Feather your Nest Friday, 29 October, 2021.

We are almost into November!  The last few weeks have gone by so fast.  Once it is NOVEMBER things always get busy as we head towards Christmas.   

It was a good week and last night we had over an inch of rain.  This is so wonderful for us!  A lot of our state had hail and there was mass losses of fruit, veggie and grape crops.   I am still catching up with the damage.  We were very lucky we just had the good soaking rain.   Today when the sun came out I went to look at all my plants.  The pumpkins especially looked like it did them so much good.  Everything looks beautiful.

Some of the ways I built up the home, garden and pantry this week included:

I decanted my Vanilla Extract into small bottles to give as gifts.  I did add back in some of the vanilla beans so they can continue to grow stronger.  It smells so good!  I got 10 bottles and saved some for myself.

I made up gifts with Bay Leaves, Herbs,  Seeds and Vanilla extract.

This week we worked to mulch more areas.  The kitchen veggie and herb garden first then all of the fruit trees.   It was a sunny day and we spent it shovelling mulch and watering the trees as we went.  The tractor made it so much easier. 

I can soak the trees now and the water is held in to soak them properly as the mulch forms a moat around them.   Progress!

This morning, after so much rain,  I raced down to the orchard to make sure all my baby pears and apples had hung on!    They had! 


I made a tray of little Baked Rice Custards.  I did one in a tiny cup to take over to Thomas to see if he likes it.  Yep, he did!   Since I always have eggs this is something I can make him regularly. 

I actually left the cinnamon off for Thomas but next time he can try a little sprinkle.

Then I made up two Gluten Free Christmas cakes.  I just switch the flour to gluten free.  This way I can have Christmas cake... the little one is for Mum.   The big one will be sliced and frozen.  It tastes just the same but for some reason doesn't keep like the original one does.  

I got to see the girls.  Harper helped me pick Lemons.  

What she lacks in teeth she makes up for in helpfulness!!  😊

I also made Meringues.  It is so beautiful to make.  The magic of humble egg whites becoming luscious meringue...  amazing.   Like bottling the Vanilla Extract it was so lovely and I thought how glorious these simple things are.  How the humble eggs give me so many things to make!

I use the Nigella Lawson Meringue Recipe. Also as a pavlova sometimes.   Very very easy yet a smash hit every time.

Mum gave me a big bagful of pink poppy seeds.  I planted them all.

I planted more Sunflowers also.  A lot.  We will see how many come up!

I made a batch of coffee liqueur to give it time to be ready for Christmas as I re used some of the vanilla beans and also I've saved some beautiful bottles.   Now things are starting to add up... Christmas cakes, Vanilla,  Dried flowers, Liqueur...  my gifts are coming together.  

So it was a great week.  Lots of little things!   Now we are hearing more and more about supply chain issues and this week news was that even car production is coming to a halt due to components that are in shortage.   The list just keeps growing.   Keep your eye on the ball!   Keep on busily feathering your nest. xxx


  1. Annabel yet more beautiful images of your farm and gifts. Gluten free baking tends to dry out faster due to the lack of gluten in the flour, even with a gum such as guar or xanthen. Having a slightly wetter mixture so it is more likc a batter helps with this. We had a wonderful weekend last week with a special friend and her young daughter staying with us. At the moment they are living with her family in another part of NZ. They have been living overseas for the past 11yrs. They came over for a wedding just before our first lock down and have not been able to get home as the boarders of the country they are living in remain closed. Meanwhile her husband is over there working. She thinks it will be about March 22 before they can return. We had a wonderful time with them. It is the 4th time this year we have caught up. It was a long weekend here last weekend and I took an extra day off to make it a 4 day one for me. It was beautiful weather and I got lots of weeding done and planted some new basil, rosemary and lettuce plants. We don't do Xmas gifts here as such any more but I do make some home made treats to share with family and friends. I have been collecting some nice size jam jars for some of these. I am also going to make my own Xmas crackers and put lovely little gifts in them if I can get the snaps. This could be tricky this year perhaps, with supplies being short on many things. Last Autumn I gave our feijoa tree a hard prune. While it grew good fruit they were all at the ends of the branches. Reading up on what to do it said you can prune them back hard in Autumn and in spring the new growth will be along the whole branch. I am delighted to say this has happened. Each week I feed it and will also mulch it to keep the water in. I don't care for them myself but my partner loves them. Our lemon tree is also going well. I am thinking of doing preserved lemons as one of my Xmas gifts. This week we had the Delta strain arrive in our city. At the moment we remain at level 2, time will tell if we move up a level.
    Stay safe and well everyone.


