Feather your Nest Friday, 26th February, 2021.

 The week went by so fast!   We have beautiful Autumn like weather with cool evenings.  And only two days to go to actual Autumn, my favourite time of year.

My son in law called in.  He wanted to know if my sheep were mixed in with other farm sheep how would he tell which ones were mine?   I said my animals are the ones that come for biscuits and chase the car.  So when they are shearing he has to check none of my sheep are mixed in by calling and bringing out the Arnott's Milk Arrowroot biscuits.   He shakes his head!   

One of the sheep, Buddy, can never get mixed up as he does not care for other sheep.  He only likes Eddie. 

Head butting is their idea of a good time.    

Some of my "put it to good use" projects have included planting up seeds that the supermarket is giving away as mini kits.  I have everyone saving these for me.   Already I have sage, lettuce and silverbeet and spinach ready to plant out in a few days.  I have enough for a whole row of silverbeet.

I put some of my tomatoes to good use and made an enchilada sauce which was delicious and gave us a couple of meals.

Also I put basil to good use and made Pesto.  We had it with pasta on the first night and I froze some little batches portioned out for other meals. 

The last of the Nectarines also were used for lovely stewed fruit for breakfast. 

Some of these simple things are so good.  A joy to make too as the freshness and fragrance are so lovely! 

In the garden I have pulled up most of my tomatoes plants.  I have harvested the very last tomatoes as I go.   The spent plants have gone to the chickens.    They are happy.  Nothing is wasted!

I was given a bag of locally grown onions and two jars of locally produced honey.  They were both trades actually!   I traded eggs for a fleece also! 

And.... this is BIG...  we now have a beekeeper!  Someone we have known for many years is a bee keeper and he is setting up some hives on the property.  Annually we get a bucket of honey as a trade.   Also he will help if we have trouble with bees ie a swarm moves into a shed.  I am so happy about this!   There is a flower on our gum trees that makes very good honey apparently.   Also we have Manuka here and so local honey contains some.   This was a major addition to our food production!

We now have a rabbit proof fence around my yard where I grow pumpkins.  This year I had major rabbit problems.   So now this lovely yard I have is rabbit proof!  

And I now have a special chicken coop for my young Wyandotte chickens.   It is beautiful!   

Tomorrow I will get hay into the nesting boxes and on the floor.   But we are nearly there! 

I am working on my freezers and trying to use things up and re arrange as I go.   It's too much to face in one day so everyday I have a kind of use it up challenge and organise a section.  Ultimately the goal is to have things much neater,  fit more in and to have an inventory.    You can think you have a lot in the fridge, freezer or pantry but then when you remove packaging, wasted space and put it all back you don't have as much as you think.   I worked this out in my old house.  I thought I had such a well stocked pantry.  But when I had a big clean out, put things in jars, removed things that were not food (ie the sandwich maker and all kinds of odds and ends...) the end result was I really didn't have as much as I thought I did.  It just looked full!  That is a bit of a false sense of security. 

Every week I am going to try and include additional reading that is encouraging, lovely and useful.  This week I will mention Jess at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth.   You will feel happy visiting with Jes.   Also she has extensive beautiful free things to print,  pantry and cooking advice, recipes for beauty products and ways to use up all kinds of left overs such as citrus peels.     Anyway, something Jes said caught my eye.   It was perfect for this time.   She said :

"Though I'm dutifully aware of all that is going on in the world (Matthew 24:42) I'm also dutifully choosing loveliness today (Philippians 4:8)

How about you?" 

Yes!   We need to do both.  The Prudent see danger and take cover. (Prov. 27:12) and this means we need to be watchful.   But we cannot let anyone steal our joy.    Our path is helped by that fact that we have full instructions and we know what to do.   Our power is enormous as we set the tone in our homes, create the best sanctuary we can and care for our families.   It all makes so much difference.  A reader told me last week how her niece had been told at school terrible things that led her to believe she will die in a year.   She was so terrified as she believed it.   I would be confident I could guess what this teacher was talking about.  I think it is a crime to take away a childs hopes and dreams for the future.  But it can happen to us too even as adults!   Some time on mainstream TV can lead you to the same conclusion.    We have to guard out hearts all the time.    

