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, 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








77 comments:

  1. Oh, I do look forward to Friday’s when I can read about how you are building up your home. I agree with all you have said in this post. And yes we do need to look to the Proverbs 31 women for encouragement and the wisdom that abounds. Thank you and blessings G.

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    1. Dear G, Thank you so much. The Proverbs woman verses tell us so much! They are a big encouragement. I hope you have a good new week! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  2. Wonderful memory building time with Harper 😀 and I understand & agree with your comments on the world situation. Lesley

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    1. Thanks Lesley. Not a day goes by without some development! But there is so much we can do! xxx

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  3. I love Harper and her twirly dress. The twirl factor of a dress, is so very important, and you have met this factor with the dress. Love it.
    I love the idea of converting a bath to a worm farm. I have been lucky to have been given two commercially produced farms. I use the worm wee in a ratio of two parts worm wee to five parts water. This goes on all the seedlings on a weekly basis. When I transplant seedling to garden beds, I wrap the roots in their own ball of worm castings. I rarely have any issues with transplant shock and put it down to the worm castings. Worms also love to have your coffee grounds and quite a bit of your kitchen scraps. Its a fair trade for the fertiliser you end up with.
    This week Bluey brought me home two fiberglass bathtubs from the tip. These have been filled with potting soil, homemade compost and planted out. I picked up full bulbs of local garlic from a market stall. I pulled these apart and planted them. I have had a really good strike rate with these. I did this as I had been unable to find garlic for planting. Locally grown garlic is also going to be the right variety for our climatic zone.
    My garden space is increasing with each of Bluey's tip finds. He makes fun of the garden as he says he is waiting for a tiger to jump out to the jungle and get him. He still brings me home containers to grow more in. I am loving it. I have a number of plants that I have left to go to seed. I will soon be adding more coriander seeds to my seed box amongst others. This garden development has been something that I have felt and absolute need to do. I am much happier with our fresh food security now.
    Having more fresh food has led to me learning more about food preservation in the form of fermentation. I have been putting together a number of different kraut style mixes as well as pickling using the fermentation process. So far the taste of my efforts have been good.
    My son let us know that he has been posted to Adelaide. This means he and his girls will be moving to Adelaide at the end of the year. They will be there for a minimum of three years. Bluey and I loved being down that way on our caravanning trip last year. We will love going down there again. We are hoping that the family will be up to visit before they move.
    Bluey has been feeling that there is a change in the air. He has been adding bulk foods to the pantry. He is also making suggestions for things for me to grow. He has even taken me to a local Nursery and picked out a number of fruit trees to add to our garden.
    My home is where I want to be. It is currently in a messy state as I have been sewing up a storm. I have been knitting beanies up for my Grandies and Great nephews. Birthday gifts have been taken care of and Christmas gifts are looking pretty good as well. I am just going to keep going.
    Life is busy and productive good.

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    1. I think Bluey is very wise. I love the idea of finding things at the tip shop and planting them out. I think you sound very smart with your food security. I hope we can do more in this area. Your children and grandchildren are lucky to have you. Lots of love, Bridge

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    2. Dear Jane, It must be Month of the Bathtub! This is good! Thanks for this info on how you use your worm farm.
      Interesting about Blueys feeling. I think he is right. Stuff is changing... on a heap of levels....what next I dont know...
      Home is where I want to be too. You and Bluey are an excellent team at working together and getting ahead! Have a very good new week! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  4. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds!!

    Annabel, your animal and grandchildren stories are beautiful!! Thank you!!

    Recently, like Gideon of old, I put a couple of ‘fleeces’ before the Almighty, so that I might know what direction to go. For one decision, I set some superannuation funds (that I have been trying to access for many years) before the LORD, with a polycarbonate greenhouse in mind. This week, I put in the application to the tax office and, two days later, the release of the funds has been approved! This means that, after successful trials with polycarbonate in the bushfire conditions of last summer, a polycarbonate greenhouse is the goal for springtime gardening, to retain the moisture!

    I am amazed at so many goodnesses that are being worked by our Great Shepherd!


    Rachel

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    1. P.S. Doesn’t Buddy have big feet!! Haha!!

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    2. Dear Rachel, I hope Buddy grows into his feet. Maybe he is part horse?
      I am so thrilled you got the funds and love your plan... As you know I have zero faith in Super and a tangible and useful thing for your food security like a greenhouse is a wise purchase! I am very interested in doing the same! Have a wonderful new week! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  5. I have had a worm farm for years, Annabel. Their castings are wonderful for soil and I dilute worm wee until it's colour of light tea and soil around base of plants with this. Meg:)

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    1. Dear Meg, Thank you. I think it sounds like I better become a worm farmer. I have everything I need to set up! With love Annabel.xxx

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  6. Dear Annabel, Thankyou for yet another inspiring post. You really are a blessing to your family. Thankyou for the encouragement to keep going and doing our best, I have needed it. Thankyou also for teaching to look at things as resources, my husband is getting good at this too. At our previous abode some 3 years ago we had a little silo that had belonged to my husband's Pop set up outside my chook pen. Some farmer friends would let us have free grain at end of season if we were willing to get all dusty and sweep their big silos out - which we did quite a few years running, which was a huge blessing as I fed my chooks for free. When we moved we stored the silo at my brother in laws. Fast forward to us picking it up recently, wanting to use for same purpose here - to our disappointment, the bottom had completely rusted out. Instead of discarding it my husband cut one raised garden bed out of bottom and another higher garden bed out of top - and using posts in the middle was able to attach the roof again (with a big gap in between) so I have a little shaded garden too. It looks very cute. Love Clare

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    1. Clare, I love the idea of your shaded raised bed. I think the most rewarding things we can do is find a new use for things that others would throw out. The only drawback is, if you save everything with the thought it will be useful for a later project, you can easily end up with a yard full of junk. We're lucky to have enough outside space to "hide" it!

