Snagging a renovation project

Hello Dear Reader,

After three days of going out, we just wanted a pottering about at home day and getting jobs done. The undergrowth behind the house has had a chop. It only just keeps it under control but we try.

We use the hedge trimmer to cut the brambles to the ground. We leave until last thing as the bees and butterflies liked the flowers and the birds like the berries.

Weweeded and tidied the side of the house and have been to the dècheterie and we’ll go again tomorrow.

The big laundry bag that you can see is full of kindling I picked up from the forest floor. I have some more bits of tidying to do yet. In the future we will put a thick layer of gravel at the back of our house So it doesn’t keep sprouting weeds. Next year, we’ll paint the house so that’s on our saving plan.

Our son has been round to thrift cottage at home and cut the grass for us. I’m at that stage where I’m looking forward to getting home and back to everyday life.

Here, I’ve put another two coats of stain on the stairs, more white paint on the walls and wood work and washed and dried the sofa covers. All of these bits and bobs give me the feeling of finishing up for the summer before we put the house to bed for a few months.

It’s been fun, we’ve accomplished a lot and the house is beginning to feel more homely every time we visit.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx


How long does it take a load of laundry to dry?

Hello Dear Reader.

I own, as you can see, three different laundry drying racks and a whirly-gig round about washing line which you can’t see. On a bright sunny day (what’s one of those?) I hang it on the whirly-gig. On dodgy days (like the ones we seem to have had since the 80’s) I hang it on racks which I can lift and bring indoors if it rains. 

Now I don’t own a tumble drier, but when I did, I owned a huge American Whirlpool drier (similar to the Kenmores you can still buy) which matched my huge American Whirlpool washing machine (I sold them both to buy an eco-responsible washing machine that doesn’t use much water or energy). I could strip three beds and wash and dry all the washing in about an hour and have it all back on the beds again. Convenience costs. It costs the planet the most as my purse will recover.

I now consider a 48 hour turn around quite OK. I washed this laundry in the photo above yesterday afternoon and it’s ready to be folded and put away. Last night’s laundry is getting some breeze under a grey sky. It will be drier when I bring it in than when I put it out. If it’s chilly tonight, I’ll light the wood stove and finish drying it there. When I had no wood stove, just leaving it in the house for a few days eventually got it dry.

There are things to remember with indoor drying. Keep your kitchen door and dining room door closed or the smell of food will permeate not only the drying clothes but soft furnishing. Dry your clothes in a draught if possible and try to get them outside. The outdoor air will make your clothes smell better. I lived in the middle of a city for a while and used to dry my washing on roof terrace and being above car level meant that it didn’t smell of traffic fumes.

How long does it take your washing to dry? Is 48 hours acceptable to you?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs 

Rare treats

Hello Dear Reader,

If you are as old as me, then you’ll remember Sunday night baths. Everyone had one whether they needed one or not! The rest of the week was consigned to a strip wash! I still wash up and down with a bowl of water, tip the water down the loo and then have a five minute shower every other day. You can see my real water meter below, a cubic meter of water, including the cost of getting it into my house and then disposed of, costs about £5. I am careful with water as even the most meagre use of it costs me £350 a year.
I don’t wear something and then wash it immediately. I will often air it, or put it back in the cupboard or wardrobe and wear it again. The same towels, get put over the bannister and used again and again all week. If you wear something one day after the next, they will know you haven’t washed it, if you wear it a few days later, then they will be none the wiser. I will often ‘spot’ clean a jumper or shirt and put it away. I sniff clothes, if they smell clean and have no marks, they are not dirty!
All hand washing water is used to flush the loo. In the dry summer, it’s used to water the garden, as is shower water. Because I do this, having a bath is a rare treat. I get in and Dearly Beloved has the water after me, of the other way round. For a lot of people my age, that’s normal. I would have a bath and my sister and brother would have my bath water. We had a Rayburn, which heated our kitchen/living room, was a cooker/stove and it heated our water. Once a bath was filled, the water tank would be cold again and the stove would take hours of heating it up. We couldn’t afford the coal to keep it hot, so it was kept on ‘tick over’
I look forward to baths, I relish them and time them to listen to a play or documentary on the radio. I usually have a bath every three weeks or sometimes less frequently.
It may seem the simplest thing, but all that hot water, just for sitting in, is just the most indulgent and wonderful treat. Roll on the next one.
What’s your infrequent and indulgent treat?
Love Froogs xxxx

Winter warmers

Hello Dear Reader,

Our living room is a busy room! It’s the only room in the house with any direct heating, although it does make the surrounding rooms warm. The chimney breast heats the dining room on the other side of the wall and either rooms upstairs on either side of the chimney breast. It’s like having a night storage heater. The central core of the house heats up and retains warmth until morning, when the house isn’t really cold.

The stove also keeps our house incredibly dry, therefore I don’t mind putting some moisture into the air as it’s soon circulated back towards the fire and dried out again. The usual sight in our living room is of our clothes drying in front of the fire. By morning, this will all be dry. Tomorrow night, I’ll iron it in the warmth of the room. I am looking forward to hanging the washing in some dry air outside.

I’m sure many stove sides look just like mine………does yours?

Love Froogs xx

Utter luxury!

