Feather your Nest Friday, 26th May, 2023.

I am sorry I am a day late this week.   Yesterday I was travelling and it was just impossible so tonight I am enjoying catching up and considering the week.

It was a rainy week,  cold and the fire has been going.   Any time it's not raining Andy has been bringing in wood and we also helped a friend get a load. 

I take out tea, coffee, some kind of cake or buns and sit on a log with the boys and have afternoon tea.   This seems a big hit.  Then I collect kindling.   Everyone loves bags of kindling!   So even at this late stage of Autumn we can still get some sun by working outdoors even if there is just an hour or two of clear weather.

I am still picking some tomatoes which I think is the latest ever! 

Usually when I go to town the car ends up loaded up with groceries, farm stuff,  parcels and goodness knows what.  This week I took a special trip especially to go to the nursery.   I didn't have to worry about space.  This was great fun!  Our town has a lovely nursery and it is always a joy just to look around.  In the orchard a fruit tree had died so I needed to replace that one.  I have four huge pots in the courtyard I decided to plant fruit trees in those too.     So first I seleted five trees.  I got an apricot, two limes,  a lemon and a mandarine.    I need to count but this takes us up to about 30 fruit trees now.

My best winter crop last year (by far!) was celery.  It was just unbelievable!  I had some idea it was hard to grow but I ended up giving everyone in the district plus all the family and friends giant bunches of celery and I dehydrated, chopped and froze and freeze dried heaps... plus made soup, stock etc as well.   The nursery had punnets of healthy celery babies so I got four of those plus silverbeet, chard, spinach and oregano.   

I got everything planted and it has all been rained in several times.

Andy got addicted to moving rocks and kept finding "really nice" big ones and has been adding them to the driveway and inside the front gates.  I need to get photos...    They look really good and add to my "heavily fortified" vibe! 

I made three thick cotton kitchen towels and some more wash cloths.

Last week I was talking about the prices of things.   I mentioned some here and some in The Tuesday Afternoon Club.   I think some thought these prices are too far fetched.  So this week I gathered evidence.

As you know I mainly make my own laundry soap so when I see these prices I am shocked!

Dish washer tablets were another...

This was 40 tablets.   I will show you the ones I buy...  (same quantity.)

These are absolutely fantastic.  

For good measure some food...  if you are not sure baking is worth while...

Cauliflowers have been around $8 so when I saw this price I thought it was better until I saw them.  They were the smallest Cauliflower I have ever seen they fit in your hand!

We have a Bluebirds on the Ground report coming up from Kelsey in Texas and an update from Vicky in Ohio.   Vicky made a very good point,  that is a shortage vs prices you just can't afford amount to the same thing in the end to the household.   Either way $8 Asparagus isn't going to be in too many peoples budget.  

I have to share with you that Chloe has been out planting when the weather is clear,  just as I am.   She dug a series of holes and the first tree was a transplant from her big old fig tree.    Thomas was right in to helping. 

He has a genuine desire to help.  For his age he is a good little worker.    He actually got into each hole to try and dig them deeper.   At the end of the day he had a hole full of water and he looked at Chloe and said  "please Mum can I get in?" ever so nicely.   Chloe thought what the heck he has been so good and told him yes you can.   

She sent me these and I laughed because, yep,  Tom loves puddles let alone an actual hole full of muddy water. 

I had two opportunities to stock up this week and took advantage of both.  

So it was a good week and I hope it was for you too.   How did you build your home, garden or pantry this week? xxx


  1. I am always inspired by the work you do building up the home. It is spring here and we have not started planting our garden yet. That is planned for the coming days. (Our winters are very long here.) Thank you for sharing so much helpful information!

    1. Dear Mrs White, Thank you so much! I hope your Spring garden will be a great success! A long winter would make time in the growing season very precious! Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. Unbelievable price on the asparagus. Such a small bunch too. I grow my own and it is coming on strong just now. Your grandson is a cutie!

    1. Rita I really want to have an asparagus bed. That is on my list of goals. xxx

  3. Annabelle. Do you the Logic tablets from ALDI?

    1. Dear Sharyn, Yes I do. I first got on to them because Choice magazine tested dishwasher tablets and the Aldi ones beat Finish tablets by quite a bit. The laundry stain soaker and sprays are amazing too and so cheap. Another good dishwasher tablet is Shine... which is the Woolies homebred I think. A good product and good price too! With love Annabel.xxx

  4. Dear Annabel, Thomas is gorgeous! What a wonderful little boy! Your week was good, you did many practical things but your prices are terrible. Everywhere and every produce seem to have higher prices. The only good price I got this week was sun flower cooking oil, so I add some to the stock. I picked mint and strwberry leaves for tea and elder flowers for tea and cordial. These are the first signs of summer in my garden, along with roses, irises and jasmine. I have planted some more zuchini, lettuce, peppers and chilli and gave away to my coleagues geraniums cuttings. The weekend will be a very busy one - we have a wedding to attend over night and the next day a baptise of a little baby at a 400 km distance, so it will be challenging but manageble. Have a nice weekend everyone. Lots of love from Laura_s_world in Romania

