Feather your Nest Friday, 22nd September, 2023.

It has been a big, big week with glorious sunny days and a little bit of rain,  just enough.   I have been planting out seedlings every day.    My trays of seeds have been sprouting,  the warmth has got them all coming up.   As they grow big enough I move them out into the garden.   

My new planter boxes are here.  We filled them with compost we have been making and then filled with seedlings and also a couple of already large tomato plants a friend gave me.    Lettuces keep coming up and I keep moving them, potting them up and giving them away.

I realised that the big compost pile is great but I might as well put it all to good use as I can make more!  So each fruit tree got about half a wheel barrow of extra goodness.   This will boost the nutrients and add a bit more mulch through the hot weather.  

We did this x17.  They all got some manure and a deep water.   Then I thought... I still have a packet of Parsley seed that probably has thousands of seeds in it.  Some were saved from our garden and some from Chloe's garden.  So I dug a shallow ring around each tree (level with the tree guard) and planted all the seed.    A circle of Parsley will look amazing,  be watered along with the trees,  I can freeze dry,  use it fresh,  give it away,  trade and take to the swap tables... you can't ever have too many herbs.   If I really have too much, well,  they will benefit the chickens as well.   I am so excited to have so much planted in the orchard now.

As pumpkins are planted I pop a basket over the top until they are big enough to not be a crunchy bird treat.  So my pumpkin patches look like this...

I made Apricot Balls,  Blueberry Muffins and a second batch gluten free.   Mum came so I made her scones and she went home with a tray of goodies.

In the sewing room....   I made a velvet bag for a friend.   She is the friend who I gave the orange scrubbies.  She likes the 70s!   This velvet was perfect for her I thought.

I lined it and gave it two big pockets with a very similar cotton fabric.

Our main supermarket has gotten rid of plastic veggie bags.  You know the thin bags that stick together that you use for loose fruit and veggies and then they weight the whole bag?   Well, they are history.   So I figured besides myself a lot of us will need our own bags and they need to weigh nothing otherwise you are paying for the weight of the bag! 

The best ones are the tulle ones.   They really are like air!   But they are quite strong.

I also made some lace ones.  I made several sets.   For my own shopping I put four into a tiny purse so I have them when I need them.  

We had visitors over for afternoon tea.  I was able to offer spinach, lettuce, zucchini seedlings,  bay leaves and parsley.   My friend said yes to everything and took home a giant green bouquet and a little box of seedlings for her garden.  She seemed very thrilled and I felt so good to have these things to share.  

Another friend...who helped us out this week... I was able to give him lamb and a tray of my homemade enchiladas plus a box of lettuce and pumpkin seedlings.  He also was really pleased.

Andy did a heap of work on a chicken coop that needed some running repairs.  The orphan chicks are going to be promoted to this bigger house in the next few days. 

For a while I have thought I should have a spare washing machine.  Finally I saw and bought one.  I look for something simple,  something that is not fussy about the type of detergent etc.  I like it so much that I decided my old (but still working) one will become the spare and the new one (which is twice the washing load size) is installed.  I can now do queen and king quilts and so on.  Well,  I love it!!   When my Uncle died I also inherited his, as new,  front loader machine.  So now there is a back up to the backup.  If either of the girls,  Mum or us need a machine we have one.   Also, of course, the machine came in a really big sturdy box.  This was carefully saved for a future lamb or chickens.  ๐Ÿ˜Š

The week was just so beautiful and soaking up the sun, working outside, digging and planting has me so happy and sleeping well.   Gardening,  fresh air and nature might be the best vitamin of all.   

I haven't mentioned news and events in recent weeks.   I feel like most of us have eyes to see and ears to hear and get the drift.  This week though some news,  repeated over and over in different forms,  has me a bit worried.  For us Summer is by far the hardest season,  especially if it is a hot summer.   The last two years we had short and cooler summers which was fantastic.  This just makes me more nervous that this one might be a hot one!   Keeping gardens and animals (and humans) going in the real heat is hard but it is fires and windy days that are the hardest.  All year we work to be prepared for this.    We have already been warned our state and our neighbouring state are likely to have electricity shortages.   They have blown up (with actual dynamite) numerous power stations so it is little wonder why.  However this week one headline was "Perfect Storm brewing for blackouts in Summer."   Millions are warned we could be in for blackouts as sections of the grid are switched off to "share the power around."    Many of you wherever you live in the world may be hearing or seeing the same.     One article went on to say each household should have a blackout plan.   This is true, we all should.  Not blowing up power stations would be one of them! ๐Ÿ™„

They included handy tips:

Inform ASAP your electricity supplier if you or someone in your house is on life support or life supporting devices.

