Thursday, November 15, 2018

CLIMBING ROSE PERGOLA INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!


I've always liked climbing roses.  My Grandmother used to have them in Oklahoma and she had something like this, though not NEARLY this big and nice.  But it was pretty and unique and made an impression on me.  When I saw this picture, it was something that reminded me of what she had.  

Sure wish I had pictures of hers.  I remember it was built in the remains of an old shed, sort of just a frame building without any siding or roof and she always seemed to have these red and pink roses all over it.  Not sure what climbing rose variety works in our climate and soil but this is a project I'd like to try someday when I have the time. 

Be inspired!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

CANDY CORN BUST AND SNOW

OK, this made us laugh...

Candy Corn clearance 
Was at the store and saw the clearance section.  It was filled with leftover Candy Corn!

It was every variety and package style and brand, on clearance.  I think they were about 50 cents each or less but I'm not sure if they sold any even at that price.  I guess if you DO like it, that would have been a bargain too good to pass up.  Otherwise, it just goes down as bad Halloween candy.

Yesterday, 2nd Family texted and said it was SNOWING at the farm!

Stock animation NOT actual footage, LOL
 The ambient air temperature was in the upper 30's so nothing stuck.  Here in town there were flurries all over as well.  "J" said it was quite the sight to see out there.  It is now the earliest "snow" ever recorded in Houston's history.  Not sure how this portends for the rest of our Fall and upcoming Winter.  

Last night it got to 30.  We hope the farm is OK.  I didn't really prep the house for freezing but from what I've read, pipes are OK in these short bursts of freezing temps.  I did cover the citrus on the porch so we'll have to see how it all makes it. 

This Sunday it's supposed to be 70 degrees!!

Monday, November 12, 2018

MULCH, FRUIT TREES AND NACHOS

 It was a cold and damp weekend.  On the way out, I stopped at one of my favorite places, Tractor Supply, and picked up some EZ Straw.  

EZ Straw
This is the mulch we've used the last few years on the garden.  The stuff has been wonderful and this year we decided to use it on the fruit trees.  

Mulching the raised beds
Going to use it more to just keep down the weeds and keep them moist in the Winter since we don't go out there as often when it's cold.

Raised bed orchard
I did all eight trees.  It was windy but the sprinkling rain helped keep it from blowing around.  Hey, you work with what nature gives you, ha.  They all look much better and now we're good until next Spring.  I still need to edge around the beds but it was just too wet with some standing water and that's a mess to edge in.  I can do that in a week or two, no hurry.  It's definitely not growing that much and if we have a freeze this week, then that's it for the season.

And finally, here is some gratuitous food:

We had some leftover beef, a bag of tortilla chips, shredded cheese and pico de gallo (tomatoes, onions, jalapeƱo).  That seemed like a meal, ha.

Nachos
We chopped up the meat, put everything randomly layered together in a baking dish and heated it in the oven until melted and bubbly.  Then we just dished it out and topped it with some fresh cilantro.  Super easy and you can do it with just about any meat (chicken, pork, beef), any kind of cheese, and whatever vegetables or seasonings you like.  It certainly makes for a quick and filling dish.

We'll see if this week brings our first freeze. If it does it will be slightly early.  We'll see.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

THE WEEKEND SO FAR

It's been a cold and damp weekend.  As I posted yesterday, I went to the farm solo.



First up, of course we need to thank all our Veterans and their families (let's not forget the families) for their sacrifice in service to our country.


It never got above the 40's.  When I got there it was 44, the highest it got was 48 when I left.  Even inside the house it was 50's.


It was like this all day.  Cloudy, sprinkling rain, windy, standing water.  It was not a good day to get a lot done but I did at least manage to get to a couple of projects.  More on that this week.  I didn't have to mow so that was good.  I could have edged but there was some standing water and that makes a mess.


Here is the garden, growing nicely.  These are the Chinese cabbages, they are looking really good.


And these are the collard greens.  Getting really big with a lot of new growth.  Should be harvesting our first in a few more weeks.


There is some color!  This was a lantana that I've basically ignored because it's in a flower bed I was thinking of redoing.  I might have to just work around it.  Nature found a way, ha. 


On the way out, I stopped at a store to pick up some supplies and found these.  They are wooden tags designed to hang on the wall or cabinet pull or even a doorknob.  Not sure where we will put them but they were cute and I couldn't resist a sale. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

WET AND CHILLY WEEKEND

I'm at the farm this morning.  2nd Man is staying in town because he has to work.  It's a drizzly, windy, cold day.  Not much I can do at the farm either, cold inside the house and wet and cold outside.  


Our first freeze of the season is coming mid-week.  It's not a plant or pipe worrying freeze though.  The "long range" forecast has us back to the upper 70's next week.  It's Houston, wait a few days and the weather will be completely different.  


