Feather your Nest Friday, 28th January, 2022.

What a week!  We had wild and crazy weather with heat, humidity,  electrical storms and rain.   Humidity is not usual for us and it sucks the life out of me! eek! 

On Monday my niece moved house and we helped out.  I packed drinks and lunches for the day and baked a cake to take.  This meant the workers (us!) didn't have to worry about meals.   

We headed off with an eski to keep everything cold and the cake wrapped in a kitchen towel.   I made extra dinner the night before so I could make up a dinner for Allie to just heat up after moving day.     Very often if I make a spaghetti meat sauce I will serve it with corn chips and grated cheese. This is a very easy dinner.  Once it is heated the cheese is all golden and the chips are crisp. 

Some of the ways we got ahead,  built up the pantry and garden included:

Andy was given fish and a crayfish.  He was pretty happy with these!  This took care of two meals. 

Allie gave me jars and bottles.

I planted parsley seeds in two pots and the edge of a garden bed.   The parsley seed is from other parsley that has gone to seed now.

I picked tomatoes every day,  used them most days and dehydrated another tray.

I stewed some peaches that needed to be used up.

A parcel arrived in a box with shredded paper.  I looked at it and thought "nesting box."   The whole thing went into the hen house. 

When it gets worn out it can go into the compost next.  

I semi dried a lot of tomatoes then used them in two big impossible pies.  These are just quiches without pastry.  For a big batch like this I use one cup of self raising gluten free flour blended it.   No need for pastry then at all.   This used up 15 eggs which is good as I'm collecting a dozen a day.   

These are delicious and great for using up leftover bacon or ham, roast veggies (then its more like a frittata) herbs,  cheeses....   When cold it slices really well and is perfect for lunchboxes. 

Then I made a salad out of left over odds and ends as well which was delicious. 

Almost everyone is telling me about food shortages, supply chain issues and rising prices.  We have all these here.  Wasting food is just out of the question.  Use up everything meals are a good thing!

We had some rain.  This helped my garden and watered my fruit trees.  I think one of my pear trees is ready to harvest.  I tested two pears today by lifting them up slightly and both broke off the tree.  This is meant to be the sign they are ready.  The other tree I did this but they hung on tight.   If you have experience with pears please help me!  If they are ready I will bring them in over the next week. 
I also need to figure out how much to let them ripen further before peeling and canning them.  I am all ears if you are experienced in this! 

I made a couple more hand towels and also tried some lanyards.  Kind of an experiment.  

I got more crochet done than usual as on the hot days when I felt worn out I crocheted!  

I know many of you are working inside because of freezing cold!  It amounts to the same thing kind of,  extreme weather!   Having plenty to work on and lovely projects means these times can be rather nice.  

Our shopping has been through online orders and Andy has gone into town to pick them up.  If ordering online is any indication the shortages are significant.  I estimate about a third of what I ordered (or went to order) was listed as unavailable or sold out.   The website had notices about shortages and also store limits on some items.   It took a while but overall I found substitutes and came up with things that would get us through.   Andy also went to another store in town and just as he walked into the store he saw they were unpacking fresh lettuces.  Ding ding! He knew to grab one of those!   He also found meat which was basically unavailable at the other store.   It seems to me if something you need is on the shelf, get it.   It isn't going to be cheaper soon and it might not be there at all. 

With this in mind I have upped my game with keeping fresh fruit and veggies as fresh as possible for as long as possible.   I have a couple of Tupperware containers designed to keep produce fresh.  I have Sistema containers and also Debbie Meyer Green Boxes.   So far I have liked the Debbie Meyer Green Boxes the best.  I bought these on Amazon a couple of years ago.  They are also cheaper than the others. All of them I like to keep a paper towel or cloth in the bottom.
I also make cloth bags, like small pillowcases, and I find they keep greens really fresh.  I just wrap my items then place in the crisper.   The old trick to wrap celery tightly in alfoil really works. 
I have some old caning jars that I keep bunches of herbs in with some water like a vase in the fridge. 
I line the crisper with a thick tea towel.  

If you have tried and tested tips on how to extend the fresh life of produce please chime in!  

The next step is accepting the life of some produce is just not going to be long enough to use it up.  In this case I chop, blanch and freeze.   Get the dehydrator going.  Make a meal to use it up. 

My stacky planters Andy gave me are really good!  I will take a photo for next week.  The first one that is planted has quite a few things going well.  I need to add more plants to my second planter.  Lettuce is going in there.   To be able to go outside with a pair of scissors and trim off herbs adds so much freshness and goodness.  

With keeping greens up in mind I am going back to sprouting.  I used to have jars of sprouts going but not for many years.  Sprouting and micro greens are something we can do indoors, any time of year, to produce fresh greens.  I thought the way things are going I might get back to this.  I like the taste,  I was even buying some sometimes and some are quite nutty and so good.  

So it is good to have a plan and a back up plan.  I keep fresh milk.   Then I keep long life milk in the pantry.  I keep canned milk. Then I also have powdered milk.   Any of these milks can be mixed for a better effect.  ie if milk is getting low make up some powdered milk, let it sit a little while then use it to extend your fresh milk.  Doing some kind of half and half mix makes it less noticeably different. 

If you would share any issues or shortages in your area that would be great, please include what country and what area you are in.  Since we very often follow on from the UK and US the things I heard were in shortage I was able to stock up on and be ahead.  Information is gold!   For WA families the railway line that is cut off in the north of SA adds further to supply chain issues.  I have some WA readers so please be all over this!

