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.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Feather your Nest Friday 13th of September 2019.

This has been a big week!  I love to see the list I keep on the fridge getting longer and longer!  Truly if I didn't jot things down I would forget half of it.  Last Friday seems so long ago at this point!
I have to say things did not start out well.   After my post last week I had a call to see if I would take another calf?  Is the Pope a Catholic?! I said yes!
This resulted in a really long day and late night as I didn't get the calf until 8 pm and it was not in very good shape.  However I got him to feed and felt things were promising.  But Saturday morning he was in worse shape and he died soon after.  I felt absolutely heartbroken.  Realistically I know if I am going to take on orphaned or injured animals I cannot save them all.   In a calf fourteen percent dehydration means death.  But I tried my best.  Anyway I spent Saturday feeling so down in the dumps.  You know how when one bad thing happens every single other worry you have seems bigger?     Then my niece Allie asked me if I wanted a calf!?  This resulted in trying to catch a calf for over an hour.  Allie tried and tried too before I got there and after.  In this case the calf was too healthy.   Later it was not found but it could have been adopted by another cow as this can happen.  So I hope that was it.

When I picked myself up I was able to turn the rest of the week into one I am pleased with.
With so many lemons that were given to me I made lemon butter.   One of the things I then made was a cake for Chloe and Luke as a Spring themed cake all fresh and bright!

Laffie and the lambs needed to be moved into a big paddock.  This meant I needed to get them from up behind our house and march them down through our yard to a bottom gate.  mmm  I made up a milk bottle and Laffie will follow you to get the bottle.  The sheep will follow her.  It worked!  Andy and Luke watched on as we wandered down through the yard in a procession like a street parade!  And just like that they are all in a big paddock!  This is right next to our own yard so most of the day we can see them.  And each day I go say hello and they all come up for a pat or a biscuit.

With our fire still going I have been drying lemons, oranges, parsley and capsicum.  They are dry in twenty four hours.

It feels so good to be able to add to the pantry.  It is amazing how often we have the opportunity with just the things we have and the things that come our way.  Use everything!

This fire needed a clean out.  This gave me two buckets of ash.  I have learned that ash has so many uses!  This lot was divided up.  Some went into the chicken yard as it is good to add to their scratchings.   Some went into the holes I was digging to plant zucchini.  It adds calcium which zucchini like.  Some went around the tomatoes as they like it too.   Next time I will use as an edging around the veggies as snails to not like crossing over ash.  

The chickens are now giving me ten ages a day!  We broke through double digits!  

I completed a little craft for gifts.  I got the idea from Stephanie in The Tuesday Club.

They are little towelling soap holders with a pretty pink scented soap.  They smell beautiful!  I am keeping one for myself!

Every day I did a heap of weeding.  I am making progress.  Spring has already seen a lot of flowers come out. This time last year there was not one flower in the flower beds.  Everything that is there I planted.  Well in less than a year it really has come along!   And in the orchard the trees Dad gave me have started to blossom!

In the op shop I got a fine lambswool jumper in a colour I love and flannelette items to cut up and make mens hankies.

I went through all my seeds and found I had plenty of things to plant.  I put in broad beans, zucchini, squash, bush basil  (thank you Jane!) and I started a pumpkin patch!  I have wanted a pumpkin patch forever.  It is in some really rich soil full of manure and down in the orchard.   I cannot wait for them to grow!

I also planted seedlings.  These were oregano, thyme, tomatoes, zucchini plus two new rhubarb plants.
So my veggie garden now looks so much better as by the end of winter it was a bit of a mess.

This week Mum and I did not travel to see the girls, the girls travelled to see us!  They were so excited!  What do do first?  First we went and fed the lambs biscuits.

Scarlett soon chose Blossom as her favourite. She is the little one.

Because they were coming I baked a banana cake.  And because they are on a Frozen craze I had ordered little figures to add to the top.   Icing sugar looking like snow is the handiest thing ever.  Well they went crazy of the cake.  Harper said "Look Scarlet the cake is a Frozen Cake!!" it was so cute they were all big eyes!

At the end of the day everyone took some cake home with them.

The girls loved Loui!  They went from one thing to another and back again!
Then lastly we went to feed the chickens and collect the eggs.   Scarlett was in charge and had to carry both baskets and headed off on a mission...

She insisted on collecting all the eggs and patting all the chickens then carrying them all back to the house.  I was pretty sure we were going to have scrambled eggs but not one was broken!

