Feather your Nest Friday, 23rd July, 2021.

 What a long week!  Last Friday seems a month ago.   We had rain and more rain.  

There is water across the flats and a little river!  And the other night we had a new noise.  I stopped and listened....  frogs!  Hundreds of frogs!    
Look at that rainbow.  God's promise.   My heart is happy every time I see a rainbow. 

How happy Dad would be to see all this water! 

In Australia things went from bad to worse and our state went from lockdown into a worse lockdown.   The new rules were coming in at 6pm (early in the week) so Andy went into town for things he needed.    Our closest town with a store had gone crazy.  There were no car parks, the supermarket was packed, all basics like bread were long gone and the police had been in there questioning shoppers if their goods were "necessities."   How do you decide this?  Is an Avocado a necessity?  I don't know. 

I have stayed put.  Between rain showers I run outside and do the outdoor work.  We had one mostly fine day.  That was Wednesday.   So we had a day working in the orchard.  The plan was to prune the three big old fruit trees that were here when we arrived.   One is a huge apple tree and the others are two types of pears.   The first year I was able to put nets over them and I got so much beautiful fruit.   But the last two years I could not cover them properly and parrots pretty much got everything.   So we have taken action.  We pruned these trees back to a size we can cover.  Then we erected frames over them for the nets to go over.   I planted three new fruit trees and wrapped wind protection around the steel surrounds Andy made for all the new trees.  Now I have 19 fruit trees!  All trees were fertilised and new trees watered in.    
I came inside and made a nice roast chicken dinner.   Once in bed every muscle in my body was complaining!!  But we achieved so much that day! 

During the week I continued to put all the nice fruit and veggies I was given to good use.  I tried to do something each day. 

Lemon Butter...

(Used up lemons and eggs.)

Impossible Pies.   (Used up capsicum, onion and eggs.)

A big pot of soup.   (Used up green veggies.) 

Beetroot Relish.  (Used a whole bunch.) 

I grilled some sausages and we had the relish and salad.  Well, it was so good!  

I made some Gluten Free little chocolate cakes to take over to Mums.

I am just realising I cooked a bit!

I made two slabs of Banana Cake.  

One slab I sliced up and froze. It is for the girls school lunches.   My lines are not very straight! 

(These used up six bananas.)

I collect fallen branches and weeds to add to the hay for the kids. 

The chickens are out in their run most days.  They know now that when I open the little door it is party time!   It is funny to watch them jump over the step all excited to get to the grass. 

Lots of efforts have gone into finding ways to feed everyone with less dependance on the store. 

Teddy is now eating really well and the rain has given us plenty of long grass.

`I wrote some snail mail to someone I know is lonely.

On FB Buy, Swap and Sell I found beautiful wooden trucks and a train for an amazing price.   They are just lovely and Thomas has his already.  (Before lockdown.)  

I ordered a heap of shampoos and conditioners online.  The prices were fantastic even with the postage factor. 

This week kids could not go to school.  Most shops were shut.  Many will never reopen.  Parents were trying to homeschool and figure out how to work from home and pay the bills.   Lucy set up home school on the dining room table.  Harper speaks to her teacher on face time then begins her work. 

I am really blessed to have friends all over the world because of the bluebirds who write to me.   It is like having eyes and ears on the ground in lots of places!   Now, in Australia over the years I have found most of the time we follow a little behind the USA and UK in pretty much everything.   This pandemic I avoided several shortages just because the USA ladies told me what they were low on and I stocked up on those things.   Sure enough we followed!  

This week two Bluebirds from the UK shared with me how things were going for them.  One report was from Bedfordshire where supermarkets now only have shelves stocked for TWO days a week.  If that.   Another was from Birmingham where my friend said a stock up shop she hoped to do was much harder as the stores were so low, especially the bigger stores like Aldi.    I have seen some media coverage of the shortages but really not much considering.   There are a list of reasons but one of them is a lack of Lorry Drivers.  We would say truck drivers.   When the trucks stop running the shortages come quickly.
In Australia the truck drivers are having a really hard time and have had protests.  They need to get from A to B in a certain time but are stuck in a queue to get a covid test instead.   Trucking is a pretty demanding and tiring job already.   So I can see this is an added strain and very time consuming.   We could easily follow the UK and truck drivers begin to give up.    I am telling you this for a reason.   The stores are only ever a day or two from being decimated.  Do not place yourself in the position of having no supplies if the trucks stop, the power goes out, there are lockdowns or any other reason.   Be watchful and look well to the ways of your household.  

I am thinking if there are stores so low on stock then how will things be as we approach higher demand of the Christmas season? mmm   For this reason I am upping my game to be ahead for Christmas.  

How was your week?  I hope you had many opportunities to get ahead in little ways and build up your pantry.  When this lockdown is over I am thinking to do my best to support the small local businesses who would have been hard hit.   We need them.  And to thank a truck driver!  xxx 



  1. I am sorry to hear that you are in such a tight lockdown again. It feels like this madness will never end. I was going to say that there are few shortages here but I also realize that I have gotten used to going to the store and just shrugging my shoulders if they don't have what we need. The school supply isles looked as they usually do after school has started instead of loaded with all the supplies all the children will need. I don't know where they will get them. I have noticed that many of the expensive luxury type grocery items are ending up at the discount grocery stores for deeply discounted prices because the prices are too high for average shoppers. We are living in relative freedom and no masks right now but the numbers are going up every day.

    We had a lovely week with our middle son's family and two grandchildren here for a visit. They have gone for home this morning and we are so tired but so, so happy that we could have them here with us for five days. We ate ever meal outside on our screen porch and had lots of hugs and sticky little hands which are good medicine for us grandparents.

