Feather your Nest Friday, 3rd June, 2022.

It has been a much better week!   We are into a new month and it is winter!   We have the fire going and it has been pretty cold at night.  I am loving it.  I think I am just ready for a quieter season.  

Lucy came home and I went to help for a few days.  This was really nice and made me a lot happier that she was safely home again with her family.   It also showed me how fast the ready meals in my freezer are used up in a crisis.  They were wonderful.  I was able to head off with a tray of Enchiladas, soups, pasties,  (I packed relish) and complete roast dinners.   It was a big help.   Now I need to build it back up.

Some of the ways I feathered our nest were:

I worked on coat hangers.  I am up to no 17. 

I found lids for some beautiful big jars my friend Wendy gave me.  Now I can put those into use.

I packed up my dehydrated celery into jars and vac sealed them.

Scarlett asked me to fix some leggings for her.  Then she added two toys with "injuries" so I have mended her monkey and bear.   😊

Lucy's garden has a giant patch of Dill.   I had trouble finding it this time because sheep had eaten it down.  But I think this actually helped it transplant well.   I dug up enough to plant three patches in my own garden and five pots for the swap table.  I will grow them up a bit first. 

I ordered a very good first aid kit for my car.   We kept my old car for a farm bomb.   So the first aid kit etc stayed in that car.   After ordering a good one I made up two car kits to add to that.  I have a pure wool blanket kept in the back and my kits include a torch (flashlight),  hand wipes, toile paper, cash, cutlery, gloves, water and so on.  

My chicks have really grown.  I have found this stage easy,  I think it was just a matter of getting a warming plate and setting it up.  They are noisy and nosey trying to see what I am doing.  

I am giving them greens and they love them.   I chop up some spinach or broccoli and they are very keen! 

I am really excited because we now have a little green house!  I got it from Aldi.  

We anchored it to the fence.   This is the area that I have my container garden.  Come Spring I think it will help me so much!

On the farm it is lambing.   I love it.  The whole district is lambing.   At Lucy and Kato's it is lambing as well.    Driving anywhere you see tiny newborn lambs.    

We saw quite a lot of twins and a few triplets. 

I did a big stock up grocery order.    

Tonight I cooked up two big pots of spaghetti sauce.  I bulked it out with grated zucchini.   In the end I had a huge pasta bake, four lasagnes and dinner which was the meat sauce with spaghetti.  It was delicious.

I cooked the lasagnes lightly as they will go into my ready meals freezer and when they are re heated I don't like them to end up too dark.   This way they end up just about right. 

I am happy to get some meals back into that freezer. 

It is only four weeks until Chloe is due to have her baby.  I will be helping with a lot of meals then! 

She is letting me share some photos.  This is Tom who is a little farmer like his Great Grandfather Tom.  My Dad would be so proud!   

Helping feed the chooks...

Helping feed the calf...

He is mad keen on tractors and animals.  

We had our first bon fire of the season.   It was just a little one but we have a series of big ones coming up.

We are working hard and trying to think hard.  It is now apparent to everyone that we face a major energy crisis.   We have headlines like. "Australia energy crisis: Gas and power outages to sweep Australia as cold snap deepens energy crisis."  Yep that is what happens when you know the power stations down.  They are talking that industry will need to shut down on cold days.  Think about that for a moment...

Food prices are just soaring.  Fuel prices also.   Trucking companies are on the brink.  So we are on the brink.   "Looming economic bloodbath..." was another headline.   We can see if you can't move goods due to the cost,  there are fertiliser shortages and harvester and part shortages...  there are going to be food shortages.   I have been saying for over a year... please if you live in a cold climate make sure you have alternative ways to keep your home warm.   Store fuel.  Make sure wherever you live that you can boil water and cook without electricity or gas.    In my index I have a series of preparedness posts that cover these subjects.  Do these things now.   We know from experience you are not able to buy what you need when this hits.  It is too late then.    Do what you have to do.   Don't let anyone discourage you from doing what you have to do.    

She looks well to the ways of her household!!  

We can feel daunted by things or we can feel that we were born for such a time as this!   I would like to recommend Patsy's Blog and her series on this subject... A Working Pantry.

Also Cath's series on You tube 7 Things Great Grandma did to save money...    This video reminded me of my Nan and Pa so much!  

How did you build up your home, pantry or garden this week?   I hope it was a week of opportunities!  xxx


  1. Annabel it is good to know that Lucy is healing well and the crisis is over. Young Master Tom is such a gorgeous looking little fellow. He is going to melt more than a few hearts.
    We were doing well here until tonight. Our sons dog was inside with us. He started growling and barking in a way that was quite frightening. Something was definitely wrong. I let him out and then found a torch. Freddie was tearing all over the yard barking and growling. I had been out tonight so I hadnt locked up the chooks. Bluey said he had forgotten. I went up to check. There were only two girls out of six left. They have been locked away and tomorrow I will check them to make sure they are OK. A phone call will be made on Monday to get a fox trap. The Council provides the trap and takes the fox away to be destroyed. We havent had these girls twelve months since the last time the fox attacked. This is the first night in all that time that they werent locked up just before dark. I feel so bad for those birds.