    1. Dear Laura, Elder flowers in your garden sound beautiful! Now the flowers in your garden sound lovely! I know you will be enjoying them! I hope your very busy weekend went well and your enjoyed both events! Have a very good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  5. Annabel
    Thomas is so cute! He reminds me of Todd and Emma playing in puddles and to have a hole full had to have been great fun to him. Sometimes just have to let kids get dirty when they are getting such enjoyment. And I envy your celery. I get quite a bit from regrowing it from scraps, but I don't grow it well in the garden. I mended a pair of my jeans.for some reason my jeans rip alongside the pocket and down the leg. It doesn't look pretty, but they're my favorite pair because they fit right.
    I'm afraid I didn't have a very productive week.

    1. Dear Vicky, Good job on fixing your favourite jeans. You had a really rough week. Just resting and getting better is the main thing! With much love Annabel.xxx

  6. Those prices are appalling! I think we regular Aldi shoppers are a little insulated from sticker shock.
    A couple of years ago one of my sons gave me a punnet of celery. It ended up self-seeding, so lately I've been wandering out to the garden, digging up a sturdy-looking celery baby and replanting it somewhere where it doesn't have much competition. I should be ok for celery for years at this rate!

    1. Dea Frogdancer, Yes I would be locking to bay celery plants too! The only thing I can think I did with mine was to add blood and bone where I planted them. And I never cut a celery off I just picked stems as I needed them and left the plant to continue. They just went on and on! Have a great new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  7. Annabel, I haven't done a shop in the neighboring town in about six months or so, before I started keeping my 3yr.old grandson, but the Cauliflower there was $8 a head and not at all nice. That town has a chain grocery but the pricing is so high, nothing like the chain's advertised prices. It's horrifying in a rural community with only that one grocery. And they wonder why those who are able are going out of their town to shop!
    I've noted of late that the grocery store parking lots are 'thin' looking. There are fewer cars and fewer shoppers than I've seen before and I find that concerning on many levels. It's not lack of goods, though as Patsi shared, there are outages and shortages of various sorts and you'd best go shopping with the idea of what you can use instead of what you think you're going to buy, but the decrease in customers is just so shocking to me.
    In the past two weeks I reckon I've spent about $300 on groceries. That used to be my whole budget for the month! And that's not buying only what I want but just what I feel is best priced.
    I have planted a goodly amount of herbs this year. My son has gifted me surprise white eggplants and an overload of onion sets. I've planted them all. I have two sweet potatoes that are sprouted that I am going to plant and hope for the best. I have tomatoes this year as well. I'm hoping that this year I grow tomatoes as well as I have the plants in the past, lol.
    My son was clearing around my Granny's place and found her fig tree amidst a jungle of overgrown weeds. He's cleared it out and I plan to get one or two branches of that to try and root them and I'll plant in my yard.
    I have found a local swamp that has live Bay trees growing about it. I want to go harvest some leaves this summer.
    I am enjoying these days of making do and getting by, I don't mind saying so. I've been doing it for years, but now it's feeling a bit as though it's all 'in vogue', lol.

    1. Dear Terri, Quite often around the bottom of a fig tree are some branches leaning on the ground or some baby trees coming up. Very often the ones on the ground have grown roots. This is a quick way to get a new tree!
      A supply of Bay Leaves is great! All your herbs and veggies will be a big asset. We are seeing what you are... even the local fruit and vegetable market is closing down. Your frugal skills certainly are useful now! With love Annabel.xxx

  8. I really needed to shop. We've been living primarily out of our freezer and cupboards for a long time, and we were getting pretty low. I had to supplement my grocery budget with money from savings. It was shocking. Between Aldi, Walmart, and 10 lbs of ground beef from the butcher, we spent around $330 (and the groundbeef was half of what it is in the stores!). That's over $500 Australian! I cannot do that regularly. That's for sure.

