The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 21st, June, 2019.

What a week!  Good things to report!  And an exciting day today!  I am sorry this post is late.  It is because my internet has been bad and pictures would not load.

First things first.  As you know Dad comes over often and seems to love seeing what we have been doing, how the calf is, how the veggie garden is doing...  I was telling him a couple of weeks ago that it was almost time to plant bare rooted fruit trees (as it is winter here) and how much I want to add to the orchard.  We have a lovely rabbit proof fenced area with three big old fruit trees in there.  These are the trees everyone told me had no fruit yet we had tons of beautiful delicious pic apples and two types of pears from them!
Next thing I had a message from Mum.  Dad had ordered me ten fruit trees and I just had to pick them up in town!  I was so excited.  What a beautiful gift!  In fact I could hardly think of a nicer gift or more meaningful either.  Dad also picked out the exact trees he thought would be good.
So much of the week revolved around these trees.  I picked them up on Tuesday and we were told to plant them as soon as possible.
I knew we would need tree guards because of the animals.  Andy set to work to make them.

Then yesterday Luke came over with the farm Bobcat.  This little tractor is the handiest thing!   We placed the tree guards where we thought worked well, we lined then up with the established trees and formed three rows.  Luke dug deep holes in no time flat.   This is the paddock with Laffie and the lambs.  They seemed to enjoy is and bounded around and inspected everything.

I added two buckets of sheep manure to each hole and planted the trees.  Then the tree guards went on and next they get steel droppers to hold them in place.

We now have an orchard!   This area we now have thirteen trees but overall we now have seventeen fruit trees!   We will have a couple to add as Apricot and Orange are missing and we need those.

So this was a great amount of progress for the week.

During the week some of the ways we got ahead, saved etc included...

I cut Andy's hair.
Mum gave Andy three beautiful pure wool jumpers.
I made sour dough gluten free bread.
I picked Parsley and was able to give a bunch to Dad and a bunch to Chloe.
I made a big batch of spaghetti sauce.  This made two meals, a meal for each of the girls plus a meal for the freezer.
I made Play Doh for the girls.
To use eggs I made six cups of baked egg custard.
We added hay to the animals shed as it has started to get really gold.  We hit freezing last night and will again the next few nights.
I made a batch of gluten free scones...

Today Mum is coming and we are heading south to see Lucy and the girls.  I made a chocolate cake to take.  It is decorated with what I could find in my tin of cake decorations.

Last week I shared a very sad photo of an orphan lamb that I rescued and it was in very bad shape.  I did not expect her to survive.

This is her now!   We named her Blossom.  She has been a lot of work as she does not suck a bottle properly.  But she is so gorgeous.

Lambs are just the strangest animals.  Within about three days they go from out in the paddock to loving you like crazy and wanting to live in the house and watch tv.  Like they know everything!

During the week I finally had a little time to sew.  The first thing I made was something to help me feed so many lambs.  It was kind of an experiment but it worked!!   I sewed bags to put bottles in and hang from the fence.

These have helped me so much and saved me so much time.

The only glitch was I had to adjust how I tied them on because at first I tied bows and Laffie came along and undid them!   I was amazed.

Since then I beat her and tied them on with a knot and now it works!

I made pillowcases for the girls plus a batch of multi coloured play doh.

So the reason today is extra exciting is we are getting a puppy!  Like I need more animals, right?
I had thought about having a dog.  Dad said too how we should have a dog and how having one would be good security.  And now we have the chance and we get her today!

I took a photo of the garden near the kitchen door.  This has a parsley edge I planted all from seeds from the old house.

This time last year we didn't know we were moving for sure.  When we did move this area was sand and weeds.  Now I pick from it every day!

So that was my week!  I am very pleased as we were able to add to our preparedness very much!  We saved in many ways and it was wonderful!

I hope you found ways to save, get ahead, increase your pantry and preparedness and generally build up your home.  Looking well to the ways of your household includes so many things!   It is beautiful to look back over the week before we begin to plan the next one.

Have a lovely weekend! xxx

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

The Tuesday Afternoon Club. June report.

