Feather your Nest Friday, 28th April, 2023.

April is almost over,  our weather has cooled and rain has made everything lovely and green.    Another calf was born so now we have five!  

I love them!  They are playful and funny!  

The lambs hang out with the cows quite a bit as long as the cows are close to the house.   If they head off further away the lambs stay behind.  I think this is cute, they want to stay close to Mum.  That would be me! 

The main garden beds out the front are looking better and better.   

Every day I have been planting.  As rocks go in I plant something in the gaps...  

Having got this far I decided the last area out the front,  near my kitchen,  would be better as a rock garden also.   This means all my herbs and veggies will be grown in my container gardens out the back or in the orchard.  After lots of experiments this seems to be what works best by far.    I think it takes a few years to understand what works (and what doesn't)  in a new place.   I know I can grow a lot of good food this way.   Once I decided this I just wanted to get going!  Luckily Andy doesn't mind bringing in rocks with the tractor!  Hopefully by next Friday I will have more to show.    

I made a big batch of Pasties.   I got 14 man sized/meal sized ones which gave us a lovely dinner, lunch another day,  I gave Chloe enough for her family and I froze the rest as ready meals.  

I cooked up a big batch of apples and pears in my biggest slow cooker.  I let it go overnight with the lid off and it reduced down to a thick pink delicious puree.    This was breakfast all week and I froze batches.  I need to do another lot as I still have pears and apples to use up. 

Each day I picked tomatoes.  They are coming to an end now.   I filled the dehydrator with cherry tomatoes and also a punnet of mushrooms.   

I planted two lemon trees.   One of my lemon trees is doing really well,  another is coming along slowly.  But you can never have too many lemons, right? 

In our news there is a lot about shortages of prescription drugs.   Three days this week I saw that over 400 drugs are in short supply and the situation is worsening.  A chemist was being interviewed on TV and his voice broke as he was about to cry.  There are multiple warnings that this is serious.  If you rely on a prescription drug please be careful to stay ahead as much as you can.   Also have common sense supplies on hand for the family.  So many things we have taken for granted as always being available may not be.  

How did you build up your home this week?  I hope it was a good one for you! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel, I love seeing and hearing about life on the farm!
    Thank you for the heads up on the prescription drugs. Sometimes we hear things in the news in the states about shortages but usually it's not till there is a problem.
    We had an arborist and tree trimming service here yesterday. My trees look so much better with a hair cut. The last few days have been really hot here 80's and today in the 90's. The sun is good for the attitude! So we have been working in the yard and getting ready to put in our garden. I have new herbs to plant today and I'm looking forward to having tomatoes!
    I have been working on a crocheted blanket, it's been slow going as other things have been calling my name. I have 4 rows left and the border to do. Another one for the gift cupboard. I think I'm up to 4 blankets now.
    Off to get my day started. Have a blessed day!

    1. Dear Laurie, Your blanket will be beautiful for the gift cupboard! The border takes a long time but I think a border really is lovely. The drug issue just keeps getting worse. Most of our drugs come from China or India. But India gets most of the components from China too. If there was a break out with Taiwan I think we would have a crisis and be without antibiotics. Our idiot gov does not look ahead. I agree with you how the sun is good for our attitude, I feel so good if I get out in the garden and sun for a few hours. I will be again today! With much love Annabel.xxx

  2. Dear Annabel, I love everything about these pictures! The black calves and the cows are beautiful - we don*t have black cows here, mostly chocolate brown and white, or light brown - but they are calm and good milk producers. The rock garden grows every day and it will be so nice and colourful - a joy to watch. I wonder couldn*t you grow some herbs for cooking in the rock bed near the kitchen? Between other edible or rock loving flowers, I mean. Like nasturtium, porthulaca or mint?
    I love how your garden is so spacious. You can see all around just fields, animals and clouds. We are surrounded somehow by two rivers (Iza and Tisa - the last one is also the border) and hills near the town and a bit farther by mountains. Hence the cold winters and the not so very hot summers. But a very beautiful place, too.
    I love seeing Scout and Zackie. How is Molly, the Cute? Is she very big now?
    We had some rainy and very cold days here so gardening had a stop - I did some declutter and organizing and did a stock check on toiletries, some underwear and gifts pantry. May is a full month with big events here.
    Nothing new here from last week - prices are the same, sugar price is higher then before, Russia continue the threats and eveybody is watching the news about Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and the possibility that Ukraine is launching/will launch a contra ofenssive around May 9th when Russia should celebrate their holiday - The Victory Day, marking victory over Nazi in 1945, ussually with a big parade.

