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 21 May 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 22nd May, 2020.

It has been another good week!  I made progress on some of my projects and we had rain which is wonderful.

Some of the ways we got ahead and built up our home included:

I made progress on the cubby house (play house) I am making from the big box.  I hope next week I might be up to a stage I can show you!  But not yet!

The smaller box is now set up and in position as my first raised garden bed.   I painted it with a weather proof paint and sealer.  We lined it with  thick plastic that was in the hay shed to hopefully stop the walls from rotting over time.  There are big drainage holes in the bottom.

This thing was heavy!  

Once in position (down in the orchard near the tap) I began to fill it each day adding something.  It is surprisingly huge to fill!   I began with logs and branches and since have added shredded paper, hay and sheep manure. I am about half way on that.   The goal is be ready to plant in Spring.  Our soil here is quite sandy.  So this will give me rich soil to plant in. 

I let everyone know I am collecting shredded paper and received four more bags full!  Some went in to the chicken house and I am finding a thick layer of this in the nesting boxes is meaning clean eggs plus the eggs sink down and semi disappear.  This would be very good for anyone who gets any broken eggs or has chooks that eat them if they get a chance as you can hardly see they are there.

The other bags of shredded paper are in the shed ready for my next raised garden beds.  This is a case of having a resource I didn't know I had.  Now I have realised I am putting it all to good use!  If you have access to shredded paper you can make wonderful compost with it! 

So.... this week we went off on a bit of an adventure to see if the wood was still in the old shed and if so the plan was to bring what we could home for garden beds we are making out the front.

I packed a little picnic and off we went.   And the timber was still there!!!   It is old and heavy and some of the planks are about one foot wide.  Perfect!  

This might look like junk to some but not to me! 

We cut the wood to a size that we could fit on the trailer and lift!  Boy some of this was heavy!  So the length we cut was 3 m.   And this decided the length of the garden beds!

Of course I snooped around heaps and there is so much more wood,  there are old windows with wooden frames and there is an old bath tub.  Also there are patches of stinging nettles...

This is another resource I once would have over looked.  I have one bagful to use to dye some wool.  Nan did this and it makes a very beautiful soft green dye.   Another bagful I am making liquid garden fertiliser.  But I have more... if you use stinging nettles will you tell me what you do with it?

In the evening after all of this I started to think about the other wood, the windows and the bath tub and what we could make from all of this!!   The things I need most are a new chicken house (for the 12 new chickens that are coming) and little goat shelters (for the two miniature goats I ordered entirely by accident  😊) and nesting boxes.   I spent the night on Pinterest and found so many ideas. So it looks like we will build a chicken house with a big window on one side... nesting boxes, a goat play ground, goat shelters and nesting boxes.... and possibly a greenhouse from old windows!  
Just collecting all these materials will take us a while but our next trip to do so will be Sunday or Monday.  Andy is being shown a lot of helpful and inspiring pictures! 

During the week I made a use -everything- up Quiche.

I made Fig and Almond jam from the figs I picked last week...

I made yoghurt and used some of this to coat chicken pieces then crumb them.  For some reason this turns out to be so delicious.   You can do them on a baking tray, I do them in the air frier.

I had lots of little bird pictures.  In the cheap shop I found tiny little cards and envelopes.  Perfect!  I have been making them up then packaging them into little packs of five to use as gifts.

Now for some animal pictures.   Most days I go to check on everyone and usually I take biscuits.  So as soon as they see me coming they come running.  Laffie is a size now that having her jumping and galloping  towards you could scare the pants off someone. haha!  Maybe she can be installed as an additional security measure?   

I cannot imagine life without animals.   Every day Scout takes toys to Eddie.  Every day Eddie doesn't play with them.   But they horse around endlessly and I managed to capture a moment of this...

This is Scout going "I have a toy and you can't get it!" and Eddie, master of the leaping head butt, in action.  This does on all day...

In the background is day one of my painting...  the beginnings of trees.

So that is my week more or less.   Of course I do all the usual stuff we all do... clean and wash and housework and meals that is all a part of daily life.  Sometimes that is all I do in a day.   Sometimes I don't even get to the end of that and meal on the table is good enough!   But overall I am working and "making hay while the sun shines" on ways to get ahead, become more self sufficient in any way that we can.     
With the situation in the world and with the virus we (especially here in South Australia) have a lull and even pretty well stocked supermarket shelves.  There are even some things like antibacterial hand wipes, masks, antic bacterial sprays etc available now.  
Many are thinking "thank goodness that is over" and becoming very casual about it all.  Many are not being careful and I see people shopping in groups as an outing and general unnecessary stuff.   While I hope they are right it is all over,  I don't think they are. 