So that was my week.    I would say I achieved most in the veggie garden.  Hopefully this all pays dividends!

How did you build up your home, save, get ahead etc this week?  I hope there were lots of opportunities for you! xxx

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

How to beat rising prices like Nanna did. Cleaning.

I am sorry to have taken so long to get on with this series!  At last we have our third post.
If you missed them you might want to read the introduction which is here How to beat rising prices like Nanna did.   Then the fist subject which was How to beat rising prices in the laundry like Nanna did. 

So today we are going to tackle cleaning.  I first got into natural cleaners when I had reactions to some spray cleaners. They literally took my breath away and for several minutes I was struggling to breathe.  This was the beginning.  Hearing that some homes are so full of pollution and toxic chemicals that they are not a safe haven at all finished me.  I have not bought toxic chemical clearers since.  The exception is oven cleaner where I do the racks outside on the lawn.

Going back to what Nanna did I firstly have to say her home was so clean and her kitchen was wonderful. She cooked a lot.  Yet her sink and surfaces were always beautiful.  Nan liked things hygienically clean.  Dishes were washed by hand in very hot water.  They were rinsed.  All the whites were white and the bathroom was spotless.  She believed in being clean!   She did not need scented candles (which didn't exist yet anyhow!) or deodorising sprays as there were not stinks to cover up.  Rubbish never sat inside.  The house smelled of whatever was cooking and it smelled good! Cleanliness and fresh air smell good.   Trying to cover up bad smells with scents usually creates a unique worse stink of its own! haha!
Bins were washed out and wiped down.  Household scraps went to animals and the garden.
Nan used "dusters"  which were mostly old clothing, linen or towels that had become worn out and then were cut up to clean with.   When cleaning cloths were dirty they were boiled up on the stove.

In recent years I started using my left over crochet cottons to make cleaning cloths and cloths to wash the dishes.  I have a heap and use a fresh one each day.  They are easy to make and fun to do.  (and make good gifts!)

For windows and larger cleaning jobs I usually have a stack of cotton, flannel and old wash cloths on hand.

I like to find old flannelette sheets in the op shop (thrift store) and cut them up.  This gives me great heaps of lovely cleaning cloths.  

Next I make Miracle Cleaner.  This isn't my own recipe, I originally got it from The Cheapskates Club.  It is a great all round cleaner, it kills germs and it smells amazing and your house smells clean!
You can use it in a spray bottle, for washing the floor, cleaning sinks, the toilet... pretty much anything.  If you make a batch it will last a long time as it is a concentrate.  The pink bottles are a batch of Miracle Cleaner.  You can find the recipe in an old cleaning post of mine Clean and Fresh.

I am always saving bottles and anything with a spray pump and things I can fill with my own cleaner. Another simple one is just vinegar or you can add to it by soaking you lemon peels in a jar of vinegar for a couple of weeks.  This makes an effective cleaner also.

Bicarbonate of soda makes a great paste to clean touch spots or sprinkled on the sink and scrubbed off.  It really does a good job.    I add lemon juice to a sprinkle of bi carb on my sink and give it a good scrub then rinse and dry with a cloth.  It is an old sink and comes up so nicely.  Also to fresh and unblock drains just toss in some bicarbonate of soda then a cup of vinegar. It will fizz away and do a great job.

Some of my soft cloths I fold and stack in a big jar.  I add some Miracle Cleaner and water to the jar... just enough to dampen the cloths.  These are my ready to go damp cleaning cloths.  I would use these for dusting sleeves, window sills, skirting boards etc.  I love them! 

Kelsey shared how she makes cleaning cloths in a past Show and Tell.

She gives her friends homemade cleaning kits.  How beautiful everything looks!  As I mentioned in my first post Nanna would be so cool right now with all her sustainable cleaning methods and recycled items.   So all of these things also make great gifts.   Many brands are marketing natural, non toxic products that are safe for us and the environment and they generally are more expensive.  I have seen some in lovely bottles for over $40 each!  Making your own is so so cheap!  The supplies you gather are basic and will last just ages. Probably years.   As with the laundry it sets you up that when you run out you just make some more.  There is no more going to the store, well not for a long time. 

If you consider what can easily be spent on cleaning products and cloths this just can be such a saving.  But to me it is not just that it is a clean house it is cleaning without harming anyone with fumes or chemicals we really would be best to avoid anyhow. 