    Sorry for rambling a bit,

    With love, Laura_s_wolrd from Romania

    1. Hi Laura, I want to tell you that my family often thinks of you because not only are your comments interesting, but you are so close to a lot of turmoil. When my daughter visited, I told her about your comment regarding what you have planned in case of Russian invasion. We both had tears in our eyes.
      We once took a trip that took us as far as Hungary. We couldn't go any further because we don't like to be away from home for too long. We live in Maine USA. I also love Annabel's blog and love your interesting remarks. Stay safe, please. Judy

    2. Thank you , Judy, for your kind words. Say hello to your daughter, too. With much apreciation, Laura

  3. Your rock garden is just beautiful! Calves are so much fun. The pastures are full of them near the lake house and we enjoy their antics.

    We just had 6 inches of rain in 24 hours so no getting outside for a few days. The yard is mud. We are heading into another serious time of shortages. Drought is so bad in our wheat producing states that the seeds did not even germinate. We have been praying and stocking up here. I am also considering our supplies of supplements, oils and herbs. I am thankful that we don't take any prescription meds but am concerned as well for those who need them.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    1. Dear Lana, Wow 6 inches of rain is incredible! I have never experienced that much rain in 24 hours. I am glad you are seeing this and stocking up. So many people have no idea what is going on around them. Being watchful is very important! Have a great new week! With love, Annabel.xxx

  4. Dear Annabel,
    Your farm is beautiful. Peaceful and quiet in the country is always a huge plus. I have never really liked having close neighbors, but John was not farm inclined; sadly.
    We do a lot of gardening here and enjoy what we have been blessed with. I love to watch clouds and hear the birds. Our previous home was on the very edge of town with views of the mountains and farm land. I miss that.
    I can't say that I have done anything this week productive at all. On Monday, I ended up having a molar surgically removed, so my week has been recuperating and appointments. I had plans for the week, but that changed when the Dentist went to replace the crown and found out the tooth could not be saved underneath it.
    Shortages of prescription drugs will be a serious problem. Many people NEED prescriptions to live. I have been working on a notebook of herbal substitutes for my family. It has been slow as I battle genetic health issues, but I hope to have it done for them in a few months.
    I suspect the shortages have barely started. There are more evil workings to come. The battle of good verses evil is full on.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    With much love,

    1. Dear Glenda, A tooth removed takes quite a bit of rest and recovery but it is so good to get a bad tooth gone! We all need antibiotics at times even if we are not on regular prescriptions... real shortages will cost a lot of lives. Having us depend on other countries for these is plain stupid but that is how it is for us. I have been trying to build up my medical cupboard for several years now. This week I am adding more. I hope the new week will be a better one for you! With much love Annabel.xxx

  5. Hi Annabel, I was surprised about your drug shortages then I wondered why I was surprised. Here in the US a scary percentage of our drugs come from China, although I do not know what is causing shortages. It just worries me to have so many eggs in one basket, so to speak. We have a U.S. govt website that I use to check shortages. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/drugshortages/ . I would think your Australian govt had a similar site? My husband was on a few critical meds so when I saw they were on the shortage list, I added a few more months to our supply cabinet. Love the photo of Scout and the calves ;). Hilogene in Az

    1. Hilogene, thank you for including the link for USA medication shortages. So very helpful! Have a great weekend. Teresa

    2. Dear Hilogene, It is the same here... almost all of our drugs come from China or India. But India get a lot of components from China. If trouble happens in the South China Sea we are in big trouble. So on top of that now our Gov has made changes which will make it harder for the chemists to keep supplies up and the problem is getting worse. It is so dangerous for many people. Thank you for including the Lin for the USA readers! With love Annabel.xxx

  6. Annabel, Congratulation on the new addition to the herd. It's adorable how the sheep want to stay near you and not wander like the cows.
    Your rock garden is coming along beautifully.

