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.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Pantries and Preparedness 2020. Bartering and encouragement.

I am finally able to post the next in our pantry and preparedness series.  It has been hard to keep up with everything going on around me, family, gardening and all that needs doing.  In a week so much more has happened.  This would be the same for you all.

Last week I still went to town one time and I had a couple of my homemade face masks with me.


I also had my sanitiser sprays and wipes.   I quickly found out that if I had a hundred of these I could have sold or bartered all day long.    I had made a deal with a lady to make her two masks in exchange for a pile of cotton sheeting she said she will send me.   And she did!  It is many meters of plain solid colour sheeting which she washed and ironed.   I made her two masks and some sanitiser.    And then she discovered I have eggs so I can sent her eggs too.   And this is how I find myself constantly bartering!   

Vicky has written how bartering helps her family so much.  And boy I have know her to do some good deals over the years!  

Over to Vicky!

Right now with so many things going on all over the world we need to think about all of our resources and what we can do with them. There are so many things we can do to keep our households going and bartering is one of them. 
Bartering was a way of life for many at one time and we can draw upon that, it is a way of helping each other and obtaining things we need or use without cash. My great grandma and some of her friends and family did a lot of bartering during the Depression from fabric scraps so they could have something different, fruits and vegetables from their gardens or foraging like blackberries and wild plums. 



We barter a lot and it is amazing the trades that can be made! 
Take a good look at all that you have, do you have a lot extra of some things, but need others or if your offered something even if you may not need it at the moment would you be willing to trade for it? I have accepted barters for things I may not need myself, but have been able to gift to someone else that had the need and then was gifted with something I did need so the saying what goes around comes around is very much true. 
And it can be hard to ask for a trade, but I have found that people actually love to trade and find it a small excitement so if you need to don't be afraid to ask. All it takes is to say I have this etc. and would you be willing to trade for this,etc.? 

What do you have plenty of that you could barter? Do you have plenty of flour it only takes a cup or two to produce a small baked good. Maybe you would like to trade with a gardener? Do you have chickens who lay eggs and can trade for something to add to your pantry? Or maybe something isn't available at the store and you know someone who has plenty and fuel prices are cheaper consider taking a can and getting a few extra gallons to barter with. I've bartered with lots of my canned goods and the hubby too. He was asked if he would take a hay elevator for some of my canned pickles and he did then bartered it for something else. 



Bartering can include labor too. My husband has cut down trees for the wood or more recently bartered 6 dozen eggs for a truck load of wood. It doesn't have to be even, Steven as long as both parties are happy. We can even coordinate with family or friends like great grandma did and see who has an abundance of what and divide it up and trade so everyone has a little variety. There are many, many ways to work things out and with a lack of resources we need to consider all possibilities at our disposal. 



We can be each others eyes and help each other, buy a pack of toilet paper and someone else can get something else if their store has it and then trade off half of each. Some is better than none. 
What do you have that you could barter? What do you need that you would like to get? Since we don't know the extent of damage this virus is going to do it is a good time to consider all of the ways we can get along and make do. making our own, stretching things, making sure we have no waste, helping others and also bartering and we are off to a good start! 
XOXO
Vicky

Thank you Vicky.  Here a load of wood is worth several hundred dollars.  That is a wonderful trade! 

I have had a lot of reasons to be grateful and amazed this week.   I built up my chicken numbers and set up.  Now it is hard to buy a chicken and eggs are in demand and a great bartering item.
We bought an extra large freezer as we just felt the need.  Then it became hard to buy a freezer as everyone had the same idea at the same time when the virus first broke out.
We planted a fruit orchard and veggie garden.  And now it is hard to get seedlings and even seeds.   But we are already established.   I read ages ago that the time to do these things is before you need them.  These things were things we worked on as soon as we arrived here.

This is not to say it is too late to get going.   I have always said the same... take every opportunity!   Do what you can and make the most of everything.  

Bartering is natural to Vicky and to me.   I think now is the time to help others and a great time to barter.   Thing of your resources and what you could be producing.   To get by in hard times we need to be producing things and not just consuming them.   This helps you supply your own needs and gives you things to sell or trade.   So I have a list of things that I can barter that I have... fresh herbs, Bay Leaves,  eggs, sheep manure, jam, baking, wood... things I can produce.... face masks, hand wipes, soft fabric tissues (kleenex) and essential oil rollers.   I am making producing things each day part of the day.  If you have a skill put it to good use.  Learn a skill too!   Your abundance of one thing is something you can swap with others!  

See if your elders neighbours need anything.  There are very lonely people just now.  We can still phone and write!

Now I need your help.   I am struggling with my work, family needs and blog but I want to keep going.  You can help me by sharing any good trading ideas and ways to help others at this time.   Last week I mentioned our family shopping co op.   We all let each other know what we are looking for and add these things to our lists.  I was able to get Mum some Gluten Free Flour.  Mum was able to give me venison!   (Trade!)  Chloe needed sugar.  She was able to give me figs (another trade!)  Her friend was desperate for flour and Chloe sent her some.  Her friend sent back apples and tomatoes!     

This is where a network comes in!   Some of my network is a family.   But also I have a wider network.  I have always highly valued the Pharmacist.  The one we went to in the city was a discount chemist.   We got to know them and they got to know us.  We also have an excellent chemist in our local town.   I am always asking him questions so he knows me too.   The city pharmacist I follow on Facebook.  I think I am probably their number one liker and commenter!!   They posted they had an arrival of face masks.   The next day they posted they had an arrival of hand sanitiser!    I rang up... they immediately knew me on the phone and said "hello! How is Andy going?"  and I said I realised they must be incredibly busy at this time but would they possibly have time to do a phone order and post things out?   Yes!!  And within minutes I had a list of items that are very hard to get on their way.   Networking and being nice to people, getting to know them...  doing things to help and encourage them and then when you need help they are there for you too.

Next week Rachel is adding to this subject of bartering.  She is also a natural at it!! And we can learn from her!

