Feather your Nest Friday, 17th June, 2020.

You better make a cup of tea, I think this is going to be long!

It seems a month since last Friday.  The saying "watch pot never boils' applies to other things, in this case watching Quail eggs wobble makes them take forever to hatch!  Also as they wobbled more and more I couldn't stop watching!  It was so exciting and kind of mesmerising.  Finally two chicks hatched on Saturday.   Sunday I had three more and Monday I had one more.   It felt hard to get anything done as I just had to look at them!   When the first one hatched I went from excited to worried about keeping them alive.  They are so small!  

I am really glad I hatched regular chicks first.   As these hatched I knew to leave them in the incubator and dry off completely so I left them for at least 12 hours. 

When they dried I could see that each one was entirely different!  

Some have stripes which I just love.  

Our weather has been cold and wet.  I set up my brooder (a cardboard box with a warming plate) but I was still terrified about them not being warm enough so the box is near the fireplace.   They quickly began pecking and drinking.   

They are such little personalities!  Nothing upsets them, I vacuum around them and they don't take any notice.  

I love them and am completely hooked!  

Now the incubator is empty.   Unacceptable!  I am working on filling it again! 

My four regular chicks needed to move outside.  Andy put together a little house for them. This will be my outdoor brooder for chicks before they are big enough to go into a regular coop.   Andy drilled a hole so I run a power cord into the little house part with my warming plate.  

It is in our enclosed back yard area as this is protected from animals and wind... near a power source and in amongst my container garden.   This backyard was once wasted.  It has the house rain water tanks.  It is paved and there was a space in the pavers for a plant so I put in a lemon tree. That is going so well now and looks beautiful.   As we have added containers and planted them up this area is now really productive and I love it!   The chicks have "moved in" and have lots of fluffy hay for additional warmth.  They are so happy! 

Mum found me a new container to add to my container gardening.  It is a big old wash tub.   Today I got it planed up with Broccoli.

I just realised I did two big cook ups.  First I did Enchiladas.   I cooked up a big batch of sauce and just kept making them until every bit of sauce was gone.  We had a beautiful dinner,  I gave a tray to Chloe,  two to Allie...

And two trays full into the freezer.  

I also made Pasties.  Again I did a big lot and tried to get as many as possible.  In the end I had 18 man sized Pasties and most of them went into the freezer for emergency meals.  

This week I went into town to shop and run a heap of errands.   I took my Dill plants to share on the swap table.

Also a bunch of Beetroot.

I came away with Spinach seedlings and chillies.   The seedlings are planted and the chillies are drying over the fire. 

Since we moved here I have wanted Comfrey.   Finally I found someone who grows it and she was willing to get me started.  I found her on Facebook by posting an ad in Buy, Swap and Sell.  I offered eggs, beetroot or celery in return.  She went for celery!   I was given a tour of her garden and enough comfrey to plant it in two spots to increase my chances.

In the supermarket I found a great deal on cream that had been just marked down.  I got 6 and froze them for when I am making Quiches.

Andy has been making a mouse proof platform in the shed to store chicken feed.  We want to be well ahead with feed but not have it raided by pests.

I started a new blanket.  I am loving working on this.

As you all know I have my cows and I also have a steer.   I was wishing I had a bull as all these cows could have calves!  (I have 12 cows all up.)   Our friend said he was happy to lend us a bull.  This kind of got said in passing and I didn't really know if it would eventuate. Well,  it did!   I was feeding the chickens when a ute and trailer drove in.  With two bulls!  I was pretty much jumping for joy! 

From next April we will be having calves born!  This was a very generous and kind favour.

I needed to use up more apples so I made puree and froze in small batches as baby food.  I had some pastry left over from the Pasties so I made a big apple pie.

This also went into the freezer.  So the freezer really got topped up this week.

On buy, swap and sell I got a great wooden puzzle for the boys.  

They are both truck mad and I like to have things here for them to play with.

It was a busy week and I was glad!  The news has reached the point of being a shake up.  Several days this week most of Australia's population was on a blackout warning.   Sydney hospitals were told to reduce the heating, turn off lights and unnecessary equipment.  Prices of fresh produce are mind blowing.  If you can get them at all.  The store had completely empty areas especially fresh produce and eggs.    Fuel prices are very sobering.  I was thinking of people who commute fair distances to work...  when the price of fuel will  mean their job is no longer viable.   I am guessing most of us, wherever we live,  are experiencing much the same.     

Our friend who runs trucks and tractors told us what diesel cost him this week.  It was mind blowing.   Clearly this will be the end of may truckers and farmers. 

If you are wanting to be better prepared please see my 30 days to better preparedness course in the index.
There are many totally free ways to improve your preparedness and many very inexpensive ones.  Week by week small amounts really add up.   It is good to have a very well stocked pantry and it is equally important to use things wisely, make things last and go further.  Maintain that pantry and take every opportunity to improve it.    

How did you build up your home, pantry or garden this week?   xxx


  1. Dear Annabel,
    You had an amazing week of trades and moving forward. Your farm is expanding to a high degree of self sufficiency. I am so glad.

    This week, for us, was mostly garden and cooking. John worked outside all week getting plants in the ground and pulling weeds. I spent several days, after a day of planting, in the kitchen cooking various cuts of meat to freeze for future meals. I cooked taco ground beef, ranch chicken, a big sirloin tip roast, hamburger patties, cube steaks and then divided them, fixed them for different types of meal and froze them. This helps so much when we are busy or I don't feel up to cooking. I also cleaned and rearranged refrigerator freezers (3) for the obvious reason of storing what I had cooked.

    We purchased some more ground beef, on sale, from the ranch where we always buy. Their pasture raised beef is very good. In checking our meat freezer I saw that we were down to seven pounds of hamburger, so we ordered 30 lbs. Meat continues to go up in the grocery stores, as does almost everything.