    I had a slow week as husband traveled by himself for work. It was a mini vacation for me while he was gone. I was able to crochet 2 bath sets and add bars of soap to them. I also finished another thick pot holder. It was nice to go slow and enjoy my days.

    I did go out one day to investigate deals. Well my Goodwill raised their prices again, so much so they equal retail. They wanted $99 to $129 for a picture, $16 for a 6 inch fry pan, I can go on and on, needless to say I came home with nothing.
    I stopped into our grocery store to look for markdowns, the only ones i found was $3.91 for 3 pork chops and $3 for 4 biscuits that had over 20 ingredients in them, most I couldn't pronounce. I left the store empty handed.
    Our Dollar Tree is next to the grocery store so I walked through it, empty shelves everywhere and the food aisle was reduce to 1/2 an aisle, unless you count the candy and junk food.
    Very disheartening shopping. We are lucky enough to skip shopping this week and hope that next week's ads are better.

    Spring is here so there is a lot of outdoor work though we are to get 7 days of rain. So today is a rush to get lawn mowed and things picked up.

    Where ever anyone lives, please continue to work on your pantries,all of them.
    My best to you Annabel for providing an outlet for so many.

    1. Dear Rosanne, Some of our thrift stores have lost the plot also. I can still find good deals but way out in the country at the little Church op shops. The big ones are as you describe. It is a rest when husband is away as I will have an egg on toast and not cooking as I normally would! Have a very good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  7. So much to report! So happy for you, Annabel ! Your farm is flourishing: healthy animals and a nice landscape!
    Our home is flourishing as well. Seedlings in the laundry room, while potatoes, peas, carrots, onions, and lettuce grow in the garden. I traded a beautiful brahma rooster for some homemade jelly and bread. Butchered 2 old hens which made several meals and allot of broth.
    My girls and I will have a booth at our church rummage and craft sale tomorrow. They hope to sell lots of jewelry and art work. I hope to sell lots of Wild Violet jelly and herbal lotion bars. Nice to have a little pocket money.
    Lord bless you all as you look wisely to the ways of your households! -Leslie

    1. Dear Leslie, I hope the booth is a big success! Wild Violet jelly sounds heavenly! I think your items sound lovely! I hope the girls do very well too!
      You did have a good week. A great trade on that rooster!
      Thank you... what a joy it is to look after our households! With love Annabel.xxx

  8. The rock garden looks amazing Annabel! I couldn’t agree more, you can never have too many lemons lol. The pics of the calves are so cute.

    We had a short first week back at school which was really good for getting into the swing of it. Some of my kids were happier to return to school than others!

    I had to drive about just under an hour away to pick something up so I stopped in at some op shops on the way. Some days you just have good luck. I found a new release kids book, a good quality pair of shoes, a lamp, some birthday invitations and plates all for $7.

    We also received bags of clothes for my daughter, some of which are brand new.

    I have a birthday party to prep for next week, so there will be lots of cleaning and baking happening!

    Have a lovely weekend
    Jen (NZ)

    1. Dear Jen, It is such a good idea to call into stores when you have to go further away. I have found big differences in prices in supermarkets, fruit and veg shops and thrift stores... in different areas. These make a trip so much more fun too. You did so well! Very nice on the clothes for your daughter too especially with some being brand new!
      I can imagine the birthday preparations and baking! Have a very good new week! With love, Annabel.xxx

  9. Morning all, yes, the labor governments change to dispensing rules will have a significant effect on availability of medicines ( already in short supply) and pharmacists. In effect by doubling the length of the prescription the pharmacists income for dispensing it is cut in half Both the amount from us, and the amount from the government. The challenge is that a bunch of things they do for free are in effect cross subsided. Watch this space. They have rolled back and said 1 September start, and only the first 100 drugs- which are mostly heart drugs so if you are in these- get ahead now. Some are already unavailable, and in short supply and those lucky few who get there first may manage a 2month supply, but that also may mean others get none. Talk to your local pharmacist about what options you have to keep your supply stable and what it might mean for your pharmacy. Missy

