It began with a smoked ham hough (or hock) that I bought from the supermarket. These are slowly creeping back up in price, but are still worth paying a couple of pounds each for them, as you can get a full pot of stock for soup and enough meat for at least one family-sized pie.
Anyhow... I made a full pot of ham and lentil soup, which is enough for about a dozen lunches, then chopped up the meat to make a pie, which will be another 4 meals. All in all, the smoked ham hock will produce lunches for two of us here for a full week, so it's uber-frugal! We don't eat the fat - we feed it to the wild birds after it has been boiled. Or so we thought!
Recently, I invested in one of those motion sensor activated trail cameras with infra red night vision. I am still practising with it before deciding where to set it up for future research. This is a series of stills it caught between late last night, when we put the leftovers from soup making out onto the bird table, and this morning. The first 'capture' was a cat - I'm assuming it belongs to neighbours, although none of them seems to know who owns it.
At around dawn, a thrush arrived, closely watched over by a female blackbird, a few dunnocks and some sparrows. The thrush, however, was allowed first 'dibs' on the pork fat.
The next visitor to the log man bird table was 'Hopalong', the crow we have filmed in the past that has what looks like a deformed or previously broken leg. His (or her) leg seems no better and no worse, nor does it seem to impair flight or the ability to feed.
We don't normally see the magpies coming up to this particular bird table, as it's at the top of the garden, next to the greenhouse, the out building and in view of the kitchen window. I cant help but admire these birds, despite the bad name they have developed as thieves and nest-wreckers.
And finally, our own cat gets out after a night curled up sleeping on her cushion and goes for a closer look at the camera. No wonder I often find her sitting on the kitchen windowsill, nose to glass, peering out into the garden! There's so much going on out there!
As I sit here tapping away at the keyboard, I now have the camera trained on the bird feeder right outside my window. So far, I have seen robins, blue tits, great tits, coal tits, green finches and goldfinches. (The bird in the photo is a goldfinch.) There's a wren keeps bobbing about inside the driftwood horse and the robin loves perching on the antlers of the driftwood stag. How I am ever going to complete the remaining 17,500 words of my 2014 attempt at NaNoWriMo is beyond me when I have such distractions all around me!
Welcome to Scotland, welcome to frugal living and welcome to Frugaldom, where I'm writing my way through life, while living on a shoestring budget and attempting to create a self-sustainable wilderness experience for all to share. As we prepare for 2015, let's not forget what is all around us, there to be appreciated and all totally free to enjoy.
NYK in Frugaldom