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.

Friday 29 May 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 29th May, 2020.

I would say we have some rain coming as the internet isn't working too well for me!  It has been another pretty productive week.  I am glad to take some time to look back over it.

Each day I work on my ongoing projects.  My standard way to tackle lots of work is to do some every day until I get there!  So each day I move one wheel barrow load of mulch on to my garden beds.   Each day I add one wheelbarrow of manure to my raised garden bed...  as I go about my routine I add in habits.  On the way to feed the chickens I push the wheel barrow up the hill.   I use the fork to dig up several huge clumps of grass to give the chickens and the ducks.   I have my bucket of scraps I have collected in the kitchen plus any other weeds I might find on the way.  This supplements the chickens food a lot.  Due to foxes I cannot let the chickens free range.  They wouldn't last a day.  But their coop has a huge yard and they get a lot of greens everyday and have a big area to scratch around.

I collect the eggs and bring them back to the house and put them into cartons.  If things are going well I get twelve eggs.

On the way down the hill from the chicken shed I collect sticks and pinecones.  These go into baskets for kindling.  There are pine tress and the pinecones are never ending so I will never run out!

My other big project I am chipping  away at is the cubby house (play house).   For anyone who missed this, my brother gave me a huge wooden box.   Inside was another box!  The small one is now a raised garden bed... the large one I am making into a cubby house for the Grandkids.

I am ready to show a little of what I have done so far.  It is not finished and doesn't even had a roof yet.   We salvaged windows from the old shed where we found the timber for the new raised garden beds.

I began by painting tree trunks.   Then I cut out kitchen sponges into leaf shapes and stamped on leaves.  I cut out paper napkins with nests on them and decoupaged them on.  

The theme is nature, maybe a nature lodge!    I am sticking to things that are found here on the farm.   For the animals I bought some nursery decals which I have varnished over to water proof them.

A fox isn't a native animal to us but we sure do have them! Same with deer.

We have owls so I included those.  

This is the back which is on a fence line...

I am really enjoying it.  I just do a bit each day as I can.  Then I look at it for a while (as it is outside a window I sit in front of)  and plan what to do next.  

Because of being in plain sight I thought I better make it something that I enjoy seeing every day as well as thinking of the kids.   I have some old telephones so it will have an inside and outside phone on the walls.   (To report wildlife sightings, of course.)

One bird I really want to include are the black Cockatoos.  I found a decal to use!   This one has not arrived yet but I can't wait as these are really a feature on this property.

We made progress too on the cottage project.   Some progress on the new raised garden beds...  I am so excited about those!

I made three large dark fruit cakes.   One is for my Dad's Birthday.  One will go away as these keep for at least a year.  One is for Andy as he loves them.

During the week I also made scones, apple sauce, little cakes, baked rice custard and the usual meals of course.

I am trying to rotate what is in the freezer and organise it as I go.   

After making lots of little bird cards with envelopes I packaged them up into sets of five.  These are now in my gift cupboard for future gifts. 

I did an experiment in the garden.  In each row of seedlings I used a large upturned jar over one plant.  After a week these ones were slightly bigger than the others in the row.  After two weeks they were noticeably bigger.  Since this was taken they are almost at the top of the jar and more than twice the size of the non covered seedlings.   So now I will use many more.  Lucky I have a lot of jars! 

This week I did another trade.  This time was four dozen eggs for a little hall table.   Yes a very good deal!  

Each week I am trying to increase my network and be able to barter more.   
It is an exciting time as I am working towards the new chickens coming and baby miniature goats!   And having raised garden beds ready to plant in spring! 

How did you build up your home, pantry or garden this week?   Keep your eyes open for opportunities!    Have a wonderful weekend! xxx


  1. I love your paintings, you are very talented! The grandkids will love it! I wake up like that too and think what I have to do today. I never run out of stuff in fact I feel behind most of the time. I think well plant the garden this weekend so that's always exciting!

