Feather your Nest Friday, 19th February, 2021.

 What a week!  It has been a week of "101 reasons to be prepared".   I just checked on Kelsey (Bluebird from Texas) and she and her family are doing ok. She has a proper wood fire place and a very well stocked pantry.  But she said it has been shocking as this is just not normal for them.  And she knows of stock losses in her area.  So many people are in all sorts of trouble but Kelsey and her family and babies are ok. 

For us the supermarket shelves were low. Australia had a series of border closures.  My Grand daughters could not go to school.  I have been thinking a lot about how fast things can happen.  The time to prepare is now.   Then you do your best as the circumstances present themselves.  But generally once the storm is upon you, your window of opportunity to prepare is over.  The storm coming might not be the one you expect!  But really many preparations cover a multitude of situations.   A stocked pantry,  back up ways to cook and boil water, medical supplies and so on...  they could all help in so many situations. 

Someone was saying that as soon as the power came on they would boil the kettle for some hot drinks.  I told them to do that and fill every thermos, insulated coffee mug etc so if the power goes off again at least you have hot drinks for a day.  In a crisis I want my cup of tea I can say that for sure!

The nicest thing for me was several ladies wrote and said that because of the blog they have been prepared and done well.  And helped others!   This was the best thing I could ever hear! πŸ’—

Over at my old blog The Bluebirds are Nesting I have a whole series on preparedness.    Here is a starter...

Totally Free Ways to get better Prepared.    And another Stocking your Pantry for Free.   There is an index and over fifty preparedness and pantry posts. 

Mainly I think to just learn, learn and learn.  Take every opportunity!  Watch the Ants, Bees and Squirrels.  They know to put up food.  I felt that nudge to get going a few years ago and we haven't stopped.    And as it turns out this week I had many opportunities! 

We had a guest and he arrived with a box of beautiful Nectarines and a box of Tomatoes!   I was thrilled and got to work!   When people come so stay on the farm they often ask what they can bring?   I changed my answer from "I don't know, don't worry" to "produce never goes astray if you see any at a good price."  And this was the result. 


First of all I went through the Nectarines and removed those that needed using pretty quickly.  I stewed those and they are so good.  The smell of cooking Nectarines is lovely and they cook to a lovely pink colour.  This has been my breakfast every day as it is hot here. 

I roasted two big baking trays of tomatoes then added some onion powder and herbs.    From the first batch I made pizzas for dinner.    Then the rest was divided up into portions and I froze these for future meat sauces etc.  I never peel or seed tomatoes.  So this is what I do. Roasting them is a good way to make soup too. 



I used my garden cherry tomatoes and thyme to make the Tik Tok (apparently) viral Feta Cheese recipe.   Basically you put a feta cheese (they say Danish)  in the middle of a baking dish.  Surround this with cherry tomatoes or cut up tomatoes, herbs, garlic, capsicum or anything you have or think is a good idea.  Drizzle with a little olive oil.   Bake this for about 45 minutes until the tomatoes look bursting and cooked and the feta is lovely and soft.    Meanwhile cook up some pasta.   Smoosh the Feta and the veggies together a bit and serve on top of your hot pasta.  I put out grated cheese as well and parmesan as an additional option.  Well, it was really yum!  


If my zucchini were ready I would have put some of these into. Next time!

I picked apples on the side of the road.  This apple tree was surrounded by baby trees.   My idea is to go dig up some in Autumn.  But for an experiment I pulled up one small tree and brought it home.   So far so good!   If this works I can start my own apple orchard!  



I found the biggest apple tree ever!  I overlooked it as I just never considered this enormous tree could be an apple tree.  But I saw red dots all over and went to check it out.    I need to go back to that tree with my ladder...


Mum gave me her spent Sunflowers.  They are full of so many seeds and my chickens and cocky love them.   She had the best Sunflower patches!  One patch caught the eye of some deer and they came along and just ate all the heads.  The next day she had tall sticks in the ground standing tall with no flowers!  

Mum also gave me meat for Scout and grain for the chooks.

I did just a little bit of sewing and finished up my pot holders.

Chloe was quick to point out she loved these ones so I let her pick three.




Because of the storms in the US I learned a lot of tips about surviving the cold.   At home I learned not to bend over in front of the goat and not to run in slippers.  πŸ˜

How was your week?  What were you able to put to good use?   Have you been hit by extreme weather conditions?  There are times when we cannot do extra but instead it is time to batten down the hatches and keep the home fires burning!   xxx




Comments

  1. Hi Annabel, Many thanks for all your wonderful posts and for all the valuable information about so many ways to be prepared. How do you dehydrate your apples? I am about to embark on the process but not quite sure about whether or not I need to dip the apple slices in water containing lemon juice. On line some say do and some don't. Do you peel your apples? I have so many cooked apples in the freezer... apples cakes etc.... dehydrating is the next way to go. Just bought the dehydrator today....( I have read the instruction book!) Stay safe and well and thanks again for all the inspiration. Jo

