Feather your Nest Friday, 24th March, 2023.

Lots of new projects this week!   As of Wednesday I am checking my cows every day as they are due to have calves at any time.   This involves driving into the paddock and getting as close as I can to the cows. Loui knows I will have biscuits for him and if I sit still too long his whole head comes in the window.

He caught me off guard a couple of times.  I managed to take this photo while grabbing biscuits with the other hand.  It is the funniest! 

Laffie is more timid when I am in a vehicle so I have to give Loui the slip and let Laffie come close for her biscuit.  Because they are so tame the other cows are also very quiet.   Which is good...  I can check them all easily and now there are seven with milk!   So calves have to be soon!

I think I mentioned how my friend said that if she can't get something to grow somewhere she puts a rock there.   I began to look at photos of rock gardens.   The farm has unlimited rocks and Andy has a tractor... so we began!   We decided to place big rocks first then work down in size.

It may be stating the obvious but rocks are ridiculously heavy! 

Our friend came to help.   It was a whole day of placing rocks.   The boys looked like they were having fun to me.   Today we began with smaller rocks that can be collected on the trailer.  

I am hoping instead of thinking "I wonder what died in this space?"  people will think "oh, that's an interesting rock."    haha!

Mum gave me a box of succulents from her garden to help me fill in some spaces.

Some bulbs came up that I had transplanted from an abandoned house...

This week I picked cucumbers, tomatoes and basil.

I made an impossible pie for dinner one night then for the next couple of lunches.

Mum came (with the succulents) and I made her scones.
I made a big pot of spaghetti sauce and threw in heaps of tiny cherry tomatoes from the garden.

I have to take a trip to the city to go to the dentist.   This will mean I won't have a Monday and Tuesday post next week.  I am betting the minute I drive off the property calves start arriving!   Andy will be holding the fort,  feeding the lambs,  checking the cows and looking after everything.   Of course while I am in the city I will do a big stock up at Aldi and make the most of the trip.  I will cram in all I can! 

We had someone stay in the cabin.  They gave us a tray of lettuce seedlings,  Coriander and Mint.   

We picked more fruit!   The pear trees are all picked now and the nets have been removed.   The lambs sprung into action as underneath they had lots of fresh green grass from all the water we were putting into those trees.   The apple tree still has a lot of apples... some are still a few weeks from mature I think.  This is good it buys me some time!  Some of the pears already inside are ripening.  They are absolutely delicious.  I am amazed how good they are!  When I get back from my trip I am going to be flat out working on fruit. 

I worked through more apples and make two big apple crumbles.   

Thank you everyone who responded to Cath's post.   We have more reports coming from Bluebirds around the world.   I am learning something from each one and hope you are too. 

How was your week?  How did you build up your nest?  I would love to hear! xxx


  1. Looks like a busy week for you Annabel. I’ve had a busy week also. We are getting spinach again also kale and beans. Lots of basil and putting our pumpkins up for the winter storage. Made yoghurt today and cooked rice to put into the freezer to add to meals later on. Quite a few visitors as well, which is always nice. Mending also done this week. Have a lovely weekend and we’ll all be anxious to see your new little calves maybe next week.
    Blessings G.

    1. Dear G, How lovely to be bringing in pumpkins! Also I love Basil! I have some more to harvest when I get home. You are getting a great amount of produce! Getting the mending done is awesome too! A good week! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. Debby in Kansas USA24 March 2023 at 06:17

    Loved all the posts this past week, especially about your grands. Those are my favorite childhood memories. My grandma and I had our little secret snack, too. A little dish of cream and we'd dip homemade bread into it. So delicious!

    Cath's post was very sober in ways, but undeniable. It's similar here and things vary wildly between states and coasts. My friends in Los Angeles stun me with their costs.
    And the crime! It's disturbing, to say the least. I get told at least once a week, "You better clean out your basement!! We gotta get out of here!!"

    Thanks for all the encouragement.

