Feather your Nest Friday, 17th November, 2023.

It has been a really busy but good week and here we are in mid November!  

Usually I am good at writing things down and so when my cows were calving I knew,  roughly, when they were due and that there would be an eight week possible window.   That was when I was out checking them every single day.   Once all the calves were doing well I stopped driving around each day and we see the cows when they come up to the bottom fence.   Boy, have those calves grown!   BUT I forgot to write down a crucial piece of information!  Four of the cows back then were still running around basically wild and our friend Johnnie had a huge Angas bull on the property.  In all likelihood those four cows are pregnant and due soon.  How I forgot this I have no idea but when I remembered  (due to thinking "why is that cow so fat!?)  I realised we are going to have Christmas calves!   I literally feel like all my Christmases have come at once!   So I am back to checking the cows everyday until they calve.  Just as well I realised in time!  

Last time the cows had decided they liked apples much better than biscuits so I went out for my first drive with apples cut into quarters.  I thought they might be far less tame after all this time.    I guess I was wrong about that.

However,  Laffie and Loui aren't pregnant...  the four that are are pregnant are fairly wary and stand back.  I hope me doing the rounds daily will quieten them down further. 

So I am thinking of Christmas names.   If we get a heifer I will call her Holly.  

As we were discussing cows Johnnie offered to lend us a bull again so we would have another round of calves next year.   This would be amazing,  obviously!   He said he had a couple of bulls he could send over but they weren't anything fancy.   I said that's ok my cows aren't fussy and will go with anyone. hahaha!    So we will have 2024 calves lined up as well! 

In the garden we turned three really big buckets into planters and along with one other big pot I planted up potatoes.

I pulled up spent celery plants and these fed the chickens and goats.

Speaking of chickens... I had a gorgeous parcel arrive from a friend.  It has dreamy palest pink lace and a sign... which is just perfect!

Chloe came over and we went through baby clothes as I have saved things from my Great Grandma,  Nana and Mum for each baby.  Also a heap of things I made over the years for my Grandchildren just in case I die,  each one would have things I made.   You already know I like a pantry and back up plan! 

So... we had an afternoon going through baby clothes and linens.  Now I am washing up things that Chloe chose.   Amongst them are things everyone made including something one of Nana's very best friends made.  I think this is so special.  Also this was great fun!   I also ordered wool in the appropriate colour ready to begin new this as well! 

I used up six bananas in muffins and a cake.

As this was for Harper,  Scarlett and Sidney I got out the hundreds and thousands.

I harvested Parsley,  interestingly from the area I harvested weeks ago... it all grew back plus some...

It is all in the freeze drier now.

In the orchard... pears are really growing.   The net on the apple tree is in bad shape with quite a few holes.   As birds are smart I have been down there with safety pins closing up them up.   I think it will work!

I got my Sweet Potatoes planted in huge big tubs.   They had really fantastic root systems so were very ready to be planted out. 

I am thinking a lot about 2024 presents and crafts.   Inspired by Jennifer  here  and here  I decided I want to do a lot more crochet edgings again and I began to watch for really good deals on items to crochet around.  I will sew some items too but I thought I would search for some bargains.    Amongst other things I found the most plush face washers ever....

 I had yarn arrive and items to work on so I  have things lined up everywhere! 😊

My bake up was a big batch of Enchiladas.   We both enjoy chicken enchilada sauce on baked potatoes or rice as well as made up with tortillas.  This fed us for two nights,  I made a tray up for Chloe's household and I froze a large tray in my melas freezer.  I was most happy about this.

Today I even got to some present wrapping.   The spare bed is covered in gifts,  mostly things I have made.   As I sort and wrap I am turning a mountain of chaos into lovely wrapped gifts!   I can see light at the end of the tunnel now and also... starting making things in January with The Tuesday Afternoon Club works really well.  Spreading Christmas and birthdays over the whole year (pretty evenly) and a little each week adds up!   I will post a link and invite everyone to join in a new challenge for 2024.

