Feather your Nest Friday, 24th November 2023.

We are one month from Christmas Eve!  Many of you just celebrated Thanksgiving,  I hope that was wonderful.   

I have stories to tell!  You better get a cup of tea.  

Some of the ways I feathered our nest this week included:

I harvested and freeze dried celery,  oregano and parsley.

A lot of green goodness.   I also harvested basil ...

No matter how many times I do it when I pick basil I am so overcome by how good it smells!   It really is glorious.  I was able to make a really big batch of Pesto.   Some went with a meal that night and I froze the rest in batches.   Now the basil plants will all grow and become thicker for the next crop.   The stems all went into water on the kitchen windowsill to become new plants.

I have a lot of tomatoes and zucchinis coming on..

My celery is finished (and the woody bits went to the chickens) so I planted another lot of seedlings plus more capsicums.

The nursery has a points system and over the year I earned enough points to give me these plants plus three gold fish for free.  Because I need more fish.  🐟🐠🐟

I made scones for Mum and scones for Chloe.

Mum was here and we had some for afternoon tea first.   Strangely scones never turn out exactly the same twice.  

I decided, with the greens from the garden,  to make the stuffing for Christmas.    We have two different Christmas dinners so I aimed to make two.

It smelled really good!    When I put it into pans I could see I had plenty for three!

These all went into the freezer ready for when needed.

I also wrapped some presents and wrote some cards... which is all progress!

The shed guys returned to finish the shed doors....   they make it all blend so it looks rustic still but the doors now slide like a dream and there is small door within a big door... 

Chloe's budgie Houdini has come for a holiday.   He normally flies out of the cage for some time everyday but lately it has been pretty impossible because Chase is too little to understand to not squeeze too tight!   We have "baby sat"  him before and I can tell you he drinks wine and likes avocado.    Anyway I was picking up Houdini on Wednesday when I was also picking up Tom to come over to play.     So Houdini and Tom were in the car and as we pulled into the driveway.   Tom said "Nana your car is on fire."   He was looking over towards where I park the paddock old bomb,  this is what I drive out to check the cows and so on.   I looked and saw nothing and pulled in.   Tom was still telling my my car was on fire.   As I opened the car door I could smell smoke!    I walked a couple of steps and could see yep the car was on fire!   I was yelling for Andy and all I could think is to get away from the area so there I am with Tom and the budgie...   I backed out and went up to the guys working on the shed and yelled  "I have a fire under the Suzuki! " and they were wonderful.    They grabbed fire extinguishers from their truck,  ran down and had it out very quickly.    The air was thick with smoke and the foam that came out of the extinguishers.   When that cleared  I was able to get Tom out of the car and we went to talk to the guys and thank them.   I told them Tom was the one that alerted me and one of them said "Good job Tom" and gave him a high five.  Tom thought the whole thing was just fantastic!     Finally, I got Houdini into the house.   My car was also covered in smoke and white foam.   What a mess.   But amazingly we caught this all just in time,  the Suzuki is actually ok.    Andy had used it to drive and check a tank...  grass got caught underneath and he had just returned shortly before we pulled in.    
At the end of the day when I took Tom home he burst into the house telling Chloe that Nanas car caught fire and the guys put it out and he was throwing his arms in the air demonstrating smoke and flames...  Chloe looked at me with a !!!!????  I told her Tom had saved the day.   So that was an exciting visit lol.

In more boring news I managed to get some more of the magnetic closure boxes (from the cheap shop) and use my calendar to glam them up.   I love a good gift/storage box.  

 I began sewing buttons onto cards ready to give.

Lettuce keeps on and on and it is so nice just to cut what we need each day.

Last night it poured and there was a big storm.   I didn't hear a thing and was amazed when I woke up as things were soaked!   It was a really good rain!   There was a thunder storm... which is normally a huge worry this time of year but the amount of rain meant we were pretty confident that any lightening strikes would not have caused a fire.

Today we took most of the day off.    We went to a little town about half an hour away to meet friends for lunch and go to the op shop.   Weeks ago when I was Spring cleaning I made up some bags to donate and this was my chance.   We had a just lovely afternoon.   You can tell when you've had fellowship because you come away completely REFRESHED.    

We also had great luck at the op shop which included a pure silk scarf that will go towards a 2024 sewing project.    A couple of items I found are so gorgeous but I ran out of day to take photos.  

