frugal friday – using what you have

DSCF4743Help yourself to a bun. That’s mincemeat in the middle, and orange-and-cinnamon glaze. They’re rather robust, but if you put them on top of the toaster for a few seconds they soften up nicely, I promise. There’s rather a lot, so you’d be doing me a favour if you ate a few.

A first for me today – I’m joining in with Robyn’s Frugal Friday series – actually on a Friday! First of all, pop over there and see her fabulous end of year post with tips from lots of lovely people (me included, thanks Robyn!) Then come straight back here, do you hear? I want to show you something!

After last week’s pruning extravaganza, I was left with rather a lot of sticks.

DSCF4759There isn’t space in my garden for an artistically arranged pile of large sticks (some people might call them branches), however good that might be for wildlife. There is no garden waste collection around here any more sadly, and I wasn’t looking forward to a trip to the tip in the car.

Then I got to thinking…

Back in 2001, I did a Permaculture Design Course at the gorgeous Ragman’s Lane Farm, with the esteemed and lovely permaculture guru Patrick Whitefield. There’s information here about permaculture if you don’t know it, but it’s pretty much about using processes found in nature to design effective and efficient systems for growing food or using space or anything else.

Permaculture is all about designing systems well in the first place, so over time you can put in the minimum amount of effort for the maximum gain (sounds like my kind of thing!). One way of doing that is to look at what you bring in to your ‘system’ (in this case, the garden), and what you take out, and see if you can reduce the flow of things (thereby reducing the effort, and money, needed to take them in and out).

So I wondered, as I stared at my pile of sticks, whether I could find some use for them. What was I going to need in the near future? What could I turn them into?

And then I got it – do you remember me wittering last month about wanting raised beds in the front garden? I’d planned to buy wood to make them from, but could I use my pile of sticks?

And so I spent yesterday afternoon in the garden with the wind-up radio on, happily pottering and sawing and turning this empty space…

DSCF4764into this not-quite-a-raised-bed-yet…

DSCF4766It’s not quite finished – it needs to be a little higher I think (I’ll have to do a bit more pruning). And I’ll line it with weed suppressing membrane (leftover from the willow hedge) so you won’t be able to see the back. I’ll put a few stones in front to stand on, and fill it with smaller sticks at the bottom for drainage, and the contents of one side of the compost bin, topped with potting compost. It might not look too pretty now, but it will when it’s finished, I promise!

Total cost? A couple of hours of pleasant pottering effort, but no money, and it’s saved me a trip to the tip, and what I would have spent buying wood. And I’ve turned a waste product into a resource, which is never a bad thing. It won’t last forever, but I’ll get a couple of years out of it at least, and I’ll have had another harebrained idea by then I’m sure.

That calls for a celebration, don’t you think? Go on, have another bun.


This entry was posted in conscious living, frugal friday, in the garden, look what i made! and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to frugal friday – using what you have

  1. Robyn says:

    Oh yum, the buns look delicious – swap you for a mince pie? Two mince pies? a DOZEN flaming mince pies?!!!
    The raised bed also looks fabulous – such a good idea to use the stuff that was there for it as well – it’s always the “how to acquire the makings of” such things that put so many folk off doing them I think, so the idea of being able to use the stuff you have is ace – and even better if using it then saves you having to dispose of it by some other means! Well done you! xx

  2. Prairie girl says:

    Oh, very crafty! I’m already liking the looks of the stick bed! (I call it a bed of branches) 😉
    And I’m on my third bun, thank you. Fun post. Cheers!

  3. Fanny Adams says:


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