I think we are all battle weary and our brains are fried from the media and also trying to discern what is true and what is not.   Also when there are inconsistencies that do not make  sense you start to wonder... for instance being able to crowd in public transport shoulder to shoulder but not be allowed to go to Church.  I always think that when things don't make any sense they are either not true or there is information missing. 
When the big mobs are telling you complete rubbish it means you have to use your own common sense and you need to be very watchful.  If I had a dollar for every time I heard "there is no evidence of community transmission"  (remember that? When even we knew and could read this was not true!)  I could build a chook house better than the Taj Mahal. 
My point is when we are tired and over it this is a dangerous time.  We need to try and focus and be more watchful than ever.    I pray that God will lead me to be doing the things we need to be doing. And there is so much we can do!   Maybe you are like me and have resources you didn't even realise were resources!

Just now I have apples simmering and cakes to make.  It is a day of genre rain and mist and the fire is going.  

How did you build up your home, pantry or garden this week?   What do you feel to do at this time?  Do you have projects and goals on the go?    

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx


  1. What a good week Annabel. I love your can-do attitude! As for nettles...well I once made a nettle quiche. It was much like a spinach quiche, but I can't say I'd do it I had a really good week too, but in different ways to you. Just productive in the kitchen and getting home renovations done, but I'm happy. We've had a lot going on in that arena, but we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel now. Your fig jam is a thing to behold. Yum! Mimi xxx

    1. Thanks Mimi, Ok so I wot make Nettle Quiche lol. Renovations... oh you will be glad when they are done. I love the result but hate the process! Have a good new week Mimi! With love

  2. I want to thank you for mentioning last week that you have a large quantity of shredded paper. It got me thinking--my daughter, who is developmentally disabled, works in a vocational center. One of their services is shredding paper. I knew that most of the shreds had to be disposed of in a confidential manner. I called my daughter's boss and asked if there were paper shreds that could be given away, and his response was "Oh, my, yes!" Being a frugalista, it never occurred to me that people pay 45 cents per pound to have their JUNK MAIL shredded. I know of a few people who believe that anything that contains their name and address is potentially risky (it isn't, if that's all there is) but apparently a LOT of people believe this. And so they pay to have their junk mail shredded...and I can have all of the shreds I want! Printer ink is soy-based, so it's not a problem to compost. I have a friend who calls whenever they clean the chicken house, so between the shreds, sh** and garden and kitchen waste, I'm set. And I live in a new house on a 1/4 acre lot in the middle of a small city! The paper shreds are a Godsend because I live in a newer neighborhood and don't have access to a lot of leaves to compost.

    I may have mentioned this before, but I read that it can cost $200 to fill a 4x10 raised bed with good soil. The article suggested mixing whatever native soil you might have (I had the dirt from digging fence post holes), whatever compost you have (in any stage of composting) with a few bags of garden soil on top. I had some half-finished compost and bought 6 bags of soil for about $20. I had a fabulous garden! The soil settled by about half, so this year I topped it off, again spending less than $20.

    A lot of people are keeping chickens now, so chicken manure is fairly easy to come by. It's so hot that it must be composted before adding to the garden. My initial manure was alpaca poop. I got it when I advertised for rabbit poop.

    1. I forgot to add that I am having to soak my foot in epsom salts every night (I had a toenail removed). I have been reusing the soaking water to water my tomatoes. Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate and tomatoes love it!

    2. Dear Maxine,
      I think it would be even more here to fill a garden bed with soil. The prices are very expensive. So I will see how much I can do it for. So far $0.00 haha! Thank you for sharing how you did yours. It made me realise that I can actually add some of the not very good sandy soil as a small percentage at least to the mix.
      The paper I have used so far is already breaking down. It is the plain paper and I think the glossy papers are not suitable. But I have a ton of supplies and so do you now! This is very good! We are making progress! Thank you so much, with love

    3. Annabel, I don't know about using glossy paper, but I do know the paper coating is kaolin, which is a natural clay. I'm going to use whatever shreds I am given, and if the glossies don't break down as fast...they eventually will.

  3. Nettles are an excellent compost accelerator, they can also be used to make nettle soup and nettle tea (which is supposed to be excellent for the condition of the skin). Here in the UK they are also an important part of the lifecycle of the red admiral butterfly.

    I had a good week too,it was very varied with even the weather joining in.

    I have -

    Put 55% of my salary into my early retirement fund.

    Laid flags in my garden.

    Broke up pallets for use later.

    Collected pine cones for use as kindling.

    Planted out loads of seedlings.

    Made crowdie (a Scottish soft cheese).

    Earmarked several currant bushes for future foraging.

    Found a brand new rug dumped by the roadside (and it's perfect for my living room).

    Got creative in arranging the plant pots on my front steps and have got so many more placed there ( it's the area that gets the most sun, it's fairly sheltered and gets the heat radiated from the house bricks,so it's prime growing space).

    And concocted a strawberry planter thing up the side of my front door, which is ever so simple but took me most of a day to do.

    I hope everyone had a good week too, take care.