The other way you can help me keep going is to help me with replies.   I have always felt it is important to reply to everyone and answer all questions.   Lately I have missed some replies which I feel bad about... I am still going though!   If someone asks a question and you can answer it please do!   If you see someone needs encouragement or a few words of kindness reply to them.  It can turn this way into a giant discussion and it will help me to manage.   I do feel at this time our friendship is needed more than ever.  Instead of trading goods we are trading ideas and knowledge and helping each other get through this time!  

Locally the shortages and rationing are worse... in Mum's town even the Post Office is closed.  I became aware a couple of weeks ago that while the stores were low we might become reliant on mail order/online shopping  but that soon these might be suspended too.   Coming into cool weather we acted fast to make sure the girls would have warm winter clothing.   So if you have children and needs like this think of them now. 

There is more to the picture than the illness.   Our own Government and mainstream media now talk openly about some countries collapsing.  Concepts such as a cashless society and One World Government are also getting pretty regular mentions.  The collapse of whole countries would make the Lehman Brothers look minor!   
The financial brains that I speak to are sure this will be no recession, it will be a depression. I guess we will soon know.   So we have a lot to do and need to be our very best and most prudent and watchful. xxx
 


87 comments:

  1. I made two lots of turkish bread on the weekend and gifted it to the family next door as he mows my front footpath all the time and I have 3 chickens so I also gave them a dozen eggs. He is a chef and lost his job 3 weeks ago and can't see any work being possible until January next year. I normally share my eggs with my family however we are not seeing each other due to isolation as well. Stay safe. Regards Kathy, Brisbane

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    1. Kathy, how kind of you to think of your neighbours needs ! I'm sure the eggs would be lovely !! And the bread too. Stay healthy. Sonia. Sydney NSW Australia

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    2. I am so sorry fro your neighbour losing his job. It is like every second person I know or talk to now... Eggs for him would be so nice. At least we know he can cook! This is a time to really help our neighbours! That is just lovely to hear. With love Annabel.xxx

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    3. That is so kind to take care of your neighbour. Lots of love, Bridge

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  2. I think I am missing the bartering/selling gene, I just can't do it. I think it must be attached to the big chest/ blue eyes gene ( both of which I 'm lacking) as both of my sisters can barter as an Olympic sport. I actually can't see what I could possibly barter anyway, other than my knitting skills, and right now I 'd knit almost anything in exchange for a haircut!

    In my part of the UK, things are getting slightly better, some produce is available, in limited quantities in the supermarkets, but the queuing to get in in the first place is very depressing. Apparently, refuse collectors have noted a 30% increase in their work, which is all fresh produce, mostly unopened which has now gone out of date! I can't help wondering how many millions of pounds worth of credit card debt has been accrued to simply throw in the bin!
    Flour was like gold dust and I managed to get a bag, but I gave it to one of my colleagues, she has 6 children and her need is greater than mine. My daughter contributed some edible glitter and Alice in Wonderland themed bits and bobs, my colleague was totally overwhelmed and actually cried! Who would have thought that in 2020 a bag of flour would have that effect.

    I have had to remill soap into tiny bars as the anti bacterial stuff at work is giving me sore, rashy hands which I cannot believe is good in this current climate. I also take my own small hand towel in as I don't like paper towels.

    I am finding it all very depressing and likely to get worse. Lockdown in itself I can cope with, it's seeing sealed up rubbish bins and shuttered shops and banks and ex railway stations and sports arenas being turned into makeshift hospitals that get to me. But, in the grand scheme of things I am doing ok and I hope that all the bluebirds are too, maybe not great, but ok. We can build on ok.

    Take care of yourselves everyone and don't try to do too much at the moment, I really think now is the time for quiet reflection, a little planning and plenty of rest.

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    1. Su - how kind of you to give the flour to your colleague- she won’t forget that. And you have skills: refilling the soap, and knitting. And you’re obviously still working- that’s an achievement in itself. Now be kind to yourself too

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    2. Hi Su,
      Your comment about not being a busty/blue-eyed barterer made me laugh out loud and garnered a, "Hon, I'm going on a conference call" from my husband. Thanks for the grin this morning. :) As for your hair, I got tired of paying for haircuts I was never happy with many, many years ago and searched the internet until I found the cut for the style I wanted. I have always been happy with each and every haircut since then. I encourage you to look for good directions for your own haircut and to just take the time and do it. If it doesn't turn out, at least no one will see it due to isolation and you have time to let it grow. ;) Good luck!

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    3. Hi Su,
      I missed that gene, also. 😉 I love to give people things they need and am happy to do so, if I can, but have never really expected anything in return. I will have to do some soul searching to find out why I never even thought to barter.
      It is hard to not get depressed right now. Daily, I am sewing masks for our Doctors who need them desperately. Also, trying to plan garden to feed our family and figure out how to stretch groceries. I think our minds are consumed with getting through this and wondering what is next.
      I have found reading Psalms, praying and just sitting quietly with candle lights very calming.
      We will get through this and be stronger for it. God bless all the Bluebirds.
      Glenda

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    4. Su you made me laugh too maybe being busty and blue-eyed doesnt hurt haha Well I like your words how we can build on ok... and yes depression would come easily. I need many projects, quiet time too, sunshine, sleep, time to think... my brain gets fried! xxx

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    5. I agree completely. Being at home things almost feel normal. It's when you step out and see closed shops, cafes etc that things start to hit home. How lovely of you to share the flour! Lots of love, Bridge

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  3. Hi Annabel
    I have time to spare now we are home for the duration and will try to respond kindly to some of your readers if this will free up some time for you. This blog and many others are a lovely community and we can all help. I'm in the UK so there may be a bit of a time lag as Australia is many hours ' ahead' of us and the US is a few hours behind. Thank you for continuing to post - we all appreciate it. Stay safe.

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  4. Sending you much encouragement, Annabel. I am very grateful for the ideas you share and the knowledge I have gained from your blog.
    Much grace to you, and your tribe.
    Patricia/USA

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  5. We do this too with shopping -daughter needed toilet paper and I needed 4 gallons of milk. It was a good trade for her of course because I gave her a good supply and she loved that.
    I wish I knew who to trade more. We do trade with the neighbor here and there for home improvement help. Eventually I think this situation we having will lead to more bartering in our neighborhood. I hope so because it sounds like it would be a great help to everyone. Have a great day Annabelle and don't worry too much about the comments. I think whatever you post is helpful and encouraging.