On the way home we we saw a fire truck coming towards us...  I wondered if it was our local truck as we actually have a tiny fire station almost straight across from our property.    Then we came over a hill and we saw smoke.... the air was thick...  and then we could smell it.    We came into our driveway and headed straight up our hill.   There was smoke drifting as far as we could see but no actual place to pinpoint.   It turned out that a fire had started but was under control thanks to the damp conditions.  Phew.   We have driven up that hill before to see a massive fire coming towards us.   It is the sickest feeling to see that.   So tonight we are so grateful for rain and no threat.  

I have fruit soaking in sherry ready to make some Christmas cakes tomorrow...

The next few days look set to be cool... so perfect weather for some baking.

I hope you had a great week!  How did you build up your home, pantry, garden and Christmas plans? We love to hear! xxx



  1. Annabel there is never a dull moment at your place. Young Tom is the hero this week. The men working on the shed are a close second. Thank goodness Tom spotted the car on fire and that the men were able to grab extinguishers and get the fire out so quickly. No doubt Houdini was looking for ways to get out of the car and have a look for himself.
    I have finished sewing Christmas shirts for Katie's boys and husband. The Christmas outfits are for Santa photos in early December. I asked Katie what she was planning on wearing. She was hoping that she could put something together from what she already has. I was at an appointment and then went and looked at dresses in the shopping center. I found two that I purchased. Katie has chosen one and I get the other.
    I dug up some cassava this week and played around with making this up into food for our table. I learnt a lot about how not to cook it up. We ended up having some like mashed potato with a meal. It was OK but not something I would go after often. It was still worth the effort of trying.
    I planted out Winged bean, Blue Lake Runner bean, Gympie Gold cucumber and golden nugget pumpkins seeds on Monday. We finally had good rain. It was good soaking rain. All of the seeds were up Thursday. All the self sown seedlings that I transplanted over the past two weeks, are looking established and healthy. The rain just makes growing a garden so much easier.
    We finally got air cons installed in the three bedrooms. These are just going to make life a bit more comfortable.
    Life is good

    1. Dear Jane, That was so nice and now Katie has a new dress for the photos! it is amazing that we both have had great rain even though we are so far across Australia from each other! I just went out and inspected the garden and this has done everything so much good. All your seedlings doing so well is a giant bonus! And the air conditioners are a massive bonus! If you can run them virtually free during daylight hours then the de humidifying effect and the cooling effect will be beautiful! What a good week! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. Hi Annabel, make sure you give the car a really good hose off- dry powder extinguishers are very caustic!!! You have had a bit adventure. Pleased that everyone is safe and well. Missy

  3. Dear Annabel,
    How frightening that must have been with a fire under the car. Tom was certainly the hero of the day. You are so right about being refreshed with fellowship with good friends. We feel that way too. The boxes and buttons will really make lovely gifts.
    It has been very busy here. Because my husband was having some surgery for skin cancer the day before Thanksgiving, for the last two weeks we have been doing things around the house and yard as he will not be able to do anything like that for the next two weeks until the stitches have been removed from his shoulder. We did a big shop and stock up, I did all of the cooking for Thanksgiving ahead of time and froze everything, except for the turkey. A friend had grown a turkey for us and we picked it up on Monday of this week. That was the only thing that needed to be cooked for our Thanksgiving meal. I baked two crustless pumpkin pies with butternut squash from our garden, 8 dozen 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies with some chocolate chips thrown in, two loaves of apple fritter cake, 3 dozen chocolate and nut bar cookies. To serve as guests were arriving I baked some no roll crackers topped with everything bagel seasoning and homemade Boursin cheese. The crackers were quite the hit as everyone wanted to know where I got them and were shocked that I had made them and that they were gluten free and so easy to make.
    In the craft room I found loads of melt and pour goats milk soap that I had forgotten that had been purchased a couple of years ago. From it I was able to get over two dozen soaps that were put in rose shaped molds. For coloring I used some French red clay left over from another project and for scent I used some essential oils that had gone out of date but were still highly scented. Waste not, want not. For men I did bars of soap that were scented with either lavender or grapefruit and had himalayan salt added to it. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, I hope your husband is healing well! You had great planning for Thanksgiving. I just made the three ingredient peanut butter biscuits this afternoon! The crackers sound really good. Everything you made sounds delicious!
      Using the soap base you had was great. Rose shaped soaps would be gorgeous! I am wanting to make a rust soap for me, I like the Himalayan salt idea. You had an amazing week! With love, Annabel.xxx

  4. Annabel, Oh my! Tom certainly saved the day and it is wonderful the men told him what a great job he did. Happy they were able to put the fire out without it causing damage.
    You had a very busy, exciting week, so happy you were able to met up with friends and relax and enjoy the day with them.