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    1. Dear Jo, Thank you! Well so far I learned not to dehydrate apples that are too tart. As then you get tart dried apples. So I dehydrate the good tasting ones. I use my apple peeler/corer where you turn the handle and it does everything is a few seconds. I slice those through as you get a spiral apple... so that needs to be separated. I check them into a bowl of water and lemon or water and pineapple juice. When I think I have enough apples I sit a dehydrator tray on a t towel and fill that tray up. So the water drips off on the t towel. Im sure you could just drain them in a colander too for a few minutes. Then into the dehydrator they go. I couldn't decide how dry to dry them. I looked at the dried fruit in the supermarket. The apples were still flexible and chewy rather than like crisps. I guess that is personal choice. I have a lot to do this next week so next Friday I will try and post some photos. I am hoping they are good and the girls will take them to school and kindy. Plus like you my freezer is quite full so I want to do other ways of preserving. Have good fun with the dehydrator! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Many many thanks Annabel. My thoughts were "ask someone who knows". I will follow your instructions - good info about the tartness of the apples. My freezers are pretty full too. I have lots of apples so I have the opportunity to experiment down the track. Thanks again for the very quick reply... I will get going today! Rather exciting trying new stuff.
      We moved to the mid north.. .. loving it. (I have a huge garden...) Cheers Jo

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    3. My husband tried to dehydrate some sweet apples last week. By the time they were dry, my daughter had nibbled them up! We had none to store!

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  2. Dear Annabel, thank you for letting us know about the storm in Texas, I had no idea. How frightening, and would be ever scarier with babies at home. I need to thank you. I count your blog as one of my big, big blessings. I have really become much more prepared and can thank you for that! You truly are magnificent and help people so much more than you realise. I am continuing to garden, cook and I relish being at home. My main job is make the home a happy and calm place to be. Lily XX

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    1. Dear Lily,
      You have a very good gaol! Thank you so much, that is so kind. Texas showed me how sometimes what we prepare for isn't what we are expecting but general things like a well stocked pantry, stored water, back up ways to cook and so on are good and helpful through many kinds of hard times. And the need also to help and encourage each other! Also I note the value of things. In normal times some canned goods and bottled water is not too expensive to add to the pantry. In terrible times they are suddenly like gold! Like soap was in the war years! So I figure soaps, matches, tampons and so on are pretty cheap, dont take up much space and last a long time. I stock up on these things as they could give me great items to trade and gift. A happy and secure home is the best thing we can do for our families! Thanks Lilly, with love Annabel.xxx

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  3. I suppose it is inappropriate to laugh about the goat, but it did bring a smile to my face as it reminded me of a similar story my mum used to tell.
    That feta cheese recipe looks interesting. I must try it.
    I almost have my kitchen back and plans are underway to stock the freezer and cupboards for when DH is in hospital and recuperating. The big question is do I give him a bell!! πŸ˜±πŸ™„ Barb

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    1. Dear Barb,
      From my experience I am going to say no on the bell! haha
      It will be good to be ahead and have easy meals though. And to not have to go to the store too much. This never goes astray. Very often I see the funny side of life and think of if anyone could see this!!? Living out on the farm I am often in the garden in my dressing gown and so on. I have had to run for it a few tines. Hence dont run in slippers lol
      I hope your husband gets on ok. With love Annabel.xxx

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  4. What a good week you had. Being prepared is so very important. Weather of all sorts and various forms hits the U.S. often. We have a bit of everything.
    We all need to be prepared for anything. Like you said, the storm may not be what you think, at least not in this day and age.
    Blessings for a wonderful week.

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    1. Dear Cheryl,
      You are right... the "storm" now to me means any kind of trouble! But so many basic preps cover a multitude of them. I put ways to boil water and ways to heat food high on the list. We have had a few storms to test them too then made improvements. Hopefully we continue to improve too. I am lucky to be in a season of adding fruit to my pantry. I hope you are safe and warm in your location! With love Annabel.xxx

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  5. Annabel,
    What a lovely post and so informative.
    I am so happy that yo had found the new apple tree and that it is loaded with apples and you may be able to start an apple orchard from seedlings growing under it.

    It has been frigidly cold up here, but as they say, it's Winter in Upstate New York, what else do you expect. I grew up in a family that was prepared so it was a lifestyle for me. We don't rush out last minute to get supplies. We have a generator for power outages, a gas fireplace, a good pantry, car gas tanks and gas cans are always full and ready. Husband has a large snow blower for driveway and walk and a smaller one for our deck. Most forget the weight of snow, our deck was built well but really how many would survive tons of snow on them. We have a roof shovel also, yes people forget about this also, at least our house now has a good pitch to the roof.

    My pantry is well stocked, I believe in having the basic essentials to make anything we like, why go to the store if you can bake bread, not going to fight the crowds for a loaf of bread before a storm.
    One thing people forget is meds, we weren't as effected by weather here where i live except for the cold, but the meds I take had to be shipped in. One med was on back order due to the storm, my Pharmacist was kind enough to check other locations I could possibly pick up the med, she found one that had it in stock luckily. Not many will do this, I felt blessed. As all know most insurance companies only let you refill at certain times, ours allows 7 days prior, so I am at times able to build a small back up stock to have on a few.

    With the frigid temps we stayed in much of the time. Instead of being bored, I found a bunch of my cotton yarn stock, some of this and some of that. I sat and listened to YouTube videos on things I wanted to learn and crocheted, it was amazing how my gift pantry is growing because of it. I have sent off a few of those gifts already to brighten some ladies days. We need to remember to do little gestures to help others . I have personally been the recipient of a prayer shawl, I will say it is a blessing and is working in such a wonderful way.