One time in primary school my little brother came home with a book to read and so each evening Dad would sit and read it with him.   Only after a couple of chapters Dad said this book was so subversive that he stopped reading it and wrote to the teacher.  He also said my brother was to have a new book to read. He saw something very bad in that book for a small child and said no, no, no.  
Probably the teacher didn't like my Dad too much.  But we have to say NO.  No, no and no.   We have to guard our hearts and minds and look well to the ways of our households.  And look at the joy that comes from that.  And peace, order, security and countless other good things.   

How did you build up your home this week?   Were you able to put something to good use and make the most of it?   If you are in the north I hope you have managed in the freezing weather.  xxx


  1. I had to smile yet again when you told your son in law how to tell which animals belong to you ... :-)
    Wow to your own beekeeper ! Your excitement could be felt through your post .
    And yes we need to be careful about all the news and negative stuff that can bring our spirits down. We watch very little news here , just enough to keep us informed of current events re: Covid cases .
    Your new chicken coup looks perfect for your lovely Wyandotte chickens , aren't they lucky to have such a lovely home .
    I have just built up a basics store of pantry goods after using up what I had so I could at least find what was on hand. Hubby cleared our 3 of his garage shelves for me which worked out perfect .
    Have a lovely weekend and some rest , with love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria,
      I love honey and believe in its health benefits and healing powers. So to have our own natural honey is so good! Yes I am excited!
      tIt is greta you have extra shelves in the garage! Space is a good thing for sure. I hope you have a lovely weekend too! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. Dear Annabel, I love that your Dad wrote to your brother's teacher. We should all be doing more of that; standing up for what is right. I love that quote from Jes' blog. It's beautiful. I have been working hard at that. I am trying to make home a happy and peaceful place where everyone wants to be. I love your hen house and run. It really should be in a magazine.It's gorgeous and totally your style. Your honey deal sounds fantastic. I love honey, it's like gold! And would be amazing to have on had for cooking, the pantry, gifts and for trades. I haven't tried making pesto, but I would like to give it a go. I have planted some new plants, some have worked, some haven't, but they were for free, so it is ok. I am really trying to work on cutting our grocery costs and stretching things out. I am surprised by growing a few leafy greens how much that saves. I have been saving our eggs and hopefully will make a quiche and some lemon butter. I will use your trusted and amazing recipe! I was able to trade loyalty points for a much needed vacuum this week. That saved a lot! And saved our budget. Lily Love to all Bluebirds.

    1. Dear Lily, I often refer to honey as liquid gold! Exactly as you said!
      I use the recipe on Mimi's blog which is A tray of bliss. If you google the blog name and pesto and marinated feta it will come up. It is so so simple. I roast blanched almonds for it. I freeze small amounts and it freezes perfectly. it is so fragrant to make!
      It was great you were able to get a new vac! Groceries are going up so much. Working out how to use up everything, extend things etc. it all helps. With much love, Annabel.xxx

  3. Dear Annabel, What a delicious post. Buddy and Eddie, how cute. Congratulations on the honey. That is big news. My Mum and Dad had the same arrangement a few years back. The new chook house is amazing. Today while waiting to pick my daughter up in town I had five minutes to run into a opp shop. I am glad I did, I got her a $1 dress that she is excited about and also a $5 decorative bird cage similar to yours except it is not an antique but a copy with tin birds on the outside. It has a bit of rust but will look lovely painted up - something my daughter wants to do - as soon as she got in the car she claimed it for herself. I am happy for her to busy herself with it. We have been able to pick and eat grapes off our vine. They are very tasty. They grow along our chook pen, my daughter loves to sit with the baby chickens and feed them grapes. How spoilt are those chickens! Thankyou for the quote. Love Clare

    1. Dear Clare,
      It was lovely to find a dress your daughter liked! And that she is seeing the potential in things and wanting to do them herself! This is really good.
      Your chickens have it good! They are amazingly fun to play with and feed. This kind of things after school and on the weekends and just nice. Relaxing and happy!
      Lots of farmers seem to do this beekeeper deal. They need the land and seem to have to move hives around a lot. So it is a perfect deal! I think I should plant some grape vines. I did plant a Passionfruit and that seems to be doing well. Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  4. What a lovely week you had. I love the chicken coop. Such lucky chooks!
    Yes we need to be mindful of keeping joy in our lives - there is much going on that suck the joy away. Enjoy all the beauty of nature and enjoy all the small little things.
    Children are taught so much that seems immoral today. Just because people say things are good, doesn't make it so.

