Monday, November 30, 2015


Now THIS is a day we enjoy because you can avoid the crowds!  Here it is, the "online" equivalent of "Black Friday". 

Cyber Monday is when we do much of our shopping.  Shopping online is so much easier, no crowds, quite often free shipping, and now we love using AMAZON PRIME.   We have personally had Amazon Prime for over a year now.  It offers free shipping on tens of thousands of items, no more trying to make the amount add up to a certain level (currently $35 or more).  You can literally order something for $2 or $3 and that's it, you don't pay shipping AND it gets to most places in 2 days (sometimes same day shipping in certain zip codes).  There are a lot of other features, including all of the great unlimited streaming movies and TV shows they have, you get a free kindle book download every month (one book out of four or five new releases), you can borrow books (like the library), over a million songs on ad free radio stations, Prime Pantry, and much more.  But let's be honest, we love the free shipping the best, ha.

We also love eBay, Etsy, iTunes for gifts and all the other usual suspects.  It's always fun to try to find something unique as well, something vintage, something someone collects, a hard to find item.  Those can make the best gifts. 

Do you have any websites for fun and/or unusual places you recommend for shopping?

Of course, I am not ashamed to admit I don't mind receiving gift cards.  How do you all feel about gift cards?  Do you like getting them for people and/or receiving them?

~Have fun online shopping today~

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Most every Sunday, we try to post an image of old posters that we find during online surfing.  We enjoy the ones that reflect farming, gardening and/or food preservation and rationing.  We enjoy them because we often wonder if anyone today would heed the kind of advice they gave back then...enjoy!

War Plants Need Corn, poster image courtesy of NY Public Library, War Images
Well this is an interesting poster image.  It's from WWII and urged farmers to move their corn to market as the war plants (manufacturing supplies/equipment for the war effort) needed them.  Not sure why, but we're guessing for fuel?

Hope you are having a good weekend, it's cold and rainy (and wet cold is the worst kind of cold) and so not much got done at the farm.  I got one raised bed prepped for Winter, a new method we're trying (post on that next week).  Next weekend is supposed to be sunny and clear, so fingers crossed!

We're off this afternoon to 2nd Man's Great Nephew's 4th birthday party.  We can't believe the long weekend is almost over...where DOES the time go?

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Found this magnet in a box of papers.  My Mom had given it to us as a joke a few years back and it got put into a box.  Being small and flat, it was misplaced.  and so when we found it, we had to put it on the stove at the farm.  She thought it was funny because she loved our cooking.   

Of course, men do tend to dirty up more dishes for some reason...

Off to the farm today, it's wet and cold.  Imagine that!

The rain has stopped so I'll put on the rubber boots and see what I can get done.  The back of the jeep is filled up with bags of soil/compost for the raised beds, we'll see how many I can get done before I need warmth, ha.  Of course, after last night's show, I'll most likely be singing the entire book of the Phantom of the Opera....hope the cows don't mind. 

Friday, November 27, 2015



This is where we are tonight!  

2nd Man surprised me with tickets.  I'm sort of a musical theater geek and while I've seen Phantom of the Opera before, it was in Los Angeles, back in the 90's.

Photo courtesy of Houston Broadway
This is a sort of remastered version...same music but all new production, sets, lighting, costumes, etc.  It's making a national tour and stopping in Houston for only a couple of weeks.  It actually ends this Sunday.  

When 2nd Man bought the tickets, he thought we'd already be living downtown in our apartment and could just hop over on the local metro rail.  But oh well, we're not far away, we do have to park and I hate looking for parking in places like this but hopefully it won't be too bad.  

One of my dearest friends in the world, Alison (she comments frequently) was the roommate of another dear friend of ours, Laurie, who passed away unexpectedly a few years ago.  Poor Alison, she had many a night where she went to bed in her room while Laurie and I sang musicals in the living room, (including Phantom of the Opera) until all hours of the morning.  I'm sure she'll be along in spirit tonight.  2nd Man said he's going to make sure I don't start singing along with the production...certainly don't want to create a "scene", LOL.  

We'll see...

We are only three rows back, orchestra level.  It will be a night to remember!

Music of the Night
Nightime sharpens, heightens each sensation.
Darkness stirs and wakes imagination.
Silently the senses abandon their defenses.

Slowly, gently, night unfurls it's splendor.
Grasp it, sense it tremulous and tender.

Turn your face away from the garish light of day.
Turn your thoughts away from cold unfeeling light, and listen to the music of the night.

Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams, purge your thoughts of the life you knew before.
Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar.
And you'll live, as you've never lived before.