As you can see it's drab and dreary today.  I'll water the plants on the porch, make sure anything that might be freeze sensitive is protected just in case do a few projects inside and then I'll head back into town this afternoon. 
  
More later this weekend. Hope yours is warmer and not quite as rainy!


Friday, November 9, 2018

HAPPY HORSE FRIDAY

Here is Artax, 2nd Family's horse, standing in her pasture.  I was pulling in the driveway and the sun was shining on her little patch of grass, some yellow wildflower ground-cover to stand on, and she looked as happy as could be.  Of course I had to have a picture so I parked the car on the road, jumped out and took a picture.

We are in for a big change in the the weather. Winter is coming (for us anyway, ha).  More on that later.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

FALL GARDEN UPDATE

Up late last night, I had to make a short post today as I was falling asleep while trying to put even this one together, ha.  So, like we do in the Spring, here is a veggie update of the Fall garden:


This past weekend, when I planted the garlic, I had to check the veggies we have growing nearby and they are doing great.  Above is the bed of collard greens.  They have perked up and are putting on small new leaves. We should have some nice harvests of collards in a few more weeks.  

We hear they get better tasting after really cold weather?  Anyone ever heard of that?


Here is the Napa cabbage.  Also growing nicely and we're even starting to see some development in the center, where of course it will all come together and become the cabbage head.  When we grew these a couple of seasons ago, they were the most beautiful, store quality, heads of Napa cabbage, we'd ever seen. We are hoping for that again this year.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

VOTE ELECTION DAY IN THE UNITED STATES

We interrupt this blog for this important announcement:

IT IS ELECTION DAY!!


2nd Man and I did our duty, we early voted last week.  But today is the day...



If you are registered and haven't already voted early, please vote today.  



It is not hyperbole that this may be the most important election in our lifetimes. 

As my Grandfather used to say, "you can't complain about the outcome if you don't vote..."

Monday, November 5, 2018

PLANTING SEED GARLIC

Got a few big projects done this weekend and this was one of them:

The same weekend as last year so it seemed like a good time to get the seed garlic into the raised beds.  Since we have new readers, instead of linking to last year's post on it, we figured it would be nice to have new pictures and details on we how things might have changed this time around.

Raised bed
I had already turned soil a few weekends back.  This was before, ready to go...

Holes for planting garlic
Then I took my tool and made 36 holes in the the soil.  About 2 inches deep.  Six rows of six.  

Seed garlic
Then I sorted through the seed garlic, breaking apart the heads into the individual cloves.  Now this isn't like getting garlic ready to cook with, you want to leave as much of the "skin" on as possible.  Of course in regular handling and pulling them apart, the skin does sometimes just fall off.  You don't plant the ones that are completely "naked".  

This garlic was ordered last Spring for shipment in September.  When we got it, we put it in the fridge drawer to trick the bulbs into thinking it is Winter...and they will be ready to do their thing. 


I sorted them into piles of twelve each just to make it easier to grab a handful and fill up a dozen holes at a time.  I also tried to get the ones that were bigger and seemed the healthiest.

Planting garlic
Then you just put them down in the hole...

Planting garlic pointed end up, root end down
...make sure it is pointy end up and root end down!

Raised bed with garlic
Since we still had a bag of soil leftover from cleaning up all the vegetable beds, I decided to fill the holes by adding a nice layer of fresh soil on top of them all.

I smoothed it all out and then...

Straw mulch
...I topped it off with straw mulch (it was windy and I lost some as you can see, ha).  Then I got the hose and watered it all down.  

Garlic in raised beds
OH!  And I did it TWICE!

Yep, since we had such good luck with garlic this year (finally), we figured we'd try to double that luck and so I filled two beds.  I dug 72 holes and planted 72 cloves.  We should end up with a lot of garlic in about six months or so.  I hope our friends and family like it...we might be giving a lot away, ha.


Saturday, November 3, 2018

REMEMBER TO FALL BACK


For those in the United States that observe this, a friendly reminder, set your clocks back tonight when you go to bed.  Or do like me, wake up in the morning, remember it's Fall back, and go back to sleep for another hour or two. 

It's funny, we were talking earlier and so many things now are automated to change.  The computers, smart phones, cable TV boxes, even some appliances and clocks, automatically adjust themselves.  

It was a good day today, got a lot done, found some bargains, ate good food, took a nap.  It was a good Saturday.  Now it's time to rest.

More tomorrow!

DAY OF THE DEAD SATURDAY UPDATE

Hope you are having a good week.  Our weather has finally turned into Fall.  It's cool, no humidity, a gentle breeze...God what we wouldn't give to be at the farm instead of work, but it is what it is. 
 

