29 August 2021

Gathering the Fragments 29/08/2021

The news this week has been all over the place.

One thing that caught my attention, and spurred me into action, was the reports of the truck drivers strike on Friday (24 hours, but rolling ongoing) and the coming border blockades scheduled for Tuesday of this week.

Our pantry is full, but the garden, well it's empty, other than potatoes and strawberries that aren't ready yet. We've pulled the garden apart to renovate the garden beds so nothing is growing at the moment. So I checked the fridge and noted a couple of the fresh veggies we would need and did a quick trip to the supermarket to top up. I'm glad I went when I did, it was busy and the shelves were almost bare.

All our meals have been cooked from the pantry. That's what it is for - to feed us. If you have a stocked pantry, and keep stocking it, but not using it, that's wasted money. Your pantry is meant to be used, so use it!

The weather was a bit hit and miss this week so washing was dried on the clotheshorse on wet days and on the line on dry days.

I had a 3 litre bottle of milk that had to be used up. Someone who shall remain nameless, moved it from the kitchen fridge to the outside fridge and didn't tell me. I looked, saw the gap and bought another bottle of milk, all the while wondering how on earth we could go through so much in just a couple of days. So I made custard and yoghurt to use it up. Then I had to make a sticky date pudding to use up the custard, because well sticky date pudding and custard just seemed right on the night.

I drained off the worm tea and mixed it up to feed the fruit trees.

Baked some cup cakes for snacks/morning/afternoon teas.

Downloaded some free e-books to my Kindle.

Picked oranges to eat and to freeze for baking.

Collected the shower warm-up water and used it in the washing machine.

Started work on the new garden beds. Wayne put them together and we put down a thick layer of cardboard, then a layer of apple tree prunings, then a layer of wood chips from the firewood. Next will be a layer of hay or pea straw (whatever I can get cheapest), a layer of compost and finally a layer of soil. 

What fragments were you able to gather this week to save money, time and energy?

23 August 2021


Here’s what my day looked like yesterday. I'm sharing because it was pretty much a normal sort of day around here, busy, but with plenty of time to rest, eat, drink copious cups of tea and knit. But things got done.

When the sun shines, I work outside. When it's raining or cold, I work inside. There is always something to do, I don't know how anyone can say they have nothing to do. Even if it's just get ready for the next meal, there is something to do.

My friend Annabel says "do the next thing". Now she's usually saying it as an encouragement when you're feeling low or tired or anxious. But it applies to every day, and every thing we do. Just do the next thing, and before you know it, things are done.

So yesterday may have been a go, go, go day, but things got done, next thing after next thing.

By the way, that quote "do the next thing" is from an old poem and credited to Elisabeth Elliot, a missionary who continued on with their work, after her husband was killed. When she wasn't sure she could carry on, when she didn't know what to do, she just did the next thing.

Yesterday went like this:

It's 10.30am and so far I've:

Loaded and run dishwasher

Two loads of laundry on the line, third almost finished

Baked 2 dozen cup cakes and 2 banana loaves

Put corned beef in slowcooker, veggies done and in pot for tea

Cleaned bathroom

Stripped our bed, need to remake - DONE

Still to do:

Ice cakes when cold - DONE mind you when I went to ice them a few cup cakes were missing, no big deal, it was morning tea time. Then No. 1 Son comes along and says "icing - if I knew there was going to be icing I would've waited". Cracked me up 🙂

What's left of the cup cakes after morning tea and the two banana loaves for the freezer

Washed two sets new sheets for boys' beds -  it is a beautiful day, warm, sunny, light breeze, a good washing day as my mum used to say so I'll get them done and into the linen cupboard and the old sheets will go to the sewing cupboard. - DONE and on the clothesline

Cake tins have been washed, dried and are in the oven for few minutes to completely dry- may as well make use of the residual heat.

Somewhere in there should be lunch - use up the leftovers in the fridge - DONE leftover leftover chicken sandwiches for Wayne and cheese on English muffin for me.

Cakes are all packed up and ready for the freezer. If we need to isolate, my crew will be looking for treats so I figure I can get a head start and if we don't, well lunches etc. are covered for a couple of weeks.

Sweep kitchen floor - DONE

Remake our bed and clean our bathroom - DONE

Feed the strawberries and fruit trees - DONE - we have 13 fruit trees and rhubarb and strawberries - loving our little backyard orchard.

Washing in, folded and put away or ironed and put away (only 4 things, doesn't really count as ironing).

Noticed my dressing gown looked grubby, so into a short wash it went. Now it's blowing around and around on the clothesline in the wind. It will dry in no time at this rate.

