Wednesday, May 18, 2022


Saw these at the store yesterday.

It's a new "shape" of Ball jars.

They are called "Flute" jars.  The package says they are a refined design for decor and drinkware.  To me that would indicate they are decorative only.  Nope, they are also sealable for up to 18 months.

It's hard to describe the shape so since the package was not shrink wrapped, I asked the clerk if I could take one out of the package and she said yes.

This is the shape.

Sort of a rounder/bulbous bottom that tapers up to a narrower top.  They are different that any other shaped jar we've seen.  Being pint size, we wonder if someone would still use them for canning (maybe gift giving canned goods?) or if they would stay more in the "decor/drinkware" category?  I didn't buy any, haven't decided if I should.  Since Ball does discontinue editions, maybe I should get some just to have for a future set so I don't look back and go "wished I had bought those jars I saw that time", ha. 


Monday, May 16, 2022


 You all may remember our banana trees that didn’t make it in the freeze this year...

...they were on the porch and were more vulnerable to a freeze than in the ground.  We hoped they might come back but didn't.

One of my coworkers is the one who gave them to us a couple of years ago.  Ironically, we saved them from "the great freeze" last year by bringing them into town and keeping them in the car (and the other potted plants) with the heater running on occasion but this year, we lost them during an unexpected freeze when we weren’t there to protect them.  
Flash forward to a few weeks ago when she said her parents had sold their house and were in the process of moving.  When she told me, I said “well if they happen to have some extra banana plants coming up, we wouldn't mind one or two to replace ours". 
The ones from her parents house were in the ground and have been for years.  Every time they freeze, they come right back and produce.  The trees have been giving them bananas for a long time.  Obviously it is a good variety (whatever it may be) and we didn't want to lose it when they moved. 
One day at work she said “park next to me, I have something for you”.  She brought three of them for us!  Yay!  We loaded them in my car to take to the farm.

Here they are after a few weeks of being watered and cared for on the porch.  They are doing great and getting much bigger than they were.  I told her if they aren’t in the ground by next Winter, they will be moved inside where it’s warm to protect them so the variety can live on, ha!

We have to figure out where to plant them.  They will sprout up offspring and get big.  Plus they have a more tropical look than you'd expect in the country at a farmhouse but we love bananas, so we just need to find the right spot for them.  We will.  


Sunday, May 15, 2022


Well it's another hot weekend.  Spring is definitely gone.  Ugh.  

This is a recent meal...

2nd Man made this bean soup that I love, using a bag of mixed beans and some smoked turkey meat.  We buy the already smoked turkey legs, they are fully cooked of course but he boils them to extract more flavor into the liquid and it makes the meat easy to come off the bone.

Served with some fresh bread and it's always such a yummy meal.  This weekend I made a dish that will be coming up in a future post.

Now the apartment was fairly cool because we had the a/c down lower than usual while 2nd Man was baking and Hobart was cold.  He was on the couch on his blanket and we covered him up.  He doesn't like to be completely covered, he doesn't like his head to be covered and so we don't.  Because...


Friday, May 13, 2022


We like to name our farm vehicles.  All of you know our John Deere mower as the Zen Machine.

Well, now that the truck we got last year is living full time at the farm, we felt like it needed a name.

We bought the truck from a customer at my office.  He had retired a few years ago and the truck was just sitting in his garage so he decided to sell it.  He was the only owner, bought it brand new in 2006 and put all the miles on it while he started and ran his own business. 

Sadly, we found out last week that he had passed away after a hard fought battle with cancer.  We figured since he spent so much time in the truck as his mobile office, we should name it after him.

I printed a picture of him and put it in the glovebox.

So, the farm truck will now be called BILL...

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


Realized we hadn't given an update on the Nanking cherry bushes...but they have fully leafed out!

Nanking cherry #1

We thought maybe they didn't make it through the couple of freezes we had.  This particular variety is supposed to be hardy down to zero (which is extremely rare for us and why we chose them) but of course as with all plants, because they were newly planted (not even a year in the ground at the time) we thought the upper 20's freeze we had this Winter might have permanently hurt them.  They are both doing great!

Nanking cherry #2

This one is a bit smaller than the other but hey it's doing great too and looks happy and healthy.  We guess the freeze made them stronger and we're happy about that.  Obviously we're not going to have cherries this year, but at least we know that good stuff is going on underground.  Considering these were both tiny bare root plants a little over a year ago, we're happy.

With the wild dewberries we have all over the property and then our blueberries doing well and now these cherries, we will have some great desserts in our future.

Monday, May 9, 2022


Well, almost.  Because of our historic freeze last year we didn't have many dewberries last year.  One thing we could always count on were the dewberries (which grow wild all over our property) coming in late April/early May.

This year we hadn't seen anything yet...

