Feather your Nest Friday, 4th March, 2022.

It has been a week of not knowing where to look news wise.   While the world has such massive things happening in Australia there are catastrophic floods.  We are fine here.  In fact we got some rain which is wonderful for us.  But there are vast areas and millions of people affected by historic flooding.  It is heart breaking.   

Thank you for so many comments last week and help and advice for each other. I am still replying but decided to go ahead with todays post and continue replies over the weekend when I have more time.  

I have seen first hand and online a shift.  It is as though a vast number of people just realised that prices are not going back down and supply chain issues aren't going to get better.   That waiting for a particular item to come in stock and going without meantime is maybe a bad idea... to get what you can instead while you can get that!   As I inhabit a lot of pantry related groups and you tube channels I am seeing so many new people asking where to start and often sharing what was their light bulb moment..   some had come home from the store or pharmacy unable to get something important to them and 💡💡💡

I decided to take my concerns, put them into action and make hay while the sun shines.  Remember we are just past the end of summer and autumn just started here.    This is produce season for me.

Today I was busy baking and made five apple pies. 

I ran one over to Chloe still warm.   

I have a lot of apples to cook ahead of me because we began picking the apple tree.    First we picked the pear tree that was covered in gigantic pears.   To show you, the pear on the right is a pretty normal size but looks mini in comparison!

It had rained for two days which watered my orchard beautifully.  Then on Tuesday the sun came out.  It was the day to pick the pears!    It was so much fun.   The pruning, netting and watering all came to this day! 

I want to note how when we moved here everyone I asked told me these fruit trees were no good.  "Nope, they never produce anything."     If anyone ever tells you this don't take any notice!! 

This is our big wheelbarrow loaded with fruit.  It weighed a lot!   I have pears laying on a blanket.  Apples ready to process.  Apples in the crisper.  Apples ready to give Mum.  Pears ready to give a friend.

On Facebook buy, swap and sell,  a lady was giving away Basil.   I replied to her that I would love it and I said I could give her fresh eggs or pears.    We did a trade.  This is what she sent me...

Beautiful fresh herbs.  She had labels on them all and Mulberries!  

We hit it off and now it looks like I have a new bartering buddy.   She also told me about a group that I didn't know about that has secret bartering tables in town.  You join via a Facebook group and drop what you can contribute off at one of two locations.  Now I am seeing a whole group of people growing and producing all kinds of things. HOW did I not know about this before! 
So you see God helped me expand my group that I can trade/barter with! 

The basil (above) became beautiful Pesto.  

This got me several meals and one for Chloe.

I ended up with a lot of tomatoes so I filled my biggest slow cooker and added a few basil leaves.  

  This gave me a beautiful result.  (9 big jars.) 

So produce kept me busy and I felt so happy to have it.

After making the Pesto I retained all the basil stems.   This is them in my windowsill striking new plants... Last time I did this they all grew and gave me another crop.

Each day I worked in my pantry.  Tidying, organising, cleaning and working on an inventory.  It seemed daunting to be honest but by doing a big each day by Wednesday it was looking lovely!   I am still going on my inventory as I need to continue into my laundry, animal. bathroom and medical...    

I used up some eggs in two big impossible pies and make two large pasta bakes.

I have to show you... Lucy had a Koala in her garden.   He seemed a bit lost so the girls gave him gum branches and water.   

He was there a couple of days and got quite friendly. 

So that is my week.  My container gardens have taken off.  I am really pleased.  And Mum has another container for me!  It involves a drive with the trailer to bring it back. 

I hope you had a week of opportunities to build your pantry or garden.    I am very thankful for such an abundant week.   

A verse for me this week.  "Look carefully how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time..." 

Something I found very helpful... this is a vast list of meals in jars from The Purposeful Pantry.   They are all self stable because they are dehydrated and all easy to make. Valuable!   She also is an excellent source of information on dehydrating in general. 

How are things in your area?  What were you able to do to keep your home running and get ahead?  What were you able to do to make your home a haven?   We cannot control the world but we can do our best with what we can control! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel,
    You had a very blessed and productive week. The Koala is so cute.

