Feather your Nest Friday, 11th November, 2022.

This week I was able to get on with freeze drying after getting set up last week.  I was so excited to start! 

It is a learning experience.   I just want to try so many things!

I began with the Celery that needed to be harvested.  I still have more to do and as I am picking it the older dying and going to seed bits are going to the chickens.  Plenty is still good though.

Having the food processor has really helped.  Even slices make it all dry at the same time.  The freeze drier came with Mylar bags and Oxygen absorbers so I had a crash course in how to use those.

Basically I will jar up the foods that will go in my regular pantry and things I want to put away for long term storage and emergencies will be in Mylar bags or in vac sealed jars.

My friend Wendy gave me a big bunch of Rhubarb and a bucket of roses from her garden.   

I can't tell you how happy I felt with the gift of roses.  Some went in a vase on my bedside table.  They have made me happy all week!   The roses that have lost their petals are valuable too.  I freeze dried a tray of them and they came out so well! 

(This is before,  ready to go in.)

Here you can see the Rhubarb and Rose petals in the background and Parsley (from the garden)  and baby Spinach ready to go in.

When the apples come in (which is around March) I can add Rhubarb as I cook them and make pies etc.  Very handy! 

I can see I am going to go through jars at an even faster rate than usual.   A lady posted in the Swap table group that she had a box of jars if anyone wanted them.  I put my hand up and said I would love them and would she like some fresh eggs?   So that was a trade. 

Once eggs can into it the lady said she could put together another box of jars if I would like and could use them.  So I gave her another dozen eggs and got the second box.    THEN another lady saw all these interactions (on the FB group) and asked me if I would like MORE jars as she had some.  Obviously I said yes and traded eggs with her!   These ones are to be picked up next week... as I was all egged out by this time.

Then a friend came by and he brought me two big bags of jars as well.  So I am good for jars for a while!   As I go through them I save the smaller ones for when I am making jams.  

I have a lot of eggs but this way I soon go through them.   I gave my daughter three dozen.  Mum 1 dozen.   Two dozen were traded, a dozen each to two good friends....  

There is a lot of value in producing something. Preferably producing a few things.  This gives you an alternative currency.   A way to help others too.   I keep working on being a producer.

Now I have a story to tell.  When I picked up the first box of jars the lady left them at the swap cart in town.  This is next to an early learning centre.   As I picked up the box of jars there were boxes of toys and puzzles on top of (and next to)  the early learning centre bins.  mmm  
I realised they were most likely throwing out broken toys and puzzles with missing pieces etc.  But I was game to find out so I lifted two boxes of puzzles into the car.   
The next night I spread the puzzles out over the big outdoor table and Andy and I began to piece puzzles together.  It was great fun and if a puzzle was completed it was like winning a prize!     In the end we had a lot of incomplete puzzles but 12 complete ones.    Also some of the bits and pieces were useful to repurpose ie wooden letters and numbers...  they were not all there but I saved letters to spell Tom and Sidney.

I placed each into a large snap lock bag so no one every has to sort them out again!  
Chloe does a little home school session with Tom everyday and she was most pleased with them!  I thought it was fun and worth it!  

I honestly felt so busy this week and in part it was the care and love of the puppies.  They have all done well.  They have grown heaps.  They come when I call them.    Today three went to homes.  So it was a sad/happy day.  They got a lot of kisses. 

They are just so affectionate and beautiful.  

I have another story.  Andy noticed Zackie sitting looking through the fence.   Later he noticed she was still sitting in the exact same spot looking through the fence.  Intrigued he went to see what she was looking at.   Well,  she was looking at nothing she had her head stuck in the fence.  She never said a word, she never complained,  she just sat there.   So he rescued her and off she trotted.  

I planted Chilli and Capsicums in a couple of spaces. 

Andy dug out some gutters and drains.  They had years of leaf mulch in them so this was added to our pile of good potting soil. 

At the op shop (thrift store) I got a flannelette sheet covered in dinosaurs.  I thought this would make lovely hankies for the boys and maybe a pillowcase each.
Also a cotton waffle weave quilt cover... this will be used to back my big size kitchen towels as it is so absorbent.   A lot of fabric in these for $2.   Oh... and two beautiful cook books.  

My cook up was Honey Mustard Chicken.  It was good and I gave Chloe a ready meal for tonight.

So that was my week.  I have two puppies still for the weekend and they go to homes on Monday.  I am going to miss them so much.   I would do it all again in a heart beat. 

How did you build up your home this week?  Were you able to add to your pantry?  Some of us are heading into summer and some of us are heading into winter.  Either way there are things to do to get ready.  Have a beautiful weekend.xxx


  1. Dear Annabel, I love your story about the jars and how you swapped eggs. I love seeing your freeze dried produce all lined up, what a great idea to sue the rose petals too! I need to keep on working on being a producer! The jars will be very handy. I have realised jars are so useful, I store not only dehydrated things in them, and jams, but also crafts and the children (when careful) can use them for insect catchers. They are also good on taking food in my car. I love how you saved those puzzles from landfill. They will be very handy. How lovely that Chloe does a little homeschool lesson each day. Lucky children! The puppies are adorable. My little pup is 3! Time has flown and he is asleep next to me so must be partied out. Hopefully, I get some more crocheting done and some presents wrapped. Cakes were made today. I couldn't believe what we got for our money's worth in shopping. I need to keep being creative. This is proving to be very important. I am also thinking of lots of practical but lovely presents for Christmas. Lots of love, Lily.

    1. Dear Lily,
      I love how your dog is partied out that is a good way to describe it! Good job on the cakes. I need to get back to some wrapping as well. I think practical gifts are the best. Homemade goodies, pantry items etc are very good.
      Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. I dislike throwing perfectly good jars away. When I do, I always wonder, who could use more jars? I might investigate my local area and see if others need jars. I am like that about boxes as well. I have a big stack of them in my living room, small boxes.
    I admire you for the recycling and bartering.
    Thank you for posting the good pictures to go along. I can smell that sweet puppy smell :)

    1. Dear Debbie, I watch FB market place for jars so that might be a good place to post them. When it is fruit season I go through so many jars for jams and jellies. I like boxes too and have been saving them for Christmas parcels that I post. On the Tuesday club one member covers the boxes in beautiful paper and makes hamper boxes. They look fantastic! Have a great weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  3. Hello dear Annabel and God bless you for helping those wonderful puppies as well as all the animals that came into your life one way or the other! In return God help you and bless you with a wonderful family and friends.
    I love how productive you were with the freeze dryer - it really is a good tool to have on hand - and also the trade you did with the eggs and the puzles for the boys! Clever girl!!!
    We are heading into winter and now it is dark in the morning when I go to work and it is dark at 5 when I come home, so not much work outside - I still have to take inside the flower pots and some will go down in the cellar - like the gladioli, dahlias and some geraniums until spring. I used the dry leaves from the vineyard and the orchard in the flower garden - they will compost down on the flower beds and in the kitchen run, although they now have a much bigger space to walk around - but they did not produce any eggs these days.
    I keep working on being a producer - I *produce* many knitted jumpers and still got orders. But I am glad how they turn out.
    It is cold here, almost freezing point at nights and eastern European countries are preparing for ucrainean refugees winter coming. Prices are high, today was the report on inflation and sugar grew with 62%, cooking oil - 42% or heating gas - 40%. Hard times ahead.

    Take care and big hugs,

    Laura_s_world from Romania

    1. Dear Laura, The dark days can be cozy if you are warm inside with cooking and knitting to do as I know you are! As long as the chickens are well then we know you will have many eggs again come Spring! You are a good producer with your hens, preserving, knitting... this is very good.
      Those prices are very sobering. I know it is going to hit people very hard. Every bit we prepared is now worth it. And there are still opportunities. I hope you have a lovely Sunday and good new week. With much love Annabel.xxx

  4. What a week Annabel!
    Such pretty pictures of all of your food and flowers! Great find on the puzzles. Eggs here are so expensive, I’m sure you’re trading partners were very happy!

    I’ve added some baking to the freezer this week (you have to be quick with a large family or it all gets eaten!) and am trying some new meals that are similar to some of our favourites, but use cheaper ingredients. I’ve also been using less meat in meals when I can get away with it. Last night I made pasta bake for 8 of us with 500g mince. Lots of extra vegetables and it was still really tasty and nobody noticed.

    I’ve also done a stocktake of ‘weird’ ingredients that I want to use up. The ones that I bought for a recipe and then didn’t make. So I’ve used up two tins that I won’t be replacing and there’s more room now for things we use all the time. A few more things to go!

    We’re having a quiet weekend hopefully with lots of craft and reading.