Softly, deftly, music shall caresss you.
Hear it, feel it, secretly possess you.

Open up your mind, let your fantisies unwind,
in this darkness that you know you cannot fight.
The darkness of the music of the night.

Let your mind start a journey to a strange new world, leave all thoughts of the life you knew before.
Let your soul take you where you long to be.
Only then can you belong to me.

Floating, falling, sweet intoxication.
Touch me, trust me, savor each sensation.

Let the dream begin,
let your darker side give in, to the power of the music that I write.
The power of the music of the night.

You alone can make my song take flight.
Help me make the music of the night.


Here are a couple of pics (just got home, about 11:30pm).  They don't allow pics during the show, of course, but during intermission we could snap photos.  

We were only three rows back...the orchestra pit was just right in front of that seat in front of me.

...and right under the chandelier that of course plays a major role in the production...when it 'explodes' and crashes down, pieces of the fake glass (clear rubber) and glitter rained down on us, it was SO awesome!

Oh, and the production was "SOLD OUT", but oddly there was an empty seat next to me.  A single seat.  I'm sure the person just couldn't make it for whatever reason but to me, it felt like Laurie was there with us and she had her own seat.  



It's not something we really participate in.  We don't like the crowds and fighting people for $50 off on a TV.  It's just kind of nice to relax on the day after Thanksgiving and recover from the eating.  Plus, it seems the older we get, the more "anti-crowd" we become.  We'd rather have a quiet day at home or the farm and off work.  

For those outside of the United States who may be unfamiliar with has traditionally become the day when stores have their biggest sales of the year, and they move from being "in the red" to "in the black" (i.e. profitable).  So stores have become known for having crazy good deals on this one day of the year.  Deals so good that many times, people camp out in line for days before Friday just to get that large flatscreen TV for $100 or something like that.  Most deals though are just a little better than a regular big sale.  They lure people in with a few really amazing deals because it gets them larger crowds who might buy something else.  No thanks, we'll stay in and pay regular sale price later on if we decide we need something like that.  

Our weather today is questionable.  I'm going to try to get to the farm to work on those raised beds but rain is coming yet again.  I could put it off to Saturday but the weather is even MORE questionable then.  I'm so over this crazy weather...we need a different kind of consistency, ha. 

Do YOU get out and fight the crowds for good deals today?

Thursday, November 26, 2015


No, not the birds...US!!

We once again did our vertically roasted turkey.  Here it is oiled up, seasoned and ready to go into the oven...

...and here it is a little less than one hour later.  YES, ONE HOUR...for a 13.5 lb bird.  All hail the benefits of a vertically roasted turkey!

Turkey, fresh rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, cranberry salsa, and a side plate of roasted Brussels sprouts (didn't fit on this plate, LOL).  

And we still haven't had the homemade pumpkin pie yet...

We think Brisbane and Hobart have the right idea...they have already had a snack of turkey and now a nap is in order!

UPDATE:  Several of you have asked in comments and sent us emails, about how we did the turkey.  We realized that new blog visitors might not have seen the posts before.  We started doing this in 2012, and then every year since.  Instead of redoing it as a new post, click below for links to prior years that we've done it with more detailed instructions.







We'll be having our own small Thanksgiving, cooking up some good food, and sharing with others.  Posts will be sporadic this weekend, unless the weather changes things of course.  This IS Houston after all, it might be nice, it might be a monsoon flood, it might be warm, it might be thing IS for sure, we'll have full tummies!

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you, we are truly thankful to call all of you friends...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Today, well tonight actually, as I have to work, we are going to 2nd Man's family for a tradition they like to call Steaksgiving.  

With family members married, having kids, new in-laws, etc, it's hard to get everyone together on Thanksgiving Day because everyone is pulled in other conflicting directions.  So last year, they started a smaller get-together of just immediate family to free everyone up for Thanksgiving Day.  Instead of eating turkey and all the trimmings twice, they decided on steaks with all the trimmings.  Thus Steaksgiving was born!

2nd Man and I are bringing homemade yeast rolls, green beans with bacon and tomatoes, and cranberry salsa.  There will also be potatoes, other sides and of course the star attraction...steaks!  I'll take a picture of the final plate of food and come back later to add to this post when we get back home.

'Cause beef is always good...

UPDATE:  Photos from tonight...

Steaks from the grill, fresh mashed potatoes, green beans with tomatoes and bacon, mac and cheese (for the little guy in the family but of course, don't adults love a little mac and cheese too?), cranberry salsa and yeast rolls...