Keep a physical list of emergency contacts.

Prepare alternative sources of lighting, batteries and battery packs.

Have batteries for your radio where broadcasters will be letting you know updates and what to do.   For some this will also mean actually get a radio before you get the spare batteries!

Have a pocket wi fi modem in case the internet goes down.

Have boiled water and shelf stable food.

Have a BBQ and gas bottle on hand so you can cook.

Install safety switches to protect your appliances from power surges.

Use solar batteries.

They finished with "there is no knowing how long an outage may last."

I find they always tell us what is going to happen next.  So we have been told.   For anyone who has not taken my preparedness course I will remind you this is in my index,  can be done in any order and many of the ways you can prepare are completely free. 

We have been preparing for this scenario for some time and it is coming at people in different ways.  First the power can just go out.  Second they can now restrict how much power you can get and some appliances can be remotely slowed down or cut off.   Third you may have a reliable and continuous supply and simply not be able to afford it.   So as we head into the warmer months (while others are heading into the cooler months) we need to think on these things and prepare.   Seriously,  do not just hope,  actually make a plan and put it into action.   If someone asks you what you want for Christmas say a "battery operated fan" or "a water filter"  or "a generator."   Forget about perfume these times are no joke.

To the above list I would add to keep plenty of bottled or tinned fruit juices and the ingredients to make your own electrolytes.  (Recipes found in my course.)  Also to have a battery operated fan per person and back up batteries,  spray mist bottles and if you have a lot of frozen foods a generator to run 15 minutes in the hour to keep them all solid.    Also look out for others.  Families with small children and the elderly... they may simply be too overwhelmed already to do serious planning ahead. 

Every week as we feather our nests, build our pantries and gardens we can enjoy some encouragement from each other.   Don't you just love how Donna described how they managed through war and depression years and how family and friends helped each other!  Every week we can use our opportunities to be a little bit more prepared,  a little more stocked up or further ahead in some way. 

Being prepared  (or doing our best to be) is not fear.  It is responsibility.  But if you feel worried or fearful go and look up Psalm 37,  verse 12 to 20.  My favourite bit is:

"The wicked draw the sword

and bend the bow

to bring down the poor and needy,

to slay those whose ways are upright.

But their swords will pierce their own hearts,

and their bows will be broken."  

Last bit of advice for the week... collect and keep old Bibles.  Already they are producing AI Bibles with altered scriptures and they "sound" convincingly real with,  however,  content that is not.   

I hope you had a week of sunshine and goodness like I did!  We worked really hard and are tired but it is that good and happy, I will sleep well,  tired.  ๐Ÿ˜Š xxx


  1. Sage advice, appreciate the life share.

  2. Annabel, once again, you have been so busy and productive. You should be very proud of all your efforts at home. It's wonderful that you are helping out your friends with gifts and useful items of foods and plants.
    My week has been spent with my own grown children and their children. It has been a very busy and exhausting week, but Bluey and I are loving every minute of it. The little ones are getting to know each other and having a ball running around the backyard.
    2 yr old Spencer has become very adept at picking tomatoes. We now have to teach him to wait until they are red. I currently have a basket of very green and very hard tomatoes sitting on my bench.
    I have been weeding my pots on the veranda and have found that dinosaurs have been living in them. I hadnt realised that lettuce and beetroot was such good dinosaur food. The bird bath is currently the resting place for a large T Rex. Sprinklers are not for watering the garden but for watering the Grandchildren. It has been a fun week.
    I hear you on the worry about the warning of the hot summer ahead. We have been having really hot days and havent had any recordable rain for months. I am so thankful for our bore as this is keeping our garden alive and is currently keeping the Grandchildren watered and cool.
    I have self seeded plants coming up and older plants that have gone to seed. I am moving the new plants into suitable garden positions and am busily saving the seeds of the older plants. The chooks are getting what is left and are loving the extra greens.
    Here's to a wonderful week for everyone. Life is busy good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      Thank you! You have had one very busy week too! It is good you have a helpful tomato picker... if you can just train him about the colours!
      It is such an advantage that you have the bore. Being able to keep things watered in a drought is a life saver. It is so lovely how much the chooks LOVE the garden scraps. It is nice and nothing is wasted. Eggs are a beautiful colour. Win, win! Have at least some rest this weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Dear Jane, I love hearing about your beautiful grandchildren, it warms my heart to think that there are such happy children out there. Love, Lily

