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 17 September 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 18th September, 2020.

It was a good week. I just kept on doing what I can. I feel to build the pantry and garden. I keep getting the same hint where ever I turn. In fact one of the blogs I follow (Jenny of Elephantz found here ) hit me (very nicely!) with the same message again. I was praying on this subject and the next morning the first thing I thought was to get everything we would need for Christmas. And so that is what I am doing. And next I see Cath's video on You Tube. (The Cheapskate Club. "I'm NOT dreaming of a COVID normal Christmas.') Jenny and Cath would be the two most level headed ladies you could know! So I took this as a bit of confirmation I am on the right track. Now, not everyone does! Cath has had abuse, trolls, threats... for posting about food storage, possible shorages and down to earth practical help. A good friend who also blogs shares so much about food preservation, gardening and every wholesome thing and her heart was so hurt over an absolutely terrible comment on her blog. When someone wants yo belittle you it says much more about them than you. Many young Mothers have this to go through if they stay home and care for their children. Do not buy these lies. Your work is going to have an impact beyond measure on your children and several coming generations! Your love and work is worth more then Rubies. I am telling you because... do not let anyone discourage you or belittle you for taking care of your family and your families needs. Rather wonder WHY would anyone want to discourage you? Wonder WHY does it bother someone so much that you are working hard and "looking well to the ways of your household"? Do what you feel to do. Never ignore your deep down feeling. I have done that before with grim results! So we continue to build up our homees and feather our nests as we can and make the most of very opportunity to do so! Some of the things I can report this week are: My Uncle gave me a bag of canning lids!! Thank you to him. I planted out several basil plants I started from cuttings. My plan has been to vacuume seal my jars that are full of dehydrated goods. After a bit of reserach I purchased a Lasting Freshness set of cannisters from Amazon. They has a manual pump to suck out the air. I followed the instructions on Oak Hill Farmstead Blog to vacuume seal almost any ordinary jar. And I tested it out a good few times before I decided yes it works!
Amazingly if you place a jar in a vac seal cannister and remove the air then you vac seal the jar.
With a shortage of jars and canning lids this might help someone. I have mentioned before that Heidi on Rain Country (you tube) has been my dehyraing teacher. And I have more to do! There is a lot of Silverbeet, Spinach and Swiss Chard in the garden. I am trying to use it in everyway..
I started cooking for the next "baby week" and made a big pot of Spaghetti sauce and two pasta bakes. This made a heap of meals. I shared some with Lucy's family and froze a pasta bake for when Chloe has her baby. And it fed us a few times too. Mum and I were able to go to see the girls and the baby! Mum made a quiche and I made a cake. And off we went.
It was a beautiful day. And the cake went over well.
We had a day of bonfires. We need to do this before the weather warms up. We had 12 in total.
I made a cake for Chloe and Luke. Lots of this would have been sliced and frozen for Luke's lunches.
Recently I got a new (old) freezer. I cleaned it up but it had some marks on the front. I used a "cover anything" white paint and roller to paint it. Now it looks perfect and brand new! If I didn't have this paint I would have used chalk board paint and written lists on it. I potted up a heap of veggie seeds in little pots to start them off. A friend send me a great variety of herb and veggie seeds! Mum gave me some chook food. We picked up the last thing needed to furnish the cottage. An old leather lounge. A massive bargain found on Buy Swap and Sell. I have everything now! Lastly, I painted the chest of drawers. I have more to do on this but it is a lovely project. I hope to show the finied result soon. I hope you will be encouaged. Keep good company and "whatever is true, whatever is noble. whatever is right. whatever is pure. whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable... if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--- think about such things." (Phil 4:8) How did you do this week? I hope things are ok for you in your area. We might live far and wide but we are all affected by a pretty disastrous year all round! Some of us are feeling pretty isolated or have suffered losses of different kinds. So we need encouagement. Everything you do to build up your family and home matters. xxx Jess (of Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth Blog) posted something on Instagram. It just grabbed me! This is it, in part... "I don't want to get adjusted to this world.. I don't want to get adjusted to this culture. I don't want to look like everyone else nor do I want to walk like everyone else..." And there you go, she nailed it! xxx


  1. Lovely encouragement for stay at home mothers and wives this week Annabel. Mothering is hard work, but it's the most important job in the world. As mothers we get to shape the future through our children, something the Devil doesn't want us to do.

    It was nice that you and your Mum could see Lucy and the children, that cake sure looked like it was being enjoyed.

    This week I've dried cabbage for the first time - thank you Vicky! It's amazing. And more frozen veg, and bunches of silverbeet from the garden. I made more caramel sauce in the crockpot using MOO condensed milk. It's good, I tested it before I put it away.

    Ran out of pots for the garden so now I'm using buckets. Wayne drilled the holes in the bottom for drainage and I filled them with soil and compost and planted tomatoes. Put more seeds into newspaper pots so they can just be planted as is.

    Opened windows and doors every day to let the fresh air blow through. Enjoyed the little bit of rain we had.

