Feather your Nest Friday, 16th September, 2022.

We are having some beautiful Spring rain.   The paddocks are green and the lambs are fat.   This is one of my pair who are both looking beautiful and spend all day eating.

It was a week of increase as one of my hens hatched six beautiful little chickens.

Today I went in to town.  Going to town is a whole day affair but it was worth it as I ran a lot of errands and stocked up at the grocery store and butcher.  I took eight Rosemary plants that I had potted up to leave at the swap tables.  I came home with a big bag of Lemons.  Or maybe Grapefruit.   They smell like Lemons...   

Either way I'm thrilled with them!  

I kept making crochet flowers until I ran out of suitable lace.   I ended up with a sea of pinks...

And a sea of blues...

The laces I have left are smaller bits or too delicate.... so I think next week I am going to try and use them in some card making.

Last Sunday I went through my fabrics and selected some suitable to make some bibs for Chloe's boys.   Then I did some cutting out with the idea that if I have them cut out ready to sew this would get me sewing.   It worked!  Every day (except today because of going to town) I sewed for at least 15 minutes. 

My ten Bantam chicks needed to go into a bigger coop.   This caused me to re arrange my chickens most of Monday and Tuesday.  Now all laying (or meant to be) hens are in the big hen house and run.    All Bantams are in the hen house in the orchard.  

Quail are in a big old low coop we fixed up.   And the small houses have the new chickens and another is in reserve for whatever I hatch next!    (Which looks like it will be Guinea Fowl as Chloe's are laying!)    The little coops are very cute and have sweet little windows. 
These are there so dogs can closely watch the action, apparently.

Zackie spends HOURS watching the chickens.   

When it wasn't raining we did a lot of weeding.   I have been giving all the chickens masses of green goodness every day.

So back to today.  I went to the nursery hoping to find seedlings I am after and it was good timing as they had just had a delivery.   It was beautiful!   New trays of all kinds of Pumpkins,  Zucchini,  Tomatoes and things I want were just unloaded.   There was an old man there and he selected some zucchini when I saw a new tray that had bigger ones,  one to a pot.   But now and then there were two or three in a pot,  for the same price.  I pointed this out to him and he dropped the ones he had like hot cakes and we carefully went through the better ones.   We struck gold finding four pots that had four plants rather than one.  We split our success taking two pots each.  He was so thrilled.   Then we did the same thing with the Tomatoes.... most had six per punnet.   But now and then there were some with seven.  And then we found some with eight.    It was really fun helping him and I think he more than doubled his money.     I came home with a beautiful tray of seedlings... so you know what I will be doing over the weekend.   With luck they will get rained in as well.   I do have a fair few seeds planted also but I am hedging my bets and planting all I can. 

I have been preserving or putting away food everyday.  I will save my list for Monday's #everybitcountschallenge  post. 

With all things British in focus this week I thought I would share a you tube channel I just love.   Jane and Mike are a British couple living in France and they share how they save and manage on a low income.  A lot of what they share is very similar to how we were brought up here in Australia.   Take a look at Want to save Money? Live like the British.   If you enjoy this they have heaps of great videos, I have been watching one every night.   They are also extremely funny!   

How did you build up your home this week?  Do you have any favourite You Tube channels that could benefit other Bluebirds?  Do tell! xxxx



  1. I watch the Frugal Queen 👑 in France too. Doug and Stacy off Grid on You Tube interesting as well. Your plants look healthy, great find. Happy Weekend Bluebirds.

    1. Thank you! I like Doug and Stacy as well! xxx

  2. I’ve followed Jane and Mike for years - long before they moved to France! They are a very practical and inspiring couple.

    1. Oh then I need to work backwards and find the old ones! Thank you!xxx

  3. I like Whippoorwill Holler’s You Tube channel. Lots of good old fashioned recipes , garden tips and living frugally on a small homestead.

    1. Thank you! I will check them out! xxx

  4. My sister used to live in a house with a lemon tree that had lemons that looked like grapefruit. If that is what you have then you hit the jackpot! Those lemons were the best ever and I sure miss having them.

