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.

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Friday 11 September 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 11th September, 2020.

I am not confident about this post as Blogger have changed things and my computer doesn't like it. But I will try. The weather has a real Spring feel to it. And it has me Spring cleaning any chance I get! The orchard trees are beginning to blossom.
I have been going through photos and catching up on the last two years of albums. I found some lovely frames for some photos of Dad. Some of the ways I built up our home included: I potted up more plants. Mum gave me chicken feed. I made a big Butter Chicken and sides and this fed us and also Lucy and family... as I went to visit them and spend a night! On the way I went to a favourite country op shop (thrift store) and had so much luck. I found beautiful little books for a baby farm boy... stories about shearers and tractors and chickens! Perfect! I also found lots of nice bottles, perfect for making sauce in summer. A project I had sitting on the sewing table is finished off. I had found bed linen in a pure cotton waffle weave. It was $4. After a wash up I cut it up and made kitchen towels. Then I used up some odds and ends from my box of trims.
Last Sunday I asked Mum to come over and made some Gluten Free Scones. I made a batch of regular ones too. Chloe and Luke came over as well. Everyone went home with a basket of scones. Tonight the cows came over to say hello. If I call they moo back. Laffie is big now. Who knows what she would weigh!? But she is just as affectionate and will chase you for biscuits.
Cow portraiture is my new calling! haha! Someone else tried to get in on the act. Someone who needs a hair cut...
Just now it has started to rain. We need rain badly! So I pray it keeps coming! Every week I try to share and encourage in all things to do with building up our homes. To be ahead where we can and to continually learn and build our skills. Having a good pantry is sensible as it is going to help every situation from sickness to job loss. No one could have imagined what 2020 would hold. I have never seen empty supermarket shelves before in my life. Nor have I ever experienced any kind of rationing. But these things are now minor compared to what came next. And what is happening now. The loss of jobs and whole business, maybe even whole industries... the loss of freedom, the loss of rights and free speech. If anyone isn't sure what I am talking about look up the events in Victoria and Queensland this week. There are curfews, people have lost the right to go outside, go to work, be with their dying parents or go to their funerals. If you are criminals, a sports or TV star you are let go but if you a peaceful and law abiding citizen you really cannot assume any rights. To me there is a straight out battle now of good and evil. World wide. Just like that everything has changed. Australia doesn't feel like Australia anymore. Sometime the economic tsunami is coming. There is already a feeling... a feeling of sadness and shame. I am hearing of desperate situations and I am not in the worst affected state by any means. We have mostly been affected by having family in the border community. This is when I discovered how it is to be suddenly not treated like Australians anymore. So whatever you are experiencing in your state or country I think it would be fair to say we are living in unprecedented times. It might be wise to up our preparedness in every way we can. It soon may be time to not be on social media or share our preparedness either. We have seen arrests here now for social media posts so everything is watched apparently. It is a challenge to be prudent and think straight when under pressure and when you feel in a state disbelief. I actually feel that some of what I am seeing cannot be real. But it is. Our home being a sanctuary is vial. For ourselves and families. And our efforts to build up our pantries, freezers, gardens etc are very important. And perhaps even more so... our efforts to build up our family and friends, support network, people we can barter with... all kinds of support we can find! We will need to help each other more and watch out for each other. Times have changed enough to reassess everything. How did you manage to build up your home, pantry and garden this week? Our efforts DO make a difference. Big one! xxx


  1. Hello there. I love your animal pictures - they always make me smile.
    It has been some year every where. Here in the U.S. many say this is political and others mention this is happening all over the world. To that I still say political - it seems to me to be the evil efforts to achieve one world government and control.
    It is all so sad. Until recently we could not have funerals here either - and now they are limited.
    PRAY for the world - that is what we all need to do non-stop.
    Blessings to all.

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Yes it has been some year!! I think everywhere as you say. I agree with you and we can see so much going on. It is sad. And we do need to pray and hoped hope. Cheryl we know how it turns out in the end! I know you do. With love

  2. Annabel,
    All I can say is the Lord is telling us to get our homes in order.
    Love, Rosanne

    1. Amen to that Rubies. I was getting the same word all through March and April.

  3. Mostly the unrest, keeps me at home. I do need to go to the grocery store and I feel I really don't want too. But If I get over there (about 7 miles) I can get in and get out quickly. I use my notes app to record my groceries and delete them once I have them in the cart. I look for specials and try to find.Things we will use. Example is Irish Spring liquid soap. It is on sale for 2.99 each.But you have to buy 5 bottles. My husband uses this so I will spend the money on it. Last week we spent about 100.00 on the t-bone steak slab and had it cut into 1 inch steaks. Well we ended up with 15 steaks a little over 6.00 each. We do not do this very often. And only have it for special times. Like next week. Our anniversary is the 15, our daughters birthday is the 17 and our son-in -law's birthday is the 18. So we will get together over the weekend and have a cook out. Yes sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Love your blog.

    1. Dear Foxtrot Breakables, Thank you so much. I hope you had a very Happy Anniversary! And Happy Birthday to your Daughter for today and SIL tomorrow! A cook out is great, we love to do that! Thank you so much! With love

  4. Excellent list! Thank you. I love your cow and sheep photos ;). Makes me smile! Yes, these are unprecedented times and very concerning. Here in the US, each state is handling rules differently, my state has opened up with some restrictions, but other states are like communist China....please take care and thank you for your blog! It is a high point in my day.
    Hilogene in Arizona

    1. I'm also in the US, northern Minnesota. Things are pretty normal here, but that is mostly because infection rates are so low in my very rural area. Mask wearing has improved & hopefully that will keep the infections low. My husband & I are retired, so being out in the public is limited. We have quite a few acres of land, so plenty of room for gardening, other activities or just getting outside. Feeling quite lucky that our governor is treating this pandemic seriously. Hope you remain safe with all the changes, wishing you well. - Diane in northern Minnesota

  5. Hi Annabel (and everyone),

    Lovely to see your post today, and the animal photos and the beautiful one of you and the children lifted my spirits this morning! Your hand towels are so pretty.

    I have been having that sense of something coming, too. Mostly what we have been doing to build our home lately has to do with food and stores. This week we were very lucky to be able to order a half beef and a lamb from a local farmer for our freezer, when they send animals to the butcher in October. This will be wonderful for our food stores and allows us to help a local family (5 generations farming this land!), too. I baked scones, waffles, yeast buns, and a chocolate cookie pie, most of which went in the freezer. We harvested the melon, pulled up the spent plants, and plants winter squash, green onions, and lettuce for a fall harvest.

    We also use dour health insurance for some needed visits and testing (all is well!), refilled prescriptions, and are doing a pickup of some over-the-counter medicines and body care items next week (things like bandages, painkillers, allergy meds, extra soap). I purchased 2 more sets of sheets for the linen closet, as prices on fabric goods seem to be increasing here. If I can find a good price, I'd also like to get some more bath towels.

    I hope everyone is well and has a good weekend.

    1. Dear Kathy,
      So many ladies I know feel just the same. Well done on your work to build your pantry and home. The meat will be wonderful and last you a long time. A great way to do it too!
      I am trying to do the same with getting needed routine visits done. I got new glasses, filled prescriptions too, thinking like you!
      And I did the sheets too. Great minds think alike!
      Thanks so much Kathy, with love

  6. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you for your lovely post.Beautiful family photos! It is fun seeing Laffie now. I remember her from when you first got her. We are big animal fans in this family. Our son sent a photo showing a surprise visitor he found under the hood of his car he is working on--an opossum! It is 8 years this month since I became very ill and spent 4 months away between ICU. hospital and rehab and then a long recovery at home. I am so thankful for God's healing and the faithfulness of family and friends in prayer, visiting and support! I think memories of this are helping our family be serious about doing whatever we can to avoid COVID 19 and possibly exposing others. I am still working on adding to our pantry while also sharing with others in need. The stores seem quite well stocked, although I have been doing pick-up rather than going in most stores myself. Time to fill in any gaps or needs while we can. I have become acquainted with someone in our area who passes out literally tons of free food he gets from the excess of a food pantry. I was able to get fresh produce, croissants and milk to pass on to a neighbor who distributes to several families. I told another neighbor who got those things plus a huge container of her favorite kind of cupcakes. I was kind of hanging around waiting to see if I could get one more box of produce when I noticed bouquets of flowers were being given out and was able to get magenta mums. While there, the gentleman gave each of us standing there a big pack, probably 3 or 4 pounds of ground beef (mince?)! I knew that was something my neighbor had not been able to get at the food pantries. I was thrilled to get it for her, but also felt a little ashamed thinking later that I should have picked some up for her at the store when I was ordering. I plan to do that occasionally, now. I noticed a sad little bouquet of pink roses that nobody wanted. I brought it home, picked off a few of the outer parts that looked bad and combined with the mums to make bouquets for my two neighbors and myself. I put mine in an antique vase that was my mom's and smile every time I look at it. The fires on our western coast are terrible. Our sun is orange most of the time and smoke makes it look like days are cloudy. Lots of prayers needed for those people and animals! I have been doing a lot of sorting through things and am pleased to be passing some things along to others who can use them and getting rid of things that belong in the trash.
    Sending wishes for a beautiful weekend!
    Love from Arizona,

    1. Dear Elaine,
      Such a serious illness would be life changing and you would never forget. Also we need reminders of how delicate life is and how important health is. I am so glad you are better now.
      How lovely tog et flowers and use your Mums vase.
      The fires are terrifying and I am so sorry for what people are going through. It is heart breaking. I think when we have had an experience we have new empathy for others going through the same or similar. Oh boy we need to pray a lot! Thanks so much Elaine. With love

  7. Thank you so much Annabel for your blog. I can "hear" your sense of frustration and I am so sorry you all are going through this. Could you suggest a good news website to follow for news in Australia and New Zealand? I am trying to keep up with more global news, but don't know which news websites are reputable.