    1. Dear Mandy, Yes I think you are right with the gluten free flour. I was thrilled with how the cakes came out and tasted... but last time they seemed stale after a couple of weeks and I think that is why.
      So nice you had lovely guests. Also very nice for them. All through this I have had a terror about overseas travel because of fear that you could get out but not back in again... or stuck some other way. Awful for this family to be separated this way.
      I hope you get a big harvest from your tree. When we pruned our trees I was worried but now they are losing amazing. So it worked out!
      Preserved lemons look beautiful in the jar. A good gift. Actually if you look in the stores at hampers and foodie gifts they are so expensive, this gave me more confidence on gibing them myself. I hope your city does ok with this, week by week I feel like Im not sure what to expect next. Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. Hi Annabel,
    The hailstorms will cause so many cars to be written off for insurance, and I guess Qld hailstorms have done the same in the past few weeks. Will this add to the problem of trying to buy a car? And now Australia is to only have two refineries! I've got a newish push bike which I'm sure I'll be dusting off in next couple of years! Keep the gardens and pantries well stocked everyone.
    Love Kate

    1. Kate yes, I am told already long wait lists for many cars. In the UK this issue caused second hand car prices to go up and up. Interesting times...
      I have been working in the garden today. After the rain the seeds I put in have come up! So yes keep gardening and keep stocking up. Have a beautiful weekend.xxx

  3. What do you have around your fruit trees? It looks like cotton. Just curious 😂

    1. I think it might be shredded paper?

    2. Lynd, Mel is right, shredded paper. They all had weeds so the shedded paper put a stop to that and created a layer of mulch. It seems to have worked well and they all look good. Now they have the nice rich dark mulch as well. And they all have wind protection. They better perform with all this work!

  4. Annabel I love the lovely fruit cakes, rice custards and meringues you made and the vanilla extract herbs and gift hampers you made up :) . I am glad the hail missed you there and was worried when I heard big storms were headed your way. You have a wonderful helper in Scarlet and looks like she really loves to help.

    Like yourself we have beautiful blossoms everywhere in the star jasmine flowering, lemon and orange tree flowers and glad your little fruits survived the heavy rain.

    We have come a long way with our pantry stocking and did a massive shop to hopefully beat a lot of the price rises coming shortly in the next few months and stocked up many of the things we were unable to get enough of previously. I had put in quite a few online click and collect orders since Covid and lots of things were out of stock or they only had a little of, so our pantry building went backwards for a while on some items but pleased to say we have now caught up and increased stocks.

    Our home has been a construction zone last week but pleased to say that all the maintenance jobs are now done so we have spent a lot of time tidying up after the jobs were finished.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $4686 in savings last week :) .

    In the kitchen -
    - Cooked all meals from scratch.
    - Baked 2 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machine saving $6.98 over buying them locally.

    Finances -
    - I paid an extra part payment off our mortgage and added more money into both our home maintenance and 6 month emergency fund.

    Home maintenance -
    - We needed work done on the home being two asbestos ceiling panels replaced, two house stumps replaced and the home leveled, tank stand shed reinforced with an additional 5 support posts for which we got a quote from two different tradies for $8179.07.

    I found a local builder who did all of the jobs above as well as repaired leaks in our gutter and repaired 8 rollers on 4 cupboard doors (that were discontinued that we couldn't buy) for $3675 which is a huge saving of $4504.07 :) . I am so happy with the quality work he did at such a good price.

    Home cleaning -
    - We spent a lot of time cleaning up after the builder in both the bedroom and kitchen where the panels and trimming were replaced and gave everything a good vacuum in the home.

    Purchases -
    - From Coles we purchased 2 x 32 pk of toilet paper on special and 24 tins of lychees a lot cheaper than other supermarkets saving $24.40 over usual prices.
    - From Aldi purchased 5 x 500 g butter for $4.99 saving $3.05 on prices elsewhere.
    - Saved 4% or $4.79 buying a grocery e-gift card from RACQ.
    - Bought 8 x toothpaste and 8 bottles of mouthwash on half price specials saving $64 on usual prices.
    - Saved $30 off our grocery shop by using a 5x and 10 x points promo for multiple Woolworths grocery shops and redeeming my Woolworths rewards $.
    - Bought 2 x Woolworths grocery e-gift cards saving 4% or $40 off their face value through RACQ.
    - Purchased a Coles e-gift card from RACQ saving 2.5% or $6 on usual prices.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead and hope everyone can find more savings and ways to feather their nests :) .