    Have a blessed week. xxx Cath

    1. Dear Cath, I have learned a lot from Vicky! But I have learned a lot for you too!
      In your video you mentioned being conditioned. Today I saw in the news another thing.. I have seen it before. Conditioning against saving. Saving is now called hoarding! They are really on the job with conditioning! Change of language is part of it.
      The caramel sauce sounds delicious. Good job on the testing, too bad I wasnt there to test it for you!
      I love fresh air flowing through my house. Like clean linen and airing the room and the bed. Lovely.
      Thank you for your encouragement Cath. With love

    2. Cath I've had occasion to open some oversized tin cans this past month and I'm saving those to use as plant pots! I'll put drainage holes in the bottom. Yes, they will rust out eventually but for two or three years I'll have useable pots that I haven't got to buy.

    3. Hi Cath, I wondered if there is a pattern for the jar openers? Thank you. Nancy

    4. Your welcome Cath. It's really the best way since canning or freezing makes it mushy. And it takes up a lot less space

  2. Living in a State with no lockdowns has led to many here being quite lackadaisical about the virus. Shopping Centres are as full in not more so than when the virus first hit. Having to holiday within our State has seen our little seaside town swell with all the caravan parks full. I noticed today that some of the larger and fancier motels and holiday resorts had 'No Vacancy' signs out. Bluey and I will be staying in our own little bubble here at home with school holidays about to start.
    This week Katie set up my new lap top for me. I am still getting used to some slight differences from the old one. I have finally got my computer and my printer to recognise each other. Actually Katie did this. I have printed off a pattern for a simple dress for the little girls. I should have these made up over the weekend.
    I went op shopping and found very little in the clothing range that I was after. Actually I found some nice Tshirts but these pre loved shirts were more expensive than it was to buy new. I did find three cotton doona covers to add to my fabric range. One is a single bed cotton waffle weave. I plan on making more unpaper towels with these as well as backing some jar openers. Cath showed me how to make these. I will hopefully has some to share next week.
    Bluey is making our 6 foot tall Amazon of a daughter a standing desk. He says he needs scaffolding to finish it. He found the timber for the frame at the tip. It is Fraser Island Pine and just beautiful. At the moment the desk is a frame and separate from the top and shelves. Several layers of sealer will go on the desk before it all goes together. It will be beautiful when finished.
    I have felt the need to add more protein base foods to the garden. I have been researching various beans that grow well and dry well in our area. I have worked out times for planting seeds so that I can have food to harvest at all times of the year. I am currently saving lots of seed from my winter crops.
    It is getting warmer everyday. We had good rain last weekend and are supposed to be getting more this weekend. I hope it does. Our community is still on Level 2 water restrictions. More rain in our catchment area would be simply wonderful.
    I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      When I got to the bit about your lap top and your printers are talking to each other... I thought oh boy what is ahead of me as I too need a new lap top! Setting up scares me!
      The cotton waffle wave fabric is a favourite of mine. It is really absorbent!
      Katie is very lucky to get a custom made desk!
      Your chickens will help with the supply of protein also so much! You are doing a wonderful job of your garden and also of building up your gift cupboard. I really liked the lid removers too... a great and handy idea. Very good week! With love

    2. Would you share Caths,Vickie and Janes blog address please?

  3. Dear Annabel,
    It really is strange to me that someone would tear down a wife and mother seeking to care and provide for her family. I appreciate your words of encouragement.
    That is good to know about sealing the jars. And those cakes! Harper looks like such a little princess.
    I agree about preparing for things. When all of this started happening back in February and March I knew it would not just be food. We bought John clothes in his next size up, I bought several spools of white and other basic colored sewing thread, and cases (not just boxes, cases) of canning lids and I am so glad I did, as now so many are struggling to find them. We also bought several things that we'd had on our list for a while, not knowing if we'd be able to get them if we waited. I'm grateful we had the savings to do this.
    We continue to make investments towards our garden. We just purchased a wood chipper so that we can chip brush from around the ranch to use for mulch. I've also ordered more seeds- many of the ones I was looking at were already sold out. We also bought a small storage shed and I plan on storing garden things plus extra jars in it.
    This week was more deep cleaning. I finally got the loft completely cleaned. It can be a struggle as the door to the attic is up there so things that need to go in or come out of the attic often just get left to deal with later. So I got all of that sorted, plus the attic organized, which included sorting baby items and clothes by size.
    I also rearranged a shelf that was holding my thrifted jars. I have been washing and sanitizing them to store in my very top kitchen cabinets. The shelf now holds my extra toiletries and other necessities that I have stocked up on.
    I have a big to-do list and am slowly but surely making good progress!
    I was also blessed to find a dresser for baby James. I was struggling to come up with a place to store his clothes, so I decided to pray about it and I asked God to give me wisdom and to help me be a good steward over what he has given me. I saw the dresser on Craigslist (second-hand site) and let it be for a few days knowing I would get it if it was meant to be. After I had prayed I checked to see if it was still there and the lady had lowered the price! So I bought it :)
    I hope everyone has a good week. I know many of us are struggling and stress and tensions are high...keep your focus on the Lord and making your homes a refuge for your loved ones. Annabel, I love the verse you shared about what we are to occupy our thoughts with.
    Love, Kelsey

