Feather your Nest Friday, 14th June, 2023.

I have lots to report this week.  Maybe I can break some kind of personal record. ๐Ÿ˜Š

The weather is colder and I managed a little bit of sewing most afternoons.  I have a whole stack of rose and pretty cotton remnants so I am making Lily a selection of bibs.

The reverse side is a nice thick flannelette.  I am finding a bright scallop stitch looks best as it stands out more.   I have a heap more cut out.   Also today I got velcro dots to sew on over the weekend.

On Monday I made chicken pies  (and posted my recipe) which gave me a heap of meals.

A medium (maybe 2 person size) pie was traded.   The deal was a chicken pie for some fruit as this young bloke has citrus trees in his yard.   Well,  he must have really liked the pie as he turned up with a huge bag of oranges...

I was very happy! 

But then I realised he also brought me a huge amount of lemons!

I could barely lift the bag!    Now we have a deal,  next I am making a lasagne.  ๐Ÿ˜Š

I also had men in the cabin last weekend.    They were very happy as the could have a big bonfire.  And they brought me a huge selection of goodies.

This was just some of it.   I shared some with Mum and Chloe.   Then I got busy.   Lots is worked into my meals and cooking.    I had the freeze drier on most days.

I had Banana and Kiwi fruit going,  then I did  Red Onions.    Over the weekend I am going to attempt to juice 100 lemons.    I have enough eggs to make Lemon Butter....  so maybe some cakes to use that.

I finished up preserving produce I traded for the week before!  

I am still washing jars,  a few a day.  Then they get filled!

In the top house new flooring was going in,  this is the kitchen floor almost finished.

There were a couple more big bonfires.   With so many fires and so much cleaning up the driveway looks very nice.   Then I realised that a very crappy old gate in to the cows paddock was really bad and so my helpers put in a new one.  It looks much better!   Improvements and progress! 

Bales were fed out to the cows.   Now when they see the tractor coming they chase it! 

Yesterday was a wonderful day.   A local man makes "farms" from scrap and fallen wood.   He was thinking about giving it up so I got in and ordered a house and some yards.   When my Dad was a little boy this would have been his dream.

This is an Australian early settler cottage.  It has furniture inside.  An outside toilet,  trough, chook house....

Then this is the yards and the loading ramps...

It is actually quite hard to show how lovely it is.   I have a big low coffee table in the lounge room that fits both parts and it is going to live there.   Tom's eyes nearly fell out of his head!   Now we need to set it up with cows, sheep, chickens, a farm dog and so on.   Today in town in the cheap shop I found quite a few things to start us off.    It even has an old tree with a swing.   I hope it will be an heirloom!

While picking this up I went into the little op shop in this town.   Oh my goodness I had so much luck!   I just browsed and found some lovely flannelette and reels of cotton.   Then when I got to the kids section there were all kinds of wooden puzzles and educational counting and alphabet sets... all just beautiful and $3 each.  All were complete.   Knowing these are just so expensive in the shops and perfect for right now I got a heap.  Also knowing we were about to be hit with rainy weather....  and new indoor things to play with and work on would be timely.     

Last night I waited up for the  rain to come.  It was meant to start at 10 and didn't.  I listened until midnight and then it started!    The sound of rain on the roof.  Good solid rain!

On Wednesday a new rain gauge went in.    This afternoon (between showers)  I ran out to check and we had about half an inch.   This is good!

What good timing don't you think to have the gauge set up just in time to actually record something!  

In my groceries today I stocked up on condensed milk, zip lock bags, baked beans and icing sugar.   

It is pretty cold tonight.    My wood is ready next to the fire.

I load the fire up and it will usually still be going in the morning.  It helps if I wake in the night and add a stump but most times I just sleep through!

It really was a week of many opportunities and goodness.   My ambition is to sleep in tomorrow morning!
How did you build up your nest this week?   I would love to hear! xxx


  1. The wooden early settler's cottage is fantastic! Some people are so clever. You seem to meet many interesting and talented people. And you have good luck in op shops. I live in suburban Melbourne and we don't find much in the op shops we visit. Many op shops have very few toys and no puzzles for children.
    It must feel so good to see all the progress being made around your farm. I'm glad you had a good week.

