Fine and sunny weather over the weekend allowed us all out to the field to play at den-building with the grand children. Work is always more of a game when it's fun and having the under 12's in charge of proceedings makes it interesting, to say the least!


To put you in the picture, my grand children have inherited my love of ponies, so the prospect of seeing some back at Frugaldom soon is very exciting for them. First thing on Saturday morning they were up and impatient to get going, with the master plan being to build a den in the heritage garden (our Garden of Gratitude) that was within easy reach of the barn and had a view of the corrals, so they could see the ponies if or when they arrive.


The work part needing done at the weekend was more willow pruning, but what better material to make a den than fast-growing willow sticks? These will also be great when we get around to creating our frugal pony paradise paddocks!

Building a willow den at Frugaldom

Beautiful blue sky, sunshine and a really sheltered spot for den building, but you can see the snow lying on the Galloway Hills on the horizon. We are so lucky to have found and afforded to buy this little piece of frugal paradise!

Building a willow den at Frugaldom

The sprawling goat willow in the middle of the heritage garden will make a fantastic den, as the branches are already curved over, creating an inviting hide with spectacular views. Better still, the girls will love watching and listening for the pretty little long-tailed tits that frequent this clump of willow.

Building a willow den at Frugaldom

There's an apple tree by the entrance but the rest is all willow, which we hope will grow up tall enough to weave into an arched walkway to the entrance of the den.

Building a willow den at Frugaldom

The junior clerk of works surveying the 'roof' before we begin weaving through some branches and planting the walls to keep out the wild animals. Youngest is impatient and wanted to know if the willow would have grown by Easter so she could get a door, in case the fox went in 'her' house! laugh

Building a willow den at Frugaldom

The den quickly took shape once all the twigs and stones were raked out of the way and all the clippings from the other willows were planted around to grow living walls. As well as the surplus to requirement goat willow cuttings, there are 200 fast-growing willow cuttings that will be woven together next year.

Planting willow walls for the den at Frugaldom

Putting the finishing touches to their den (for the day) as the sun begins to set - still plenty to do but it will need to wait for another sunny weekend.

Sponsored post for harvest trees

We also hammered a post into the ground for the family who has sponsored 5 harvest trees - each grand child has their name engraved on a disc to show their support for Frugaldom and to pinpoint their adopted trees.

Building a new duck run

Another job that has been done since my last blog post is the new duck run being built. This should keep the surviving ducks safe from any further fox attacks. The hens are much happier and settled well in their new, secure pen and we've even had a few eggs from them over the past week!

Our new wildlife garden

This used to be the old hen run at the bottom of the garden. Those of you who take part in our forums will know that this area is where I have started my 2016 Frugaleur challenge, planting 5 new colours of willow for growing into sculpture and basket weaving materials. This bit garden was originally designated as tiny house location, but having since bought Frugaldom, this will become the cottage wildlife garden and the old hen shed will eventually become a hide. The deer are already coming in from the field beyond, we've had a badger visit and there are woodpeckers coming to the bird feeding station nearby. Mr Ecoarts has managed to source some turf, so that will be laid as soon as possible, then we'll sort out feeding stations and set up the trail camera to see what visits the bottom of the garden when we aren't looking.

The Little Red Box portable solar kit

In other news,

  • I am hoping I have managed to source a supply of pallets, which will be a great help at the Frugaldom project.
  • Acknowledgement arrived from our local planning department saying thy are really busy and it could take at least 6 weeks to respond to our enquiries.
  • The Forestry Commission called today to let me know they had been out and removed the fallen trees that landed on our wall.
  • The digger driver is coming out tomorrow so I can show him what needs moving, digging and clearing.
  • The portable solar lighting kit arrived and it is FAB! Many thanks to Kev at for providing us with a free upgrade from 10w to 20w panel and free postage & packaging.
  • The trees arrived from The Woodland Trust for this weekend's tree-planting event. Get in contact if you'd like to attend.

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