    1. Exactly right Cheryl. When Harper was tiny the TV was on a children's programme. It was a very old programme that had been running many years here in Australia. I truthfully thought it was safe. But I looked up and saw something on the screen that I do not want my Grandkids seeing. I was shocked! So that was the end of that. This is a show aimed at pre schoolers. They have an agenda, it is clear. But so do I! ha! I have probably reached a place now I am non participating in some of the agendas chosen for us. We have to say no at some point. Id rather be good with God than popular! With much love, Annabel.xxx

  5. Love that your father did that! And thank you.... xoxo ♥️ 😘 🤗

    1. Thanks Jes. I am working on the bravery Dad had. He did not care what people think if he thought something was wrong that was it! xxx

  6. How blessed you are to have bees soon.
    Manuka honey to boot. That is precious stuff indeed. My son had staph on his leg and it healed his leg up , wonderful stuff.
    It is very expensive here in the states.

    I have been blissfully ignoring the news, social media, etc.. We watch Acorn TV and Brit Box to escape what is going on. It is Spring here so we are planting our garden beds now.

    Now that we are no longer producing our own crude oil and dependent on foreign oil again. Gas prices are soaring, which means food prices and everything else will soar too.
    Gas is at $5.00 a gallon at many stations. My girls and I are buying things in bulk and sharing. When we shop we all go together and take turns driving. I really try to avoid any travel that isn’t necessary and combined all my errands.

    Your coup is beautiful. Thanks again for an encouragement on the web.


    1. Which country do you live in Lynd?
      We in Australia are also dependent on foreigners as we have only a couple of oil refineries left in the country. The politician’s won’t listen and blissfully carry on, while we leave our country vulnerable.

    2. Dear Lynd,
      In Australia we have less than a months fuel supply. So in a crisis we could be in trouble fast. I so admired how the USA was fuel independent! Absolutely wonderful. So with you I was just horrified to see this was lost so fast. Yes prices will go crazy.
      Lorraine Lynd is un the US. This just happened this last couple of weeks.
      So interesting to hear about your sons success with the Manuka! I have been told world wide hospitals are using it! How amazing! With love, Annabel.xxx

    3. Thanks Annabel, I didn’t realise that. Xx

  7. We smiled at your comment about your sheep! Wonderful things are getting done there on your homestead. That honey will be wonderful for heading off any allergies! You could not get more local!

    It is a very fine line here in the USA right now between fear and trusting God to take care of us and being watchful so that we can let our government know that we are opposed to things that are being passed and legislated. While it would be easy to look the other way and just pretend that all is well we know it is not. Prices are going up and gas is up 10 cents a gallon each week.

    1. Dear Lana,
      I feel for you. From all the way over here I see. And feel it. What happens there affects the whole world and us very much. What is biggest to me is things dont make sense. I maintain that when enough things dont make sense something sent true. I am praying. Some of the issues we have too. People are smarter than they give us credit for. We are not fools. So I pray with you and we continue to do what we can, control what we can control and wait on God. But it is hard! In my life I have never felt such a battle between good and evil. It is indeed Biblical! With love, Annabel.xxx

  8. I loved so many things in your post - the chicken house, the beekeeper setting up hives, the sheep who love biscuits, Jes's Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth site, concentrating on the prudent and the lovely - so many good things! I am so glad I came upon this group and love reading all the Bluebird posts. I know this may sound strange, but I feel a sense of calm wash over me when I read these posts and share the little things in my life here. Best wishes and God's blessings to you all!