  3. Thank you for the tips! We live in such uncertain times where we don't know what the next season will bring! Poor us! Your baking is always so good and pretty. And all your plantings...you are so busy each week. Pretty bag...I love velvet material. andrea

    1. Dear Andrea I just love velvet too! Thank you so much! With love Annabel.xxx

  4. Annabel and Dear Bluebirds, Hi! From Upstate New York!
    Annabel, what an amazing, productive week you have had. Your garden is going to be amazing with all your planting, I love the purse!

    We are in opposite seasons here. We are busy preparing for winter. Power outages are inevitable with snow storms and they are predicting we are to have some big storms and a lot more snow this season. When we moved here we immediately had a whole house generator installed. Now after power outages and our neighbors seeing how nice it was for us having one, there are a lot more going in. All before they are banned. Here we need one if no other reason than for refrigeration of my meds.
    We did buy extra batteries this week, even with having rechargeable.I couldn't resist as our grocery store put them on sale and gave you back more than the cost of one pack if you bought two.
    For the second week in a row there were no meat markdowns and prices keep going up.

    I spent the week mending clothes, sorting buttons I had collected from thrift store shopping, my goal is to have my craft room super organized. I even found that the box my tea comes in is the perfect size for storing zippers I collected from thrift stores. Now to find a way to cover them as I am really bad when it comes to contact paper.

    My plans for next week are to get both vehicles ready for winter here, all the essentials put into totes or bags, with the change in seasons the bags change out.

    Prayers for all the Bluebirds.

    1. Rosanne Modge podge fabric to your boxes. You get a great finish and any wrinkles look like they are supposed to be there.

    2. Dear Rosanne, Thank you! It is a big job preparing for the new season. We dont get the severe winters you do so that is even a bigger job. Great work on the sewing room. Having things organised is so good. I hope you can get some time to sew. It is amazing even 15 minutes a day gets so much done. I think it is great to refresh the supplies in the vehicles also. This reminds me I need to make sure my water is topped up. With love and thanks, Annabel.xxx

  5. Dear Annabel,
    Your week was full of productive accomplishments, delicious baking and wise purchases. The produce bags are perfect!
    This post was spot on for preparing and an excellent reminder for all of us. I think, from personal experience, when overwhelmed with poor health or busyness it is easier to become complacent in prepping. I always appreciate your boosts of support. Thank you.
    The future does not appear to be beaming with ease for those who have Biblical values and live by them. The evil is rampant in governments.
    Have a blessed weekend.

    1. Dear Glenda, Thank you! I agree... evil to me is obvious when people are viewed as of no value when we know that is not true. This is why we love and help each other. I think it is a miracle that we can make such good friendships across the world to encourage and support each other! Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  6. Great advice as always. We had an electrician install a plug into our power box so we can plug in a large generator and run the house. Of course we haven’t needed it since then, but that is fine by me.
    We also let someone park their RV on our property so it has propane stove and refrigerator which comes in handy in case the grid goes down and extra beds for friends or family to stay in to escape the city if need be.
    I read online one of the Ball Canning factories has burned down. That might make for shortages in canning supplies in the states.
    We have been collecting extra bibles as well. If you can’t find them at op shops or thrift stores you get get the the mass market editions pretty cheap online as well. Paperbacks , but that is better than nothing.
    Keep looking well to the ways of your households ladies. Blessings to you all .


    1. Dear Lynd, It is just fantastic to have the generator as back up. If ours isn't used we give it a run every few months. Lately though it has been used in short bursts. I am so glad of it! I hate the heat!
      I think an RV is an excellent "spare bedroom" "spare housing unit" and we are seeing more people renting out places to park them and RVs themselves to rent. A portable home is a fantastic option too.
      Some of the op shop Bibles are gorgeous, gold leaf etc. I am putting one away for each Grandchild but also collecting spares. Thank you so much! With love Annabel.xxx

  7. Just curious - why are they blowing up power stations?

    1. Because we are signed up to the Paris Accord and to Net Zero emissions. So whether the people will be able to afford it or not and whether it is reliable or not coal run electricity production has to go. These are decisions no one voted for but made by unelected "leaders" in Europe.