  4. Dear Annabel,
    Thankyou for another, inspiring post. We are going along OK here, this beautiful spring weather has had a good affect on us all. We will for the most part be home over the school holidays excepting a few appointments. We are looking forward to unstructured time. Especially DD 14, who says she has lots of plans, with the pets, her room and hut (aka cubby). We have been busy making a vegie garden and doing lots of things in our yard. My husband has almost finished welding a big smoker. We are going to try a roast in it this weekend. Our garden has done its job of making me smile by putting on a display of blossoms and flowers. I was delighted that some poppies appeared that had self seeded themselves in an unexpected pot that travelled with us from our previous house. I have just got home from a town run. Coincidently I had some Christmas shopping in there. I have been trying for several years to not have to do any shopping in December anyway. This year I want to be organized even earlier as you talked about. 5kg of rice was half price at Coles today. I wondered when I got home whether I shouldn't have just got some as Christmas presents. I could have tied bows around them. I painted two gates yesterday and an old worn bench seat- suddenly ordinary, messy looking things are a joy to look at. Paint can do wonders can't it. I have never thought of painting appliances like you did. I will keep that in mind. Love Clare

  5. Bless you for everything you have written here ❤️

    1. Dear Jes, Thank you. Your words really inspired me. Thank you for allowing me to quote you here! With love,

  6. Dear Annabel,
    It has been a difficult few weeks for our family here in Manchester in the UK; we are in an odd sort of lockdown and infection rates in my area are very high. For a time I let depression creep in and begin to takeover: but after doing some hard thinking and praying I am once more determined not to let this wretched virus have any more control over my life than it already has. So I have finished a long ago started piece of needlepoint, and plan next to make some table runners from paper pieced hexagons. I have also processed green beans, turnips, and broccoli from the allotment and made apple, strawberry and vanilla jam to add to my pantry shelves. Just making myself do things instead of sitting thinking has really helped. Next week I plan to make a start on our second bedroom, long used as a dumping ground for anything and everything!! It will a big project for me to focus on, and I will also be freezing and processing more of our own produce.
    I am so glad you are still posting. It really helps to know that there are other people out there planning for their families and there futures.
    Best wishes to everyone here Lesley in the UK.

    1. Hi Lesley I live in Staffordshire and am moving to Cheshire. My mom is in lockdown in Birmingham though we can still see her as she is elderly and in our support bubble so we checked the rules and we can still help her.
      Apart from social distancing, masks, washing hands etc we are trying not to think about the virus. We are staying home and trying to enjoy our new lifestyle to avoid becoming depressed, which I think could easily happen.
      Nice to see a fellow Brit here!

    2. Hi, Lesley, glad to see another Brit on here. I'm in Birmingham UK. This lockdown malarkey is a real pain in the butt. We are off to Scotland to visit my in-laws who we haven't seen for 10 months. We can't stay with them but we can meet up for meals and go shopping with them, so we've booked a few nights in a Travelodge. I can still visit my mum, as I'm one of her carers.

    3. Hi Lynn and Kim, I’m in Manchester. My daughter can visit us as she’s in our bubble, but my son and daughter in law can’t come into the house or garden. I’m just keeping as busy and active as I can to stop myself over thinking things. Hope your trip goes well Kim, it seems years, not months since I saw my family in Lincolnshire. Bet your in-laws are really looking forward to your visit.
      Best wishes to you both. Take care and stay safe!

  7. Dear Annabel, thank you for your really inspiring post. Thank you for your very wise words about motherhood and being a wife. It maddens me when I hear comments like this, and I have to try and stay away from people who aren't positive and supportive. I look at what my Mum has done for me and it definitely is worth more than rubies, so this guides me too. Thank you for these beautiful words of encouragement. I loved Jes' words too. Your cake looks beautiful and your produce looks so good! I love the sound of the vacuum sealing. I have been tending to my little pots, I have been continuing to crochet and have been taking stock of building our pantry and the kids' clothes. My aim is to have their Christmas presents sorted in the next month. Well done on the freezer, I think another one is such a great idea. I feel the urge to be prepared. So we are saving. We have a long, long way to go in self sufficiency, but I am pleased we are at least on the track. I am VERY grateful to people like you, Cath, and Vicky who are speaking up and helping so many (including me!). The truth is so important at this time. Love to all Bluebirds, Lily

  8. I had to go into Bundaberg earlier this week for appointments and stopped in at a couple of shops while there. Pillow Talk and Early Settler were two of the shops I went into and they had a few completely empty shelves.
    Tourism seems to be thriving in Queensland. There are caravans everywhere. It makes it a little difficult at times because many shops have a limit as to the number of customers that can be in the shop at any given time, so often we just give up and move on. Which, to look on the bright side, is one way of saving money!
    We need to do some burning off here too, but it has been too windy to do any here recently.
    I hope you have a great week.

  9. Dear Annabel---I rarely comment as I don't feel I have much to add.

    Your posts are the highlight of my day! You are thoughtful and resourceful, and such a kind soul. I get so inspired by all the things you do.

