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 July 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 26th July, 2019.

This week I was a bit tired!  I slept in a bit a few times and struggled to wake up even then!  But it was a very good week.   I had a list of goals planned.  Honestly this keeps me on track as much as possible.  I tend to get side tracked!

Some of the ways I got ahead, saved, built up our home were:

I had huge lemons from the op shop and plenty of eggs so I made Lemon Butter.   This is so easy to make and so delicious with many uses.   The fast easy recipe is here Jars of Sunshine.
I got two giant sized jars.

One of the things I used it for was to fill little cakes.  I took a tray of cakes down to the girls and they loved them.

I made half gluten free and half regular.

This week I made Butter Chicken in the slow cooker and it was delicious. I shared this with Lucy's family so they had it for dinner one night also.

Dad called in and gave me a huge jar of honey. I think it would weigh two kilos. (4+ pounds)  I love honey, so useful.

Finally I finished my Sweetpea blanket.  This took me a ridiculous amount of time.  I don't get to sit down like I used to, even in winer!   I really enjoyed this.  I love Attic 24 for patterns as I cannot read them and she shows you step by step in pictures.  This pattern is called Trellis.  I loved it.  I made this in wool from Bendigo Woollen Mills.  It is so warm and soft. 

I already started my next blanket.  I want one for the living room on the lounge.  This one will be soft neutrals and I aim to be faster.  I worked out how little time slots really help so I will keep the crochet next to the computer.  So many times a day I will be looking up a recipe or instructions and the internet is slow here.  While I am waiting I will crochet.  While I am learning something on You tube I will crochet.   

When our new water tanks replaced the old rusty ones we saved a small tank that was up on a stand as it was in ok condition.  This week we turned it into an animal shelter.   Andy took to and cut out a door.

I thought that the lambs and Laffy would be wary of a large new object and may not want to go in it for shelter for some time.  

Well that wasn't the case...

Later evening I snuck down to have a nosey and Laffie and the little lamb Blossom were fast asleep snuggled up in there.  They love it!     In bad weather this will be an additional shelter to the little shed they have and have kind of outgrown.

After getting eleven new chickens we needed more nesting boxes.  I had to figure out what to use.  This old metal shelf was in the big shed full of junk.  So full of stuff and cobwebs that I never realised it was actually a pretty good set of shelves.   Andy emptied it and cleaned it up and we moved it into the hen house.  This thing was so heavy!   I wired a series of baskets to it and filled them with hay...

Each day I pick excess from the veggie garden.  Laffie loves any broccoli that has gone to shoot.  The chickens get silverbeet, household scraps and each day I weed the garden until I have a full bucket. This gives them extra greens.  (And kills two birds with one stone)  I just noticed the fluffy bottom in this photo lol!

One of my goals this week was to make soap.  The Wool Wash making got me thinking about it.   I made two batches on Wednesday and a double batch yesterday.  

This one is Wendy's recipe from My Abundant Life.  It is looking so good!  Later today I will slice it up.   I used two types of Rose Essential oil and it smells beautiful.  I added to the rose theme with little rose buds.  Whenever I have roses or get a chance to pick some I dry them.  So I have a trusty box of dried roses to go to.  I can't tell you how often these are handy! 

I have used them to decorate food, little parcels, bath and beauty products and more.  The little buds I had were just right.

The creamy yellow soap is being unmoulded today.  I made this so I have some for me.  It will be thick slices and the recipe used olive oil and beeswax.  It has Manuka honey and Manuka essential oil.  I am so pleased with it.  
The heart shaped soaps I think would be great to save for Valentines Day.  Overall these will boost my gift cupboard quite a bit.  Handmade soaps are over $10 each here in the stores.  They are expensive!   I also have crochet wash cloths to pair them with.

When we moved here there was a safe in the shed.  A locked safe!  Well a locked safe is full of mystery and intrigue!   This week Andy found some old keys up in the workmans cottage.  Suddenly it hit him what if they are the safe keys!?   Well they were!  Sadly the safe was full of nothing haha but now we have a safe! 

I made some spaghetti sauce and it gave us several meals and a meal to add to my frozen emergency meals.

I picked Broccoli from the garden and also bunches of parsley.

Lastly, we had three big bonfires and cleared up another three areas.  Because of storms we have many fallen branches to add to the already big piles!  If it does not rain today we will have a couple more.  

So that was my week!  Now I see I got a fair bit done.  It is just amazing how much we can do and then forget.  If someones says "so what have you been doing?" it is easy to go mind numbingly blank and feel ridiculous when you know you have been busy!    It is so good to review your week.   We should feel good about our work and rather just have a giant "To Do" list ahead of us also realise how much we already have achieved!  I feel so happy with my week! 

How did you save, get ahead, add to your pantry or garden, preparedness...?  I hope many opportunities came your way.  

