Feather your Nest Friday, 12th April, 2024.

I started the week with a plan.   I had a lot of produce that needed to be put to good use and soon.   This is taking care of what we have in our hands.  My list was 1/Basil 2/Quinces 3/Pears/ 4/Apples 5/Chilli 6/Bananas 7/Pastry. 

The Bananas were most urgent so they were first and this produced two huge slabs on Banana Cake... one gluten free and one regular.   

With workers to feed it is so good to have a cake for morning tea.  I sent Mum home with a slab also.

The chilli went into a basket to air dry.

The pastry was made into jam tarts...

Quinces are hard to peel and cut up so I cook them enough to soften them...

Then I let them go cold and do the peeling and cutting up.  This is the same with pumpkins or anything that is hard work.    From these I made Quince paste.   This batch turned out the best I've ever made!  
In the shops tiny little containers are about $5 each.  It is so good with cheese and crackers.   

Next pears... I cooked up a big saucepan full and made puree which is for Lily.   Each is about the size of one of those little baby food jars.  Did you know a lot of commercial baby food has been found to contain arsenic?   I am no expert but I am just going to say I don't think you want that.   Organic pears from my tree with nothing added is a good baby food.

Speaking of Lily...  I am still amazed that I am lucky enough to have six grandchildren,  three boys and three girls.   Lily is doing well,  gaining weight, very alert.

Chloe dresses her in things that have been in the family a long time.  Nana Pat (Mum) made this blanket.  The cardigan was given to me when Lucy was born by a lady who knitted a little dress to go with it.  (So 36 years old.)

Nana Pat made the hat.... Nana Pat also made the little dress which my girls wore.

I still have the Basil and Apples to work on.  But I made progress at least.

My second plan/goal was to work on the pantry every day.  It was a bomb.  The only way I could tackle it was to divide and conquer.   At this point after five days it is a lot better.   The pantry can look full and good but on closer inspection some jars had things like rock solid coconut...  brown dried apple and so on.   The chooks got lots of treats, I have washed the jars up ready to re fill.  Wiped down shelves,  grouped things better, utilised some containers and baskets I had floating around.  

In a long series of banking problems I got shut out of online banking.   When you live an hour from a bank (because they keep closing them down) this is a problem.  So I drove the hour to the bank and they could not figure it out!  I could not pay bills... nothing.   While I was in town I shopped and op shopped to make the trip at least worthwhile!   One thing I found was on my list of needs... a water proof single bed mattress protector.  Brand new in the packet for $2.  Also a few good kids clothes.   

Eventually, after a long time on the phone trying to get to talk to an actual human, the banking problem was sorted out.  It is a glimpse though into life if the internet went down... or the power went down... 

Mum gave me a Turkey roll to roast.. I did a load of roast veggies and took a full roast meal over to Chloe. Those boys can put away Turkey like there is no tomorrow.   

Today I was given a huge bag of green apples.  They will keep a long time I think and give me time to deal with my pink apples first!

While I am finding a new routine,  new everything,  I decided to rearrange my life to be able to go to church and have communion,  as often as is possible.   It is a fair drive to any town and some towns have monthly or fortnightly church times.   I got it figured out and went Sunday and today. (Two different towns.)  

The weather has cooled a lot.   Now is time to get ready to have the fire going.   I have wood and baskets lined up at the back door.   Soon the baskets will be full of kindling.  

Pumpkin was the best deal this week so I bought 5 kilos.   I am planning on making a big batch of soup.

Mum is coming tomorrow so I will make scones.  Otherwise I am wanting to have a quiet weekend .

