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.

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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


  1. Those roses are beautiful! I have over half my Christmas gifts bought and have them wrapped as well. I have a few food gifts I want to make this year for my friends so will start what I can soon.

    1. Dear Laurie, Well done on your Christmas presents! I try and avoid the shops in December things go crazy. Also December is so busy... what we get done now is a good thing!
      I do save the baking mostly until about mid December then it begins! This is a fun time too. Have a lovely weekend! With love

  2. Good on you Annabelle. Your thrifty ways are an inspiration as always. Those roses are beautiful!

    1. Dear earthmotherwithin!

      I agree with you! This blog is an encouragement and inspiration to many!!

      Thank you,

    2. Thank you! I came home with more this week but the pink ones!! Just love them! xxx

  3. We got home from our latest caravan adventure on Tuesday. It has been a week of unpacking the van, washing and watering the block.
    Katie and Jared looked after the house and did a fantastic job. Due to being time poor they made the decision to look after the pot plants and leave the veg garden. I am very thankful for the bore as this is allowing me to get water on the garden and to think about getting some seeds planted.
    There is lots of smoke haze around but it is now clearing. The wind has settled down and hopefully this will give the firies a chance to get on top of the bushfires.
    Have a lovely week everyone free of fires and smoke.

    1. Dear Jane!

      It is wonderful that you are safely home, and back to your resourceful best, setting priorities, and appreciating the goodness we have!!

      Welcome back,

    2. Dear Jane, Things dry out so fast! I hope the smoke has cleared. It is not good for anyone.
      After being away there is always a lot of catching up to do and unpacking. But it was great you had a wonderful trip. I am thinking by now you will be well and truly back in the swing of things! With love

  4. Annabel, there is a fire about a 1/2 hours drive from here which is spreading. It is near a forest so hopefully it can be controlled before reaching there but the wind has picked up again so who knows what will happen It is the same fire that the water bombing helicopter that crashed was working on a couple of days ago. You probably saw it on the news. Stay safe down there.

    1. Nanna Chel, we have been reading about the fires in Australia; please stay safe. Our prayers are with all of you.
      Blessings to you,

    2. Dear Nanna Chel,
      The fire you mentioned I think is the one that affected Rachel and she had to evacuate. Sounded like a really big fire. I saw about the crash too and that the pilot survived and I was amazed as that isn't normally the case but thank goodness.
      I hope things are better, I was away yesterday helping the girls... then had no electricity and so I am behind on news and replies! With much love

  5. Annabel we are both turning into wood squirrels as one person told us that we were like squirrels collecting our nuts for the winter but instead firewood :) and I love a good looking firewood pile too. Your gardens look nice and healthy and adding heaps of manure gives you nice healthy plants from our experience. I love the way Andy has reused the dog kennel frame for a firewood holder :).

    We are safe at the moment with no bush fires in our area but are getting smoke and red dust storms blowing in from other fires but today was clear.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $358.80 in savings this week :) in a week where many things have broken down and or needed spare parts.

    Helping others and blessings -
    - An elder lady we know in the neighbourhood had part paid someone to cut down and clean up some trees for her and he did some of the job and left tree remnants strewn everywhere. We offered to finish the job for her in exchange for the ironbark firewood and ended up with 1.5 cubic metres so far saving us $180 over buying it. Good for her pensioner budget and us :).

    In the home & kitchen -
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Finances and listings -
    - Listed 10 items on a free listing promotion on eBay saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.
    - Banked more money into our 3 monthly living expenses emergency kitty bringing us up to 54.80 % of the way there.

    Home maintenance -
    - Our grey water pump gave up the ghost and I asked the plumber if we paid cash would he be able to do a better price so he gave us a $40 discount :). So great to have a home cash emergency kitty for things just like this.

    Purchases -
    - Through the plumber we were able to source some more rainwater down pipe from a local who had some spare as we need to run some rain water from the gutters of the back patio to the lawns and put in bubblers for the lawns saving us $10.30 over buying it in the shops.
    - Using and coupling a 10% off discount supermarket online code, weekly specials and another 5% off using our RACQ wish e-gift card discount we saved $31.94 on our fortnightly grocery shop.
    - I ordered an RACQ e-gift card for fuel saving us another $10.93 or 5%.
    - By combining another 10% off online shopping code with BigW, combining specials and another 5% off RACQ e-gift card we were able to buy 2 x dvd's DH wanted, 3 pizza trays we needed & a set of 4 plastic cups for traveling in the cars saving $12.45 on usual costs.
    - I managed to source 2 x chainsaw recoil starters on eBay for one chainsaw so we now have two spares saving us $57.10 over buying them elsewhere. This was prompted by our larger chainsaw starter breaking down so I bought two of these too and now we have one to install and one spare as well as these go regularly.