    I do so hope all the Bluebirds are able to continue to prepare and be ready for many things. Our world today is changing and we need to adjust and make our own lives and our families safe and comfortable. We need to remember comfort is important also, like the cup of hot tea.
    Love, Rosanne

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    1. Dear Rosanne,
      I never thought about the weight of snow on the roof and the deck! Now I understand about roof pitch! Living here I never thought of that!
      Also I agree... if the store is very low on goods and people are panicked then you dont really want to be in that store. You are better off safe at home.
      Another good point you make is about supply chains! Depending on where things come from a storm elsewhere can affect the supply chain. This is a big consideration.
      When we are stuck inside there is so much we can do. Turning it into a productive time is great. I get a lot done this way on hot days. Little gestures do help others! Mail is just lovely!
      Yes the world is changing and we need to pay attention and be prepared! With love Annabel.xxx

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  6. How kind of you to let us know how your reader from Texas is doing The news reports from there are truly shocking. I know it's easy for those of us in the north to think "what is the fuss about" - but when you aren't used to such extremes and you don't have the equipment to clear the roads etc. it is truly daunting. The one thing that did shock me was the lineup of people for food at grocery stores - just a bit of preparation would have meant not having to stand outside for hours in the cold. It sounds as though most of the power is back on now but the water situation with burst pipes is just a mess! There is another blog that I follow that has a few regular contributors form Texas so I hope they are able to post in a couple of days to so that everyone knows how they have fared.
    It is a dull morning here with the temps at -5C and some more snow due. We regard this as a fairly mild day, it won't affect traffic at all and I'll probably head out for a walk later - even though I use a cane I know that most sidewalks and roads will have been plowed so it shouldn't be a problem.
    I stopped in at the grocery store on Wed. while going into the office for a couple of hours and I was shocked to see how bare the meat and fruit & veg section looked - although it may have been a delivery day. It made me decide to spend a few extra dollars for some more pantry items - just in case.
    I also spent some time yesterday going through my fridge and freezer - pulling out a few items from the freezer to cook and packaging up some leftovers to put into the freezer before they went to waste. Even just one or two servings of soup will make a meal with a bit of bread and cheese in a few weeks time and will also save me having to cook on a day when I may not feel like it.
    Thank you for all your timely messages.

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    1. Margie I dont always know where people live but I knew Kelsey was right in the thick of it. I am thinking Toronto would be a very cold place. I would not want to be lined up outside any store in these kind of temperatures! For us here -5 would have us not stepping out as we are just not used to that. Our really bad days are the hot ones.
      All the way down here I have thought the same when Ive seen the veggie and fruits! A lot of them are in bad shape if there at all.
      We are living parallel lives as I am doing the exact same thing with my freezer! Then Im making an inventory. I need better freezer organisation!
      Enjoy your weekend. With love Annabel.xxx

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  7. Love your posts and read them with so much pleasure! Never comment on them before but I, too, want to thank you because back in march 2020 when we got in lockdown here in Romania, I was prepared thanks to you and other bluebirds. I have learnt so many things from you or got ideeas for handmade gifts and using up every bit I have. Have a beautiful and joyful weekend and can't wait for the next post. Everytime. Laura from Laura_s_world

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    1. Dear Laura,
      I am thrilled to have a Bluebird from Romania! Thank you so much for commenting. Laura I am so glad you were prepared before lockdown! Thank you for telling me. This is so encouraging to me. Keep preparing and taking every opportunity. And using every bit up. Sometimes when we do this we end up with an extra meal we can put away or help the budget with. All these small things add up so much. I hope you have a lovely weekend too. With love Annabel.xxx

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  8. Excellent as always Annabel ♥️

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  9. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds,
    Life is certain to change in a split second these days. As the Bible states, there is nothing new under the sun, so to know history is very helpful. Long ago, snow was not that uncommon about 40 miles north of Biloxi, MS. Weather patterns changed and snow is rare now in the southern states. Perhaps, a reversal is beginning; only God knows for sure.
    Your veggies and fruit look delicious, Annabel. It is so refreshing to see 'summer,' in other places when we are in the midst of snow and frigid temperatures. We had four days when the high, for the day, was below zero; plus snow. These are not unusual conditions in Wyoming, during the winter, but we are prepared and used to coping with it. My nephew lives in Texas, now, and he said, most people and the State, are unprepared for such weather. He is helping however he can. It is so stressful to be unprepared. We are praying for everyone in Texas and the south.
    I did some reorganizing, cooking, planning and sewing this week. I have been using some products from food storage as an exercise in planning. Intentional living, in the moment, helps me to stay focused and not think of all the craziness of the world right now.
    Love and blessings to all,
    Glenda

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    1. Dear Glenda,
      Yes history certainly repeats. If we dont know our history well that would be dangerous.
      I think the Grand Solar Minimum is a real thing. It also is a thing from history and a cycle.
      It is lovely having produce. I think you asked me about elderberry. I believe some people do grow them in Australia but not around here and I have never seen them. I would love to have them!
      I am hoping your nephew was prepared. Thinking he is your nephew so he would be!
      Being busy with good things is a big antidote to stress for sure. Doing what we can gives us some feeling of control too. There is still much goodness and God is greater! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  10. Hi Annabel (and everyone),

    What beautiful produce and those are the cutest potholders! I love the fabric you chose.

    My state (Oklahoma) has had a wild week with tons of snow and very cold temperatures, very unusual for this part of the country. We have been very fortunate not to lose power, and while a water treatment pipe burst and we were asked to conserve water, we were never without water and the pipes etc. in our home are fine. The poor birds seem so confused - we have feeders, but also put out some extra seed for them on our patio, which they seem to be appreciating - each morning I see more bird tracks through the snow leading to the seed piles. My husband shoveled safe paths out to the mailbox and garage, and has been doing winter maintenance with the car to make sure it is ok, too.