How was your week?  Were you able to build up your home, pantry or garden?   We absolutely love to hear! xxx


  1. You had a very full and productive week, Annabel. The baby items that were hand made and preserved, with love, for so many years, shows your respect and appreciation for the efforts of others.Your family is most blessed by you.
    I was sorry to hear of your banking problem. I do think we are headed for a disaster with the loss of our grid. It is rare to find younger people, unless raised that way, who can function without depending on computers or modern technology.
    I wish all the Bluebirds a wonderful and blessed weekend.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda, Thank you! I have looked after and treasured the things my Nan and also her friends and also Mum made for my girls. I kept it all. It is all having another round. The whole system depends on the internet. Even if I have cash the chemist or food store or fuel station cant take it... even the doors dont open! (If the power is out!) We are set for a big mess some time. Maybe sooner than later judging by the events of the last few days. Have a lovely weekend! I am having a bit of a rest. With much love Annabel.xxx

  2. We had a big quince tree when we lived on a farm. My kiddos didn't like them very much but when I made them into Quincy jelly jam it was devoured. I do miss it.

    1. Quince jelly would be just beautiful. I should try this. The colour and scent of Quinces are both so lovely! You made good use of them!xxx

  3. Glad you are back Annabel xx

  4. Dear Annabel, your world is very beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us! Lily is wonderful, you are right, 6 grandchildren are treasure given by God!

    You are busy as a bee with so many produce coming in the kitchen and what a problem with the banks! Makes you think! That is why I have always cash in small bills in the house (it started with Ukrainian people blocking ATMs)

    We finally have warm weather, so I started planting some lettuce and onions, the chickens are having a lot of green grass, bugs and fresh clover and all my pelargonium, dahlia and mint pots from the cellar are now out in the sun. The yard looks pretty and the orchard is like a wedding avenue, with all the freshly toileted trees in bloom and the emerald grass all over. And yesterday evening my little dog befriended a pheasant in the back of the garden. They are new visitors here but I think it shows the area is clean and rich in food for them.

    Tip for gardeners - burry some tomatoes in the ground and cover with leaves to keep them from frosting - now I noticed I have almost one hundred small plants coming up in the container near the fence. I leave them there until they are bigger then I will transplant them. No cost at all.

    I was a bit down these days - my husband have lost his job (many discharge their employees or ask them to work more hours for the same amount of money) but he starts another job in the same field on Tuesday), all over Europe, everywhere on the media, being written or TV/radio they are talking about war, Romania/Poland/Moldova being very close and threatened by it. Suffice to say if Trump wins the election Russia wins and Europe has a big problem. In our country the mobilizations for reservists began for some regions (not mine) for people between 19-35. My son is 18 and a Half. All I have to do is pray and prepare, keep my eyes and ears open and think outside the box. If you have read books or history about the second WW it is very similar in my opinion - the same talks all over the countries and the same political/extremist parties. God help us!

    Sorry for the long post, it is like a Dear Diary for me sometimes.

    Sending you all my best wishes and happy smiles from very far away, Laura_s_world from Romania

    1. Dear Laura, Thank you! I am so happy to hear your husband got a new job so fast. That is such a relief. It must have been a blow to lose a job. I find tomatoes grown the way you said is the best way of all! They are always good and strong plants!
      Your son being 18 I know must make you very nervous. I think we can all pray with you about this. I also am following closely, the escalations and since you wrote this there have been extreme escalations in the Middle East. The last few years it has been like a constant. Also I agree with you re history and WW2. At first I dont think they called it WW2 there were events and more events and build up and more build up and that is like what we have seen in the last few years. At what point do they name it?
      Continue to do all you are doing Laura. I am thinking over my plans for the new week. We need to be thinking, planning and praying. With much love Annabel.xxx

    2. I think it was mainly called "the war in Europe" until the US got into it in both Europe and Japan. Laura, also praying for you son and family.

    3. Oops, that was me--Maxine, aka mikemax

  5. good morning annabel, this spring is sure a rainy one- hope summer is not to dry. i gurss it is best to get things planted early. so far i have rhubarb, onions, garlic, cabbage and spinach up in the garden, and tomatoes and peppers in the house under gro lights. i think we should be producing and growing as much as possible this year. things are getting very unsettled all around the world, especially in the middle east, which is prophesied in ezekiel and revelations and other verses in scripture. yesterday i made wild violet jelly-sure is a pretty color and tastes good but it didn't jell very well, maybe i'll use it to add to lemonade, we'll see. hope all the bluebirds have a good week and stay busy. blessings. bonnie in southern pa.

