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 25 October 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 26 October, 2018.

It has been a big week.  It seems like a long time since last Friday.  It has been a mix of good things and not so good.

First of all Mum is in hospital.  She was suffering a really painful leg and nothing relieved the pain then went downhill in other ways.  So Sunday night she went to hospital.  She has a lung infection so was straight on to a drip of antibiotics and a buying disk in her back which is causing the leg pain. She is doing much better, still in hospital.  Yesterday though she was knitting again.  You know to worry when Mum stops knitting so this was a good sign!

The good thing... WE SOLD THE HOUSE!  It is official and now we are waiting on settlement.  This is so wonderful.  We have a list of things to do... new rainwater tanks, a ride on mower, fire preparedness and other things that really need doing.
Also... we can come and pick up our furniture!   All my nice things were still in the house to make it look beautiful for inspections.  My vases and flowers, plants, most furniture and outdoor things too.
At the farmhouse we have had a bed and a plastic camping table and two plastic chairs!  That is about it!  Hence very few photos of inside!   I will be very excited to get my things and set up rooms!

Some of the ways we built up our home and got ahead this week included:

Chloe and I went to a farm open day.  They grow all kinds of flowers and veggies for sale.  On this day they sell preserves, fresh veggies, seedlings and set out tables and chairs and serve tea and cakes. It was gorgeous!  We toured around their veggie garden.  This was just the rhubarb patch...

I was so inspired.  Chloe said it make her gardening feel inadequate! haha!
I came home with many ideas,  a big bunch of rhubarb (for Dad)  basil seedlings and four tomato plants.  It was so much fun!  There is so much to learn and these are opportunities to see how other people do things.  They demonstrated many alternative incomes they have going too.

In the kitchen I cooked up a giant batch of spaghetti and meat sauce.  This made many meals.  The left over meat sauce I thickened with gravy and made two dozen meat pies.

With left over pastry I used some frozen plums (from last summer) and made plum pies.  They were really good!  I gave half of all this to Chloe and Luke and froze some.

Last week my sister in law gave me three dozen eggs.  So I got busy and used up quite a few.

I made Mum GF scones.  I always add an egg to these as it helps them rise.  Then I made GF pancakes.

She did eat two cakes before she ended up in hospital.  We froze the rest.

Then I made six Christmas cakes.  Making them now is ideal as they get better and better with a few weeks to age.  These used 20 eggs!

I will wrap some up as Christmas presents.  Usually I tie a gold bow or something with a tag.  Some will go into the pantry for when I just need to feed people.  Andy being one of those people as this is his favourite cake.

Chloe recycled all her wedding flowers.  She made me a huge arrangement of wild and dried flowers with some fake ones added.  No one would ever figure out which is which.  

Soon I will have a hall table to put them on!  I love them.  They will always remind me of the wedding too.

Luke let us use his ride on mower to bring the wider yard under control.  Aside of actual lawn around the house we have a big area to keep neat under the gum trees.

Soon we will have our own mower! 😊

In the garden I have so many things coming up!   Giant sunflowers from Jane, beans from Sewingcreaions...

It is less than six weeks since we moved and there was no garden at all.  Just weeds!  Now we are almost ready to start harvesting the first things like lettuce leaves...

I am getting a bit nervous about rabbits, birds, sheep.... now things are looking tasty someone is going to be bound to try and break in.  But so far so good.

Every time I go to the farm (Mum and Dad's) I get the ladder out and climb up to see how the babies are doing.  These are Grey Shrike Thrush.  The parents are practically tame.  They are really big now!

Before heading to the city I made the girls some cakes...

I made a dozen but only four got the fancy treatment!

It was only yesterday that we found out the house is sold as the buyers finance was approved.
This is still sinking in.  We will come back next week and hire a truck to move our things.  I will also have my fridge/freezer.  There are so many things I am excited to set up!

I have been reading and reading a blog called Frugal Measures.  Now you all know I follow A Working Pantry and do Patsy's Classes.  There are so many wonderful blogs and websites.  I feel like I need a lot of good "food" to think on.  Well I am adding Frugal Measures to my list of those.   With not having TV I am finding things better and reading more things that are useful and inspiring. 