    So, this week we have been doing the best we can to stay warm and safe and have not gone out. Before the first storm hit I baked some bread and cooked some meals to get ahead. We have been using those meals this week and it's allowed us to help conserve energy by just heating things up in the microwave. (Last night, the power emergency order was lifted and I baked a pan of gingerbread for the weekend.) We do have a store of bottled water, battery-operated lights, a cooking grill and camp stove, and a fireplace in case we need those things, but have not had to use them yet. Very thankful for our pantries this week, too! Looking forward to the beginning of next week and temperatures above freezing - and getting the ok to use my washer and dryer again!

    I hope everyone has a good and warm weekend!\
    <3
    Kathy

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    1. Dear Kathy, It sounds to me the best thing you can do is remain home, warm and safe. I am so glad you kept both power and water. These make life just a lot easier.
      I hope now things are easier and you can do your washing! But you did well and really this is why we have our pantries etc. You just never know. I think of the birds and animals too. For us it is more the hot days but I put out so much water for the birds! I know it helps in extreme weather and we can make a difference! With love Annabel.xxx

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  11. Debby in Kansas USA19 February 2021 at 07:41

    My mouth watered over your beautiful bounty! And I agree with Chloe that those pot holders are great! Definitely fitting for the both of you.

    Aren't the happenings in Texas horrible? I couldn't even believe the pictures I was seeing. We definitely got the deep freeze here in Kansas but are definitely more used to the cold, even though it was certainly extreme. I think the weather guy said we spent 12 days below zero. We did okay but I suspect we'll find some damage when it all melts. Husband worked from home on the worse days and we were well stocked throughout. Yeah! We ate a lot of hearty soups.

    Oh, you forgot something in your post. I hope you'll share about the goat and slippers!! Is it worse than getting locked out of your own house with a ratty cleaning dress on backwards and inside out, barefoot, and then having to go across the street to borrow the phone of one of the house builders with 20 construction guys snickering?! That was a loong morning waiting for the locksmith lol!

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    1. Dear Debby,
      Thank you! It is good you are more used to the cold and prepared in Kansas. But almost two weeks below zero sounds so cold to me! I am glad you had what you needed and good warming soups!
      You made me laugh this is the kind of thing that could easily happen to me. I have had to make some mad dashes. My Mum also got caught outside by a man she had no idea was around and she had both hair colour in plus a face mask! I think she was in her nightie too just for good measure haha!
      This cracks me up lol
      I hope things are less severe weather wise but Im not so sure as I heard another storm was hitting some of the states. With much love, Annabel.xxx

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  12. With all our sub-zero days this and last week, it was soup making time. I had leftover roasted chicken, so I finished it off by making a big pot of chicken noodle soup with whole noodles, using up all the little dabs of frozen vegetables lurking in the freezer. Last week I purchased a package of spiral cut ham pieces (slices and bits combined) at our local Walmart and fried up some slices for a breakfast dinner. This week I used half the remaining portion in a pot of split pea soup served with corn muffins, and then I froze the remaining bits for pizza and the last 3 slices for another breakfast dinner. The tomatoes you were gifted look lovely, and oh, do I adore nectarines! I hope it's okay to share a link to a Bon Appetit recipe I used last year with our bumper crop of Roma tomatoes: Pomodori al Forno, which is basically a simple bruschetta recipe. I'm no gourmet cook, but I love to make up these tomatoes, portion the mix into pint jars and freeze. Bring to room temperature, serve with a crusty bread and whatever cheese you like, and it's such a delicious meal or treat. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/pomodori-al-forno Hubby and I have also been finishing up a raspberry pie I made him for Valentine's Day with frozen berries from our garden's first real crop last summer. We're hoping the canes survive the brutal temps we've had this year. Thank you so much for all the posts about building a deep pantry and living frugally/using up what we have, as well as learning new skills to take care of ourselves. I've felt the urge to do this the last couple of years, especially since we live rurally about 15 miles from any grocery. Best wishes to you all!

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    1. Dear Jill, Soup is so good when it is cold. And a good way to use up all kinds of things.
      Ham is really good fried up like bacon! It is so useful. There are just many meals I can make from a ham.
      Yes the recipe is most welcome! thank you! I still have tomatoes as I am also harvesting small ones.
      Raspberry pie sounds really good!
      Being out of town I think this really makes us think about our shopping otherwise we would just be in and out of town all the time. But I think a good pantry built up over time means if those roads are in bad shape (or we are!) or any other thing, then we are fine for a good while. This is better than money in the bank! With love Annabel.xxx

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  13. LoL! I can just imagine the outcome of bending over in front of a goat and of running with your house slippers on 🀣. Love your barnyard animals hot pads! Those are beautiful nectarines and tomatos! The seeds are my favorite part of the tomato, so I don't take them out either. I'll try the feta/tomato bake....sounds wonderful. What a pretty apple tree you have yet to pick from...bounty!
    We were given some avocados by our friend, Diana D, so we had sourdough bread toasted in olive oil in the skillet, then rubbed with raw garlic....spread with avocado - oh, so good!!
    We're having highs in the 70s here with cold (hi 30s) nights and some wind.
    xoxo Mary

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    1. Dear Mary, I am glad I painted a visual image for you! haha!
      Get a mild creamy Feta for the bake. It goes so nice and soft and with juicy tomatoes and herbs plus pasta it is a good meal.
      I love avocados! Just beautiful. With sourdough even better. I would happily live on that for a while! Your weather sounds more reasonable there. With love and thanks, Annabel.xxx

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  14. Dear Annabel,
    Yes, this has been a week here. Here in Ohio we have a foot of snow and until yesterday we were snowed in. I live on the far edge of town right before it goes out to those in the country. The city gets to us nearly last.
    I'm constantly amazed that you find food, in this case, apples, by the side of the road.
    I like my apple spiral, corer, slicer thingy as well as my dehydrator. I always do surplus Roma tomatoes as well as other things in it.
    The pot holders are terrific. Animals in bandannas made me smile.

