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 28 November 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 29th November 2019.

We were blessed with such a mild week of weather and even some rain.  Nice weather just makes life so much easier.  I have tried to take full advantage of it too!  So this week was quite productive!

Because the weather is good the garden is good!   My pumpkin patch is really growing!  I am so excited to even have a pumpkin patch!
My Foxgloves have flowered and flowered.  Everyone sees them as they are right near the kitchen door....

And I have pale pink Hollyhocks out.  They are so tall!  I love them I will be saving all of the seeds!

I fertilised all the veggie, herb and flower beds plus all the fruit trees and gave them a good soaking.  This was almost a whole days work. 
My first zucchini is ready to pick.  The parsley has gone to seed and when the seeds are ready I will save them and pack them up.
I planted two types of cucumbers and used an old wire garden chair as my climbing support.  It looks so pretty in the garden too!  I have been studying how you can greatly increase your garden space by going up. If you include supports for your tomatoes and have them go up instead of spreading out,  if you have a wall of fence add some wire or something and send up passionfruit or climbing beans or snow peas...   the sky is the limit to what you can plant that will climb. And it looks beautiful!  

I made two big impossible pies.  One was for us and one was for Lucy and family.  Each took a dozen eggs and garden spinach.   And I used my 25c bargain creams.  So they were very cheap to make and tasted so good.

I made Peanut Butter biscuits for the girls, this is what they requested this week.

In the op shops (thrift stores) I found new quality reels of cottons for $1. This is how I stock my sewing cabinet.  Also a vintage apron sewing kit.  It has voile underlay and organza top ... it was $4.  I will either make it up or give it as it is as a gift.

I made up some laundry liquid.  I recently ran out and I missed this a lot.  I use it for towels, socks, jeans, all the work clothes etc.  The spare amount is kept in a bucket with a lid and I have four large bottles on the shelf.   The recipe is the same one Jane uses from Down to Earth Blog.   I like Rhonda's recipes as she costs things out and provides links to ingredients and studies.   This was an older post and she costed it out to save you $80 every batch you make.  It would be more now!  I was shopping with Mum and many brands of Laundry Liquid were $20 each! 😬   When a recipe calls for grated soap I just use Lux flakes.  I think in the US there are Ivory flakes which are about the same.

There is no need to make it pink but it just makes me happy!  I walked away and later saw my pink roses drying, my laundry liquid cooling,  and my pink kitchen towel over my mix master.  These little domestic scenes make me so happy!

There are many times I just adore a little snap shot of life that is so beautiful.  A basket of eggs,  a bowl of lemons,  things just picked from the garden being washed in the sink...  sheets drying in the sun...  they are all so beautiful! 

We added to the family!  I have four ducklings!  It was an accident, I swear!   

No good pictures yet... they are Call Ducks which are what Bantams are to Chickens, only the duck equivalent.   I also accidentally got three tiny Pekin Bantams in pale lavender grey.  I hope I have photos soon. All this happened yesterday!   Unfortunately (for his health) Andy smokes cigars.  I said to him "you know how you just have to have a cigar in the evening? Well, I had this same kind of experience only it was with ducks."   And so I have ducks but also snuck in baby Bantams. 

I have been pulling up giant thistles in the hay shed to feed the chickens along with spent chard and spinach plants that are really tall!  Wherever I go I watch for potential chicken (and now duck) food.

I made Dad his favourite Sultana cake.

I cooked  roast lamb with loads of extra veggies.  When I plate up dinner I separately plate up enough for two more serves, cover it in gravy and hide in the fridge.   I love these "TV" dinners.  A complete night off!   What is left makes lunches and rolls.  A roast is a very good way to get many easy meals and also save a fortune on deli meats.  I do not buy deli meats.   Either I bake a ham or roast something then slice it up.  If you compare this can be over $20 a kilo cheaper and sometimes much more.  Also no added sulphates and so on.   The slow cooker does a good piece of cooked meat too.  So handy in summer!

So that was my week.  And today is just beautiful!  Sunny but not hot at all.  A man is coming to slice up the big tree stumps to make furniture with.  I will get a piece that will become a coffee table in the cottage.

