Sunday, June 30, 2013

VINTAGE POSTER SUNDAY SAVE SCRAPS FEED HENS

Save Kitchen Waste for Hens, vintage image courtesy of the UK Imperial Museum
Sorry for delay in posting.  I thought I had this on automatic and then went to the farm and realized it didn't post when I got back.

This one is another fun one.  I have posted a couple of similar posters with this same theme, but both of them related to saving scraps for pigs.  This one asks people to save scraps for hens (but mentions pigs in the caption).  It dates to WWII, the 1940's of course, and comes to us from the UK.

The hens look excited don't they?  LOL.

Residents could get a pail or bucket from the Council and just put food scraps and related waste in there and it would be picked up weekly.  Of course, it was for food waste only, as it says on the poster, keeping it dry and free of glass, metal, bones and paper.

As you may have seen from yesterday's post, it's been record breaking heat here, so most of my activities have been limited to indoors only, and as it should be.  This is dangerous heat.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

ONLY ONE WORD - HOT


Current Conditions   (notice the "feels like" when our humidity is factored in)


108°
Scattered Clouds
Feels Like:  190° 

Humidity: 74% 

Wind/Dir: 1 Mph / SW 

Visibility: 10.0 Miles 
Clouds: SCT at 9000ft
Sunrise: 6:23 AM 

Sunset: 8:25 PM 

Barometer: 29.73 

Dewpoint: 60° F 
UV: 5
         

Nope, not that's not a typo on the feels like.  Having hot temps and low humidity is vastly different from high temps and high humidity.  It's part of what makes Houston sometimes so unbearable in the Summer.

Friday, June 28, 2013

NEW VINTAGE LOOK DESK LAMPS


I found these great lamps at a discount store recently.  They are actually cast iron, in white, with these black, crackled glass shades at the top.  They hold 75 watt bulbs and so I found some CFL bulbs that put out the same light and only use 23 watts.  We put them on the desk in the foyer because the last time I was there at night, I realized that there was no light in the foyer and it makes the desk unusable at night.  So I had been looking for something that would work.  Saw these and they turned out to be perfect.  I think they even have a bit of a retro feel to them.  They almost look like large candle holders.  One on each end of the desk fills the small foyer with light and now I can sit at the desk at night and write.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

INSPIRATION THURSDAY, DOORS AND WINDOWS IN LANDSCAPING

Birdbath and flowers with repurposed doors, image courtesy of homegoods.com
Here is something I've always loved...and not necessarily the fountain, more the flowers with the doors.  I think I've always liked the look of doors and windows just randomly placed in the landscape.  Here, these are used as a backdrop to a flower garden and just look really nice.

The cool thing is, we have 2 (smaller) old french doors with peeling paint, and broken glass, being stored in the mower shed.  "Ma" left them behind when she sold us the house and I didn't want to get rid of them because I remembered this picture.  I can use them for something similar.  For now, they are there in the shed, waiting for their 'day in the sun'.  I just have to find the right spot!

We made it to Thursday, the weekend is almost here!

Be inspired!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

LATEST FARMHOUSE FINDS


So the other day at lunch, I stopped in HOMEGOODS, a discount store with home related things for sale, and I found these bargains.




 First up are these awesome bottles.  One is for milk, and is embossed with the words "absolutely pure milk" on one side and a cow on the other side, and the other bottle is for juice, and it's embossed with the words "jus de fruits".  I think they will look great for using at the farm.  We'll wash them and keep them in the fridge out there so they are ready for use when we need them.  Very neat!




The other find we just loved immediately.  It's a framed print that says "The Most Important Things Aren't Things".  How true is that?  Best of all, it's in the perfect colors for the bedroom, blue, white and black, and the background detail looks like old, weathered boards.  It will be the centerpiece of the collage wall I'm working on.  It will mean so much when surrounded by pictures of friends and family.

Monday, June 24, 2013

THOUGHTS ON GRASS CLIPPINGS

Since I didn't get to mow a couple of weeks ago because of rain, it had been two weeks and the grass was tall. As I mowed, I noticed lots of clippings being left behind.  I know they are good for compost but as we don't have compost set up yet, I was wondering what to do with it.  I thought I had remembered hearing once that leaving them on the lawn was good for it?

Does anyone know for sure?  With about 3 acres of space that I regularly mow, I have too much to bag up and even when we do have a compost bin, it will be too much to put it all in there every week.  So what do you all do?  Do you rake it up?  Do you just leave it where it lays and let it decompose back into the grass and soil?  Thanks for any advice!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

VINTAGE POSTER SUNDAY, WOMEN'S LAND ARMY

Women's Land Army, vintage poster image courtesy of Imperial War Museum
I've posted a few of these and each time I find a new one, I love them even more.  These come from the UK and date from WWII.  

