Part 1 of 2 - Spring is here, the clocks have changed, we're eagerly awaiting the return of the swallows and 2015 work has now begun at Frugaldom. It kicked off with tree planting in March, which will continue until we have another 600 trees in the ground. 420 of these are part of the Woodland Trust's WW1 Centenary Woodland project. Next up is building the first of the corrals...
To begin, I will recap on the long term plans for our outdoor, wilderness project, as it is the culmination of all the savings made over these past years of extreme frugal living. All details are covered in the forums, where members can follow all the updates. The frugal lifestyle will continue as the project progresses. This is so much more than just a simple retirement plan, this is something great that can be embraced, enhanced and enjoyed by future generations for years to come.
The Frugaldom Project encompasses almost 5 hectares (over 12 acres) of land in the Wigtownshire area of Southwest Scotland. The land has a main burn flowing around it, with a smaller stream flowing from that, The flood levels of the Black Burn, a tributary to the Bladnoch River, create our wetlands, which are covered in marsh grasses, sphagnum mosses, willow and sweet gale, otherwise known as bog myrtle. There is an abundance of heather and, in one raised area, plenty of bracken that now needs cutting and gathering.
The Black Burn forms a natural pond at the far end of the Frugaldom project, where water lilies, willow and tall grasses thrive - an ideal location for a hide, just as soon as we get around to clearing the path that leads there. We are simply expanding on what the local wildlife has already created, by way of their regular trek across the field.
Frugaldom has a large barn, a sturdy track leading to it and some hard standing for us parking & turning, although we would prefer that our visitors walked, cycled or rode on horseback to the project. (There will be seating, bike parking and horse hitching provided in the future.) It is our first wilderness project embracing frugal work, rest and play. The main project extends to approximately 10 acres and will eventually comprise the following, if all our plans come to fruition:
- Foraging and working woodland
- Gratitude garden - a specially designated area for dedicated plants, shrubs and trees in memory of those who are no longer with us
- Sensory garden - colourful, fragrant and part of a proposed willow walk
- Fruit, vegetable, herb and fruit growing (for picking/harvesting)
- Willow cultivation & coppicing for biomass, environmental art, our willow walk and weaving materials
- Bog Myrtle (sweet Gale) cultivation
- Heather cultivation
- Sphagnum Moss cultivation
- Arts and crafts from natural resources and recycling
- Ponds, marshland and bog gardens
- Wildlife habitat regeneration and conservation
- Wildlife hides for nature studies
- Wild flower meadow - we're taking part in WildGrow UK
- Environmental art / eco arts project
- Microholding - think mini smallholding for food production
- Permaculture - allowing the lay of the land to dictate what goes, grows or grazes where
- Native woodland regeneration - we're taking part in the Woodland Trust's World War I Centenary woodland project
- Frugal fitness - we are on a national cycling route with miles of good cycling, walking or running routes, off road and on, plus working in the great outdoors qualifies as getting fit, doesn't it?
- Rest areas, seating, bicycle parking, horse hitching
- The Corral project
- The Trading Post
- The Hitching Post
- The Barn - otherwise known as HQ
Frugaldom is set in an area of rural Scottish lowland countryside that will be worked as an off grid, frugal project, free for members to visit, help or support. Ideally, the barn could make an excellent visitor centre for passing cyclists, walkers, trekkers, local holiday-makers and fellow frugalers. Likewise, the project is ideal for writers, artists, photographers and crafters looking to relax, recharge and commune with nature. (We are right next to Euro Velo 1 detour cycle route 73 and about 3 or 4 miles off the Southern Upland Way.) The barn, or HQ, is a project in itself, as this will be the main headquarters for the project. We have no amenities on site, but rain water is being harvested from the barn roof, so we can water seedlings during dry seasons etc.
Yesterday, 2015 work began on the first of many of our projects - the corrals. These are small areas of land that sit above the wetlands, ideal for cultivating into pasture or for using as work space for a variety of activities.
There are two main areas that were temporarily fenced using old posts, logs and ropes. The two areas, once properly fenced, will be seperated by a small strip of woodland and a willow bed for future coppicing.
The fence-line has been realigned to increase the overall paddock size and we now have the tractor and fencers on site to move the logs and replace our makeshift fencing with rough sawn posts and rails. This is a major job for us, which meant investing in new posts and rails, hire of machinery and professional help, so we have a plan that may interest some of you. We are inviting people to literally 'sponsor a post' as soon as the corral is completed.
Each of these posts will be available for sponsoring and will feature an engraved medallion displaying the name of each sponsor taking part. You could include a personal name and date, a memorial to a favourite pet, a token memorial to a loved one or even just a tiny promotion for your blog, web site or company name. We have selected 2.5cm metal medallions, which will be engraved to your specifications and we promise to make this opportunity affordable to all. For the tiny sum of just £10, you can have your chosen name and date on the new Frugaldom corral.
Part 2 of this post is coming soon, I just need to wait for the pile of wood to turn into a corral post and rail fence. In the meantime, enjoy the Easter weekend wherever you are.