    1. Dear Debby, I love how a dish of cream and homemade bread were your delicious treat. This goes to show of all the fancy things there are this was probably better!
      I will be really interested to see how the stores are in the city, both availability and price wise. Australia is also having increasing crime issues. Its not good. When I think of live even for or five years ago to today... there is no comparison. We lived in such good times and things have changed. We have to be situationally aware and smarter! But we can do a lot! With love Annabel.xxx

  3. Hello Annabel and Bluebirds,

    I loved seeing the pictures with the cows. Laffie is photogenic, too. I am glad you have so much to harvest, and the gardens will look great with the big rocks and the succulents. (some of them I have in the garden and entry door and they are so hardy I leave them out in winter and no problem, they go on...) Hard work but great result in the end.

    And I want to mention especially how much I love your porch. I want one, too! It is on our plan when working around the house but I don*t think it will be this year.

    Prices are going up, like crazy. We got a bill for water and it is three times more than the last bill, so we will go back to the water from our yard, from the hydrophore. Also I started adding to my rain water supply every drop I got free from rain. It will be good to have for the plants and garden, they started to warn us we will have a drought problem this year.

    Italy, where almost half of the rice produced in the EU is grown, production is expected to be even lower than in 2022 due to drought.

    In Romania we have an onion shortage and the price for it more then doubled. Our farmers have a problem with the price for cereals. Farmers in Romania's border area with Ukraine complain that their businesses are being ruined by cheap grain from Ukraine. They either sell their crops at disadvantageous prices or stop harvesting at all. But the bread price is not lower.

    In France there are riots on the streets for days now, massive protests and strikes against the reform - which raises the retirement age; people and police are fighting and fires are set up in different cities, especially Paris, for more than week. Trains, airports and highways are blocked, no in - no out.

    The Hungarian president, who is pro-Putin, has begun showing a map where parts of Romania are being Hungarian - like a game of war on a board game.

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday (17 March) issued an international arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes. A number of 123
    states would arrest that crazy old man if in their territory. Not our neighbor, Hungary, though.

    The Chinese president have met Putin and everybody is talking about their meeting and their plans regarding Ukraine and the war.

    Also, in my country, but I suspect in others, too, Russian propaganda is stronger - there some new politicians with loud voices that are somehow pro-Russia. Mind blowing! and dangerous.

    Ohh, have I told you Europe is boiling?

    I try to have a routine for everyday, to work as well as I can at my job and at home, to bring peace in my family, to raise my child, my fur babies, my golden chickens and to grow a good garden. Some seeds are already sown inside in small toilet paper rolls which will rotten in the ground after planted and saves me money. We have nice warm weather but rain and some freezing temperatures at night are forecast from tomorrow on.

    My knitting is going well and I will be able to deliver all my orders in time for Easter as promised.

    Thinking of gardens, fruit trees, flower beds, next harvest, fresh eggs in the nest box, my son starting drivers lessons and being so enthusiastic, a walk with my little dog along the river, a date night with my husband but at home, praying and knowing God is here with us - all these give me hope for the future.

    Of course we learn many things from every report and every Bluebird. I read everything with great interest. We have different experiences but we are all hear to be prepared and live the best possible life, given our circumstances.

    Sending a lot of love to everyone, and Annabel - *have fun at the dentist*. Hope it will be all well and smooth.

    Thank you. Laura_s_world from Romania

    1. Bonjour Laura
      Attention à ce que vous voyez a la télévision les images de la France ne sont pas aussi dramatiques que ce que les médias veulent faire croire. Il y a effectivement des grèves et de manifestations. Les poubelles à Paris ne sont pas toutes ramassées mais elles le sont quand même il y a de grandes manifestations une fois par semaine et pour les casseurs il s'agit de jeunes manipulés par des groupes politiques et des pays étrangers comme la Russie pour essayer de déstabiliser la France qui je le rappelle est un pays libre et où nous avons le droit de dire notre mécontentement contrairement à d'autres pays ce qui ne plaît pas .Nous pouvons circuler librement les autoroutes ne sont pas bloquées parfois juste un péage mais cela ne dure pas et les trains et aéroports fonctionnent au ralenti. En France nous avons l'habitude de manifester pour dire que l'on n'est pas d'accord mais en aucun cas il y a de risques. Le peuple est mécontent car les prix augmentent beaucoup comme ailleurs mais la situation n'est pas si dramatique. Encore une fois attention aux images diffusées en particulier sur internet. Je suis désolée mais je ne parle pas Anglais
      Isabelle du sud de France.