    1. Dear Su,
      What a good week! I love road side finds! The rug is a great find!
      Your garden sounds lovely with the pots on the steps. This would be a great warm area. I recently heard the tip to place a bit of slate or rock near plants as they slate will absorb heat and hold it... thus a small plants gets some extra warmth. I am going to try this! I hope you have another wonderful week. With love

  4. Hi Annabel
    You had a great week - it's surprising how many of us find old wood really exciting! There's always a use for it. I agree that now some of the restrictions are lifting a bit (I'm in the UK) it is actually a dangerous time as people are becoming complacent. My husband and I have decided we're not dashing off anywhere on a jolly - we're going to stay at home as much as before and wait and see what develops. Tragically there was a big forest fire near us a couple of days ago started by a disposable BBQ - the fire officers found ELEVEN discarded BBQs from people rushing out to the forest. Now there's a big wildlife rescue operation going on as it's a habitat for very rare lizards etc.
    My youngest daughter nurses high dependency Covid patients and theyve been told to expect second waves next autumn/ winter and if people saw how poorly her patients are they'd stay home.
    Thank you for your blog, it's so good for us all to know there are others around the world making the best of what they have and getting ahead.

    1. Dear Penny, I am glad you dont think I am mad about the timber and see what I do!
      The forest fire wasnt too good so close to you too. People doing dangerous things... we have fires here so I know how infuriating this is.
      Thank you so much for sharing this information from your daughter. Insider information like this is really valuable.... what they re being told to expect tells us what we need to know. I agree with what you are doing. Very sensible. Yes there is so much we can do. I think this makes us feel better too as we can take some control at home at least! Many thanks Penny, with love

  5. Hi Annabel,
    Reading your blog on a Friday evening, after a busy work week is the highlight of my weeks end. Love the photos of the animals. They do bring us such joy, don't they. Scout and Eddie are hilarious.I love reading about the things you find on the farm and what you are going to do with it. The other night I didn't get a wink of sleep, not one hour, because my mind could not shut off, with plans for projects around the house. I had had a busy two days in the garden, so plenty of physical activity, but this did not help.
    Gosh the girls are going to get a delightful surprise when you reveal the finished play house. Do they know about it or is it a surprise? I see many, many, happy hours spent in it. If you want some ideas/inspiration about setting up real environments for children's play look up Kimberely Crisp. She is a NZ early childhood educator who I think you would appreciate and enjoy. You both share many aesthetics and everything can be purchased from op shops, etc. Of course know doubt with your fabulous eye for detail you have many ideas.
    I am having my first haircut in 13 weeks tomorrow. Of course while in Level 4 and 3 lock down this was not possible. My partner dyes my hair roots for me, so the cut will give it back it's style/shape. I have a pixie cut. He was going to give cutting it a go but never got around to it.
    Like you I think people are in to much of a rush to go back to their "normal life." Our normal is now different and so we must proceed accordingly and with caution. We have so much to lose otherwise. People always think it will happen to others, not them.
    I have had my first full week back at work and it has been wonderful to be with th

    1. Thank you so much! I have nights just the same as yours... if my brain had an off switch it would be fabulous. I am excited by plans too. Especially when I realise I can do some thing... once I figure out how to do it!
      The girls do know I am making the playhouse. But I dont think they imagine anything other than big box. So it will be a surprise when they see it!! A big surprise!
      Thanks for the name to look up! I am using all the ideas I can get. Mum had two old phones so there will be phones fixed to the calls in the cubby. haha
      I hope you enjoyed your hair cut! You will feel better for it.
      I hope your new week goes well! With much love,

  6. Too many inconsistencies Annabel! I work in early childhood education and we are full every day. How do you do social distancing with babies? And yet, I haven’t seen my family in two months as they are all in isolation and I am exposed every day. I love your blog and am inspired by it and would love to do what you do. At the moment, full time work is so exhausting that I do very little at home. I look forward to your writing every week. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Dear Jennie, Thanks... well making little kids socially distance is just impossible and awful. Kids naturally are all over each other! Thank you for your kind words. Jennie there are only so many hours in a day. We can do all things but not all at once! So maybe in the future you will get your change to have your dream job but in the meantime just do the best you can and I know you are already doing that! With much love

  7. Hello Anabell, Heike here. My parents used the nettles like spinach. I don't know more, but maybe you can google receipes?

    1. Thanks Heike. A friend of mine with German parents told me her family always cooked and ate them. Her Mother would not pass a nettle patch. Tomorrow I am going to pick more! xxx

  8. What a busy week you had. Those stashes of wood and odds and ends sure do come in handy. Same as having extra money!
    Love seeing the animals - they always make me smile.

    Lovely post - people are getting very complacent and it is scary. Agree - you can crowd into the local stores - but not church - not small businesses (here) - it makes no sense. The only thing I see is control of the masses - and I don't like the direction it is going.
    We just need to stay vigil and keep preparing and PRAYING!
    God bless.