    I wish you a good weekend at home in spite of your lockdowns.

    1. Dear Lana, I am so glad you had such a good time with the family. I can relate to being tired after! I heard someone else say school supplies were not like they usually are. I also see a lot of things and think who is going to pay that!?
      We have had a stormy day so it was an enforced rest of sorts! With love, Annabel.xxx

  2. Dear Annabel,
    You accomplished much with your food this past week. It all looks delicious.
    We are living in dire times, for sure. I, honestly, didn't think I would ever see such a leaning toward Communism in the U.S., as exists now in this administration. Everything in the world is backwards and contrary to God's Word. Evil is running rampant, so prayer is crucial. "Pray without ceasing," is necessary and vital.
    We live in a State that will shoot first and sort it out later; Praise God. I am so glad we are here and not elsewhere. As long as people comply and bow down, the evil will be allowed to reign and increase.
    We did a very large stock up order from Vitacost. They had a tremendous sale on many items we eat, so were able to add more to our food storage room. We saved over 30% off the regular cost and Vitacost has good prices on organics regularly.
    The dehydrators are busy drying kale, spinach, basil, oregano, parsley, tarragon, and comfrey. John just got a large bucket at Home Depot, so I can make comfrey water to feed the plants. I need to chop chives to freeze and dry some yarrow, also.
    I have a Sam's Club list, so will need to get those items shortly. Right now, our grocery shelves seem fine, but that can change in a heartbeat. Our freezer is full of organic beef as we placed two large orders recently, so I can now focus on vegetables and fruits.
    Our dwarf apple and plum trees are loaded this year, which is a blessing. Our berries, however, have been slow. I am not sure they will produce much of a yield this year. Each year is so different.
    Our grandson joined the Army National Guard this week. Our grand daughter is at the University taking some summer classes. The State chooses kids with a high grade point average for a summer camp at the University. They are allowed to take three classes and field trips are plentiful. She will be a Junior in high school this Fall. She receives College Credit for some of her high school classes, already, due to the accelerated program for students with a continual 4.0 grade point average. That is a huge benefit cost wise.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Yes we need to pray pray pray. I loved hearing how your dehydrator is going flat out with all these beautiful things. I am so happy you could stock up so much!
      You must be very proud of your Grandson! And your Granddaughter doing so well. They are both obviously very hard workers.
      My Pa used comfrey to make a tea kind of thing for the garden too. So full of nutrients. A wonderful thing.
      Have a very good weekend and new week. Diligence and watchfulness are the order of the day! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. I loved your comment, Glenda...we are thinking of moving to your state in the near future.
      Mary in So Commifornia

  3. Annabel
    Teddy looks well! :)
    I think it was Thursday our media announced some shops were experiencing shortages and empty shelves. They say it was because so many have had to self isolate due to being told to by this app that tells you if you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive. It's creating havoc as people then stay home to self isolate and business can't continue to run as before. People are quite shortsighted about where this is heading. If the business goes under, there will be no job to go back to!I watched a recent you tube video by Curtis Stone of Urban Farmer. Something he said resonated with me. He said "It's not about government anymore; It's about us". What you are doing Annabel matters. It connects, inspires and shows your grand babies that there is another way to live. A beautiful way.
    Have a great weekend .
    Much love, Heidi xxx

    1. Dear Heidi,
      I am going to check out this you tube video! Thank you! It sounds up my alley. Something Dad said to me was along the same lines. He said to my son in law how we have to do what we need to do for the welfare of our families. And we do. Supermarkets were great but we got complacent and too dependant and it was a bit of a mistake. Things are very wet here and still mid winter but I have bing spring plans! Have a very good new week! With love,

  4. I heard about your severe lockdown from an economic e-mail update I receive. What I am learning from European and Australian friends is to be prepared for another lockdown in America. The new variant of COVID is growing here at an alarming speed.

    I haven't seen a lot of shortages recently where I live in the Midwest... and what there were may have been the result of the big Holiday weekend (4th of July, Independence Day) earlier in the month. However, prices are rising like crazy. I am also purchasing Christmas now, a little at a time. I have always either made or purchased gifts throughout the year, being on the lookout for what individuals would love to receive. But this year, it is especially important.

    1. Dear Brenda,
      I have been reading your blog and loving what you are posting. Normally I start early in the year making and collecting good things I find toward Christmas. My gift cupboard is quite full now. I am thinking in terms of summer clothes for the children, extra gifts put away and to gather our favourite Christmas foods just so we have them. I agree its wise this year. In a pinch we could still celebrate Christmas and would without any of these things... but my thought it that if things were bad then Christmas is a real morale booster and I would want to make it is lovely as possible. Morale boosters cannot be underestimated.
      We are still in lockdown... POSSIBLY will end this week! With love Annabel.xxx

  5. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    Annabel, your baking looks so yummy and the goats and sheep are precious! We had goats when I was little and I just loved them. The farm is gorgeous, too.

    This week I did a big cooking session on the weekend (lamb roast & veggies, bread - we both take sandwiches for work lunches so I bake bread about once a week, a cake to slice up for treats, spaghetti sauce) and started saving seeds from my spent sunflowers for next year's garden. We started harvesting tomatoes and cutting herbs for cooking. My zinnias are finally putting on a good show, and this week we have zucchini!