    1. Dear Vickie, I think we feel the same! I feel very happy too at the end of the day if I got lots done. It is a good feeling. Have a lovely weekend! With love

  2. Dear Annabel and lovely Bluebirds!!

    This is one sweet cubby house that you are preparing, Annabel! Your bartering is good, too!

    I have some days off work, so I am gratefully doing some of my own! I am working on maintenance tasks, after which I will be able to expand my own stock! ...... The kitchen garden continues to grow, and I am collecting seed for my spring garden ..... I am working on eating down the pantry to start afresh.

    We laughed so hard, recently, when we had to change the tap in a 5000 gallon tank that had plenty of water in it! We didn’t lose too much water!

    The manager at work gave me, recently, old woollen blankets. Just the other day, she gave me a large bag full of warm clothes in my size! Work also gave us juices, and avocados!!

    The LORD is my Keeper!!


    1. Dear Rachel,
      I t sounds like you have a very nice boss and she is kind and considerate. What a blessing this is! Avocados are a very good thing. To me they can be a breakfast, lunch or dinner!
      I am glad you didn't lose too much water! We also have a big tank that needs a new fitting... we havent fixed this yet and I am convinced it will be a disaster!
      I think the clothes and blankets are a wonderful thing. It is a good idea to always keep one wool blanket in the car. For fires in summer and if the car was to break down somewhere in winter. A blanket can be quite a first aid item too.
      Rachel you are doing and sounding well. You are encouraging me a lot thank you! With love

    2. Dear Annabel!

      Just send me a message, and I will tell you the options we worked through for the tank! Haha!

      Yes, I should put the blankets back in the car!!

      Thank you,


  3. Those lucky grandkids!!! Their playhouse is coming along beautifully! You are doing a wonderful job.
    Sounds like a good week. You keep so busy. Love the table!
    Have a great weekend

    1. Thank you Cheryl. You have a good weekend too. It is good to feel we accomplished good things for the week. I think neither of us could ever be bored we always have things to do! xxx

  4. Dear Annabel and Bluedbirds, love the cubby house and your artwork !I see Scout wants to be in the photos shoot too ;-)
    Ive been low profile here as my father in law has been unwell at home, then in hospital , then home 12 days and hospice for 2 before he passed .Funeral was Monday this week , and with our daughter and family living with us I have just managed to do the basic chores each day , some baking here and there , vacuumed the living areas today so I could be with my mother in law as much as possible . WE are in for a wet weekend too , so Ive done washign tonight and hung in in the lounge by heat pump , baked a chocolate slice and two trays of a muesli slice . This afternoon I made lasagna for dinner and rest for freezer portions , I find it tastes better when frozen .
    Hope eveyone has a lovely weekend , it is a long weekend here for the Queen's birthday .Loe Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria,
      Oh I am so sorry about your Father in Law. I knew you were helping them a lot and taking to appointments etc. You have done very well to keep things going with the family there, the cooking and meals, all the arrangements you no doubt had to make.
      I find Lasagne, soups, curry, stew... they all taste better after a couple of days! Also Lasagne slices up so neatly when cold. I do that too. The single serves ready to go are very handy.
      I hope you can get some rest over the long weekend. So sorry you have been through such a difficult time. With love and hugs,

    2. Maria I'm so sorry for your family's loss.

    3. Dear Terri thankyou so much for your kind words ,I don't think it has hit me yet how much I will miss the regular chats I had with my father in law on diverse topics that we often had different views on. Love Maria xxx

  5. Sounds like a wonderful week (again!). That cubby house is a beauty - I like how you are including local birds and animals. We don't often appreciate them.
    My dad built me a playhouse out of the wooden crate my piano came in. I have many happy memories of crawling inside with a couple of playmates. We often played "house" with dolls etc.
    I would like to be part of a bartering network in the future. I don't know what I would have to give but I feel like something would come up. I don't like throwing away useful items even if it is just a jar.