...and of course, a glass (or two) of wine.  It was a lovely evening, family and food...always a good combination! 

Anyone have any other traditions around or different from regular  Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


So a few months back, I spent a day off going through one of our storage units and got one emptied out.  Some was donated, some of it (broken items) was thrown away and then I brought some things to the farm.  For those that are new to the blog, these are storage units that have some of our stuff in there and then the stuff I inherited from my Mom and Dad.  We had three, and now we're down to one large one and another small one that's almost empty.  It has my Dad's tools, workbench, etc that will go to the barn at the farm soon.

This is a coffee pot with sugar and creamer that belonged to a Great Aunt in my family.  I can't remember off the top of my head the maker but it is very pretty and we'll definitely keep it (and use it) at the farm.

These are Mom had assembled a collection of vintage aluminum-ware.  She had a red tray, twelve cups of varying colors, a yellow pitcher and four long spoons.  We can't wait to use these next Summer for some ice cream floats perhaps? 

This bowl belonged to my grandmother.  It's not in the best shape with a few nicks and chips and the gold trim rubbed off in spots but it's still a neat thing to have.  We think it will make a nice bowl for sitting out on the counter...fresh fruit perhaps?

She also had this old, vintage print.  It's sort of a painting but not an original.  I think these used to be sold in five and dime type stores.  It's pretty and because of the flower themes, it will go great in the guest room at the farm.

So those are a few of our latest bargains, and I say bargains because they were the best kind...FREE because we already had them!

Monday, November 23, 2015


We were recently sent some items to review.  The first of these are eco-friendly wool dryer balls and came to us courtesy of "Double Up Farm".  They are handmade from the wool of their Romney sheep.  

The direct link to them on ETSY is HERE 

You simply toss all three of them into your dryer with your wet clothing and turn it on to your normal setting.

Let them tumble around.  I even caught one on camera through the glass front of our dryer as it was spinning around doing its thing.  

After you are done, you can just leave the in your dryer as we did here, so they are ready for the next load.  This keeps you from forgetting the next time around. 
Double Up Farm All Natural Wool Dryer Balls
They say a set is good for about 500 loads of laundry.  That's about 3 cents per load...definitely much cheaper than buying and throwing away regular sheets.

They come in a package of three in a handmade bag that we'll find another use for as well (we're keeping the balls in the dryer all the time).  We don't like to use fabric softener sheets because they have chemicals and usually a scent that is sometimes off-putting. Double Up Farm will add essential oil scent to these if you wish but they come standard with no scent.  Hmm, come to think of it, a lavender set might be nice for sheets and pillowcases!

We wish there was a way to convey how soft the items were when they came out of the dryer.  Our towels and t-shirts were much softer than they had been before.  It was a noticeable difference.  And if you are wondering if any wool fibers or hairs were released, nope, we had some black dress socks that always seem to attract random fibers and they were free of wool.  No chemicals, no fake smell, and best of all, no waste to throw away when done.  The best of living green!

I'm sure that as we use them week after week in our laundry, they will only makes things softer.  We can't wait to watch (and feel) that happen.  These will definitely be on our list from now on.

So a huge shout out and thank you to DOUBLE UP FARM.  Please stop by their website or their ETSY SHOP and say hello.  And pick up some all natural wool dryer balls, you won't regret it.  

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Well, after the rains yesterday, and the temps near 80 on Friday, tonight we are plummeting to below freezing for the first time since end of last Winter/early Spring.

Freeze Warning in Houston - Galveston

Active for next 12 hours · 
This alert has been updated.

Freeze Warning expanded now in effect for areas along and north of the Interstate 10 corridor and more rural areas of northern Harris County through 8 AM.
Winds will become calm over most of the region by 9 PM.
Temperatures only reached the mid 50s during the day and calm winds combined with the clear skies will allow temperatures to fall rapidly this evening. By Midnight areas around Conroe may reach freezing and by 3 AM many areas in the warning may fall to freezing. Temperatures will warm back above freezing around 8 AM.
Freeze Warning In Effect From Midnight Tonight to 8 AM CST Monday.
The National Weather Service in Houston/galveston has issued a Freeze Warning, which is in effect from Midnight Tonight to 8 AM CST Monday.
  • Event: freezing temperatures with minimum temperatures falling to between 27 and 32 degrees.
  • Timing: temperatures will fall below freezing between 3 and 5 AM.
  • Impact: A Freeze Warning means Sub-freezing temperatures are imminent or highly likely. These conditions will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation.

But as with all things "HOUSTON WEATHER", we just wait a few days and it changes...sure enough, look at Thanksgiving day...almost 80!!!