    1. Dear Jill,
      Thank you! This is a very kind comment. I am glad reading here makes you feel good and calm. There is a lot going on around us. That is for sure. But our own day to day lives are full of goodness and blessings and there are so many beautiful things to think about. I really benefit from looking at we achieved in the past week and feeling grateful and good about small accomplishments. I know being out in the sunshine and fresh air... that alone is good. The garden and animals too. I hear constant birds singing. I love it. Then you know God is in control at the end of the day! This is reassuring to me! Thank you Jill. With love Annabel.xxx

  9. Another lovely post Annabelle! How funny that your sheep come for biscuits! I think they might bee as spoiled as our little dog, Coco. Your chicken house is so nice and how wonderful that you will have bees on your property. Our son has bees. Does not help us as we live in IN and he lives in MD but it is interesting learning about them with him. We buy our honey locally. I am trying to memorize bible verses but have to review them or I forget them. I was reviewing Philippians 4:8 last night. It helps me remember when I think TP for true and pure. (toilet paper) Whatever works, right. My primary care doctor sent me to a hematologist. I am so, so tired. I do have a little unexplained anemia and celiac. He said he could help me and sent me for more blood tests. I go back in three weeks and hope he still thinks he can help me. Please pray along with me. I am trying to get some winter sowing done in milk jugs. Hopefully our really, really cold weather is done. Thank you for sharing. Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy,
      That is funny,. I do have some funny ways of remembering things. I am ok with a lot of verses but I fall down on what verse and chapter they are from. But still I think knowing as much Scripture in your heart is a great thing. Sometimes too a verse you never paid much attention to comes to life somehow and then it is a tah dah! moment!
      I will pray Nancy. Tiredness/exhaustion is just terrible. Low iron quickly wipes you right out. I used to suffer that. So does any allergy... and I went through the gluten experiment and limited all wheat and I have never had one thing transform my energy so much. Like a miracle. So I hope you can find something that will make such a difference to you! With much love,

  10. Dear Annabel,
    How sweet that your sheep come for biscuits. That certainly makes things easy. I love Jes' posts and have read her blog for a long time. Her printables are wonderful!!
    Your chicken coop looks wonderful. I can relate to what you said about your pantry. I deliberately placed all the non-food items -storage bags, dehydrator, canning jars etc. on a separate storage unit slightly apart from the others. I was able to get more frozen veggies to add to the freezer as well as some dry goods. I've made a running list to know the quantity and replenish with like or similar substitute as it's used up. This week has also been spent dreaming of planting the garden and planning that out. I can't wait for spring.
    Those two Bible verses are perfect for how I try to live. We will become fatigued if we don't have some loveliness to temper the ugly. Blessings, Laura

    1. Dear Laura,
      I am looking forward to Autumn and you are looking forward to spring! I love the season but summer is the hardest season here. You can dream about what to plant!
      God surrounds us with goodness. I am amazed by the beauty. Just now I can hear black cockatoos in the trees. They are huge and so gorgeous.
      I am glad you could get more frozen veggies. When we had lockdowns I learned the great value of frozen and canned veggies. Now I know they can be such life savers and as I re do my freezer I am having a couple of shelves just for veggies. So I know what I have and how much I have. If I go missing it will because I fell into the chest freezer! But Im getting there! Have a lovely new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  11. Ah, what great photos of your animals! And excellent thoughts today, thank you. I needed a bit of positivity ;)

    1. Thank you so much! I am thinking how some things build us up and some things discourage us. We need lots of things that lift us up a little, that is for sure! xxx

  12. Dear Annabel,
    I love how you care for and love your animals. Your pets are precious.

    I wrote our state political party concerning our House representative this week. I make my voice heard by, frequently, writing to our Senators. Our representative in the House, however, is a renegade and has defied the constituents wishes, so they need to know she has lost support. I am only one of many that informed them of their displeasure with her.

    Politics aside, I did some rearranging and using up of items in the inside freezers. I dehydrated a variety of vegetables, last summer, so I wanted to make a crockpot of soup using our homemade broth and just dehydrated vegetables. It was really an experiment to see how well they turned out and how they tasted; totally delicious and they rehydrated well. I will dehydrate a wider variety this summer, as well as, can some. I am trying to move further away from freezing so much.

    We are looking forward to Spring here, but I must admit Autumn is my very favorite season. Enjoy the cool weather!