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    1. We are also doing this. If I am out the shops and I know of something a friend of family needs I am grabbing for them... and vice versa........ flour seems to the one thing I'm struggling to find at the moment though..... Ruth x

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    2. Dear Ruth!

      I noticed a local bakery advertising bags of flour (I don’t know what size!) available for fifty dollars. It might be worth asking a local bakery if they would onsell flour to you.

      Rachel

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  6. Mrs Tiggywinkle here. Thank you Annabel for all of your tips and encouragement. X

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  7. Annabel, years ago we were in a bartering group here in town and it worked really well for a time until some people were just taking and not giving so it fizzled out. It is such a great way to give away our excess or our labour and receive what we need. Now that over 70s are grounded life has changed a lot for us and the Qld govt is now calling for a Care Army' a o care for us oldies as years ago we had a 'Mud Army' after the Brisbane floods when people flocked to the city to help clean up. Time will tell what happens in the futurre but God is in control at the end of the day. Stay safe!

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    1. Hello Annabel and Nanna Chel ~ My 31 year old daughter in Chicago keeps phoning and telling me I have to stay inside. I said isn't that a change, you grounding me??! Gotta have a laugh!
      Take care, Donna xoxo

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  8. Somebody I respect and follow in America commented today that there will be food shortages for the next couple of years. This makes sense. The whole world is going into lockdown and will there be enough labour to plant tend and harvest crops? And how long will it be till we get to the other side?

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    1. Yes- I read today that some parts of Italy are finding it tough with no income and food shortages.
      Heidi x

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    2. Hi there. Just replying to help Annabel out:) Isn't it strange about the food shortages? I was listening to the radio and they were saying that a high % of the fresh produce is being produced up around Bundaberg Qld and they are worried they will not be able to pick all their crops as they can no longer employ the back packers etc due to travel restrictions. I just wonder though how many unemployed people there are now in that area that could fill those jobs,? Same in America etc... I wonder sometimes if we have become too soft in doing the office jobs and like our cushy lifestyle??? I think of how hard our forefathers worked to provide food on our table. I find that I am asking myself these questions more and more and self examining my desires, wants, needs, willingness etc.
      As a family we have cut down our spending just from being in lock down and making do with what we have. Just goes to show all the money we have needlessly spent in the past.....
      Stay safe,
      Blessings Ruth



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    3. I totally believe this. Supply chains are being broken. i.e. ships not being able to dock. I heard of a ship here no one wanted to unload. We have the same issues Ruth re Australians largely wont do the fruit picking or work in the meat works so thousands of overseas families come here to do that work. I heard the UK is in trouble with this issue and feel crops may not be harvested! There were already shortages last year as there were a lot of farmlands flooded in the USA where they produce corn and Australia first drought then fires! So watch the supply chains this tells you a lot.xxx

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    4. I was watching Landline on Sunday and the segment on the backpackers was well worth watching - they do not have accommodation for them in a lot of places and because of the way they all congregate together in the hostels the farmers cannot be sure that the backpackers are virus free. They do not want the virus out on the farms, mind you it is getting further and further west.

      My parents ran a 'pickers caravan park' in northern Victoria some years ago and they found that the Australians who came to the park to pick didn't last very long. Most were just not use to hard work.

      Lynette
      XXXX

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    5. In Canada they are worried as we too rely on workers (many from the Caribbean and Central America) to arrive each year on temporary visas to plant and harvest crops. We have set our borders to all but Canadians coming home and to those from the US who cross with supplies (mostly truckers). I believe that special arrangements are being made to get these workers back but it will take a while as anyone entering must quarantine for 14 days (except those truckers) so different types of living arrangements would have to be organized and workers would need to be tested before being allowed to work. It really does make you aware of how reliant on each other we truly are these days.

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    6. I know the farmers in my area are doing spring planting. Farmers naturally self-isolate! Since our harvests are done with machinery, they will be able to harvest their wheat, canola, potatoes, and corn. I just don't know if they will be able to process the harvest. Lucky for the United States, that problem will occur in 6 months, and I hope the virus has settled down on its way to becoming a memory. In a pinch, you can grind your own flour from wheat using a coffee grinder. Of course, you would first need to find wheat and I'm not sure where it is grown in other countries. Where there's a will, there's a way! Great ideas here, every since time!!

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    7. Farm Quilter, we just invested in a wheat grinder and it has been very difficult to source wheat. Most online stores are completely sold out, or shipping costs upward of $100. It was even difficult to find the grinder for that matter!

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  9. Thank you to Vicky for sharing her trading ideas. Annabel you do an amazing lot of trades just as part of your day.
    When we moved here seven years ago, two of our neighbours are widowers. These two found out I could sew and asked for help with taking up the hems on their good trousers. I did this without thought. I ended up with fresh caught fish in trade. This has continued with several of their friends also participating. Over the past few weeks there has been a wonderful over the fence economy taking place. I have gained seedlings, eggs and more fish in trade for hand sanitiser, masks and greens out of the garden.
    I have had a few people ask what I charge and depending on the person and what I know they have, depends on my answer. I never ask for dollars. One lovely elderly lady trades me roses. It doesnt take long and people understand that you are a person who trades. It works.

