Monday, October 18, 2010


Sorry for my absence.  I always said when I started a blog, I wanted to be able to commit to it full time and not just post sporadically and here a week has gone by!  My apologies.

I will spare you the gory details, suffice to say I was stuck at home for the better part of 4 days. 

While being at home is nice, I'd much rather have been at home and looking out the window at some nice country scenery!  I'm certain it would have made me feel better much faster!

But I'm back and more updates are to come!

Monday, October 11, 2010

So What Kind of Farm Land Did We Find?

You might ask.......where is the land?  Well, it's a long story that I will try to shorten.  We have been casually looking, on and off, for about 7 years.  We've looked in Chappell Hill, Burton, Brenham (yep home of THIS well known place and if you don't know about it, I'm sorry!).  These are all areas NW of Houston.

We hadn't really thought about West of Houston, but one of the reasons we've been so enamored of the country is because of some of our best friends in the world, that we couldn't consider to be more family even if they were family, have lived out there for years and years.  "Ma" as we shall call her, had a beautiful old farmhouse that she lovingly fixed up and saved from some mis-informed yuppies (this was the late 80's after all).  Suffice it to say, they had already begun their 'renovation' by ripping out an old wooden pantry to put in an all mirrored and glass shelved monstrosity, complete with fluorescent lights .  Anyway, she bought the house from them, put her touch on it and made it into a great home on about 5 acres in the country. 

After deciding that it was a bit too much house, she found a small frame house in Houston that was slated for demolition, ironically, not far from where we live now, and had it moved out there.  She plopped it down the road from her big house, onto a family member's property and tucked it way in the back of about 10 acres.  And there she has lived for the last 15 years.

Fast forward to today and she and the family want to sell part of the land, and her house, so that she can move to someplace even smaller and easier to manage.  So the first thing she asked was if we would be interested in her house along with the land.  Originally we had thought about buying just the land, and someday building a home.  Now we might just have the chance for a home that we can use as our base of operations to work on the land and turn it into our dream property.

So that's what we have, and in another post, I will share details of the property, what it looks like, what features it has, etc.

We can't wait to call it our own!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

10/10/10 Totally Off Topic.....

But wow, it's 10/10/10.  Or is that Ten/Ten/Ten?  I guess technically it's October 10, 2010.  Still, I think that's cool for some reason.

I know next year, we'll have an 11/11/11, and last year we had 9/9/9 and so forth, but it's still fun.

I read that this is a popular day for people to get married so they can remember their anniversary, and I'm sure it will also be an easy date of birth to remember for all the babies that will be born!

Wherever you are in the world, hope you have a Happy 10/10/10!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

More Farm and Garden Reading!

OK.......magazines.  While there a million books out there on farms and gardening and an endless variety of topics related to that, there aren't exactly a lot of magazines that are devoted to the topics you need to learn, but being the magazine business, I'm sure that's directly related to demand for a specific topic.

ON10 Small CoverGRIT cover September-October 2010 IssueMOTHER EARTH NEWS: October/November 2010

Here are a few of my favorites. While "Grit" has been around for a long time, the one that has the biggest and best name recognition today is probably "Mother Earth News" .  Believe it or not, the magazine is now celebrating it's 40th Anniversary.  "Hobby Farms" is full of great info, and so is "The Herb Companion".  There are even magazines that focus on specic topics, such as "Backyard Poultry" which covers raising chickens, something we want to do for sure (not for meat but for eggs).  But more on that in another post.

There are of course many gardening magazines, it's often hard to choose just one or two.  For farm related topics in general, I think if I could only have one magazine, it would be a tossup between Mother Earth and Grit.  Both cover a wide range of topics.  Be sure and click on any of the links above (the underlined titles) and you'll be directed to their websites for a first hand viewing.

I've really learned a lot from these magazines, not only about what TO do, but what we CAN do in the future,and what we WANT to do if possible.  So many great ideas.  Now we just need some land to do it all on!  SO.....Any other great magazines out there that I'm missing?  Suggestions?  Feel free to post in the comments section!  I'm always up for some new reading material!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


....but this is a very fun show to watch.  The Fabulous Beekman Boys are doing something similar to what we will be doing, though on a much grander scale.  A large, working goat farm and a business selling soap and cheese.  It's beyond my realm of thinking right now, but who knows what the future holds?  Still, it's great to watch & we wish Josh and Brent well on their journey!

They just finished airing their first season this past summer and are currently filming their second season.    **  Check your local listings  **

So You Want to Live on a Farm? Do Your Homework First!

So how exactly does one "plan" for a potential farm and/or farm living? 

My first piece of advice is to read...and then read some more, and finally, read even more!  There is a lot of truth to that age old saying that "Knowledge is Power."   Start reading and gathering info and building your own library of information.

There are so many places and ways to get information.  First, of course there is always the internet, just go to Google (or your favorite search engine) and put your search term in the box and you'll get a zillion entries. Ok, maybe not a zillion but a whole heck of a lot.  More than you might have wanted find!  I know that sometimes it can seem like information overload when you are online doing research. 