    Have a lovely weekend!
    Jen (NZ)

    1. Dear Jen,
      I love your use up weird things challenge! This happens to me too. Ingredients that sit there and I wonder why I bought them!
      I wish you could keep a few hens. I dont know if your yard is big enough or any thing but if you could keep 4 hens it would be a game changer because I know you would use every eggs. Otherwise... with your baking there are a lot of old fashioned cakes from the war years without eggs. You did well with the 500g of mince too and the veggies keep up the nutrition. You are a wonderful cook!
      Enjoy your quiet Sunday and I hope it will be a great new week! With much love Annabel.xxx

  5. What a great week and a fun find on those puzzles! One of our grandchildren liked to get all the puzzles out and dump them in a pile and walk away and leave them. Thankfully she is older and past that trick now. Zipper bags would have just made it more fun for her! I am glad to hear that homes were found for all the sweet puppies! Poor Zackie! But, that goes to show how much she trusts you and Andy that she knew you would come to her rescue.

    We were able to buy 12 pounds of butter for $2 a pound so that was our big pantry win. We will be able to buy that much more for the same price next week and then we will be set for butter until the Easter sales.

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Dear Lana,
      What a great deal on the butter! Butter is expensive. I have to figure out the maths... ours is about $6 a pound. If I see a better deal I grab some for the freezer.
      All the puppies have gone to their homes. It has been a big week already! With much love Annabel.xxx

  6. Oh sorry Zackie, but I had to laugh at you getting your head stuck in the fence, at least you weren’t hurt!

    Glad to see the puppies are going to good homes, it’s very bittersweet for you though.

    I’m working on ways to decrease the grocery budget. We are a family of 4 the 2 boys are big hungry teenagers so they eat more than grown men! I have found myself regularly spending $400 a week on groceries!!! And it had to stop! I’ve been watching The Cheapskates club on YouTube and getting lots of ideas and inspiration, and this week I managed to only spend $200!! Now I don’t know how long I can sustain this for, but even if I go over budget from time to time at least I won’t be spending what I was!

    Have a lovely week Annabel and bluebirds 🐦

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Teenage boys eat a lot and they re growing and I understand. I feel for you and anyone raising children now to keep them well fed. Groceries are just outrageous.
      A little while ago I posted a link to Marys Nest... she had a list of cheap nutrition things that can add to your meals to make them go further. You are in the right place on the Cheapskates club. Because the is becoming such a problem I am going to do some posts with some of the things I found very helpful. Hopefully next week I can add a bit more as I have a link to some cook books Mimi wrote that are just amazing.
      Also I had a friend who had five teenage boys at once. I saw her in action. She timed the bread maker to be ready at breakfast then again as they walked in from school. She made gigantic biscuits four to a pan! She did giant baked potatoes with meals. I think when they are starting and its not meal time a toasted sandwich makers, eggs, baked beans etc are great and let them make toasties. These can be pretty filling and miles cheaper than snacks out of any kind of packets.
      You did really well to halve your spend! Cath's videos are great and you can always post a question in the live stream and she and others will answer and try to help. I try to watch live so I might see you there! With much love Annabel.xxx

  7. I just love your story about trading eggs for jars. The puzzles reminded me of when I sent all of my kids' puzzles to a friend and her husband put them all together. This was about 40 years ago! Some of the puzzles were the same wooden ones in your picture...the ones with the little handles on each piece!

    Last week I reorganized the longterm pantry. This week I reorganized my upright freezer. I discovered a few things I'd forgotten and a few more I just couldn't find! I cooked double one night and froze a ready meal.

    Thanks again for creating this community and making it such a welcoming place!

    1. Dear Maxine,
      You are doing well on your pantry and freezer! I always find things I forgot about! Very good to on adding a ready meal as there are always times when this is very helpful. I like the old puzzles and they are such good things for rainy day play (which we have now) and good learning tools too. Have a good new week! With love Annabelxxx

  8. All the things you do and find amaze me. Good Job on the jars and puzzles! Love the beautiful red roses. I don't have any in bloom now as we are approaching winter but hubby got me a beautiful light pink one I have been enjoying for my birthday! Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy,
      Happy Birthday! I love pink roses! Roses are my favourite flower followed by Peonies. But I just love flowers! Have a lovely Sunday and a good new week. With love Annabel.xxx

  9. Dear Annabel, I love reading about your freeze dryer. It is all new to me and so interesting. I've had a lovely week of making soups and stews. I just made a batch of leek and potato soup, and next on the menu is leek and pumpkin soup.

    With love from,
    Kelly (Mrs. Kiwi)

    1. Dear Kelly, Thank you! Yours soups sound beautiful. When it is cold soups and stews are just the best. Filling and full of goodness too. Have a lovely Sunday and great new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  10. I have loved reading about your puppy adventures! They really do have the sweetest breath and personalities. We lost our wienerdog this summer and I feel so much loss after living with him for 14.5 years. He was such a part of our lives, it’s hard to deal with all the holes where he’s now missing. Seeing your fostered pups made me so happy and think of a lot of the good times I was blessed to have with my sweet little Oliver. You seem to have such a sweet spirit and an abundance of compassion. Thanks for sharing your stories. I think it’s just as important to feather our nests with good relationships and puppy kisses as it is to store away food or plant a garden. There’s so much more meaning in life that way, and there are special people to share it all with.

