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 29 August 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 30 August, 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

I used up cream and made some quiches.

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

I dried Bay Leaves and got them packaged up:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a lovely weekend! xxx

Thursday 22 August 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 23rd August, 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything is so darn interesting!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 15 August 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 16 August, 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haha they look like they are going to a party!  

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

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

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

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

Monday 12 August 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 9 August 2019

The Bluebirds are Nesting, 9th August, 2019.

I am late this week.  Yesterday I travelled down to see the girls and last night we had a big storm.  The internet is so bad here if the weather is rough.  So I gave up in the end and this morning is clear so I am in luck!

My list was not so long this week.  The main thing of benefit here was rain.  One of our rain water tanks filled up.  I think this morning the second one might be full too!

Yesterday was wonderful.  I went to see the girls with cup cakes and had a lovely time with them.  I came home with a big bunch of Rosemary and baskets of pink Proteas!  I am in heaven!  At this stage they are just in baskets and today I will get them hanging to dry and some in fresh water.

There are many buds on this tree so each week I can get some more!!  

Now there has been rain Lucy's kitchen window looks out over water.  While doing dishes she sees  Swans!  In the evening they have Wallabies on the lawn.  I was able to get a photo of a Swan on a nest.

Early in the week (and before the rain) we worked on bonfires.  We are up to number 31!  One day we had four going at once and as Andy chainsawed I would drag the dead wood onto a fire. We finished a whole area this way.  

See the little figure in the background?  That is Scout. Yep, we wore her out.  Now this is really saying something as this dog never tires!  But she totally flaked out by later afternoon.

It was hard work and I have a fair few bruises but a day outside in the sun and getting heaps done was so good.  I notice lots of birds and beautiful little finds.

I went into town to meet my friend Wendy.  We do some little trades and talk what to make next.  It was a lovely day and I was able to go to two op shops and pick up several bargains in the grocery store.

My pantry had many additions.  I am really pleased.  Checking grocery stores in small towns and studying the catalogues etc....  there are not that many really good deals but when I do find one I get a fair amount and stock up.  

I hope it was a good week for you?  How did you build up your home, savings, pantry or garden? 

Thank you for the amazing response to the new series.  I am working away on our first subject, saving in the laundry. xxx

Tuesday 6 August 2019

How to beat rising prices like Nana did.

For a few years I blogged several times a week up and we had a series on preparedness and lots on things such as crock pot cooking,  sour dough, various ways to save money and get ahead.
Then life suddenly changed and we moved to the farm!   It is amazing to think this time last year I don't think we were even sure we would be moving.  Look at us now!
But all this meant I have had much less time to write so I continued my Friday posts and I have The Tuesday Afternoon Club as well.
But lately it has been on my mind to write a new series as I keep noticing so many interesting things. And many of you have too.  Now we come from different locations but many of these will still be things in common.

First we really battled rising electricity and water costs.  They doubled then they doubled again. They just kept creeping up.  Being winter here there was a report the other day of people dying of hypothermia in their own homes simply because of the price of electricity.  Heaven help us if we have one of South Australia's heatwaves at any time as people will die.

Water and electricity were once just things you took for granted.  Now they are so expensive that people are really struggling.  Watering a garden is so out of the question for many as well.

Another has been the price of meat, butter, eggs and many basics.  One day I went to buy lamb chops for my Granddaughter who loves to hold the "little handle" and eat them.  That day they were suddenly $45 a kilo!  I wondered if there was a mistake!  A block of butter is easily $8 unless you get a special or Aldi.  Eggs are up to $8. Toothpaste is $8 and $10.  Laundry liquid is up to $20!  There used to be cheaper alternatives but they are becoming less.  And wages haven't risen with all of this.
In fact house prices have fallen.  So this asset has lost value while peoples debts and living costs have risen.
Interest rates have fallen so low and if they fall more where will we be? In negative interest territory. That is so mind boggling it is hard to get a handle on. You would have to pay the bank to keep your money in it.  Before this the government is trying to stop people from using cash for larger purchase meaning stuffing your money in the mattress won't work either.

Petrol (gas) prices are high also.  It is not long and this is passed on to the cost of groceries also.

What were treats like takeaway and a coffee and a cake out are also now shocking prices.  Many of us have had a fright when we have bought something at a bakery or a cafe and found out a slice of something is $8.