    We have been on overdrive here preparing for Thanksgiving, days of cooking and prep work. It all paid off yesterday with a wonderful meal and everyone went home with a box full of leftovers to make a few meals at their home.
    We will cook the carcass down today to make soup, Sunday we will have Soup Night and all come back for Turkey Wedding Soup, home made biscuits (scones) and whatever leftover we have. I'm not sure if the kids enjoy Thanksgiving dinner or Soup night more, they look forward to both.

    I was able to make 2 pumpkin pies from the pie pumpkin I roasted and enough left to make some pumpkin cinnamon rolls along with roasting the seeds. I also baked an apple pie using 5 lbs of apples and saved the peelings to cook down to make apple jelly with. I have the juice ready to cook. I don't like having anything go to waste, plus make things last longer and provide good food for the family.

    My husband also found a way for us to save on our car insurance, they offer defensive driving classes on line, we did it 5 years ago and it is time to do it again, the course runs $19 but will save us $600 each year, it takes a little over 8 hours to complete, though I will say the saving is worth the time.

    With raising cost we need to look at all alternatives we have to save. I had gone to thrift stores while we were traveling last week for work, well I was blessed with 4 tops and 3 pair of slacks for $16, all top name brands. When I told my Son at dinner he immediately said he needs to go clothing shopping with me at the thrift stores. Made my heart sing.

    We also had my Grandson ask my husband for financial advice, he told my husband he was successful, and asked how he did it and would he help him with financial advice. He's 22 yrs old and will be married next year, it is so nice to see him thinking ahead and also praising his grandfather. We are average middle class but we save to make purchases and don't waste money, so it is good to see it is making an impact on the Grandchildren.

    Prayers for all in these times.

    1. Dear Rosanne, It is really good to hear that your Grandson who is getting married is planning his finances and getting advice. I know you both did a lot of cooking leading up to Thanksgiving and it sounds like it was a big success.
      The bone broth is the next bonus from it all! Soup night is a great idea too. We can get so many meals from left overs which I absolutely love!
      Teaching the Grandkids cooking and budgeting etc is the best of all... by both example and telling them more when they ask questions. A great week! With love Annabel.xxx

  5. One of the biggest “wins” we had this week came from Dave! He was at hardware store looking for something and when a clerk directed him to another part of store, he found wide mouth pint canning jars on clearance for less than half price! This is my favorite size! He texted me with photo and price and number 6. I replied “YES”. A minute later he texted me “17 more?” . I again texted “YES”! So he brought home 23 cases (a dozen jars/case)! I gave 2 cases to a friend who has just started canning meat and a daughter of mine has been anxious to can meat with me for her pantry!
    Thanksgiving sales- I added 45 pounds of potatoes (19 cents/pound), 36 pounds (2 turkeys combined weight)- 47 cents/pound, 32 pounds of sugar- 24 cents/pound, 50 pounds of flour - 20 cents/pound and fresh apples for 49 cents a pound!
    So we really added to our pantry!! I’m grateful that Dave is so helpful as well!
    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Dear Gardenpat, Good spotting by Dave!! I like the wide mouth jars best too! It is great to hear your daughter is expanding her canning and also your friend. I know you will be able to help them both out so much.
      What amazing sales! I can hardly believe these prices, they are incredible. You built up your pantry enormously! A wonderful week! With love Annabel.xxx

  6. Good job Tom!! Yes on the fellowship with friends! We have friends that come twice a month for coffee and treats and to pray together and it is such a blessing!

    We enjoyed Thanksgiving with one of our sons and is family. It as so nice to have them here. I would have not thought to freeze the stuffing. What a great time saver! The thing about the meal on Thanksgiving is all the things that have to be done right at the end and everything onto the table. I read last week the Ina Garten makes her mashed potatoes the day before and then reheats them in the oven. Well that sounded great to me and I will always do it that way from now on. The potatoes were delicious and even better than if I had just mashed them. So ladies just make your regular mashed potatoes with butter and milk and then put them in an 8x8 dish and cover. Take them out of the fridge 2 hours ahead and then reheat in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

    We don't do traditional Black Friday shopping but there were deals at the grocery stores so Hubby is out gathering them up for me. 98 cents for bags of sugar is the best one and another store where we purchased $100 in gift cards each and got a $20 coupon for groceries next week with no minimum purchase! We got gift cards for places where we spend money anyway.

