Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BREAKFAST TACOS RECIPE

Here is a favorite of ours, and with our recent gift of fresh eggs from our wonderful realtor, it's a great way to use a few.  Breakfast tacos. Or if you roll them up, breakfast burritos, ha. 




Start with diced potatoes (hash brown style) and breakfast sausage links.  We put the sausage in the pan with the potatoes and forgot to dice it.  Oops.  We pulled them out and diced them up and put them all back in.




Sauté until potatoes start to brown and sausage is cooked.  Then add 4 eggs. (love those yellow yolks). Stir to combine.  


While that is cooking, heat up some flour tortillas.  We have a gas stove (for now!) and like to flip them over an open flame a few times.  You can warm them up however you like, they should be warm so they are more flexible. 





Once the eggs are cooked, they are ready to put together.




Take your flour tortilla and spoon some into it.  At this point you can put in cheese, salsa or whatever you'd like to add to the taco.  
Breakfast Tacos with sausage and egg
Fold them in half (or roll up) and enjoy...we like to put them in foil to keep them warm and take them to work...if they last that long, ha.  Simple, quick, easy and best of all, yummy!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

BABY CHICKS

Got these pictures in my email box a couple of days ago.

2nd Family got some new chicks for their coop a few months back that I blogged about HERE.  Among them was an odd little chick that looked kind of like a black bird that somehow got mixed in.  She was smaller than all the others.  

There was also one that turned out to be a rooster.  A TINY rooster.  I've never see such a small rooster.  He has all the attitude but none of the aggression, oh and did I mention he's tiny?  All of the hens are bigger than him by at least two times the size.

Anyway, "birdy" as they named the odd little black chicken, sort of stayed to herself.  In their chicken yard, she made her own nest away from the other hens.  They didn't notice that she had laid some eggs in a hidden spot.  

Hen and chicks 
And then they went out the other morning and saw little fluffy black things running around in the yard.  Baby chicks!

Baby chicks
Yep, they now have five more baby chicks.  They, along with mama, have since been moved to the safety of the enclosed coop to give them their own space and "R" is building a new, larger coop using reclaimed wood (I'll have to get some pics next time we're out).  

I told them that with the tiny black hen and the tiny rooster, creating tiny chicks, maybe they have created a new variety of miniature chickens, LOL!  Can't wait to see what size egg they end up laying.  

My guess would be "small".  Very small.


Monday, September 28, 2015

PURPLE BALL CANNING JARS

We're so excited (well, me probably more so than 2nd Man, ha).  I was at a local grocery store the other day, Kroger, and saw these.  They are this year's limited edition Ball canning jars in purple.  I've been seeing them since they came out a couple of months ago and they were on my wish list...but at about $12 per case, I figured I'd wait, no hurry.  


So when I saw them in the CLEARANCE section, I thought, "hmm, I wonder how much?"  Then I saw a price tag on the bottom one.  $7.79.


Since they were bundled together (the box of pint jars was glued onto the box of quart jars), the price was $7.79...FOR BOTH!  If only they had more but alas, this was the only set.  The funny thing is, we saw them yesterday at another Kroger...full regular price!?!  I guess maybe the store I found them at was clearing out inventory?  Whatever the reason, their clearance is our gain.


The last three years, the Ball company has come out with special edition colored glass jars.  The first year was blue (but for some reason they only had pint size).  Last year was "spring green".  For the green ones, Ball (Jardin Brands) offered a giveaway on our blog.  I contacted them this year but haven't heard back.  Short of that, be sure and get them while you can.  Once they are gone, they will not make them anymore.  As you can see above, they are a gorgeous shade of purple.  


and



 Click Image
Ball Heritage Jars on Amazon
Even if not used for canning, the are beautiful just used for flowers or as storage jars for pens, craft supplies, or even pantry staples like nuts, dried fruit or pasta.  I haven't heard if they are coming out with more, I am hoping for an amber/yellow...or maybe rose/pink.

Have you bought any yet?  What colors would you like to see?


Sunday, September 27, 2015

MORE FRESH EGGS

We came home from a house showing last night and our amazing realtor had left us a dozen fresh eggs from her hens at their farm! 

variety of sizes and colors from a variety of chickens!