Don't get me wrong, I've gotten a LOT of information off the 'net.  I always recommend printing the ones you really love or find valuable so you don't have to try to find them later.  I know you can bookmark them of course, but I've gone back a year later and often find the bookmark link has changed and I can't find the info I wanted.  So I print out the ones I want to keep and have at my fingertipes, and I have even been keeping them in binders, but more on that later.

So if it seems overwhelming, you can always do it the old fashioned way and read a book.  This may seem like a no brainer, but honestly, I rediscovered my local library about a year ago and I LOVE it!  Come on, admit it, how many of us haven't been in a library since we had to do that report on Abraham Lincoln back in 8th grade?  I'll admit I hadn't been in a library in years, decades perhaps.  Then, one fine day I found myself in one, while 2nd Man was there for a meeting, I looked for the gardening book section (which conveniently is almost always near the food and cooking section!) and I could almost see the light shining down and hear the chorus singing.  Row after row of free books!  For the taking!  (and of course returning in 2 weeks).  A great resource.  And it's also a great way to 'try out a book' and then if you like it, head off to your local bookstore or Amazon and get your own copy.

If, like me, you are lucky enough to live near a used book store, here in Houston we have a great one called Half Price Books , that is another great source of books.  Again, they usually have a gardening or lifestyle section (what is it about them always being near the cookbooks?) and you can usually get some great deals. 

Lastly there is always eBay or its sister company . 

My point is, there is a lot of information out there.  It can seem overwhelming but sometimes you just have to dive right in and enjoy.  A good thing about books is that you can get very specific and look for a bunch of info on one topic in one book, for example, raising chickens, or square foot gardening.  Just one book that extensively covers a topic can give you a wealth of valuable information. 

Once you start collecting information (I've been collecting books and papers and articles for years), set aside a small bookshelf so it's all in place.  Or course be prepared, it can fill up quick!  I know from firsthand experience!  In future posts, I will list some of my favorite books, the ones that have helped me with planning.

In my next post, I'll cover some of the magazines I subscribe to, and or read on a regular basis.

Now, go get that library card, fire up that computer, or drive to your local bookstore and start reading!!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

City or Country?


This kind of living?    OR................


                                   ............................This kind of living?

OK, granted, we won't get the rolling hills and mountains in this part of Texas, but you get the point.  Don't get me wrong, we love having access to the stuff in the first photo, but we want to LIVE like the second photo.

I think we've found a great compromise between the two with the location we have found.  But more on that later!


So, a little more info.  We currently live in a historic area of Houston know as The Heights.  Lots of old frame houses, Victorians, Bungalows, Cottages.  Lots of people fixing them up, some doing a good job, some not so good, some left the same and some torn down and obliterated only to be replaced by hideously inappropriate "McMansions".  You know the kind:  Three stories, lot side to side, blocking out the sun for the small homes on each side, and almost front of lot to back of lot, then they leave a flower bed up front and call it a "low maintenance yard". 

We've been fortunate.  We bought a small bungalow back in the late '90s'.  Wait a second, was that REALLY last century and is it REALLY almost 2011?  Where are my jetpacks and robots?  Oh wait, they are here and here, but I digress.  Anyway, we've been fortunate, great neighbors on both sides (even though one is a recent construction, and big, it still looks pretty much like it's always been there or at least belongs there).  In fact, our whole little 'corner of the world' is just like that.  Nothing new and obnoxious on our part of the street.

So why do we want to move?  We have a great little restored bungalow, and we live in the shadow of the country's 4th largest city, near everything fun and cool.  Well, first things first, we aren't moving full time YET.  That's still a few years down the road.  It's been a pretty much lifelong goal of mine to own land that I can live off of, veggies, fruits, herbs, flowers, and I think I've brought 2nd Man into the fold as well.  Mention growing their own food to a cook and they get all googly eyed at the possibilities. 

So for now, it will be a work in progress, clearing, building, planting, experimenting, seeing what works, what doesn't, and what lives and what doesn't.  Through trial and error we hope to create the classic, small, American farm. 

Speaking of, could stuff like this be in our genetics?  My grandparents, step grandparents, great grandparents and numerous Aunts / Uncles etc through the years have all been farmers or gardeners to some degree.  I was born in the big city, moved around growing up from one major city to another all around the country before settling in Houston some 30 years ago.  But it seems the older I get, the more longing I have to get back to my 'roots', pun intended. 

So my question is, does anyone else, even if they have always grown up/lived/worked in the city, long for a more rural lifestyle?  Is it in our DNA?  Do you have family that did it and now you wished you could?  Or is it just a longing to get away from the hectic lives we often lead these days and move toward something simpler and more rewarding? 

Even if you don't share this desire, I hope you'll join us on our journey!  The more the merrier! 

Thanks again for visiting!