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.

Monday 31 December 2018

Happy New Year! Its 2019!

Last night we had new years eve dinner with Chloe and Luke.  It was a beautiful mild evening and we ate outside at their big table.  Chloe had made a giant pavlova for desert.  



I was happy to hear them both seriously review their year and also be surprised by it!  Luke listed some of what 2018 had held for him and amazed himself when he considered it all!
Earlier in the evening I had read to Andy the list I had made of significant things for the year.  It was a long list!  He also was immediately surprised and grateful how far we have come and how many things we just have to be thankful for.

As we drove home the sun was setting right in front of us.  It was the hugest and pinkest sun I think I have ever seen!   It was stunning!  All the grasses on the roadside were tinted pink as it cast a pink glow over everything.
As we got home the sun had set and left a beautiful glow over the property.  I wish I had taken my photos sooner but I wanted to take a photo of the sun setting on 2018.


This morning we have a brand new year.   It is a brand new opportunity.  Imagine how many people with hours of days left to live would love to have this year ahead of them.  With one more year gifted to them I wonder what they would do with it?

Imagine how many would love to have one more year with someone they love.  Well, that applies to us all.   But here we are with that opportunity with those we do have that are here with us.  

Today I am thinking about challenges to set myself and changes to make.
Sometimes one small change can make a world of difference.
It is a year since I made one small change.  I stopped eating wheat.   It sounds small but it took adjustment.  With that one change I no longer live with daily pain in my legs (which started when I was maybe 3?) and later became an ache all over at times.   All my pain is gone.  Just like that. 
Another is it many months since I started drinking a couple of litres of water a day.  Lana got me going on that.  This has made an amazing difference to me.  Now if I skip it I feel really thirsty so it is easy to continue.  But at first it was quite hard!  

Other changes I can think of that turned into huge things were buying up whenever I saw something half price that we use a lot.  I pretty much filled a whole pantry this way.
Gardening every day even if for only five minutes.   This habit is very relaxing.  It took me from no garden what so ever to a full veggie garden in just a few months.   



Ok, usually the five minutes turns into half an hour or more.  But the power of a little each day is truly amazing.  It adds up so much! 
The garden is the most basic demonstration of "you reap what you sow"  i.e. you plant tomatoes, surprise surprise you harvest tomatoes! 



Many things that seem insignificant really surprise you when you multiply them by the fifty two weeks of a year.   My $8 coffee and cake per week was turned into a full cellar of food and preparations in 2015.   I stopped spending that money and used it on half price specials so it gave me $16 worth of long life food, batteries, matches, candles and so on to fill my cellar with useful goods. 
What I ended up with after a year was worth so much more than a coffee with a slice of cake.

Before that I learned to make a really good pizza and we gave up ordering Friday night pizza.  In one year that saved a ridiculous TWO AND A HALF THOUSAND DOLLARS.   I am not so stupid now but I was then lol.

You get the idea.  The daily coffee, weekly take out etc all surprise you when you calculate the weekly amount then times it by 52! 
Equally powerful are changes that relate to health, diet, housekeeping etc.  Small things really add up!   

So today I am planning my goals and changes I want to make.   We are quite well set up here now.  Fully unpacked and settled in.  The huge amount of work this all took is mainly done.   Now I can turn my efforts to other projects.  Straight away I have things come to mind.... plant more fruit trees,  establish a fantastic woodpile,  build up my gift cupboard, build up our emergency fund,  crochet a rug to match the lounge and so on...

In the next few days I am posting my goals and challenges!  I am really excited and have a gorgeous new planner.  I got as far as setting it up and writing in all the birthdays and celebrations,  names and addresses and so on.   I will work on it more today.

What would you like to achieve this year?   What small changes would really add up?
Do you have a huge project that would seem possible if you could break it down to five minutes a day? 
If we start today 2019 could be the year of getting stuff done.
The year of improving our health.
The year of learning new skills.
The year of savings...
The year of home cooked meals...
The year of bed time stories. 
The year of.... ???

I am off to water the garden and think it over!
xxx








Sunday 30 December 2018

Being grateful for the year that was.

On this last day of the year I am amazed by 2018.  It has been a whirlwind.  In the middle of the year we did not even know we were moving.  And here we are set up in our farmhouse, surrounded by gum trees and birds.   A new garden is planted.  I am harvesting tomatoes, lettuce and zucchinis.  I have new chickens, an apple tree covered in fruit and a walk in pantry!



As with Feather your Nest Fridays it is important to consider the whole year just as it is important to consider the week that has been.  If not it all goes by in a blur!  How can we appreciate what we don't stop to even notice?