    1. Dear Cheryl, We think alike! We need to be watchful and continue what we have been doing. I do notice that fear and panic can really freeze people... this is one thing I think we have in our favour... we are not frightened as we have faith and we are not frozen as we continue what we have been doing. Maybe with more motivation! With love

  9. Dear Annabel and lovely Bluebirds!!

    Home industry is what I greatly miss when working long days away from home! Your work at home looks fun, Annabel! ..... I am encouraged to know that, while I have been away, the blessing of rainfall has been watering my new kitchen garden; and the chooks and sheep have been productively working!!
    My humble seed collection has grown this week, with generous contributions from Bluebirds, as well as a local purchase of cucuzza/Sicilian squash seed (the seed look a bit like date seed to me!). The cucuzza are a very fast growing climbing vine, with super long cylindrical fruit! We laughed so much when having to change the tap on a large water tank containing water! That was a good little investment!

    Vicky, I thought to update you on my Vicky Challenge! Since my challenge is focussing on actual income, I can report that things are going well, with my virus cleaning work at the local avocado pack house, as well as recent sales of books ($100 for a collection of Anne of Green Gables and other L.M. Montgomery books, plus a $10 bonus for holding them for the buyer, so that her daughter could read them in these virus restrictions); commission for advertising items for sale for computer illiterate friends; and sale of some very old, very hard, very heavy, very large wood which is too difficult for us to move from my parents’ place to home). One smaller slab is now a mantelpiece set up by a builder!

    Without the Almighty, we are nothing, so I am grateful that He carries us!


    1. Dear Rachel, Wow this is a very good week! What good extra income on the books and timber! This is very good! I think the mantle pice would be beautiful what a good idea!
      I am so glad you have seeds and things growing! Seeds are valuable!
      I hope you have a very nice new week. With much love,

    2. Rachel,
      How fantastic! You are doing a wonderful job and your so industrious that I know things are falling into place and that has to be a wonderful feeling.

  10. Dear Annabel,
    You had a really good week. The fig and almond jam looks so delicious. I love reading about all of the progress on the various projects. Is the painting of the trees a part of the cubby house?

    It has been a good week here as well and much got done. I was given 4 large containers called Earthboxes and have put them to use to grow herbs, radishes, and planted the regrown scraps (scallions, and onions) that were rooted inside in water in them. The celery and bok choy has now rooted and will be planted. I'm anxious to see how that goes. My husband used the small tiller and tilled the raised bed garden. We made instant compost and shredded all junk mail etc, ground up all of the dried egg shells into a fine powder and mixed that into the soil.

    More coconut milk icecream was made. I baked gluten free biscuits(scones) using a recipe with coconut flour and arrowroot flour and gelatin eggs in place of the required eggs. Baked 2 dozen egg free coconut macaroons, baked English muffin bread for my husband. It's such a great recipe and requires no kneading. All the usual fluffing and dusting got done. Wishing everyone a good weekend and week ahead. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      When I took the photo of Eddie and Scout I had just painted the tree trunks as the first thing on the box. That was day 1!
      You achieved such a lot in the garden! This is very good.
      All your cooking sounds just lovely. I hope you have another good week. Sunday is over here... I did some planning for my new week too! With much love

  11. I love old wood! One of our neighbors replaced part of his fence and left the old wood out by the trash. My husband built me a wonderful potting bench with it! It's in the garage so it doesn't need to be weatherproof. I've used it for more than 16 yrs. now! A garden store nearby sells them for nearly $200....also made from old wood! Nice profit margin if someone finds that wood and doesn't buy it.

    I always love your animal pics. They never fail to make me smile!

    As far as the virus goes, I'm content to be a homebody for quite awhile! And I surely have enough stuff here to keep me busy for....maybe 75 yrs. or so lol?! Let's put it this way. I have way more here to do than I have years to do it all!!!

    Debby in Kansas, USA

    1. Dear Debby, I always feel I have more projects than years to do them. But I will try lol
      Your potting bench sounds lovely. I could really use one so this can go on to the list. Our plan is to get more wood and the windows tomorrow. I love the windows! I am very content at home too. This is a good thing. Busy and content at home is glorious! With love

  12. HELLO Annabel! Kim from Perth here ( feathers and black cockatoos may jog your memory!) We have a LOT going on that I would love to share with you, perhaps I will email it though. I just wanted to tell you about nettles!! I grow them on purpose.. they are the most nutritious green you can eat and my advice to make them more palatable and pretty much unnoticeable it to put them in your big pot of beef or chicken or vegetable soup towards the start... It doesn't matter if they cook to the point of falling apart and disappearing because all the nutrients will be in your broth and the green will be like very soft spinach. BUT I have another one I know you will love!!!! Nettles are used in other countries traditionally, to make VEGETABLE RENNET for cheese making!!! There is a compound in them that when boiled or soaked in boiling water ( you will have to google for exact recipe but it's VERY easy) extracts and makes rennet so you can make your own cheeses without needing to buy animal rennet from the shop) like the sourdough of the cheese world ���� what a resource! I am going to be adding this to all the other things we do here, eventually ☺️ X x x

    1. Thank you Kim for the information on rennet from Stinging nettles. Yes I do remember about the feathers! I would love to hear what you are up to please ! Email me... Thank you so much! Love

  13. Annabel you did really well with reusing items for raised garden beds and planning further on timber resources you had behind the shed to make more :). You jam, quiche and cards all look wonderful too.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $845.94 in savings last week :).

