Hard times and hungry months

Making cheese with a spoon in a wooden bowl

Times could be very tough for the Hardys during winter. From now until Easter if you come along to Hardy's Cottage you can discover more about the brutal realities of life in the 1840s and share some of the Thomas Hardys' tips for survival.

Explore the Cottage with fresh eyes as we see the hard times and hungry months as the Hardys would have survived them. Spot the pickles and preserves in the kitchen; essential food for when winter renders the vegetable garden barren.

Wood ash and tea leaves, normally discarded as rubbish, are now kept to help with the cleaning of the cottage. And with little money to spare, you'd need to brush up on your sock darning and clothes making to get by.

Try your hand at laundry as Mrs Hardy would have using wood ash as detergent, and filling the sink from the water pump in the garden.

If you're brave enough, taste a meal that the Hardys would have prepared in frugal times.

And while you're here, share your tips and ideas for living frugally during the cold and hard winter months at the cottage.

Hard Times and Hungry Months is running at Hardy's Cottage from January until the end of March.