Feather your Nest Friday, 11th March, 2022.

I am late to sit down and write tonight.  It was a big day!  It has been a beautiful week of perfect Autumn weather.

We have Easter Lillies that come up here and there.  These signify the end of summer and the end of hot weather.  I love them!   Sometimes as we drive around there are lots of these in the paddocks.   These are next to Chloe's gate.  So beautiful!  

I pretty much continued on with my "make hay while the sun shines" strategy.  

One area I have been working on is to increase my trading/bartering.  We cannot really hope to produce everything ourselves.  But we can hope to produce some things and also we might also have resources that are very handy ie I have endless Bay Leaves and pinecones, fire wood etc.   I have something to trade.  But I have been working on more things to trade! 

This week I traded again with a lady I met via Buy, Swap and Sell on Facebook.   She messaged me that she had more Basil to give away.  She said she didn't need eggs, pears or apples!  mmm.  She was happy to give the Basil away but I want to be a good trader that people will want to keep trading with so I made her some cards.   I know she likes gardening (obviously!) so that was my theme. 

I packaged them up and tied with a bow.   So that was one trade.

I met my friend Wendy.  I took eggs and pears.  I came home with zucchini and rhubarb!  And we had a lovely catch up!   So that was another trade.  

My new herb lady friend told me about a swap group in the town.  How did I not know about this!!?  But it turns out to be a fairly recently  group.   There are two tables that are a it hidden out of the way and a Facebook group.  So I immediately applied to join. 

The deal is you add whatever produce you have an excess of and you take what you need.    Today was my first visit.  I had a basket made up to take.  Eggs,  Bay Leaves packaged up, Sunflower and Parsley seed and Pears.     It was so exciting!   I followed my map.  Like a treasure map!   

When I saw the little sign I knew I was on the right track.  

I came to a little set up.  There were boxes of chilli, succulents and herbs.   I left eggs, seeds and pears and took succulents.

Then on to the second location where I left the rest of my produce and took a bag of tomatoes and more succulents.   

So thrilled!  I have been collecting more succulents for my garden and wheel barrow.  Just what I need. 

Another great swap! 

This afternoon two guys arrived to use the cabin for the weekend.  They arrived with a box of beautiful veggies.  

Vegetables are like gold. A cauliflower is about $8 here now.  Today I looked at broccoli and it was on special for $6.99 a kilo.   Now I am set with lots to work through!    Another trade! 

As I drove home I thought about what could I take to the produce cart if I had no produce?   I came up with... plant pots, seedling trays,  little envelopes for seed saving,  produce bags, jars for preserves,  labels and tags,  I considered my crochet dish cloths,  shopping bags,  bags of manure,  pinecones, firewood/kindling, gardening or cooking looks or magazines..    What I know is now I will keep my eyes open for things others might want even if it is not something I will use myself.  It might be something I can trade.   I've already though how at Christmas it would be beautiful to leave something special like little Christmas cakes or jars of honey ... 

There will almost certainly be trading groups, produce groups near you.  It is just a matter of finding them.  Now is a good time to build up a trusted group that you can barter with.   To become a producer.   My Aunt is a member of a gardening club.  The group take turn to meet at each others houses.  They have a trading table where everyone brings their excess and cups of tea and chat.   So that is another idea for trading with friends. 

I had a few op shop finds.   One was a lovely lasagne dish for $4.   I like to watch Acre Homestead.  Becky does great big cook ups and loads of freezer meals.  She showed how she collects baking trays and lasagne dishes from thrift stores.    With Chloe having a baby I will be cooking a lot ahead.   So this dish will hold an extra meal.   I also continued on with more cards...

My container gardens are going really well!   They have grown so much!  

This seems really fast to me.  Certainly miles faster than growth in the garden.  So I might be on to something...

I have another huge container.  It is Mum's x duckpond, x cattle trough!    So far we picked it up on the trailer, filled it with great soil and compost.  I hope to get it planted up tomorrow. 

Andy has always wanted a dog that would come with him on the mower.  Scout and Molly are not takers on this offer.   He just discovered this week that Zackie is into it.  So now when Andy goes past there is Zackie in the trailer looking very happy about it.