  8. I just love reading about all your accomplishments, Annabel. They really do inspire me to do what I can in my own home. Hubby and I made 4 more batches of raspberry jelly from his berries. This stuff is so delicious! I've spent much of this week reading about different insurances as I will be 65 in Nov. and must decide what type of Medicare insurance to get. I actually went to bed with a headache one night, after studying the dizzy array of costs, co-payments, co-insurances, coverages, etc.
    I have also decreased my intake of the news. It seems like both our governments are bent on self-destruction, with yours blowing up power stations and ours shuttering power plants and banning every natural gas appliance/requiring electric alternatives ....it boggles the mind. I hadn't heard about the AI-generated scriptures, but nothing surprises me anymore. We seem to be swirling the toilet bowl of civilization. Prayers for all the Bluebirds! We are coming up on fall and winter here in my corner of the world, so I have been taking stock of what needs to be done to prepare. But I also plan to enjoy the lovely Fall leaves and bake some more pumpkin wacky cake! Best wishes to you all, and thanks again for bringing us all together, Annabel. Your posts about your family and animals keep me grounded in reality when all else seems to be going crazy. :)

    1. Dear Jill, Thank you for your kind comment. Yes we are seeing the same things, just delivered differently. It amounts to the same for ordinary people. The people in charge though have no want of electricity, heating, cooling in their private jets and super yachts. This amazes me that they are not embarrassed to dictate to others how much electricity or gas they can use. Hence I guess our eye rolling is too much and we dont watch much tv!
      Well done on the beautiful raspberry jelly! I hope you were able to find a good value insurance that meets your needs.
      I love Fall! By farm my favourite! So far Spring is lovely though but as you can tell I have concerns for summer! Have a wonderful weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Jill, I am 77 and on Medicare. I also have a MedAdvantage plan that costs $36.50 per month. My best suggestion is to contact an independent insurance broker and have him or her help you select the best plan for you. For instance, I have a chiropractic adjustment every week to manage severe arthritis and other back issues (upon advice of the Mayo Clinic). I need a policy that has a lot of chiro coverage. At one time, I was taking a super expensive osteoporosis medication that not every insurer covers. The broker saved me literally thousands of dollars by finding the policy with the best coverage for that particular drug. There is no charge to use a broker. They will sign you up for your policy. I cannot take credit for this advice--I read it on another blog. Trying to figure out the Medicare website on my own made me crazy!

    3. Oh, that was me, above, about Medicare.

    4. Thank you for the Insurance suggestion! We met with a Medicare Benefit Specialist yesterday to use as a sounding board (they can't give specific product recommendations), and it seems a Medigap policy will fit our needs better than an Advantage plan. Every family situation varies, so yes, it's daunting, but all I can do is the best I can do. Best wishes to you!

  9. A tip I read online recently (and please forgive me if it was here!) is every time you empty a preserving jar, wash it well (of course) and fill it with clean tap water. pop the lid on and store it where you would have done if it was empty, waiting for the next preserving season. Never store any jar or bottle empty when you could have liters of water ready to use in an emergency. If your water is questionable, you can actually water bath these jars. Our government (Norway) says our water is safe to drink after months of storage in clean, closed containers. We have also had two recent episodes in which we have been asked not to drink or use in cooking any tap water however, due to contamination. The last one was nearly a week long! I am filling all my preserving jars that I can safely store without freezing. Maybe I should half fill those that I store in an unheated shed, which will definitely freeze.

    1. Thank you! I think it was here! It is so true! In fact I have a motto to store something in every container possible. I would try to get spring water or rain water to drink. Otherwise put it through a good filter system. Yes if the shed can freeze... leave a good top space in case your jars freeze. I have also filled a lot of jars with dry goods ie rice, pasta, salt, flour etc. Over time this has really added up and not cost much! Many thanks! xxx