How did you build up your home, pantry or garden this week?  I hope you had many opportunities! xxx


  1. Hi Annabel
    Thankfully the humidity has finally shifted this afternoon. What a week, imagine all of summer being like that? Isn't it amazing how assiduously the news is avoiding the massive Canadian truck convoy, I've been following it on obscure sources but how can main stream media not mention 50,000+ vehicles then the US contingent of 60,000 are on the way, all to join up in Ottawa. That should focus the issue of who we all rely on for supplies.
    It's fruit season and blackberries are ripening, the chooks are so full of weeks of mulberries they are getting a bit over those treats. Figs are next then quinces. I've made 12kg of apricot jam and 12kg boysenberry jam so now I'm low on jars for fig jam. But winter toast is going to be well catered for. I'm keeping my sugar stocked up each time I get to the shops as a jar of jam in coming months and years(?!) may be a valuable gift to share.
    Stay safe and healthy

    1. Hi Kate. I am in Canada and am so proud of our truckers and some farmers that are in the convoy. I greatly appreciate the American truckers who are joining in. As The US and Canada do a lot of trade between the countries, this is huge. However, our Prime Minister is once again in hiding. He claims he is isolating from COVID-19. I am happy that the trucks are willing to wait him out. He hid during the oil convoy and on the new Indigenous day he went on vacation. He like his father are both good at the hiding game. At this time of year most of our produce comes from the US. There is less and less getting through and we in Canada are at least three months away from any fresh produce. The earliest here is asparagus and fiddle heads (unfurled fern leaves). Jean

    2. This story of 50,000 vehicles is completely ridiculous - everyone here thinks it's hilarious that this has somehow made the rounds in other countries. 50,000 vehicles would stretch from Vancouver through the Rockie Mountains to Edmonton - look it up!
      They arrived here yesterday and I watched it on the news - live - there were a few hundred trucks and a few hundred protestors. The police closed exactly one ramp onto the 12 lane highway and traffic was moving freely.

      .90% of Canadian truckers are vaccinated.

      .Canadians are among the most vaccinated people in the world and the VAST majority support vaccine mandates and restrictions.

      .the truckers in the protest are themselves concerned about the fringe groups that are seeking to take over their peaceful and legal protest.

      .the majority of the funds donated have been frozen because of concerns over where the money is coming from - China & Russia being the main suspects.

      .The Ottawa police aren't even expecting as many protestors as they get each Spring for the annual anti-abortion protest.

      .Any truckers planning to come from the States would have to be fully vaccinated or they can't cross the border. We've heard nothing about any of them showing up.

      .It wouldn't even matter if the Cdn. Govt. changed their mind (which they aren't going to do) because the States has the same law!!!!!

      Oh and I've deliberately visited 5 different supermarkets in the past two weeks to see if there has been any impact - not an empty shelf in sight! In fact, the same number of trucks that routinely cross the border very day have continued to do so.

      While people are entitled to their opinions on these matters I think a bit of caution about repeating ridiculous stories should be exercised.

    3. Hi Anonymous I live in Canada and the trucking convoy is something to behold ! So far it's been a peaceful demonstration and I hope it stays that way.The way people are supporting it is amazing with bringing food,gift cards to the truckers etc. as well as lining the highways to support them and they don't plan on going away until Trudeau does something(which he is trying to downplay and call a fringe element that the majority of Canadians don't support) From what I see the majority of Canadians are in support of the truckers.I hope it doesn't take long to resolve though because there is already supply chain issues and empty shelves with rising prices on what is available in lots of stores which the gov.t is also denying but which we can see with our own eyes.Our local pharmacies are reporting that they are running low on prescription medications which is not good.All I can say is don't mess with the trucker's,they've had enough !

    4. Margie we were watching the truckers on tv night! Oh my goodness it is fantastic! I wish I was there! Maybe we got the news here before you... this happens to us sometimes. As this grows it might cause inconvenience but I 100% support the hard working truckers. My family have always had associations with many truckers. They are the hardest working people. We depend on them, they dont get enough credit. If I couldn't be in a truck Id bee opening my home to put them up, feed them, standing on a bridge waving. I hope they stick with it and achieve their goals! Bless them all!

      Thank you Annonymous you are right this is just another issue in the supply chain. But worth it in this case xxx

    5. Margie we were watching the truckers on tv night! Oh my goodness it is fantastic! I wish I was there! Maybe we got the news here before you... this happens to us sometimes. As this grows it might cause inconvenience but I 100% support the hard working truckers. My family have always had associations with many truckers. They are the hardest working people. We depend on them, they dont get enough credit. If I couldn't be in a truck Id bee opening my home to put them up, feed them, standing on a bridge waving. I hope they stick with it and achieve their goals! Bless them all!

      Thank you Annonymous you are right this is just another issue in the supply chain. But worth it in this case xxx

    6. We have two neighbors who are truckers and we know how much they are away from home and how hard their jobs are and we appreciate them 100%. Statistics say that 50% of US truckers are vaccinated. This is going to have a far reaching effect since 160,000 trucks cross the border every week.

    7. Hooray for the truckers! What an inspirational story. I have been cheering them on and praying for them every step of the way.