This week we had something happen in Australia which was quite terrible and enough to make everyone feel less safe and also betrayed.  I will not be specific as I try really hard to be non political or invite arguments.  Certainly we felt shocked, horrified and worried.  Also disappointed.   On top of this the policeman from our local town was gunned down last night along with another officer who was shot and injured.   Our towns are small.  They are the kind of towns where men still (in the main) hold doors open for ladies,  everyone says hello (whether you know them or not)  and people are very friendly.  The police officer was a very respected man and very community minded.   To give you an idea of what I mean by a small town, the town the officer came from (according to the internet) has 288 people.   But then there are surrounding areas like us and it hits everyone and hard.  We are just so sorry. 

The tyre swing was such a hit with the girls when they were here that today Andy put up another one... this time horizontal!   This is hanging from a pretty high limb and involved the tractor.

I will wrap tinsel around it for Christmas Day and the kids will love it!  😊

We were helped with really mild weather.  This really makes a difference. In the heat there is so much more work and it is exhausting keeping up!  Lovely days and cool nights is just perfect! 

I had a day in town and did a stock up shop.  There were parcels to collect and a heap of errands.  The next two days I was unpacking,  filling pantry jars, catching up on lots of odd jobs.  Sometimes when I don't even know where to start I still think of "do the next thing."   And after a couple of days of doing the next thing I feel I have caught up!

How did you feather your nest this week?  I hope you had many ways to build up your family and home.xxx

PS Thank you for all the wonderful responses and tips to the Rations post.  They were fantastic!  It was uplifting to read them all.xxx


  1. Annabel, My you have had a very long productive week.
    Prayers for the delivery of the calves safely. Your herd is growing, how wonderful for you.

    We have been traveling this week, so not much was accomplished at home, though before leaving I caught up with laundry and housework. Which felt great walking into the house all clean.

    While traveling I took the opportunity to stop at 2 thrift stores. I have needed some winter clothes and with prayers being said I found 4 tops and 3 pair of leggings at 1/2 off at one store and a flannel tunic top at another store.

    We stopped and walked through Sam's club, wow, is is huge there. We were able to get a case of green beans and corn on sale, puffs tissues with lotion and dishwasher tabs. Plus their taxes are cheaper there. I was happy to be able to add to my pantry.
    Then we stopped at a grocery store on trip home and was able to get 4 bags of their sugar on sale, onions, cauliflower and potatoes. So we were blessed through our trip. I have to admit it was wonderful adding to pantries while traveling and all on sale.
    It just shows to pay attention to areas you are in, you never know what you may find.
    Prayers for all the Bluebirds.

    1. Dear Rosanne, I love to come home to a clean and tidy house too! I also love to pick things up on travels and break up long drives with a stop at an op shop or a store we dont have near us. In the city I usually stop at Aldi. Great you came home with so many good things! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. All good things for your home. I love the baby things and you having that lovely Mother and Daughter time.

    We are at the lake this week and this town is small, too. Yesterday a cop made a routine traffic stop and was gunned down as he approached the vehicle he had pulled over. I just don't know what to think of this world anymore. Back home someone drove through a neighborhood just shooting at houses. Thankfully one was killed. All we can do is run to the shelter of our Father's wings.

    We got so many good deals on holiday foods and pantry stock ups that we will be going home with a car full. It feels good to find good deals again.

    Have a lovely weekend and tell those Mama cows that people in America are waiting to hear that they have delivered safely!

    1. Dear Lana, Oh no! This boggles my mind! I am sorry sorry for that small town and for all the terrorised people. Lol I will, I cant wait for the new calves! You just gave me an idea... for the USA ladies if I get a second heifer Liberty would be a great name! Have a good weekend to you too! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. The sheriff's deputy is in critical condition. He is 27 and he and his wife just had their first child in September. I cannot imagine what his wife must be going through.