    2. Dear Laura,
      Thank you! When we came to this house there was a deck out the front which is in a nice position as it looks out over the paddocks. It needed some fixing up but we put a table and chairs out there right away. Really we use this area so much, it is like an extra room most of the year.
      Thank you for so much news. I am hearing about the French situation although our news mostly ignores it. However I am looking and trying to understand. I saw how rules were changed with no vote... and from that point the people were more and more upset. Also the other items... the China?russia meeting... I heard the comment Xi made about something significant the first in 100 years and wonder what that might be. Yes Europe seems to be boiling. I am glad you delivered your knitting orders that is wonderful! And I am glad the weather will be warming for you garden and chickens.
      I published the comment to you from Isabelle above although I cannot read it all so I hope it is ok and if so maybe you can translate it?
      I am for sure going to try and do some nice things in the city to make up for the dentist! I do not like the dentist at all but then I am more afraid of the pain if I dont go!
      I will tell you a funny story. A friend of Andys came yesterday. We were talking about Europe. His kids live in Sweden. I said I have a friend in Romania. He asked if you are very beautiful? (He has been to Romania and says the women are all stunning.) I said yes she is she has red hair and green eyes. Then he said is she single!? I said No! She is married!
      Have a lovely weekend, with much love, Annabel.xxx

    3. Hi Annabel,
      I don’t normally comment but suggets you run the above French comment in Google Translate. My french is rusty- it’s not a horrible comment but not a particularly kind one towards Laura either. Jess from Australja
      Ps. My best friend is Romanian and stunning- must be in the DNA!

    4. English translation (per Google Translate) of Isabelle's comment:
      Hello Laura
      Pay attention to what you see on television, the images of France are not as dramatic as the media would have you believe. There are indeed strikes and demonstrations. The trash cans in Paris are not all picked up but they are still there are big demonstrations once a week and for the thugs these are young people manipulated by political groups and foreign countries like Russia to try to destabilize France, which I remind you is a free country and where we have the right to express our dissatisfaction unlike other countries, which does not please. We can move freely the highways are not blocked sometimes just a toll but that does not doesn't last and trains and airports are idling. In France we are used to demonstrate to say that we do not agree but in no case there are risks. The people are unhappy because the prices are rising a lot like elsewhere, but the situation is not so dramatic. Once again pay attention to the images disseminated, in particular on the internet. I'm sorry but I don't speak English
      Isabella from the south of France.
      --Frances in SW Pennsylvania, USA

    5. Merci de partager ce que vous voyez

    6. Thank you, thank you!

    7. Although Google translation gives a rough guide as to what is meant, it misses some of the subtleties of the language. One important difference between Google translation and what Isabelle is actually saying is at the very start, rather than “Pay attention to what you see on television…..”, Isabelle is actually
      saying “Be wary of what you see on television….” This she
      repeats in the second last sentence of her message. Rather than “Once again pay attention to the images disseminated, in particular on the internet……”., Isabelle is saying “Be wary of the images disseminated….”.
      Interesting that what Isabelle is saying from France re being wary is something we need to be aware of in Australia too.
      Merci beaucoup Isabelle pour vos mots et vos sentiments. Wendy

    8. Bonjour Isabelle,

      It is very nice you have written what you see and experience first hand in France. That is the idea of the report on the ground - What I write here is what I see, think of or experience in my part of the world and it can be verified. There is no doubt France has people on the streets for days and different TV channels or newspapers show fires on the streets and fights with the police - which is scary. It can be manipulations of political groups or countries like Russia and that is what I have said - I notice things like this in my country, too.

      It is very important to say what you believe, to contradict and to demonstrate to say that you do not agree of something, being government rules or other people. Coming from a country with a dictatorial regime, where you could have been thrown in jail or killed just for a joke against Ceausescu, I find it beautiful to have FREEDOM. Thank you for adding news to your situation in France.

      Thank you Jess and Frances, have a nice week ahead.

      PS- I will translate the exact above text in French, if Annabel allows it

      Always with love, Laura_s_world from Romania

      Bonjour Isabelle,

      C'est très bien que vous ayez écrit ce que vous voyez et vivez de première main en France. C'est l'idée du rapport sur le terrain - Ce que j'écris ici, c'est ce que je vois, pense ou vis dans ma partie du monde et cela peut être vérifié.