    1. Dear Jane (and everyone reading!). I am so glad it turned out ok with the chickens! That was so lucky! What a fright.
      A dog is very good. Scout told us something was wrong when the tree blew down in the night. We couldn't see what she was talking about! But she knew something bad happened!
      Yes, Tom and his big blue eyes I think he is. beautiful! He is so affectionate and happy.
      Im so relieved the chooks are ok! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. My Tom is a handsome little farm man!!!! Looks like he is enjoying himself. Love the chicks and lambs.
    Things are going well in my area. My garden is in and I am just thinking of new ways to use things. Have a great weekend.

    1. Dear Cheryl, Thank you! I really enjoyed your post on different ways to use things. Not wasting things and stretching things are along the same lines. As I was dividing out my spaghetti sauce and cheese sauce I was very careful and this got me one whole extra meal in the end. There is so much we can do! With love Annabel.xxx

  3. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    I love seeing your grandson - what a good helper! - and the baby animals. Your hangers are so pretty and I think they would protect clothes beautifully!

    Food and fuel prices are wild here, too. Every day I am thankful for our pantry and freezers! This week my husband built a beautiful new set of bookcases for the front bedroom, and I cleaned and organized everything and gave the room a big refresh. It looks so nice and airy now, and is a much prettier and pleasant place to be. Also our reference books and cookbooks can all be easily found and returned to their places. We also worked in the garden, used the rain barrel to water plants, and got our first harvest of blackberries of the year. The flower seeds I planted recently are peeping their heads up and it is making me happy to think about lots of pretty blooms later in our summer. I did a cooking day with lots of baking, a big roast chicken, spaghetti sauce, and bone broth in the crockpot, and finished a couple of small cross stitch pieces. I also purchased some bed linens on a good sale - I do this a few times a year, and it really makes a difference (to me) to have lovely sheets and blankets in our bedroom and also for my dad's room when he needs to stay.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend!

    1. Dear Kathy,
      Thank you! The book cases would be beautiful! A lot of extra storage space too. A roast chicken is delicious. I did one last week and spaghetti sauce this week so we have been making similar things! Good to be ahead on linen. I also feel good linen is what makes a bed... I love the feel of it and freshness somehow of it! I was able to stay in a few really good motels over the years. The beds, pillows and linen!! It was like heaven! So from then on I had lofty goals with my linen!
      The flowers sound promising. The bone broth would be so good to have. You achieved a lot as you always do! With love Annabel.xxx

  4. Good morning, What a relief for you that Lucy is home and doing well. Soon Cloe will have her baby and you will be busy helping with the new little one. We are expecting a great grandson in September. That little Tom is so cute. I just love little lambs. But then I love little goats, etc. LOL I think I need to find a recipe for Enchiladas to try. That looks like a nice greenhouse and anchoring it to the fence is such a good idea. I have so much dill that has reseeded. I am pulling some out and drying it as I use it in my salad dressing and I like it fresh on my salads. I really need to dehydrate some celery before it is too far gone. I just love those coat hangers and wish I had the skill and time and energy to do that! Are you building up your supply to sell? I imagine they would be a great seller. I hope to get a few more beans planted today. Look forward to your posts every Friday! Enjoy your weekend. Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy,
      Congratulations! It is so exciting to have a new baby on the way! I will tell you how I make Enchiladas. Im not sure if they are authentic or not but they are delicious! Vicky got me going. And they freeze just perfectly! Take a look here: https://thebluebirdsarenesting.blogspot.com/2017/08/pantries-and-preparedness-money-and.html Because they are so nice and my whole family likes them I think I might do a bulk lot of these next week.
      No Im not selling coat hangers ... I want some for my own wardrobe as I lack coat hangers then a heap in my gift cupboard. I like to keep my gift cupboard good and full and build it up as we head towards Christmas. Thanks so much Nancy, love Annabelxxx

  5. Hope you are not storing that water bottle in a warm environment. They need cool and dark.

  6. Annabel
    Oh my!! Tom is just gorgeous :)
    I am so glad it has been a better week for you with Lucy recovering and the excitement now for Chloe and the baby.
    We have had a long weekend/ holiday here, so we are at home getting on with chores around the house & garden.
    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    With love, Heidi xxx

    1. Dear Heidi, Thank you! A long weekend is great for getting extra stuff done around the home. Enjoy your weekend too! With love Annabel.xxx

  7. That Tom is just adorable!! Our headlines are exactly like yours. I am thankful to know the One who sees it all and cares for us.

    We were home attending to our container garden and doing all the things needing to be done for Spring this week. It gets the work done and saves the gas.