There have been so many wonderful ideas shared and The Swap Party as well over at The Tuesday Afternoon Club.  Now and then I have a post here for the ladies without Facebook.  This gives us an extra dose of hand made goodness!

Firstly we have Cookie.  I am excited about this one.  This tiered skirt is very like a skirt both my girls loved when they were little.

Best of all Cookie made it from some fabric from sheets she got for 25c each from the thrift store.  And she would have miles of fabric for other projects!    Now here is the pattern which you can make in any size...

Here's the formula for the skirt. Measure the waist at the natural waistline. Multiply that measurement by 1.5. for the second tier multiply the original waist measurement by 2. For the third tier multiply by 2.5. Next decide how long you want the skirt to be from you waist down. Divide that number by 3 in  order to get the length of each tier. Now add about an inch to the width of each tier  to allow for seam allowance. 

1st tier -- see the side seam and then turn under the top to make a casing, leaving space to put the elastic in later. For the girls I would probably use elastic that's about 3/8  inch wide. So make the casing accordingly. For myself I use 1 inch non-rolling elastic and make the casing 1 1/4 inches.

2nd tier-- sew side seam and then gather at the top and pin to the bottom of the first tier placing the gathers evenly.

3rd tier--see the side seam. Turn up the bottom hem about 1/4 inch, press and then fold over itself. Stitch up on the machine. Hem done.  Gather the top and attach to the bottom of second tier. 

Cut elastic same size as waist measurement and run it through the casing. Overlap it and see down. Close the casing.  It's finished!!!.

Thank you so much Cookie!  I will be making these up for the girls.  They will love them! 

Next Cookie made bowl cosies. They are so good as they both keep a bowl of food warmer and stop you burning your hands.  The solution too when you are having a bowl of soup on the couch or sick in bed.

Beautiful gift bags, cards and gift boxes...

The box is filled with homemade fudge! 

And Dandelion Honey! 

Cookie you always come up with so many beautiful things.

Jen in NS worked on knitted projects.  Her knitting is so divine my Aunt went to great lengths to get her hands on some!  In the end mittens travelled from Nova Scotia to South Australia!  
Look at this wonderful work.   It all looks so warm and cozy.  Just divine Jen.

Chloe made the cutest Easter little cakes.  

She found good packaging boxes in the cheap shop which made them look wonderful for gifts.

Clare made bubble bath and filled gorgeous containers from the op shop.  How lovely it looks!  Clare your photo looks like it is straight out of a magazine!

So many lovely ideas!  I hope I have not forgotten anyone... it has been just ages since I did one of these posts.  As it is this is late in the day.  I had a day going in to town for supplies.  I started feeding lambs and the calf at 7am and then next thing I needed to bath the little lamb she was in such a serious mess.  I have never bathed a sheep before.  It didn't do a lot for me getting out the door on time!  Anyway she didn't seem to mind at all and wagged her tail even.  And it turns out sheep shake off water exactly the same as dogs do when they do that big shake after a bath!  Lucky I was not dressed yet just in my dressing gown.  Now the worlds grubbiest lamb is white as snow!   So this is how my day went and here I am posting late!

I hope your week is going well!   If you are able come over to the Facebook group and see what everyone has been making plus some op shop finds!   We are almost mid year now.  I am on track for Christmas and Birthdays provided I keep going at the same pace!

See you on Friday! xxx

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Feather your nest Friday, 14th June, 2019.

What a busy week!  We had a few days of sunshine after rain.  So we got stuck into cleaning up dead trees and mess in the yards immediately around the house.   We did our own house yard in Spring before the fire bans came in.  Now we can get back to it.  We have had sixteen bonfires and some of them burned all day and all night.  A lot of the branches and logs are big and heavy.  I am bruised, scratched and tired and I have muscles on my muscles lol!  Every night I soaked in a hot bath with epsom salts!

As we do this clear ground is revealed and grass can grow.  It looks quite park like and beautiful.
In between burning the sticks and leaves we cut, loaded and stated for firewood.   

During the week I made apple crumble (still using up apples) and GF bread.  I made the most perfectly risen bread ever then I burned the top... but still salvaged it!

I also made GF Naan bread and froze a stack of spares.