    1. Dear Debbie, Adelaide has become a lot like that... it was still possible to do well at church fetes and garage sales but the op shops went crazy in price. This is even happening in the country but luckily I still have four or five really good ones. Thank you so much! Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. Annabel, and Dear Bluebirds.
    Annabel, my what a productive and blessed week you have had. The bibs look so beautiful. It is great hearing that all the repairs to the farm are happening.
    I love that the cows now chase the tractor, probably confused when he isn't carrying any hay for them. So happy you were blessed at the thrift store and you were given so much fresh produce. I think you made out with the trade of the citrus for the meat pie.

    I had a slower week this week. I didn't accomplish much reorganizing and deep cleaning. We did add to our pantry some, finding reduced meats and a bottle of salad dressing for free and 4 boxes of pasta for free.
    I was able to crochet a bit more and keep adding to my gift pantry. Then husband came down with clothing that needed mending, so I sat and repaired all for him.
    The little bit or reorganizing I did do was worth the time as it gave me honey packets, tea bags, more ziploc bags, napkins and plates. I am trying to empty all my travel bags and just organize one to use. I will also work on our travel medical bag and add fresh to it. It is our slow season for travel for work so perfect timing to do it all.
    I baked strawberry shortcakes as strawberries were on sale and we are cooking meals on the grill to save energy and less dirty dishes.
    So even for a slower week I feel a little accomplished.

    Prayers for all our Bluebirds.

    1. Dear Rosanne, You still achieved a lot! Strawberry shortcakes sound delicious. Great you are adding to the gift pantry too! Have a lovely weekend. I had my sleep in this morning! With love Annabel.xxx

  3. This week I found ground beef (mince) for $1.49/pound on a discount app I use! It was prepackaged in just over 3 pound packs so I bought the 25 they had (about 78 pounds total) I kept 9 pounds for myself and let my daughter and 3 friends buy the rest from me for the $1.49/pound. Before the discount, the regular price had been $4.49/ pound so we saved $3 off each pound ($234 savings in all!) They were pleased that I was able to share with them. My daughter works in an office and can only shop on Saturdays. One friend has 2 littles who are 2-1/2 and 1. The other 2 friends each have 6 kids including 3 teens! So I knew their time and budgets were stretched.

    We are moving along on our laundry room reno. Washer and dryer are both back in and installed! And yesterday we emptied the freezer that goes in there, sorted the contents into separate coolers friends had loaned us. Then Dave ran to Dollar Tree and bought some containers and baskets. We put the empty freezer back into laundry room and then reloaded everything into labeled storage containers. It will be so easy now to immediately see what I have! Here’s a photo of what it looks like now: https://pin.it/2Rv32v0VR.
    As one bill goes up (taxes, insurances,etc), we keep finding ways to cut back on other things and, surprisingly enough, we have felt deprived!

    Seasonal allergies have me really slowed down which makes me grateful that we can get along with life just fine without having to leave the house.
    Looking forward to gleaning ideas from you and your followers.
    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Dear Garden Pat, What great shopping! It is so good you. shared it with your daughter and friends. This would be a big help. You have been doing so much to the house! I was admiring your organised freezer. The freezers are my worst area! Sorry about your allergies. That is something I dont suffer from but my Mum does. You had a very industrious week! With love Annabel.xxx

  4. That farm set up is amazing - what a talented man! You always make me feel so lazy with all you accomplish each week! I have been trying to use up food from the pantry and fridge/freezer so the only shop I went to this week was the Fruit & Veg Mart for strawberries, rhubarb and bananas. The strawberries and bananas are to be used now but the rhubarb is being frozen and also used for baking some crumble oat bars - my first attempt with this recipes. I did however, add a few cans to the pantry - veg that was on sale and accumulated Loyalty Points - this is all for later use. I will go to the shops tomorrow morning to get a few extras for baking - not sure why I'm in the mood for baking when it's going over 30C as of Monday but I'll do it early in the morning before it gets too hot. I did take the time to go through my pantry this week just to double-check on where there might be a gap or two and to ensure that nothing needs to be used up sooner rather than later. Working from home today but also popped a pan of rice onto the stove to make some rice pudding. I use a can of coconut milk as some of the liquid and I use my own HM vanilla essence (I use the one that I made with rum for this recipe and it really boosts the flavour). I've refilled dried fruit and nut containers that I keep in the kitchen and added some items to my Costco online cart to replace some items with an end of the month order. Back to the computer now - hope you get some more rain this week!