I hope it was a good week for you.  How did you build up your home, add to your pantry, preparedness or savings?   Also Happy Thanksgiving to the USA ladies.  xxx

Thursday 21 November 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 22nd November, 2019.

Reviewing the week really helps me realise just how much we did.  I am always amazed what is possible in a week.   We also really need to take a break of the list of things that need doing and be still for a minute and appreciate all the good things that happened.    Being still for a little bit is lovely in fact!

This week was special because I stayed overnight at Lucy's house so that I could baby sit the girls Tuesday afternoon then also Wednesday morning as Lucy had appointments.  It was beautiful.  Of course I took crafts to do and we went for walks and picked roses and inspected fruit trees.   After dinner Tuesday night the power went out.  I had a torch, (flashlight)  a good book and it was cool so it was ok.
I came home with glorious pink roses that smell heavenly.

I had some good special buys including some brie quarters for $1 each and a whole huge Camembert for $4.   One night I crumbed and fried Camembert and served it with cranberry sauce, rocket, pear, walnuts and sticky balsamic vinegar salad.  It was beautiful!

In the garden I have hundreds of tiny parsley plants coming up to form a border.  I need to be watering a lot now it is warm.
I planted broccoli and chives.
I have zucchini almost ready to harvest.
I planted butternut pumpkins.
And I potted up Aloe Vera babies into pots.
The young fruit trees are all doing well.   The big fruit trees..... the apple tree is covered and the pear trees have small pears.  I am watering them daily.

Andy has been cleaning and staining the decks.  I have been staining the trims and edge bits.  One area is finished now so today I can put back my furniture and plants.
While the pressure cleaner was out I decided to have a go at cleaning a cane chair and stool that has been outside several years.  To me it looked grubby.  Well it was amazing!  It has come up like new! 
Then I decided the door steps looked neglected.  Mum has always polished or oiled her doorsteps.   So I stained them with several coats of stain.  They look 100% better!  Sometimes a small thing like this makes a huge difference! 

I washed up my curtains that I rescued from the shed at Lucys.   It is the most enormous amount of material.

I can see shopping bags, cushions,  heat packs, pot holders... kitchen towels...  aprons..
With quality fabric prices old curtains and bed linens are the most wonderful source of fabric.

I made a batch of gluten free scones for myself.

Before I went to see the girls I made them some chocolate cakes.

In the op shop I got the girls some little tops, a huge ball of pure wool for 50c and a lace table runner.
Also a free bunch of Rosemary.

With the weather being warmer we have had thousands of birds.  (To the extent sometimes it is nearly deafening!)   Firstly it was late evening and I could hear "whoosh whoosh whoosh" as it a helicopter was overhead.  I looked out and hundreds of huge Ibis were defending into the trees.  This has happened every night.   They make a goose like honking noise.  The trees look like giant heavily laden Christmas trees.   In the morning they are gone.

Then there are hundreds of Corella's  on the lawn, down the driveway and in the front paddocks.  

They are playful and noisy! 

And there are hundreds of Lorikeets.  They come down to drink from the trough of water we have for the calf, goat and lamb.  They are like jewels! 

The bright blue on top of their head like a little hat is my favourite! 

Yesterday Luke came with the tractor.  The last of the wood from the trees out the back is cleared away.   A man is coming to cut up the largest bits to make furniture.  This was fantastic and the end of another really big job.

I have had my broody bantam sitting on some chicken eggs from Lucy's chickens.  Her chickens were all killed by a fox and I had collected these eggs the day before that happened! 
I hab November 19 written in my diary as hatch day.  So when I came back from my trip the first thing I did was race up to the chicken house!   And this is what I found...

One baby chicken!   I checked again later... still one.   I am not going to make the poultry breeders hall of fame but none the less this is the first chicken my chooks have ever hatched and it is so exciting!
I have four bantams and they often go broody.  I think from now on if I have a broody bantam I will seek out some fertile eggs. I might even consider having a rooster.  Maybe this baby will be a rooster!? 

