Feather your Nest Friday, 18th March, 2022.

What a week!  I have to say I am tired.  I took an overnight trip with my daughter to the city.  It was good to have the time with her and Thomas.   It was good to get home though.  I am truly done with the city it seems. 

Some of the ways I got ahead,  built up the pantry and the garden this week were:

Our Bantam hen hatched five chicks.   She sat on some of the layers eggs that I switched out with her eggs that were not fertile.  I did not think they would hatch and almost collected them to bury them in the garden!  When I got back from Adelaide I heard little "cheep cheep" noises and investigated!   At that stage there were four chicks.  They were already following the hen around.  In the evening I went to check that they had all gone to bed in the hen house.  No.  The hen had left them and I looked for her back in the nest.  When I did I found no hen but an egg was just hatching!  It had been a warm day.  I guess warm enough that this egg still hatched even with no hen still sitting on it.   So there I am crawling around in the hen house catching all the chicks which I put back into the nest.   They made a lot of noise and the mother came and sat back on the eggs and with the chicks.   So I hoped for the best.  

The next morning I had five little chicks.  The Mother seems to have lost her mind as she leaves the chicks and goes to bed a night without them.   They would not survive the night so every night I catch them all and put them up in the coop with her and she keeps them warm.  I am generally in my nightie down in the hen house about 7.30 pm hoping no one comes in the driveway. 

As a result of this circus the chicks are tame and used to being picked up now.  They are so cute!

I made four dozen sausage rolls.  I froze most of them, adding to my new freezer of ready made meals.

My friend Wendy gave me Zucchinis.  Two really large ones were grated and added to my Spaghetti Bolognese and cooked in.  This is really good, everyone loves it and a lot of extra veggies.

I had Broccolini that was going to get away from me so I blanched and froze into four double portions.

My own Zucchini are really growing.  Now to see if they produce! 

I made gluten free scones and two big quiches.  Then a big banana cake to use up six bananas.

This is iced now to take for the girls school lunchboxes. 

This week I had more bulbs come up.  We call these Elephant Ears.  I dug some up at an old deserted homestead last year when they were just the big board and curved leaves that come out of the ground.  Eventually they died down so I didn't know it my transplant had really worked. Until now!  

These might have been helped by some rain we had early in the week which was just wonderful.

I made quite a few cards, some for a trade, some for gifts and some to use.

Near our back door there is a closet that had hanging space only.  It became our place to dump all kinds of stuff and my place to put things that I wanted to donate or give away.   Over time this became a major mess.  I decided to empty it out and ask Andy if he would fill it with shelves.  He got right to it and it is amazing!  The shelves are deep so I am using tubs which I will label and be several deep. 

The bottom houses lamb and calf formula.  I stocked up on those.   So now to put it to good use!  My animal pantry has been crammed full of things that don't belong there.   I can get much better organised now.

A You Tube channel I like is Prepsteaders.  There has been a series I have been watching and the problem of lack of storage space was addressed.   We were given a task... to look at all the containers within our homes,  especially containers with lids.  How many do we have that are sitting empty?  They could be filled with water or dry goods.  If we are short of space this is space that is wasted!   I began to mentally go over all my jars and plastic containers... some I want to keep empty ready to can or make jam.  But then it stuck me how I have shelves and shelves of huge old canning jars that my neighbour gave me.  The top shelves of all my kitchen cupboards are full of them!  I have a fair few rings and lids also.   At one stage I set some to good use and used them for storing flour, rice, sugar etc.  so I have proven they are excellent for storage.  I opened my cupboards and checked for lids.   I had over 100 jars and lids to match. So why are they sitting empty?  Good question!   Saving my smaller jars (for my pears and apples)  I began to work on the project of filling these tall jars.  I found one takes a kilo of rice exactly.  (That is 2.2lb)

I do not need to store water as we already store huge quantities of water outside.   But I can certainly fill all these idle jars.   What containers do you have sitting empty in your home that might be used for storing long lasting goods?  

The duckpond/trough I got from Mum is planted up, at least partly.  I sat another planter on top for Strawberries.

My chicken feed was stored in large plastic bins.  I found mice had chewed their way in.   Now I have big old cast iron pots that no mouse can get into! 

My Dad actually used to cook in these. Now they are in use again.  

Chloe was doing an online grocery order.  She messaged me saying "Mum, the store is really bad.  They don't have any..."  and she began to list no sugar (of any kind) no toilet paper, no garbage bags, several baby items she wanted and more.  I went online to do my order and found the same.   This was by far the hardest week availability wise here.  Already we have formed a shopping team.  Mum arrived here with baby items for Chloe,  we both had plenty of sugar stored.  I am travelling tomorrow and know what she is needing.  We all are pretty familiar what each household uses and what to watch out for.  Between Mum,  the girls and us we cover five towns fairly regularly.   There are things Mum can't get in her town but I can get them in mine so I shop for those items for her.  So having a team is a big help.   

I feel better being busy doing what I CAN do.  Each time I see news that is concerning (and there is plenty of that) I try and think of what we can do that will help our family.    I don't need to list items of concern here as we are all familiar but one thing that was striking was our Gov said,  out loud,  that Australia is at risk of conflict and as a result 2000 US troops are coming to the Northern Territory.  I had to triple check this was really happening.  Well, that was sobering.   

