Wednesday, December 30, 2015

ALL IS WELL

Thought I should have a post up and give everyone an update.  We are well, the storms that hit Texas the other day were North of us, thank you all for your concern.  It was a messy couple of days but now it's cold and "feels" like Winter.  

We now have full high speed Internet up and running, so that's good (and good for blogging).  I will try to catch up on comments but it might be better for us now to just say thank you all SO much for the well wishes and advice and great thoughts during this whole process.  I'll also need to spend this weekend catching up on blogs.  I feel like I've missed a whole week of everything.  I was off work for five and a half days total and it feels like two.  It just FLEW by.

I'll post more on the actual move later but here we are, finally at the apartment and surrounded by boxes.  Believe it or not, we have already gone through about ten boxes and emptied them...this is the last of it..


well, a few more...


And a couple of happy, peaceful, sleeping kitties...


Life is indeed good...


Monday, December 28, 2015

GROWING CHRISTMAS TREES

I had this post ready for last week but because of the move and subsequent chaos, I'm posting it today.  Our Internet connection at the new apartment has been spotty, so I had to go with a post that was ready so I could get something different up instead of more moving woes, LOL.  I hope to get caught up with comments later tonight.

So without further ado, here is the delayed post:

Christmas Pine
So of course, over the last few weeks whenever I was at grocery stores there were always a couple dozen beautiful Christmas trees lined up for sale.  I stood there looking at them and snapped some pictures for this post.  

 Seeing them all lined up in rows like that made me wonder if we could actually plant, on purpose, some Christmas trees at the farm for our own future use?  Maybe a couple every season so that they are staggered in their development?

Christmas Trees
We actually like this kind of tree, not sure what variety it is, but of course, we'd also have to find one that does well in our climate.  There are a couple of Christmas Tree farms around us, the "cut your own" kind of places, and they obviously have trees that grow well.  Perhaps we could go visiting and see what they are growing.

We just think it would be so cool to plant some saplings and then in a few years, when we are at the farm full time, we'll have our own trees to cut year after year.  

Anyone ever grown their own Christmas tree?


Saturday, December 26, 2015

BLOGGING WITH A VIEW

OK...so it's not the farm, but it's a pretty nice view...


This is the view from the desk in the bedroom window looking toward the South.  Our unit is on the corner so we have this view from one room and then also have a balcony that faces into downtown.  I will get a picture of that tomorrow.  

Anyway, we are here, amidst boxes and trying to find things, but overall it was a pretty smooth process.  The movers were great, they knocked it out quickly, what we saw as overwhelming they just saw as a job and it was done in a few hours.  We got all settled in and went back to the house for the cats and brought them over last after everyone was gone.  It's funny, Brisbane, the old cranky kitty, was the one we thought would be most freaked out, but he is roaming around like it's a new fun place to play, while Hobart, the younger happy go lucky kitty, is currently hidden under the china cabinet.  I'd get a picture but it would probably be a black screen with two yellow dots, LOL!

It's been a long day, we are just relaxing, doing some laundry and adjusting to new surroundings.  Tomorrow we go back to the house to get all the little things you leave behind, and start cleaning.  Closing is Tuesday so we aren't done, still work ahead of us to do (and we are both off Monday).  Oh, and the weather is supposed to 'turn' tomorrow, it's currently 80's and humid, tomorrow is going to be rain and 40's.  More later!


MOVING DAY IS HERE

As this posts, there are movers packing, boxes all over the house, the cats are safely secured away in a room by themselves, there are piles for "donate" and for the "farm" and for the "apartment" and of course, random bags of trash...woo hoo it's generalized chaos!!


I'm not sure if I'll be able to get to my computer tonight, but if I can, I'll check in and let you know how it all went and start replying to comments.  

Send positive thoughts, we'll need them!


Friday, December 25, 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2015


FROM BOTH OF US TO ALL OF YOU, WISHING YOU NOTHING BUT THE BEST THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON!  MAY ALL YOUR CHRISTMAS WISHES COME TRUE!

*it's 81 degrees here, ho ho ho!  We can only dream of a white Christmas, or even a cold one!

"Twas the afternoon of Christmas and all through the house, the a/c was running 'cause we live in the South..."


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AND SNOW

Christmas Tree in the Snow
One of our dearest friends in the world was visiting her family in Michigan.  Her Mom had snapped this photo of their back deck, where they had an outdoor Christmas tree decorated in lights and then it snowed.  The end result was just magical!  She sent me the picture and I said "we have to put that on the blog".  

We don't get snow down these parts, flurries on occasion, certainly nothing ever like this, so we have to live vicariously through others.  If there is anything that seems to go hand in hand with Christmas, it's snow.