    There has been some trouble with getting potatoes and pasta is sold out some places again, but I was able to get some of both this week, and big containers of cinnamon are back! My husband had an emergency dentist visit and will have some work done next week - I have to say that is one thing I did *not* anticipate pantry-wise, though I do have lots of soups, pasta, and ingredients for pudding & instant mashed potatoes, ice packs in the freezer, OTC meds. We did a Sam's club pickup and got some yogurt (probiotics since he is on antibiotics) and some soft foods he can take to work, as well as our regular groceries. I will definitely keep some extra things like gelatin, gauze, cotton balls, and soft foods, going forward! Maybe something like anbesol or orajel? If anyone keeps things like this, or other things in their medical pantry, I would so love to hear about it and learn!

    The roofer is coming back next week to go over everything with the insurance adjustor for the new roof - we have worked with this gentleman before, his is a local family business and they did a great job on our gutters. I know they will do a great job on the roof and they are also committed to dealing with the insurance company, which is very nice. We also have new neighbors who like to garden! I love seeing what they're doing, and it looks so pretty next door now.

    Feeling super thankful for e-mail and other methods of communicating across long distances. This week I talked to my mom (she lives in another state), and also my aunt (yet another state) who recently had a small stroke. Well, my auntie is doing amazing! Her typing and mental processes are very good, her PT expects her to recover full function and she was able to ride her horse by herself this week (I was just shocked when she told me that, and so happy for her). Very thankful to be able to talk with her and that she is on the mend!

    I hope everyone has a good weekend.

    1. Dear Kathy, A roast is just the best thing! Its a beautiful meal and the roast meat is so much cheaper and nicer than deli meat. The weeks sandwiches would be beautiful especially with your home-made bread.
      So good you are harvesting! This reminds me I have Thyme I need to cut and dry... but not much to harvest as so cold and wet here now.
      Im sorry for your husband it sounds not good! I hope the antibiotics do the job. I keep a big medical pantry but dental is probably the hardest area... in the pantry I keep plenty of soft food options though. I think to keep up nutrition broths and soup, soft scrambled eggs and real custard etc are good.
      It is so good to have so many options to keep in touch. And very good about your aunt recovering so well. There is a lot to be said for keeping up our skills and as technology changes to keep up. My Mum is on her iPad following good blogs and sending me texts and seeing what everyone is up to. Its fabulous. Her brother my uncle refuses to have a computer at all, is stuck with depressing tv and sees none of what any of the family post or share even though it he did he would get so much joy from it. From this I am determined to keep up and enjoy the benefits!
      Having a new roof will be fantastic. I hope your new neighbours will be the kind to do swaps with! With love, Annabel.xxx

  6. Oh how I love your photos of your animals! Thank you! Glad that you are well and thriving. I have read about lockdowns in Australia, sorry that you are under siege again. Here in Arizona our cases are up, but we don’t really lock down much, rather seem to ride it out, compared to other states. I had read about the current and anticipated shortages (drought, inflation as well as Covid related), so have spent the last month refilling our pantry. Many of the frugal blog sites have mentioned this, and they were right to suggest stocking up in the fall of 2019, so I took heed. Love your blog and your photos!

    1. Dear Traveling Oltmans, Thank you! Those that suggested stocking up in 2019 were on the ball. Over time I have some I follow that have been very good with world wide observations and then you kind of gain some trust in them. They are all now saying Stock up! Practically yelling it. So I am happy you have been refilling the pantry. Today Andy picked up groceries for me. I did an online order and he picked it up. We are allowed to get groceries. I have just been putting it away and I got everything I ordered! Very happy!
      Have a good new week. With love, Annabel.xxx

  7. Hi Annabel
    I’m not sure what it is, but pictures of preserves just make me so happy! The colours of your lemon butter and beetroot relish are beautiful. Actually, the cake with sprinkles also makes me happy lol.

    I’m sorry that you are back in lockdown, although I know how well prepared you are and how easily you will occupy your time. But it is hard not being able to see family. Now that Lucy is having to home school I’m sure she’ll be even more thankful for you having had the girls last week.

    We have had quite a few home days this week and I’m hoping to do the same next week when the kids go back to school. I just feel so much more content and productive when I’m at home. And I notice that my children need that down time too. I feel like there is so much encouragement to fill the holidays with activities (often expensive ones), but they value staying home and drawing/reading/baking/watching movies just as much.

    I finished the crochet blanket! Phew. I actually flew through the border because I was so determined to be done lol. I will send you a picture. Then I knit a baby vest for a friend who just had her first baby. That was a nice quick finish! The pattern of the vest is actually one that her mum knit me for my son and I used it so much, then knit more when my daughters came along. So I thought it would be nice to knit one for her since it was so useful.

    A friend works for a chicken factory nearby and has access to cheap meat regularly. She showed up with 8kg of sausages and 9kg of chicken breast the other day, for $40. The same at the supermarket would be over $130 on sale. I’m going to see her in the weekend to get some more, I am so grateful for this as it saves us hugely in the long run. She too has a large family so knows what a difference it can make.

    This weekend we are planning some gardening, organising for going back to school and baking.

    Thank you for sharing your week, I really look forward to your Friday posts.