During the war, at a time when the military was men only, the women who were back home were asked to help out where they could.  This program enrolled women in an "Land Army" so that they could help out with the farming industry to keep food growing and harvested and, apparently keeping the cattle happy as well.  I really like the image on this poster.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend, it's hot and hotter here!


Friday, June 21, 2013

WE HAVE BEEN FEATURED


NADEAU
Many regular readers will recognize the name above, it's one of our favorite stores.  We have purchased some of the furniture that we needed for the farmhouse at this place over the last couple of years. 

Recently, our local store, that knows us well, asked if we had some photos that their corporate office could use to highlight some farmhouse style furniture.

So we forwarded some pictures, and about a week later, we were sent the following link:


We were humbled that they wanted to use photos of our house for a posting on their company blog!  I'll have to admit, it's kind of wild to see pictures of your own home on a store's website but there it is.  They also wrote a very nice little article about us and gave us a shout out link back here to our blog.

Nadeau is a great furniture store with a really neat story of how, why and where they get their furniture.  Read all about it by clicking HERE.

Houston Nadeau store
And of course, if you live in the Houston TX area, please visit the local store:
2414 University Blvd, Houston, TX 77005  (713) 942-9310.

You can see their inventory by clicking HERE

David, the manager, and his employees are pretty awesome, if we do say so ourselves.  Tell 'em 1st and 2nd Man sent you!  (we get nothing in return, this is just a purely unsolicited testimonial)

We'll be there at some point this weekend, looking for a couple more pieces of furniture we can use.


AND...there are some other interesting things in the works that I'll share at a later date when and/or if they (hopefully) come up.

Suddenly, things are kind of exciting at Seda Bolsa!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

INSPIRATION THURSDAY, FLOWER CUTTING GARDEN


SIGH.  That's all I can really say about this week's inspiration.

As soon as I saw it, I imagined part of our yard set aside to something like this.  Of course it requires constant watering and at this point, I have to figure that out for the vegetables first, flowers will have to come later.

They are so pretty though!

Have a great day, it's almost the weekend!

Be inspired!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

UTILITY SINK IN THE MUDROOM


This might not look like much changed but it's all hooked up!  Finally!  Had a plumber come out and make the connections.  This spot used to be where "Ma" kept her washing machine.  There was hot and cold water and a drain.  We decided we weren't going to have a washer at the farm and opted instead for one of these nice utility sinks (or slop sinks as they are often called).  Picked it up at a restaurant supply store for a great price.  We needed a plumber to do it thought because the pipes needed to be cut and repositioned, as well as moving the floor drain over, and, well, that was just slightly above my pay grade, ha.


So now, boom, WATER!  We have running water in the mudroom sink.  Yay!  I envision all sorts of things happening here.  It's a sink just as you step in the mudroom door from the porch, and it's off the kitchen as well.  Lots of outside uses, and lots of cooking related uses.



The next plan is to find some shelves to go above it.  I'm not 100% sure but I'm leaning toward something stainless steel to match the sink.  It would almost make it look like a unified unit.  But then old wood would be kind of cool too.  We'll just have to see what we can find...that's half the fun anyway.  Best of all, if we ever DO want to put a washer back here, the connections are pretty easy to switch out.  Until then, if we should want to wash clothes at the farm, l think this sink will work just fine with a washboard.*

*I'm not sure 2nd Man would agree with that assessment, LOL!

Monday, June 17, 2013

HOW DO I GET RID OF GRASS IN GARDEN AREA

I need your help.  No, this isn't an Easter egg hunt lawn, it's the inside of my future garden area before mowing it.  Now there will be more raised beds in here, about ten more actually.  And I'm working on a plan for a drip irrigation system.  But this mowing is just getting too difficult and will only get harder.

The Big Green Zen Machine of course doesn't fit through the gate and in the future, wouldn't fit between the beds anyway.  So it's either borrow 2nd Family's push power, or use the weed eater.  Regardless of which I use, they both throw grass everywhere, including inside the raised beds.  I would like to kill off all the grass inside here.

Again, there will be more raised beds that will 'eat up' grass space, but between the beds, I just can't have grass that I need to mow/trim/edge or whatever.  I don't want to pour down chemicals poisons all over the ground but I'd be open to natural solutions too, so long as nothing would affect what's later planted in the raised beds.  Weed block cloth I guess could be a possibility, it would kill off the grass and be 'ready' for future topping material?  I'm not sure what I will put down as the final material, gravel would be really nice but would also be cost (and probably labor) prohibitive.