Have a lovely weekend! xxx

Thursday 18 July 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 19th July, 2019.

It has been a really good week and it feels like longer than a week since last Friday!  Back then one of my goals was to get more chickens as my five eggs a day is no longer anywhere near enough.
I had to try a few different things but in the end Facebook Buy, Swap and Sell worked for me and I ended up going on two long drives to pick up new chickens.
As this took me to two different towns I went to the op shops in each and the Supermarkets in each to pick up the specials.  Before going anywhere I look up the catalogue specials for whatever supermarket they have and make a list.  Even though they are in the country the small towns are mostly affiliated with a bigger group and they have the same specials as the city stores. These can be good.  And I also look up to see if these towns have op shops!

The first farm I went to was really fun.  It was just full of all kinds of chickens.  It reminded me of Greenacres the TV show.  I went for six and I came home with ten.  (This is known as Chicken Maths) I got six regular laying chickens and then I had to have four beautiful black ones.  They are younger so I have to feed them up for a while.

Next I had another drive to get just one Wyandotte and I did it so I could order a few more now that I found a breeder.  I have always wanted these!

At the end of all of this I had stocked up my pantry,  found new op shops and now I have twenty chooks!

This is my fanciest chicken ever. She needs a name...

So soon I should have eleven or twelve eggs a day then later I should have sixteen.  Four of my chooks are bantams.  Their purpose is mainly to hatch eggs and look after chickens down the track.  Lucy and her husband have huge chocolate brown hens and a rooster.  So my bantams hopefully will hatch some of these!

My hens should give me plenty of eggs for us, enough to supply Lucy's family until their own hens lay and Mum and Dad (Chloe keeps her own chickens) and plenty for gifts and to barter with.  I am finding eggs are one of my main barter items.  Eggs, bunches of Bay Leaves and Parsley and gum nuts.  I seem to be able to do all sorts of deals with these.  I forgot to add... Scout just loves eggs.  When I cook eggs for us I cook her one too.

During the week we were cleaning up after a storm.  There were three big trees/branches over fences.  So we have more firewood to stack and more bonfires to burn!

I got stuck into some organising projects.  Firstly I tackled the laundry cupboards.  Now I have space to get a bit further ahead with laundry detergents etc.

Next I attacked the freezers.  This was a big job as we had added a chest freezer and as with chest freezers things got thrown in.   I have two fridges and one has an upright side freezer and one has freezer drawers at the bottom.   Between these now I have a drawer that is just ready to go emergency meals.  A draw that is fast and easy lunch options which is mainly for Andy and Luke.  I have meat, veggies and desert sections.  The chest freezer has giant chunks of venison at the bottom and baskets of bread on the top.  Now I know what I have and can find things!   I am really pleased!

In town I found a big selection of heavily marked down bakery items like cheese and bacon scrolls,  herbed focaccia and so on.  I filled a huge shopping bag for $10.   These all went into my easy lunches section in the freezer.  It was easily 30 lunches.

Also in town a shop had a stand out the front with everything for $2.  I looked but there were many things marked $49!   I think many people walked on by because it seemed the $2 sign was wrong, didn't apply to everything or something...   I went in to the store and asked if these expensive items were really $2?  The lady laughed and said yes they were having a big clean out.  So back I went.  I picked out two iPad/tablet cases made of leather in lovely colours marked $49 each.  Then I picked out other things that were good gifts... travel wallets, party times and more.  I spent $14 and I added up I had almost $300 in gifts for my gift cupboard!

We pruned the pear trees so we will be able to get nets over them later.  While in the orchard I closely looked at each fruit tree. They are all looking good with lots of buds!   It is so nice to be in the orchard. It is so nice to HAVE an orchard!  Each tree has a protective surround.  The calf and lambs walk around with me wanting to be patted.  It is so beautiful!

I made some bath soak for myself with some of my favourite essential oils.  Soaking in the bath is my relaxation!

All the laces were an op shop find!   I found a bag of meters and metres of laces and trims.

We used up more broccoli from the garden.

I made up a big batch of Wool Wash.  This is the most divine soap ever.   I use it to wash all my things like the quilt, woollen underlay, pillows, blankets, lounge throws and my jumpers, cardigans, scarves etc.   Everything comes up softer than soft.  For this reason it is perfect for baby clothes.  It also kills dust mites.  This is a beautiful gift too.

The recipe is easy.  It is a Jackie French recipe I have used for years.
4 cups of water,
4 cups of Lux flakes.  If not in Australia use a pure soap flake or grate a pure yellow soap.
1 cup methylated spirits,
1 tablespoon Eucalyptus oil.
Bring the water to the boil.  Stir in the flakes until smooth.  Then add the rest of the ingredients and pour into jars.

At first it will be a liquid and look like this...