  10. Dear Annabel, Wow! I’ll I do is type in the A and Annabel appears! How cool is that!
    Don’t you just love those seedlings that just pop up? Like magic! God is Good!! I think if the movie: “Out of Africa” where no matter what happens, Merle Streep’s houseman always says that, even her coffee roaster sheds were burning! He always saw the continuing Good that is God’s reality! As do you with your sunshine and plants and animals and sewing, etc, no matter the news! Like an artesian well that is constantly supplying water.
    We don’t really have to worry about winter in Florida as it never gets so cold. Usually 45 is normal and only in the morning. It’s starting to cool already! But up north! Your advice is very helpful and timely!
    So, I’m filling my Christmas box of little goodies! All on the cheap, of course! I found a 10 piece set of real leather gold stamped bible verse book markers. Perfect little gift to tuck in a card, or give put as prizes in a Sunday School class (young or old), or resell at a church bazaar (do they still have them since covid?).Just lots of Uses!
    On our trip to see Donna, I searched for post cards to send to friends and family but no one had them! My sister gifted me with some things she always looks out for me, and one was a shoe box 3/4 full of vintage postcards, almost all unused! Well, I rummaged around and found suitable ones for all my needs! Another thing to look for in thrift stores and antique shops!
    Well, I have to say that I had 3 washing machines, my Mother would have said:”You’re either awfully clean or awfully dirty!” Ha!
    Great comments from all, as usual! Filling empty jars with water was especially clever! I always have jars sitting by the sink, to my wife’s forever aggravation! Going out to pot up basil, garlic chives, and a pineapple top for my daughter!
    Love to you and your and all the Bluebirds! Rick in Florida and m/l Donna in N Indiana.
    PS Donna’s printout will arrive tomorrow so I’ll let you know her reaction of that marvelous blog article, Annabel! ❤️

    1. Dear Rick, Thank you for your kind words! I love the great finds you had from the thrift stores. Also I love what your Mum said about the washing machines. That is just what my Dad would have said! You have reminded me to plant Basil. I love it, use every bit I grow too. I hope Donna enjoys reading all the comments she got, which was a lot! Her (and your) post was such a hit, thank you so much! I have snail mail off to Donna too. With love Annabel.xxx

  11. Hello Bluebirds, i live in the United States.

    I have been making soup with produce from our garden and freezing it in recycled Gatorade or Powerade bottles, just leaving a little headroom. This saves on the cost of freezer bags. You can take one out at night to thaw, then take it to work for lunch,along with a mug, or bowl ..assuming your job has a microwave, or heat it at home in the morning and put it in a thermos. Soups are pushing $3 for a small can and closer to $5 range for larger cans.

    I am making our own salad dressing...which is usually in the five dollar range for a small bottle.
    The other day I saw a 13 ounce box of Betty Crocker red velvet cake mix ...the sale price was $5.00! One small avocado is $2.00.

    I appreciate your warning about the bibles. I did not know that. How frightening that people will be misled thinking they are reading truth.

    I am considering creating a "barter closet" where i can put extra coats, boots, and other excess items we really don't use, as well as notes of other items located in the shed or garage. Its also a good place to put a list of things we would like to barter for (to get) that we want or need. And if not for barter, its good to have extra things we can share to help family all stored in one location. I have a smaller closet in mind but first i need to clear it out and relocate the contents.

    In Preparing for power outages, For those who use oil lamps, be sure to have a fire extinguisher in every room you use an oil lamp in.

    I love the idea of storing water in canning jars!! Brilliant!


    1. Dear Elaine, Home made soup is beautiful. It is the perfect lunch too!
      Salad dressings and mayonnaise are really expensive. I am making my own egg mayo with a recipe a friend gave me. That is what I will be doing this summer.
      Thanks re the fire tip also.
      A barter closet is a really good idea. Aside of keep things that I might otherwise have given away (if I think they are suitable) I keep things that are small, inexpensive and have no expiration or deterioration... so soap, mini sewing kits, manual can openers, pads and tampons, matches and lighters. They are cheap to collect but could become hotly sought after. In WW1 and 2 soap was one of the most wished for items. Also they could be gift items. Yes empty canning jars are good water storage! It all adds up! With love Annabel.xxx

  12. Well, your statement of "blowing up power plants" got me to do a little research. There is a great deal of information available regarding Australia's transitioning from coal- fired plants to renewable energy. If you are a subscriber to 'Sky' news you will be getting the alarmist version of events, just like 'Fox' news in the U.S. Both of those news agencies are owned by Rupert Murdoch, who for whatever motive wants people to be afraid and distrust their governments.
    These news agencies are both good at lying; Fox has paid 787 million for lies about the 2020 U.S.election. There are more lawsuits in the queue which will cost them considerably more when they lose.
    Truth is that Australia has been a holdout in converting away from coal fired electricity generation; primarily because you have plenty of coal. But coal fired electricity is a major greenhouse gas emitter and so is directly responsible for the hotter temperatures that you are experiencing and hence, the greater need for more electric generated air conditioning.
    There is always a painful period when transitioning from one thing to another and getting rid of coal is no exception. But it needs to be done. You, above all others will do this with ease. I hope that you will find a broader source of news than Sky.
    With respect and good wishes, Annabel.