    1. Dear Lorna, The scent of Orange Blossoms is one of the most beautiful scents ever I think! Heavenly. Also the promise of blossoms is so exciting!
      It sounds like you have found a good builder and he could come in handy if there is any further work in the future too. What a massive savings right there.
      Really glad you could do a big stock up. Click and collect is handy for sure but the same happened to me... it kept us going but later I have needed to go in and fill the gaps myself.
      You must be very happy to have the jobs on your house done. Its messy at the time but so good to have it all done. Great savings also on the toothpaste and mouth wash. Huge actually!
      You had a massive week and really good one! We need a weekend to re coup! With love Annabel.xxx

  5. So glad you had a good rain. We did too!

    It seems that goods are moving better here where we are in SC, USA. There are more trucks on the roads and we are hearing more trains moving to and from the inland port near us. Our oldest son is an engineer for Honda and they are still in production but making less. But, we are seeing more businesses with closed signs due to labor shortages. We keep hearing that there won't be toys for Christmas but we went to the store to buy for a grandchild's birthday and the shelves were completely full. There were a good many empty shelves at Aldi this week but we got everything on our list which was a blessing. Other grocery stores in our are are well stocked.

    1. Dear Lana, Your son would be up with the car issues. Your observations are great, we can tell more by what we see and hear than anything else. It is really good you have everything on your list. I pretty much have too. I feel good knowing this!
      Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Lana, we were staying on Tybee Island, GA last week where we had a good view of the cargo ships coming into port at Savannah. When we first arrived there were a dozen lined up waiting in the ocean. The day we left, there was only one so it seemed like they were making good progress with the backlog there at the Savannah Port! CarlaM

  6. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    Annabel, your gifts look beautiful! That vanilla extract will be so welcome. Your cooking also sounds amazing.

    It has been a wild few weeks here - everyone is ok and that is the important part! We've had a high number of tornado warnings with sirens going off at night and sometimes quite late at night for a couple of weeks in a row - super grateful we have a sturdy shelter and haven't had damage. It is a weird time of year for this to be happening. (Fortunately there has not been major damage or a major tornado in our area, so our friends and neighbors are safe - we are all just a little sleep deprived.) It can be challenging to keep working through as normal though! Today we still have high winds but no storms expected and the weather folks think it is going to be fall weather with cooler temps and no more storms for quite a while.

    Yesterday I did a big shopping trip for the pantry - some more seasonings things, ingredients for holiday treats, a big whole turkey since they had them!, some produce, dry goods, and toilet paper (the weirdest thing, but I am noticing it disappearing again locally, I don't know if it is a real supply problem or if people are buying extra because of last time). Last weekend had a baking day with hamburger buns, bread, won tons with a pork filling, and waffles for the freezer and an apple crisp for a sweet treat.

    My husband and I had a few days off, so on the first day we cleaned and organized the attic (oh my! the first time since we moved in!) and it is so much nicer (and cleaner, and less dusty) now. We also defrosted and cleaned the big stand-up freezer since this year's lamb is coming soon and the beef in about 6 weeks or so. It is looking so good and running really well now (he tuned it up a bit, too, not sure what he needed to fix, but he fixed it, haha!).

    I am very behind on holidays gifts, but do have supplies for more food gifts, my jewelry-making stash, and embroidery stash, so in good shape there. Some time has been spent doing some stitching and knitting, and a pretty lace shawl for my mom just needs to be blocked. We used my greeting card stash to send some cute halloween cards to family who live far away.

    I hope everyone has a good week.

    1. Dear Kathy, I am glad you werent hit by a Tornado but the warnings have to be very stressful and even worse at night!
      I am so glad you got a turkey! I think both supply chain issues and increased demand might combine. That is my guess.
      Well done on the attic and the freezer. Both big jobs! It will be wonderful to be stocked up with both lamb and beef. I would say this would be a big saving too as prices seem to continue going up.
      The lace shawl sounds beautiful!! Your Mum will be thrilled with the I would think. A very good week! With love Annabel.xxx

  7. So many beautiful bottles of vanilla! Lovely baked goods. Thanks for sharing your meringues. I am inspired. :) Sorry to hear about the damage from the heavy rains.

