This project is being set up by the mill owner, so I'm hoping it comes to fruition. :)

  2. AS I am writing this it is snowing like the dickens here in Southern Ontario. The weekend was nice, but Winter is back with a vengence today!!

    Love the photo of the horses.

    Gill in Canada

    1. Snow still lying here in huge drifts. Hope you are staying warm. :)

  3. Cold here too in the mid-west but it is going to improve soon "they" say.
    The food co-op sound great - 16 acres is a decent size.
    The Amish here in the midwest dont use horses as much any more, they use bicycles - they dont have to feed them !
    The fishing boat sounds interesting - can anyone take it out ? I would definitely fish is I lived near the ocean.

    1. I think the fishing boat belongs to the mill owner, but I didn't think to ask who crews the boat or what they go to catch.

      I am fascinated by the lifestyle of the Amish and pleased to hear I am in good company in switching from horses to a bike. Amish would probably find our attempts at 'the good life' amusing, to say the least. LOL


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