    1. Dear Bonnie, I agree on the garden! Since you wrote this a lot has happened. You are exactly right. Violet jelly would be just gorgeous! This week we will certainly need to stay busy just as you say. With love Annabel.xxx

  6. You had a good week adding to your pantry Annabel. Hope you can have the quiet weekend you want.
    A little achieved this week, more first aid supplies purchased, more vegetable oil and a bottle of egg substitute for the larder. Lots more seeds planted and seedlings potted on. We are eating down the freezer to make space for this years crops.I have reread all the Preparedness series and Saving like Nana and have lots of ideas to put into action again.
    This week in the news someone , I think a top dog in Nato or the UN, spoke about the need for civilian resilience. He mentioned war, climate change events and pandemics. At first I felt a little shocked that this was being spoken about so openly but then I got myself under control and thought they are way behind Annabel and the Bluebirds! Civilian resilience translates as being aware, prudent,practical and prepared.
    I'm going to focus even more on building up resilience and one of this weeks tasks is to draw some cash out of the bank to keep hidden and ready in the house.
    Take care everyone and thank you for all the excellent posts Annabel.
    Penny in the UK.

    1. Dear Penny, I like the term "civilian resilience" and yes that is what we have been working on all the time. You have reminded me to post the next Preparedness post. I think we are up to no 26. Since you wrote this a lot has happened... good idea on the cash. Civilian resilience is what we need to focus on very seriously. With love, Annabel.xxx

  7. Thank you for sharing photos of Lily. So adorable! Love the smile as she sleeps.

    I have done the same as you, Annabel. I surveyed what needed to be used up or processed. Now my freezer is packed. How nice to be ahead of cleaning eggs (it has been rainy) and have them stored nicely in cartons. They were ready to go when my friend stopped by with food to barter with. I was also able to bless my mother in law with eggs while she blessed me with some skeins of good yarn. :)
    Another friend recommended a degreaser to take care of my kitchen cabinets and walls. Such an improvement!!!
    My almost 16yr old daughter purchased a used car for a great price. And my husband was gifted with a used rototiller for the garden. I found Easter lilies marked down to $2 USD a piece. That was a savings of $12! I purchased 3. They look so lovely in the front flower bed.
    Just waiting on the rains to subside so we can get the rest of the vegetable garden in.
    Blessings to All,
    Leslie in Ohio

    1. Dear Leslie,
      You did some really good trading! The yarn is a great trade! Well done to your daughter on her first car! Also the Lillies sound beautiful. The rototiller has arrived at a good time! We could use some of that rain! Have a good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  8. wow ... you have been so industrious! Congrats on all the canning and pantry reorg

  9. What beautiful pictures of Lily! That’s lovely that Chloe dresses her in clothes she used to wear. $2 for a mattress protector is a great find! I know what you mean about the pantry. My needs a good clean as well. I’ve done the fridge and I enjoy seeing it so neat and clean. The pantry on the other hand…

    We are on school holidays for two weeks. We’ve made it through the first term!! Im enjoying being back at work but I’m very happy to have this break to reset. The house needs some love and I want to put a few things in place to make things run more smoothly during busy times. I also want to build up the freezer with meals to take pressure off when things are busy.

    I had an event to attend and needed something appropriate to wear. I found the most gorgeous dress that didn’t fit up top and wasn’t really my style, so I cut off the top and turned it into a skirt. I love it! I’ll get plenty of use from it. I couldn’t believe my luck.

    I hope you have a restful weekend. I find reading about you still get on with all the things that are important to you really inspiring. And I love that you’re adapting your routines to add in more important things. It’s a good reminder to prioritise what’s meaningful.

    Take care
    Jen (NZ)

  10. I’m always so impressed with everything that you accomplish, as well as your forsight to organize and prepare for future tasks. I’m getting better at that, but it takes practice for me!