    As the weather changes, people are cleaning out their stored items. Which means we've been blessed with many nice articles of clothing. Some given to us and many purchased at the thrift shop. My husband has found 2 free bikes within the last 2 weeks. One was in perfect condition and being thrown out with the trash! We have saved $$$.
    Last week we saved on food. A friend was blessed with many pounds of carrots which she shared 25 lbs. with us. I continue to harvest herbs from my pots near the porch. And I was gifted with 3 hens that a friend decided she no longer wanted. I now own 25 chickens (one a rooster), and 3 ducks. Not bad for a "city" plot. Our daughter's rabbit kitted and we now have 4 bunnies to cuddle and coo over.
    We did see God act in an amazing way. Our son hit a deer over 2 weeks ago. Fortunately, insurance covered all but $250 of the damage. But here's the amazing part, we needed some work to our air conditioning unit that would cost $300 +. When the repair shop fixed the car, they also noticed a nick in part of the air conditioner (caused by the deer). So we got the AC repaired along with a new front end to our 2007 vehicle. When I went to pick up the car they had also washed it and vacuumed it. Which was an additional blessing as I was waiting for clear skies to clean out the car. God didn't have to do all that, but He did. He's so good to me!

    1. Dear Leslie,
      Wow you have had good finds with the bikes! And 25 lbs of carrots! That is wonderful. Free chickens! Your city plot sounds like a true homestead. That is an amazing story about the car. Who would believe you could benefit so much from an accident! Yes God provides in amazing ways! With love Annabel.xxx

  8. Dear Annabel,
    What a lovely week. Your Vanilla extract, seeds, and herbs will make lovely gifts. Baking treats in teacups is a wonderful idea that I like as well. Harper is certainly enjoying helping to pick the lemons.
    Necessity is certainly the mother of invention and shortages make you really think outside the box. I'm going to try raising baby mesclun mix and maybe something else in my sun room this fall/winter It has windows all around, so I'm sure if they are open all day there will be enough light. We'll see how it goes. Blessings, Laura

    1. Dear Laura, Thank you! I am really interesting in trying to grow micro greens and also going back to sprouting as I used to do. Your greens in the sun room will hopefully go really well. I think some of these things add a lot of freshness and nutrition and we can do inside! Yes we can be inventive if we think about it a little bit there are solutions! With love Annabel.xxx

  9. Another busy and rewarding week, Annabell. Our weather has been typically October - up and down, with not as much sunshine as I'd like, but some good days for getting stuck into weeding and planting, so that quite suddenly things are flourishing in the vegetable gardens, and I'm running out of space for the summer annuals in the flower gardens. I sowed a lot of flower seeds in trays, and although the sunflowers and cosmos are disappointing, I could have a whole field of soldier poppies if only I had a field!
    Your vanilla essence looks beautiful. It's something I mean to try making, and I don't know why it has taken me so long to get around to it. Those herb and vanilla gifts will be very much appreciated.
    I made a big Christmas cake during the week, and have wrapped a few gifts. I mean to post small parcels to our daughter and son-in-law in Western Australia, and to my sister-in-law in Canberra this week, as I know there will be huge delays between now and Christmas. Other than those, and thanks to online shopping, vouchers etc, there won't be anything else that needs posting this year.
    Enjoy your days with your family - those children are growing fast!
    Linda in NZ

    1. Dear Linda,
      Your garden is going to be beautiful. I think you are right about getting things in the post early. I need to do this. We already have been warned. Too early is better than too late.
      I have not grown very good sunflowers but I am having another go this year. Throwing everything at these sunflowers! With love Annabel.xxx