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    2. Dear Clare, What a great set up having a silo and free grain!! Now it is just as useful as a raised garden beds! Good on your husband for being inventive and repurposing!
      Thank you for your kind words. These are tough times on everyone... there is a lot of stress. The garden is a good place to be... you are doing a good job Clare. With much love Annabel.xxx

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  7. Hi Annabel
    Your little granddaughter is such a cutie. Love how she is swirling the dress.
    It is such a comfort to read your blog and others like you and know that we are not alone. The world is crazy and it's vital that we keep our homes as places of sanity and harmony. I too know how it feels when people sneer at a stay at home woman. Now I'm older I let it slide off me because I'm happy with my decision and my life. Great to connect with you and your readers.

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    1. Dear Penny,
      Thank you! It is lovely you now feel happy and look back on your stay at home life with such contentment. I feel young Mums can get great pressure on this. I too am not put off now but what others think. Contentment is a wonderful thing and our days are so busy. I am glad you find some like minded friends here! With love Annabel.xxx

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  8. The dress was an absolute steal. I never seem to find such things when I shop. It is good to see your interaction with your darling little girl.

    This week I bought a few extra tins. Mum told me off but it was not that long ago when every thing was in short supply.

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    1. Dear Suzan, I would buy extra as you can. Yes we have seen how fast things can change and sleeves empty. Now is a good time to restock up.
      Thank you... I have found the country op shops so good. I do get in there and go through boxes and dig in pretty well and that helps. This was a lucky day though the dress was on full display and I just grabbed it! With much love Annabel.xxx

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  9. Hubs and I made our new 12 bucket container garden this week! We saw a photo and one of our friends gave us the specs for wood cuts and placement. By recycling some of our free pallet wood, we were able to cut our wood cost down to about $16 for a couple longer 2x4’s rather than $80 if we bought all new wood)! For the buckets, we recycled some of our older food storage buckets too! We may need to buy 2 buckets of the 12 needed for the project! So, now we’ve increased our gardening space plus decluttered more pallet wood from our front porch!! https://pin.it/5FhZjYJ. With the first buckets in that I planted! https://pin.it/3bvKI9w. Can’t wait to get all buckets in and planted!! This really increases our garden space without using up much yard footprint!
    I harvested a big bowl of lettuce, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, peas and chives! When I went to grocery store this week for the strawberries, I took photos of the fronts of the salad kits they had for sale. The front lists all the ingredients in the kit ! I am using those photos to DIY our own salad kits, complete with add-ons (craisins, sunflower seeds, tortilla strips, bacon bits, cheese, etc). I have pretty much all of the ingredients and can DIY the dressings that they have in their kits (Thanks to internet recipes!!😉). So I anticipate some real savings over the $2.79- $4 per kit price as we make them ourselves!
    Strawberries have been on sale this week and will continue through next week- $1.88 for 2 pounds (94 cents/pound)! This is a price point I am happy with and so I bought 32 pounds! We already have enough frozen strawberries, jam and pie filling but I have been out of dehydrated strawberries for quite a while. So in the past 2 days, I have dehydrated 18 pounds so far! This photo is what 9 pounds of fresh strawberries look like in volume after dehydration! Just a single half gallon mason jar! https://pin.it/3K1lQFk. That certainly takes up less space on my shelf! I’ll use them in oatmeal, granola, muffin mix, etc!
    I opened my final #10 can of dried apple slices from 12 years ago. They are still crunchy and tasty so I chopped them up in my food processor and made up 6 more quart jars of Apple muffin mix for on my pantry shelf! https://pin.it/1jbU8U3.

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    1. Strawberries have been on sale here also for 99 cents a pound. So far we have froze up 16 quarts. May get 8 pounds more next Monday if they still have them. I picked some from our little patch and dehydrated some of those today along with some canned peach slices. Nancy

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    2. Dear Pat, The buckets on the stand are a great planter set up. I think a great capacity but as you say in a small space!
      I think getting the salad kit recipes to make up is a great idea!! What a great deal on strawberries. I think the dehydrated ones look like sweets (candy!)
      It is great hearing how well your canned apples lasted. This is encouraging actually. Apples are so very useful.
      Your week was so productive. Sorry I was slow to reply. My week has been choc a block full and here we are almost the end of the week! Thanks so much Pat! With love Annabel.xxx

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  10. Great post. The world has gone crazy - and I just don't understand anything any more. It is all upside down. I just keep praying - it is all I can do for others.
    Love all the pictures! Your granddaughter is so adorable. She looks like quite the little helper. Buddy is just the cutest. So sweet.
    Have a blessed weekend.