(Sorry about the lighting it was late evening soap making!)
Oh... see the old pot?  I got that for $4 to be my soap and detergent making pot.

After about a day your Wool Wash will set.  Make sure your jars have lids so you can seal them up.

To use it dissolve one tablespoon in a jug of hot water then use it in your bucket or tub to hand wash. I use it in my top loader washing machine all the time.   The water can be warm or cold as long as it has been dissolved first that is all that matters.
Things that were scratchy will be soft.  They smell glorious.  It is honestly the most beautiful wool wash.

Next I made a similar recipe for fabric softener.  (There are the two on the right of the picture)
This is the same... you need a little bit and dissolve it in a jug then add to your wash.
The recipe is
4 cups hot water, 2 cups Lux flakes (or grated pure soap) 1 cup methylated spirits, 2 tablespoons Eucalyptus oil.   Dissolve Lux flakes in the hot water and add the other ingredients.  Put into bottles of jars.   Use two tablespoons in your wash.   This also smells beautiful.

In a way if you have never make soap this is a way to start.  These products are better than anything you can buy in the shops.  I have set two jars aside for friends I am swapping with.

I made two Tuna Mornay casseroles and two chocolate cakes.  One of each went to Chloe and Luke.

I sliced the chocolate cakes and put fresh strawberry jam in the middle.  This was delicious and kind of a cheats version of black forest cake (ish) and was a hit!

I mended a shirt for Andy.

I am really pleased with the week as organised freezers,  budding fruit trees and more chickens are all very good things.  And we had rain!

Setting goals as I plan my week on a Sunday really helps me.  It gives me things to keep in mind that I need to try and get done.  This made me try several ways to find chickens after asking everyone failed to produce any.  It made me go pick them up right away!  I know next week one of my gaols will be to set up lots of new nesting boxes and perches.

How did you get ahead, build up your pantry, save and build up your home this week?  I hope you had lots of good opportunities.

It has taken me ages to post this as we woke up in a blanket of fog.  When there is fog the internet is either really slow or doesn't work at all!  So after lunch the fog cleared a bit and now is my chance! xxx

Cookie could really use some healing prayers.  And Rachel could really do with some prayers also. Thank you!

Thursday 11 July 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 12th July, 2019.

It has been a really good week!  It is raining now and has been for a couple of days.  It did hit with a big storm and we have lots of branches down and mess.  But the rain is worth it.  I like to watch it pouring down the pipes into the rainwater tanks!

Some of the ways I built up our home and got ahead were:

This is a big one!  Laffie is weaned and so are two more lambs.  They are all eating grass and hay, spinach, parsley and other leaves from the garden.

This lamb is Jellybean.   Do notice Laffin's eyelashes! 

Before the rain we went on with cleaning up and burning another area.  This was bonfire number 23!

Once the fire is going well we work away and throw on branches for an hour or two until that spot is pretty well cleaned up.   I save boxes, household paper and dryer lint for my fire lighters.

I baked Dad's favourite cake and he turned up just in time to see it fresh in the tin and cut his own piece.  The rest I sliced and froze for when he visits.

I stewed some apples (still from the big apple tree) to go with some pork.

On Tuesday I made a big pot of spaghetti meat sauce then made up pasta bakes.  The recipe is essentially lasagne except with spiral pasta instead of sheets.  I find this so much easier.  A huge tray of this went down to Lucy and the girls.  I froze some and we had this for two nights this week.

I made gluten free little cakes.

For the girls I made little cakes and dusted them with icing sugar.   This is because a certain someone just eats the icing if I ice them.

I made a stack of cleaning cloths from a soft flannelette sheet I found in the op shop.

Mum gave us some turkey.  It was four pieces for two meals.  So this made two dinners including tonights.   She also gave us some meaty bones for Scout.  And little Scout is doing so well and tries so hard to please.  

We love her!  

I had a few strawberries sitting in the fridge about to go to waste.  Then I remembered some in the freezer.  I made them into jam and made up a batch of gluten free scones.  

I had left over roast venison and made several Shepherd's pies.  They were beautiful and some went into the freezer.

And I made Gluten Free Melting Moments.  These were delicious!  

Luke came by yesterday.  He calls me Mother lol.   He says "Hello Mother I have a present for you!"  Luke has me figured out.  The present is something he found... a calf feeding set up that will feed three calves at once!   I have the same thing that feeds one calf.  So I know this would be worth over $100 and it will be wonderful to have in my animal pantry.   I was so pleased!   

One of the things I set to good use this week was feed bags I had saved up.  These come with grain for chickens and various animal feeds.   There is one with a Kangaroo I have seen too which I would love to get.   Anyway they are an item that people throw away.
I made heavy duty shopping bags.  They are also water proof so can be wiped down.

I love them!  A lady in The Tuesday Afternoon Club gave me another idea for them too so I will save more.  