  10. Dear Annabel,
    It's always such a pleasure to read your post on Fridays, as well as the other Bluebirds. Your weeks have been so productive. When I see pictures of Harper it always reminds me of how time seems to fly by so quickly.
    We are just finishing up harvesting our garden and putting things up for the winter months. Even though November is next week, our weather this year was unusually hot and so the life of our garden was extended which has been a huge plus. I'm also glad that I've paid attention to those little nudges that we often feel as it relates to getting ahead and stocking pantry items. My gift closet is just about full with soaps , spa clothes, aprons, soup cozies, lavender sachets, lavender wands, dried herbs from my herb garden and spices, vanilla, handmade cards, etc. There are also jams and jellies, dry mixes, and I will be baking. Tonight I'm making a new to me recipe called Egg Roll Soup for dinner. With the cooler weather and the torrential downpours of rain we're having today it sounded good. Wishing all the Bluebirds a blessed and safe weekend. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      I agree with you about time flying by. I have enjoyed every stage with the Grandkids. Every moment. Suddenly Harper seems very grown up. Scarlett is growing up too but still little. I love it all.
      It sounds a big bonus to get the extra time to harvest in your garden. Your gift closet sounds beautiful! I can just imagine! A year of making! The menu changes so much with the seasons and what we feel like eating. We are just going into salads and enjoying the change. We have our favourites for each season.
      I hope it has been a good new week! It is flying by! With love Annabel.xxx

  11. What a wonderful week you've had Annabel. I love your Christmas gifts - they look so professional yet still homely. They'd cost a fortune to buy in the "foodie" shops. I love Harper's gappy smile too.
    Kim, Illawarra

    1. Dear Kim, Thank you so much. The foodie shops and the Hampers etc... they give great ideas and an idea how much this all costs! This has given me much more confidence with food gifts. I saw a homemade fruit cake for $70 the other day! Yes you read that right! With love Annabel.xxx

  12. We went nowhere nor did anything for the past week...That is a solid way to save right there, lol! Like Lana, I've heard a train or two more than I'd been hearing coming through on our railway lines which connect to the eastern seaboard. Two stores sent out notices this week that they were experiencing outages and shortages and one said they were placing limits on items and not offering rain checks on out of stock items. I also heard similar from Amazon with some of the subscription items I'd signed up to receive periodically. Also the pet food mail order place has discontinued all subscriptions.
    In light of all this, John and I have talked about beginning to shop weekly for food instead of doing a big once a month with a fill in trip mid way through month.
    I cut herbs to bring indoors to dry. We are due our first frosts this coming week and I wanted to get in fresh herbs while I could. I also took cuttings of coleus which I'd like to root and grown through winter so I have plants come spring. I took one last cutting of flowers as well and have the prettiest bouquet on my kitchen window sill just now.
    I bought another Christmas gift. I think I have four more to go and continue to look for things that will suit those upon my list. I think John will be pleasantly surprised when it comes time to take money out for gifts and discovers that we only need cash to send to those who live too far to send packages to.
    We continue to keep our two year old grandson. I am hopeful his mama will be able to find a nursery situation that will take him two or three days a week and give us a little down time. It's been fun but it is hard to keep going all week long then cram everything we must get done into the weekends.

    1. Dear Terri,
      You are doing a good job taking care of your little Grandson. Two is a very busy age to look after!
      Well done on getting the herbs, flowers and cuttings in.
      I think yes with store limits, prices rising fast now we need to shop more often. Also to keep an eye on things... as Christmas could cause a lot more strain on the system. I am shopping every chance I get, given I am an hour from town.
      You are doing great on your Christmas gifts! With love Annabel.xxx

  13. Hi Annabel. I wondered how you went with the storms. Our Francis thinks his Dmax will be a right off. Yesterday was his last day in the Australian Airforce. In a couple of weeks he and his family will be arriving. Excitement levels are growing.
    We have a good friend on a farm in Anguston. Her animals all got into shelter pretty quickly. Her husband joined the sheep in one of the shelters as the hail came down. Her neighbours grow apricots and grapes commercially. They have lost the entire crop. Her car was in the shed so is OK. They think the farm ute will be a right off. It sounds like it was a horribly damaging storm.
    We had a bit of rain a fortnight ago. Since then we have had high heat and humidity. Storms threaten but nothing comes of it. At the end of next week we go up to L3 water restrictions. I am so thankful for our bore to keep the garden going.
    This week the house is starting to look like my home once more. Most of the major moving has been done to accommodate our son and family. I am down to the little fiddly bits that need to find a home.
    In between moving items and cleaning I have been sewing. I made the cutest Santa Sacks for the three Grandies. They have the individual names on them. I am super pleased with how they turned out.
    Speaking of sewing, I came across my first noticable shortage this week. I purchase a particular brand of sewing thread for my machines. I was only able to get one reel of my preferred colour. My local sewing centre had been waiting for an order to come through for a month. Get your good thread now. I also picked up new sewing machine needles for just in case.
    I was in our local Replenish and Refill store recently. I looked at the cost of a well known brand of chemical free deodorant. I noted that many of the ingredients were the same as I use in mine. I noted the weight of the pot. When I got home I measured mine and realised that my deodorant would be $32 to purchase. I worked out it cost $2 to make. I wonder how much you saved with your vanilla essence by making it yourself?
    Enough rambling. Have a wonderful week. Life is good.