    I am a very frugal person and feel the "tuggings" also to stock up. In fact, I was prepared with things before the virus hit, so did not panic over toilet paper, lysol spray, disinfectant wipes, and the like. I am now replenishing as I find things available.

    I am in my 70's and live in Florida, USA---I do not have a garden, so the foods I stockpile are canned (tinned) or frozen. (During this hurricane season, I am limiting the amount frozen---in years past I have lost the contents of my big freezers, which was a heartbreak. We now have a generator, but that will not do us any good if we evacuate!) I do not have a dehydrator---am I right in thinking I do not need that if I don't have a garden? I think about it a lot, but not sure what I would use it for.

    When I was young, and the 3 boys were still at home, I did a lot of canning...well--bread and butter pickles, tomatoes, peaches, and jams and jellies. When I had to return to work outside the home (to help put 3 sons through college) I got rid of all my canning supplies! All the giant kettles, etc. Makes me regret now. They were my mother's...she passed them to me when she quit canning.

    At any rate, we are doing the best we can...and trying to stay optimistic. Thank you for your blog---sending love--Jane

    1. Dehydrate the frozen veggies that are in your freezer. Deneen

    2. Hi Jane,
      I use my dehydrator for fruit from the grocery store, not just garden produce. Dried apple slices make good snacks. You can do banana chips too. We also use it to make jerky from the deer my husband harvests, but you can certainly use meat from the grocery store, as well as bought vegetables too. The key to using it with purchased produce is to wait for a good sale.

  10. I have been encouraging everyone here in the U.S. to get started and get all their holiday supplies NOW for a couple months. They may be fine - but you just never know. Things change from day to day.
    I have done a lot of adding to stock in the past month or so and I think I am in good shape.
    Blessings to all.

  11. Even though your blog link is on my sidebar, I usually read your blog via email so I don't miss it. A friend told me about some of the comments you were getting on the last post so I jumped over to read them. It is odd that most of my less than friendly comments are on Saturdays, when I talk about stocking up. Except I had to moderate comments after getting hundreds of Spam hits so most don't see the light. Honest questions do and I try to respond to them if I can in a blog post. Keep up the good work, I'm certain there were many families who had food to eat during the earlier shutdowns because of your excellent blog posts.

  12. Dear Annabel,
    I can't imagine why someone would tear someone else down for looking well to her household. I can't believe our summer is nearly over, it all went by in the blink of an eye. Your blog is such an encouragement that I look forward to each week. Thank you to you and the other ladies you've introduced me to through it. I have enjoyed Jes's blog a couple of years before I found yours.

  13. Dear Annabel,

    Thank you for your lovely post and for staying so kind and encouraging in the face of all the swirl of things going on all around us! As many others have said, it is wonderful to be able to find encouragement and helpful, practical advice from you and others when a lot of what is online is just depressing and DIScouraging, not in any way helpful.

    This week has been a little slower around here, as far as preserving. God has blessed our little homestead with so much abundance this year...even today I was noticing that one apple tree that never produces anything but hardened little scabby things has big, beautiful McIntoshes that are actual APPLES this year! I know that my job is to get it all put away...whether there will be food shortages or whether we will see a loss of income or have to stay put without being able to get out and shop...I have no idea if any or all of these will happen this year, but I know we will not go hungry, and we will have lots to share!

    Right now I am also concentrating on Christmas, but I always start early, as many of you do, too. I have lots of supplies and lots of plans for making presents, so I just need to schedule myself the time to do them. Fine by me...that's FUN work!!

    I have often wondered why I have learned so many "old-fashioned" skills...I have an interest in them, and yes, they do save us money, but they haven't been NECESSARY for most of my life...more like just a preference, or a hobby, and a link to my mom and aunts and grandma. But they sure do come in handy in crises!

    I'd better be off and working on some Christmas knitting. Sure wish all of you ladies were close by to take some surplus produce off my hands! All my neighbors are surfeited! :)

    Have a wonderful week, everyone.

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, I love seeing what you come up for with your Christmas presents. You always make the most beautiful things. And yes to do so we need to start early!
      Soo good about those apples. I find apples so versatile, sweet or savoury. This is awesome. And yes... we are blessed with abundance and our job is to make the most of it! Make hay while the sun shines!
      I think all your skills are handy for your family but also you have some seriously good barter options too. Even income options. Many skills also require practice... and fine tuning. Which you have really done with your knitting, sewing and preserving... and probably more than I know about. Oh and embroidery. It is all valuable Jen.
      As you finish up and go into Autumn here the planting begins! With much love,

    2. Jen would you share your blog address please?

    3. Dear allthingzsewn,

      Sorry, I don't have a blog. Thanks for asking! Jen.

