Zero Waste Week

02 Sep 2014

1st - 7th September 2014 is Zero Waste Week and, as expected, Frugaldom is taking part in recycling, upcycling, repurposing and reusing in a bid to cut waste and save money.

Sun rising over the forest at Frugaldom

Wild camping is frugal fun. Here in Scotland, it is perfectly legal to camp pretty much anywhere within reason, so long as you leave the place as you found it. A walking or cycling holiday needn't be all that far from home, depending on what you can carry, and can be an extremely fun way of getting back to nature. As we are developing the land at Frugaldom HQ, we thought we'd get some extra work done over the weekend and spend a night on site, wild camping, so we could start at sunrise. Like with all great camps, the first thing we did was dig a fire pit for the purposes of campfire cooking.

Suitable amount of turf was removed, a couple of concrete blocks found and the rest surrounded by rocks and stones. Two lengths of steel acted as a suitable prop for our griddle pan until we can make a tripod. There's plenty of space to expand on the fire pit but this size served us well for boiling our water.

At Frugaldom HQ, we inherited this old log burning stove that had been salvaged from a local dump site. An extra pair of hands on site at the weekend happily hauled out the stove and had it put to good use in no time. It has now been set up in a temporary position and repurposed as an outdoor cooker, in similar fashion to a chiminea. It certainly warms dinner, heats a kettle of water and helps keep the dreaded midges at bay. Fantastic addition to frugal outdoor living while working or enjoying the freedom of the land.

Next up was food savings and the fight against food waste, so a quick tour of the Thrift Cottage garden this afternoon netted me a selection of tomatoes, courgettes, patty pan squash and herb cuttings by way of the profusion of rosemary that now grows in the herb spirals.

The squash, tomatoes and courgettes will all be stewed down with herbs and spices to create a basic curry but the bulk of the rosemary will be used as cuttings for transplanting next year to the new project HQ, along with sage, mint, lemon balm and curry plant. the curry plant is said to deter deer from grazing nearby, so we will be experimenting with that.

After stripping off the fine leaves from the stems, the rosemary cuttings have been popped into a recycled milk carton. Hopefully, these will all root fairly quickly and can soon be transplanted. I have another dozen cuttings in pots of compost, along with a few sprigs of sage.

This is the tray of leaves that were stripped from the stems of the cuttings - I'll let them dry and then add them to other mixed herbs for flavouring stews over the winter months. No point throwing any of it away, as what isn't used for cooking can be used for infusing in shampoo to turn cheap unbranded bottles into herb-enhanced products ideal for handing out as gifts. Rosemary is also said to be used to improve the memory and for tying into small bouquets as wedding favours. I just love the smell of it.

Finally, as day 2 draws to a close, I am on to my second knitted cloth using cheap string - 3 balls for £1 should make me 4 cloths that will last much longer than a pack of kitchen roll. By using one each for dishes, work tops and dirtier jobs like floor spills, I shouldn't need to buy any more kitchen roll, which also means I shouldn't need to bin it once it's been used. Win, win on the zero waste and money saving. Very simple and quick, just cast on 40 stitches on fairly thick needles and knit in plain/garter stitch to form squares.

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