    1. Dear Debbie, Thanks so much! I realised I dont have a kangaroo and we have both Kangaroos and Emus here too! And echidnas! But I think I am out of room!
      A piano crate would be a good cubby house! Strong too probably to hold such a weight. These things are so much fun for kids.
      Debbie one thing you can do is join local buy Swap and sell groups...this has helped me. I am also in poultry groups and spinning and yarn groups... so from your interests you can meet people to swap with. Also if you have skills then they are great to barter with. I kind of boldly let everyone know what I am after (usually fruit, produce...) and say I have eggs to swap. This kind of got the ball rolling. I find people really really like it!
      Have a lovely weekend! With love

  6. That is the most adorable playhouse I have ever seen. Our grandchildren used to have a short little mailbox that they received notes for n from friends and neighbors. Then they left drawings of n return. You grands may like that, too.

    It has been a hard week since my Dad passed away on Sunday. It will still be many weeks before everyone can gather for a funeral service.

    1. Dear Lana, Thank you! I will show you again when I have really finished. I am enjoying it so much. It will be tested out as Harper is coming to stay on Friday.
      I love the mailbox idea thank you! I am now going to look for something I can use for a mail box!
      I am so sorry about your Dad. I really am. I have no idea how I will ever manage without my Dad. I hope arrangements can be made as soon as possible this is a very difficult time for arranging a funeral. Many hugs and much love,

    2. Thank you, Annabel. All week we have been remembering how much fun he was and all the pranks he played on us when we were children. It has really helped make the week easier. We had an amazing childhood because he made it that way.

  7. This week we bartered and got from a friend who was moving a computer table for our daughter’s sewing room which will be a perfect work surface for her. In return, we gave him several copies of Family Handyman magazine that we had! He was pleased and so were we! In exchange, daughter ordered a new pantograph for Lenni, our longarm quilting machine and gave it to me! So a 3 way win!!
    I’ve now made 569 masks using my fabric scraps from other projects. While donating my labor and charging $2/mask for material/supply replacement, you can see that my scraps have become a sum that will let me buy more fabric, thread,scissors, rotary blades, etc. without any OOP for a bit!
    We found 6 free 55 gallon barrels on FB Marketplace and picked those up this morning! Those will be used for enhancing our garden! Here’s what we did with 4 of them a few years ago- a 4 rain barrel system that means we never use City water for watering during the hot summer time!
    We have given away garden “thinnings “ that were more than we could use to those who wanted gardens but didn’t have $ to buy! Spinach, Swiss chard (silverbeet), chives, kale. It felt good to be able to share from our abundance, knowing how much we have received from others’ generosity!
    These times have the potential to bring out the worst or the best in people and I’m committed to doing a tiny part to do my best.

    1. Dear Pat, I am admiring your three way deal. You have taken batting up to a new level I love!
      The masks are a credit to you. What a service. I really admire your work ethic Pat.
      The barrels are a great thing for the garden! Good old FB market place is so good!
      On the news I am seeing plenty of the worst of people. I know on the other hand many are volunteering, working to help others and looking after others. I think it is a joy to read of good things and ideas of things we can do to help. There are many opportunities. What a week, you achieved heaps as always! With much love,

  8. Annabel,
    Your cubby house is so sweet! I love what you've done with it. I would play in it Lol especially if it has phones! I've used jars as a mini greenhouse in the past especially to start rose cuttings, but now I use glass topped tables in the deck and I cover them with clear shower curtains that drape down.
    That table!I love it! What a fantastic barter!
    I found the missing chicken. She wandered to the neighbors two houses over and the tween girls that live there fell in love with her and asked if they could keep her. Since they took the time to make her a box I agreed to let them keep her. I forgot to tell you.
    My week has been good. I'm making good progress on the strawberry bed and they are blooming like crazy. I lost 4 raspberry bushes over the winter so I am hoping to replace them and get mulch and wires set in place in that bed this year.
    I got several freebies in the mail this week and got free potato chips playing a dice game on my phone and using those points. And I am now less than $100 away from having the full amount for new flooring using all gift cards I earn. So the cost will be $0 out of pocket just the time to do the surveys.
    And thanks to your suggestion I sold two mulberry trees for $20. I will use this to add to the pantry.