  2. Thankyou for the acknowledgement Annabel!we went to local iga today and one of our boys asked for lime cordial( which we never buy ANY cordial) but I said ok sure... Anyway, the cordial shelf was so bare... There was only a couple of crappy flavours available and most of them were the diet( artificial sweetener ) kind. Not that this is really a big deal as I don't advocate buying bottles of sugar syrup but still, never thought the cordial would be scant! Don't know if this is a supply chain issue or coincidence. P. S
    One of the outbreaks is in our area.. - Kim from Perth

    1. Dear Kim, Ok well from what has happened here you could really see some issues, I hope not. Panadol/paracetemol sold out... At first I thought entirely of what I needed to do to avoid covid. Then I had to change my plans to considering what I could do to prepare if we get covid. That age me a lot to do. I really thought of you a lot this week especially when I saw the railway tracks washed away and the mess from the floods. It was like WHAT NEXT!!? So I hope you are doing well, stocked well and stay well! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Annabel what was your email address again? Will fill you in properly X x x

    3. Dear Kim you can email me at brinkzi21@hotmail.com I would love to hear from you!

  3. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds,
    For certain, odd times we are experiencing. Thus far, we have not seen major grocery shortages in the middle of Wyoming. Sometimes, the items I put on the list are out of stock, but the next time they are back in stock.

    I am trying to go through the many notebooks I have and simplify the recipe system. I am a book and notebook addict, so have information logged in way too many notebooks and pages flagged in books. Also, I want to eliminate all of the recipes I will never use.

    This past week has been busy and stressful. I had two Doctors appointments, my son's family were quarantined at home with Covid and Covid exposure. My vegan grand daughter is the only one in the house that is not sick. My daughter is doing some better on the Coumadin for the blood clot, in her leg, that she got from Covid.

    A dear friend's husband passed away suddenly. Another friend is battling lung blood clots due to Covid.

    I did manage to get some sewing done, some vacuum sealing of food and some dehydrating done. Walmart and Sam's Club have large packages of very nice organic kale and spinach for a low price. We buy those and immediately dehydrate them. I vacuum seal the dehydrated kale and spinach in jars for future use. I can easily add it to casseroles, soups and pizza.

    We usually buy the organic long carrots, at Sam's for $3.98 for five pounds, but they are not stocking that now. Walmart is a bit more expensive, but we bought carrots there for dehydrating. The easiest is to buy frozen vegetables, open the bag and put the veggies on the dehydrator trays. Since frozen vegetables are already blanched it saves doing that step at home. I have more dehydrating and vacuum sealing to finish this upcoming week.

    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda. I am glad your daughter is doing a bit better. Also that your Grand daughter isn't sick. So sorry to hear of your friends husbands death.
      I have done this with frozen veggies. It is fantastic! It is absolutely amazing how small they reduce to! So much fits in a jar. And it saves so much freezer space. I love it.
      I got my first apples of the season to start working on. Have a restful weekend, I need a quiet Sunday! With love Annabel.xxx

  4. Hi, some hints for canning pears. If they break off like you mentioned the are ready to pick. They continue to ripen unlike apples. If you leave until they look ripe it will be too late. Pick and lay out on shady cool area on a table. Watch and gently touch If the flesh indents slightly they are more than ready to go. I prefer firmer over softer when canning. They don't freeze well.

    1. Thank you so much! I will get out there and pick them. I thought this... that the canning will soften them so it would be better if they are firm. Im so excited... I have my jars ready! Many thanks.xxx

    2. On the old farm we lived on, the pears were incredibly hard but indeed they were perfect for canning.

  5. As of this morning every border crossing point between the USA and Canada is blocked by truckers and private citizens in protest of vaccine mandates. They are backed up for miles blocking all lanes. There has been a 90 mile long convoy of trucks off the job crossing Canada all this week. 160,000 trucks cross the border every week and now they can only cross if they show proof of vaccination. The supply chain is getting tighter.

    We are in South Carolina, USA. We were shocked to see our Sam's Club just crammed with goods this week. Pallets were piled to the rafters and stocked out into the isles. It has not looked like this for 18 months or more. Aldi was also well stocked but the prices were crazy. I used to just go in there and buy without too much looking at the prices because they were always so low but no more. Maybe everyone is so well stocked because no one can afford to buy??? I did notice a few who were carefully picking a few items and adding it up to make sure they had the money. Because of the truckers situation and not knowing how it will effect us I made an effort to fill all the gaps in my pantry and also buy produce that will keep for a several weeks.

    I have a number of Rubbermaid produce keepers and they do very well but they have changed them and the new ones do not have a tray in the bottom so I cannot say how well they may work. Grapes keep for a month, celery for 5-6 weeks, lettuce that is washed and run through the spinner keep at least two weeks with a paper towel on top. Cucumbers keep better in them than anyway else.

    I really like the meat sauce with cheese and chips idea. I think taco meat would be good as well. I really enjoy sprouts too and I have the seeds and sprouter on hand. We are growing herbs, lettuce and dwarf tomatoes in our kitchen in a hydroponic garden setup.

    Have a good weekend!

    1. Dear Lana,
      The images of the border and trucks have reached us now. It is massive. I have never seen anything like it! Yes it pays to be awake to the news and events. Supply chains are complex and things kind of have a domino effect.
      It is great your Sams Club was so well stocked. It is a shock when Aldi is expensive. We only had Aldi in recent years and I loved it... but the last year it has been low in stock every time.
      My green and white container... that has the tray in the bottom. It is good. The keeping times you mention are fantastic. I also am thinking of things that keep well. Carrots are great. But now I will pay close attention to really good storage and keeping a close eye on them too.
      Today I got some seedlings to add to my stack planter. I love the sound of your hydroponic set up. This is something I have not tried yet. Everything we can grow is a big advantage. Thank you Lana, with love Annabel.xxx

  6. I'm in Wisconsin, USA, and there are some shortages but usually you can substitute with other brands. Prices are higher. It's just surprising to see any areas of shelves empty. I found a good deal on chicken leg quarters at .49 cents a pound so bought a bag and canned up chicken, broth, and made smaltz. I saved the bones for making bone meal for the garden.. Any advise for using smaltz is appreciated.

