Tuesday, September 26, 2023


We got one of these a few years ago for the first time but we skipped the last couple of years.

This year, when the availability email came, we figured we should get one again since we loved it the first time. 

It is the Bonne Maman Advent calendar for 2023.  Every year, they come out with this set that lets you try some really cool and unusual flavors and combinations that they will never have in the large jars.

From the Bonne Maman website:

"Count down to Christmas with 23 unique limited editions spreads and 1 honey.  Discover delicious flavors such as 'Caramel with Cinnamon', 'Raspberry Chocolate' and 'Lemon Yuzu' that can only be found during the holiday season.  Perfect for gifting or treating yourself!  The highly coveted Advent calendar will sell out fast.  Don't miss out on this limited edition treat."

If you are so inclined or want more info, the link to the website to get one is HERE.

We don't get anything, just fans sharing the fun.

We also got this cool little spoon, engraved with the Bonne Maman name, that fits into the small jars that come with the calendar.

We really like trying all the flavors and last time we bought it, some of our favorite flavors were "mango peach lime" and "fig with cardamom".  Really different and fun flavors to try and with 2nd Man baking break and making biscuits regularly, we'll definitely go through them.

On the other plus side, washed, cleaned and labels removed, the little jars are just adorable, ready for some sort of project .  Yes, I have all 24 from the last time.  Now I'll have 48.  2nd Man indulges tolerates my love of jars/containers.


Monday, September 25, 2023


 Saturday was the first day of Fall.  Maybe for others around the world, but not for us...

This was when I ended up leaving because it was so hot...95, felt like 109.  On the first day of Fall.  Sigh.

2nd Man had to work so he stayed in town, I took some stuff out that needed to go out there, took the truck for a spin and then watered everything well.  It's all looking pretty good after the decent rain last week.

In fact...

Look!  It's getting green again!

That rural farm grass is tough stuff.  City grass seems to die in a drought and you have to replace it with new sod next Spring.  At the farm, it can be crunchy brown with cracks in the ground and a month later it's lush and green.  We're a little ways off from lush, ha, but at least green is on the way.

There is a good chance of rain today, about 70% according to the weather forecast.

Sunday, September 24, 2023


The weekend is here and now almost over.  They always go so much faster than the work week, ha!

We had the classic recipe that's sometimes called "no peek pork chops and rice" or "oven baked cream of mushroom pork chops".  Whatever you call it, we call it GOOD.  We'll post the recipe next time we make it and I'll take some pics.  This one was with some sautรฉed broccolini on the side.  For dessert we had another one of those chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches you saw posted a couple days ago.

One day at work, I was telling a coworker how 2nd Man says that every day, about 4:30 or so, Hobart wakes up and goes over to lay by the door, waiting for me to get home apparently.  When I got home the other day, I slowly opened the door and peeked in to snap a picture.  This is him.  Ostensibly waiting on me because he missed me but probably waiting for the 'evening meal giver' to return. Because...


Friday, September 22, 2023


2nd Man made a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

There were a couple dozen.  I immediately knew what we should do with at least a few of them:

Put some softened ice cream on them and...


We made two chocolate and two vanilla, smooshed them together and froze them for use over the weekend.  They were delicious!

After all, when life hands you chocolate chip cookies, make ice cream sandwiches, right!?


Wednesday, September 20, 2023


We're old school.  We both still like paper.  Sure we have tablets and smartphones and laptops but in the end, just like reading an actual, physical book, we like to have paper.

Over the last couple of years, I've been collecting information and printing it out. Recently, I found a binder, got some plastic sleeves and put it all together.

One part for the fruit trees and bushes and one part for the veggie garden area.

Here is the fruit side/half.  I made a quick cover sheet for that side of the binder.

When you open it, for the first page, I created a graphical representation of the actual layout of our orchard area with each tree/bush labeled for the bed that it is in.  I even have the correct shape to make sure we remember what is what.

Then, in alphabetical order, are pages of info on each fruit that we are growing.  They are sourced to be articles put out by local arborists and experts (including Texas A&M University) so that it is unique to our growing climate.  We have found info on every single thing we are growing.  Apples, bananas, blueberries, cherries, grapes, pears, plums, etc.

The info is how to plant and when to fertilize, how to care for them in different types of weather, harvesting, pruning, etc, all for each plant we have in the ground.

Then, if you hold it in front of you and just flip it over, top to bottom, the back half (which is upside down from the front half, ha) is the other part.

