Feather your Nest Friday, 6th August, 2021.

 What a long week!  Some extra days were inserted somewhere I am sure!  I wouldn't even know where to start to describe things in Australia anymore.  So I just give up on that.   The news and developments are dreadful.  All I can think of is how completely amazed I am how five years ago I had the most nagging feeling to begin to prepare.  Anyone who has been reading for a while well know what a journey this has been.   I was old enough then to know to NEVER ignore a nagging feeling!  That never ends well!    But now I truly think every day "How Great Thou Art" because I have seen over and over how God has led us and how so many of my friends had the exact same experience at around the same time.   Now we compare notes.  We no longer think maybe we are crazy!    And so now I feel a little emboldened to say that feeling to get the house in order, to be well prepared and organised is 200x what it was.  I also feel the need to know what I have, how much and where it is. 

This does not mean to be afraid.  Nope.  We were made for such times as these.  We are here with our combined experience to take it on and help our families.  It means we need to be really watchful,  prayerful and to think and act!   It is absolutely no use to know something and do nothing.  It is better to be ignorant and busy than knowledgable and inactive. 

A few times during the week things were somewhat overwhelming.  I have taken "do the next thing" and adapted it to "do the best I can today" and focus on that.  I use my planner to try and make lists and use time effectively.   Planning does save a lot of time overall.  So I have a lot of lists!

Three days this week I helped my daughters household.   It was go, go, go there!   I was able to go to Aldi on the way home and do a stock up shop too.

Some of the ways we got ahead were:

My cabin is now really proving to be a great asset.  We have two guys here now with the arrangement they will hunt foxes.  Like the last man these guys arrived with produce!   One of them is a Green Grocer!   You see!  You see God is in this! 

After speaking to them on the phone I told Andy "His friend is a GREEN GROCER!"   They arrived with all of this beautiful produce.   So you know what I will be doing for the next week!

I picked lemons from my daughters tree plus I had some Mum gave me.   Now I am working on lemons every day.  I am using 10 a day (to make sure I get through them) and bottling a lot of juice.

I had a spaghetti sauce cook up.   I filled a big pot and simmered it for a couple of hours.  This gave me many meals and I made up a pasta bake for Chloe and Luke.  (Lasagne basically except with Penne.)  I made two more small ones to give to my niece.   It gave us two meals and another to freeze.   Plus it was delicious! 

A bulk cook up really gets you ahead and saves time too.

I added heaps to my present cupboard.  Some items were from Aldi, they have a way of thinking of useful things.  Some were things I ordered online.   For the Australian ladies, Oz Sale often has amazing deals.  At first I considered there is postage and added that in.  But I discovered they only charge postage once and so if I order ten things, well,  it is still the same.  When I realised this it meant I could get things like hair products for two dollars each.   I ordered some brand name products that were over $50 less than retail price EACH.  And so I have luxurious items in the gift cupboard for a couple of dollars. 

Mum gave me three big bags of chicken feed. 

We had a week of moving animals.  Teddy went into a bigger paddock with more grass.   The sheep were moved into another paddock as well.   The lambs have grown so much it is hard to believe.  The tiny little lambs are now kind of lamb teenagers...

They also eat like teenagers I notice.  They have no fear of me at all and are very inquisitive! 

I made scones as Mum was coming over. 

The shelves I ordered for a small space in my sewing room arrived and Andy put them together for me.  I hope next week I can show them all organised.

For my dining table I made a flower arrangement that is low enough to talk over.  I am always moving flowers out of the way so I made some that don't obstruct conversation.   Flowers (real, fake, dried... ) really brighten me up. 

Both Chloe and Thomas were not well.   Chloe took Thomas to the doctor and they were concerned about him and said he might have to go to hospital if he didn't pick up.   Later that night she messaged me, "Mum, we are going to the hospital..."   I said please phone ahead to say you are coming. 
This was providential as the hospital was one hour away and in the dark too as it was quite late.   They rang and were told not to bother coming as they had no doctor!   Yes,  you heard that right,  no doctor. 
They saved that disastrous trip and headed into another smaller town hospital.   Thankfully Thomas was seen quickly and they were able to come home again later.   Today he is doing better.    But who can sleep when stuff like this is going on?    So I got up out of bed and dug some chicken out of the freezer, chopped some onions, veggies, garlic,  threw some bay leaves and everything onto my slow cooker and let it cook over night.

This morning I forgot until I walked into the kitchen and could smell chicken soup!   I tasted and adjusted it then delivered a saucepan of hot soup over to Chloe at lunch time.   I had some for lunch too.   Good homemade chicken soup really packs in so much nutrition and germ busting garlic, onion, bay leaf etc.    So I felt this was something I could do.    As it cooked slowly I peeled a whole sweet potato and dunked that in.   This morning I lifted it out, plus some of the other veggies and some chicken...  this went into a container for Thomas to have some nice thick baby food full of good broth.   I hope it helps. 

I think it is a good time to do all the things we can to build up immunity,  nourish and comfort.  I know I am tired after the week.  But it is a good tired.  I will keep on the chicken soup. 

We can help each other in so many ways.  Just by being positive is a major thing!  
When things become ridiculous you can kind of laugh or cry.   Many times I have been too astounded to do either!    I have mentioned how the news here is so appalling.   Here is a top story on one of the main online new services this week....  "Wife slammed for packing husband's lunch." 
I did not make this up.  It really said that and on the main page of news of the day stories.  hahaha!    So I think you have to laugh.  It is too drippy to take seriously.   They have lost all credibility in in times such as these this is what they dish up.   How is this helpful?    
We are back to "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - think about such things. Whatever you have learned from me. (Jesus) or seen in me- put into practice."     So we get busy on this and looking well to the ways of our households. 