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    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Boy you are right! I think we have reached the stage where the Bible says all things that are bad will be considered good and good things will be considered bad. It is that turned on its head.
      Thank you... Harper is a little helper and Scarlett is coming for her turn this weekend! With much love, Annabel.xxx

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  11. Dear Annabel, my goodness Harper is gorgeous! I love how she enjoys going about your normally with you and how you teach her things. That is a beautiful thing to hear. I think she takes after you- her love for animals and her artistic skills are second to none! I really think her cake decorating is beautiful- she is really clever! I love the sound of you making more pantry storage. Can you re-use old jars for preserves, or do you have to buy new ones or new lids? I am new to all of this. I love the sound of your garden beds. It will be a pretty sight to see seedlings sprout. I agree completely, people love to comment on what I do as a mother and what we do as a family. I get really annoyed about it. However, I have to realise that it is their problem, not mine. I have been able to either give our pup or the chickens our scraps- so there are very little left overs nowadays. This makes me happy! Lots of love XX

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    1. Dear Bluebird!!

      Here in Australia, the Vacola jars typically only need their rubber rings changed for bottling. Some choose to use the rings more than once. As far as I can see, the US Ball preserving jars have a lid insert that is replaced instead.

      http://thebluebirdsarenesting.blogspot.com/2017/09/pantries-and-preparedness-other-ways-to.html

      Above is a link for reusing grocery jars (with metal lids) for water bath preserving of acidic fruits!!

      Your questions are good!!

      Rachel

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    2. Thank you so much! And thank you Rachel helping with this about the jars. The preserving jars can be reused. The lids and rings cannot, in general.
      I save all jars as I dont can jam or relish... and other jars are good for dry goods storage. So all jars are good for something!
      Be very proud of taking care of your family and being a Mother. You are doing a wonderful and important job. With love, Annabel.xxx

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  12. Dear Annabel,

    I have been missing here for the last week or two as I have been getting in the garden. Just have the tomatoes and sunflowers to plant...sunflowers will go in today, and maybe the tomatoes. It is finally all coming together! So this is my big accomplishment for my week. Also, I have done all the usual things...baking, etc..

    That little lambie is so cute, but doesn't quite hold a candle to Harper! I remember very well the swirling dresses/skirts stage...very important!

    Thank you for your words of encouragement. I pray many times a day, just to keep trusting, as I see the world just crumbling away daily...just when I think my jaw couldn't drop any farther!

    Gotta go!

    Jen in NS

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    1. Dear Jen, I am so pleased you have so much planted and hope the week saw more go in! I have hopes to see it when it comes along a bit. Your garden is so gorgeous.
      I feel the same... when I think I have seen EVERYTHING then I am wrong and see or hear something more... my mind boggles. This is the time to hang on tight! The Word of God is solid and doesnt change. It truly is like a rock or anchor. I also feel that the remnant the Bible talks about have great favour and help from God. If we listen and follow he is helping. Well this is what I am seeing and experiencing. I hope the week has gone well and the sunflowers and tomatoes are in! With much love, Annabel.xxx

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  13. I certainly second PennyP's comments. I heard God's whisper too and that's exactly what I said to my husband when we were talking this week. I lost my deep freezer and over $500.00 worth of food last week. I didn't rage or cry but I can see that I was needing to rely more on dry storage! I am thankful for what I still have and will keep stocking as I can. I am 61 and cannot believe what I see happening to our world. We must keep on doing what we know is right no matter what goes on around us. It's so nice to have this community of like minded bluebirds.

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    1. Dear Tradgirl, I love to hear this. I love to hear when people hear what God is saying and act on it. I am so sorry about your losses with the freezer. Is there any chance insurance would cover any of this? I once got a cheque for lost food as I pursued it with the electric company. I have heard this with both the freezer manufacturer if it is newer or household insurance...
      Dehydrating and stored dry goods are excellent too. I guess I am trying to spread what we have across different sections like the chickens, the garden, things can forage or glean, the freezers, the pantry... etc.
      Thank you for your comment and being part of the group. It does help to have likeminded friends. With love Annabel.xxx

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  14. Dear Annabel, the lamb is just so cute ! This is why I just cannot t,thought of eating lamb ! Harper is the same age as my sister's little girl also growing up in the country. They are so wise and take everything in !!
    I won't ever be able to have children post brain tumour now fine (blessings to the LORD who saved me when I was in the ICU a month on a breathing machine back in 2012, and a collapsed lung : I used my insurance and not one of the drs sent me a bill !!!) As you know I know nothing of God's plans for me, but I do stockpile what I can and what I will use ! People think of me as old fashioned as I love to cook what Nana did and prepare ahead of time ! Who cares what they think !! My dearest Nana I was extremely close to , passed away during the epidemic and we could only have five at the funeral. Yes, it makes me mad when I see thousands at rally's. Now I'm not saying those issues don't matter, it just seems so unfair esp when my Nana had so many that loved her and wanted to attend but we had to say no. It was a beautiful service and I did it the way she had discussed with me. Each child who could attend "great Nanna's" service wrote on a gum leaf or a picture they drew and then we all put them in a basket with a sprig of rosemary each in the same basket on top of the casket . The last post was then played . Was very moving and I think I cried the loudest. I'm delighted a girl I had been telling about our LORd to over these last four years in my casual job, has recently told me she has decided to follow Jesus and turn from her family's faith of Indian idol worship. I can't tell you how amazing this is. You do so much in such little time I am amazed by you ! All my love. Sonia Mackellar