    1. Dear Missy, Thank you. As you say we had problems already and now problems added to that. Enough that pharmacists sound very worried. I am noting how many things we used to take for granted... like electricity and medicines are under threat. Many thanks, with love Annabel.xxx

  10. Hi Annabel & bluebirds 🐦

    I’ve had a super busy and productive week this week and it feels good!

    We have to tighten our belts a little around here as our daughter is struggling to get by at Uni and we need to contribute financially to her weekly income, so I’ve turned to the grocery budget to see just what can I do! This saw me baking every loaf of bread for the week from scratch, it costs me $4.90 to buy a loaf and about $1.50 to make a loaf, so big savings to be had there. I have also started a self imposed challenge to see just how little I can spend on groceries for the next 28 days. I will get back to you in a few weeks on that.

    I was gifted a pumpkin this week that was turned into a big pot of soup. Muffins and Anzac biscuits were made for school lunches. I made a double batch of quiche from scratch including the crust and froze one for later. When I was doing my weekly shop I found good quality free range eggs on sale for $2.72 a dozen! I bought 3 dozen! I made a dozen pickled eggs for the fridge and the rest of the eggs will get used as the weeks go on. They were on sale because they were going to “expire” the next day 🙄

    I read Cath’s post about vinegar shortages and I thought I’ll top up my supplies when I go shopping, but the shelves at Coles were bare! No vinegar to be had!! I rang my husband and explained and asked him to pick some up for me while he was out and about, he is becoming quite supportive of my preparedness mindset and came home with 27 bottles 😂 But I clean with it and preserve with it so it will get used!

    It’s been a wet week here so all washing has been dried inside on clothes horses to save on electricity and I caught up on a huge pile of ironing that I had been avoiding for some time.

    So that was my week (sorry for the long post, but I felt I achieved a lot this week)

    Next week I hope to tackle some jobs in the garden and maybe do a little preserving.

    Have a good week Annabel and thank you for your continual encouragement 🙏

    From Cheryl

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      You did have a good week! The bread, soup and eggs were all fantastic! I love that your husband came home with 27 bottles of vinegar. Seriously it will all be used and it is a great thing to have. Dont be sorry for a long post. I enjoy it thoroughly and so do others. I hope that a little bit of help will make all the difference to your daughter. These are the times we prepare for. That is what is is all about. I hope you get your garden and preserving time in the new week. I am hoping for the same! With much love Annabel.xxx

  11. Can we bluebirds please remember to put what country you are in when describing issues?

    1. Yes good idea. I hope everyone knows from me I am in South Australia.

  12. Another busy week in the rock garden, Annabel! I actually have rock envy - your rocks are such interesting shapes and textures. We live in an area of volcanic soils, and our local rocks are mostly scoria. Still, I enjoy heaving them around and planting with them. Your garden is beginning to look pretty well-established already, so well done to the Rock Crew!
    The calves are beautiful. Years ago, when our children were young, we lived at a country school, which had an annual Calf Club Day, and for a few years they reared calves to enter. Ours were Friesian dairy calves, so black and white. They were the most wonderful pets. One of the best things about them was that they were just the perfect size for hugging. There were many times when I would see the kids in the paddock, reading in the shade, lying on their backs and using a dozing calf as a big warm pillow!