Most every Sunday, we try to post an image of old posters that we find during online surfing.  We enjoy the ones that reflect farming, gardening and/or food preservation and rationing.  We enjoy them because we often wonder if anyone today would heed the kind of advice they gave back then...enjoy!

Eat Cabbage, vintage poster courtesy of UK War Archives
This is a fun poster.  It was touting the benefits of cabbage...a salad a day keeps the doctor away.  This one comes from the UK and the WWII Ministry of Food.  With meat, cheese, bacon and eggs in short supply, the ministry of food was tasked with reassuring the public there was plenty of other good, healthy food and of course, this one promoted cabbage and it's health benefits for civilians.

Hope you are having a good weekend.  It's clear today but COLD!  

Update later!

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Thought we'd share a couple of pics from last weekend (our one and only sunny  weekend apparently).

Artax the Horse
Whenever we do go to the farm this weekend, I'm sure we will be joined by these two friends.  Above is 2nd Family's horse, Artax coming over to our fence to see if I had any snacks say hello...and below is her best friend, the neighbor's cow who is named Mona.  She has been coming over to the fence line to visit with Artax since she was a calf.  

Click HERE to see a post we had last year about their friendship.  

Mona the Cow

Not sure we'll make it to the farm today though, sigh.  Here is this morning's radar image.  Rain, some of it heavy, all around the area.  It's another front moving through.  Tomorrow will be clear, so they say, but colder.  Since I ended up mowing last weekend, thank goodness, I still need to get the raised beds prepped for Winter (which, apparently, is coming soon!) and have some edging to do.  We'll see how much gets done.  No more goofing, time to get serious!  Now if only the weather would cooperate...sigh.

Hope you are off to a great start to your weekend!

Friday, November 20, 2015


Saw this in the grocery store and just couldn't resist snapping a couple of pictures.  It's for a Belgian Ale called SHOCK TOP...

Shock Top Ale VW Beetle
I believe this was a contest that you could enter to win.  I thought it was kind of cool to see. 

Some people might not want to drive it but I think it's fun.  Of course, I'm guessing the 'mohawk' would cause issues on the open road, LOL.  I've never seen a car in this color orange, but seeing it in person, it's actually not bad.  If I won it I would drive it! 

Anyway, hope you are having a good Friday.  The weekend is almost here, the weekend before Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Tree stump planter, image via pinterest
We have a few tree stumps around the property, and I've often wondered if they would be better off left alone or if they could perhaps be used as something else.  I would have never thought about this but we love the idea.  Hollowing out the center a bit, adding soil as you would to any container, and the filling it with flowers.  How cool is that?  

In a way, it's the ultimate in recycling.  Now I'm sure that at some point in time it will break down of course, but by then it has served it's purpose, as a tree in life and as home to flowers after. 

Be inspired!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


As I was roaming around the property, just relaxing and unwinding, a plant caught my eye.  We've never seen this on the property.


Pokeweed Berries
Not even in this spot, which we've walked past a dozen times, have we ever seen it before.  It just sort of sprang up over the last couple of months.  I"m sure it's poisonous and/or  otherwise dangerous because we don't seem to have the luck for something naturally occurring that's also edible, LOL.

It's certainly striking in appearance, quite beautiful actually.  My guess is a bird dropped a seed and the rest, of course, is nature doing what it does best.  

Any thoughts?

Update:  You all came through once again!  POKEWEED!!  

And as has been noted by other below, the stories and links and comments are wonderful.  I swear it is true, you can learn something new every day!  

Thank you all!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


We got this email alert last night from the City of Houston, warning of the weather coming today.

It's going to be an interesting afternoon for sure!

Here is the morning's coming!


AlertHouston | Severe Weather, Including Tornadoes and Street Flooding Possible Tuesday

DATE: November 16, 2015 11:40:35 PM CST

The City of Houston is monitoring the potential for severe thunderstorms, some of which may spawn tornadoes, as well as cause heavy rainfall beginning Tuesday.   The main threats from this system will be damaging winds, the potential for multiple tornadoes, and heavy rain, which may cause flooding of roads and low-lying areas. 
Residents should take steps to prepare for this type of weather.  This includes:
  • Ensure you have a way to be informed of severe weather.  This includes having a NOAA Weather Radio, and making sure your mobile phone is charged and can receive Wireless Emergency Alerts.
  • Be prepared to take shelter if a Tornado WARNING is issued for your area.  The best place to shelter from a tornado is an interior room on the lowest floor possible.
  • Be prepared for delays during Tuesday commute.  Plan extra time, as rainfall may make some access roads impassible. 
  • NEVER drive into areas of high water. If you can't see the street below, the water is too high for your vehicle.  Please remember to Turn Around, Don't Drown.
Be sure to follow local weather broadcasts for the latest information.  In addition, stay up to date with the National Weather Service's website and find local rain and stream flood gauge information at For updates on this situation, visit the City of Houston Emergency Information Site at


I found these NOAA WEATHER RADIOS on Amazon...the more severe weather we get, the more we think we need something other than our phones and computers.  

