Sunday, July 19, 2015

A feast of frugality

A Swedish summernight
In between rainy and cold days we occasionally have a spell of fair weather and last weekend was such a spell...

A thunderstorm building up.....

The purchase of the beaten up and ugly Volvo already paid off.
Last weekend I was able to loan a trailer, in exchange for changing the tires from winter to summer tires, and my son (yanked him from his pencils and paper and out of his bedroom) and I headed out to get some things. First on the list was a load of old double glass windows. The idea is to use those in order to build a semi greenhouse under our balcony. Due to the fact that some were damaged the original very low price got even lower. I already anticipated some damage in my calculations.
Then we moved on to the second goal, being an elderly lady, who wanted to get rid of some 200 old  roof tiles. We could have them and only needed to pick them off the roof of a small cabin. Turned out the cabin was a bit bigger than the small we expected and the 200 turned out to be nearly twice as much..... But the weather was good and the tiles were in good shape, having a nice old look to them, complete with mosses and lichens..... and 5 inhabited wasp nests. Luckily they were not that big yet, so no harm done.... to us... We needed to make a second trip in order to get everything home.
When we drove home after the first load, a road the lady advised us, we came across a buzzard. A full grown, mature buzzard, which sat low in a tree, right next to the road less than 10 meters away. As we approached it, it flew up, made a turn over the road, the sun hitting it from behind and setting his feathers a blaze with shades of copper and gold. He swooped to another tree and landed on the lowest branch. When we came closer still. he lept up and flew away into the trees... A magnificent, big bird!!! And so close.....
But the highlight of the day was my son. He is turning out to be a chip of the old block; hardworking and not complaining about it. He kept going without me needing to tell him to once, carrying and stacking the tiles to and into the trailer. I stood on the roof, handing down the tiles and watched him.... 14 years... and he was wearing my old army fatigues and they fit him quite well. Damn, they grow up so fast!! He seemed to be enjoying it, actually, although he would not willingly admit it.

So now there are 2 more piles of constructional material waiting to be used; enough windows to make a glass wall. so we can make that greenhouse... well, actually a closed up porch. It will serve several purposes: one, we can sow and pre-grow plants in it. Two, we have a place to take off snowy, muddy or wet clothes and boots, before we enter the house and mess it up. Three, the sun will hit the glass panes directly in winter, warming up the area behind it, which will create a buffer, so the cold will not enter the backdoor when we open it. It might even be enough to warm up the cellar hallway a bit. And as a bonus we can sit in the sun during winter without freezing our butts off to soak up some of those very necessary D-vitamins. Total cost; 400 sek.

The tiles will be more than enough to cover the roof of the chicken/rabbit coop and the porch, with many to spare. Those might come in handy at a later date. I might even create another shed like the woodworking shed. The broken ones will be used to fill the potholes in the road.

And speaking of help.....
I had the strangest creature helping me with weeding in the garden today; a cat.... sort off...

Plus I made a new friend too! A little robin that lives in our garden. It is around whenever I am working there and I see it flitting through the trees almost daily. It approaches me closely, regularly sitting there and watching me uncovering juicy worms and delicious grubs just out of arms reach. It comes so close that I took the next picture with my cellphone, but it turned its back on that one the moment I took the picture.

But the feast actually started about 2 weeks ago. I had been eyeballing one of those polytunnel greenhouses for a while and there was a company here in Sweden selling those. I figured such a polytunnel has many advantages; it is portable, so no buildingpermits required. And since it is portable we could first sow and pre grow plants and than move it, placing it over growing beds and grow peppers, tomatoes and the like in it. At the end of the season it would be taken down and stored. A greenhouse of 8x4 meters would set us back some 6500sek.... A hefty price.... On Ebay however my onlinebargainhuntingtalent (great scrabble word!) uncovered a source in the UK selling them much cheaper. Much, much cheaper..... Same system, same principle, yet a bit smaller being 6x3 meters. But I needed to bid on it.... and I did. In the end it saved us more than 4500sek incl. shipping!!!

And because we had built our greenhouse we received a gift in the form of plants from Esbjörn, the man who helped us a lot last year. We received a lot of plants, both decorative and useful. From my father in law we received a good number of beans and some cabbages and all of these goodies found a place in our garden.

In the meantime I was also able to get my hands on an old frame used to hang swings from. Someone wanted to get rid of it and I could have it if I came over and took it down myself. I figured it might make a great frame for our beans to climb onto. So I drove to the given address and found myself facing a homemade swing; almost 3 meters high, at least as deep and 4 meters wide... made out of old fashioned, decent quality scaffolding tubes! The owner's father had picked it up somewhere, she had been swinging from it, her kids had and now they had outgrown it... And virtually no rust!!! I guess my grandchildren might be able to use it too some day!
Now the beans are starting to grow into it. It is big enough to be placed over 2 beds simultaneously and when rotated we can simply walk though it and pick what we need.

But the cheapfeast was not quite complete yet. From work I was allowed to bring home stacks of plastic sowing boards and pots. Leftovers from our planting period. All I need to do is clean them and they are ready for use again. With any luck they will serve us quite a while, having plenty of spares. And it means less waste to begin with.

All this outbalances the large expanses we had previously and it again means that someone else's waste will be put to good use again.....

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a wonderful post! I don't even know where to begin. Thrifty smart inventive. The good boy and girl. The smart dad. The great friends. The fine weather. Love that swing. Love that tunnel.

    You is living in what we would call "Salad Days" which is a euphemism left over from antiquity (Roman). It means we're in the money (they paid the roman soldiers with salt. Latin = "sal" that's where we get "salad") or another way of saying it is things are going really great!