I said she needs a mat or a cushion.   That is my opinion.  

Thank you for so many replies and wonderful comments re preparedness and disasters.   Experience is really the best teacher.   We don't want the experience but if we have knowledge to share then it can help someone.   Hard times seem to bring out other the best and worst in people.  I have usually found surprises in that some of the people you never expected to are wonderful and help and some of the people you were sure you could count on turn out to be useless! haha! 

I hope you found ways to add to your pantry and garden.   Most of us are noticing some pretty severe price rises.  Our petrol (for cars) is now $2.20 a litre. Or around $8.30 a gallon.   This is a big country.  Goods travel long distances, mostly by trucks.    Huge areas have been flooded.   Yes this is going to affect food prices and availability.    We all know Ukraine is a massive food producer.    Watch well to the ways of your household and be busy as a bee! xxx


  1. What a great week on trade. You got so many nice produce items from the cabin guys.

    1. I love our cabin guys Cheryl! We just have a couple of regular guys that come down form the city and they just love it so much. Today one of them wanted to learn how to do pickles. And what kind of jars to use in the pantry! This made me very happy! Have a beautiful weekend! xxx

  2. Dear Annabel,
    You had a very beneficial and productive week. I, totally, agree, Zackie needs a cushion so she is comfortable.

    It was a busy week here. I am feeling the reality of the world situation and trying to assess storage for much more food. We have a years worth, but that is not enough. Through prayer and listening, a plan for another year or two is wisest.

    This week, I dehydrated more lemons and oranges. I will dehydrate kale and spinach today. I have more oranges and lemons to do, also.
    I spent a couple of days working in our downstairs kitchen. We are adding more cabinets along an eleven foot wall. The storage will be very useful. I have much more work to keep after.

    Spring, here, is a couple of months off. The down side of living in a cold climate. It gives John more time, however, to start seeds. A couple of nights this week we had below zero temperatures and plenty of snow.

    Many blessings to all of the Bluebirds.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Glenda, I think you and I are on the same page!

    2. Dear Glenda,
      I appreciate hearing what you think and feel. I have been working on a lot of increase. I think you also watch Appalachia Homestead so as Patera says we are busy, very very busy.
      The extra cupboards will be great. We are turning a closet into shelving and this is going to give me some more space and more organisation. Im hoping this is done by the end of the week so I can get to filling it up.
      Timing must be so important with starting the seeds. Our Spring start is pretty forgiving... as long as we are past the last frost. I hope it will be a very good garden for you... I know last year was very productive. The garden is just more important than ever!
      Thank you for your encouragement! With love, Annabelxxxx

  3. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    Those lilies are so beautiful! I don't think I've seen pink ones before. Also the swap carts and groups are wonderful - I will have to look again to see if there is something like that in our area. You did really well!

    Gas prices here are still on the rise - last weekend it cost $15 more to fill up the car than it had the previous week, and cost $4.19 a gallon (a big increase for us). Yesterday it was up to $4.49. That is unheard of here in Oklahoma as we produce oil and usually have low energy costs. Poultry continues to be in short supply.

    Annabel, you were right and I did a big cookup on the weekend! It is super helpful to us during the week and I try to make extra to restock the freezer. Wednesday we both had a really trying day and I pulled some homemade won tons out of the freezer and made us a Chinese food feast with soup & stir fry - cheered us right up! (Won tons are super easy to make and my recipe makes about 60 at a time.) I purchased some more flour and sugar for the pantry and ordered seeds for this year's garden - herbs, a few kinds of squash, lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, and some candy cane zinnias. My husband also did some maintenance on our car and spent part of the weekend taking the big, heavy wooden hutch off of my desk and breaking it down - it makes the whole home office brighter and gives me a lot more working space on the desk for when I am working remotely. He saved all of the wood for future projects.

    Knitting-wise, I am on the sleeves of my sweater and have lots of little projects on the go. It is snowing today --- strange spring for us! -- so I am hoping for a cozy weekend knitting and baking, and will need to put out some seed for the birds, too.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend.