    1. Can you share that deodorant recipe? I would love to try it!

    2. Patti if you are a member of the Bluebirds are Nesting Facebook page, you can find the deodorant recipe in the files. Here is the basic recipe. I use tea tree essential oil as an anti bacterial. It keeps the pong down. Use this or a mix of oils that suit you.
      3 tablespoons bi carbonate of soda
      5 tablespoons arrowroot flour or non GMO cornstarch.
      6 tablespoons shea butter
      30-60 drops essential oil

    3. I am! Thank you I didn’t think to look there. Thanks also for sharing here.
      I hope Francis and your friend get hood news about their damaged cars.

    4. Dear Jane,
      I am still hearing of more and more crops lost in that storm. So many cars wrecked! I could imagine that man sheltering in the shed with the sheep, thank goodness he got to shelter!
      Thank you for helping Patti with the recipe. I think I will be making some up too. I never use commercial deodorants. The idea of putting chemicals under armpits, near breast and lymph nodes just never made any sense to me at all.
      Good idea on the sewing needles. I have been building up my thread supplies.
      I can feel your excitement with your son and family coming!! All in time for Christmas! So good. Wont be long now! With love Annabel.xxx

  14. We have had lots of rain here. Putting my cold frame covers down at night now as it is getting colder. I didn't plant much in it this year for the fall. Brought a 3 layer container of strawberries with geraniums on top into the garage to try to over winter it and my blackberry bush in a pail. It looks terrible so don't know if it will live. I cut a piece off and put in water and am wondering if it will root. Love your vanilla bottles and cute sign on them and your cute tag for your packages of herbs. Your little meringue drops are so cute. What do you plan to use them on? I bought a two pound bag of carrots and Bob helped me slice them. Blanched and frozen and three bags of O'Brien potatoes in the freezer. We are exhausted just doing what we do! LOL I bet the pink poppy seeds will be beautiful when they bloom! Darling idea to put the custard in a pretty tea cup! Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy,
      The meringues were just eaten with berries and cream. Or on their own they are good.
      Good job on the carrots! Good to have the potato in the freezer as well.
      I hope it has been a good week as this week is flying by! With love, Annabel.xxx

  15. I love your gifts, Annabel. They are seriously like straight out of a city- chic boutique! I love your vanilla essence. It looks so pretty and you have such a way with presentation. Harper is SO cute! I love her big smile. The fruit trees look fantastic. I will have two try to make rice custard, they look delicious. I picked up two cane basket boxes, a dress for $4 at a garage sale, luckily my little helpers like coming with me on these adventures too. We are getting a new fence put in, so this means we can finally expand expand our vegetable garden. I’m surprised how much a difference makes with three tiny beds, we use it so much. I’d love to get two more chickens too. The eggs are invaluable. I have a lot of gifts to work on, so I’d better get cracking! Lol I feel there is much more to come from all of this, so am keep watch. lots of love, Lily

    1. Dear Lily,
      I am agreeing with what you are saying. I hope you can get the extra chickens., also I like to have some longer ones come in and keep the ball rolling that way.
      You had great finds at the garage sale. I think the fence will be fantastic. This is a good time to expand the garden for sure. All we an do now I think we will be glad of.
      Baked egg custard, cream brûlée and baked rice custard are all super easy it is just that they are in a tray of water. The slow cooer works too. But this is what gives the silly texture. Really good! Once you have done it once you will be hooked!
      With love Annabel.xxx

  16. Hi Annabel,
    Everything looks so lovely there. your fruit trees and baking are just wonderful. We've had some much needed rain here and our corn has just shot up! We are making progress on the garden and hoping to get chickens soon. I'm in WA and have seen some shortages here, a friend was unable to buy sour cream and when I went shopping there was shredded and sliced cheese but no blocks. Petrol here has just gone through the roof. Take care xx