    If anyone else wants to share local to them news websites too, that would be great!

    Building up our home this week involved processing the steady stream of produce coming from our garden. It is winding down and was pretty successful in some areas and other areas not so much. This weekend we are doing a big reorganize as we had been using a lot of our stores. With 8 people in our family, things have a tendency to get disorganized pretty quickly haha, and since the garden is slowing down, I can reorganize and see what gaps we need to fill.

    I hope everyone is able to have a chance to relax this weekend and enjoy the changing seasons. A deep breath outdoors is as good as a tonic sometimes.

    1. Dear Sarah,
      The news channels are all iffy so I would say google what you may be interested in i.e. "Melbourne restrictions" or whatever and see what you can get a pretty consistent consensus on.
      I love that you have so much produce coming in! That is wonderful. Yes you would go through a lot with eight in the family. Just the two of us has me still needing to do a lot of reviews. I am having a quiet Saturday. I really need it. I slept and it rained! With much love,

    2. Hi Sarah, I have heard Sky News is a consistent source. From Mel xx

    3. Hi Sarah
      For NZ :
      For Australia :

      All the best everyone,

    4. Off to check out your suggestions, thanks!

  8. We have got off much easier here than in other places - although I wouldn't mind a bit more enforcing of the "mandatory" mask rules here. Most people are good but you still get the idiots who think that somehow they're above the law. Our mayor says we need to "educate" them. I say, they've had six months of education - FINE the idiots! Sorry, I'm just tired - of following the rules, buying PPE, not seeing family & friends etc. I'm also tired of hearing from conspiracy theorists - believe what you want in private but obey the law!
    No I do not believe it is political - we've been warned for years that a worldwide pandemic was inevitable - we just chose to ignore those warnings. The 1918 flu wasn't a made up conspiracy - neither was the Bubonic Plague or various Smallpox outbreaks - it is just the way of the world. The fact that we are now so interconnected, especially via airlines that it makes us so much more vulnerable doesn't seem to resonate with some. A virus doesn't care where you come from, which politician you support or which religion you follow - it just wants to replicate and keep on replicating. The only way to stop it is to break the chain - hence, isolation, masks & hand washing. This has been a way of life even in Biblical times so I don't understand why it has taken so long to convince folks today. I think we became too complacent, too superior and too much enamoured of our individual "rights" as opposed to our obligations as a member of the human race.
    Sorry for the soapbox - I'm just a bit tired of it all at the moment - and living so close to the US doesn't help. No offence to some lovely people out there - but we want that border to stay closed - we have moved beyond appalled at the behaviour there and are now in full on pity mode. You have been duped, lied to and offered up as sacrificial lambs to the almighty dollar - it is so very, very sad.
    I hope that things improve soon in Australia and that you get some much needed rain. and that others follow your wise words to look after their families.

    1. Dear Margie, Our country is all over the place with masks. Some places it is a fine if your dont wear one. Our supermarket shopping centre has a sign telling you not to wear one if you are well. They have never made their mind up consistently.
      You are right... pandemics are part of history and history repeats. In fact with travel and people crammed on planes like sardines it is probably a miracle this didnt happen sooner.
      I agree too about rights and consideration for others. What has divided people here is the TV stars and sports stars have rights and freedoms to get around and ordinary people cant go to their Dads funeral... this kind of thing. And yes... the almighty dollar makes a lot of the decisions!
      I also think... people came to think that sickness was nothing to fear you just got antibiotics and kept going. Like they are bullet proof. With the flu we saw this... dreadful sick people in crowded places... STAY HOME! But they dont care.
      We did get an inch of rain over night! This is really wonderful for us. Thank you Margie. With love

    2. Dear Margie,

      I agree, I am tired of it all, too. I am over in Nova Scotia. The trouble is the loss of perspective over time. It used to be about keeping hospitalizations down to try to prevent overloading the medical system while they ramped up. But over time, the cases in hospital (serious ones) have gone down, the doctors know more about the illness, the fatality rate hasn't proven to be as bad as originally feared, and yet now all we hear is how many people in general have it. It is impossible to keep the virus from spreading AT ALL, and most people who get it will get it mildly and recover. I think this is what is getting lost in the shuffle. Taking the normal precautions that were first recommended of hand washing, keeping your distance, taking extra precautions if you have a compromised immune system, staying home if you feel sick...all the rest of it...this is absolutely critical. But overboard shutdowns and micromanaging of every aspect of daily life just to keep any stats of Covid cases from showing up is frustrating to many. Take here: we haven't had any "risk" to speak of for almost the entire time since March and early April, but our restrictions now are greater than they were when the risk was higher, and less was known about the illness and the health system wasn't prepared. Doesn't make sense. And the U.S. numbers, as a side note, should be compared to total population, in which case they aren't that much different from ours. I think the media has a lot to answer for, as they know that fear sells.

      xx Jen in NS

    3. I am so sad after reading this. The US isn't all bad people and I really think there may be Canadians ( other than "we" ) who still feel otherwise. Yes, things are not good in the US but so many of us are not worried about the almighty dollar. We care about our neighbors, family and friends. You probably don't read or hear about us in the news. Please don't be appalled or pity us. Connie in the Country.

    4. Dear Connie, I think you might have taken offence where none was meant. I love the USA and many of my best friends are there. Most people are wonderful here and there. Then there are some who would like to take all the goodness away. Caring for family and your local community is the best thing to do always. Mother Teresa said if we want to improve the world then go home and love your family. Perfectly true! With love

    5. Hi Margie
      I have to say that I agree with you totally
      We had an alleged case of covid in our town
      the young woman had several tests false positives do they finally decided to do a blood test which proved she was negative
      She received Death Threats, so totally Un Aust realism
      The local council and media and the state media carried on like idiots even though she had not been proven to have covid and they could not trace it to any source
      The Victorian govt is raking in huge money everyday from people who think that they are about the law
      Ok off my soap box could say a lot more

    6. Oh, that poor woman! How traumatizing that must have been!

    7. Sarah, it was very traumatic for her. Fortunately she has very good friends
      What I don’t understand is why nasty people send death threats
      It was bad enough that our local council and the media carried on like the provberbial twits that they are without any proof or confirmation

  9. I just lost my message! It wasn't quite finished! It's OK if it shows up here as-is, because I was just going through and reformatting and I was nearly done, anyway. If it is truly lost in cyberspace, I'll start again...just not now! Best wishes to all the bluebirds.

    1. HERE WE GO AGAIN...

      Love the pictures, Annabel, and it sounds like you've had a good week...and I'm glad for that! This was mine--

      * I'm still harvesting a lot of tomatoes, plus zucchini and beets. I made ratatouille with zucchini instead of eggplant, ate it for dinner, and froze enough for 4 more meals.

      * Made veggie soup with beef stock/bone broth I cooked a few days earlier. It featured the ever-popular tomatoes and zucchini, plus everything in the fridge that wasn't nailed down! This was basically a free meal and I made enough for three people for dinner and lunch the next day.
      * I inventoried my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and filled in most of the gaps at Dollar Tree and JoAnn's (with 40%-50%-60% off coupons), plus some stuff from my stockpile. Just a few things left to buy and/or make.

      * I cut DD's bangs.
      * One of our local markets is having a case lot sale. I stocked up bigtime on 15-1/2 ounce cans of sliced peaches and fruit cocktail and 11 ounce cans of mandarin oranges, all for .42 can. I have not done much canning this year because fruit has been so expensive. I can't buy fruit, sugar and a lid for .42 pint!