How did you build up your home, save, get ahead or add to your pantry and preparedness this week? 
What are your goals in these areas before 2018 is finished?  It gets so busy as we get closer to Christmas!  I did go through my present cupboard and I have about three quarters of my gifts!  So now I have a list of things I need to get and need ideas for a couple of people.

Today we head back to the farmhouse.  I can take my houseplants, flowers and vases!  So excited! 
Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

Thursday 18 October 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 19 October, 2018.

Thank your all the kind comments regarding the wedding!  This week was really partly just recovering!  I was tired!  After the wedding we had a lot of rain and really it has continued to drizzle most of the time since.  This has really helped me with my new garden.  I had planted a lot of seeds and so many have come up!  Everything I have planted looks so happy and the things I had dug up with little root systems all look like they are off and running!  This was perfect weather to help get a new garden going.

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

We had a couple of use it up and bits and pieces meals. This was firstly tiredness.  But it was enough and very inexpensive.

I was given three dozen fresh eggs from my sister in law. I thought ok! it is time to make Christmas cakes as they take five eggs each.  So next week I will be baking a lot.

We came to the city as is usual for now.  I scheduled an extra day so that I could catch up with Hilde and also my Aunt.

Firstly Hilde...  As usual she gave a big bag of fresh lemons.  I haven't counted them I am guessing about thirty as they are huge ones.

Also she gave me lots of little plants of oregano, sage and thyme.  I can really fill up some spaces in my herb garden with these and they are all so useful.

Then I went on to my Aunts.  Her garden was a picture.  Loads of rain only added to it looking so beautiful.

For anyone who follows Bluebirds on Facebook or Instagram I posted a video of her front yard.  This yard began with just a lawn.  She soon got rid of that.  Many of you know my Aunt now from previous posts.   In her 80's she is smashing it.  She is an author,  one of her well known books is A Fig at the Gate.

Like my Nana she loves flowers, garden, fruit trees,  chooks, eggs, lemons...
Like my Nana she seems young and fit.  From them both I have concluded to wear a hat,  never retire, 
keep my hair colour, work outdoors and garden, be creative and busy.  Well, that is the plan! 

When I arrived she had a wheel barrow full of plants ready for me.  Potted plants, dug up bits with root systems, all sorts.  A vast area of things for my garden that she is so thrilled I have.  This was so lovely.   I never thought I would get it all into the car but we did it!  Oh... plus giant fruit cake for my Dad,  homemade jam and a book he will like.  In it all went! 

My Aunt mixes herbs and veggies in with flowers.  

She sows her seeds in a wheel barrow of soil so that the tiny seedlings grow without snails etc attacking them.  When she is happy she plants them out...

Also you can just wheel them to wherever you want...

Today I am heading home and will get right on to planting all my new bits and pieces.  It is a lot.  I will count as I plant.  I think I might have enough to be pretty close to filling my garden beds.   I have been working on one flowering plant per meter (or close enough to a yard) and hope things then fill up.

This trip took me past a number of good op shops, an amazing fruit and veggie place and a meat wholesaler.... so you guessed it!   Of course I always make the most of a trip and I got a big box of veggies to take home.   Some great bargains and I have so much!

I got a giant slab of steak... enough to have steaks for dinner then have a cook up and make a casserole, pies etc.   I know I can get a lot of meals from this.

In the op shops I found some true bargains including this book of David Austin roses...

I paid $5 and it has giant rose images that I am going to use to make an inspiration board in my craft room.  The smaller images will become cards and gift tags.  It has hundreds of pictures!

I did a big shop at Aldi to take home.   So when I get back first I will be planting then I will get cooking!   If I get the slow cooker going I can be cooking while planting!

My Flybuy statement came and I have saved up points so I now have $50 free groceries.  I will turn that into $100 by only using it on half price specials that I stock in my pantry.  This will be very handy with Christmas coming.   (Flybuys is a type of store rewards.)

That reminds me!   I can think about Christmas now!  I was too busy with the wedding but now the next thing is Christmas!  I do have a lot in my gift cupboard but I need to do a kind of stock take and work out what I do have and what I need.  Next week I will start working on that.