    1. Dear Rita, You sound like someone who watches CNN. My info came from the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) and the SA and VIC governments. But more so it came from on the ground... here. By painful transition you might mean people in winter dying of the cold and people in summer dying from heat. Farmers and businesses facing closure over energy prices. We personally have not seen hotter temperatures here but maybe that will materialise this summer, which is what Im worried about. My parents kept temp and rainfall records for seventy years.
      The blowing up of one of our main power stations was televised and also a friend who lives nearby went to witness it. The wind farms do not produce any electricity on hot days. Nor when it is windy. Nor when it is still. They chop up eagles and other birds. Us not using coal will not help as it is just sold to countries who will use it. Its like not peeing in your corner of the pool. We are seeing pensioners and elderly really suffering as they are not affording this lovely transition you speak of... maybe though they are just carbon that we can reduce? No we are not doing this with ease. Go pound sand Rita. I hope you can find a broader source of news than CNN.
      To anyone reading, in the time of my whole years of blogging this is the first time I have lost it. I apologise. With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Totally agree with you Annabel. You are one of the wisest ladies I follow. Generous with your vast knowledge and so helpful to all who the Bluebirds who visit here. Blessings Gail.

    3. Amen, Annabel. Jen in NS

    4. Annabel the truthful rebuttal was a kindness. She has heard the difficult truth and can decide what that means for her.
      Thank you as always for sharing your wonderfully productive and beautiful week. Reading your Friday post is the highlight of my weekend.
      Much love, Patti in California

    5. Thank you, Annabel. It's so good to hear my thoughts in your words. -Erin

    6. I find it so interesting that anyone who "trusts" their lives into the hands of their government would have any business here at this blog which is all about thinking for ourselves and being independent of these so called unelected "leaders". Good on you Annabel for bravely speaking the truth.

    7. Well said Annabel.. Rita, i hope you dont find out the hard way how wrong you are…. Missy in northern rivers nsw

    8. 100% in your corner, Annabel! I have no idea how any rational adult could truly believe what that lady was spouting. Good for you. —ElleW

    9. Even if Rita is correct--and I don't think she is--it begs the question, where is all of the electricity going to come from? Not only are solar and wind not producing anywhere near enough electricity, even hydropower is problematic. I live in a part of the US where most of the electricity is generated by hydroelectric dams. For at least 40 years, so-called environmentalists have wanted to tear out the 4 dams on the lower Snake River (major tributary of the Columbia) because of their effect on salmon runs. It also goes to show that if one environmentalist doesn't get you, another will!

      There needs a lot more infrastructure before electric cars are a viable alternative. Some of this infrastructure will take decades to create. I'm not just talking electricity here, but roads and bridges that can handle the very heavy weight of electric vehicles. I don't have a hybrid, but I think they make a lot of sense.

  13. I love your double planting around the apple trees. I don't have anything under ours yet this year, so herbs it will be! The potted dwarf trees always look lovely with flowers under them, things like marigolds, zinnias, petunias and violas add colour and bring bees into the garden. Each garden bed has a pot at each end with a tree in it and flowers underneath. Makes my heart sing and the garden grow. Great advice on getting ready for summer. The other thing to prepare is an emergency or bug out bag. Even for those of us living in the city, having a bag ready to grab and go and a plan to evacuate is essential. In recent years (and no so recent - I remember the Canberra fires in the 90s) we have seen bush fires go through suburbia. We have a generator for the freezers in the case of a blackout, and lots of solar and battery powered tools and appliances, but I'm still working like crazy to dehydrate and can as much as possible to avoid losing a lot in the case of a long black out. I love your idea of a back-up washing machine; about five years ago it hit me to have back-ups of household things we use a lot and I started collecting: a vacuum cleaner, brooms, a full set of dishes, spares of my favourite frying pan and wok, a spare fridge, a spare bbq. Things I rely on to care for our home, that make my life a little easier. I'm going to start looking for a washing machine to add to the back-ups because hand washing isn't high on my favourite things to do list!