Over the next week I am going to write a series of posts and set the scene for 2019.   At last I can get back to blogging as I did before we were moving.  Usually I have set some themes each year.  I am really excited to do this again.

One thing I noticed this year is how much I know now to always listen when you feel prompted.   It took me a long time to learn this. Earlier in life I had many times when I had a strong feeling about something but I would think "oh don't be silly" and try to ignore it.  This always ended badly!  Eventually I learned NOT to do that.  This had caused some pretty major disasters before I learned my lesson.
Now I recognise the strong feeling or prompting is a whisper from God.
Four years ago now I first had a really strong prompting to set my empty cellar to good use and stock it as a pantry.  And so I did.  We started on a journey and I wrote that up in my Pantry and Preparedness series.   This took me on a course of learning so many new skills!  I have loved it!

Perhaps a year ago I felt prompted again.  Suddenly I saw that I could improve our preparedness a lot more and we had the opportunity to move back to the family farm.  It all fell into place incredibly.  
My heart was readied and it took renovating and selling our Adelaide house  (huge amount of work)
moving ourselves,  renovating a messy farmhouse,  starting a new garden from scratch,  and establishing a homestead.  All with a wedding in the middle!



It has been so go go go that it has been hard to find time to really soak it all in.  The last few days I started to write down all we did and all the happened this year.  I just write a dot point and then another...
We have so much to be grateful for.  That prompting turned into a huge adventure.
 I know many other Bluebirds also felt a prompting to get more prepared,  stock up,  move to improve their position.   So many of you are on a similar journey!
Now you do not need to move to build up your home.  Many people have a kind mini homestead in the city.  We can bloom where we are planted!
The important thing is to listen if you feel prompted.  Never ignore a feeling.
If you get an opportunity make the most of it.  Grab it with both hands and recognise it as a blessing.  This might be a bucket of apples came your way!  It might be you found a major bargain.  It could be anything but if something good comes your way then make it into something wonderful.


Literally, if life gives you lemons, you can made so much!   One person with a bucket of lemons will waste them.  Another will make many delicious things plus gifts and even cleaning products!   That bucket of lemons will equal a couple of hundred dollars by the time she has finished with it.  I guess it is like that with pretty much everything.



So if 2019 is like a bucket of lemons what are you going to do with it?
We cannot control everything.  But we can control a lot.  Our daily habits,  weekly shopping, all our homemaking and cooking, the atmosphere in the house... so many things we have a lot of influence over.




We also have the opportunity to change, learn new things, implement plans and start anew.  There is nothing like a review and a new plan.   Like seeing an opportunity with fresh eyes!



So today is just about appreciating how far we came this year.  It was a significant year, maybe one of the biggest of my life.

What are the things that you feel grateful for?
Have you felt a prompting or a realisation that you need to change something, learn something, implement something?

Tomorrow we will focus on the new year.  Today I just wanted to be thankful for the awesome year that is closing.

Have a very Happy New Year! xxx



Thursday 27 December 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 28th December, 2018.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!
I don't even know where to start so I will just jump in and start anywhere!
We had a lovely Christmas.  It had been go go go right up until Christmas Eve.  In some ways I did not do everything I would normally do but here we are in the farmhouse and we had a great big droopy real tree that touched the ceiling.   We cut branches from a tree in the driveway and put them in a big metal bin.  I loved it!

I had fairy lights across the deck and they looked like stars.   This all added to our already amazing night sky which I still cannot fathom as it is so different to in the city!   I often stand outside  at night and just take it all in.

My biggest wishes for Christmas were that the girls would come to stay over and have a wonderful day.  And they did!  Christmas day was one of the big kids playing with the little kids and the adults making sandcastles in the sandpit for Scarlett to smash up.


Most years we have bubbles. This year we had ribbon twirling wands.  Stuff like this always helps the afternoon.
The girls arrived with red dresses and big red hair bows. 😊  

It was too busy to take many photos but I love this one.   It shows Mum's sago plum pudding coming to the table and Mum looking pleased in the background.  


It kind of captured some of the day. 

Some of the ways we saved money, built up our home, enjoyed Christmas included:

I planted chillies and also swiss chard and capsicums that Mum gave me.
Chloe gave us a bag of layers pellets for the chickens and Mum gave us a bag of wheat.  We are way ahead with chook food!

Luke's Mum send me lemons and rhubarb from her garden.

Chloe gave us a spare Queen sized bed.  With this I set up a guest room nicely.  I already had all the linen I would need.  It looks lovely.  So now all my rooms have furniture.

I made a tray of coconut ice.  Some was given away as gifts.  I decorated it with dried rosebuds I had saved.