    1. Dear Kathy, This week will be interesting for the gas prices alone. eek is all I can say!
      The Buy, Sell and Swap groups locally are a good place to start. I also check Market place on FB everyday for my area. The herb lady was just listing plants plus herbs... and this is how I met her and started a trade. And then she told me about the other group. If you have a local organic cafe, market type thing or a farmers market... these would be good places to ask too. I have gone on to Fb and peached the names of my local towns then the words produce, swap, trade etc. and found a little more. I hope there are groups out there for you!
      I think on days like your Wednesday was that having something easy and yummy to have for dinner just improves the day so much. Dinner time can be a relax, stake stock, debrief, nourishment and more. It is important. You dinner sounds delicious.
      You both got heaps done over the weekend! Knitting and snowing sound like a perfect match to me. Just lovely! Some baking as well warms the house up.
      Great to have your seeds on the way also. Today I planted up my new container and the sun is shining so I hope everything takes off! Have a great weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  4. Debby in Kansas USA11 March 2022 at 06:55

    Annabel, I only have a second but had to tell you that we call those beautiful pink flowers 'Naked Ladies ' because they're naked of foliage!! They're gorgeous!

    1. Thank you Debby! Have a lovely weekend! xxx

  5. Those swap carts are lovely. I saw one in a bus shelter last year that was just as nice. I think manure would be a great thing to take, not everyone has access to it, but if you have a garden it's a must.
    Zackie really does seem to enjoy company and pleasing her people.

    I was only thinking about swap/barter items yesterday. I was thinking of even more extreme circumstances than most of us are currently living in and wondering what people might miss and would trade for. This is an area I really could improve upon.

    My week has been quiet, but I did manage to pick up a cast iron casserole dish, in Aldi, for £9.99! The only problem was that it wasn't my local Aldi and I had to lug the thing to work and back again, but I have been after a cast iron casserole for ages and at that price they weren't going to hang around long.
    Until today the weather has been dry, so I managed to line dry a load of laundry, the first time this year! Always an exciting event in my calendar, though I must confess that it wasn't sun or heat that did the drying but the breeze, my bedding smells heavenly now. Now even I think this is odd, but here goes... another roadside find, this time a really pretty art deco jug! No chips or cracks though it is heavily crazed, but I like that, anyway it's sat on my kitchen windowsill with daffodils in it and that's where I intend it shall remain.
    Otherwise for me it has been very quiet, I know many don't have that privilege.

    Have the best week possible everyone.

    1. Dear Su,
      Some of the barter items Ive built up are soap, lighters, boxes of matches, can openers (from op shops), pads and tampons. But Im trying to have things I produce as well... and skills could be another.
      A cast iron casserole dish is a great investment! And a fantastic price! There is nothing as good as linen that smells like sunshine. Beautiful. I think the jug is a great find! The cracks in the glaze are beautiful to me too.
      Enjoy your Sunday and I hope for a good new week! With love, Annabel.xxx

  6. Your Easter lilies are so different than ours. I am always amazed at the variety of plants God made for us to enjoy. I am going to start looking around for swap groups. I used to pick up pretty plates for a quarter at thrift stores to gift baked goods on and not require that the plate come back. I need to get back to that because the recipient always enjoyed getting the plates. I'm sure Zackie has her own opinion about a cushion! You will know if she wants one as soon as you put it in there.

    One thing I found this week was that grocery items that I cannot find were available on walmart.com. I found everything I was lacking and got free shipping because my order was over $35. Trains running to and from the inland port had returned to normal levels and planes taking off from the UPS hub at night had been many but this week all of that is way down so I am not sure what is going on. We are continuing to stock up supplies and praying about it a lot and asking for guidance. We are going to be more diligent to plan our trips and conserve gas.

    Have a lovely weekend!

    1. Dear Lana,
      Flowers and animals just amaze me also. Imagine what heaven must be like!
      It is a great idea to have dishes that can be given away with the food or for food taken to a function. Brilliant!
      That is fantastic you could get everything by ordering online. Interesting too about the trains and planes. Good to be observant!
      I am travelling two days this week so I will be interested to see fuel prices here also. Last week I saw prices I have not seen in my lifetime!
      Have a good week Lana, with love Annabel.xxx

  7. Annabel, you've had a lovely week with much accomplished. I'm going to see if I can locate a 'swap' group in our area. I think that would be so helpful to all participants!