    Have a fantastic week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Dear Lorna, I have always liked the references to ants and how they gather and store so I love the squirrels thought too! I think fire wood is a huge asset. Also wood to use for projects. I love how the wood looks in this stand too and the use of the metal frame! Gave Andy a lot of praise for this idea!
      How wonderful to help the lady and end up with the firewood. So good that this could be mutually beneficial.
      Very interested in the savings on the chainsaw starters. Will tell Andy about this. You get great deals on eBay!
      You had excellent savings for the week. I also like how you track your savings progress with the percentage saved. I remember when you were doing this with the house deposit. Well it grew and grew. This is a very motivating method! I feel we are both on the same track ... that small amounts whether money or work all add up amazingly. Consistency gets you there! On this, only weeks ago I thought my veggie patch looked just dreadful. Now I cant stop looking at how much it has grown. Mainly I do a little each day!
      Have a wonderful week. I am so glad you are safe from fires. With love,

  6. Your garden is looking magnificent. I am so happy to hear you are safe from the fires.

    I have managed to talk mum down when at the grocery shops. I didn't win on all of it but won on some. Most of our meals have been eaten at home. Our air conditioning has been running 24/7. Both mum and I are asthmatics. I really do not want to be caring for a very sick mother. Every day caring for mu is exhausting enough. Even though I have been watering our fruit trees we have lost a mandarin and finger lime in the heat. Stay safe everyone.

    1. Dear Susan,
      Keeping well is important and I have asthma too. Smoke, dust etc would be really bad and the air conditioner does help with some filtering. I am worried about losing fruit trees! I have been trying to soak mine and
      yesterday was our first really hot day.
      I hope the week has gone well. I was away helping Lucy and we had no power Wednesday night so I am way behind! With love

  7. Gardens and flowers! Oh my, I will live vicariously through you. We have had single digit temps (F) several time this week. Everything looks so pretty.
    Praying you get rain and stay safe.

    1. Thank you Cheryl! You had it cold and we had it hot! We did have some nasty conditions but all is well now! xxx

  8. Your fires made the news here in the USA. Very scary. Old roses are so wonderful and the most beautiful and fragrant. I am curious to see what comes of the old curtains! I look for them in thrift shops because the fabric is just so lovely. Our freezer is all out of meat sauce so I need to get it restocked soon. It is a great meal to have on hand. The tomato cages are lovely! You did such a nice job on them.

    We are less than two weeks until Thanksgiving so we are prepping daily for that and the kids who will be home. I mentioned getting the turkey and Hubby said there is one in the freezer. What? Sure enough it is there but too small for all of us. Hubby said oh we have a turkey breast too. Now I remember getting great deals and tucking them away but I had forgotten. So that is done and I remember that I only paid $7 for both of them! We are picking up items as we see them on sale until then.

    It has been extremely cold here way too early this year. Out came all the warm blankets and clothing. Our yard is thick with leaves but it is too cold and wet to deal with them. I am thinking of just leaving them in the back yard for the grandchildren to play in when they are here for Thanksgiving. We have those huge leaves that are fun to jump in.

    Have a great weekend and stay safe!

    1. Dear Lana,
      It is great about the Turkey! I see the prices that turkey goes on sale in the US. I will be thrilled with $4 a pound here!
      Your autumn leaves sound lovely. Here it is now dry and I dont like it! But we have a summer to get through yet. I also always watch for glorious old curtains and linens. The best fabrics and so much of it! I hope your week has been good I am late to reply sorry! With love

    2. Annabelle, keep an eye out at the IGA deli. Mine often has turkey drumsticks for as little as 2.50/kg.thats my stock up price. The slow cooker makes them very tender.

  9. Oh! Forget to say thank you all for praying for our grandson. He is doing so much better. They changed him to a different group of kids at school and took him out of some extra activities that made his day really long and it has made all the difference. Pictures this week have been happy and smiling.

  10. Dear Annabel!

    Your garden is looking so very, very healthy, & lush, as is Andy’s wood pile!!

    They are beautiful to see!!

    P.S. Looking forward to smelling those roses! Ha ha!