I made a big potato salad, a baked ham and my Nan's tomato, onion and zucchini bake which she always made to go with roast meat.   I did spares and a gluten free one...




It is topped with little squares of bread then grated cheese and baked.  It is one of those simple delicious things.   Nan knew how to make the roast meat go further!

I washed a heap of windows.

My sister in law gave me a food saver vacuum sealer.  This will be a great addition to my pantry.

Andy gave me a Spotlight voucher to stock up on craft supplies which I will do in the sales.

Mum sent us home from Christmas with beautiful roast turkey.   I guessed how much we could use in a couple of days and saved that.  The rest I sliced into slices and froze in two person portions.  When the weather cools I will just do a tray of roast veggies, warm up the turkey and pour over gravy.  It is kind of an instant roast dinner.  I have done this many times.   I got three meals to put away this way.

Chloe gave us an album of her wedding and a framed collection of photos.  She made albums up for her Grandparents also.

We lived on left over turkey, ham, potato salad, tomato bake etc for several days.  It was lovely to have a  break and delicious.

Andy went yabbying with Luke and his Dad.  They got a lot of yabbies and had a great time.  The Blue Wrens were so tame he took photos for me with his phone...


I want to go and have a picnic in this spot so I can get some photos myself!

My niece gave me a notebook she had made especially for me...


So I am planning 2019 blog posts in this!  So lovely!


Kaye gave me a beautiful sign for my pantry door!  I love it!!


Even the writing is correct since I always have fig preserves, fresh honey, fresh eggs... everything on this sign is correct! 

At the end of Christmas Day Lucy and the girls followed us in their car home to our farmhouse.  At one point I hopped out to open a gate and Lucy drove through with us then I shut it.  Scarlett was saying "cow, cow!"  and they both had wide open eyes and mouths open as they were seeing cows, sheep, deer and a kangaroo.  
When we got to our place the girls ran through the house so excited!  
I showed them the bedroom and the canopy beds.  They LOVED them.  There was much jumping around and choosing beds.   
Later we went out and looked at the stars and sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.   They were so excited I thought neither would ever sleep! 

Yesterday and today have been hot.  I have umbrellas up over my veggie garden and old net curtains draped over my roses.  So far so good.  The heat drives you inside... so I am starting on some crafts and quite things indoors during the day.  This is good it is time to start making things again!

Now I have out my new planner for 2019!   These days before the New Year are my favourite days of the whole year.  Time to consider the year that has been.  I do kind of a year long Feather your Nest Friday.  It is amazing what we forget!  As it all comes back to me I am in awe of the year we had.
Next I start to make plans and some goals for the new year.  Also plans for the blog.
With moving and all we had to do I had to reduce the blog to once a week.  But mostly I always had three posts a week with a theme.  We had The Christmas Challenge, The World within our Walls, Pantries and Preparedness,  the Friday post and so on.   In the next few days I will write a New Year post and what the themes will be for 2019.  I am excited about that!

I hope you had a good Christmas and can enjoy a few quieter days now.
How did you build up your home, get ahead or save last week?   It would have been the busiest week of the year for many of us!

Have a lovely weekend!   We are heading south to the farmhouse Lucy and her family are moving to. We are taking Mum with us and making a kind of picnic of it.  The girls are down there as they are working on the house.  I will make a cake to take with us.   And with some luck there will still be figs on the fig tree!

xxx













Thursday 20 December 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 21st December, 2018.

Here we are a few days before Christmas!!  We have been doing so much to try and have a few days to feel the Christmas spirit and new farm life.  Last night we did just that.  We had returned from a trip to the city.  Boy was it ever busy in Adelaide.   The traffic on the way home was busy too.
So when we ate dinner outside on the deck we just soaked in the peace, the birds and we both kind of went ahhhh we are home.   THEN  two huge Wedge Tailed Eagles flew over us and circled around for several minutes.   We just sat there and didn't move!  Yes we love it here.  They welcomed us home I decided!

Some of the ways we built up the nest this week included:

I fixed up two old beds.  These were Chloe and Lucy's beds when they were little.  They got them for Christmas one year.  I saved up for these and they loved them.  In fact they still remember how on Christmas morning they woke up in the beds.  They thought Father Christmas had magically transformed their beds.  So you can imagine... while they slept I constructed each bed (they came in a ton of pieces) and lifted each child into the new bed and moved out the old bed... and neither of them woke up!! haha!  
Well... I could never part with the beds.  They have been kept in the shed all these years.  And now here I am with a bigger house and two Grand daughters...
So we dusted them off.  I was worried about rust and if I still had all the bits and so much porcelain that might be broken...  but nothing was! I had boxed up all the little pieces and it was all there.
With a lot of scrubbing and polishing they came up ok and I even put them together myself as I knew exactly what to do.
I just needed two mattresses.  Meanwhile I collected all the linen I would need. 