      * DD and I both got new glasses at Costco. (We have looked online, and there are reasons we don't buy). We each saved a minimum of $100 per pair. I have had cataract surgery and now only need glasses to read, but constantly looking for my specs, putting them on, taking them off and losing them all over again convinced me to back to progressive bifocals (clear lens on top). Besides, they hide the dark circles under my eyes, LOL.

      * We have a lamp on a timer. This week I had to adjust the turn-on time because it is getting dark earlier. Of course, this will use a little more electricity...but the whole idea of having the lamp on the timer, and shutting off automatically, does save juice.

      * Frugal fail--DD's room is upstairs, over the garage. She lives with us half the week. When she left us Tuesday morning, I forgot to check that she'd turned off the light in her room. Wednesday night, I saw that she had not only left on the light, but also both ceiling fans!

      And now an editorial comment...I live in the United States and I am proud of my country. Our 244-year democracy has been the "shining light on the hill" for many other countries. We are not perfect. We make mistakes and have a lot of problems right now. We are going through a period of unrest. We are an easy target. I will not bash your country, either outright or in snide little ways, and I hope you will grant me the same respect.

      As for where is the best place to receive news from other places, I've found that the more local you look, the more accurate. My sister receives civil disobedience news about our hometown, Portland, Oregon, through a national news network. I go online to the Portland newspaper and broadcast stations for mine. We get very different information. My background is journalism, from the days when reporters didn't inject their opinions into the news. I've always thought that local sources are more accurate, because it's hard to lie to your neighbors who may have even been there.

      Annabel, I think this forum should be apolitical, and I won't bring any of this up again.

    2. Maxine you have misunderstood as I love your country and many of my best friends are there. I also hate to see riots and unrest and hope it ends. Mostly what happens there happens here we tend to follow in so many ways. So I would never make a snide comment about your country. I agree local news can be most reliable. You had a great week. Glasses are a major expense so saving there is

    3. Dear Maxine, I hope you see this! Thank you for your message. I wish I had your email.. I do understand what you are saying, and I agree! If you want to re comment privately with an email I would keep that private also. With love and friendship,

  10. Annabel, I love your blog, look forward to it every Friday. Your concerns about your country are the same as ours about our country. May God hear and answer our prayers and we cry out to him for help and guidance.

    1. Dear Regina, Thank you so much. I do see we are all kind of in the same boat. Certainly so many similarities. We certainly all share the same goals to keep looking after our families and keep them safe. Thank you Regina. With love Annabelxxx

  11. Annabel, I love your blog, and look forward to reading it every Friday. The concerns about your country are the same one we have about our country. May God bless you and hear and answer as we cry out to him for help and guidance.

  12. I am gradually replacing everything we used up the first three months of the virus. Not so much worried about price this time as to simply be sure I have what we need if we go to quarantine again. This gives me time to be price aware when replacing. I think we have hit a new normal here in the US and I for one old lady am not liking it a bit. Toni

    1. Dear Toni,
      Yes it is important to replace everything. I think a lot of prices will be increasing if they havent already so a stock ahead can be money saving too. Someone in the UK told me last night they are going back into lock down Tuesday. At least they have a little warning... With love

  13. I agree that the world does not feel the same anymore. Here in the USA it is the same. I do not know my country anymore. Never in my life have been so concerned abut safety and freedoms. Never have I been concerned so much about whether we will able to get what we need. I have started to consider getting our stockpile in a safer place in our home which means away from windows and upstairs where it is more hidden. When I saw a sale on shoes this week I bought four pairs for my husband so that he can put the extras away for later. I would not have done this in the past. This week we saw a family sitting under a tree in a parking lot with their belongings in tote bags all around them. This is reality and it is heartbreaking. Out in town today there are homeless everywhere. I shudder to think what could happen after our elections this fall. All we can do is pray and pray and pray. The only safe refuge is under His wings.

    1. Dear Lana, I feel just the same and it is honestly a shock. What worries me is the rate things went down... and what if that rate continues?
      Well I think out of sight might be a wise idea. I think there is going to be a mass number of homeless and we havent seen the numbers yet as the government was able to help for a while but we havent seen what happens when they cant continue on indefinitely with Covid payments etc.
      I think the shoes are a good idea. I am thinking to get boots so we have extra also.
      I am watching closely as yes surely as elections come closer the tension will be higher? People seem so volatile and angry. And mob mentality is just scary! So we keep our heads down, be watchful and work on what we can! With love

  14. I sometimes wonder if I'm living inside a Hollywood film, Annabelle. It starts out slow and normal enough and then...Da Da Dun! The only thing not showing up is a hero.
    We had a slow and easy week here. More and more I appreciate the peace of where I live and pray that it shall remain so.
    I too have had time with my family and grandchildren, at least those that live close by.
    I agree that it might be wise to say less about stockpiles and focus on 'using what we have' or how to best use bits and pieces.

    1. Dear Terri, Yes it is like a movie! A bad one!
      History does show stockpiles have been confiscated before. Different kinds of stockpiles too. So this is a consideration. I am glad you have been able to see at least some of your family and Grandchildren. This keeps life far more normal for the children too which is important! With love

  15. Annabel,
    Oh how I pray we can continue to blog for as long as possible as this sense of community that you have created is of great support to me. I love the dish towels you made. Fabric is nearly impossible to purchase here- the shelves are empty or there are long lines which I find too high risk.
    I was able to make a batch of blackberry jam this week and will use it as gifts for Christmas or for those who are in need. I continue to work on all the things you mentioned.
    I wish each of us a productive week.
    Kim-Pacific Northwest of U.S.

    1. Dear Kim,
      I have given up also on the fabric stores here. The crowds verses the actual selection and the prices... not appealing at all. Most of my fabric is from thrift stores and purchases like this cotton quilt. Recycling for fabric is a huge saving!
      Blackberry jam will make just lovely gifts. Thank you for your kind words too. The community we have here is a huge support to me! Thank you. With love

  16. I am commenting from Victoria I live in regiinal Vic not Melb where the Covid restrictions have needed to be so tough I am so proud of our premier for taking such avtough stand and not bowing to political pressure There are too many selfish people who believe in their personal freedom to come and go as they please This is an unprecedented disease We are gaining results
    I have not seen family in Melb for 7 months I have not met a new granddaughter in Qld I can cope with rules for the better good

    1. Dear Jan, They are reducing the covid numbers now which is good to see. I hope this helps the people of Melbourne soon. I hope you can meet your new Granddaughter as soon as possible. We will not forget 2020 ever I dont think. Love

  17. I truly feel for Victorians and then I wonder about all the rules and regulations about coming into Queensland. I do not understand why footballers can compete here and then next minute those in the northern sections of NSW have to battle to cross the border for work or medical treatment. It is so inconsistent.

    Your op shop finds always intrigue me. Ours are so expensive. Honestly I have seen things cost more than it the shops! Well done you. This week I was blessed to be in the supermarket at the right time and was able Toby a small trolley filled with organic produce reduced to very low prices. A $5 buck of spring onions w=cost 15 cents and so on.

    I am so happy your were able to see your grandchildren. Enjoy them all you can and I know you do.

    1. Dear Suzan,
      You are observing the same things as me! Some are more equal than others it seems! Which doenst sit right with most of us. I think overall Australians are very fair minded and see this as not fair and not right.
      Suzan I have experienced the ridiculous priced op shops. And they have lost the plot! Lucky for me way out in the country they are mostly realistically priced. And I say MOSTLY!
      That was wonderful about striking the right moment in the supermarket! That is the time to buy!
      Thank you so much for your kindness. I do feel very lucky as I know many have not been able to see family which would be so very hard on everyone. With love

  18. Here in North Carolina USA the religious leaders had to sue the governor to be able to be in our churches. I was at a funeral today with only family and everyone with masks and socially distancing. California and Oregon as on fire here with thousands of acres burning and so many homes destroyed. People are running for their very lives. I know Australia had drought and fires last year and our turn this year. I am still gardening though I am new at it. I use many of your tips for my garden and household cleaning as well as keeping my pantry and freezers stocked. Thank you and keep posting.

    1. But why do you have to be in church? I ask this not to be provocative or insulting as I not only go to church, I work in my church office and I volunteer with many of our programs. Yes, the fellowship is wonderful but no one needs to be in a building to worship God.
      We were allowed to reopen months ago here - with restrictions - but we chose not to and simply produced online services via YouTube. These videos have reached people all around the world now - not just our congregation - and we have also welcomed many new viewers to our online Bible Study classes. Instead of restricting worship it has actually increased it!
      We have done a small reopening with only a very few people the past couple of Sundays to ensure we had all the protocols in place and that people followed the rules. They did. We will open for the next two Sundays for only 50 pre-registered people (about 1/4 of the regular Sunday turnout) and then we will reassess. If people are uncomfortable or the number of infections rises in the city we will voluntarily shut down again as we have no wish to infect our congregation or others. We intend to continue with online services for the foreseeable future even if we decide to continue with in-person worship.
      Face masks must be worn and social distancing maintained. People must pre-register so that we have contact tracing information and the only limited socializing must be done outside with no refreshments. And no one is objecting. God is everywhere - God does not need a building to exist. I truly believe that God would be horrified by the way his name has been invoked during this terrible time.