    1. Dear Lana, Thank you! Getting into the garden and planing etc is the best thing to be doing right now. We have the same issue with the price of fuel etc. Every trip I do we combine so much into that one trip then I aim to stay home as long as possible. I am giving the mailman a work out though delivering things as I am ordering in a lot of stock. Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  8. Good morning Annabel and Bluebirds,
    Gosh little Thomas has grown, what a dear wee boy his, please thank Chloe for sharing the photos
    You have had another busy week. I love your coathangers they will be beautiful gifts that I am sure the recipient will love. I am waiting in the car while my DP does the weekly shop. We have this arrangement because I find supermarkets a stressful place and he doesn't. It works well for us.
    We are going to be having a home ventilation system installed in our home next month which will remove condensation and make it warmer and drier to heat. While it will cost just over $4300 upfront it is only $1 a week to run. I have wanted to have this installed for a number of years so am thrilled it is finally going ahead. In the summer we can use it to cool the house. It also has a facility to remove cooking smells. Condensation is a big problem for us and I dread winter because of it. This will make the world of difference to our health and wellbeing. It will be in in time for the worst of winter.
    I have had a few days off work with a sore throat, chest and coughing but am much better today. Fortunately all COVID RATs were negative,phew.
    Tomorrow I am having lunch with my good friend who is visiting from her home town for the weekend, which I am looking forward to.
    I love seeing photos of your farm Annabel, it looks such a beautiful place to live.
    Thank you for all your information and ideas on being prepared for life events. Each week we add something to our pantry and supplies to make sure we have enough in times of need. We are mindful to leave some for others as well.
    It is cold but beautiful here today, having been done to -1C last night. The Southern Alps have had another good dumping of snow on them.
    Have a happy and safe weekend everyone.

    Mandy (NZ)

    1. Dear Mandy,
      Condensation is not good and that much moisture can lead to mould... so the ventilation system sounds very good.
      Thank you very much re Tom and my coat hangers!
      Your steady/consistent way of stocking up and being prepared is really the best way. It is part of life. The things we do week by week just add up so much! The Alps covered in snow must be beautiful. No snow anywhere near us but we can get down to about -4 overnight but that is not that often. Enjoy your weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  9. Little Tom is a mini-farm boy :) So cute! I love the pic of him with the calf. The lambs are precious. Nice greenhouse you got. Chloe's due soon - how exciting! You'll have 5 grandies!! I like your car emergency kits a lot...great ideas. We've moved to Oklahoma and I had to buy myself a compass as I'm trying to learn my directions again ;p

    1. Dear Mary, I know this move was something you've been wanting to do so congratulations! It is a big job moving! I hope you are soon set up well and learning your new location. Very exciting! With love Annabel.xxx

  10. Dear Annabel, thank you for such a beautiful post. I am so inspired by the way you help your family. I am very happy to hear Lucy is at home. Those meals are wonderful. I love how Scarlett asked you to mend her leggings, she already gets it! The photos of little Thomas are absolutely adorable. It made my heart so happy to see them. Can you tell Chloe thank you for sharing them? As it really gives me hope for the future when I see children so happy. He is definitely going to be a farmer! He clearly loves it. Thank you for your wise words and advice. I must prepare much more. I will write lists this weekend and I will sit with my husband to talk them over. I have been trying different meals and trying to learn to cook low cost meals as I think this is a good skill. I am still shocked when I see a lettuce for $7. Everything that can be grown must be grown, so I really need to add more and more to my garden. I am thinking of getting a bike, perhaps I can ride with the children to school, even a short distance seems to cost a lot in petrol. I was to be as self reliant as possible. Lots of love, Lily

    1. Dear Lily,
      Thank you so much! When at my house we have mended various items and Scarlett is very impressed by the sewing machine. Now she saves mending for me! Thank you for your words about Thomas! He is so mad keen on everything it is beautiful to see. Lily yes discuss and plan. Small actions each day make a difference. We have these prices a cauliflower is $8 etc. I saw a nice beef roast it was $99! Andy and I go out to play with the dogs late afternoon and this is a talking time. Last night we started figuring out some plans for next week. We agreed to implement some quite big projects but that we think we might be running out of opportunity to do. This time is special as we can still get stuff but we dont think it will last. So this week is important. Its amazing though what we can decide on when we sit down and figure it out together. Your garden is a huge asset for sure! With love Annabel.xx