I used up a big chunk of venison in a Tikka Masala Curry.  It was just beautiful.  That's to the slow cooker this was a big help.

Also made yoghurt for the week. (And some went into the Naan bread)

Lots of time went into the gang.  All seem to be doing well.  

It is a bit of a circus with three different feeding schedules and two formulas.  

When Dad comes over he inspects the calf and says she is doing well.  Also she chases cars but thankfully in the paddock not along the road! 

They all get on well together and play "you can't catch me" and run around madly in the sunshine then you see they have all gone to sleep in the sun snuggled up together.  Calling them scallywags would be an understatement! 

A big thing this week was achieving a goal we set for this year.  This was to install two new rainwater tanks in the backyard as the ones here are old and rusted out and leaking.   We had them on order after shopping around and finally the day came.  It involved a crane to lift out the old tanks and life in the new ones.  Removal of a rusty old tower with a small tank right at the top. Generally big mess and many guys here working on it.  To me this is a beautiful sight! 

There is only one thing better than new rainwater tanks and that is rain!  And it rained all night!  I think in the next few days we will have full tanks!  Clean. clear, pure rainwater!

On Wednesday I went to feed Chloe and Luke's dogs as they were away.  This turned into an adventure as when I drove in the driveway I saw a lamb on it's own in terrible condition.  I could see no mother and it appears deserted.  I left it for another hour while I did the dog feeding etc. (to see if a Mother might appear) and went back.  It could not walk or stand.  It was filthy and soaked wet through and shivering.  There was just no mother and it didn't get in this shape being looked after.   I couldn't leave it there.  It was in fact the saddest sight as I thought the last lamb was going to die but this one seemed beyond helping. 

This was how she looked when I got her home in front of the fire...

Now she doesn't look like this now and I hope she will soon look like the lambs above.  I hope next week I can show you how she is doing.   This lamb has been hard to get going. 

The sudden arrival of this lamb tested out my animal preparedness pantry.  It worked so well. I had the right sized bottle and teat, colostrum, blankets and everything I needed right there.  It was wonderful and easy!

Yesterday Mum and I headed off to see the girls.  Mum had not been well and so this was our first trip together again in a few weeks.   There was only one thing to do and that was take the lamb with us.
At one stage Mum was driving and I was nursing the lamb wrapped up in a towel and trying to get a bottle into her.   

I made a tray of biscuits for the girls.  Of all the choices they wanted Bunny Biscuits (like at Easter) so there I was decorating these at 9 pm Wednesday night!

So it was a busy week!  
Today I am trying to have a catch up kind of day.  There is a lot to do.  

I really hope you had a week full of opportunities to get ahead, add to your savings, pantry and preparedness.   It is so good to consider our week and be thankful for our blessings. 

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 7th June, 2019.

It was a very nice week.  The whole farm is looking green and today is a beautiful sunny day which will help the grass grow.

While it is fine and not raining we are having daily bonfires and wood cutting.  This is cleaning up our surrounds and making next summer safer plus building our woodpile.  It is beautiful being outside in the winter sun.

Some of the ways I saved, got ahead and made progress this week were:

I made a couple of tins of biscuits to take to the girls and keep at home.  Luckily four and two year olds are easily impressed with my flowers!  This is my Honey Gingerbread recipe and it is so delicious.

I used my gluten free sour dough starter to make some fruit bread for toasting.  I do not find it rises as much as regular sour dough but it is delicious none the less. I slice and freeze it ready to go.

Mum gave me a giant chunk of roasting meat and I roasted it with  heaps of vegetables.  I plated up our roast meals plus two more and poured gravy over the top.  I LOVE doing this as then you have a kind of homemade TV dinner to reheat.  The left overs made several lunches and tonight they are a shepherds pie.  

I had so much beautiful mail including cards and letters from the Swap Party.  This was a photo I took earlier in the week.  New supplies!  

Our mail comes Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  I fly down to the letter box for my mail.  It is lovely!  Thank you to everyone who took part in the swap and I hope you have been having glorious parcels arrive too!

In the garden I have a whole patch of broccoli ready to start picking!   

I had op shop success with a set of flannelette sheets for $5 and a bag of cottons.  Also some lovely floral fabric. 

