Feather your Nest Friday, 16th October, 2020.

 I am happy to say it was another good week.   I like having lots of good things to report.  Spring is a busy time.   Like every season there are things that need doing.   I know there are windows of opportunities associated with different times of the year.   Now is my window of opportunity to get seedlings established before it is too hot.  Others have the window of opportunity to pick or preserve the last of their harvests.   We do not want to miss the boat!  Such a lot can be lost by not paying attention to what needs doing right now.   With a lot going on it is easy to forget what we need to be focusing on here and now.  

Currently our driveway is full of sheep.  This is also a window of opportunity type thing. They are the lawn mowers to get our long grass around the shed, chicken house and surrounds, down to a nice level before fire season.  And they are having a great feed as we have some deep lush grass right now.

Then the are being shorn as they are well and truly wooly.

I was able to see Wendy and I traded eggs for several bags of food saver bags.  Very happy to have those!

My brother has another  big wooden box that I can have.  I just said "yes" then started thinking what to do with it.  I think it could become a goat house.   We have to go pick that up.  I made him a Sultana cake as he gave me all that beautiful soil as well.

Chloe gave me a bag of crochet lace tablecloths.  I have a plan for those in the sewing room.

I made a large Quiche with some fresh eggs.

In an effort to have meals ready for baby week I made a big pan of Enchilada Sauce.  Vicky taught me how to make this.
I often make this recipe up as a mix ready to go.   You can find the recipe Vicky's Enchilada Sauce.   This is so good and easy.  I taste it and adjust ... you know you have it when it is delicious!   And trays of enchiladas freeze perfectly. 

I had a big bunch of fresh Oregano.  I chopped that up and put in a basket to dry.  I am finding fresh herbs dehydrated are much better than any I can buy.  

Also I made some chocolate cakes.   Most of these were added to the freeezer as well.

In the garden... I added radishes and a whole row came up.   And my Sunflowers are up!  Clare they are the third generation sunflowers of your Sunflowers!     Otherwise everything is looking good and the tomatoes are taking off fast.   

In my cup seed trays I have a lot of cherry tomatoes up and some cucumbers.  I think in another week these will go into the garden beds too.

One bigger project is almost complete.   A really big project actually.   We have a whole house generator and now the fuel tank to go with it.  Next is the shed to protect both of these.   This was a major goal for the year. 

If you remember last week I showed a photo of the Shrike Thrush nest at Mums with three speckled eggs.
This is it this week...

Three hungry babies.  This all happens so fast!  

I hope I can get one more photo and then they will be gone.

One of my Bantam hens is broody so I am hoping we will have Pekin Bantam chicks.
I am leaving the duck eggs hoping that I will also have a duck go broody and get some ducklings. 

Many of us are feeling to build up our pantries as much as we can.  I decided to invest in my own Dehydrator.  In winter I just dried things near the fireplace.  But in summer some fruits and tomatoes would do best in a dehydrator.  So I have ordered one.  I need to do some rearranging so I can keep that out and set up.    

I vacuum sealed up packets of Bay Leaves I dried.  Then I sat heavy books on the packages to make them flat.  Now they are ready to post. 

Today we are putting up a new hen house!   This will mean some of the hens can roam the orchard during the day. This is a big area with a rabbit proof fence.   It is an experiment as I hope during the day with Scout here we will not lose any to foxes.  They will be locked up securely from early evening.  Hoping this works!  This would mean healthier chickens and much less spent on chicken food. 

I hope you had a good week too.  How did you build up your home, pantry or garden? 

