Feather your Nest Friday, 25th November, 2022.

Writing this I just realised it is the 25th...  exactly one month until Christmas!  I think over the weekend I need to have a serious review of how ready I am! 

It was a great and busy week!  Today was crazy busy but in a good way.   A friend arrived this morning to stay in the cabin for the weekend.  Our cabin is his get out of the city for a while home away from home.  He arrived with a huge box of veggies and two carry bags with more!   This was so fantastic.   Despite travelling this week I came home with very little.   Fruit and veggies are all very high in price.  As I unpacked everything I was surprised over and over!   He even brought biscuits for the cows (their favourite kind) and chews for the dogs.   

After getting everything washed up I made a salad to go with dinner.   Now I am planning the menu around what we have.   That is my first rule... if fresh produce comes in,  live on it!   Then what cannot be used in time... preserve that.   It is a real life bounty! 

I plan to make Beetroot relish or pickles over the weekend.   I think one of the cucumbers will be made into Tzatziki as I want to make Lamb Koftas.   Lamb,  tzatziki and beetroot are a match made in heaven! 
So I have lots to work with! 

Another visitor came today.  A man we met recently (and had a great chat with) rang me up and asked if I would like some chickens that he hatched in his incubator.   They are special and I have forgotten the name.  Of course I said "yes that would be amazing!"   So out he came.  We quickly set up a cage ready.   They are like any chickens I've ever had!  He gave me two hens and a rooster.   They are white with black spots.  Like Dalmatian chickens.   Right now they are shy and nervous but I will try to get photos before next week.   He would not take any money for them so I came inside and got him one of my fruit cakes,  all wrapped up and ready to go,  and a set of three of my crochet dish cloths.  He was so thrilled with these!   And this is how bartering happens naturally.   It was all so nice.  

My cows came up to the front fence.  This usually means rain or a storm is coming.  They are huge now.  It might be my imagination but some of them look pregnant... which they probably are but now I think I can see it.   This is one time when being a fat cow is a good thing.  Calves coming in March and April!   Because of this I am feeding them extra biscuits.  They come enthusiastically for biscuits but my logic is when they have calves if they will come to me then they will bring their calves up to the fence and the calves will be tame as well.  Plus I will get close up!   
Our farmer friend asked me a series of questions about this.  He asked WHY did I think it would be a good idea to feed them biscuits in the first place?  Then how often do I do it?   He seemed genuinely curious.  It never occurred to him to give a cow a biscuit.   I told him when cows or sheep are tame you can't herd them or push them anywhere as they are not afraid.  That only leaves LURING them.   So you get them addicted to something they like and then they will follow you where you want them to go.    The second answer was once they like their treat it might be a couple of months in between feeding them, other times it might be a lot more often.   So that is my thinking.   If they come up with new born calves then I will be happy! 

After this we did get a big storm!  They are my weather forecasters! 

I sewed up some flannelette (an old sheet) into hankies for Thomas and Sidney.

In the op shop I found beautiful brand new girls pyjamas and a lovely little boys size 3 jacket, just right for next winter.  

I made little cakes for the girls and scones for Mum.

My zucchinis are producing and I picked my first one today.   Very happy about this!  

Andy printed Mimi's vast recipe collection for me and I have been making them into folders and as I'm putting the together it is like a study.  So many brilliant ideas.    You can find these money and time saving recipes, gift ideas, tips... here in "Mimis Tray of Bliss.... living a life beautiful for less group."    Go to the files,  you are wanting Mimi's memorable munchies.   I am re mentioning this as some of you had trouble finding them.   Because some of her recipes involve cooking with residual heat they save electricity... so you can see there is a lot to like about them. 

This week I did something different!  I attended a class and painted a deer.   There is a lady who runs all kinds of classes on her homestead including cheese making, pickling, cooking and painting.   I decided I would really love to attend one, especially cheese making.   Then a class came up to paint a deer.    I just thought this is it I'm in!   It was really fun and I learned a lot.  