Wayne washed the Patrol and his work van, then AJ's car, so while he had the Karcher thingy out and going I asked him to wash the front windows for me - now they're sparkling again and another job off the spring cleaning list.

Pack up cards made yesterday (Saturday 21/8) and put into present box - DONE and into an envelope to send to the nursing home instead of the present box. I'll walk to the corner and post the parcel tomorrow.

Still to do:
finish emptying one of the old garden beds into two of the smaller new  garden beds

UPDATE: 4:15pm and I'm done! It's all done except for finishing the emptying of the soil because we have decided to move the boxes it was going into and turn them into a bigger strawberry bed. So that will be on the list for next weekend.

Now the only thing I am going to do other than dish up dinner, is make my to-do list for the week and knit.

That was pretty much my day yesterday. I finished a dishcloth, and started another one. We had dinner and cleaned up the kitchen, packing up another complete meal for the freezer (it was a huge piece of corned beef).

Then I sat and chatted to a friend on Messenger for a while, and toddled off to bed by 8:30pm because I was zonked.

If you're wondering if the things you do matter, if they add up, make a list. Do your own DITL. Even if no one else sees it, you'll see hard proof of your accomplishments. Even on the slowest of days, the hardest of days, you can do something. Do the next thing!

22 August 2021

Gathering the Fragments 22/8/2021

Still in lockdown, but we're going well. Hannah went back into lockdown yesterday at 1pm. I can rest easy knowing she has a full pantry, fridge and freezer and won't need to go out for a few days.

We have had on and off rain this week, enough to keep the ground moist, and that's just what we need right now.

Wayne ordered the new veggie beds last Sunday, and they are on the way. I keep getting tracking notices, and they should be here sometime this coming week - I'm expecting them Tuesday or Wednesday.

So we have started to redo the backyard. It's a bit like a puzzle at the moment. Until the new beds are in place nothing can really be put in it's permanent spot.

We have almost emptied one of the smaller timber beds. We used some of the filling to fill small pots for the apple trees. And we topped up the smaller beds on the western fence line. One almost empty, only seven more to go!

On a side note, we have 13 fruit trees, rhubarb and strawberries in our backyard orchard!

Oranges picked fresh from the tree
I had a pot of garlic and I've been waiting, waiting for it to come up. Nope, not happening. When I dug down, the heads had shriveled up to almost nothing - all of them. That means no garlic crop this year, and that's not good. There were a couple of heads in the kitchen and I know it's late, but I've gone ahead and planted them in another pot, in the hope that we'll at least get some.

Thomas made doner kebabs for dinner on Wednesday night. He tried a new recipe and a new way of cooking the meat and they were delicious. And he doubled the recipe, so we have enough for another meal in the freezer. The only thing he bought was the pita bread, everything else was in the pantry. The leftover pita bread (3 pieces) went into the oven to make pita chips.

On the sunny days I opened the back door and let some fresh air into the house.

Keeping a running list of things to be used up on the fridge is really helping to make sure nothing goes to waste. The nights I don't cook, whoever is can look on the list and see what to add to a meal. Easy!

Baking this week was a dozen cranberry hootycreek mini loaf cakes, a dozen vanilla butter cupcakes, two dozen chocolate cup cakes and two dozen mini fruit cakes. Cake tins full, freezer full, family happy. All ingredients were in the pantry.
 Mini fruit cakes for the cake tin
I've put bigger buckets in the showers to catch the warm-up water. I have a feeling this summer will be long, hot and dry, and water will be an issue. Catching and reusing what we can will not only keep the bill down, but stop waste too.

We had a scare on Friday with a colleague of Wayne's getting a message to say he'd been to an exposure site and needed to get tested and isolate immediately. We haven't heard the results yet - so much for quick test results - but we are praying it comes back negative, otherwise we will all be getting tested and isolating.

I'm so thankful for a full pantry. If we do need to isolate we will be fine. When the fresh veggies run out we have plenty of frozen and dried and canned we can use. And when the fresh milk runs out, there is powdered and UHT in the pantry. Yeast and flour to make bread. There's more reason than saving money for keeping the pantry full.

17 August 2021

Pray Without Ceasing


Our world has turned upside down, inside out, and twisted itself in knots.

It has, for want of a modern term, gone crazy.

Life for so many is not scary, but terrifying. In the last few days we've had a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Haiti, killing over 1,200 people. And the Taliban has so very quickly overrun Afghanistan, leaving millions of people to live in fear of their lives. The scenes from the Kabul airport are so distressing to watch, I cannot imagine the fear, the terror, the pain of the people living it.

