Phase 3 of our planting began this month with the arrival of our next tree pack from the Woodland Trust, after being awarded a place in their World War 1 Centenary Woodland project last year.

Woodland Trust Tree Packs

Frugaldom was accepting onto this scheme last year, receiving our first tree pack for planting in November 2014. The planting is part of a nationwide project to plant millions of native trees throughout Britain and, thanks to generous funding from lead partners Sainsbury’s, IKEA FAMILY, players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Yorkshire Tea, the Woodland Trust is awarding the free tree packs to all those taking part in the planting. Trees are essential - we need trees! The woodlands that these new trees create will become living memorials to commemorate all men, women, children and animals who were affected by the outbreak of the First World War. Here at Frugaldom, we hope to plant a new phase of our woodland every year from 2014 to 2019.

Edible hedge planting at Frugaldom

After starting our edible hedging last year with the hazels, sloes and elders, we have now filled in many of the gaps with crab apples to form a wild food foraging area near the barn. Pictured here is Frugaldom's resident artist, creator of the 'Dirnow Deer' seen in the background, Harvey Mayson, helping plant the new apple trees.

The wild food foraging area and the Dirnow Deer

The Dirnow Deer was the third ecoarts sculpture to be erected at Frugaldom to become part of a permanent display of artwork created from materials sourced on site. These sculptures are made from branches left behind after previous felling and logging works.

Preparing to plant the Downy Birch as part of our Fisrt World War Centenary Woodland

As you enter Frugaldom., we have a strip of around three quarters of an acre of marshy land, which has proven ideal for planting. During phases 1 and 2 we planted the start of a hedge along the fence line with hazels - we have now decided to fill in the gaps with the hawthorns provided in our latest tree pack, as these, too, can tolerate the wet ground. The main strip of land is being planted with Downy Birch and Rowans.

World War 1 Centenary Woodland of downy birch and rowan

The Downy Birch have now all been planted in the lower half of the strip of land with the Rowans now going in as we progress towards the yard. We were hoping to complete this phase much sooner but, owing to the atrocious weather conditions, we have been unable to get back out to plant the remaining trees.

Rainbow over Frugaldom

When working close to the barn we are able to take shelter during the downpours and got the chance to admire the newly re-fenced yard. If you recall, we had previously surrounded this area with logs, posts and rope to separate the working area from the growing areas - now we have post and rail fencing, all built from locally grown and milled larch. Beyond the fence you can just make out 'The Galloway' rearing horse with a rainbow arcing over it. The willows beyond the garden area are now totally bare and ready for cutting to provide us with more cuttings.

Manure mulch for the trees

Tree planting at Frugaldom will continue throughout the month, as we still have the Hawthorn, more Rowans and some holly to plant before cutting willow to start of the next phase of the woodland project. We now have two paddocks and the yard fenced plus the interior of the barn almost totally refurbished. The compost and manure heap is slowly disappearing as we mulch around the young trees planted on the bracken hill and, indeed, the bracken has now all but gone for the year without really having got started - our clearance techniques seem to be working for now.

The rickety footbridge has been DIY renovated!

In preparation for more tree planting and wildlife habitat management, a friend and I managed to successfully rebuild the old footbridge that crosses the drainage ditch en route to bracken hill. This was done using the leftover rails from yard fencing. One day, we hope to have wooden walkways right around the Frugaldom project so visitors can come and observe the wildlife, forage for wild berries and picnic by the river but that, my frugal friends, is some way in the future. n the meantime, we need the areas immediately surrounding the barn completed so we can get to work growing the crops needed to help make the project self-sustainable.

Frugaldom

This is the start of the next part of the project where we have been clearing paths, weeding, mulching and marking out the line of the trees. We call this area 'the plot', as it is where original plans included siting our visitors' cabin and the Hitching Post. The edge has already been planted with birch, wild cherry and crab apple trees leading to the new willow bed that was planted at the start of this year.

Another really exciting offer we have received recently is from a local photographer offering his services to provide us with an aerial video. Naturally, I jumped at this fantastic opportunity and can't wait to see the results, but it may take some time as this, also, is very weather dependent. We are fast approaching winter and the autumn storms have been with us for most of November, so my guess is that it won't be this month but regardless of that, the prospect of seeing a drone filming our project is very exciting, indeed!

Today we have had rain, hail, sleet and snow with the promise of a frosty weekend and I still haven't planted my garlic!

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