    1. Dear Rachel,
      I have more roses and they are pink! There is nothing that smells more heavenly.
      Not all of my garden is so lush but I love this bit as it has protection from threes sides so more is possible in this area!
      I am hoping to hear your plants have not been harmed by fire this week. With much love

  11. Annabel -those roses are gorgeous. You have been so busy in your garden and on the land - hope all your hard work will reduce the risk of fire.
    I've been getting ahead this week by making my own mincemeat ready for mince pies at Christmas, using some of our home grown cooking apples in the mix.
    Used a chicken carcass to make broth for a soup
    Bought all the ingredients ready for making the Christmas cake
    Bought some more Christmas presents - I'm aiming to be finished by the beginning of December. I have been saving all year so Christmas is paid for already.
    My husband has been chopping up kindling for our fire, using old roof battens from when the roof was replaced
    Sold several surplus items on eBay
    Have been using home grown potatoes which we have stored
    I scan all my shopping for a market research company which awards points. I redeemed some points for book tokens which I will use for buying Christmas presents.
    My husband received a bottle of wine from his employer.
    Hope you all have a lovely weekend.

    1. Dear Penny, Sorry to be so slow to reply. Very busy week and I went to help Lucy and then had no power!
      Well done on getting ready for the pies. They will be delicious!
      And also on having saved all year for Christmas. I heard a lot of people begin the new year with Christmas debts. I also aim to be done by December 1st. And to have things paid for and made. It is a really good feeling and so much better to start the new year ahead rather than behind! So worth it!
      Your week was very good and added up to a lot! I hope this week has been good too! It gets busier and busier as we get closer to December... With love

  12. We have been busy with trying to go through our home and ready it for adding two more people to live here. It is to be a temporary situation for several months, but we shall see how the world goes. We are feeling most blessed by God's grace that he has allowed us the means and the size of home to do this. God is good, always. Times can seem difficult, yet, even through those times God is faithful to provide and protect.
    We have been diligent, also, about adding to our deep food pantry. Things are rocky worldwide and the food supply is not stable. I have been reading quite a bit about the weather changes and growing changes that are taking place. We have noticed that, ourselves, in our own garden and fruit this year.
    We went from Summer to Winter with just a wave from Fall as it was running by. One day it was 70, then it was zero, at night, two days later. Winter came, like it's location, and stayed.
    We fix almost all of our meals at home, never go out much, and buy during sales, so that is the normal for us and has been for years. I get most excited if I can save over the normal sales, such as an extra 15% or 20% off, which Vitacost often offers. We use that source to stock our deep food pantry with organics that are canned or I vacuum seal.
    Have a nice weekend, Bluebirds.
    Many blessings to each of you.

    1. Dear Glenda!

      I appreciate the understanding, yet humourous, way that you write! You made me chuckle quietly to myself!

      I particularly like what you wrote here - “Times can seem difficult, yet, even through those times God is faithful to provide and protect.” These words are worth bottling/canning/preserving!!!

      Thank you,

    2. Dear Glenda, It is a blessing to have a home with room to accomodate family especially when needed or in a crisis. It is so different having others in the household but when you get them settled in you will find a routine.
      I appreciate what you are saving about food supplies. Here alone we have had extensive drought to affect meat prices, diary farmers in crisis and walking away, massive fires, many reasons that production is not normal. I see this in the US and many basics like butter world wide going up wildly in price or in shortage. It is worth keeping an eye on things... like pork! I think a third of the worlds pork has been wiped out! That is a lot!
      A deep pantry and producing what we can is a wonderful protection.
      I am sorry to be slow to reply. I went to help Lucy and then there was no electricity and no internet! So I am working to catch up! With much love

  13. Those roses are really very beautiful. How lovely to have them to cut for inside. I picked white yarrow flowers from our garden this week and was able to give a bunch to a friend too. It's a pretty plant.

    I've still not made a lot of progress on Xmas gifts but, as we are staying at home all weekend to keep out of the sweltering heat, I hope to make a few little things this afternoon. I did find two books my son has on his Xmas wish list; I got them second-hand and was able to combine postage on them too. They are in very good condition so happy with that. Meg:)

    1. Dear Meg!

      I love the sound of your yarrow flowers - soft and delightful! Beautiful!

      Enjoy them,

    2. Dear Meg, Being able to cut and share flowers is lovely. I see the prices of things in the florists! It amazes me!
      I hope you had some crafty successes on the weekend. The books sound a good buy. I also find the heat the time to try and stay in as much as possible and work on projects. We had our first really hot day yesterday. I think I will start sewing on some of these days.
      Sorry for a slow reply! I was away a night this made the week extra busy! With love

  14. I have been home most of the week this week which is a novelty these days. I was able to work on my pantry stock and get it inventoried and now have a clear idea of what to stock over the next few weeks. I've planned for Thanksgiving and Family Holiday Day (we never seem to gather on the weeks of holidays due to my paramedic husband's schedule so we look for a mutually acceptable day to gather as a family and celebrate over that weekend). I started making little sheep for my Christmas tree. I have all the parts and pieces and now need to begin to assemble them. My new grandbaby is doing well, eating every two hours just now which is exactly what the doctor wants since he was just barely six pounds. I've spent time with both of the older grandboys and for the rest it's been spending loads of time with my husband, making meals at home, cleaning and puttering and getting my head around what having my time mine once more feels like.