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    1. Dear Sonia,
      God is using you right where you are! That is a wonderful story.
      Yes lambs are just so sweet. I think all baby animals are just gorgeous.
      Old fashioned I would take as a compliment! Don't listen to the world Sonia. I know you dont... but many good things and many virtues are now considered old fashioned. Even manners!
      The things the children did for your Grandmothers service were just beautiful. I totally agree with you. A group of people are a funeral are going to be far less risk of passing on the virus than an out of control mob crowded on the streets and no it isn't fair. But in the circumstances your family did beautifully and it is a credit to you all. Many blessings Sonia, with love Annabel.xxx

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  15. What a lovely post, Annabel! I look forward to coming here and a handful of other ladies' blogs for a positive and inspirational lift. The world seems topsy turvy and I have long ago stopped watching the national news (USA). We do watch a few minutes most mornings of our local news and while it does touch on the highlights of the national stuff, it's a well ran station that always focuses more on the positive stuff. I also stay off of social media other than a few seconds most days on Facebook since that's where my friends and church family do their interacting.

    I am content to just be in my rural home and try my hand at gardening and just doing the next thing, be it cleaning, cooking or reading a book. I can't handle too much negative, scary, or dramatic stuff in my mind or it affects my entire life. I'm very sensitive in that way! So I focus on my home, family, God and church family and just live a day-to-day contented life.

    This week I accepted free food gifts from a friend and ended up canning apple butter, apple sauce, Dixie relish, and strawberry jam for the pantry and also accepted peas from my husband's parents and froze 2 quarts for the freezer. I also picked the rest of the Swiss chard from the garden and ended up with a few freezer bags of that. I feel so content when I'm preserving food!

    I have been finding needed household goods are back in regular stock and have been able to start restocking and trying to stock ahead on things like pet food, canning equipment, and bathroom items. I hope to be much better prepared if the need ever arises again.

    Thank you for the peaceful and inspiring space you provide!

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    1. Dear Jenny, Thanks so much! I think your method is good, keep aware of what is happening especially locally and not listed to too much.
      Jenny it sounds like you are in a good place and with a good life... and I am the same. The negativity and also trauma affects me to the core. This is no good. This is why we must think on all that is good and pure... as much as we can.
      The food gifts were wonderful! You made the most of everything!
      Keep at your preparedness as much as you can. We learned a lot in the last few months that is for sure. Thank you for such a beautiful comment. With love Annabel.xxx

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  16. Yes! A frozen dress to twirl in is vital to happiness! lol. Beautiful child!
    The world gets crazy, a killer virus, now protests, mayhem and worse. Destruction to make a point has never been effective. You think history would make people wiser, wouldn't you? Destroying historical things does not change the past. It does cause young people a lack of knowledge except for stories they hear that may or may not be accurate. A LOT going on.
    But, I am not discouraged. Everything is subject to change. Who knows what is next?!
    But my home is a place of peace and contentment. I enjoy being here doing things I love to do. Life for me, is good. I cut back on the news. Let the crazies do what they do, and just get on with living. Life is short on the Earth as it is. No sense in allowing it all to steal away my joy.

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    1. Dear Dots, I agree with you. When I get upset I think of the phrase "do not let this steal your joy" or "do not let that person steal your joy" and it is right... we have joy and happiness and hope! With love Annabel.xxx

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  17. Another wise post. It does seem as though we should be stocking up non-perishable foods and preserving what fresh that we can.As the girl on Prepsteaders says "learn from the past and prepare for the future". What a darling little Harper is. She will remember these times with you for the rest of her life. Some things never change, do they - I too loved twirly dresses when I was a little girl 60 years ago:-)

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    1. Marie, I watch Prepsteader, too! She has some great how-to's that I hadn't known about before. Today I watched one where she made a solar oven. It sounded doable.

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    2. Marie, Prepsteaders is such a lovely channel. She is very peaceful and calming somehow and I heave learned a lot! Thanks so much for your kind comment. With much love Annabel.xxx

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  18. My biggest concern is for the children that are going through so much turmoil because adults act so ugly towards one another. From blowing horns on the highway to riots to shootings. Home needs to truly be a haven.🙏

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    1. Dear Diana, I agree with you. This is terrible for children. Many see and hear too much. Keeping our homes a safe haven is so important! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  19. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    Annabel, the photos of Harper and Buddy are too cute! They put a big smile on my face this afternoon. Excited to hear about your raised beds; I have two that my husband built for me a couple of years ago and want some more!

    We have had protests in our college town, but everything has been peaceful and most are wearing masks here (from the photos in the newspaper). We are both lucky to still be working from home, and our neighborhood has been quiet and peaceful, too.

    This week has been all about baking and gardening. I harvested blackberries, raspberries, lettuce, and radishes, and planted new zinnia, amish paste tomato, basil, and cucumber seeds. It's a little late here to plant the cucumbers, but we had a very late frost and I waited until that was over to plant them. So far they have germinated and seem to be doing well. Zucchini, squash, tomatoes, melon, green onion, and herb seeds are all growing well. I made a big batch of waffles for the freezer, homemade egg bread, blackberry jam, and a big apple and blackberry crisp. These are so good and my husband loves them! He cut down some small saplings that were growing in an undesirable place, and also turned over one of the raised beds so I could plant some more peas there.