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

    Deep cleaning and decluttering -
    - We decluttered, threw out rubbish and sorted the cupboards down in the rumpus room that had tools everywhere. Both DH and I emptied all the tools out of the cupboards, DH brought up the tool boxes from the shed and I cleaned them and DH sorted all the tools into them. While he was doing that I deep cleaned all the cupboards inside and out, doors and door handles, table and skirting boards in the rumpus room, laundry, stairs, laundry and stair rails. We put all the tools in toolboxes into the old kitchen cupboard we removed and put down there from when we put in our new stove in the kitchen.

    This frees up the larger sliding cupboards for blankets, quilts, sheets, towels and tea towels.

    Purchases -
    - Bought 6 new pairs of shorts and 6 new skirts (5 long and one knee length) on clearance from Rockmans for $90 saving $395.94 on usual prices.

    Finances -
    - Paid an extra small payment off the mortgage.

    Earnings -
    - DH earned $50 by doing a mowing job locally.

    In the gardens and firewood cutting -
    - We cut 3 more cubic metres of firewood free saving us $450 over buying it in.
    - Trimmed the rest of the tomato vine branches growing too close to the ground.
    - Weeded the sweet potato garden bed and trimmed the vines back that were growing out of the garden bed.
    - Weeded the turnip garden bed and thinned and transplanted turnip seedlings growing too close together.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Dear Lorna,
      Looking after your tools and even know what you have is a good thing. You did very well getting ahead with clothing at great prices.
      Your word cutting is really adding up. I even love to see a woodpile! A think of beauty to me! And inside even baskets of wood ready near the fire is lovely. What an asset to have this supply!
      A very good week. We are off tomorrow to get more of the wood and the windows. It is going to be a long bumpy road to get windows home thought! Have a very good new week! With love

  14. How I love reading about your week. You achieve so much and have such vision. I have not been great about repurposing in the past but hope to improve on this. God bless.

    1. Dear Suzan, It is really fun to look at alternative uses for things. I have bene having fun today with the big box... it is STARTING to look like a play house now! With love

  15. I have just discovered that nettles can be made into a rennet substitute!

  16. Annabel,
    What a wonderful week you had.Happy late Birthday to Harper.She is so precious.I can't believe she is 5! We are slow and steady here. Adding to the pantry little by little. Our bathroom pantry supplies are stocked.Soap shampoo and OTC meds are good. We now have some toilet paper. We had one roll when all this started. We will try to do better on supply for the second round. I agree people have stopped being careful.This is dangerous.
    I wanted to mention you can make disposable wipes with coffee filters. You just put coffee filters in a jar and add alcohol or Lysol and you have cheep disposable wipes. An old wipes container would be better but I don have one.
    The fig jam is beautiful. The color is just devine.
    That is great about all the lumber and old decorator Windows the animals will be living in style. I can't wait to see the beautiful things you do with them. Stinging nettles have many vitamins in them. You can dry and put in capsules.I don't work with them because I have not figured out how to harvest them with getting itchy.
    Have a wonderful week.
    Patti from San Diego

    1. Dear Patti, I am sorry it has taken me nearly all week to reply! It has been another pretty busy week.
      I have been handling the nettles with thick gloves and just wearing sleeves. The prickly factor doesnt seem to go through cloth at all. Well not for far! As long as I have my gloves in it seems fine. I have picked two lots and another lot maybe tomorrow or the weekend.
      I will also be able to show you some things tomorrow with the cubby (play) house at least. Some progress there.
      I am glad you are able to build up stocks. We are now seeing some outbreaks here and some mistakes made that have cause people to be exposed... so I am thinking mmm this whole lockdown could happen again.
      I hope the week has been good for you! With much love

  17. Dear Annabel, I have been keeping up with all that has been going on in your “neck of the woods” as we say where I come from. I so enjoy all the photos and stories about your animal kingdom there, your granddaughters, your many many projects at home and the scrumptious looking food photos! Thank you for sharing so much. Harper is certainly a lovely 5 year old. The playhouse will be such fun for her and sister!

    I have some good news! Hubbie found a new job which he starts this week. It is a better job than the one he had and he is very excited about this new venture. Thank you all for your prayers because this is totally God’s doing and I cannot thank Him enough for blessing us like this!