Of course, what is OUR Christmas Day forecast?  80 DEGREES!!!

Christmas is in a few days...got snow yet?   :-)


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

NATURE MOVES ALONG

When we were cutting up our pie pumpkins recently, I put a bunch of seeds in a bowl for possible roasting and put it in the fridge.  Apparently, two seeds were on the outside edge of the bowl and dropped off on the backside.  They stayed there for a few days behind a milk carton. We moved it and found this:

Pumpkin seeds sprouting
The right temperature and the right amount of moisture and they sprouted!  Amazing how resilient and persistent this natural process is. We wanted to keep them and put them in the ground but realistically, it is Winter and they aren't going to survive a freeze (possibly next week according to the weather).  

Still, it was fun to see nature doing what it does best.

Monday, December 21, 2015

IT'S LIKE TETRIS

2nd Man is constantly amazed at how I can fit so much stuff into our vehicles.  Case in point Saturday.  In light of our pending move, I transported a bunch of the plants (the largest ones) from in town out to the farm.



Here is the back end of the Jeep when I got it loaded. 


All of this came out of the vehicle.  Ten large plants in pots, four fruit trees and about two dozen more of the river rocks we've been taking out there. 


This is what it looked like after I got it all emptied out.  You have to learn how to maximize space for that very reason.  I always tell 2nd Man that it's just like the game Tetris...you have to put the items in just right, turning them until they fit!




However, we definitely foresee a farm truck in our future.  Something used of course, something that we can throw 14 plants and two dozen rocks into the back end of and not have to worry about cleaning it out afterwords, ha.  It won't be the first thing we get but it IS moving further up the list.  I only work about 3 miles from the house in town and 2nd Man is about 10 miles.  We have the small car for good gas mileage and the SUV for moving/hauling stuff (and people) around.  However, we do need a truck at the farm, a truck that stays there until we need to go pick up stuff...large stuff, dirty stuff, messy stuff, tall stuff, heavy stuff.  

Anyone have a truck just they use just for that? 


Sunday, December 20, 2015

GROW YOUR OWN, VINTAGE POSTER SUNDAY

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!

Grow Your Own...vintage poster image courtesy of NY Public Library
Here's a war poster that cuts right to the chase....Grow Your Own Fruits and Vegetables...Food Will Win the War and Write the Peace...it was sponsored by International Harvester (a tractor/farm equipment manufacturer) but of course also mentioned buying US War Bonds and Stamps to help financially support the government as well.  But as with most of these vintage poster image, it was still about gardening and food.  "Save all you Raise"!  

Wise words then and wise words today. 

Hope you are having a good weekend.  It's cool here but not cold.  We've been cleaning out the kitchen cabinets and drawers and a few other spots we hadn't gotten to yet.  It's slightly overwhelming but we'll get through it.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

BUSY DAYS AHEAD


Sorry for my absence Thursday, on Inspiration Thursday again no less!  More realtor stuff to do and make arrangements for, BUT....documents have been signed, inspections done, counter offer accepted, survey done and now they are setting the closing date!  The tentative date is 12/29.  Nothing like closing on almost the last day of the year!

For those who may have missed a post, we are selling our house in town, downsizing and moving to a high-rise apartment downtown.  It's the last stop before being at the farm full time in a few years.

SO, for the next week, we will be crazy busy packing, cleaning, moving and who knows what else.  There are a thousand and one things to do.  Our moving van comes one week from today!!!  

Oh yeah, and Christmas falls in there somewhere!!!




Posts will be sporadic...but I'll try to get something posted as regularly as possible, and I'll try to catch up on comments too.  Just know we're super busy. Besides, we might find something exciting as we finish cleaning out everything.  There is more to take to the farm, but not sure if we will go this weekend or do it during the week.

Hope you have a good Friday and a start to the weekend!


Any moving and/or packing advice?


Friday, December 18, 2015

STAR WARS OH HAPPY DAY

Yep.  I'm a Star Wars nerd.  When the original came out, I was 11 years old.  Side note, is it just me or are 11 year olds now vastly different from when we were 11 years old?  Anyway, I digress...

I grew up on the original Star Trek (Kirk, Spock and the rest).  That was my first science fiction experience.  And I loved every minute of it.  Then Star Wars in 1977.  It was the movie that defined my childhood, growing up with it and a sequel coming twice over the next six years after that.  They started when I was a pre-teen child of 11 and ended (at least the first trilogy) when I was 18 and an adult.  Yep, I even had the figures (oh to have kept them in packages).