    1. Dear Patsi, I hope you might find a group. A regular trading table at Church could be an option too. I am thinking there would be contacts also maybe via Gleening groups? I think the greening you do is just awesome! The possibilities!! Let me know how you go! With much love Annabel.xxx

  8. Dear Annabel,
    Yep, Debby is right, the lilies are called "Naked Ladies" here as well. They bloom in August and are also called August lilies are Amaryllis Belladonna . They are beautiful!
    Wonderful swaps for the weeks. Yes, we have many wonderful neighbors here and one totally antisocial family that would rather stand alone. The neighbors all know now to ignore them. They may regret that choice someday.
    Love Zackie in the wagon. Yes, she does need a mat or bed. I'm glad Andy has a dog that enjoys it.
    Blessings, Laura ( Ohio, US )

    1. Dear Laura, It is awesome that you have many great neighbours. Yes those who are not friendly... they are silly as we all need help sometimes.
      The August Lillies sound beautiful. I have always loved Lillies.
      Have a very good new week! With love, Annabel.xxx

  9. Annabel such a great week of trading you've had! I love a good trade or barter. I figure come Spring more trades and bartering will be going on here at my house. Winter not so much. We got one today. Rick was asked if he would take it instead of cash for his labor.
    My garlic looks like it's doing well and I'm happy about that. I planted extra to trade if it does well.
    I earned a $25 gift card so I'm going to use that to get a few household or pet supplies.
    I love the lilies they are gorgeous!

    1. Dear Vicky, I can think of some awesome barters you have been involved in! What was the barter Rick got? I hope it was a good one!
      Great work on the gift card! I know you will put that to very good use! With love Annabel.xxx

  10. Debby in Kansas USA11 March 2022 at 12:14

    I'm back! I agree that Zacky needs a cushion. I love that she'll drive around back there! I had a teen friend that I used to ride horses with - her dog would ride behind her on her horse! No saddle, just a blanket. Chubby little mutt, about 30 lbs. He absolutely loved going with us. And we ran!

    Those veggies are beautiful! Do the guys have a market or something? That's quite a gift when you share the prices there.

    The little trading post is darling. I'm going ask around and see if anyone knows about one. And if not, I'll be thinking of a nearby country friend that might be interested in starting one!! We're going to be thinning out our daffodils in fall and I'd love to make a swap for something. I'd just be happy if someone wants them! All of our Day Lilies and Iris were given to us. Your cards are lovely and a great gift for a gardener.

    Snow again last night so it's still pretty cold here. March is fickle though so next week might be warm and sunny! No planting before April 15. Our sprinklers won't be turned on for about 3 weeks.
    We're doing some inside painting in hopes of finishing before the yards come to life.

    Enjoy your week!

    1. Dear Debby, I am going to tell Andy that he was well and truly out voted and Zackie gets a cushion!
      I love that your friends dog would sit behind her on her horse!
      The guys who come do have a brother in law who has a green grocer. I thought this was awesome and an arrangement that works for us both. As you say with prices now it is worth a lot!
      It is a good idea to get inside stuff done as once the weather is ready for you to garden there will be no time! Good planning.
      Have a great new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  11. Beautiful produce from the guys using the cabin! I'm still doing my best making use of everything on sale and keeping our meals simple. Some weeks, our favorites are on sale; other weeks, I cross my fingers and hope for the best when it comes to the marked-down produce rack. (Cabbage, potatoes, and some marked-down cauliflower this week, which is fine! I also have a little leftover broccoli, and we always have carrots on hand.) Some weeks I have more to busy myself than other weeks, and that's okay! :)

    1. Dear Stephanie,
      I hope this week there are some good deals on things you really like to cook. I have my box of veggies so everything is based around that. Some good options plus the basil, apples and pears... so this will see a fair bit made this week. Simple meals are good. As our weather is soon cooling I look forward to bowls of soup. I love soup!
      Have a good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  12. Looks like you've had another great week. Here in central Alabama, USA we call your Easter lily's..... Surprise Lily's, because after the foliage dies down you do not know just when they are going to pop up...lol. So glad Zackie is a tag along companion..... ours was named Smokie. Love the different swap groups you have ..... I'm on the search for some in our area.