Next week I have a series beginning with how to establish an extensive pantry for very little money.   Vicky is helping me with this.   So get ready for some serious pantry building!  xxx


  1. It is wonderful all the things you are doing! Where did all those sheep come from? They all aren't yours are they or did I miss something? I don't think I have ever had an enchilada. Suppose to be 32 degrees here tonight so I put down my cold frame covers. I hope to keep my greens going for my salads. I have not bought any from the store except one bag of spinach and maybe one bag of kale all summer. I love my dehydrator. It is just a Nesco but works great for me. My oregano has little leaves and spots on them so I have not dried any. I think I have some left from last year and hopefully next year I can dry some. How wonderful to have a whole house generator. Thank you for sharing your wonderful little farm. Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy, No they are not our sheep, we are on my parents farm which is a sheep and cattle station. So these are sheep are usually out in the paddocks but they are brought to the driveway and surrounds about twice a year to give it a good clean up.
      Enchiladas are nice and something newer to me too. But we love them! I am happy with the chicken and sauce just with rice also.
      I hope you can keep your greens going too. Mine are just starting and I cant wait to start cutting them! I am excited for my dehydrator! Thank you Nancy, with love Annabel.xxx

  2. Love all those woolly jumpers wandering around on your driveway. It's good to hear that you are making lots of additions and keeping your plans moving at your place. You have me thinking that a sultana cake needs to be made. I must look up Vicky's enchiladas as I havent tried these yet.
    I have been pulling up a lot of the old greens that I dont need for the seed. These have been going into the yard with the girls who are happily munching away on them. Our three are giving us three eggs a day. This is not a huge amount of eggs but they add up. Our Katie gets a dozen eggs a week off us. Their bedding and yard mulch is providing lots of wonderful garden fertiliser.
    Katie and Jared kept one of the pups from their breeding dogs last litter. Miss Rolly is a sweetie of a pup. She comes over for a visit and loves to show us how she can sit and shake hands. Of course she does this knowing there will be treats for her being such a good girl. Rolly is a Rottweiler and it ten weeks old. She is already as big as our 17 yr old Jack Russell. It wont be long and Rolly will be huge.
    Life is puppy hugs good.

    1. Dear Jane, The best thing about weeding or pulling up spent plants is seeing the chickens love them! It is lovely now you can keep your daughter in fresh eggs. That puppy is beautiful and so nice to hear how they are training her up. She will be an asset in many ways. The sheep are moved on now and have left an almost lawn like surrounds... where it was a high weekly looking mess. So very good! Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  3. My goodness that is a lot of sheep! What a pretty sight. Congrats on the generator. I have one and have only needed it a couple times, but it sure is handy.
    Your week sounds lovely and busy. Blessings

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      The driveway is all clear and neat now! They didn't take long! We have suffered some blackouts here.. and in the fires the first thing that went was the electricity. The generator we had then ran the sprinkler system on the roof. I never have been so grateful for having a generator as that day! This is how we came to decide to have a bigger one. Have a great new week Cheryl, with love Annabel.xxx

  4. What a beautiful sight are all of those sheep. Do you use the wool yourself? I used to spin and it was so relaxing.
    We had a whole house generator installed when we purchased this house and it was the best investment for our home. When the electricity cuts out here, the generator immediately kicks on and runs until the power is restored.
    Have a wonderful and safe weekend, Bluebirds. Many blessings to all of you.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Our generator is also set up to just take over when the power goes out. It is a big step up from what we have. Nan, Mum and I all were spinners. Nan was amazing. She used natural dyes and Dad saved her the longest fleeces. Now it is a long time since I spun wool but I have been saving fleeces. My plan was to going a group and re learning with help. But covid closed down everything. Next winter I hope to do better or just figure it out on my own. I have sheep wool and alpaca saved, in different colours. Have a very good new week Glenda! With love Annabel.xxx

  5. Who is Vicky? I have read several of your posts on the other blog and have seen Vicky challenges, etc. Really enjoy your writing!