How did you build up your home this week?  If you have information that might help others please share.  xxx


  1. A busy week. This week I've been high and low. When I say low, I mean really low, the floor and I have had a couple of unexpected meetings this week. I was given three beautiful pumpkins. Who can resist pumpkins? So one is for soup. One is for roasting. And one will be sliced thinly and dehydrated then powdered to add to meals. My hands aren't great at the moment so I've been banned from the big knives, but this weekend is pumpkin processing weekend in our house. I ordered more seeds. This has been pressing on me for weeks. I was also able to order another rack for the pressure canner as the other one is well and truly lost. Sleep eluded me so I've been up making Christmas cards for a charity that requested them. I've sent off one lot already, and have some more to package for them. I picked oranges from the tree. I picked mandarins from the tree (they are so sweet). I was hoping to be able to visit Hannah today, but lockdown put a stop to that. I found raspberry canes on FB 2 for $5, they'll boost our berry patch. Washing dried by the fire. Double-up cooking all week to build freezer stocks. Have a lovely weekend. xxx

    1. So sorry to hear you were loooow, Cath. Praying for you💖Lord bless you.
      Mary in San Diego

    2. Dear Cath, I am so sorry as the encounters with the floor do not sound good. I hope you are ok. The pumpkins sound so nice and I have one too... we still have some cold weather left so I think I will roast one and get some soup made.
      Good job on ordering the seeds. I understand the feeling of something pressing on you until you get it done. I know your cards for the charity will be beautiful.
      I am so sorry you arent able to go see Hannah. I hope soon the situation improves. I hope you have had a better new week. With much love Annabel.xxx

  2. Annabel your cottage has been of major benefit to you. Getting all that produce and having foxes removed is a double wonderful. I hope Thomas is better after all his chicken soup and yummy Nan Nan Bel food.
    I've had a busy but productive week. I made some changes to a friends fishing boat cover. I have been paid in fish. Another friend provided me with fabric and asked me to make some bowl covers. She paid me with some of her delicious plum sauce. We are currently eating that on everything.
    Bluey finished my potting table. He got all the materials, bar the castor wheels from the tip. I now have my next lot of seeds all planted up and resting on this table. It sits under the old washing line on the back of the house. I have plans to get hanging baskets and planting strawberries in these and attaching them to the old washing line.
    Katie has had me removing the feet and hands of Spencer's grow suits. He is a long baby with big feet and hands and they were getting all squashed in the suits. I have replaced these with ribbing and the suits are now getting used.
    Tilly has told her Mother and Father that she is moving to Queensland to live with Granny. She wasnt in trouble, she just wants to come and be with us here. I was almost in tears when I heard this. It has been almost two years since we last saw her and Maddy. One day we will get to see them again.
    I have been making lots and putting it away in the present cupboard or giving it away. There have been a few people who have needed a little pick me up. Having something already made and ready to give has made this an easy process.
    Life is good, lets all share kindness with each other and those around us.

    1. Dear Jane,
      Sometimes it takes a while but it is so good when you feel like hard work put in starts to pay off.
      Your potting table is fanstastic! In about a month I can get onto some seed planting. It is quite exciting!
      Some how I lost track of how long it is since you saw the girls. Maybe sometime pretty soon they will be old enough to come for a stay in school holidays... that could be a plan!
      Jane I think little pick ups are the order of the day. Your trading continues to be amazing! That was a pretty full and good week! With love, Annabel.xxx

  3. My week has been a plod along week. You have done so well.

    1. Thank you Suzan, some weeks are plod along for sure. As long as you are plodding in the right direction its all good. I am not sure if you are affected by lockdowns. What a week! xxx

  4. Yes Annabel, for me it was also a busy week. I’ve been doing quite a bit of dehydrating and stewing fruit for the freezer and our breakfasts. By mistake my husband planted my spring onion seed thinking they were brown onions. Well we have sooo many spring onions, so this week my dehydrater has been going all day everyday. I chop all of the spring onion, right up to the tips. When they are dehydrated I make them into onion powder which takes very little space and is so handy for soup omelettes etc. I also have been given lemons and I’m freezing the juice. I needed a new knitted face flannel and I started a crocheted summer top for when the weather warms. We are covering in some of our vegetable garden with veggie net so the frame has been made and the netting will be fixed next week. We will have so much more produce this year as it won’t be attacked by the white cabbage moth or fruit fly. I also have been doing quite a bit of stitching and mending. So my week has been fairly productive. We live in NSW but not in a lockdown area. We try to keep pretty much to ourselves to try and stay safe. I am waiting for my 2nd vaccination and my husband has had both now which makes us feel that little bit safer. I feel we will be living very different lives from here on in. For those who are believers there is much instruction in the Bible on how to live properly and how to care for each other in these difficult times. And of course prayer is essential, especially for our leaders as they try to keep our nation safe. It’s a battle, however, if God is for us, who can be against us. I pray all who visit here stay healthy and safe.
    Blessings Gail.

    1. Gail, I agree totally about praying for our political leaders in these difficult times. We can be too quick to criticise and blame those in power when prayer is a more positive approach.

    2. Dear Gail,
      Yes I also agree about praying for the country, the leaders, the doctors and nurses... everyone really. I just love stewed fruit. I think the spring onions will be really useful from dehydrated. They are very good in a stock I know that. Very healthy too. I am also working through lemons. I know in summer I will be glad of the juice!
      You had a very productive and good week. With love, Annabel.xxx

  5. Your flower arrangement is lovely. Thank you for being a voice or reason and encouragement to us all.

    1. Thanks MamaHen for saying such a nice thing.xxx

  6. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    What a gorgeous lot of beautiful fruits and veggies! That pumpkin (or squash?) is really interesting. Your cooking looks delicious and what precious lambs and flowers. Annabel, your posts are always so encouraging to me and I appreciate them so much every week; it is so nice to not feel alone in wanting to be prepared and take care of my loved ones. It has been such a help so many times!

    This week, I did the cooking and baking, and my husband saved us a bundle being able to fix the refrigerator himself. It suddenly was not cooling as it should, but only in one section of the refrigerator - very weird to me, but he knew what to do! Thank you for your kind words about him last week, he is doing a lot better now and very excited to have some food on the grill this weekend, haha.