  3. Dear Annabel, even with bad things happening around us, our small world, with family, friends, animals and all the nature, is beautiful. And all you have presented here is beautiful: the time with family, the presents, the cows, the homemade plans, the plants and especially, the children.
    I have a long, exhausting week at work, topped with cold, rainy and gloomy weather and not feeling really well. I will work on Saturday, too. My husband was cooking while I was sleeping one evening, and one afternoon I just took my little dog for a walk as I could not even think.
    As I don*t have many things to report, I want to say how friendly and calm is my rooster, Philip. He is very big and handsome now (as big as my big white dog), very protective with the ladies, who are still laying (the young white ones). He has a sweet temperament, he is very friendly, waits for me at the gate every morning and walks with me to their eating place together with all the chickens by then, not afraid of the dogs but not agresive in any way, just very vigilent. I am really happy I have him.
    Sending good wishes to everyone, stay safe and see you next week with better news.
    Laura_s_world from Romania

    1. Dear Laura, I hope you are feeling better but you sound exhausted. I hope you will get a break tomorrow, Sunday. I like the sound of your rooster. I think a good one is an asset as they will protect the hens and they are pretty scary if they decide to take on an argument! It sounds like he is friends with you so that is good!
      I am so glad your husband did the cooking while you slept. It sounds like you needed that. Rest now if you can! With much love Annabel.xxx

  4. Good morning! I had a wonderful surprise this last week, which will definitely help feather my nest next spring and summer. A dear friend (widowed about 15 years) is dating a widower and she's been helping him go through things in his home, as he begins to think about downsizing. She called and told me she wanted to drop off a gift from him. It turns out his late wife was a canner and he gifted me with 2-3 dozen mason jars and several boxes of rings and flats (older style, so thicker sealant), and even sent her antique canning funnel. All have been added to my canning pantry and will be put to use when we have fresh produce next year (and he will definitely get several jars as a thank you).

    1. Dear Lori, It was so nice that your friend spotted how you could use those canning jars and other items! And she was right! Also her friend probably is pleased for someone who will really appreciate them to go ahead and use them. What a wonderful gift! I love the sound of an antique canning funnel too. Only a couple of years ago I found out about canning funnels. They are the most useful thing ever!
      That was a very nice week! With love Annabel.xxx

  5. Lovely post. I miss having cattle and cows. The past few weeks I have not had much time for crafts, due to my son and his children moving in. It has been a learning curve as I haven’t made school lunches for 26 years lol. Cooking for more is going well. I found some beef, chicken, salmon on sale so my freezer is full. I am so happy my larder is filled. Lots of ideas for meals. We have had a few skiffs of snow, but it has melted. Late next week we will be into more seasonal temperatures. I am thinking this weekend I will start some baking that can be frozen. I have an extra freezer at my daughter’s house. Have a blessed week all.

    1. Well, that is a big change to your household! I am sure your baking will be appreciated! How handy having that extra freezer at your daughters! I keep ahead with baked goods by freezing too. xxx

  6. Hello Annabel and (everyone),

    That is so exciting about having Christmas calves! What a nice present! Your baking and harvesting and the enchiladas look wonderful. That swing is going to be a huge hit! I'm so interested to hear how your sweet potatoes do - I'd love to add them to next year's garden. And I am so very sorry to hear about happenings in your town. Ours is a bigger college town, but much the same (friendly people with lovely manners and a sense of community).

    This past week was a chemo week. The final CT report came in from last month's tumor scans and while the preliminary report showed stable/slightly decreased disease, the final report showed shrinking tumors (with before and after measurements) and belly fluid basically gone. So they are responding! The oncologist told us to "go home and enjoy the holiday season"! What a gift, and answered prayers. His counts are also good and recovered enough to add chemotherapy back in - he has been getting only immunotherapy for about 6 weeks. So thankful!! I am so grateful to everyone who offered such helpful suggestions for foods and meals that might be easy for him to to eat, and always for the prayers.