    Today, I begin the food storage room; inventory and rearranging. It will take a couple of days, at least, to do it, but it is time, for sure. I was energized to get it done by watching Kimmy from She's in her Apron, on YouTube. Then, I need to move to the extra supplies and herbal healing room. I tend to put off reorganization until I have a firmly fixed plan in mind.

    Food is definitely going up here. So far, we have been blessed with mostly full shelves.

    Fuel has gone up significantly. I rarely drive our car, so it sits mostly in the garage. John might go out to the stores five miles away once a week in his truck. The costs involved in running trucks, farm equipment , etc will have to be passed along to the consumer. Patara, from Appalacian Homestead had an excellent post, yesterday, on what is going to happen going forward to the food supply.

    I have been deep cleaning the past two weeks. This house is insanely large for two people, so it takes a long time to get all of the rooms done. We are older and slower, so we will have to make decisions on how to maintain it shortly.

    To all the bluebirds: I hope that you have a very blessed weekend.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda, We are on the same path with our inventories! I am still going!
      I noticed Patara has had several good videos in a row... saying the same message. She is very careful re you tube but I got the message!
      Today, Sunday, I am planning the week which will be busy as it involves some travel. I have a lot of fruit to work on also. I hope you have a good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. Oh my gosh- a Koala in the yard! How cool is that? I would love that.
    You have done really well with all that produce. I have been sorting and organizing this week.

    1. Thanks Cheryl. I hope the Koala might be around when I visit next! Have a very good new week! xxx

  3. I bought some more bread and all purpose flour this week. It is now touch and go to find it on the shelves. To make room in the deep freeze for it to spend a couple weeks to debug, I cleaned out my deep freeze and was so surprised to find a few whole chickens tucked back where I had forgotten them. I rearranged everything and got rid of some bags of cranberries that were now two years old. There is now room not only for the new bags of flour but there is space for some more beef if I can find a good price. I have been buying some brands of canned beef and chicken that I know are excellent, too. They have a Use By date, five years out. So they will last far beyond that.

    1. Dear Brenda, I am in the same situation... if I find a really good deal I need to make room in the freezer. I know a re organise will find me room. It is next after the pantry.
      It seems everyone agrees that shelf stable canned goods are just excellent in an emergency. I keep a lot of canned tomatoes and veggies but not so much protein... I am working to increase that. Yes the dates are not something I take too much notice of as cans never had dates before. Now I heard of all sorts of things having dates that never did... like shampoo! It is pretty silly. Well you have inspired me to hurry up and get to the freezer! With love Annabel.xxx

  4. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    A koala in the garden! He is so cute and looks like he appreciated the help! Annabel, your pies are beautiful; I love the roses and leaves on top. And your produce yield is amazing! What a great week.

    This week was our first week back after working from home the beginning of the year (case counts have improved, so we are recalled to campus). Over the weekend I made a big batch of chicken stock and froze it, oatmeal muffin cups for the freezer for easy breakfasts, and a big roast and veggies. This week really reminded me how helpful it is to have those things prepared and ready! All meals were at home or brought from home (work lunches).

    Crafting-wise, I dug out some paper punches and made a bunch of pretty gift tags and floss drops. I have a good stash of pretty card stock and other stationery bits purchased on sale or at the thrift store - I also used the fronts of some pretty greeting cards I have received. Super pretty and easy and frugal. (The floss drops would also make a cute gift for a friend who liked to embroider.) I've been bad about listing Vicky challenge info, but floss drops are around $8-$10 a set on etsy and gift tags are a few dollars a package, so I saved about $50 making these myself. (I did make a ton!) I also worked on my sweater and sock knitting, and used gift money to buy more beautiful wool yarn on sale (saving about $20).

    Locally (Oklahoma), food prices are going up. We buy butter from the price club and it has gone up $4 (works out to $1 extra per pound) in the past three weeks. Poultry and fish again appears to be in short supply. Produce has been a lot better though, and garlic is widely available again. Gas prices are now about $3.30-$3.40/gallon, about 25 cents a gallon more than last month.

    Sending love to Laura R. and her family.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend.