  11. Dear Annabel, I am so glad you had a better week and have a bit of time to restock before bubs arrival. Your photos of Thomas the little farmer - so beautiful (thanks Chloe). I have been thinking about the same things you have written about in your post this week. We have a wood fire which is a great start, however without electricity (the fan on the wood heater to push the heat around) most of our house would be fairly cold. We recently bought our daughter a new Double sized bed. Which interestingly was really hard to get, seems DB is not very sought after size anymore. When we picked up the bed I also purchased her a woolen underlay and new woolen doona. The shop also had a new black pure wool blanket for $160, I left it for another time as I had already gone over budget. Yesterday I found a pure wool blanket which was aqua (her favorite color) for $25 in a local opp shop. I have already washed it up. So I am now looking though my bedding supplies and thinking, what do I need to keep us warm if the power went out. Our first home together was very cold. In winter we regularly pulled the queen sized mattress of our spare bed and "camped" inside in the lounge room next to the fire. I am not worried about cooking outside because we have a lot of camping equipment. We are lucky as we live rurally and have access to wood and if it came to it we would cook on an open fire in our yard. If anyone lives in town and is worried and doesn't know where to start, there is a lady in America called Rosered homestead on youtube who does weekly cooking without power practices in an urban environment which are very informative. I am trying to push on and push the worries away. I think it is kind of a shock to see the issues you, myself, all the bluebirds and others have been talking about start being reported in the mainstream media. I have got a mix of medicine and vitamins that are really helping my Ross River Fever symptoms and am mostly ache free. I just cannot go as fast as I would like or I crash. Take care everyone, just keep going, every little bit helps. Love Clare
    P.S just an added thought for any bluebirds with little children - if you are able to get a snow suit, we used to go camping in the middle of winter and I would put a snow suit on my daughter over whatever she was wearing and she was always snuggly warm and never caught a cold. This could work just as well at home. Also as I said above our old house was so cold that until she was 9 years old I always bought thick full onesies for pajamas. She is now 15 and recently asked for one lol. I said OK but didn't know where to even start looking for one that size and it went out of my mind. Well for $5, the week before I found that blanket in another opp shop I found a pink onesie in her size that says you are Mootiful and has cow feet. She LOVES it. In telling you this story I realize how blessed I am. That is definitely God looking out for me because it is beyond lucky, it's miraculous.

    1. Dear Clare, I am so glad the vitamins are working and you are in less pain. Aching is just awful. Probably keeping warm would be good and heat packs. I am so happy you found a pure wool blanket! They cost a fortune now! That was a great find. I think getting the wooden underlay was a really good idea. The really do keep you warmer and also something this thick keeps your new mattress brand new too. It was amazing you found a onesie!! That was fantastic. I think Peter Alexander has done adult ones but they would be pretty pricy! (Still... they have some really good sales sometimes...)
      I love RoseRed! I only more recently found her! She is amazing. I just watched the one about feminine hygiene... ie prepping for these needs. It was excellent! You are well set up for cooking and also for wood for fuel. This is a big plus with living in the country... we can never fun out of fuel for the fire we just go collect some more. You are doing the right thing... dont worry just prepare. As you noticed God will help! He even cares for our little needs and wants even down to your daughters wish! If we combine faith with being busy like an ant as the Bible tells us then we are in a very good place!
      Go along steadily and dont over do it Clare. With much love Annabel.xxx

  12. Annabel, it has been too long since I've commented, but I read your post faithfully and all the comments and am so appreciative of all the good ideas and encouragement you give. I'm sorry you and your family have been through so many troubles recently what with injuries to your SILs, Lucy's surgery and complications, and the tummy bug. I'm so happy everyone is on the mend and your beautiful, productive lives are humming along now busily like the bees are here. Your hangers are beautiful and you have accomplished so much to build up your home in recent months! The incubator, the greenhouse, so many new additions that are taking things up a notch. Your hangers are stunning. Truly. Let me just say that Tom is beautiful and how wonderful that he is such a big helper and animal lover. I bet all your "puppies" love him too. How fulfilling is it to be mending clothes for your granddaughter? Sweet! And it won't be long until you'll have another little soul to love. Life is good there Annabel. No matter what the headlines scream or the bad people try to bring us down with, life is good and God is greater than the darkness. Thank you for the light you bring to us each week.xo

    Our deep pantries give us the gift of peace over and over again. I'm so glad that when I first heard "pandemic" I went shopping and did a big build up. I continue to replace what we use and add a bit more every week or two. Recently, Walmart had Ball canning jars with lids and rings for a great price so I stocked up. I bought 2 dozen quart size jars (1 wide mouth 1 regular), 1 dozen quart size, 1 dozen pint size, and 1 dozen jelly size plus several boxes of lids and one large box of lids with seals for $65 US. I was so very happy about that. I've already filled up 7 of the quart size jars with dried split peas, dried bean soup beans with seasonings, dried navy beans, and pearled barley.

    We had a special occasion to go to last month, quite formal, and I found a cocktail dress to wear to it at the thrift store for $15! It needed a wee bit of mending, but was good as new after that. This was a huge blessing because my husband needed a new suit so this offset that cost. I also found a few pair of brand new shoes at the thrift store for $10 or under.

    Thanks to freezer meals already prepared, I was able to quickly pull together a meal for daughter and SIL when they came over to shower while dealing with a major plumbing issue. Today I had soup from freezer for lunch, one of my favorite things to eat for lunch. I made refrigerator dill pickles from Faye Henry's recipe (blessed hearth blog). They are wonderful!