    Have a lovely weekend
    Jen (NZ)

    1. Jen all my life I have loved to see preserves, things lined up on pantry shelves and produce in baskets and so on. Perhaps we inherit this because imagine what they would have meant to our Grandmothers and going further back! Jen I love home days. I find myself re arranging things so I can get more of them. Merging appointments to one day and so on.
      I get so much more done in the week and feel so much better then.
      Well done on completing the blanket! And the vest! That was quick!
      I cannot believe the meat you got! What a good friend. Jen this is a golden opportunity. Feeding a growing family is so expensive now I dont even know how families with teenagers keep up. That is so good. If you portion it all out you will get many meals. I hope this can be a regular thing maybe!
      Have a good new week! With love, Annabel.xxx

  8. Dear Annabel,
    I scrolled right down and was so pleased and happy that Teddy is doing so much better and with his little bright eyes shining.
    I'm so sorry you are in a tight lockdown again. Here in the U.S. we even have mask restrictions lifted for the fully vaccinated. I think this is a bad idea and still wear a mask when I must go to the store, but do a huge fast shop when I'm there. I order any food I can online to have delivered to avoid the stores. My mom and I always place an order together to get enough for free shipping. I also have become quite adept in substitutions and when the store does have what I want I get as much as I can then Canned tuna and salmon have a long shelf life. I watch for a sale and then stock up. My deep freeze is full of veggies and nuts. The garden tomatoes, peppers, and summer squash are coming in. It feels good to be as self-sufficient as we can. Blessings, Laura

    1. Dear Laura,
      Being good at substitutions is really good. Very often we can make do! Getting groceries delivered is really handy. I think that is a great option. Your garden sounds like it is doing really well. Having a full freezer of good things is excellent! Have a very good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  9. It just amazes me at the strict lockdown you all are having. This is one time you are not following the U.S.. We had bars, restaurants, schools, etc. close the first go round - but grocer stores never closed and we masked up - but NEVER did we HAVE to stay at home. We were free to move around. No one questioned our purchases. That would not go over very well here.
    I have seen no shortages in my area at the grocery and I am thankful for that. I live in the mid section of U.S. and things hit here last.
    We are still planning on schools opening, there are state and county fairs happening, music concerts every where and sports venues are quite active.

    Sounds like you have been blessed this week with lots of goodies and rain!
    Blessings my friend - have a great weekend.

    1. Dear Cheryl, You are right, we leaped ahead this time! The stay at home orders affected around half the population of Australia. But I want to tell you... there was a government medical lady on TV advising people that IF they had to go to the grocery store and they are wearing a mask and they see someone they know NOT to speak to them. This was specifically spelled out. Can you imagine this? People will think Im making it up!
      The rain has been wonderful for us. I have never seen so much water here, grass is long and green, tanks are full.
      Have a good new week Cheryl, with love Annabel.xxx

  10. Dear Annabel,

    It just goes on and on, doesn't it? And look at all the blessings God has given you! Now, I know your Dad's saying about being "lucky" (ha, ha), but besides all of the hard work, God does indeed bless us, too. I am with you about supporting the local businesses...if there are any left after all of this! Our provincial government decided to call an election just as we were nearing what was supposed to be the end of our emergency orders, and now I'm sure we will have to wait until the election is over to see any movement on restrictions. What a time to choose to have an election. They could have waited one month longer!! I hate how so much of this is politicized and isn't even about health. Sigh. I am so thankful that no one can interrupt communication with God...He is always available!

    We are having a raspberry extravaganza this year. I planted 12 canes two years ago and got a few pints last year, but this year I have picked at least 100 pints, and the plants show no signs of stopping any time soon! So we have gone from never having raspberries to needing every possible food and preserving recipe imaginable to use them! I have also given several pints away to neighbors.

    I've also been spending quite a bit of time "nursing" family members for one reason or another (surgery, etc.)...hoping those days are ended for awhile as life is sweeter when everyone is in good health!

    I'd better be off to wash and juice some red currants before I make supper. Wishing you a wonderful weekend and a lifting of lockdown very soon.

    xx Jen in NS

    1. " I hate how so much of this is politicized and isn't even about health. Sigh. I am so thankful that no one can interrupt communication with God...He is always available!" Love this, Jen!!!
      Mary in San Diego

    2. Dear Jen, You have a good memory about what Dad said! I have been watching developments in Canada... and everywhere but some things I will notice thinking it might be your area.
      I cant imagine that many raspberries! That is just amazing. What a harvest! Im thinking anything with blueberries ie muffins you could use raspberries instead. And they freeze well. So you are set!
      I hope everyone is well and ok. Have a lovely new week. With love Annabel.xxx

  11. What a productive week you had, Annabelle. I would look at all those fruit trees as a great investment and food insurance! We have had more than normal rain fall and I know what you mean about all the frogs! We have to watch every step when we go outdoors so as not to squash 'em. We feel blessed here as so many areas worldwide are either in a drought or a flooding situation.

    My latest simple project was recycling a used pair of rubber gloves (my hands are super sensitive to certain detergents) when one of the thumbs got a hole. When I cut the wrist/cuff part into a square I have a good jar opener/grip. Those are handy since my hands are not as strong as they once were. Oh, and the fingers I cut off and plan to use for hand-quilting to pull the needle through.

    My op shop find for the week was several brand new fat quarters which I plan to make into more bowl cozies. I still have plenty of the cotton quilt batting I got for $l a yard to use as the padding. I also found several new or like-new art supplies and books for my great grandson as he is showing some artistic ability. They will go into his birthday bag. It's helpful when they start showing talent for certain things. His brother is quite an athlete and he loves anything having to do with sports. The youngest is a wannabe hunter and loves anything camo. Makes it easy when I'm gift-shopping.

    We leave in the morning to go to Ft. Worth for granddaughter's wedding reception. I love taking short trips just to get away for a while. I always come home refreshed and ready to get back to work. I'm looking forward to being with my family and the timing is right as I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we start having lock-downs here. Wishing you all a productive and healthy and pleasant week.