  14. Thank you for another good post, glad you are getting to visit your family! I am so grateful for this blog, and I am sorry for the poor blogger who received hateful comments. I always wonder what makes people do this? If you don't agree, then move on, no one is making you read that blog!
    I surprised my husband this week by asking to buy a gas powered generator! I am usually very frugal and have all these years not felt the need to own one, but the other day I presented him with all my research and a link to one and he ordered it right away. He said that after my "intuition" this spring, he will never question me, haha! He doesn't know my "intuition"s name is Bluebird! We had an old deep freezer that was free to us but small, so if we lost it in a power outage, it would not have been worth the cost of a generator. Well, last winter, it died and we bought a brand new one that was at least twice as big. Now this was before anyone was talking about Coronavirus and what seemed a great inconvenience (having to farm out all our frozen food to neighbors until we could replace the freezer) ended up being a blessing because just a few months later you couldn't buy a freezer with a million dollars! As the talk started, we started filling the new freezer up, and now it is worth more than the generator, so if it saves us twice over it's lifetime, it has paid for itself!
    Our garden is winding down here in Ohio,the only things we have left coming out are pumpkins and okra. we picked 35 pie pumpkins last night, so that is top of my to do list this weekend. And the okra we have it coming out our ears and no end in sight! We picked about 12 pounds last night with plenty of buds still on the plants. At this rate we will be eating okra 4 days a week over the winter! Honestly, this is the best, most productive garden we have had in years, and I am feeling very blessed.
    I think our eating habits will be a little different this winter as we will be buying less at the store and eating more of this bounty the Lord blessed us with. I see a lot of jambalya in our future as we canned tomatoes, froze peppers and okra, and have stockpiled rice. Changing our regular menus will be key in making sure none of the food we worked so hard for goes to waste. And learning to like okra in bigger quantities haha!
    I look forward to reading all of the comments, hope everyone has a great week, and anxiously await next weeks post! Thanks Annabel!

    1. Dear Sarah,
      Thank you for this (and the other) comment. Yes ... I agree and I basically think if people can't say something nice then they should say nothing at all.
      Sarah I think you are smart on the generator. I really do. And how good now your husband knows your intuition is good! I think we grow to trust these feelings more and it is quite amazing. This time last year we felt like this to buy a big freezer. Well it was right. Had we waited 6 months there were none to buy... and more reasons to need it. As you know!
      The pumpkins would be beautiful! I love just the way they look! But they are so good.
      We are thinking the same... to make as many meals as we can to use up (and also preserve) everything we grow. This means menu changes for us too.
      Next week I have surprises in store! With love

  15. I will never understand why people feel they have to tear people down to make themselves feel better.
    We had a very exciting week. We adopted another puppy. She is a mutt and she is so sweet. Puppy kisses really help when you get stressed. I am a little sleep deprived but it is worth it.
    Hubby came with me to the supermarket. We found burgers on mark down for less then $2 a pound. We got steaks that were on sale for $3.99. That is the cheapest we have seen steaks in months. You are only allowed 2 packs per person, that is why hubby came. We got 4 of the biggest packs. Each pack has 2 steaks. I cut them all smaller. The extra will be used in sauce and pasta. We have enough for 10 meals for the 4 of us. They also had candy on the clearance rack so I bought some of that. Some of it will go in Christmas stockings. I am doing great on my Christmas list. I have all of the food for Christmas and Christmas Eve. I have gifts for everyone so if that is all we are able to do, everyone has a gift. I still have my eyes open for more items and I still have plans to make more gifts too. Hubby has a list of gifts he wants to make. He has a few days off next month and he plans on doing some of them then. I got cards last year at 90% off and I went to the post office and got my stamps already.

    My garden for the summer is almost done. I am still getting a few tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers every week. The kale is getting bigger so I will be enjoying that this fall. I still have 2 buckets of potatoes, carrots and beets to harvest. My herb pots will be brought in for the winter. I am very happy with how the garden did this year.
    Have a wonderful week everyone.

    1. Dear Making Cents of it all,
      A puppy!! Ok good week! How beautiful.
      Good thinking on the duel shopping! Well done on the good buy of the steaks too. Also good to put things away for Christmas stockings.
      I will like to hear what your husband makes!
      I hope your herbs can keep going over winter this way. We don't have snow so I don't understand how things are kept alive. Our gardens kind of go slow in winter but they are still there... although we can get frost damage occasionally. I am glad it sounds like you had a good harvest! With much love

  16. I have done small things this week in my home but a lot of thinking, and even more as I read this post. We can all TRY to prepare as much as we might but might I suggest that it's not just what we can do right away but that we STUDY how to make do with less as well? I'm thinking now of the features in some of my vintage magazines (worth the investment and not much more than modern day magazines with their hackneyed advice) of using older suits and even curtains etc to make over into clothes for children. I'm also thinking of the excellent BBC Public broadcastings of War Time kitchens. Books from the same time period. Rationing is no different than scarcity!
    Foraging and gathering from the countryside is another thing. There are many Youtube videos that might be helpful.
    But first and foremost let me urge all to do all they do with a glad heart, content in where they are. Take the words of the Bible and LIVE them out! Our attitudes will set the tone for our households and family's well being. We are the cheerleaders of the home. We do not have to broadcast all we do but the more we learn the more we have to share with others in teaching and giving.
    And do not be frustrated if you feel you can do little as far as purchases go. Cleaning and organizing are good things! Making sure to use all you have is a good thing, too! Stretch things a little further than you might have in the past using what you have on hand. It's all a tremendous help. And in all things be thankful for what you have, thankful for every idea that comes to help you stretch things further, thankful for your good health. Gratitude is the best attitude adjuster there is.

