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 30 April 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 1st May, 2020.

Welcome to May!  This year is going fast with so many things happening.  It was a really good week. The more I am home the better.   I get so much more done and can think and plan much better.   Today I do have to go to town but I had the whole week home otherwise and it has been lovely.

We have had lots of rain.  Everything outside is done quickly between showers.  I see a gap in the clouds and I run and feed the chooks.  Another gap and I move the goat and this is how it goes...

Our state has had no new Corona Virus cases reported in a week.  This is so good.  I will find out today how the shops are...

I did some bartering this week.  Increasing my bartering has been a gaol and we have a lot going on!
My niece came over and she cleaned the house gutters and cleaned the flue on our fireplace.   This was just hours before the rain hit!   I lit the fire and it is so cozy and lovely.   I paid my niece in Lasagne and Chocolate cake and we had lunch together.   This was wonderful.  Lasagne is her "currency" and she had at least four dinners worth.   While I was at it I made four.   One made meals for us,  one for Allie,  one for Lucy's family and one for the freezer.   I am all for extra meals ready to go in the freezer.   This is one way to get ahead.

I started seeds in little pots and egg cartons.   I have trays of seeds in my sunroom which is kind of a closed in porch.   To my amazement the Broccoli came up in two days!  

I also have Rainbow Chard and Spinach up.   I never thought I was great at growing from seeds.  I have usually purchased seedlings.   But now I am determined to get good at this!  And it is fun and going well.   While it is cold outside now this room gets some warmth if the sun is out at all or if the tumble drier is on. 

In the supermarket we were allowed to buy as much bread as we wanted and they had a heap out marketed down for 39c!!!  I got 8 and left a whole load still for others.

Still working on apples... I made apple puree... both girls love it and so I keep two daughters in apple and I made three apple crumble (crisps) but I make them gluten free.  They are yum and I froze some.

The weather is cool enough for soup and I made my first batch using pumpkins I picked last week.  I roast a tray of pumpkin, an onion, an apple and some garlic. Then it goes into stock and is blended.  This is Matt Preston's recipe,  more or less. I make it really thick. Well, it is so good!

Before the rain I took this photo of Scout guarding everything (in comfort of course) and watching me at the same time.  This was such a normal day photo complete with my soap hardening in the lounge room.

Another photo of normal life was this one taken yesterday.  I was in Andy's ute.  The gang are like "does anyone have any biscuits?"  

The sheep put their feet on the kick board fully willing to get in the car and we say no no!  haha!

Last week I showed I had made small soaps with the idea for them to go in little tins in our handbags.  As I cut them out cookie cutter style I had left over soap in odd shapes.  I put it into a pot of water and boiled it and blended. Then I added some germ busting essential oils.  
I didn't add too much water at first and let it cool.  It was a bit too thick so I added more water and blended again.  Then I got a good thick nice consistency and filled my household pump soap packs.  It is soo nice!  It smells good, feels good and does a good job.  I then filled any bottles I had ...

It is also pretty, lustrous and pearlescent which was a complete fluke.

With so much rain I was able to do more indoors and I sat near the fire and made cards.  I made lots!  Mostly I put crafts on The Tuesday Afternoon Club.  Here is a sample... these are zero skill involved cards.... just an image from an old book slapped onto a card!  However every time you do this you save around $8 to $10! 

I also made up some laundry liquid. I love to make this and it smells beautiful.  After the soap I am running low on bottles!    

This recipe is for 10 litres.  I love to get out my soap making pot. It has had a work out lately! 

The recipe is here.  This is an earlier post on beating costs like Nana did.

My seedlings sprouting has me planning.  I have spaces to plant them and those areas are mulched.  I am finding myself planning ahead more and have started building up the soil where the pumpkin patch was.  First mulch then manure and whatever I can add to build it back up. Chook poo is next as there is plenty of that.  I am on the watch out for things I might be able to use for raised garden beds and things to fill them.     By Spring I hope to have expanded my spaces for herbs and veggies.   The soil here is quite sandy.  Now I look at everything and think of how I might use it to improve the garden.   I had some garlic starting to shoot so this has been planted. 