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    1. I thought to make the animals with bandannas into baby bibs but it didn't quite work out. But they are super cute in the kitchen anyway!
      Since living here I have gradually found more and more side of the road trees. Watching out for blossoms in Spring has helped me find many of them. I keep watching! Now I have a good few! It is amazing! People seem to speed by these trees and either not see them or not care. Not me. I am there with my baskets picking!
      I hope you are not snowed in anymore! With love Annabel.xxx

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  15. Our middle son is right over the state line from Texas. They have been snowed in all week but the power and water have styed on. We have made that a matter of prayer daily because they have a 2 month old baby. We are also praying for all those affected. We have had really cold temps and pouring rain day after day but nothing frozen. Grocery stores are well stocked here for which we are thankful. Have a good weekend! Your summer temps sound wonderful!

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    1. Dear Lana, I am glad your sons power and water have stayed on. That is a blessing as you say especially with a small baby. I would be worried about terrible conditions with a baby too. So that is really good news. Many thanks Lana. With love Annabel.xxx

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  16. Dear Annabel,

    First of all, I have to say that those animal potholders look like they are photos of your animal "babies" just plastered onto fabric! Ha, ha! And I had to laugh about the two points you learned this week...Yes, important knowledge! :)

    Very sensible advice given, Annabel, as always. A lull in trouble always means we run the risk of becoming complacent, and then, as you say, emergencies happen quickly! I hope the border closures are done for now where you are.

    I didn't get on here last week, so I can report that hubby and I bottled a batch of black currant mead that I started last October...Yummy! This will be great for gifts. He also bottled a batch of Shiraz. I've finished a pair of socks, almost finished another pair, and started even another pair...I'm on a roll! I also knit a watchcap that will be put aside for charity. I also finally finished the set of 4 napkins for us (monogramming)...these kinds of projects will go faster, I think in another month or so after I've seen the optometrist and gotten some much needed bifocals! Gulp. Done the usual of baking, yogurt making, etc. Also made some chocolate mint patties for everyone for Valentine's Day. Oh, and I got my seeds ordered, and most have already arrived. Next month will be time to start some inside. Here we go again!

    I am drooling over those nectarines...one of my favorite fruits in the world, and we don't really get them here.

    We're just into Lent, and I am taking a big step back from my computer time...checking in here on Fridays, and checking email/weather daily, but am finding that computerland/newsland is really a major distraction from God for me, as I get lost in the never ending rabbit hole of current events and "need to know" information. Not only do I really lose focus on the fact that God is in control and lose the ability to hear what he is telling me to do, but this also really bites into my productivity each day! Little did I know just how much time was adding up with each jaunt on the computer! (Not to mention my angst level rises to unhealthy proportions when I'm online! :)) I certainly have plenty to do without time on the computer, and fun stuff, too...like crafts and reading. That said, keeping off of news reading is easier said than done!! It really is addictive, and I can see that it's time for me to wrest that control back. Fingers crossed..ha, ha.

    Hope all Bluebirders are safe and warm wherever they are!

    xx Jen in NS

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    1. Dear Jen, Your husband and you are both productive! Wine is impressive!
      I had to face that for embroidery I needed better light and glasses! So I am sure this will help you.
      News etc is tricky. It can certainly disturb me greatly. I also want to know what I need to know. Then I realised mostly mainstream media were telling me not what I needed to know but more what they want me to think! So I have worked out some ways to know if "a storm" is coming whatever that may be but really I do not need to know most of their rubbish! I do not need to know unGodly and sinful stuff either which they sure push.
      The more I craft, cook, garden etc the happier I feel too. And more peaceful! We can pray as we go through the day too and this makes a good and lovely day! With love Annabel.xxx

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  17. I learned not to iron anything on my cutting mat. It is now wavy gravy. I am trying different internet suggestions to flatten it out but I don't think that it will ever be totally flat again. I'll use it until I get points or an amazon gift card where I can order another one for free. Our rooster Cluck Norris is down. He's very old--almost eight years--and he's not getting up or acknowledging anyone. I put him in one of the nest boxes so he can be alone and no one will bother him as he passes. He was my first rooster and I feel sad about it. It's been a busy week and I am grateful for it. Love your blog and your posts are funny.

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    1. Dear Maria, I am sorry about your Cluck Norris (I really love that clever name). What a lucky rooster he is that he got to live at your house. I can see he was well loved and looked after. Clare

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    2. Dear Maria, I am sorry about Cluck Norris. This doesnt sound good. Good name though!
      I am thinking a wavy cutting mat isn't so useful. I hope you can get a new one!
      I lost a chook after a really hot day. I hate that. But it happens. I look at it as an excuse to get more chickens. Thanks so much Maria, with love Annabel.xxx

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  18. Hello Annabel! Thank you for the update on Kelsey. So glad to hear she and her family are doing well. As always, you have been so productive and blessed! I'm still trying to get back into the swing of things after two birthdays and Valentine's day. Gearing up for Easter, too. Behind on my schedule for Christmas gifts, though. Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Dear Jennilee, I am thinking about Easter too! For us Easter is Autumn and I give the kids things like warm pyjamas more than chocolates etc. I really like Easter and also try and bake some good things.
      It has been a good and busy week! I hope same for you! With love Annabel.xxx