    Home-wise, I just tried to get done what I could. A laundry day, a baking day (challah, muffins, a sweet treat), a cross-stitch finishing day, an evening where I drew some chalkboard Christmas ornaments with carols on them, an errand day to take care of the business of life. Some stitches went in a new cross-stitch and the second sleeve of my knitted sweater as I had a few minutes here and there. Like Annabel, I started wrapping a few holiday gifts and chose some things for the nurses & PAs. That gift cupboard comes in handy! The green tomatoes I harvested before the freeze have been ripening - this seems miraculous (I've never tried this before). Some of these went to my dad last night for his lunches. He sent me home with maple syrup, strawberries, and some ice cream for my husband - such a nice gift.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

    1. Dear Kathy, I am so happy your husband got such a great report! I am hearing so many good things about immunotherapy treatments. Just fantastic.
      I cant wait to see the chalk board ornaments! You are really clever at a lot of different crafts. I think the early wrapping does help later on when things get crazy! The man told me if you can grow tomatoes you probably can grow Sweet Potatoes... and you grow them in the same season/time frame. But I will keep you posted how it works out!
      Now you have been officially time to go home and enjoy the holidays! How beautiful is that! With much love Annabel.xxx

  7. You will be super busy with calves and chickies! I love those wash cloths and that sign fits you!......Nancy

    1. Thanks Nancy, have a lovely new week! xxx

  8. Annabel I just love reading about your weeks. You always make the most of opportunities and also find joy in simple things like baking and cooking for your family. It’s lovely to read about how much you enjoy helping out your daughters and grandchildren.

    That is terrible news about the policeman, I’m so sorry. I hope filling your week with nice tasks helped you.

    This week was another full of study, I have about 700 words left of an assignment and I’m going to try to get it done today because I’ve had enough!

    I got some fruit and vegetables at great prices this week which was great, and stocked up on some Christmas treats as part of my regular shop.

    I was looking for something to add to the washcloths I’ve been making and found a beautiful brand of body lotion at $3.80/bottle. It’s $30 in other shops! I thought it was too good to be true but the lady serving me assured me it was right, they’re clearing that brand. She and I had a giggle when I came back with 10 more bottles lol. So that was fantastic and sorts out lots of gifts. I need more washcloths now!

    I also found a cute tin and two small Christmas plates at the op shop for $1 each, I’m going to fill the tin with baked treats for my daughter’s teacher and put some treats on the little plates for two of my neighbours.

    I had an idea to make up cross stitch kits for some of the kids that we gift to, I have so many supplies that this will be easy to do. I’m actually really excited to do that but have said to myself I must finish the assignment first. So I’m going to do that now!

    Have a lovely weekend everyone
    Jen (NZ)

    1. Dear Jen, I hope you got your 700 words done and dusted! I am happy hearing you found some good deals again on fruit and veg!
      I dont know if you have it... but TEMPLE AND WEBSTER had these four pack face washers... on sale. If you have them maybe check. The body lotion would be perfect with them and makes a luxury gift. I would have grabbed 10 bottles too! These are our opportunities!! Also the plates are perfect for sending baking!
      Any kids that are the right age and live near by you could give them a little cross stitch lesson. I think they would seriously love it. Kind of in the 8 to 14 age group Chloe and Lucys friends wanted to come over as we would do crafts and they would join in. This was amazing, beyond what I thought but many had no one to teach them things... Anyway it is a great idea!
      Enjoy the weekend, you did really well. With love Annabel.xxx

  9. How exciting to be expecting calves for Christmas! I immediately thought of Rudolph as a potential name, and then there are all the other reindeer to consider as well. You could have an entire sleigh team! There is a perhaps a little known story written by a local (Memphis, Tennessee USA) newspaper man called "Clarabell's Christmas Eve" about a cow who gets to become one of Santa's reindeer. If you could find it I think your grandchildren might enjoy it. Blessings to all as we here prepare for our Thanksgiving and focus on all we have to be grateful for. You dear lady and all the Bluebirds are definitely on my list of those things and people. Judy from West Tennessee

    1. Dear Judy... I like the name Memphis!!! Nothing to do with Christmas but a great name for a bull calf! HAPpy Thanksgiving to you, I think that is a beautiful celebration. Thank you for your words of kindness and encouragement. With much love Annabel.xxx