    Have a good week, everybody.
    Linda in NZ

    1. Dear Linda, My daughter Lucy and her family live on volcanic soil and oh boy it is good almost black soil! You can grow anything in that!
      Our country schools also do the calf rearing and enter them into competitions! I think its fantastic! I love Friesians! I feel very tempted to get a milking cow. Cows are way nicer than most people realise! Have a good new week to you too! With love, Annabel.xxx

  13. Annabel,
    Your calves are just gorgeous as is your rock garden. It's just splendid! Isn't everything turning nice and green after rain and the blue skies glorious?
    It was an ok week for me this week. We went to the butcher shop and stocked up on a few meats because the deals were really good and the meat there is so good! I was able to hang the laundry out on the few nice days we had. As you know I attended the bridal shower for my future daughter in law and made my gifts to give and came home with two goodie bags from winning the games. Most of the things will go in my trading box.
    There have been a few shortages where I'm at in medications, but so far they are over the counter meds.
    I have been starting to reorganize and inventory again and I had diapers stashed away. One full sized pack and samples in a few different sizes. We don't have any babies now, but I'll still keep collecting them if I can. Many a times people have stopped by with a baby and needed a diaper because they forgot the diaper bag.
    I got perfume samples in the mail.
    And the baby chickens are growing fast.

  14. Oh, what cute calves! Have you decided what you are going to do with them? The goats are adorable, too.

    I finished cleaning up my yard and have moved on to pruning. I also planted some lettuce. I'm at least 3 weeks away from being able to plant anything else--we may still get frost.

    This week I have made two ready meals for the freezer (beef and gravy and a quiche). I was sick for about 3 weeks this winter and was really glad I had 7 or 8 meals in the freezer...but now it is time to restock! Freezing ready meals is one of the things you advocated in your preparedness series and I'm really glad you did.

    This weekend I am shortening several pairs of new capris. Mending and minor alterations are a big part of the usual frugal stuff here. I also did some serious stain removal this week.

    --Maxine, aka mikemax

  15. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds,
    The level of shortages is getting more worrying as it should be getting better now things have stopped being held up by various lockdown issues. This is now other things at play and I’ll try to keep all my necessities well stocked. We don’t have any prescriptions but I’m making sure all my vitamins are in plenty.
    Your growing herd of Angus cattle is impressive and you have lambing soon. That paddock will be very busy by end of winter!

    I took my Mum for a cafe coffee early in the week and the cheapest little sweet were small biscuits (cookies) and they were $1.60 and they were tiny! Anzac biscuits were $5 at the next cafe!! I take Mum out regularly as she has no company otherwise and it’s a treat. But a pricey treat.
    I made two fruit cakes and gave her one. Next day I made double batch of biscuits and shared with my daughter. By the prices of the cafes I saved about $80 easily. Next day I made a large batch of veg pasta sauce 6kgs, to use up some surplus and it’s annoying that I don’t have any freezer space. I haven’t had time to can any yet. This was shared out too.
    The weather is nice and cool for gardening and cooking so it’s on the way to winter soon.
    Take care everyone

  16. Annabel your rock gardens look so beautiful and with the flowers in full bloom even better and perhaps you could put in some herbs amongst the rock gardens near the kitchen ? although may be hot with the heat from the rocks and affect them.

    The little calves and lambs are adorable and lovely the lambs want to stay close to you near the home. The pasties look lovely and the apple and pear puree would be beautiful with yoghurt and or ice cream or just by itself.

    Re medications in Australia Therapeutic goods administration has a website listing what medications are currently in short supply found here - https://www.tga.gov.au /safety/shortages and then click on the link medicine shortage reports database link in blue and it will come up with all the medications in short supply. You can search alphabetically for the prescription drugs you are on if you know the name of them which is a big help for those who rely on medications.

    Also most may or may not be aware that you can pick up your medications on scripts every 21 days instead of a month which allows you to build a little bit of a stockpile.

    Well not a lot to report as DH and I were doing an activity on April the 6th where we tore/stretched some intercostal muscles around our ribs and had suspected micro fractures in some of our ribs which slowed us down a bit. I have in the last few days been able to do a bit of extra cleaning around the home and vacuumed around the edges of the skirting boards and under some furniture and all the carpets and vinyl so the home looks much cleaner and less dusty and kept up with the laundry.