The dishwasher can be beautifully cleaned so easily and it makes so much difference.  I clean the little holes in the arms with a toothpick and then follow Cath's cleaning method.  I noticed that a single use dishwasher cleaner can be five or six dollars.  So there is about $70 a year saved in once simple change.   It is amazing how much better the dishwasher works after a quick clean!  This is Cath's method How to Clean your Dishwasher- The Cheapskates Club. 
My additional habit is whenever I use a lemon I sit the used up halves on the top tray of the dishwasher for the next round.  Lately that has been every day.  It is amazing.  The remaining lemon has had the life sucked out of it when the cycle is done!  But the dishes and dishwasher is so sparkling.  So this gets even more use from your lemon.  Citric acid is another wonderful dish washer cleaner.

If you use essential oils and have a supply there are so many cleaning things to make.  Many of mine are my homemade copies of some of the expensive brands.  I love them.  They also make lovely gifts.  Especially if there is sickness in the house I love to spray the surfaces and things like door knobs, remote controls, computer keyboards and all the things that are constantly touched... I use my Thieves/ Germ Killer/Plague Defence formulas that really kill germs in a non toxic way.  I wrote a post on cleaning with essential oils a little while ago.  You can find that here The Home Pharmacy. 
Cleaning Products.

With essential oils you can make your own version of Glen 20 (overseas think of an aerosol spray disinfectant) very easily as well as diffusing germ killing oils.  If I was not into essential oils this alone would convince me.  Since using these I have been able to free myself from regular terrible sore throats and usually head off any colds and flu.  They are powerful.  I feel good quality essential oils and studying them has helped my health and the families and finally I just do not need commercial germ killing products. 

One of the last things I will mention is boiling water.  Bringing things to the boil or pouring water over something with boiling water will disinfect.  What cannot be exposed to this amount of heat I like to use peroxide.  I am a big fan of a You tube Channel called Prepsteader.  She has a tutorial on the uses of peroxide.  So for instance when toothbrushes need cleaning soak them in peroxide.  (as boiling water might melt them or the bristles)  You can find loads of information on peroxide here The incredible difference an extra atom of oxygen makes.  This is very useful as it also has medical uses. 

I could go on and on but I will turn to over to you all.  How do you save on cleaning products?
By all means use up what you have but really you can save an absolute fortune and have a healthier household by making some simple products for yourself.  I love it.  I enjoy it.   I love to give essential oil and natural products as gifts.  And I love to make up a fresh batch of cleaning cloths and see them all stacked up.  I also do my drying kitchen towels.  When they get too worn out then they become dusters also.

I make these in a super big size.  These were from a waffle weave pure cotton op shop (thrift store) quilt cover.  I paid $4 and got 8 huge kitchen towels.  By comparison the shop bought ones are not much good!  

Can you remember how your Mum or Nan cleaned and managed without fancy sprays and so on?   If you have money saving tips here please do share.  We are all working out ways to stretch our dollars and you might have a tip that really helps someone else. 

I hope your week is going well!  It is a busy week here but I have planted lots of seeds and seedlings for Spring so I am really happy with how I am doing (so far!) xxx

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 6th of September, 2019.

This week was a bit of a slower week and I was out three days.  Somehow this seems like I was out 300 days as far as the house is concerned!   It is Spring now and I already did some veggie planting.  Just a bit of a start.  I hope to add each week and end up with a very full garden and a staggered harvest.  My first eight tomato plants are in plus five capsicums.
We also have rain!   This is the best thing we could have and the biggest help of anything. No work we can do equals rain.   Despite this I started Spring cleaning today!  
The last two days I was just catching up on housework from being out and about.   Today I am actually getting stuck into extra things and hope that between now and the end of the weekend I will have lots done and a few things sparkling.   It can be kind of hard to get going but once you get into the groove suddenly everything looks like it needs a wash or re arrange.  Then the momentum begins!

Some of the ways we got things done, got ahead, saved and added to the pantry this week were:

For Loui we had cleaned out the animal houses and all this mulched down hay went around the fruit trees to help them through summer.

By the way Loui is doing really well!   And he and Scout have made friends.  At first their relationship was one I had to watch.  Now they are buddies it seems.

Dad told me Loui can grow to be 900 kilos to one ton. That is 2204 pounds!  With what he drinks now I would say he is on track!

I didn't have much thrift store luck but I did stock up on bedding suitable for new born lambs.  When I needed it last I went though a lot drying cold and wet babies etc.  So this added to my animal pantry.