    1. Dear Cindy, Surprise Lilys is a good name! They always just seem to come up out of no where! I hope you can find some groups... or even just a few individuals to swap with. It has taken me a while but it seems like you get the ball rolling an dit helps you meet more people. I am loving it. Have a good new week! Love Annabel.xxx

  13. I love naked ladies! I had them as a border in the back garden of our first house. So pretty and bright! Love the swap table idea. I belong to a group that does that once a month, and it's such fun and so exciting, never know what will come home, or how excited someone else is to find what I have to swap.

    1. Dear Cath, Now and then I get a few blog comments from nutters. When I saw "I love naked ladies" I thought oh no another nutter hahaha! Lucky I kept reading! I love a swap table. Any group of friends, church or craft group could do it... To me this is really good fun too. Being crafty plus gardening gives us a lot to barter with.
      Have a wonderful new week. We are in much better weather and it is a help! With love Annabel.xxx

  14. We call them Naked Ladies here in New Zealand too. I remember years ago, when I was a student, walking through town with a friend, who suddenly grabbed my arm and said "Oh, look at all the Naked Ladies!" I'd never heard of them before, and was a bit startled, not knowing quite what I'd see! These days I have some that popped up in my garden, to my great delight.

    I love the secret swap table. What a nice idea, and very practical. Your week sounds very satisfying, Annabel. The swapping of produce for accommodation was pure genius!

    Linda in NZ

    1. Thanks Linda, I am set for produce for the week as I also have apples, pears and the basil.
      I cant wait to go to town as each time now I will take things for the swap tables. Have a very good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  15. Here in Taranaki NZ we call those flowers Naked Ladies.This year there seem to be lots of the really dark pink ones around as well as the paler pink. Most of the small towns in our province have a "crop swop".We have been going for a couple of years and it's great to swop what you have a surplus of for somebody else's surplus.There are all sort of things for exchange not just fruit and veges e.g plants, seedlings,pots,eggs,egg cartons,books and magazines,usually gardening or cooking ones.Horse/donkey poo to name a few.One surprising thing is baling twine..folk in town don't always have access to this for tying up beans or plants.Also, bamboo stakes are a welcome addition.

    1. Dear Kate, Thank you so much I never thought of bailing twine! You are right! (genius!)
      The crop swap sounds fantastic. How I would love to come to that! I love the swapping part but also the community coming together part. Thank you for your ideas as I just added something else to my list as twine we have! Love Annabel.xxx

  16. We have a local FB food swap group. I have taken advantage of this a couple of times. I was able to get some unusual herb seedlings in a swap some time ago. I need to get back into this as it really is a great way to build on what you already have.
    In our local area, we all do this as our over the fence backyard economy. Whenever someone has a glut it is shared. Those that dont grow food do like fishing. We tend to get quite a bit of fish to add to the freezer as a swap for garden produce.
    I love trading and bartering. I have mentioned before that the local widowers bring their mending and their trousers to me to have the hems taken up. They know that I wont take money for the work I do for them. I get paid in fish, One neighbour, where Bluey mows the lawn, makes delicious cakes. We always get a lovely cake off her the day after he mows.
    Zackie looks so pleased with herself to be going out in the mower trailer. There's nothing like having a dog that loves to tag along on the farm adventures.
    Your container garden is looking marvellous. Looking forward to seeing your latest piece all filled up with gorgeous produce.
    Our son and his family left this morning for their 6 month Outback contract. They wont be home again until October. Bluey and I are loving the quiet and the peace. Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane, I love your back fence economy. I have seen some of your trades too with fish and good stuff coming in and going out! Also you mention an important thing, skills and services. Mending and alterations are a great one!
      I did get my new bed planted up. Pretty pleased with it. Photos next week!
      Your household has got the young family set up and off on their new adventure. I am thinking after last week a quiet week would be what you are needing. With much love Annabel.xxx