So that was my week!   We have a reasonably mild few days today and coming up.  I am so grateful for this!   I will get stuck into getting everything well watered,  some cooking,  setting up my newly stained deck and so on.   I have learned that in summer (which is a week away) that you do all you can in decent weather as when the heat hits you really have to stay out of it and work inside as much as possible.   I am also working to stock up my fridge and freezer with drinks and water bottles.   Andy is filling the fuel cans for the generator and testing the back up systems.   

How did you build up your home, save or get ahead this week?
Do you have season related preparations that you have been doing or need to get on to?

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

Thursday 14 November 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 15th November, 2019.

I hope you had a good week.  It felt like a whirlwind here.

Some of the ways I feathered my nest this week included:

I cooked up two big pots of spaghetti meat sauce.  I let these simmer a couple of hours.   Then I used some for meals and portioned out the rest to freeze.   I love to have lots of meals ready in the freezer!

This week I planted different varieties of tomatoes in a new patch of garden I have now claimed for the herb and veggie garden.  I made support frames from bamboo sticks.  They look kind of nice.   I have been building up the soil there and the tomatoes seem to have taken right off!

The general veggie garden has grown.  We had rain then cool days with mist and everything seems to have come along.

I just planted lots of basil in the spaces around my tomatoes.

Also I am excited as I have Hollyhocks about to flower and Foxgloves just coming out.  I will have a better photo next week I think...

Every day I cut spinach and pull weeds to feed the chickens.  Then I return with 14 eggs and a bucket of chicken manure to add to the garden.   Doing everything to build up the soil is starting to kick in I think.  I have added a lot of sheep manure.   If I have tea leaves, coffee grounds, ash, banana peels etc it all goes into the garden.  

Mum and I went to visit the girls.   I took a container of my spaghetti sauce and a banana cake the girls love.  I added a few snowflakes and we were good to go.  Thank goodness kids are easily impressed but they are!

Lucy had roses flowering all along her shed.   These are old roses that she pruned in winter.  

These ones are a peachy colour.  I cut some for her and put them in a vase inside.

In front of the shed there are three huge pink roses.   Last year I cut some of these and they were the most beautiful roses I have ever had as they scented the whole house.  Just heavenly.   Next week I hope I can pick some of those...  they were just coming and maybe a week behind these ones.

Lucy's house is an old homestead with very high ceilings.   It had not been lived in for many years.   The old curtains were still hanging when renovations began and these were piled up in the old shed.   They had been very beautiful and good curtains in their day.   One set looked in good shape to me and covered in roses and blue ribbons.  I have brought them home to see how they wash up.   If they wash ok I will post some photos next week as they are a beautiful chintz and it is a huge amount of fabric!  

I was able to get some seedlings and potting soil for free from the nursery as they have a points and rewards system.  Mum had bought Christmas presents there and I earned the points on my card!   So I have lots of seedlings to add to the garden this afternoon.

Andy has been working on clearing up the trees we had taken down out the back.  The tons of wood is a fire hazard and needs to be cleared.  I piled up a trailer load of sticks and branches.  There is just so much of it!  
With the plans to do up the cottage I thought a fire pit out the front would be very nice for winter visitors.   So some of the wood has gone towards this and a heap of wood to be ready for the fires.   Plus I love the look of a wood pile!   Andy used an old dog kennel frame to make a stackable wood supply.  I think it looks fantastic.

Most of these logs are about a meter (or yard) long.  The rest of the wood is going to dry out in the shed for future winter fires.  So much wood!   The big bits we cannot even move are being cut up by a man who wants to make furniture with it.  He brings in a huge machine to slice it into slabs.   I hope to get a slab and make a coffee table for the cottage and maybe some thing like cutting boards. 

So many Australian's faced fires this week.  I hope everyone is ok.  What a stressful week.   The images have terrified me as we have a fire risk here.   We do all we can to be ready and I try to put my energy into preparations more than worry.   If you live in a fire risk area do everything you can to clear around your home and reduce fuel etc.   It is a lot of work.  We have worked at this for over a year and there is still more to do.

I hope you had a good week.   How did you save, get ahead, stock up your pantry or freezer?   Also how are you going with Christmas preparations and gifts? I am trying to get ahead with these things and have quite a bit wrapped.  I need to start working on cards too!

Have a lovely weekend!  xxx

Friday 8 November 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 8 November, 2019.