I THINK I could do it again on my own this time and would like to do a much bigger painting.  The teacher said to watch for framed prints in the thrift stores and paint over them but try not to paint over a masterpiece.  haha 
I will now watch for future classes to learn more... and still do cheesemaking as that would be a fantastic skill to have.  

So I am very happy with my week and tomorrow I will get to work on produce and some freeze drying.   I hope you had a good week too.   How did you feather your nest/build up your home?   How are you tackling rising prices?  And finally... how are you doing working towards Christmas?   It has been sneaking up and here we are! xxx 


  1. What a bountiful harvest! Bartering is just the best way to go. I love your deer. Very talented!

    1. Thanks so much Sharyn. I absolutely love bartering and want to show how easy it is to get started. Thank you re my painting. I really like it now where as at first I was super not sure! Have a great Sunday and new week! xxx

  2. Sounds like a lovely week. Great barter. Cows can go a couple months without feed? I never heard that before. I thought they ate daily. It sure makes sense to get them to follow you.
    Your painting is lovely!
    Have a great week!!!

    1. Hi Cheryl, no the cows are in a paddock of high grass and unlimited feed. The biscuits are a treat and sometimes they get them often and sometimes it might be a couple of months but they still remember! Thank you, I really enjoyed painting... Have a wonderful weekend! Love Annabel.xxx

    2. I think she meant they can go a couple of months between cookie "treats", not without food.

  3. Your never cease to amaze me!
    Your definitely a renaissance
    Hatching chickens, gardening, crocheting, sewing,cooking, preserving and animal rescuing .
    Now painting,I don't know where you get all the time or energy.
    Do you sleep at all?
    Please get us a photo of the new chickens they sound interesting.
    I still read Mimi's blog.
    I hope they just leave it up.
    She was an amazing lady.

    1. Thanks so much Savannah! You are reminding me to print off any recipes from Mimi's blog I absolutely must keep. I could add them into the folders with the other ones. Just n case... I do get tired and I do sleep a lot. I go to bed really early these days and I have ti get at least 9 hours sleep or I am no good. When I am really wiped out I work on the blog as it gives my legs a rest! Mimi was always cooking, menu planning and crafting... with things going on in all directions! This is what made me love her in the first place and get so many ideas from her! Thank you for such a kind comment! Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  4. Love the cow photo and the story about biscuits ;). Here in the US we had thanksgiving yesterday so we have lots of leftovers and desserts to eat this upcoming week. Have a good upcoming week! Hilogene in Az

    1. Dear Hilogene, I absolutely love leftovers and not having to cook. We get that after Christmas and it is my favourite time of year. Time to relax after all the preparations. Have a lovely Sunday. We are heading into December this week so I a having a bit of a think and plan! With much love Annabel.xxx

  5. Great job on the deer, and I love what I would call “gift giving”. You each blessed the other with a gift.

    1. Thank you! That is true! Now we have done this it leads the way to ore gift giving! I always try and produce all I can so I have plenty at this end to gift. xxx

  6. What an amazing week you had and a great job on painting the deer. It was interesting learning your theory on feeding the cows biscuits. I am improving but not fast enough health wise to suit me! We had a lovely time at our daughter's for Thanksgiving who lives 5 minutes away. Thankful for that and family! Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy, Improvement is good! Wonderful actually! I a so glad you had a lovely Thanksgiving. I hope you have another week of some more improving! With much love Annabel.xxx

  7. Thank you for posting the URL - I was trying so hard to find it last week and just couldn't. Now it says the content isn't available. :( I must have missed it!