Our British sisters have their own worries. I was just reading an article "No deal Brexit: Delays and food shortages expected."   It was so interesting and a bit frightening and from very mainstream media.

Our USA sisters have very possible price rises and shortages as the vast majority of farming land just had very bad weather this season.  Even absolute champion gardeners like Vicky have struggled to get a harvest.  They just keep getting washed out.

Today I read that our government is trying to quickly fix the issue that Australia only has 21 days of fuel supplies.  If any issue (and there are some right now) blows up the whole country would come to a standstill in 21 days.  Many people don't even consider what that would mean.  It would mean no food on the shelves, no medicines and no transport!  Just for starters.

Next I notice so many on social media asking genuinely for advice on how to stretch the food in their child's lunch box, how to lower their food bill, how to cook from scratch... how to make it to the end of the week on $10.

My eyes nearly fell out of my head when I saw in a popular Australia home living magazine a few pages devoted to winter.  They had a beautiful room and pointed out ways to stay warm.  They hung a curtain rod across the front door and hung a quilt on it ... like they used to do in England to limit the gush of cold air coming into the home when the door is opened.   Heavy curtains, door snakes, blankets to snuggle up in on the lounge.   It was a direct address to power prices.  I have never seen this in a mainstream magazine.  It is the new normal.

Then I noticed constant requests for cakes and meals with no butter.  And war time recipes with no butter and no eggs...
Articles on how to grow the most you can in a small amount of land.
More people keeping chickens even in the city.
People wanting to learn basic skills so they can save from cooking from scratch to mending, sour dough, yoghurt making etc.

Another big trend is re useable items and less throw away and waste.  Some of this is from concern about the environment and some is to reduce costs.  Mostly I think it is a bit of both.   This is a good thing as they go hand in hand.   So now reusable lunch wrap and containers, drink bottles, serviettes and cloth napkins, even cloth menstrual pads, nappies (diapers) drier balls, baskets to take shopping and cloth bags,  everything that we don't have to buy and throw in the bin any longer is a saving in more ways than one.

I am glad to see this and have a smile because it is not new, it is how Nana lived.  She would be so cool right now.   Her shopping basket and change purse, her veggie garden and fruit trees,  cooking from a few basic ingredients,  swapping food and help with neighbours and relatives,  mending and making do, fixing things or trying to!   She did not think  "mmm what will I go buy for dinner?"  or "what do I feel like for dinner?" she worked out how to use up what she had and what was in the garden to come up with a meal.   The shopping was not to a set plan or to a list of favourites so much as shopping to get the best deals THEN making a list from what  was on hand now and to get the most possible meals and lunches to pack from all of this.  Anything looking a bit tired was quickly made into something before it was "past it" so there was rarely any waste.  Throwing large amounts of food in the bin would have been seen as unbelievably stupid and terrible waste.

You had fruit you picked and used it.  
You had plums you made plum jam, cake, cobbler and you ate plums! 

Nan and Pa would head off with lunches packed and a thermo of coffee and cold drinks.   They studied the catalogues for the best specials and shopped many stores.  Nan cooked everything.  Pa grew veggies.  Nan spun her own wool and knitted gifts.  If there was fruit nearby it was time to make jam and pies.   One of my Nans had a kind of fruit tree radar, she knew every fruit tree in about a 50 kilometre radius.  Especially lemon trees.  I inherited this gene.  haha!
If you had a lot of eggs you cooked with eggs!   If produce was fading fast you stayed up late getting preserves made!

You gathered what was useful to your family and you shared the rest with others.
Nan washed out her plastic bags and used rags to dust and clean.  Her house was spotless and her linen smelled like sunshine.  The clothes dried on the line and Pa helped her fold the sheets so they were so neatly stacked.

Nan was always busy.  She was happy.  She got on with her work and helped the extended family.
They saved.
They rescued any stray animal and it became one of the gang.  One time I remember Nan and Pa saw a dog had been left tied to a tree just outside their closest town.  This town had about ten people population.  Yep that was our town!   Anyhow we headed off in their little car to see if this dog was still there.  If it was the conclusion was that it had been dumped.  And it was still there and it had obviously recently had puppies yet there were not there.   So it had been dumped and the puppies got rid of we though...   into the car she came.   Her feeding up and looking after began instantly and she was part of the family for many years.
So even pets were what came your way you just looked after.

Neighbours moved in next to Nan and Pa.  They had fled the war and came from Latvia.  None of them could speak any English so Nan taught them.  They became life long friends of us all.