    I got a great sale on strawberries recently. We ate a lot fresh, but I’ve had a package staring at me for quite some time. I’d like to get better at making pie crusts, so I decided to make a pie. I made the crust, added in the strawberries (tossed in 2 TBS arrowroot powder and 2/3 cup sugar), then topped with a crumble topping I threw together when I couldn’t find a pie recipe I wanted. I just pulled it out of the oven and it looks so beautiful!

    I’ve been harvesting leaves from my lettuces, herbs, mizuna greens, spinach, and green onions/bunching onions. I’ve got several things on my grow shelf that are looking beautiful and almost ready to go outside. Also, I chose to grow petunias, geraniums, and violas from seed to brighten up my home while saving some money. They’re all doing great on my grow shelf, and the violas have a few buds on them.

    I canned beans, pineapple ($.88/each pineapple sale!!), and pasta sauce. Plus, I made some cashew yogurt, various loaves of bread, and got my sourdough going. I took lunch to two friends one day for a meal swap, which was very fun, but I made enough bread, soup, and brownies to also feed my family.

    Thanks for posting. I don’t know how you find the strength, but it’s inspiring and helps me to progress, practice, and improve.

    Much love,

    Katie C.

  11. Dear Annabel and everyone,

    Annabel, you did so well with all of your cooking and clearing out the pantry! Lily is beautiful and seems so interested in everything.The banking issue sounds so stressful, and I am glad it is fixed. How wonderful to find churches that you can attend within a reasonable distance. Keeping you in my prayers.

    It was a chemo week, and we have had some challenges. This week my home was mainly built up and blessed by the kindness of others. My sweet neighbor gave me some chives, coreopsis seeds and starts, a jade plant, and a Christmas cactus cutting. My dad brought over some garden pots and 2 very large glass jars that will be great for storage. My friend's dad and brother replaced the commodes in both bathrooms.

    For my part, I started some alyssum seeds, mowed, planted seeds in my greenstalks, planted or potted up my gardening gifts, and transplanted the strawberries, tomatoes, and marigolds into raised beds. A little baking and a batch of spaghetti sauce were made. I cut out the fabric for a table topper (5-inch squares from fat quarters with bees, dragonflies, and flowers). The best way to get over my fear of my sewing machine may be to do a project in steps, so I am giving it a try. Some progress was made on my spring stitching piece; I hope to finish stitching it this weekend.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend.

  12. Your days are so full of good things, it is joyful to read. Lily is just gorgeous and those clothes are so pretty. Keeping the "good" things, the things with meaning and love and memories, to pass down is just lovely. I laughed at the "those boys can put away turkey like there is no tomorrow" comment. Boys just eat heaps! I used to tease my boys that they had holes in the bottom of their feet and the food just fell straight out, they were always looking for an apple or a sandwich or milk. This week I've been dealing with capsicums and oranges. The oranges were such a surprise and a wonderful blessing. Marmalade, snacking, and enough for the lunchboxes this week. The capsicums have been sliced and diced and frozen to use over winter. I saved the seeds, they may or may not grow, but it cost nothing to keep them to try in the spring. The rain has been nice, and the rain barrels are almost full again. Have a wonderful weekend, Cath xxx

  13. Annabel you have done so much food preserving and using the produce that you have grown is lovely along with your baking too. I agree it is amazing upon going through the the pantry what you actually find that is no good or past it's prime and we found the same going through our herbs and spices cupboards too recently. I like the setup with your firewood and kindling near the door to make it easier in winter for you. I am glad you got things sorted with the bank and makes you really think how disastrous it would be to go cashless when you have tech glitches like that.

    We have made some progress on buying the paint for painting the wooden garage, tank stand shed, and meat shed and the windowsills and veranda of the home as we put $50 aside each fortnight from our pay. In the last few weeks we have purchased 10 litres of primer, sealer and undercoat in one, 10 litres of the top coat in white and the green pain for the fronts of the window sills along with other painting equipment we needed and a respirator for DH to use while sanding down everything. Gosh paint is not cheap for certain nor is anything else. We also managed to repair the fluro light in the tool shed by changing the starter over from a spare we had in the shed too.