Farm Fresh Eggs
She and her husband have a farm outside of Houston and of course they have chickens.  She said she wasn't sure if we'd like them.  Um, yeah, she knew us way better than she realized, ha.  Gotta love fresh eggs!  Between our realtor sharing her eggs and 2nd Family sharing theirs, we get the fresh eggs experience without having the chickens (for now!).

Hope you are having a good weekend.  We are dodging rain showers today...and it looks like some heavy rain is heading this way later.  We made a run to the farm to take a few things and check the house but are back in town now.

More later!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALISON


One of our dearest and oldest (oldest as in known for a long time, LOL) is Alison.  She comments on the blog often and is just one of the neatest people you'd ever want to meet.  She also has a job where, while I can't go into details about it here, she helps people who are in some of their darkest times, with seemingly no where else to turn, start a new and better life.  

She loves sunflowers and so we just had to post this while we wished her the happiest of birthdays today!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALISON, 1st and 2nd Man luv ya!


HAVE AN AMAZING DAY

Off to run errands.  The house is showing twice today, so we have to leave while that's going on.  We're heading to the apartment (the previous tenant has moved out now and so we can see our actual unit).


Tomorrow I'll probably head to the farm to mow and edge...and take a few more things out there.  Seems a lot of stuff is finding it's way from in town to the farm.  But hey, we have the big barn and it is still empty...for now, ha. 

Our weather is slightly cooler, though even with the arrival of "Fall" a few days ago, it's not feeling much like it but hey, cooler weather is coming eventually.

Hope you have a great weekend and make today ridiculously amazing!

Friday, September 25, 2015

FELINE FRIDAY

Here's a random cat photo...this is Hobart, looking at me on this particular day like he's thinking "um, why are you taking my picture?"


He's just a big goofball and best of all, good natured.

Oh yeah, and he's solid black.  He's our very own...


  

Halloween Kitty!


Thursday, September 24, 2015

IRISES FOR YOU, INSPIRATION THURSDAY

UPDATE:  Going to leave this up for a bit this morning to give anyone else a chance, she still has some left.

Last Spring, one of our Friends of the Farm, Colleen, sent us these pictures of her beautiful Iris beds.  She has quite the collection! 


The pictures were so pretty, I asked her if I could use them for an inspiration Thursday post and I did.  I'm reposting them again today...

Iris beds
...because she has an offer!  

She wrote to let us know that she is thinning and dividing the beds, moving things around and has an offer of free iris rhizomes (divisions) for those who want them!


  • She will perform the manual/heavy labor and dig them up for free
  • She will provide the divisions themselves for free
  • All you will pay is the postage to ship the full boxes
  • Serious inquiries only (it's a lot of work on her end)
  • Cash or money order only
Send me an email by clicking the button over on the side bar or just use "houstonray@gmail.com" and let me know you are interested.  I will get you in contact with her and let y'all work out the details.

This offer is "while supplies last" of course since there are limited amounts she can dig up so act fast before they're all gone! (we've already got a box coming!)

Thank you dear Colleen!  You are awesome!


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

DUCKS COME TO VISIT

Noticed some new (albeit temporary?) residents on a neighbor's property...


At first I just saw some white movement in the distance and wasn't sure what it was.  Then with the camera zoom (above) I was able to see ducks!

Ducks
I swapped out the telephoto lens and zoomed way in and captured them in all their beauty.  There were only three of them but they hung around together everywhere they went.

Ducks on water
I noticed that there is a little pond back there and I'm sure that is why they were hanging around.  I asked 2nd Family if they knew if these neighbors had ducks and they didn't think so.  We're not sure if they were just passing through, I'll see if they are back again next time we're out there.  Makes me wonder if someday, after we have a pond dug, will we get our own ducks?

Anyone ever have temporary duck visitors like this?


Monday, September 21, 2015

MOVING ON UP


Wait?  
What?   




No, we aren't moving to the farm (darn it), but we will be moving out of the house we've lived in for 16 years!  That's the reason not a lot has transpired at the farm lately (well, that and of course it's been 157 degrees most every day this Summer).  I take that back, a lot has been happening because we've been taking several carloads of stuff out there as we pare down (downsize?) the things we have in town.

So what are we doing?