With animals now a part of farm life and the possibility of orphans arriving at any time I decided I needed to keep on hand everything I need.  This seems to be like with sick children... everything happens on weekend and public holidays and in the middle of the night.  So I need everything on hand.  I set up a new pantry!  Behind the door in the laundry I had a space.  Andy put up these shelves for me.   I rearranged my cupboards and had all these containers available to use for teats, formulas, medicines, bedding, bottles, funnels, leads, collars, you name it.

The wine rack part of the shelves is for feeding bottles.   How handy is that!?   This has already made life easier and I will continue to build up supplies as I can.

Setting this up causes a big re arrange and now my poor pantry is in better shape as many things I had in there came out to the laundry.  This means I have more kitchen pantry space to stock up.  It is so much better! 

The lambs and calf are taking a fair bit of my time.  But to see them out playing in the sunshine is so lovely.  

This is the baby.   She has been named Jellybean by a lovely young girl named Maggie who loves sheep.   This lamb is a week old now but was so tiny!  She still is tiny hence the warm coat!  

During the day they all play together in the yard with the calf. At night they go in a warm bed in the shed. 

Laffie has grown and bounds around like a manic and moo's very loudly when she decides it is breakfast or dinner. 

She is really playful and funny.  When cars come in the driveway she tries to race them up to the gate.

When I needed a rest this week I sat and made some gift tags and packaged them up.

So that was my week!  I have been sleeping well as hauling branches and logs for fires is pretty good exercise.  But each area we get cleaned up I am thrilled with.  Over the next few weeks this will all be an enormous job.  

How did you build up your home, add to your pantry, get ahead and feather your nest this week?  I hope it was a good week for you.  I hope opportunities came your way!  We have been very blessed with all kinds of ways to get ahead. It is so exciting to see how week by week we have been able to make so much progress in setting up a true homestead and becoming more self reliant.  Chipping away at things works!  Today with the sun shining on it my vegetable garden looks so beautiful!  This time last year that garden did not exist.  This time last year we weren't even sure we were moving!   
Take every opportunity and go for it! xxx

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 31st May, 2019.

This was a less frantic week (until yesterday) and I got myself into a routine of feeding the calf and lambs,  working outside on bonfires and the garden and inside on the usual stuff plus working on my pantry.  This was good!

We had a week of lots of rain and the grass has grown.  Once again we can look out over a scene of gum trees and green paddocks.

Laffie has grown and bellows at the gate for breakfast and dinner.  After she has her drinks she gallops and leaps around the paddock.

Lucy had given me 8 large bananas as they were over ripe.  So I made two huge banana cakes.  

Some of this to Chloe and Luke. Chloe slices cakes and freezes them for Luke's work lunches.

In town I found a heap of rolls and focaccia breads half price.  I brought them home and made them into lunches for Andy and froze them.

I planted a whole row of Hollyhocks in the garden.

When it is cold it is lovely having the oven on as well as the fire.  I made a big pot of pumpkin soup and a tray of Gluten Free Scones.

Each week I have eggs to use up.  This week I made two large bacon, cheese and onion Quiches. 

And later in the week I made a big tray of baked Rice Custard.  This is so delicious.

Dad gave us two old chicken sheds.  One arrived on a big trailer and we unloaded it and sat it next to the yard that Laffie is in.  It was going to take four men to lift it in over the fence since the gate was too narrow.  So it was sitting there and the next chicken shed is arriving soon.  I am so pleased about these!  I will have a shed to use for baby lambs and so many options for the second one!   
During the week Andy had to go to Adelaide and we had a big storm.  I spend that day mostly inside working on setting up a new pantry...  the animal pantry!   Suddenly I need a place to store bottles, teats, bedding, milk powders and so on.   There is a wall in the laundry that can take a set of shelves so this is going to become the animal supplies pantry.  Anyway, I knew it was windy but I got a surprise when I went to feed Laffie later.   The chicken shed had blown away!   I rang Andy and asked him if he wanted the good news or the bad news?   The bad news was the chicken shed blew away.   The good news was that it blew clear over the fence and was now in the yard we wanted it to be in!  Hahaha!  We decided when the next shed arrives we will sit it in the same spot and hope for wind!  How crazy is that!?  It is not really damaged it just needs straightening up and finally secured into its final position!