    1. Terri, what a wonderful, encouraging, helpful comment. Thank you for sharing.

    2. Thank you Terri, Oh I love old magazines! And old recipe books too. Yes... rationing and scarcity amount to much the same thing. And skills.... skills and plans are SO important. Being resourceful! Very good points! xxx

  17. Dear Annabel and beautiful bluebirds,
    This is my first comment here in a long time and I apologise for being absent, I have had some health issues and unfortunately I wasn’t up to commenting but I promise I will try and comment as often as I can from now on.
    I loved your blog this week Annabel and please know that I have been reading every blog post of yours Annabel even though I haven’t commented and I love reading about what’s happening on your farm and in your life.
    Your cakes look beautiful Annabel , Harper looks like she’s really enjoying one of them!.
    I have been finding some bargains to add to my crafting pantry .i had birthday vouchers from spotlight and lincraft , they send out $10 vouchers by email to people on their mailing list for their birthdays and because it was my birthday last week I got vouchers.I have been wanting a gift ag maker and gotone for a great price by saving 30% off then using my birthday voucherthat was at lincraft . I also got a paper pad of decorative pages at spotlight and it was cheaper thanks to my voucher.
    I was able to have a cheaper meal on my birthday thanks to a birthday voucher. I had a lovely birthday thanks to my parents and also thanks to family and friends who sent birthday wishes.
    I hope everyone has a lovely weekend .
    Love Barb W.

    1. So glad to read your comments again, Barb. We missed hearing from you! Smart use of birthday vouchers. Sounds as if you were able to purchase some good crafting supplies. Happy belated birthday! Love, Teresa

    2. Happy Belated Birthday, Barb. You did really well with your vouchers. Blessings, Cookie

    3. Dear Barb, How lovely to get vouchers for your birthday! It sounds like you had a lovely day.
      I know you havent been well so I totally understand if you are not up to commenting. But thank you for the lovely comment.
      Have a lovely Sunday and very good new week Barb! With love

    4. Happy belated Birthday, Barb! I bet you put those vouchers to great use, what great gifts.

  18. Strange you should mention stocking up foods for the holidays as I started doing that this week. It may be shortages or even another lockdown but I want to be prepared so we can at least have a have way normal Thanksgiving and Christmas. My goal is having all I need in the next two weeks. Great post as usual. Toni in Tennessee

    1. Dear Toni,
      The last two weeks I have seen this over and over.... get what you need for Christmas, both food and gifts. I would include Thanksgiving but we dont have that here. The worst that can happen is we are prepared ahead but if there are shortages (which we are told there will be) then we are ready and ok. After the year we have had a nice family Christmas would be lovely so a little getting ahead there wont hurt! Thanks so much! Love

  19. I dithered too long about buying a chest freezer last winter and was unable to get one when I really needed it. Today, after reading your post, I checked my local big box home improvement store, and the freezer I wanted was available. I ordered it, and it is to be delivered on the 30th. Thanks for the reminders to trust our instincts.

    1. Dear Frances, I hope your freezer arrives. We felt to get an additional one about mid last year. And we got a pretty big one. Then after covid started up you could not get a freezer anywhere! Nor a face mask and other things. But I had them all... I had 80 face masks in my emergency cupboard. When I bought them I wondered if they would ever be needed but I thought what if there was a really bad flu? So yes trust your instincts and any prompts you feel! With much love,

  20. Hi Annabelle, I agree with you that Mommy's should stay home with the children if at all possible. And I also like the verse "whatsoever is lovely......" It is so great that you and your Mom got to go visit Lucy and the girls. Suppose to go down to 39 degrees tonight so I picked my green peppers even if they weren't that large and will cut them up to use in O"brien potatoes, pizzas or freezer cole slaw. Having trouble with a high pulse and blood pressure and extra heart beats so have to wear a monitor for a month. It doesn't have the cords but is attached to my chest and they gave me this phone like thing that records my heart. Amazing what they can do now. Now if it just keeps working okay. I am not so good with technology but my hubby is. Hoping things will get better for you and your family. Thank you for your blog. Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy,
      A month is a long time to wear the monitor but at least it doesnt have the cords! I wore one of those for 24 hours one time. I hope everything is ok. Glad your husband can keep an eye on how things are working. The green peppers will be great to have. Have a wonderful new week Nancy. with love

    2. Sending prayer your way Nancy.

  21. Oh Annabel, thank YOU for being such an encourager. xx
    I never knew you could vacuum seal any jar - wow, this is a game changer for me and I'm so glad you shared about it! My next project though is to begin dehydrating vegetables - again thanks for sharing about that because I'd not thought about it other than the tomatoes I've dehydrated recently and the strawberries too. We've been buying them 4 punnets for $5 recently so I dehydrate a kilo at a time and they work wonderfully.
    God bless your ministry to homemakers dear friend. xxx

    1. Thank you Jenny! I think with the humidity you probably get the vac sealing would be an added bonus. I really just got going in dehydrating. But I keep all the jars in a dark place too. I think these goods have a really long shelf life. I am loving this. Space efficient too. And I love to be able to use most regular jars for food preservation! The strawberries you are getting are a fantastic deal! With love,