The Vegetable Garden Guide.

Opening it, the first page has a graphical layout of all the raised beds in the fenced in garden area and what we could plant each year.  This one is for Spring/Summer garden planning...

...and on the other side of that page is the one for Fall/Winter garden planning.

There are blank multiples so we can change things from year to year and rotate crops.

While we don't have pages for each planted or planned item yet (since we don't have anything growing this year) I have found great info, from our county extension office, local urban harvest group and even some friends of the farm who live near our growing zone...they are lists of all the vegetable varieties that grow best here, when to plant them and when to harvest them, for both Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter.

And speaking of planning, I also put yearly planners in each section, month by month, to remind me what I need to do and when.

It will allow us to plan each season and keep track of what we have done, what has worked and what maybe didn't work one season.

Monday, September 18, 2023


We finally got some much needed rain.  About 3/4" over Thursday and Friday.

When I went out Saturday...  

...there was some green starting to appear in the yard.

Even in the area where the cracks in the ground are, there was green grass springing up.  

I watered just in case, had to water the stuff on the porch for sure.  Moved a few things from the house to the barn/shop, drove the truck, and then called it a day.

I was watching the radar and could see more rain coming.  When I finally left about 1:30, this was the sky.  We were hopeful for more rain and sure enough...

This is the radar about an hour later when I got back into Houston...the red pin is the farm.

And this is 4:30, about two hours later, it was still raining but getting lighter.  It ended at about 5pm and was nice the rest of the weekend.  We ended up with about 1 1/2" over the course of a few days.  None the rest of this week but cooler temperatures finally.

Sunday, September 17, 2023


We have had rain!  Intermittent, but definitely welcome.  It is Sunday so that means it's time for some good food and some Hobart!

This was last weekend's big meal.  2nd Man once again knocked it out of the park.  Pork with mole verde, refried beans, rice with corn and jalapeรฑos and this time homemade flour tortillas.

Sometimes friends will ask us why we don't go out to eat more often...um, hello?  Why?  This is just as good and we get to wear our pajamas, LOL!

He's awake!!

Aaaaaand...he's out!

Ha!  We thought you all might like these pictures.  He was on his blanket on the table, a weekend tradition, and I thought "oh, he's awake and looking at the camera" so I took a picture.  I went to the other room to do something, came back a few minutes later and he was asleep.  We don't dare disturb his sleep of course, because...


Friday, September 15, 2023


Regular readers know that I have a favorite place to look for bargains...our downstairs trash area!  Our building has trash chutes on every floor and they feed into a separate room, but for boxes and other things that people can't put in the chute, there is an area (indoor) near the loading dock where people can put the things they don't want.  I've found quite a few cool items over the last few years.

I went downstairs on my usual reconnaissance mission and saw this.  A small little oil lamp sitting all by itself.  Nothing wrong with it, no cracks and no chips.  I looked at it and the bottom said "Made in Austria" so I figured it might be a nice little find.  

Brought it upstairs and washed and cleaned it all with soap and hot water.  Wow!

It cleaned up nicely and is actually very pretty.  We couldn't tell until we cleaned it, but there is even a floral motif etched into the glass.  It's so pretty.  We just need to get a new (longer) wick.

The knob says "Lamplight Farms" and the bottom of the glass says "Made in Austria".  I found a couple of these for sale, they both said vintage, though not sure what year.  Average price was about $20-$30.

It's not valuable but we figured for a throwaway item, it will work great.  It never hurts to have a small, alternative means of lighting in an emergency or even a little old fashioned ambiance.

Thursday, September 14, 2023



This is the radar image of the farm this morning.  Nice heavy rains moving over.  It's supposed to be like this on and off the next few days.  

We'll take it!

Waiting for 2nd Family to give us a rainfall total update.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023


We recently picked up a large bag of "dark sweet cherries" and wanted to put them up for future use.

The bag said it was 2 1/2 pounds, I measured them out and it was 8 cups exactly.  I froze them so they'd be solid and hard and then I divided them in half and put 4 cups each in two bags...

...and sealed them up.

Because they were frozen solid first, they vacuumed nicely.  I love the feeling of the bag when all the air is out, something satisfying about that, ha.  I labeled them and popped them in the freezer.

Our plan at the farm is to have a large separate freezer from the one in the kitchen with the fridge and I told 2nd Man, I'll be dangerous with a vacuum sealer and a big empty freezer, ha.  But we do enjoying cooking "out of our freezer", it is nice to have stuff available.