    1. Dear Margie, Thank you! I also bake less when it's warm. Right now it's cold so I really have baking weather. At the end I leave the oven door open.
      Rice pudding is delicious! Dried fruit and nuts are great ingredients to always keep on hand. I need to actually get some more vanilla going so thanks for that tip! With love Annabel.xxx

  5. Oh I love that farmyard set! What a treasure. It’s almost like living history. I often visit historic homes and places to immerse myself in the olden days. I just love it.

    As always you have been very prudent with your trades and your time. Annabel don’t underestimate how motivating it is for us to read about your week and your achievements. It makes me want to strive to do better, so thank you ๐Ÿ™

    I got some preserving done this week. Mandarin marmalade and lemonade marmalade, and I even did a little sewing, I made cleaning cloths and a little fabric bag for a friend for her birthday, she loves my cleaning cloths and has told me they are the ones she reaches for whenever she needs to clean something. I just cut up old flannelette sheets into squares, right sides together, sew them up, turn them out the right way them sew a second time right near the edge of the fabric to sturdy up the double thickness. They come out very thick and absorbent this way. But for the second week in a row hubby and I are down and out with a virus. I’m getting frustrated with it all now, because I hate being home but not being able to do much. Hopefully next week will be better.

    Have a lovely week everyone. From Cheryl ๐Ÿชน๐Ÿฆ

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      I am sorry you both have been hit with a virus! I hope you are feeling better. Thank you for your encouraging words!
      I saw your marmalade and lemonade marmalade! The colours! Just beautiful!
      The cleaning cloths are wonderful. Also a great gift. They would last such a long time too. I love what we can produce! Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  6. I used your chicken pie recipe this week also adding 250ml of chicken stock as with all the vegetables I had in the fridge and 500g of defrosted chicken pieces it looked like it needed more liquid. I did add a bit of flour at the end to thicken. The stock and the soup made it a bit salty for me so I will look for a salt reduced soup next time. Still very tasty and easy to made.
    I love the scalloped edges, it will look great on summer dresses as your granddaughter ages.
    We got the home butcher in this morning to kill 2 steers. The first dressed at 236kg for a 3 yr old pure breed Dexter. I haven’t heard yet what the second one is yet, it is a dexter/ Galloway cross but a few months younger than the first. Cut up is next weekend. We have our own cold room which has been a great convenience. Only 2 steers out on the paddock now. When we started 19 years ago, we got to 21 head quickly and slimmed down to keeping around 10 head. The bull passed away late last year as well as 2 older cows. We decided not to continue but there is nothing like having your own meat that you know has been cared for.
    Enjoy the rain, we are loving sunny days and cold mornings here in SE Qld. Have a lovely week, Erin

    1. Dear Erin, It is great about all the meat! I am doing a trade with butchering for meat with some older steers. Loui my pet one is staying though! We have the cold room and set up too. Going forward having our own meat is going to be a serious advantage. I have 8 or 9 calves due in October!
      I find chicken stock is often very salty. I just cant use it for this reason. As things cook they make a lot of liquid. This is the surprising thing about slow cooking. I can never fathom how much liquid you end up with!
      Thank you so much re the bibs! I cant wait to get some more made up as it turns out these prints are just lovely for them! Have a great weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  7. Annabel & fellow Bluebirds,
    Your bibs are beautiful, the edging sets them off! Great idea to trade the delicious looking chicken pot pie for fruit! Citrus is so pricey here . Your farm is looking great! What a blessing to meet the toy maker, it will be a heirloom; your grands will never forget the time spent with it. Love your op shop finds. Locals, offer few such shops. When I get to go into the bigger towns I truly enjoy the “hunt”. Enjoy your rain!
    We have moved from rain into heat.I feel so blessed that we ve had until mid June to have cooler wet weather. Our garden has developed much sooner than normal. We re still getting a few strawberries everyday, no more for the freezer but still a daily treat. We never get many peas out of a seed pack, but we toss them into salads for a bit of extra crunch! Hopefully we can continue to pick veggies for our daily meals, fresh is so good! I am looking forward to canning the fruits of our labor, fingers crossed
    With the warm weather threatening, I moved 3 vintage side tables to the shop to refinish them…husband said they were looking good, and moved them back into the house. Wheat harvest is in full swing, as is swath/bailing grass for winter feed, and planting soybeans
    I am working on crocheting coin purses, found some cute clasps on these hot afternoons.