    1. Dear Cath, It was Laine who first made me see if I could have a spare appliance lined up I should. And ever since I have! You make a good point about having flowers to bring in the bees. I might plant out something really bright and colourful here and there in the gaps. It would be a good idea.
      Dehydrating is so good. Apart from freeing up the freezer everything shrinks to just tiny and so much can fit into one jar... saving jars as well!
      Hand washing is really hard work especially for any quantity. I am not a fan either! I hope your weekend is as lovely as ours! With love Annabel.xxx

  14. Dear Annabel, You achieved so much again this week. I have slowly been poking along in my garden, even if I just weed a little bit each day. A dear old Aunt of mine told me she has to sit in a chair to weed now but she tries to do at least 10 minutes a day and I thought, if she can keep trying so can I. I am concerned about a hot summer too. My husband and I are looking at ways to give my chook pen more shade. Love Clare

    1. Dear Clare, A big old garden umbrella can work really well... unless its windy. Keeping the sun off the coop does really make a difference though. My elderly neighbour in the city pulled 4 weeds a day and she had a big garden too yet it always looked lovely. I need to do the ten minutes a day I think... my weeds are galloping! Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Clare an old fashioned choko vine growing up the chook fence is a great way to give your fluffy butt girls some shade. I have choko and I have beans growing up the outside of the fence. A passionfruit vine or even a grape vine would do the same. I have a lemon tree planted next to the girls run. It gives them shade and the tree benefits from their manure. The girls get shade and you eventually get fruit. A win win.

  15. This is yet another wonderful and inspiring post Annabel.

    Today I saw something on instagram that really resonated with me, and I’m sure it will with you and the other bluebirds. I don’t remember the specific details, but it was an instagram reel about preparedness and it was likening our homes to the Ark! I thought what a great analogy that was!

    Let’s keep preparing our Ark for the coming storm!

    From Cheryl ๐Ÿฆ

    1. These are wonderful words. Thank you,Cheryl

  16. Dear Annabel, I loved this post. Thank you for your wise words and encouragement. I love your baking and how you gave a tray to your Mum and also gifts of food to others. What a great idea to plant the parsley seeds under the fruit trees. Your friend’s bag is wonderful. It’s beautiful. I love the fruit and vege bags too. I am having a great week with the children. I made two jars of tomato Passata, planted 4 new cuttings, and have been crocheting. I’ve decided to really cut down on all outside entertainment (on the tv) for the children and have bought old fashioned movies. I’m not trusting what they are doing and the outside influences. I will definitely add to the Christmas list practical gifts such as lanterns and battery powered radios. Love these ideas! Lots of love Lily

    1. Lily I purchased head lanterns for my Grandies last year and they love them. The lanterns live in their Dad's camping trailer. They love having them on at night here, to come with me when I put the chooks to bed(close up the Fluffy Butt Hut). I have introduced card games to them as well. A deck of cards is a simple item to get hold of and provides lots of fun for the littles. I am in the process of making a memory/matching game using fabric squares. Chalk on concrete and old fashioned Hop Scotch is a winner. Children dont need a lot but they do need you to be present when you are with them. Have fun with your littles. In a blink of an eye they are grown.

    2. Dear Lily, Thank you so much! I am not sure of the ages of your children but I agree with what you are doing! Well done on your Passata and cuttings! I LOVE having gift ideas if someone asks. I have built a lot of my pantry this way... over time I asked for a food saver, jars, mylar bags, preserving books and so on. I agree with everything Jane said! So true! With much love Annabel.xxx

  17. Dear Annabel,
    A very informative post. You got so much accomplished and I love the idea of double planting. Your bags are beautiful. I love making bags as well and love to give them as gifts. I must look at an op shop for some velvet. I have made them out of old jeans and done a bit of embroidery on them to jazz them up a bit.

    It has been a busy week here. We have had to prepare for an oncoming storm which started here last night and according to the weatherman will continue for the next three days, with high wind gusts. I made the pastry this week and made pasties from some leftover chicken breast and vegetables. The were delicious and so easy to make. Thank you for the recipe.