    1. Me too! Jennie🤦🏻‍♀️❤️

    2. Dear Emily and Jennie, So sorry... I my effort to get these great and economical recipes out there I have hit so many snags. The group with the recipes is member only, if you can find it you can join. However... I am finding that Mimis blog A Tray of Bliss... contains many of the recipes and tips. It takes some exploring through the blog. I am going to link directly to some of them in the coming weeks. Sorry for the frustration! With love Annabel.xxx

    3. Thanks Annabel.🙋🏼‍♀️💕

  8. Your painting is wonderful. Taking classes is such an amazing stress buster and skill teacher. You are an amazingly talented lady, for sure.
    We have been rather slow moving around here. Winter has set in and inside projects are calling our names. Winter or summer there is always a lot to do.
    We placed another large food storage order this week. With the world spinning out of any control and various upcoming events forecast, we are not slowing down on our deep pantry.
    We were considering purchasing a freeze dryer and decided not to do so at this time. I need to evaluate how much I really will be able to do going forward.
    We are seriously contemplating an electric pressure canner; the Presto USDA tested and certified one. I would be able to handle that much better than the All American that we have at this point. Becky has one from Acre Homestead and she loves it. RoseRed tested them and found they were consistent in canning at the USDA recommended temperatures.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    With much love, Glenda

    1. Dear Glenda, Thank you! I have watched Becky with the electric canner. It looks amazing. If it would make your work easier I say go for it.
      I am watching closely the potential train strike. This seems to have been brewing for a long time. Of course pre Christmas time would make it even more dramatic. I am also following the general price/power/fuel situation as the true cold weather hits across the whole north. My English friend already told me of neighbours who are cold and sick and cannot afford more fuel. And winter has not started yet. If there was ever a time to have a deep pantry it is now! Have a lovely Sunday and very good new week, with love Annabel.xxx

  9. Wow Annabel, your painting is fantastic! The classes sound like great fun. I bought some cheesecloth this week to have a go at homemade ricotta. I’d love to try feta as well.

    The box of produce is amazing! What a lovely arrangement you have with him. He must love coming to stay.

    I was thrilled to see our local butcher had chicken breasts for $7.99/kg on Friday. So I went early to stock up, and they were also selling lettuce, brocolli, cauliflower and cabbbage for $1 each. I was so excited and loaded up the back of my car! And today a friend brought over two trays of eggs so we were given 60 eggs!! I was over the moon. We had quiche for dinner lol.

    So I’ve felt very blessed this week! I finished another Christmas present for a baby born a week ago. I just had to add her name and DOB so was a quick finish.

    I’m about to start decorating a birthday cake for my son who is turning twelve and having some friends over to celebrate. It will be covered in chocolates, tasty for them and easy for me!!

    Have a lovely weekend
    Jen (NZ)

    1. Dear Jen, Thank you so much! Good luck with the cheese making! I have been watching some you tube videos and I think ricotta is so useful this would be a great skill to have.
      This was a surprise with the local butcher! Those veggies were a fantastic price? I wonder if the veggies are a regular thing? Maybe someones garden produce? I would check for sure. And to be given 60 eggs! Jen I felt like crying when I read this! Your week was amazing!
      I know the gift you made for the baby will be gorgeous. The cake will be fantastic too and your son and his friends will probably demolish it!
      You can freeze some eggs if needed. I am thinking of all the baking you can do! I am betting this week you have been baking like crazy! What a week! With love Annabel.xxx

  10. Wow! What a wonderful produce haul. How thoughtful of your friend. And so kind of the gentleman with the chickens. Your painting is lovely! My you are so talented.
    And so nice that you are keeping up with sewing and shopping for the grands.

    Thank you for the link on Mimi's hints. I had no idea she had so many hints and recipes. I just read her blog every once in awhile.

    Well, I had a blessed Thanksgiving! All my kids were with us. So the company was great! And the food was delicious. My husband was so delighted to see my daughters and I working on all the food together. As I type this, turkey broth is simmering in the slow cooker. :)
    My big treat is that I finally got a paper shredder. My husband found it at Habitat for Humanity Restore for $5.00! This will save my so much money on straw for my chickens. We will continue to buy straw for my daughter's rabbits (they nibble on it).
    Also another big savings we enjoyed was a free turkey. My eldest son was given a turkey at work. So a $24 savings. We cooked it for our Thursday feast, so my bargain turkey went in the deep freeze for winter. God is sooo good! My husband was given some leftovers from a catered meal that they had at his work. So mass amounts of mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, and brown gravy wet into the deep freezer yesterday. So thankful!
    Have a good week, Bluebirds, as you all prepare for Christmas.
    Blessings, Leslie