Dewberry patch
...until a couple weekends when when we noticed that this has happened!  We had red (unripe) dewberries on all the vines.  They are a bit smaller than usual but with the rains last week we hoped they would plump up.

Dewberries ripening on the vine
Sure enough, when I was on the mower this weekend, I saw ripe ones finally coming in.

Fresh ripe dewberries
Nothing like a little snack while on the mower!  Pretty good sizes too.  This weekend we hope to gather some more fresh ones to use.  We still have some vacuum sealed in the freezer but some fresh ones would be nice, maybe enough for one cobbler or some compote over vanilla ice cream would be delicious.

Speaking of delicious, I had some cheddar cheese and crackers at the farm to have a post mowing snack...

Cheese, crackers and dewberries
...and when life gives you cheese and crackers and your yard has wild dewberries growing all around it, well it's time to make a real snack!

The combination of salty crackers and the great flavor of cheddar worked nicely with the sweet tartness of the berries.  The berries were even still warm from the sun when I put them on and it was delicious!

I sat on the porch after mowing and ate berries until my fingers were purple.

It was a good day  :-)

Saturday, May 7, 2022


As this posts, I'll be heading to the farm...

2nd Man wisely chose the air conditioning of the apartment (plus he has work to do).  My goal is to mow (not really a goal so much as a necessity) and then I'd really like to get the peach tree in the raised bed and in the midst of all that, we have someone coming by.

But we're under this:

Our whole area is under a heat advisory, the first of the season and one of the earliest we've had.  It's the dreaded combo we know all too well in these parts, "high temperature and high humidity". 

It creates that feels like of 157 degrees.  OK, so maybe not exactly that hot but it's usually pretty steamy.  I'll stay well hydrated and do what I need to do and get back to the a/c as soon as possible.

Thursday, May 5, 2022


 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.

Here is one of the latest! here is a score that I missed out on more of.  I went downstairs on my normal reconnaissance mission and there was a stack of probably ten or so really large sheet pans.  They were all stacked together.  I thought "hmm, 2nd Man might really like these" so I grabbed two (carrying all would have been hard without our small cart (we use for groceries).  I carried them up and he said "those are awesome but they probably won't fit in our oven.  They are full size sheet pans and made for commercial ovens.

I wish you could see how big they are.  I got the tape measure out and they are 26 inches long and 18 inches wide.  Sure enough, I tried to put one in the oven and it wouldn't fit.  A quick Google search shows that full sized sheet pans won't fit in most home ovens.  Oh well, it was a nice gesture.  Then 2nd Man said "maybe we could repurpose them and you could use them for gardening, maybe as trays on a potting bench or something?  Or maybe for craft projects?"  I thought those were great suggestions and there were eight more just waiting for me downstairs!  I got the small cart, hopped in the elevator and went downstairs.


Someone else had beaten me to the rest.  Sigh.  Oh well, at least  I scored these two.  They are at the farm awaiting a use.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, May 3, 2022


 In yesterday's post, I mentioned that I also got the fruit trees planted.

Well, two of the three anyway.

This is what the empty beds looked like before.  I had to clear out the cardboard and rocks holding it down and then clean out the grass that snuck in. 

I planted the pomegranate first.  The leaves look a bit sad but I hadn't watered it before I planted it because I wanted to be able to easily pull it out of the container and get it into the hole.  I filled in the hole and topped it with mulch.

The last one I planted for the day was the fig tree.  It looks very happy and went in well.  Used a couple bags of soil again and another bag of mulch and it was done. 

I didn't get the peach in its bed yet as I was running out of time (and energy, ha).  The old peach that the new one is replacing needs to be removed and I'll work on that this coming weekend.

I watered them well (the pomegranate perked right up) and 2nd Family will check midweek to see if they need any water but they should be fine.

Then this coming weekend will be the peach tree and then "fence" it all off with the fishing line.

Monday, May 2, 2022


It was a good weekend for mowing.

Weather was warm early with a nice breeze.  It started out as Zen weather for mowing but it got hotter quickly.

I drove the equivalent of almost 8 miles!  An hour and half of quality and peaceful time.

I also had time to use the weedeater and then the new cordless mower around the fruit tree beds and got them all cleaned up and looking nice.  The plan this coming weekend is to get the fishing line around the entire area so that we can keep the deer out of here when the fruit starts coming in later this year.

It got warm pretty quickly as the humidity went up.  By mid afternoon it was a "feels like" of 94.
Summer is coming!

Tomorrow an update on the other project I was able to do, the new fruit trees.

Here is a pretty flowering plant for your viewing pleasure, ha.  It's going in a special place when we have a flower bed to put it in but for now, we take care of it on the porch.  It's the "Yesterday/Today/Tomorrow" plant, received as a gift a couple years back.  The scent is amazing and they get huge.