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    1. Dear Vicky, Thank you for so much help! The way you operate is so similar to me. Trading just happens naturally from helping people. It is like inevitable!
      I think the sewing skills are very useful. I read last night this... in the US they are considering (and also apparently WHO) that S Korea and much of Asia has controlled the virus better. These are countries where everyone wears masks. While we were told the OPPOSITE NOT to wear them. It sounds like there may be an imminent announcement that masks do help the general population with some protection (well dar!) in which case if the USA then advises people to wear them you can bet this will follow here. In this case the demand for masks will suddenly be massive. I am betting on it and making masks daily as I can.
      I love that you get fish. We were on a beach holiday a while back and met an older man. He lived in a retirement unit and each day he fished. HE then delivered fish to all the other residents that like it. He would come home with a few lemons a few tomatoes and all kinds of things! It was his joy, help, economy PLUS it gave them all this socialisation and sense of community. I just lived this man!
      Thank you you are a great example of how trading works! Love Annabel.xxx

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  10. Annabel & Bluebirds
    Thank you for your input on this blog. I grew up with a father who worked 6-7 days a week and my mother left the home to join the workforce before I was in my teens. I was loved and well cared for, but I was not taught meal planning or budgeting or even sewing!
    I am lucky to be debt free, although that was not always the case. I have tried to learn from others, such as wisdom from the lovely Bluebirds found here for example.
    Things I always meant to do, I put off during easier times! There have been times I ignored the Holy Spirit's promptings and times I was just sheer lazy!
    Will things go back to "normal"? I don't think so. A tracking app (to keep us safe of course ;) )being rolled out; don't use cash so as not to spread the virus (cashless society incoming!) and on it goes. I go through productive moments, to being overwhelmed with it all the next.
    I second the advice on clothing- if you can right now, think ahead for any children still growing.
    Food- well my chickens are not getting so much leftovers these days :) I have planted some seeds and brought some more incase my recent seeds do not all germinate (we are still having cold nights here).
    In the UK the BBC good food site has useful recipes.
    Just a thought (on top of all the other bad news) add olive oil to your list of supplies to look out for.
    Blessings,Heidi xx

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    1. I actually bought a couple of extra bottles of olive oil about a month ago - just had a feeling that it might be a good idea.

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    2. Heidi, some things on my to-do list have also been bumped up to the top, like soapmaking. I've been wanting to learn this and now's the time!
      Also on the clothing, we have done the same thing. We purchased shoes for our little boy in his next size up and are keeping an eye out for other clothes. Thrift stores are no longer an option, as they are all closed.

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  11. Dear Annabel,

    We barter all the time. Today Phil tried to swap a pumpkin for some of our honey and olives, but the lady didn't want them because she didn't like olives, so we had to pay cash instead. It was a huge 7kg Qld blue pumpkin! Sometimes it doesn't work lol, but that's okay...9 times out of 10 it works :)

    We swap and barter with family a lot too. Mum gives me veggies when she has abundance and I do the same when I have plenty. My daughter gave me peaches the other day, and I gave her honey. Win, win :)

    Bartering was something that was done a lot years ago, and I think the way the world is heading that it will be a common occurrence once again.

    Take care and stay well,
    Love Tania xxx

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  12. Annabel - you’re doing a wonderful job here. You’re entitled to have down days - it would be unbelievable if you didn’t. Your proactive stance has made life now so much easier for those of us who have taken your advice & example on board. Our Anglican parish priest reminded us the other day of Psalm 23 - and published a version for the current time.....if I can find it I will see if I can share it.....keep safe x

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    1. Dear Lesley!!

      I think I have read that!!

      Psalm 23 is so apt for us when we put our lives into the hands of our Great Shepherd. This is what living is all about!

      Thank you for your comment!!

      Rachel

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  13. Hello everyone! Doesn't all of this sound fantastical? I have always been a big believer in being prepared and in the bartering system, but almost two years ago there was trauma in my family and I let a lot of things lapse just trying to learn to breathe again. Now we are at the beginning of a move and new job for DH. This week I have been more worried about painting and purging so we can move two states over, and I'm praying that my former preparedness-ways work like muscle memory. We haven't been out for two weeks to the food shops, just hardware once for supplies. I admit to being a little concerned going forward, because of the past two years. I do know, however, that my lapsed preparedness is still much better than most others' normal, so between that and the Lord's protection we'll be just fine. Any suggestions on how to move house peacefully during this unsettling time? I would welcome any encouragement at all right now, as I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. My prayers and love go out to you all. I don't comment much, but I read every post and the comments and very much feel "part of the club." x

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    1. Shani personally I think that praying is a big help when I am feeling overwhelmed and being guided by the thoughts and impressions that come from that :).

      I am glad you have a background of preparedness and I am sure once you move you will continue that when you are more settled. What a blessing your husband has a new job and you will have income coming into the home.

      We moved to our forever home just over a year ago and things were also stressful with my husbands back injuries and pain. It was a big move with lots to pack including food storage. We also had to move a lot of gardening equipment that the removalists would not put in their trucks ourselves.

      Both of us sat down calmly and formed a plan which was packing room by room and as we finished we deep cleaned that room so it was finished. Breaking things down into areas we found helped us to focus by breaking things down into small manageable steps. Like the saying says "how do you eat an elephant ?, one bite at a time".

      We also rewarded ourselves with treats when we finished packing a or a couple of rooms such as a few rows of chocolate which helped with energy and gave us something to look forward to :).

      Hope this helps and you can do it :).

      Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

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    2. We prioritized which things/rooms to pack up first. We packed up one room, moved out the few odd items (not enough to pack a full box) into another room, and then cleaned the room. We then closed the door to that room, and it felt like we were making progress just to have one room that was completely empty.

      I wish you a safe journey with, as you said, the Lord's protection!

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    3. Hi Shani - you have some big things on your plate at the moment. I to am struggling with enthusiasm and mojo - it seems to have left me!!! One thing I have done is just gone with it, and done little bits often. For example, my study is a disaster zone, and so each time I've had to go in there (the printer is in there and I use a laptop in the kitchen) I do one or two tiny little things. Today, I could see that I'm actually making a difference!!

      I know that you have a lot more to do than just a study, and I know it can't wait as you have a deadline of the move, but I just urge you to be kind to yourself. A lot things I am reading are talking about this lockdown as being like grief, and we are all grieving at the same time.

      Sending you much strength and peace to get through this. Your preparedness in the past is now in your favour, and you will be just fine going forward. You will find a way, and be just fine. Sending you a big ((((hug))))

      Sharynne

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    4. Hi, Shani, prayers for peace for your family during this time of upheavel and adding a move on top of it! I absolutely believe your preparedness muscle will kick in - once skills are learned, we hang on to them and bring them back to the surface as needed!