The second trilogy began in 1999, well into my adulthood.  And now this first movie of the next (and presumably last) trilogy is coming out as I am into my 50th year.  It's like meeting up with old friends and getting caught up on what's been going on since we last saw each other.  

2nd Man is a huge fan too...and while we are both thrilled it's finally out now, are we going to be seeing it opening weekend?  No, not really.  One thing age has brought to us that was not a youthful concern is a dislike of crowds.  Seems like the older we get the more we like a less hectic environment and standing in line at the movie theater, shoulder to shoulder in a sold out theater is not as appealing as it once was seemed to be.  We'll see it, soon though.  


But since it's opening today, while we won't be there this weekend, I wanted to put up this post and think back to those days in the late 70's and early 80's when I was carefree and experienced the wonder of a galaxy far, far away...

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

LENTIL AND VEGETABLE STEW WITH SAUSAGE RECIPE

Here is a recipe that 2nd Man makes all the time and we just love it.  It's especially good on cold, rainy days like we just had this past weekend...and so I took these photos!








Here are the ingredients you'll start out with...celery, carrots and onions.




Heat a large pan with approximately 2 TBSP olive oil.  Sauté the celery until softened and the moisture starts to evaporate from the celery.





Next, add the shredded carrots and continue to sauté until they begin to soften as well.





Finally, add the onions and sauté until they turn soft and translucent.  At this point, the veggies should all be soft and full of flavor.




Now, add 2 lbs of mild Italian sausage, you can use ground or the links with casing removed.  Continue to cook until browned and fully cooked.




Here are the final few ingredients...a whole bay leaf, a small bunch of Thyme (tied together to make removal easier), 5 cloves of garlic (you can use less), and 2 TBSP of tomato paste.




Make an opening in the middle of the mixture and put the tomato pastes.  Sauté for a couple of minutes to really bring out the flavor.




Add the thyme bundle, the bay leaf, the garlic (leave whole or chop) and the 2 cups of lentils.




Add 6 cups of chicken broth (homemade stock is wonderful in this) and 2 cups of water, salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.




Bring to boil, reduce to low and simmer, uncovered, on low for 20 to 25 minutes.  Skim off any foam that comes up.  It will thicken and the liquid will reduce a bit.





Turn off the heat and then pour 1 1/2 TBSP of balsamic vinegar over the top and stir to combine.  

It's ready to serve!
Lentils with vegetables and sausage 
It's substantial and hearty and healthy.  You can also leave out the the Italian sausage, and substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth and it becomes a great vegetarian dish.  We love it with some crusty bread on the side.  It's even better the next day after it sits overnight and the flavors meld.

INGREDIENTS:


1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 medium onions, chopped
2 lbs mile Italian sausage (optional if vegetarian)
4 cloves garlic, whole
1 bunch of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 TBSP tomato paste
2 TBSP olive oil
2 cups (16 oz) red lentils (can also use green or brown)
6 cups chicken broth (vegetable if vegetarian)
2 cups water
1 1/2 TBSP balsamic vinegar (red wine vinegar can also be used)
Salt and pepper to taste

See step by step of ingredients listed are in photos above.

Enjoy!



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

LOVE ADELE

Watched the NBC special last night...sigh...such incredible talent...




I swear, when I hear any of her songs, I will just stop and listen. She mesmerizes me for some reason.

Do you all have a favorite performer that just makes your world stop so you can listen to them?


Monday, December 14, 2015

SEEING STARS

Look what we have...

OK, so as most of you know, our house in town is on the market and we currently have an offer pending.  While it was showing, i.e. "open houses", realtor's often suggest you do stuff to "add interest" to bare spots.  Well, we have this large, tall, privacy fence in the backyard.  Our realtor said to get some things that could be focal points on it since the fence is the first thing you see from the back door when going outside.  She suggested some sort of metal artwork for the space.  This might not have been what she had in mind but...

I was at the store one day a few weeks back and saw these...


STARS!!!

Stars we can use at the farm! 


You know me, they were on clearance as the store closed out the garden section to get ready for Christmas.


This wasn't their final position on the fence, I just took them down and put them all together in one spot for the photo.  The large bronze colored ones are THREE FEET across from point to point!  The two smaller white ones are half that size.



Barn Star (what it will look like when painted and hung)
Soon when we have to take them down to move out, the stars are going to the farm.  We're going to paint them using an exterior white of course, and figure that we'll put two large ones on the barn...one on each end.  The two smaller ones will go on each end of the mower shed.  That will leave us with one unused large star...we're thinking somewhere on the house to tie it all together.  

We can't wait!