    Have a great week everyone!

    1. Dear Lana, That is a good tip on the potatoes. Getting multiple hot things on the table at once is a big job. I am big on doing as many things ahead of time as I can. Also on doing extra for planned left overs.
      Your Thanksgiving sounds lovely. The sugar and gift cards were great deals too! Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Lana, thanks for the tip on reheating mashed potatoes in the oven. If you don't have space in your oven just before the meal, you can make the potatoes a few hours ahead and put them in the Crockpot on Low. This works well if you ever have to bring mashed potatoes to a potluck.

    3. oops, what was me
      --Maxine aka mikemax

    4. That’s a wonderful tip about the mashed potatoes, thank you. Love Lily

  7. Whew, Annabel...I'm glad my week wasn't as exciting as yours! So happy to hear that all the fires and fire threats have abated this week...so nerve wracking! We are on the same mindset with fruitcakes...I got mine made yesterday, which was the first of my Christmas baking...hooray! I'm with you about the scent of basil. Just makes you drool, instantly!

    Our colder weather has started. I still have some tulip bulbs I'd like to get in, but I'm not 100% sure the ground will warm up enough again to get them in! Usually we get a tropical front or two sweeping in during November and December and I have plenty of time, but last week's warmer weather also came with 40 mm of rain, so that wasn't exactly conducive to tulip planting. I might have to resort to putting them in a pot for spring! At least a few snowflakes are helping the festive mood around here! We got our first Christmas card in the mail, today, so I guess the season is really starting! Ha, ha.

    Off to finish my Friday housecleaning. Have a great weekend! xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, The tulips in pots would be stunning. That is a good option for sure! My Christmas cakes just came out of the oven. So yes we are on the same schedule! Also we had rain as well! Yes today it is one month to Christmas Day so the count down is on. I think I need a review of what I have done and what I need to do! Have a good weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  8. I love the buttons on the card, what a great present.
    I've been taking notice of the value of my work at home this week. Two jars of medlar jelly made with homegrown medlars only cost for 1kg of sugar and commercial jars of medlar jelly range from £4 to £8.20 each!
    We also really fancied fish and chips from the takeaway van but I cooked plaice we had from the freezer and made homemade chips from our own potatoes. 2 portions of fish and chips would have cost £19.80 and the plaice cost £6 so a big saving. Penny in the UK.

  9. Dear Annabel, What an exciting, productive week you had. Thank goodness you drove in when you did and that little Tom's sharp eyes saw the smoke and that the workers acted quickly I can imagine the excitement that little boy felt. I love your forward thinking with the stuffing. I am all at sixes and sevens and am having to tell myself that this year it is OK to be totally out of control. We have had lots of medical appointments for my daughter which has zapped me of mental energy and just when I was starting to rally myself we found out we have to move out of our house (work/company house) over end of January/Feb and into March. This is because the house will be getting re-stumped which is good and needed and I am grateful. The hard part is that it is the hottest time here. We don't want to leave our animals and are trying to come up with a suitable solution. Not all furniture has to be moved but we do have to pack up breakables etc. I am thinking I will have to "rest" my garden. It feels like an abrupt halt to all that I do - I will have to pivot and get through it. Maybe I need to look at it as a forced holiday. It could be a wonderful thing. Love Clare

  10. I too love basil! I usually don't do well with basil. However, this summer my plant grew 3 feet tall! I made lots of pesto then I portioned it and froze it. When my kitchen freezer went out it was the 1st thing I grabbed and put in our other freezer. I told my husband I wasn't about to lose that pesto! I love it! I should have enough for winter.

  11. What an eventful but productive week you've had! We've just finished back to back turkey dinners to host for all our adult children! I got a catalog in the mail a few days before Thanksgiving and you could order the whole meal to be delivered for a whopping 499 dollars! I added 500 dollars to my money tracking challenge for those two meals! Talk about valuable work for the home! The whole catalog was full of baked goods to gift. I'm keeping it because it's definitely helping me see my worth in the kitchen. I'm also looking at pricing on Etsy for baked goods. I looked for and printed a basic muffin recipe that I can adapt. My eyes are open to how much better home baked goods are! Thank you so much for sharing the frugal ways in which you feed a crowd! It's such a blessing!
    Stacy in Virginia

