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 25 June 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 2020.

Last weekend I had Scarlett come to stay so we were busy for a few days. She is just happy to do everything along with me.    Lucy has less than two weeks before the baby arrives.  She isn't sleeping and could do with some prayers.

Of course we had to go visit Aunty Chloe and see Paddy...

Paddy was so dirty from rolling in mud!   🙄

At home we made Honey Crackles.  It is so many years since I made them.  I had to dig out my old recipe.  Being easy Scarlett pretty much filled all the cup cake liners herself and it was a case of eat a bit, put some in the pan, but she loved it.

I told the girls how Mummy and Chloe used to take these to school.  Anyway, they loved them so honey crackles are back!  I love how many of the old recipes are so good.  Nan used to make Rock Cakes.  This is another one I would like to resurrect!

I finally finished my rug for the lounge.  A rug in Australia is a blanket, or a badly concealed coupe. haha.  The things that go on the floor are mats.  I learned to say this because in The Tuesday Club it was very funny as people were wondering why I would put this on the floor!   So it is to be on my lounge, in the cold months, to be warm and snuggly.  It took forever!

It is all pure wool and I have left overs so now I am working to use those up.

My A Working Pantry assignment for the week was to add meals to the freezer.   I made several Shepherds Pies.  I cook them a little under so when they are recooked they will not be too dark on top.  So they look a little pale.   We had one for dinner and it was beautiful.   Meals added to the freezer is a good thing!

I also stood and made up ham and cheese rolls and croissants to freeze.  Both rolls and croissants were half price.  Made up rolls are so handy.  I warm them up quickly and they are like fresh. 

If I ever have ham or roast meat left over (that is not enough for a meal) I usually make up rolls to freeze.  

I added to my raised garden beds.   In went squashed cardboard boxes, manure and a dead rabbit.  I think Andy might wonder if I am the only person alive who can be pleased about a dead rabbit. 

Buddy has been promoted to the orchard paddock.  He is a month old today.  And a very good little eater.  He has a morning and evening bottle now.   

We have underground water and rain water.  Most of the time the house is on rain water and the garden on bore water.  Rain water is beautiful but gets gum leaves in it sometimes and this affects my white linens.  I decided to give up on so many whites and dyed two sets of cotton sheets.  They turned out wonderfully and look fresh and new.  Not quite white looks dingy so this was my solution.

I made a cake to take over to Chloe and one for us and some slices for the freezer.

Things have been pretty good, supply wise, at our local supermarket.   But now our neighbouring state is experiencing empty shelves again.  This has come about because the virus has taken off there again and they really do not look like they have it contained.  While the shelves have been good I restocked everything we needed and we have even been able to get hand sanitiser, masks and many things that were impossible to get a couple of months ago.   They will all probably disappear again.   I got ahead with towels and linen also.  I keep working on my pantry.   Gradually (after lots of sorting out cupboards and re arranging) I have re homed things like canning supplies to other cupboards.  This has given me more room in the pantry for actual food.  When I stocked up fast a lot of things were put in funny places.  Now I have things so I can actually see how much pasta do I have?  How much rice? And so on.  All my jars are topped up.  Keeping a well stocked pantry is kind of an endless job but so important.  I have dried parsley to add to a jar today.  

With so many things going on and changes to our normal lives we need to think differently.  While we need to be awake and watchful we don't want to be fearful.  Being prepared takes a whole lot of pressure off.   The wise woman is not afraid of the winter.  It is true.  Prudence and ingenuity might be the words for the second half of 2020!

How did you manage to build up your home, pantry or garden?   It all counts! xxx

Thursday 18 June 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 19th June, 2020.

It has been a busy but good week!   Today I think the week has over taken me and I am not keeping up!  So I will try and slow down and look at what WAS achieved. It is good to do this.  Consider how far we came, rather than just look at the list ahead.   Things really do add up even if it is a little each day.  This is how I tackle most big things... a bit each day.

