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 26 September 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 27th September, 2019.

Last week seems like a long time ago!  I am glad to take a moment to look back and breathe!
It seems such a long time ago that I arrived home with little Georgie and Eddie. Now it seems like they have lived here forever.  Both are doing so well and so lovely.  Georgie drinks his bottle up well and has grown.  They all play together and run around as if they have a racing track worked out.

This is Eddie and Loui.

This is little Georgie.

I love them all!  

Some of the ways I saved, got ahead, added to the pantry etc. included:

I had left over roast lamb and also roast chicken.  Normally if I do a roast lamb I cook enough veggies and make enough gravy that I serve up roast lamb x 2.  One lot goes into an oven poof dish sand I usually skip a night and heat that up and have a roast meal again.  I love this night off!   And roast meat will be lunches too.  Still I had left overs!  So I stood and made up a dozen very large rolls.  These go into the freezer for Andy's lunches when needed.  They are thawed/microwaved or go into the sandwich press.  He loves them.  I stick to roast meat and butter with pepper or maybe cheese or mustard as these all freeze just perfectly.    There are always fast lunches to grab and take anywhere.

I did some more burning and cleaning up and had a huge bonfire.  We still have several to go!

I cut Andy's hair.

Mum gave us a big bag of almonds!  They will be soo useful for making pesto when my basil grows.

I cooked up a lot of spaghetti meat sauce then made up pasta bakes and containers of meat sauce.  Some for the freezer, some for meals, some for Lucy's family, some for Allie who has done several lovely things for me lately.

With so many eggs I was able to give eggs to everyone and make up several dozen individual bacon and egg pies.   

For the girls I made little banana cakes.   Yesterday Mum and I headed off, both with cooking, to see the girls.  They will not starve, this I know for sure!

In the op shops I got some very good books, a lovely piece of floral flannelette, leather belts to make animal collars and some bottles.

Our supermarket is giving free seeds with purchases and I have a line up of them sprouting on my windowsill to add to the garden.

We had beautiful rain here.  We are very blessed it is green as much of Australia is in the most severe drought.

A major bit of progress was having help and some fence posts put in so we will have an additional little animal yard.  

On the side of our driveway is a kind of comer of trees and pasture.  I thought if it was fenced  off then I could keep calves, lambs (or whatever!) in it and they could not get into my garden.  So now we have posts and just need wire!

Most of my crafts I share over in the club The Tuesday Afternoon Club. There are almost 700 of us now!   One of the things I make this week was pretty essential oil hand soaps for my gift cupboard.  I found the lovely bottles for $2 each.

They smell lovely and they will pair well with the hand towels I have already finished, bars of soap I made and wash cloths I made.

Well that was my week!  Today I need to get a few things done as tomorrow Andy's team is in the AFL grand final so not much work will happen!

How did you get ahead, build up your savings and pantry and generally feather your nest?  I hope it was a good week for you.  Many things come in the form of little opportunities.  If our eyes are open we can see them.  Just being in good health and feeling good is an opportunity.  I had a few days this week I didn't feel well.   When this happens you realise what an opportunity feeling fit and well actually is! Also how important it is to look after our health.  Being able to look after our families and help others depends on our energy and health!  

Have a wonderful weekend. I am working on a Nanna Post.  I have two almost done.  One is How to beat rising prices like Nanna did and make meat go further.  The other is How to beat rising prices like Nanna did using basic skills.    Hopefully they will be finished soon! xxx

Thursday 19 September 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 20th September, 2019.

It was a big week!  My list was one of the longest ones of the year!   I love to see a long list forming on the fridge as I write down savings and good things.

I got on with a lot more work in the garden.  Lots of digging,  weeding and planting.  I added more tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, herbs and I got my pumpkins planted!  I am so excited to have a pumpkin patch. This is down in the orchard where there is heaps of room to spread around.

The fruit trees all look wonderful and covered in shoots and blossoms!  The fig tree is covered in tiny figs!

So.... it was a week of animals and adventures!

First of all Luke dropped by with two brown sheep to keep here as I want to start spinning the wool.    They are a lovely mid brown.  And they are both pregnant!    I would also love to get a black sheep but they are harder to come across.

THEN I had a call from my niece Allie.  She had been out and came home to a cardboard box near her back door.  She had no idea what it was.  To her complete surprise this is what was in the box...