    1. I just love the sound of the coin purses! This is something I would LOVE to make. I think I saw the side tables in the Tuesday club... such a nice project. I have several farm/helper/men that are single and live alone. All of them will crawl over cut glass for home cooking. So I seem to be developing a bit more of a trading set up! I really love it. They really love it! So winning there! Yes eating fresh from the garden is the best! It is the way to go! xxx

  8. Hi
    What brand is your freeze dryer Anna bell?
    Mum is keen to know as she lives remotely and fresh food can be hard to get

    1. Hello... It is a Harvest Right from Oz Farmer. It was shipped to my closest town (Naracoorte) then Andy picked it up on the trailer... it came in a crate. That was a two man job. But it arrived just fine. Mine is a medium. A good set up... I showed mine earlier, a stainless steel table and I have it two rooms away from the bedroom as it does make a hum... but not so loud as to be heard one or two rooms away. I hope this helps! xxx

  9. What an absolutely gorgeous post! Thank you for such a bounty of projects and plans and good ideas. It encourages me to see someone still doing so much for her home and family.

  10. What a gorgeous post! Thank you for sharing such encouraging parts of your life.

    1. Thank you so much Elaine, that is very encouraging! I hope your week is going well! Mine is all over the place but I will have a bit to report! xxx

  11. Annabel,
    What a fabulous week you had! All of that beautiful produce! I love a good trade and your doing fantastic on that front. It all looks so fresh and good. And your meat pies fantastic. I adore the bibs your making. I finished my first one with a vintage hanky and intend to make others. The gardens are going well here and I have my list of canning written down. Each day I do a little bit in the gardens and love to see everything grow. By Tuesday it will be 100 degrees here so that day I will be washing pillows and putting them out to dry. After the wedding there were little packets of chocolates left so I brought home several packets and will use them for baking. I put some little brown boxes in my stash of boxes, received men's cologne samples in the mail, hung out laundry to dry , added veggie scraps to the bag I have in the freezer for broth, picked a small bucket of mulberries for Rick to take to his friend's wife, checked on all of the wild blackberries to see their progress, added 2 big jars of peanut butter, instant potatoes, coffee and Mac n cheese to the pantry, fixed some pineapple lemonade to drink on hot days when I'm working outside, added to the compost, fixed up homemade coffee creamer for my morning coffee and other small jobs.

    1. Dear Vicky, Thank you! You re the trading Queen and I am your apprentice. Vintage hankies are gorgeous. They also make divine sheer curtains (patchwork together) and bunting. I really love them. You had a wonderful week! And added to the pantry! Very very productive, good job! With love, Annabel.xxx

  12. Dear Annabel, indeed you had a very busy week! Processing so much produce is not easy but is good! It is good because it is there - the best quality I like in my produce....I am happy rain arrived finally, it is so important on a farm! The wood cottage made bybthe ceaft man looks amazing. I had an pld neighbour who did old traditional romanian houses out of ood scraps and he was selling them, with not much succes but they were beautiful pieces of art and the ocassionalforeign tourists were in awe and bought everything. Sadly, not many tourists were allowed in the country back then and internet wasn't a thing yet. My week was very slow, I fell in the slipery bathroom flat on my back so everything was postponed somewhat. Only today I was able to stay in the kitchen and made a batch of strawberry and one of raspeberry jam from the garden. We had rain these days so I plan to plant out the tomatoe suckers next week. In the Spring we have planted tomatoes in the ground where the old branches were set on fire. The ash was gathered for chicken spa and the soil was amended with some compost. The tomatoes liked it and had a lot of fat healthy suckers, which I cut and put in water - now they have big roots and I have more than 40 new plants. Yey! Last weekend I tried to make a summer dress without patterns, all was well but the neckline did not come out perfect. The fabric is very thin, transparent like. So, while in bed I crocheted an edge for the dress and now you know what I will do this afternoon. My own summer fashion. It is beautiful here, the weather is hot after a week of good rain, the baby chicks and the kittens are bigger and prankier ecery day, my son got his drivers licence, my husband got his favourite jam, Charlie, my little dog, is snoozing on my feet dreaming of long runs and my back is better. Everything is good in the world!?!?!? Sending many good wishes to everyone, from far away. Laura_s_world from Romania