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  19. Annabel, I love your potholders. So very cute. I imagine having snow in Texas must be like having it in Darwin. We have had light snow here in the 1980s but not enough to dust the ground as winter used to be a lot colder here. I think a lot of families in the US are well prepared if they live in areas that usually get snowed in but obviously not some that live in the warmer areas unfortunately. Watch those goats 🐐 🐐 🐐

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    1. Dear Nanna Chel, Yes you can never fully trust a goat!
      I think you are right... it is harder to prepare for something so unlike your areas normal weather and events. Also I realised buildings are built for the area. Like where it snows heaps they have pitched roofs so the snow doesnt mount up. Now I am seeing how if you dont have this and you have heaps of snow things begin to go wrong. And insulation and other things come into play. A lot to consider. Thank you re the pot holders! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  20. I’ll remember your tip about bending over around goats, if I’m ever around goats πŸ˜‚
    We’ve been through record cold weather with snow and ice in Oklahoma for 2 weeks. It’s been hard but not as hard as Texas. I’m coming up with new ways to be prepared. I want less frozen food in storage and I want plenty of clothing in case we can’t do laundry. So yesterday I ordered my husband an 18 pack of socks.

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    1. Dear Rhonda,
      This is a good point on the laundry! I think dehydrating food is really good. It is efficient on space and you won't lose it if the freezers go out. This is something I am trying to do more of. When something like this happens it makes us think and that is a good thing. I am glad you re doing ok but it still sounds very cold! With love Annabel.xxx

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  21. The picture of the chicken in the bandanna cracked me up - too cute! Well, here in Texas was a nightmare this week for many people. We lost our power, but luckily have a gas stove, so was able to cook and make coffee. I was as prepared as I hoped to be, and we made it through. I am going to invest in another propane stove, just in case we ever lose the gas. It got down to 49 degrees inside my house and I don't ever remember being that cold - I couldn't seem to stay warm. I don't know how they did it "back in the day". I guess we are just a bunch of wimps by comparison lol. It's all good now at my house, but many others still either don't have water, or have to boil what they do have before using it. So many sad stories too. Crazy.

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    1. Dear Kathy,
      I am so glad you had an alternative to electricity! Hot food and drinks makes a big difference!
      The cold is pretty scary. Although any cold I have experienced would probably make you laugh! every back up you can have is a good idea. Many things are not terribly expensive to put away as an emergency alternative.
      I am glad you are doing ok. We can learn a lot from this all but there are some really sad things and I am so sorry for peoples losses. With love Annabel.xxx

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  22. Dear Annabel, Lol your lessons this week. That made me giggle. Those pot holders are gorgeous. I had a mixed week with home schooling until school re-opened on Thursday for my daughter. I did manage to harvest my potato patch and sunflower heads. I got about 150 which I was happy about. Yesterday my sister and her family visited and it was satisfying to be able to serve them roasted home grown potatoes. Also I have a vine growing in my garden - it just appeared one day. I have been watering it and waiting to see what it was. Fruit/veg developed on it - like overgrown cucumbers with really spiky big spikes. I couldn't find any information on it. My sister helped me identify it. It is Jelly Melon aka cuke-a-saurus. An African fruit. We are excited to try it once the fruit turns from green to yellow. It is said to be like cucumber with a hint of banana. I love it when things self seed. The only way I think it grew in the garden is that maybe I tried seeds years ago, they never came up and then I have moved house and tipped pot plant soil into the garden and a seed has germinated. It is also called a noxious weed in some places so I will leave it contained to the pot it is in. Fascinating. Annabel, I echo everyone's thanks for your guidance in preparing and making our homes safe havens. One of my sisters teenaged girls who visited yesterday is suffering acute anxiety about the state of the world at the moment. It was one of the reasons for their visit yesterday - to let our girls swim, canoe and be busy together outside. This little one has got the idea into her head that the world is in such a bad state that it will end soon and so she only has about one year to live. It is awful to see her suffering. At times she shakes, vomit's and crys and has needed medical help. What a terrible reminder to keep the world out of our homes for our young ones. Things are hard enough for adults to process. It is very upsetting to see her so upset. My sister is doing the best she can to get her through this. One of the things that set her off was a class at school. So Lily (above) who says her main job is to keep her home a calm and happy place to be has chosen a very worthy goal. Take care everyone, love Clare

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    1. Dear Clare,
      Your sunflowers are always amazing! My chickens really enjoy the sunflower heads and pick at them until each seed is gone. That is good for them.
      Roast home grown potatoes sound so good!
      That is just terrible that your niece is in such a state. I can see how it would happen though. It is a crime children are told such worrying things many of which are not even true. I know you would have given her a nice time and tried to help her. I would try to get a girl like that knitting or crocheting and have some fun. I would be very unhappy with that class at school. I will pray for this poor girl! With much love, Annabel.xxxx

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  23. Annabelle, I love what you did with all the nice produce. I'll be roasting some tomatoes before long! And thank you for your concern about Texas. Our temps went down to 15 which is nearly a 100 degree flip from what we can get in the summer, up to 112. No one has explained all the blackouts but I understand we were very close to a complete system failure which could have taken months to repair. As serious as this was, it could have been so much worse. It seems strange that during the hottest part of summer everyone is running their air conditioners full blast 24/7 with no outages. Anyway, we were one of the lucky ones who never lost power and have no broken pipes. We had no running water for 3 days but were prepared so it wasn't a problem for us. We were able to help our neighbor with drinking water. I did forget to pick up extra chicken feed so I rationed it and supplemented with scratch, scraps, cabbage from the garden and boiled rice! Ha! I guess they wondered about their new diet. I know this has been a learning experience for so many. I just feel so sad for those who have suffered greatly for lack of warmth, food and water. 36 known deaths so far. And the livestock that were lost. And all the property damage.
    On a positive note, we have beautiful sun shine today and our hot showers never felt so good! We will have some more nights with freezing temperatures and then we can really get ready for spring! We plan on making some changes, maybe even a wood-burning fireplace which I've always wanted anyway. I'm pretty sure we lost all our fruit trees, even those in the green house (with 2 electric heaters running continuously on high!). I'm so glad I bought the two pear trees sitting in the pantry as things like that are bound to be scarce for a while. It will be a fresh start.
    I'm so thankful, Annabel, for your blog where we can share and get encouragement and learn how to be better prepared for whatever comes our way. Thank you!

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    1. Dear Pam,
      I did hear it was a very close call for Texas to lose the whole grid and how this could have been so dangerous and last a month or more. I know it was very serious. People dont realise if the power goes out that is it you cant even get medicines.
      Yes it is strange. I think we have been told one thing while another is going on. I have been researching the Grand Solar Minimum and this sounds more true. It is a handful to research this stuff!
      I am glad you had some sunshine! And hot water! I hope you did not lose all your trees. That would be awful. I have fruit trees and know how upset I would be! To me this is incredible that you could have a green house with heaters and still not be enough!
      Thank you for your kind words Pam. We just have to take all we can learn from these things to put a positive spin on them. Many times I have found that a good scare re something has made me act. And later I am glad it did make me act. We learn and we are lucky we can take it and learn and move forward. I know some cannot and the loss of animals and gardens etc are all awful too. I hope this has been an easier week! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  24. Annabel you have done so well and those tomatoes and nectarines are divine and you have made so much from them :) . The little pot holders are so cute and such lovely country fabrics and I am glad Chloe loved them too and snavelled a few for herself. You did so well picking all those lovely apples as well and finding the other tree to pick from too.

    We have been so busy catching up on much needed jobs around the home and gardens since DH is feeling a little stronger after his operation so the below will be two weeks of frugal accomplishments.

    Still waiting on buying our 2 new lawn mowers as they are not in stock currently but have our names down and they are going to ring us as soon as they come in stock. The old one is still limping along. Fortunately we haven't had any shortages in our local supermarkets of food items that we have noticed but we haven't been shopping for 6 weeks in the stores so really wouldn't know.

    Our Vicky challenge for the last two weeks was a savings of $51.94.

    In the kitchen -
    - Made 6 loaves of wholemeal white combination bread in our bread maker saving $20.94 over buying them locally in the stores.
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Finances -
    - Paid another part payment off our mortgage saving time and interest paid over time.
    - Deposited more money into our home maintenance fund bringing us to 89.46 % of the way there and more into our 6 month emergency fund bringing us to 63.11 % of the way to our goal.

    In the gardens -
    - Split another two rows of firewood we cut for free and I stacked it for future winter firewood stocks. Only have 4 more 1.2 x 3 metre rows out of the initial 15 rows of firewood we cut we started with to split. We also have the opportunity to cut some more firewood for free on a property nearby so we will do that shortly too.
    - Harvested 2kg of cherry tomatoes from the gardens saving $28 over buying them and washed and packaged them in freezer bags in meal sized portions for future meals.
    - Planted saved bush bean strike seeds amongst the sweet corn plants we planted to maximise produce from the gardens we have so we use less water on water restrictions. We ended up with 3 beds of sweet corn from seedlings that popped up when we trench composted that I separated out and transplanted from the previous corn plants so we will make the most of them.
    - Planted more capsicum seeds in spots where they didn't sprout in the gardens.
    - Amended 1 raised garden bed with cow manure and compost and planted more silverbeet seeds.
    - I trimmed all the shrubs to shape with hedge shears surrounding the home in garden beds so they look much neater and more in shape.

    Purchases -
    - Saved $3 by buying tic tacs on special.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :) .

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

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    1. Dear Lorna,
      I am so glad to hear that you DH is feeling better and recovering. Surgery can take a long time to come back from. Even sleep patterns. All progress is good progress!
      You are doing so well on firewood! This is so worthwhile. Once split and stacked it is amazing how much you can store. We have notice how big a pile can be but once it is split and stacked it shrinks down enormously and is great to store.
      Looks like we are both in Cherry Tomatoes. Some of ours are finished and I pulled some up today. Picking the last of them as I went. They have been good.
      Your savings funds are going great! The maintenance fund will be done soon and then you will knock of the other one faster! These will be very good to have.
      All the bread you baked sounds beautiful (I can smell it) and is a huge saving.
      I am not good at growing corn. I grow miniature corn. I will keep amending and improving the soil so maybe one day I will be better at that! With much love Annabel.xxx

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  25. Here on the Nebraska prairie it has been a normal winter week. The frigid below zero temps have ended and we had a lovely sunny day yesterday. This morning it snowed another inch (I've lost count of how much we've had so far, but I know our yard still has at least 15" covering it.). Now the sun is shining. We are supposed to get 40 degree days this week which will mean lots of melting and sloppiness.
    We added some dry goods to the pantry this week. I need to get another case of water to up our supply. With our deep pantry/freezers I just keep rotating. We will be getting 1/2 of a butchered hog in March so I have been cooking what is left from last years to make room.
    We try to be prepared in both summer and winter since we get storms both times of the year. We just bought a new furnace & AC for the house. Our old one was 34 years old and while it worked fine, it was getting noisy. We had the means now so we had it installed. This one should last us out.
    Farmer gets 90-day refills of his prescriptions. I don't think his insurance would let us get one script ahead but I may have him ask his doctor on his next visit.
    We had a generator that would run the furnace, the well, the freezers (not all at the same time), the grill would be our cooking source. (I need to be sure both LP bottles are filled.) We keep our electronics charged, have multitude of flashlights, keep our vehicles filled plus have gas/fuel on the farm. Our neighbors have wood heat and we watch out for one another in our neighborhood.
    I'm so sorry for Texas. They really had no way to prepare for such extreme weather.

