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 17 September 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 18th September, 2020.

It was a good week. I just kept on doing what I can. I feel to build the pantry and garden. I keep getting the same hint where ever I turn. In fact one of the blogs I follow (Jenny of Elephantz found here ) hit me (very nicely!) with the same message again. I was praying on this subject and the next morning the first thing I thought was to get everything we would need for Christmas. And so that is what I am doing. And next I see Cath's video on You Tube. (The Cheapskate Club. "I'm NOT dreaming of a COVID normal Christmas.') Jenny and Cath would be the two most level headed ladies you could know! So I took this as a bit of confirmation I am on the right track. Now, not everyone does! Cath has had abuse, trolls, threats... for posting about food storage, possible shorages and down to earth practical help. A good friend who also blogs shares so much about food preservation, gardening and every wholesome thing and her heart was so hurt over an absolutely terrible comment on her blog. When someone wants yo belittle you it says much more about them than you. Many young Mothers have this to go through if they stay home and care for their children. Do not buy these lies. Your work is going to have an impact beyond measure on your children and several coming generations! Your love and work is worth more then Rubies. I am telling you because... do not let anyone discourage you or belittle you for taking care of your family and your families needs. Rather wonder WHY would anyone want to discourage you? Wonder WHY does it bother someone so much that you are working hard and "looking well to the ways of your household"? Do what you feel to do. Never ignore your deep down feeling. I have done that before with grim results! So we continue to build up our homees and feather our nests as we can and make the most of very opportunity to do so! Some of the things I can report this week are: My Uncle gave me a bag of canning lids!! Thank you to him. I planted out several basil plants I started from cuttings. My plan has been to vacuume seal my jars that are full of dehydrated goods. After a bit of reserach I purchased a Lasting Freshness set of cannisters from Amazon. They has a manual pump to suck out the air. I followed the instructions on Oak Hill Farmstead Blog to vacuume seal almost any ordinary jar. And I tested it out a good few times before I decided yes it works!
Amazingly if you place a jar in a vac seal cannister and remove the air then you vac seal the jar.
With a shortage of jars and canning lids this might help someone. I have mentioned before that Heidi on Rain Country (you tube) has been my dehyraing teacher. And I have more to do! There is a lot of Silverbeet, Spinach and Swiss Chard in the garden. I am trying to use it in everyway..
I started cooking for the next "baby week" and made a big pot of Spaghetti sauce and two pasta bakes. This made a heap of meals. I shared some with Lucy's family and froze a pasta bake for when Chloe has her baby. And it fed us a few times too. Mum and I were able to go to see the girls and the baby! Mum made a quiche and I made a cake. And off we went.
It was a beautiful day. And the cake went over well.
We had a day of bonfires. We need to do this before the weather warms up. We had 12 in total.
I made a cake for Chloe and Luke. Lots of this would have been sliced and frozen for Luke's lunches.
Recently I got a new (old) freezer. I cleaned it up but it had some marks on the front. I used a "cover anything" white paint and roller to paint it. Now it looks perfect and brand new! If I didn't have this paint I would have used chalk board paint and written lists on it. I potted up a heap of veggie seeds in little pots to start them off. A friend send me a great variety of herb and veggie seeds! Mum gave me some chook food. We picked up the last thing needed to furnish the cottage. An old leather lounge. A massive bargain found on Buy Swap and Sell. I have everything now! Lastly, I painted the chest of drawers. I have more to do on this but it is a lovely project. I hope to show the finied result soon. I hope you will be encouaged. Keep good company and "whatever is true, whatever is noble. whatever is right. whatever is pure. whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable... if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--- think about such things." (Phil 4:8) How did you do this week? I hope things are ok for you in your area. We might live far and wide but we are all affected by a pretty disastrous year all round! Some of us are feeling pretty isolated or have suffered losses of different kinds. So we need encouagement. Everything you do to build up your family and home matters. xxx Jess (of Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth Blog) posted something on Instagram. It just grabbed me! This is it, in part... "I don't want to get adjusted to this world.. I don't want to get adjusted to this culture. I don't want to look like everyone else nor do I want to walk like everyone else..." And there you go, she nailed it! xxx

Friday 11 September 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 11th September, 2020.