    I pulled the stove out in the kitchen and gave the outside stainless steel and glass a good clean up as well as behind and underneath it so it looks so much cleaner. We went through a lot of old paperwork and have put the old papers with our details on it in the fireplace to burn for our first winter fire. We made all our meals and bread from scratch in the kitchen.

    For the month to date we have spent $230.85 on groceries including a few treats so we are under our grocery budget so far by $69.15 and we are eating down the ample supplies of meat in the meat freezers we bought mostly on good sales or markdowns. We needed some roasts as we had used a few of them and I was fortunate to find two pork loin roasts on markdown at WW and used our 4% off e-gift card to reduce the price down from $14 kg to $8.47 kg and as we had gone without some treats we also bought Cadbury dark and milk chocolate on half price sale as well using our 5% off e-gift to reduce expenses at BigW. All up our savings were $60.70 on usual prices.

    Our personal spending money was not used for a while so we saved $100 this month so far to put into our splurge jar should we want something later down the track or decide to have a few days holiday and are on a new fortnight of our splurge money as of the 9th and so far have not spent any of it. We have saved $1398.95 this month so far in our high interest savings account and so far have saved $15077.07 towards our new car since late December last year.

    Have a great productive week ahead everyone.


    1. Lorna, I love that you always report your chocolate purchases. LOLOLOLOL
      --Maxine aka mikemas

    2. Dear Lorna,
      Paint is so expensive! But it works miracles. I was able to buy a whole heap of unopened cans from a friend of a friend... for a very good deal. This gets me ahead on the painting of the top house which is going to take A LOT of paint.
      Cleaning big appliances is a good job to do as moving them is so difficult. Getting chocolate at half price is good as the prices have gone up I noticed.
      Well done on the savings! That is amazing!
      I hope you have a great new week as well. With love Annabel.xxx

    3. Dear Maxine and chocolate is a staple here lol and one of the basic food groups says DH who eats way more of it than me.


    4. Hi Annabel you are so fortunate to have bought the unopened paint from a friend of a friend for a good deal and the amount that you needed. It is going to take a lot of paint to do what we have to do as well and not sure if anyone would have that much paint in a shed here lol.

      Thank you and very happy for the savings.


    5. Lorna, I've always thought chocolate-covered potato chips were nature's most perfect food. Starch, grease, salt and chocolate--covers all of the basic food groups! LOLOLOLOL from Maxine

  14. Annabel, thanks for another great post. I have been in the hospital since the wee hours of Thursday. Just seeing the pictures of precious Lily put a big smile on my face. Nothing like a baby to make a body feel better. Thanks for all your work making this community happen.

    1. I am so sorry you have been in hospital. I hope you are getting better everyday and so glad I could make you smile. xxx

  15. What a lovely post. You touched on every aspect of your life and I enjoy reading about it all.

    This past week we had family visit, and I went to see my mom and incidentally had a visit with my niece. I've been cooking older items from the freezer and while it might sound like a drag, we ate really good! The hard part: not to cook so much that we generate leftovers, but somehow that happens and I just put something new back in the freezer to replace what I took out, lol. I see it all as part of God's provision.

    I've been doing lots of things about the house, but not spending. It's amazing how what I have, if looked at with new eyes and put together, can create a fresh look indoors and out, or how using whatever paint in on hand to spruce things up will make it all look new once more.

    I worked out a new budget for the second quarter of the year and rearranged a few categories to create a mowing budget (gas and blades, oil and belts add up all summer long), as well as a small savings to supplement our vacation envelope. I don't have any fewer items to pay, no more income, but I just determined to adjust certain areas where I feel we can cut back and that made the room I needed to do those things.

  16. Oops. that comment about eating from the freezer from Terri @ Blue House Journal.

    1. Dear Terri, I love getting multiple meals from cooking. I love a night off! Well done on shopping in the freezer. Well done on the budget work. Things change... we surely have to adjust! Have a great new week! With love Annabel.xxx


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