  22. I am sorry to hear what Cath has been going through I have nothing but praise for Cath she helps so many myself included I have Being buying and restocking my fridge & freezer as we r still moving things across from the other house I am going to do silverside in the slow cooker for lunches for work today, have a good weekend x

    1. Dear Melissa,
      I agree! Caths video this week I re watched! All good advice. Same with previous ones. Common sense upsets some people lol!
      It is a big job moving! The silverside will be lovely. Last time I did this I made up left overs into rolls and froze them. We are still using those and they are handy to have ready. Have a good Sunday! With love

  23. Nice to read such positive posts! I don't understand people who criticize parenting. I took a few years off working when I had small children, then went back to work part-time and occasionally full-time. I took a year off work when they were 11 and 13, and never went back! Everyone wants to be at home with their kids when they are little and cute, but let me tell you...they really need you when they are teenagers! (I also knew what every other teenager in town was up to, because they were usually at my house). My oldest is developmentally disabled and had her 44th birthday this week. She still lives with us half-time, and half-time in a Certified Family Home (think adult foster care). My mother-in-law lived with us for 13 years. I don't know how I would ever have handled these challenges if I were working 40 hours a week!

    This was my week--
    * I went back to the grocery store on the last day of the case lot sale and bought more fruit for .42 can--a killer price--and now I have enough to last a year.

    * Still harvesting tomatoes and zukes!

    * Another grocery store had Gala apples for .48 lb. I bought a 40 lb. box. Let the applesauce begin!

    * I used a 60% off coupon at JoAnn's to buy 5 yards of elastic for $2.40.

    * I made a gathered skirt with elastic waist for one of my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes (girl 10-14).

    * I went thrifting and scored a glass pitcher for $3.19 (after 20% off coupon) and a 5x7 picture frame for $1 (all frames were 50% off) at Goodwill.

    *I canceled Netflix, mainly because of "Cuties," which sexualizes 11-year-olds, but I don't mind saving $13 month, either! (We get quite a lot of other TV).

    * I am taking a free balance class offered through the public health department. I had been thinking of doing this for some time. Then my BFF's husband fell on their deck and fractured his tibia, fibula and ankle, and I joined the class. I would encourage anyone who is of retirement age and concerned about their balance to look into similar classes.

    And now I have a question for the other Bluebirds. Does anyone know of a good pattern for reusable menstrual pads? I would like to put 6 or so in my OCC girl shoeboxes (I am doing two each for girls and boys 10-14...the group that gets the fewest donations). I made pads two years ago and I hated them and everything to do with them, LOL! I made the covers from T-shirts. They were diamond-shaped with two layers of padding and a piece of waterproof fabric, and bound with bias tape. They were a lot of trouble to make, and now I need to make twice as many! If anyone can direct me to a pattern that is DEAD SIMPLE, I would appreciate it!

    1. Hi mikemax, I don't know hw simple they are to make but Rain Country has a video on making the reusable menstrual pads. Hope this helps. Nancy

    2. Dear Maxine, Good for you on cancelling Netflix I hope everyone does the same. We have to draw a line somewhere. As falls can be so serious I think everything to do with fitness, balance right down to good shoes is really important. The class sounds really good.
      I love the skirts! (Maxine sent me photos for those wondering!) they are just perfect.
      Maxine look on Ebay and some of the lovely menstrual pads... I have made the ones with no wings or studs that are probably best he'd in place with fitted underwear. I made them the way you would make a pillow cover... sewn, turned inside out, filled with the lining layers then stitch those in place so they dont move. I liked them. I think they are good for in the older girl shoe boxes. I think it is lovely you are doing the shoe boxes this is the most beautiful charity! With much love

    3. H'mm...the ones I made last year (nominally diamond shaped) kind of had wings. (I am not sold on wings and my daughter won't wear them). I didn't put a snap on the wings because I was afraid it would pull out. I pinned a safety pin to each pad and pinned one to a pair of panties, to give the girl an idea of what these weird things were for! I am kind of liking the "pillowcase" idea, but stitching across each end in order to leave "tails" of unpadded fabric for pinning (like we had in the days of sanitary belts)...and hoping the filler doesn't shift around too much. I am not tied to this idea and I'm still looking for ideas, so fire away!!

  24. Annabel I am so glad you had a wonderfully productive week and love your cakes you made, dehydrating efforts and that wonderful sealer you purchased to seal jars with. Lovely you and your Mum were able to go and see Lucy, the girls and baby too and spend some happy family times together.

    I love the biblical quote you shared and it is important we strive for doing the good and productive things in our homes and lives and also love Jes's quote too both are inspirational.

    It has just been said that Australian rice will be in short supply due to reduced harvests this year too and no doubt price rises will ensue too.

    We are all individuals and we need to do things as we get those urgent promptings to act and do them. I love proverbs 31 in KJV of the bible and here are some of the verses noticing that the work women do in the home is compared to many merchant ships and not just one -

    10 ¶ Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

    11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

    12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

    13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

    14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

    15 She ariseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $375.86 in savings last week :) .

    In the home -
    - Washed all our winter blankets, coverlet and wool underlay and hung them out to dry in the sun on a beautiful sunny day. The power used to wash came from our solar panels.
    - Cleaned half of the linen pantry in the bathroom and reorganised and tidied it.