    Our raised bed garden is about 3/4 planted. I still have bean seeds to sow and a few other things. I added to my herb bed and added more variety of tomato plants. We are adding a flower garden bed down the outside of the fence around our garden. I'm enjoying having cut flowers in my house that I'm getting from my rose bushes. The flower bed will expand that joy! We invested in 5 David Austin bare root roses this year and they are paying for themselves every day. I love them!

    I am in Tennessee US and we really aren't experiencing any shortages to speak of in our stores. Honestly, we haven't since those early days of COVID. We are fortunate in that as it keeps costs from really skyrocketing. The prices are up quite a lot though. I was glad this week to find ground chuck for $2.99 a pound and I bought 7 large skinless boneless chicken breasts for $11. DH grilled 3 of them which made the base of 2 meals for us. The other 4 I cooked in the crockpot and put in the freezer to use for soups and casseroles. Anytime I can get the meat for 2 meals plus a pot of soup and a good sized casserole for $11 I am pleased!

    I would like to add to my collection of pots for plants so I think I'm going to put the word out and hope I get some from friends and family. I'm trying to grow more in containers and it feels good to get another pot of something edible growing! Thank you for inspiring me each week! -CarlaM xxx

    1. Dear Carla, Thank you for your report which Ive enjoyed so much! You did wonderfully to get the cocktail dress and shoes! I am sure you looked beautiful!
      I hope you end up with lots of pots. I am still hoping to add more containers to my garden. So many things make a good "pot" too. I am finding my big containers are just producing so much better than anything in the ground.
      Your freezer meals also came to the rescue! Thank you too for mentioning
      the blog and recipe. I love finding a new blog to check out! It was so good you got those jars!! I would have done the same! I know it was hard to get them plus lids. A good investment! Have a lovely weekend and many thanks, with love Annabel.xxx

  13. Hello and best wishes to you, Annabel, and all of the Bluebirds. What wonderful pictures this week!

    I would like to encourage anyone who didn't see the original preparedness series to look them up in the index as Annabel suggested. I've always been pretty prepared--thought I was, anyway--and Annabel's series really inspired me to get serious about it. As a result, I have a week's worth of ready meals in the freezer and bought a generator and connected it to the natural gas line, plus a few other things I've forgotten right now!

    Annabel, I usually freeze lasagna unbaked and thaw and bake it as needed. This week I made two meatloaves, baked one and froze the other unbaked (ready meals again). I have found it slices better if it is well chilled or frozen before baking.

    We have had a cool and wet spring. My tiny vegetable garden is planted and the seeds are starting to sprout! I planted Blue Lake bush beans and one hill of zucchini. I also planted tomatoes, bell peppers and lettuce that I started from seed. The only thing I bought was onion sets.

    1. Dear Maxine, Thank you re my series. I would urge anyone too... in 30 days you really can revolutionise your preparedness position. Im so glad you put so many things into action. It is such a help! Your garden sounds very promising! It is exciting when seeds are coming up! The meatloaves sound great, I love meatloaf. Each time you add a ready to go meal to the freezer I think it is just going to be so handy and helpful to have. Many thanks Maxine, with love Annabel.xxx

  14. Hello Annabel, hello bluebirds. I am glad you had a nice week - Tom is so handsome and already hardworking - thank Chloe for pictures. The lambs, the calves, the baby chicks - all beautiful. Thank you for your advice, we have those headlines here all over, too. And scary prices for food, for utilities, for fuel. A few days I went to work riding my beloved bike, named Honey. I also have to rethink our budget as some unexpected tragedies have happened. We have the wife of our nephew in England urgently in hospital because of a bad apendicities and can not have surgical procedure because she has Covid. All their family have it, including the little 1 year old Nicholas. The big tragedy is the sudden death of my brother in law only 57y old. It was heart attack while he was watering the garden. His son ,' s wedding was fixed for 19th June - two weeks from now. All the family is in shock, we will drive 400 km to their city not for a wedding but for a funeral. He was a well respected, published all over the world and Sorbona doctorand in math scients so he will be paid the last repects in the Aula of UBB University in Cluj Napoca on monday. God rest his soul. Please pray for his family. Take good care and live in the present, enjoy every moment, every person,because you never know. Laura_s_world from Romania

    1. Dear Laura, I am so sorry for your families loss and also for your nephews wife being so unwell. I hope she is soon well enough for this surgery she needs. Riding your bike to work when the weather is good is a great idea. Have a safe trip Laura. With much love, Annabel.xxx

  15. A quiet week for me, not a lot achieved, but it's nice to read of others gains.
    Thomas already looks like a calm confident farmer.
    Like Lily I am thinking about getting a bike, I travel by bus and they are becoming less and less reliable and the fares are only going to go up. A bike would make me less dependent as well as being cheaper. I have to work out where to store it though.
    I completed the shawl, hat, fingerless mitts combo, they have been put away for winter use.
    I bought a lovely big bedspread (comforter) in a charity shop, it has crocheted flowers on it, which are only stitched down in the middle, I want to stitch the edges down, but that's a job for winter!
    My garden has not been successful, but I shall carry on trying and be thankful that for the moment at least, I can still afford to eat.

    Have a good week everyone.

    1. Dear Su, We recently saw a lady in a street in the city. She was unfolding a bike to get on it. I was fascinated. But it unfolded into a very good bike and off she went. So maybe something like this could help you out.
      The shawl set sounds beautiful! I just love the sound of the bedspread!! Good on you for continuing to try in the garden. Container gardening imported my success. And watching you tube videos. I like Hollis and Nancy... whatever I want to grow I first see how Hollis and Nancy do it. Ive imported a lot thanks to them! Many thanks Su, With love Annabelxxx

  16. I am slowly figuring out how I can garden here without the deep digging tools one might have (I don't). But I have an unused patio, containers of all sorts, a ready water supply, the area gets plenty of sun. Now to get soil and get to work at this task of growing. So far, I've five tomato plants and quite a few seeds I can plant. I made an additional entree for the freezer this week. I try to double a recipe or makeover leftovers to make extra food for the freezer. This coming week, I'll be making up a beef pot pie for the freezer using leftover roast beef and gravy. We were doing yardwork at the house in town. There are lots of landscape blocks and bricks and old planter pots that aren't wanted. I am slowly bringing those things home with me each time I go there to work. I told John, it's not really free if you have to work as hard as I must to get it but all it costs is labor and that's a never ending resource at present, lol. Took the grandsons to get library cards and books and treated them to ice cream. Am having dinner with my daughter and smallest grandson this weekend. I've painted over my old front porch furniture and hung a hummingbird feeder out there. I planted a load of flower seeds and many have sprouted. I took cuttings of coleus plants and rooted them. They are ready to plant. I also clipped peppermint to root. I'm going to propogate all I can from what I have this year. I had one hydrangea two years ago, now I have three. I plan to start another one or two this summer as well as more rosemary. If we just look about us, there are many things we can do to create more and save.

    1. Dear Terri,
      Overall my best success with veggies has been in containers. Its very encouraging actually! Good job on the extra meals into then freezer.
      Oh I love the sound of planter pots and things to bring home! They could be really useful!
      Your front porch work is just beautiful. I would love to see a hummingbird. I am a bird nut as you know. All your garden and outside work is fantastic and must be adding up so much. Very productive week Terri! With love Annabelxxx

  17. Dear Annabel and Beautiful Bluebirds,
    I am so glad you have had a better week and that Lucy is home and doing well!
    The photos are beautiful, as always. Love your adorable grandson and all of the animals.
    It has been a good week here, as well, although my heart breaks for the children teachers and families affected by the school shootings in Texas.
    I bought quite a bit at one of the grocery stores using their "pick-up" service so that you place the order online then they bring it to your car. They had coupons to get $15 off if you spent $75 or more for using pick-up and also got 500 gas points (50 cents off a gallon). I combined this with 10% off senior day and some other coupons, so I got about $100 of items for a little more than $50. Later, I bought two gift cards for places we shop and received quadruple gas points. We filled both of our vehicles and a couple gas cans, getting $1.00 off of the 35 gallon maximum purchase.
    My cupboards, closets and freezers are quite full. My dear friend and neighbor continues sharing extras from the food pantries and I also keep finding food, clothing and other helpful things on the Buy Nothing Group, sales, etc. I want to make room in the freezers to freeze some containers of water so things will be more likely to keep cold if we experience the rolling blackouts that might happen this summer. I have been wanting a battery operated fan and found one on Buy Nothing that works quite well and can use either batteries or be plugged in.
    Your enchiladas sound yummy! I have been thinking I would like to make some chicken enchiladas which are a favorite of ours. I have all of the ingredients on hand, so they will likely be on the menu soon.
    With love from Arizona,

    1. Dear Elaine, Even here we are affected by these shootings. My heart broke and my blood boiled it took a mother to go into the school to save her kids as no one else would. Good for her. I am doing orders online and we call it click and collect. Andy collects and they bring it out to the car. For big loads and heavy stuff this is a lot easier. You had great deals with yours and good savings on the gas.
      Your full freezers should stay frozen solid for days. This is the key.. keep them full. I love your Buy Nothing Group and battery fans are wonderful to have. I have several now and think they would be a lifesaver in the heat with no power.
      I am making enchiladas again this weekend! I like how they freeze perfectly. So I will do a big cook up! You had a really good week! With love Annabel.xx

  18. Annabel how lovely that Lucy is home and recovering and you were able to help her until she had recovered. Little Tom is so cute and very interested in the animals and not the least bit afraid either as most country children are when bought up around animals.

    Your coat hangers are beautiful as is your cooking for the freezer to top up your freezer meals. Good idea with your first aid kits for the cars as you never know when you will need them in the country :).

    The news reports aren't good on all the continued price rises on just about everything (eek on the doubling of power prices in what I read NSW and Qld and no doubt will affect other states too found in this news report - https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/energy-crisis-power-bills-set-to-soar-by-100-per-cent-012335924.html.