Today I am heading home.   I can't wait to get planting.  Chloe and I are going to a local farm this weekend... they are having an open day and selling preserves,  flowers and vegetable seedlings.   They put on morning tea as well.   I thought this would be beautiful to go to!

How did you build up your home, save, get ahead, increase your preparedness or pantry this week?

Have a lovely weekend! xxx

Wednesday 17 October 2018

The wedding....

Last post I showed how we set up the farm for the wedding and the flowers.  It was all too much for one post!   Now for the bits you probably want to see!

Chloe had my niece Georga and Harper and Scarlett as flower girls.  Their role was very casual, throwing petals and confetti and dancing a lot in fluffy dresses!  They were so beautiful and good.

So here is the happy couple...

Chloe made her own headpiece and bouquet.  I loved both!

I wanted to mention... we had a beautiful fine day.  Before the wedding day and since it has rained.  We just had one shower of rain which was just before the reception began and everyone went into the marquee.  Then as Chloe and Luke came in they were framed by a rainbow right behind them!

Then the rain cleared and the whole evening was perfect still weather and just gorgeous to be outside.  It was amazing!   As it got cooler big fires in the fire pits warmed everyone and kept bugs at bay.

Chloe's dress was just her.   Really everything represented them both so well.

The Pastor who married them was someone very special to the family who also prayed over Dad 20+ years ago when Dad was gravely ill.  Dad survived and made an amazing recovery.   The doctors told Dad he was so incredibly lucky and if he behaved he might get another five years.  That is now over 21 years ago.   Chloe wanted him to marry them.  The service was beautiful and very personal.

We don't have the photographers photos back yet.  So these are just what I have so far!

Chloe made me flowers from my wrist on velvet ribbon to go with my dress.

The girls were SO EXCITED and they danced and threw confetti for hours.  They never wore out!  

I have to show Harper's hair. Not a curl was added this is just how it is...  

I cannot wait to see more photos.  There were so many special moments.  Scarlett crashed the dance floor (and started dancing) when the bride and groom were having their first dance.  She wasn't being left out.  Harper danced and danced with Mum (Great Grandma) and me... her dress twirled which she thought was just wonderful.  She thought she was a princess I think.   She is still talking about it all!

So many of you are good friends to me and have prayed for everything from our house sale to a fine wedding day!  This is so wonderful thank you.  This is what we all need.  We can have great friends and family around us but we can also have friends and Christian sisters far and wide and support each other.  
I hope your week is going well!   I will have a load to report on Friday!  xxx

Sunday 14 October 2018

The wedding. Part 1!

Thank you everyone who prayed for the wedding day!  It was quite miraculous as we had a week of rain leading up to the wedding and a storm and rain since.... but the wedding day was perfect.  There was one small shower but I will tell you about that later...

Where to start?  I want to share it all with you so I will just tackle one thing at a time so here is how we got ready for the day....

As you know this was a farm wedding and it was very much DIY!
Chloe married farmer Luke on Saturday.

Last week for me was getting ready.  I was the florist.  With Mum's help we gathered all the flowers ourselves from the farm.  Mostly from Mum's garden.  The total cost of the flowers for the wedding was zero dollars and zero cents lol.

At one stage there I did feel that I had taken on the job of several florists.  But it worked out!

So we really began Thursday with picking a vast amount of flowers and foliage.  I drove over to Mums and we picked and loaded up.

This was the back of my car at one stage and this was another...

By now we had a marquee set up for the reception and I started unloading flowers in there and just stuck them in buckets...

We also had huge amounts of foliage... and long bits that were five to six feet in length.  These were draped on sheets on the ground.   Chloe had wanted just foliage on the fence posts leading the the wedding site. This was a challenge as they were over five feet tall.  

So these led into the wedding site with one on each side.  They were huge!

The wedding was going to be under a huge gum tree.  This is the location before we made an isle lined with jars of native flowers (will show this sometime later...)

On Friday we had a day of setting up and I arranged flowers.  Everyone helped.