    1. Hi! I had to find out what Smaltz is... rendered chicken fat. So I am not very useful in helping you with what to do with it. Good job and canning the chicken and the broth! They are beautiful! xxx

    2. You can use smaltz as you would any fat to cook potatoes, brown meats, etc. It is quite good and full of nutrients and minerals from the chicken and maybe even having some calcium content as well since it came from your broth.
      And just as a little help, Three Rivers Homestead is a great source for looking at how to use all the foods ...she's on Instagram and YouTube

  7. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    Annabel, your cooking looks delicious! And the crochet is amazing - I love to knit, but find crochet intimidating. Maybe I will learn one day.

    The biggest way we built up our home this week was our half beef was delivered from the processor, so our big freezer is full. We are so happy to have this. It was quite a while from reserving and paying for it, as the farms have been having trouble getting processing dates in a timely manner - so this may reflect why some of the meat shortages are happening here intermittently. We packed up an insulated freezer bag of beef for my dad's chest freezer, too. We did a grocery pickup for some fresh produce and got almost everything - fresh garlic was not available, but I do have granulated and powdered in the pantry. We did try to pick up my husband's favorite soda as a treat, and that was also unavailable - but this is not a necessity of life. It seems that we can get most items, but it may not be the exact brand we would usually buy.

    I did a bunch of baking to get ahead (brownies, bread, corn muffins) and a big batch of spaghetti sauce, soup, and a roast with veggies. My husband changed our HVAC filters and did some small maintenance things around the house. Lots more knitting and cross stitching!

    We live in Oklahoma, US, and our four main hospital systems in the metro are overtaxed at the moment. Yesterday, I heard that there were no beds available. This is definitely scary. We are doing our best to stay healthy and not do any projects that could result in something like falling off a ladder if at all possible (I know that sounds a little funny, but it would be a bad time to have a major injury.)

    I hope everyone has a good weekend.

    1. I love that you think crocheting is intimidating ! I find knitting intimidating. Crocheting is easy.

    2. Dear Kathy, If you are a good knitter you may just not need crochet. I am a bad knitter. I can knit... basically! But crochet is more forgiving and I am a stitch dropper! If however you ever feel like learning Attic 22 is brilliant. On you tube if you learn how to chain.. how to do a single crochet and a double... with those you are basically set to conquer the world.
      Having your freezer stocked up with beef is a wonderful investment. This alone really built up your supplies enormously this week! Your baking all sounds beautiful. Thank you for sharing your location. I do agree it is worrying when you know the hospitals basically cannot cope with any extra. Our local hospital closed for several days and this worried me.... for the same reasons. You really achieved a great deal. Five stars! With love Annabel.xxx

  8. I use these bags and produce lasts for nearly 3 weeks. I wash them and they last for years (unless of course, I get a hole in them). I highly recommend these!


    1. Thanks so much Elle! I have found now I cant buy more green boxes but I can find the bags! So I will get some thank you!

  9. Dear Annabel,

    I've only picked pears a couple of times and I don't quite remember about when they're ready. I just remember that they're still green when you pick them. However, I always buy cases of them each year for canning, so I do know about ripening them up. I spread them all out, not touching each other if possible, on cardboard (or in cardboard boxes) and then cover them with newspaper or brown paper (or close the flaps of the boxes)--keeping the light out. Then just check them every day or two until they are ripe. Each variety looks different when they are perfect for eating/canning. Bartletts are what I usually get and they just start to look a little yellow-ish when they are ready...the flesh will be softer, but not mushy, and it will be juicy, but no brown yet around the core. Once they are all yellow, they are usually too far gone...those are best for jam or something like that. Pears I peel by hand and core (with a paring knife) and put them in a solution of citric acid or lemon juice plus cold water to keep from browning while I'm getting them all done. Then I make a light sugar syrup that I can the halves with. Pears can be done with a water bath, though I use my pressure canner for everything, as we get humidity here, too, in summer, and boiling water for ages is the last thing I want going in my house at that time of the year, if I can help it! I don't know if any of that info helps.

    You have been very busy and resourceful, as usual, and your cake looks divine! I got my sewing machines serviced, but one of them (a Singer from the early '70's) sewed for about 15 minutes and then blew a feed dog gear...sigh. So we'll have to make another trip to the repairman soon. That's the problem with vintage machines...once everything finally gets worn out and replaced, I'm sure it'll be fine, but in the meantime, parts are iffy for how long they'll last until they finally go! Oh, well. I have another one to use at the moment, so hoping to get some things cut out. While we were waiting for the machines to be serviced, we found a little thrift shop where I picked up some cheap, brand new Christmas patterned cotton material and some with lobsters on it...great for placemats/napkins/gift bags. I was also able to get to a fabric store and pick up some more sock yarn and a couple more colors of cotton dishcloth yarn to match my scrubby yarn...Hooray! So I'm making more scrubby progress, which is fun. I'm thinking a set of 2 scrubbies (different shapes), a regular dishcloth, and couple of terry towels with crocheted tops, and an embroidered dishtowel...all in matching colors, of course...would be a great gift my my moms. So that's percolating in my planning for gifts.

    We're supposed to get another big storm this weekend, so I'm baking up bread and making sure we have water run to have on hand in case the power goes out...and I'm hoping to spend lots of time indoors crafting while the storm howls outside once it finally hits! Off to move along some orange swirl sticky buns and French Bread. Have a great weekend!

    xx Jen in NS

    P.S. My hand is feeling better these days...I'm taking it easy and doing crafting in shorter spurts, and this is working pretty well at the moment. Thanks again to everyone for the tips!