    Some of the zinnias and sunflowers are going to seed, so I harvested the heads and saved seeds for next year. The seeds I saved from last year did very well this year. The ones I bought finally germinated and will probably bloom next week, but it took a strangely long time this year. I will try to plant more seeds for food crops this weekend.

    For the pantries, I added some bay leaves, roasts and butter for the freezer, vitamins, and bedding. There was a good price on pretty quilts so I purchased two extra (and shams to go with them, just for prettiness); the vitamins I am counting for our medical pantry because some of them were actually prescribed by my doctor (and help immensely!). I also bought some fabric for embroidery since I had a good coupon and many shops here are having delays in shipping from their sources. Cross stitching (sometimes adding beads) is something I've been doing most days for relaxation, and it still helps a lot. A few pieces are close to be doing for our home, and I will get started on gifts soon.

    Annabel, thank you particularly for your kind wishes for my horse. It really is a little like cows in that horses are sometimes hard to diagnose. She is improving on her medication and will see her vet again this weekend. (Just in case anyone has horses or other animals and doesn't know about this - the vet saved us hundreds by having her medication compounded at a pharmacy. It was his suggestion, and I would never have known, but really appreciate it.)

    I hope everyone has a good weekend.

    1. Dear Kathy,
      Thank you so much. I have been working away on the produce. That pumpkin is my favourite type which is either Queensland Blue or Tap. Roasted it is so good and soup too. Since then I have been given another one! Also they keep a long time. So I have worked on the fresh stuff that needs using first.
      Your husband did well to fix the fridge! I hope he is feeling better and able to eat more.
      Well done on saving the seeds. I have some sunflower seeds saved up and planning to plant those once it is spring.
      You added well to the pantry... the vitamins are good and extra quilts are a good idea. They are decorative and useful.
      I learned that horses and cows will hide a lot of symptoms and when a cow goes down (with sickness) we can almost never get them back up and boy we have tried. I hope your horse is doing ok. It is good about the compounded medicine... also probably easier to administer.
      I hope the week is going well. We have been go go and go someone! Stuff is also crazy but I think oh well on the farm who would know we just get on with it! With love Annabel.xxx

  7. Thank you for the thoughtful post and photos! Lamb teenagers indeed ;). In the fall of 2019, you and a few other bloggers whom I respect mentioned stocking up, so I did. And we know how that turned out. And a few months ago, you and the same bloggers started mentioning the increased feeling you all had about stocking up again. So I have been getting prepared. Thank you for sharing your concerns, worse case if the world goes back to normal, we have a good pantry! As Brandy at the Prudent homemaker mentioned, with inflation on the horizon, buying supplies at current prices will save 10% over buying them in a year at higher prices….where else can you save 10%? I have also been limiting the time reading/watching the news…everyone loves drama, and the delta variant has given them another few months of waving their arms around in anguish bossing everyone around..,it is crazy, so I don’t watch and spend time improving our home. Thank you for your blog, it is a great bright spot in the world.

    1. Dear Traveling Oltmans, We all understand how teenagers eat! haha!
      We have also seen great price rises. So even if there were not shortages it is a profit to be ahead and get things before they go up. I like to follow Brandy too. TV is enough to drive you crazy. I have some you tube channels I love and that is kind of my tv now.
      Thanks so much! With love, Annabel.xxx

  8. It's so good to see everyone being so productive. Annabel, by every Friday I am so ready for your
    words of encouragement. I sort of sputter out by the end of the week and you make a huge difference in my outlook! I don't know who lives in the craziest country, you or me? Some of the things that are happening in our worlds are unbelievable. Nothing surprises me anymore! But yes, we do just have to carry on and do the "next thing". You had an amazing week and sure set an example for all of us, as you always do.

    I have been trying to max out our storage , looking for spots to add extra shelving, etc. I decided to use one of those hanging shoe bags inside my pantry door to hold some things like paper cups, plastic forks and such. Then I gathered up all our tools that have wooden handles and Greg has been applying boiled linseed oil to make them last longer. Since his health is not so good we look for easier, sit-down jobs for him to work on. I've done several mending and altering jobs on our clothes. It's pretty easy to maintain your wardrobe when you mostly stay at home :-). I had potatoes sprouting in the pantry so I cut them up and planted in the space where a raised bed used to be. My goal is to have an on-going crop of potatoes. We eat a lot of potatoes! I dehydrated zucchini, tomatoes and rosemary. Then, in between rain showers, I'm painting the house where our good helpers did the repairs for us. I work from a tall ladder and Greg stays below handing me stuff and making sure the ladder doesn't tip over :-). I tend to get dizzy two feet above the ground and I told him if I go down at least he would be there to break my fall!

    Happy Friday to everyone and I wish you all a productive week.

    1. Thanks so much Pam! I also start a week strong and by the end I need a review and to re plan. I tend to plan a lot of Sundays. But for me it is so important otherwise I seriously would never stand back and consider and work out what to do next.
      The job of oiling all the wooden handles is a good one. And the hanging storage! They are great! At my last house I kept packets mixes, like dry soup mixes and things in one of those. It held a lot. Being inventive with space can really help you find much more than you thought. I had a narrow wall with no shelves in my pantry. I added a little three tier metal shelf that I got in the cheep shop. Now it holds cake decorating sprinkles and colours. It is so pretty but that freed up a space too.
      Dont fall off the ladder! I had the worst fall off a ladder onto a slate floor. I completely forgot I was up a ladder as I was there so long (painting) and I just stepped off into air. So be careful! With love Annabel.xxx

  9. The news is purely crazy here, too and finger pointing everywhere. If you don't look at facts it is terrifying but reality is laughed at as conspiracy theory. Once again all we see is fear when we go out. If we believe the news then this round is the worst but fact is that 400 a day are dying compared to 3000 at the height of the pandemic. Now the government has us divided by the vaccinated and unvaccinated and everyone believes they are right no matter which side they are on. We just have to keep praying and trusting our Good Father to care for us and let truth be known. Anyhow......