When life asks you to buy lemons, squeeze them and make lemonade 
(my adaptation of the old phrase for this situation, LOL!).


Sunday, December 13, 2015

SEASONS CHANGE, A POEM

I wrote this recently while sitting on the front porch of the farm.  I'm no Whitman or Frost by any means, but I'm hoping that over time, the farm will inspire me, maybe even be my "muse" for honing my writing skills...


Seasons Change © 2015

"Flowers grasp the sunlight as their color starts to fade, an end of season chance to hold off the coming shade...

Petals start to wither and leaves begin to fall, while temps drop ever lower as Winter comes to call...

Warmth of Summer heat and cool of Autumn weather, fade away to memory, drifting like a feather...

As our dreams and plans awaken and slowly start to sing, we once again look forward to the long awaited Spring..."

                                                                                     - 1st Man     


Good or bad, I just thought I'd share...



RAIN RAIN RAIN










We were awakened at 1:30am by REALLY loud thunder and I checked the radar.  The red dot is our house in town.  It looked like it was about to calm down but only for a bit as the next line was a few hours away.  We got a few hours of quiet sleep.












Here is it about eight hours later,  about the time we got up (yeah, we slept in) another line had moved through about 6am, but of course there was still even more coming....












And here it is still later, seemingly no end in sight.  They have slowed and even though the whole line is moving East, it's now sort of moving to up from the Southwest at the same time, they call this "training"...We've now come up on about 24 hours of rain.  We've had enough breaks in the lines of storms that there has not been any flooding, but we're still closing in on 3" of rain so far...



Saturday, December 12, 2015

SATURDAY UPDATE


It was a race against the storms...this whole line was moving toward the farm and of course, ultimately, all the way into town (the red pin is downtown).


I unloaded the plants (post on that tomorrow).

First thing to check, the bees...


They were still coming in and out.  Not as much activity as I've seen before, but I did remove the top super and there were lots of bees.  Hopefully it was just the early morning, the weather, and the fact that they are still working to repair the damage from the tip-over last week.

Fingers still crossed!  So far so good!

I also wanted to check the raised beds, make sure I didn't have a greenhouse of weeds going on under there...


They were clear, the soil still looked good, so we can say so far so good.  The good thing is, if there are weeds that pop up, with us checking on them once a week, it'll be easy to pop them out before they get out of control.  

Everything OK inside the house, no snakes or mice but, sadly, no one came in and cleaned up the hoarding stuff we have taken out there...but we'll work on that this Winter on some cold and dreary weekend.


Speaking of dreary, the clouds started moving in and it was sprinkling...by the time we were on the road, it opened up and started pouring.  

It came and went the whole trip back and now it's pouring rain here in town.  Supposed to rain all night long and into tomorrow, then turn cold.  There was even a tornado North of town, quite a bit of damage, thankfully no injuries.

We hope you are having a good weekend doing what makes you happy!

OFF TO THE FARM FOR A BIT

So it's the weekend.  And there is rain.  So far it's light but it's supposed to get heavier throughout the day, as a cold front approaches 

(RAIN? Who could have imagined? he said, tongue firmly in cheek). 


There is not much I need to do at the farm except check the bees after the unfortunate incident last week and of course routine house checking.  We're also going out on a limb and will start taking the plants (and four fruit trees) that we bought to keep the backyard looking good while the house was on the market, out to the farm.  We won't be able to keep them at the apartment!  Speaking of the apartment, I'm going to have to figure out a new way to handle our plant deals.  For the last few years, I've been getting them when I find them and then keeping them in the backyard until ready to go in the ground at the farm. 

The forecast is for heavier rain tonight and then most of the day tomorrow...at least we won't have to worry about watering, for this week anyway.  

More when I get back along with pictures of the adventure.

Hope your weekend is off to a better start!

Friday, December 11, 2015

CAT ON A CAT QUILT


As we were cleaning out some cabinets in anticipation of our move to the apartment, I pulled this out.  It's a quilt.  But not just any quilt, it's my quilt.  As in, my baby quilt and the quilt I dragged around with me, a la the Peanuts character Linus, for the formative years of my life.  It was made by my Grandmother as a gift for me (and my Mom) when I was a baby.  So this makes it about 50 years old.  My Mom had kept it and after her passing, I brought it back and put it in the top of the linen cabinet.  

I pulled it out the other day and laid it on the bed.  Hobart immediately found his way to it.  He curled up and sacked out the rest of the day. A quilt covered in cats (with bows no less!) being used by a cat 50 years later...
.

...a cat that gave me a look that seemed to be "um, are you DONE taking pictures?  I've got more napping to do!!"

Oh how I wish I was there napping with him today!