This is Chloe and Allie putting up bunting.  There was miles of bunting.  I sourced lace tablecloths, doilies etc from op shops, my friends helped from far and wide until we had enough. Chloe sewed it.  It was gorgeous.  All the marquee ropes etc were covered in bunting.

The seating was hay bales.  

Some were placed in huge circles and in the middle were the flower fire pits made by Luke and Andy from tractor disks.   Then they piled up wood to burn in these into the night.  To me even the wood piles looked lovely.  

I began arranging.  I was remembering my Nana who was a wonderful florist.  She collected flowers and foliage wherever she went.  She would have loved to have seen all of this!  Truly she would have thought it was heavenly.

All tables had flowers.   Some were kind of arranged and some really just stuck in buckets.  Mainly I just stuck to casual and abundant...

This went on and on until I was wondering about a blood transfusion lol!
I was also doing a mental Vicky Challenge.  I wonder how much city florists would charge for the flowers and the arrangements etc?  I am guessing a lot.  As I get to next stages you will see we also had no hair dressers, make up artists etc.  Chloe made her own bouquet.  And headpiece... can't wait to show you that!  

By Friday night we were ready and walked away.  All we could do now was hope and pray for tomorrow....  

(Part 2 coming as soon as I can manage.  Also I have not replied to most of Fridays comments but I will!  Have a wonderful week! xxx) 

Thursday 11 October 2018

Feather your Nest Friday. The week before the wedding!

The week started in Adelaide where we were visiting the girls, working at the house that is for sale and getting some more plants and seedings for the farm garden.
This was so much fun!   Each week I have added everything I possibly can to the garden.  I now have a flower beds,  a herb garden and veggie beds.  
I had the best time at Bunnings getting some more pots in my blue, lilac, pink colour scheme.

I also had things I dig up, lots of veggie and herb seedlings and six standard lilac rose bushes!  Seriously this was so much fun.  It was three trolleys full of stuff and Andy had to go tot he van and come back to get more.  I loved it! 

We headed back to the farm.  As soon as we got there I was watering the garden we already have planted and then got working on adding the new additions.
We had this long thin garden bed between a ramp and a deck.  Roses were perfect for this space!  

As we sit on the deck or walk up the ramp there will be roses! 

I planted seeds I have been saving. Some were from Sewingcreations who sent me beans (several types) and some were from Jane who sent me giant sunflowers and beans.   So they are all in!   Also carrots in a sandy patch on one side.   I got all this in and we had two full days of rain!  It was fantastic!

With all the plants and especially putting in giant sunflowers I know the Cockatoos could be my problem.  I already have bunnies coming close.   We already have our owl and I added Harry... (The Hawke)

I like him!  He is always on the job and flies around in the breeze.

I also started a mint patch.  There is a garden bed near the clothes line.  So I planted lots of mint from Mum's garden and hopefully soon I will have an abundance like she does.

Now we are in the lead up to the wedding.  I can't show you anything until after the wedding though!  
I tried to do things early in the week that were just generally helpful. 
First I put on the slow cooker for the day with chicken and lots of veggies.   We had this as a casserole for dinner and it was so good as I worked outside all day and when I came in yay!  dinner was done.  What a relief this is.  Bless the person who invented crockpots.  
The next day the left overs became pies.  Out came the pie maker.  I got a lot of questions about this last week!   Mine was $29 (if I remember correctly) from Kmart (AU)  and it is not terribly spectacular but here it is...

I am very happy with this but if you have hungry teenage boys you can get a larger one that is Sunbeam which I believe makes deeper pies.   Anyway a lot of brands make them and Aldi also had a single large pie maker.

The thing is you have made you pies and gone on with other things before your normal oven would have pre warmed!  
I got 27 pies from my left over casserole. Ok, I did put on a lot as I planned the pies.  

I gave Chloe and Luke a dozen as they are in full wedding mode.   I served them for dinner and one lunch and froze the rest.   I got a bit fancier with some and added little leaves and roses...

I also made 36 full sized sausage rolls.  I am feeding the groom and his brother on Saturday and needed something I can warm then I will leave and the boys will take over our house.

Yesterday I headed off to Mum and Dads.  I made Mum a dozen Gluten Free scones and I made another dozen with sultanas...