    That is so scary about Thomas and no doctor! You were such a wise Grandma getting the soup pot going! The more I read about garlic the more I believe in it's healing power. Raw is best if you can sneak it in to get it into children. A very reliable source says to take 16 raw cloves a day for a severe reaction to the vaccine. This is very valuable information. The article said you could take it by stirring it into soup in the serving bowl as it would not get cooked that way. I always have a big jar of the minced in my refrigerator and I get in there and spoon off the garlic juice and take it. That is raw and surprisingly sweet.

    We have been taking stock and adding to what we have here as well. I think we could be heading for more strict lock down here just to keep everyone scared. That will surely clear shelves. I am so, so thankful to have Aldi. They are the only store holding the line on prices here. I am shocked when I go anywhere else. A good place to look for local produce here is Facebook Marketplace. There are many listings for backyard garden extras and for good prices.

    I can imagine you having so many delicious meals from all that wonderful produce! What a blessing to have the cabin to help with your household. I hope you can get some rest this weekend as you surely need it!

    1. Dear Lana,
      Fear is used for sure as manipulation. Fear clouds judgement terribly. Because of the media facts are harder to find... but still they can be found. Its a challenge! The division we are seeing is dreadful. The media work tirelessly to whip it up. This to me is evil.
      I really believe in garlic too. I think Baby Leaves are also powerful.
      I love Aldi too. I dont get to go often but I do a stock up when I am there.
      I did slow down over the weekend but the new week has been go go go! With love, Annabel.xxx

  10. What a week of bounty!!!! That is wonderful.
    Just doing all the normal around here. I have been dehydrating, freezing and eating zucchini!! Shared some with a neighbor in return for fresh tomatoes! Garden is starting produce ripe tomatoes - so that is a happy moment. Picking peppers and cukes as well.
    Stay well and happy

    1. Dear Cheryl, Your garden sounds so good. Wonderful to be bringing in lovely fresh produce. I know you will be putting it all to good use. That is a good and happy type of busy! With love Annabel.xxx

  11. We've been eating produce from the garden and I decided to try and pickle some courgettes, since my son likes gherkins and I thought that they might be a nice, frugal substitute. We will give them a taste test in a couple of weeks' time and if they are ok I will make some more. I also got busy with a pair of out-grown pyjama bottoms in a soft cotton t-shirt fabric . So far they have been turned into cleaning cloths, a hat, a snood-style mask and a seat belt cover and there is still material left over. I find it really reassuring to know that there are women like me, all over the world, trying to make the most of what they have for the good of their families.

    1. Dear Tracy,
      Soft jersey is gorgeous. Very useful. There are a lot of us really it is just we are not on the news because we arent gluing ourselves to a door or screeching obscenities haha. Nope we are looking after our families! Which is hard work but not newsworthy!
      I had an actress I just loved. Purely bases on the movies. A couple of years ago she was on the news for speaking at a protest. Her language made my ears bleed and she looked like she could use a good wash. So disappointed! Things are not always what they seem!
      We can really enjoy goodness and happiness looking well to the ways of our households. With love Annabel.xxx

  12. Oh Annabel what a frightening time for Chloe and Luke, I hope Thomas recovers quickly and Chloe too. Having you provide food and love will mean the world to them.

    That produce is amazing! What a great swap. Your cabin must be a lovely retreat for people to really ‘get away from it all’ for a bit. Do you cook for people when they come and stay? If so I’m sure some guests would never want to leave!

    I’ve felt really busy this week and tired at the end of each day (or sometimes in the middle of the day lol). So I’ve tried to get as much done early in the day so that at least I feel organised when everyone gets home from school. I need to make a real effort to get to bed earlier too. Sometimes I stay up later just because I can have some time to myself but I’m starting to feel rundown so it’s clearly not working.

    My children’s school have set up a group that they contact to help when a family is in need. I was able to find some suitable gifts for a mother and child in my gift cupboard so was pleased to be able to help out.

    I also offered up a bed for free online that we no longer use. It has been ‘well loved’ to say the least, but I was sure it could still be useful to someone. I was so happy to give it to a lovely lady for her daughter’s first bed. She was thrilled and I was happy to have found someone who needed it. Op shops here are very picky about what they will take so I was really pleased with being able to give it away. And clear some space!

    We have one of my best friends and her family visiting today, that will be lovely. So lots of food to be prepared!

    Have a good weekend, sending lots of love to Thomas and you all!

    Jen (NZ)

    1. Dear Jen, Thank you! I am still working on the produce. We have lived on it and I have added meals to the freezer as well. I dont cook for the guests they are mostly hunters and they have a fire and a BBQ kind of guys. I offer fresh eggs though!
      Jen when the girls were little I had the late evening and night time as my me time and I would get sewing and all kinds of things. But sleep is so important. Dont get short on sleep. Dont get rundown now especially with so much sickness around. Today I am so tired and it has forced me to slow down!
      It is really good that the school has set up a group to help families when needed. I am always saying that by being ahead ourselves we can help others. That was lovely. Also lovely someone needed that bed.
      I hope you enjoyed your time with your good friend! Chloe and Thomas are better, progress! With much love, Annabel.xxx

  13. Dear Annabel,
    I'm so glad to hear Teddy is alright. I think you had another lamb and I got the two confused. still very sad about that one though. To me, this was a short week with too much to do and not enough time to get it all finished, but "do the most I can today" is my motto. I pray Chloe and Thomas are much better.
    Your flower arrangement is just beautiful. i enjoy your post each week. Blessings, Laura

    1. Dear Laura,
      Chloe and Thomas are much better thank you! Yes do what you can today! I am doing that today as really tired! So I am sitting and working on quieter things.
      Many thanks re my flowers. With much love Annabel.xxx

  14. How scary to think no doctor at the hospital. Am glad he is doing better. How blessed you are to receive all that beautiful produce! Love the idea of the low basket arrangement! Keep on keeping on! Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy,
      We have had times when the hospital in the other direction also had no Doctor. It is scary. But Thomas ended up seen to and he is doing better. Thanks I love flowers and keep adding more! With love Annabel.xxx

  15. I think you know that I have had that same "feeling" for a long time! The reality of the situation here is far worse than I could ever have imagined.