Some of the ways I got ahead this week and built up our home were:

I sorted through the linen cupboard.  I matched up sheet sets and retired some that had suddenly hit the too thin and worn to mend stage!  I also retired two bath towels  (old linen is kept and towels become animal bedding etc) and bought a couple of new towels.  I noticed our store, which is Target, had almost no towels and rows and rows of empty shelves.   The lady in the store told me she doesn't even know when more might come and said they don't know what they will do.

I made Gingerbread biscuits and Pumpkin Scones...

On Monday I went to the local town north of us to meet my friend Wendy and also to see if the op shops were open.  That was a wonderful day.   Wendy had beautiful velvet fabric,  velvet ribbon and two pure wool blankets for me (op shop) and I was thrilled!

At the op shops I found some pure wool yard, soap moulds, space vac bags for $2 and several craft items.  

While in one op shop a lady came in with a box of jars.  They were the good coffee ones with a wonderful glass lid that seals.  But the op shop lady said they had too many jars and didn't want them.  When I went to the car this lady was still parked out the front.  I asked her if I could offer her something for those jars?  She said "no, you can have them"  and handed me the box.  It was a big box of great jars! yay!

On Tuesday I went to the town south of us to pick up six new chickens.   Because chickens are harder to get now I put my name down in two places.  It looks like I might end up with both.  But that is a good thing.    These are at the late teenager scrawny stage.  They will be good laying birds...

Of course while I was there I went to the op shops in this town.  I got a beautiful Sheridan Queen bedspread for $5.  The Australian ladies will know this is a really expensive brand.   It has had a big soak and wash and came up beautifully and it is GORGEOUS.

Also found some childrens classic books.   I buy these for the girls for when they are older.  Heidi,  Anne of Green Gables, Black Beauty...  Plus a bag of pink satin ribbons.   
I found a brand new,  in the box,  Sylvanian Families House.   The girls played with these when they were little and they were just lovely.  I kept the little mice.  So now I have a house!  The girls will love to  play with this here...

What luck! 

I also got some brand new books that were prefect subjects for people on my list.  These went straight into the gift cupboard.  

I took part in Patsy's Pantry Challenge.  Her website is on my side bar... A Working Pantry.     This week the task was to find all the loose change you could in the car, old purses and so on and turn it into items for the pantry.  I found a heap of change and a whole jar I keep.   I found a full purse of change I usually would have used for op shopping but it was building up as the shops had been closed for months.    I managed to convert it into all of this:

After this I still had change.  I counted it up into $5 envelopes.  It got me bags of manure for the raised garden beds!  

All the light bags are manure.  The black ones are full of free shredded paper.  It added a lot to the raised beds!  
So that was a good challenge.

The cottage project continued and we now have a fridge.  Also a pressure cleaned roof that looks like new!   

In the pantry I kept organising to create room.  I also sat a big bucket of honey near the fire for a few days and then poured it into jars so it is much easier to handle.  Look at the colour!  This is honey from here on the farm.  The farm naturally has Manuka growing so our honey is at least in part Manuka honey. 

I made two chocolate cakes. I took one over to Chloe and Luke.   

This gets me to today!   Mum and I are going to see the girls tomorrow.   Scarlett is coming back with us for her turn to stay over.   So I am getting ready!

I hope you had a good week.   We can't say much has settled down around us!  So we do what we can.  In many cases that is a lot extra, maybe home schooling,  maybe isolating and possibly trying to cope with much more expensive groceries and other challenges.   We are not in it alone that is for sure.   There has been loss of life, livelihoods, homes, businesses,  peace and confidence... all around. It really is a time to take stock, watch out for others and do what you can with what you have.   We can think outside the square and see new ways to do things, new things to cook and ways to save.   

I have good news too, Jess from Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth is blogging again.  If you would like encouragement drop in there.  She has endless resources on canning, all things pantry related, crafts and homemaking.  

How did you manage this week?  Were you able to build up your pantry or garden?
Have a good

Thursday 11 June 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 12th June, 2020.

This week was busy and good.  I had Harper come to stay for a couple of nights and she was my little helper.   We have a lot of fun but I also try to teach her things.  At this age they remember everything.   She knows to use a spatular to get one extra cup cake from the mix!  
Luckily the things I do everyday are exciting for her and she enjoys them all.  Harper took over the feeding of Buddy...