    1. A beautiful home cooked meal is worth a fortune, well done for seeing the value. I see Christmas lunches at restaurants and can’t believe the price. Love, Lily

  12. Well done to Tom, what a hero! He sounds so proud too 😊 I love your tip on the stuffing. I have never thought of doing this! What a great tip. I love your afternoon of fellowship. I know what you mean. We saw friends yesterday and we walked away feeling good, restored. I feel like I have a lot to do, but I love all of it. I’m making a Christmas sweets platter for a school party for one of the children today. I also plan on crocheting and playing with air dry clay with the kids today. I ordered up on yarn. I bought some puzzles and board games at the thrift store/ op shop. Lots of love, Lily

  13. We enjoyed our Thanksgiving Day. I went to my mom's for dinner midday and then that evening we came home to have sandwiches with our daughter and grandchild, her boyfriend and his little girl. It was a fun evening.

    I harvested enough lettuce from my little garden to make a salad. And I have a ton of carrots coming along. I noted that there are a few beets (so few) and a few green pea plants coming up. These all grow well in our cool/cold months. In January I will be able to plant spinach and radishes as well as more beets, carrots, chard and such.

    I have determined my theme for this year's Christmas decorations. I went through my gift boxes and determined that I am very nearly finished. I think I have three gifts left to purchase and those are mostly to piece out gifts I already have. We don't do things elaborately by any means.

    I'm pretty sure I have most all of what is needed for our Christmas Day meal.

    I only need to wrap things now. I am so pleased to be this nearly finished! And it's all paid for, too! I joined in with Maxine and in three months I set aside enough to money to pay for all of the Christmas purchases I made, plus extra.

    Terri C. (Blue House Journal)

  14. You weren’t wrong about getting a cup of tea Annabel!! Well done to Tom for spotting the fire! Your pesto sounds lovely. I’ve never been successful growing basil and it’s the herb I’d love to have growing lol.

    I can really tell we are getting close to the end of the school year. There are so many events on, all of them are great fun but it makes for very messy weeks!

    We had my sons birthday party this weekend and it was really nice. I made too much food and I’m so happy about that as I’ve got baking for the week!

    I’ve made more washcloths so I’m nearly done. Thank you for the link last week, they don’t post to NZ so I have to keep crocheting lol.

    I was able to get some Christmas treats this week on sale. This week I’m hoping to get jars of chutney, lemon curd and pickled cucumbers made for gifts.

    I hope you’ve had a great weekend

    Jen (NZ)

  15. Dear Annabel, That Tom is just a wonder! So alert and clever! Wasn’t that him driving the small digger a few weeks ago? And cute as a button ro boot!
    As for the car fire, I was thinking that the story would end with it being your bird (parrot?) that was calling”Fire!” and not Tom! Ha!
    My Basil is devilish - when I fuss over it, it fails, but forget a plant somewhere hidden and it’s huge! Mostly I must pick it for a recipe but your pesto in the freezer sounds delish!!
    We had a wonderful Thanksgiving here in Atlanta with my youngest’s in-laws family and now on up to see Donna and my sister’s family again! They’re having some snow and freezing weather! Have to check that the car dealer put antifreeze window washer in before we leave Atlanta!
    Also had 3 credit cards used in scam attempt to put them in one of those “wallets “ on your phone. I never use that system. Luckily the banks caught it but we still have to have new cards! Thank the Lord. we have others to use on the trip! God is Good!!
    Still drooling over your Op Shop finds! Thanks for finding time to encourage us to save, make do, and plan ahead AND to remember those who may need our help along the way: physically, mentally, financially, and Spiritually!!

    “And so to bed, perchance to dream.”

    Love from Rick in Fla and Donna in N Indiana

  16. What an amazing and productive week you've had!
    Tom saving you all from a fire. I lived where it is dry and prone to brush fires. He definitely saved everyone!
    The basil, plants, scones, and stuffing all look amazing! What a great idea to make your stuffing ahead of time.

    I am late reporting in for my frugal accomplishments this week because I have had such a full week of blessings!!
    We had a McKinley family meal. Bowling for the teens with their youth group. Building a float for a parade. A family hike. Thanksgiving feast. Food blessings from my husband's coworker (she passes food she receives on to our big family). My husband also brought home discounted food. I was able to babysit for a friend. Massive savings at a lovely thrift shop for Christmas gifts. And topped the week off by being in a parade! God is so good and gracious!
    Love to all Bluebirds.
    Thank you all for sharing,
    Leslie in Ohio


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