I was given lots of lemons.   I have been squeezing one into water each day and I also have loads of eggs so I will make up some lemon butter.  It means I can make butterfly cakes and tarts and many good things.

Another bargain I got was at the post office.  They often have amazing deals.  It is a CWA (Country Womens League) recipe book and they have amazing recipes.  Like all old fashioned cooks it is wonderful food with simple ingredients. It was $5 so I was pleased with this.

Before the rain came we had two big fires.  I lit up our biggest fire on the last day of winter.   It was a huge fire of many tree stumps and the its we could not handle and were heaped up by the tractor.   We are up to almost 40 fires for the season.   Future years won't be so many.  It is just that no one had maintained this area for many years and we are trying to be fire ready.

Our family had a special Fathers Day. Mum made a big afternoon tea and so many family members came and it was beautiful.

I had oranges and eggs.   So I made a heap of cakes.  I froze some, took some to the girls, used one as a little gift.  This is the recipe Winter Sunshine Cake.  As I was mainly making it for children I removed almost all of the orange peel.  For a more grown up taste I leave most of the peel on.  The colour is beautiful.

One lot I made as cup cakes with snowflakes on top.  This is because Frozen is the in thing with the girls.  Harper immediately understood my "artistic expression" of icing sugar being snow!  😊

Harper has officially changed her name to Elsa.  (she is 4)

I caught up with my friend Wendy and apart from a lovely time we did some trading (as usual) and I took her eggs, Bay Leaves and bits and pieces and she gave me satin fabric remnants that are divine thick satin.  I have big plans for these!  Wendy also collects interesting bottles for me as we always need those.

I had a big cook up of a spaghetti meat sauce.  It made so much and was delicious.  I took four containers to Lucy.  She sent me a photo of Scarlett eating it.  You should have seen her face!  But boy was she enjoying it!   I added two meals to the freezer and we had two spaghetti meals as well.

Now that I am catching up I hope to get my Nana series back on track.  Researching for it though I have been learning learning learning!

I hope you had a good week.  How did you save, get ahead, build up your pantry?  Did you learn something new?   There is much to learn.  And motivation to do it... this week I heard so much more about drought, farmers having to leave the land,  towns and farms with no water supplies at all.  To think this won't further affect food supplies and prices would be crazy.   My friends in other countries are experiencing the same.  So learning new ways to save, make meat go further and things we can make ourself is all very helpful.

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 30 August, 2019.

I am happy to report this week was much better and Dad is doing pretty well.  So it was a much more normal week.  
We had some rain and we are glad of that.  Things look so green and nice and that is something to be very grateful for.  And here we are...  the very end of winter.  Our first farm winter.  I loved it.  The wood fire was going and I still lived outside so much as with the animals and garden, chickens and bringing in wood I am outside a lot.  It has been beautiful.

On Tuesday I had a call from Luke.  Would I possibly be willing to take another calf?  Yes!! I sure would!  And so he came to the door and in the front seat of his ute he had a baby boy calf who was tiny.  Just a few days old we think.  He is so cute!
I named him Loui.  He took to the bottle in minutes.  Thanks to my animal pantry I had everything I need on hand and had a bottle made up in minutes. He is very easy to feed.

Well I love him!  The first day I had him tethered. From then on he has roamed free in the orchard yard.  He moved into the little hut made from the rain water tank.  He loves it. We added fresh hay.

Now he comes when I call.  He runs around the yard leaping and bounding.  He wags his tail when he sees you.  He is just so cute.  He made my week!

So some of the ways I feathered my nest this week included:

I used up cream and made some quiches.

I made a carrot cake and peanut butter biscuits to take to the girls...

I dried Bay Leaves and got them packaged up:

It was an experiment but I bought a meter of pure silk and tore it into strips to make a rustic ribbons.  Then I dyed it soft antique colours.   It is for antique effects in card making and on sachets  (like the ones I made earlier in the top of the picture) and so on.  I am really pleased with how they turned out and packaged up some for gifts as well.

The grey blue dye I already had.  The others are tea, coffee and the pink is food colouring with a bit of coffee.   This was really fun to do and I can't wait to use them on my cards.  (hopefully next week!)

Yesterday I made Chloe and Luke a chocolate cake plus one for Andy.  Most is sliced and frozen for when needed. 

In the garden I have been getting ready for Spring planting and hope to being early planting this weekend.   In the orchard the new fruit trees all have buds and are about to flower!  They are looking so promising!  