    1. Dear Laura, I would say watch for every best deal and try and be as far ahead as possible. This week I saw liquid soap on a wonderful deal so I stocked up on that. Sometimes nothing is a good price but I get what I can because at least it is available. It is getting tricky for sure. Have a lovely Sunday! With love Annabel.xxx

  9. Thomas is such a cutie! What a good little boy, wanting to help his mama.
    I went to a small locally-owned nursery yesterday and she had some celery starts. I didn't buy any but might go back and get some because I can never seem to get celery going from seed! Started out lots and lots of seeds this week, mostly herbs and flowers. My goal is to plant something every day. I divided some herbs to make new pots -- chives, oregano, thyme...and have been clipping mint and basil to root in water. Rooted several clippings of sweet potato vine in water and have transplanted them. They grow so quickly! They are around $4 - 6 per plant around here, so it makes me happy to repot any "free" plants I can propogate.
    I have clipping a lot of herbs and flowers to give to my chickens, and have been picking dandelion blooms whenever I find them in the yard. We have a couple of wild rose bushes that my husband wants to cut down -- I went out and cut off all the blooms first. Looked at some nesting box herb mixes online to see what they use. It is crazy expensive to purchase (around $20 for 8 ounces or so). I have a dehydrator that I had never even opened, so I put it to use this week. Put away a tub of dried flowers and herbs that I can use this winter when things are not growing. They look so pretty and my chickens will enjoy them when greens are scarce this winter. I am going to try to do a batch or two each week while everything is in season, storing it away so I won't be tempted to buy online.
    A local bulk goods store had a special on boneless skinless chicken breast -- 40 pounds for $78. Around here, a single 1-pound pack costs about $6.50. My family easily eats 3 pounds per meal. I drove down with a friend and we each got a box. I spent a couple of hours trimming it and discarded a lot, but stored 9 prepped meals in the freezer. It was disgusting work (I so appreciate butchers after this) but very worth it to have several meals put away, plus at less than half the current cost. They are currently doing an order for bacon, $40 for 10 pounds, and I am going to pick that up later in the week.
    Thank you for your weekly posts about frugal living and making the most of what you have. It encourages me, and inspires me to keep doing what I can with what I have.

  10. Ouch, those prices are pretty ridiculous! Here in Georgia, USA we've had a remarkably cool Spring, with a fair amount of rain. My herbs have already given me 2 - 3 cuttings, the pepper and tomato plants are getting ready to start producing, the blueberry plants have TONS of berries ripening, and the corn is a foot high. Also, the quail that I hatched out a few months ago are giving us bunches of eggs. All this will help with the grocery budget in the coming months. We hardly ever eat out any more, make our own bread, and do a lot of canning. We're not expecting the financial picture to get any better for a while, so having our little garden being so productive is a real blessing.

  11. Dear Annabel,
    The picture of Tom in the mud hole is just priceless. I just love how free spirited young children can be.
    Prices keep going up here in south central Pa., USA, but I haven't seen anything as high as the ones you showed. I paid $2.96 for a pound of asparagus this week and thought that was a bit high. My Nana and Mother taught me how to butcher meat and chickens and I'm finding it less expensive to buy roast and cut it into steaks myself as well as whole chickens and cut them in parts myself as well as grind my own hamburger meat. I look for things that I can get more than one use out of and more variety, such as when short ribs go on sale I often cut the meat off and grind it for hamburger and use the bones to make beef broth for onion soup. Left over acorn or butternut squash gets beaten together with eggs and becomes grain free pancakes. 2 eggs and 1/2 cup winter squash. You can also use pumpkin or bananas with the same ratio.
    We are still in the midst of planting our garden. I'm trying successioni planting this year so that everything doesn't come in at once. All the seedlings I started inside, and there were many, have been transplanted and are thriving. I found a species of zucchini that matures in 45 days which will be well before the squash bugs appear and the war with them begins. I hope they do well. In the kitchen 4 jars of no'mato sauce was made and put in the freezer as well as 8 dozen cowboy cookies, which are just a souped up version of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I made more banana bread. Played with my water color paints and made some embellishments for handmade cards and continue to knit and embroider in the evenings. Today I will do some more planting getting the sweet potato slips that we grew into containers and plant carrots. Blessings, Cookie

  12. hello annabel, i am also in south central pa. and it is very dry here this year. we have had to water the garden every few days, but things are growing well. the tomatoes are starting to blossom and squash is growing rapidly. hopefully there will be a lot to can this year. also just finished sanding and painting the deck. it looks so nice but it sure was a job.now its time to sit and embroider and sew for awhile. just in time for some hot weather on friday (92) guess the next thing to do will be to put in the window air conditioners. i hate to do that though, it shuts out all the wildlife sounds. hope your days are going well. bonnie

  13. Thank you for sharing all these delightful pictures, Annabel. Your grandson, Tom, is all boy!
    You had such a packed week.
    Our family is transitioning into summer. We are happy that school is out, but gearing up for gardening, and summer jobs for the teens. God is good! We are thankful to live in an area that has jobs for teens. Southern Missouri was so depressed, that even adults did paid yardwork. My savings mostly included homemade cakes for birthdays, and homemade pizza and pigs in blankets ( like your sausage rolls) for the meals for those parties. We enjoyed lots of young people visiting for there are 2 birthdays very close.
    Blessings to all, Leslie


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