  17. Afternoon Annabel and fellow Bluebirds.
    Yesterday long ques formed at the service stations as it was announced that from 6 pm petrol was going up to over NZD$3.00 Ltr. Around a 20-30 cent jump, depending on whether you use 91 or 95. I decided to top our up this morning. I usually do this fortnightly and had done it last week but thought it prudent to do a small top up. It cost around NZDS45.00 for 14 Ltr. Most of my cost is in going to work each day. If I could I would bike but drivers here in Christchurch are very disrespectful and aggressive towards bike riders and the roads I use to not have any dedicated cycle paths, so not a safe option. While we have always combined trips to make the most of using the car I will be more mindful than ever to do this. I am so grateful for a small mortgage and enjoying a simple, mostly home based life. We having been going a little further afield to a fruit and vegetable seller to get better quality and prices. For instance I love passion fruit. In one supermarket yesterday it was NZD$39.99kg!!! Yes you did read that correctly. Where we went today it was $13.99kg. So still not treat but much better than supermarket prices, fresher and with more flavour. Today I brought enough of what I needed for two weeks, so cutting down from a weekly trip. We also brought our favourite ice cream on special for $5 2Ltrs. We got two to put in the freezer. We use these when we catch up with our friends and I make a big black peach crumble. Our friend is not really into sweat foods but he loves this crumble with ice cream. This and my mums cream sponge are the two things he likes. Stocking up when we see good specials means we can still enjoy things but pay less. Normally this ice cream is around $7.50 a tub. We are lucky we can do this as so many families on low/fixed incomes cannot. There is an article on stuff.co.nz today about people trying to make ends meet and the difficulties they face. I know this is not unique to NZ but is happening all around the world. Problem here is that wages are comparatively low, with house prices and living costs high. Dp and I are blessed in that we live well and have substantial savings and can meet all our financial commitments. Of course no one knows when things can change so we are ever cautious and prepared. On a happier note we are having some beautiful Autumn days. It is often warmer and more settled in March than any other time of year. Yesterday was 28C today 25C. We get our and mow the lawn and do the edges later.
    Have a good week all.


    1. Dear Mandy,
      I am going to let US readers know $3 a lire is $11.30 a gallon! Wow. We got to $2.20 but I will see again tomorrow. This is going to hit everyone hard. And food prices... eek.
      I agree... if bike riding really isn't safe then no it is not an option. Ok Im just recovering from the fuel price and now Ive fainter over the Passionfruit price!
      I bet your Mums cream sponge is good!! My Nan made beautiful sponges!
      Mandy I love the Autumn days too. They are glorious! !
      I hope you have a good new week. We will see how the fuel prices go! With much love Annabel.xxx

  18. Thank you for the marvelous swap ideas. Well done on your trades. Your container gardens look marvelous!
    We saved money through baking, making our own kombucha, home haircuts and recycling. Last weekend we cleaned out our garage. So many children's clothes we were able to pass on! And so many treasures found for the younger children's wardrobes. Plus we gained much needed space. Amazing how unneeded items accumulate.
    Blessings to all,
    Leslie (Ohio, US)
    Praying for those in Ukraine and flood victims

    1. Dear Leslie, hank you! I am thinking with your list you would have saved such a lot!
      I am glad you found good clothing for the younger children. I love a good clean out and finding things that can be used is a big bonus!
      Have a good new week, with love Annabel.xxx

  19. The pink flowers are beautiful and I love how your are so successful with bartering. Thank you for the ideas you have given. Now to find time and energy and someone to barter with! I bartered with a neighbor at our previous house raspberry starts for eggs. I don't think the people here in this HOA are the type to barter! I don't think any of them put gardens in their courtyard like I do except for maybe a tomato plant! Zackie has turned out to be such a nice dog. Thank you for your lovely and encouraging posts. Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy,
      You might have to go wider in your town but you will find people with gardens and increasingly so with prices going up. Keep an eye on markets etc as well. Yes Zackie is just a beautiful girl. So lucky! Withlove Annabel.xxx

  20. Hi Annabel Trading is such a great way to go. Once a month we have a food swap with a group of about 40 friends. ( There are never that many there at once). We meet at some ones garden, have morning tea and a wander around the garden and a chat and then we can take anything we want off the trading table. It’s usually fruit and veggies, jams, pickles, cordial, baked goods, empty jars, honey , magazines, wine - you name it! It’s a highlight of the month.
    On another weekend my garden club meets and we do a similar thing. It’s amazing what you get each time.