Today is Dia De Los Muertos (the celebration actually starts at midnight on Halloween).  It is also known as "Day of the Dead".  With Houston (and Texas in general) having a large Hispanic influence, it's not uncommon to see this celebratory day being observed all over town.


Believe it or not, the awesome PIXAR animated movie "Coco" is worth seeing if you haven't and are curious about Day of the Dead and its many traditions.  

Here are some links for those wondering more about this fascinating holiday:

Day of the Dead Flower Traditions

Day of the Dead WIKI Entry

Day of the Dead Sugar Skull History

Day of the Dead Decorations at Amazon

Eventually, we want to set up our own altar, or "ofrenda", during this holiday to honor our parents and those others we've lost (you can even set them up for pets).  We'll also invite friends over to share in the moment.  The last couple of years I've been hitting the stores after the holiday for the clearance sales and have picked up a few things to stock up on.  I'll see what I can find this weekend.  

We think it's a wonderful tradition worthy of bringing it into our own sphere of traditions.



SATURDAY UPDATED POST:


We're off to the farm to spend the day doing the usual errands/projects.  I won't have to water because we've had rain during the week.  I am guessing I'll have to mow so that's the plan for me.  2nd Man is going to organize some stuff in the kitchen.  The weather is gorgeous today, cool, breezy and a true Fall day.

Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy all day long so we have to get as much done outside today because after that, it's next weekend for outdoor projects.  

Hope your weekend is off to a great start!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

FLOWER POTTING BENCH AREA INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!


Just a cool potting bench.
And tools.
And flowers.
And cool signs.
And decorations.

I'd like to set up something like this on a wall at the barn or shed so that I have a place to do stuff like this. Of course it's far away from where the flowers might end up being.  So I was thinking that maybe turning the area behind them into a flower garden, but that's another project for later.

Be inspired!



Wednesday, October 31, 2018

HALLOWEEN 2018 AND WORST CANDY


We hope you have a scary and safe Halloween!  

Image via CandyStore.com
Every year we post something about Halloween candy and favorites by state.  This year we saw this and thought we'd see what everyone thinks.

What is your LEAST favorite Halloween Candy?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

FALL GARDEN AND MORE PLANTS


Found three more "clearance plants" at the store the other day.  This time they were TWICE as much as the last ones we got...  

There were a whopping TWO dollars each, ha.


We got two Cape Honeysuckle, they are hardy down to low 20's and drought tolerant once established.  I think they can get big so we need to find the right spot for them.  We certainly have the space!  


They only had one of these but we got it anyway.  It's a lime sizzler firebush.  Also freeze and drought tolerant.  Looks like a very pretty plant from the pictures we've seen online.

Raised bed Napa cabbage
Here is the Fall garden update.  These are the Napa cabbages.  Doing very well and look healthy and strong.  So glad to have them.  We have a recipe we really want to try...

Georgia collard greens
...and here are the Georgia collard greens.  Also doing great, nothing looking weak as they have perked up and even grown a bit bigger.

It'll be a small harvest this Fall but it will still, hopefully anyway, be substantial enough to provide a few meals.  Nothing wrong with that!

Monday, October 29, 2018

FRUIT TREE RAISED BEDS WITH TRUNK PROTECTION

It was a BEAUTIFUL weekend.  I went to the farm Saturday.  Stopped at the garden center on the way out (more on that tomorrow).  

The yard is still mowed
I was hoping I wouldn't have to mow so I could work the fruit trees.  I was in luck.  Even with some rain this past week, the cooler weather has apparently told the grass "don't grow, Winter is coming" and this is what it looked like...exactly a week after the last mowing.  Looks like I just did it!

Bags of soil
Since I anticipated not having to mow, I stopped and picked up some bags of soil, to top off the fruit tree raised beds.  But first, I needed to do something else.  I needed a way to protect the base of the trunk from the weedeater, keep soil from being too close to it, etc.  Plus it's a solution that allows me to easily change them out as the trees grow.

4" coupler
So I found these 4" diameter couplers in the plumbing section.  I bought eight, one for each tree (I just realized as I typed this, I'll need three more once I get the citrus planted, but that's next Spring). I think each one was maybe a dollar?  

Fruit tree trunk protection
Then I took my utility shears and cut through one side of each one.  This way they could easily go around the base of the tree, kind of like a C-clamp.

Tree trunk protector
I put them in place and then topped off the soil in each bed
(oops, missed that spot of grass).

Raised bed orchard
When I was done, other than needing a last "edging" of the season later on, they are clean and ready for some straw mulch next weekend.

Side note, that picture of the ring around the base of the tree, that's one of the apple trees.  It's grown almost twice as big as when I put it in the ground.  It is definitely happy!