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By the author of What School Should Have Taught You.
Carrying on with our conversation about how what you have around you right now can help you to save money, I want you to think about any stand of timber that you currently have on your property. If you live in a heavily wooded area, are there ways that you can save yourself money by using that land?
I think so.
The easy thing to point out here would be the presence of firewood if you have a wood-burning stove or a fireplace. A cord of firewood isn’t cheap, but neither is paying for electricity. If you can pull in your own firewood from your own woods each year, you can save a bit of money on firewood, firewood delivery, and on your electric bill.
But ya’ll have already thought about all that.
I want to tell you about another way that I’ve been able to use my woods to save me a little bit of money. Gardening has absolutely spiked in popularity in the past two years as people realized that the grocery store might not have the food items that they went looking for. If you can’t buy it, you may as well grow it, right?
That was the same mindset that these people had too. And so, they went out and started their own gardens. I think that this is a commendable decision for its wisdom. But ask anybody who has started their own garden, and they can tell you that you can easily throw a lot of money into building a garden from scratch.
I’ve talked a bit about the economics of this before and how I am able to get my money back and more regardless of what I spend in the garden (making what I thought were as wise of purchases possible along the way). But what do you do if you really don’t have that much money to throw at your garden to start off?
You can use your nearby woods to help to offset the cost.
I like to build raised beds for everything that I do. I have a better time with weed control, I like not having to get down as low to do any work with the dirt, and I like the way it makes everything look.
For my lower garden, I knew that I wanted to build raised beds, but I didn’t want to spend the money on lumber to do it. I wanted four raised bed rows, each being 15’ long and 2.5’ wide. At the time, for me to have done that was going to cost me over $100 in wood. With the skyrocketing of lumber costs, it would be even more today.
So I used what I had – the woods around me.
I found a few trees that had about the same diameter as the fat part of a football and cut them down with my chainsaw. I then cut off all the limbs, cut them to manageable sizes that I could easily move, and made myself four raised beds that were just the way I wanted them down in the lower garden. And it didn’t cost me a thing other than a bit of labor and some gas for my chainsaw.
That was five years ago, and though the logs are still there doing their job, they finally rotted through this year. If I’m going to want everything to look good for next year, I’m going to have to spend a little bit of time this winter cutting down some more trees and moving around a bit of dirt with a shovel. I’ll be able to use what I have to get the results I want without having to spend virtually any money, though.
If you’re looking at building a garden this upcoming spring and are strapped for cash, this may be an idea that you may want to look into. Even if you don’t have woods of your own, I can guarantee you that you are going to have a friend or relative this upcoming winter who is going to have a tree fall on their property because of an ice storm. They’re going to want it removed. You just might be able to get some of that lumber for this purpose.
You can use fallen limbs and sticks, too.
Daisy has talked in the past about how when she and her daughter lived in a cabin in the woods, they regularly went out for a walk and came back with small fallen limbs and sticks. They had a place under their covered porch where they laid these out to dry for a few days. Then, they brought the items inside and used them for kindling.
If you are into arts and crafts (or have kids who are) you can make all sorts of things from sticks and twigs. Daisy talks about covering picture frames with twigs and hot glue, then putting outdoorsy pictures in the frames and giving them as gifts. Kids can make all sorts of items from sticks. One fun learning project is making a mini log cabin with sticks. Who needs Lego when you have piles of sticks for free? (Okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Everyone needs Lego.)
Use what you have.
The old saying goes, “Waste not, want not.” It still rings true today. If you figure out creative ways to use what you have around you, you can end up saving a lot of money that you didn’t have to spend otherwise. Provided you’re not sacrificing safety or aesthetics too much, it’s a good thing to think about. Before you throw something out or head on out to the store to pick up something you need, ask yourself if you can’t think of a way to use what you have already.
Looking at things through this lens may just save you some cash. But what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comment section below.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.