      For your move, what came to my mind was kind of sorting things by "really important" and less so. So whatever needs to be set up in the new home right away to help you quickly find your new center and bring peace to your family, those things are most important. Maybe it's a box of important paperwork just in case, a reasonable amount of immediate clothing and personal care for each family member, beds and linens, a favorite small amount of loved items for each child, and of course necessary kitchen items!

      Making some freezer meals ahead or prepping in advance to have some easy crock-pot throw in dinners might help with that first week in the new home while you unpack and find a nearby grocery store :)

      I wish you the best!!

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    5. Hi, Shani, prayers for peace for your family during this time of upheavel and adding a move on top of it! I absolutely believe your preparedness muscle will kick in - once skills are learned, we hang on to them and bring them back to the surface as needed!

      For your move, what came to my mind was kind of sorting things by "really important" and less so. So whatever needs to be set up in the new home right away to help you quickly find your new center and bring peace to your family, those things are most important. Maybe it's a box of important paperwork just in case, a reasonable amount of immediate clothing and personal care for each family member, beds and linens, a favorite small amount of loved items for each child, and of course necessary kitchen items!

      Making some freezer meals ahead or prepping in advance to have some easy crock-pot throw in dinners might help with that first week in the new home while you unpack and find a nearby grocery store :)

      I wish you the best!!

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    6. Dear Shani!!

      You are already on the right foot! With the Almighty’s protection, and the training He has given you, you are going in the right direction!

      When life is overwhelming, we know that only He can make a way! When our lives are totally in His hands, we can be truly content. The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul, so reading scripture is wonderful for developing peacefulness in our lives!

      I hope you thrive on the challenge!

      Rachel

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    7. Thank you all so much for taking the time to share your ideas and encourage me! I can't express how very much that means to me. Thank you!

      I will be instituting a lot of your ideas and know that they will help to decrease my stress. I have already painted both bathrooms and DH has replaced two light fixtures, a medicine cabinet, worn-out caulk, a sink and faucet. Things are moving forward. Relying on the Lord's provision and protection are the best anti-stress responses I have found. May the good God keep you all and protect you and yours. Thank you! x

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  14. Just this week, some older friends of ours texted and asked if we would like some food storage items that they will never get around to using. I said “Sure”, knowing I could dispose of it in our composter or to my chooks if if was us useable.
    They brought over 160 pounds of wheat in 4 big containers! I gave them some strawberry jam that I canned r3cently and a vacuum sealed jar of praline nut mix. They were delighted!
    The wheat was fine- will last for decades as long as it doesn’t get wet! Now I already have a few hundred pounds of wheat in my storage but I offered it to my daughter who moved from CA to 13 acres about an hour from us . She is just building up her food storage. She was over to use our longarm to quilt a client’s quilt, so I sent her home with it!
    Sometimes we are given or traded items that we don’t “need” but that others in our family or friends really could! Nice way to help others!

    Gardenpat
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

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    1. Dear Gardenpat, It is kind of amazing while flour is so hard to get they want to get rid of wheat!! But your blessing!
      That was a great trade too!
      I am the same... much goes to help another household in the family. We all operate pretty much as one. And you must be pleased your daughter is on the 13 acres and working on her pantry! That is awesome! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  15. We are not good at bartering. We just give people what they need. It all evens out in the end as far as we have seen. Everyone in our neighborhood is working by that principle right now and just giving if there is a need. It is working well.

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    1. Dear Lana, I agree you cant outlive God and we are pretty free givers. But bartering is a help especially as it was in the war years, depression years. I see millions have lots their jobs there and I dont know how many people here.. it is about half the people I know or talk to currently and some are going to really struggle. They might not be able to freely give as they would like for a while. So bartering might help them get food on the table or a better variety of food. This is my hope. With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. We have actual items to give but because of my husband's health we often need actual help so we are thankful that we have neighbors who will do things like carry heavy items up and down stairs for us and such. That help is far more valuable to us than anything they could give to us.

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  16. Thank you Annabel and Vicky for a wonderful post and subject :). Don't worry if you cannot answer my posts I know it is a really busy time for all of us.

    I will try and answer some posts for you too.

    We did some trading recently with our fellow gardening neighbour and traded some silverbeet and cucumbers and he gave us some lovely garlic bulbs to plant in our garden. This was fortunate as the garlic I had saved had gone off in the shed so we live another year with lots of garlic planted :).

    Another trade we did was using our work to clear some trees on an elder neighbours property in exchange for getting the wood. She did not have the money to hire someone so we said we would do it just for the wood and no payment was expected or needed.

    We will work on setting up more trading partners around the new area we have moved into as well.

    It really works well we have found and everyone benefits when done properly.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

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    1. Dear Lorna... the gift of service or help is another one! The free wood is worth a lot so this was a wonderful trade!! Thank you! Love Annabel.xxx

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  17. For some reason the last three weeks or so, my comments haven't been sticking. I'll try again and would be happy to answer any questions, if I know the answers!

    We had a health emergency last week. My husband woke me up at midnight and told me he needed to go to the emergency room. He ended up going to two hospitals - and I could not come in to either one with him!

    He had his gall bladder out and an umbilical repair done. Recovery is slow as he has stage 4 cancer and has now had 4 surgeries in 2 years plus radiation plus hormone therapy. So, we had our own little crisis within the big crisis.

    But God is good. We have a deep pantry and a deep faith. I, too, am starting to make masks for when I go out. (Hubby is not going anywhere!). I've decided to put a layer of nonwoven interfacing the the middle of the mask. It can't hurt and maybe it can help filter out anything nasty.

    I bought a 25 pound bag of oats this week and will pick up my farmshare later today.