    Sending much love to you and all the bluebirds,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      I cant imagine life without animals. They are the joy of the day! Well done writing to your representatives. I hope everyone does that. It is well and truly time we all stood up and did what we can.
      I am glad to hear how well your dehydrated veggies cooked up so well. I have capsicums to do tomorrow. This is a fairly new area of my pantry for me.
      Have a very good new week Glenda! With love, Annabel.xxx

  13. Hello Annabel and how cute that Scout and Buddy love playing head butting games together and as they grew up together that would be the case :) . Your chook pen is wonderful and did you buy it or make it ?. Fantastic you have a rabbit proof fence now where the chickens are and where you plant your pumpkins too which should hopefully keep the rabbits away. Hopefully you will get your freezers sorted out bit by bit and that is what we do here as well little bites at a job until they are done :) .

    How wonderful about the bee hives on your property and the bucket of honey for having them there per year. That was a similar arrangement we had with a beekeeper who had hives on our property.

    I so agree we can be aware of what is going on in the world to be prepared but still create a tranquil, peaceful, productive and safe environment in our homes.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $78.89 in savings last week.

    On the internet I listed 10 items on an eBay free listing promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

    In the supermarket we saved $15.50 by buying price taco kits and mouthwash on half price specials. At the pharmacy by buying on specials and using our RACQ 8% discount on our gift card on sunscreen and prescriptions we saved $4.93 on usual prices.

    In the kitchen we baked 4 loaves of white wholemeal bread in our bread making machine saving $13.96 over buying them locally in the shops and also cooked all meals from scratch.

    Out in the gardens we planted spring onion seeds in with the silverbeet and harvested around 2kg of cherry tomatoes saving $28 over buying them in the supermarkets.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :) .

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Dear Lorna,
      I purchased the hen house and run as a kit. It came in three big boxes. This is how we did that other barn like coop. I am impressed how well they are made and come together.
      I do have another of those really big boxes. That is next as we can make that over into some kind of animal house and Andy can cut doors etc.
      You are getting a good cherry tomato harvest! I am also about to do some planting as I had spinach and silverbeet seedlings come up. I have quite a few now. The excess we grow helps feed the chickens too.
      Your bread sounds so good. Lorna you are so smart with how you list your Ebay goods!
      Have a wonderful new week! With love, Annabel.xxx

    2. Thank you Annabel :) .

      Isn't it wonderful how you can get the chicken pen and run as a kit how helpful and that they are easy to assemble. May I ask where you got it from as I have a few friends who would be interested.

      We will be doing up the chook run we have here when time permits.

      What a great idea collecting all those WW seed kits with family and all those seeds soon add up to be able to plant quantities in your gardens. We are also collecting them for that reason.

      Yes the big box will come in very handy for animal shelters with a few modifications.

      Have a great week :).

      With Love , Lorna xxx.

  14. Wise move on your dad's part! Love, love, love your chicken coop. We are already making plans for outdoor improvements...a mini tool shed and a new rabbit hutch. Snow is melting and we have Spring on the brain. Homemade yogurt, home haircuts and now homemade kombucha besides the usual home baked goods is how we saved money. Crocheting and sewing gifts.
    Made a raid on Dollar Tree for restocking my first aid kits for the car and house. Also picked up small tubs to organize my fridge (last week) and freezer this week. I even organized all our test pages for school. The kids are breathing a sigh of relief on that last one!
    Blessings to all!

    1. Dear Leslie,
      Thank you! I want to have alf the bravery of Dad how he stood and and said no when needed.
      A tool shed would be a great asset. I would love to know what kind of rabbits you have?
      You saved a lot of money. Just cutting Andys hair for him saves a lot. It adds up!
      I love the sound of your Dollars Tree. I hear a lot about it. We have cheap shops, some of them are amazing so I guess similar.
      We might be living parallel lives as I am also doing this with my fridge and freezer. Like my pantry that once looked full but it wasn't really as I had so much other stuff in there... my fridge and freezers aren't as full as I thought. Organisation time.
      Have a very good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  15. Annabel, the whole time you have posted about the animals liking biscuits I assumed they were some kind of pet biscuits - nope, good old Arnotts!!! That’s so funny. I wonder if they would notice if you changed brand lol?