I hope you had a good week.  How did you build up your home or get ahead in any way?  How are things in your area and are you experiencing shortages or rationing?   Have you seen any major price rises?  I have a Pantries and Preparedness Post coming up on ways to manage some of these issues.  Meanwhile my shopping today will be interesting, I have no idea what to expect!   

Have a lovely weekend! xxx


  1. I love that Scout has taken over a chair! Dogs are so funny that way. My Mom is in the hospital so it is a stressful time. She is Dad's caregiver so my Sis was left scrambling to find care for him. Because of the virus Mom cannot have visitors and all Dad wants is to go see her. It is hard to explain to someone with dementia. Poor Dad.

    We had our regular maintenance on our heat pumps today and a problem was found with one of them. At first it seemed as though we would need to spend $8000 to replace it but we asked that they check everything for an extra charge and it was able to be repaired for only $238. We are very thankful for that tonight.

    I have all my seeds planted in my pots and grow boxes and am checking them everyday to see if they have sprouted. I am very hopeful!

    Have a good weekend!

    1. Dear Lana, I am sorry your Mum is unwell and so sorry for your Dad too. So hard.
      Wow on the savings just by finding the fault rather than replacing the whole thing!
      I hope your seeds come up for you and that you Mum is doing better. With much love,

  2. Hello Annabel and Bluebirds. I am so happy to read your lovely uplifting post and to be able to comment! I haven't had a desktop computer in ages, and commenting from the phone is challenging, so I'm glad to pop in and say hello. Annabel, I do follow along and you really do spread sunshine and goodwill wherever you go, so be proud. I love that you are bartering. When I was a child living with my grandparents on their farm, bartering was a way of life. Everyone just knew who to go to for what. Nanna and Grandpa grew strawberries, and had chickens, geese, dairy cows and fig trees. These were bartered for cheese, beef, other fruit and vegetables, and services like haircuts, sewing, child minding, or land clearing and handyman tasks. It sounds like you've got the makings of that right there. Farm life clearly suits you. Waving to everyone. Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, Thank you and what a nice thing to say. Your grandparents sound wonderful. The life they led sounds perfect to me. We do have the makings of that and increasingly so. This is my goal. And to teach these things to my Grandchildren. Have a beautiful Sunday and new week! With many thanks, Love

  3. Dear Annabel and bluebirds,
    Happy May to all! This year is flying by, for sure, even with staying isolated. I never run out of work or projects at home.
    I was not well this week, but decided to forge ahead and get as much as possible done with breaks throughout the day. As mentioned, keeping up a home and being prudent is never ending, but truly rewarding.
    I deep cleaned the refrigerator and reorganized it early in the week, then planned all our meals around food we had taking up space that needed used. I straightened up the freezer and the pantry shelves, also.
    One day I baked a Hungarian plum cake and made sourdough sweet rolls and filled them with plum butter. Our plum trees were so prolific the past two years that we have alot of plums to use up. They are delicious.
    My husband, each day this week, was outside cleaning up garden beds, flower and herb beds, and turning our raised planting beds. He is going to start on two more raised beds tomorrow. We are adding another 268 sq feet of planting area to the 240 sq feet of raised beds we already have. Going forward we feel strongly that growing food will be crucial.
    We have a sad food situation happening in the U.S. Farmers are killing chickens by the thousands, pouring milk out on the ground, slaughtering pigs, and crops are rotting in the fields. Yet, food purchases are rationed and there are product shortages of some items. The reasons given for this are many and I have droned on long enough 😉
    Have a wonderful and blessed weekend.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      I am following so closely what is happening there with the processing plants and meat, chickens etc. It is terrible and frightening.
      I think your raised garden beds sound wonderful. I am like you... I never run out of things to do and projects at home. In fact this time has been good in this way as I am getting so much done.
      Your plum cake sounds just lovely. I hope you have another good industrious week! With lots of love,

  4. Dear Annabel,

    What a wonderful week it was with all the rain. A good sign for the farmers for this year! Our tanks are full to overflowing.

    Animals friends are the best, they love you unconditionally especially if you have treats like biscuits. Your gang is adorable! I bet they would get in the car with you and give you a big kiss and cuddle. Cows are the most gentle creatures.

    You have had a good productive week. It is fantastic that you can barter to get jobs done. Love all the pretties in this post, your soaps are gorgeous and the pearlescent is an added bonus!