    1. Dear Laura,
      I hope your back is improving. That is not good. Also I hope something can go on the floor so it wont be so slippery. It is really bad as it is ridiculous how easy it is to break something. You have reminded me... I need to clean out the fire and the ash can be for the chickens! It is good for them.
      I hope the crochet edge makes you happy with your dress. it sounds like it would be lovely! Having chicks and kittens both have to make life joyful. They are absolutely beautiful. Get as many photos as you can and put on instagram! I will be emailing you... with love, Annabel.xxx

  13. Laura, I do hope you are fine after that fall!

    Annabel, What a beautiful farm house. I can well imagine the children will love it. I have been thinking I'd like to set up a fairy planter for the grandchildren to mess about with. I have a lot of lovely thick green moss growing on the patio in a damp sort of area that I think would make a lovely base for the planter. But that is still in planning stages and not fact.

    What I DID this week: made all of our meals at home, every single one of them. I made bread twice, made croutons from leftover bread, used ripe bananas to make Banana Chocolate Chip muffins, and yogurt. I made bagels this week, too. Almost forgot those.

    I have a lot of 'new' to me plants rooted on my kitchen window sill that I will plant out this week. Then I"ll clip a whole new lot and start those rooting. This past week I repotted several plants: a peace lily, African violets, ivy.

    I tried to stay away from the grocery store for two weeks. I was disgusted with the 'sales' so went off to a nearby discount grocery where I picked up chicken breasts from a premium producer for $1.58/pound. I also picked up a lot of perfectly good produce for under $1each. I got a 12 pack of tomatoes, 8 apricots, a pint of blueberries, 2 good sized zucchini, and 2 pounds of Jalapeno peppers.

    I am determined to lose weight and am happy to report a small success this past week. It is not my goal to be skinny, but to get back into the clothes I have now. Some had been set aside as they were too snug for comfort. It hasn't been as hard as I thought it might be! Especially with me cooking at home. It has been worthwhile to find I can get into some of my clothing and feel more comfortable after just two weeks. My ultimate goal is to get into a pair of pants that I'd purchased and never wore.

    I think I am happiest this week about re-purposing some things. I had wanted a lamp to go on a small table in my kitchen sitting area. I realized I had a lamp in my laundry room that we rarely use and that if it were placed on that small table in the sitting area we'd still have light provided to the laundry space if it was needed. I also found a stack of pretty plates that I plan to hang on the wall in the kitchen. I do not use them but they really are pretty and I think would suit the space. And then I switched some artwork about and now it all looks fresh and new but no money was spent.

    1. Thank you, Terry. I am fine now, good as new. But still. am cautious with sudden moves

    2. Terri, A fairy garden would be wonderful! You could use all kinds of things to make it quite magical. I love the whole idea! Well done on the weight loss! It is not easy so extra well done!
      Re using, re arranging and repurposing is the best. Sometimes we just have to re think things! You had a very good week! With much love Annabel.xxx

  14. Dear Annabel,

    Wow! My mind just cannot wrap itself around 100 lemons! Those are a "precious" fruit, here, as lemons don't grow in our climate! What a beautiful surplus! You are wonderful at making good use of all that comes your way. Which includes those gorgeous bibs!!! I just love the farm...what a work of art, and so fun for the kids! So glad for you with the rain.

    We have had such nice weather that I have most of my garden in, at long last! Just a couple of more beds to put in and finishing up my pots, but otherwise, it's time to start weeding! Ha, ha. So thankful for a garden this year, even if it's a lot of work...it's certainly GOOD work, and great exercise. (Oh, and the food's good, too! :)) Sure helps a person to sleep well at night!!! (Oh, the achin' bones!)