    Our dryer stopped working in the middle of a load this week, but my husband was able to fix it for a grand total of $6.79 for the part it needed, and time. That must have saved a bundle, and I was so happy to have it working again.

    Today I started a pretty spring cross-stitch design using threads I already had and fabric that I had dyed with onion skins - dried yellow onion skins and boiling water make a beautiful golden-tan fabric! Now that I know it works, I am definitely going to save those from now on.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend and week ahead.
    <3
    Kathy

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    1. Dear Kathy,
      I am so glad you have peaceful protestors and not trouble. That is how it should be!
      Your week was excellent! What a wonderful harvest! Your husband did so well fixing that drier and so cheaply!
      My Nan used brown onion skins to dye wool she spun. The brown skins give a pinkish brown if I remember right. How beautiful to have a natural dye!
      I hope this has been a good week too... I am very late with my reply as it has been a busy week here but a good one! With love Annabel.xxx

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  20. Your pictures of Harper made me smile. She is contagious and that dress is just what little girls love! And Buddy! How fun is that!

    We have been so glad to be out of town through all this unrest. Our anniversary was Wednesday and we had hoped to go downtown to eat dinner but did not after seeing that there would be a protest. The protests are hurting the businesses that are trying hard to survive. You are quite right about funerals. We are waiting to have one for my Dad until we can all be there along with friends. Just my husband and I and our kids families are 18!

    We stopped by the discount grocery today and bought 15 pounds of various meats including 2 pounds of beef rib eye, 8 pounds of sausage and 3 pounds of premium bacon that is usually $7 a pound and 2 pounds of pepperoni for pizzas for $32 total. We were very pleased to find those deals. I want to get some 3 gallon buckets that the donut shop sells for $1 after they are empty but once again it is downtown where we cannot be sure it is safe to go right now.

    We are having gorgeous weather this weekend and have invited the neighbors down for a visit out back on our deck. It will be great to talk to someone other than ourselves.

    Have a great weekend!

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    1. Dear Lana,
      I feel very sorry about your Dads funeral. So sorry.
      I think with business many were just opening back up...already a very hard year, and now they are vandalised, burned and so on. Some places I have seen whole streets like this. I dont see how they can carry on with repeated losses..
      The food grade buckets are great. I hope you get the opportunity to get them.
      I hope your new week has gone well as time has flown and we are nearly at the end of another week! With much love, Annabel.xxx

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  21. Love your story about Buddy. And Harper is beautiful! Things are crazy in this world right now, but I know in my heart that God is in control and everything will be better than before. Here in the US, it is an election year. Every election year some terrible thing happens. Nature of the beast, I guess. The best is yet to come!

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    1. Ellen, I don't know how non-believers are getting through these times. If I didn't have my faith I would be a basket case by now!

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  22. That little lamb and your sweet granddaughter are just adorable!
    I am making a spelt crust pizza for tonight with spelt berries I have left from Y2K!! (remember that?) I had given away my grain grinder years ago but read somewhere I could use my NutriBullet blender to grind the berries into flour. I have a lot of spelt left and it is perfectly good. I don't think the little bit of gluten in the spelt will bother us (we're not allergic) so I'm looking forward to using these berries in bread as well.
    All I have is a little herb garden but we are enjoying fresh herbs almost every night. I minced a whole bunch and filled a cake pan with them and some olive oil (about an inch deep), froze it, cut into squares and put in the freezer to use to sauté veggies with.
    I can hardly watch the news it is so stressful. I deactivated my Facebook account just recently because there continues to be so much division and anger and it stresses me out.
    Your blog is such a positive and peaceful place to visit. xo Deborah

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    1. Honestly, you can use a Nutri-bullet? That little snippet of information may well have saved me over £100! Thank you for that.

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    2. Dear Deborah,
      I hope the nutirbullet worked for the grinding. If so this is a wonderful tip!
      A herb garden is wonderful. Adding fresh herbs to meals makes them special and adds goodness. Freezing some is a great idea too. I also dry some and pack them up. Fresh or dry they are nice little gifts too.
      Yes the news is crazy and some of it is complete rubbish and some of it is actually agitating for more trouble. I want to be informed so I know things like what to stock up on etc. but I dont want to be traumatised. They show things on TV now that should not be shown! No respect for human life.
      We need to be very careful with what we view, read, listen to. For me I need some encouragement and this makes me think of the Biblical advice to think on things that are true, beautiful, wholesome and good. That is what we need to do. With much love, Annabel.xxx

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  23. I look forward to your post every week and more so than ever right now as I live in Washington State which is in chaos right now. It is very scary to say the least. I try not to dwell on it as depression quickly takes over as I think of the world my grandson is growing up in.
    I try to remain positive and busy. Food is expensive here and still some things are in short supply. I am stocking up a little as I can and growing my garden. I have been drying and storing my herbs. I knit each evening, making Christmas gifts.
    I have a sinking feeling my state and perhaps my nation may remain in turmoil until the national election which is in November and then who knows what may happen.
    I continue to pray for better days ahead.

