It was my birthday yesterday, and as always, books are one of my birthday treats. This year it's Money secrets of the Amish by Lorilee Craker and a book on Homesteading which hasn't arrived yet.
Although it isn't the best written book I've ever come across, Money secrets of the Amish is very interesting. It discusses how they try to make do and mend rather than buying new. The author talks about finding ways to solve problems, without spending your way out of it.
With that in mind when faced with a problem this morning - the chickens run which was turning into a mudbath after all the rain - I thought how can I solve this for free with what I already have? Last year I bought a load of wood chips, which worked for a while...until they disappeared into the ground, which is turned often. Mainly it was an expensive solution. So what did I have, well newspaper which is hopeless when it's so wet. I also had wood shavings from a joiner friend which I use in the hen house. It might help a little, but is too wasteful of a great free resource. So, I went to look round the allotment for inspiration....and found some dried out plants - Ammi Major, Cosmos, Cornflowers etc - that I'd left in place, planning to use them to provide cover for the beds over the winter. Just the thing. Strewn over the hen run they provide something dry for the hens to stand on if they want to avoide standing on very wet cold mud all day....as well as something pleasanter than mud for me to stand on while feeding them. Not only that, but the hens immediately set to work searching for bugs and seeds on the dried up plants, keeping them entertained too. Something to remember at the end of next summer.