    I, honestly, do not know how families are going to survive. The price of gas is outrageous, grocery prices are rising, literally, daily, utilities have gone way up, state taxes are going up, fabric has gone up; it is so hard for people right now. The regime, running this country, could not care less, so it is up to citizens to figure out how to help themselves and others, while being squeezed by those who don't care and are padding their own pockets.

    We are in our 70's and grew up in the 40's and 50's when times were much different. I wish I could turn back time for my grandchildren. The things happening today would have been stopped right away and no one, that I knew, would have tolerated the greed, disrespect, hatefulness, immorality, and evil we see rampant today. We are in a spiritual battle, for sure.

    I pray that you and all the Bluebirds have a safe and blessed weekend.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      The progress in the garden is fantastic. And important. All your work in the kitchen getting ahead with meals is really good. I am also working on fridge and freezers... it is quite a big job. I love that you get your meat from a ranch.
      All the things you mentioned have gone up here as well, we are hand in hand. Our gov announced they need $25 million to put up a new flag pole... this kind of thing when people are really hurting. It is disgusting. Also distressing.
      It has been a nice weekend but cold! I hope you have a good new week with as many achievements as this one! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. Dear Annabel, what a beautiful week you had. Oh my, those chicks are little jewelry, I can understand your amazement. The crochet blanket looks lovely, but you have to make two - one for Scarlet, one for Harper. All you did this week was very industrious, with so many new chickens and adding calves next year is a very-very big step forward.
    Thanks to you and this great community I have found here I am able to keep well organized my pantry, to feel prepared, which is a relief in this troubled times, to have a great garden and I finally take some steps in order to have chickens of my own. We started building a coop and fencing a yard for them as we wait 2-3 weeks on a list. Fingers crossed!
    We already harvest form the garden, lettuce, cellery, strawberies, cherries, elderbery flower for cordial/ my husband loves it so I put some in the freezer, too - and all the flowers / roses, irises, dianthus, dahlias, pelargonium, white hydrangeas (their name is Annabel hydrangeas)etc. are in full bloom, and smells like heaven.
    The prices are extremely high everyday, some jobs are in great danger because of fuel prices, and still people think only where to go for the summer holiday with no precaution at all. Meantime our president, the french, german and italian presidents are in Ucraine talking war and russians threating the whole Europe. Crazy times. I found refuge in my garden, my home, my family. Take care and have a nice weekend . With Love, Laura_s_world from Romania

    1. Dear Laura, It would be so wonderful for you to have chickens! With your gardening there will be a lot of free food for them. They love every scrap and everything that is spent and pulled up. I think this is a perfect plan!
      I am very concerned about the developments in Kaliningrad so we need to be very watchful. Staying ahead as you are is very good!
      Your garden sounds so beautiful! What a happy place! I even have a Hydrangea! I have seen also in other countries... the talk of nothing but holidays. We joke that we could sell nice cruises on the Black Sea and people would buy them. A lot of people are transfixed by distractions and do not know anything in reality. It would be kind of bliss to be ignorant but also so dangerous for their families.
      I hope you are able to keep harvesting so much goodness! The Elderberry Cordial sounds just beautiful. Have a very good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  3. Dear Annabel, Thankyou for sharing the photos of those gorgeous balls of fluff, it made me smile. As of yesterday our freezer is full which also makes me happy. I found an amazing bargain whizzing in and out of a supermarket I don't normally go to, pots of herbs for 99 cents. I got Basil and Coriander and have planted them in the garden already. I was given 10 new chooks from a friend's parents who were leaving on holiday overseas. I will give my MIL five as she needs some more too. I also found a lovely non battery old fashioned kitchen scales at an opp shop, I have been looking for one for ages. It was $12.50 but I think worth it, it is red, shiny and very sturdy. I went through my seeds and will start off some seedlings for next month. Thankyou for your encouragement and continued good example. The news at times this week threatened to derail me. I am so grateful for what I have already done, learned and have. I will just keep chugging along. Love Clare

    1. Dear Clare, Having a freezer full of good things is fantastic. The deal on the herbs was great but getting free new chickens and some for your Mother in Law too! That is amazing! You really had a huge week! The scales sound lovely. They would look good in your kitchen too. I also found some of the news shocking... maybe it was because it was so much close to home stuff. The only thing we can do is to take it as a warning and keep working on being prepared and doing what we are doing. You have a lot of areas covered very well and have done a wonderful job! With love, Annabel.xxx

  4. My late husband was a farmer, and we kept about 200 hens. When they would arrive in the mail as baby chicks, he would gently dunk each chick's beak in first the water then the food to give them the idea how to start eating and drinking.

    1. Dear Carole, I have heard of chickens coming in the mail. To me this is absolutely incredible! How beautiful! My Dad was a chicken farmer in his early years also. I grew up around chickens and my Nan always kept them as well. Nan had chickens until she was about 90. I hope to be the same! With love Annabel.xxx

  5. The last couple of weeks have been incredibly stressful, as our two remaining elderly parents both went into care homes on the same day, 160 miles apart. Myself and my husband hold power of attorney for them, so we have been up to our ears in paperwork, as well as dealing with the emotional fallout and making a start on house clearing. I had planned on having a wonderfully productive garden this year, but gardening has had to take a back seat. It is amazing how quickly things go to seed or fail once they aren't given daily attention! The ornamental parts of the garden are truly beautiful however, a real haven of peace in a mad world. I was lucky to get some free fresh fruit and vegetables from our community larder yesterday, most of which was chopped, blanched and added to our freezer supplies last night. I am also picking lots of herbs to use in cooking. The price rises are frightening, but reading about how yourself and others are coping helps me to 'Keep Calm and Carry On'. Tracy X