    1. Dear Pam, They say that having frogs is a really good sign as they are very sensitive to chemicals and pesticides so many places no longer have frogs. I am going to start checking the stream for tadpoles.
      It is great you found some fabrics! Encouraging your grandson in art is really good. Yes when they have things they love it is fantastic as we see things just right.
      Have a wonderful trip and wedding reception! With love, Annabel.xxx

  12. God is so good! Despite the craziness in this world, He always offers His peace and ways to bless us.

    I have never been so busy in my life! God has placed several ladies in my life to bless and minister to. Two of whom are new Christians. One of these ladies I have began to disciple. My three teens have summer jobs. And two teens need rides to their field work, daily. :) But we are thankful they have work, especially when so many don't. Our garden is producing and friends are sharing what our garden lacks. God blessed us with homemade apple dumplings last week, and 30 lbs. of chicken thighs, dry beans, and dried lentils this week! I have enjoyed baking our bread again now that the weather has cooled. So thankful to be back on track with making more homemade goodies, including tortillas and handpies. Glad Glenda mentioned harvesting and drying herbs...I need to harvest mine as well.
    Blessings to all! And thanks to you all as you look to the ways of your household, because there are so many ladies out there that crave what we all have.

    1. Dear Leslie,
      Yes! We can have some kind of normal in a non normal world!
      It sounds as if you have been planted right where you need to be. That is wonderful. Also that your teens have work. I remember the days of driving around teens my own and it seems many others! But it was worth it.
      Glenda reminded me I do have Thyme to harvest and better. I am always busy admiring herbs and I should be picking them!
      What nice words you finish one. Yes we are so blessed to have homes and families to care for! With love, Annabel.xxx

  13. Hello Annabel,
    Once again thank you for the effort you put into your writings. You inspire and teach many of us, no matter what age we are, that much can be achieved through good work. As yet our part of NSW is not in lockdown however it may be just a matter of time as this delta strain is so virulent. We must all be wise in these times and be aware that things can change overnight. We live on a suburban block with veggies in our back yard. I am dehydrating spring onions today as we have an abundance right now. Also many greens that I use up in various dishes like impossible pies. I recently purchased a pie maker and I’m enjoying making different types of pies for the freezer. Lemons here are in abundance so I will freeze plenty of juice in ice cube trays for later use. I make my own pasta and dehydrate half each time for later use. To many folk all this seems unnecessary, however I do believe life is going to get tougher. This pandemic has caused much hardship for many and as you have said some small businesses will fail. We need to use wisdom in all things now, and be as prepared as we can be at this time. May we encourage one another and keep inspiring one another with fresh ideas.
    Blessings to all Bluebirds

    1. Dear Gail,
      I hope you managed to avoid lockdown still. Your back yard sounds fantastic. There is so much we can grow with a back yard! I found a pie maker really good as a little left over meat and veg makes a couple of pies! And pies freeze well and are an all in one and portable meal. The impossible pies work too in the pie maker. So quick.
      I need to get busy and juice some lemons as you have. I used some in lemon butter but I still have lots. Good in summer to have lemon ice cubes to drop into water too.
      We are trying to support local and network. I am friendly with two local cafe staff and really feel for them and I know how hard they work. They still have to pay the rent and they are high. We keep on doing what we can and running our homesteads! With love Annabel.xxx

  14. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds,
    This week I made bread, as I've been doing each week. We have completely stopped buying bread at the grocery, something I've been trying to do for the past three years. Finally I've found the right recipe, the right pan and I suppose the right time for my husband to agree that he'd rather have homemade. It is a huge savings as bread can be high. I continue to try and use all the things and not waste food. I wish I had chickens or livestock I could feed my little waste to but alas I do not have those. Instead I am trying to use all and saving what is about to go bad by tossing into a veg bag in the freezer. I'll use that to make vegetable broth.
    I potted up cuttings of mint, rosemary and coleus that I'd rooted in water. I am so pleased to have so many new plants. I have a piece of begonia, some oregano, a couple of African Violet leaves in water now to try and root. I should add in some ivy stems, too!
    I harvested lemon thyme, mint, oregano, chives from my herb box and dried or used fresh. I am drying mint to use as tea this winter.
    I was blessed to find some bathroom rugs to replace a badly matted one. I do not know what material that last rug was made of but it was not user friendly! The new rugs are much nicer but were not expensive. I found a picture to put in that bath as well and moved the picture that was there into the guest bath. I'll use the picture that was in the guest bath in the guest room now, lol. I like moving things around from room to room. I seldom buy truly new pieces to use in home decor but now and then I want something nicer.
    I purchased a bunch of 18mo boy clothes for my grandson at the thrift store. I looked in vain for anything my little granddaughter might wear. She is close in age to my grandson but is petite and wears just a 12 months size at present.
    We've had lots of rain here and temperatures have been very mild. I am glad as it means our electric bill has stayed lower this summer. Rain also means we don't have to water flowers very much and that too is a savings. And of course, it replenishes the ground waters that feed our well. So many reasons to be thankful for that rain!
    We got our old cars serviced this week. My car is nearing the 200,000 mile mark but it runs like a dream because we've kept up with all the necessary services on it. My husband's car is 1 year newer than my car and has only 125,000 on it. I hope to see both cars make the 300,000 mile mark.
    I bought my first Christmas present the other day. I found a really nice set of JRR Tolkien books that I thought my oldest son would appreciate. The price was unbelievably good on them and they are nicely bound and illustrated.