    It's apple harvest time here and I invested in a half bushel of "seconds" meaning they aren't perfectly shaped, at quite a discount. From them, so far, I've put up 10 pints of applesauce, made 3 apple pecan pies that are in the freezer and one pan of just frozen sliced apples that will be baked into a crisp at a later time. I still have a few apples left and will make a couple of apple wacky cake recipes but bake it into muffins. I froze more green beans as well as carrots and chard. I've been spending some time learning new craft techniques on Youtube, as well as a channel called Pasta Grannies. I love it, as it's women in Italy, some in their 90s, making all sorts of pasta by hand without the use of pasta machines. Gnocchi is at the top of my list to make for this weekend. Stay safe everyone, especially those in the storm path in the US. Blessing, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      I didnt think of denim! That is a great option for bags!
      I hope the storm was not too bad and no damage.
      You added sos much goodness to your freezer! The apples sound fantastic. So do the beans and carrots.
      I am going to find this Grannie channel. Grannies know the most! I am thinking... with dehydrating and freeze drying I can make powders... which colour colour pasta and add goodness. I will follow along with you and see if I can do it! With much love Annabel.xxx

  18. Hello Annabel and everyone, wow, what a big bunch of ideas I have read from the post and from the comments! You are amazing, Ladies! I have so much to learn from you๐Ÿ˜. My days were busy to the full, with every thing related to autumn. We still harvest from the garden and we went up to a farm to buy produce from their stand in front of the gate - my, what fresh goodies - we bought only eggplants and red ribbed peppers but they had many beautiful vegetables. Good price and honest, hard working people. With healthy rosy faces...I used eggplants for our traditional zacoosca, I think it is an eastern European meal but very delicious and a treat for our cold winters. Iwas preserving more red peppers, plum jam, hot chillies, put in the refrigerator beans and different meat and cheese at a good price. We were working every minute of every day these past months and am glad autumn days are here. I even took a week off from work just to recover and rest (I will paint and crochet and knit and....) 2 good things this week: I am picking the best peanut harvest ever from the garden and I managed to buy a mix of wheat, corn and black sun flower seeds for the chickens at less than half price per a kilogram. I got a bag of 40 kilos with a promise to sell to me whenever I want. His daughter is a coleague from work so it is nice. Now I go back to read the post and the comments again, too many good things there. All my love from far away, Laura_s_world from Romania

    1. Dear Laura, As you know Ive been thinking of you everyday. I think he farm stand sounds just lovely. If you go again take a photo for instagram. Id love to see that! I am really glad you were able to take a week off. You all have been working constantly. Great on he peanuts and the chicken food! It is good to have a supply. I am on a challenge to make each bag last as long as possible with weeds, scraps etc extending it. Thank you for your kind words! Enjoy your break you deserve it! With love Annabel.xxx

  19. I saw on Three Rivers this morning that there is supposed to be a big increase in olive oil prices. I was in the grocery today and picked up two bottles. I'd like to have more but will have to purchase it as I can. She seems to be a reliable source of information.

    I managed to plant a small fall garden, all in raised beds and pots. So far I've got carrots, bush beans, peas, parsley, lettuce and cilantro. I have more lettuce seed that I will sow in about two weeks or so. I also have golden beets, yellow bush beans and mustard seed to plant this week. Happy to see my peppers perking up and the tomatoes blooming once more.

    I noted our meat was getting a little lower, but that corresponded with some excellent sales and markdowns at the stores where I shop so that is now been boosted back up. I managed to add to the pantry as well with a big sale on pizza sauce and peanut butter, tissues in case of winter colds.

    I have just ordered a new winter coat...and found a fantastic sale on toddler/baby clothing so got several outfits for my great grands which are being sent directly to my granddaughter. I got nearly $275 worth of things for $110, so the savings were really substantial, and each child will have multiples of new outfits. These combined are birthday and Christmas items for them.

    1. Dear Terri, I am building up my olive oil as well. Because sunflower oil is lower many will go to olive… and here are droughts affecting the supply. So looks like olive oil will keep going up in price. Its the only oil I will use. I think Jessica is reliable too. Well done on your fall garden! I think it is just beautiful that you bought yourself a coat and winter things for your Great Grandchildren. Your Grand daughter will be thrilled when this all arrives! You got a great deal too! With love Annabel.xxx

  20. Hello Annabel and everyone,

    Your cooking and gardening look so good, Annabel, and I love those lace/tulle bags for produce! The idea for your pumpkin plants is genius and I want to try it next year.

    I think blogspot ate my earlier comment - we had a busy week of mostly appointments (chemo, transfusion, paracentesis), but I did get a few small things done and my husband is feeling a lot better now.

    I hope everyone has a good week!

  21. Thank you for a good chuckle. Well said on your fact checking.
    I'm a long time reader, but rarely comment. You've taught me SO much. I'm on the other side of the earth from you, but with you in spirit. God Bless you, Annabelle.
    Central Az


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