    I have been under the weather this week and it has been really frustrating. You know when you’re not so bad that you are bedridden, but also not well enough to accomplish much? I did get some cleaning and baking done , and all our meals were home cooked so I’m happy about that. I’m improving, so hopefully will have loads more energy next week. Autumn - yay!!

    Have a good weekend

    1. Dear Jen, I stock up on Arnott's Milk Arrowroot biscuits when they re on sale. They are about $2 a pack then. So probably miles cheaper then pet products. Anyway they love them. One time I bought generic ones and they refused them! haha!
      I thought about sending pictures To Arnott's. I might do that!
      I have been the same... Ive had a cough and felt rotten. A few times Ive resorted to bed. Other times I felt I am dragging myself around! Not good!
      I hope you feel better and have a good week! With love Annabel.xxx

  16. Hello, Bluebirds! Good to see what is going on with everyone. We survived the winter storm that hit Texas and other states. Sadly, many of my plants did not survive and I have a major clean-up out there. I see dead things everywhere! My plan is to do one section at a time as right now I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

    Annabel, your animals all seem to have their own personalities and it makes me happy to see your photos. I'm already loving Buddy and Eddy. I can tell that everyone is well taken care of. Arnott's Milk Arrowroot biscuits, indeed! And, I am not going to be jealous of your gorgeous chicken coop but one of those is now on my "wish" list! I'm happy for you to have that and what a good arrangement with your beekeeper! Who doesn't love honey???

    Today I plan to start some seeds and replant the carrots. Have you priced bedding plants lately? Yikes! Also I need to cut fabric for some bowl cozies (a use-it-up project) and take in a dress I plan to wear to my granddaughter's wedding coming up in March.

    After the storm our grocery store shelves were severely depleted. We were fine in that department and I hope more people have learned from this experience to stock up. I was reading back over the links that Annabel supplied last week and I realized that is where I got the idea to fill every available container with water in case of an emergency. Our county water was shut down for three days but we had plenty of water stored up. I recommend reading back over those links as the information there is invaluable. You all have a happy, productive week!

    1. Dear Pam,
      Im so sorry you lost so many plants. It would be overwhelming so a section at a time is a good idea. When I see snow and ice like that I wonder how anything can survive!
      Plants are very expensive here, I know that much! It makes the ones that die or dont thrive seem such a loss and seeds are looking better all the time. Also back to getting cuttings, propagating and sharing or trading things. I watch the local buy, swap and sell pages for plants too.
      We saw images of the supermarket shelves here on the news. Having seen this in person last year for the first time in my life I was struck how fast this can happen. This is why we prepare. I am glad you had water stored. On the farm we have a good water situation
      now. There are big sheds, a shearing shed, the house... all the water is collected from the roofs and stored in giant tanks. They are like deep swimming pools. Maybe I should take a photo of this as it is normal in country Australia but it might amaze lots of people. I love knowing I have water! I hope you have a good new week with reasonable weather! With love Annabel.xxx

  17. You don't talk about the cottage any more? IS IT FINISHED . Is a B and B ? Etc Etc Just interested I am Annabelle

    1. The cottage is more or less finished. It is liveable. I will probably always find more to add to it. I haven't posted pictures so I guess I better. Its just that it is more man cave than anything! We turned an absolute dump into a useable asset and considering how 2020 went Im pretty pleased! Its not a B and B currently. I have had people stay there though in various trade/bartering deals. I think it was my ultimate "make the most of it project!"xxx

  18. We stopped for gasoline last Sunday night on our way home. Today on our way to church we noted it had gone up nearly 45c a gallon. I am sure this is the beginning and not the end. I shake my head. We have a budgeted amount we can spend on gasoline each month and the higher it goes the fewer shopping and church trips we'll be able to make. Never mind though. We are very blessed to have internet and can always view extra services online!
    I am doing same as you, at least plan to this week, to dig into the freezer and see what I might use up to create more useable space for items we use far more than some of the things socked into my freezer at present.
    Also planning to try and find ways to stock my pantry more deeply in the weeks ahead. I feel it's imperative to continue on with this.
    Lovely chicken coop and so happy about the honey bees on the place!


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