It is so nice to sit down for a minute and consider the week!  I am spring cleaning and as you know once you get started you create a big mess. Things get way worse before they get better!  I never seem to be able to work on one area and finish it... no, I have to go from one area to another.  But in the last three days I have done a lot!

Some of the ways I feathered my nest this week included:

I pulled up some parsley and cut silverbeet each day.  This fed the chickens.  When all the spent parsley was pulled up I replanted the whole border with seed I saved from the last house.  I still had enough to replant the whole area.   I have left some parsley to go to seed properly and dry off.  I will then save all that seed and package it up.   Seeds make great gifts that post well so I put it into pretty little packets.

Because of all the greens the chickens are laying such bright yellow eggs. Every second egg is a double yolker too!   And the little Bantam is sitting on those eggs!  
One day I went in to feed the chooks and a different Bantam was on the nest!   Clearly there had been a dispute ...  I am guessing the Bantam went to get a drink and this other hen hopped on and thought yippee!   In the process one egg came out of the nest and I felt it.  It was stone cold.   I corrected the whole situation,  got the original hen back on the eggs and enclosed her now so this can't happen again.  
I brought that cold egg home and curiosity got me. I cracked it and inside was a chicken about the size of the top half of my thumb!   So the eggs are at least fertile and developing!   Now to hope no others got cold in the hen swap episode!

I weaned the two older calves Loui and Georgie.  Together.  This time I made bottles and they followed me down to the big paddock.   I could not for the life of me seperate them from the other calf, lamb and goat.  So they all came.   At the other end I managed to get the right two calves into the paddock and come back with the others.  This time there was no crying or hunger strikes.  They have both been perfectly happy.

We also have had rain!   It is raining again right now.  Between not having to water the garden and having two less animals to bottle feed this gave me so much more time.  It has been wonderful and I have used that time for other projects...  like Christmas present wrapping,  getting parcels ready to post,  Spring Cleaning...

I used up 10 eggs in lemon butter.  Then I bought two plain sponge cakes and filled them.  This gave me an easy cake to take to Lucy's and one for Chloe and Luke.

Eggs are my currency these days.  I gave six dozen to Wendy, 2 dozen to Lucy,  3 dozen to Mum... I still have plenty of eggs!

My pumpkins are starting to grow.  The rain is helping.  No amount of watering does what rain does!

We updated our emergency phone numbers and contacts, fire plan and so on.  We have an emergency cupboard and all phone numbers etc are on the inside of the cupboard door.

I am baby sitting Chloe and Luke's animals.  They have everything!   This means looking after four dogs, two puppies...

Then there is Paddy the Alpaca and Blossom who is so pleased to see me. (and I take biscuits!)

Ok what else?  One cat and one kitten...

One budgie (small blue parrot) and I think that is it! 
Oh no... forgot chooks.  A heap of chooks!  

I have to add a picture... my friend Di is bottle feeding a wombat.  She rescued her when she was so tiny.  Look at her now!

This is turning into the random animal gazette!

Ok back to savings etc...

I planted silver beet, spinach, capsicum and cucumbers.   The old spinach is going to seed.  I am feeding it to the animals then in the end I will pull it up so I already planted my new rows.

Inside I have tomato plants growing in the window.  I have been working on a new small section of garden that I am turning over to a veggie and herb patch also.  I hope to get this garden all planted over the weekend.  And I hope to keep going on my spring cleaning! 
I had a realisation.  Even though it is obvious I just really took notice of the fact that the year is not only drawing to a close but the DECADE is!    I feel extra inclined to whip things into shape.  We have now been here just over a year.  I know we did a lot in that time.   It is amazing really what you can achieve in a week.   I always say little bits add up.  They truly do.  

I did some more Christmas sorting and wrapping.  Then I went through everything I have set aside that can be posted in a regular card.  The idea being to beat postage costs.  I have trays filled with small light gifts.  This is one tray of them...

Postage is just terrible now.  We can beat that! 

I hope you had a good week.  How did you get ahead, build up your pantry or save?

Have a lovely weekend.  I am late to post as once again my internet has been terrible! xxx

Friday 1 November 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 1st November, 2019.

It is November!  I find it hard to believe how fast the year has gone by.  I still have a lot I want to get out of 2019 though!