    1. Dear Kathy, I am imagining you are using your weekend for cooking again. Of all the melas in the world I still love a roast the best and the left overs it gives. Cold roast meat is so much better than deli meat.
      I think gift tags are really a good thing to make and apart from use as a gift card... they are lovely tied to a gift of food or produce like a label. The lady who gave me all the herbs had a tag tied to each bunch with the name and uses. It really added to it.
      I am hearing some have hit the $4 a gallon for gas... it sounds like a wide variation from state to state... same as with Australia.
      I hope you are cooking up a storm and have a good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  5. All that fruit is just amazing! I have never seen pears so large! I am sorry about the flooding and now realize just how focused we have all been on Ukraine and not seeing anything else. I am happy that you got rain!

    I harvested a big bag of basil yesterday and sent it down to my neighbor. They are such a help to us in so many ways so we kind of barter what we have to them in exchange for them helping with things here that are hard for us now at our age. It is a good exchange.

    Grocery stores are pretty well stocked here except I did see that Sam's has no toilet paper again. The question is whether you can or will pay the price of some things. There are certain items that are just missing on the shelves but we keep looking for them and will buy when we can. I was able to get several free items this week with sales and coupons which is a blessing. I have milk for the month for free! When we were checking out in Aldi on Tuesday the cashier said that the lettuce I had picked up was near the date so she would give it to me for free! I brought it home and washed and spin dried it and and put it in a produce keeper and it is just fine.

    Through all this I am thankful to know the One who is in control and that I can trust Him to care for us. That gives us peace. Have a great weekend!

    1. Dear Lana, I have never seen pears like this either! I havent tasted these yet but hope they are good.
      It is wonderful to have good neighbours. Fresh basil was a nice gift. Nothing smells like fresh basil!
      Your free milk and lettuce are a bonus! Yes... God lets us know and sends all kinds of hints and help. I am often just amazed.
      Have a good new week! Love Annabel.xxx

    2. Annabel, you've made me think of something that has never occurred to me before. (You often do, LOL). Before you put forth any more effort and spend any money for sugar and lids, TASTE those pears. Do this before you can ANYTHING. If the fruit is tasteless, you may want to re-think what you do with it.

    3. Thanks Maxine, I will. The last lot I let soften a bit.. tasted and cooked a couple... tasted those and they were lovely. I will do this again before I proceed! They are rock hard so hopefully soon they will be good. Love Annabel.xxx

  6. What a lot of lovely produce and I adore those apple pies! We have been staying home a lot to conserve diesel, not too hard an ask when it has been rainy for most of the week. On the one nice day I cleared my raised bed and covered it with plastic to warm the soil ready for all the lovely veg seeds I received in the post this week. I attended our local food larder where supermarket goods that would have gone to landfill are given away for free to prevent waste. It used to be quiet, but the past couple of weeks it has been very busy. In the house it has been a case of rationing news broadcasts and listening to calming music while pottering around the kitchen.

    1. Dear Tracy, I do agree we have to ration exposure to intense news. Normally for us we have half an hour tv a day and that is it. I replaced that with you tube channels with homesteading etc which I love and enjoy! We can be aware but not have it on all the time.
      The plastic trick to warm up the bed is good! It would be so exciting to be able to plant them up soon. The food larder sounds like a wonderful service, I hate food going to waste.
      Thinking carefully about fuel use and combining errands etc are becoming a serious necessity! With love Annabel.xxx

  7. Dear Annabel,
    What a wonderful amount of produce you have for the week. Yes, I do notice a lot of the a-ha moments in the store lately Prices have risen on food here as well as gas. The other day at the store there were no apples and some people just walked away in disappointment instead of choosing something else. They did have lovely fresh blueberries at a good price so that is what I brought home instead.
    This week I can begin sowing seeds inside for the garden and I'm looking forward to that.
    Love the koala in the garden.
    I hope pray that Laura in Romania is safe. What a frightening week and especially last night were.
    Blessings, Laura

    1. Dear Laura,
      I agree... we need to choose something else really... at least there is a choice or alternative.
      It is wonderful you can start planting! I hope your Spring garden does very well! Thank you for thinking of Laura. The new week ahead makes me somewhat nervous ... With love Annabel.xxx