    My little seedlings are growing well. I have 14 tomato plants started and I am babying them. We still have snow on the ground but it should be gone by the weekend. Here's hoping. Stay well all!
    Cheri

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    1. Dear Cheri, I am so sorry for your poor husband. I hope he is feeling heaps better. He really has been dealing with a lot. And so have you! Sorry that comments have been not working. Thanks for persisting!
      I was reading last night that Western countries are considering now the Asian tactic of the public wearing face masks as S Korea and others have got the virus more under control and it seems now that the masses wearing masks might be why. So it is being looked in to and could beomce the recommended thing which would be big as we were DISCOURAGED from wearing masks. I saw this for what I think it was... they have to say that as they dont have them to provide! Anyway this will be interesting.
      So glad you are growing, making and for your good pantry! With love, Annabel.xxx

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    2. Cheri, I had the same thought about nonwoven interfacing. Also thought the nonwomen landscape fabric might work.
      Maxine

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    3. Cheri,
      I make masks 3 layers with the center layer flannel. It was a recommendation by a Doctor here. It does help to have a different finely woven material to keep the virus at bay.
      I am so sorry to hear about your husband's health issues. Please take good care of yourself, also. Sometimes we forget that when care taking for others.
      May God bless you abundantly,
      Glenda

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  18. I love bartering! My dad tills our garden and in return I help my mom pick her green beans. Hubby dug a hole for an older couple for their dry well. In return they bought the flooring we needed for our bathroom.

    I did the same with summer clothing for my daughter. I knew the stores would be closing so I placed an order for pick up. Four days later the store closed for two weeks. I received an email last night that it will be closed until further notice. I'm glad I was thinking ahead!

    Take care and please don't worry about not replying to comments. I know that it doesn't upset me if I don't receive a reply. I think most understand that your life is busy.

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  19. Good Morning Annabel, I just want to Thank You for all that you do to bring your blog posts to all of us.

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  20. I love your blog, Annabel. I don't post often because I don't feel like I have anything to add! I live in Florida, USA. I am well stocked and staying isolated. I have a large (I hope) order coming to me from Costco tomorrow. I am making space for it today. My children and families are in Indiana and Minnesota---so far away. We did a ZOOM last weekend with all of us and it was a wonderful way to connect. We are in our mid 70's so must stay isolated.

    thanks for all you do...keeps me encouraged...

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  21. Thanks so much for your posts. I live in the state of Ky and have ot ventured out yet. but tomorrow I will go pick up and order I put in at the local Kroger store. We will see how much we get if anything at all. So many people in our area. the store open for the 1st hour so senior people may shop. I am doing what I can but I like to knit and am learning to reuse my sewing machine and make bread and do some baking. Becuse I put food up in jars, we have not had to eat the same lunch or Dinner menu twice in 2 weeks. Of course breakfast is different, husband likes his fried eggs, Old man, but we are together. Take care of yourselves by friends through this beautiful bluebrid.

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  22. Thank you for your wonderful knowledge and sentiment on your blog. I love reading about your farm life and animals as well as the encouragement you give us to keep a pantry and assist others. I am in the U.S. and have no family living. I am a retired nurse but let my license go inactive to save on that yearly fee. Thus, I can't volunteer to help in my former place of employment or elsewhere as an RN. However, I continue to go and do pheresis at the blood center every 2 weeks. Otherwise, I have been staying home, eating from my pantry and freezers and thanking God that I had the wisdom to be prepared for whatever may come. I have seen the reactions from those that were not. They have to go from store to store looking for essentials and may not find them. It is getting a little better on some items like toilet paper but other things continue to be in short supply or not found. Thank you for all you do and the readers who reply with suggestions also.

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  23. Hi Everyone! I am writing from Ohio,USA and we are just heading into spring. With everything going on the ladies in my family have been planning large gardens and seeds. But we noticed over night our normal online seed distributor was sold out. So I went to the local farm feed store and purchased all the seeds we needed. Than we split the cost 4 ways. There are hundreds of seeds in each package so sharing is easy and we have more than enough. Also my son in law was gifted a large bag of red onion starts so my daughter slit that bag four ways. My grandmother had a large strawberry patch that doubled with baby plants from last year so she offered us each 10 plants three ways. My husband helped a friend with computer issues and he gifted us a large water tank for our farm! This was a huge cost savings. Also,I think it is good to get the word out to friends and family if you are in need of an item. More than once I have done this and someone has offered me the item for free because they were no longer using it. You can do that with big or small items. That is how our friend new we needed the water tank for our farm. Annabelle and other readers, I just wanted you all to know how much I rely on the blog. It is an amazing place and I plan on being more active in posting. God bless!

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  24. I’m in the U.S.A. and have been reading and enjoying your blog for a while now. I was astounded to read of buses from larger cities coming and clearing out the stores in smaller towns there, and then I heard about it happening in the Midwest from my brother! People talk about when life gets back to normal, but will it ever be the same again?? This all happened So fast, my head is spinning! We are experiencing much the same as you are, with empty store shelves and long lines to get in, etc. Our dear son went on the hunt to get us a few cans of Campbell’s tomato soup! He was able to find some! Thankfully, I had already picked up most of the garden seeds I needed to plant our veggie garden soon, and our son found us seed potatoes. We’ve talked about getting chickens, but I don’t know the first thing about keeping chickens, and I suppose all the baby chicks will be gone in a flash! I really appreciate all your good advice and great ideas! Keep up the good work! Take care and God Bless!
    ~Laura C. (Washington state, USA)

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    1. Hi Laura! We are in Texas and have been sheltered in place for several days. You mentioned chickens and we usually buy our chicks locally so you could check around the area where you live first. But once we ordered chicks from I believe a hatchery in Arkansas and we were pleased with what we got. The minimum order at that time was 25 and if that'd too many you might be able to go in with family members or neighbors and split at order. My granddaughter got their order of 25 in the mail last week. Also you might have good luck posting a "wanted" item on Facebook Market. Glad you got your seeds and seed potatoes. All places here were out of seed potatoes so I picked up red potatoes from the grocery and let them sprout. It's worked for me in the past. Good luck and God bless! Pam

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  25. I really enjoy your posts Annabelle. Can you send me a PM with seeds that you are looking for? I have a stash of seeds from my various (usually unsuccessful) attempts at growing my own. I am happy to post some out to you. Regards Carol

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  26. Thank you Annabel for your thoughts and encouragement. It gives us something to think about for sure. There is a theme worldwide of people looking to be more self sufficient, looking for ways to trade or barter for food/items/skills that are needed. Loving your blog it is a great resource for me the uneducated to learn new skills. Blessings to you. Janine

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  27. Yes, I think bartering is a good thing to do now. My son really needed a haircut but all the salons are closed so his brother in law got out the clippers and cut his hair for him. Not the best cut he has ever had but it will do. These days we do what we can with what we have. I had the clippers, brother in law had the nerve to cut hair.
    I am in America and I do think this will be a long haul at best so now is a good time to set up those bartering relationships.
    I only wish I had more to barter with so I will be working on that.
    Take care to everyone and thank you for this most important group of Bluebirds.