    1. Dear Terri, Well done on making your own bread! Once you have the perfect recipe and method then just keep doing it I say! Well done also on the new plants and all you harvested.
      It is wonderful finding beautiful childrens clothes at the thrift store. Some days are lucky ones! I check every time.
      We are having rain too and things are so wet. Nothing does the garden as much good as rain does even if we water a lot.
      You had a very productive and good week! With love, Annabel.xxx

  15. I do so appreciate commenters including their state and country as it helps me build a world picture. Self reliance is going to be ever more important for physical and mental health if supplies get tight or stop. The literal meaning of government is 'control the mind'. That is not a good thing to be controlled by a bunch of people who seem to have no concerns about most of their citizens.
    I have been baking every day of this latest lockdown which will hopefully be short but if NSW stay in a bad way we will all be involved at some point.
    During the week we have all been cooking and planning the spring garden. Winter is giving us the good rains for the catchment and time to crochet another Bendigo Wool blanket here in the Adelaide Hills.

    1. Dear Kate,
      I am finding hearing from around the world so helpful. We can learn so much from each other too.
      You are in a beautiful location! It would be cold but if you are baking it will be lovely.
      Crocheting in winter is perfect! With love, Annabel.xxx

  16. Hi Annabel and Bluebirds

    I was so sorry to read that you were heading back into lock down Annabel but it is best to be safe. Our family were lucky to get there holiday in before all of NSW was classed as a hot spot and borders went up again. Australia sure took a shake up this week in the worst possible ways. I can only imagine how people are holding up mentally especially those on their own. I feel for all those having to homeschool as this is a disruption to the lives of all family members. Glad that Harper was able to speak to her teacher as this helps to keep it a bit more normal. Last year we were unable to do this with our teachers as our internet was not strong enough to cope with so many. We were lucky as our teacher was able to chat over the phone or via email. Our old school principal and his wife only live 2 streets away and often came by to make sure we were coping as they are friends with our current principal so he knew of the struggles going on at our school.

    This week has seen lots more sewing and cooking. I have finished off another bag and have lots of hand sewing to finish of projects, so lots of this has been happening. Catching up on housework now that family have gone home. Made some white choc chip and cranberry biscuits, choc bliss balls and lemon bliss balls today for both DD11 and DP and had a corned silverside in the slow cooker.

    Your animals are all so gorgeous and I don't think I would get anything done if I had them as I would want to spend all my time with them. Teddy is just so damn cute.

    I think you may be right with Christmas being in so much demand that we should start thinking about it now and planning ahead. Funnily enough DP and I were just discussing this today. We were lucky enough that we had been saving points through our bank account that 2 months ago we decided to cash in on the points as well as grabbing something we needed. We mostly got gift vouchers and have decided to start shopping now, before we start to experience the shortages.

    Our truckies do such a great job at keeping our country well stocked but unfortunately they are copping the brunt of things when they shouldn't be (well most of them)

    Hope all that those in lockdown are coping as well as can be and know that you are being thought of....keep your chin up and remember to be kind to yourself. We are not in lockdown but we still stay home lots as we know it can be risky.

    Take Care
    Aly xxx

    1. Dear Aly,
      It was really good you all got your holiday! Harper said today she likes going to school better than school at home but I was telling her to do good work so the teacher is very happy when she sees it!
      The truckies do keep the country going. This makes me appreciate them. They do long distances and long hours. Australia is a big place!
      Your cooking sounds beautiful. It does take some catching up when visitors go home but Im so glad you had your family together! With love, Annabel.xxx

  17. I loved all the great comments you got in response to your wonderful post, Annabel. I think one good thing that may be coming out of this fiasco (world-wide) is that we as people are realizing we need to think about what it is WE want for our families and not sit back and be complacent and let the government run things. We are seeing parents fighting back (in the States) now that they're aware of the horrible things our school systems have been teaching our kids (Critical Race Theory). No wonder we're having the problems we're having. We must have been asleep at the wheel - trusting those in govt to "do the right thing" - hah! Kate, above, mentioned the literal meaning of government...👀😮👀. That's food for thought!
    I'll try not to write a book here ;). Your banana cakes look so delicious - and so pretty.
    The little brown goat has a piece of my heart; and Teddy has filled out so well. Is that little lamb pictured one of your sheep's babies or is it your latest rescue? If that latest baby doesn't make it here, it will have a splendid home in Heaven.
    I love the sound of frogs!! You are blessed :D. And rainbows, as you say, what a good reminder...
    God bless Lucy now that she has school to do again. She is on my prayer list🙏🏻.
    Your beet relish is beautiful. Ya know, the thing you said about truck drivers, President Trump said when he was in office. He even went to rallies thanking the truck drivers specifically. He sure had foresight. If it's God's will, I hope he'll consider running in 2024; still hoping the truth will make its way out about the messed-with votes in those 6(?) states. AZ has found "irregularities" and is being watched by groups sent from PA and GA, I think it is. But, the bought-and-paid-for media doesn't report on it here. I love a t-shirt I saw of Biden with the caption: "Un-Presidented" underneath his cartoon.
    Sending love and prayers for each Bluebird and her loved-ones.