    2. Beverly, I really feel for you all. This is how we started out year and ended the last... fires. I agree it is terrible about restrictions on churches. Our support!
      Margie the question to me more is why shut churches when night clubs are ok? When protests and riots go ahead and church doesnt... something doesnt add up. I agree we can worship anywhere for sure but here we have had it people can be crammed onto a bus yet not allowed in a church. When stuff makes no sense then you know something is wrong. However people of faith will not be broken as easily as that. With love

    3. Dear Beverly- Same situation I'm my part of UK. I personally find it the same as Annabel- it doesn't add up. We need more pastors like JD Farag ;)
      Annabel- Laffie is gorgeous! A wonderful distraction :)
      With love
      Heidi xxx

    4. I agree, many things simply do not add up. There are many ways to get together "safely", with proper risk assessment, rather than blanket shut-downs, and churches have been particularly targeted. In rural areas, many churches and congregants do not have access to online services, and many things, such as communion (which can be conducted safely, such as intinction by the priest who is hand sanitizing between people and wearing a mask) CANNOT be conducted "virtually". Not to mention the comfort of a sacred space. Yes, here, pubs and restaurants could open far sooner than churches, and with more people. They were more "essential" than church services, even though worship is a mental help for those who are believers in times of trouble, and for others who are seeking answers and comfort. Again, it is the imbalances and the "smoke and mirrors" that is so troubling. And proper risk assessments not being done!

      Jen in NS

    5. I'm in British Columbia, Canada. People here were allowed to attend nightclubs and strip joints, but churches were not allowed. Protests were okay too, as if that makes sense. Self-styled "important people" break rules with impunity while insisting us "little people" follow restrictions. Churches appear to be singled out for discrimination. The church community offers comfort and companionship to many people who live alone. For many elderly people, it is a lifeline and the only human contact they have. Telling these people that they ought to be content merely with feeling God's presence with no human contact sounds unkind. --Elle Webber

  19. Dearest Annabel, cow pictures are so cute ! I love the towels you made. I am learning to sew. A valuable thing. Mum bought me my first machine. So at the moment I'm just learning how to drive it and go in a straight line ! So I'm 43 and I have no job. It's rather embarassing ! All I can do I pray. Some days it's "LORD I need you !" I prepare the best I can. I made a lasagne last night. Yesterday I went to the shops to get only a few things. I am shocked at the price of fruit and veg have gone up so much ! I live in a unit so I can't grow my own. But since you have a farm you're lucky you can ! Blessings. Sonia in Sydney.

    1. Dear Sonia,
      I am so happy you are learning to sew! Straight lines are all you need to make many things! And it is wonderful your Mum bought you a machine! This is so good!
      A lasagne would be delicious and give you a few meals too. I know prices have gone up but I hope you might still find bargains here and there or the special of the week etc. Yes we must pray. And help each other. Keep on your sewing as you will get the hang of everything fast! With love

  20. You have sure have come a long ways from your feeling that you should start a pantry to now ! I am glad I have learned along with you. When you moved to the farm I dreamed of being there too! It is so beautiful to be close to family and in the country with room to grow. There was so much to do and learn but you did. Your group of people who post and your family comments all add to the friendliness and knowledge we all come here for. Thank you. Yes I still have to remember to put my mask on when I get out of the car each time. Who would have even imagined all of this would ever happen. I hope this is the worst but think this could only be the beginning. But God is still on His throne and there for us. That is the one thing we can stand on never changing. Sarah

    1. Dear Sarah,
      Thanks so much! You are right... when I first started out preparing I basically did one small thing then another. I am still learning but it is actually so much fun to learn. The dehydrating lately has been mostly new to me.
      A little community to support and encourage each other means a lot to me too. I am usually thinking... oh I can tell the girls this or that... and it motivates me too. You are right... we know how things turn out. God is the same, The Word of God is the same and we are blessed to know it! With much love

  21. Annabel thank you for Your blog it is one of 2 places I visit. The cattle are so beautiful!
    We have been adding here or there to our safety net. Home has to be a haven in these uncertain times. I agree we need to be careful what we share with others. I have decided to stay off Social Media till after our election. Tensions are high and it is unproductive.
    A friend’s son works in law enforcement and told him they are expecting the violence and rioting to ramp up in the weeks before our election to frighten people to stay home.
    Our whole state is on fire right now and they are finding out some of them are from Arson. It feels surreal what is going on.
    Most everything is back in stock now , but no canning lids anywhere. Very limited canning jars.
    God Speed to all the Bluebirds feathering their nests. God Bless you and keep everyone safe.

    1. Dear Lynd,
      Thank you so much! Well done on your adding to your safety net. I really think a bit of insider information is worth a lot! I listen to these things. They come as helpful snippets... and I think what the songs friend said makes sense. There seems to be a mood of things intensifying.
      I am thinking you must be in California? It looks horrifying and I hope you are safe. We had terrible fires in Australia in Jan/Feb and we had to evacuate and it truly was something I cant describe. Seeing pictures tonight of California brought back memories and it looks like hell on earth. I pray your family are all safe. With much love,

    2. Annabel you are right we are in California. We had a big fire close to us they finally got out. The air quality is very bad from the fires across the state. Fortunately we have an air purifier I can run if we feel we need it. Thank you for your prayers!

  22. Hi Annabelle, I am worried about you! For some time now I have read your posts with increasing concern about your fears for the future and how you don't feel that you are being treated 'like an Australian' any more because of the restrictions which health authorities have put into place to protect our communities from COvid19.
    Here are a couple of actual, non-partisan facts:
    - On August 5 this year, Victoria had 725 daily new cases of #COVID19. Today, it is 37.
    - On August 5 this year, France had 1,695 daily new cases of #COVID19. Today, it is over 10,000.
    France had a lockdown, but they let it off early. Then, when cases increased, they didn’t put it back on. In fact, Macron is saying even today they “can’t afford” to lockdown again, because of potential damage to their economy. Defying EVERY PIECE of data showing that economies which eliminate the virus are far, far better off: not just on health, but on every monetary metric too.

    Do you think that your needs to be with your family is any different from those 725 people whose loved ones have died? What about the medical staff and aged care workers who are putting their lives on the line to try to care for others? Do they have rights?

    Sure things are 'difficult' but this is not a disaster. It is people who want to keep us healthy and know that sometimes we have to be made pretty uncomfortable to do it.

    The lady who was arrested for posting on social media was not just voicing her opinion, she was promoting an illegal assembly.

    Please take care to listen to a variety of voices. Read widely. Be community minded. We are all in this together.

    1. Dear Earthmother,
      It is certainly good to read widely. That is a must. I admire the medical workers on the front line so much. Same as thousands working to clean, wipe door knobs and look after children at home who cannot go to school. Every bodies efforts are important. To me the person dying of cancer needs compassion just as much as the person with Covid. It is an actual disaster for farmers who have walked off farms and moved away and for people who's family have died and they never got to say good bye and so many terrible things. They are deserving of compassion too. It is a disaster for people who lost their whole family business passed down there generations... I feel for them all. The lady in her pjs... yes she had posted about a meeting. But so had hundreds of BLM protestors they posted whee to meet and when and that was ok their homes were not invaded... nor were they arrested when they did meet in public. So it creates questions.. why are some more equal than others? As Christian each life matters and we have to have compassion still. Is it Australian to arrest some and allow others to commit crimes completely unchallenged? Not my Australia.
      A few weeks in a border community gives a different perspective and one that I wouldnt have believed either. I did never think this could happen to any Australian. So we continue to be kind to each other, help each other knowing that so many are under stress and working harder than ever and worried about their future. Loving our community and country makes it hard to see it in trouble. The PM even looked on the verge of tears. So I feel hey they year has been a shocker... fires then this all, Dad dying, my friend dying, the baby isolated from his doctor, being in quarantine when Dad was in hospital.... yes we are affected but to be told to be community minded sure takes the cake. Who ever said we were not grateful for medical workers... we just had help from many with all we have been through and they have been wonderful. Lets agree to all help one another and that everyone the same. That to me is being community minded. Love Annabel.