    1. Dear Leslie,
      Thank you so much. I am so pleased you had such a lovely Thanksgiving. I love turkey anything and the broth at the end is beautiful.
      A shredder is great! Shredded paper is also good in the compost.
      To get an extra turkey plus extra from the catering is wonderful. So many meals can come from one turkey (as you know)! What a lovely week you had! With much love Annabel.xxx

  11. Annabel you deer painting is beautiful and you have been so busy with finding wonderful op shop finds, sewing and baking. Animals certainly know when rain is coming and are good predictors and how lovely you got a rooster and two more hens and all that lovely produce from your friend for the use of the cabin.

    In the kitchen
    We baked 4 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machine saving $16.94 over buying them locally and cooked all meals from scratch.

    Did a WW order and saved $33.00 buy buying specials, using a $15 off promo code, using our racq 4% off e-gift card.
    In another Woolworths shop we bought half price cherry ripes, a 766g packet of macro chicken breast fillets marked down to $2.60 from $13.02, saved $10 using our rewards dollars and used our 4% off racq e-gift card to save another $23.38 on usual prices.
    Purchased a 60lt car camp freezer fridge from Jaycar and managed to knock $100 off the marked price in the store.
    From Drakes bought a 1.878kg pork leg roast marked down to $8.40 kg, 6 packets of Smiths chips on half price sale, a cream and jam sponge marked down to $3.60 and Bulla ice cream on sale for $7.50 to save $24.56 on usual prices.
    From Harvey Norman on a black friday sale I bought a new laptop for DH saving $300 on usual prices.
    From Coles I purchased 3 Palmers coconut moisturiser on half price sale and a cream and jam filled sponge on markdown for $3.24 saving $20.76 on usual prices.
    I put in our yearly medical order with Pharmacy Online and used a 10% off promo code to save $99.27 over buying them in our local pharmacies.

    In the gardens
    Caught up with lawn mowing and pruning the hedges around the outside of the home.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead. Lorna.

    1. Lorna, so nice to see you posting again!

    2. Dear Lorna, Thank you! I think a car fridge/freezer is a very handy thing. Keeping frozen things frozen solid or cold things cold is fantastic. A good investment! You got a great deal on the lap top also!
      These days the savings on the bread add up fast. I get a shock seeing the bread prices. I have seen loaves that are $8+!
      You had really good grocery savings as well. The pharmacy savings are huge. I have also done some stock ups online. We support the local pharmacy quite a bit as they are very good for advice/help but sometimes I also stock up on online specials and the savings are huge. Black Friday had a lot of sales... I am thinking of watching out for after Christmas deals as it has been harder to get discounts overall this year we have found. Shopping has become much more strategic!
      The lawns and hedges freshly trimmed would look lovely! You had a good week! With love Annabel.xxx

    3. Mikemax thank you and had a problem getting my posts to show up online so was commenting but it not appearing :) .

      Appears I have it worked out that the new chat format doesn't like my dashes for separating out things I did lol. Now I have got rid of that it is posting fine.


    4. Hi Annabel and finally got it to work as it appears the new chat format didn't like my dashes on separating out what I did lol. Now seems to be fine so if others are having problems get rid of the dashes and stars etc and it will work.

      We will be heading out on holidays toward the middle of the month to visit DH's family on mixed grain livestock farms so you can imagine what we will use the car fridge freezer for. Will come in handy when we are stocking up on meat also in the heat of summer here living so far away from stores. So cheap for the fridge freezer as most were over $1000 we saw elsewhere.

      I agree shopping has become far more strategic and far less good sales and or discounts can be found so checking catalogues online and cherry picking the bargains has become our mainstay along with keeping an eye out for good markdowns on meat etc to keep costs down. They are saying we may get a retail complete slowdown and retraction in sales in January onwards due to high mortgage interest rates in Australia so keeping an eye out for good bargains after Christmas and up to June is a good strategy on items you need to buy as I think most stores will be fighting for sales and business and will offer some good prices.

