• Frugaldom

Fast growing, robust, good for weaving and a super addition to any damp areas of land or hedgerows foraged by horses and ponies. All the barefoot ponies at Frugaldom love willow. It is said to have anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being a mild painkiller. With this in mind, it may be ideal for laminitis-prone animals to chew on, so long as they don't have too many of the sweeter leaves.

We have been coppicing some willows for replanting along the edge of the water ditches and to help dry up muddy areas around the tracks where our ponies live. Dobbin was happily munching on the fresh shoots this afternoon while we were cutting and planting. As you can see, there are already buds bursting open - willow is my favourite, fast-growing forage for adding into ponies' diets as pat of their frugal hedge-hay.

This is the last year's growth - in some cases, it has grown 3 metres since last being cut.

This huge Willow has been cut over the past few years and is used as a den by visiting children (and some adults). All those straight willow rods above the 'roof' height can be cut, planted and will quickly grow into new willow trees. If anyone would like a bundle to plant, we can cut and post them to you. (£10 per pack including P&P within UK). At point of planting, they look like short, green sticks.

Willow withies ready to cut into shorter lengths for rooting and planting. If you would like to try growing your own, a £10.00 contribution to the Frugaldom project will bring a pack of them to your door. You can pay via the 'donate' button at the top of this page - on receipt of payment, we will email you to arrange delivery. Limited quantities available so don't miss out on a great opportunity to grow your own 'live fence' or 'fedge' that's safe and healthy for foraging horses and ponies, Also looks great by ponds and encourages wildlife. (We also have an Ecoarts willow sheep.)

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  1. Make a list of things you need to do and keep it up to date

  2. Make a visible space for pinning or writing your lists so you can't miss it. This is important - I bought chalkboard paint and now have boards everywhere - this one's on the end of the cupboard unit in a static caravan

  3. Don't click irrelevant links when reading general emails or updates

  4. Remove all traces of hobbies and entertainment from sight so you focus on work

  5. Allocate set times for specific jobs - housework, admin, main work, meals, phone calls, the actual job that pays your income.

  6. Reduce your social media timelines to the barest minimum and prioritise what you see first. "Unfollows" are painless - if they happen to be friends who are compelled to post every aspect of their day then stop and work out why you are compelled to know such trivial details. Are you a stalker?

  7. Take set refreshments breaks and if friends MUST call, then make sure they know when you are available and that they are not interfering with your work schedule

  8. Eat when you are hungry and let other household members cook and clear up for themselves if they are responsible enough to do so

  9. Likewise with all other household chores - delegate, share or dump the job completely if it's non-essential

  10. Focus attention on getting each specific job done before progressing onto the next one

  11. Break main jobs down into smaller jobs so you feel like you know when you have achieved each stage

  12. Keep checking the list - again, this is very important.

  13. Take a short walk outdoors, even if it's a quick dash in the rain to focus your concentration on why you should be inside doing items a to z on the dratted list! This can be known as your daily exercise.

  14. Tick things off the list before adding anything new - important!

  15. Use a timer - especially when cooking at same time as working!

  16. Use a second alarm system to remind you to acknowledged the first one

  17. Use timing switches wherever possible when cooking or working with electrical appliances

  18. Don't look on distractions as distractions - treat them as small jobs needing done within the larger ones, add them to your list and tick them off accordingly

  19. Write an email, note or other message to yourself to remind you what you should have achieving by a set time

  20. Learn basic time management.

  21. Multi-task wherever and whenever possible without getting scatterbrained

  22. Give yourself a reward for each and every achievement, even if it's just a tick on your chalk board.

  23. Ensure your own comfort and well-being throughout your day - comfortable clothing and footwear are essential - don't forget to wash your hands and keep any work equipment, work tops, mobiles and gadgets sanitised.

  24. Work in a comfortable and happy environment - ambient temperature should not cause counter-productivity

  25. Look at the ergonomics of your work space - no point pursuing goals if you ache after an hour of sitting or standing in a particular position

Procrastination is not a simple distraction - it can steal control of our thoughts, actions and will-power at any given moment in time! Embrace it, make it an item on your list and allocate fair time within your working day to address it in the way it deserves. It arrives for a reason, alerting us to other stuff that's whirring away inside our brains, hidden beneath the surface, lurking in our sub-conscious minds and ready to pounce at any monent. Be aware of it's devastating effects on all aspects of your waking life as it comes in many guises, masking negative emotions, stress and anxiety. Procrastination is often laughed off in a jovial way but its delaying tactics only add to the problem of bad time management. Take a break when a break is scheduled and set aside extra time for doing the things you like most. 

Now, I really do need to focus on the above and follow my own advice because there are chickens, ducks and ponies to be fed, willows, holly and crab apple trees to be planted and all the herbs and vegetable seeds to be sown! 

Stay home, stay safe, help save lives.

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Frugal living, for me, is about living a healthy lifestyle safely and within our own means in order to attain and maintain debt freedom, plus have a plan B for emergencies or that often-mentioned, "rainy day". Well, frugal folks, the heavens have opened and the metaphorical rain has begun pouring down! Rght now, it is about sharing our big umbrellas with those around us ... without getting within 2m distance or into crowds of more than 2. It is like a science fiction novel come alive but like all good stories, good will conquer evil. 

I recommend everyone does a complete inventory of all foodstuffs at home. We had already started sowing seeds and planting the potatoes before lockdown but it is early days, so make the most of anything you can.

Work continues at Frugaldom even although closed to all. We have no students to help us this year so time is precious, but the blogging and social media updates will continue in the hope we can help others cope during this sudden financial crisis.

Please remember that frugal living is completely new to many people who have never had to consider it. Be kind and, above all else, remember we are here to help and support others. 

Stay home, stay safe, help save lives.

You can follow @Frugaldm on Twitter

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