    2. Earthmotherwithin
      With regards to the numbers that have risen of C.cases, I think it is helpful to be clear that these are cases of people who have tested positive and not deaths. UCLA Stanford study found for average 50-64 year old, chances of dying are 1 in 19.1 million.
      My questioning began when I saw health officials in my country, who were privy to all the data (far more information than we receive) , flaunting the rules they were imposing on us. Two holidays with family members from another household for one - while we couldn't visit our family. And not forgetting the "expert" who went to visit his "other woman" during that time. (Her connections flew up a red flag too). But they were willing to risk their families (and lover) to "keep us healthy"?!
      By the way, your community minded comment was unkind and uncalled for.

    3. Earthmother,
      I have to agree your comment was unkind and uncalled for. I have been reading this blog for awhile now and I have not seen anything unkind or selfish from Annabel or even fear! She is encouraging every week, thoughtful and kind. Your experience with this pandemic on a daily basis may be different than someone else's but nobody has mentioned that they are more important than anyone else. The biggest point is not loss of rights, but only for some, not loss of freedom, but only for some and it is annoying that the hypocritical double standards are said to be for protection and some think this is ok. I am happy to follow the guidelines, but it really burns my butt that rioters, looters, protesters and elites are doing whatever they please and worship is a no no. It is no more dangerous than being in a crowd of hundreds of protesters. THAT is a double standard it's not just about not being able to go to church or funerals. I am old and have seen many things, but not anything like this so it is understandable that this is a difficult time and everyone would be expressing it in different ways.
      The Good Witch

    4. Thank you both for your kind comments. I really appreciate them. I am in a bind as I said I would not publish unkind things but I did as I dont want to seem that I cant accept criticism. Now maybe I shouldn't have as people come here for encouragement. but then maybe this shows what I mean in my post about feelings being high, and things not being the same anymore. And it doesnt matter what you say you can be in trouble. Never have I said anything negative about medical workers or any such thing! Thank you both anyway you are so kind. Sometimes we have to have eyes to see and ears to hear and sometimes it is better to be wrong than unkind too. I appreciate both of you are from different countries too and your observations. I think we are all in the same boat and we are sisters wherever we live. xxx

    5. Annabel, I am sorry you are feeling the need to censor your comments. Differences of opinion are important, but tensions are high, and that makes for difficult decisions. Also, intent is so hard to read. Thank you for all you do for us reading your blog.

    6. I was just thinking... if it is not a disaster why did they declare a State of Disaster? mmm

  23. I look forward to reading your blogs and the comments that others share and also the things shown they make on The Tuesday Afternoon Club. Having Chronic Fatigue and not much energy to even see people and now the Covid scare I get lonely and this blog helps. My husband has been doing the shopping at Aldi's. I get a lot of my gluten free mixes there but lately they have been out of those things a lot. Your little calf/cow now has gotten so big. Will you milk her or what are the plans? I don't think I could stand to have any of my animals butchered if I had them but I know that is how it is. I get too attached as pets! I think of your Mom and hope she is coping well. Good luck on your op finds. Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy,
      In the past I went through depression and fatigue. I think it wasnt chronic fatigue more like just feeling absolutely unable to move. I was like it for a year. It was awful. So that is my glimpse maybe.
      I really like the Aldi GF things. It depends on location what we can get I think. An idea is to make a sponge cake with gf cornflour as that is a nice GF treat.
      These cows are not dairy variety but I would consider milking a goat.. and am thinking about this possibility! Laffie I am hoping will be going on to have babies... so she is safe!
      Thank you for thinking of Mum. She came over for a cup of tea today. She is doing pretty well. And we are planning to go see the girls this week and little Sidney!
      Thank you Nancy. Just do a little as you can and things that will build you up. Sunshine is good I think. I took Vitamin D and think that helped me with energy and I still do this from time to time. Any thing is worth a shot! Have a very good new week. With love

  24. I agree 100% with what you are saying Annabel.

    What a year it has been, but what lies in the years ahead is the scary part. How can we stop the control that seems to be happening? Everything has and is continually changing. My heart breaks for that poor woman who couldn't see her dad before he died and then not even allowed to his funeral when she was from a place where there is NO C-19 cases! Oh but wait, if our premier wants to go to QLD for his sons graduation that is different! And our celebrities and sports people are immune to restrictions? This is not right!

    On the home-front, I have been making masks for my daughter and her partner in Sydney. She mostly wants them for when she goes on public transport to work in the city. It is quite warm here today, 32C like the previous couple of days, and I have spent two hours this morning out in the veggie patch pulling out old plants and organising beds. A few days ago I wondered whether I should bother with growing vegetables anymore as it is such hard work over summer and with the cost of water I just don't know. Sadly it would be cheaper to buy the organic veggies in the supermarket. Anyway for now I am still planning. We are desperate for more rain, it is so dry here. I also baked two loaves of sourdough this morning and this afternoon I am going to do some cleaning up outside after the dusty north winds we had this week. A cool change due tomorrow and my dads 84th birthday so we are all going out for lunch with him at the local hotel.

    I am continuing to live my life as close to normality as possible. My state of mind ebbs and flows though, some days good, other days not so good. But life does go on and we must make the most of what we have. Compared to others we are very blessed. Phil still has his job, as do all my children so this is a good thing. Of course that could change at anytime which is scary.

    Your cows and sheep are gorgeous. Cows are such lovely animals. You have done a beautiful job with making tea towels, they look so pretty. So glad to read you are able to catch up with family once again. A scone baking day sounds perfect!

    Take care of you and your mum, and keep looking up to GOD and praying. HE is in control.

    Lots of love,
    Tania xxx

    1. Dear Tania,
      Yes anyone with eyes to see knows there is no level playing field as Lorna said. And someone said this is hardly a disaster. But it is... for many it is a disaster of unimaginable proportions and we havent seen the economic fall out yet.
      Tania, I have thought about what you are saying re the cost of the veggies. In my case I was thinking about it in regard to cost of eggs. I am working on ways to reduce the cost of chicken feed. I have a lot to do there as my main problem to free range the chooks in the day is foxes. Anyway... the thing is I think we have to have as much self sufficiency and food production as we can. There may be a time there are no eggs in the store. I have already seen it a few times before. So having these things overall is more important than price. It is security. So I continue on with working how to reduce the costs and also have back up...
      Yes we are blessed and can make our days very nice and the family has jobs.... this is so important. Happy birthday to your dear Dad! With much love,

  25. Hello Annabel. What lovely photos. Your hand towels are just beautiful, too.

    I have to put in my "two cents worth" re our current situation. We are facing a war, of sorts, and in any war many personal rights are curtailed - including some forms of free speech. As I recall it, the lady who was arrested, and bailed, for her internet posts, was encouraging public gathering during the Melbourne CBD lockdown.

    If we put this into a war context, during WW2, every letter sent by my parents to each other during Dad's army service, was censored. Letters sometimes contained more of the censor's dark blue pen, obliterating content, than the original text. On the humorous side, the fact that a neighbour's outdoor dunny had burnt down did not escape the censor's pen. A love letter was allowed through, but the censor had written "WOW" across the bottom :)

    To use another war example, think of the London Blitz. What would have happened if someone, upset about their loss of rights, had left their blackout curtains open?

    Frustrating though it is, I think that "my rights" are something that we need to forget about - for the common good. We need to remember the definition of democracy. Freedom to do what you like, as long as those actions do not affect the rights of others. And yes, that very definition imposes limitations on us all.

    OK, soap box has been kicked under the bed.

    Stay safe, Bluebirds.


    1. Dear Sue, Yes it does seem war like. Also freedoms fought for so hard are so easily lost I think of that too as Nans brothers fought in WW2. The lady arrested in her pyjamas did post that. Hundreds of others promoted the BLM protests and that was ok they were not arrested... even if they went to the protests. So it is not the same for all. Maybe a pregnant lady is just an easier target or something? I hope everyone will be treated well and fairly whether ordinary person or football player or tv star and everyone will consider others and wash hands and be considerate and sensible. We can all do our bit and show compassion. This to me is what Australia is all about. With love

    2. Well said Sue!
      I think you explain my frustration with people so well - instead of pulling together we are more concerned about our "rights" - and I see that as so selfish.
      It's so interesting reading the comments from all around the world and finding out just how different this experience has been depending upon where you live.
      I realize even more just how lucky I have been with a consistent message delivered by medical authorities - financial support from the Govt. and support from like-minded family & friends.
      I am truly shocked by the lack of support, conflicting messages and lack of leadership so many of you have experienced! While I don't always agree with your reactions, I certainly do sympathize with your frustrations.

    3. Strong analogy... in New York the covid
      emergency here was so dire, with continual ambulance sirens, it did feel like we were under attack again as in 9/11... although by mother nature this time? And now again on 9/11 this year, the most disastrous fires in US history.