    I made vanilla extract this week for Christmas gifts. Five pint size Ball jars are now on the shelves, waiting for a little shake each week.

    1. Dear Brenda, I know you also have had the feeling and urge to up the preps and pantry. It seems so long now that we have been working away. Who could have imagined what was ahead? It is like a futuristic movie. Things have really shocked me, I mean things I have seen in my own country like drones patrolling public places... and odd things like no one allowed to go to church yet they can crowd onto a bus... families not allowed to visit each other but you can go to a brothel! Whatever it is we have to deal with it one day at a time.
      The extract will be beautiful and a nice gift, luxurious and useful. I need to go shake mine! With love Annabel.xxx

  16. What a week you have had! I’m so glad little Thomas was ok. You have been blessed with such lovely produce, and picking lemons is just wonderful!
    There’s nothing like chicken soup when ill or in need of comfort. I’m sure your spaghetti sauce was really good too. Flowers always cheer me up too.
    We have begun our grain harvest today, so my week(s) ahead will be extra busy with running hither and thither as my husband and son need feeding and collecting or parts fetching. In between I am picking blueberries with my daughter. 20 litres in the freezer today.

    1. Dear Gill, I already have a lovely image of the meals you take out to your husband and son. They must look forward to you arriving with your lovely home cooking.
      So good to get so many Blueberries! Here it currently is about $6 for less than one cup of blueberries. So you are rich in Blueberries!
      Thomas is a bit better. I am keeping up the home cooking to them! With love Annabel.xxx

  17. Your urging in early 2020 is what led me to deepen my pantry here in the US. But I want to ask...for those of us without a husband who can do the things yours does, with no farm animals & land ect. Just an older woman on her own....what do your recommend?

    I do have a hard working husband but he works hard at his job & doesn't have the energy left to do these kinds of things at home. He is a type 1 diabetic & often comes home from work weak, heading straight to bed.

    1. I am looking forward to reading Annabelle's wisdom on your question also. Nancy

    2. Dear Jenny,
      First of all the number one thing we can do is our best to look after ourselves as then first of all we arent a burden on another family and second of all we might be able to help others. I brought up my girls on my own for 16 years so I can comment about being on my own a little from that experience although younger at the time. Even though your husband is tired the fact he is around is probably a good security measure. Two still are better than one.
      So first of all I could work on getting ahead with medications. Especially your husbands. Get ahead as far as is possible and rotate. Next I would assess your space and if you have a cupboard of stuff you barely use or even a room you barely use... think of finding space to increase your pantry. If not well under the bed, anything will do. Now think if you could get nothing from the store for two weeks how would you do? What would you wish you had? So make a list and build up those things. A pantry isn't just food. You still want to be able to wash clothes and hair and so on. And consider pets. I would repeat this until you could stay home with no shopping or deliveries for as long as possible.
      Ok... so next I built up first aid. Knowledge and supplies. And a printed first aid book.
      Consider things that would make life with much less nicer. If that is coffee for you then get way ahead... we all have things that make us feel better and a crisis is a really bad time to run out!
      I have considered the needs of my daughters and families and the children. I cant hope to cover everything but I put away things. I have drummed into both daughters to be well ahead. I stayed with Lucy recently and I had a good nosey and she is good for supplies for months so I was pretty happy!
      It is vital that you have a way of heating and boiling water if there is no electricity. Alternate heating (depending on where you live) is massive. We have a few options... we have a generator. We have a wood stove and fire, we have a gas BBQ. Thinking of alternative lighting. We have candles, landers, flash lights, solar lights. Make sure you have manual can opener.
      It is absolutely vital to have an alternative source of water. If not then water storage is so important. At the very least keep boxes of spring water but if you can store more than that.
      Some things come by surprise but most things we have a warning whether it is a weather warning or other information that gives us insight into what might be coming. This is where being watchful comes in. A heads up, head start can be live saving.
      Also keep some cash and even items to trade. If the internet is down and the ATMS were down what would you do? Think of that.
      We store fuel. We keep some aside for the generator and for our vehicles. We rotate that through so it doesn't get old.
      This is basic and I already wrote a book! We can do a little each day and each shop to be more self reliant improve our position. It helps us feel good to and reduces some of the worry. Finally Ill say skills ... basic skills like being able to make a nutritious meal from very basics are good to have. We can think how did our Grand Mothers do things! They knew!
      I hope that helps. With love Annabel.xxx

    3. Annabel, the above is such a good post, and really got me thinking--especially about the first aid book! I can see that we looked at different angles of preparing for when we are alone andor don't have much help. Your comment about having alternate ways of doing things reminded me of something....

      Before downsizing, we lived in a big house on 5 acres. Now we have an average-sized house on a city lot that is so much easier. Only three years have passed, and I would now be completely incapable of doing laundry in the old house because I have so much trouble navigating stairs, and definitely not while carrying a basket full of clothes. There is no way I could keep up a big property...sometimes I have trouble keeping up a small one.

      Alternate sources--when we built this house, we thought of this and installed natural gas for cooking, heating and water heating. In an emergency, we could heat at least part of the house with the fireplace, even though the heat wouldn't circulate well without the fan. We could light the range burners with a match, although the oven wouldn't work. People who don't have gas can use a propane camp stove (the kind with little canisters) and set it right on top of their electric range. We did this in power outages when we had an electric range.

      We don't have a generator--although we considered it--because how would we get or store fuel? We don't have gas cans for the same reason--there is no way a little old lady with little strength could lift one, let alone pour it into a car or generator tank. We do, however, have two vehicles, and at least one normally has a full gas tank. If we only had one car, I would top up the tank every time I passed a gas station.