Another channel I like to watch is Appalachia's  Homestead.  She was saying if you have people who discourage you or belittle you for homemaking, building up your pantry and growing your food,  you just do not need these people!  They will not be helping you when you need help either.  They will not be feeding your kids.   What is their motive anyway for discouraging you?  If you have this problem then go listen to Patera she can help you out better than me.    

How did you do this week?  I hope you had plenty of great opportunities come your way.  xxx


  1. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds,
    Annabel, you had a very productive week. I love your new closet. Since I love organizing, anyway, such projects inspire me.

    When we moved into this house, in 2014, I requested that all the closets be either fitted with closet organizers or Seville storage racks. I measured the linen closets, coats closets and laundry area room, then ordered the Seville racks that we didn't have in the correct size. The nice thing about these storage racks is that shelves can be moved to whatever spacing is needed. We always order two of the same rack for the five extra shelves. John spaces them whever I need the shelves. If I decide to use the rack for different items, then it is easy for him to adjust the shelves to different spacing between shelves. This increases the possibility for all sizes of food storage, household storage, etc

    We have an alcove inset in the downstairs kitchen area, so I purchased three of the Seville racks in black for the inset area. The black are more inside the house user friendly. I was struggling, a bit, getting food rotated as John was having a difficult time with putting the newer food in back when he took it to the food storage room. I am still in the process as we had a downstairs kitchen remodel project going on this past week, but I am getting the food storage room more user friendly.

    I am using the racks, in the alcove, for all the food that expires this year and needs used first. I will rotate the food each year, by year, using up the closest to expiration first. Expiration dates are arbitrary, but rotating the food keeps the food storage the most useable should it be a while when food is not available.

    Our family all lives in the same town, but different sections, so we do shop a variety of stores. Thus far, shortages have not become a serious issue, but that could change any day. Prices have gone up significantly on almost everything.

    The world is a mess right now as we view it. Fortunately, God has a plan and is in control. We might have to go through some very difficult times, however. As Patara says, "stay busy, very busy."
    I feel it is wise to have a three year plan for food, heat, lighting, medical, dental, vision; in short, whatever a family needs to survive beyond mere existence.

    We, recently, placed another order from Pleasant Hill Grain. This is longterm storage. The legumes and grains are top quality and they have organics. I decided to add to the lentil storage, as lentils are an excellent source of protein; between nine grams and 12 grams per 1/2 cup cooked, depending on the color of lentil. Lentil soup is delicious.

    Goodness, I did not mean to write a book. I am sorry....

    With love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda, It is amazing what filling a space with shelves give you space wise. I simply cannot believe how much this closet will hold now! We can do a lot with some thought and re arranging!
      I need to learn to do much more with lentils. This is an area I can improve on a lot. I might come to you for some advice there.
      It is a good thing to have all the family in one town. Yes those words from Patera go through my mind every single day! And I have been acting on them!
      Already the week is getting away from me but we have been achieving a lot... and lovely weather. I hope it is a good week for you. With my love Annabel.xxx

  2. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    Your chicks are so cute, and the produce and planting looks amazing! I would love to receive one of your pretty cards, too - what a good week!

    We are planning a stock up trip early next week. Our shops seem to be reasonably well supplied, but I am noticing that canned/tinned fruit is much less available and fresh produce is more expensive than it has been. Our gas prices have increased again this week (about 30 cents more per gallon last night than we paid on Sunday). This week we took advantage of a sale to purchase a wall cabinet for our master bath ($100 saved!) and flooring for the linen closet and my husband's closet. Years ago we put wood flooring in my closet and I love it - much easier to clean and it is pretty - so we are finally going to do the other two closets in the master bath. My dad brought us some honey and an Amish baking cookbook that should be interesting. We have a big bag of books to bring over to him this weekend.

    Last weekend I did a big baking day and froze lots of whole wheat waffles, bread, oatmeal portions, and 2 kinds of muffins. On sunny Saturday, I threw open all of the windows and did tons of laundry, cleaned & vacuumed the pantry closet, and cleaned out the fridge and kitchen cabinets. It definitely made a big difference, especially since we have had so much extra dust and possibly soot? in the air from wildfires. We have been very safe in our area, thank goodness, but the wind blows all kinds of particles from the fires to us. Crafting-wise, I made some more tags and have been knitting up a storm.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend.

    1. Dear Kathy,
      Your stock up trip might have already happened by now. It is Wed. night already! I hope it is a great stock up opportunity!
      A wall cabinet is great and the flooring for the closets is a good idea.
      Very nice to get honey! All your baking sounds delicious. I really like muffins. Muffins can be like a whole meal in one. There is nothing as good as fresh air flowing though the house. I have had a bit of a cleaning frenzy this week also. I LOVE a fresh clean fridge! It is possible to get soot a long long way from fires. We have experienced smoke and soot from fires hundreds of miles away which seems unbelievable.
      I hope your week is going well and you are still knitting up a storm! With much love Annabel.xxx

  3. hi wow i am impressed with all the wonderful cooking that you have been doing,it all looks so yummy . Gee thats a worry the stores being out of alot of stuff and i dont watch the news as i find it to depressing ,now thats a worry troops are coming over here ,what a worrying world at the moment .
    At least your blog cheered me up with all your beautiful cooking and your garden doing so well,take care,cheers

    1. Thank you so much Pink Rose. Mostly the news is not even reliable so it is not much use! I am glad you found it cheerful to be here!! xxx

  4. Oh those chicks are adorable, Annabel!! I'm glad you enjoyed your time away!

    This week I have been doing some spring cleaning along with a lot of decluttering! Boy it has felt good. I've been letting go of things and it is so nice. This week will be more of the same, with an emphasis on deep cleaning.