    1. Dear Sharyn, This is what my Aunt does. It is fabulous. I love everything about it! I would look forward to each get together so much! As it is Im saving things for my next visit to town for the trading tables. I hope these ideas help others to see that they could start a little trading table or group! Many thanks, Love Annabel.xxx

  21. Annabel you are surely making hay while the sun shines and lots of it :). We need to take advantage of any situations where we have the opportunities to increase our pantries especially at the moment with the cost of fuel and steadily rising grocery prices.

    You are making such great use of your cabin and yes fruit and veg are hugely expensive and those boxes of produce will go a long way to make lovely meals. You gardens are coming along beautifully and the plants look so healthy. Bless Zachie she looks like she is in seventh heaven in the tow along wheelbarrow with your husband and clearly she likes the company as well.

    In the kitchen -
    - Baked 4 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machines saving $13.96 over buying them locally in the stores.
    - DH cleaned the oven and shelves.
    - I cleaned the two sets of aluminium blinds in the kitchen, the windows behind and the kitchen tile splash backs. The kitchen looks so much cleaner now but still more spring cleaning to do in there bit by bit.

    In the gardens -
    - I replanted some corn seeds I had saved from our previous crop and another garden bed with saved broad bean seeds from our previous crop too.

    Finances -
    - Banked more money into our 3 month emergency fund and paid an extra part payment off our mortgage.

    Purchases -
    - Saved 3% by using our discounted fuel e-gift card and another 4c per litre off fuel to fill two jerry cans saving in total $4.82 on Not so normal :o fuel costs.
    - Saved 4% or .55c by using our grocery discount e-gift card to top up the pantry for a few things we needed.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).


    1. Dear Lorna,
      I have been really lucky not having to buy fruit and having some fresh herbs to get through summer fairly well. I would think with the prices more people will be starting veggie gardens now. It is great you are saving seeds and re planting with free seed. You are reminding me, I really need to do the oven! Its my last favourite job but when it is clean and sparkly it is so nice.
      Your emergency fund and extra mortgage payments are just fantastic. The two of you also do a lot of making hay while the sun shines!
      I hope this week is going well. I have a trip to the city overnight. I am completely glad to get home again! With much love, Annabel.xxx

  22. Dear Annabel, what a great week. Your cards are lovely. I love how you bought that lasagne dish and plan to fill it for Chloe, these are precious gifts. I love that swap station- it is just so lovely. The photo makes me happy! What great week you have had with swaps and what wonderful inspiration. I love swaps. We haven't had one for a while, but I am hoping to do to the next one. Which reminds me, I must get planning on it. This time I might make some produce bags and dish cloths to take as well. I have ordered a heap of seeds and am saving for the new beds. We will need to fence the chickens out. We also have 'Fun Friday' where we usually visit some place and regularly we all want to go to the op shop, so off we went. I have trained the children up well. One found a really good peeler for me! I also found some boys' shorts, runners, a big chapter book and a puzzle. They bought a stapler and some writing pencils. I keep thinking that things will get worse (I hope that doesn't sound gloomy), but I need to look ahead and I need to be diligent, I can also find ways to help others. Today we had a bbq at the beach, I crocheted and made some muffins. That is a nice day. Lots of love, Lily.

    1. Dear Lily,
      I think that produce bags and dish cloths would really be a hit at the swap. Any seedlings too. I love the sound of your op shop visit! It is so good the children know how to look for good things! It is kind of a treasure hunt I always think. Useful items are just sensible to put away and I agree with you, we dont know what we will see in storage next.
      A BBQ at the beach sounds beautiful! We have to make the most of the good weather while we have it! With much love Annabel.xxx

  23. I just find your posts fascinating each week. thank you so much for sharing.

  24. Dear Annabel,
    You've had another lovely week, especially with the trading. I'm hoping to find such groups here(south central Pennsylvania). Your cards are beautiful, as always. Glad to see that Andy has Zacky to ride around with him