    4. This is a good question Jenny and I was thinking to ask exactly the same thing!

      Annabel I have been following you for several years and I well remember your feelings to get prepared, and you have faithfully done so for years, so to hear you say you feel it 200x more has got me paying attention!!

      I’m going to have a good think about this and come up with my own plan, I must admit I’ve had a nagging urge to expand my veggie garden for some time, I have a small but quite productive garden, but I have plenty of room to make it bigger, so I think I will.

      I’m listening as are many others, we hear you, Thankyou for your wisdom.

    5. I realize that I wasn't 100% clear on one thing. The fireplace also is gas. (A traditional fireplace could be converted with a gas log). This provides a source of heat (albeit without the fan to circulate it) when the electricity goes out. We love wood fires, but we are way past the ability to have them, even if we buy the wood cut and split.

      Also, there is another post from me--the original--somewhere down below. I thought I was responding directly to Jenny when I posted.

    6. Dear Maxine, I think it is really wise to plan ahead and things like stairs become a problem. Making things manageable means we can be independent and avoid disasters hopefully!

      Cheryl, thank you! I have a few ladies I follow and over time I have really grown to trust them. They are also saying and feeling the same way. Maybe we are all crazy but it is as though you can feel something in your heart and bones and its impossible to ignore. If you can expand the veggie garden that would be great. Space is a gift and allowed you to grow some of the things that love space like pumpkins and vines even. xxx

  18. Annabel, you're doing really well with the hand you are being dealt. Isn't God good and faithful! The flower arrangement is beautiful and I really like the height factor. I continue to work on keeping my pantry well-stocked as well and gratefully accept opportunities God sends my way to do that. It gets tiring at times but I have to remind myself that sometimes God's answers to prayers come wrapped up in hard work so I rest a while and get up and get back at it. These are strange times we live in and I continually pray for God to prepare us for what's ahead ... my job is to pay attention and take advantage of what He sends my way.

    1. Dear Patsy, I saw you had some wonderful opportunities come your way, I saw the pears so I know that was one of them. Yes many opportunities involve hard work. I really look at things as an opportunity now in a different way to I did earlier in life. So many times it amazes me... like my brother phoned me and said "do you want a calf?" I just say YES! Take the opportunity! And then it is a lot of work but a really big reward. I pray you have had a good week full of more opportunities! With love Annabel.xxx

  19. Love your teenage lambs and that they're unafraid of you💕 So glad you've gots lots of green grass for them and hay for those kids. You can't help but smile when you look at them all.
    So sorry to hear Chloe and Thomas were poorly. Are they both on the mend? Providential you had Chloe call the hospital first, as you wrote. And I'm so sorry to hear Lucy has fibro; a friend of mind got fibro when she became pregnant. Wonder if Lucy had it before her babies? Anyhoo, praying for you all!
    Your flower arrangement is loverly. What a pretty sight to look at everyday.
    The bartered veggies and your pasta sauces are gorgeous! And what a screamin' deal you got on the luxury items.
    Can hardly wait to see your new shelving all put together and your pretties in them. You know I love organizing. I've been watching some organizing videos on YouTube lately for all my paper crafting supplies. They (the supplies) seem to reproduce like bunnies! But it's so much fun.
    Take good care of our Annabel, too. Much love, Mary in SD

    1. Dear Mary, Thank you! The babies make me smile everyday. They are full of goodness and mischief!
      Thomas and Chloe are better! They took a few days to improve but so much better now, thank you.
      Thank you for your prayers I do appreciate that.
      Paper crafting supplies are beautiful! I love all things paper and stationary etc. I have made progress on my sewing room shelves I need to work on it some more. With much love Annabel.xxx

  20. Like you and others here, I had felt the 'urge' to deepen my pantry over the past few years. I'd described my pantry as an emergency fund that was not money but goods. Over the past year I realized that I needed to deepen things in other ways. Sheets or towels, underthings, etc. might wear out. In pandemic I couldn't find the underclothes I wanted or any in my size at all! We still are experiencing outages of sorts, such as paper plates, etc. I made out a list the other day of things I know I will be needing in the months ahead and gathered prices. As I find the way I shall be buying a few things along.
    this week my daughter was unable to purchase milk in town at either the dollar store where she'd typically go nor the local grocer. She told me that not only were they both out of the lactose free milk that baby boy requires but ALL milk.
    John is getting very good at spying bargains. I was so tempted today in the grocery to tell him I had no need of a big roasting hen but in looking at the price, I found it going for $1.01 a pound. If' I'd had the freezer space, I'd have gotten four! I just cooked a roasting hen this past week and I made 10 meals for us with the frame still to be cooked and picked over! For this very reason I am trying to work my way through the odds and ends portion of my freezer and make room to store more meat.
    Keeping Caleb is a job but hard work, too. I am learning a few things about what I need in order to be a happy caregiver. It is a lot harder at my age to tend to a not quite two year old. I had fortunately remembered how hard it was at half this age! and so I'm getting creative in what I do and how I do it.
    Blessings flowed this week and I discovered that we had enough extra to cover the AC repair bill without taking more out on loan. I was so pleased to share that news with John today after going over our finances. I'm being careful with grocery shopping too at present even though I just long to go buy things I know we need to stock more heavily.
    I've been super vigilant about using up all the foodstuffs on hand and am making sure we aren't tossing anything if it can possibly be avoided.
    Like pamintexas, I planted some potato skins that had big eyes on them. I am harvesting herbs. And I'm looking to expand my storage and make it work harder for me. I may have to be creative rather than just buy things as I'd like to do but I can be creative!
    News here for us is that many surrounding counties are seeing an uptick in numbers again but nothing like last year's numbers. Our county, just like last time is doing very well comparatively speaking, no doubt because we have really small towns and the county is very rural with people not prone to leave home for just any old thing.
    I'm so glad baby Thomas is doing better and glad too that you spoke your intuition to Chloe to call ahead. That saved a wasted trip and precious time for sure!