    Have a wonderful week!

    1. Dear Jennilee,
      Cleaning must be in the air! Even though it is Autumn here I spent the whole day cleaning. It does feel good! A deep clean is just fantastic, everything feels fresh, we feel much more organised. Good work! With love Annabel.xxx

  5. The news is certainly concerning everywhere now. We have a 2 month old grandson on formula that was recalled so it has been hard to find the replacement for that. I agree with Patara's channel as well and we love that she is right in the area where my husband's family is from and we know their ways. We have continues to stock and find places to store as well. There is a large storage tub in the attic that will come down today for a cleaning and then we will store flour and sugar in there because my buckets are all full. I am going to put it in our bedroom and consider it décor! I was able to find many items we needed on walmart.com for anyone with access to that. The shelves are pretty bare when we go to the store but apparently they have plenty in the warehouse.

    1. Dear Lana,
      At one time we went through a really hard time getting formula for one of Lucys babies. We all had to work to get that formula. I wrote an article back then as whole pallets of the formula were being bought and re sold and sent overseas... and it was very hard to get any. Our best success was talking with pharmacists who helped us.
      I feel like Patera is a friend! How amazing to be so familiar with her area.
      I think there is nothing wrong with food storage anywhere at all. I have a lot in my lounge room and yes I call it decor too! I live in a farm house... so jars should be no surprise to anyone! I hope your week is going well! With love Annabel.xxx

  6. What a great team you have with your family - with supply chain issues it is often the way now that something which is non-existant in one locale, is plentiful in another!
    I have blown the budget the past couple of weeks but decided that I'd be better off doing that now than not being able to find things later. I bought a lot of wheat related items besides flour, cos cous, crackers & crisp breads, cake mixes and a lot of English muffins that are now in the freezer. I also added salt and a couple of different kinds of sugar, along with fresh baking powder and a some more dried fruits to add to the baking pantry.
    I also combined a couple of store loyalty offers to get $4 off $20 worth of ground beef and added that to the freezer. Things are still fairly well stocked here - the barest shelves are in the cereal aisle and potato chips (there is a dispute on between my favourite supermarket and one of the largest producers) and the pasta aisle, while not bare, doesn't have the usual variety. I've been wanting some large shells and haven't seen them in ages so will try a different part of town next week. It's not urgent but would be nice to have.

    I also stocked up on more olive oil, canola oil and I will buy some sesame oil next week. I have also been using bacon grease that is saved in my fridge to cook some things in AND I have finally started using up some of that powdered milk that I bought at the start of the pandemic. I mix it half and half and it has worked out really well so I purchased another bag for the pantry last week. Dairy prices have really risen here so this helps a lot.

    I don't need to go mad as it is just me but I like to know that it's there and that peace of mind is worth a lot.

    Hope this week isn't quite as tiring.

    1. Dear Margie,
      I agree that it might be better to go over budget and have things at this point. The things you put away will set you ahead. You added a lot of great things!
      I use olive oil... and I think with other oils becoming short in supply that will knock on to olive oil. Good idea on getting oils and I will do the same.
      Half and half with the powdered milk is great. That is what I have always done. Plus use it in cooking where no one can tell anyway. It is very handy. Also I found that if you mix it up and refrigerate it... and it sits for a little while... it is better. It can really extend the milk on hand so much. Even though it is just you in your household being able to get through means you are ok and you can help others. So many people think oh well someone will come to their aid. But this way we are an asset to others and I think that is the wise thing. You really achieved a lot! With love Annabel.xxx

  7. Debby in Kansas USA18 March 2022 at 12:52

    I tell you, our media needs a serious lesson in real news. Your post was the first I'd heard about US troops heading to Australia. I had to hunt for an American news source! However, if a celebrity gets a hangnail, it's practically breaking news!!!! Ridiculous.

    That's great that you have a lady posse out on the hunt for necessities. A shame that it's gotten so necessary. We're still finding everything we need so I'm grateful.

    I've never seen or heard of those bulbs before but they're so bold and pretty!

    Loved the chicken stories! I hope Mama Hen appreciated your hard work.

    Enjoy your week!

    1. I so agree about news sources. I, too, couldn't figure out why American troops would be going to Australia. Still not sure why, but it took me a very long time to get this verified. It doesn't seem likely to me that American troops would have skills that Australian troops don't have, although I realize these troops are supposed to be people with specialized knowledge in anti nuclear warfare. How very frightening. These psychotic dictators don't care how many people they kill, as long as their ego is fed.

    2. Dear Debby, You are exactly right! News is just rubbish! I love the word posse! Yes we can form a posse and get things done!
      I am STILL having this circus with the chicks. Never again will I have a hen house with a ramp the chicks need to walk up to go to bed! They just cant figure it out and follow the hen!