  26. Dear Annabel, firstly the photos are lovely of your cows haha good photographer they have!
    I love your trims they look so pretty too .
    So glad you got to spend a night with Lucy and family !
    I’m getting frustrated too with news and with those not being careful as they should .
    I’m be been decluttering small areas in a build up to doing the same with my wardrobe.
    Took 5 shopping bags of kitchen items to opshop and have another bag full so far .
    I’ve started on gift shopping birthdays and Christmas gifts till the end of year .
    Sorted those out today and boxed fanily gifts together , friends , and gift box in general for the unexpected gifts .
    A friend gave me some more lemons and they are big ones too .
    Visited my aunt and had a catch-up , good for both of us with family worries .
    I hope we can all find calm and peace at this very trying time and keep smiling bluebirds, much love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria,
      Thank you so much. I also have been gift shopping to be ahead and have things put away. And I have been gradually attacking the wardrobe too. Bit by bit!
      I am glad you have your Aunt to talk to. Someone to talk to is vital really. It is a trying time. I am realising how stress is hard on the body and mind. We need extra nurturing, vitamins, everything! Oh and sleep!
      Have a good new week Maria, With love

  27. Annabel I love the pictures of the cows and sheep and I can imagine them following you for biscuits and calling back when you call them too how sweet :) .

    The waffle tea towels you made are so lovely with the beautiful trims. Glad you were able to spend time with the whole family and bake together.

    We are in unprecedented times for sure with rules for some but not for others nothing is a level playing field. This divide has been evident for quite some time though but just not as visible to most as lately.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $110 in savings last week.

    In the kitchen -
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch and concentrated on cycling through and using older stock in our walk in pantry.

    Grocery purchases -
    - Bought some bulk quantities of blocks of chocolate on half price special saving $30 on usual prices.
    - Saved $12 by picking up 4 free samples as a supermarket taste tester.

    Electricity savings -
    - Been using most power to charge electronics and cook during the day to take advantage of the free power coming from our solar system.

    In the gardens -
    - Harvested 8kg of turnips and a kilo of potatoes from the gardens saving $51.50 on buying them in the stores. We have blanched all the turnips in meal sized portions for the freezer.

    Internet listings -
    - Listed 10 items on a free listing eBay promotion saving $16.50 on usual prices.

    Earnings -
    - DH made $150 from 2 gardening jobs he did.

    Finances -
    - Added a little money to our home maintenance fund.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :) .

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Dear Lorna, Thank you for your comment... what you said about the playing field I thought was very insightful. I didnt think of it this way but it is true. What was already there had the volume turned up!
      It is good to do some rotating. And we must do that.
      The samples to test were great, I hope they were good ones!
      Oh that is good now that you have the solar system! Yes this would need some thinking about... when to run things and make the most of the sunlight and generated power. As we use pumps to move water from rain tanks to the house and also from one rain tank to another we are looking at getting all that on solar. Quite a lot of investigating options taking place here.
      The turnips and potatoes saved you so much! Plus useful and versatile.
      The free listings and extra money coming in is a great help with fund building. I love your consistency Lorna.
      Oh and you are set for emergencies with a chocolate supply! I would have to hide that well! From myself mainly! But really some treats and luxuries are extremely good to have.
      Have a very good new week! With love,

    2. Thank you Annabel for all you do in your posts and encouraging us all to prepare ahead and who knew it would be a pandemic or could be a worse economic situation to come.

      Most welcome about the unlevel playing field comment and yes it has always been there but a quieter behind closed doors never advertised widely type of way.

      The main thing for us all to try and remember is we are sisters in preparedness no matter what country we live in or what political events/policies we have in our countries.

      I believe in being aware and well read on world and local events and preparing accordingly for the best outcome of our family.

      Sometimes I find that all of the information and bad news on television and in the media is all too much and I have to switch it off. I am now just taking in the important points that are relevant to us and discarding the rest.

      Regardless of what is going on around me I know I do have control of what happens in my home which is a comfort to me.

      There are so many suffering worldwide financially and emotionally in their families at this time due to this situation and I really feel compassion for everyone. With us all following health advice maybe this will be over sooner.

      Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

  28. So much of what you wrote about feelings is true for me (American) too. I truly don’t understand the rioting and looting being okay but I can not attend worship service God and common sense are seeing me through
    Take care, friend. Gail

    1. Dear Gail,
      Thank you. Yes t is noticeable and it doesnt matter what country we live in I dont think. We are all in pretty much the same boat generally at least...
      Gail I think of putting on the whole armour of God. We need to pray such a lot. We cannot be separated from God no matter what anyone says or does. Amen! With lots of love,

  29. I pray for you and yours. We have our own tyrant here in the U.S. Her name is Voldemort, I'm sorry, Gov. Whitmer of Michigan. She has ruined the lives of soooooo many here.

    1. Thank you! All the way from over here I have heard of her. So that is fame indeed! I am sorry for lives lost and lives ruined. There are no words to express how sorry. Lets agree to pray for each other and encourage each

    2. On the off chance that this goes through for me, i love Gov. Whitmer! I believe she did right by us for shutting down the state earlier than some which saved lives. Yes, the economy is in turmoil but it was for the common good. One of my sons is still out of work so it has been hard for the family. But, i still feel the Gov. did the right thing.

  30. Dear Annabel,
    It's so wonderful that you are able to see Lucy and the children and spend the night and visit with Chloe and your Mum. Brilliant idea with the kitchen towels. I love them.

    We have been busy here harvesting the garden, amending the soil and putting things up for the winter, baking, making cards, crocheting and reading, especially about WWII rationing and cooking, making food stretch etc, learning new skills among other things. I've also been saving seeds from the fruits and vegetables I grew. I think these will come in handy to use for bartering and gifts.

    Just an FYI for anyone experiencing fabric shortages in the USA, in the past I have ordered fabric yardage from, Connecting Threads, and a few others. I can vouch for the quality and for the reasonable prices. Some online places offer free shipping after a certain amount is spent or have a flat fee, which is reasonable. I checked on these sites this morning and no one is price gouging so it may be a good resource if local ones are short. I also found that Amazon had canning lids that weren't overpriced with free shipping so it might be something to check out.
    Annabel, so much of what you expressed is how we feel (USA). We can attend worship services live streamed from our church, and also many others on Youtube and we are grateful. We miss the in-person fellowship of our friends and family but stay in touch using technology. As you have so often said "God is a way maker". Stay Safe. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      Yes it is so beautiful to see the family and I am grateful. I need to write to you... I am thinking of the family and baby and praying all is going very well.
      You have been so busy! And I like the WW recipes and tips. Old recipes tend to be basic and not fancy expensive ingredients. If you dont know of Clara... she is on you tube... Cooking with Clara... but I think you might know of her.
      Bartering and building up the gift cupboard and really on my list too... I need to get back to these things full force!
      It is my week to begin the spring garden. I am so glad you have heaps to preserve and cook up.
      Thank you for the tip for the US ladies. In Australia I am ordering online too for special bits and needs and the op shop is my source for plains and many odds and ends. Through op shopping I was able to build up my thread supplies over the last few years. Now I am so glad of it!
      Yes God is a way maker. Even this little community helps make a way for me and has found me friends and encouragement and prayerful support.
      It seems it really doesnt matter where we live... we are pretty much in the same situation and we all want to take care of our families. We are sisters in so many ways and often I am amazed how similar we are! Or how we go trough similar things are the same time. I think God is a match maker friend maker and way maker! With love,

  31. Dear Annabel, I feel so bad for what is happening in your country. I've always thought of Australia as beautiful, wild and free! The only other place I would want to live besides Texas. Our USA is experiencing so much division, hate, immorality and violence that it is heartbreaking to watch. On top of it all, California is burning up with wild fires, similar to what Australia had a short while back. I believe that Satan is alive and well and has been hard at work in our world. If that is the case, it will probably get worse before it gets better. The question is: how bad can it get? Will we end up with a New World Order where the elites have full control? Will there be food shortages and famine? My plan is to stay alert and informed, ramp up security measures, keep our pantries full, grow more of our own food, hold on to my faith and pray continuously! That's just my take on things and here are a few projects I've been working on:

    1. Finished cleaning the big garden, tilled and planted 7 rows of potatoes. Saved okra seeds and peach and plum pits to plant later.
    2. Used extra bread to make croutons and seasoned bread crumbs.
    3. Found cotton quilt batting marked down to $1 a yard (originally $7.97/yd). It is 90" wide and I bought 6 yards.
    4. Bought Kleenex tissues for .29 cents a box and I bought 10 boxes.
    5. Started planting cactus beneath windows for extra security. I also plan to plant thorny rose bushes under some windows.
    6. Cleaned and organized one section of the big pantry. Still planning our menus around items that need to be used up first.