    Most of this past week we had unusually warm temperatures so it was a make hay while the sunshines week for us. We purchased a year's supply of salt for the water softener, the coffee we like was on sale for $6 a pound so we stocked up on that. Decided to try fish emulsion fertilizer in the garden this year and found a good sale on that as well. Added homemade "instant compost" to all of the container garden. Groceries and gasoline continue to rise here. Yesterday gas was $4.49 a gallon. Cooking wise a dozen gluten free naan got made and put in the freezer, a large peach cobbler with peaches that were frozen last summer. I continue to make meals to freeze as they come in so handy on busy days. Craftwise I started making Easter cards, and am embroidering table clothes and tea towels for each of my children. Everything was already on hand for years and never gotten to. Wishing all the Bluebirds a peaceful and productive week ahead. Blessings to all. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      Fish emulsion is good. It stinks but it is good!
      he peach cobbler sounds delicious. Peaches are so beautiful. I have apples and pears so I need to make up some cobblers. Table cloths and t towels will be lovely gifts, especially with your embroidery on them. Cookie you make the nicest cards. They are a treasure to keep. I hope your week is peaceful and productive also! With love Annabel.xxx

  25. I love the pink flowers! They are some of my favorites! We are working on clearing our freezer because we purchased a 1/4 beef and need to make room-so I will be pressure canning the meat left over in freezer and some odds and ends! Looking forward to spring and planting. Laine has been on my mind and wondering if you've heard from her at all? So miss her writings.
    Take care

    1. Dear Becky, I am meant to be doing the same... finding room in my freezer. It is difficult!
      Yes I can tell you Laine isn't well. She had Covid some months back very badly. It really knocked her around and then she had long covid. She has an existing medical condition which she has posted here about and is on a very rich diet with that. Now she has had some other medical issues as well. So if you would pray for her I know she would appreciate it. I cant tell you Art retired and she loves having him around more and he is working on all sorts of fantastic projects for them. When she is better I am going to ask her to write again but I know its too much at the moment. With much love Annabel.xxx

  26. Another fantastic week for you Annabel. You really are an inspiration. We have been planning, planning and planning!!! As soon as shops and supplies are up and running again in flood affected Lismore we are going to source what we need to expand the vegetable garden, but in the meantime I can work on so many things to prepare for that, I’m going to start some seedlings (I’ve been saving toilet rolls for this) I’m going to sift soil (looking at using some topsoil from our paddocks to fill raised beds, and a combination of homemade compost and purchased, and I’m going to gather all my large pots for container gardening, and prepare them for planting! Further down the track we are going to install a rainwater tank to keep watering costs as low as possible! So many plans! Time to act!!

    1. Dear Cheryl, Thank you so much. Good job on all the planing and also doing what you can now while you wait for others things to become possible. That is what we must do, work with what is in our hands. My container gardens I filled with soil and manure and the top 4 inches or so I used a premium potting mix that I bought. Well so fas so good. A rain water tank is a very good idea. Meantime if you can maybe do some rain barrels... it seems the cheapest option might be large plastic bins of the wheelie bins you can buy... but also 44 gallon drums if you can find any. When it is raining I want to catch it all that is running off the roof and gutters. We have one major drip under the pergola and I sit a bucket under that! Oh... I also run houseplants outside and sit them in the rain and they are all fresh and washed and sparkling after that.
      I agree with you... time to act! Take every opportunity!
      I hope the week is going well! With love Annabel.xxx

  27. Thanks you so much for the effort you put into your blog. I look forward to reading it every week!

    1. Thanks so much Kim, that is a very kind thing to say! xxx

  28. I cant help but notice here in the US (Georgia) and in NZ (Mandy's post) that it's the good solid foods that are priced so very high and things like ice cream and chips are not. Honestly!

    We live in a rural area and no barter/trading in our area. If there are any in the towns where we shop I don't know but it might be worth looking for. Last summer, I decided since I couldn't afford new plants I'd divide and propagate the ones I did have and I did rather well. I kept saying to myself, "Who knows? Perhaps this will come in handy as a source of income (and now I am thinking "...or trade!).

    As always thank you for the inspiration!


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