  8. Hi Annabel,
    That wheelbarrow of fruit is impressive! We get so many parrots, cockatoos, lorikeets and fruit bats that barely any fruit makes it into the house. Doing our bit for the wildlife I guess.
    Slow cooker for tomato sauce is a good idea since we are on solar power these days and it would be better than the gas stovetop.
    You should check out last night’s Gardening Australia segment on building a big food dehydrator from recycled materials, you’ll need Andy to build you one with all your bountiful fruit.
    Perhaps the previous occupants didn’t see fruit because they wouldn’t use it or they don’t observe very much. Observation is a great skill, that’s how you know where and when to find things like peaches in city lanes right?
    Remember to give your fruit trees a barrow load of sheep manure to build them back up for next years crop which may be even more valuable.
    Take care everyone,

    1. Dear Kate,
      We have the same issue with parrots. In winter we pruned the trees enough to build a frame over them and after they blossomed and set fruit we completely covered them in nets. It worked!! So each year we will repeat this.
      I will check that out! Mostly our heat is dry heat just right for dehydrating!
      Yes observation is a skill! I am observant and nosey! A lethal combination! haha!
      Many thanks Kate. Love Annabel.xxx

  9. What a productive week you've had Annabel - that pear is a great example of how some TLC can turn a garden around! I bet those little girls loved having that koala around, what a beautiful memory!
    It's been hard watching so much bad news this week, but keeping our home fires burning, as they say, is one of the best ways to just get on. Our parsley and basil are both very prolific at the moment, so I will be dehydrating and making pesto this weekend. You've also inspired me to make some apple pies for the freezer. Thank you!
    Have a lovely weekend,
    Kirsty x

    1. Dear Kirsty, Thank you! I love the idea of keeping the home fires burning. I often say that! It is the best thing to do! I love both parsley and basil. So good. Pies in the freezer are lovely! They just freeze so well! Enjoy your weekend also! With love Annabel.xxx

  10. Oh my! Now I have another thing to regret and that is I will never have a koala in my yard. That little guy is precious!

    I really love reading about your life. I know you work very hard to keep your nest feathered but you make it look so easy! It inspires me to try to be a better steward of the things God has blessed me with. Thank you.

    1. Dear BaggysMama, Thank you! Yes God gives us a lot! We can make lots with it. Think of what the Bible says about ants and bees. I love that. I am hoping the koala will be around so I can see him myself when I visit. Many thanks! Love Annabel.xxx

  11. Annabel whilst our town wasnt flooded, it was affected by the flooding by being cut off for over a week. Bluey and I are away, but both our kids and their families are still at home. Thankfully our son has our pantry and has said how he and the family have been eating really well. They shared a bit with out neighbours as well. Our daughter's husband had been critical about Katie having more than one of each item in their pantry. He isnt anymore.
    Friends of ours have lost so much in the flooding. They are in a town only 40kms away from us. When Bluey and I get home we will see what they need and if we have spares we will give it to them.
    When I was talking to the kids they both have said how bare the supermarket shelves are. I will find out if the supermarkets have restocked by Sunday. If they are still bare, I will do a fill up shop for both the families and take them home with us. We are 300kms south of home and the only shortage we have noticed here was fresh milk and beef. There was plenty of UHT milk and plenty of chicken, lamb and pork.
    Bluey needed recuperation time post operation. We decided to get a self contained unit and have been so pleased that we did. We are eating what we cook, which means that we are eating what Bluey can cope with. Last night he decided he wanted to cook. It is great to see how much he is improving each day. I have treated this stay as a holiday/vacation. We head home Monday morning.
    Life is good

    1. Dear Jane, that is wonderful news that Bluey is recovering well. How thoughtful of you to help your friends who have been flooded. We have very bare shelves where we are due to flooding, everything is very low. Sending love and I will continue to pray. Lily

    2. Dear Jane, When Bluey first went to hospital by ambulance you had flooding then it was all over again this trip. You wouldn't believe it! I am so glad Bluey has done so well. It sounds like you will get a surprise when you are home re the shelves/stores.
      Have a safe trip home tomorrow! With love Annabel.xxx

  12. WOW! I ama amazed at how much you accomplish each week - Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker is the same - I feel so lazy after reading your blogs!
    I had a burst of energy last weekend and spent a morning cleaning out and reorganizing my pantry closet, my baking pantry cupboard unit and my fridge! I now have a really good idea of what I will and will not use moving forward so that helps me to focus when I shop.