The end result...


It still needs some finishing touches but I have a room and I have little story books I kept that were Chloe and Lucy's favourites plus toys. 


The next room to conquer is the spare room that will have a Queen sized bed.  We are picking that up from Chloe this afternoon as she has a surplus bed.  I have all the linen for this bed also ready to make it up.  I can't wait to do this as then another room will look complete.

We got the mattresses  for the single beds while in Adelaide.  Andy had bought a trailer.  This was another thing on our "farm" list.  To take rubbish to the dump,  the mower to be serviced and many other things we need a trailer. 
So this was another goal achieved this week and the first load on the trailer was the mattresses.


Andy is pretty darn pleased with his new trailer.   For Christmas I got him a large lock up toolbox for the back of the ute and he got this too!  This also adds to our preparedness as now the ute will be equiped with tools, water, first aid and so on.


Early in the week I made three large impossible quiches.  I had ham, cream and eggs to use up.  They provided dinner, lunches and Chloe and Luke got one.


Basically all you do is make a quiche with anything at all in it and instead of pastry add half a cup of flour.  I just use Gluten Free flour (no one notices) then cook it in a pie dish lined with non stick paper.    Kind of like zucchini slice...  so easy... so good with relish!   You can use up so many things this way!

Also I made two trays of Chocolate Fudge.  This is so nice and so easy.   It can be sliced up and wrapped nicely for presents.   I gave some to Dad and some to Luke.  


The recipe is:  3 cups milk chic chips, 1 can condensed milk, 1/4 cup margarine or butter.  Melt in bursts of 30 seconds in the microwave and stir. When melted throw in your cherries, nuts or whatever you want.  Set in a tin lined with non stick baking paper (in fridge) and then slice up into logs or squares and package nicely.  It is fast, easy and yum!

I added glazed cherries... you can add nuts, sultanas, whatever you like.   You could top with hundreds and thousands for kids.  

In a paddock I saw these pom pom type grasses growing.  I don't know what they are but I picked some to see if they dry well or fall apart.  Not sure yet...


If they dry they will be interesting in an arrangement.  My Nan always picked anything interesting and worked things into arrangements.  She would have done the same!

I made cupcakes to take the girls.


When Scarlett sees me she just says "Cake" lol

Out on the deck we have some shade so I potted up a hydrangea and I just used an old farm cast iron pot (which was full of holes) as my pot.  It looks really nice.


The nest I found last week was turned into Christmas decor.  The egg was found by Chloe in her mail box!  


Andy worked on the shed.  He had a lot to do.  The before situation was like if there was a TV show called "hoarders move house"  or something like that.   This is now!


Around the house I have put baskets of pinecones and pine branches.  


Our Christmas tree is only going up today!! It is pine branches we cut from a pine out the back.  I am about to decorate that... talk about better late than never!!

So that was my week!  How did you feather your nest and build up your home? How is christmas shaping up for you?

I have some really big plans for the New Year.  But before we start thinking of me beginnings lets think over the whole year.  It can be a whirlwind.  When I stop and think about everything this year held is was just huge!  We have come a long way.

I want to thank you all for your friendship all year.  We all have highs and lows, good days and bad days.  Having friends to share it with and work along side with makes a world of difference.  We may all be scattered far and wide but we are so similar in many ways.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Have a wonderful Christmas! xxx
















Saturday 15 December 2018

Ideas from the Christmas markets!

I have been to three country town markets now and found them just wonderful!  So much fun!  The last one was an evening Christmas market.  These are all small country towns.   So many people are making and producing beautiful things!

Whether you want to craft or produce something for gifts or to sell (or both) new ideas,  packaging and pricing are all something to look at.   Quite a few Bluebirds started small businesses this year.  Having multiple income streams is a good idea. There are so many options!

Firstly, I think everyone can do something.  We don't wake up with skills, most of us have to learn and practise!  I have seen several friends go from unable to crochet (for instance) to being good enough to sell items within a few months!  Whatever it is we can work on it!   Next I think we might have materials on hand or natural resources just sitting there!!  All we need is the idea to go with it!
Ages ago I wrote several posts and we covered all kinds of things from how to decide what to make to finding time to get it all done.  You can find these posts here:

A Gift and a new week Part 1.

A Gift and a new week Part 2.

A Gift and a new week Part 3.

A Gift and a new week Part 4.

Sometimes you are sitting on a gold mine and don't even know it.  Maybe you have a natural talent for something and you don't know that as you never tried it!