      Il ne fait aucun doute que la France a des gens dans les rues pendant des jours et différentes chaînes de télévision ou journaux montrent des incendies dans les rues et des bagarres avec la police - ce qui est effrayant. Il peut s'agir de manipulations de groupes politiques ou de pays comme la Russie et c'est ce que j'ai dit - je remarque aussi des choses comme ça dans mon pays.

      Il est très important de dire ce que vous croyez, de contredire et de manifester pour dire que vous n'êtes pas d'accord sur quelque chose, qu'il s'agisse de règles gouvernementales ou d'autres personnes. Venant d'un pays au régime dictatorial, où l'on aurait pu être jeté en prison ou tué juste pour une blague contre Ceausescu, je trouve que c'est beau d'avoir la LIBERTÉ. Merci d'avoir ajouté des nouvelles à votre situation en France.

  4. Safe travels next week and I bet you are right about the calves arriving while you are gone! We did a lot of pantry shuffling and that moved a lot of supplies from back storage to use it storage. This has put me back in big stock up mode. The price of beef jumped a dollar a pound here in one week.

    1. Dear Lana,
      Thank you! We follow the beef industry... prices, inventories etc. I think US live cow inventories are at a ten year low. So I am thinking prices will go up. This makes Australian farmers hope USA wishes to buy more of our beef which would help us. It is interesting how each thing is so connected one country to another. I am glad you are in stocking mode! With love Annabel.xxx

  5. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    Oh, the cows are so sweet and funny! I love the idea of the big rocks and am sure they will look great - our neighbors across the street placed a few and they do look nice! What a good week you had.

    Trying to get ahead this week with lots of cooking (impossible pie, muffins, lamb burgers made up for ready freezer meals, roast turkey breast & veg, turkey broth, pizza scrolls) and doing little things in the house that will hopefully add up to a big difference later (cleaned out and reorganized the laundry room cabinet and baking cabinet, washed one window on 3 separate days, oiled some more of the wood furniture). For the garden, I planted radish and lettuce seeds left over from last year and used water from the rain barrel for the seeds and my herb plants. I also cleared part of the space where more herbs will go later on…bit by bit it will get done.

    It was an expensive shopping week, but for a good reason – our local farmer delivered our lamb, cut and packaged for the freezer! My husband got some new shoes at the farm store - we buy him very good boots with steel toes and they last several years, so although they are expensive initially, I feel like they save money in the long run and provide really good support. I made a trip to the store to restock fresh produce (watermelons were almost $9 – I did not buy one, but ouch!) and add some more dry goods to the pantry. It may just have been a weird day filling in shelves with whatever they had while waiting for a delivery, but I noticed a lot more baking mixes and a lot fewer bags of ingredients like flour/sugar - the shelves were full, but the proportions were unusual.

    Crafts-wise, I made some jasmine and lavender soap, finished the stitching on one small cross-stitch piece, and fully finished 2 others. I’ve started putting some stitches here and there in a spring-themed pattern. My knitted shawl and socks are getting a few rounds put in when I have time in the evening.

    My husband has been having a rough week with the chemo hitting him pretty hard this time. I made him go to the ER last night because he spiked a high fever. All of his labwork and imaging came back ok, so they think his body was just reacting to the medication this time – and I am super thankful for our local hospital staff, because they were so competent, quick, and kind from the moment we arrived to the moment we could safely check out. Prayers answered in many ways yesterday. We appreciate everyone who is praying for him, too. In case anyone else has a family member dealing with this kind of thing – real fruit popsicles/ice lollies (in the US the brand is Outshine) are a recent discovery that have been very helpful for settling his stomach and can make it easier for him to then eat something more substantial.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend.