I continued working on the new shelves as now I can also put out there some other items like paper goods, candles, matches and so on.   I knew I had lidded containers suitable for it all as when we moved I had used tubs for so many things.  So I went through all my cupboards and set things up better.  This freed up all the containers I would need. 
Then it meant so many things could go out of the kitchen pantry and this would free up a ton of room in there.  So that was re arranged and it looks so much better.  And now I have more room to build that up.  Do you notice how when you move and organise things it has a domino effect?  

That was all going swimmingly when the phone rang yesterday late afternoon.  It was Chloe.  She had just come home from work and she could see a Ewe had died in the paddock.  When she looked she saw a little head pop up!  A baby lamb set there with it's dead Mother.  So Chloe asked was I at capacity here or would I take it?  So you know what happened next.  Off I went with a blanket and a basket.  
When I arrived Chloe had TWO lambs.  The second one was tiny.  She had found it alone sitting in the ashes of a fire where they had a bon fire the night before.  It seems it was looking for warmth as it was an orphan too.  It was a very sad sight.   So two lambs went into my big basket.
While driving home I was figuring out what to say to Andy as he was on his way home from Adelaide!

I had Colostrum formula so I started by mixing that up.  Meanwhile the twins are crying because their bottles are due too.  Then Laffie starts bellowing at the gate. 🙄

The tiny lamb was the much brighter and stronger.  She drank pretty well and wagged her tail.  I sat them near the fire to warm up and she was quite happy.

The bigger lamb laid flat on the floor as if he had been run over.  I thought he was dead a couple of times.  I put the teat in his mouth and he did not move, blink or suck.  In the end I put my hand around his mouth and squeezed his mouth together to squeeze the teat hoping some milk would spirt in his mouth.  After a couple of minutes of this he started to suck!  
I still thought he would not make it.  They stayed by the fire over night and I fed them three times then at 8 am.

This morning the little one is full of beans!  The bigger one is drinking and standing!   I have learned it is hard to tell but I am hopeful!

So that was my week.  We had a Swap Party in The Tuesday Club.  It was so much fun and parcels have been sent out and parcels are arriving!   Thank you everyone who participated.  I hope many friendships are formed too.  And some of the swaps that took place are looking beautiful as I have seen photos of goods traded already.  Later we are planning a seed swap.  The main swap will be a regular event as well.  I love mail, both sending and receiving!

Today is Dad's Birthday so I am feeding the lambs just before I go and will be back within four hours!  

How did you feather your nest this week?  I hope you found ways to build up your pantry and preparedness, save and get ahead.  I love to hear how you did!   We can get so many ideas from each other but most of all we can encourage each other.

Today is our last day of Autumn! Winter tomorrow! xxx

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 24th May, 2019.

This week was the same again, another whirlwind!   It had it's moments to be honest.  But mostly it was good!

Where to start?  First of all last Friday I headed off to a town north of us to catch up with a friend, Wendy, who I had not seen in many years. It was so wonderful to see her.  We have so much in common and she was in town as she works regularly in the local craft store/co op.  It was so much fun!  Wendy arrived with beautiful big jars for me and I took her eggs. She is a wonderful cook.  I found great bargains in the shop too.  Wendy pointed me in the direction of a bottle she thought I might like for bubble bath. She was right!  

I got the little dog as the girls love dogs and I thought he could be a cake topper. (Was $1.)

Also these lovely fine English china little bowls.... $2 each.

I also found books for Andy and he was so pleased.  What a good day. We are going to make it a regular thing to catch up and do some bartering too!  

With the farm dogs growing up I made some dog beds.  These are thick memory foam.  We had a mattress topper neither of us could stand to sleep on even though it was thick and soft.  It seemed like such a waste.   I had the idea to set it to good use and cut the whole thing up with a giant sharp knife. For covers I decided to ask Mum if she had old pillowcases.  So I cut them to size.  So we have a stack of retro print dog beds haha!
My stash went more than half way to the ceiling.  The boys were pleased!