The other day I saw that Anthropologie was selling small bunches of sticks tied with twine. I heard they were $42 and they sold old.  Wondering if this was true I went and had a browse on Anthropologie and found even better!!!  FAKE sticks... Birch... set of three sticks for $38.   If you don't believe me go over to see!   So it seems like if you have sticks or birch you have a resource!

Last week I walked past a florist with Harper.  So we had a bit of a nosey.   There was a bucket of gum nuts.   I have a tree of these exact same gum nuts out the front.


This had no price but next to it was a bucket of what seemed like odd bits and pieces all of which I have in the garden...


There were dried gum leaves...


And a wreath made of dried gum leaves...


You can see the prices.   It turns out pine cones are big money too.  
There is a lady with an ETSY shop and she just sells natural elements like gum nuts and so on.  It is amazing and she gets great reviews. So she made a business of stuff she can pick around her.

At the markets bunches of native flowers wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string sold fast.

There were a lot of candles with beautiful packaging i.e. gorgeous crystal containers with lids and lovely scents.   Some of these were stunning.  It make me thing to always buy the crystal containers at the op shop... when I have enough I will have a candle making day.  Most were charging $35 and up.

Cooking... there were queues at most of the cooking stalls.   One lady was well know by locals.  She was famous for her sausage rolls.   She also had gluten free slices.  I bought gf lemon slice from her.  It was so beautiful.  So now I am a local I know her too and next time will buy that slice again.  I was told my nephew ordered 100 sausage rolls from her and kept a supply in his freezer!   She was doing a roaring trade.

Essential oils, roller bottles, diffusers were all doing well.  The ladies on these stalls knew their stuff too and I tried things and learned things. This helped me plot some new essential oil gifts to make. 

Essential oil jewellery was doing well.  I bought a bracelet with lava beads in it.  These absorb your oil and both release the scent and being next to your skin your body absorbs it.  I have one I wear all the time.   If you are in Australia this girl Bare Feet Heart is gorgeous and was surrounded by curly haired little children.  She makes the most stunning essential oil necklaces. 



There were potted succulents, lavenders, rosemary trained in heart shapes, many plants.

Gorgeous labels for your pantry, drink bottles etc and you could order any words, any colour, any script.  I ordered small gold script to go on essential oil roller bottles...

Beautiful hand made children's clothes.

One I could see was selling well was handmade baby things.  She had bibs smartly themed in country designs i.e. cows, sheep, even John Deere tractors etc.   Genius.  Appeal to your customers! 

Hand made soaps, bubble bars, bath bombs etc.   Many were divine.  The cheapest bar of soap I saw was $7.  Most had deals i.e. buy 4 and get one free or something like that.  

A girl was selling her handmade jewellery and she packaged it using a shell from her beach.  I admired this as she could have spend a lot of boxes or something yet her shell made it stunning and 
charming and was free.  Clever girl.



Cards... beautiful hand made cards and tags.   

Scrunchies and bows.  Yes scrunchies are back.  Big time.  

Macrame.  Same as above, yes,  that is back too.  While you do your macrame you wear a scrunchies in your hair!   I lived through both of these before so can't quite get enthused.

One was very clever.... play doh in buckets, with sparkles, coloured sand and coloured rice in buckets.  She set up a little station kids could try it.  The coloured rice was gorgeous.  Her buckets all stacked up in pretty colours and sparkles.  Was all selling like mad.

Another was seedlings, fresh veggies and relishes, jams etc.  These people are known to locals from a local farm.  Everyone said their relish was amazing and people are always repeat customers once you try.   They had gift packs i.e. five jars stylishly lined up on a long skinny butting board all wrapped as a Christmas gift.  They were selling fast.

A stall with chocolates, nuts, apricot balls etc also packaged beautifully in gift sets for Christmas.  All the work done for you.   

Gingerbread houses.  Beautifully hand made and decorated.  Lovely.

Sprouting kits and packs of the seeds.  These looks really good!

A lady from vineyard was selling wreaths and hanging baskets all made from the vines.  They were beautiful.  Some hanging baskets she had filled with succulents. 

Anything environmental was big i.e. stainless steel pegs,  shopping bags,  produce bags,  natural cleaning products, drink bottles, reusable  coffee cups,  straws etc. 

We had so much fun on Friday night.   The market was in a town hall and the gardens around it were beautiful.  We sat out there in the evening and ate dinner.  Even the drive was beautiful as the road was lined with huge gum trees and it was just gorgeous. 

I am starting to write down my craft plans for the new year.  And saving up supplies!  

I hope you are having a lovely Sunday! xxx






















Thursday 13 December 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 14th December, 2018.