    1. I absolutely agree with you Tracy! Reading your blog Annabelle is such wonderful encouragement and inspiration to Keep Calm and Carry On! We finally have sunshine this morning, so a great time to get out into the garden and harvest our potatoes. I'm thankful the pumpkins were brought in weeks ago to dry out because the possum has been very busy in our yard! Thankfully she has so far avoided the lettuce and spinach in the wicking beds. I'm also hoping to plants some more spinach and broccoli on our covered deck (which got a good cleaning yesterday).
      Your quails are absolutely beautiful! What a joy to have! Thanks so much for sharing and all your encouragement.
      Have a lovely week, Kirsty x

    2. Dear Tracy, You have so much on your plate. When my Uncle went into care recently I know the paperwork alone was overwhelming let alone his home he left and finances and so on. It is all enormous and also emotionally exhausting. I think it would be just impossible to worry about anything extra. I hope both parents are adjusting to their new circumstances and you feel very happy with the care homes themselves. Somewhere in there you need to look after yourself too.
      Thank you for your kind words! All of these things are why getting ahead in good times is wise... because in hard times things are needed! With much love Annabel.xxx. Ps thank you Kirsty so much for your kind words!xxx

  6. Dear Annabel,
    What a good week you had. The baby quail are beyond adorable.I could get nothing else done as I would want to watch them all day.
    We've been working hard on the garden. Unfortunately, some things aren't doing as well as hoped because of the heat. We are having 90's which we sometimes don't have at all on a given summer or at least not until August.
    The blanket you are making is so pretty. and colorful. Blessings, Laura

    1. Dear Laura,
      Heat is very hard on the garden and everything. I hope though most of your garden will be ok. I love the Quail and now I have a lamb. Yes it is hard to get stuff done! I am having Thomas this afternoon so he will have fun with the lamb and I might still get some jobs done! With love Annabel.xxx

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    1. Hi Jill and I think it is good that you counsel together as a husband and wife and try and plan ahead together for the things that are going on such as shortages, inflation and preparing ahead of time.

      I think if the disagreements are not arguments then carry on with what you are doing. My husband and I counsel together on most of the things above and most times we are on the same page and at other times we are not. The main thing is respect each others points of views and tend to work together towards a common goal.

      Water is very important to keep on hand as you can only survive 3 days without it so I would keep doing what you are doing with that. Also it is important to work with the fact that money earned, at least in our home, is both of ours and we have to plan ahead on the best ways to use that money together.

      To give an example we grow a large veg garden and one morning I woke up one morning with an uneasy feeling and said to hubby we need to pick everything today and preserve it. Hubby looked at me strangely knowing we didn't know how to preserve all those veg but I said I read up on it and know how to do it. On a wing and a prayer DH knowing my feelings were right most times helped me pick it all and preserve it purely because I told him I had an uneasy feeling but at the same time I think he thought I had lost the plot too :) . It took us a couple of days to preserve everything and the day after we finished a mini tornado came through and ripped up what was left of our vegetable garden. I now know why I had that uneasy feeling LOL :) .

      So in saying that sometimes when we have those uneasy feelings they are for a reason and we need to listen to them too.

      I hope this helps :) .


    2. Thank you for your words, Lorna. I am fortunate that, after 40 years together, what we have are disagreements, rather than arguments, and we do talk things out. :) For the majority of issues and activities we are on the same page. I just tend to be more of a what-if person than he is, and perhaps I just need to rein this in a bit. That being said, I have shared my uneasy feelings, and he does get it. Good save on your garden, Lorna!

    3. Dear Lorna, Thank you for such a kind reply to Jill. I love your story of the garden and the tornado! I have learned that when I feel something strongly not to ever ignore it. I had a few classic examples of having. feeling but not yet trusting this is the Holy Spirit telling me something. And it didnt turn out well to ignore this. Now I know I am very blessed if I do have this feeling/knowing what it is. I have to say that having had this feeling since about 2016/17 and it continually increasing it sure makes me wonder the magnitude of what is coming. I am really lucky that Andy these days completely goes along with this. He doesn't always see it but he gives legs to some of the plans and gets on to them. Like this week building the platform for the feed. Last week he ordered and collected the spare generators and so on. I feel the need to be like an ant! Thank you for this wonderful reply! xxx

    4. Jill that is great and communication is the key to all I think and sounds like you have it down pat after being married so long :) and most welcome . Good that you are sharing your feelings and your DH understands them. Ah we do have to love the differences in personalities in married couples and our different ways of thinking and doing things too.


  8. Annabel, what an exciting week you had. Your baby quails are adorable and I've never seen prettier eggs! And your friend's offer of his bull. My goodness! I know you are so appreciative and I bet you have already thought of ways to pay him back for his generosity. I love your idea for an "intermediate" brooder. That should make things more manageable for you. I got an idea from youtube today for a chicken "tunnel" that was placed next to the garden fence and the chickens did a great job of keeping the weeds down. Now I will have a good use for the extra wire we have around here. Do we ever run out of projects?
    Here in central Texas people are struggling with keeping production going in their gardens. It is still dry and super hot. I believe we will only have a decent crop of tomatoes and potatoes but that's okay. I'm using this year as a learning one and taking notes for future reference. I still have my "food factory" going on and putting back everything that is available. I made grape juice, dehydrated pears and have big jars of vinegar in the process (pineapple and pear). From two sweet potatoes I was able to get an abundance of slips and so far they are looking good. I ordered a green house this week hoping this will be a big help. Our big problem (besides fire ants) is if we wait until danger of frost has passed to plant our garden then it throws our harvest into the middle of summer when things are burning up. So I plan to use the greenhouse to get an early start with bedding plants. I have three broody hens again. I'm thinking they just like sitting in the nesting boxes because it's cooler in there.
    Thanks, Annabel, for reminding us about your 30 days to preparedness series. That is a wealth of information and I plan to refresh my memory and go over it all again.
    Well, a painting project awaits me. You all have a great weekend.