Speaking of Buddy.... he is very energetic but if I hold him and stroke his face he is asleep in under a minute.  It is so funny that it is irresistible to do.   He will wriggle then he calms down then I hear his breathing goes slow and his body goes limp.  Then he has a little snore.  It is so funny.  Andy watches with amazement and he took a couple of photos...

If I dare take my hand off his head he wakes up instantly!  Anyway this cracks me up! Harper could hear his little snore and she thought it was so cute.

Of course we visited all the animals  (with biscuits) and we took these pictures for Harper to take to Kindy.

We made cup cakes to take home and I left the icing to Harper after lining up things she could use to decorate them.   She was happy working on this for ages.

She was so proud of them.  Certain colours and combinations were for certain people.  Scarlett likes yellow so you can spot hers!

Another good part of the week was I got to go op shopping!  After months of no op shops (thrift stores) one was open!  I found Harper a perfect winter Frozen themed dress.  I washed it up and gave it to her.  Well,  best $3 I ever spent!

It has a skirt that swirls. All important.

Some of the ways I built up my pantry, saved and got ahead...

My "no mans land" area in the pantry was behind the door which was an empty space where I hid anything I didn't know what to do with.    I found some shelves that were only 4 inches deep and totally tidied this area up.  Now it holds some of my spare bottles and jars.  I love it!  And I ordered similar shallow shelves to go on the back of the pantry door for more storage.  My pantry is getting better every week!  Each time storage is better I gain more space.

Looking around I realise that these days there is a storage solution for every odd sized gap, space, door... which is wonderful really and can really help.  If you have a similar "no mans land" area get onto Pinterst and find some ideas. 

I almost have my box raised garden bed full.  I also added a bucket of ash from the fire when I cleaned it out this week.  All the ash now gets used for one thing or another.  Chickens also love ash.

I made my pumpkins into a big bach of soup.   It is delicious and I have some to share.

Lucy gave me a coffee table for the cottage. 

I work each day on mulching ... now each fruit tree is mulched and most of the flower garden.

Mum had given me some venison.  I cooked some up and it was beautiful.

I made yoghurt then coated chicken pieces in it and then dipped them in gluten free bread crumbs.  Baked until golden this is the easiest and yummies crumbed chicken ever. 

I found  beautiful old window.  I am thinking I will use it as a picture frame. 

Andy is working on the raised garden beds.  I will have pictures next week.  They are going to look so nice.   We need to go back and collect those baths too.  I have been studying up how to turn an old bath tub into a worm farm... so this might be why I use one for.  If you have a worm farm let me know how it helps your garden?

I have a baking day today as we are going to see the girls tomorrow.  And a change is coming.  Each day was beautiful, sunny and perfect.  The nights were cold.   Now a change is coming in.  That is ok, we want the rain!  But I will change from so much outdoor work back to maybe some sewing.    I go by the weather.   If the weather is nice I try to get as much done as I can outside.   I want my garden beds ready to plant in spring. 

Last week we joked about how 2020 is too unbelievable to be a movie plot. In the week since I have seen that, nope,  things did not quieten down.  Now these seems to be complete anarchy across many nations, tearing down historical statues,  attacking police buildings, talk of defending the police departments,  the modern version of book burning... removing classic books and movies from libraries and online.   Many many Bluebirds have written to me they have not felt safe at home with protestors and or rioters close to their house.   Many letters on the subject of food availability and some shocking prices.  Also the madness of things like you can only have 10 people at a funeral but you can have 10,000 if you call it a protest... as corona virus apparently spreads worse at funerals and not at mass gatherings. ..   And so 2020 hasn't exactly settled down.   

I get my own opinions and sometimes strong feelings on things.  But my confirmation will come from the ladies that I trust and respect and look to.  They are all building their pantries and planting their gardens like there is no tomorrow.   When you feel to do something I consider most times that is a whisper from God.  Trust and do.

How did you keep your home a haven,  build up your pantry or garden this week?   I hope many opportunities came your way.   Now opportunities are a funny thing.  Many people will not notice them and pass them by.  Pray to have your eyes open to opportunities. 