I might never get this posted today as my internet is hardly working.  I type a little then go away for a while while a picture tries to load!  So it is very slow going.

It was a really big week!  I am glad I keep a running  list of things we achieved as last Friday now seems like a long time ago!

So in totally random order here are some of the ways we built up our home, saved and got ahead this week.

We got five young hens that are meant to be super good layers.   My niece Georga helped raise them at her school.  So she helped me to get them and bring them home.  And she helped me name them with some helpful suggestions!  They are so tame as they are used to a heap of teenagers looking after them.

This is Maise...



There are five.  So far I have Janet and Maise.   Overnight I kept them in a large cage within the chicken house to make sure the bantams weren't mean to them.  They all seemed non plussed this morning so I let everyone out together.  These girls were so excited!! They flapped around, ran everywhere, tried out various perches.   So happy!

My sister in law gave me two nesting boxes for the chook house.  This was great.

I started picking tomatoes.   Suddenly there are enough to pick a few everyday...



We had extreme weather.  At the beginning it was hot.   Then a giant thunderstorm started up.  There was lightening all around and it went on for hours.  In summer lightening is a huge hazard.   And sure enough,  Chloe got a call there was a fire.   I was at her house when the call came through.   We jumped in her car and drove to the top of the farm hill.   We knew which direction to look and sure enough we could see a plume of smoke.   At that moment Luke drove past going so fast I couldn't believe it!   Everyone heads off to fight the fire immediately. 
I went home.  We put on the sprinklers and began to get ready should it grow and come our way.  It turned out to be only one property away from us.  The local fire crew and the farmers got it out.  We were so lucky.  It was not windy and that was a huge help.   So now we had a practice run and it was scary.   
After this the clouds and thunder and lightening finally came to something and it rained.
By the end of the week it was raining again. And raining and raining!!  It has just poured.  
On Bluebirds Facebook page I posted a clip of how our birds sounded the other night.  You can find it here.   You need your sound on.   This usually goes on in the evening and then once it is dark it goes quiet.   Last night the birds went on after dark and through most of the night.  This has never 
happened before.   Maybe after so much rain?  It was weird... all the day birds chattering all night!

During the week we went to the city.  The main thing was I went with the girls to see Father Christmas!! It was so exciting.  


Scarlett is keen but Harper said she wasn't feeling very brave and Scarlett could sit on Father Christmas' knee but she would sit on Mummy's knee.  I asked her what would she like for Christmas?  She said "something yellow."  

We got a lounge!! Yep something to sit on! haha!  Our old lounge was the lounge Mum and Dad had when I was growing up!  Andy remembered it from when we were teenagers!   To his credit Andy was the only boy in the district brave enough to knock at the front door and ask to see me when I was sixteen.  And we went to dances together.   :)   
Anyhow back to the lounge.... I finally had to accept it is pretty had it.   So we ordered a new one.  Yesterday we picked it up.  As it was pouring so much we only just brought it inside today.  

Also we had an electrician come and now we have light fittings instead of a globe hanging from the ceiling!  More progress!

My friend Nerille just came back from Nepal.  She brought home pure cashmere pashminas for me in my favourite smoky blue shades.  They are just gorgeous and feel incredible.  Bring on Autumn!
She also sent me home with two large pure wool cream blankets.   With having extra beds here suddenly all my spare linen is no longer spare.  It is all used so these will be so handy.

Andy has been working on a big project.  He is putting shelves up in the shed and a workshop, work bench etc.  This will be really good in all sorts of ways.

There was a tractor in the yard as we had to do plumbing work.  We also asked for a quote on two new rain water tanks... as two are old and leaky.  

Andy ordered a trailer.  Now we have the vehicle and the next thing is a trailer.  At the farm you have your own dump and waste disposal. You have to have a trailer.

All these things I consider important "pantry and preparedness" projects.

On the way home from Adelaide I stopped and just near the car I found a little nest that had blown away in the storm...


I have glittery Christmas birds so I think it will become a Christmas nest.

I planted Proteas.  Suddenly I just love King Proteas.  So I am going to try and grow them!

I made a giant rice salad and gave Chloe and Luke a container full.   We lived on cold meat and salads on the hot days.

Everything being so wet gives me a couple of days off watering.  This gives me some time to work on other things!  Also the rain water tanks are all overflowing.  The fruit trees are looking heavy with fruit and being so wet.  

Later this afternoon Chloe, my Sister in Law,  Georga and me are going to head off to a country Christmas market in a town about an hour away.  It is an evening market.   Chloe has been before and says it is beautiful!  