    1. Dear Kathy, We buy good work boots here too. They are worth it and they last as you say. So good about the meat and filling your freezer!
      Your soap looked amazing so did your stitching! (For anyone reading Kathy posts pics of her work on The Tuesday Afternoon Club.).
      I am really sorry its been so rough for your husband. From friends here... it seems that the chemo builds up somehow and the earlier appointments are easier than the later. I dont kn ow if this is true for everyone though. Thank you for always sharing helpful tips for others.
      Dry goods added to the pantry is great. I love that so many dry goods have such a long shelve life, you cant go wrong having them stored away.
      Have a beautiful weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  6. Annabel the cows are just to gorgeous. I love the picture of Louis, desperate to get to you and the biscuits.
    The rocks in the garden look fantastic. Planted up with the succulents they will make a wonderful feature in the garden.
    My partner and I are just out of isolation after having COVID for the second time. Fortunately it was a very mild dose. My garden is ready for winter planting,so I will be getting some seedlings in and started. With the high cost of food I think it will pay for itself in no time. The added benefit of course is being able to pick it fresh as we need them.
    I have been reading along with everyone who has posted from around the world about how things are in the supermarkets, electricity prices,petrol costs,heating,etc. Many people in so many places are affected. So far we have been fortunate with supply lines but of course it doesn't mean it will stay that way. We keep a well stocked pantry and freezer but for those on a very low income the struggle is real.
    Thank you for this wonderful series and thankyou to all those who have contributed.
    Safe travels this week.


    1. Dear Mandy, I am sorry you got Covid again. I am glad it was mild though! Anything you can grow is absolutely a big saving. I was not sure if you get snow where you are in winter. We can grow quite a bit although its slow. But one thing is Broccoli is really good and last year I have great luck with celery. So I will be planting that again!
      I am finding the reports from around the world very interesting too, it went from an idea to see how it goes to something I have been able to learn from each time! I am glad you are enjoying it and getting something from it.
      I hope you can have a restful weekend and feel much better! With love Annabel.xxx

  7. Hi Annabel and Bluebirds

    I’ve had a great week this week and feel like I have achieved a lot. I finished sewing up napkins from vintage sheets, I ended up with 17 of them in the end, and they are beautiful. I also pressure canned 6 quart jars of spaghetti bolognaise sauce, it feels great to stock some meals on the shelves again, and I have stocked up on tinned tomatoes in case we end up with the predicted tomato shortages. I also planted some Bok Choy seeds, and bought seeds of broccoli and cabbage which I hope to start this week.

    Have a good week everyone. 🐦❤️

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      The napkins sound just fantastic! I love vintage sheets! So much good cotton in them! I have some saved up... more are cotton quilt covers to cut up... but in fairly shabby chic soft florals... I might make some napkins too!
      Good job on the canning! I am buying tinned tomatoes too and I am trying to buy tinned corn... but that has been hard to get... so I am looking at frozen corn and I will freeze dry it if I find it. I hope your seeds all come up for you! With much love Annabel.xxx

  8. What fun to see those adorable cows begging! Thanks for sharing. Thanks to all you ladies for sharing your experiences and preparations.
    I had minor surgery on Wednesday and yet my nest got feathered! My husband found a new queen sized mattress for $100!! He was at a flea market that my daughter sells her artwork on consignment. We have been waiting on God for a better mattress. I got the one I wanted and my husband got the price he wanted. He also found a lovely antique couch at the thrift store on Thursday. It was not only inexpensive but it was 20% off on top of that. God is good!
    Blessings, Leslie

    1. Dear Leslie, I hope you are recovering well from your surgery. Wow you had good finds this week. A new mattress is fantastic and so is an antique couch! Going to the flea market would always be enjoyable... I hope your daughter did well too! With love Annabel.xxx