    1. Dear Mary, Yes you are right. Also the media run things, or try to. I reject most of it. I flat refuse to sink to their depths of depravity! Or lies! aah dont get me going!
      I have heard of this critical race theory. I reject that or treating anyone different because of colour.
      You love Honey. Honey Bunny. Thats what I call him. They are so affectionate and want to sit on your lap. I love them. I could watch them all day. From the kitchen window I can see what they are up to and also from the table and chairs on the deck.
      Thank you for praying for Lucy. She is still trying different things and treatments. It is two steps forward and one step back.
      I believe Trump will be back long before then! Wait and see! I might be crazy!
      With love,

  18. Dear Annabel and all The Bluebirds. Thank you for posting all the information from around the world, we can anticipate things and learning from all of your experiences. I've been reading every post and can't wait for Friday to another meaningful story, good ideas on loving your home and family and being prepared. Here in Romania, mid Europe, I haven't noticed shortages at the supermarkets but prices are ...precious! I buy almost all of my food from local fruit and vegetable markets and small shopkeepers near my home for other groceries. I've been filling my pantry with stockups from the supermarkets when they have really good discounts or one day offerings. We are not in lockdown but voices say we will this autumn with all the holiday tourism across european countries and the new Delta virus from Great Britain. We still have to wear masks in the shops or public locations but people are very relaxed about, we are in summer holiday, summer parties at the beach, the pubs are open...so probably it will be a serious problem after that. We are all 3 of us vaccinated, my boy is 16 in november and it it was a vaccine available for teenagers too. Rumours are that we can expect to have to be vaccinated for being able to go for some essential jobs like medical care, schools or even truck drivers. The problem is there and I think it will grow bigger but thanks to you all I wil be somehow prepared for what is comming. And I got a big yarn and fabrics buying for my handmade with love gifts for the special people in my life. I will be prepared for birthdays and Christmas but also working and creating with my hands keep me sane and relaxed. Thank you again to you all and to you Annabel - you have changed my life in better. Laura from Romania

    1. Dear Laura, I am so grateful to have a Bluebird in Romania and to hear something of how things are there.
      I am glad you dont have shortages but high prices really cut back what you can get. I am happy you can still get deals and discounts. Keeping your eyes open for those opportunities you can get ahead.
      Thank you for such kind words! On the top left somewhere there is a link to my old blog. That was http:thebluebirdsarenesting.blogspot.com and there is a whole series there on preparedness. Also if you are on Facebook we have The Tuesday Afternoon Club to share what we are making. There are some wonderful ideas each week there. Thank you so much! with love Annabel.xxx

  19. Hi Annabel and you have done so much lovely baking and your lemon butter is such a golden yellow colour which is no doubt your lovely chicken eggs from well fed hens and lemons. The pruning of the fruit trees would have been a huge job but well worth doing so you can net them and have so much more lovely fruit. Teddy is looking so healthy and happy and has filled out.

    In relation to the subject of the trucks stopping and shortages of food as a result here in supermarkets is an interesting article link for you that could turn into just what you are talking about - https://www.businessinsider.com.au/toll-drivers-strike-pay-twu-2021-7 . It certainly is wise to look well to the ways of our household so we can feed our families for these reasons, lock downs and many more.

    We are working steadily to build up stocks in our meat and vegetable freezers after eating down most of what was in there that needed using.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $241.32 in savings last week :) .

    In the kitchen -
    - We washed, blanched and froze the broccoli we purchased for $2 kg to make 18 more single serves of vegetables for the freezer.
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    - We made a lovely apple pie from apple pie filling I had made in the freezer and chocolate pudding out of our powdered milk, flour, butter and vanilla extract. It tastes a bit like Yogo but better.
    - Made 3 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machine saving $10.47 over buying it locally.
    - Packed all the pork, chicken, leg ham and beef mince we purchased into meal sized portions for the two of us in the freezer.

    Purchases -
    - From Coles we purchased 7 tins of Campbell's mushroom and 4 tins of chicken soup for $1 ea on special and 1.381 kg of broccoli for $2 kg saving $14.99 on usual prices in other supermarkets.
    - Purchased from a wholesale butcher 4.31 kg of beef mince for $8.49 kg, a large 4.332 kg half leg pork roast for $4.99 kg, 4 cabana for $1.50 ea and 2kg of double smoked leg ham for $9.99 kg saving $64.06 over buying it in the local supermarkets.
    - From Woolworths we purchased 4 x 10 pk of Sorbent TP on half price special for $3.75 saving $15 on usual prices.
    - From Rivers we found a lovely cotton and linen long sleeved white shirt for DH for $14.95 saving $35.04 on usual prices.
    - On half price special online from Kmart I purchased 3 long sleeved puffer jackets for DH for $15 ea saving $45 on usual prices.

    Finances -
    - We paid another extra part mortgage payment off our home loan saving both time and interest on the loan.

    In the gardens -
    - We harvested around 6 or more kilograms of sweet potatoes from the gardens saving $56.46 or more over buying organic ones in the supermarkets.
    - On warm days we split more firewood we had already cut with the log splitter and stacked it.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :) .

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna) .

    1. Dear Lorna, Thank you for that link. We depend on trucks so much. It would be mind boggling to think what they move each day.
      What a great deal you got on the broccoli! Also it was good to put away so much meat. I can only see meat prices rising further. Actually you added a fair bit to your pantry with the soups. I love to think of your pantry room.
      Your Sweet Potato harvest is fantastic! What a saving too. I love Sweet Potatoes. They make the best soup.
      With the extra fire wood split and stacked and the extra mortgage payment you are well ahead in many ways! Have a good new week. With love Annabel.xxx

  20. What an interesting post! Annabel, you are so wise to prepare for the times ahead.
    I live in the middle of the US and my family was hit hard with Covid this last week. My daughter had it first, then her husband, and now my little special needs granddaughter is in the Intensive Care Unit at a Children’s Hospital with Covid and pneumonia. When my daughter took her other two children to be tested, my husband decided to test and turned up positive with no symptoms! We are assuming they all have the new variant, which appears to be highly contagious!
    Our stores continue to be well-stocked, and schools plan to open soon for the next session, but we are beginning to see more cases of Covid and more people wearing masks. With the political climate in our country I don’t foresee people complying with another lockdown.
    You are very wise to plan ahead for Christmas while it’s possible to find supplies. I intend to do the same thing after reading your post.