    Have a beautiful weekend, enjoy the warm fire and pumpkin soup!

    Lots of love,

    1. Dear Tania, It is wonderful your tanks are full! When the tanks are full I start having big baths and doing loads of washing and things so water isn't wasted if more rain is coming down!
      One of my lambs was quite big when she went around to Chloe's and didn't mind going in the car at all. The cows just forget how big they are which is really funny. I love my animals as you can tell.
      It looks like we have more rain coming and today we lit up the first bonfires! Love it! Have a great new week! With love

  5. What a busy, happy week! For the raised beds, keep an eye out around the farm for lengths of black rubber - sorry my mind is sluggish today, I can't remember what they're called! About 50cm deep, in long rolls. We used it for making tree guards and other things. It's great because you can cut it to any size and mould it to whatever shape you want - square, round, oval, diamond etc. Wayne nail gunned the ends together so it would hold it's shape, then put mulch/straw, compost, soil on top for easy raised beds. I used the scraps from the rolls to make small garden beds at our old house so they didn't cost anything. We've had a lot of rain - a whole wheelbarrow full! Tom went to bring in more firewood this morning (we have the fire going too), and sang out to me - when I looked out the door he was pointing to the wheelbarrow that was FULL of rainwater! Oops - I must've been sidetracked and not put it away on Monday, I haven't been down the side since then. He bailed it into a water barrel for me to use on the garden later on. And that's about the most I've done this week - still coughing and spluttering and wheezing, but slowly getting better each day, slowly being the main word.

    1. Dear Cath,
      I really hope you feel much better this week. Now I am trying to figure out these lengths of black rubber.... but I dont think we have them. But I will watch out!
      A full wheelbarrow is a lot of rain. That is wonderful. I am happy to collect extra water in any container! Things are steadily greening up here. It is so nice to see. Have a very good new week! With love

    2. Annabel I think Cath is referring to pond liner that you can buy.

      I hope this helps and they usually use it to line ponds and sometimes dams with.

      Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

  6. Lovely post as usual Annabelle. Good on you for getting into the seed raising. It is a lot of fun, and I find I get better at it the more I do.

    1. Dear Earthmother, I planted my broccoli out today. The Swiss Chard will be next... and I can see a lot of new seedlings coming up. The staggered effect is good too. Lucky I have plenty of room for all of this! Have a good new week! With love

  7. Annabel, I have a feeling that lasagne would be currency with a lot of people!! I'm absolutely with you that if you're going to make it you might as well make lots. I think sharing food is one of the nicest things you can do for someone, particularly when it's something they wouldn't make for themselves. And it's a lovely way to say thank you to someone who is determined to not accept anything when they've helped you. I've had people turn down cash but happily take a tin of shortbread before lol.

    We are officially out of 'lockdown, so some of the restrictions have been removed and more people have returned to work. Schools are still pretty empty, kids are encouraged to be at home learning if at all possible. So it is actually still pretty similar for me!

    In between the home learning and regular home duties I've been cross stitching. I have some gorgeous patterns waiting, and given that I'm expecting to continue staying home for quite some time yet then maybe this will be the year that I manage to actually make all of the presents I want to!!

    Hope your trip to town goes well today,

    Jen (NZ)

    1. Dear Jen,
      I think you are slightly ahead of us and with variations. But that is good progress. I am wondering how it will go here... for both our counties this coming out of lock down is also flu season. So I am hoping there wont be a resurgence of the virus.
      Cross stitch would be lovely to be working on. I am crocheting but mainly in the evenings and with the fire going it is really nice.
      The town trip was ok... many more people around than I have seen in a long time. Still a lot of restrictions i.e. one flour... but some there which was better than last week.
      This time is excellent for gift making! I am trying to add all I can to my gift cupboard! Have a good new week, with love