I am not confident about this post as Blogger have changed things and my computer doesn't like it. But I will try. The weather has a real Spring feel to it. And it has me Spring cleaning any chance I get! The orchard trees are beginning to blossom.
I have been going through photos and catching up on the last two years of albums. I found some lovely frames for some photos of Dad. Some of the ways I built up our home included: I potted up more plants. Mum gave me chicken feed. I made a big Butter Chicken and sides and this fed us and also Lucy and family... as I went to visit them and spend a night! On the way I went to a favourite country op shop (thrift store) and had so much luck. I found beautiful little books for a baby farm boy... stories about shearers and tractors and chickens! Perfect! I also found lots of nice bottles, perfect for making sauce in summer. A project I had sitting on the sewing table is finished off. I had found bed linen in a pure cotton waffle weave. It was $4. After a wash up I cut it up and made kitchen towels. Then I used up some odds and ends from my box of trims.
Last Sunday I asked Mum to come over and made some Gluten Free Scones. I made a batch of regular ones too. Chloe and Luke came over as well. Everyone went home with a basket of scones. Tonight the cows came over to say hello. If I call they moo back. Laffie is big now. Who knows what she would weigh!? But she is just as affectionate and will chase you for biscuits.
Cow portraiture is my new calling! haha! Someone else tried to get in on the act. Someone who needs a hair cut...
Just now it has started to rain. We need rain badly! So I pray it keeps coming! Every week I try to share and encourage in all things to do with building up our homes. To be ahead where we can and to continually learn and build our skills. Having a good pantry is sensible as it is going to help every situation from sickness to job loss. No one could have imagined what 2020 would hold. I have never seen empty supermarket shelves before in my life. Nor have I ever experienced any kind of rationing. But these things are now minor compared to what came next. And what is happening now. The loss of jobs and whole business, maybe even whole industries... the loss of freedom, the loss of rights and free speech. If anyone isn't sure what I am talking about look up the events in Victoria and Queensland this week. There are curfews, people have lost the right to go outside, go to work, be with their dying parents or go to their funerals. If you are criminals, a sports or TV star you are let go but if you a peaceful and law abiding citizen you really cannot assume any rights. To me there is a straight out battle now of good and evil. World wide. Just like that everything has changed. Australia doesn't feel like Australia anymore. Sometime the economic tsunami is coming. There is already a feeling... a feeling of sadness and shame. I am hearing of desperate situations and I am not in the worst affected state by any means. We have mostly been affected by having family in the border community. This is when I discovered how it is to be suddenly not treated like Australians anymore. So whatever you are experiencing in your state or country I think it would be fair to say we are living in unprecedented times. It might be wise to up our preparedness in every way we can. It soon may be time to not be on social media or share our preparedness either. We have seen arrests here now for social media posts so everything is watched apparently. It is a challenge to be prudent and think straight when under pressure and when you feel in a state disbelief. I actually feel that some of what I am seeing cannot be real. But it is. Our home being a sanctuary is vial. For ourselves and families. And our efforts to build up our pantries, freezers, gardens etc are very important. And perhaps even more so... our efforts to build up our family and friends, support network, people we can barter with... all kinds of support we can find! We will need to help each other more and watch out for each other. Times have changed enough to reassess everything. How did you manage to build up your home, pantry and garden this week? Our efforts DO make a difference. Big one! xxx

Friday 4 September 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 4th September, 2020.

I am late with my post but I am going to make it a much happier one.   Very much happier.

I have had to take things day by day.  Probably that applies to us all.  Have a plan and do your best day by day.

Some of the ways I was able to build up the home, pantry and garden were:

I was given more lovely lemons.

I found the softest flannelette sheet in the op shop.  I am thinking it would make lovely pyjama pants for the girls.  I do a kind of easy  pyjama set by using a very soft t shirt/or long sleeve version  for the top and then make pants out of something very soft for the bottom.  This is a kind of Peter Alexander copy.  So easy!

Mum gave me wheat for my chickens.
I was also given corn so I am ahead for chicken food.

I made up a dozen ham and cheese rolls for the freezer and gave my son in law half.

On the road side I found two Rosemary bushes that are sprawling out over the ground.  I have had my eye on them for a while!   I stopped and lifted up some of the rosemary across the bottom on the ground and sure enough it had root systems.   The first time I got five bits and potted them up to get the root systems further established.

Yesterday I got 14 more little plants ready to go.   I am so pleased.  I have many gaps I can fill with Rosemary as it does well here.   I can give the girls some for their gardens.   And maybe use some as gifts or as a swap.

I was on the road yesterday as I got to see Lucy and the kids.   It was a wonderful day.    Sidney has grown, the girls were so excited.  I was able to catch up with them all.

Also a long day!  I shopped and ran errands on the way home and dug up my rosemary!  It was dark when I got back.

Now I get to tell you (finally) other good news....

Chloe and Luke are expecting a baby NEXT MONTH!
Dad of course knew about this and he was so happy.   Chloe has always wanted lots of babies.

Ok back to my list...

I was given bags of shredded paper and also three old crates.  Combined I now have three new nesting boxes for the chickens full of soft texting material.  I think they like it.

I cut Andy's hair. 

There were apples that needed using up. I used some with a roast and froze some portions.

My pantry really grew.  This was Dad providing again.  He travelled with extensive kits of shelf stable foods.   Most to that is now in my emergency pantry.   He said his aim was to throw the stone down the road.  Should this food be needed in a crisis he will have done that again.