The puppies are amazing now.  This is them only getting nine in a photo was beyond me...

So.... meanwhile I had the calf feeding after many trials.  She is one moody calf.  Sometimes she drinks.  Sometimes not.   I was very worried at first.  I literally spent HOURS trying to get her to feed.  I learned the mother cow licks the calf all over to wake them up and get them to feed.  Not being prepared to lick her all over haha I rubbed her all over and talked to her,  tried different teats etc.  FINALLY she drank!   She drinks when she wants and if she doesn't want you can't do anything to change her mind.  If she wants a drink she stands next to the gate and bellows.  

This morning I was having a dream and there was a calf bellowing as part of the dream.  Something said that the bellowing just didn't fit into the storyline... then I woke up fast as it was Laffie wanting breakfast!   I go down to feed her in my dressing gown.  

Now she likes her head rubbed and is generally a big baby.

Just now Laffie is waiting at the gate...

During the week I made pizza bases and pizzas, Dad's favourite cake and then I cooked to help the girls. I made three pasta bakes with meat and tomato sauce (kind of like lasagne but with spiral noodles) and cup cakes.

So it was busy busy busy AND THEN Luke turned up with newborn TWIN lambs that just just been born, orphaned and rained on.  They were a mess and so tiny. 

I grabbed old towels and rubbed them dry and we sat them in front of the warm fire. 

Things started to get interesting at this point.  The next day I had to go into town and the lambs were on a four hourly schedule.  So they came with me in the back of the car in a basket. 

I found some bargains at the grocery store and stopped into the op shop.  I found maybe the best bargains of my life.  There is a pure wool luxury range and a local factory.  They sell wool underlays and quilts etc.  There were items with "seconds" marked on them and I believe they had come straight from the factory and were brand new.  I could find no faults with them so the reason they were seconds must have been so minor.  I got a woollen underlay in Queen size and a King sized Quilt for $5 each.  They are just divine.  I just could not believe it.  When I got home I looked up the prices.  Now I knew they would have been very expensive. The Underlay was $699 and the Quilt was $589.   I paid $10 all up.  I am beyond thrilled.  I also got a quilt for a gift for someone which I gave immediately and was so appreciated.   What a day! 

For some reason I decided it would be a good week to start The Swap Party in The Tuesday Afternoon Club.  This is so much fun.  If you are already a member you can join in the swap.  This will keep us busy for the next week.

Yesterday we headed down to see the girls.  I stopped to check out a little op shop.  Oh my goodness it was my day again!  I picked up a heap of the most beautiful childrens clothes.  I am just washing them up now.  First I showed Lucy to gauge her reaction.  There were Ralph Lauren little overalls, smocked and exquisite little dresses, cardigans....    Lucy just was in love with them all.

This little dress including the little shirt was $4 and the Ralf Lauren overalls were $3.   😍
I also got a bag of various big needles like darning needles, hook needles and needles to sew thing like canvas etc for 50c the whole lot. 

We set Laffie up a little house lined with hay and she is snug. 

We had the gift of help.  Dad sent over a worker with a chainsaw and he helped us with some trees we could not manage ourselves.  It was an incredible day. He cut and we carted and loaded the firewood.  What was achieved in that day is mind blowing.  I am in awe.  Now we have many big bonfires to have but it helped us so much!   Things look neater,  there is no tree leaning on the chicken house now, the driveway is clear, things are much better for next fire season and some trees that were a hazard are gone.  What a blessing this day was.  I had a bath that night soaking in Epsom Salts and then a hot pack on my legs! 

I came home with spinach for the chickens and that is my next job, to go feed the chickens.

I am very behind with many things.  How anyone manages twins I don't know as twin lambs, a bigger lamb and a calf are a handful and the kitchen is full of bottles with different formulas!   If I have not replied to your comment from last Friday I am really sorry.  

If you would please pray for Mum we think she has kidney stones, we are waiting on test results and she is in pain.

What a week! I hope it was a good week for you.  How did you build up your home, pantry, savings... how did you get ahead and get things done?  I always say little things add up!  They certainly do.  
Have a wonderful weekend!xxx