We're moving to an apartment in downtown Houston...more than 10 floors up in the building (hence 'moving on up", LOL).  This is the last move we will make before ending up at the farm.  We decided a few months ago to start looking for a new place to live, we call it our "in-between spot" where we could downsize a bit and get ready to move to the farm.  

We had to decide if we wanted another house in town?  After much thought we realized what would that gain?  We'd just still have a mortgage, we'd still have high property taxes and we'd still have the responsibilities of a house while still having the farm to work on!  It would really just be a lateral move.  Since we both work near downtown, we decided to investigate apartments.  We finally found a beautiful high-rise apartment that we loved the moment we saw it and so we decided to put our house on the market.

We can't, at this time, just move to the farm...we always knew this is going to be a longer term process and we're hoping to only take a few more years.  Selling the house in town will finally give us back some of our hard earned years of equity and that, in turn, will allow us to do more things at the farm to get the house and property even more ready for eventual retirement out there. 

Better to do all the infrastructure and "sweat equity" manual labor now while we're younger and have it all paid for by the time we're ready!  

Then when the time is right, we can enjoy the day to day managing of it.
Porch rockers ready and waiting
I'm here to tell you though, and many of you probably know this all too well, packing up and sorting through 16+ years worth of closets and cabinets and drawers and attic space and junk under the beds can be daunting (and very stressful at times).  Oh, and we now have to have the house 'ready' for showings which means we have to clean up and sort through things and then put it all back so it looks nice and neat!  Much easier said than done!  SO...that's what we're doing currently and why our runs to the farm have been quick while having other stuff to do in town.  

On the upside, we've found so many wonderful things (some we've forgotten about over the years) to take to the farm which now, unfortunately, looks like we just moved in for the first time.  There are other things we will be able to take out there later and not move to the apartment.  Also, as part of "staging" the house for showings, the realtor asked us to purchase random things (rugs in front of the sink and stove for example) and so I buy things that I can move to the farm (in that same example, found some great rugs, one with red cherries and one with red apples that will look awesome in the kitchen at the farm).


Next month comes the moving...


Sunday, September 20, 2015

SAVE THE WHEAT, VINTAGE POSTER SUNDAY

Most every Sunday, we try to post an image of old posters that we find during online surfing.  We enjoy them because we often wonder if anyone today would heed the kind of advice they gave back then...enjoy!

Eat Less Bread, vintage poster image courtesy of NYPublicLibrary Archives
After a few poster images before that had people eating as much bread as possible, now we found one that asked people to "Save the Wheat, Help the Fleet...EAT LESS BREAD".  The difference being however, eating more bread was during WWI, eating less was during WWII.  Interesting times!

At the farm as this posts and back to run errands in town later.

Hope you are having a great weekend!


Saturday, September 19, 2015

BACK AMONGST THE LIVING


Sorry for my absence.  The stomach bug was persistent but I won in the end.  Wait.  That didn't sound right.  Well, technically I guess I did, LOL!  

It was not a pleasant couple of days but I finally discovered an amazing treatment (cure?), at least to whatever I had.  Activated charcoal.  

I'll have a post on it later.  

Haven't been to the farm yet, will go in the morning but have to come back because we have other stuff going on in town that I'll share later as well.  Lots of changes coming soon for us, but it's all good stuff.

I will start replying to all of your wonderful comments later tonight.  For now I just wanted to let everyone know I was back and OK (2nd Man never got it).  

Thank you for all you well wishes...


Thursday, September 17, 2015

SICK DAY

Well, this post-it note says it all...


I've got a stomach bug of some sort, I won't share the details, suffice to say, I need some recovery time today.  


Crackers and Gatorade, always our best way to get back on track after a stomach bug.  Should be back tomorrow, stomach willing, and will catch up on comments then.

Thanks, as always, for visiting our little corner of the Internet!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

MORE COWBELL


Here is something that's a family heirloom of sorts, LOL.  

My Grandparents had this cowbell that was, a long, LONG time ago, on the family cow. 

Antique cowbell
I couldn't find a mark or name on it, so I'm not sure who made it originally.  It appears to be brass, or at least iron and brass and is very sturdy.  It almost looks hand made the way the metal is bent around the corners.  

Of course, back then they were probably ALL handmade, ha. 