I owe lots of people correspondence and replies and I am gradually getting there.  I am so appreciate of all the kindness and love.   Thank you so much.  

With everything that happened I was unable to get my baby goats.  The lady was lovely and allowed me to wait and pick from the next ones born which is really soon.  So I am excited that I can still go ahead and this is lovely to look forward to.

We also had rain.  This is always good news and everyone is pleased.   My lambs are doing well.  They are not interested in bottles and are eating.  I have a big yard of  beautiful green grass so they munch away happily all day.   

How did you manage to feather your nest this week?  I hope you were able to add to your pantry and I know many are harvesting... while we are just in Spring and soon will be planting.  I think next week I can begin planting up my raised garden beds.   And they are full and ready!   So working away bit by bit gets things done.  I never thought those beds would be full!   

Have a lovely

Friday 28 August 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 28th August, 2020.

Thank you for all of your beautiful and kind messages, emails, comments... everything.   I have truly felt supported by prayer.  Here, a week later, we are upright and the whole family has been wonderful and helped each other. I have stayed several nights with Mum and I liked being there, at the farm, with things are they always were... so familiar and comforting.

It is a case of getting every thing you ever wanted and every prayer answered and still being sad.
But you can be grateful and sad at the same time.
Twenty three years ago we nearly lost Dad and we prayed and prayed to keep him here.  He got to see the girls grow up and be so close to them.  All those bonus years!!   Then this time last year we nearly lost him and he had a pacemaker put in. And he had a whole extra year!  And boy did he use it!
Next I was praying he would get to see Sidney born.  And he did!  I was the one to tell him of the arrival and when I rang him it was the happiest I have ever heard him.  He was so so over the moon with the births of the other Great Grandchildren.  This phone call was probably the happiest I have ever heard him!  He just kept saying "oh that's marvellous, oh that is marvellous, who wouldn't think this is marvellous..?"  haha!   And then when I told him that  Sidney's second name was Thomas (after him) he was just about off- the- planet -thrilled. He said "they didn't have to do that"  but added something like but he honoured that they did!   Oh, that was a beautiful phone call.
Next thing I was praying he would get to see Sidney... and he did!     And I was so grateful and have photos of that beautiful meeting with Dad's arm around Lucy and them both beaming.

More recently we had wonderful talks and visits.  I had chance to ask him everything I could think of.    He was so very happy with me being here, how he could come anytime and sit at my kitchen table and I would sit down and talk with him.  I knew to stop and spend that time.  I always thanked him for coming.  He would stop and inspect the veggie garden on the way out, usually carrying a carton of eggs.  Then he would cast his eye around the garden and the paddocks happily.   His great plan had come together  to the extend that all his children, Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren are securely living on parts of the farm.
He was a planner and a thinker.  He knew what needed doing and he made a way.

Only in the last two weeks I had a change.  I stopped asking for extensions and for the first time I asked that Dad would get his wish to go suddenly and quickly which would be home on the farm.  He didn't want any more hospital stays.  He didn't want to stop working and sit around.  He couldn't stand it.  He didn't want to get too old...or unable.  So I prayed he would get things how he wanted them.
And he did.

 I got everything I ever wanted and prayed for and it comes with a mix of gratitude and sadness.

The last thing Dad would want is  everyone sitting around moping.   He would be thrilled how the family has been.  He would be thrilled Lucy got to come to the farm and Sidney gained so much weight this week!  He would want us to thrive and help each other.  He would want the Great Grandkids to be doing well.

Dad and Mum created an amazing home over the years.  Staying there is so nice.   I am hoping some of my pictures give you an impression.   In bed at night the sound of frogs is so loud and continuous! Like a chorus.  This is how it sounds during the day... turn the sound up.   This pond is out my bedroom window by about 50 yards.

The birds at the farm are beautiful.  Blue Wrens are my favourite but they are tiny and jumpy!  But I don't need a special camera, the bigger birds are so friendly I can just use my iPhone for a photo.

This is one of the Grey Shrike Thrush sitting on a friends foot in Mum's garden...(up with the volume again.)

I will report what I can as far as home and pantry building goes.   I picked Bay Leaves and Lavender and have them drying near the fire. 

And as there can never be a dull moment I have two new lambs.  They are not tiny babies but three or four weeks old.  This makes them harder to get feeding... although I will not have to feed them for very long.  And they run away until they settle in so you can see this one is on a lead.  Hopefully by tomorrow this won't be needed anymore but I can't chase them around the paddock to catch them as they are too fast! 

My story shows that the work we do in our homes and for our families affects many generations greatly.   The Great Grand childrens' children will be reaping the benefits of Dad's love,  work and planning for them as I will be for the rest of my life.  So much gratitude.  