    Yippee we paid off our home mortgage in 4 years 3.5 months instead of the 20 years we took it over.
    Now we are building up our emergency fund again after using that to pay the rest of the mortgage payment and building up our bills account money again too although have enough in there to pay the immediate bills for the coming month. Also have a small emergency fund at home we can rely on in the meantime.
    We are now receiving an extra pay of $588 extra a fortnight as 2 extra medical injuries/conditions were accepted for injuries DH received in his military during his military service.
    DH has now got his DVA Gold Card so that will mean free medical (cardiologists) and or operations for DH in public or private hospitals which will relieve a lot of extra expenses in the budget.

    Grocery savings in the last few weeks were -
    From IGA purchased 3 x 6pk of jumbo hamburger buns marked down to $1.95 ea and Kirks soft drinks on special for $1.75 ea saving $8.40 in total.
    From Coles on half price sales purchased packets of Natural Chip Co chips for $2.35 a pack, 5 pk scourer pads on clearance for .60c per pack and 6 packet of betadine lozenges 36pk on a drop and locked price for $10 ea instead of $15 ea saving $47.86 on usual prices.
    From Woolworths on half price sales purchased Special K and Sultana Bran saving $22.85 on usual prices.

    Hope everyone has a wonderfully frugal week ahead.


    1. Lorna, so glad to see you posting again! Sorry about you and your husband's rib injuries. Congratulations on paying off your mortgage in only 4 years, 3 months. We thought we did well paying our last one in 7 years, but you beat us all to heck! I remember when you were saving up for the deposit (which is what we call the down payment--I think!).

    2. Dear Lorna, Congratulatons on paying off the mortgage! That is wonderful and amazing in such a short time! I know you will soon build your emergency fund back up too. It is very good news that your husband has the gold card and help re his medical issues. I have got the picture over time that he suffers a lot of pain. It is very good that this is acknowledged and he now has more support.
      Both of you having sore/cracked ribs is not good! That has to be painful.... I hope you are past the worst of it now.
      You did well on the half price sales! This is the way to shop. Some items like breakfast cereals have gone up so much that these specials are the only time to buy them now. Thank you for the link re Australian drug availability. I am on that now. Andy has several drugs, because he has a stainless steel heart valve there is a drug he needs for the rest of his life. Thank you for posting your week and your consistency has seen you pay off the mortgage so fast, well done to you both! With love Annabel.xxx

    3. Mikemax thank you and had trouble posting as it wouldn't let me but somehow without smileys or any dashes it is letting me post again.

      Kind of snuck up on us too paying off the mortgage so quickly but when we realised we had enough in the emergency, normal account and bills account to pay it out we did it. Being that we were a variable rate mortgage we were hit with 11 mortgage rate interest rises in such a short period of time. 10 from the cash rate going up and one from our bank independent of that too. The RBA are meeting again tomorrow too to decide if the cash rate will go up yet again it is so cruel on many mortgage holders here at the moment and many are struggling.

      Yes not that long ago we were saving for our home deposit too and lovely you remember that too. So glad we have paid off the mortgage now and can move forward debt free.


    4. Annabel thank you and so happy that the mortgage is paid off and we are debt free now. After 11 interest rate rises it was getting a little silly so we had enough in the account we thought now would be a good time to pay it out completely.

      Yes he does suffer a lot of pain so some of those operations coming up will be day operations to relieve his back pain among other things. Good that they have finally acknowledged that his injuries are serious and took the appropriate steps to support him.

      Oh for sure cracked ribs and torn muscles do hurt a lot and makes you sort of like jelly in the middle with nothing to hold you up. I am on the mend DH a little slower as he coughed and tore a repairing muscle again but he is feeling better today.

      Got to take advantage of any half price sales, markdowns and clearances where you can to save more on items you need to buy to save more where we can.

      Most welcome on the link and also helps you to know what you can get on the PBS schemes as well in the way of prescriptions we find. Good that you now have the link so you can check for the availability of Andy's heart medications too and pick up those scripts every 21 days too.

      Know we will be able to build up our emergency fund and bills money back very quickly so we are not concerned and spending that to pay off the mortgage made financial sense as we were earning less interest than we were paying on the mortgage.

      Have a great week.



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