      Dear Anne,
      Our gov said the due to the increased likelihood of war with China the 2000 troops are being deployed to Northern Territory. The US is vital to us, without the US militarily we would be toast. Literally sadly. And yes the news wasnt easy to find despite it being big news... mmm interesting times! Love Annabel.xxx

  8. Annabel I can just see you running around after the chickies in your nightie. In my mind you are also wearing the perfect accessory of gum boots. It would be a hoot to see this. It is good that you and the family are working together to keep all households pantries full of the necessities.
    My son and his family have left us to complete a 6 month contract. This is so they can build a really good house deposit for when they return here. I am using this quiet time to rebuild our pantry stores. We had run out of a lot of items and were getting low on others.
    Like you, we are seeing times when items are not available in the supermarkets. I have been looking for alternative suppliers and found a local wholesaler who sells to the public. I stocked up on flour. I have stored the flour in 1kg lots in vacuum seal bags. These bags are now stored in a lidded bucket. I picked up large 3kg tins of creamed corn, crushed tomatoes, pears and peaches. I will be rebottling these into smaller jars. Rice is going into my big jars and I am using a new to me vacuum seal jar attachment for these and for oats.
    My soap and laundry liquid pantry had extra 'ingredients' added. I will be making some cleaning soap this weekend to build on those stores.
    We have boxed up some of the excess eggs and these, along with an egg pie, will be going home with Katie when she Jared and Spencer pop over this morning. I must get up and get some scones made for all of us to share. Spencer loves Granny scones with homemade Granny Jam.
    Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      Because I lease some of the property I am pretty much assured of getting caught gardening or chasing chickens in my nightie at some point. Oh well!
      Good job on the flour! And the re canning into handier sizes. That would make things go much further and save waste.
      I think the six month stint to get a good deposit is wonderful. As you say the better the deposit the better the position overall and repayments.
      Finding the wholesaler was a smart move!! I think this is what we need to do... things are different so we need to do different things!
      I am making it a point to get caustic soda this week then I am able to make soap at any time...
      Your pie and eggs will help Katies economy also. So lovely Spencer is up for scones too! I remember my Nans cooking so much. She fed us well. It was such a part of our childhood! Now I realise the gift of love that went into all that cooking!
      Have a fantastic new week. With love Annabel.xxx

  9. My husband was surprised when I told about US troops being on your border. I can identify with you being out gathering up your cute chickies in your nightie. I have been out in my courtyard in my nightie and housecoat at times! Your hubby must have gotten a good laugh! You are blessed to have all those chick's. It is great that you can add so many cards to your stash. I planted a small box maybe 18 inches long and six inches wide this week with peas and turnips and was exhausted! So much to do this time of year but I will do a little at a time. It gives me pleasure and fresh air. I hope Rosie does not undo it! So great that you could get away and spend time with your daughter. Hope your next week goes well. Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy,
      It is great you got peas and turnips planted. A little at a time works! It is a beautiful day here to start the week! Have a good week to you too! With love Annabel.xxx

  10. We moved my MIL 5 hours away and then went to my daughter's house that is an hour from that to visit with grandson during his Spring Break. We got a quart of local honey and 15 lbs of bacon. There is a company in Alabama famous for their Conecuh sausage and we love their bacon. At the factory it is $8 lb and a store near my daughter we fund it for $6 a lb.
    ***I organized my pantry and filled my canisters with sugar, gluten free and regular flours, powdered and brown sugar, and rice. I gathered all my spring top and large jars and dilled with grains.
    ***I didn't shop this week since we were out of town the first half. I wrote expiration dates on my cans and pulled any that expire in 6 months to use up and make sure to restock with fresh. I was able to make note of items I am low on so I can shop next week.
    ***I planted collards, turnip greens, kale, and spinach I had started and grew under a grow light. I have tomato. peppers, and cucumber that are ready to reply in cups to set out in a few weeks. I took 4 romaine lettuce root ends and cut off the leaves to eat and put the root ends in my pots to grow. I started 3 sweet potatoes in water to grow soups. Today I started another 72 plants of collards. kale, turnips, spinach. lettuce, and herbs. I will be planting in every pot, bed, container, milk jug I can find this year. We bought two cherry trees I am putting in giga tic pots on my patio. I found 3 variety of bare root grapes and a blackberry bush at Aldi for $5.99 each. My peach trees are flowering, they were planted ast year so I may not get any fruit yet.
    ***Some things I have invested in this year: a 23 quart canner. 2 extra canner seal rings, a seal ring for my Instant Pot, 6 grow lights, electric roaster- I can roast a turkey, make broth to can, and I used it to keep my jars heated in hot water while I was canning. We got an extra refrigerator off M@rketpl@ce, and jars, lids, Tattler lids. I've stocked medicine, cleaning supplies, emergency supplies, clothing, books, food, paper products, office supplies, sewing thread, 30 yard roll of batting, extra wide fabric for quilt backs, quilting thread, needles for my embroidery and sewing machines, seed, I got a new machine to quilt that has an extra large throat, and a quilting frame. I have a 10 needle embroidery machine so if needed I can make extra money or barter sewing, embroidery, or quilting. I am learning to crochet. I am experimenting with recipes to make home made bread, tortillas, pie crusts, and biscuits. I am going to go get another pair of prescription sunglasses. I haven't been in a couple of years with Covid.
    ***I have been taking a screenshot of canning recipes, recipes for bread, etc. I have a notebook I write tips in. I want to be able to have access to the recipes if the internet is hacked and goes down. I would like to eventually print out or hand write the recipes. I have my great grandmother's treadle sewing g machine and need to open it up and see about ordering a new belt and make sure it is working well. I haven't even tried it in years, and it was fine then, but it has just sat so may need work. I also plan to pick up a diary type book. After reading so much of g Donna's blog I want to keep a diary during these crazy times.