Nan and Pa didn't take big fancy holidays.  For many years they and my parents and my Aunty and Uncle all shared a holiday house at the beach about an hour away.  This became an annual holiday for many years.  Once there Nan still cooked the usual meals and Pa took us to the beach and swung us over the ways.  He never grew tired of us saying "do it again!"
Nan and Pa's carbon footprint was miniscule.   A while ago I said how I have realised I would much rather be home making jam then in a jet.  It is true.  And this was the way Nan felt.

When they built their house they actually made the bricks.  Mum and her brother helped and they made large bricks until there were enough.  This is how they got their house!

When I had Chloe Nan and Pa came to help.   I was supplied with hand knitted baby dresses from Nan plus many of her friends and tiny soft smocked gowns and so many things all of which I still have.  Nan kept us all warm with knits and now Mum does the same with knitting and crochet.

So here we are.  For one reason or another we are going back to Nan's ways.  Electricity is not freely used.  You put on slippers and a dressing gown and have a hot drink and a blanket on the lounge.  You collet the eggs and work out what you can make with what you have and how to stretch the roast with a ton of veggies and sides and consider how soup beforehand or desert after will further fill everyone up.  Then they might not notice the reduced meat portion. You might even have meat left over to make the lunches or pies.

Food was quarrelled away and much of it was done via stretching things, substituting things, being inventive, growing things... but there was always a pantry and it was important.  There was always a back up plan.  An emergency meal wasn't takeaway it was a sandwich.

There are just so many things we buy now as we think we need them but Nan never heard of them.  There are a lot of things we can drop from the list!
There are a lot of things that if we dropped them from the list we would be healthier as well as save money.  Mind blowing amounts of money.

So we are going to work through this one subject at a time.  We are going to start out with the laundry.  I hope between us we can greatly reduce laundry costs.  We are going to work through the whole house and garden and then also Christmas, birthdays, pets and holidays.

I just wanted to introduce the idea today to get us going and thinking.
What did your parents, Grandparents or Great Grandparents do that would be considered ridiculously cool and trendy now?   Do you know much about how they got through WW1, WW2 and the depression?

For those interested in this subject Wartime Farm is a great series on You Tube and I love Great Depression Cooking with Clara Cannucciari.  She has a book too that I am just reading.  The old cookbooks are the best!  They take basic ingredients and make beautiful homely nourishing food.  What more could you want!?

See you next time for "How to beat rising prices in the laundry like Nan did." xxx

Thursday 1 August 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 2nd August, 2019.

Can you believe it is August already!  We can see signs of Spring here which seems a bit early.  But this means be have a lot to do yet before winter is over!  We are up to bonfire number 27!  We still have so much to clean up before summer.
However we are here to consider what we did achieve for the week and what we have to be thankful for (not stress over the list still ahead!)

One of my goals this week was to make soap to add to my gift cupboard and things I can use to barter with.   It was so much fun.  I shared this and lots of info over on The Tuesday Afternoon Club. If you would like to join we would love to have you! The Tuesday Afternoon Club.

I made three variations...

I am so thrilled with it.  This gives me plenty of time to get it nice and dry before Christmas.  I have noted family who have commented on it.  Lucy messaged me to say Mum that soap is PERFECT.  So I know she likes it a lot! 

This was one of those times that I was so pleased I always save roses and rose buds.  I went to my box of dried flowers and had perfect little buds for my pink soap.

If you would like to learn to make soap follow Wendy's recipe and method.  It is clear, easy and makes beautiful soap.   It is Coconut and Olive Oil Soap.    In my pictures this is the pink with the rosebuds.  When sliced it is as smooth as velvet.
The heart shaped soaps were from Nanna Chel.  I also found the nice moulds from reading her blog.  This recipe is here on here blog Castile Bubbles-One of my favourite soaps.  She has loads of soap making recipes and information.

I had soap all over the kitchen table.  Dad called in and asked what is this?  I said "soap" but Dad's hearing is not wonderful and he touched the top of one, ran his finger across it (as you do) and tasted it!   I am saying DAD IT IS SOAP!!  but he is not listening.  🙄

Next I made laundry liquid.  The price of laundry power and liquids here have gone mad.  Many are $20 a bottle. It is incredible.  Even on special they are expensive.  I have made liquid before with pretty good success.  But Jane posted a recipe for the one she makes and I wanted to try this.  I have also been in a big effort to increase my laundry supplies.   I got this going on the stove.  I am glad Dad didn't walk in again to taste what was "cooking" haha.