    Prices continue to rise astronomically. Went to Costco this week and the cheapest extra-virgin olive oil (3 litres) was $43.99!!! I was just there less than a month ago and EVERYTHING had increased in price. Every time I go to a store, the prices have changed. It's really crazy. Sure would like to see things stabilize and then go down in price soon!!! In the meantime, I continue to remind myself that we are in good hands, even though the world seems so shocking. Love to see such encouragement on the internet, like we find here on your blog, both from what you post and from comments made by all the Bluebirds!!!

    Have a blessed weekend, Annabel.
    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, I have been using lemons but there dont seem to be any less. I might count what I have left to use next week! At times I have seen lemons for $1 each in which case I would just go without!
      Well done on all the planting! So exciting! Yes it is good work. I have a mental picture from photos you showed a long time ago and I know it's a big and gorgeous garden.
      The price you mention of olive oil is about the same as here. Also that everything has gone up. Now when I use olive oil (which is all the time) I pour a lot less! Yes... I am 100% serious about praying before shopping and over the budget. Also getting everyone into the act of watching for deals etc. Like shopping is a team sport!
      I hope the weather is being good to your garden! With much love Annabel.xxx

  15. We moved back into our home last week. I previously shared that we'd had a burst pipe that did about $30,000 USD damage to floors and walls. We were in a hotel for a couple of days when it first happened, then lived in it for several weeks without the flooring and sections of drywall. Finally, we were out again for 10 days while the floors and drywall were replaced and the rooms painted. We got very tired of eating in restaurants, even though the insurance company was reimbursing us!

    I spent most of last week unpacking. It took me 4-5 days to do what I could have done in 4-5 hours when I was younger! I've given the kitchen and dining room a good clean in the process. I also had two pairs of my nicer drapes drycleaned (I wash the rest) and rehung them, along with reinstalling the curtain rods. My husband had vertigo most of the week so I didn't get much (or any!) help from him.

    I've cooked some good dinners, too! Today was Father's Day and I roasted a beef tri-tip roast. There is enough meat left for a pie, or I might try pasties!

    Thank you, Annabel and Bluebirds, for all of the encouragement I get here. Just reading all you girls accomplish wears me out! I hope you are all having a good week. Best wishes to you all.

    1. Dear Maxine, I am so glad you are back at home! What a big job! Even though it was unfortunate now everything is new and also doing all this is the same as a spring clean. It must be lovely! Roast meat cut up added to Pasties would be beautiful! We can stretch a little bit of meat a very long way! The Fathers Day dinner sounds so nice. Our Fathers Day here is in September. With much love and thanks, Annabel.xxx

  16. Dear Annabel,
    I am just blown away by all that you accomplished and all that you acquired. Congratulations! Can't wait to see Lily in her bibs and see the boys enjoy the toy settlement.
    I'm late in adding my comment. On Friday, we celebrated our 27th Wedding Anniversary with a breakfast out. The kids were extra helpful with chores and intent on giving us some alone time.

    I had a very productive week. I kept up with weeding and mulching the garden. Washing eggs. Baking bread. Making yogurt. A huge batch of homemade blueberry kombucha was a delight in the hot weather. I made more hand pies with leftover mash potatoes in some and taco meat in others. Those pies made 2 meals for the lot of us! And as always, we enjoyed homemade pizza on Friday night per my husband's request.
    I purchased bruised bananas and tomatoes at a discount. My daughter brought home 2 quarts of strawberries from the farmer she works for.

    God bless you all!
    Leslie in Ohio
    P.S. please pray for my husband, he lost his job. Thanks, Bluebirds

    1. Happy Wedding Anniversary! and prayers sent for your husband. Losing a job is hard and scary. Been there, done that with my husband last year...

    2. Dear Leslie, Oh no I am sorry I just read this to hear your husband lost his job! That is so upsetting. I hope he quickly finds another job! I will def pray about that. Congratulations on your anniversary and I am glad you did something lovely!
      All the meals sound so good and I agree how pies make so many meals from (often) left over ingredients! I hope you will have good things to report this week! With love Annabel.xxx


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