    1. Dear Terri, We are on the same track. I added towels, linens, clothing, underwear...
      I hope your daughter found the milk her baby needs... I would get her to get miles ahead as she can. I have stashed here formula for toddlers since that is a way of having milk incase fresh is not available for the baby boys.
      It is really good John is spotting deals. Two sets of eyes are better than one!
      I planted some potatoes the same way! They are growing really well now... they were slow to start and now huge!
      I am glad you had a good week and also that you are setting yourself up to help care for Caleb. It is exhausting taking care of little ones! It is a big help if he still has a day time nap which he probably does.
      Many thanks Terri, with love Annabel.xxx

  21. Dear Annabel, thank you for your words of encouragement, support and kindness. The news is really scary. We are in lockdown again. I feel lucky that I have fooled you and your beautiful blog and have felt the need to save, prepare, and learn all that I can. It has saved us going to the shops, which I think may add to feelings of panic/anxiety. We have had colds here, so have been staying away from people anyway. So we had a 'pizza party' and played cards together. It was fun. This week I dropped off a bag of books/games and puzzles to a friend who was isolating with her little girl for two weeks. Hopefully it helps to keep her little one entertained. I am so thankful for our pets too, they will help us. I hope Thomas is better. How scary for Chloe and Luke. That was very smart to phone ahead. I love that you made them chicken soup. I really love your swaps/trades. How good does that produce look?! I think I will get cooking in the next few days. We have a bit pot of spaghetti sauce on right now, wit lots of garlic, herbs, and veggies (grated). I think cooking will help me, I always feel better with food prepared and ready to go in the pantry/fridge. I also have the feel to clean and sort out cupboards, so I can look for gaps. Lots of love, Lily

    1. Dear Lily,
      Thank you and I am so glad you are prepared. I have experienced the shops in the table end of a crowded panic. You want to avoid that. I am sorry you are in lockdown.. so many in Australia are and growing very tired of it. The better our little world at home is the easier these times are. We are blessed with space, garden, animals and unless I go to town there is no daily difference. In town however it is very noticeable!
      I am still working on the produce and its been fantastic. I also feel when things are worrying to cook and do constructive things helps. We have purpose. What we do makes a big difference! We can channel our worry into good! I hope you were able to work on the cupboards too, you will feel good! With love Annabel.xxx

  22. Jenny, I'm not Annabel, but I am 75 and my husband is 76. He is an amputee and always had better sense than to climb ladders. He also does not like plumbing! Nevertheless, we've done a lot of DIY, and that includes me. (I have recently stopped climbing ladders).

    The first thing you need is a good handyman for things you or your husband can't physically do. Treat him or her well. You may be able to ask/barter with a friend or neighbor for assistance, or you may have adult children who will help. Don't have too high of expectations for your friends, neighbors and especially your kids. Not that they aren't good people, but often they are dealing with other things. I did expect help from my son when he was a teenager and lived at home. He loves to mow and snow blow!

    If you are used to having everything perfect, lower your standards. Not everything has to be done perfectly, or RIGHT NOW.

    Invest in things that will make jobs easier. Have you ever heard a man say, "if a guy just had the right tools"? (They always speak in the third person when they say this, LOL). A self-propelled lawnmower could lengthen the time you are able to do your own lawn care...and if you have always relied on your husband for outdoor chores, mowing is something you can do yourself. I can make a lot of minor repairs myself. Always buy lightweight, good quality stuff (even hardware) so you won't need to repair or replace so it often. A hand truck and furniture dolly will help move big things. I've got a bad back and I use the dolly to move 40 lb. sacks of dog food from the car, through the garage and into the house. A few years ago, we moved a washer and dryer with a throw rug underneath and scooted the out the door! (And the new ones came in the same way). Anything you can get delivered...get it delivered.

    The biggest thing we did (and I know not everyone can) was downsizing and moving to a house in town that was new construction. It is all on one level, has 36 inch doors, higher toilets, etc., to allow us to age in place. Everything in it is new! Nothing is going to wear out or need repairs for about 10 years! The roof, furnace, etc., will probably outlive us. I know a lot of people think you get more for your money with an older home, but you also get an older roof, older mechanical systems, older appliances, older flooring, etc. There is a lot to be said for some low maintenance years!

    1. Thank you for that Maxine! Very helpful and speaking from experience!xxx

  23. Annabel,
    How scary no doctor? I am glad little Thomas is on the mend and your good food will help build him back up better than anything. All of that good produce was a fantastic trade! Plus it saved you a little on fuel since you didn't have to go get it so win, win! Your cottage is starting to give you a good return. And I always love to see your animals, they always look like they are smiling and it is so heart warming.
    They are talking here that if you are not vaccinated in some states that you will not be allowed to go to many public places and trying to pit vaccinated against unvaccinated. Vaccine passports and so on remind me of the play book from WWII!
    I am so glad I am prepared and the pantry is full because we really don't know what will come next, but I anticipate that people are going to get tired of it all soon and take to the streets. You cannot fan the flames and not expect a fire. The feelings and nudges I've had over the years have guided me through the process even when others have thought me crazy, but I just kept going. Many times having a good pantry has gotten us through so never, never ignore your inner voice.
    I always think of the verse Fear not, for I am with you and as I putter around in my garden I can really feel that's true. Life is uncomfortable and may get more so, but I am still going to get through it on my own terms with God's help. This could be a Biblical time and we will be a part of it all good or bad.
    I have been using as much of the fresh produce we pick from the garden each day and putting up the rest. I am currently starting on tomato juice, stuffing peppers, freezing zucchini, cutting herbs and soon will be digging up carrots that I thought were not growing. Surprise!
    And I am currently working on a trade for corn since mine didn't do well. Baking for fresh corn on the cob, good trade! When bartering or trading anything can be currency, such good savings!
    I made a pot of green beans, potatoes and ham with beans from the garden and ham that I had canned. It was delicious!
    And for the gift cupboard I'm working on little laundry soap kits. I'm decorating glassine bags prettily with the supplies in separate baggies. They won't make a large batch of soap, but they will look crafty I hope.
    I hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Dear Vicky, Yes they re trying to divide us too. Every trick in the book is being used.
      I saw massive protests are happening in some countries so I think you are right..
      I am glad you got surprise carrots that is a bonus!
      The laundry kits will be a lovely gift! I like it! You have a way of making things look pretty too!
      Today my energy is not good so I am having a slow day! With love Annabel.xxx