Hello dear reader,

It’s so cold, I’ve worked late and come home to a lit fire. Being careful with money and putting every penny into the mortgage capital repayments leaves little money for looking or smelling nice. Every so often, I splash out on good toiletries. Then, I make them last. I race my way though a tin of lovely talc in at least six months! I keep soap dry and a bar can last for weeks and if I get hold of some shower gel, I know I can make it last for a very long time. Each day begins and ends with a top to toe wash in one bowl of hot water, which I then flush the loo with. About mid week, I wash my hair and have a five minute shower…………’s total luxury!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Cold Icy Blast

Good evening dear reader,

Picture this! Lovely warm lounge, one end of Frugal towers is quite warm………….the other end has a chilly blast whistling in from the Urals! The home made quilt is on the bed, hot water bottles are in the bed warming it to gas mark 6. There is no heating other than the wood stove and the rest of the house is cold. Every cup of tea in the kitchen, or trip to the loo, requires a trip into the chill zone. Night time is like the above pictures. No details needed, just imagine it yourself..

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Answer to reader questions.

Shoes from Cotton Traders – originally £22, but I used a 20% off and free delivery code to get them for £17.60

 Hello Dear Readers,

One of you asked yesterday why it took two of us to lift one log onto the log splitter, well, the answer is in the close up photo above of one log! It’s freshly cut Beech and is from a forty year old tree that blocked most of our view and all of our light after 10 am in the morning. It had to go and now we’re chopping it into logs to store to burn next year.

 Here’s the finished results and a mere fraction of the entire wood pile we worked our way through yesterday. Working with your own wood involved short journeys from one pile to another. This current pile, left exposed to the sun light and wind, will lose a lot of moisture in just a few week. We cover it in tarpaulines when it rains and then uncover when it’s dry. We’ll need to build another wood shed near to the house to store it in but as the garden is on a slope, we’ll have to carry the wood up, one basket at a time. It can stay where it is for a while. Dearly Beloved, who I can honestly say seems very happy to chop all of this wood, is also making sure I have enough kindling to light the fire for the week as I always try to get home before he does so I can get his supper ready.

Our solar battery charger is from Amazon (about £15…we’ve had it a while but only recently started using it) and we bought it with gift vouchers from my brief survey stint (not enough reward for the time as far as I’m concerned) and the re-chargeable batteries can be bought anywhere.

 We have a battery powered lantern from a car boot sale, I suppose it was originally bought for camping and we paid a few pounds for it. We mainly use it in the shed. We’ve brought it in recently and used it in the house as we’ve run it on batteries charged by the sun. We are doing everything we can to give as little money to the N Power as we possibly can. It seems to work and we have no complaints.

I’ll finish with my wood powered ‘tumble drier’ – three racks of washing drying around the wood burner. It was outside until mid day, the sun hadn’t shown up and there’s little breeze, so I’ve lit the fire and ranged the clothes around it to dry. Again, sticking it to N Power!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xx

a message for N power

Here’s an open message to N Power, my utility provider!

You along with the other robbing country folk have now increased our energy prices by 20% this year. I’m being so very very careful. I have not used gas for the last 10 days. I’ve not heated any water, or used the hob or had any radiators on. I’m loving the warmer weather as I can dry washing outside and I’m heating the house with wood.

Tonight, I moved lots of wood, stacked it and sorted it, chopped some and brought the weekend’s wood indoors and placed it in baskets. I gardened, put hanging baskets and the last of the tomato plants in the compost heap. I didn’t light the fire for a while because I was so warm from the jobs I had to do. I washed clothes and they are drying in front of the wood stove. None of this has involved much bought energy. Again, I’m lighting the room with one eco bulb and this blog is being typed from the light of a  solar charged lamp. I’ve had micro mini showers, I’ve flushed the loo with shower water caught into a huge blue plastic box. To all the energy companies………………… can take your price increases and stuff them! I’ve no spare money for lights and gas so bog off……I’m not paying and I’m doing without!

In the dark?

 Hello Dear Reader,

The nights are drawing in, but I really don’t mind. I love the passing seasons and I like the dark cosiness of this time of year. I have noticed though that I have to put the lights on now by six in the evening. I’m really aware of the extra energy costs at this time of year. I have a solar battery charger and a portable battery lamp that takes those batteries that I’ve charged for free. I have wall low energy lamps but need better light to mark school books by. Here’s my low energy and sustainable experiment in lighting and I can get two classes of books on one charge. I then feel compelled to go to bed…………………..the light has run out. It’s a way of using the sun and giving up on the day when the sun’s energy has gone.

My camera memory card and my netbook are not talking to each other tonight so I’ve taken the photo of me being lit by a solar charge with my webcam! As you can see, it’s blinding and quite bright enough to read or mark books by. Well, I’m quite cosy for the night, with washing drying by the fire and the log burner heating the house. As I said, I don’t mind the dark and I enjoy the changing seasons.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

What a difference a day makes

 Hello Dear Reader,

Sometimes, you’ve got to save a quid! I try to use my slow cooker and my mini-oven instead of my gas cooker or main electric oven. I have a wall mounted energy monitor and I hate seeing my money disappear so I do everything I can to use as little energy as possible. Today, we treated ourselves to a small joint of brisket which requires a very gentle slow roast. I made our supper at 5.30 this morning and at 5.30 tonight, we were eating lovely shredded slow roasted beef. There’s enough for the next couple of meals as well. Why not try a week of slow cooking and check your meter to see how much energy you’ve saved. Using my slow cooker is one of the many ways I save electricity. I only have eco bulbs, I have nothing on stand by, I have no tumble drier, I only have one light on in the one room I am in, I don’t put the lights on until I can’t see, we use the slow cooker, I use my mini oven. In fact, I do everything I can to use as little energy as possible.

Are you with me on this one?