All up I added a fair bit to the freezer! 

This week I continued on with my pushing the wheelbarrow up the hill to the shearing shed.  I got loads of sheep manure.  One time it started raining and Andy came looking for me and we pushed the barrow into the van and he drove me home! 

I was given three dozen lovely farm eggs.   

Yesterday everyone was helping with the wedding. It was a lovely day.  I can't wait to show you photos even from setting up!   Beautiful!

And..... the house in Adelaide is now under contract!!!   This is still subject to a cooling off period and the buyers finance.  So it is not really certain for two weeks.   But it is under contract!!! Thank you everyone who prayed.  We are praying now to get past the last hurdles!  This would mean so much.  It would allow us to do things we need here, we need a ride on lawn mover as the area to keep the grass down is huge, water tanks... many things.   It would also mean I can work on one house and one garden and not two! 

The birds here are used to us now and we are noticing so many new varieties.  There are Lorikeets nested in a tree out the front.  On Instagram and FB I posted the sounds of sunset here.  It is basically deafening!   Apparently birds have to chatter to get to sleep!  One night there was a pink sunset.  Then I could hear this loud "whoosh whoosh whoosh" sound.  I went out and looked around.  There in the very top of the big pine and gum trees were about fifty Ibis with huge wings spread out. They were like angels on top of the Christmas Tree.  All their wings were creating this giant flapping sound.   Then they settled there for the night.  I am always saying "Andy! Andy! Come and take a look at this!!" 

It was a good week and we just feel at home now.  We continually work to try and establish our homestead.  We have so many plans!   But the garden has come such a long way in one month!  

I really hope you had a good week too!   How did you build up your home, get ahead, add to your pantry or save?  

Today we are setting up the last of the wedding things.  I hope and pray the weather is ok tomorrow, today is gorgeous!   It is such an exciting day and more exciting tomorrow! 
Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

Thursday 4 October 2018

Feather your Nest Friday from the farmhouse.

Last weekend we were in the city tidying our house that is for sale, watering and mowing the lawn etc.  Each time we find some last things to bring back with us.  We also came home with more plants for the garden and a lot of these were things from my old garden and family and friends.  I had seven Lambs Ears plants with nice little root systems in a container of water...

I was so pleased with these!  I also had some plants from the nursery including some beautiful Lavenders...

Also lots of herbs and veggies!  Finally I started my herb and kitchen garden.   This area was the worst of the garden, a mess.   We have a deck leading into the entrance and kitchen which is a kind of U shape.  When we came here this was basically full of rubbish.   Now it is becoming the kitchen garden.  Most things are tiny but I have a lot started! 

As soon as we got home I started planting and kept going most of the next day.  Since then it has rained twice which has helped a lot. Things all look really good.  
Up the hill from the house there is a shearing shed.  I have started pushing the wheel barrow up the hill and filling it with sheep manure.   This is a daily job now.   The first day I filled the barrow right up but then when I went to move it I realised it was too heavy to push.  I had to reduce the load somewhat.   Still when I got it home Andy was amazed I could push that so far as it was heavy for him!  The next day I about halved the size of my load!   But it is still a lot and it is rich dark compost/manure for the garden.   At the nursery one small bag of this stuff is $10.
In the chook shed there was a great pile of dried up chicken manure as well.  So I took my metal bucket up with me and a spade and filled that.  This bucket is now known as the poo bucket lol.
So all this went on to the veggie and herb patch.  Like anything doing a bit each day soon adds up!

Last week I had spent hours cleaning the oven.  This week I had another go and used the steam cleaner on it as well.  Finally I think it is clean.  In fact it really looks brand new!  It sparkles! 

By Tuesday I had nothing left to plant and nothing to unpack.... plus a clean oven!  So I began to bake again! 
The very first thing I made was an old fashioned Sultana Cake for Dad.  I had told him this would be the first thing I cook in this oven.  First I have had to print out a chart to convert Celsius back to Fahrenheit as the oven being old is still in the old measurements.   Andy printed this out for me and I stuck it inside my cupboard closest to the stove.  Anything I need to look at often I print and stick inside a cupboard door...   I always remember that Laine kept her most often used recipes inside the cupboard doors.  You don't have to look for them you just open the door!