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    1. Prayers for you and your family. Blessings.

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    2. Yes, pray, pray, pray. And we must remember God is in control even tho it sure doesn't look like it. And, keep our eyes set on Jesus...our Prince of Peace. I feel ya!xx
      Mary in San Diego

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    3. I have seen so much on the news about Washington. I hope you are safe and things have quietened down. I feel very sorry for the businesses and homes threatened by all of this.
      I love that you knit in the evenings and are working on Christmas gifts. I crochet in the evenings. It is productive but I also think it is soothing!
      I am agreeing with you about tensions sticking around as I see in the UK and Europe and now sadly here too that this is all happening and it is no coincidence. So keep doing what you are doing with the garden and stocking up as you can. Be encouraged but just be cautious too. With much love, Annabel.xxx

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  24. Those cupcakes are beautiful, I 'm not surprised Harper was proud of them.

    I have achieved very little this week and am currently self isolating as I was showing some symptoms of covid. I am certain I haven't got it, I haven't coughed in over 24 hours, but I have my test here waiting to be done and the courier booked to collect it tomorrow. Until then my daughter and partner are on dog walking duties.

    I hope everyone has a safe and peaceful week. Take care.
    Su

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    1. Dear Su,
      I hope your tests came back ok and you are feeling well now. What a time! Better to be safe than sorry though of course.
      With love Annabel.xxx

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  25. Harper has the sweetest smile. And that Buddy is a keeper, for sure. He reminds me of when I was nine and my dad found an abandoned baby goat and brought her home to me. It was instant love. We didn't have close neighbors for me to play with so LuLu became my best friend. I still remember how her little mouth looked all foamy when I bottle-fed her and that baby goat smell! Thanks for reminding me.
    Annabelle, your posts always make me better. I have felt a great sadness (and anger at times) about the mess our world is in. There were two teen-age boys murdered in cold blood near the next town over from us. They were on their own land riding a four wheeler and some nut job from Austin, Texas, just shot them. I don't know if it was related to the antifa gangs taking over or what. They have the man in custody and I hope he gets what is coming to him. These 16 and 18 year old boys were cousins. Please pray for their families. We are keeping our entry gate locked now, even in the day time.
    On a brighter note, progress is being made here. Still harvesting. As I finish one crop I've been raking leaves and leaf mold and spreading it around in the bare spots in the garden to deter weeds and improve the soil. I had compost ready so I'm spreading that around on the things that are still producing. I'm saving quite a few potatoes to sprout for our fall garden. They grow really well and fast here.
    It was another shock this week at the grocery store. Half gallon of milk went from $1.37 to $1.98. Meat prices go up every week. Ground chuck at $4.19/lb. was the best buy in that department. I've always been a bargain shopper but I've kicked it up a notch lately! As I empty a space in the freezer or pantry I replenish it with a new purchase or something I've put up. I think prices will continue to rise and with our government spending right and left I pray we don't go in to hyper-inflation. Is that a concern in your country?
    I also finally got to go to an op-shop! I didn't spend much but did find a few good things to sell on EBay. Not getting rich on EBay but the extra money has come in handy over the years. It can be time consuming but easy to do in my spare time in my jammies (especially on cold or rainy days).
    I hope everyone has a good week. Stay alert and be safe!

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    1. Dear Pam,
      I love that you had a baby goat. They are such good pets. They are smart too!
      I really do understand your sense of anger and frustration. This week I have seen some really bad things and good people being attacked even for doing good things. Good is considered bad now and bad is considered good. But we dont have to accept this. The truth lives on forever... a lie has a short life!
      That is a tragedy about the shooting. What I am seeing now means the things we assumed were once safe are now not...
      I think we havent felt yet the full effects of this all, economically. Unemployment is high, prices are rising and the gov has thrown money they dont have at this crisis. So all our countries are in even more massive debt than ever. I also see prices continue to rise...
      I hope you do well with your purchases to sell. The extra money will be very useful. Hang in there Pam. We can do so much and we wont give up! With love Annabel.xxx

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  26. Annabel it is so precious that you spend such quality time with Harper. You are so right, children love to do what they see us do, even if it is just our regular jobs. I had three children willingly washing windows last week! Sure, the 2 year old made things worse than before she started, but I just washed her one last lol. I'm sure Harper must have felt proud taking the cupcakes home!

    I remember years ago seeing a picture that a mum had painted for her children using a window frame on a home renovation show. It was absolutely beautiful, I'm sure yours will be too.

    I've had a slow week, I've had kids off school coughing, one vomiting, and one just worn out completely! So disrupted sleep and feeling quite run down myself. I did try some new recipes for dinners, both of which were good. Yesterday I baked for us and for a friend whose mother has been hospitalised. It is a good feeling heading in to the weekend with lots of baking ready. Nice for the kids when they walk in the door after school as well!

    I finished a small Peter Rabbit cross stitch for a new baby to go with some other Beatrix Potter themed gifts.

    I'm trying to focus on one small area each day that is bugging me at home. You know when you move and then after a while realise certain things just aren't working where you put them? Well those things are on my to-do list! I organised my cupboard which meant I could display my mum's jewellry box and some other precious items on a shelf and it is lovely to look at them each day. So i will keep going with these areas until I'm happy with them!