    Katie C

    1. Dear Katie, Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed my puppies, they have all gone to good homes this week. I hope you will find another puppy in your life too. I agree how much better life is with both pets and a garden! With love Annabel.xxx

  11. Recently I cleared out a lot of non-canning jars I'd saved and took them to the dump in a box. In our rural county there's an unwritten rule that if you place something on the ground it's still got life in it and is good for a new home. That's where one is likely to find small appliances and cabinets, children's tables and chairs, etc. For my part I dropped off the pickle and relish jars I didn't need or have room for and aluminum drink cans (bagged so they don't blow all over). That gives others the option of taking them home and using them or selling them if they happen to do so.
    I'd like to recycle but our county no longer does recycling. Not sure why since they had bins on a trailer, but they never emptied them. I would ride around for weeks and months at a time with a carload of recycling and couldn't put them in the bins. It just wasn't worth my time after a bit to bother with it.

    Yes, we often cut down on meat in a recipe as well and I'll add in other things like shredded vegetables or extra pasta, etc. to the dish to make up for it in bulk. I've been pulling my way back when recipes which were all survival for the family and am revamping them for the two of us now. I know now why my kids never complained...Those are GOOD recipes! It makes me feel good to know we're not only enjoying our meals but 'eating for less' all over again. Mind you, it doesn't feel like less. I'm paying out just as much as I did two or three years ago for a lot less food, lol!

    Like Jen I periodically go through my cabinets and pantry (and freezer!) to determine what foods we are not using. Often it's because they were bought with a specific recipe in mind that I didn't make or they were something I like and found on a really good sale but weren't part of our routine meals, etc. Some were just pantry staple experiments. I'd heaps rather have two cans of something untried and determine we don't want it in the pantry than two dozen. Now and then I find something we do like a lot and will go back and watch for sales on those items.

    I spent this afternoon cleaning and defrosting the freezer, organizing it and determining what we have/don't have. I think we'll make it through end of the year just fine with the exception of Family Christmas.

    I didn't do any feathering of my nest last week. I was too busy cleaning up the house in town and getting it ready to go on the market. We have to move one more item out and then take in pest control to do a routine spray and we are done. It's a load of work and worry off my hands. The house is already listed and has had it's first showing. I'm hopeful. We don't get great prices on houses in our area but apparently they sell fairly quickly so there's that as an upside.

    This week I hope to have time to play with the pressure canner I bought and get some things on the pantry shelf. We shall see how well that goes.

    1. Dear Terri, I am sure someone put your jars to good use. I never drive by jars! I hope the house listing goes very well. When we were selling our city house it was so much work to get everything just right for photos and inspections. When it sold it was a huge relief. So I hope you have a quick sale.
      Now the pressure canner.... I cant wait to hear how you got on! That is exciting. I think you will soon be regularly pressure canning with confidence! I had a trip away and came back to zucchini ready to pick! So I will grate/shred some to add to some of my pasta sauce dishes as you say to bulk things out. So pleased. The old recipes are very good, wholesome, no fancy exotic ingredients and I love the old recipe books. I need to get some of my old ones out for some revision! With much love Annabel.xxx

  12. Hi Annabel

    What a busy week you had.

    I am still getting used to having DP under foot now that he works 7/7 but did manage to sew a few placemats for Christmas gifts.

    We did catering for a friends 40th birthday party and had such a great night as once the cooking was done it was time to mingle and dance away to the band.

    A few weeks ago I started to add little things to my weekly shopping that I can throw in a basket to take with us for Christmas lunch.

    Tomorrow I am heading into town to do some Christmas shopping and I am armed with my list and know where I am heading to get items

    The puppies were so cute and I bet you will miss them. What a trooper Zackie is just waiting to be noticed an not making a fuss.

    Another hot week here with temps hitting in the mid to high 30's while down south it is flooding. Oh what a year of wild unseasonal weather we have had.

    Hope you are having another week of getting things done

    Take Care
    Aly xxx

    1. Dear Aly,
      I hope you had success on your Christmas shopping trip. I did some too!
      The puppies have all gone to their homes and Im very happy with the new owners... some have sent me updates, photos and videos! That has made it much easier.
      We are having weird cool weather, I have been dressing as though its winter. I thought my garden might not grow but most things are ok.
      You are reminding me to concentrate on Christmas, like you I also want to sew! With much love Annabel.xxx


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