    1. Dear MMS, Thank you! Vicky is my friend in Ohio. For a couple of years we had a challenge to do as she did which was to count our weekly savings made by making and doing things ourselves and add them up each week. I did this for three years straight and it showed the savings I make at home were worth a pretty good annual wage! Vicky has also written pantry theme articles here and next week we are collaborating to being a new pantry series. Her pantry is legendary and she does it on very little money. Thanks so much, Love Annabel.xxx

  6. I showed the sheep to my husband and he said we need some sheep here twice a year, too! We are hard at work battening everything down for the winter. We have one more week of nice weather to get it done. Inside we are working through going through the pantries bit by bit and taking note of any needs. I am kind of ready for cold weather and soups and warm throws on the sofa.

    1. Dear Lana, Yes a bunch of sheep can clean up a big area very fast! They did a good job! We don not have winters like yours but I like the fire going and the change of menu... it is cozy. It is good you have reviewed the supplies well. Have a good new week. With love Annabel.xxx

  7. It does sound like a wonderful week for you! We are a month into autumn here and it was a good week for me, too--

    * I made and canned 7 more quarts of applesauce = 10 quarts so far. I think I am done for the year (there are only 2-3 of us). I still have a crisper drawer full of .47 lb. apples to eat fresh.

    * I harvested 11 more red ripe tomatoes, the last of the cherry toms and another zucchini. We cleaned up the garden today and picked a huge bowl of green tomatoes and pulled up the vines.

    * I bought 5 cases (60 cans) of Progresso soups for .99 can. Lunches here are leftovers, a sandwich, or a can of soup--these should last a year. I also got two dozen eggs for .59 each using a store app.

    * I tried a recipe for a simple beef curry called Pakistani Kima, and it's a keeper.

    * This will only mean something to your US readers--I am changing my Medicare Advantage policy from a HMO to a PPO, to allow me to go out of network. I spent quite a bit of time this week comparing the 4 plans that are available where I live.

    * Not frugal for me, but I sent two books to friends and donated 4 more to the Little Free Library.

    * I donated a lot of glassware, two computer monitors and some miscellaneous electronics to Goodwill. It freed up two half-shelves in the china closet, plus another shelf in the office/sewing room. I could have probably sold the monitors, but I just wanted rid of them.

    1. Dear Maxine,
      I am glad you had a good week! The apple sauce will be so nice to have. You are harvesting tomatoes and I am just planting mine. What a good buy on the soup! A very good item and you make a good point... a meal stretcher! You did some donating too and that is awesome. I hope you have a really good new week too! With love Annabel.xxx

  8. Those pix of the sheep and eucalyptus trees look other-worldly; beautiful!! Look at those precious baby birds :D. I hope your chooks will be safe in their freer environment with Scout to be on guard.
    I did find some more storage space to stock up some more canned goods for Winter/covid-caused-closures?. An unused, hard-to-get-to large section of under-counter cabinets will hold things I have listed on paper, so I don't forget we have them. Stay well~xx
    Mary in San Diego

    1. Dear Mary,
      I really liked the photos too and think the scene of normal farm life is really lovely. Good work on finding space. I have been doing that. Sometimes we overlook such funny and obvious things... I found some spaces that I have put to use. Have a very good new week Mary. With love Annabel.xxx

  9. Here I am! I did well to mark the site so I wouldn't lose my way once again, lol.

    It was a busy week with most of my efforts this going into deep cleaning and rearranging the living room in my spare moments at home. I haven't felt well but this much was very do-able for me and made me feel the week hadn't gone without accomplishment. I also cooked all but one meal at home.
    I am drawing a line on spending until the end of the month. Lots of things done this month but it's time to slow down and let the checkbook rest and look at what we have and how we're stacking up against this time last month. I don't mind taking spending vacations at all as it reminds me that we do indeed have enough.