    1. Thanks Lana, Mum says they are lemons too. They are lovely and juicy. I think I did hit the jackpot! xxx

  5. Everything is just beautiful Annabel! We really long for chickens but just haven't put the effort into them. I know we can, it seems we always have other fires to put out. Today I'm canning some simple chicken soup. I cooked the chicken and we ate meat and potatoes, took that broth and some more meat and made the children chicken taco soup. Then I made bone broth and I'm canning it with some carrots, spices and a bit of the leftover meat for a simple soup to keep for lunches. All from 1 chicken! I also made our bread for the weekend. I did the math and by purchasing my flour in 50lb sacks I think a loaf is probably about 60 cents to make. Keeps the kiddos full especially with soup meals. I'm continuing to pick green beans and tomatoes to can. We are back to homeschooling but I confess I'll prioritizing food preservation. I love Ruth Ann Zimmerman. I think her YouTube is Homesteading with the Zimmermans. She's a wealth of knowledge and has a Mennonite background so much old heritage and techniques! Blessings to you all. These posts give me a lot of hope and joy!
    Love Jesse

    1. Dear Jesse,
      Thsank you for your you tube suggestion and I am going to check her out!
      I think with your veggie garden and also home schooling that chickens would fit in well. When you are veggie garden the greens left over, roots, spent plants, all of it is checked feed so I am hoping you can add chickens as this would add to your food security and "pantry" as it is continuously adding food to the home. You did so well with the broth, soup and also you are doing wonderfully with your bread! Thank you for your kind words! Have a great new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  6. Annabel your flowers are gorgeous and I wanted to say they'd make perfect hairbows for a little girl. Just add a clip!

    1. Thank you! I even have some clips on hand. I am sewing them on to hats as well.xxx

  7. Annabel, everything looks so green and lush at your farm! And what an adorable little lamb. Perfectly white :) It's amazing what you can find if you take the time to dig a little deeper and look a little harder - well done on those beautiful seedlings. It's still too early to plant tomatoes and zucchinis straight out into the garden (we can get frosts up until November in the ACT), but I've got the seeds in covered trays on my deck and hoping that plenty will take. This week I put a couple of things into my trolley for Christmas and the summer holidays. Trying to get ahead there too.
    I look forward to watching the Youtubers you recommended - I love being inspired like that. Have a wonderful weekend.
    Blessings, Kirsty x

    1. Dear Kirsty,
      Thank you! It is great to get ahead for Christmas and summer. It spreads the cost out too. I hope your seeds do well and will be ready for planting once you are past the frosts. I didnt not know you could get frosts that late!
      I hope you enjoyed the British saving tips. I love you tubers who are teaching good things but do it in such a fun and happy way! Have a very good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  8. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    Those flowers are so gorgeous, Annabel - one day I am going to overcome my fear of crochet and just do it! The animals are all so sweet, too. You had a good week!

    This week was less busy with fewer places to go and just one appointment, so I was able to have a baking day (muffins and bread, and spaghetti sauce) and go by the store for some fresh produce and dairy. For the challenge, to the household pantry I added some cleaning supplies and purchased a carpet shampooer on clearance - I read that it is so important to keep carpets clean if someone is immunocompromised from taking a medication, like chemotherapy - so now I will be able to make sure our carpets are very clean and fresh! I was also able to get a bunch of stoma supply samples for free and so my husband can see which kind he likes the best. All of the linens got a good wash, and I started on cleaning out and organizing the garage - it's not terrible, but we have a lot of cardboard from packages and things out of place. My new job started this week, too, and I am covering for the old one until someone is hired, so it has been interesting - please know I am really grateful to have this opportunity and will do my very best, it is just a time of transition that is a little wild right now.

    The appointment was a follow-up with the surgeon, who is very pleased with how well my husband is healing. Wonderful news and an answered prayer! He won't be allowed to lift anything for about another month, but he is allowed to go visit his horse (no riding) and drive if he would like - both of those things will help his spirits! And mine, too. Speaking of spirits, I picked up my cross stitch for the first time in weeks and made some progress on a Xmas ornament. I had forgotten how much stitching helps soothe and calm, and will try to find a little time for that a little more often.