    I hope you have a lovely weekend!
    Jen (NZ)

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    1. Dear Jen,
      Kids are amazingly capable and like to help. I also feel it makes them feel important.
      I need to get on to my window frame. I am not sure what to do but it is so lovely and old fashioned.
      I hope the kids are better. Somedays a couple of days off school are a good thing... a big rest and a bit of mine building for you too.
      I know your gift for the new baby would be beautiful.
      Jen I think it takes a whole to figure out how a house works and what is best where... I am still finding ways here just to find more room in my pantry. As you settle in it gets better and better. I love that you are keeping beautiful special things where you can see and enjoy them! That is ideal! With much love Annabel.xxx

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  27. Lovely twirling girl! My homeschool stint has ended. I so enjoyed it and am prepared to take it up again in future if need be. Now I shall plan play dates with the boys once a week if I can.

    I have been trying to stock my pantry a little heavier. I'm thinking about getting a second freezer as I've asked my son to try and get a deer for me this fall.
    My little attempt at gardening has shown me this is an area I need to really grow myself in. It is the next step for me. I am going to also start a quick study on setting up my own chicken pen. Funny that this is the way I grew up but I have only puttered at it now and then as an adult.
    I missed the height of blackberry season here on the place but I managed to forage enough to make a small cobbler. I went back yesterday and got a few more. I am making a note on my calendar to check the berries earlier than I did this year. Also wild blueberries grow here and there about us as do scuppernongs and muscadines...There's plenty to forage!
    I'm also planning to study my herb guide and determine what plants we have growing wild here that we can use as food sources, healing plants etc. I noted as I picked blackberries that there was wild white clover and looked it up online. It can be used for many uses.

    I do smile over the worm farms. My dad raised red wriggler worms at one point for commercial sale. As kids we were paid 25c a cup for every cup of 100 we dug for the shops he sold to. I remember he used peanut hulls and crushed cotton seeds that he picked up at the gins as part of his beds.

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    1. Dear Terri,
      Well done how you stepped up to the plate and homeschooled!
      Oh a deer would be really wonderful. This would get you really ahead. I hope you can get the freezer. We invested in a big one mid last year. We are so pleased we did. They then became very hard to get.
      I note all the fruit trees I know of and when to go but there is some variation depending on the season that is for sure. I hate missing out!
      You grew up digging up worms! I do remember my Dad and cups of worms to go fishing ... he dug them up.
      Hope your week has gone well Terri! With love Annabel.xxx

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  28. Hi Annabel,reading your post is a welcome relief from all the anger and destruction happening around us & on the tv news its too much some days,i love the photos of your granddaughter with baby lamb it's so cute:) I was gifted some rhubarb from a client so it's on the menu tonight for a crumble our broccoli plant is still going well too we put out some beer to stop the slugs & it works a treat have a gr8 weekend xx

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    1. Dear Melissa,
      The anger and destruction are just shocking and the media are in on it I think as here the media promote it and encourage it. They are stirring up trouble. I dont trust one word they say. So best not too listen too much. Rhubarb is really lovely. Thanks for reminding me about beer! I had forgotten about drunk slugs drowning in beer! Probably chickens would love "marinated slugs" too. haha! Thank you for your kind words! With love Annabel.xxx

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  29. Annabel how adorably is Buddy falling to sleep after you stroke his head now that is just gorgeous and shows he trusts you :) . I love that you are thinking of ways to recycle more items and use them for things like worm farms and other gardens too.

    Yes the world appears to have gone to you know what in a hand basket at the moment I do agree but we can all have peace within our homes by concentrating on what we are all doing :).

    We are also getting rain as I type and we do really need it too.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $174.35 in savings last week :).

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

    Organising around the home -
    - Caught up on a lot of little jobs that needed doing around the home such as weeding some of the garden beds.
    - I washed all the new clothing I purchased and replaced items that were worn out in my wardrobe.
    - Any spare clothing was vacuum sealed in our storage room for later use when more items of clothing wear out.

    Purchases -
    - Bought 16 pairs of jeans between DH and I for $6.50 a pair saving $136 over buying them elsewhere. We will use these both as work jeans and to wear out on errands in the cooler weather. Spares were bagged up for the storage room.
    - Bought a 2.854 kg whole Steggles chicken for $5.35 or $1.87 kg on markdown saving $7.50 on usual prices.
    - Purchased 2 new garden sweatshirts on special for $15 ea saving $9.98 on usual prices.
    - Bought 375g of cup mushrooms on markdown special saving $2.52 on usual prices.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :) .

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

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    1. Dear Lorna,
      I think too that by being busy, having goals etc it keeps us from just worrying. Pray and do is my motto!
      We have rain too! It is very good though cold and windy! So my outdoor work is over for a little bit.
      Re your new clothing... I have heard now several people say their stores are low or out of basic clothing, underwear and shoes. So being ahead is good.
      The deal you got on jeans is amazing! I live in jeans and boots now.
      Vacuum sealing is a good idea on the clothes to put away. Very good idea. I will follow you on that.
      I hope your rain water tanks are all full!
      Have a very good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Thank you for your encouragement Annabel and the jeans are mid rise ones for the women and normal for the men at Kmart online and they have both men's and women's available too all for $6.50 pr. In case you need to stock up on them :) . The mid rise are generous so cover everything when bending which is all important when you are tall like myself. They are made in Bangladesh and are a thick good quality denim too.