Be encouraged.    In these times we face many challenges!   It is not easy.  But our God is a Way Maker.  Dad was a way maker...  and so determined.  And prayer makes a difference.   Dad left a note about God being with the patient.   Working with out head and our hands.   And how God helps those who help themselves.  Hence he was a worker.  He was the hardest worker I have ever known.   

Please tell me about your week.  I hope you found ways to get ahead, build up your pantry, preparedness and

Thursday 20 August 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 20th August, 2020.

It was a better week.  Or I coped better.  I was very humbled by many replies, messages, emails, hand written letters and calls and the things some of you are going through due to lockdowns and quarantines etc.  I have no words to express how sorry I am for those separated from loved ones especially the sick and dying.  It turns out this is more common that I would have thought.   So this makes our situation look minor.    As for our situation... thank you to everyone who had suggestions.   All week the family worked on finding ways to keep Lucy and family safe and able to get medical help if needed.  And feel supported.  Dad came to see me.  He kept saying "don't worry, don't worry."   But he didn't say what he was doing...  I really can't go into that here but some of you were on the right track with your suggestions.   To further dishearten Lucy two of her farming neighbours moved out this week.  They cannot stay and continue to farm and have their children educated and have medical access so they left.   There are a lot of farmers in a desperate situation as of midnight tonight.

I decided to do all I could and pray hard.  We made the most of the opportunity presented this week to still see Lucy, the girls and Sidney.  I travelled down with two cold packs full of cooking.   The day before I made two big pots of spaghetti sauce then two large lasagnas.  

I did a tray bake of sausages and veggies and a potato bake. 
And cup cakes of course.

We had a beautiful time together.  Now to hope we find a way to do this next week. 

I did have days where worry and nerves got me.  I am hearing of just so many businesses closing. Due to the border closures even a key medical clinic had to close. The vet for many cannot go to the farms.  The local hospital is short of staff as nurses can't get to work.  I could just go on and on... I think is this Australia?
Now is the time for the full armour of God.   To pray more.  To really be thoughtful and prudent.  To use the skills we have learned and learn new ones!   When stuck I still think of Elizabeth Elliot's "do the next thing."  Yes... just do the next thing and then the next.  This stops me from being frozen and not knowing which direction to go.   

Some of the other ways I found to build up the home and our preparedness were:

In "buy swap and sell" I noticed a beautiful antique chest of drawers with the curved front.  I would call this Baroque style maybe but not sure if that is right.   I have always loved them.  It was $150.  Compared to what I have seen this wasn't too bad however I wouldn't pay that.   Then I noticed that add said "and also a Kelvinator Upright Freezer" and the price was for them BOTH.  Now I was interested! But you never know if an electrical appliance is any good and working.... so we went to inspect and when we arrived I knew the man selling it!    He was someone very nice from my old home town. So I had no worries with buying it!   
Now I have another freezer in my "collection."  Freezers have been very hard to get.  Many have searched for freezers and they are a rare species like caning lids and all things now so sought after. 
The drawers need some work and I have a plan...

I had to think fast about where to put this freezer.  There was no obvious place.  But I found one.  It involved moving a set of shelves out of the kitchen.  I unloaded that and re homed everything.  Once you start on a project like this it seems endless.    The shelves have become much better shelving for my laundry... where I also had to take everything apart, get the shelves in and re do it all.   But now I have a much better system and know everything I have (and how much) in the laundry.

Beautiful free little succulents came my way.  I am thrilled with them.   For now I quickly potted them up so they get root systems.   

I used paper cups to have enough small pots.

I put a big pice of corned beef in the slow cooker for the day.   It was so big it didn't fit so I cut it in half and made it fit!   Later I rolled one piece in cracked pepper and olive oil. I then baked it. Then you have Pastrami.   Andy loved it.  I stood and make a dozen man sized rolls with cheese and corned beef or cheese and Pastrami.   These went into the new freezer.   I use the plastic bag the rolls came in with a paper towel between each one.  These are so handy!

While the fire is still going I continued dehydrating herbs and veggies.  I am building a collection in my special cupboard.

We had rain.  Tuesday night we had a whole inch!  We woke up to a lake out the front!   We knew that the front paddocks can become wetlands in a good year.  But I have never seen this until now!   From the kitchen and lounge room windows we now see water and ducks.   I hope to show some photos next week.  And it is still raining!

I was given some lemons.

I wrote up my week early as I had a day of appointments today.   But last night  before 10 pm my brother rang.  He was at Mum and Dad's and Dad had died.  It was sudden and I don't think he suffered any pain.  I knew this day would come and I knew it might be soon.
Last week Danny on Deep South Homestead had his Dad in hospital and he said he just doesn't want his Dad to suffer.   His words leapt out to me over and over all week I thought of that.  I don't want Dad to suffer.   Dad would never want to be incapacitated, stuck at home,  unable...   that would be suffering to him.   So I kept these words with me.  And I knew it was coming.  And Dad did not suffer.   He also had said, in a more recent near miss, that he wanted to die at home.   
He was also very happy.   He was over the moon with the birth of Sidney.  He got to see him.  He was so happy he completed his plan to provide for us all, for myself and Chloe and Lucy who he set up on properties to become theirs.  He wanted his Great Grandchildren to be secure.  He worked all his life beginning when he was about 11 and kicked out of school for being left handed and called stupid.  He taught himself to read and became the most widely read person I have ever known.  He helped many people in a private way so no one ever knew.  Some of these stories may come out now.
I have been incredibly blessed and my girls have been incredibly blessed as he was like their own Dad as well as mine.  I just could not have been luckier.  Dad was an overcomer. 
When Dad left from his visit he was confident he found a way to give Lucy and family access to medical help and all they need.   When he left I thanked him for coming.  I always thanked him for coming.  We always sat at the kitchen table (which he insisted I had to have) and drank from his special huge cup and saucer.  As he drove off he hung his arm out the ute window and waved.  I had a feeling then it might have been a wave goodbye.   So again I thought of "I do not want my Dad to suffer."

Another thing that has been with me all week is God is a way maker.  When there isn't a way it doesn't matter as God is a way maker.  I felt like some readers may need to hear that.


Thursday 13 August 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 14th August, 2020.

I would love to say it has been a much easier week!  But if I did I would be lying!   On Wednesday night we had news that another batch of new rules are coming into place.  This lot will cut Lucy and her family off from us completely and also cut them off from school, Doctors, hospital, baby weigh ins.... everything.   The minute I found out it was a true head in hands, I am going to be sick moment.  

Since then we have worked to find out if there are any exceptions and what are our options?   The property Lucy lives on had land on both sides of the border but the driveway in Victoria.   As it is turning out many essential workers like nurses and school teachers (and others) will also be now unable to go to work.   So as far as I can see things are collapsing.

The news last night had a headline and when I see some of these I take a photo of the TV with my phone.   It was "Food Shortage and Price Hike Warnings."    And there sure will be.  If people cannot work, goods cannot be moved,  processing plants are shut or cut to minimal productive, even some supermarkets are shut, then yes there are going to be big problems.   Basics may soon become luxuries.

Lucy's neighbours are evacuating.  They cannot live with being cut off from their work, school etc so they are moving and have to be gone by next Friday.   Lucy and family cannot evacuate to here, they won't let them come this far.   Since there are no covid cases in the border community it makes you wonder.   So our time and energy has gone on this and sleep has not been easy.

I have a chance to meet with Lucy on Monday and then when this comes into place next week this may be the last time.  There is a lot of talk that this could last two years.  We are not accepting that.  But it could be my last change to do anything to help for a while so I am baking flat out and taking as many ready frozen meals as I can make.  Today is Lasagne and Spaghetti sauce bulk cooking day.

If you live in Australia you know the situation keeps changing.  It happens fast.  Be ready.
If you are overseas then I am seeing a lot to be concerned about in the USA and the UK just declared a  recession with GDP dropping 21% between April and June, which is a nose dive!

I knew I was preparing for SOMETHING.  I knew SOMETHING was coming.   I still think this is not it.  Another round of businesses will give up because of this and another tsunami of unemployed will be added.  As of next week our state requires Hotels, Cafes etc to employ an additional person to be a Marshal to oversee  social distancing etc.  Most of them are already really struggling. This will finish many more.   You can comply and do all the right things but it still means open, close, open close, lose business, new rules, new expenses...  sometime most will give up.  And another tsunami of job losses.   So I am waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I don't think this will be a recession it will be a depression.  
Obviously this is my opinion and I would be thrilled to be wrong.
Sorry to be so depressing.  Our family is being torn apart but we are going to fight on.

We are not going to give up.  In this time I have seen tremendous kindness.   People from the Doctor to the school teachers have reached out to Lucy in tremendous ways.  I have to say the worse things are the more an act of kindness or offer of help is like a shining star.  
We are beginning to see levels of desperation I have not ever seen in my lifetime.  Nothing new to generations before me.  But we had it very good growing up.  We never knew a shortage of anything. We were never stopped from being with our own family.   If something broke out sick people were quarantined.  Now well people are quarantined.  This is different.

Ok change of subject!   (Then I need to get cooking!)

This week I kept dehydrating and rearranged the pantry so I have a nice cool and dark cupboard to keep my dehydrated goods.   I also ordered a jar vacuum sealer so that I can seal them properly and get the maximum life for the goods inside.

Because it is still winter here the fire is always on.  At all times something is dehydrating.  

I now save the ends of the gluten free bread and dry those. Later they can be GF breadcrumbs or croutons.

This was a whole head of celery.  Once day it filled one medium jar.  

I am a member of a fair few pantry and canning groups.   From these I am seeing a huge number of people struggling to get jars, lids, seals etc.   Canning equipment is the new toilet paper, chickens or freezers!    Dehydrating is a very good alternative!   I still feel Rain Country on You Tube is a good place to learn all about Dehydrating.

I make Lemon Curd and froze it all for future cakes and pie fillings.

I added 94 Australian organic garlic cloves to me dehydrated goods.   I purchased these from a home grown company.

This week I was able to go to two op shops (thrift stores) and I make the most of them.  They were closed for months but now open.   I will never take them for granted again.  I am stocking up on fabrics, cottons, wool yarn.   This time I got two Queen size pure wool (Onkaparinga) blankets for my Dad.  He wants some as he saw mine.   He doesn't like modern quilts.   I prayed to find some since I haven't seen them lately.  There they were, a pair and in Dad's favourite green.  Also one in red and black which is a car blanket.  Beautiful condition.   During the week these have all taken a turn drying in the lounge room after being washed with my homemade wool wash.  They smell beautiful and come up so soft.
The op shop also had a bucket (yes bucket!) full of Fowlers brand new canning lids.   Fowlers is to Australia what Ball is to America in canning goods.    To top it off I got a heap of pure cottons in various florals,  some gingham and a remnant of pure wool   It was my lucky day that is for sure.

I did a stock up shop.   Then I made up 18 ham and cheese rolls and froze those.

Each day there is the normal stuff.  I try and do some weeding, the housework, take greens to the chickens and collect the eggs...  If I get everything done I can do some sewing.

I needed a nice gift for my Uncle. He us unwell so getting the virus would be a disaster.   I made him some face masks.  I covered a box I had.  I used a card I made.  I made the masks from remnants of other projects.  So the whole gift may have cost $2?   But it is a good gift!  (well I think so!)

He likes dogs so he got a Collie mask in there!

I also made extra masks for myself.  I already made some for Mum, Lucy, Chloe and my Aunt.

Now I am attempting to use remnants and make up masks that I can use as gifts and to barter.   I think I made 16 this week.   For gifts and bartering I package them up individually.

Now I am on to some manly ones.

I also finished up making bibs.  I made ten.  

So that is my week.  Veggies are drying on the fire now,  I have masks cut out.  I need to go collect the eggs then get my spaghetti sauce going.  I like it to cook three hours then some will go to lasagne and some will be portioned out to freeze.

It is not an option for Sidney not to see his paediatrician so please pray and we will continue to fight.  We won't be giving up.  To go the other way is a long distance and would put Lucy and the baby right into covid infected areas.  Which would be stupid!

When things get really worrying my nervous system isn't the best.  It would be a fair guess that many people are feeling nervous, stressed, depressed.   But we can't give up, we may have a long way to go.  We might have years to go.  

How did you do this week?  Were you able to add to your pantry or the garden?  Are you harvesting at the moment?   I know lots of the USA ladies are.   The little things we do daily add up to such a lot.   Please be encouraged to keep going and taking every

Thursday 6 August 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 7th August, 2020.

I can give a better report than last week!  That is something!
My Dad is doing better, thank you to everyone who has prayed for him.

There is so much going on it is hard to keep track of.  Everyone in Australia knows and anyone from overseas might have seen the Victorian situation in the news.   Things have pretty much got a bit worse daily.  This is our neighbouring state and my daughter lives just over the border.

We cannot go to Lucy's home, however, we could meet in her nearest town and so that is what we did. Chloe and I headed off loaded up with cooking and all kinds of things for the girls and the baby.
We had a little lunch together and made it seem like a little party for the girls.
I took cup cakes as usual!

Sidney is now a month old. Already!

So this was a good and beautiful day.

I went to Aldi but there was not much on the shelves.... 

We had news headlines forecasting likely food shortages nation wide.  Since they rarely admit such things this was interesting.   And you can see why.  The port of Melbourne is where most imports enter Australia.  The meat processing plants are operating at reduced rates and many industries are closed down altogether. 

I went into town to do a stock up.  I did things like fill every prescription,  buy Vitamin C, Zinc, cough medicine and so on.   One supermarket was quite well stocked.  The other was very low on meat and quite a lot of empty shelves.  

This town is around 20 minutes from the border.   I heard several reports of cars with Victorian number plates being attacked, scratched and notes left on them.  Now people are afraid of anyone coming over the border.   This is a pretty sleepy, nice little town normally.   It frightens me to see how quickly people become agitated and this becomes aggression.... actually it is a shock.   And a warning really as if things go too much further south then honestly you do not want to be out and about, you need to be home.

My stock up was considerable and I have still been putting away things this morning.  I think I have finally done it!  

For ladies in other states... the decline with Victoria been just a disaster to watch.  Things can happen quickly.  So please be very watchful.

I found some beautiful jars in the op shop plus brand new canning lids!  I will take some photos when I get the jars all washed up.

All week I have had the fire going... it is cold here!  At all times I have had something dehydrating.  Thanks to Patsy I joined an Instagram challenge called #everybitcountschallenge  and I have been dehydrating and storing up fresh things, things from the garden and frozen veggies as I need to clear some freezer room.  I have been learning a lot about dehydrating from Heidi at  Rain Country on You tube.  She is very helpful.  And inspiring! 

I have onions going today in one tray and peas in two others.   Then I will be slicing about some capsicum to do next.  I am amazed at the fresh bright colours and the small amount of space things reduce down to.   I write on each jar "one whole head of celery" so I remember as it looks like a small amount but to put it back in use I would use a small amount to add to a chicken soup.  

There have been times this week I felt a sense of panic and worry.  I try to reel that in but it isn't always easy.  However I have seen some answers to prayer and been very blessed. 
Sometimes you feel too upset and wonky to feel like you can pray.  Or that your wonky prayers are not good enough.  These are good times to ask someone to pray for you.  But just as it doesn't matter what language you pray in I don't think it matters if prayers are disjointed,  confused or all over the place.  Sometimes we don't even know WHAT to pray for.  We just know we need help.  Lord please help me is a perfectly fine prayer...
Anyway,  some of my prayers have been answered in wonderful ways.  This has made me feel so much better and reminded me to just keep praying!

On the weekend my brother rang me up and asked if I would be home and if I would like some good soil for my garden?   He turned up with his truck...

This is volcanic black soil with broken down manure mixed in.  It is beautiful!  It was the best gift ever.  I was so excited!   I have the raised garden beds to finish filling, bathtubs coming,  my pumpkin patches to build up,  the whole herb and veggie patch can get a few inches of this on top.  All the fruit trees and have some of this around them to form a little water holding moat and they will get the nutrients as I water.  I have begun moving it one barrow at a time!

I hope my Aunt is reading this.  She will be thrilled!

I was given more bags of shredded paper.  These went into chicken nesting boxes for nice fresh bedding.

I used two large pumpkins (from the pumpkins I grew) to make a big pot of soup.

In the sewing room I continued making bibs.  This second batch are larger ones...

We really really need rain.  It is meant to be on the way.  I really hope so. 

How did you manage to keep going,  add to your pantry, preparedness or garden?  I managed to do some work in all three of these areas.   There are the first signs Spring is not too far way.  I want my garden beds ready to plant by then! 

If you would like further reading this is a good article from Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker.  I like to read things that give you constructive things to do rather than just information to worry about.

I am hoping for a rainy weekend, warm meals (as the slow cooker is on) crochet and sewing.   We need some time to rest and plan.  Some time to think.  I think as well... now is a good time to put your health first and build up your families health.  Stress is really draining.  We probably need extra nutrition and good sleep.  These things are valuable

Friday 31 July 2020

A Ray of Sunshine.

It wouldn't surprise me if I am not the only one who has hit a spot of crisis fatigue.  Some days have been exhausting.  Some days my nerves have felt shot.  There must be many of us feeling the same.  Vicky and I were talking about this.  Vicky is a person who makes the best out of every situation and is always cheerful.  

Years ago I realised that circumstances and cheerfulness are not necessarily related.  We have all known people who have every blessing and resource yet they are always miserable and complaining. Not only that they do nothing to help others.  And we all know people who have it tough in life (or with their health)  yet are always cheerful and helping others.   So go figure...

I have spoken before about my Nan's good friends who taught me this.  One was Mrs. Smith who had Polio when she was young and lived her whole live on crutches.   She was so cheerful and sewed both my babies beautiful clothes and gifts.  She just did what she could to help everyone!  
And there was Mrs. Mann who was in a wheelchair with both legs amputated.   She was another happy and generous person.   She knitted stunning outfits for all the babies and I still have some she gave me to this day.   Both these ladies were rays of sunshine.   
There was also Mrs. Birze. She and her family escaped (in a dramatic and desperate way) from WW2 Europe and came to Australia.  They become Nan's neighbours.  The horrors they had been though...  They knew almost no English so Nan began to teach them and they became life long friends.  She was a person who was another absolute ray of sunshine.

So how do we overcome our worries and be like them?  And how do we nurture ourselves so that we keep up our own strength, spirits and faith?  

Well over to Vicky, this is what she wrote...

How do we feel at peace these days when it seems everyday is filled with something new that is bad news? A pandemic, riots, restrictions, job losses and shortages. Is this all temporary or is this the new norm? I have a feeling it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Annabel's conversation with the older gentleman and his saying there will be another depression struck a chord in so many of us. Could this actually happen? 
Many of us have had feelings that we need to prepare and are either starting or continuing in those efforts so that we can stay ahead and hopefully ride out anything coming, but I have also spoken to some who feel overwhelmed and panicked from the Covid virus and are really riding the edge of being depressed and just too stressed out from it. 
This got me thinking. I remember my great grandmother telling me that even though they had to work hard and had very little that some of her happiest times were coming home after church and just sitting on the porch with tea. 
The Bible says tribulation gives rise to patience and also "In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer" 
I think we are all learning patience, but being of good cheer can be a bit harder when it's getting harder on us to navigate through what was our normal routines or something that should be easy like getting groceries or seeing the doctor. 
In times like these we need to embrace simplicity and the joy we can get from it, letting the small things fill our hearts with happiness as we go about our work of preparedness and stocking our pantries, trying to stay ahead and taking care of home and hearth. 
When my granddaughter comes to stay she reminds me to do this. That child finds so many things I take for granted delightful and wonderous! The things I have tucked away are brought out and enjoyed, from her little tea set and a small pitcher that is just her size so she can serve lemonade and small colander of strawberries she picked herself. 
We need to do this for ourselves as well. Do we really need a special occasion to use the things we may have tucked away and love? When the world is so chaotic it's easy to get pulled along with it, but if we strive for a bit more simplicity we can find  patience and good cheer both. Appreciate the small things as we go about our days and we are better able to deal with the big things that come our way. 
That being said here is what I have been up to:
I have been collecting pinecones to use for fire starts and decoration. They are so small this year!

I weeded under one of the pine trees to move some blueberry bushes under there for my granddaughter and found a raspberry bush start growing among the weeds. This makes me happy because I want lots of berries growing here and one day a bumper crop will give more options with food storage. 

We planted a Victory garden this year and I'm usually out there everyday tending to this and that. This week I pruned and tied up most of the tomato plants. It's coming along nicely and with around 200 tomato plants I am sure I'll have enough to can and share as well. 

And I started making little bags of fabric softener beads to use as gifts. I cut some brown paper into squares and glued on flowers I cut from a magazine and zipped them through my sewing machine. I'll fill them with store bought softener beads and glue them shut. I love taking just ordinary things and embellishing them a bit. They will just need to be torn open to use, but to me it's prettier than a plastic bottle and can be added into a basket with some clothes pegs, etc. for a nice little gift. 


Every day Vicky and I chat online.  Our conversations are always made up of some dumb thing we find hilarious, what we have been doing at home, the garden and the pantry...  and we encourage each other.   It reminds me of the verse in Luke where the woman finds her lost coin and calls her friends to tell them and celebrate!  We need that.  Someone to celebrate our small victories.   Someone to tell!

I try to make this a place like that as we might not have a neighbour or friend interested in our progress and achievements.   They might not see what we do as an achievement at all.
But each thing we do to build up our home, manage our economy and care for our family is an achievement!  

I am a person who needs some alone time and quiet time.  I need to be able to think.  I am better if I write things down.  I need sunshine and plenty of sleep.   The garden, nature and outdoors do me good.  I find crochet or stitching calming.  If I am nervous or worried I will clean and bake... and channel my nerves into action.
A cup of tea and climbing into my comfy bed with clean sheets, a bubble bath and a heat pack on my neck are my go dos when I need to feel better.

Happily many things that are just beautiful and nourishing for bodies and souls are easy and inexpensive.   There are ways to spread happiness and joy for ourselves and others that make a world of difference.

Vicky used old pyjamas that she cut up to make the prettiest cleaning cloths above.   I feel happy just looking at them!

I brought out a fresh chocolate cake from the oven for afternoon tea.  Same effect ...  a little ray of sunshine in the afternoon.

Sometimes I can pick free flowers and this works every time for me.  Playing with flowers is just beautiful.

Simple foods are a hit.  A bowl of soup and a toasted cheese sandwich is thrilling when you are hungry and tired.   I make a Bread and Butter Pudding from left over bread and jam.  it is so divine yet made of stuff many people throw out.  

Having your table set nicely is cheerful.  Things don't have to be fancy to be lovely.
For children an extra story at bedtime or time together is beautiful.  When I was little my Great Aunt used to brush and braid my hair for me.  I would sit there, at her feet,  for any amount of time as I loved the dreamy feeling of my hair being done.  She would plait it tightly and it would last ages.   
Nan would tuck me into my bed at her house.  Her sheets were crisp and you were tucked in so tightly your liver could barely function but it was somehow so nice and secure.  The sheets smelled of sunshine.  The bed had been warmed by a hot water bottle.
So you see many things that are nurturing cost nothing at all.   We need them for our families and ourselves.

What are some ways you can take care of yourself when under extra stress and worry? 
Do you have ideas or memories of things that are good for children or others in the household that make a difference?    
Something encouraging to me has been the number of times I have heard people say they grew up in hard times, the war, a family who had very little... just they never realised until much later!   They just never knew as life was good and happy!   

So that is what I am thinking on.  There is a lot to think about.  Today is a beautiful day and I have had some time to think and plan.  This helps me.     I am sure Vicky's words will help you tooxxx