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Oh I am so sorry I am praying for your dear little Grand daughter. Im sorry your family has been hit by this virus. It is amazing your husband had no symptoms and yet others are sick. Now I hope you dont get it.
      Glenda please let us know how your Grand daughter is. With love Annabel.xxx

  21. Annabel,
    I alway love your photos. Your animals are such a joy to see! That little lamb is so adorable well all your animals are. The only ones to see here are cats and chickens haha. I think you do a fantastic job of using things up. I try to have as little waste as possible too.
    With all of the rain we've been getting the garden doesn't look too good and I don't think all of my cabbages are going to make it. But I have been harvesting cucumbers and zucchini so we've been eating lots of those.
    It's funny I had a feeling last year that this year would not be as good a year for me garden wise so I planted extra last year and cut the garden size down a bit this year. Someone said I should have doubled it this year then, but no it would just have been more waste so sometimes we have to cut our losses and Plan B, C, and D it.
    I have herbs ready to cut and dry and I got a huge blessing of a gift card to buy household essential products to review. I paid 20 cents out of pocket for $150 worth of cleaning and paper products.
    We have been doing some good trades too.
    I've been busy with the grandkids, but it's so wonderful to get to spend time with them.
    It's hot as well as rainy so I haven't been baking much, but the crock pot is getting used quite often.
    I am so glad that we can all keep each other informed and supported because with all that is going on it looks like everything we've been preparing for is coming about. I feel pretty good about my pantry and supplies, but continue to keep adding as I can. My heart goes out to everyone who is in lockdown or having major shortages.

    1. Dear Vicky,
      I am glad you are harvesting some things that is still good. I know there will always be good years and bad years with harvests... and you are getting some things so we will call it a medium year!
      Your trades have been legendary! You could write a book on trading! You could do that paperclip challenge where the guy started with a. paper clip and traded until he eventually got a house!
      Your 20c for all those products was amazing! Winning!
      I am glad you had the Grandkids. This does make life a lot busier but it is worth it!
      Hoping the new week will be a good one for you. With love Annabel.xxx

  22. Dear Annabel,
    I am glad you have had so much rain. We have had an unusually wet summer here in Texas too, whereas we are usually in a drought and battling fires. So we are similar there.
    This week, we had Colton's teen sister stay with us. We had a great time together and included a picnic at the beach.
    We were able to build up our home quite a bit this week, and though it involved some spending, it was also a week of great savings. We bought a digital thermostat for our house, as the other one was old and the digital ones are supposed to be more accurate and cost effective.
    John has moved up in clothing size so we went to a shop that sells second-hand children's clothes in good condition. We got him 3 pairs of overalls, 7 pairs of pants (jeans), 2 nice button-down shirts, a t-shirt, a sweater, a felt cowboy hat, and a pair of little shoes for James all for $72. All name brand, this would've been several hundred dollars new.
    I had success at the thrift store and found an Amish cookbook and another book for .30, plus a free bag of cotton fabric scraps.
    I cleaned and organized the hall closet.
    Colton brought leftovers home from work one day.
    We bottled the honey we collected from our bees!
    And another thing Colton and I are both excited about is that we ordered a grain mill! It is manual so it requires no electricity. We have wanted one for a long time but they are so expensive. We saved up our credit card points for months (we pay our card off in full monthly and get points) and were able to buy our mill for FREE! I am going to learn how to make sourdough and use our mill to grind einkorn wheat. It is an ancient, heirloom grain that has a very low gluten content. Supposedly people with gluten intolerance can handle this wheat with no issues. Se we are excited!
    I hope everyone has a lovely week to come.
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      I know how Coltons sister loves to come stay with you. I bet you are teaching her so much. Oh boy I need to see John in his cowboy hat! It is great you got him so many new things he needs.
      The grain mill is a great investment. And to get it free that is amazing. I like that it is non electric too. Your sour dough will be fantastic. You will have fun experimenting.
      That was a very good week! With much love, Annabel.xxx

  23. Teddy is the most adorable thing! I can only imagine how much energy and expense goes into caring for your "babies". Especially now with everything being so hard to get. But you have planned well and are reaping the rewards. Your cake looks delicious - do you freeze with or without the frosting? If so, was wondering how well it holds up when thawed. Thank you for all your sharing!

  24. Hello from the Upper North East of the US! I am so happy to have been able to find your blog, via a Dear Reader of mine.

    Had heard of much locking down in your country, and wanted to hear, "from the spot" as it were. I am so sorry for all this happening again...

    I'm no expert, although I have sought to find as much REAL and TRUE information as possible.... Not just swallowing, what the *So Called News* pours out.... I feel that the world had best decide to "live or die" with this horrible China Covid Virus.

    There is no way, something this horrible, can be totally stamped out.

    Old people (my husband and myself) continue to be wise, even after just finally getting the *Jabs.* But refuse to be made to lock down, or wear masks, or to live in fear.

    "The Powers That Be" want us to Live In Fear. It gives them Power.

    Keep a Deep Pantry! One of the good things, to come out of the China Covid Pandemic. May we always continue to do so.

    Gentle hugs,

  25. Thank you for the reminder to plan for Christmas now. I was saving my credit card points but I am going to cash them in for either a Amazon card or check to buy locally. I plan to get my dehydrator motor and a pressure canner this next month unless I can find one on a great sale. I'm continually filling my prepper pantry. Need salt, peppercorns, single serve coffee packets and to fill my extra canning jars (I have many.)
    In all this hysteria of what's going on, I continue to look to our God and Savior for peace. He is still in control. I will not fear. Blessings.


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