She had suspicions who might have left it but wasn't saying!  And she had no teats or feed.  So she rang me.  You can guess the rest.

It is a little boy and I named him Eddie.  (After Eddie Munster as he has a little weird thing going on with his forehead!)   He is so cute!  I quickly found out kids have the same formula as lambs and thanks to my animal pantry I had formula mixed up and in a bottle in a few minutes.  He drank his bottle right way.  I was worried as we had no information i.e. if he ever drank from the mother or how long it was since his last feed.  I just had to guess and do my best.  But so far so good.  

I love him!  Even "I hate goats" Andy has been seen playing with him and cuddling him.  And he wants to be cuddled. He presses his face into your neck and sighs deeply.

Eddie is on three bottles a day.  He is really tiny, it is hard to show how small he is!

I am publishing my post early as we are off to see the girls tomorrow and Eddie is coming.  They will love him and he won't miss his bottle this way.  So he is in for a big day out!

During the week I had left over bananas so I made another banana cake for Chloe and Luke.  I make them in a loaf pan for them so they are easy to slice and send in work lunches. Or to freeze.

Next I get a phone call from Luke.  He says there is a calf if I want it... and to pick it up at the yards he is working at... about 15 minutes from me.  Once again you know what happens next!   I threw some newspapers into the back of my car and headed off.  

Oh my goodness this is the tiniest calf ever!  I could even lift him.  The boys put him in the car for me.

I know I could lift him because Andy wasn't at home so I backed up to the yard with Loui in it and lifted him out. I knew nothing  ti help me get started i.e. had he ever had colostrum?  
With losing a calf last week very fresh in my mind I was very cautious.  Again, thanks to the animal pantry I had commercial colostrum formula on hand.  I made that up and gave it to him.   He drank it quite well.   The next morning I did the same.  This was after being terrified he would die overnight.  Then I introduced actual milk formula after almost 24 hours.  He was hard to feed and struggled a lot.  
Now it is the end of day three and now he drinks his bottle like a little angel!   
I named him George. So I have George and Loui.  But now it has become Georgie.  
He is so cute. He cannot moo.  He tries to and a terrible noise comes out!  

So mornings are a circus.  The first morning I heard this constant noise. In my half sleep I wondered is that a sheep or a cow?  It was Georgie's weird noise.  He was hungry!  I decided to feed him first, then Eddie, then Loui.  Everyone is hungry all at once.  Then Loui tried to muscle in and pinch Georgie's bottle.  So now I have a system so they are fed at one time.   I get breakfast after all of this!

As we are going to see the girls tomorrow I made a cake, of course!

This one is a carrot cake with cream cheese icing. 

In latest developments both ewes have had lambs and they are both white!  (I would have liked brown but oh well!)

I planted over 200 sunflowers thanks to Clare who sent me her giant sunflower seeds!

Chloe gave me a lovely cardigan in a colour I love.

Early in the week I got eleven eggs setting a new record!  

Yesterday I got twelve eggs!!  That has been the goal!  

In the op shop I found 3 pure wool Onkaparinga (an old famous Australian brand) blankets.  All in perfect condition.  I snapped those up!

I saw bread on an amazing mark down and bought lots to freeze.

We had a couple of days of windy nasty weather.  I used those to get stuck into some spring cleaning. I steam cleaned the bathroom and took apart the top of the stove and cleaned everything.  It looks sparkling now!   There is lots of spring cleaning to do so if I get a chance I tackle something.  So I was pleased with these things getting done.

So that is my week!  Last Friday seems a longtime ago! 

I hope it was a good week for you.  How did you build up your home, pantry, savings... did you find ways to get ahead and get things done? 

In Australia it is Spring and it is a true case of "you reap what you sow."  If I don't get my garden planted I can't expect to sow!  So that is a priority!  Later when I hopefully am harvesting then making the most of it all becomes the priority. The seasons are wonderful and we need to do things according to the season we are in.  Like with many things there is a window of opportunity.  Many times I think "oh this is an opportunity!  Take it!"   I guess it is really just like my favourite saying "Make hay while the sun shines."   It is time to be prudent in all we do.  xxx

Thursday 12 September 2019

Feather your Nest Friday 13th of September 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 11 September 2019

How to beat rising prices like Nanna did. Cleaning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 5 September 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx