Friday, 24 April 2015

Frugal Living and the Frugaldom Project

Can you believe that I've been here for a fortnight, already? I'm well settled into the new home from home and finding it an extremely rewarding way to live, following work by the weather - outside when dry, inside when wet - it's the best of both worlds, even when the mundane stuff like accounts, website admin and other work needs to be done.
I am having the weekend off to make time for family visits, as the newest member of the family arrived on the 15th. My little ranch hand has already had his first visit to Frugaldom at the grand old age of one week! (Got to start them young so they learn to appreciate the land.) I also need to catch up with housework and paperwork.
So far, at Frugaldom, I have managed to build 3 small fruit/veg beds - one for blackcurrants, the other two have strawberries planted in them for now. These are being made by loosely following instructions on a permaculture site, so they are truly recycled using old cardboard boxes, rotting wood, moss, composted woodchips and some soil/compost mix.
It will all be slightly acidic as this was forestry at one point, hence the peaty soil, so I'm only planting things that can tolerate low pH conditions. I’ve got about 25 small strawberry plants so far and the same again still waiting to be planted. All of these were runners I potted on from last year’s plants, so free to me.
I have sown many seeds, including all the GrowWildUK Scottish wildflowers, Woodland Trust poppies and some very old Californian Poppy seeds that a fellow frugaler sent to see if they were still viable, It will be interesting to watch for them germinating over the next year or two!
H was here today helping out and managed to get another part of the barn painted - we still don't have big ladders to do the higher parts but I've spotted someone nearby who has a set, so will ask them nicely if we can borrow them. I'll need to rely on someone else to climb the ladders as my old knees/hips/back won't permit.
240415_toad_01The swallows are back swooping about and inspecting last year's nest, so I suspect they will soon be back in residence, around the corner from the bats. There are loads of frogs, toads, lizards, hairy caterpillars, butterflies, bees and voles about the place, but I've yet to catch sight of anything bigger. The cuckoos are very vocal in the nearby forest and there was a woodpecker down in the trees by the caravan this afternoon. I was also hearing of a close encounter with a barn owl and then we also have the red kite, white tailed sea eagle and plenty of buzzards in this area.
After a short delay, the tractor is being brought back on site tomorrow ready for the fencer to make a start on Sunday, so I'll probably end up back out at HQ on Sunday afternoon for a few hours - no rest for the wicked!
It is great to think that corral #2 could be completed by early next week. I have already planted the rowans, silver birch and willow between the two and have surrounded the adjoining areas with grey willow, wild cherry and crab apple trees.  
With any luck, I may also see the arrival of someone to build my caravan decking very soon!
The Frugaldom home-from-home and Thrift Cottage combined weekly food bills currently average £6.33 per person and are based strictly on zero food waste, batch cooking, baking and plenty of eggs laid by our own hens and ducks. 
Since arriving on site, I have spent the grand total of £2.40 and am still pursuing my goal to bring the joint-household grocery bills down to £5 per person per week – you can see how that and other challenges are coming along in 
The fine weather has now come to an end but the rain was badly needed. Having planted no fewer than 300 trees over the past week or so, the wild cherry and field maples in the dry areas were getting to the stage of really needing a good soaking and I didn’t relish the thought of going round the project with 180 buckets of water! 
I should soon be able to make a start on the mini-kitchen garden outside the caravan but will spend a couple of hours this weekend in the greenhouse at home, sorting out stuff there that needs to come here.
Don’t forget, if you’re in the neighbourhood, join us free as a member of the Frugaldom forums and find out how you can become a part of our woodland and market garden project.

NYK in Frugaldom

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