Scout is growing like a rocket and is so good.  She loves to learn. Her favourite toy is this frisbee...

You have to play with her. She talks you into it.  She places balls, frisbees, sticks in you hand then runs and sits in a crouching pose WAITING for you to throw whatever it is.  And everyone does. No one has the heart not to!

My chickens are now laying nine eggs a day!  This is the most so far and on the way to the dozen a day I am hoping for.

We also made the investment into a bigger freezer.  I had a space we could put it in the laundry.  We got the biggest capacity freezer we could get for the space.  Now if I am offered venison or anything else I have room to say yes please.  Lately I could only say yes to what I could cook as I just didn't have the space.  I think this is a really good investment. 

I needed collars for Laffie and Loui.  I need to be able to lead them i.e. from one paddock to another.  big leather collars are expensive!  I found old leather belts and Andy put holes in the right places and cut them down.  They made very stylish collars for free.

Life changes so much with the seasons.  I have loved winter and am sorry to see it end but Spring is full of planting and opportunities to set ourselves up for some wonderful harvests.  So this is going to be a busy time.  I had some practice last year and my garden is already set up, I can just add to it and fill it more.  I think being self sufficient as you can be is a good idea.  Whatever happens you have produce, possibly eggs, fruit... this gives you a buffer against prices and hard times.  It is healthy too. Being in the garden is so much healthier than in front of the TV.  We do reap what we sow.  Get sowing whether it is in the garden or in other ways from handiwork to something you always planned.  Little steps each day really get you there and add up!

I hope next week I can get back to my Nanna series.

How did you build up your home, savings, pantry this week?  Have you made any good investments lately or is there one you are planning? 

Have a lovely weekend! xxx

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 23rd August, 2019.

It has been a long long week.  My Dad hasn't been too well for several weeks and we have all been worried.  It came to a phone call  from Mum ,just as I was finishing my dinner on Saturday night,  to say "come quickly Dad is not too good".   In Australia "not too good" means REALLY BAD.  Dad's heart rate was only 32.   There were a series of dramas to add to it but soon he was on The Royal Flying Doctor plane to the city and he was given a pacemaker.  By now I had a lot of prayer support as I quickly posted in two groups, The Tuesday Club and The Women of Provers 31 group.  I really felt the presence of God all through this.  It was amazing.  There were a couple of crisis to deal with and the surgeon said it was the most difficult pacemaker op he ever did and they had so much trouble and obstacles to overcome.  But it worked!  So I am so thankful and grateful.  We are all home now including Dad.  Thank you to everyone who knew and prayed.  If I have not replied to an email, comment or message now you know why!  We were all very tired when we came home.  I still feel tired and am catching up gradually.

Despite all of this there was so much to be grateful for this week.  I was still able to achieve some things, some of which was on Saturday before the phone call.

In the city we had lots of long waits.  Mum cleaned out cupboards at one stage.  We all clean and cook when waiting or worried.  I came home with six bottles of wine (which I figure are possible gifts, contributions, cooking etc aside of drinking) and at one stage I weeded the garden and brought home several bags of thistles for the chickens.

My chicken feed bags get a constant work out as it doesn't matter if they get dirty you just wipe them out.

When I got home Scout went so crazy.  Then I did the rounds and visited everyone.  It was so nice to be home!  Laffie started running around leaping like a deer and being silly.  This is all good but she is getting so big I am about worried about being bowled over.   She was pleased to see me though!

On Friday we had worked on another area cleaning it up.  I took photos of how nosey the lambs are about everything you do.  

Everything is so darn interesting!

They all run up to greet me.  But little Blossom still wants me to pick her up. If you don't she gently pokes my leg with her little hoof.  Like "hello, I'm here"  so I pick her up and she isn't so small anymore.   Andy took this funny photo of me showing him the face she makes when she wants to be picked up. hahaha

All the clearing up has given us whole walls of stored wood.  We have sections, ready to burn areas and some that needs a year to dry out.

Wood to me is like the pantry, money in the bank and an emergency fund.  This means warmth, the ability to cook and boil water and many things.  I love a woodpile.

In Adelaide I picked a big bunch of mint from Mum's garden.  So I will make a curry soon and make a raita to go with it.  I love this.

On the way home from the city I did a big Aldi stock up.   Aldi is so much cheaper than the regional towns.  I took advantage of this and re stocked the pantry with all kinds of basics plus things like butter, meat, cheese.   When I got home I began unpacking bulk packs i.e. sausages into meal sized packs and freezing.   