    1. Dear Vicky, how kind that you gave your neighbour's girls your chicken. that is really lovely. Well done on the sale of the mulberry trees too! Lots of love, B

  9. I got a free quart of exterior paint! The testers at one of our local stores are a quart of paint for $5. And on Saturdays, through July, they are free! I am using it to paint a porch rocker like the ones you see in front of Cracker Barrel (a restaurant chain in the US). I trash-picked the rocker about 10 years ago.

    We covered the strawberry bed with red nylon net (tulle) I bought last winter when it was 70% off. No strawberries yet, but they are blooming all over the place! I planted more beets and a few lettuce seeds, both with seed leftover from last year.

    I am continuing to water my pots of flowers with the epsom salts water I use to soak my foot. I have to use 1/2 cup of epsom salts each time, so I am getting a good two-fer when I do this. So far, the plants love it.

    I picked up two huge bags of paper shreds at the developmental disabilities center where my daughter works. I made compost with shreds, chicken poop and kitchen waste. We used all of our compost to top up the raised beds and I needed to get started again but didn't have any leaves at this time of year. I have lots of green stuff, shreds count as brown and chicken poop counts as pure gold!

    This wasn't particularly frugal for me, but this morning I dropped off a couple of boxes of donations at Goodwill that I hope help someone else.

  10. Oh, rich dark fruit cake! My absolute favourite, but not something I ever make for myself.

    I like to tackle big jobs by chipping away a bit a day, especially jobs that aren't that pleasant.

    I started the week with no shifts at work, I have actually ended up working full time, so I have achieved very little at home. I patched a pair of jeans, they are perfectly ok for around the house and garden and actually they're my favourite jeans.

    I have wanted, for absolutely ages, a wire shelving unit outside my kitchen door and I've never found what I wanted. Well this week I made one from the metal frame from some wicker drawers. I used some wire netting left over from another project and it also has a couple of slate shelves. It looks much better than it sounds, is a perfect fit and has already been used many times.

    Apart from that, working and the normal day to day stuff I haven't managed anything else. I hope to do better next week!

    The exciting thing this week was finding flour! We now seem to have some flour available but now eggs are hard to find!

  11. What a fun Cubbie house! I must say your fruit cakes look delish.
    We are starting fire season here so I have been mowing and weeding. I have been doing a little each morning. Little by little it adds up.

    I don’t have a cubby house for my Grandaughter but I do have a vintage mailbox. When I know she is coming I like to put a treat in there. It is usually a cookie or stickers. Sometime a $1 coloring book. She has great fun running to see what is in there.

    Funny you have Foxes. The Fish and Game are reintroducing Gray Foxes by my daughters farm.
    They reintroduced Turkeys and they have taken over. There is talk about bear next. We have 30 vineyards in our little town. I don’t know how they will keep the bears out of the grapes? We shall see I guess.

  12. That cubby house is so wonderful!! I love how you have decorated it 😍 Beautiful hall table too, what a great trade!

    I got ahead this week by double batch cooking a shepherds pie. We ate one, and the other was frozen in one of those disposable foil trays, ready for a night when I’m tired or if I’ve been working that day. Building up my freezer meals is something I feel urged to do, so I am going to listen to that instinct (you taught me that! 🙏)

    I got a bit of sewing done for my Boomerang Bags group, we haven’t been able to meet during this lockdown but one of the organisers dropped fabric off to me, and I’m slowly working my way through it, turning it all into reusable cloth bags that we give away. I get joy from this kind of work.

    I’m still in awe of all that you get done Annabel, you’ve always said it’s amazing how much you can achieve just by doing a little bit every day, and it’s so evident in this post!