    1. Dear Bama Holly,
      You did a lot of travelling and still achieved so much! You have been planting, planting and planting! Good job! Your garden is going to be fantastic.
      We are both filling containers! It is very satisfying!
      I think you have a very good point... I have been thinking too... what if the internet is down, do I have my recipes and instructions? It could very easily happen. We need to think on these things.
      Your list of investments... thank you for listing these. I have read and re read them. I built up my sewing supplies and fabric stash. Your point about being able to make some money doing sewing is good too, I am thinking repairs could be a big area. If clothing OR money was in short supply then mending and alterations would become very important. I also got ahead with glasses plus with our medical insurance I can now get another pair at very little cost for 2022 so I better get those too asap.
      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. It is full of great examples of what we can do and you had a very productive week! With love Annabel.xxx

  11. Another good week for you Annabel, I don't have a lot to report but I did want to mention an article from this week's news. It was a report by a professor of accounting into the energy price rises and really confirmed what I had suspected. Here in the UK, only 36% of our energy bill is actually the cost of energy, the rest is tax, profit, billing etc, so only the energy part of our bills should have risen, but it hasn't. He then tried to make an bill fit the costs and he couldn't. He concluded that we are being exploited and I have to agree.

    Everyone have the best week possible.

    1. Dear Su, I agree. I have tried to read more on Net Zero and the goals and follow this. I conclude our countries no longer care for the people. Basic needs like heating and cooling, ability to get to work and do our work etc. This is while they jet around and lecture us of course. So I really have lost any faith in our gov. When you read the goals of the world economic forum it is enlightening. However I think they underestimate us! Also I think people are realising a lot more, we arent as silly as they think!
      You have a very good week too! It is a beautiful Sunday here, mild day, I am doing some watering and some planning! With love Annabel.xxx

  12. Hello dear Annabel and pretty Bluebirds.
    What a good week you had! and those baby chicks are adorable. I wanted to write, re the wheel borrow with succulents - I would probably add between the plants some paths out of small piece of red brick, pebbles or any other materials and those paths would lead to a fairy house and other fairy kingdom ideas. Together with the girls - they would like that and pinterest is full with easy and cheap to do ideas.
    I have been reading all your posts but could not bring myself to write anything - it would have been all too gloomy. The war is still there, the refugees are still coming over, everyday we feel the threats, including some toxic clouds coming over Europe after the explosions, but we have peace/quiet here so we keep on being very busy. We started schools in ucrainian and english languages for the refugee children and their parents can get jobs here, they can get free medical care - some extraordinary laws were issued urgently, so this is a good part.
    Let me share a story from our border little town - there is a bridge between the 2 countries and this week on the right and on the left sides of the bridge there were many many toys from donations and children coming over could choose and pick toys from there as gifts. They were tired or sleepy but suddenly their eyes were sparkling when having the toys! Except one 6 years old boy - he didn*t want any toy, he had a ROCK in his hand. His mother told us he had that rock from their front yard of the house and the boy was keeping it all their long trip for his father. Children should not go through this!
    The war has a lot of economical consequences - we see very high prices on fuel, food, utilities and they say it is gonna be harder. Some shortages on cooking oil and restrictions to only 3 or 6 bottles per person when on the shelves, on sugar, some cans and dairies. The chain supply is broken and many ships are in our Constanta port because Odessa is blocked by the russian army. The Black Sea
    We still have minus temperatures at night so planting in the garden is out of question. Unusual cold March.
    I have been reading and painting in the garden at noon, with a bit of warm sun, knitting a lot for a comissioned jumper, cooking from scratch, baking some bread on the weekends, going to my everyday job 5 days a week, keeping my eyes open for any good opportunities, being busy in order not to panic and cry. But I cry!
    What always gives me hope is God and so much good still left in the world, so much kindness and love.