Bark mulch?  Straw?  Decomposed granite?  Sand?


Thoughts?  I am open to any and all suggestions!

I'd like to get started on grass killing soon, so that I can start building the other beds and then get the irrigation system in.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

WEEKEND UPDATE




The cows, for a change, did not seem the least bit interested in my goings on.  I guess they are either used to me by now, or had more important things on their minds this weekend.



Some more wildflowers sprang up after the rains last week.  They added a little color along the fence line and I did not mow over them.  I'll leave them be until they stop blooming, then I'll mow that spot.  


It was a cloudy day with a bit of breeze but hot, very hot. It started out cloudy and kind of dark which made the first hour of mowing very nice.  No hot sun glaring down and I had a "relatively" cool breeze blowing.  It didn't last long though.
  


Bee update, there were still a few hanging around, but not as many.  I think there were six here when I took this picture when I arrived and then when I left, they were gone. I can only hope they made it safely to where they were going.

VINTAGE POSTER SUNDAY, AGRICULTURAL CAMP

Vintage Lend a Hand on the Land poster, image courtesy of UK National Archives

Here is yet another really nice poster from WWII.

The UK was asking its citizens to help the farmers because so many men were serving their country in war.  They set up these Agricultural Camps to get people to help farmers with harvesting.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the Dad's out there.

We're thinking of ours today!

Hope you're having a great weekend.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

TREES AFTER THE DROUGHT

Trees after the drought
I thought I'd share some of the views of property around us.  This is about a half mile down the road from the farm.  These are what trees that didn't survive the drought of 2011 look like now.  Of course, it's always best to cut them down but the ones on this land were not taken down.  Instead, they've been left upright and are slowly being overtaken by vines.

A sad reminder of what happens when there is no rain for almost a year.

Speaking of rain, since I couldn't mow last weekend because of the rain, I'm off the farm today to accomplish that task.  It's going to be a hot one, heat index of over 100 according to the forecast.

Enjoy your day!
  

Friday, June 14, 2013

CLAY NAPKIN RINGS FARMHOUSE FIND

Quick bargain find.  I stopped in a thrift store the other day while on my lunch  break and found these terracotta clay napkin rings.  

It was a set of eight and I thought they were perfect for the farm dining room.

Best of all, the set of eight for $1.99.

I love a deal!
And it's Friday!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

INSPIRATION THURSDAY, IN GROUND FIRE PIT

In ground fire pit, image from Sunset Living
Here is something I've wanted at the farm since, well, way before we ever had it.  When we would visit 2nd Family for birthday's, holiday's, etc, invariably we all ended up (on cool evenings for sure) sitting around their fire pit just staring.

What is it about fire that fascinates us so much?

Anyway, I saw this picture a while back, before we ever bought the property, and it's pretty close to what I imagined I'd like to have in our yard.  I like the metal ring, the flat stones, the gravel and even those cool little benches.  I also envision something perhaps a bit more comfortable like Adirondack chairs or similar, but I must admit, the benches draw me as well.

I've already identified the area on the property where something like this will go.  That could actually end up on this year's bucket list, but if not, it's definitely on the 3rd year of our 5 year plan and so it would roll to next year.

In the meantime, enjoy and as always,

Be inspired!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

DEWBERRY PICKING DONE FOR THE SEASON

Bucket full of dewberries
I was able to pick a few dewberries weekend before last.  There were still a few more out there that I didn't get to but this is still not even remotely as big of a crop as it has been in the past.  I only got this bucket and a few more in a bag, about six cups total.  I washed them, froze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and then vacuum sealed them in two 3-cup packages which is just about enough for a cobbler.

I had hoped to get a few more the following weekend since there were still some red ones (unripe) on the vines but unfortunately, the birds and the rain took the last of those.  I took the picture below to show you how they ripen, they start off green of course, then they just go from red to black/dark purple, sometimes one row at a time.

I'll have a neat story about them to share soon, and I'll post our cobbler recipe.

Oh, and did I mention that they are yummy to eat?  They are!

Dewberries up close

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A POST ON BEES ON A POST

Bees on a post
 When I left for the farm last weekend, 2nd Family emailed and said that when I opened the gate, I should be careful, a bee party was going on near the lock.

It was a group of about 40 bees that made a temporary home on the gatepost.     
When I got to the farm they were there and when I left they were there, but no more had arrived.  This was over a week ago.  When we went out this past weekend, they were STILL there.  Strange huh?

I looked at them up close and didn't see any queen.  When it rains, they leave, and then when it's dry, they come back.  Any thoughts?