The oven is wonderful.  This cake was cooked on very low for two hours.  It worked out perfectly...

Before we moved I had baked six fruit cakes.  These cakes have been so so useful.  Everyone who has helped or worked here I have offered a slice and a tea or coffee.  I have used a lot of that cake.  Always I wish I could have some but never do.   So this week I made up the same recipe using gluten free flour.

They worked out just fine and you wouldn't even know the difference.

Luckily these keep a long time (like a year) as I have a big supply.  But it is so nice!

My Vax stick vac wasn't working properly.  I know how to clean all the filters etc and still no... so we had it repaired.  Now it is as good as new for a fraction of the price of a new one.

I cut Andy's hair.

On the way to Chloe's I found this gorgeous bush of flowers...

I picked armfuls and used a big bucket as a vase.    When I was picking these a little Echidna walked past!  I really wanted a good photo but he just hid his face in the sand each time so I gave up on that.  

Andy achieved a lot. He pressure cleaned the back courtyard. This had been filthy.  Now it looks so good.   He got sprinklers and played with water lines and pumps so now we have good pressure and can have sprinklers running on the lawn right around the house.   In the heat or summer or if there was a fire we can drench things fast. 

Chloe gave me a chicken feeder. You can hang it up and mice or rats can't get the feed but the chooks can.  This is a win win! 

Before we moved I was influenced by Lynette to get a pie maker.  I wondered why anyone would buy one when you can just make pies in any dish in the oven and I very often do.  I even joined a pie maker Facebook group!  Soon I was converted due to really small amounts of left overs can become a meal when maybe you wouldn't normally feel bothered to turn on the oven to bake one tiny pie.  And I can now have a tray of pies cooked before I could even have had the oven pre warmed.   So I moved here with my trusty K mart pie maker ready to go.  
This week I made a beef casserole in the slow cooker.   We had this with rice that night.  
Then I thickened the left overs with gravy and used it to make beef and veggie pies.   The next day I made a dozen of these and placed them on a tray for Chloe and Luke.  I slightly under browned them so when Chloe re heated them they would finish off nicely.

Chloe was really pleased.  Later that night I got a message from Luke.... "yummy pies, keep them coming!"  So I guess he liked them! 

Then I went to make the rest up for us.  I tried Maggie Beer's Gluten Free Pastry recipe.  At first I was doubtful.  But it worked out so well and was delicious.  Like the cake I would not have ever guessed it was not ordinary pastry.  

This was before it was wrapped in the fridge.

After it was cold and kneaded again it was smooth as silk and rolled out perfectly.  Winner!  I got another 15 pies made!  
I noticed in the bakery pies were $5 to $5.50 each.  That is $135 in pies!   So I love this pie maker and next week it will be chicken pies then bacon and egg and so on with whatever left overs might be lurking. 

I have to show you... this is a Grey Shrike Thrush on Mum and Dad's back veranda.  I can't wait to see the babies! 

This bird is very friendly and sings all day.  So lovely!

Lastly I made a carrot cake for the girls as we are heading back to Adelaide again today.  I keep a big tin of cake related things.  I found some little icing roses and sparkles to make it look sweet as Harper is cake mad.  So this is on a tray for the trip.

I loved this week as it was a bit more like normal life.  We are fairly settled in.  I started baking.  My day is developing a routine.  I mix up the day so that I do the heavy exercise parts mixed with quieter parts and I take tea breaks and a lunch break.  If we treat our work like a paid job and take our breaks we really get so much more done.  Mid afternoon I often feel really tired.  A half hour break, a cup of tea and then I feel ok well I can just get this, this and this done before I start on dinner...
I know each day I am getting fitter and stronger!  If health is part of preparedness this all is very good.

We are now ONE WEEK until the wedding!  I am praying for a reasonable day weather wise.  We have a very busy week coming up and much of it will be wedding related.  It is so exciting.   The little girls are beside themselves counting down the days.  

How did you build up your home, save,  add to your pantry or get ahead this week?   
Have a beautiful weekend!  xxx