    While he has been off work he has:
    - Built new raised beds for the garden, helped me add the soil, cleared weeds and helped me plant.
    - Built a new gate for our fenced in garden
    - Built a pegboard for my craft room and added twinkle lights to it no less!
    - Built a cart top out of old wood we had lying around
    - Weeded our landscaping and trimmed the bushes
    - Rewired the electricity to our barn
    - Replaced a toilet seal
    - Replaced light fixtures in a bathroom
    - Added timers to our bathroom fans
    - Replaced a kitchen sink sprayer
    - Built a pantry cupboard for our daughter
    - Put up a closet clothing rod for our daughter
    - Repaired a drain issue at our daughter’s house
    - Repaired our cuckoo clock
    - Repaired a freezer/fridge water leak and modified it so it won’t happen again
    - Relabeled the breaker box switches (several were wrong)
    - Repaired roof shingles
    - Repaired my vehicle saving $300 over the repair shop doing it

    I am so thankful for all this hard work he did! He accomplished so much! He also helped me learn to use the Silhouette Cameo a friend sold me for $25!

    Here also things are “loosening up.” In our county at any given time we’ve had about 14-15 active cases each day but that number has dropped. Three people died from my county early on, but there have been no more since March thank goodness. We have been going in stores, but wearing masks. The stores require employees to wear them, but I noticed they often are not wearing them correctly and are touching their faces, which isn’t good. Early on we had shortages of paper products like everyone else and other items I was well stocked on. That didn’t last too long. The only item that remained an issue was yeast, but they finally started stocking it at Costco and my sister-in-law bought me a 32oz container of it! Yay! There are not as many options when it comes to paper products, and also there are limits on ground beef purchases but otherwise it seems back to normal for us. Our area was not hit very hard by the virus. We don’t live far from a National Park, though, and it is now open so I wonder as tourists start to come will the numbers get worse again? So far our extended families have stayed well and there have been no instances of the virus in the assisted living facility my mom is in. She is doing very well thankfully. She just turned 87!

    Thank you, as always, Annabel for all you are doing to help us all! I hope you have a blessed weekend.

    1. Dear Carla,
      Oh that is fantastic news!! What a relief to you. Yes God is good. This is so nice to hear!
      Look at all your husband did in the time off!! He is a good worker! He used the time so well! Also now you will be able to make so much with that cameo machine. (I would love one of those!)
      I am glad things are not too bad there and that you are wearing a mask. I would continue... as yes as people get casual this is where we could run into problems. I am glad no one is ill where your Mum is. That is really good. I hope they keep it that way. For everyone 10 sensible people we seem to get one idiot and these are the ones we have to watch!
      Thank you so much for sharing your news and also how much your husband did with his time off. This is all big blessing to hear! With much love

  18. We have used the nettles, early in the spring, as you would use spinach. Pick with gloves and it tastes like fuzzy dpinach.
    When we visited relatives in Sweden they had dehydrated the nettles, then crunched them up to bottle,as you would with herbs (like parsley?). They would sprinkle it in soup or any type of cooking.

    1. Dear Beth, Thank you for this. I think nettle dried wold be a good way to add it, like maybe you would parsley, to a soup etc. Thank you for that. It is interesting to see what people in different countries do! Thank you! Love

  19. I love to see your projects on the farm, Annabel! I think we are kindred spirits with the way we look at discarded things and find new uses for them!
    Our “farm” is right in the middle of our capital city on a city lot but we are trying to make the most efficient use of our space! As others posting here, we could stay at home for a long time and not run short of projects or materials to complete them!
    I pulled out some of our leftover wood pallet support boards(2x4’s)and measured enough to make this planter I just needed to spend $20 on additional longer 2x4’s and I have enough 5 gallon buckets so I don’t need to buy any of them! So for, $20, I’ll have a container garden!
    We bought worms online (Who knew you could do that? ) Hubs built a worm condo after looking at a photo.
    He used all scraps for ours and it will just be white since we didn’t have any colorful exterior paint at home like the one in the original photo! Today the worm condo was placed outside and worms will be transferred into it. They are hard at work eating our food trimming and turning it into rich compost!!
    In the spirit of decluttering, I found a cute country breakfast table with 4 chairs in our attic. I dusted them off and sold them in a matter of minutes for $50 to a sweet young couple! From the response, I could have sold a dozen at that price or asked more, but I was happy to reclaim some attic space and happy to see a bargain received by a nice couple! Win-win, in my opinion!
    Mask making from my fabric stash has now reached 540, without measurable decrease in my stash! I haven’t touched my fabric yardage I have- just the bits and bobs trimmed from other projects!
    Our garden is coming up well and we are starting to harvest greens- lettuce, kale, Swiss chard (silverbeet), spinach. At the store yesterday, I saw and took photos of the salad “kits” they sell. This way I could see their ingredients list. I discovered I already had the ingredients in my pantry and my garden and fridge to make most of them except for the cabbage mix (mine aren’t ready to harvest yet), so I bought a package of chopped cole slaw mix for $1 and now have everything I need to make several salads for us for several days! Not a bad investment, I think!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Gardenpat, what huge accomplishments. I’m especially impressed with your willingness to sew masks and your fabric stash (of scraps) for making all 540 masks. Wow!
      Have a beautiful week, Bluebirds! Love, Teresa