I am very pleased with it!   Now I will share the recipe Jane gave me in a post coming up.  I am starting a series next week where we are going to tackle ridiculous rising costs.

During the week I roasted a large piece of venison.  Well, huge would better describe it.  First of all we had a roast dinner.  Then I plated up two more roast dinners for a second meal.  Andy then ate venison for lunch the next two days.  I bought big packets of fresh rolls and then made the cold meat up into lunch rolls.  They were as Andy liked them,  loads of meat in each roll.   I made up 12 very large rolls to go into the freezer for lunches. 

After this I had lots of scrappy bits of meat still.  I fed Scout.  Then I bagged up chopped up meat to be dog food.   By the time I was finished this venison went so far! 

I filled up my wheelbarrow more times than I can count and carted sheep manure on to my veggie garden.  I am getting prepared for spring.  I just realised why my shoulders are achy!  That could be it!

I had op shop luck.  I found a silicone loaf pan which is prefect for a soap mould for $1.  (When you make soap you see everything as a potential mould) and I found a thick cotton waffle weave bed cover.  I am cutting it up to make nice big absorbent kitchen towels.  I will get nine.  Also I got a beautiful curtain in a nylon which is suitable to make veggie bags and there is just miles of it.  Both of these are now washed up ready for sewing.

With so much parsley in the garden I am picking bunches and drying them.  I am finding one bunch dries near the fire in about four days.  It turns out very green.  I am packing this up so then I will have both bay leaves and parsley I can gift and barter.   The fire place now always has parsley in front of it.

In the shops I had some good deals!  I stocked up on olive oil, dish detergent, conditioner and a few other bargains.

I also found a good gift for my present cupboard on a marked down table.  It cost $5 and was marked down from $39.  I have it in mind for one of the male presents.

Lucy needed On Guard/Plague Defence or Germ Killer for her diffuser. I made her up a big batch as I have the essential oils to make it from scratch. 

Andy put fences around our bigger established fruit trees so the lambs and calf can't eat those.  They are covered in buds now so it needed to be done.

He also cut up a big fallen tree and stacked more wood. 

I have been doing lots of weeding, improving soil and now I am puling out some finished broccoli plants and other winter veggies.  One day I did so much!  But mostly I do a bit each day.  This feeds the animals better.  I take a bucket of weeds and spent plants up to the chickens.  They go crazy over it.  They unload their own bucket! 

Mum also gave me some wheat for the chooks so that was very helpful.  

Next I take weeds and veggies to Laffie and the lambs.  Laffin's favourite is broccoli.

And the lambs love all of it.  

Nothing at all is wasted.  It seems every single thing feeds somebody! 

Oh, that would include Scout. She liked that venison.  She has grown a lot.  She enjoys all the action. She is with one of us doing some interesting thing most of every day!

Her idea of interesting is pretty much anything! 

Yesterday Mum and I headed down to see the girls.   Of course I made a cake.  The big thing in their household just now is Elsa.  Harper is currently freezing people.  So I did one of my cheat decorator cakes and it was a big hit! 

I also took a tray of Enchilada's and gave Chloe and Luke the same.   I made twenty all up.  I used to buy the jars of sauce. They re so expensive and since I make big batches I would need at least four or five jars.  Vicky taught me how to make my own sauce.  You can find that recipe plus a link to the whole method (which I am sure is a cheats recipe overall but it tastes good!) here Money Saving Dry Mixes.

We are having them again for dinner tonight so I have the night off.  Also I am freezing some as ready made meals. (I am working on increasing my freaky to thaw and eat meals.)

A new chemist took over in town.  They cleared out some brands to replace with their own brands.  I stocked up on bargain priced OTC things like aspirin, cold and flu tablets etc.  Into the medical cabinet they went! 

So that was my week!

This is the first time the list on my fridge took more than one page!

I hope it was a good week for you. How did you get head, save, add to your gift cupboard and pantry?  It all adds up!  Week by week we have conquered a lot of big goals!   Do you find prices have gone up and it takes more effort to find good deals and stretch the budget?  I am amazed at some of the prices I am seeing.   So next week I am starting a weekly post on beating the ridiculous prices!

Have a lovely weekend! xxx