I want to mention one more thing.  Do not be discouraged.  As things go downhill in the world there will be plenty of people who want to tear you down.  Nothing upsets some people like a woman happy at home.  They can't stand it.   Ok nothing except a woman at home who is canning and preserving and enjoying it.  Yes this really upsets some and they don't mind telling you.   Well, don't take any notice!  A wise woman builds her home!   You will find sisters that will come along side you and encourage you!   These are the ones you can share with, trade with, learn from!    

Have a wonderful weekend!  xxx

Thursday 4 June 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 5th June, 2020.

Winter has started here.  We had rain and then a couple of beautiful sunny days.  This all has made everything so green and gorgeous!  I love it!
I read somewhere "2020 the movie... Produced by Steven Spielberg. Directed by Quentin Tarantino."
Well, even they would have trouble coming up with the script for this year so far.   The farm is a beautiful place I am glad to be. I appreciate it so much.  It is so beautiful.  I am amazed the journey we have been on to get here.

Scout is pretty sure it is part of her job to keep an eye on everyone.

I continued to mulch the garden beds, fill the raised bed,  dig greens for the chickens and ducks and get the tennis court ready for the big conversion to an animal yard.  We have four weeks until the new chickens arrive.

We headed off to collect more wood for our new raised garden beds and to get the old windows we found. These are becoming covers on some of the beds (that can be removed) to make a greenhouse like effect.  I picked more stinging nettles and used these in my compost.  We were quite loaded up so another day we will head back as there is an old bath tub in the shed that I thought would make an awesome duck pond.  
Every time we take this trip I explore a bit more.  As we do this the setting is a lake and Emus and cows together grazing between us and the water.    
So I walked further and there are old stock yards.  In the middle of these I found something that really made me smile.   Another bath tub.  But this one is pink!

It comes with free dirty water!! haha!   So now I have a pink trough from my goats.  Seriously, what could be better?

Oh, I know what!!   We were driving home on a dirt road and I was looking out the window at the scenery.  Suddenly Andy braked and I thought of the windows in the trailer and assumed it would be a Kangaroo on the road. I looked ahead and there on a crest, right in the middle of the road, was a newborn lamb.   We had to stop or we would have hit it.   It was just standing there.  I got out and picked it up.  It was in good condition, still damp from birth and had either a deformed or broken tail... it still wags but it is at a right angle from about halfway down!  It was just so out of place and unusual.  We went up and down the road sides to find the mother.   Then we went up and down the fence lines to look in paddocks on each side.  Nothing.  So that was it.  It was a mystery. We couldn't leave him there.   So now I have another lamb, the first of the season.

His name is Buddy.  He is the loudest and hungriest lamb I ever had.  I made him a little jumper. 
So when we arrived home we were truly loaded up with timber, windows and livestock haha! 

In our cottage renovation we took down an old water tank on a tower.  Andy cut a hole in it and later I filled it with hay to make Buddy an apartment.

I made peanut butter cookies,  tuna mornay and a big batch of Vicky's Enchilada sauce.   This is delicious.

My pot had 5 chicken breasts cut up... the sauce... (minus the stock and flour, I just use chicken stock cubes and more tomato ...)  For this amount I quadrupled the recipe.  I let it simmer for ages.  Anyway this sauce in a jar from the store is expensive and I like to make a big lot so it is a huge saving and better than store bought.

I did lots more work on the pantry.  I found a better home for my soap making supplies and so this made more pantry space and never should have been in there in the first place.   It is amazing the space you can find with cleaning and organising though. 

We are getting more Kangaroos and Deer on the property.  Andy took this photo...

So that was my week.   It was lovely and felt normal even though the week was another 2020 shocker for many. 

My mind spends a lot of time on thinking about how we can produce more, make more and be ready for whatever happens next.  With this in mind I am considering getting a greenhouse. I have a lot of research to do on that!

How did you make your home a safe haven, build up your pantry or get ahead in anyway? 
I hope you have a lovely and peaceful weekend! xxx

I am publishing early as tomorrow is an early morning off to see the girls and bring back Harper for the weekend.xx