  13. I love the paintings on the cubby! How clever you are! The hall table is gorgeous too.

  14. You are so talented and full of energy! Love all your paintings on your cubby. Pretty table that you bartered for! I have been dehydrating apples, canned pineapple, carrots, frozen green beans and carrot tops to build up my pantry. Nancy

  15. I think what you have done so far with the cubby house is really beautiful.

    This week I started re-configuring an ornamental garden bed to make it smaller and more manageable and more fitting the resources we have both in time and water. I grow flowers in among my veggies anyway so I have plenty of prettiness to look at still. We continue to pick tomatoes and sugar snap peas from the garden every few days. The carrots I sowed directly into the garden a few weeks back are coming along nicely and it is probably time to sow a few more carrot seeds. My bean plants have largely been decimated by the wind. I should have put some protection around them. I adapted the whole orange cake recipe using cumquats instead of an orange as our small cumquat tree is loaded with fruit at the moment. Takes a lot longer to make the cake when using cumquats but the result was worth it. In my seed raising area I have a lot of flowers now germinating. The cornflowers came up the soonest. Some take over 30 days to germinate which tests my patience a bit. I am trying to encourage some sweet potato slips to sprout on a couple of tubers and I have started preparing a bed for the sweet potato slips and another bed for my next lot of corn. I baked a sour cream and pineapple slice last night after dinner. It is so yummy. I adjusted the weekly meals to use up some things that would otherwise go to waste. And I did some crochet. So in hindsight I guess it has been quite a productive week.

    I hope everyone has a happy week.

  16. Hi Annabel,
    I love the cubby house and the nature theme is perfect!The hall table is divine, I'm on the lookout for something similar for my front entrance although I may be able to use a piece of furniture from another room xx

  17. Annabel that hall table is gorgeous and a great trade with 4 dozen eggs :). The cubby house is just divine and love all the little animals you have decoupaged on there and how you have recycled the windows to use in it too.

    Sounds like you have a good system going with the wheelbarrow going up and down the hill carrying different things and the fruit cakes look lovely too.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $1906.18 in savings last week :). I will admit I went a little berserk and replaced all the clothing that had worn out in my wardrobe and got some spares too as the prices were so incredibly low. Since we were saving for our home deposit I wore what I had and the clothing was mostly threadbare and the elastic gone in them too :o. Most of these items were 10 years old so they had fair wear I think.

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

    Finances -
    - Paid an extra part payment off our mortgage.
    - Banked more money into our 3 month living expenses emergency kitty bringing us to 66.92% of the way there.

    Groceries -
    - Put in a click n collect grocery order and using our RACQ Wish gift card, coupled with specials and a $10 off promotional code saved $21.10 on usual prices.
    - Also put in a second click n collect grocery order as I got a $25 off promotional code for a $120 purchase, coupled that with weekly half price specials and used my RACQ e-gift card to save another $58.85 on usual prices.

    Purchases -
    - Saved $16 by picking up 3 food samples free as I am a supermarket taste tester.
    - Ordered a fuel e-gift card saving 5% and coupled that with using our Rewards card to get another 4 c per litre off our fuel purchase saving $7.91 on usual prices.
    - Bought bulk 20lt chain bar oil on eBay cheaply saving $45.80 over buying it in smaller containers here in the local stores.
    - Purchased $190.90 worth of clothing from Rockmans online being long and knee length skirts, shorts, pants and 2 swimming costumes ranging mostly at $5ea - some at $10 ea saving $1278.03 on usual prices.
    - When we did our grocery shopping I saw a rack of clothing for $3 ea at Millers and purchased 4 items of clothing being 2 lovely paisley print kaftan tops, a tracksuit top and a long sleeved t-shirt.

    This will set me up with clothing for quite some time at super low prices :). Being that from what I read 92% of clothing sold in Australia is imported with most made in China and with trade tensions I thought I would stock up.