    1. Dear Jen, Thank you so much for your pear advice. I am confident they are ready to pick so will do this probably tomorrow. They intimidate me being so hard. So I will follow your advice. Quite exciting since it is a lot of pears!
      I am doing the same... wash cloth and scrubby sets. I think they look really good! I am using some of the scrubbies too as a test run and I love them!
      I am glad your wrist is a bit better. I will add another thing... where there is swelling Arnica cream is absolutely wonderful. I get Martin and Pleasance? Arnice cream. Mum uses it too. We both swear by it!
      I hope the part can be found for your machine... this is the wisdom of having two machines! I think maybe I should get a back up... good thinking.
      Your fabric find was great, I know you will put this into good use! Topped with sticky buns you had a good week! With love (and thanks) Annabel.xxx

    2. I had Bartlett pear trees for many years and Jen's advice is spot on. If you don't want to have to can them all at once (and pears take a lot of time to prep), DON'T spread them out to ripen. Leave them in a box. They will ripen from the top down and you can preserve them over a period of days.

  10. What a productive week you had, Annabel. I love to see photos of your delicious-looking food, all those glorious tomatoes (yum!) which you put to great use in cooking and also dehydrating for the future, and how clever of you to crochet lanyards! How nice of you to not only help your niece move house, but to prepare food for everyone too. Yum! That cake looks especially delicious! Glad you and Andy were able to get a grocery order. It is rather a challenge when supplies we want are flat out missing from the store shelves when we need them. I think it’s very wise advice to buy what we need when we see it in the stores, rather than fuss too much about the cost. In my area of the USA (southern Idaho), we are again in crisis standards of care, with hospitals overflowing yet again. I ordered a homeopathic book and am learning all I can, just another way to be more self sufficient in health care. Knowledge is priceless, just like our food and medical pantries are priceless! Thankfully I live in town near several grocery stores, and so any shortage at one store often means I can find what I need or want at another store, just at a higher price. I recognize I am very blessed to be in this situation food and supply-wise. But it is rather scary that are hospitals are so full. I hope all Bluebirds have a safe and healthy weekend! Love, Teresa

    1. Dear Teresa,
      I agree with your point about cost. With shopping and gardening I used to focus a lot on money saving. And I always will BUT.... now I focus on keeping stocked, food security, if things got worse... being able to be ok ourselves plus help both my daughters families. So some things that we have done ie buy nets to cover the fruit trees... the pears will not be cheaper. But if fruit was scare well we would have fruit and enough for the wider family.
      I keep quite a few homeopathic remedies. And I swear by them. Also I keep quite a few essential oils and swear by those. To me these are really good investments as is all he learning we can do! Totally agree. I hope you have a good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  11. Dear Annabel,
    From your extreme heat to our freezing cold. we've had about 8 inches of snow over a few days which give you time to dig out before the next. It also is very cold in the teens and twenties F.
    You crocheted items are so pretty.
    I missed commenting last week because of putting groceries away and am late today for the same reason. A lot of produce is in short supply. The one thing I noticed that is nearly impossible to get in OJ either fresh or frozen and I always buy the organic which was not to be had at all.
    The citrus crop has been damaged in Florida.
    Tylenol (Acetaminophen,) low here also. Usually just one or two on the shelf. Buy when I see it. Blessings, Laura United States, Ohio

    1. Dear Laura,
      I heard about the citrus crop. That sounds bad. I hope you can find a suitable alternative while it is like this. Also good work on getting the Tylenol when you do see it. Putting away the groceries is a good reason to miss commenting it means you have lots to put away! I hope to be doing the same tomorrow as I am venturing to town. It sounds so cold! Stay warm and healthy! With love Annabel.xxx

  12. Annabel--We have been sick since Christmas. I actually feel almost normal today. We had 3 major snowstorms around Christmas, very unusual for this time of year. We are somewhat behind on normal shopping but thankfully we had everything we needed while we were sick. Preparation is priceless!
    Earlier this week, my husband was at Costco and found they had NO chicken! We have heard a barge of food was late because of weather in Seattle, but it reminds us that we are so dependent on grocery deliveries to Alaska. My husband is at our Fred Meyers store now and found 2 marked down cross rib roasts for $5.99 a pound. This is more than I would normally pay, but I told him to buy them. Our church has a farmer who donates part of a steer each year. For a $200 donation to heat for the winter, one gets 10 pounds of hamburger and 10 pounds of "quality" cuts. (Ours totalled about 22 pounds.) We have had a roast from this and tonight are fixing hamburger gravy--an old favorite from school lunches. We will either have that on mashed potatoes or egg noodles. simple food but satisfying as our weather gets cold again. We still have fresh carrots from our garden and lots of potatoes. We are blessed! My husband retired in April from ministry and loved being able to freely garden this past summer. However, in January he was appointed the interim pastor at our church. We hope to use the unexpected income to make some improvements to our house and continue to keep well stocked for the future.