    That's it for my week. Stay safe and healthy, my friends.

    1. Dear Pam,
      Thank you! I still feel Texas and our state have a ton in common!
      I saw the fires. Tonight we had an update. My friend Laine is in California so I was checking on her. They are ok thankfully!
      Well I didnt say on my blog what you have said but that is what I think! I already got a bit of trouble over it but yes... we all know it... One world government... etc is probably the end game. We knew this, no surprise... but truthfully I didnt think I would see it in my lifetime. Foods shortages yes... even the WHO announced food shortages of Biblical Proportions. That is saying something. Mostly I hope people do their own research and I encourage everyone to be watchful, take every opportunity and build up their pantry. This week it was really on my heart to say a little more since things really went downhill at such a rate...
      You did such a lot! That batting was a bargain!! So were the Kleenex!
      I think this is very clever... cactus under the window! This really makes me wonder what else is cleverly strategic like this!? Very good idea.
      Have another good week Pam. With love

  32. I could say a lot more, but Annabel, I have two words: Tom Hanks! AND his entourage! Okay, that was 5 words. Restrictions seem to be only for the peasants.

    1. Joy yes. I wouldnt mind if only this way of getting around the rules was allowed for compassionate purposes. But then it is too big a problem. It is so sad. My heart broke a few times last week and maybe having suffered a loss seeing daughters not able to say good bye to their Dads and other cases was pretty terrible to me. As you say if they were some kind of star it would not have been a problem. People are depressed by this reality and angry I think! xxx

  33. Dear Annabelle, Some of this weeks comments seem to be a bit harsh. Please realize you have had a great loss in losing your father. On top of that, your access to your new grandson is uncertain. Take care of yourself and share your feelings with us, your readers and friends.
    My family think I am wrong to stock up for the future, yet what I had made quarantining much more doable. Right now, our covid numbers have been high for Fairbanks. I have damaged lungs and our ICU has beds available but no oe to staff them. I will continue to stay in our house, grateful to have abundant garden vegs, a safe place to live, and what we need available. Somethings are not in grocery stores, such as pearled barley, but using imagination, i was able to find it at a feed store that carries some Alaskan products. No book shopping this year, but half price books had a sale recently. I'm looking forward to receiving a copy of the "Tightwad Gazette!"
    I miss in-person relligious services, but we have zoom. So thankful that our "tough times" are not as bad as in the past. My father, who was handicapped by polio, lived through the depression and 2 WWs.
    Even when something is difficult to find, we are provided for. May we be grateful and prepared for whatever the future holds. We live in joy, knowing God will provide for us!

    1. Dear Alaska Gram,
      Thank you. It is true I am feeling a bit worn out and emotional. I have realised I better make a few changes and look after myself a bit. Thanks for saying that.
      I think you are wise.. keep to yourself as much as possible. Lung issues are serious enough without an illness. Oh boy Australia has a lot of barley! We grow a lot of that!
      Oh the books... I have great luck getting free ebooks... and I downloaded for free the kindle app on to my iPad. I love it. I never knew you could do this for free. Most days there are many free ebooks to download. Over time I have a good library all free.
      I did lend The Tightwad Gazette from the library for a couple of weeks. It was packed with tips. I wish that lady still was writing.
      My Uncle had polio. And you are right. Our times have changed but we are not like the war years and the depression years and I pray things dont get that bad. Those years must have seemed impossible... and the pandemic also before the first WW. My Nan was born 1919 and not sure the other Nan...
      Good job on being prepared and yes that would have made quarantine much easier. This is why we prepare! With love,

  34. Hello my lovely friend, Annabel I am sorry for how you are feeling. I understand we have four of our children and their families interstate
    We are in Central West NSW and have two sons and their families in Central West Qld so were able to visit them before the total border closures.
    It was also a need as they have been unable to get new chooks from anywhere so the call came to Mum and Dad for fertile eggs.
    We had three wonderful days with them and eleven of our grandchildren
    However we couldn’t go to Brisbane and visit family there
    We have added to our pantries with a lamb, one of ours we are able to butcher all our own meat
    We also did some trading forride on mower
    We have canned chicken and beefstock
    I was able to buy six dozen canning bottles and a lot of extra lids
    We also butchered a four year old sheep and making lamb mince
    Most years we keep on one young wether to grow for several years for our mince
    We have a Dexter steer to butcher in a few weeks, but we are going to help Daughter and SIL mince some of their lambs to make sausages
    Love to you Annabel and all bluebirds

    1. Dear Lorraine,
      I am glad you got to see your sons and families before the closures. The chook shortage is real! I am glad you could provide the fertile eggs! A friend of mine just bought an incubator. We are "hatching" a plan haha!
      Your time with 11 Grandchildren would have been wonderful!
      Your freezer and even canning supplies all sound in very good shape! This is good! I feel we Grandparents are also the back up for the whole family with our pantries and freezers and I think general knowledge too. That is how I feel, I keep everyones needs in mind and hope to be able to cover emergencies! This makes it such an important role.
      I hope you have a wonderful new week. With love

    2. Dear Annabel
      I would love to help more of my family but with one son and his family in Perth, 2 sons in central west Qld and one daughter in Brisbane it is very difficult
      We have two daughters here so we work well together
      Just another thing that I do, I have had a pantry for 50 years and more so since the children arrived
      I do my menu plan and I write in my menu book what we eat for three meals per day
      Also in this book I keep a page with two columns one for what we use that we have dehydrated, frozen as in all our meat and other veggies and preserves
      The other column is what we have used that is purchased and it is from this column that I make my shopping list so this turns into an easy way to keep my pantry also up to date
      Hope this helps

  35. Annabel,
    I love. love Laffie! Such a pretty cow. Your dishtowels turned out just lovely. It is amazing how things become so useful and pretty both with just a little of this and that. And great finds you had at the op shop. You always do so well.
    I am so glad you got to go and spend the night. I know the travel is a bit exhausting, but your nice dinner and seeing the kiddos was probably just what you needed, especially after just losing your dad. Having the photos of him in frames is really nice. He will be right there watching over you.
    I don't care what anyone says or what numbers they throw at me I am continuing with my preparedness. I started for a reason because of feelings I had and I'm so glad I have. We have gotten through my husband having a few bad accidents which reduced income, then losing his job completely and his age being a deterrent of him getting hired to now me not having a vehicle and low income to all of this mess and I will say it again I don't think this is going to be over soon.
    I am almost done with tomatoes so hopefully this next week I'll be cutting the cabbages and starting on kraut. I put up tomato juice this week and hot rice. It's a side dish served with chicken dinners at chicken dinner restaurants here and I have the recipe from one of the restaurants. I picked some small ears of corn and steamed them and cut it off of the cob to freeze. I harvested some broccoli and steamed it and froze it. I love broccoli! Lol but still mostly tomatoes. I have been working on dishcloths adding some edging in the evenings.
    I made blackberry cobbler and cornflake treats. For some reason peanut butter and cornflakes go well together. They are really sweet so a small slice does the trick.
    It's starting to cool off but the nicer days I hang out the wash. Two of my animals are elderly so are becoming quite a bit of work with their messes.
    We traded tomato juice for a big load of wood. Rick's been using the chainsaw with the 3 foot bar on it to try and get it to a reasonable size so we can split it. We gathered up the wood shavings and put them in a trash bag to add to the cat litter over the winter.
    And yay I finally was able to start a little Fall cleaning. If I get the canning and all of the Fall cleaning done soon then come winter I will be able to relax. Another reason I keep the pantry full. If you have never had to go out when it is cold or freezing and snowing to grocery shop, well ugh it's not to my liking. I like to hibernate LOL.
    I hope everyone has a great week and stays safe!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      Ok I am just imagining a chainsaw with a three foot bar! That is a big chainsaw!
      You have done so well with your garden and harvest!! Remember a little while back we were worried how the garden would do? Well now you are flat out preserving it all! This is so good!
      I had not heard of the hot rice before but it sounds good and now you showed me pictures I think it looks great!
      You have worked so hard. You are doing great! With love

  36. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds :) I am also frightened of what is going to happen. For me, this actually feels like the calm before the storm. It is like we haven't had a chance to see the full effects of this yet...I am worried about kids growing up today. They have a much harder time of it than we ever did. I never have the news on tv (I read it), I also try and limit exposure to the outside world. That may sound harsh, but i feel it is my job to protect them and bring them up happily and safely. I love your kitchen towels. I also love that you got a night at Lucy's house with the family. That must have been really comforting to be with them at this time. I am continuing to work on my crocheting, I have my little pots, which will need planting out in a few weeks. I am trying to plant just about everything edible in the backyard. I had luck at the op shop, I found some dresses for $2-$3 each. I try and buy some 'new' things there and take back things I need to donate. I think that's a win, win then. Love to all, Lily