We decided to get another freezer.  If we had a deer or sheep  come in we have no room to freeze it.  My freezers are not big and are full of ready made rolls, regular meat packs, frozen veggies,  breads, ready made meals... I don't have an inch spare.  I found a good place to put a bigger freezer with a re arrange.  So this is planned for next week.  I feel it is a good investment especially with the prices of meat and butter going crazy.

My vacuum stopped working.  I googled it and it said Vax machines cut out before overheating.  To clean all filters etc.  Now it is not long since I did that but that was it.  I washed everything and it was pretty disgusting.  It is some high efficiency filter system. So it needs doing really often.  Now it works wonderfully again!   I don't have a manual as I found it on the side of the road and the nasty people didn't leave a manual with it. haha!  (I BET they threw it out because it cut out like it did on me because the filters needed cleaning!)  At the time I looked the model up on the internet and it was a $600 vacuum!

Yesterday the calf and lambs all got out of the paddock as they beat me back to the gate. My fault.  I remembered Mum's trick to bribe them with biscuits.  Now they have never had biscuits (cookies) or seen a packet.  Yet when I took out the packet they all chased me.  How on earth did they know something was good in that packet?  And then they just ate their biscuits.  They didn't taste them to see if they liked them they all just went berserk like they had seen a convincing TV commercial.  Anyway now I know to keep a packet of biscuits on hand! 

So this was my week.  When I think how I expected it to turn out verses how it did turn out I am so grateful.  
Dad is doing pretty well.   He just wants to get back to work!  He is not very patient.  But his left arm looks a big mess as he had a big bleed and a lot of bruising.  That arm will slow him up a bit.

How was your week?  How did you build up your home and pantry, get head or save?  
Have a lovely weekend! xxx

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 16 August, 2019.

This week was pretty good!  Where I left off last week was with baskets of beautiful Proteas.  I then got them into vases and have enjoyed them throughout the house.  They are beautiful!  As I filled my vases birds came to raid the flowers.  Every time I turned my back a bird was in them!

You have to be happy when playing with flowers.  I felt like I was in a florists shop!

This outdoor table is where I do a lot of my handwork.  Fresh air and breeze, birds... it is truly beautiful.

A lot of work this week was on more clearing up and bonfires.  This is an example. Behind a workers cottage was a tree down. It has been dead for years and laying over water tanks.  Andy sawed this up  for firewood and I made heaps of the smaller bits to clean there area up.

This day it started to rain as we worked and I got soaked to the bone and even my work boots were full of water before I gave up!   But another spot is cleaned up.

1 got some Rosemary drying by the fire and packed up the Parsley I had dried already.  It is deep green and smells good.  I already used some in a gift.

I am finding herbs are only taking about four days near the fire to be dry.  So handy!

Mum gave me a giant jar of honey.
When in town I found another two really good gifts for $2 each marked down from over $30 each.
Into the Christmas cupboard they went!

Mum cleaned out her pantry and a whole lot of things came over to feed the chooks. They enjoyed breakfast cereal!
Mum also sent Scout some meat and gave me two bottles of thick pure vanilla essence.

I made a waffle weave pure cotton bedspread that I got for $4 into six king sized kitchen towels.  The back was just cotton sheeting so I saved that in my fabric stash.

I have been working on the veggie garden getting things ready for Spring planting.

The calf and lambs have lived their whole lives so far in the orchard yard next to the house.  But they have eaten all the grass down now and even with me giving them hay they need more grass. So it was time to move them.   We have another yard around the workman cottage (no one lives in this) which is green and lush.  They all follow the wheelbarrow when it is full of hay so I thought I would see if they would follow me out of one yard into another.  We can't shoo them or drive them as they are not the least big afraid of us.   Some days I have left the wheel barrow in the yard and they eat the hay straight from it.  Laffie then tips it over and tries to sit in it. She does the every time!

Anyway my plan worked with the lambs.  They followed me chasing the wheelbarrow full of hay.  Into the new yard they were in about two minutes.  But Laffie got half way and saw green grass and started eating and then she ran around jumping and leaping like crazy!   In the end I put a rope around her neck like a lead and Andy had to help.  He lead and I pushed her from behind.  If she was any bigger this would not have worked.  But in she went and was happy as anything with the lambs and all this green grass.

From this yard they could possibly get out into the main paddocks with the farm sheep and cows.  So I tied a ribbon around all of them so no one can mistake them!  