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  28. Hello dear Annabel, my mother gifted me with a brand new sewing machine on the weekend. I can handsew but not machine. So I'm taking this time to learn. I want to make masks. I'm finding my depression and anxiety very bad. The NSW police say we have to stick to new rules for 90 days. That means unless your exercising or going to a essential service e.g shopping or chemist or DR along with a few other exemptions you can't be out. My Nana took a fall and although she didn't break anything she it seems now has dementia. She knows who we are but sleeping a lot and is drifting in and out. She's in hospital. One visitor only and strict measures when I go on like temperature readings etc. I'm sad by her condition . I'm sick of being cooped up in my apartment. Let's all look after ourself right now and pray it ends soon . With love, Sonia

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  29. I am making face masks and offered to make some for friends. I was just going to give them to them, but they have offered things in return, so I guess I'm now bartering! It makes so much sense, and builds community too. I am in Michigan U.S. and your comment about clothes has me thinking about my fast-growing grandson, and that he will need summer clothes. Thank you for a good reminder to plan ahead.

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  30. This is such a good post and reminder of what we need to be doing while this virus thing is going on. I was telling my husband today we should talk to our neighbor about swapping him some of our garden produce for some of his pears and pomegranates! He usually lets the squirrels have it all which drives me insane so not sure if it will work out. I haven't posted lately as I've been diligently working on trying to get our gardens planted. This will be the largest we've ever attempted since moving here 20 years ago and it has been a real job. Thankfully we have a good tiller and plenty of seeds, but the labor was a challenge for us. He would till a patch, I would put up rows, plant and water and that's how it went for several days. Until we know how this is all going to shake out we will continue with stocking up as we can and keep a watch on things. It is all very uncertain at this time. Our economy here in the states is in bad shape. It was not a good time for Russia and the Saudi's to get into a gas/oil war and it's caused prices to go way down and that really hurts because that has been pretty much the basis of our economy. That on top of the pandemic and the political fighting is enough to send me running to the woods haha. My grandson who is a chef got laid off from his job. He immediately made up flyers offering to mow and clean up lawns and also to cook meals. He is actually doing pretty good with it! I think it's wise to look ahead and keep on doing what we can with what we have. You all stay safe and thanks for your input here.

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  31. Hi Annabel and all you lovely ladies in the Bluebird Nation! My husband and I have relcoated to California from Washington state for his job just before everything hit the fan. I brought food (and toilet paper lol) with us from our pantry to put in an apartment when we get it later this month. When he is at work I hunker down in the hotel so glad I brought my sewing machine and some projects with me as I have a lot of time on my hands lol. I have not bartered much in the past but I think it's a wonderful idea to bless one another with. I have been following Annabel and Vickie for a few years and am so grateful for all of their (and all of your) inspiration and friendship. I pray that everyone stays safe and God bless...Gaila in the NW
    *now California USA*

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  32. Shani..I’m sorry for the trauma you suffered. I feel like I can understand. July 24, 2019, we put down our beloved dog, it was my son’s birthday, and the next day he surfed the wedge on a low wave day (very dangerous) and he was distracted. He broke his back, tore up his knee and was temporarily paralyzed in the water. Thankfully other surfers pulled him out and he has mostly recovered...definitely trauma.
    Back to you...you got this, and God will lead you as you listen for his guidance. Feel grateful to be a child of God with the foresight to prepare.
    I know your mind is probably racing, that’s okay, but feel strong in your faith.
    Also please add my son JT to your prayers...he is estranged from God.
    Much love. Patti in California

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    1. Hi Patti in California!This Patti in San Diego California. :) Dear Heavenly father,Good Shepard,Mighty God Prince of peace. I pray that you would draw near to Patti and JT. The word promises that if we raise a child in his ways,he will return to you. So I pray that God would draw near to you and JT. Jehovah Rapha thank you for healing JT. Thank you for healing a mother's heart. Our Father in heaven bring JT back to you! In Jesus name Amen
      Much love Patti in San Diego California.
      Sending a big ((((((hug)))))).

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    2. Dear Patti,

      I'm so sorry for everything you have suffered, as well. Thank you for your kind thoughts and sharing your suffering. Sharing the bad as well as the good helps us know we are not alone, doesn't it? That's so important as the bad can make us feel so alone. I'm so very glad that your son has recovered so well. Thanks be to God! I said a little prayer for him.

      In May of 2018 we lost my 70-year-old father unexpectedly, suddenly, and devastatingly. A mere 15 weeks later we lost my 45-year-old brother and only sibling much the same way. In the interim, we had to put our beloved dog down. It is now just my mother and I from my original family, and she lives about eight hours from me and mine. I know with certainty that the good God has a plan for all of this, but it certainly traumatised us for at least a year and a half. We're just beginning to pick our heads up and look around again, only to be met with this crisis. Our Blessed Lord has a plan for this, too, and is allowing it to happen because it's part of His Divine plan, however, so there's nothing much to do except trust and love. Love is everything.