    1. Dear Pam,
      I love the Quail eggs too! Little bowls of Quail eggs appeal to me so much!
      Well our friend today came to the door with an orphan lamb for me. He knew I would want it. It just blesses my heart. Yes I am thinking up ways to repay him. Last time he did something to help us I made him a big fruit cake as he loves them. He was pretty thrilled with that. Now I need a new idea..
      I hope the broody hens have some eggs to hatch. I have eggs and HOPING the hen goes broody... it is a pretty bantam hen and the rooster is one of the super fluffy ones!
      I have seen these clever chicken runs that keep the chickens between rows of garden... just fantastic! Yes wire is always useful!
      I hope you get better harvests than you think. I have a fair idea Texas and us here are quite similar. We can get some real heat. It does knock things around. I am one for covering things with old sheets etc although you can only do this in limited areas. Keeping the water up is hard work. You are doing so much good stuff and making great progress! With love Annabel.xxx

  9. Dear Annabel, your quails are beautiful! It has been so interesting to follow along on your adventures with the incubator.

    Your pies are always so pretty. I've been doing lots of cooking too… some of my favourites were a bacon and feta quiche and a big pot of tomato sauce. The tomato sauce is wonderful with pasta or on pizzas. It always feels good to have a stocked fridge and freezer.

    With love from,
    Kelly (Mrs. Kiwi)

    1. Dear Mrs. Kiwi, Thank you! Your tomato sauce sounds beautiful and useful in many ways. The Quiche sounds good too! Yes it is so good to be stocked up and have plenty of delicious choices! With love Annabel.xxx

  10. Annabel you quails are so cute and cuddly and little and so glad you succeeded with hatching them :) . You finally don't have to watch them wobbling any more but I must say I would be doing that too to see if they were alright and just to see them hatch :) .

    We will be doing something similar with hatching our own chickens in the summer as a friend has fertile eggs, an incubator and warming plate he is going to lend us to hatch our own. Our next door neighbour and I will go halves in the eggs and feed and he will help DH repair the large chicken pen we have here. It has laying nesting boxes and a roost already in it so it will be an exciting adventure for us too.

    Annabel you are doing so well with your swapping and getting things you need in return like the plants. You are making such progress on topping up your freezer with lovely meals again and supplying some to other family members too. How fantastic about you potentially having baby calves in about April and so great of a friend to offer the services of their bulls.

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

    Earnings -
    - Made an extra $120 by doing two paid mowing jobs.
    - Earned $224.80 by selling unwanted household items at the men's shed.

    Finances -
    - Added a little more money to our emergency fund.

    Purchases -
    - Put in an online stock up and normal grocery order and by buying cc corn chips on half price, using a $15 off promo code, $10 off rewards card $, and a further 4% off e-gift card we saved $40.26 on usual prices.

    Electricity savings -
    - We decided to turn off our grey water pump and only run it once a week to pump out the water saving money on standby electricity usage and costs. Every little bit helps :) . Our last electricity bill was $85 as we had so much cloudy weather our solar panels did not produce as much power as usual.

    In the home -
    - DH sorted out his winter wardrobe and put all the other summer clothing in vacuum seal bags in the storage room.
    - I started sorting out fabric, ribbons and threads in the sewing room into the storage containers we purchased. Now I have all the threads, ribbons in two storage drawers and two containers of fabric put away neatly but still more to do which hopefully I can get most of it done today.

    Hope everyone has a frugal week ahead :).


    1. Dear Lorna, I know you are going to love hatching chickens! It is fantastic you can lend all you need to get going. Also that you already have a very good set up. With your garden chickens will be inexpensive to feed once they grow a bit. Our grain/pellet needs are not huge per day as they get so many greens and scraps. I figure we cant have too many eggs since they can be gifted and traded if we do.
      Following your example I now have my Dads old bread making machine... I have to test it out yet.
      I see the items at the mens shed are selling well! That is really good!
      The storage for your sewing supplies will be good. I have noticed how expensive fabric is now! These are important supplies.
      Your electricity bill is very good. Power prices are a huge issue. We are looking at everything we can do. Our main farm water is all on solar now.
      I hope your new week is going well! Lots to report here already! With love Annabel.xxx

  11. Annabel I am so envious of you having your baby quail. As you know I have been working on Bluey for a few months now, to get him to agree that Quail would be a good addition to have here. He isnt on board yet, but it will happen. I just have to be patient.
    This week has been all about ginger or Spencer. I harvested my ginger crop and got almost 5kgs, that's about 11lbs worth. Our local supermarket is selling ginger at $50/kg. I have $250 worth of ginger. Some has been put through the dehydrator then powdered. It smells amazing. I have some steeping in vodka for a ginger tincture. Quite a bit has been frozen. Today I have plans to make some into cordial.
    Spencer turned one this week. Katie brought him over on Thursday. My folks has stayed the previous night and got to have time with their Great Grandson. Today we went to Katie and Jared's house and young Spencer got his first taste of cake. He is completely hooked and loved stuffing it into his little mouth as fast as he could.
    I love the idea that we need to Keep Calm and Carry On. I am planting more and more. I am making sure that I succession plant, so that we dont have a huge glut of the one item all at once. I'm also adding as many perennial greens and fruits as I can manage to find. I am looking at ways to inflation proof our life so that we can help our family. I am also looking at the alternatives to staple products. I cant grow wheat for flour, but I can grow Cassava, which make a great GF flour. Cassava has been planted.
    This week I plan on going through my fishing gear and making sure I have everything I need. I havent done much fishing lately, because I have been doing a few of the local widowers mending. They pay me in fresh caught fish. As a result my gear has been sadly neglected. Time to change that.
    Enjoy those gorgeous balls of fluff. Have a great week.
    Life is sunshiney, cake smashing good.