  8. Annabel you and I had very similar weeks. I made a new batch of soap.This batch is a lavender colour and has turned out the beautiful silky soap that I am used to making. It was not the horrid stuff that I had to rebatch last time. The rebatched soap is an excellent cleaning soap so I cant complain. I also made up more laundry liquid and Miracle Cleaner.
    I baked a Boston Bun Cake. It is half way between a cake and a bun and is delicious. It is an old favourite in this household but one I haven't made for some time.There are no eggs used in this cake/bun. Mashed potato is the binding ingredient. I will share the recipe in the Tuesday group.
    Bluey picked up bread and 2L of cream for free. I decantered the cream into 300ml bottles and froze most of it. Our Katie took some home after she stopped in for a welfare check. He also found avocados for 25c each, sweet potato for 50c/kg, premium minced meat for $9 for a 2kg packet, 2kgs sultanas $4 and a small frozen chook for $2. This was all from a Charity store/food bank.
    I harvested my ginger and gave some to neighbours and friends. I have also been harvesting lots of greens and sharing the abundance. In return I have been given a butternut pumpkin, 500g of fresh caught prawns, 2 reef fish fillets, and a dozen eggs. Love the back yard economy.
    We celebrated Anzac Day by joining in the 'Light up the Dawn' driveway celebrations. Bluey made a cross and I made a wreath. This was placed out the front the night before and stayed out all day. It was a beautiful way to start the day.
    Like you, I have been getting lots of seeds going. In my container garden, I tend to sow directly to where I want the plant. This saves of transplant shock and is just easier for me. I make sure that I plant out some seeds each week, for succession planting, and to keep the harvest going.
    Our Katie lost her job at the start of all the shut downs. This meant she and Jared were going to lose the house they were building. Katie put herself out there, applying for everything that came along. She has picked up a position that she actually likes, pays well and is challenging her. She and Jared also get to keep their house!
    Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane, I like that way that no soup needs wasting. It can be watered down or melted and made into something else.
      Getting so much free cream was a bonus! And the bargain prices!!! Sweet potato was really expensive here this week.
      I thought all you did for Anzac Day was beautiful.
      The house and job news would be the very best news though. What a huge relief! I am so happy about that! With much love

  9. What a beautiful post, Annabel. Thank you for your ray of sunshine. I love that your niece sounds just like you-helpful, hard working, loyal and caring. I also love that she loves food gifts. They are the best! It is great to have a night off cooking, not to mention big savings at the supermarket. Your cooking always looks delicious. I love the look of your soap drying and Scout. What a beautiful view too! I bet your pumpkin soup tastes delicious too. I have never tried making my own is on the list. I was lucky to be given some free bromeliads, so they are planted in the front bed. We have been harvesting lots of rocket and bok choy for dinners. I can taste the difference. I am trying to keep working on the crocheting edges on tea towels. I have also used the laundry liquid when cleaning the bathroom and the fans! it worked a treat! I haven't been to the shops yet, but I have noticed prices have really gone up. Love, Bridget

    1. Dear Bridge,
      It is so good now you are harvesting your own rocket and bok choy. That is wonderful. And the bromeliads... they will be beautiful and they are really expensive in the nursery too!
      I love to crochet in the evenings it is so calming to me but also it all adds up quite quickly!
      If you have roasted a chicken, lamb or beef.... save the bones and put in a stock pot or in your slow cooker. Cover with water. Now add a large onion just quartered, a carrot also cut up.. if you have it some parsley, a bay leave broken up, salt and pepper. Once you get going if you are chopping some celery and have leaves or left overs you will think of it and freeze these for stock. Same with stems of just about anything. I keep a snap lock bag in the freezer and add things. You can let stock simmer all day. You are just extracting all the goodness out of things you pretty much normally would throw away. With chicken after it needs to be strained well due to tiny bones. So I add in anything veggie wise that needs to be used up. Always add bay leaf. These release powerful cancer fighting and antioxidant ingredients. You can also add garlic. If I think my stock is bland I still cheat and add a Massell stock cube or two. Then make up your pumpkin or veggie or chicken soup... and you have soo much nutrition for free. You could also use your stock to cook rice then the rice has added goodness. You could also use the stock to make a gravy... same again you have added goodness. To me celery leaves add so much to stock. So I hope this helps as it is like a vitamin tablet for your family but for free.
      It sounds like your garden is really coming along! Have a lovely weekend! With love

    2. Dear Annabel, thank you for this wonderful information on making stock! i am definitely going to try and make it and will be so helpful with Winter around the corner. Lots of love, Bridge