      Much love to you,
      Shani in Illinois, soon to be Kentucky

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  33. Hello Annabel and all Bluebirds,
    I echo everyone's sentiments - thank you Annabel for the time and effort you have put into this blog for years, and for continuing even during this absolutely crazy time! You have helped and encouraged so many! Please don't feel pressured to reply to everyone, or to do the impossible. I will appreciate and look forward to whenever you do manage to post, but certainly do not expect the world.
    I too had the thought that the shops may either be closed soon or not have much stock, so I went and bought some winter clothes for my kids a few weeks ago. Its not a huge wardrobe, but at least they will have the basics that fit and keep them warm. I have also planned ahead and bought a few small toys to put away for their birthdays later in the year. The toy shop lady did comment it is smart to do this, as shipments are not coming in and many factories overseas that manufacture toys are closed. It is not essential for survival, but I feel good knowing I will still be able to give my kids a little treat on their birthdays, despite all of this uncertainty and changes in our world this year.
    Thanks to Vicky too for your help in writing this Bartering post. I will have to have a think about what I could barter, as I have never really done it before.
    Take care everyone, Kelly

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  34. Annabel this is also impacting people with a disability and their families. Support workers can’t attend, day programmes and supported employment have closed, and families are quite desperate. If you know anyone who has a family member with special needs or chronic illness, please reach out to them. You may save a life in more ways than one xxx

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    1. Dear Mimi, I did wonder about support workers.... this is not good. I have heard horrific stories from overseas such as Spain. We must check on our family and friends. Thank you for this reminder. with love Annabel.xxx

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  35. Dear Vicky and Annabel, thank you for this wonderfully written post. I love the topic of bartering. I am not very good at it, but interestingly I have successfully completed two swaps the past week or two. I swapped basil seeds for some papaya (paw paw) and then swapped some plastic pots for some cuttings. I would like to see it continue, as I think giving things/bartering will mean so much from now on. I am more than happy to help here on the blog. Don't feel like it is on you, Annabel. You do so much to help so many. Lots of love, Bridge

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    1. Dear Bridge, It sounds like you are getting into the swing of it! This is great! It gets easier too. Thanks so much Bridge. I am conscious of reading all comments and replying as I feel many have no support system and we can make a difference. We all need encouragement. This time more than ever. I am glad to hear you have cuttings and hope they all do well! With love Annabel.xxx

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  36. I have been sewing those masks to donate to the local hospital. I traded eggs for fabric and made the masks. Then I traded the extra masks for a different kind of mask that I didn't have. A friend had elastic which is really hard to find and I gave her eggs. It all works out.

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    1. Dear Maria, Oh this is great! I am glad you were able to get elastic too! I think soon there will be a huge rush on masks as it looks like finally the west will recommend the public do wear masks. It has worked for the Asian countries and some of the European countries now insist masks are worn in public and to the supermarket etc. I think we will follow in the US and Australia. So keep sewing! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. The mask order came down from the president today here in the USA.

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  37. Love your post as always so much information and encouragement. Thank you. I just wanted to share something that I tried 9 years ago on the advice of an older gentlemen and it worked. He told me to plant my dried pinto beans (yes, the ones I bought at the store). Well, I planted two rows of pintos along with some dried peas. Low and behold most of them came up and we harvested and enjoyed them that year. It's just a thought for you who can not find any seeds (it worked for me). Thanks for all the comments, it sure is wonderful to know there is others like me. Stay safe everyone. Cindy Jane (in Alabama, USA)

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    1. Dear Cindy, This is a great tip. Yes there are many like us! Maybe even we are more than anyone things but we are busy at home getting on with things so not so obvious! I think so! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. We plant three rows of dry beans each year. It started with some beans my DH's grandmother brought from Italy in 1968. She would plant those and use in soups and chili. Now we plant either those of black beans, pintos, or small white beans each year. To see if your beans are viable just put ten in a damp paper towel then seal in a plastic bag. If after five days when you open the bag of you see Tony green shoots you know you have viable seeds. From Nancy in eastern Washington

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  38. This is nothing to do with bartering, but more to do with mental health. One thing I do every morning when I wake up - I say the Lord's prayer and then do 10 very deep cleansing breaths. Like when I was doing yoga. The reason for the prayer - well obvious - the reason for the deep breathing is two fold. First it clears my mind and makes me focus on just breathing, and then to prove to myself that I still can do deep breathing. Since one of the symptoms of COVID-19 is a problem breathing - I on a daily basis - in the morning - prove to myself that I am OK for another day. Then I get on with my day. As of this week I am furloughed from work. I am over 65 and have a couple of health conditions, that put me in the high risk category.
    As for the bartering, I too missed the gene. I do give neighbors extra produce from my garden, during garden season. I give my sister extras also, when I was able to see her. She would make up a batch of fajita seasoning for me. A former neighbor still brings me eggs from her chickens. She brought 6 dozen about 3 weeks ago.
    Stay stron everyone.

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    1. Dear Nancy, I love your morning routine and it covers several benefits! It actually sounds like you are bartering to me but just in natural way. This is what I do! You give but people also give back. It is very good. Six dozen eggs is amazing! You can do so much with them! Stay in, safe and well. With love Annabel.xxx

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  39. Annabelle, I just wanted you to know how your blog has helped me be prepared for recent events. I have been caring for my dad in his home for the last 4 years. Because of the news in January out of China and Japan, combined with your blog posts, I doubled my grocery orders every week through the second week of March. My dad passed away the middle of March, so I now have enough supplies to stay home for at least 6 months, maybe more. Since I am 750 miles from home until I settle his estate, I should be all right. Your suggestions for us has really helped me since I am in the wrong age group, with asthma, so I'm staying home and staying safe!

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    1. Dear Farm Quilter, I am so sorry about your dear Dad. That you for telling me the blog helped you prepare. This makes my day. I am so glad you have supplies! Stay put and when this all calms down you can get back home. Definitely shelter in place. Stay safe and very careful! Thank you so much! With love Annabel.xxx

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  40. I so look forward to reading your wisdom and advice. Our pharmacists have been so helpful and kind to us. Unlike you I do not have a garden but have some seeds so I must plant them. Even the tiniest bit will help.

    Stay well and safe everyone.

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I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for understanding.xxx

Spam is never published... if you are advertising a product or selling website your comment wont be published. I am inundated with stuff about drugs, horses and weird things! I am not going to publish this stuff! Thank you.