  9. Loui is such a big gorgeous sook of an animal. I hope that the girls hold off calving until you are home. Make sure you pick up extra packets of Milk Arrowroots in town to congratulate the girls.
    I love the rock garden idea. I can just see that the men would have loved being able to play lego with rocks and tractors. The finished space will look so good with the help of Mum's succulent additions.
    It was our son's Birthday this week. He requested a Tim Tam cheesecake. A quick google search found a recipe that I was happy to make. It was absolutely delicious. Katie and Jared had the two little boys to put to bed so didnt make it here for cake. I took some over to them the next day. Spencer saw me coming in with a cake tin and immediately began pointing at the tin, looking at his Mother and saying cake? I am pretty sure he had to wait till after dinner for his piece.
    I had a fall and banged my knee, so didnt achieve a great deal this week. I did a bit of crochet to add some more facecloths to the present box. These have been requested by family and friends with some of my soap. I have told them I will happily gift these to them when it is their Birthdays. I make one or two regularly.
    I wound a few balls of my early spun yarn. These lumpy, bumpy, underspun, overspun yarns will become a cardi for Winter, if it ever gets here.
    It has been very hot and humid, with the odd coastal shower. Not enough to water the garden but enough to make the grass grow to jungle status in not time at all. I have finally felt up to whipper snipping the block, and I have used the push mower around the edges and the vegie patch. Bluey will use the ride on to finish off the rest when it is a bit cooler. Our property wont look quite so abandoned when this is done.
    Have a good week.

    1. Dear Jane, You guessed it... biscuits are on the list. I am going to need a few packets!
      Yes... the two boys were having a lovely time. They both enjoy the tractor work so they were keen! This was great!
      The cheesecake looked spectacular. Spencer knows you can be trusted to bring cake! Thomas is the same with me if I am carrying a tray or a tin he is excited before Ive said anything!
      I hope your knee is ok. The whipper snipper and push mower are a lot of work! The results would look beautiful though!
      Hopefully it cools down! We are hoping for some rain early next week, it would be a big help! Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  10. I just love that your cows and my children feel the same way about biscuits Annabel!! I hope the dentist goes well and you have a very productive trip. I’m sure the car will be full on your return trip lol.

    I finished the crochet blanket! In just over three weeks I completed 120 rows and the border. And my son really likes it. I’m so pleased it’s done as the weather is staring to change. And I’m excited to start something new.

    I found some reasonably priced mince and sausages this week, and bags of chocolate chips on clearance. Also some chocolate bunnies and hollow Easter eggs that were less than half price. So I’m all ready for Easter and it was significantly cheaper than I expected. That doesn’t happen much these days!!

    Safe travels
    Jen (NZ)

    1. Well done Jen on finishing the blanket! I know what a big job a blanket is! The weather here is really cooling and daylight savings just ended....
      The mince and sausages will have been great to feed everyone and getting Easter sorted under budget is fantastic!!xxx

  11. Hi Annabel. I’ve just returned home from visiting my son in Adelaide. While there I discovered that they now have NQR stores. Did you know? The one I went to had some good specials. I’ve heard our Victorian friends talk about them often. Wish they would come to Canberra.

    1. Dear Susan, No I didnt know this! I am dancing with joy that our local town is getting a Reject shop. When I go to Adelaide next I will see if a NQR is anywhere near by! That would be great! Thank yo for telling me! With love Annabel.xxx

  12. Prayers for your trip to the dentist, Annabel! You hold such a special place in my heart. Bluebirds is where I get my "marching orders"!
    Blessings, Leslie

    1. Dear Leslie, Thank you so much and for your beautiful words I am really touched. I got on well and the dentist and yay that is out of the way! With much love Annabel.xxx

  13. I have feathered my nest the past two weeks by spending one hour outdoors doing spring cleanup every day when the temperature is over 50F. I was not able to clean up in the fall due to weather, so there is a lot to be done. Physically, I can't do more than an hour at a time...but those hours do add up. I expect to be done by Easter.

    I focused first on cleaning up the raised beds where I grow my veggies. When the weather warms up (in about 6 weeks) I will be ready to plant. I started seeds a few weeks ago for tomatoes, bell peppers (capsicums) and lettuce.

    Also, a friend helped me prune my dwarf apple and plum trees. Neither of us knew much about pruning...and we still don't, LOL! I think we did OK. I drove past a small commercial orchard last weekend and my trees look a lot like theirs!

    Hope your trip to the dentist went well. Can't wait to hear more about your calves.

    1. Dear Maxine, An hour a day sure does add up! To me this is very healthy and it helps me sleep well at night as well! I often do half an hour here and 20 minutes there... but it adds up! You will be all ready to make the most of the new season! I have some small trees that will need prunier ing in a few months... I need to learn too! With much love Annabel.xxx

  14. Annabel, your front deck is absolutely lovely! I love a front porch/deck. Hope your dentist appointment went well. Off to read more.


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