  10. Dear Annabel, Your blog is like a breath of fresh air. I absolutely love the photos, particularly the one with Scout on the verandah and your beautiful cards. I hope you know how inspirational you are to others. Sometimes I just look through older posts for a bit of a pick-me-up. It lifts my spirits and I can start thinking of different things I can do. I hope you and your family are well and I thank you for sharing all you do through this blog. It means a lot to me as I'm sure it does to many others.
    Love and Peace - Del

    1. I love to go back over old posts too. Really great stuff all through the blog. ❣️

    2. Dear Del, Thank you so much! What a nice thing to say! This encourages me a lot. I hope you have a wonderful new week! With love,

  11. I love that your niece's currency is lasagne. We have a helpful friend whose currency is homemade fruit cake.

    1. Dear Penny, I love homemade fruit cake and that is something I often make. I need to make some now as we are all out. I think if you know someones likes and dislikes then you can find something that will bargain for. My Dad and brother are fruit cake also. A cake is a great gift and great thing to barter with! Have a good new week! With love

  12. Another really lovely post Annabelle. I’m always inspired to do even more after reading your blog. Have a lovely weekend and I have to say I love Friday’s and look forward to your posts.
    Blessings Gail

    1. Dear Gail, Thanks for telling me this as if reading Bluebirds has that affect on you then I am so happy! Thank you so much! With love

  13. You had a busy rainy day! I love your cards. You must glue on the pictures to cardstock?
    Have a great day!

    1. Hi Vickie I buy matching blank cards and envelopes at cheap stores. Craft stores have them too. I look at around 33c per set. Joannes and amazon have them. Most cards here are $8 upward. So making your own cards is a huge saving and easy. I wrote some tutorials on card making but the are the fall off a log easy ones! With love

  14. Sounds like such a lovely week. I can actually hear a pep in you again - and I like that. You sound happier.
    Scout has the right idea - do your job while in comfort!!!!!
    Just love seeing the animals.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Dear Cheryl, Thank you. You are right. As you said this I agreed as the worry is a lot less now than it was. My heavily pregnant daughter became really worried, she couldnt sleep. Things are much better. Also I had some quieter days just home and then I get on top of things. This is good! I love my animals... made more apparent than ever as yesterday the sheep and a calf went missing!! I had a lesson on the good shepherd passages as I searched frantically for them. Thankfully they are found and safe! Phew! Have a lovely weekend to you too! With love

  15. So what state do you live in? I haven't followed the #s.

    1. Dear Jenny, I am in South Australia, down the south east. It is a beautiful place to be! With love Annabelxxx

  16. Glad you had a good week, I have too!
    I made my raised bed and filled it, I ached that night I can tell you! It's currently settling and being rained on, which we needed. My living room windowsill is choc a bloc full of seeds, cuttings and veggie plants, pretty it ain't but it's the only suitable place and they won't be there for ever. I also planted up a large wooden box with some veg and a window box, I don't know if they'll survive the slugs, but let's see.
    I batch cooked 23 portions of pasta sauce in the larger slow cooker and stewed 2 kilos of plums. I also cooked and mashed some veg that desperately needed using. The plums and veg still need to go into the freezer, which could be problematic as it's pretty full already. Freezers do have elastic walls, don't they? I really want to blanch and freeze 2 heads of celery and make some wild garlic pesto, but I don't think I will have the room for them.
    Flour is still difficult to obtain here, though my son in law to be (a supermarket manager) got some for me and I noticed big bags of chapati flour in the Asian shops, I need to do a little research but I'm sure I could use it.
    I hate to say this, but I'm enjoying the quiet, unhurried pace of life and even though I still have to work, even that's sorted itself into a much better routine for me. I was reading a news article the other day about a survey that had been done, only 9% of people wanted life to return to how it was ! I think that speaks volumes.
    Have a lovely week everyone.