    I didn't actually need much this week - just bought milk, bread and some apples. I am concentrating on restocking more long term items. I am going to the grocery store and the drugstore tomorrow as there are actually some good deals listed in the flyer - especially for non-food items. My goal is to have 4 to 12 months worth of cleaning, paper and hygiene products by the end of March and then my money can go towards food each month, both for day to day and longterm items.

    Stores have still been well stocked except for the odd item here or there but prices are certainly rising steadily! Like everyone else here I am being very careful not to waste any food and I am finding ways to stretch meat and introducing more meatless meals. I plan on making two quiches next week, cutting them into single serving pieces and then freezing them toward this goal. I am still making soup but that will only be for another couple of months as it will start to get too hot. Being on my own I am quite happy to just have the occasional toast & tea meals - and truthfully, one main meal plus either one small meal or a couple of snacks is really all I need these days.

    That koala is amazing! My favourite toy as a child was a koala bear that a great aunt had brought me from Australia - the girls must have been thrilled. I have been reading about the terrible flooding in Australia - it must have been very scary living near that big dam that had to release water. I hope that it is a much calmer week weather wise for the whole country.

    1. Dear Margie, I feel it is a huge compliment you would compare me to Brandy! Thank you! She is wonderful and I have followed her for years. Winter was just a girl and now she is married with a baby!
      It seems everyone is spotting the rising prices but it is good news the shelves are stocked.
      We find a quiche is a good meal... and a nice lunch. Whatever I have goes in or makes it as a side salad.
      It is beautiful that you had a Koala when you were little! I did also. I am about to share a post from a reader in the floods but she has many tips that would help in any hard times. Many thanks Margie, love Annabel.xxx

  13. Dear Annabel, Your post is as inspiring as always. What a great experience the Koala visit was for your grandgirls. A Miracle just happened here this morning. I have always dreamed of owing a speed queen commerical washing machine but their price left it a dream. Today we were Given for free a Fisher and Paykel washsmart 10kg washer which is pretty close to what I was wanting, has great water and energy ratings and I see they retail for $1,300.00! We weren't sure if it would work but it does, I cleaned it all up - got some sticky residue off the front and it looks brand new. I feel very lucky. A neighbour texted me and said to go to their garden and help myself to their Roma tomatoes as they are away, so I now have 6 kg to turn into Passata. I am also working on a basket of green apples from a tree I planted at my previous house. I have been making small pies in the pie maker and getting some into Fowler's jars. My garden continues to supply us with beans, cherry tomatoes, zucchinis, lettuce and spinach. I also have pumpkins growing. I am noticing a general price increase all over things here. We are attending a wedding later today, finding clothes in our town was slightly challenging. Some of the retailers told me they have not been able to get any new stock for the past month. I am trying to do as you do Annabel, just keep working with what I have in front of me. Love Clare

    1. Dear Clare,
      Wow that is amazing on the washing machine! And a big one too! It sounds fantastic. You could download the manual online too, to know how to clean filters and so on. What a bonus!
      And the tomatoes! They are so good! 6 kilos too!! All your garden produce is wondeful.
      I hope you have a lovely time at the wedding. It is a beautiful day here so I hope it is the same there!! With much love Annabel.xxx

  14. Dear Annabel, what a beautiful post. Thank you for your wonderful inspiration, hope and light. You have achieved so much. I love how you traded and have learnt about the swap tables nearby. Your produce looks amazing, look at those pears. I love how you are using it gallup and nothing is going to waste. I bet it tastes delicious too. Your apple pies are so pretty! I am trying to keep the fires burning here too- with rising fuel, and food costs no doubt everything is going up. I spoke to one of the grocery workers the other day, and she said if we think we have seen grocery price rises, then think again, it is going to get astronomical. and I agree. Our grocery lines were basically empty due to floods etc (but this feels almost normal now), so I just grab more of what I can. I have sat down and review our budget. I am excited about putting the cents and dollars to good use. I am trying to plant one thing a week 9edible). Today I found two huge bromeliads, so they will go out in my front garden. Lots of love, Lily

    1. Dear Lily,
      Thank you so much. I am so excited to go and see these swap tables. I am collecting things I could contribute like bay leaves. It is really good to talk to the workers in the stores... they know stuff! I am a chatter (no kidding!) so I find out all kinds of things. Information is useful! With the fuel prices going up still it is logical everything will go up as everything is transported. So it seems the best idea to get ahead as far as we can. Bromeliads are stunning! And have you seen how much they are at the nursery!? So they were a great find!
      It is great to keep adding to the garden with edibles... I keep chipping away at it too. I think it will pay off! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Dear Lily,
      Thank you so much. I am so excited to go and see these swap tables. I am collecting things I could contribute like bay leaves. It is really good to talk to the workers in the stores... they know stuff! I am a chatter (no kidding!) so I find out all kinds of things. Information is useful! With the fuel prices going up still it is logical everything will go up as everything is transported. So it seems the best idea to get ahead as far as we can. Bromeliads are stunning! And have you seen how much they are at the nursery!? So they were a great find!
      It is great to keep adding to the garden with edibles... I keep chipping away at it too. I think it will pay off! With love Annabel.xxx

    3. Dear Lily,
      Thank you so much. I am so excited to go and see these swap tables. I am collecting things I could contribute like bay leaves. It is really good to talk to the workers in the stores... they know stuff! I am a chatter (no kidding!) so I find out all kinds of things. Information is useful! With the fuel prices going up still it is logical everything will go up as everything is transported. So it seems the best idea to get ahead as far as we can. Bromeliads are stunning! And have you seen how much they are at the nursery!? So they were a great find!
      It is great to keep adding to the garden with edibles... I keep chipping away at it too. I think it will pay off! With love Annabel.xxx

    4. Glenda, thankyou for the tip about Patara at Appalachian Homestead! I’ve spent my spare time on the weekend watching her last few YT videos. She’s solid gold 😉

  15. Wow, I’m so sorry about the flooding. I never heard about it on the news here in the U.S.
    Your pies look beautiful! What kind of crust do you make?

  16. A koala, oh wow! I think I'm lucky if I get a hedgehog in my garden.

    I hoped and I know a lot of us did that life after the worst of covid might return to some semblance of normality, but it is not to be. I am finding that I don't want to venture from home these days and when I do I get what I want as quickly as possible and return home.

    Anyway, this week I stocked up on glues, wire, cable ties, string and gaffer tape so that I can repair things. I've also filled a large glass jar with sewing thread, this is in addition to what's in my sewing and mending boxes. I got some battery operated led lights, which give out a surprisingly large amount of light and stocked up on batteries too. I bought several, advance bundles of bus tickets before the price went up (they have a nerve, the 'service' is now truly appalling). I have been seed sowing and planning my garden and am still pondering quail, I have also made some hanging planters for strawberries, I hope they work!

    Have the best week possible everyone.

  17. What a wonderful surprise, the koala bear! We get deer in our back pasture that sometimes wander through my back yard. And occasionally a red fox, skunk, opossum or raccoon (at night.)

    This week we got a 50g food-safe plastic water barrel with spigot for a decent price. We'll be storing it in our mechanical room after Farmer makes a stand for it. It originally held olives and smells strongly of olive oil. But I can clean that with some vinegar and water.
    At the same farm store, I got seed potatoes and onion starts. 2 years ago I missed out on the potatoes. I want enough to can this year.
    I'm also waiting on blueberry bushes, rhubarb and strawberry starts. We want some fruit here again. My old strawberry plot died a few years ago. The rhubarb got disked under and my new plants last year didn't like where they were planted and died.
    Also this year we should have a heavy pear harvest unless the drought we are currently in, has been hard on the trees.
    We stocked up on more canned goods, flour and shelf-stable milk along with butter in the freezer. I bought enough to share with DS2 & family.
    We have been using up leftovers as much as possible.
    I plan to refill out propane bottles and start finding & storing wood in case I need to cook over a fire pit. We run mostly on LP or electricity and while we have a generator, we would use it mostly for the well (for cattle & us) and the freezers. I'd have to cook some other way using my cast iron.

    I always learn so much from all of you. Blessings


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