With all the problems bees have in the world right now, I worry about them.

UPDATE:

I contacted a bee person and, just like several of you confirmed below as well, they are most likely scout bees looking for a new home.  There is something attracting them to that post for whatever reason and they are seeing if it would be a viable new home.  They'll hang around, swapping out scout bees (almost like a changing of the guard) and then will eventually give up and move on to find another place.


Monday, June 10, 2013

FARMHOUSE BISCUIT RECIPE POSTED AT LAST


Well, it's been a long time coming.  Many of you have asked about the recipe when I mention them in previous posts (see Sausage Gravy and Biscuits HERE).  But me getting this post together with pictures involves getting into the kitchen before 2nd Man starts making them in the morning and I'm usually too late, possibly probably because I'm sleeping in!

I'll post the whole recipe at the bottom of the post but along the way with each step, I'll post what is being used and what is going on.



First, preheat your oven to 500 degrees (this is just to get it hot, it will be turned down when you put them in).  Pour 2 TBSP vinegar into a measuring cup and then add enough Half and Half to make 2 Cups and whisk to combine.




Next, measure out 1 lb, 5 1/4 ounces of all purpose flour (about 5 cups).  Mix into a bowl with 2 Tbsp baking powder, 2 tsp kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp baking soda.









Cut 1 1/2 sticks of cold, unsalted butter into pieces and add to the flour mixture.








Cut it into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter (or forks, spoon, knives, whatever you normally use).












Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the liquid mixture into it.





Gently fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until barely combined.  Sprinkle some extra flour on your counter or work surface.








Tip out dough onto floured surface and using floured hands, gently bring dough together into a ball.




Roll out to about 1/4" thickness.












Using a bench scraper, fold short ends over, 1/3 toward the middle and another 1/3 onto the top of that.



Next, take the left and right sides and fold them to the middle.  It should look like this when you are done.  Roll this out to 1/4" thickness and then repeat these two folding steps one more time. This is the part that can seem intimidating to some, but it's also the part that gives you those wonderful layers in your biscuits.






Now on the last folding step, you will roll out to about 1/2" thickness.





Using a biscuit cutter (we use a 3" diameter), cut out your biscuits.  Gather up loose bits and roll back into 1/2" thick layer and repeat until you've used up all your dough.





This is what each one looks like as you cut them out.  Place them on an un-greased baking sheet.



Gently press tops to make sure they are touching (this helps them "climb" and rise higher).  Put them in the oven and turn it down to 400 degrees.  Set the timer for 20 mins (more or less depending on your oven).


Voila!  You should have fluffy biscuits!

We didn't do it on this batch, but after they are baked, you can brush the tops with a little melted butter right after you take them out of the oven.

Farmhouse Biscuits:

1 lb 5 1/4 ounces all purpose flour (about 5 cups)
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp plain white vinegar
2 cups half and half
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter

See steps above for the process.
Good luck!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

RAINY WEEKEND OVER

It starts with darkening skies...


Then you can see the rain coming in the distance...


And finally it opens up and washes out your plans...


Didn't get hardly anything done outside at the farm this weekend.  I mowed about half an acre before the rain started Saturday.  Then we hoped that this morning it would be clear but as you can see above, it was not, in fact, today was worse than yesterday.  So, we did some projects inside that we needed to do and then came back into town.

Of course, I look at the upside...I didn't need to water the fruit trees!

VINTAGE POSTER SUNDAY, POTATO FARMING CAMP

Farming Holiday Camp, vintage poster image courtesy of Imperial War Museum
The poster image this week comes to us from the UK and dates from WWII.

With soldiers off to war, the harvest still needed gathering and so with this one, the government was asking people to help harvest potatoes at a "Farming Holiday Camp".  Not sure how many people would consider a great holiday to be digging and harvesting potatoes, ha.  But hey, according to the fine print at the bottom, if you signed up during October and November, there was free travel and accommodation.  That sounds like a deal to me, people might go harvest today if it involved a free trip and place to stay!

For those new to the blog, every Sunday for the last few years, I've tracked down the image of a vintage poster, usually from WWI or WWII, and posted it with a little background.  It's a fascinating glimpse of our history.  If you click on the 'history' label, you can see previous posts.

Back to the farm today, hoping the weather cooperates.

And guess what's coming tomorrow?  The long awaited biscuit recipe post!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I FOUND SOME WILD COLOR

Yellow wildflowers
On the far back corner of the property, I found some color while I was mowing, growing wild of course!  These yellow wildflowers would be awesome if they'd just randomly grow all around the house, but alas, nature just doesn't work like that does it?  The rest of the day was rained out.


Second attempt on Sunday!