    Send you all a big virtual hug, Laura_s_world from Romania

    1. Dear Laura, I am so happy to hear from you!
      Thank you for telling us about such kindness... like the toys along the bridge. We get now news that is telling us anything like this. I also had not thought of the toxic clouds. It is hard to write a good reply as there are so many emotions. I really appreciate you reporting in, many of us are praying for you Laura! Considering the circumstances you are doing very well. We must keep going and do what we can and you are doing that. And your town is doing incredible things, you must be so proud!
      When you feel you only have gloomy things to report you are always welcome anyway as we all benefit from knowing the truth on the ground which you can tell us. We also want to know you are ok. I am praying for your week ahead Laura. With love Annabel.xxx

  13. Dear Annabel, those chicks look so cute. I love that you had extra time with Chloe and Thomas. How special. Your cooking looks fantastic. Your cards look lovely too. I love that you are all helping each other to source the things that you need. This is very smart. Our shop was better stocked than previous weeks, but some things were out completely. And the prices just seem to keep going up, along with the cost of fuel.....and I feel it is going to get worse. My husband goes to a wholesale butcher so this helps. Every week I try to add something to the garden, even if it is only planting some seeds. I found a heap of bromeliads for free from an ad and so went and collected them that morning. I planted them in the front bed today. I also found some books, and my son found a battery operated radio. Such a clever cookie! I crocheted this morning and am going to finish the wash cloth tomorrow, along with making some biscuits for snacks through the week. Being outside/crafting and cooking really helps. Lots of love, Lily

    1. Dear Lily, A wholesale butcher is a good idea. And adding something as you can to the garden, it really adds up. We dont have to do everything at once. I keep chipping away adding to my garden too.
      Bromeliads are very expensive in the nursery! What a great thing to get some for free! A radio is a very good thing to have. Everyone needs a battery operated or crank radio. Good find! I agree that nice things to work on and the garden keep us thinking happy thoughts and sleeping well (or better at least!). I hope its been another good week as this one is almost over! With love Annabel.xxx

  14. Dear Annabel, its good that your daughters and mum can work with you to source what each one needs right now. I can't imagine things will improve, at least not to the way we consumed pre-covid, especially now with the cost of fuel the highest in our history - and that direct flow on to food transport costs.
    This past week I've had my dehydrator working overtime. I'm gathering fresh produce which is at the height of the season and therefore the cheapest we can get right now. As you know, where I live in the tropics it's extremely difficult to grow much at all, apart from the tropical fruits, but that does not mean I cannot gather and prepare for long term storage by shopping wisely. Our supermarkets in the top of Queensland have a lot of fresh produce right now, miraculously, though for many things I'm beginning to balk at the price. Still, some things are cheaper than they have been for years (carrots and avocados for example, no idea why). Doing what I can week after week, shopping the 50% off sales on canned goods etc, all helps.
    I've just purchased a grain mill, and will be buying bulk grain so I can bake healthy bread and not be concerned about the shops running out of flour as they so often do.
    Have a lovely week!

    1. Dear Jenny, Yes, realistically as fuel goes up everything will. I love that you have the dehydrator working hard! I am doing the same! The tropical fruits are your asset up there for sure but the other things that are hard to grow well getting them at the best price is the way to go. I used to have a grain mill and really they re wonderful. The whole grain has such a long life.. this is the way to store it. That is a great investment! Also canned goods... when they are on sale really they are very good to have. You had a productive week and I hope the good deals on the veggies continue! With love, Annabel.xxx

  15. Beautiful chicks, and I can just imagine you out there trying to gather them up at night lol. I didn’t build up my pantry this week so much as declutter it. Lots of containers with no lids, lids with no containers, things I thought I would use someday, etc - out it went. 23 years in this house and I have accumulated so much “stuff”. Every time I go to the store, it’s something else that’s unavailable, and prices either going up up up, or container size going down.
    I was so surprised to hear about our troops heading “down under” - seems we hear so much about sports stars and celebrities, but they like to keep us in the dark about important things. It’s a crazy world we live in. Reading your blog gives me feelings of sanity and calmness and motivation to help keep my own nest a place of refuge and comfort. Have a great week.

    1. Dear Kathy,
      It is amazing how much space we can find with some reorganising and cleaning out. I have the bug too... and it has created space for stuff I DO want to store up, important things. The lids with no container and container with no lids sounds familiar! Like socks!
      Yes the news doesn't care to tell us these things of great significance. Ours is full of what dumb things celebrities did and so on also. No help at all. I do watch some USA news, I like Tucker Carlson and Dan Bongino and Judge Jennine. Sometimes watching them for a few minutes tells me more than we would find out in a month otherwise!
      I hope it has been a good week! with love Annabel.xxx

  16. Dear Annabel,

    Love those little chickies...too bad you have to 'help' Mama hen out each night, though we're all getting a kick out of your story of rounding everyone up for bed in your nightie! Ha, ha.

    Your planting and creative use of containers all about your house and yard is lovely to see. I started a few seeds this week...just ones that take a really long time, as it is still early days. But it felt good to get some dirt on my hands...and the crocuses are up, so spring is really on its way!

    Been doing a bit of cleaning and sewing today, so I'm feeling pretty on top of things so far in that regard. Also managed to get to Costco last week to do a big stock up, as we hadn't been in months. I expected prices to be higher than they were, but most hadn't gone up since before Christmas, luckily for me...though I'm sure that will soon change.

    You are right...world events are so concerning...but I agree with what Glenda says, God has a plan and is in control. Doing what God calls us to do right in front of us at that very moment, and all to His glory, is what we are meant to be doing...and your blog keeps us all encouraged to keep working to keep our homes a haven. Thank you for sharing!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, I am still putting the chicks to bed. Although last night two went all by themselves which is progress! How exciting to get your first seeds started!
      I am glad you were able to do a good stock up at Costco. And that you have good stocks on hand.
      Yes God is in control. We are so lucky to know that. Gods Word never changes we can stand firm with that! With love Annabel.xxx

  17. Annabel,

    I just had to come back and make sure I say that I hope I didn't sound callous about the US troops in the Northern Territory...that is definitely scary and I am praying for you all!!! xx Jen in NS

  18. I loved your post and pictures--why not one of you in your night clothes chasing chickens? LOLOLOLOL

    The comments this week have been great! Glenda's post got me right to the heart of the matter. We had originally wanted to build out our walk-in clothes closet, which also has to store myriad other things. I took a closer look this week and I think we can do as well (or nearly so) by adding second shelves all the way around and using shelf dividers. This would also be more flexible than cubbies, not to mention a lot cheaper. I ordered a set of 8 dividers for $28 to try out my idea. If it works, we'll go forward with the second shelves and buy more dividers; if they don't work, I can send them back and my cost for trying will be $0.

    Here are my frugal accomplishments for the week--
    * I received a coupon for a free full-service exterior car wash when I had the oil changed.

    * I used .80 per gallon in fuel points when I filled the gas tank. It was at one of the cheapest gas stations in town and gas was $4.09 gallon. I saved about $13 with the fuel points, mostly gained due to moving all of our prescriptions to the Safeway pharmacy.

    * More markdown meat for 50% off, which brought it down to my target prices (Safeway is the most expensive meat market in town--but I'm not hitting my target prices any other way). I also got two dozen eggs for 50% off (.75 dozen).

    * I bought three corned beef briskets for $2.99 lb. They were supposed to be point cuts, but they looked flat to me! I cooked one for St. Patrick's Day and it was very good! I am making corned beef hash tonight with the leftovers.

    * I used up bottles of shampoo and conditioner that were left behind at my house. Although this is mainly a decluttering goal, I also didn't have to buy it. One more to go!

    * We can plant outside around Mother's Day. I started seeds indoors for tomatoes, bell peppers, parsley, lettuce, and a few flowers. I only have a tiny garden, so I don't need a lot. Plenty of room to grow them on sunny windowsills.

    1. Dear Maxine,
      I feel that the comments are so important as we are getting an overview world wide and I think it is so helpful. Glenda is always spot on! I agree.
      I must check the price of gas now. It was good you saved so much on your fill up.
      Your meat deals were great! Smart shopping is more important than ever! Shopping is becoming like an Olympic level sport now... to find things, to find deals!
      It is exciting you have seeds sorted and are planning your garden! Even in a small space we can give ourselves fresh herbs and really supplement our fresh food which is wonderful. Also I think it is good for us and fresh air and sunshine are so good.
      You did well... already this week is flying by! With love Annabel.xxx

  19. I hadn't heard that we were getting more troops into the N.T., but we already have so many. I love visiting Katherine and watching them around the town - the accents are adorable and they are so polite - or maybe it's just they think I'm an old lady! I haven't watched, read or listened to much news this past week. A little niggle in my belly told me to stop and concentrate on home, so that is what I've been doing. It's been good, I kept doing what I've been doing, and peace and calm came back to our home. When someone tells me I'm hoarding or scaremongering or encouraging panic buying, I always say that if anything I say or do scares them, they need to stop and ask themselves why - and most of the time it's because they're not doing anything to prepare for anything - Christmas each year is a prime example. Same date every year, comes without fail, and yet there are always people who are caught by surprise. You can't fix stupid or lazy.

    1. Dear Cath,
      I knew USA troops are posted in Katherine. But hearing a mobilisation of an extra 2000 on account of "increased threat from China" made me take notice... the old thing about actions speaking louder than words...
      I agree with what you are doing and saying and sharing on your channel. (Anyone reading Caths Channel is The Cheapskates Club on you tube.). A lot of people are actually quite put out if their cruise is cancelled or they might have to do some work. lol. I notice a big difference between people who really think about being wise and consider things and others that are thinking all day long about who is sleeping with who on married at first sight or whatever it is called. They are the people the Bible says are wandering into danger and they dont even know. They have actually no idea. This might be bliss at present but not too good later and terrible if they are actually responsible for the welfare of a child! Keep doing what you are doing Cath ! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Totally agree with that Annabel.

  20. Dear Annabelle, if you're going to chase chickens in your nightie just get a really fab wrapper to go over it, lol!

    At the grocery this week, I found myself having to shop once more in a pricy chain store. I picked up a piece of meat that was right at $4.99 a pan, a beef shank piece, nice and meaty and just at a pound. I recalled that many years ago, I wouldn't even look at a piece of meat that was over $2/pound and we ate well for that! Beef shanks are not that popular here but they are lovely cuts of meat and cheap compared to other cuts. Not all stores carry them but this chain does at the moment, so I am buying them and popping them in the freezer. You slow cook like a roast or short rib and they are just lovely.

    I have been reading lots about what I can use my water bath canner to can and I was surprised at how versatile they are. I will not invest in a pressure canner until I am making good use of that water bath canner! I'm determined to make myself learn to do all I can and when I feel I've got this mastered I will then order my pressure canner. In the meantime, I am stocking jars and lids when I can find them. They are still scarce here. I shall really have to check the online estate sale site once again as I found lots of canning jars at those two years ago before Covid stopped such things.

    My plans this week are to get my freezer in order and make a few thaw and heat entrees. I am low on these now as we've had sickness in the house again and I relied on those I had. Every meal I've planned this week will be doubled and divided.

    I also plan to go through my recipe files and really look at those inexpensive good old standbys, the ones I made when we had kids at home and no money to feed them. They were good then and they'll be good now.

    I have ordered more gamma lids. I can buy food grade buckets locally for less than I can order them but can never find the gamma lids. I'll be picking up buckets this weekend while we're in that area again.

    I did not know about US troops going to Australia. My husband follows all sorts of news/political junk and I asked him if he'd heard such. He was as surprised as I was. It is very concerning.

    1. Dear Terri, It is good to learn all we can do in the waterbacth canner. Between that and dehydrating I am finding it so good. I have not ventured to pressure canning yet either. I am basically scared of blowing myself up.
      I hope you have a well household again and got a lot done with your freezer and meals put away.
      When it is the change of seasons I like going through my recipes and ideas files... and it reminds me of so many things to make. It is really enjoyable!
      The food grade buckets with gamma lids are really excellent. I think they are a good investment.
      Terri the tone of the talk about the troops ... "due to increased risk of conflict" and this action spoke volumes to me.
      I hope your week is going well it is flying by! With love Annabel.xxx

  21. I cleaned out the top shelves on my side of the closet during the winter when I realized I didn't need to keep most of the things I had stored there. I put non food items that I keep for an emergency (like when we don't have water due to a power outage) on the hard to reach top shelf and I used the shelf below it to store items like pouches of dried milk, dried veggies, a large package of pancake mix, and some pastas. It gave me so much extra storage space! I'm asking God for more storage space wisdom since my house is on the small-ish side.

    1. Dear Brenda, It is just amazing how we can gain space. A smart one I saw was to put a shelf above the doorway on the inside of the bathrooms/toilets. A shelf there is completely out of the way. Not noticeable. Great for toilet paper and lighter things and can be in a basket or something nice. I keep big baskets on top of all wardrobes and cupboards. Again it is light things I put up there but it is a lot of space... which frees up other spaces. Bed raisers... a couple of inches added to bed height gives so much under the bed space. You probably have already done these! But "air space" in cupboards has probably been my most successful one yet! I am on a mission at the moment with organising so I might find more space yet! I am sure you will too! With love Annabel.xxx

  22. Dear Annabel,
    The little chicks are so cute. Our news has been silent regarding US troops deployed to Australia. After searching online we found an article regarding it.

    How I got ahead this week was making pantry items from what was on hand.
    I made celery salt, ranch salad dressing mix, onion soup mix, and Italian dressing mix. I found a new to me gluten free, nut free flour called tigernut flour and experimented with some of the recipes I found online for it Apparently it's quite versatile and can be used for baking, to make a nut free spread something like peanut butter, and dairy free milk. I made the spread and some shortbread cookies. Both came out really well. I made pizza to freeze. I made a list of the things we could trade or barter with. My plans this week are to rearrange the pantry so we have more room. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, It is the same here. The news would rather distract us with rubbish.
      I love all the pantry mixes you made! These are all fantastic! I am in need of making cream of chicken soup mix... as that is something I use and I need it to be gluten free.
      With your garden and your skills I think you would have a lot to barter with. Everyone including me is rearranging the pantry! It must be in the air! I have been chipping away at it. And it does work to make much more room!
      You are excellent with your gluten free cooking. I had not heard of tiger nut flour.. I will check into that. Many thanks Cookie, Love Annabel.xxx

  23. Your weekly recap is always such an encouragement and inspiration! I'm inspired to fill my big vintage jars now that you mention found storage! They're too fragile to use for canning, but other things will work. And also, I may have to clean closets to make room for storage. What a good idea! I loved the reply earlier in the week with a list of sewing supplies stashed. I bought a bulk order of machine needles and am doing inventory of hand sewing supplies. Sometimes it's the skill of knowing how. I know how to reinforce a seam by machine, but doing it by hand is another matter! I'm reading a firsthand account from the second world war, and she says soap, cloths, blankets, and hand needles were completely gone. This is the time to prepare and pray!

    1. Dear Stacy, Thank you! Your jars sound just lovely and yes the jars that really are not good for canning can be put into use for so many other things. They look beautiful too. I have been filling my jars all week. I love them and it just makes sense to fill them with useful dry goods.
      The machine needles are a good investment! I thought this too... imagine needed to mend and sew and the las needle breaks.. all these things are very smart investments.
      I have been saving pure wool blankets. To find places to store them I lay them between mattresses on the beds. Out of sight... but I have many thick pure wool blankets. I know they are valuable. Soaps I know are so needed.... hand needles!! That is a good one! This reminds me... in an op shop I found about 20 little tiny sewing repair kits... each has needed and different coloured threads, a couple of buttons, a couple of safety pins... these could go into my trading items! I had forgotten about them! Thanks Stacy! With love Annabel.xxx

  24. Another amazing week for you and doing what you could. My husband had a Barnes and Noble gift certificate and let me use it to buy The Dehydrating Cookbook. I have not looked at it much yet. I got my few potatoes planted today and my gluten free pancakes made. I look forward to your Friday posts. Nancy


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