Sunday, 13 March 2011

Recycling Pallets on a Microholding

Books are my downfall!

Having succumbed to the temptation to treat myself to a copy of a great Self sufficiency book, despite having no more than a rented garden, I am thoroughly enjoying reading it. As followers of the frugaldom lifestyle, our small garden has produced plenty of fruit and vegetables, along with all the hen, duck and quail eggs that we've had from our poultry microholding. But I keep finding myself tempted by several other very quirky book titles.

Today, for example, I was updating a few links on the new 'Woman Zone' section of the main website and, for some unknown reason, I found myself back on the trail of smallholding. It's most likely because my mind is constantly on microholding, what with the impending housemove, the longer days and the increase in egg production from the hens.  I am trying not to get overly optimistic about the possibility of moving into a new house with a much larger garden, but it's very difficult!

Anyhow, it's safe enough to say that my heart is set on one particular house and having seen the large garden, almost a quarter of an acre of it, my imagination has been running riot. The contents of the current garden all need to be moved, regardless of where we end up, so anything that's old or broken is being sawn up for fire wood, along with what's left of all the salvaged pallets that we had. Some were rescued form the skip when the roof here was being done, others were rescued from a nearby distribution warehouse, when they were about to burn them. (Shock, horror!)

Pallets are fantastic things - brilliant as firewood, brilliant as raised bases for things like sacks of coal and brilliant for recycling into other things. To date, we have a log store, a roof over the quail run and a duck house, all constructed from salvaged roofing boards and pallets.  (In the photo is our latest duck house, built from pallets & scrap roofing board.)

It was the word 'pallet' that attrecated me first, when I happened across a little book entitled, 'Build It!... with Pallets'. I really must read this book, especially after seeing someone build a microhouse from the things! Bring me pallets, bring me all the pallets you can find - one can never have too many pallets, especially when they are free.

But then I spotted an even quirkier book title... Archie Sparrow's Book of Useful Tips to Beat the Recession with ... Baling String? I love it! We used to always collect the baling twine when splitting hay bales for the ponies & goats. Most times, we recycled it into homemade haynets. Anyhow, I don't know what's in this particular book, but it's a tightwad's guide to running a smallholding! Fantastic! How much more tightwad can I get than attempting to set up a miniature smallholding in my next garden? (Hence the name 'micro' holding.)

Everywhere I look I see great titles of books that I'd love to read! It isn't like we don't own any books here, we have thousands of the things! But most of these are either about moneysaving or horseracing.

Times have changed, we've moved on, we've aged another few years and we're now looking for a place to call home. Most importantly, we want a little bit more of the good life.

In anticipation of the brand new microholding project that we hope to begin soon, I've been eagerly following updates on Twitter and have, just recently, compiled a list of interesting people who appear to have similar interests. The list has now been added into a fantastic, free website programme - I hope it's free - to incorporate everything into a daily newspaper format. It will be through this medium, along with the Frugaldom forum and this blog, that the whole microholding project will be documented.

Have a look and see what you think of the first ever edition of, 'The Microholding Daily'.

Feel free to subscribe, so you don't miss any updates and, if you like it, spread the word to friends, colleagues and family. You are welcome to become a part of it.

As always, you can join us in the Frugaldom forums and keep up to date with the daily lives of those frugalers who have already chosen to participate in this year's challenges. Or, perhaps you would like to set yourself a totally new challenge for 2011? There are plenty to choose from and still another 10 months left of the year. Check out our frugal entrepreneurs and our microholders then get started with your frugal challenge in 'Challenging Times'.

My personal challenge is to run our frugaldom household on no more than £4,000 per year (excluding rent & council tax) until we have saved enough cash to buy our own place. This personal challenge began about five years ago. The last two of those have been particularly cruel, with regards to the interest rates, but frugal living and smallholding have been with me, I think, since birth!

Hope to see a few new names appearing soon - take up the challenge to take control of your own spending - it puts you more in charge of your own financial destiny.


  1. A frugal tip. Get the books on loan from a library, that way you can assess whether or not they are a good investment for you. We have the pallet book but, in hindsight, I'm not sure we should have bought it. It's a great book for ideas but we're not convinced that we truly 'needed' it :)Mo

  2. Hi. Glad you like the title of my smallholding humour book: Archie Sparrows Book of Useful Tips To Beat The Recession With Baling String. It's published by the Good Life Press. Who also published BUILD IT WITH PALLETS. If you contact me I will send you a FREE signed copy! In the mean time why not have a look at the Good Life Press website. They have tons of great titles for smallholders, allotment tenants and Gardeners like us!

    Best wishes and thanks again for featuring my book title!

    Dave Dealy.

  3. Hi Dave, many thanks for taking the time to read my blog post and comment. Will see if I can find your details and get in contact with you as soon as I can.

  4. Mo and Steve,

    Thanks for the comment, I can also recommend supporting local libraries to anyone who has one.

    However, in some instances it actually costs me more to travel to the nearest library than it does to buy the book and have it delivered. Rural living doesn't afford the luxury of a local library and, being off the beaten track, it can cost more to get into the local village to meet the mobile library - if it visits the area. :)


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