Does anyone have something similar?

UPDATE:  Storms came through, some heavy winds, lots of rain, a few funnel clouds spotted but nothing reached the ground.  And now it's COLD...

Monday, November 16, 2015


Had to mow this weekend, zen machine time is always good.  So I thought I'd share this.  Remember when we asked for advice on what to do with this mess in the backyard left behind from the clearing?  

You all had great suggestions, flower seeds, clover, etc.  Of course, right after I posted that, weeks and weeks and weeks of monsoon rains put a halt to any sort of intentional planting we might be able to do.

Backyard before
What I did instead was, on the few times I was able to mow in between the flooding downpours, I always mowed this area so that the exit chute of the mower would blow the grass cuttings into the cleared area.  My thinking was that maybe seeds would also get blown that direction.  Weeds or grass, it didn't really matter, at least we might get something to fill that in.  

Well it took a few months, but...

Backyard after it is now!  It's completely filled in with grass.  I do need to clear the fence line (next time it's not raining, ha) but hey, the yard is looking nice. 

 It happened much quicker than we imagined.  

Now we just need to decide what to do with all this open space.  I daydreamed while I was mowing and thought I'd ask.  For the wide open yard space, we'll have to wait until next year.  Of course, flowers and flower beds/islands will be there at some point, just can't do that now.  I can put down seeds next Spring but we wanted something more substantial at first.  One idea we tossed around...we still have our muscadine grapevines that we've moved around in various pots in town until we can get them planted in the ground.  They are doing great so we thought about using part of this spot as the grape arbor area.  However, it does face North (the fence line is due North) and that probably wouldn't be good for the grapes.

For now, and the first project, we'd like to have a wind break along that back fence.  Something to block the North winds, especially in Winter.  We thought about fruit trees, but they probably wouldn't be so good in a wintry North wind.  Also, while there are about 300 acres behind us, owned by one person...we have to imagine that while it might just be cattle now, if they or family members ever decide to sell it off, there is a chance that homes could be back there someday.  We'd like to grow something now and let it fill in for a few years in case that ever does happen, for privacy and/or security.

Rose hedge?  (THORNS)

Edible hedge of some sort?  (FOOD SOURCE)
Quick growing but low height trees or bushes? (PRIVACY)

Any suggestions?

Sunday, November 15, 2015


OK, so I couldn't resist.  We rarely buy scratch off lotto tickets but when I heard these were coming out, well, we just HAD to get some when I stopped at a store on the way back into town.  And since it's on tonight, why not...

The Walking Dead Scratch Off Lotto tickets
Of course, they are Walking Dead themed.  I'm not sure how many different photos there are but I picked up three.  

We scratched them off during The Walking Dead, hoping for some luck...while we didn't win $30,000, we did walk away winning $10 total.  Since we spent $6 buying them, I'll say we're ahead of the game.  

As Kenny Rogers would say, you gotta know when to fold 'em....

The weekend has been good!  Weather almost as perfect as it can get for some stuff done, also took some time to just do nothing, after weeks of weekend rain, it was kind of nice to take a break.  Though I did feel like I wasted some time but we need that on occasion, right?


Most every Sunday, we try to post an image of old posters that we find during online surfing.  We enjoy the ones that reflect farming, gardening and/or food preservation and rationing.  We enjoy them because we often wonder if anyone today would heed the kind of advice they gave back then...enjoy!

Get in the Scrap, vintage poster image courtesy of
This is part of the WWII scrap metal recycling program.  Of course, getting everyone to save their scrap metal needed to show what it could be used for in the war effort.  A battleship took 20,000 TONS of scrap metal.  

Amazing that people turned in that much scrap metal.

We wonder about a poster like this now....what would be built of scrap metal?  It's hard enough to get people to recycle aluminum cans.  It's probably not as glamorous to say that aluminum cans be made into more aluminum cans, or paper become new paper, etc, but it's just as important. 

Weekend has been wonderfully beautiful, more later.  Hope you are having a great weekend doing what makes you happy!