    2. Dear Gardenpat, I think the container design is very clever! Amazing to make it for so little. I think a lot of work BUT I reckon these would sell too!
      I watch all your projects and yes we think pretty much the same. Take the opportunity! Make the most of it! Now I never knew you could get worms in the mail. Yet I heard in some places you can get chickens in the mail which amazes me! I am sure there could be funny situations like this i.e. if someone stole your parcel or it went to the wrong address and people opened it only to find a box full of worms haha! A worm condo is amazing. I am going to have to look into this as our soil definitely lacks worms.
      I think if you can find a table and chairs in the attic I would love looking in there! Good job on the sale!
      I think the number of masks you have made is a credit to you. Probably also a great project with little bits of fabric that aren't big enough for clothes etc.
      Fresh salad from the garden is way better. You prove what can be done on a suburban block. So much! I love hearing your week. With love,

  20. Hi Annabelle!
    Congratulations on your fruitful week! You always get so much done! I have been busy, busy with our gardens: weeding, watering, harvesting. I made squash casserole yesterday - one for now and one for the freezer. I dehydrated zucchini and have been freezing green beans. Harvesting cucumbers and next will be corn and potatoes! In the meantime (what's left of it) I have two sewing projects I'm working on. I have found that by staying home we are saving money right and left. We have been saving up for a new truck as both our vehicles are getting old. One day I used odds and ends and made a big pot of soup. I have decided that from now on Saturday will be our soup and sandwich day. Easy to fix and a good way to used up leftovers. One tip I have that may be useful: I needed picture wire to re-hang a picture that fell off the wall so I used the wire from an old spiral notebook for that job. I tend to save odds and ends like that and it's amazing how often I find exactly what I need in my stash :D
    Have a happy, blessed Sunday!

    1. Dear Pam,Your garden and harvest sound wonderful! It is interesting how much many of us are saving due to staying home more, shopping less... I think the use it up dinner night is really good. Each time I have a toasted sandwich and soup for dinner I enjoy it so much. I need to make this weekly too.
      Reusing the wire was clever! I think supplies of string, wire, tools, odds and ends give us a lot to work with!
      I hope your new week is off to a good start! With love,

  21. I just crushed my first batch of dried nettles. I use this in tea ( half and half with black loose leaf tea) I drink most days- just because I like it, and add to breakfast smoothies I make for children. Fresh nettles need to be parboiled before cooking with them. I use fresh (or frozen) nettle in soup (made a bit like bechamel sauce in lasagna) or in pancake batter ( for pancakes, waffles, yorkshire buddings etc). Sometimes I use dried nettles as any dried herb.
    When you are eating nettles, you have to use only few upper leaves, otherwise there will be hard fibrous pieces, which are not nice. In autunm you could harvest long stems and use them to make fine yarn and weave lovely silky fabric... like linen, but silkier.
    Also nettle seeds are edible, I know people use them in myesli etc.
    And of course as fertilizer in garden.

    1. Thank you so much for thesis was to use nettles. Today I picked my first big bag full. I have more to get next trip. They are very fresh and healthy and I know no exposure to sprays etc. So now I have many ways to try using them! Thank you! Love

  22. Dear Annabel,

    Your raised bed looks fantastic. And did I just read about miniature goats? I wondered how long it would be!!! :) Can't wait to see them!

    Your cards are absolutely beautiful. I don't know how you manage to get a hold of such beautiful pictures, but they sure are stunning.

    People are not complacent, here. In fact, I would say they are too fearful for the actual spread that has occurred here. Almost all of our cases were travel related or in long-term care homes, and mostly centred around Halifax (the numbers in the other areas have been the same for weeks), and yet my neighbors are still petrified to go to the grocery store. It will take quite some time to get people past the fear to live lives with some mitigated risk...which is, when you think about it, what life is. Statements from our premier in the early days such as "The virus will find you and kill you" are now hard to reconcile with many folks with getting back to the swing of things to even a small degree. Part of the trouble is, as you say, all the mixed messages and directly contradictory information that is out there, including complete about face information from the public health department (such as about masks and gloves, etc.). People seem to either completely poo-poo the whole sickness or they are paralyzed by fear...there doesn't seem to be much in the middle. You are right, though, having faith is a great sustainer in times of trouble, and gives you something to hold on to, instead of falling apart or freezing. Someone at our church said (and he did not mean this in a way to say he was going to flout any rules or not take any precautions, but just as a way of thinking to counter the worry and fear), "I won't live one day longer or less than the good Lord has allotted me." I thought that was a good thought to keep in mind.