    1. Dear Terri,
      I hope you are feeling better. It sounds like you still got quite a bit done! 1t is great to get feel cleaning done. Very satisfying actually! I am chipping away at Spring cleaning with a fair few deviations! With love Annabel.xxx

  10. We have been enjoying beautiful spring weather here too Annabel - some pumpkin seeds (leftover from pumpkin soup!) are already sprouting in our little green house, as are cucumbers and tomatoes. In the garden the potatoes are going crazy and even the sunflowers are sprouting here too. We have had so many beautiful flowers - I've never seen so much rain before! Obviously everything is responding really well to it. For some reason our zucchini in the new wicking beds are turning yellow - too much water perhaps? Or not good soil? I'm not sure...
    Yesterday I planted new lettuce and spinach seeds, even though we still have spinach from winter growing, I'm looking forward to a new crop. Also our snow peas are coming along nicely. The chooks are laying everyday and I feel like we are in a really good position. With borders open here now and this new NZ travel bubble I feel like we may get another outbreak (fingers crossed we don't!) so am glad everything in our house is prepared and ready. And I finally got that turkey roast for Christmas!
    Blessings to you and your family, Kirsty

    1. Dear Kirsty,
      I am glad you had so much rain! It is the best thing! My pumpkins are taking off well so I hope yours are too.
      Also my old spinach is nearing the end... I am giving a lot to the cows and the chickens so I also need too start some afresh.
      You got a turkey! Ok I got a ham! I am still turkey hunting! haha!
      We really dont need another round of covid I agree. How we all long for normal! But being prepared is good. I learned a lot in the first round. I truly had never seen empty shelves in my life and it was a shock how fast things happened. I would never have believed it! So we need to remember these things! With much love Annabel.xxx

  11. Dear Annabel, I love the photo of the sheep, it is such a beautiful photo. I love the photos of your cooking. Enchiladas are delicious, I must try Vicky's recipe. I hope Lucy and her family are feeling better. I am excited to hear about your dehydrator, it is on my list to get one. I am busily trying to get the last things in before it gets too hot here. I made some blueberry muffins and pancakes yesterday- it fed everyone (for a few hours anyway! lol). Lots of love XX

    1. Dear Lily,
      I think the secret with enchilada sauce is like with many things... let is simmer away to develop the flavours. It is really good. The muffins and pancakes sound beautiful. I hope you have all your harvest in. With the heat... if you have a dry heat you can dehydrate quite a lot outside. Outback Tania has a set up that is a natural dehydrator that her husband made. I could do that here if I could get the set up to keep bugs off the food. I did well with the dehydrating near the winter fire. But there are times the electric dehydrator is just needed too... so I am really excited for that to arrive! Plus re arranging things so I have a place to leave it set up and ready to go all the time.
      I hope your new week is going well it is already Wednesday! With love Annabel.xxx

  12. Hi Annabel,
    I love the look of your enchiladas. They look delicious and make me hungry! I need to cook some up and make extra for the freezer. Also, I am enchanted by your living lawn mowers! I have wanted goats for that purpose. Also because I adore goats :D. We decided that's not really practical for us senior citizens.

    I found ways to save this week. Walmart had their cotton osnaburg fabric on sale and I bought a bolt. (I believe it was 10 yards) I can use that in many ways. My fabric stash is now overflowing its closet but I'm glad to know there's plenty of options when I get ready to sew. Fabrics and patterns have gotten terribly expensive here in the USA.

    I had a doctor's appointment in a nearby town and I went to a nursery looking for fruit trees and lemon grass. They didn't have any fruit trees but they GAVE me a nice big bucket of lemon grass and it is growing like crazy! I will be giving them more of my business :=).

    Our oregano plant needed pruning so I have cuttings air drying. I am making a goldenrod tincture which is supposedly a good fall tonic. I also learned that 100 proof vodka dabbed on an aching tooth will stop the pain ASAP! Also have apple scraps and pineapple trimmings in jars making vinegars. We were so pleased with the first batch of apple cider vinegar that now I'm dedicated to using all my fruit scraps for that purpose! And the leftover scraps can still go to the chickens. I call that a win-win-win.

    We are installing screen doors on our entry ways for better air flow. We were wishing for those when our central a/c went out a few weeks ago. We didn't have to buy the doors or the paint because we've had that stuff stored in the shop for several years. If we ever finish all our projects we will gain a tremendous amount of space in the shop!