With being so busy I have not felt like it is Christmas or that it is all so close!!  Going to see Father Christmas helped!!  Tonight will too I think!  

Since the last Christmas market and the small country market before that I am working on a post of craft ideas,  packing, selling etc.  It is very interesting seeing what everyone is doing.  It is good to check out prices.   Also to see what is obviously selling really well and what is not.   I have some prices that will amaze you... like the fruit cakes the other day! 
I hope to get this post finished over the weekend.  

How did you feather your nest this week?  I hope you are doing well with this busy time of year.  Somehow we have to find time to soak in the moments that are special.  As we get closer to Christmas I more and more start thinking about the year that has been.  In my mind that is like a gigantic Feather your Nest Friday... a Feather your Nest Year!! 

Have a lovely weekend! xxx







Friday 7 December 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 7th December, 2018.

It has been a week of this and that.  Mainly December is going too fast for me and I have things to get to the post office asap or I will be too late!

We have had two days of heat.  It was far from the worst heat we will have but a glimpse of farm life in the hot weather.  Yesterday I covered all my garden veggies with old sheets and net curtains.  Still some things I missed were burned.  But it is mostly doing ok.    It is so hot doing the watering morning and night.  I always knew that in the heat I will need to stay inside mostly during the day and having loads of projects to work on will be good.  I have a lot lined up... craft time will finally get some attention!

Early in the week I made two batches of shortbread.   This is so good.  It is very fast and easy since you do not have to cut out shapes,  I just press it into a deep dish pizza pan.  It needs a side so you get a neat edge... I always do it with baking paper underneath.   This recipe is not crumbly... in fact you probably need to add flour until it is not sticky but it is silky smooth.  The recipe is here.


I made a second bach using gluten free flour.  Well it tasted beautiful but it was so crumbly.  So I broke it all up,  put it into snap lock bags and belted it senseless with a rolling pin.  I have re named it "crumble topping" and "cheesecake base."  It will be beautiful for both of these things! 

Early in the week we had some rain.   I could see rain in the distance and soon it poured here.  



This was wonderful!

I baked a ham with honey over the top.  This gave us cold meat for this weather and I don't have to use the oven at all on hot days.  I do a heap of salads and it is so easy and we love it.

My roses from last week were past their best so I salvaged some buds and hung them up to dry.


I have quite a supply of dried roses.  They are lovely on parcels, soaps and food packaging.  A bag of dried roses or petals is a gift in itself to somehow who loves making beauty products etc.

I took up two pairs of jeans.

I made a big lot of honey gingerbread.  This is so nice.  The whole family lines up for this.  Chloe has a post box at the end of her driveway like I do.  I put a tin in there for her to find.


I took a tin up to the girls.  This recipe is very easy and cuts into shapes nicely.  The recipe is here.

We still have never turned on the tv although we do have one.  We sit outside most nights and eat our dinner and these guys and their antics entertain us...


They nest in the hollows of our big gums.  

I worked a crochet edge around more kitchen towels.  Also I tried a new stitch to start a heap of wash cloths.  I am hoping to learn one new stitch a week and make a wash cloth.   I need to write down the names and where to find how to do each stitch as I will lose track of which is which and how to go back to a previous one.  Mainly I get them from you tube as I am no good at following patterns but I can watch and copy. 


I thought patterns were difficult until I found out almost all patterns are only chain, single and double crochet.. in different orders.  

Every night I check the fruit trees.   Dad came today and said I should plant a Quince tree and I agree. 
The mystery fruit now looks like this...


I am amazed how fast they are growing.  

I have to tell you that Maria's daughter had her baby boy safely today and Maria sent me photos!! He is gorgeous with so much dark hair!!  So a very happy day.

My chickens will be ready to pick up next week.  And we are going to look at some geese next weekend!  

I hope you had a good week.  How did you build up your home, save or get ahead?
How are you managing in this busy season?
When I get some spare moments I wrap a parcel.  Little moments add up!
All day today the internet did not work.  Tonight finally I can post and I am really glad to look over the week... and doing so I forgot to mention the biggest thing...
Andy changed the van over to a ute. In US you would say truck I think.   The van could not even get to Mum and Dads farmhouse, this is how rough the roads are.  So it had to be done.   Andy is pretty happy with it.   I think of this as a big investment and part of our preparedness and setting up a homestead.  So this was a big thing for us this week. 

Have a wonderful weekend.xxx







Thursday 29 November 2018

Feather Your Nest Friday, 30th November, 2018.

The last day of November!!  Once is is December Christmas is here!

This was a MUCH better week.