    1. Dear Su, Well done on the garden bed! That is load of work! I would use the living room also for seedlings site happily. It would be my second best spot as it has a really big window. To me soap drying, herbs hanging to dry, seedlings etc are all beautiful and far more interesting than ornaments!
      The plums sound beautiful as does the pasta sauce. Your place is a hive of activity!
      I am also enjoying the quiet. I did find flour in bulk packs so I got that. Seems everyone has four flour harder to find.
      Life as it was to me was ridiculous. So many beautiful places wrecked for the sake of tourists, I heard even the waters around Venice are now clear and lovely. Life can be simpler. It would be better! With love

    2. Su. I've bought wholemeal Chappati Flour for normal breadmaking. It's usually called Atta flour and I just use it as normal wholemeal flour otherwise.

    3. Thank you for that Kim! That's good to know. It's amazing the breadth of knowledge and the willingness to share it here.

  17. Lasagna and chocolate cake and lunch sound like a wonderful trade for your niece. Like others have said, I am also so inspired reading about ways to save and be productive and take care of our homes. This week I sorted through more papers (neverending!), some games and dolls left from my children to see what can be used for my grandchildren. I continued to make masks. And still decluttering even though I thought I had that job done. I have found so many useful things to use up as well. Meat prices have gone up here (Michigan US), and some of the shelves are partially empty Like pasta and canned veggies. Of course the toilet paper aisle was empty! I bought a small handheld bidet at the beginning of this so I am not worried about not getting toilet paper! Although I feel so badly for those who are struggling, I am quite content here at home.

    1. Dear Deborah, I love that I have things my girls played with for the Grandchildren to play with. Well done on the masks. It sound like your stores are very similar to ours. Like you I am very happy to be at home but yes I know so many people are without jobs and their businesses are in trouble and there is so much worry. We are blessed to be ok for the time being. With much love

  18. Hi Annabelle, I enjoyed your post as usual! Love learning about the things you share. I make gluten free apple crisp too. Do you gluten free oats for your topping? Thanks for posting. Nancy

    1. Hi Nancy, I dont eat oats either so no... if I have some nuts I will add those, crushed up coarsely they are really good. If I have any stale GF cookies I will crush them too. I will do a topping like this on peaches, plums, pear, anything really works well. Have a good weekend! Thank you! With love

  19. Annabel your laundry liquid and liquid hand soap making look divine and are really pearlescent which is beautiful :). The apple crumbles and lasagnas look scrumptious and your cards are so lovely :).

    Glad you have had such great success with sprouting your vegetable seeds. I tend to just bung them straight in the ground here and somehow they all grow well.

    The shortages I have noticed in varying areas are fuel jerry cans and ammonia for cleaning from our last shop.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $138.58 in savings last week :) .

    In the kitchen -
    - We cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Deep cleaning -
    - I deep cleaned the outhouse inside with hot soapy water and gave it a final rinse with a disinfectant solution. I also did the same with the door inside and outside too.
    - DH damp dusted the entertainment unit in the lounge room and cleaned the television screen with glass cleaner.

    Purchases -
    - Bought 12 kiwi fruit on special at Coles for $4 saving $4.64 on prices elsewhere.
    - From Drakes supermarkets I purchased 4.38 kg of chicken legs on special including a global discount for $1.83 kg and 2 dozen extra large eggs saving $12.70 on usual prices elsewhere.
    - Purchased 2kg of beef mince for $7 kg and bananas on special for $2 kg at Woolworths saving $3 on usual prices.
    - We saved another $6 by buying specials and markdowns in our usual Woolworths grocery shop one markdown being 340g of fresh green beans for 0.49c which we blanched and froze for 2 meals for the two of us which we will add to other vegetables to steam.
    - I went to Bunnings to buy another jerry can to top up our fuel to higher levels and got the last one but it didn't have a spout. I asked it they could do a better price for me and they gave me a huge $10 discount. We have plenty of fuel spouts here. These here are limited to 1 jerry can per transaction probably due to the cheap fuel prices and everyone buying more fuel to stock up.
    - Bought 2 RACQ Wish e-gift cards one for fuel saving 5% or $7.50 and another for groceries saving 5% or $5.50 on usual prices.
    - We upped our fuel storage by 5 jerry cans and filled another 2 we had used on low fuel prices for 87.9 c per litre saving $82.10 on usual prices.
    - We used our Woolworths Rewards card to save a further 4c per litre saving another $7.14.

    Trading -
    - I traded some saved broad bean seeds from our last gardens with our neighbour for a pumpkin he had grown.

    In the gardens -
    - Planted a 2 square metre garden bed with broad bean seeds saved from our last gardens.
    - DH weeded and mulched our garlic garden bed with dried grass clippings.
    - DH put up two garden trellises with metal star pickets and more recycled heavy duty chicken wire from our grapeyard enclosure demolition for our snow peas. We also tied the peas up with unused freezer ties to the trellis.
    - I weeded the potato and capsicum and tomato garden beds and mulched some of the capsicum plants.
    - We filled in more truck bog holes and put the final layer of soil to even the ground above where we laid the storm water pipes in the yard.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :) .

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Dear Lorna, When it cooled down here I thought I might get more seeds to come up inside where its a bit warmer. But now I am thinking I could have just put them straight in! I am doing some transplanting today so I will see how they go.
      You can never have too many jerry cans this is my opinion. I have seen them sell out before too... when in SA the whole state had the blackout they sold out as some that had generators needed more fuel.... others tried to both both fuel and a generator and generators sold out for a year!
      Now with fuel prices low stocking up on fuel is a good idea so I can see why they have sold out again!
      I am currently looking at everything as a potential trellis! Or a potential raised garden bed!
      Your week was very good with many savings as always. I want to ask you what are the main things you use for mulch? I have hay so I am using that but am thinking what else to use. Have a beautiful Sunday and good new week! With love

    2. Hi Annabel and you can use dried grass clippings for mulch. Our lawnmower is a mulching one so it mulches it up quite nicely. You can also rake up dried leaves and run over them with the lawn mower and mix in with the dried grass clippings and that stops the grass clippings matting so much and the leaves help bring good bacteria into your soil and attracts earthworms too.

      With hay being so expensive to buy this is our go to option at the moment for mulch but we still have a little hay left too.

      With the raised garden beds a lot of people keep an eye out for rusted out metal rainwater tanks for garden beds. So long as the sides are fine without holes you can always cut off the rusty bits on the bottom with an angle grinder to make a raised garden bed.

      A lot of our friends keep an eye out for old railway sleepers too and bolt them together with stays about every 30 cm that they bolt the sleepers to.

      Another idea with making garden beds can be old sleepers and corrugated iron. Just bolt the corrugated iron to the stays. The stays should be about 30 cm apart and dug in the ground by about a third otherwise the tin will bow with the weight of the soil in them.

      I hope this gives you some additional ideas :) .

      Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    3. Thanks Lorna... well this week I found some wood... it isn't railway sleepers but similar in dimensions only 20 foot long. His threw me off as its weight... but we can cut it on site to manageable size... so I think I am on to something! Thanks for the ideas! xxx

  20. Hi Annabel,
    You had such a lovely week.My mom often did the bartering food for work and things.She had a restaurant for a while called the hitching post. You could just ride your horse over and tie it to the hitching post outside while you ate. ( Mostly it was trucks) We lived in a small farming town. She had a man that would sweep up the parking lot and sidewalk every day. She fed him breakfast and lunch every day. He was was so happy to have a place to eat. Her cinnamon rolls were to die for those were always gone first thing in the morning.The farmers and ranchers would open up the restaurant at 4 am.For the farmers and Ranchers only.They liked to talk about farmer stuff.They could make coffee and toast.If they were really lucky she would make cinnamon rolls the day before. They like to start there day early.In the summer it was hot like 120 to 130. She got there at 6am to start cooking. She has never been a morning person so that was early enough for her.The animals are so sweet. I keep hoping that your brother get another shipping crate. It would make the cutest little barn for your outside fur babies.
    Oh the lasagna looks so good! The crumble and the Apple sauce yum. you niece sounds so wonderful. How blessed she must feel to have you cook for her! Annabel I think I remember you saying you made a sauce for the top of lasagna.can You point me in the right direction on the sauce?
    I love,love your soap! It is so pretty. I have all the stuff to make the laundry. I am just chicken to try the bar soap.
    It has been a quiet week here. stayed home. We were able to get a slot for grocery delivery that was nice. Our city has asked everyone to wear a face coveting when they go out. I feel more peaceful this week. I have been working on sorting.
    Much love Patti

    1. Oh Patti I love the sound of riding your house up to your Mums restaurant! Also I love how shed fed that man and he swept up for her.
      Cinnamon rolls would be the nicest thing to have fresh and warm in the mornings. She was a very hard working quite obviously.
      Do you have your Mums recipes Patsy?
      Thank you re the soap and everything! I think I would upset Italians as my way of doing the top of lasagne is how I was taught and probably not traditional but it sure is cheaper than ricotta cheese and other toppings. In the microwave as you would go about making custard ... I mix milk with a few big spoons of cornflour, then add more milk... I usually make a big lot. Microwave and stir this until it thickens. Add black paper, chopped parsley and big handful of grated cheese and stir. This becomes a thick white creamy cheese sauce... good to make macaroni cheese, top a lasagne... it will turn golden as the lasagne bakes. I do top it with a bit more garden cheese too. It is yum. Cheap. Filling. Thick and creamy! I also do this and pour it over a cooked cauliflower or cauliflower and broccoli... then top with grated cheese and bake that. One of my favourites. I hope this helps! With love

  21. Dear Annabel,

    I am late to the party, as it is now Tuesday! I love your beautiful pearlescent soap in those gorgeous bottles! Also, the shot from inside your house out to the deck is absolutely gorgeous. I love that Scout is in the chair!

    Good for you with your seeds...I think you will have lots of luck! I don't love growing seedlings from seed and's so fussy! But there are some things you just can't start from seed in the garden and expect them to reach maturity before fall, here, unless you do. I've done more transplanting this last week, and need to do some basil, etc., is getting very leggy. Some plants are outside, hardening up, but the tomatoes, peppers, etc., still need to be in for quite some time.

    Let's see what else has been happening here. I cut out and started sewing a sundress for a birthday gift...hoping I can get it done in time! I divided my irises and gave away a bunch, and planted a piece of rhododendron that a neighbor was getting rid of. Finished knitting the pieces for a sweater for myself and blocked them. Sewed strips together of an afghan that my neighbor's mother made...then I crocheted a shell border around the whole thing and blocked it and gave it back to my neighbor as a present for her. We put together a "care package" for my mom and dad and sent it across the country...just stuff we had around the house that we thought might be fun to receive during "lock down"...a puzzle, some books we'd finished reading, a cookie mix, a movie...a few things like that. We didn't spend a cent, except for postage. These were things we could appreciate that someone might like when libraries are closed and you've read all your books; or you've watched all your movies a million times; or you've done all your puzzles and need a new one...things like that. Made a double batch of cookies (some I gave to the neighbor that gave me some of her rhodo). I cut my hubby's hair...boy! Did he need it! Usually he wears a tie every day to work, but we are going on 8 weeks of a sweat shirt and jeans each day and shaving every 5 days or so...Ha! He bottled a batch of Shiraz. Can't think of what else. Keeping busy!!

    Off to work on that dress...

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, This was my chair on the deck. Scout just took it over. She is the queen of comfort that dog.
      I saw a giant cold front is going up the east part of USA (with snow) so I hope this doent go as far north as you as it would wreck seedlings!
      I love the care package you sent. This is such a nice idea. I always loved the idea of care packages. I first found out about them watching American TV!
      It is sort of funny to think of all the suit and tie guys by now likely to be in sweats with a beard and needing a hair cut! haha! Around here everyone looks like that all the time! Haha! Seriously you get some sights on a farm...
      Anyway a home hair cut is good! I bet you did a good job!
      Shira sounds amazing! I hope you are able to complete the sun dress.... I am guessing you will get it done! With love

  22. Please share your crumble recipe - looks delicious! Great post today - boy do you stay busy!

    1. Dear Kathy, Thanks so much! Well my "recipe" is to reasonably thinly slice up enough apples to pretty well fill your dish... sprinkle with some sugar and cinnamon. Mix melted butter and brown sugar with flour (I use gluten free) and or crushed nuts, whatever is in the bottom of a cereal packet, crushed biscuits that didnt get used up, corn flakes or other cereal or oats... or muesli... taste it... this should taste delicious! If it doesnt add and stir until it does. Now top the apples (or peaches or whatever) with this and bake in a fairly slow over so it all has a chance to cook down well then turn it up a bit so you get a nice golden brown topping. This is a good way to use up all kinds of things in your toppings! With love


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