    Firewood -
    - We cut another 3 cubic metres of free firewood and stacked it near the shed to dry before splitting it saving us another $450 over buying it in.

    We now have 9 cubic metres of firewood drying all cut for free that will be dry for next winter and a few winters beyond.

    Have a fantastic week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

  18. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds,
    This is my third time trying to comment. I keep losing my writing, not sure why? We have a long weekend here in NZ(Queens Birthday) this weekend, so I have been finishing off some garden re-design I started during the lockdown. I have been redoing my front and side garden. This has involved removing plants not to my taste and dividing plants to put in there place. When we moved into Level 2 and things opened up I purchased the plants I wanted. This will have cost around $50-60 dollars. With the divided plants I have saved around $220.00 dollars, so very happy with this. I must admit I have spent more time on the garden outside than doing work inside, so that is a must this weekend. I wanted to get it completed before the first month of winter and it is to cold.
    Annabel the play house is simply gorgeous. I see many happy hours spent there by two little girls.
    Each week I love to read about the beautiful life you and Andy have created for I will post before I lose this one.
    Stay safe all


  19. Dear Annabel,
    The cubby house is absolutely charming. I look forward to reading about Harper and Scarlett's reaction when they see it and play in it.

    I'm so glad your jar experiment was successful. I learned it from my Nana and the results are amazing.
    Most of this week was spent planting the garden. I thought of your pumpkin patch as we were planting the butternut and acorn squash. We also planted chard (silver beet) green beans,beets, carrots, radishes, and sugar baby water melon. My husband made trellises from repurposed tomato tower by cutting them in half and attaching some chicken wire to them. We will be trellising the butternut and acorn squashes, as well as the melon , to make more room for other vegetables. We've been enjoying being out in the sunshine and digging in the dirt.

    The winter clothes got exchanged for the summer ones, and the pantries inventoried and rearranged. Today I will use up some out of date cake mixes and mix them with just canned pumpkin to create some pumpkin muffins for us and to share with a neighbor by leaving them on her front porch. Everything here is getting used and repurposed.
    I am working on making Fathers Day cards and June and July birthday cards, and also cutting out more lengths of fabric to make more 3 tiered skirts. Wishing everyone a peaceful and productive week ahead. Blessings, Cookie

  20. Annabelle, your artwork on the little house is so adorable! I didn't know you were so talented artistically but why am I not surprised!?! We are working on a major clean-up job outside and you have inspired me to keep on going! The world is getting so crazy lately (at least here in the states) that I am just more than happy and thankful to stay at home. It's not like us homestead types would ever run out of projects. We are also taking bids for some work on the house, as in a kitchen update, and some repairs needed outside. My husband and I are getting too decrepit to climb on ladders and we have a time finding handymen to work out here in the country. Anyway, just wanted to say hi to our Bluebirds and wish you all good health and safety in these trying times!

    1. Dear Pam, Thank you! I dont think I so artistic as my house is a mix of my painting. stamping, decoupage and decals. But it is coming along!
      I am replying only two days after you wrote this and in that two days things have got much more crazy which is a bit scary really. I hope you are safe where you are. Staying home is a good idea for sure. With much love

  21. Dear Annabel, I just love, love, love your cubby! I especially love how you are painting it yourself. It truly looks magnificent. Your grandkids will love it. They will get so much enjoyment out of it. It melts my heart! I am so impressed with you being able to get 12 eggs a day....what a help! I love how you bartered for the hall table- it looks lovely. I am trying to get a little done- crocheting. I currently have the diffuser on and it is my little bit of relaxation time. Lots of love, B

    1. Thank you Bridge. Well I pretty sure this is Bridget! We have definite crochet weather here this week. Mostly it is too rainy now to be outside. I never ever have too many eggs... as I can barter with them or give a gift of help. I have some days where I just cook up a lot of meals with eggs. It is a big help! With much love


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