Some of the ways I feathered the nest this week included:

I had some wonderful thrift store luck!   I found this gorgeous jug and bowl plus a smaller bowl and bud vase to match all for $20.

For now it is in the spare bedroom but I might seperate the pieces as they jug is so divine I would like it out somewhere it is seen more!

In the thrift store I also found boxes of floral and butterfly cards, quite lovely in soft water colours.  I need up with 44 beautiful largish greeting cards and envelopes for $8.  Thats around 20c.  In the stores a nice gift card is at least $8!  Amazing.

This week I bottled up my Coffee Liqueur.  No labels yet but I am thrilled with how it tastes and how many bottles it made!

It is VERY easy to make.  I will be doing this again!
The recipe is  3 and a half cups of white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar... dissolve this in 4 cups water and bring to boil.   Then add 2 oz good instant coffee and stir in.  Now let the mix cool completely.  Add 2 vanilla beans split and 750 ml vodka.  I did this in a huge jar.  Let it sit two weeks and then strain and bottle. It will keep ages.  I shook it daily to get the vanilla into it.

I have wrapped some up, paired with the lovely liqueur glasses I got, and this adds up to a lovely gift.

My diary and planner are a huge part of getting lots done. The last few years I have bought Happy Planners and before that an Erin Condrin diary.  Both are beautiful.  But this week in the post office they had 2020 diaries in and I saw a beautiful one.  It is perfect for me and about one quarter the price.  So I am excited to have it ready and start 2020 with a big savings!  I also have my budget planner from The Cheapskates Club.  I am so excited to have these lined up.

I was able to put together a beautiful gift my my sister in laws birthday incorporating things I made and it looked lovely.

I have been working on some gifts for the boys.  This week I made up several of these leather boot care kits.  They all live in leather boots.  I included my homemade leader water proof treatment. I like this gift so much I kept a set for Andy and I to use on our own boots.

This week Mum could not come with me to see the girls.   So I headed off and took  peanut butter biscuits and a big quiche.  It was a lovely day.

I came home with six eggs from their beautiful big chocolate brown chickens as they have a rooster and I have a broody bantam!    When I got home I used a pasta scoop to carefully lift out all the bantam eggs from under her.  She was sitting on 16!   Then I added back in 6 much larger hen eggs.
She didn't blink an eye, just fluffed around and re adjusted things!

So lets hope!

I was also able to pick some pink proteas and now have them in the kitchen.

The next day I had a terrible message from Lucy.  A fox had got all their hens and all their guinea fowl in the night.  She was so upset and Harper was with her when they went to collect the eggs and discovered carnage. Harper was very upset.  I was very upset.   I don't know if these eggs will hatch but I got them just in time.  I said I would share them and send some back.  But first to discover how the fox got in as they have completely covered in hen houses.   But it got in somewhere and out again.  Just awful.  Their giant brown rooster survived but no others.

This made me realise that you can think you have your preps well sorted out and something like this
happens.   So now I am thinking we all should also keep roosters, up our security and keep a few more hens than we think we need.

This week Luke brought the sheep in around the house paddock.  They eat down the driveway, around the sheds, around the chicken house... this feeds them plus makes things look neat and tidy and reduces our fire fuel.
On that note our area had the first fire of the season.  It was a very windy day too.  So it is officially on... and we are reviewing all our preps and hoping all the work we have done and the recent tree removal etc. all add up to helping us if a fire comes through here.

I did more sorting out my gift cupboard and making up gift baskets.  It feels so good and I am so glad I started in January.  But there is still time to make your Christmas gifts!  Baking is a great gift and we have all of December to do that and all of November to work on other things!  Over at The Tuesday Afternoon Club you will find so many ideas.  Mainly very inexpensive ideas!  You are welcome to join here.

I hope you had a good week with lots of opportunities to get ahead in various ways.  Save, avery little bit helps.   Just now I am in bed and typing to the sound of rain.  I tried to post earlier and it was like a thunderstorm was coming and not one photo would load.   It is pouring!  This is a big help and better than any of the things I achieved all put together!
How did you save, add to your pantry or build up your home this week?

Have a wonderful