    1. Happy birthday to your beautiful grandson, Spencer. And what a lucky boy he is to be in your family. I love the cassava idea. I had no idea about this...I must look it up.Thank you. Lots of love Lily

    2. Dear Jane, Your Ginger harvest and all its uses have been amazing. You had a very busy week with both the Birthday and Mum and Dad staying. You had four generations all together! I think fishing is a great option and your trades for fish are a good deal too. With eggs and all your herbs and veggies this is adding up to a great variety, healthy and delicious. As Spencer gets older he might be a good fishing buddy!
      Already my week has been quite full and more to go! It is amazing what we can do when we take every opportunity and keep learning! With love Annabel.xxx

  12. JulieT from Minnesota17 June 2022 at 21:11

    The quail chicks are ADORABLE! Good job!

    I too continue to garden, can, and use what I have. I bought a 25# lug of peaches and canned 13 quarts of slices in light sugar water. And not wasting I cooked up the skins and pits in water and made 12 half pints of peach jelly.I made an apron from 2 dish towels and a runner bought at garage sales for $2. We are harvesting asparagus, rhubarb, radishes, small onions, kale, and spinach. I just ordered another 30# bag of flour from the mill I get it from. I have a gluten intolerance but I can use this flour with no problems. It is an heirloom wheat. Jill, I too had a husband who gave me a hard time about buying ahead and in bulk. It was how I was taught to keep ahead and store what was needed for 6 months. Now with what we are hearing and seeing-grocery shelves becoming empty, unable to get certain things, the cost going up, packages decreasing in size, he is starting to realize that what I am doing is beneficial. We need to be ready for whatever the next year brings. I don’t stress out over it because I am prepared, We can make do with what we have, we will be clothed, the house warm, we have water, we can cook, and if nothing comes of this craziness, we’ll then we are ready instead of sticking our heads in the sand. My moto- choose joy and find it in everything you do!

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    2. I too have a Husband who was not on board with my stocking up. But I had an accident; broke my hip and could not get around very well while recuperating. I had enough put back that all he needed to do was buy fresh items from the store. He is definitely on board now. We need to work on our water storage though.

    3. Dear Julie, I love your motto! It interests me greatly that the people I know that are busy as little ants, building up their home and supplies are so happy! Like hello the world is going pear shaped and we know it but we are still happy as we get on with it and I think this reduces the stress. Thats my theory. I am sure I would be really anxious if I hadn't put so much work in to this point. I am very lucky that Andy has no objections. At first I did stuff and he was fine with it but now it is better, I do stuff and he helps. This took a while but now he will do a lot on projects I dream up. It sounds like your husband is seeing what is happening now and you are well ahead! Good job!
      Your apron was so lovely and your peach jelly! Yum! Great harvest coming in too! A very good week!

      Dear Laurie, Thank goodness you had things ahead when you broke your hip! Yes water is a big one. But you sound far ahead already! With love Annabel.xxx

  13. What a busy week you've had! I love your new babies it would be exciting to watch them hatch and turn into little fluffy cuties. And 12 calves would be awesome! Your farm is growing by leaps and bounds. And your blanket is very pretty.
    Since I've been feeling better I've been in go mode.
    It's hot so I have to keep up with watering but I love seeing the tiny veggies emerge. I have been checking on the things I foraged last year and if the birds don't beat me to them there is a nice bunch of berries I'll be able to pick so I'm keeping my eye on them. I will have to research though because in the other area I forage it looks like hemlock is growing close to the elderberries and that is something that isn't a good thing.
    I cut garlic scapes from the garlic plants and all the wash is getting hung out.
    I started a small trash to treasure project I think you will like. My plan is to work on it in the evenings until I get it done, but it's small so hopefully won't take me long.

    1. Dear Vicky, I am so glad you are feeling better. Your garden will really grow with the heat but it is a lot keeping up the watering especially when plants are little. I hope you do get this berries! I will look forward to seeing your craft project! It is so nice having something to work on in the evenings! Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  14. Dear Annabel
    Following your wisdom I bought an incubator for later on in spring.
    Even if I’m a 98% vegetarian I could still despatch roosters to feed others as my family had everyone involved in the killing and cleaning of poultry when I was a small child. My job was plucking the feathers! Ah life skills come in different ways.🤔
    After watching today’s YouTube on I Allegedly with the Economic Ninja discussing the closing down of the big pork processor and how that has set up the farmers to lose big time, I think we all have to get serious. No one will be giving us any help with food or anything else that’s gone pear shaped in the economy this year. It’s clear the big economic decision makers care nothing for anyone but themselves. We are certainly in for some seriously necessitous times. Across every country.
    But as forward thinkers and creative minds we’ve got this. And never underestimate the resolve of mothers to provide for their families!

    Love to you and your lovely readers wherever they live, may all your gardens prosper, and your cooking and canning skills be amazing


    1. Dear Kate,
      You are going to love hatching chickens! It is fantastic!
      I have heard of I Allegedly ut have never seen it. I think I better make an effort to check this out. My Dad started in chickens then went to pigs... I was hearing about the pork situation in California... and I can see there is no hope for pork farmers. As one area is shut down the market is more concentrated in other areas and so the supply and choice dwindles. This is dangerous.
      You are 100% correct! Mothers are going to do all they can to feed their families! I will add Grandmothers and Great Grandmothers are a force of nature too! We come from generations who did it all to get families fed and we can do it too. Someone said when times change we need to do new things. I find myself doing many new things, learning new things... it is the upside of all of this! With love Annabel.xxx

  15. My daughter works in an office where customers often bring in items. I've acquired a small jar of local honey, fresh locally grown peaches and the best gift of all a farm raised 7.5 pound chicken that was given to a co-worker and shoved in the office fridge and left. Asking around, she was told to take it home, so she brought it to me. My son gifted us some fresh green beans, not enough to put aside but enough to serve for a meal.
    I was pleased to see that I have basil coming up and tomato blossoms on my plant. I was also sent a link to grow bags that are a little cheaper than what I'd planned to purchase to use for container gardening that I think will make having my patio container garden a sooner rather than later possibility. I hope to get four ordered in the next week, now that we are leaving our heaviest birthday month.
    Gas is quite high here and we're doing all we can to combine trips but the heat is making that even harder because we really don't want to do four or five hot errands while out. Never mind. We're doing them anyway.
    I'm watching our budget carefully. It would be so easy to go overboard right now in the current atmosphere, either out of fear or thoughtlessness. We live on a limited income and though we do all we can to save, money only stretches so far. I know there are many ways we can manage and sticking to our budget HARD is the best way to manage now and for the future.
    I continue to do all I can to avoid kitchen waste. My freezers are packed. I don't waste anything. If I slice bread I am careful to save the crumbs (which sounds terribly stingy but I'm just trying to think out of the box) and put the dry crumbs in with other bread crumbs to use in breading. I'm looking at how I can use all of the fruits and vegetables we purchase and compost what little we must remove.
    I plan to spend the next week, which is meant to be very hot, indoors studying my frugal living books and see what ideas I've forgotten that I can institute into our lives once more. I have goals. I want a pressure canner, and an upright freezer. I want to purchase a gas grill and propane tanks. My husband needs a new mower to replace his aging one which we'll then park at the town house in order to do yardwork there more easily. And of course, I want to prepare a place for chickens, as well as to get my patio garden set up. Lots to do and plenty of reasons to be smart about savings!

    1. Dear Terri, I love that your daughter made sure that chicken wasnt wasted and bought it to you! I daresay you got a lot out of that chicken! The honey and peaches were wonderful too!
      I have been following the price of gas. It is high here also. I know what you mean though sometimes a million errands are a lot. We have an hour each way to the shops so the list is long.
      Jess at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth blog has an extensive library of things to do with all kinds of fruit scraps. It is really worth looking up... down to cleaning product made from lemon etc. Really good.
      I love your goals! They are good ones! I am right there with you on all of them! With love Annabel.xxx

  16. Oh, the quail chicks are SOOOO cute! Little thumb-sized fluff balls. Ours have grown quickly over the last few weeks, and are now round, hand-sized hopping balls of feathers. They are so much fun to watch, especially when I fill up their dust-bath and they toss sand all over themselves. So funny!

    Here in the USA we are having some severe shortages of diesel fuel, which is a big problem for farmers and truck drivers. I'm also kind of wondering what the school systems will do this Fall with the diesel school buses. Used to be neighborhood schools were within walking distances, but that is no longer the case. Even if they decide to do school online again like they did during the COVID lockdowns, many areas are having threats of electricity brownouts, so that is another huge challenge. I have personally been collecting books and materials to homeschool our grandkids, if necessary, but it's all kind of mind boggling.

    Rather than getting my blood pressure way up about it, I am glad to go work in the garden and then sit with a cold glass of water and watch the antics of the quail.

    1. Dear Chipmunk, I so admire that you are gearing up to teach your Grandchildren if needed. I have a friend who has a truck driving husband and also son there in the USA. From her I know some stuff. It is a very serious issue. Many people dont think how everything got to the store or market! The power issue is very serious too, we have it here (coincidentally, NOT) and combined this is mind blowing. I agree that if we have a plan and work towards it, garden and enjoy our animals etc these are good coping strategies too! With love Annabel.xxx

  17. I am always looking at what is on clearance racks and this week I found two queen size blankets that are beautiful, one a heavy cozy kind of blanket and the other a lighter mid-weight blanket. I really needed extra blankets!

    Our heat index hovered around 105-115F most of the week. Which is high for us at any time of summer but unheard of in June.

    You still amaze me! But I know you were obedient to what God called you to do and he is providiing.

    1. Dear Brenda,
      It is great your found good deals on blankets!
      I hate the heat and that is hot! It is very wearing on everybody and every thing!
      Thank you so much! God does for sure provide. I had a beautiful demonstration of that this week. I never cease to be amazed and grateful. With love Annabel.xxx

  18. Annabel, your quail chicks are about the cutest little things I've ever seen! Thank you for sharing the pictures. I've really enjoyed reading the comments this week--so much wisdom!

    This was the second week of fighting a really nasty cold virus and mostly not going anywhere, doing anything or spending anything...which in itself is not very productive, but a real moneysaver.

    I went to the grocery store once because we were out of produce and dairy. I got strawberries for .99--the only bargain in the store. I'm hoping to get more at this price next week and to feel good enough to make jam.

    I made tartar sauce with a new-to-me recipe. Despite all of the substitutions (LOL) it was the best I've ever tasted.

    I made a $6 offer on the $10 asking price for a book of freezer-friendly recipes and it was accepted. It's inspiring me to top up my 7 freezer meals--some of which got eaten when I was the sickest. (Thanks again for the preparedness series, Annabel!). Last Sunday I cooked double and added a batch of macaroni and cheese to my freezer stash. It freezes well if the cheese sauce is really soupy.

    It has rained and rained and rained! One morning I looked outside and my dwarf plum tree was tipped about 30 degrees. My friend Heather came over and pounded a T-post into the ground and I tied the tree to it. I have a tiny vegetable garden and replanted a few bean seeds that haven't come up. Also, I thinned and then transplanted some marigold seedlings. I checked on them today and they "took" 100%!

    I used a rebate check for $43.21 at Costco and my daughter reimbursed me for a $15.89 merchandise credit at TJMaxx for her dad's Father's Day present. I also used $22 of insurance benefits for over-the-counter drugs and products.

    For those of us living in the State of Idaho, USA, this was the week for money in the mail! Our state constitution requires a balanced budget and they collected more sales taxes than projected. As a result, we got a check for $436.44 (I was expecting about $100) and my daughter got one for $75. Our son and daughter-in-law live in eastern Idaho (we're up north) and received over $700. Couldn't have come at a better time!