    I concentrated on cooking double this week and the results were several freezer meals. That is such a time saver and I want to do more of those. You inspire me, Annabel! I equate saving time as a huge money saver and I've been working to get more organized so I don't waste time looking for stuff :D. Wish me luck! And I wish you Bluebirds a beautiful week!

    1. Dear Pam,
      Now I am nosey about your age! If you are under 90 goats are for you. Maybe small or nature ones. Seriously. The sheep did a great job and fast! If we get re growth then Laffie and the gang can take care of it from here.
      Screen doors are wonderful. I am a door open, breeze flowing through, person. Love this.
      Freezer meals are wonderful. I LOVE to have a heap ready. To me they are like a bank account! Thank you Pam for such a nice comment. With love, Annabel.xxx

    2. I confess I am the same age as your mom: 79. I don't know how it happened so fast! I would love to have a few goats but here we would also have to have a donkey for protection from coyotes. We do have about a 2 acre section fenced with goat wire but we are afraid they would eat up the vegetation in no time and we wouldn't have another pasture for them. We have 15 acres and my husband's health has deteriorated to the point he is not able to do very much. I have my hands full taking care of everything but I know we are blessed having this place and I really love our life. There are always a million things to do and projects to complete but I've learned to pace myself and do what I can. We never planned on him getting sick and we won't ever complete all the plans we had but after all, it is about the journey, not the destination! You are so wise to get the big jobs done while you are young! Come to think of it, I might have to rethink our decision about goats :D.

  13. I would love to have a 2-yearly sheep cleanup in our timber and around the building. This week was busy as Farmer finished our 2020 harvest. He finished picking corn on Tuesday. All of it is in the bins and the equipment has been cleaned and is now everything is mostly sorted & stored in the buildings. He did mention moving a few items so he can get to things easier next Spring.
    Yesterday he brought home the last of the grass round bales from the field. We are now fully-stocked with bedding and feed for the cattle once we bring them home from the fields/pastures.

    We picked the last of the tomatoes and pulled the vines. I have a long camping table full again. Some green ones that I hope will ripen. I could can more, if I can get up the gumption. I've canned alot this autumn.

    I picked the last of the basil. I need to cut the rosemary and thyme. The thyme may come back but we are supposed to have a hard, cold winter so I'm doubtful.

    We also helped a young friend cut his jack-o-lantern. (We don't celebrate Oct 31, but his family does.) I saved some of the seeds for us for next year.

    I sorted through the pulled onions. I had to toss some but the rest filled a medium-sized mixing bowl. I have them on the counter to use up. Or I will chop and freeze.

    I froze a bunch of too-ripe bananas. Farmer just didn't eat them so they will go into smoothies or banana bread.

    We emptied most of the flower pots onto a raised bed that needs some better soil amendments. I have a few more that the flowers are still blooming and then they'll go into that bed or on the garden where Farmer dumped some clay soil. I will also be raking up leaves and dumping on the garden and then running over them with the mower to chop them up.

    Soon it will be too cold to do anything outside and I can start decluttering inside.

    1. Dear Kay,
      You had a really good week. It is so different to imagine how you prepare for the cold and yes once the winter comes you will get more time for indoor jobs. We just have to go with the season that is for sure.
      Well done on canning so much! I rescued a big lot of over ripe bananas today from my daughters house... so I also have some to deal with. I think a bake up is coming!
      I hope your new week is going along well! Many thanks Kay, with love Annabel.xxx

  14. Thanks for your post, love the little glimpse of your corner of the world. I read your comments about spinning. My daughter-in-law has a great blog called the Rogue Weaver, and she posts for a store called Gaspereau Valley Fibres (on face book) located in NS, Canada. We too installed a generator but for a much different reason. We have been having increasingly severe freezing rain storms which lock down everything for days as well as no hydro no heat. Thanks for your blog, love it.


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