      Vacuum sealing or even keeping them in clip seal larger bags with the air pushed out works and when your clothing wears out you have spares in stock when your other clothing wears out.

      Forgot to say I did harvest lots of vegetables from the gardens too and blanched and froze them.

      Have a great week :).

      Lorna.

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  30. Dear Annabel,
    It is such a joy to read your posts each week and to know that although we may be separated by oceans, we are together in our like mindedness and our faith. Spending the weekend with Harper must have been pure delight for you both, as it shows on her beautiful face. I have such fond memories of time with my Nana, especially in the garden and baking.

    Inbetween rain storms and gale force winds the we have finished planting the garden. Things got planted a little late this year. The last to go in were seeds for zucchini, sugar baby watermelon, and potatoes. The strawberry jam didn't get done this week, but preparing sweet potatoes for frozen sweet potato fries were. Seeds were so hard to come by this year that when I saw Amazon had open pollinated, non-gmo, heirloom seed packets I ordered one. It came the other day and they look promising. I continue to scour the internet for new recipes. I love the site myfridgefood.com. Just plug in what you have and they give you a recipe using those ingredients. I just read something about a sourdough starter called wild yeast water. It's a starter made with fruit and water, no flour at all Takes about 5 days to make a batch and keeps will in the refrigerator. I'm looking forward to seeing how it works. The pictures I've seen look good. Wishing everyone a good week ahead. Stay healthy, stay safe. Blessings, Cookie

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    1. Dear Cookie, You are doing well! It is great your garden is planted. New recipes and ways to use things are my interest too. I know for sure fruit and water makes yeast. We have had it that fruit ferments on the ground and cockatoos eat this and get drunk. Like literally they fall all over the place. So fermenting and yeast production can be done in a few ways!
      The seed shortages are everywhere. Try some tractor supply type places. I watch Deep South Homestead and they have mentioned places to get seeds... but not sure if they may be sold out too now.
      I hope you have a good new week! With much love Annabel.xxx

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  31. Thank you, Annabel, for this precious, encouraging post. It's true....we can still be peaceful in our homes, creating, cooking, planning, beautifying. Regardless of the chaos going on outside. That story about Buddy and his falling asleep in your arms was the best medicine for this world-weary soul. As well as the joy Harper displayed twirling around in her "Frozen" dress...and her feeding your flock :)
    Praying for us all~Mary in SD

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    1. Dear Mary, Thank you so much. As long as we are safe in our homes... I know some are not or have been worried but to me this is my haven. The crazy world is not HERE. At least! And Gods goodness is evident everywhere in nature and with the animals. This is very reassuring! With love and thanks, Annabel.xxx

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  32. Hi Annabel and Bluebirds

    My how Harper has grown in to gorgeous young lady. Time sure has flown by since those beautiful baby photos.

    The photos of Buddy are just delightful. Him and DD10 sound like a similar pair. The moment I tried to put her down awake she would be.

    Good job on those cupcakes Harper. I love the way she decorated them for certain people. These truly are precious times to share.

    This weeks was busy with appointments, cooking and cleaning. I managed to make 3 batches of honey ice cream (gifting one to our neighbour who supplies us with the cutest little eggs) some lovely vegetable soups and as I don't like the chunky watery type I just blended it, chicken an corn soup and spaghetti. Cleaning well finally I have cleaned out some of the craft drawers that belonged to DD10.

    Our biggest thing this week was our decision about Christmas. We decided that Mum needed a break from travelling and have decided to head home and spend Christmas with my late Brother's family and we will all stay with them. This will be hard as none of us have been there since his funeral. It is daunting but a weight of my mind knowing that Christmas is sorted.

    Whilst typing this to you, I am currently being entertained by the cat in a box I received a delivery in this morning. He keeps jumping in and out but then getting stuck with the sticky tape and just dropping cause it must be a weird sensation. Love being entertained by animals

    Have a wonderful week

    Take Care
    Aly xxx

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    1. Dear Aly,
      Honey ice cream sounds just beautiful. So does a good veggie soup.
      I hope the Christmas plans turn out really well and it will be special. It is good to know ahead what you are doing.
      Animals are the best! Endless entertainment! The animals bring me a lot of joy! I hope your week has gone well it is flying by! With love Annabel.xxx

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  33. Hi Annabel, I am catching up here as I have been busier than normal the last few weeks. I like your point about 'Trust and Do'. When we were in the very very early stages of this disruption the words "get your house in order" kept popping into my mind. I followed through and am glad I did. I now keep plodding away with one thing after another as I felt led. We planted some potatoes last week which is something I have never bothered with before because of the readily available, inexpensive supply of potatoes in the shops but now I feel that just learning how to grow potatoes is something I want to explore just now. We used the method Master Gardener Peter Cundall described many years back - putting the seed potatoes on the ground and covering them with a type of Lasange Bed layering. Will see how this goes. I have some more seed potatoes on a sunny window sill so that shoots will generate. Also have some sweet potatoes there as well which are starting to send forth slips.

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    1. Dear Sherri!

      Me, too! I’ve had success starting potatoes before, using the cutting and drying method, and now I have bought seed potatoes to have another go!!

      Rachel

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