    Here is a tip from my son for your US readers. He researched cashback credit cards and found one from Penfed credit union that returns 5% for fuel when paid for at the pump. No annual fee. This will return .25 per gallon when gas is $5 gallon, in addition to any discount from loyalty points. He applied online and was approved. This will really help since he commutes 25 miles each way to work.

    1. Dear Maxine, I really hope you are feeling heaps better.
      I hope the supporting post has saved your tree! That is just amazing to get cheques in the mail like that! I didnt know this! I know you will put it to great use. Thank you for sharing a tip for the US Bluebirds. It is raining here as well most days! With love, Annabel.xxx

    2. Annabel, I'm feeling MUCH better this week and actually trying to be productive! Thank you for you good wishes!

  19. As others have said, those quail are just gorgeous.
    As usual you have had a good week.
    I put my name down for an allotment, now the waiting list is LONG, but there's one thing certain, if I don't put my name on the waiting list I'll never get one.
    I got some balcony screening to give me a little privacy, it's no fun to stagger downstairs after a night shift, in ones nightie, intent on a cup of tea to find 7 children leaning over their backyard wall trying to talk to me. I don't blame the children, they're bored beyond reason, but the screening should help. After I'd bought it i had to find some way of attaching it, because it's not going on a balcony, I thought water pipe would do it, so went to a plumber's merchant's, a little bit apprehensive. Honestly, I think I made their day, they were so helpful. I think it broke up their day and they were interested in what i was going to do with it. I spent the princely sum of £11 in there but I bet they spent more time with me than any other customer that day. The screening hasn't gone up yet, I 'm off work this week, so hopefully I might get a good day to do it.
    Despite my garden not doing that well this year, I'm harvesting strawberries and rhubarb, my currants ( I have red, white and blackcurrant bushes)are ripening nicely, as are my raspberries and some potatoes are growing from the compost I put down. My apple tree is also quite laden, I hope they all ripen.

    Petrol has now reached £2 a liter, give or take a few pence and prices continue to increase overnight. A colleague of mine decided to bulk buy toilet paper, put it her online basket and then got distracted, when she went to it the following morning the price had increased by 33%. That was for an item already in stock, so what was the retailers profit margin on that ? I am convinced that there is little justification for a lot of these price rises, it's greed and manipulation.

    Anyway, have a good week everyone, take care and be safe.

    1. Dear Su, I love allotments or at least what I know of them! I am so glad you put your name down! It is a good visual image of you coming g downstairs in your nighty that would be me too. It is so nice they were so helpful to you at the plumbers! Your garden sounds pretty good to me! I hope you get heaps of apples too. There are so many things we can do with apples and they keep well.
      Holy cow on the petrol! That is working out double our price and we think its bad here! This is not good. I am also hearing many stories as you say... over night prices go up or within hours. I hope your week is going well it is mid week already! With love Annabel.xxx

  20. Dear Annabel, those quails are certainly delightful. They are so cute. I love the outside brooder, even it is stylish :) I must try those enchiladas. The dill makes for a wonderful swap. That blanket is magnificent and I am very excited for your calves. I had a good week. I received some children's clothes for free. I got some good pyjamas out of it, so they are handy. I also worked on mulch, shredding up matter that we have tonnes of. This will be a big saving, it might not be as pretty as the nursery bought stuff, but it will help the soil. I made fruity muffins with a small amount of sugar. Half the household like them lol Those puzzles are wonderful. I always like quiet indoor things to balance it out. I am working on growing more and planted some spinach seeds where the pot had more space- even bit of space should be utilised. I had a swap today, our neighbour brought mandarines and bananas and we sent them thai basil and eggs. It was fun for the kids to organise too. Lots of love, Lily

    1. Dear Lily,
      You did a lot of garden work. I think making use of any mulch you can get is really good. I hope the spinach grows well for you.
      That was a great swap! I think having eggs is so handy as it gives us something most people want to barter with!
      It was great about the children's clothes. I like the sound of the fruity muffins!
      A very good week! With love Annabel.xxx

  21. Debby in Kansas USA19 June 2022 at 05:04

    Those babies are darling!! I would've been sitting right next to you watching, Annabel!
    Thanks for sharing those great pictures.
    You got a lot done with such a distraction. The blanket is lovely. A bit hot for me right now as our temperatures have been hovering 100! It's very uncomfortable. Lots of cold meals and water.

    When I was growing up, my Aunt ànd Uncle had a dairy farm in central California. I couldn't resist the calves if we were visiting. They were so sweet.

    With the heat, we've decided that the basement is a good project! I don't think it ever gets over 75° down there and it certainly needs the attention. That's our plan for the next few weeks.

    I was feeling the blahs from my kitchen so I decided to make some simple changes. I added small wreaths to a couple of cabinets, making new curtains, redoing the soffets with some color, and hanging up some housewife history! I have these small crocheted circles and squares that were popular decor in the 40s. I saw a display of them in my magazine and I knew I wanted to do the same thing so I dug them out! They're all different and made by my Mom, my Grandma, my Aunt ànd my Great Grandma.
    Now they can both beautify my kitchen and be appreciated!

    Enjoy your week, Mama Hen!!

    1. Dear Debby,
      I heard it has been hot there! In hot weather I cant do wool crochet at all I go on to small cotton projects but in winter as I work on a blanket it ends up keeping me warm as I go!
      I just love all the things you did in your kitchen especially having things from your Mum, Grandmas and Aunt. Just lovely. We need time sometimes to do these lovely things and we feel better too.
      I also love calves. They are so beautiful. I would never say no to a calf. Actually Ive never said no to a lamb either and I got one this week! Delivered to my door no less! Many thanks, Annabel.xxx

  22. Hi Annabel

    How cute are those chicks.....I am not showing DD12 as she saw some at the markets yesterday and wanted to take them home.

    Those wooden puzzles can be so expensive...we had some when DD12 was little and they are the best for hand and eye co ordination. I so love seeing what you have been able to purchase in your bargain finds.