    1. Dear Mel,
      It will be great to get chickens! They are a joy and to me they offer so much in regards to recycling, the garden and food security. Glad you had the rain and the corn is up. We have the petrol prices rising too, most I have ever seen. I just feel as we get closer to Christmas the shelves could get very low. Keep an eye on that. With much love Annabel.xxx

  17. Annabel, I read your posts weekly and am so happy to see all of your progress each week, along with the progress all the bluebirds are making. It inspires me so much, so thank you for continuing to share so much. I'm so happy for you that things are going so well on the farm with the new puppy, new tractor, filled pantry and your garden doing so very well. Your flowers are just lovely as are the gifts you have lovingly made this year to fill your gift pantry. Your baking looks delicious as always.

    I am continuing to replace what is used from our pantries and have even expanded them somewhat by taking over some space in a closet that is used for storage. Prices here have definitely increased a lot, but I'm not noticing much in the way of shortages. The only thing I've noticed is empty shelves where there were juice boxes in one store. I am trying to get all my gift shopping done early for Christmas and still hoping to make an item or two. I replenished my own Fall/Winter wardrobe from the thrift store where I found many lovely things as well as a beautiful chair for my desk. We did not plant a garden this year because we were busy clearing out my mom's house so there was no time to take on that big project. I did grow herbs on the porch as well as a few tomatoes and peppers. I've harvested herbs and bay leaves and lavender. I just placed the last of my fresh basil in oil in ice cube trays to preserve that. We have firewood for the winter, but hope to get more soon and we don't expect our heating costs to go up much if any since most of our power comes from nuclear plants. We do have a wood stove that we use regularly plus a generator should it be needed. Another thing we bought this summer to prepare for power outages is a solar panel that should work well for charging our cell phones. We have replenished our battery supplies. The biggest weather issue we have to be concerned about here is snow or ice storms causing widespread power outages. They don't happen often here in East Tennessee, US but they do happen and it's good to be prepared. I still have lots to do to finish working through your preparedness challenges. What a blessing they are! My freezers are full and I have a cupboard full of baking supplies so I feel quite settled in for the winter. It's a good feeling to have this area taken care of when there is so much chaos in the world in general. Thank you for your encouragement to keep on keeping on. -CarlaM

    1. Dear Carla, Thank you! I am glad you have such a nice winter wardrobe all ready.
      It sounds good that you are not affected by the gas shortage issue. Very good you have alternatives as well though. Always a good idea. Good idea on the batteries too. I have actually heard that batteries are amongst the next things that could be harder to get.
      You are doing a great job with the herbs and the baking supplies... you have really thought about this. So good! With love Annabel.xxx

  18. Hi Annabel, Carol here, I just love your blog and never miss it. I have something different to share with you, as soon as I saw this I thought of you and can imagine
    the smile on your face, do you watch Landline? On the abc, if you don't you can go to iview, last weeks episode featured Swiss, French mountain sheep, I have never seen anything like them, I wanted at least 6 immediately! I won't describe them because it would spoil the surprise....I look forward to reading your reaction to them. Thank you for all the wonderful motivation and inspiration.

    1. Hi Carol, Ok I looked! They are adorable! I also could do with a few! They melt my heart! xxx

  19. Dear Annabel,

    You have such a flair for presentation...I'm sure those gifts will be so appreciated! And Harper looks so adorable without her teeth...and isn't that one of the skirts you made?

    We are all well here. Been painting up a storm to try to finish the outside main floor window frames before winter, and I'm almost done. Just have 2 small windows to finish-hopefully tomorrow. We went and did a bit of painting and repairs to the wheelchair ramp at the church on Saturday, so that was a good day's work. The garden is almost all abed...I'm hoping to pull my cosmos plants today and pick what's left of the zinnias. Really getting ready to finish up Christmas shopping...hopefully by the end of the next two weeks. Otherwise it will just be finishing up homemade items. It's getting close to "relaxation" time! Ha, ha. (Summer is always such a busy time!)

    I always love seeing your weekly report!

    Lots of love, Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen.
      Thank you! Yes Harper has one of the skirts I made on. You are very busy! Good job on getting so much painting done. I am glad for you to get a break from the garden and painting soon. Some good knitting time then! With much love Annabel.xxx


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