    1. Dear Terri!

      It is truly wonderful news that your new grandson has been born! Enjoy being his grandma!


    2. Dear Terri, I am glad your Grandson is doing well and feeding often! Congratulations!
      Your week at home sounds just perfect. Getting caught up and organised at home is the best. I cant wait to see these little sheep! With much love

  15. The roses are beautiful Annabel! They must smell amazing. I can imagine the girls loved their 'Frozen' cake! The footage of the fires is just horrific, you must be so pleased with how much work you have done to make your property as safe as you can. All that firewood is a huge bonus as well. I look forward to seeing what the curtains become!

    3 of my kids have had an awful vomiting bug over the last two weeks. Thankfully not at the same time. It's been a really nasty one, and recovery has taken a long time. I am really hoping nobody else gets it as it is horrible seeing your kids so zapped of energy. It has meant there has been a lot of washing, sleeping, and very few car trips. It's amazing how much more time I feel I have when I dont have to drive anywhere.

    In better news....we sold our house in the city! This time last week I was not feeling good about it as the agent seemed to think things weren't going well, and it was closing 3 days later. But we received a great offer, and everything will be all sorted very soon. Such a relief!

    To take my mind off that process I began painting our bedroom this week. It's slow going as I'm working around day sleeps, but it's looking so much better already. And you know how it is, once you start one room you want to keep going lol.

    I hope you have a lovely Sunday!

    Jen in NZ

    1. Dear Jen, I am sorry the kids have been sick and it sounds nasty. These times it is so important to have extra towels, linen etc as the washing is endless. I keep seeing social mend say things like you only need two towels per person and so on. They have never had sick kids. Also they get so dehydrated so fast. Ice blocks in the fridge are good as when they cant keep anything down they might be able to lick an ice block.
      I hope everyone is better now and you dont get it!
      Wow! You sold so fast! That is a relief! That is just excellent. You are closing the year (and the decade) well!
      Your bedroom will look lovely. Paint works miracles. Also to paint you have to move everything so it ends up a kind of spring clean... then I found I put things back differently and got rid of somethings... so the end effect was a whole improved room! It was massive! So I hope you love your new room!
      Have a good new week, With love,

  16. Dear Annabel,
    What gorgeous roses Lucy has. Old roses have always been my favorite. From the decorations on the cake I'm guessing that the girls are still excited about Frozen. I hope you got my email progress report.

    We got our new roof this week and the last of the replacement windows. Glad it's done. By having our roof replaced during the off season we saved over $3,000 and $1,000 on the windows. As for nest feathering 4 quarts of bone broth got made, side dishes for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday prepared and frozen, making the only cooking that will need to be done is the turkey. I made Thanksgiving cards to send out to family and friends. Wishing all a good weekend Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      You are right about Frozen. The sequel is just coming out so I see no end in sight!
      Hopefully the new roof will last you many many years. Good to get it done off season too!
      The bone broth sounds excellent and you are well prepared for thanksgiving! On the day you will be glad of this!
      This week I am staying with the girls and I hope the pink roses are out a bit more as those are the ones I have my eye on!
      Have a very good new week! With much love

  17. Enjoyed your post! I have 11 grandchildren 9 yrs and younger, so I have started Christmas shopping already! Was thinking about Laine and was wondering if you had heard from her lately? I so wish she could write a post , but Iknow how busy she is. Thanks again for your hard work in writing your blog.

    1. Dear Becky,
      Eleven Grandchildren is amazing!! Yes you would want to get started early!
      Ok I will ask Laine. I know she is affected by the California power outages. These seem to be going on and on. Not easy at all. Thanks so much! Love

  18. Hi Annabel,
    I have been reading along but life has been very busy. I will write more after the next week is over. I have read today that parts of South Australia have been given a catastrophic fire warning. I hope you and Andy, your parents, and the girls and families stay safe. These fires are truly terrifying.


    1. Dear Mandy,
      Thanks so much. We did have a very hot day and it was windy which made it dangerous. We are all ok. Some parts of the state have had fires. But today it has cooled so much and I have been able to open the house up an d let the lovely cool air through. I have been doing a lot of watering! With much love


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