    Our electric bill was shocking this month, and I am curious if others are seeing the same thing? (I'm in Oklahoma, US.) One good thing, though, is that gasoline is less expensive now.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

    1. Dear Kathy, I want to help you get started in crochet because it would be very helpful to you now especially when waiting at appointments etc. It makes a lot of difference when you are anxious, waiting times....
      I am not sure if you know any but use you tube and learn to chain then single and double stitches. I started just working a mile of chain. If you get this far let me know and I will help you!
      I am so glad you got your baking day! Also that there was only one app to attend and that it went so well! I think your husband being able to drive, go see his horse... this will be wonderful for him.
      I can say this electric bill thing is pretty much world wide. I am getting so many emails and comments and seeing in the news. And this is in milder weather not mid winter. Electricity rationing will be coming to much of the world. If you think about it extreme prices naturally cause rationing.
      Have a good weekend and work some chain stitch! :) With much love Annabel.xxx

    2. If you use cotton yarn, you can coil the chain and sew it together. This will make things like hot pads, coasters, even a rug. Learning to crochet is so worthwhile. Good luck.

    3. Thank you for the encouragement, Annabel! We have some appointments tomorrow and I am going to bring some yarn and a crochet hook and see how I get on with crocheting a chain.

      Christine, that is a great idea. Thanks for the suggestion. I even have a few skeins of cotton in my knitting stash, so I can try it right away!

      Hope you both have a great day,

  9. Annabel your little chicks, now some what bigger,are just gorgeous.
    We are having some wonderful spring days here,also.
    This afternoon I plan on getting out in the garden to finish the back garden tidy up. There is only about an hour to do. I will also plant some new strawberry plants.
    The lawn will need to be mowed,wow has it grown in two weeks. I hope to buy and plant some new lettuce seedlings as well. These will take about six weeks to grow but are at less risk of frosts now the weather is warming up.
    I will also try and bake. At this stage I am thinking ginger crunch, for the week. I may also do some banana chocolate chip muffins.
    The bibs are so delightful and I love, love, love your crochet flowers.
    I may also try and visit a few op shops this weekend to replenish my work wardrobe.
    Thank you for all your wonderful posts I am loving checking in each Monday.
    Have a happy and safe week.

    Mandy (NZ)

    1. Dear Mandy,
      You just reminded me I overlooked lettuce! Ok next trip I will get on to that!
      I hope you have success at the op shops! And fun in the process! Some weekend baking and gardening sounds perfect. It is pouring here so I am baking and sewing. Im glad of the rain so I better not complain.
      Have a great new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  10. Dear Annabel, I enjoyed reading your story about your trip to the nursery. I hope your planting goes well!

    I've been busy making mooncakes to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. This year I filled mine with custard and used a mooncake mould to emboss roses on top. They were lovely served with cups of hot tea.

    With love from,
    Kelly (Mrs. Kiwi)

    1. Dear Kelly, Thank you! I did get everything planted and now it is pouring! So I hope this benefits all the seedlings.
      Roses on top of your cakes sounds beautiful. I am all for a cup of tea and cake! Have a very good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  11. Zackie takes her chicken-watching responsibilities very seriously, doesn't she? It must be a big job, now that your flock has increased so much!
    I've been doing a bit of weeding most days too, now that the weather has warmed up just a little. The rain has certainly produced steady weed growth - but it's actually a job I enjoy, as long as my old legs hold up! I've also raised a good lot of sunflower and nasturtium seedlings, which will soon need potting on.
    We had a tree removed, so we split and stacked the wood today, ready for our son to collect, as he has a log burner and will be glad of the wood next year.
    I'm trying to think up new ways of using lemons, as our tree is absolutely laden with very large fruit this year. I can't imagine being without lemons, so it's a delightful dilemma to have! Lemon Slice today, I think.
    I very much look forward to your posts, and appreciate the time and thought you put into each one. Thank you!!
    Linda in NZ

    1. Dear Linda, Thank you so much. The sunflowers and nasturtiums will be just beautiful. As long as you keep gardening you will always be fit and healthy!
      How wonderful to have the wood for your sons fire. Lemons are beautiful to have. They smell so fresh. I have been juicing some and freezing the juice as very often I have no lemons at all then I turn to the freezer.
      Have a very good new week. With love Annabel.xxx

  12. I love all your pictures! Your dog is like my cat. He loves to look at the chickens with me too. They (the chickens) worry me though. They will watch his tail wagging back and forth. One day they might peck it. They are scared of all other cats but him.
    Your crocheted flowers are beautiful. What do you have planned for them? Have a great day.