Also I tried something new and felted some soaps.  This was fun and easy.  It is like soap in a wash cloth or bag.   I seem to be accumulation a whole heap of gifts that are very practical/reusable/ money saving etc.    So on my list next is soap making.

So it was a week of getting lots done,  a day visiting the girls with Mum, rain and cooking.

We have decided to get more chickens.  We get five eggs a day and now this is not enough.  I give eggs to anyone I know of that needs help,  I take two dozen a week to Lucy and like to give Mum a dozen.  I like to use them for bartering and I use a heap myself.  Now Scout loves a cooked egg  better than anything!   So we are getting more chickens!    I can't wait!  We know someone who breeds all kinds so I hope to get some pretty and interesting chooks to add to the flock.

I hope you had a wonderful week.  Lets face it some weeks it is an achievement to still be alive at the end.  Others are big weeks for getting things done.  This is a case of make hay while the sun shines! 

How did you build up your home, pantry, savings or gift cupboard this week?  We all learn such a lot from each other.  A little bit of encouragement and someone to work along with is good too.  Thinking over my week makes me happy.  I can see I was very blessed this


Thursday 4 July 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 5th July, 2019.

This was a much slower week for me!  A cold and a shocking cough slowed me down.  And these reminded me of why we prepare and keep spare meals in the freezer and why I make soft flannelette hankies to keep in the medical cabinet.  They saved my life just about this week!

But I wasn't sick all week and I am on the mend now so I still achieved some things!
Some of the ways I feathered the nest included:

I made a big batch of pumpkin gluten free scones. I had made pumpkin soup earlier and I just rescue a couple of chunks of pumpkin from the top and set aside for scones.  The addition of cheese makes these pretty good for lunch boxes.

I love scones, they made soup a full meal and they freeze well!

I also made a big batch of homemade dog food.  Little Scout is doing so well and we love her!  She is so good and wanting to please. She sits nicely :) 

She has learned how to be good in the car and lots of things like fetch.  She has a squeaky toy which is her favourite.  

A highlight of the week was meeting my friend Wendy in a town north of us.  We had a coffee together then later we met up again for lunch. It was so much fun.  We had planned a swap from the swap party plus an additional swap since.  I took Wendy eggs, a fabric panel and a big bottle of Miracle Cleaner...

Wendy gave me lace, doilies, a vintage sheet and bulbs for my garden (from her Garden) that are pink Lilies!  I got them all planted and am so excited as they will be beautiful.

While in town I went to two op shops.  I found two thick and good quality old bread pans, glass cut napkin rings, a piece of velvet for making hot packs and three gorgeous old jars for my collection.  

One is older with the greenish tinged glass.  The brand we have in Australia is Agee.  I have probably fifty of these now. These were $1 each.  The glass is thick and often uneven with bubbles in it.  I adore them and use them!  This is how I store my food so these will be full and on my shelves soon!

During the week I made two fruit loaves for toasting.  
We picked Broccoli almost every day.
I roasted another big piece of venison and it was beautiful.  Tonight I am making a lot of it into Shepherds Pies.  I will do one each for the girls and two for us. One will go into the freezer.   After that I will still have some left which Andy will have for lunches. Finally Scout will get the bone!

When in town I also did a big shop.  Since I re arranged the pantry and added the shelves in the laundry I am really working on stocking up more. I wait for really good deals.  This time the best deals were dish washing liquid, dried pasta and canned soup.  I also bought extra packets of matches to store. 

I made heat packs for the girls.  I lined them with thick flannel then they had pretty covers.  They loved them!  Lucy will just gently warm them for bed at night.  It is cold there!   

Then I made two new ones for myself.  I cannot be without heat packs!   I used barley from the soup bean section in the supermarket for the filling.

I made a long one to go around my neck when I get a neck ache/migraine.    These make wonderful gifts and a good inclusion in a get well gift or a winter birthday. 

So this was my week and it was a bit slower but still ok!
Andy has been working on cutting up fallen branches and fire wood.  This afternoon I think we will light a few bon fires and get a few more patches cleared up. 

We have a beautiful sunny winters day!  I love these days.  I need to get out in that sunshine.  
This week I have weaned two lambs and next week another lamb plus Laffie can be weaned.  They are eating so much grass now they hardly bother to come to the gate for their bottles.  Then I will be down to Jellybean and Blossom.  (The babies!) 

I hope you had a good week and that you had little opportunities to get ahead, build up your pantry, preparedness and savings.  Over the last few weeks I have noticed I have built up a lot of sewing and craft supplies.  (Thanks mainly to the Swap Party!)  This was from getting very low on fabric especially.  I am really hoping  that over the weekend I can get busy making things from all of this!   Now we are into the second half of the year I want to really work on my Christmas cupboard.  With less animals to feed I hope to have more time to craft!

Have a wonderful weekend! xxxx