    1. Thank you for your info on the shelves in Alaska... I have thought of you as yes being at the end of a supply chain is going to be harder. I am really glad how you got the beef! And also that your husband is working as a Pastor again. IT sounds a great advantage to you and a great advantage to the community. Maybe God does not want him to retire.. that would be a compliment. I do not believe in retirement., seriously, if we still have health to keep going then keep going. Maybe at a slower pace as needed. But the need for ministry and support must be so great. I will pray for your husband to be fit and well and able to keep going. The improvements to your house too, staying stocked up... so important right now. Much love Annabel.xxx

  13. Hi everyone,
    Annabel, all your food looks so good and I love your recycled "nesting box". It's such a good feeling to find a new use for things like that. I was in our grocery store and Walmart yesterday and it seems the shelves don't have as many bare spots as the week before. I found beef roasts for $3.99/lb. which is a pretty good price for our area. I bought two along with some ground chuck (marked down) so this morning I canned those items plus some stew meat from the freezer that needed to be used. I included one jar of hamburger patties. I filled 9 pint jars which for just the two of us will easily equal 18 meals. We don't eat as much as we used to. I'm concentrating on storing up proteins now so I think my next canning job will be beans. Beans + rice = a complete protein. In case any one is interested, gasoline is up to $2.829 a gallone in our town (central Texas, U.S.A.).
    I repaired a bathroom rug and framed up several photos and prints so I can finally donate the rest of the frame collection. Ugh! How do I end up with so much "stuff"? I'm doing a gradual de-cluttering around here.
    We are getting 6 eggs a day which is more than we can use so I boiled some for deviled eggs and will take two dozen to my friend on Tuesday. She is the one who regularly brings me fish as her husband and boys love to fish. It's always very good fish, too: cut up into filets and frozen. I love these kind of trade deals. Everybody wins! BTW, this friend wasn't feeling well and tried all over town to buy a co-vid test kit and there were none.

    My computer printer has clogged nozzle heads which so far I've not been able to fix. On youtube there are explicit directions for correcting this problem so that is my next step. I LOVE youtube and feel so grateful for contributors who post various techniques for fixing things! I know it has saved many people from having to hire a repair man. Just in case, I checked our WalMart and they have not one printer I would be able to buy as a replacement. I haven't tried yet to shop online for one. I've also been watching youtube for gardening tips. It's almost time to get our seeds out. I've had enough of the cold, thank you, and can't wait to be outside in the sunshine. Hope you all have a good, productive week.

    1. Dear Pam,
      Wow that is a good price on beef! That was great. Well done on adding so much to your shelves!
      Well done on the framing and the donating what you dont need. It is an endless process I find!
      In this weather I think getting 6 eggs a day is very good. What a great trade you have going with your friend! I love that!
      Interesting about printers! Here it was hard to get a freezer. My microwave was on its last legs so I bought a new one thinking mmm maybe I better get one while I can.
      I also have had enough of summer (in my case) and ready for the change to Autumn which is my very favourite time of year. Have a very good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  14. Hi

    Once you have picked your pears, lay them out in a cool darkened room. I like to preserve them when they are just changing colour so still firm. I peel and core them with a paring device( old from Fowlers.) and place them in water with citric acid or lemon juice to stop going brown. I pack them in the large Fowlers canola bottles4 inch with a light sugar solution. I have never had a problem stewing them and then freezing. I had access to some free apricots this year and decided to preserve, the taste of my childhood in south Australia and I have room in my freezer for other perishables which need to be frozen.
    We have shortages here and some weeks the produce was empty but lately a little bit of most produce is available.
    As Covid numbers decline the situation has improved.

    1. Dear Barb,
      Thank you for the pear information. I am picking lots this week. I will follow what you have said. I love how the apricots reminded you of your childhood here in SA! How beautiful!
      I also have some Fowlers jars coming, my friend found them in an op shop for me! I love the old ones with the beautiful thick glass! Many thanks. Love Annabel.xxx

  15. Dear Annabel,
    I am so grateful to come to this space and hear that you all are doing well!
    We are in Orange County, California mostly due to my job.
    Gas prices are $5 a gallon. That’s high for the US. At our home in the Texas Hill Country, it is less than $3 a gallon.
    We continue to stay stocked, but it is taking more time, energy and money than before. We both work full time, so I am running a little ragged. We are pushing 60 and it sure gets harder to keep up!
    I have been going to the stores all along, but have added more home delivery recently in order to continue to keep stocked.
    There are also a few items that are so hard to come by, like KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce which my husband loves. I finally resorted to Amazon who brought a few at a high price.
    My last trip to Aldis was last weekend and the store was depleted in many areas. The cheese section was sad unless you were willing to try the odd varieties.
    No grapes, no bananas, many produce items were MIA. Eggs were running low, so I left them for others. Very little milk, creamer and yogurt. Meat prices are sky high and some things are just not available at all. I try to buy what I see in abundance and leave what’s not for others. We live near a retirement community and I know the price increases are hardest on them.
    All along, there have been limits on paper goods, and those continue.
    Canned foods like tomatoes, veggies, corn and beans are not available in surplus anymore.
    In the US we have dollars stores and sometimes you can find things there that other stores don’t have on hand, so do think about alternatives to your regular grocery if you need something you cannot find.
    My freezers and pantry are full, my overflow shelf is full and my OTC med cupboard is stocked. I even have covid tests I ordered before the shortage as my husband and I are both essential workers. I haven’t canned or baked at all this week, but we have had home cooked meals, so it wasn’t a complete fail!
    Much love to you all.

    1. Dear Patti, Thank you for sharing re the shelves and fuel. $5 a gallon, I know that is a lot there. We are sitting at around $5.60 a gallon... I had to figure it out with 3.7 litres = 1 gallon. This is roughly as I havent been to town for a bit to see the latest prices.
      You were smart to get the covid tests when you could! We also could not get them when needed. Thank you for such a great comment ... seems meat is a very widespread issue and some dairy. With love Annabel.xxx

  16. I live in Canada and am friends with one of the leaders of the convoy - amazing to see the IMMENSE support! NOT a fringe minority! We are proud Canadians and support the truckers and FREEDOM! Praying for our country and other countries under this tyranny!

    1. Cigi, Oh that is wonderful. All the way over here I am supporting them! Freedom is not free and has to be fought for, our freedoms have been lost here. At some point people reach enough. I am trying to follow today now they have reached their destination. The numbers are staggering. It is amazing to watch. I heard them called a fringe minority too... but it is visible now to all this is not the case. I pray this mass movement will send a message loud and clear! xxx

  17. Annabel, we're experiencing shortages here as well. If you see it and think you might need it in the near future and can afford it, you'd better get it because there's a good chance it won't be there when you go back to the store. Prices are increasing weekly as well!

    We're really looking at everything we have and trying to stretch it to the max, not only food but everything else that we use as well.

    I really liked your description of how you prepare your impossible pie. That's a really good way of using lots of leftover bits and pieces.

    Great post!

    1. Dear Patsi,
      Thank you so much. Yes really all resources are valuable now. Parts, ingredients, items to repair things... everything. I know you are well prepared. Having your garden well established is a big help. God has been so good giving us the nudge for so long! Now we are starting to understand why! With love Annabel.xxx

  18. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you for another beautiful post!
    This is part of our favorite time of the year here in the desert of Arizona. Cool, sometimes cold mornings and nights, with pleasant daytime temperatures make it very comfortable.
    The birds got most of the seedlings from what I planted so I splurged on a few lettuce, spinach and tomato plants from the nursery. I will also plant more seeds, but either cover them or change locations for my containers. My green onions and some tomato plants are thriving. Nasturtiums, tomatoes and vincas have reseeded themselves, which is always nice to see. I picked all of the grapefruit and quite a few tangelos from our trees. I sent a box or grapefruit to our family in WA and a box of tangelos to a dear friend in Utah. Our neighbor has urged me to come pick some of their citrus, so I have that in my plans. We love having fresh citrus and will enjoy having frozen juice to enjoy later on.
    I continue to be amazed at the amount that is being given out at local food pantries and other sources. A few days ago, I had lettuce on my grocery list, but decided to wait since my neighbor told me she was going to be getting some food items and would be sharing excess. I was so glad I waited! I received a 10 pound case of beautiful, washed leaf lettuce, 4 salad kits complete with dressing and other toppings and was offered more! I was able to give some away to he Buy Nothing Group and am storing and eating as much as possible. I do notice that many food items are quite quickly snapped up when put up on Buy Nothing . I wish I could share some of this lettuce with you, even if it just ended up being given to your chickens. We have also received a pork roast kit, rib tips, a whole seasoned frozen chicken, lots of eggs, bread products, snack items, cans of lemonade and a lot of things that we have been able to donate to others.
    One of the produce saving things I got from the BNG is a beautiful dehydrator. I have dehydrated bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrots and peas so far. It is amazing how little space they take.
    We are expecting our first great grandchild in a couple weeks. I was able to get a lovely, nearly new co-sleeper, a diaper bag travel co-sleeper and some 4 cute hand puppets, as well as some other things from the BNG for the baby.
    We are feeling really blessed!
    Sending love from Arizona,

    1. Dear Elaine,
      Thank you so much! How wonderful to have a Great Grandchild due soon! And you are obviously helping a lot with so much for the new baby.
      I had not considered how winter in the desert would be! The cool must be nice! It sounds lovely.
      I have heard about a citrus/orange issue so if your neighbour wants to share I hope you can use that as much as possible. I froze orange juice last week and it is delicious.
      All that produce! How amazing. This is wonderful to hear! I think a dehydrator is a big advantage. It just seems to happen that we have a lot of one thing at a time so this helps.
      You had a fantastic week. I hope the new week will be another good one! With love Annabel.xxx

  19. The very cold weather has kept me inside this past week. I always plan for this part of the season when it is not easy to go to the grocery store. We are to have a brief warmup early next week so I plan to do some stock up shopping one day at two grocery stores. Before COVID, I didn't keep a lot of extra milk but now I have ascetic container milk (mainly used for cooking), evaporated milk, dry milk, and Cremora for coffee when I can't get to the store for cream. Many stores have been out of cream this winter, too.

    1. Dear Brenda, Slightly milder days are a good time to venture out if you have to. I hope you have great success. Because we are a fair distance from any shops the back up milks are very handy to us. Have a very good new week. With love Annabel.xxx

  20. Hi Annabel your cake and icing looks pretty I have cut back with work & feel better for it 🙂.Our Tomatoes, silverbeet zucchini are growing here well & eggplant After my morning shift I called into coles no chicken fillets just chicken thighs & at $18 kilo I didn't buy them,,, I have just loved the warm weather I think I belong in warmer climates:)

    1. Dear Melissa, I am so glad you sound like you have struck a better work/life balance.
      Wow that chicken is a terrible price! I have had some shocks like this myself. I have also had to re think purchases and find an alternative plan! Sometimes it is hard to do too, thinking and re planning the list while standing in the middle of the supermarket. Yikes. It is so good your veggies are going well! I just planted some eggplant here this week! With love, Annabel.xxx

  21. Dear Annabel, what I am finding most interesting in your 'farm' posts, is the difference between what you do now, and what you did back in the city. You have the same ethos of course, but living in an isolated location, makes stocking up, growing your own, and making hay while the sun shines (so to speak), a part of daily life, and an absolute necessity. As a city dweller in Australia, and one who, like you, has always made do, upcycled, recycled, grown something, and home made as much as possible, I'm finding life-during-Covid (who could have imagined we'd still be saying this two years down the track!), not too challenging. I AM finding it exhausting to have to travel to three or four different places to secure our essentials when I shop, but really, my Mum and Nanna had to do the same, and thinking about it, haven't we all just become a bit 'soft'? Well done on your beautiful, productive week, despite not feeling 100%. Love, Mimi

    1. Dear Mimi, Thank you. Yes true, Mum and Nana shopped many shops. They were specific... butcher, green grocer etc. It took some time. I have really been working on being less dependant on the shops... this last week I out my all into it. Like you home life is my happy place where I will never run out of entertainment and joy! We can be creative! With love Annabel.xxx

  22. Hi Annabel

    Humidity sure does suck the life out of you. I still have not gotten used to the weather in central QLD. Humidity here has been around very much this week especially after some rain at night. Today is a stinking hot day. We felt this when we went for a half hour walk at 8.30am Unfortunately our air cons go most of the year.