    1. Dear Lily,
      Thank you for saying this. To me it feels like this was the brewing period and the real trouble is going to hit. You are right to protect your kids. And keep the household good and steady. Lottos edibles i the garden are also a win win! Lovely to get some dresses for that price! Very nice!
      Thank you for your kind comment. You are doing well. Have a good new week. With love

  37. Hi Annabel, your towels are so pretty. I cannot honestly remember much of what I have done over the past week or so to feather my next. I did harvest bits and pieces from the garden (parsnip, carrots and silverbeet) to add to dinner and lunches. I froze some diced tomatoes for adding to casseroles, I harvested small amounts of baby capsicum and yellow and green beans and prepared them for stir-fries and then added them to the freezer. I planted out some ornamental plants into the garden. When weeding the veggie patch in between showers today (we had 17mm of rain today) I noticed a lot of the violas and pansies that I planted as edging plants have set seeds and now I have a few new plants coming on that I will plant out into the ornamental bed. I continue to read that some things are becoming difficult to obtain readily so encouraged my husband to look at what mower parts he may need to have on hand. He put in an order and did a service to the ride on mower when he received the parts. He also asked a neighbour to weld some patches (I could have used the wrong terminology there) to the mower's cutting deck and after that was done my husband primed and repainted the cutting deck. In the last couple of weeks I received a book order from Koorong and have been reading a lot and also discovered in among my books a novel by Louisa May Alcott that I bought some time or other and not got round to reading, so I am in the middle of that book as well.
    I have read some online articles that refer to a report put out by Deutsche Bank analysts that refers to the end of globalisation and heralds the "Age of Disorder" that will reshape economies and politics. I have not read the report itself though.
    I have been watching some of Priscilla Shirer's messages on line (she was in the movie War Room - it might do me some good to watch that movie again.) I have found her messages very encouraging as in in-courage-ing for me.

    1. Dear Sherri,
      You did a lot! Adding what we have grown adds freshness and nutrition and stretches the budget a lot too. I love pansies and violas. They are the most cheerful and pretty little flowers.
      Good thinking on the mower. Yes parts and many things are harder to get.
      Louisa May Alcott is a lovely Author and a good book is so nice to relax and escape to!
      I have watched Deutsche Bank for years. At one time it was thought if the share price went below 10 euro it wouldnt survive. Now it is below 7 euro. And falling.
      I will look up Priscilla Shirer thank you. Late at night is my time... I get into some research and read and write.
      Have a good new week Sherri, with love

  38. Dear Annabel,
    I love your cow pictures! To me, animals are so hard to photograph and your photos are outstanding.
    I have been busy here trying to get everything done before the baby gets here. I feel if I don't get things done now, they won't get done! So lots of organizing, rearranging, decluttering, and deep cleaning happening around our home.
    Now as to the current state of the world, I hesitate to comment. My stance is not the popular one, but the church comments really got me. For those who disagree, please know I am coming from a genuine place of kindness and concern and just take it for what it's worth. The reason we go to church (physically) is because human contact and fellowship with other Christians is of the utmost importance in a Christian's walk and before God. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 10:25, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." I'd say if ever the day is approaching, it is now. Technology cannot replace in-person communication, however helpful it may be in certain circumstances. To be honest it bothers me that so many have been so complacent about this. Christians risked their lives to meet in the early churches, being delivered up to authorities by their neighbors, fed to lions, burned at the stake. Even today in persecuted countries, many are still killed for their faith and the desire to simply meet together. Yet in America, we've just sort of rolled over because the government says it's "for our safety." Well the government is full of conflicting information and has been from the start. And they are not looking out for my safety. They will literally let me kill the precious baby in my womb, but it's not safe for me to go to church? I think I will decide that. But "my body, my choice" unless it comes to church, or how many people I choose to have in my home. I guess this puts me in the unpopular "freedom and liberty" camp. I just need to offer some perspective to those who feel we are selfish. I don't have a problem if someone wants to wear a mask or social distance. I don't have a problem if a business has certain requirements to shop in their store. I don't have a problem if the government issues science and fact-based guidelines. But I do have a problem with the government enforcing laws that have not been voted on by the people, shutting down churches, and telling me who and how many people can be at my home.
    I'm not trying to undermine the fact that COVID can be deadly. But lots of things can be just as or more deadly that people don't think twice about and I think people ought to be able to make their own educated decisions about their own health. Have preexisting conditions or afraid of getting sick? You should probably stay home...just don't tell me I have to, too. If the masks really work and you are wearing one, you shouldn't have anything to worry about. Anyway, I'm really not trying to be controversial here. I just thought I'd offer my two cents- as a Christian, as a Texan, and as the wife of a paramedic who sees what's going on firsthand on a daily basis. The news reports aren't matching up with reality, I can tell you that much. I truly believe this is all part of issuing in the One World Order, inciting unnecessary fear in the hearts of people in order to control them and have them cry out for a saviour, whether that be in the form of a person or a mandatory vaccine. Anyway, take all that for what it's worth :) I hope everyone continues to stay safe and happy. This is hard on all of us.
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Thank you, Annabel! I was a little worried about posting the comment. I don't want anyone to think I'm saying we shouldn't take precautions or be considerate of others- I just believe the governments have overstepped their bounds and people have willingly given up personal rights out of an unnecessary fear. And I agree, the media has a lot to answer for! I don't believe I am above the law as many would accuse me of, but I do believe God's law is above man's law and that we "ought to obey God rather than man" (Acts 5:29). The government has its place, but we do have to draw the line somewhere. If we don't take a stand, our rights won't have been taken from us...we will have simply given them up. And then how can we look back and wonder how it all happened? I just think this is so much bigger than a virus. A couple quotes from America's founding fathers and patriots:
      "The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest of causes." - Thomas Paine
      "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety." -Benjamin Franklin
      That is how our country was founded, and that is the country that I love.
      With love again, Kelsey

    2. Well said Kelsey!

  39. Hi Annabel

    Wow Laffie has certainly grown. It is always a joy seeing photos of the animals, they are such a delight and can bring a smile to just about anyone who reads your postings.

    Spring well yes it is spring, with a slight breeze blowing around us, and without that it would be pure heat. Temps west of us (out where we were before) have already been up to 33 degree last week.

    Yesterday we visited friends who have just moved into their new home and it was lovely out the back overlooking the creek and the beautiful big trees surround the creek, whilst watching the kids ride motorbikes. Kids actually being kids, not a single device in sight.

    Last week I was busy making up

    *Fabric Softner
    *Hand wash
    *Glass cleaner
    *All purpose cleaner
    as well as continued studies.

    As school holidays start at the end of this week I have been busy surfing the internet for Christmas presents. I came across a beautiful book that is on pre sale and have ordered it for Miss 10 for Christmas so she can make an array of items from. This purchase also included an e-book so I had a good look at this and found something that she can make for the girls in her class. I have also ordered items to start her off.

    Things like

    *roller bottles
    *spray bottles
    *castiles soap
    *fractionated coconut oil

    This will be given as a Christmas present so that she is ready to make some of the things in the book and does not have to wait till we purchase them.

    Hope you have a wonderful week ahead

    Hope those in lock down are staying safe and sane.

    Take Care
    Aly xxx

    1. Aly, I love what you are doing for DD for her Christmas gift. Brilliant! She will be making wonder things and learning new skills. Plus you will have fun together. Love it!
      Also lovely to hear about kids playing and no devises! Outdoors, even better! I like when the kids are too busy doing stuff to think about devises!
      I am inspired and think now to do more gifts that will lead into action, hobbies, crafts etc. Thanks Aly, with love

  40. Replies
    1. Thank you. I thought Kelseys comment was so kind and so impressive... and brave also! xxx

  41. I am so sorry for you loss and for the unkind comments on here. I look forward to your posts every week. Prayers for you and yours. Consider reading Deuteronomy and obeying it. It is the key to everything.

    1. Thank you so much! I do appreciate your kindness. And I am taking your advice on Deuteronomy thank

  42. I have enjoyed all the comments today, getting different perspectives from different parts of the world. It’s all so crazy. The enemy is out there running around, not even trying to hide, and people still don’t see him.

    I am amazed at what you accomplish every day! Thank you for all your wisdom and encouragement. Have a great week

  43. Thank you all for you comments. I am impressed so many of you are so watchful and we are all trying to continue to look after our families the best we can and be kind to others and help them also as we can. I stopped comments so it didnt go back and forth but I read them all and I do hope no one was offended by me turning off comments. I tried to eat everyone have their say. I continue to try to encourage all ways to build up our homes, families, pantries, gardens etc and be prudent and watchful! xxx


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