    1. Dear Vickie, Thank you! The flowers are being sewn on girls hats, bags, headbands etc. A lot of them will end up in items for the Samaritans Purse Christmas boxes. It has been really fun to make them from scraps. Have a great new week! With love Annabelxxx

  13. Those grapefruit/lemons look amazing, I would be thrilled with them too.
    Well autumn is definitely here now, it's beautiful and sunny but there's a very chill wind too. I will be going out later to remove the tender plants and have a bit of a reorganise.
    I have always been amazed at reading about volunteer tomato plants, well this year I have one! Sadly it won't fruit now but I am going to take cuttings and see if I can nurse it through the winter. It probably won't work, but it hasn't cost anything.
    My autumn raspberries are giving me a bowlful every day, which makes up somewhat for the failure of the summer raspberries.
    I need to get on with knitting some gloves, the ones I knitted a few years ago are disintegrating! Every time I wear them they need more darning, it's just not worth trying to rescue them anymore.
    I needed some garlic to make chutney and the only way I could get some was to buy 4 cloves. I don't use a lot of garlic because I have to be careful how much of it I eat, so I peeled and chopped it and mixed it with a little oil and froze it. It was fiddly, but at least it won't go to waste.
    I washed my walking boots in the washing machine! This probably isn't recommended but the boots are 20 years old and are still the most comfortable walking footwear I have ever had, but they did look a bit tatty. It might not work, but I have to try. The boots were only £20 when I bought them, my daughter has used them too, I just can't quite let them go yet!
    A quiet week here really, but I like it that way and I am off work for another week yet.
    Have the best of weeks everyone.

  14. Hello Annabel and everyone and hope my comment goes through this time as I have been commenting but they have not been published so think there is some sort of glitch.

    We have also had a lot of rain and everything is fairly wet in the yard and therefor we have had an explosion of weeds everywhere so we are trying to catch up with getting the garden beds ready for when things warm up in October here.

    In the kitchen
    Made 4 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machines saving $16.94 on usual prices.
    We cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    We filled up 4 jerry cans of fuel and the car and used our 4% off e-gift card and used or rewards 4c per litre off fuel vouchers to save $10.08 and bring the fuel down from $1.599 to $1.495 per litre.
    From BigW on clearance I picked up 2 pairs of Sherpa lined slipper socks reduced from $12 a pair to $3 per pair saving $18 on usual prices.
    - Bought a packet of 4 iced buns on markdown from $3.50 to $1.55 and a packet of bacon and cheese rolls on markdown from $4 to $2.88 and used a 4% off e-gift card saving in total $3.33 on usual prices.

    Paid an extra part payment on our mortgage and are still keeping up paying double payments despite the interest rate on our variable mortgage going up 2.05% in the last 5 months.

    In the gardens -
    This week we have been working on chipping out all the crabgrass and other weeds from the back lawn and garden beds and we are about 1/3 of the way there and will continue next week. The end of October is when the risk of frosts stops here so we will be able to start planting the gardens out then hopefully.

    Hope everyone else has a wonderfully frugal week ahead.


    1. Dear Lorna, It worked! Thank you for persisting!
      You have reminded me to check with Andy that all our jerry cans are full. That is so important.
      It is great you have had plenty of rain... the weeds are the downside though. Later when you have your chickens the weeds become valuable feed. This cheers me up about weeds. Full rain water tanks are fantastic of course. It has been raining here too which is fantastic.
      You had some nice bargain finds and it is just fantastic how you keep up the double payments. Your achievements are such a testimony to consistency and faithfulness. With much love Annabel.xxx

  15. Last week I accidentally hit upon something that thrilled my three-year-old grandson and keeps him happily occupied most of the ride home. I mixed up a sort of snack mix of cereals and dried fruits and put it in a flip top gum dispenser we'd kept in the car forever. It's just about 1/3 cup size and holds just enough mix to have him snacking most of the way home. Half of his time is occupied by opening and closing the thing, so he's not really just eating. It cost me NOTHING, but it made the drives home from nursery so much more pleasant for all of us.