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

    In the gardens -
    - Harvested 10 kg of sweet potatoes from the gardens saving $109 over buying organic produce in the stores. We are curing them and then will blanch and freeze them for meal ingredients for the freezer.

    Dental care -
    - Had my teeth cleaned, a fluoride treatment and examination done in the public hospital dental clinic saving $215 over paying to go to a local dentist.

    Finances -
    - Deposited more money into our 6 monthly living expenses emergency fund bringing us to 53.71 % of the way there.

    Purchases -
    - Purchased some needed medical items at the local chemist and used our pharmacy discount card to save 15% or $1.26 in total.
    - Bought supplies of our favourite brand of chocolate on half price special saving $30 on usual prices.
    - Bought kiwi fruit for 40c each and 8 tins of corn kernels at a lower price at Coles saving $4.10 over buying them in other supermarkets.
    - Picked up 3 free samples to taste test as a supermarket taste tester saving $16.50 over purchasing them.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).


    1. Dear Lorna,
      I think of the merchant ships verse every time I travel or even order something from afar. I I love these verses! They are very inspiring. I also love the bit she has no fear of the winter and think well that is due to both following these verses and being well prepared as well as her faith in God and knowledge of scripture.
      That is a great sweet potato harvest. They are so good, delicious and nutritious.
      You added to your pantry well and your savings funds! This is a good week! With love and thanks,

  25. Thanks to everyone for the kind, uplifting and helpful comments this week.

    1. Thanks Connie. Everyone has been

  26. Annabel, I have gone way too long. So glad to be back. I'm in prayer for Australia, your people have had such a bad year.

    Is the vacumn tool just for dehydrated items? I have had the same feeling as several of you and your followers for about two or three years. I have been building my pantry as well. But not to the extreme as yours, but I am starting now.

    1. Dear all things sewn, I am glad you are here and stocking up too. You cold vac seal anything from cereals, rice, herbs, cookies, anything dry in a jar. You can vac seal in bags or containers... meats, fresh produce, to just extend life in the fridge and it is good for the freezer as it helps not get freezer burn or dry out. But I am just learning really. I do really like that dried goods take up so little room! And also you can use most jars. I hope that helps! With love

  27. So many great posts this week. You all continue to give me food for thought and inpsire me. I planted cabbage, broccoli and carrots and promptly got several nice showers.
    I've had lots going on, things to disrupt my routines and that make me want to run away. Which is exactly what I plan to do starting tomorrow. I will meet my daughters for a few days of girls-get-away-time. These little trips always consist of a nice room, good food and shopping at thrift stores, including lots of laughing and reminiscing. So no cooking or clean-up for us for a while and we are super excited to be together again.
    One of our central air units died last week and we are still waiting on the new one to be installed. We were sooooo blessed to have nice cool weather so it hasn't been unbearable at all. When we have large chunks of money going out like this I always get busy listing on EBay to help bear the cost. It's come in handy in more than one emergency and paid for extras especially in the "prep" department. I feel my little EBay business serves several purposes: 1. Mostly I shop at non-profit charity shops so my purchases often help the needy.
    2. I enjoy getting out to the "Op-Shops" and often find things for our personal use besides resale items.
    3. Except for the shopping part I can do everything else at home in my pajamas. 99.9% of my customers are wonderful to do business with.
    4. The extra money supplements our retirement income.
    Have a wonderful week, my friends, and thanks for your help and encouragement.

    1. Dear Pam,
      Thank you! It is just time to plant here and we have had steady rain. Things will grow well if planted then you get rain!
      I am glad you get to run away in a good way! I hope you have a beautiful time. Time with your daughters will be wonderful. And thrift shopping... my idea of a perfect break!
      I think having an Ebay business is a great idea. I generally think sidelines... and different income streams are a very good thing to have established. When in the city I bought and sold Shabby Chic kind of things and painted up old dressing tables. it was a good little business and like you I could do most of it home and as it fitted in with everything else.
      Enjoy your time away! With love

  28. Annabel,
    Such lovely photos. The cakes look so yum! Have I ever told you I love cake? Haha and muffins and cookies too. It's been a fantastically busy week so let's see.. I started harvesting cabbages and making the sauerkraut, made one final batch of 8 quarts of tomato juice, picked some peppers to eat and freeze and some to share around, gathered up the saw dust from Rick cutting up more of those monster logs for firewood and since I can't use the sawdust to mulch with we've been mixing it in with the cat litter and it's working great at absorbing odors and saving on litter, I was sent a free bag of cat food, a box of treats and a few baking mixes to review and did a focus group that paid $90. It was a great week!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      I love cake. I would have cake for breakfast happily. You have done so well with the preserving and still going! Lucky it doesn't all come in at once! The saw dust is pretty handy. In fact I really only learned how handy in more recent times but now I grab it if available.
      The focus group was very good money for you! All you do adds up enormously! With love


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