  10. Annabel I adore that big boof headed Moo looking for her apple. What a lovely greeting for you when you drive through the paddock. I dont think it will be long and the not so friendly girls will join the Laffie cheer squad.
    It's been a week of putting one foot in front of the other and getting one task done after the other. I tend to spend an hour or two in the garden in the early morning. It is getting too hot to think about doing it later. I am gradually getting all the garden covered in a thick layer of sugar cane hay. I make sure I water before the hay goes down and then the hay gets a good water as well. This gives me lots of good moisture retention. Once I get the hay down and wet, I have been digging up self sown plants from various areas of the garden, and the lawn, and am planting into the hay. I make pockets in the hay and fill with potting soil and plant the seedlings in that.
    I harvested a small crop of beetroot. These have now been cooked, sliced and placed in jars in a pickling brine. I ended up with three jars of sliced beetroot and one of chunks.
    I've continued with my Christmas sewing. This week the little boys Christmas shirts were completed. Katie saw them today and was really happy with them. There are Christmas dinosaurs on the shirts. Spencer's reaction was."WOW!". I think that the shirts are a winner.
    Last weekend Katie brought over the baby nest that Toby has grown out of. It had a tear that needed stitching up. I got this done and she is now able to advertise and sell it. Katie traded me my sewing skills by making me some labels on her Cricut.
    A local widower got me to take up the hems of his trousers and change a long sleeved shirt into a short sleeved shirt. I was paid with three good sized sand crabs. Bluey and Francis were very happy with this.
    I hope you and all the Bluebirds have a good week. Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane, You did a lot! I am so pleased you could put all those self sown seedlings to good use. What a bonus! The beetroot looked beautiful! I love that Spencer is impressed with his shirt! He will be proud to wear it! I hope Katie sells the baby nest now it is repaired. The trading with the alteration and hems was fantastic! I bet Bluey and Francis enjoyed that dinner! What a great week! Hope you have some weekend rest ready for another good week! With love Annabel.xxx

  11. Thanks again for the lovely post, "Save like a Nana did" and today's update.
    I so appreciate the space you have built here, Annabel.
    So many things in the works for you and so much you accomplished! Amazing.

    Not much to report here. I did save money making everything from scratch including some lovely Buckeye candies to send to my son in the Navy. I was able to get good deals on some ground beef, a turkey, and 50 lbs of potatoes for $14.99!
    I am crocheting some gifts. And I sewed chicken feed sacks into tote bags. These are part of a thank you to my bartering friend. The bags are very sturdy for the market.
    Lord bless you all as you prepare for the months ahead!
    Leslie in Ohio

    1. Dear Leslie, The feed sack bags are great. You are right they are so sturdy! You saved a lot on that is amazing on the potatoes! Your son in the Navy will love a parcel of candies. Bless you too Leslie as we go into a brand new week! With much love, Annabel.xxx

  12. Dear Annabel, I am sorry to hear about the policeman. This is so sad because they are working for the people and are protecting us.
    It would have beautiful to be with Chloe and going through the baby things. I love the handmade things. I feel the love from my great grandmother and grandmother when I hold our things. I am very excited for Chloe!! She must feel very happy. I love the cakes and the swing! This is a great present. I love your crocheting too. I gave one present this week- some of it was hand crafted. I love the sound of those face washers, I like this with soaps as a gift too. DH has been making jars of pickles with cucumbers and I’ve been using bananas like crazy. I found two pairs of shoes like new for the children at a thrift shop. Lots of love, Lily

    1. Dear Lily, Well done on using things you made in your gift! With the face washers I like to add a soap, a cleaner lotion, a shower liquid soap... something like that. It looks really nice and is useful.
      Cucumber pickles are great and there are so many good things to make with bananas! Great find on the shoes! I have been washing these baby items and it is just beautiful to see them have a time of being in use again. Today Mum is coming and she will see things she made 38 years ago.... as good as new and I think she will be rather thrilled! Have a good new week Lily. With love Annabel.xxx