Haha they look like they are going to a party!  

Luke will roll his eyes when he sees this.  But no one is getting my babies!  They have so much space and grass now.  I made them a big water trough from a big plastic tub.

Thursday I had a baking day.  I made Gingerbread biscuits for the girls, two big trays of Cauliflower Cheese as Cauliflower was on a big special and a giant spaghetti meat sauce.  Then I made two huge pasta bakes to give the girls one each.  We got dinner and there is enough for another dinner. 

Today Mum and I are off o see the girls on our day trip.  I have eggs and a big bunch of parsley to take as well as the bakes. I bet Mum has cooking too!  Usually we share the driving so I take my crochet and get some rows of my blanket done.

How did you build up your nest, get ahead, increase your pantry and save this week?  I hope many opportunities came your

Monday, 12 August 2019

How to beat rising prices, (or shortages) in the laundry, like Nana did.

Last week I introduced the idea of a new series based on getting back to basics and doing things like Nana did.  You can find that post here.  Thank you all for your amazing comments and emails about how your own Grandparents made it through hard times.  We have so much to learn!

I am starting with the laundry as that is an area I have been working on lately.  I felt I had a few areas under control but not the laundry.  This was two fold.  Firstly in the supermarkets many laundry liquids are up to $20 a bottle.  Then there are pods and powders... still expensive.  So the cost of good clean and fresh smelling washing is a big factor.  Second I felt that my supplies were low.  They were mostly low because I really didn't want to pay those prices. Even at half price sales I was still seeing $8 to $10 a bottle.  I would not last long at all if for some reason I could not buy laundry products.
I decided to stock up and get as far ahead as possible.  And to do it without spending a fortune.

First of all I remembered how Nan loved her washing machine.  She already had a twin tub machine by the time I can remember but I remember Mum had a machine where you fed everything through a wringer to get the water out.  I could see this took a lot of effort even when I was little!
Nan seemed to always be washing.  Things were always clean that was for sure.  When she tucked you up into bed the sheets were crisp and smelled of sunshine.  She tucked you in so tight your organs couldn't function but it was kind of reassuring and safe.
Because the machine was precious it was looked after.  First you have to have a clean washing machine.  How often do we forget to keep the machine cleaned, filters cleaned out and seals and inside fresh?  
So lets start there!  Before anything else clean your machine. Our washing machine is one of our hardest working handmaidens. Imagine not having it!   I follow Cath's advice on this.  Here is her simple step by step on how to have a fresh clean washing machine.  Washing the washing machine.This makes a world of difference.  It is basically a free way to get a cleaner wash,  a longer lasting machine.  Whatever products you are using will work better.
If you don't know where your filters are then your instruction book will tell you. If that is missing then google your machine model and you can download your manual.  This all takes just a few minutes and whatever products you use will now work better.

This was a photo from Rachel of her own laundry liquid and knitting.

First of all I tried a couple of recipes for laundry liquid.  I really like this one that Jane gave me.  She says it is from Rhonda's Down to Earth blog.   I made it up and am very happy with it.

This is the recipe.
1 cup Lux flakes.  If you are in the US Ivory soap flakes are the same I think.  Also Aldi have pure soap flakes in the baby section.
1/2 cup Borax.
1/2 cup washing soda.
Use boiling water to dissolve these ingredients well then add more water to make up a ten litre batch of liquid.  I used my soap making pot in the stove.

Use a stick blender to blend it well.
Jane adds soluble lavender oil to hers for scent.
I used a large spoon or Eucalyptus oil.  It smells heavenly.
Use about half a cup per load.  It does separate in the bottle somewhat so you shake it before use. But it works and it smells wonderful.
I now use this for all work clothes, jeans and so on.

I have not worked out the exact price per bottle of this. But it is cents.  The savings are incredible. 
If you would prefer a laundry powder then try The Cheapskates Club recipe which is here.   This works out at about $2 per 90 loads of washing.  

I made myself up some Wool Wash.  I use this for all woollens, quilts, pillows (even feather), blankets, underlays...

You can find this recipe here Wool Mix recipe.   This is honestly the nicest thing I have ever used. Things become so so soft.  And smell so beautiful.   The feather pillows do need to go into the drier to be fluffed back up and throughly dried.  But the other things like the quilt and underlay I just wait until hot days and they dry in the sunshine perfectly well in a day.  There is no need to dry clean these things.  This will clean them so well and kill all dust mites etc.   People pay a fortune to have these dry cleaned! 

