Tuesday, 12 December 2017

August 2017 and the frugal living challenge continues

Where do I start? It was another tremendously busy month at Frugaldom but it didn't stop there: August was as busy on the home front as it was at the field and at the caravans, with work exchange students, holiday makers and the next investment to join the realms of the Frugaldom project. 😊
Work on the main yard seemed relentless but we finally got to the top layer and even during the very wettest days of summer, we had no puddles or floods in this area.

 At Frugaldom, we had several visits from little people wanting to play with ponies, search for beasties, make things, learn more and explore the willow dens. This frst one is progressing well and has sprouted so much that we need to coppice the new growth.

In the Thrift Cottage orchard, there were apples galore to be picked and processed. It would seem that our regular apple crumble with custard habit has now been carried back to several European countries, thanks to it proving to be a hot favourite with all the students.

 August saw several visitors arrive at Frugaldom and on one particular weekend, we had a jolly get together after moving more hay - I think there were about a dozen off us took part in the most fun-filled archery tournament ever and then had a great chatty night of giggles and laughs.

 It wasn't all play and no work, we made a serious start on schooling ponies to get tem accustomed to some of the work they will be doing in the future. All 3 ponies have now been ridden and are continuing their training barefoot and bitless. We don't need metal!

 Willow takes absolutely everything in her stride and is ready to join in or take part in anything at all! Eldest grand daughter has been practicing her grooming, mane pleating and pony leading skills, as well as having her first bareback riding lessons on our medicine hat 'spirit' pony. I'm still intrigued by native American tales of these unusual ponies and hope Willow will live up to expectations as a fabulous companion.

 Over the past almost 2 years we have been introducing heritage variety apples to Frugaldom. Our longterm aim is to farm these apples for supplying locally and for trading from Frugaldom. The trees are now 2 and 3 years old, so the first of them bore enough fruit to allow us to try several things with them - cooking them into crumbles, chutney and sauce. The Galloway Pippins are lovely apples and are also tasty eating apples. We haven't tried cider making with them.

Our orchard project will be expanded year on year, as we clear and prepare more growing space. We'll be focussing mainly on the apples but now have a mixed orchard of pears, plums and cherries as well as the apples. Now that we have the lean-to, I plan on experimenting with grapes and hardy kiwis.

 As you'll have noticed, keeping up with blogging has been very difficult but that should hopefully, now, be brought back under control and I'll be able bring us all up to date now I can get online anytime. This is the latest gadget to hit the Frugaldom family - the Huawei sim-operated mini wifi hub on pay as you go data! I LOVE IT! It can provide internet access via wifi for up to 9 connections, so now it's easy to get online from the caravan. Now all I need to do is get online from the barn and we're sorted!

 Chickens have been laying eggs daily and providing a regular supply for fellow caravan residents at the holiday park. With only 4 lating hens, we have still managed to sell a dozen or so each week and still have enough leftover for home use. Once the next 3 hens start laying, we should be able to sell a few more during 2018, when 4 out of the 7 hens should be laying blue eggs.

During quieter, more reflective moments, I have had the great pleasure to be able to clamber onto spirit pony and sit with her as she carries on being a pony. I know that this sort of 'riding' is not recommended, nor is it seen as safe, but we are strongly focussing on a much more holistic approach to horse-keeping here, a method that is based on trust and allowing ponies to live the way nature intended.

With plans afoot to open our Galloway pony heritage trail by 2020, our ponies will need to be well used to all sorts of events and activities by then, so August was also a fun month for pony play school. Frankie, Willow and Pippin could be representing the ancestors of some of the greatest horses the world has ever known. Who'd have thought that their common denominator would be the humble Galloways?

There was so much going on throughout August that I'm cutting this blog post off here and doing a second August one - announcing the next phase of our frugal project - the long awaited frugal living experience that we first set out to offer several years ago. Follow our progress on Facebook and get updates via Twitter or hang on in there and wait for the next installment of the frugal blog. 

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