Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Ponds, Ponies, Pumpkins and Fun at Frugaldom

October 2017

Frugaldom is a magical place for creating memories so that's what we plan to do forever more. We have started plotting and planning for the yard area as it's no longer muddy, it's now nicely sheltered and the hedge along the back of it has started to grow, encouraging the wildlife to venture closer.

Now that I have 4 grandchildren, there's usually no shortage of little people to have about the place. I have to admit that the 'terrible twos' don't seem to show half as much outdoors as they do indoors.  At Frugaldom, the biggest problem is when it's time to try and get the 2-year-old to go home! He doesn't seem in the least concerned at visiting on his own while the older ones are at school and the littlest is still too small to do much out here.

Yard work is fun
Right from the outset, I knew what would be put at the top of Santa's list for this particular toddler - he loves barrowing anything anywhere! You can never lose sight of a little kid with a big wheelbarrow, that's for sure. It's like having my own mini research team on site when the children come to visit because they show me all the things that are most important to them and what entertains them most. This gives great insight into potential future developments as we launch our frugal holidays, plan more themed breaks and prepare for various child-friendly events at Frugaldom during 2018.

"I love Pippin"

Pippin the pony is always a hot favourite. His name, as far as grandson is concerned is, 'My Pippin' or 'Wanton Pippin' and the pony seems to tolerate absolutely anything said child does... much to the detriment of my ragged, gran nerves!

"I love muddy wellies"
Our first themed short breaks were introduced and aptly named 'Muddy Wellies Weekends' for one good reason - all kids seem to love muddy wellies and so, too, do some adults! :)

"I love playing in water"
Exploring in nature is fabulous fun and the mini-pond gets checked regularly in the hope that the frogspawn and resulting tadpoles return. Of course, it's even better fun if you get to forage in the garden for your own dinner before going exploring. This is one little boy who loves his soup and knows where it grows... in the soup garden, of course!

"I love cleaning my wellies"
Biosecurity is of the utmost importance and should be taught as soon as possible. It's another of the fun things toddlers seem to love and is also something that didn't take long to sink in... washing one's wellies both on arrival and on departure is important so as not to take germs into the barn or near the plants, poultry or ponies.

Back on the frugal bandwagon of bargain hunters - I managed to find a bulk lot of these interconnecting grids that are used for shed bases and parking spaces. We aren't anywhere near ready to use them yet but the prospect of saving over £50 just couldn't be missed, especially when the seller was fairly local and offered to deliver them to us. There are enough here to do the base for a garden room.

This was another of the bargain buys of October - a lovely little futon (double bed size) that will be utilised in the on-going improvements while trying to create extra space for extra guests in the various accommodations we are attempting to provide.

The ecoarts project will soon be launched fulltime, as 2018 sees the start of the creation of the designated trail at Frugaldom. It's a really exciting time despite also being a time of reminiscing. It's still hard to believe that my dad isn't here to see that we really did manage to succeed in finding and affording a piece of land to try and do everything I always spoke about doing. I'm sure he'd have approved! (Mum planted this oak tree and 'Mr Ecoarts' made the wild wood bird for displaying the dedication plaque.)

October was a month of growing - everything continued to grow, with the willows, Rowans, Hawthorn, Buddleia and Blueberries doing exceptionally well but it was all closely followed by the later sprouting Holly. Many more of the same will be planted in the future, now that we know they like it here.

Lyn's bridge got a coat of paint and work began on clearing the path at the other side, which will eventually run almost to the river, flanked on either side by native woodland species, such as willow, hazel, alder and birch.

We can't forget about the picking and preserving. We weren't able to grow any beetroot at Frgaldom but we did receive some, traded for fresh eggs and apples, so it all got boiled and pickled.

The apples just kept on coming, so I think most of our friends and neighbours at the holiday park were eating either stewed apples, apple sauce, apple tart or apple crumble. I have enough frozen apples to last a while longer and the cold-stored ones still need to be stewed but are being used as required.

The chickens are doing well, even if number 3 grandchild is still finding it difficult to keep up with them or catch them. On this particular day, the children were using the lean-to / potting shed as an art studio and had been out looking for things to make into pictures. Feathers are fun but the chickens kept following the kids into the shed! 

This was grandson taking his fnished nature art picture to show his mum, He did have a little bit of help making things stick to the bit board (we recycled a cardboard box) but he collected all nthe bits and pieces by himself - yes, he even picked some of the Oxeye Daisies because he thought they were 'pretty flowers'.

This is the lean-to potting shed. It's just leaning up against the side of the barn at the minute but we hope to make it a substantial, permanent structure that will double up as a learning room for the children. It isn't a full height sed but it it high enough for short people (like me) to walk about and the children love it. I want to make a proper panelled wall where it meets the barn and turn it into a chalk board on one side and a pin board on the other. It will then make a great space for displaying all the nature leaflets, posters and childrens's artwork.

Goldcrests everywhere this month! It hardly seems any time since they were here las year but here we are, picking them up from the barn where they have arrived, exhausted after their long flights from, I think, Scandinavia.

The new ponds finally settled and we got a bit more of the track around the edge laid, thanks to the help of our lovely volunteers. I am now 99.9% sure that this part of the project will see the arrival of its first amphibian visitors in spring, as we already have an assortment of birds and insects visiting. I plan on planting a row of willows around the edge just as soon as I have got them all cut.

Willow cuttings
The forst of the willows got cut but all of these were planted along the side of the newly cleared path beyond Lyn's bridge.

More tomatoes
We weren't the only ones with late tomatoes - these were all handed in as surplus to requirement, so they got made into pasta sauce, curry and chutney.

99p pumpkins are amazing!
As October came to an end, we had visitors arriving for the Hallowe'en paty at the holiday park, so we bought some pumpkins. We had tried growing our own but the wet weather just didn't give them a chance. So here's what I got made with the shop-bought variety.

Happy Halloween
Pumpkin carving at Halloween
As the month ended, we started looking towards the final events of the year - Bonfire night, tree planting, winter solstice and Christmas. I also had a couple of volunteers arriving to help during November, so that was an extra bonus and something to look forward to, with the arrival of Marnie, from France.
The Wildwood Fairy
This is one of the latest sculptures made by Mr Ecoarts - it was made for daughter and son-in-law, who recently moved house, but I couldn't really post it here before Christmas - even although she did see it before then. 😊 Being this size, it was kind of difficult to hide at the caravan or at Frugaldom, where the children explore.

'Mr Darcy'
 The horse sculpture was commissioned to go on display at a very special project in central Scotland. 'Mr Darcy', as we nicknamed him, was modelled on a real horse and the sculpture is now on display at Darcy's Equine Assisted Learning Centre near Strathaven in Lanarkshire.

I think that's enough for October but I did say it was a very busy month. Onwards and upwards... to the penultimate month of the year. I'll be back soon with some more updates.


  1. What a wonderful place for children (and big kids)

    1. I'm definitely a big kid and will do my best to make the place great fun for all ages. :)


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