    Storing fuels such as gas for BBQ's, firewood for heating the home and having spare jerry cans of fuel are a good to have as alternative means of cooking and or heating of the home. I will mention that there is a fuel preserver for both normal fuels and diesel that extends the life of fuel in storage called Fuel Doctor so that you will be able to keep you normal fuels for up to 24 months and diesel fuels up to 5 years. Good to have a bit of spare fuel just in case in the home and of course look at the local guides on how much you can store and how to store fuels in your home safely. There is also another fuel preservative called Stabil too. Fuel Doctor you can get in industrial strength so you only use half the amount so therefor is more cost effective too.

    In the kitchen -
    - Washed and diced the capsicums we picked from the gardens that made 6 double meal sized portions for the freezer.
    - Made all meals from scratch.
    - Baked 4 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread maker saving $13.96 over buying them locally.

    Purchases -
    - Bought a combination of 8 Sistema and other storage containers for the sewing room to organise the room better on mostly half price specials saving $57.75 on usual prices.
    - Purchased a 2lt of dairy farmers chocolate milk on markdown from $4.40 to $2.60 saving another $1.80 on usual prices.

    Finances -
    - Paid 2 extra part payments off our mortgage.
    - Added a little extra to our home emergency fund.

    In the gardens -
    - Harvested 1.155 kg of capsicums from the gardens saving $10.00 over buying them in the local supermarkets.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :).


    1. Dear Lorna,
      Thank you for telling me about this fuel preserver. I think this is a great thing and we are looking into it now. Petrol having the shorter shelve life has always been a concern to me. All week I feel the headlines like the one you mentioned continued. They are telling us straight out about prices and to expect rolling blackouts. Now I see the weekend is set to be very very cold. This will test the system. With food, interest rates... it keeps piling up. All you have done since day one of moving onto your property is going to be really paying off.
      Your extra meals for the freezer, beautiful Capsicums and homemade bread all sound delicious. I love Capsicum they are so sweet and good.
      You have reminded me to check the gas tanks for the BBQ.
      I feel there is a lot to think of right now, things are sure developing fast. The garden will be paying off so much... I am hearing friends paying over $10 EACH for lettuces (although they probably just pass them over) and also egg shortages. I already bought ahead a lot of seeds fro Spring as I think a lot of people will be thinking they need to plant even if they never have before.
      Many thanks Lorna, With love Annabel.xxx

  19. Dear Annabel,
    I'm glad Lucy is back home and everyone is doing well this week. I love the pics of Farmer Tom! How cute and happy he looks in the middle of it all. James is also now very excited by the chickens.
    We had a good, full week. We had a trip to the beach, which was very nice. It is an hour away, and as gas prices are so high, we ran some errands beforehand while we were in the city. We mailed some packages, made some returns, and did a big stock up at Sam's Club. I loaded up on toiletries and laundry supplies in bulk. Everything was on sale, and I saved over $50, which more than covered the gas.
    After the beach, I always stop at a particular thrift store on the way home. I found some books and flash cards for the boys and some board games that will also double as homeschool materials. As we are homeschooling this year, the lady at the register kindly gave me a teacher discount.
    At home I did lots of sorting and decluttering in two rooms. Our home dynamic has changed, as a few months ago Colton's grandfather was put in the nursing home after a bad fall and subsequent health issues. Colton's family are in the process of sorting through his things, so I moved some of our things around to make it easier for them.
    I cleaned and organized our two freezers. Now I know what we have and what needs to be used or replenished.
    Our grocery store had a sale on gift cards to the home improvement store. If you bought a $100 gift card, you got a free $15 grocery gift card. We bought two, as we have some homesteading projects coming up and the money would have been spent anyway.
    Colton hung the gate he built for the chicken run, so now our chickens are happily free ranging once again.
    I watched Cath's video and I'm now being extra careful to stretch what I have and not waste. Due to some major oversight on my part, I ran out of trash bags! Of course I realized this when my trash was full and I needed another bag. Determined to make do, I thought about what I should do. Then I realized I had feed bags in the shed so I went and got one of those for my kitchen. I thought, why would I throw this empty bag away and then go buy empty bags to fill up with trash to throw away? Makes no sense. So I am trying to look at things in a different way.
    I hope everyone has a good weekend and is able to build up their homes during these trying times.
    Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey, Your trip to the beach sounds wonderful. Combining errands and saving so much at Sams Club you did really get that trip for free!
      I am so sorry about Grandfathers fall! This is a big change for your family. The gift card deal was very good. Good thinking!
      Kelsey never was there a better time to have your chickens and gardens and all you have established! Cath's videos have been wonderful! (For anyone reading The Cheapskates Club on you tube.)
      You are doing really well. I love that you are going to be homeschooling! With much love Annabel.xxx

  20. This week:
    Worked 12 hours of overtime
    Traded auction finds for canning jars with my best friend (rather than paying each other.)