  24. Hi Annabel & Bluebirds

    Yes I think most of us have had a rough week in one way or another. Australia surely is in a state of disarray at them moment. I have family and friend in NSW now gone into a week lockdown, friends in SEQ (South east Queensland) were sent into lockdown but that has been lifted today and now they can head back to school. Still people continue to do the wrong thing so I guess we just have to keep going day by day.

    Today we headed out to a strawberry farm about 40 mins from us to pick some fresh fruit and support our farmers. We also purchased some jars of jam that I will put in a few small hampers that I will be making for Christmas. Then we stopped at a local pub there and had lunch before we went in to the General Store and they had some wonderful home grown produce that I purchases. I love these days when I am not supporting big companies but the locals instead. Your produce looks amazing and I am sure you were most grateful for receiving this. So wonderful that your cottage is being used in the way of a barter system.

    Love the idea of the table decoration. I have to agree that tall vase of flowers tend to get in the way when they are on the table and this was a brilliant way of solving that problem.

    Hope that Chloe and Thomas are on the mend. Such a worrying time when they are sick in the middle of the night and then to be told no Dr is available and on those dark country roads at night.
    Sewing was put on the backburner after I was called home to a sick child, but thankfully after a shower, panadol and some sleep was feeling much better.

    I do hope that those who had a dismal week last week have a better week ahead. Stay safe to all

    Take Care
    Aly xxx

    1. Dear Aly, Good on you for supporting the farmers. That would also have been a really fun outing! I love it too. I know where I would rather my money go!
      I hope you are all ok there. I have lost track of lockdowns in QLD but NWS is big news again today.
      I hope A is better and you could get to some sewing this week again. With much love Annabel.xxx

  25. I've been thinking all week of how you told us to start stocking up, all those 5 years ago and how so many of us took your advice to heart. It was a blessing when I was let go from a my previous job. Since then I have never let my pantry get low. We keep our freezers full of our good beef, pork & chickens. I am refilling my pantry now before autumn & winter. I'll be asking everyone I know for tomatoes to can and extra potatoes to dig. I will be canning tomatoes and peaches for our local kids. I'm stocking up on OTC and home remedies for any winter illnesses. I'm thinking of Christmas and how to prepare for that. Also, clothing for winter for us. I know I could use a new pair of athletic shoes. Dh will need socks and underwear and now is the time to get them (school sales.) I will be checking the second hand shops for our grandchildren's needs.
    I will not be afraid, but will wholly stand on Jesus' name.

    PS Thank you for your encouragement. I am not listening to the national news anymore. I can't stand to hear all the bad news. God is still in control and that is what I am holding on to.

    1. Dear Kay, Thank you. I am so glad you had the pantry back up when you lost your job. Yes put the word out! Take every opportunity! It is a relay good idea to have medicines and vitamins etc. They mostly keep a long time. I know that dry things ie tablets last longer than liquids/medicines and if kept in a cool place they last. There have been great rushes on here and I have seen those sections in the supermarket empty. At one stage they had limits on these things in the chemist. Even on asthma inhalers.
      The thrift store is a great source of items to get ahead with. Kay I am with you, we do not need to be afraid we need to have faith and do our best. We can watch out for our kids and Grandkids needs. We can rise to the challenge! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Dear Kay and Annabel....Kay, in 1984 I quit a job that had become intolerable. I gave a month's notice (should have left immediately). My garden was coming on and I stayed up late most nights after work to can what I had grown myself--tomatoes, green beans, applesauce and pears. I didn't buy any additional fruit because I thought I might need the money later. I filled 200 jars, which was and is way more than I've ever done. With a husband and two little kids, this wasn't easy, but I was worried. Luckily, I found a part time job within 4-6 weeks, but this really underscored the need to be prepared. I believe most people will experience a period of unemployment, extended illness or a weather emergency sometime during their lifetimes (sometimes more than once). Having extra food and supplies is absolutely critical. Even if you have the money, you might not be physically able to shop.

      Annabel, you are right that medicinal tablets will last a long time. Expiration dates have a lot to do with how long the manufacturer can be held legally responsible for the product. Also, the date on the original package may be farther out than the date on the bottle in which it is dispensed. In the US--at least in the states where I have lived--the pharmacist must list the expiry one year after the date the prescription was filled, no matter the date on the original package. However, a doctor told me years ago that dry products, such as pills, should be fine for at least 3-4 years, and probably much longer. He said that even if they are quite old, they are still safe to take in an emergency. They don't become poison, they will just gradually lose a little potency. Meaning you might not get quite as much relief, or have to take them a little oftener, etc., until you can obtain some fresh product.

      My new first aid book arrived today!! Thank you again for the reminder.

  26. I wish more of your Dear Readers, had blogs of their own. And links to their blogs. I wish.............


    1. Dear Beside a Babbling Brook... many do, top let on the main page I have a list of blogs. Over time I am adding more. xxx

  27. What a week you have had!!!!!! But how wisely, you decided to handle it!!!!!!

    Me'thinks we are all having totally unimagionable weeks.

    Think back in our lives. We who live in what we considered FREE Nations.... Have we ever seen such FOOLISH actions, by our governments????

    Have we ever seen so many RULES made, simply due to the LOUDEST people, shouting?


    1. Yes we are living in interesting times. Some of it is indeed unimaginable!


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