We have lived through a pandemic, that is being called endemic now that it is out of control and over the entire world.

There are droughts worse than any before known in one part of the world, while in another part floods are wiping out homes and businesses and crops, and another part is burning, with fires so fierce that entire cities have been wiped from the face of the earth.

These things brought to mind Matthew 24:4 - 31. I know, it's almost a cliché, that the words of this chapter of Matthew be used to describe what is happening in our world, but reading over them (and Luke writes a very similar version of what will bring about the end of time in Chapter 21:5 - 37), I can't help but see that the words of Jesus are being fulfilled.

That should scare me. It doesn't, though. I welcome the trials and tribulations that come. Don't get me wrong, I don't like them, but I welcome them. They are the signs that Jesus will be back to gather us to Him, and very soon.

I want to be ready. I want to rise up into the sky to meet Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:17). And so I pray.

Paul wrote in Thessalonians "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and I think now is not the time to stop praying.

I pray for myself and for my husband and my children. I pray for extended family and friends. I pray to give thanks for all that I have, that my needs are supplied. I pray for forgiveness and for strength. I pray that the Lord will open my mind and my hearts so that I'm not fooled by Satan and his evil angels, that I'm not deceived by the false prophets.

Jesus taught us how to pray, so even when we are at our most stressed, and can't think straight, we can pray. How blessed are we, that our heavenly Father though to teach us how to pray to Him?

We're all familiar with what is known as The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4), it was probably the first prayer we were taught as children. And Jesus taught it to the apostles and He's taught it to us, so we can pray without ceasing, even under stress and duress.

I'm not saying our prayers should be mindless, but rather that when we are mindless, we have a prayer, taught to us by Jesus, that we can send to our Heavenly Father, and we know He'll hear it and answer it.

15 August 2021

Gathering the Fragments 15th August 2021

It's been a while, but I've been busy. Life has a way of getting in the way of our plans.

So this last week, our lockdown was extended for another 2-1/2 weeks (and I am sure it will keep on being extended).

When Hannah was here in between lockdowns, she brought me three beautiful pumpkins. One will be soup. One will be cooked and dried to make pumpkin powder (video coming), and one we will use to enjoy baked pumpkin and pumpkin scones and pumpkin and sultana cake.

The days have been glorious. Sunny, but very windy, with occasional showers. Great for getting the washing dry.

Cheapskating accomplishments this week:

Brought extra throws and blankets out of the linen cupboard to use on chilly mornings and nights instead of turning the heater on (we have the fire going all the time, we try not to use the ducted heating).

Rang and queried an insurance bill, it had gone up well 13%, and the cover amount had dropped by 15%! Spent some time explaining nicely that that just wasn't going to keep us as customers, even if the amounts were decided by a computer program. Also suggested that the company might like to check the depreciation rates as 15% was a little steep for the item covered. After about 20 minutes we came to an amiable agreement, bill was lowered, amount covered increased and the policy renewed. But I'll spend the next 12 months looking for something else, to be prepared next year.

Made some cards for the nursing homes.

Knitted two dishcloths.

Crocheted three scrunchies.

Worked on some projects for Christmas gifts - I think Christmas 2021 is going to be very different to what we have been used to, especially the range of decorations and gifts.

I'm a part of a Christmas ornament exchange, so I've started working on the ornaments to send - they need to be finished by mid-September so I can get the overseas ones sent off.

Emptied the bokashi bucket into one of the garden beds and dug it in, in-between rain showers, now it's ready to be filled again. I drained all the "tea" into an empty 3 litre milk bottle to make up into liquid fertiliser in the spring when I start planting again.

I placed a seed order a couple of weeks ago. Seeds were in short supply last year, and from what I've been reading and hearing from friends overseas, they are still in short supply and it looks like being a world-wide shortage for a while. Seeds keep for a couple of years, so I ordered more of what we use all the time, with a few extra packets, and they arrived on Wednesday. They'll be good for at least three years and won't go to waste.

Cut more lavender for starts. Lavender plants at the nursery cost between $7 - $8 each. Starting new plants from cuttings is easy and free, and lavender fills blank spots in the garden beautifully while being a plant that gives back. They also make beautiful gifts in pretty pots. I have some ideas for pots that I'll share soon.

I noticed that a lot of the basic craft supplies I use all the time have gone up. Embossing folders have gone up $1 each. Crochet cotton has also gone up by $1 a ball. These prices are still lower than buying from a branded retailer, but they impact my budget. I'm now rethinking some of the ideas on my gift list.

Today we are working in the garden, getting everything ready, or as ready as we can, for spring and summer.