    All veg planted except for cucumbers. Was going to do that today but we've had rain all afternoon.
    Used old hay to mulch the garden.
    Transplanted 3 volunteer tomatoes into the tomato garden.

    Canned pineapple and tropical fruit; potatoes and ground beef this week.
    Did a Sam's Club shop and stocked up on salt and spices for the pantry.
    DS2 had a shelving unit in his garage that he didn't want. I brought it home. DH needs to reinforce the shelves and I will use it for pantry extras in the basement.
    Ordered and received a 6-gal bucket of wheat berries.
    Ordered a can of freeze-dried mozzarella cheese.
    Vacuum-sealed pasta in jars for long-term storage.

    DH is researching a generator for the house & well.
    He is also preparing to talk to the well company on resurrecting our old shallower well and putting in a hand-pump. (We have cattle that will need water if the electricity goes out for a long time.)
    I bought some totes to hold dry goods and other household items, like my garden seeds.
    Bought a year's supply of laundry soap sheets (dehydrated laundry soap) for Ddil and myself. These are much easier to store than a year's worth of soap in bottles.

    Saving $$:
    Took my lunch most days and one day I met a friend for lunch. We both had enough punches on our cards for a free meal. Another night Dh & I used a promotion card to get one of our meals for free.
    Took my own drinks to work so did not have to buy coffee or bottled water.
    Made dgd's 3rd bday cupcakes at home. We decorated them when I babysat so another "free" activity. (The highlight, getting to eat a (half) spoonful of the frosting. The simple joys of childhood.)
    Dh diagnosed his tractor battery problem. Not a defective alternator ($$$$) but probably a battery with a bad cell. ($$)
    He got the hay baled BEFORE the rains this weekend, the cattle will have hay this winter (at least 1 cutting's worth.)

    PS Happy to hear Lucy is better. Loved the photos of Thomas. He's adorable. I've been hearing how hard it is for you there. I've been praying for you and your family. *hug*

    1. Dear Kay, You really worked hard doing 12 hours of overtime! Seriously this would set you far ahead for the week! I love your trade as well!
      Fantastic work in your garden and pantry! Also the extra shelves will be so good to have!
      Kay tell your DH that we experienced a whole state blackout. When that happened there was not a generator to be bought for nearly a year. Beat any power disruptions as then they are gone. We have now been told to expect rolling blackouts. From this Andy and I knew... the minute these begin then the generators, jerry cans etc will be sold out. We made a list of anything we can buy at this late hour. Soon everyone will be thinking the same thing...
      The hand pump would be fantastic to have. A really wise investment.
      Beating the rain and getting the hay bailed was brilliant. We can relate to this... we love rain but there are times we want it to hold off! Having bales of hay is like the pantry... better than money in the bank.
      I loved reading about your week and you achieved so much. Many thanks Kay, With love Annabel.xxx

  21. Hi Annabel & Bluebirds

    Annabel you certainly have had a very difficult time these past few weeks and I am sorry for the loss of you Uncle. I have been catching up on all the posts and sometimes I had to reread what I had read as I was in disbelief with what was happening, all the hospital visits, injuries. I do hope that everyone is going ok.

    Well it has taken me awhile to catch up with everything.
    Unfortunately DD an I had Covid for the first time as it was doing the rounds at school and this was right before we were heading away but luckily we were fine to go as it was the week before we headed off. It has taken awhile to get back to normality as some days things are harder to get done than others. I was very thankful to a friend who looked after us and was able to deliver a few groceries to us, as we had to them during their lock down.

    DD turned 12 whilst we were away as her present was a holiday with many experiences and the surprise was that her cousin and partner flew up to meet us for 5 days. It was so great to spend family time together.

    Thomas has grown so much and looks the part feeding the animals, such a natural little helper.

    I bet you are all looking forward to Chloe giving birth in a few weeks. So exciting when there is a new life welcomed into the world.

    Each week you delight us readers with photos of your animals, family and things going on around your farm...it is a joy to see all these pictures, You have come so far since moving to the farm and I love every minute of being able to be part of your sharing. Your photos of the animals and seeing them grow is so beautiful. Your food photos are an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing this with us all.

    Here in Central Queensland the mornings are fresh but the days are lovely and warm but we are expecting a cold snap from Thursday onwards with temps dipping to about 6 overnight and up in the hills will be colder. I have noticed a few foggy mornings lately.

    This week will see a few slow cooked meals and some leftovers from these go back into our freezer as we used a few when we had Covid. I was so grateful that I had them as we had nourishing meals with no effort as otherwise I may not have eaten or eaten well.

    Wishing everyone a wonderful week

    Take Care
    Aly xxx

    1. Hi Aly! So sorry you were both sick! I hope now you are completely recovered. I am just amazed DD is 12!! I remember her being so little! It sounds like it was a very special holiday for her Birthday.
      I am re stocking my freezer too as the meals go quickly during a crisis or sickness! But wow they are so helpful at the time. Thank you for your very kind words Aly. It really has been a journey we have been on!. With much love Annabel.xxx


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