With all of this and good results I have ended up with a cupboard full of ready made products and also the INGREDIENTS to make much more. If I run out of laundry liquid or there was some shortage/crisis then I have my easy laundry recipes printed on cards.  They are stuck inside my laundry cupboard door.   And I have the ingredients to make many many batches of products that could last me at least a couple of years.   Suddenly my supplies have gone from maybe a months worth to maybe several years worth.  For very little!  

Ingredients I have on hand now are:
Lux flakes.  Several boxes.  (Ivory or other pure soap flakes are substitutes. So is grating hard pure soap bars)  To store Lux flakes I transfer it into big jars.  I have found long term storage in the cardboard boxes it comes in is not so good. 
Methylated Spirits.  In USA called Denatured Alcohol. 
Washing Soda/Lectric Soda.
Eucalyptus oil.  
Lavender oil if preferred. 
Collection of bottles, funnels and I have my soap making pot. This could also be used to boil things that need disinfecting. 
Old wooden spoons.
Bars of velvet soap or Zote or similar if in US. 

With all this you are set to be self reliant for laundry supplies for just ages.  What a good position to be in!   Game changer! 

Now Nan had a secret weapon.  A wonderful freshener, deodoriser and stain remover.  It was called sunshine!   This is where Nan was totally hip and cool, she had the latest technology of wind and solar power at her disposal. It was called the clothes line. haha!

The breeze is the best iron of all.  Creases drop out.  Sheets were folded carefully from the line completely crease free and smelling beautiful.  

On washing day the bed was stripped and the window flung open. The bed was left unmade to air.  It might be rotated or flipped also.  But the room would be filled with fresh air for at least a few hours. 

I notice so many of these things produce such beautiful results but they are all free! 

Another is soaking.  Things that were grubby or stained were soaked.  I was blessed by a letter from Kelley.  She told me her daughters both use my method of keeping baby clothes clean which is to have several little buckets in the laundry sink.  As something gets a mark or stain treat it and then soak it immediately in a little bucket of its own.  I use a good amount of detergent or soaker so the concentration in the bucket is high.  Later put it through the wash with the white or lights or whatever colour it should go with. Soaking in a good concentrate works wonders!  I like the Aldi stain soaker and stain spray. They are cheap and work miracles.  I am working on a DIY substitute but am not quite there yet!

Another was boiling.  When you needed to disinfect something it was boiled.  If too big to boil an option was to boil the kettle and pour this into the wash to make the water hotter.  Hot water kills germs and removes stains!

Nan (and Mum) always had Velvet soap. It was pretty much used for everything.  From people to dishes to laundry this soap was wonderful. You can still buy it and grate it to make Cath's Laundry Powder.  A great thing to keep on hand always it could replace many things if needed.  Also cheap!  I am investing in extra bars of this as a backup to my back up!  I think in the US the equal would be Ivory soap in a bar?  Zote would also be good to have a supply of however it is not pure soap and has many other ingredients.

Many homemade formulas do require grated soap.  If this puts you off just just soap flakes where this work is done for you.

When weather was bad Nan had a clothesline under the veranda and a portable rack that could be placed anywhere.  Mum always has had this too and in winter there are usually several things drying on hangers in near the fire somewhere.   
If a drier is needed then drier balls are the best thing ever.  I have pure wool ones and they really help get things dried faster.  I add a couple of drops of Eucalyptus Oil to them and I never would need to buy either fabric softener or drier sheets.  Everything smells so fresh and good.  However good these are I still think you cannot beat sunshine for freshness.

I am really happy that in the space of a month I now have a couple of years of laundry supplies for so little.  I do not have to worry about the high cost of products.  If I see massive bargains I will pick some up otherwise I will do without.

Nature is your friend with washing.  Aside of sunshine the breeze irons things!  I dry all my tops and Andy's shirts on hangers in the breeze.  They go straight into the cupboard from the line.  Let drip drying and hanging do some of the work for you.  Above all NEVER stuff clean dry laundry into a basket!  Then it becomes all creased!  This is madness.  Fold at the line and put it away.  It will be almost crease free. 

Now to help each other.   Please share any tips you have and recipes too!  We can reduce costs in this area and have a long lasting reserve of supplies.  And clean, beautiful smelling results!  

Next week we will have How to beat rising prices (or shortages) with cleaning like Nana did. 

Over to you... if you have a laundry problem please feel free to post that as the ladies here will help I am sure! xxx