    I hope you are not too effected by the flooding but I have no doubt that maybe the food supply chain happens to be. We get this when it floods down south from us. Food shortages in the supermarket here are still on going with a fair few gaps in the frozen department, meat department, toilet paper and some gaps in the general aisles. In the supply of fruit and veg well we use the fruit and veg shop and they do not seem to have supply issues, nor the butchers as they are mostly supplied by local farmers. We have one farmer up the valley from us who has a road side stall every Friday.

    Covid here is still fairly active and last week saw numbers daily between 250 and 300 but yesterday saw a big drop down to around 190

    Next week we see school returning and I am some what looking forward to getting back into a regular routine. We currently have muffins in the oven for school lunches and curried sausages for dinner and left overs for one night next week on the go.

    A few years ago we invested in a car fridge to be able to transport groceries home from town as by the time we got home the ice would be almost melted and buying ice was to costly all the time, ice bricks would not cut it. Now both cars have fridges in which is so handy. Your tale of your niece moving and you packing the esky reminded me of the days I used to do this. Being at least an hour and a half to 2 hours from anywhere we took packed snacks when DD11 was little cause she just could not sit in the car for that long.

    Your crochet looks amazing

    Hope everyone is enjoying their week

    Take Care
    Aly xxx

    1. Dear Aly, Yes the flooding was far north from us and it greatly affected WA as it took out the train line! I saw today there is a big weather event looming in QLD again too.
      I hope back to school goes well. It is a big change in routine! Muffins sound very good for the lunch box.
      The car fridges sound really good. Good investment! The girls went back to school Wednesday. A lot of excitement! With much love Annabel.xxx

  23. I love how productive your week has been! I haven't been able to finish too much this week, since I had kidney surgery last Thursday. The hospital told me there would be no beds for me to stay overnight, but they found me one and a nurse! It seemed like they were way understaffed, so maybe that's why they are saying they are full? Since being home I have read some and done a few pieces of laundry here and there. Today I'm feeling better and looking at sewing an applique quilt block. I'm in over my head, but it's mostly fun! I'm in Virginia, and we're not seeing any shortages, just high prices for meat. Also, I can attest to having more than one sewing machine. I have an old singer featherweight that sews through nearly any thickness, and it's super lightweight. It's easy to tuck away when not in use!

    1. Dear Stacy, Oh I am so glad they found you a bed! That is scary that they almost didnt! I hope you are recovering well now. I think I am getting the message to have a back up sewing machine... I will watch out for a good second hand one.
      Thank you for reporting in from Virginia! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. I am late to reading blog having had grandson through Saturday the past two weeks and I couldn't read a thing online! Those little fingers want to punch every key or button he can reach. By the time he goes home, I'm done, lol.
      We do a bulk shopping about once a month and then I fill in with special sales the rest of the month. I buy the bulk of my fresh produce at that once a month shopping. Here's what I do. I am sorry if this proves to be a long post.
      For lettuce, I tend to buy sturdier longer lasting whole heads of lettuce such as romaine hearts and iceberg. For romaine, I cut off the root end, wash and let drain. I take the still damp lettuces and wrap in linen or cotton cloths such as napkins or flour sacking. I then put those linen/cotton wrapped lettuces in a plastic bag. I do not process all my lettuce at once but do generally wash a package (3 hearts).
      For Iceberg, I cut out the core, rinse, drain and then proceed as with the romaine.
      I find carrots keep well in the packaging they come in but don't buy the processed 'baby carrots'.
      Celery is rinsed, removing any visible grit, and keeping root intact. Then I wrap with cotton/linen and then in foil and place in the crisper drawer.
      I find that this also works well for broccoli and cabbage, as well.
      Lemons and limes, and all berries may be stored in glass jars. For berries, I prefer to put a paper towel in the bottom of the jar and on top of the fruit, as well. DO NOT WASH prior to this storage, but wait until you are ready to eat them.
      For mushrooms, I find that removing excess peat with a dry towel and then placing a folded paper towel in the bottom of the punnet and another atop before wrapping with cling film works very well. I should think a glass jar also would work well.
      Peppers generally hold well in the fridge but if they begin to look as though they are about to go, then I will freeze them for later use.
      Asparagus does well in a glass jar with the ends in water and a plastic bag over top, as do green onions, fresh parsley and cilantro. Cucumbers do well in those Rubbermaid keepers as do zucchini and yellow summer squash. I find that a bit of waxed paper over the cut end of a cucumber or zucchini and then wrapping with cling or foil will keep those for a good bit longer. Typically, I use all of any yellow squash at once, so I can't say how long they'd keep once cut.
      I find apples, oranges and mandarins are fine in a basket in the fridge and keep well, far better than in a bowl on the counter.
      Potatoes should be kept in a cool dark place but NOT in the fridge as the cold will convert the starch into sugars and destroy the flavor.
      I store my onions in the same way but not in the same basket or right next to the potatoes as onions emit a gas that will cause the potatoes to sprout. You may also store onions in the fridge.
      These are the best items for longer storage and while I cannot say it will all last you a full month most of mine does keep well for two or three weeks.


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