Above, the rivets on the side are still holding tight after all this time and below, you can see the part that makes noise.  It has this great clanking metal sound that we can imagine hearing years ago to let them know where the cow was.

Vintage cowbell
Unfortunately, I don't know much of the family story behind it.  For example, the name of the cow?  How many did they have?  Sadly, now there is no one to ask...missed opportunities...but we move forward.

Of course it will look cool just sitting on the desk at the farm, but we were actually thinking of using it almost like a dinner bell...we thought that might be a fun way to re-purpose it for use today.

Or any other suggestions?


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

BUTTERFLY MOMENTS


Not a long post today, instead, something shorter and to the point.  

I took this picture while at the farm (click to enlarge) the other day and I thought I'd share with all of you...

Butterfly moments
...we just love butterflies of all types, and this quote just seems to fit so beautifully.  It reminds us all to live life to the fullest and take all we can from every single moment!


Monday, September 14, 2015

DO YOU SEE IT

Do you see it?  
Up there in the tree?


What about now?  
There in the middle?


How about now?  
YIKES!

Wasp nest in tree
  Yep a HUGE wasp nest way up in a mesquite tree, not too far from the bee yard area.  I had to take care of it, we hate using chemicals but these wasps can be very aggressive and I don't need to bump into the tree with the zen machine and have them fall on me...that wouldn't be so "zen", ha.  They are also very near the beehives and we don't need any sort of insect war going on... 

I used wasp spray that shoots about 25 feet and that was just about at the far end of the range.  I did it and then ran.  Wasps are gone now.

I guess I'll have to keep an eye on the sky from now on as I roam around.  Recently, 2nd Family's "R" was stung several times as he was cutting a limb on a tree and didn't see a wasp nest that was higher up until it was too late.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

SUNDAY UPDATE

Good day on the zen machine!  

The weather was cool(ish) and we had low humidity, first small (very small) tasted of Fall.  Of course, the nice weather brought out all sorts of creatures, including this snake.  It was a small grass snake I believe.  I had watered a plant and it slithered around in the puddles.  


2nd Family told us we had 3 inches of rain last week but the ground just soaked it up like a sponge.  There was only one spot with standing water.  The grass was green and tall and the ground was dry with no mud so that was good.  I got everything mowed and edged for the first time in weeks.  It looks SO much better when it's done, such a sense of relief, not to mention it just looks better.

Chicken Tikka Masala
2nd Man didn't go out to the farm this weekend as he had too much to do in town, but when I came home this was waiting for me.  It was wonderful.  Diced up chicken, sautéed in a pan and them simmered in Tikka Masala sauce and served over Basmati rice.  Yum!  

So what did YOU do this weekend?



KEEP SAVING FOOD, VINTAGE POSTER SUNDAY

Most every Sunday, we try to post an image of old posters that we find during online surfing.  We enjoy them because we often wonder if anyone today would heed the kind of advice they gave back then...enjoy!


This is a great poster, though a bit grim in its graphics.

Hope you are having a great weekend!  More later tonight, as this posts I'm on the zen machine mowing in our surprising cool weather...life is good, ha.



Saturday, September 12, 2015

PLANT ID FOR A BLOG FRIEND

We got an email tonight from a blog friend who needed help with some plant ID.  I asked if we could post the pics that were sent and ask all of you.

So up first is this bush they found...it has a small pink bloom.  


And then there is this.  Was told it's a vine type plant with thorns...


...and these berries or small fruits. I"m guessing they are most likely poisonous (aren't they always?  Ha).


I told them to come back later and read the comments so fire away with info if anyone knows about either one!  More updates tomorrow, busy day today.  Sunday will be Zen Machine time, finally, yay!!!


Friday, September 11, 2015

FRIDAY

Well, after several weeks of not much rain (other than scattered showers), there is now a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico (no development expected) that has led to rain most every day this week.  

Heavier rains started yesterday and continued into today...


But the weekend is supposed to be clear, so fingers crossed for that.  It might just be time for the zen machine on Sunday.

But of course if it DOES end up raining all weekend...


...we may just follow Brisbane's lead and nap on and off all day long both days.  Oh to be a cat...

And of course, we always take a moment today to stop and remember those lost on that terrible day 14 years ago, including the brave men and women first responders who gave their lives while saving others...