    Lana has highly recommended an electric pressure canner several times (it's also a pressure cooker) and I've been tracking the prices. They were quite high in summer months, but Lana mentioned one day this past week that they had dropped in price and I went to look. I couldn't pull the trigger though it was almost half the price it had been...It paid to wait. As evening approached, an app on my computer kicked in and notified me that another site had the same item for even less, plus free shipping. Now the thing was about 70% off. I jumped right on it and ordered it and it arrived on Friday.

    It was a grocery week for me. I went to only one grocery as it was a time savings thing for me and shopped very carefully. I was so pleased to come in under budget plus got all that was on my list with a few extras like super sale priced pie, and tortillas, for far less than I could make it at home. I also got a bunch of pretty flowers.

    I was working outdoors this week and took a few minutes to plant some iris that I'd moved from another spot. I hit upon the idea of filling this particular spot with all the bulbs and rhizomes I have that need to be planted/transplanted. I think it will be stunning and I won't have to buy a thing.

    We ate all meals at home this past week save one and that we used gift card to purchase. We always get enough food for two meals at this place and so we brought home the leftovers and had those for a second meal.

    I made bread, hot dog buns and pizza dough. Last week I made bread and cinnamon rolls.

    We were grateful at the end of each day for the good things. I refuse to let myself get so focused on savings that I think only that I am lacking and forget all the blessings that come in our lives.

    1. Dear Terri, I love your little snack container to make his little hands work and keep him busy! Very clever!
      Well done on getting the canner on such a massive discount!! How exciting!
      When your bulbs come up it will look glorious! Yes we must celebrate our blessings and count it all. You were very productive and now I cant wait to hear how you go with the canner! With love Annabel.xxx

  16. JulieT from Minnesota17 September 2022 at 19:19

    The last 2 weeks have been busy with canning. I just finally put my canners away for now. I will can some things that were frozen later on. We have 2 watermelons left in the garden. Monday I will cut off the bean plants and harvest beans for drying seed. I leave the roots because they put nitrogen back in the soil as they decompose. I am picking tomatoes but freeze them as they come and will can later. The onions are lifted and cured. This week we will dig potatoes. We are at average frost but not a hint yet and according to the weather not in the next week. I canned my 50# of pears that I had ordered and received into pear slices, jam, pear sauce, and pear juice. I also canned barbecue sauce and sloppy joe sauce mix from 3 flats of ripe tomatoes I was gifted. It is time to quit because I am almost out of jars. Now I have sewing to start for Christmas gifts

    1. Dear Julie,
      Thank you for telling me about the bean roots. And reminding me to save seeds. I have quite a lot of beans coming on.
      You have had a fantastic harvest! All the things you did with the pears sound beautiful! I am trying to sew a little bit each day too. I think once we hit October it is all Christmas! You are doing well! With love Annabel.xxx

  17. This week, I had a slow start because I was feeling unwell, but I did use that time to watch some new YouTube videos and learn some new things!
    Rose Red Homestead canned tomato sauce using a variety of tomatoes including lots of cherry tomatoes. I followed her instructions and was able to can 6 pints of tomato sauce plus I dehydrated the skins and seeds and ended up with a full pint plus the beginning of a second pint of tomato powder! Not bad for a basket of mostly yellow pear tomatoes!!

    I put the 11quarts of blueberry pie filling that I canned on the shelves! I got about 1/4 cup of basil powder that I had dehydrated. Small amount, but still worth saving!

    I’m making another quilt just to use up scraps I have. I love seeing something useful made out of scraps that are just taking up space!

    So lots more little things to save and prepare for winter but they do add up!!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Dear GardenPat,
      I hope you are over whatever it was you had and feel much better!
      Love RoseRed I am also learning from her! The Blueberry pie filling sounds just beautiful! You added so much to your shelves! I cant wait to see the next quilt. I know it will be beautiful! With love Annabel.xxx


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