  13. Rick from Florida & Donna from N. Indiana
    Hello Annabel and Bluebirds,
    How the time flies and yet you always have so much to report that you’ve accomplished!
    Firstly, the slain policeman story and others like it is horrific! Usually for no reason or something trivial and sometimes no reason at all! We’re much more cautious about honking, etc and our daughters, too! We DO mutter under our breath a lot though! Ha!
    Such a sad “common occurrence” these and other acts of violence and senseless thieving in stores! Pray that it stops!
    Your gifts are always so lovely, Annabel, and our youngest (now 34) still remembers the tire cut up to resemble a horse we hung in our yard!! Lots of happy times for her and my Mother (even together) on it, laughing!! Memories like those baby clothes! I hope you have ID labels so you’ll always remember! I asked my youngest about all the family treasures in our big china display cabinet and she definitely wants labels and a back story about the item.
    You certainly have a way with animals! Lots of the Bluebirds do, too! An amazing something the animal perceives from you! My Mom had it and was the go-to person when animals got out, and yet they only had a dog.
    Lettuce seedlings up and a couple chard!
    We’re off to Thanksgiving in Atlanta with youngest, while elder daughter and family go to Key West and our Navy grandson. After that, we’re off to N. Indiana to see Donna and then my Sister and her gang! Lots of fun and memories coming our way!
    Well, I went on too long but maybe my scribblings will be enjoyed as much as all these here do for Donna and for me!!
    Love, Happy Thanksgiving, and as Tiny Tim said in the Christmas Carol story: “God bless us every one.”
    Rick & Donna XXXOOO

    1. Dear Rick and Donna, You have a nice Thanksgiving planned and then visiting Donna will be lovely. I hope she is feeling better.
      I will make a point that after these clothes are used and I wash them and will put them away with a history written on them and the original creator and year. Then they will go back into safe storage, maybe for another round. Happy Thanks giving to you and all the family! With much love Annabel.xxx

  14. I put a wee bit of money into savings. I'm always happy when I can manage to do that. I am saving right now for Christmas gifting. I have the amount needed to cover what we typically give our family members. I was careful with food and leftovers and got several meals from dinners I cooked this week. Hence I shall not have to really cook meals for the whole of this next week since we are home alone without family here. I worked in my pantry and got it all sorted once more. I supplied my daughter with a lot of snacking items to take with her for their vacation week. I have all but the turkey for our family holiday meal this week. Most importantly I stayed away from the stores this week and didn't grocery shop. I'll go tomorrow (Sunday) when we are in the area and get my holiday turkey and the produce and dairy we need. I made muffins with an apple my grandson took one bite from and then left along with some fresh cranberries I had frozen. Both the smallest grandchildren told me they were 'good' without prompting them.

  15. Lisa in Larimer County, CO
    Hello and many thanks to all the Bluebirds, and especially Annabel, for sharing their wisdom and experience on this lovely blog! What an encouragement it is!
    I got to spend some time with two dear friends at a craft fair yesterday; we all came away with boatloads of great ideas and future projects. I’ve been crocheting kitchen sets of one dishcloth, one veggie/fruit scrubber and one scrubby pad, color customizing them for each intended recipient. I have a few more to go…
    I was also able to get a good-sized turkey for .75 a pound, which I’ll roast and then can for the pantry, and 10# potatoes for $1.97, which I will also can. I don’t love to cook (it’s so DAILY), so I like having prepped food waiting for me on the shelves.
    Giving thanks and being blessed
    Lisa in CO

  16. Dear Annabel & Bluebirds

    The week here has been a heatwave starting last Tuesday and hopefully some rain is coming tomorrow. Out where DP goes to work it has been in the early 40's while here the high 30's and well really draining everyone that you talk too.

    Your week has been very productive as always and I love seeing your pictures from around the farm, be it animals or plants.

    I think the grandchildren will get so much use and enjoyment out of the swings.

    Your face washers are so plush and lovely. Unfortunately this year has not been so productive for me as you know but I have been able to finish some hand stitching on some projects and have sewn some bags for Christmas gifts to go in. I have also been busy making some gift tags to go on them which I hope to be able to recycle each year.

    It was so devastating to hear the news of the police officer and at the time I did not realise how close it was to you. My thoughts are with this officers family.
    Hopefully the other officer makes a full recovery. Communities lean on one another in these times.

    Take Care
    Aly xxx


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