      Certainly happy for any savings and the pharmacy savings are welcome here although like you we try and support a few local ones when the prices are not outrageously high.

      Have a great week ahead. Lorna.

    5. Dear Lorna, I am so glad the issue with comments turned out to be something you can fix! Thanks for telling what it is as who would have thought!? And it might be happening to others. I am so happy to have you back as I look forward to hearing your week and I know there are many others who do too. I hope you have a fantastic trip to the farm and catching up with the family. I think there are many advantages to having family or friends on a farm.
      We are watching closely as even the air conditioning in stores necessary in hot weather is going to send many stores broke. It is like there is a perfect storm of additional expenses hitting families and businesses. So we think considering these things, being watchful and getting ahead where possible is more important than ever. Increasing out network too.
      It is so good to have you back! With love Annabel.xxx

  12. Annabel,
    What a fantastic trade! A good trade is as good as cash I say. We traded for 15 loaves of bread and we were gifted a turkey. We were also given bags of newspaper since we use it in the chicken coop. I can't wait to see your new chickens. They sound like the pair we had that we named Essie and Rudy. They were so sweet.
    Your deer painting is excellent! Truly it looks really good. I think I would like to take a small class on cookie decorating one day.
    I'm thinking I should start getting ready for Christmas this week because the time seems to be flying by too fast these days.
    One time when Coty was working at the dairy farm he used a certain kind of body wash that smelled really good and the cows kept following him around and surrounding him and sniffing him up and down. They just loved his fragrance haha.
    Since we are not growing anything right now we are getting ready for winter. Splitting wood, taking down the clothes line, moving things around and cleaning up.
    Your freeze dried foods look wonderful! I would love to have a freeze dryer one day. Are you going to do some eggs?
    Anyway I hope everyone has a lovely week.

    1. Dear Vicky,
      You had fantastic trades! Getting a whole turkey was the most amazing! The bread was fantastic too.
      Cows are funny creatures. They are beautiful really. They sure liked Coty!
      Yes I will freeze dry eggs. Just now I am saving up eggs to trade with Wendy. And I keep Mum, Chloe and Lucy in eggs... but soon I think I will have covered everyone and do my first trays of eggs.
      It sounds like you will be all ready for winter. The more wood the better! I even like the look of split wood ready to go!
      This time without the garden will give you more time to craft! With lots of love Annabel.xxx

  13. The produce, I would love a barter gift like that! And what a lovely deer painting. It would make a great Christmas gift.
    We have brought the last of the cattle home from pasture. I need to make our neighbor a loaf of bread or cinnamon rolls for helping us.
    Farmer has rolled up the wire and pulled up the electric fence posts and brought home the panels. On Friday afternoon we weaned the spring calves and have 11 in the pen. We will feed out 3 for butchering and put back the heifers into the herd and will sell the steers. It's always a relief to have them home for the winter. No more checking fences.
    Our way of leading the cattle is with a bucket of ground corn feed. The herd does not get that very often, so they come running when Farmer calls them and beats on the bucket.
    We enjoyed our Thanksgiving Day with our local son & family. I down-sized the amount of food since it was 4 adults and 4 small children. We had enough leftover for lunches and some to put back in the freezer. I purchased 3 turkey breasts on sale and only used one since I made a ham steak also. So will have 2 more to use over the next year.
    Black Friday is the big shopping day in the US. We did go to the Farm Store for things we need on the farm, not necessarily gifts. The store was offering 25% off everything, so we got mineral blocks, cat food, and small tool items. I did get myself a quilted vest that I needed for winter and one gift for the youngest grandson.
    I have also down-sized the Christmas gifts this year. Prices are expensive and I need to save to add to our pantry and other supplies. The family will get plenty and I know they won't complain.
    We will be eating from the pantry & freezers again this week. I'll be making bread once the rolls from Thanksgiving are gone.
    I have garden harvest to process. Potatoes are starting to sprout, so will be cooking them or canning them. Tomatoes are ripening. They need to be canned or frozen or dried. And the hot peppers to be dried or canned. All of this in December! What a blessing our garden was this year. :)
    We have a seed dealer Customer Appreciation dinner to go to on Wed. That will save not having to cook and not having to use our foodstuffs. Maybe we will win a prize as well.
    The cold weather is coming on, although we are still having warmish days. I am determined to keep our furnace (Propane) at a cool temperature all winter. We both have agreed on just putting on socks, wearing slippers and adding a sweater (jumper) if needed. I have a fleece shawl I wear in the evenings and it keeps me so nice and warm.
    I'm hopeful for a frugal week. We will be decorating the house for Christmas and I'll keep working on the end of year farm books.
    See you all next week!
    Kay in Nebraska

    1. Dear Kay, You had a great week! I loved hearing how you manage your cattle and how the come for corn. Your Thanks giving sounds like it was lovely.
      It is really good you still have produce to work on. Tomatoes are so good, I think tomatoes and apples are both the most versatile things. Oh and potatoes!
      Kay I really agree with what you are saying... that adding to the pantry and supplies is a priority and it is ok to trim other areas to do it. I make a lot of gifts and a lot of cooking... these things keep Christmas under control. It is a year that many will need to modify things. Gifts might be more practical/useful. Warm things, food gifts etc. I think these are good things.
      I love shawls. In the old days ladies had bed jackets. So sitting up in bed it was something like a little wrap to cover your shoulders. A shawl works the same and is lovely. Warm socks, an extra layer... a throw blanket on the lounge and at the end of the bed for extra warmth. To me this is very cozy!
      I hope your Christmas decorating has gone very well, it adds to the atmosphere and excitement! With much love Annabel.xxx

  14. Hello Annabel and everyone,

    Annabel, I love your painting! It is so pretty! And you did so well with the produce and baking, and your new chickens.

    I am very late in writing this week - Thursday was Thanksgiving here and we actually spent it in the ER - but I have no wish to complain about that! Although it was hard on my husband, what we took him in for was not, in the end, a major problem, and quickly resolved with a non-invasive treatment once all the testing finished up (and that did take 9 hours). But, because of all the testing and imaging to see if there was something truly dire going on - we learned that after only three treatments, one tumor has shrunk, the other is unchanged, lymph nodes are all normal, there is no new growth, and the lab test specific to cancer has decreased (improved) more than 25%. Talk about a time to give thanks! He will have his real, scheduled imaging to judge treatment progress in mid-December, but despite all of the stress of the day, I think it was a gift to get that information. Prayers answered!

    I managed to add some canned fruit to the pantry last week and the usual home things. So my job this week is to lay in some pantry stores and take him for his fourth treatment on Wednesday.

    I hope everyone has a good week.

    1. Dear Kathy, Thank you! Well... Im sorry you spent time in ER with your husband but wow on the great information that came from it! This is a fantastic response to his treatments already! Hopefully by the middle of this month (it is Dec 1 here now) these results will be even better!
      Good jo on the canned fruit. A great thing to have on hand. I hope the treatment went ok as that was yesterday now. With much love, Annabel.xxx

    2. Kathy I am so happy you got some wonderful news on the progress of your husband's treatments, what a godsend. Hoping you both have news of further healing for your husband in mid December. We will keep you and your family in our prayers.


    3. Lorna,

      Thank you so much for your kind words and most especially for your prayers. They mean a lot to both of us. I hope you have a lovely weekend.


  15. What a great week you have had. Love the bartering and the picture of the deer you painted. You have so much talent in so many ways. i hope youhave a lovely and bountiful week ahead

    1. Dear Tammy,
      Thank you so much! So far the new week has been very good. I hope for you too! It is the 1st of December! It is seriously CHRISTMAS now! With much love Annabel.xxx


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