    We have had a wonderful week for weather. It's been sunny and (FINALLY) dry, here, so we had a wonderful hike for a birthday this week and I have been able to get to part of the garden. It looks like I will get to plant a good chunk of it this week, thank goodness. So this week I have: finished sewing a birthday dress, made a birthday cake and special meal, edged/weeded and put down cedar mulch on a big flower bed, moved all my transplants outside to harden off (although we had frost last night and it's forecasted for tonight, too, so they are on the covered porch, just in case), planned out the garden and planted onions, made bread, muffins, popsicles and 2 batches of yogurt (I ended up with a tooth infection last week and finally called my dentist on a Sunday in desperation...was prescribed antibiotics to treat the infection until I can be allowed to go the dentist and get things looked at I am going through quite a bit of yogurt to counter the medicine!!)...what else...oh, defrosted the big chest freezer as the rhubarb is now ready and I will be cutting and freezing some this week. Oh, I also picked up a free wooden chair along the side of the road when I was out for a walk, and will be sanding and painting it for outdoor furniture for the porch. I hope to make a seat cushion for it, too, but it's hard to go shopping for some things right now (like foam). Hubby tilled some of the garden, did maintenance on the tiller and mower for the season, and has mostly built a new outside pen attached to the chicken coop. The old one fell apart a couple of years ago, and letting the chickens out to free range is risky with a fox in the neighborhood, and the chickens themselves do a lot of damage to the yard, so this pen will be great.

    Well, we're off to tuck in to the first rhubarb pie of the season! Hope you have a wonderful week.

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, This is interesting! We also had some conflicting advice... as you say one minute they say dont the next they say do. It is still going on.
      I hope you dont have any further late frosts. I love your garden and hope to see it again this year.It is exciting and must be a big job getting it all planted.
      I hope the antibiotics kicked in and killed the pain. A tooth infection can be agonising. And dangerous. So I hope you can get that attended too asap.
      The birthday sounds like it was a big success.
      I love all you are doing and it is a busy time. How good it is to have land and be able to be putting in a big garden. Best thing ever! Have a good new week! With love

  23. Annabel,
    Your animals always make me smile. Scout playing with Eddie and Laffie charging for a biscuit how cute!
    The cubby house is going to be so fun for the girls and it's looking so pretty too.
    Nettles also have medicinal benefits, are a good spinach replacement, rennet, make a good tea for the garden and the roots will give you yellow dye. Just be careful harvesting them unless they are small, ouch!
    We had a lot of rain this week so most of my work has been inside, but I did manage to get a small craft done.
    My strawberries are blooming but loaded with weeds. I got started on the weeding and then the rain came. As soon as the garden dries out we will start our planting. I'm ready to get it done. I'm praying for another Victory garden this year. I think we will get a reprieve, but I don't believe things will be over so I am continuing with preparing as best I can. The cost of meat in my area has skyrocketed and that tells me something. I am guessing not enough people in my area eat the plant based meats because those products are never sold out.
    I love old wood! Anything it's used for has a timeless look and I know you'll put all of your finds to good use!
    I hope everyone has a great weekend.

    1. Dear Vicky, By the sounds of it you will be planting. I heard it is suddenly warm now! A lot of the fake meats are not good if you read the ingredients. Maybe the true plant based ones are ok but many are just frankenfoods really full of things that are not food. They are the only thing left on the shelves when there is nothing too!
      I dont believe things are back to normal either. But a reprieve is an opportunity we can sure use.
      I hope your Victory Garden is a huge success. Take some photos as we all would like to see this! With love

  24. Annabel,
    Hi, Kim here from the Pacific Northwest of United States. I just wanted to add that stinging nettles can be used to ease arthritis pain. Native Americans here have used this forever. Take a fresh piece of nettle and brush it against the joint that is painful and yes it will sting but then you have several days of pain free joints. I use it on my hands in this manner and it works really well.

    1. Dear Kim, This is an amazing tip! Thank you! I will try and remember this. I get joint aches. I can get them really bad. But if I eat no wheat at all I dont get this. It took me years to find this and in four days it changed my life. So I am interested in these ways to overcome pain. I picked more stinging nettles already and there are more to go. I fill a big bag each time. Now I have so many uses for them that it is like the shredded paper, I regret all the years I did not use this resource! Thanks so much, love

  25. Dear Annabel...I found on Youtube a woman who makes small terry towelling cloths to use instead of toilet paper..(she was only using toilet paper for no 2 )
    You can cut up(with shearing scissors) old hand towels into small pieces(all in one colour eg navy blue.)
    Keep a small foot pedal bucket beside the toilet...for cloths to go in.
    They do not smell!
    I have started using these cloths and we hardly use any toilet paper.
    We also have had our plumber a few years ago put in a squirt hose...very good.
    You can Napisan cloths before you put them in the wash.

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