    This week I have
    *added meals to the freezer for DP to take to work
    *added a few meals for easy dinners
    *been in the garden since the weather here is cool enough and cleared out all the fallen leaves, weeded and got it all looking tidy once again
    *done some sewing
    *planned some meals
    *started planning for school holidays although DP has just told me he may upset some of my plans
    *gone through some old magazines that I had just been keeping for recipes and taken them out and decluttered a fair few magazines
    *feeding the neighbours chooks and collecting the eggs
    Since we have rain starting today I have gotten the big fan from the shed and will have that on in the garage when I need to get washing dry instead of the dryer.

    We went to our local markets yesterday and are usually able to get fresh fruit and vegetables but not much around yesterday. I am sure like everywhere the fruit and vegetable department in the supermarket is mainly bare. We are still fairly bare in a lot of shelves around our local supermarket. Most meals even though there are only 2 of us I double to have enough for 6 meals to freeze for us again another night and for DP to take to work (works away from home for up to 9 days and refuses to eat the meals there)

    Take Care
    Aly xxx

    1. Dear Aly,
      You had a very productive week! I do the same with magazines... I keep and file or scarp book the ideas and recipes I want to hang on to. Now and then I sit and go through all those ideas for reminders.
      It is beautiful that you prepare meals for DP to take away with him. He must love that. I hope the neighbours chooks are laying well and you get to keep the eggs! Bonus!
      I love a school holiday plan. Some days of sleep ins and rest and some adventures. I remember that time well. We loved it. Lot of cooking always at the end in readiness for back to school too.
      I am going to find out first hand how the stores are in Adelaide tomorrow which will be interesting! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Yes we do get to keep the eggs and we got 8
      Our neighbour does gift us with eggs as we keep our scraps as they don't eat as much fresh veg as there is only the 2 of them 1 week and only 1 the other week


  23. Dear Annabel, what a busy and profitable week you had! YAY for baby quail! They are amazing. I'm so happy for you. I expected them all to look alike. Boy was I wrong! The new chicken house Andy built is wonderful. I'm thinking you are the one who painted it pink? I'm glad you found the comfrey you were looking for. And the swap tables continue to be a bonus, don't they? Your blanket is just beautiful and I bet it is comforting to crochet in the evenings. I don't know how. I can knit a little, but rarely do. Years ago I used to handspin mohair from my goats and angora from my bunnies and then weave with it, but I haven't done so in quite some time. It would be a good thing to take back up this coming fall and winter perhaps.

    What a great gift you received with the loan of the two bulls! You are going to be so busy when calving time comes.

    I wanted to mention that I watched Patara's channel after learning about her from you. She lives less than an hour away from me by car. That's so funny that I learned about her from someone in Australia, isn't it?

    Over the past couple of weeks I have planted more seeds in the garden and in containers, harvested a few strawberries and blueberries along with some lavender, lemon balm, chives and oregano. My herb garden produces all year round. We were given two butterfly bushes from friends and have planted them in front of our garden. We hope to attract even more pollinators. We have a mason bee home in the garden as well. Oh, and the same friends who gave us the bushes have invited us to come pick from their huge blueberry bushes in July. They said they pick gallons and gallons of them every year plus have other friends and family pick a lot and they still have plenty for the birds! I eat blueberries nearly every day, so I am thrilled about this! Our blackberry vines are producing so many berries this year, it's wonderful. They should be ready to pick in a week or two.

    I made beef broth from scraps and froze it, baked blueberry muffins and cobbler, plus most of our meals as usual. I added more food to our pantries. Wow, when I was at the store I was thankful all over again for the preparedness we have done already. Prices go up every time I go it seems. I inventoried and organized our upright freezer.

    My husband replaced our kitchen faucet. There's no telling how much money he has saved us over these decades by doing things himself! Makes a huge difference, doesn't it?

    I found a few books I wanted at a large used bookstore plus traded some of mine in for credit. I hope you are having a great week! -CarlaM xxx

    1. Dear Carla, As they Quail have grown each is entirely different, even more so. I am planning to get some more eggs to hatch. They are so lovely.
      I love butterfly bushes. They always look lovely. The Blueberries are just fantastic. So healthy and so much you can do with them. To have Blackberries as well is amazing!
      Good work on the beef broth and the baking. It all sounds delicious.
      You really had a great week! We are already half way through this one! With love Annabel.xxx

  24. Annabel, I was going to say with keeping rodents etc out of grains and pellets for chickens, we have successfully used galvanized rubbish bins for this purpose for many years. The blighters chew through plastic bins so the metal ones are the ones that keep the food safe.

    1. Dear Kate, I think they are great and we need to get more. Yep I found even the heavy plastic ones they chew through! Waste of money! xx

  25. Hi Annabel and all you lovely bluebirds ♡
    I wanted to share this recipe with you all. I am looking for ways to use up odds and ends and this recipe fit the bill ! Using up some bread crumbs to make some sweet treats.
    I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as the grandkids did 😋
    BREAD CRUMB COOKIES (A Genuine Tightwad Recipe)

    1 1/4 cups flour
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/3 cup cocoa
    1/2 cup milk
    1 egg
    1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    2/3 cup melted shortening
    2 cups bread crumbs

    Sift together dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients and add to dry mixture. Add melted shortening and bread crumbs. Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until done.

    You can substitute a heaping tablespoon of soy flour and one tablespoon of water for the egg. Also she had good success with substituting 1/3 cup applesauce for 1/3 cup of the shortening.

  26. Darn forgot to put my name...cookie recipe from Gaila in the NW

  27. I hope all is well, Annabel, as I just logged in for Friday's post and it's not here. I can't remember if Chloe's baby would be due this week or not. I pray she and Lucy are okay. Blessings, Laura

  28. I hope everything is ok. If there is no sign we get worried. Big hugs. Laura_s_world


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