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    1. Dear Kay,
      In my mind the Nebraska Prairie would be a beautiful place!
      You had good additions to your pantry and your freezer! I think it is good to get your new furnace and air-conditioning too.
      I wish doctors would make it easier to get ahead with prescriptions. Even getting a week ahead is worthwhile.
      I learned that with the freezers if we keep them shut that 15 minutes in an hour on the generator is plenty for fridge and freezers. I really think longer with a freezer but it is easy to rotate and give them all a turn. And to keep them good and full as when full they will stay rock solid a long time. When I have gaps I just pop bottles of water in there. Just incase!
      Good thinking Kay. It is also really good if we have a bit of a network in our neighbour hood. I think this makes a world of difference! With love Annabel.xxx

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  26. Hi Annabel

    So pleased to hear that Kelsey and her family are ok. What a dreadful time they are having.

    How lucky you were to receive such wonderful produce. Not sure it would get time to be made into anything in our house as these would be eaten so quickly. We do however use nectarines in a salad or grill on the BBQ.

    This is an aptly timed post as I spent Friday and Sunday cooking and freezing meals, lunches, snacks etc as we were getting low on a few things. Being prepared for me makes life so much easier

    I went into do some sewing this week, classes are not resuming but my sewing teacher an I regularly catch up for coffee an she spoke to her ex boss an she was happy for us to go in an use the area for a small fee, This is a big help as when doing bigger items there is more room an we can make use of things set up for us.

    Love the material you used for the potholders, I can see why Chloe wanted some

    Well hope you have a wonderful week.

    Take Care
    Aly xxx

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    1. Dear Aly, We have lived on fresh tomatoes and nectarines and cooked a lot up too. It has been so nice. I am glad you get ahead with meals for the week. I think this is a good investment in time. School days seem very busy and getting dinner isn't always too easy when there are after school activities.
      I am glad you can still see your sewing teacher this is great! Also having room... cutting out is always something that if you have space it goes so much better.
      Thank you re the pot holders. I cant resist farm fabrics it seems! With love Annabel.xxx

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  27. Hello Annabel. Yes those extreme conditions in the USA have to be seen to be believed! I can't even imagine. Whilst I don't do well in the stifling heat, I do even less well in the freezing temperatures. Rugging up just wouldn't cut it I fear. So good that Kelsey is safe and warm. We had a whole week of birthdays last week, so we had some busy days and we were out a fair bit. This means home and hearth suffered somewhat, and it was a real relief to get up this morning and catch up. I baked some impossible quiche and banana bread....wait for it...in the Toastie/Jaffle maker! It's on the blog if you want to see. I'm thrilled with the result. And no hot kitchen! Other than that, it's sewing and altering time here, as I revise my corporate wardrobe back to something more relaxed. A relief in itself. Have a beautiful week... Mimi xxx

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    1. Dear Mimi,
      I dont think I would do at all well in that cold. It would scare me for sure.
      Oh good on you for using the Jaffle maker. It really is basically the same thing as a pie maker... I think you can make all kinds of things and so fast! I will head over and check this out. I am sure you can re work your work outfits into ordinary life. You are like me, love a cardigan! With much love, Annabel.xxx

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  28. Thanks for the update on Kelsey in Texas.
    Your hot pads are adorable! I enjoyed reading everyone's posts. So glad to be among "lights."
    We have had heavy snows but these northerners manage. And now it is melting and we are rejoicing as Spring approaches. My husband found 17 skeins of yarn for $5 USD. That made each one 29 cents! Wow, was I thankful he built up my stash. Several babies and weddings on the horizon so I will be supplied for gifts. Blessings to you all!

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    1. Dear Leslie,
      Thank you! We have Autumn approaching and I am very happy about that too. Your husband did so well finding yarn at that price and good on him for looking out! That price is unbelievable! I love building up the yarn or fabric stash. When the weather is terrible we have plenty of good things to do. You will be busy with weddings and babies ahead! With love,
      Annabel.xxx

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  29. It is alarming how fast things are changing here in the States. I never thought I'd see the day when two senior Congressmen are demanding the three Conservative news networks be taken off cable and satellite TV. I'm certainly glad I know God is in control.

    Apparently, there was major damage done to the winter wheat crops in parts of Texas and Oklahoma. Many fruit trees are damaged and areas that were warm enough to grow crops like lettuce went below freezing. I'm certain we will see higher prices at least and shortages down the road.

    I love coming here and reading your blog. I always get encouraged and learn something. (Or at least I can commiserate!)

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    1. Brenda yes God is in control. I saw that some were talking about banks not wanting conservative depositors! And others calling for conservatives to be fired from their jobs. From what I see I believe in God and the ten commandments and so they would say I was a conservative. Well it is very alarming. But God is bigger!
      I saw terrible damage to crops, dairy and beef I think in Texas. I feel so sorry. I love your blog too Brenda. You are always calm and sensible and wise. With love, Annabel.xxx

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