Thank you for the overwhelming and beautiful response to the prayer request.  I can report that J is home from hospital and doing well.  There have been some very promising signs and good days.  If you will keep her in your prayers for healing from her past trauma that would be wonderful.  Her Mother is very grateful to you all.

Some of the ways I built up the household this week included:

I had left over strawberries that needed action fast.  They made up on lovely jar of jam.


Over a year all my little batches of jam add up!  I can always but together a basket of different jams for a gift.  I used one of my tiny dried rose buds as decoration.   During the week I used a dried rose bud and string when wrapping a birthday present and it looked so pretty.  

Chloe gave me an owl to add to my guardians on the veranda.  So far the cockies have not got into the veggie patch so my hawke and owls may be helping...


She also gave me a heap of rose images from books for my card making...


We took a day trip to the farm that Lucy and her family are moving to in January.  It is two hours south of here.   It was a beautiful day and such a pretty drive.  First there are vineyards and roses along the sides of the road that just go on and on.  There there are pine forests.  We took a picnic with us.   We saw Emus running between the pine trees.

Half way is a town which is my main regional town for shopping etc.  This is where we pick up mail that needs a signature (other mail comes to our post box out the front) and the town is so nice.  It is like stepping back in time.  Gentlemen open the door for you, everyone chats.  I love it!  

At at farm in the south we had a good walk around.  The home is a huge old homestead.  There are roses everywhere.  Obviously I picked some!! 


These are so strongly perfumed they scented the car and the house all week.  They are heavenly.  There were hundreds of roses in lemon, creamy peachy colours, pink...
There were two huge fig trees covered in the largest figs I have ever seen!  They were not quite ripe enough but I think maybe two weeks and we will go back because we also found a cherry tree, covered in cherries!!  I am guessing two weeks on those too.  So if we plan a picnic we could come home with a car load of fruit and flowers!  

During the week I went over to Mum and Dads.  I picked a big basket of fresh Bayleaves.


I am drying these to package up as gifts.  Most cooks use Bay Leaves.... they are full of goodness and expensive to buy.  And Mum's are organic! 

I made a cheesecake in the slow cooker.

We have a hose dripping on one fruit tree at a time.  I move it every evening to the next one.  While I am there I inspect the trees.  Each night I can see that fruit growing! 

Andy bought a cupboard in a second hand store.   While there I was looking at a pile of bags... they were like a shoe or veggie bag and very old.  A very fine cotton like a voile.  Each had a number stencilled on it.   I was jus thinking mmm what could I do with these?  The man said to me do you like them?  I expressed my interested in using them to make SOMETHING and he said "here take a heap!" and handed me a pile.   The pile turned out to be 22 of them.


I am going to make Santa sacks and gift bags from them.

This week we had our first Kangaroos in the paddock out the front.  First there was a huge one hopping across the paddock.  Then a smaller one.  The next day the smaller one was back and came up close to our yard.

I cooked a big pot of spaghetti sauce.  I don't need to cook tonight and have some for Chloe and Luke as well.

Janine very helpfully sent me photos to show me what a bakery is charging for very small fruit cakes.  Cleverly she put her purse next to the cake to show just how small this cake is..



Look at the price!  A cake a little bit bigger is shown in the next photo.



This is so good to see.  We constantly under value the gifts we make.  When I work out my savings for the week I try and guesstimate how much I saved on the things I made.  Keeping up to date on prices is helpful when doing this.   It gives us an idea of the enormous savings to be had.
Thank you so much Janine!   Next time you make a tray of scones, biscuits, cakes... calculate what they would cost to buy!  

I did some Christmas wrapping.  Some of my essential oil gifts are now wrapped and ready. 


I had saved nice little boxes to package them up in.

I worked on my crochet edge kitchen towels and got a few more finished.  I am also learning a new stitch so I can make decent looking hand towels and face washers from crochet cotton.

Maria's daughter is having a C section to deliver her third baby next Friday.  She has had a lot of trouble with her past babies deliveries so they are feeling nervous.  Anyone who will pray for that family please do as they have had a very hard year but they have a Christmas baby coming! 

Tomorrow Chloe and I are heading off to a small town that is having a Christmas market.  The tiny market I went to a few weeks ago was just wonderful.  This one is miles bigger!  It seems everyone has a side line, grows, makes and sells something.  I am so excited!  The last market I met three people I have kept in touch with and that have made me things to help my own Christmas crafts.  One make me labels for bottled gifts, one made me gorgeous essential oil bracelets.   I hope to get lots of ideas and maybe come home with some seedlings and who knows what else!
This will also be a change to explore a town not too far away which will be really good.

How did you feather your nest this week?  I hope you found some savings,  got ahead somehow and found a way to add to your pantry.

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx