Tuesday, April 30, 2013

LIVING ROOM ARTWORK FROM NADEAU


Found some great artwork for the wall in the living room.  It was a big blank space and kind of oddly shaped so we had to find just the right thing.  Recently, we were in our favorite store, Nadeau, and they had received a shipment that included two sets of these.  We bought the four different styles they had and this last weekend, I put them up.  They fit perfectly.

Nadeau artwork

Here are two of them up close.  They are painted to look like a sort of old postcard printed onto planks of wood.  Of course, they are images of flowers, which add color to the walls and somehow they seem appropriate for the farm.

Don't forget, cookbook giveaway ends tomorrow, only eleven entries at the time of this posting, so your odds are pretty good so far.

Monday, April 29, 2013

FRUIT TREES ARE STARTING TO BUD OUT




Was roaming around after the rains and checking the fruit trees.  


The Pomegranate tree has buds all over it, probably ten or twelve.






There is a pear coming in on one of the pear trees and  a couple of flowers on the other one.






Here are some Satsuma Mandarins coming in.





These are tiny Barbados Cherries that are starting to bud out.





The dewberries are SLOWLY coming in, we've usually harvested in mid April, these look like mid May.




Even a few Meyer lemons are starting to develop. 

They could all just drop off in a few weeks, ha, but fingers crossed that everything keeps growing.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

WEEKEND ALMOST A WASHOUT


The weather yesterday was a disaster.  Parts of town had 8 inches of rain.  Hundreds of cars underwater and crazy hail, so much that it looked like snow.  It rained from about 10am until early this morning.

Flooded highway Houston, image courtesy of accuweather.com
I did manage to get a haircut and I stopped by the feed store we have near our neighborhood (awesome to have an old style feed store in the shadow of downtown Houston).  They sell only heirloom plants.  So I picked up some more herbs and veggies.  I'm going to have to baby them in town until I can get them in the raised beds.

Today, I went to the farm when the rain stopped and checked things out.  All was good, no damage, but the ground was VERY water logged.

I got to see the fence in person, let me tell you, it's amazing.  I know I know, where are the photos?  Well, the inside, and around the beds, is about 2 feet tall in grass!  The plan was to borrow 2nd Family's push mower and mow and edge the garden area yesterday and then get the plants planted today.  But alas, I couldn't.  So I guess you could say, it's not exactly ready for it's closeup.

Sunset Boulevard Photo: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Today, I also moved the apple tree I planted a couple of weeks ago.  I found out from 2nd Family's "R" that I planted it on top of the leach field for the septic tank.  Oops.  Then I moved one of the pear trees, I was also told by "R" that it was a bit close to the overhead power line and the electric company has a 10 foot right of way on each side of it.  I was about 10 feet away on this one but I figured why not move it another 10 feet just to be on the safe side. I'd hate to have it grow for the next 5 years then have them come make me cut it down.  One advantage, with the excessive rainfall, the ground was easy to dig.

Lastly, I was able to get the herbs planted in the herb bed and here they are:

Herbs in a square foot garden
I'll have more on them later, but some were grown from seed in containers in town and the others I bought much smaller from the local feed store and babied them for the last two weeks while the fence was being built.
Still have room for a few more, just didn't get them all in.

Hope your weekend was productive!

VINTAGE POSTER SUNDAY, HELP FEED YOURSELF


Here is a pretty neat poster.  I like everything it says, and there is a lot of information on it.  Help feed yourself by making backyards and vacant lots productive.  It was put out by the USDA in the 1940's.

There were three sections, one was to "grow vegetables and fruits", the second was "can or preserve surplus perishables" and the last was in case your soil wasn't good, then you should "keep a flock of hens".  Do your share it says, because someone has to raise or pack everything  you eat.  I think no words could be truer today.

Oh, "demonstrate thrift in your home, make every jar help feed your family".
Awesome.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend, we have had a semi-washout.  If it's not raining when this posts, I'll be at the farm at least checking in on things.

We'll see how the day goes, hope your weekend is going better!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

CURSES FOILED BY THE WEATHER

You might have read THIS POST from earlier today.
Well, this is the radar image for the farm when we tried to get there.  The white circle has a "pin" that is the exact location of the farm on the map
(side note, I love weather apps).  For those curious, blue is light rain showers, the greens are moderate, yellow is pretty heavy storms, orange is very heavy and red is very severe.  Not sure what the dark red is...end of the world?  LOL.  We were about halfway out there and saw the dark clouds and checked the radar.  We were hoping we could beat it but alas, no way to do that.  So we turned around and came back.  Barely made it too.  Funnel clouds reported, hail, high winds, lightning and torrential rains today.  Here in town, we've had almost 2 inches in just about 3 hours and it's still pouring down.  Parts of Houston and surrounding areas have received 8 INCHES of rain today.  Great for the plants and water table, but bad for my weekend planning
(and can't see the fence in person, arrrrgh!).

Sigh, fingers crossed for tomorrow!

Click here to enter the cookbook giveaway.

AT THE FARM TODAY

Off to the farm today.  And we have news.  The fence is done!

Woo hoo!  I have to mow inside of it where the raised beds are and edge around them, then it will be ready for it's photo session.


I've also got all the herbs and veggies I need to get in the beds.  I've been babying them along at home in town while the fence was being built, leaving them in small reused black containers (the ones I grew from seed).  Of course I also have the ones that I bought at this awesome feed store near us that sells only heirloom plants.  So excited. 

My only issue this weekend could be fighting the rain.  There is rain in our forecast today, scattered, more widespread tomorrow.
If I get rained out, I'm going to be disappointed.

Until then, enjoy this picture I snapped last weekend after I mowed.  This birdbath was left behind by "Ma" when she moved and it sits under a mesquite tree.  In the background you can see one of the citrus trees I planted.

Don't forget to enter the cookbook giveaway, it ends next week.

Hope you have a great weekend, updates later and of course I'll catch up with your comments and reply to them as well!

Update:  Foiled by the weather, see HERE

Friday, April 26, 2013

FINAL TEXAS WILDFLOWERS OF THE SEASON


Our 'famous' wildflower season is not all that this season.  It's the freaky late cold, the lack of rain, and the mild Fall.  There just aren't as many flowers springing up.  I had to drive around a bit to find some blog worthy photos.  


This is just down the road from the farm.  These pictures don't really do it justice, but the contrast of the green and the flowers was just so nice.


This was TRULY one to see to believe.  I looked across the street from the first photo and saw this.  It was a sea of orange as far as you could see.
Very striking!


These are pretty, mostly pink, and a few purple ones popping up. 


These yellow ones are all over the place in the ditches and sides of the road around the farm.  Yellow flowers always make me smile.


Lastly, I just thought this was almost a quintessential photo, the fence, the trees, the metal shed in the background, and of course the yellow, pink and blue wildflowers.  It was just so pretty!  There were other people who had stopped on the side of the road and were taking pictures as well.

Unfortunately, our state flower, the Bluebonnet, was nowhere to be seen.
Not sure, but my guess is these are the last of the wildflowers for this season.

Sigh.  Better hopes for next year.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

INSPIRATION THURSDAY, OUTDOOR DINING


Many of you who have followed our journey know that we have this great old tree we named "Barnabas".  It has a great open area under it where I want to put a dining table and I'm always looking for inspiration for lighting and seating.

A wonderful FOF (Friend of the Farm), The Happy Hippy, saw this and emailed it to me.  She is just the sweetest thing to think of us.  She has a blog but has also transitioned to a beautiful Facebook page as well that links from her blog.

I love the simple white tablecloth and the wicker chair.  The lights are also neat, and would work well in our tree area.  That's on our project list for this year so I'll have to keep photos like this and others on hand.

Have a great day,

Be Inspired...

Oh, and don't forget to enter this month's giveaway by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

OLD FASHIONED DOOR LATCH



In the bathroom at the farm, the doors are original but the old knobs were shot.  I tried replacing them but it was too complicated, needing major modifications.  We decided to just use these static pull knobs.  Unfortunately, they don't latch and lock the door and while that's no problem for just us, our guests might like to latch the door.


So I decide to kick it "old school" and use this type of latch.  It's called a "hook and eye latch".  I think they are used more often now on gates but there was a time when they were used on doors in old homes to latch bedroom doors or closet doors or bathroom doors.




Now you just close the door, flip the hook into the latch and the door stays "locked" until you open it.  Is it the prettiest solution?  Probably not.  But sometimes the old solution is the easiest solution.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

AND THE SAGA CONTINUES


When we got to the farm, the first thing we did was check the mousetraps.  We put down ten the last time we were there, and eight were still not triggered...but two of them, well, let's just use a visual:



So we immediately checked around and found this:


The couch has been gnawed on!  ARRRGH!  Damn mice.

I looked around further and noticed this box in the bottom of the guest room closet.  It had a tool in it that 2nd Man had given me as a gift last year and I had just put the box in the closet until I could use it this Spring.
On a whim I decided to check it and found this:


A chewed up box...that I opened...and found this:


YUCK!  The lair of the mouse/mice!  This one was pretty large too.  Even the "fluffy stuff" matches the fabric and stuffing taken stolen from the couch.  Perhaps the two killed above belonged to this nest?  Regardless, the whole thing (minus the tool of course) was rapidly disposed of.  I used a stick to check the nest for others/babies and all was clear.

We have some of those sonic machines in the house, and we've used the Irish Spring soap method...but coincidentally, this closet was the furthest away from the noise of the machines, and the one place I hadn't put any of the soap.


So off to the store I went for some fresher Irish Spring soap, the one in the "original scent".  The first time I used it, I just cut them in half or quarters.  This time I decided to just cut each bar into many pieces.  I also bought these clear plastic dessert plates at the grocery store, a package of 20 for $2.00 and used them as plates to put the soap on.  Then I put them in all the cabinets and closets, under beds and furniture.

I don't know what else to do.  I suppose if it's any consolation, 2nd Family said that in all their years there, they hadn't seen it as bad as this year.  Not sure if it's the weather or what.  Whatever it is, we don't like mice.  Period.

The rest of the weekend was good, I mowed, I edged, I planted fruit trees, I cleared some more areas, and I did some things inside...



...oh, and I did manage to do this.  Oops!

I was in the zone on the Big Green Zen Machine, listening to Adele and as I headed into some tall grass, I ran over this shovel.  Yikes.  The blades shut off automatically, so I stopped and checked it out.  The handle was sticking out the back end and the shovel portion was jammed underneath.  I pushed the mower back and forth while pulling on the handle and it came out.  2nd Man was not happy.  He said I need to be more careful.  You try being careful when you're "in the zone", LOL.

I also put up these:


Hurricane Railing Lanterns
They are these really neat candle hurricane lamps that are made to clamp onto porch railing.  We had them in town, but they never really fit onto the abnormally large railing on the back deck there.  I decided to try them on the farm porch.  They are perfect and I can't wait to light them (need to find some candles first) and see how they look.  We have five of them, two on the sides of this set of stairs and two on the other set of stairs.  I can't show you the other picture though because it has a view of the garden fence under construction and that's almost ready for it's unveiling, just not quite yet.


Monday, April 22, 2013

AND YET MORE FRUIT TREES


It was a good weekend, for the most part.  I will share more of the events in the next post.  For now, I'll share these pictures.  Hope I don't bore you all with my fruit tree plantings.  I do this to share of course on the blog and also to give me some sort of record of what we've got planted and where.
So this weekend I put in five more trees:

Pear trees
The first two I planted were pear trees, two varieties.  One, a "Kieffer Pear" and the other, a "Pineapple Pear".  I put them together as they benefit from mutual pollination.  They are on the side of the property behind the area of the barn site and at the back of what I'm calling the future "chicken yard".

Dorsett Golden Apple Tree
Here is one that I really hope does well.  It's a "Dorsett Golden Apple".  It's about the only variety of apple that does well in our semi-tropical climate.  I planted it away from the house but still close enough to see out of the dining room windows.  I figured it would be pretty when in bloom.

Mayhaw Trees
And here are two of the same trees that I planted on the garden side of the property.  Everything is so green it's hard to see the second one, ha.  Again, as I did with the figs and the pears, they are along the neighboring fence line so that as they grow in the future, they will provide some more privacy.  These two are "Mayhaw" trees.  Hope to have some great jelly in a year or so.

This only leaves me with four more to plant.  Two will be easy, the other two I need to do some more research on where they will grow best.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

VINTAGE POSTER SUNDAY, RED CROSS

Vintage American Red Cross poster, circa 1917, image courtesy of US National Library
This poster dates from WWI.

In light of the events of the last week, I thought this one somehow seemed appropriate.  The American Red Cross is a great organization that responds to disasters, both natural and man made.  I love the image on this poster, it's so pretty, and the words are just as true now as they were then.

It's been a good weekend at the farm, tree plantings, mouse hunting, fence building, mowing, and general things to do.  I will have an update later.

Don't forget to enter the APRIL GIVEAWAY that started yesterday.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

APRIL COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY




Well it's that time again (after the time actually), to have a book giveaway.
This month, we're giving away this cookbook.

It's the "5 in 10 Dessert Cookbook", by Natalie Haughton.
It features desserts made with only 5 main ingredients and they take 10 minutes or less.  There aren't any pictures inside like a glossy cookbook, but there are some great recipes.  It's 175 pages long and has 160 recipes.  Copyright 1993.  For example, Chocolate Raisin Bread Pudding, using milk, cornstarch, semisweet chocolate chips and cinammon raisin bread.  Or Raspberry Mousse, using heavy cream, frozen raspberries, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract.


As always, and for those new to the blog, the rules are as follows:

You need to be a "friend of the farm" (follower) and then leave a comment here on this thread letting me know that you want to be entered, because after all, it might be a book you already have.

The contest will run until midnight at the the end of the month at which time I'll randomly pick a winner and then you can email me your address at that time.

The contest is open to everyone, even those in other countries, and since we're in a new year, even those who won a giveaway last year are eligible again.

One entry per person.

Thanks and good luck!


GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED, DRAWING THIS WEEK WEEKEND

Friday, April 19, 2013

JOHNNY WILDFLOWER SEED


OK, taking a cue from Johnny Appleseed, I had this bag of wildflower seeds that I decided to do something with. I also has this old broadcast spreader, normally used for fertilizer, and so I put two and two together and filled it up.  Then I walked all along the fence line where there was some freshly turned dirt and I just spread it around.  Some got in the dirt some in the grass.  Luckily for me, we got a nice soaking rain with more to come this week.
Anyone else ever done this and had success?

I'm not sure what will happen but hey, if I get a few flowers, I'll be happy, but if I get something like below, I'll be ecstatic!

Wildflower meadow, sadly NOT ours.  Image courtesy of DIY network

Thursday, April 18, 2013

REFLECTION THURSDAY


With the horrific events in Boston earlier this week and now the terrible explosion here in Texas last night, it just doesn't feel like a day to be inspired.  

Instead, our hearts are heavy.

We've seen the worst in people with the bombing, but then we are lifted when we see the best of people with the first responders and ordinary people who stepped up to help those in both Boston, Massachusetts and West, Texas.

We are thinking of those who have lost someone.

Hug someone you love today.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

STORAGE UNIT FAUX BIRD CAGE FIND


Stopped off at our storage unit recently to see what we might have that we could use.  For those new to the blog, my parents have both passed away, unexpectedly about 5 years apart.  When my Dad died, we helped my Mom downsize and move to an apartment.  She wanted to keep stuff until she could figure out what to do with it.  Then, she passed away a few years later and I had to get everything out of her apartment before her lease was up. I added most of her stuff to the unit as well.

Flash forward to now when we are able to use the storage unit as a shopping booth for things for the farm.  It's kind of nice to find stuff that belonged to them that we can use out there.  This isn't old of course, I think my Mom found it at a store back in the 90's.  But it's a cool birdcage and it's fun and fits perfectly in this spot in the living room. Now if only the storage unit was neatly organized, life would be so much easier, LOL.  One of these days I suppose I'll get a wild hair and do that.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

MORE FRUIT TREES PLANTED




The first thing I planted this weekend was our Wonderful Pomegranate (that's the name, not a description, LOL).  I put it off the side of the driveway, directly across from "Ginger" in a clearing I've recently created by edging and mowing.  This is the best for our part of the country, hoping we have some good Pomegranates in our future.


Next up was the Barbados Cherry bush that I've had.  It's not an actual cherry, it's just called that because it resembles a cherry.  Here is where I got some fruit off of it last year, while it was still in the container.  Hard to see in this picture but it's a small bush shape.








And lastly, I planted the Santa Rosa Plum.  It's supposed to be an easy to grow plum and we both love plums, so I have hope for this one.  Found a nice clearing to plant it in so it will get plenty of sunshine.

Monday, April 15, 2013

ANTS IN MY PANTS AND OTHER CREATURES

So, always the usual saga of interesting things happening at the farm, and this weekend was not to be any different.  We did get to do several things out there that I will share in the upcoming days.

So we get there on Saturday and walk in and one of the cabinet doors in the kitchen is wide open!  Now, did I forget to close it last time I was there?  Or did something come up from under the house, through the openings around the pipes under the sink and "force" its way out by pushing them open?


No thank you, I don't want to be there and hear the door squeak open in the middle of the night, so off to the hardware store we went to get this:


Child safety lock!  Ain't nothing getting through those doors without a fight!  The noise is bound to give me time to get a broom, or a knife, or whatever.


I got all the mowing done and while mowing, I saw a couple of toads and, of course, mowed around them.  But this little guy/gal kept hopping into the path of the mower so I had to get off and push him to hop a different direction.

Image courtesy of davesgarden.com




...and then there were the baby bunnies jumping out of every thicket of brush I mowed near.  Since they were fast as, well, bunnies, I found this random photo online for your viewing pleasure.  



So then on Sunday, I go out there by myself.  I was digging holes for some more fruit trees and I had scooped up a shovel full of dirt and tossed it into some brush, but just then a big wind blew through and most of it blew back my direction.  Thinking nothing of it, I kept working.  Then I felt it.  A sting on my leg.  Then another on my arm.  Then another on my head.  Then another under my shirt.
Fire Ants!!!  I had thrown a shovel full of fire ants into the wind and then stood downwind of them.  They blew back onto me and a few landed pretty much all over me.  A couple of them in my hair, a few on my arms, and a couple that managed to crawl down my shirt into my pants, while a couple more crawled up from my shoes into my pants.  Really?  THIS AGAIN?  

They are vile, nasty little creatures that don't need to exist.  For those in other parts of the country/world, they are relatively small ants that have a nasty bite that burns (hence the name).  It also leaves a little pimple-like bump for a couple of days after biting.  Thankfully all of my little bumps will be covered by clothing for the duration of this week at work and I won't subject you to photographic images of said bumps.  Mental note for the future, never toss anything upwind while standing downwind...you never know what will come back on you.

DIE FIRE ANTS, DIE!

However, all this fun in the sun over the weekend did lead to my first
'farmer's tan'.  Isn't that what it's called?

My arm
Both arms burned red from the short sleeves down...the face and front and back of neck burned as well?  The rest of everything pasty Winter white?  Yep, that's me today.  Thankfully, once again, in addition my ant bumps, the long sleeve work shirts will cover this up all week...unless I wanted to go this route:

Image courtesy of cafepress.com
My boss might not appreciate it though, so long sleeve button down it is.
I will NOT however be entering any contest like this:

Sadly, once again, NOT ME in this photo
Never a dull moment in the country, but you know what?
I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I love every minute of it
(though some minutes less than others).