Monday, December 31, 2018

NEW YEARS EVE 2018



New Year's Eve 2018...

The waning hours of the year are upon us.

Anyone have a New Year's Eve tradition?  

 Our tradition is simple; we stay in, eat steaks and potatoes, pop open a bottle of something bubbly and watch the countdowns on TV.  We do NOT go out.  We just think it's too dangerous to drive especially in a huge city like Houston and that nothing good ever happens on the roads at 1am.

Plus the older we get, the less we like being in large crowds.  Is that wrong?

Sunday, December 30, 2018

COLD DAMP WEEKEND

We've had a typical Houston area Winter day, cold (low 40's) and damp (making the cold feel worse than it is).

Cold farm day
Went to the farm briefly yesterday, but it was just too uncomfortable out there.  All I could think of was being inside where it's warm but of course still no heat at the farm which means no warm respite.  Well, we have electric plug in heaters but it would take quite a while to warm up a cold house.

So we are staying inside in town today.

Clearance turkeys
The other day at lunch, I was at the grocery store and they had this:  fresh turkeys on sale for $5.00 each.  I bought two, 14 lbs each.  Our fridge is FULL!

They are "sell by" 01/20 so we've got time.  We will be roasting them up and bagging the meat for the freezer.  We like it during the year in things like turkey tetrazzini, turkey pot pie, etc.

We'll have a cooking weekend soon.

Houston sunset
Sunset from the apartment balcony last night.  Cold but pretty!

No freeze for us though this week so we're OK there.  It'll just be cold and wet.  New Year's coming too. 2nd Man is off Monday and Tuesday and I'm off Tuesday but have to work Monday.  Our office is hoping the boss gives us a half day off.  Another four day weekend would have been nice.  I could get used to that, LOL!

Hope you are having a good weekend. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

BIRD AND SPIDER ID

While we were sitting on the porch, this little bird decided to pay us a visit.


When we first saw it, I thought it might be a hummingbird.  It was very small and when it was on the bushes in front of the porch it flitted from branch to branch so very quickly you couldn't tell what it was.  When it flew up onto the porch railing, it became obvious that it wasn't a hummingbird, ha.   

I had to move quietly to get a picture and captured this one before it flew off.  It made several return visits and didn't seem too fazed by having humans hanging around.  

THEN, in the garden, I saw this spider: 


A daddy long legs of some sort I guess.  It wasn't eating the plants, hoping it was taking care of the "bad bugs" in the garden.

Just another day in the country, ha.  We really need to get up on our bird watching knowledge AND creepy crawly knowledge.


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

CHRISTMAS IS IN THE BOOKS

Christmas was nice.  It was quiet, just the three of us (Hobart included of course) and we both enjoyed our time off.  Back to work.  Sigh.

Frick's Carver Ham
We had a ham at Christmas.  It's sort of becoming our tradition.  We don't know if y'all have ever had a carver ham but boy are they ever wonderful.  There is no bone, it is not pre-sliced, it's just a wonderful hunk of delicious ham that you can slice or cut up anyway you desire.  Delicious...

Christmas dinner
We had the ham of course, and then 2nd Man made croissants, broccolini sautéed in a pan, and I made homemade mac and cheese.  It's a stove top version, a new recipe, we'll be sharing step by step instructions in a post soon.

OMG it was all SO good...

Christmas trash
Christmas is all cleaned up and in the books until next year...

Hobart in a box
And of course, what Christmas would be complete without the obligatory "cat in the box" picture?  Hobart got some presents but of course, he loved an empty Amazon box the best...

We hope you all had a great Christmas!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2018


From both of us to all of you, we wish you a Merry Christmas.  The best gift we have is all of you and we thank you for coming on this journey with us.  

Thank you for the great ideas along the way and the validation of things we do.  Also, thank you for kind words of support you have when things don't always work out like we hoped.

Hope you all have a peaceful and fulfilling holiday.


Monday, December 24, 2018

CHRISTMAS EVE RANDOMNESS

Twas the night before Christmas...


Here is our wreath on the front door at the apartment in town.  I made it a few years back.  Not perfect but hey, it's much prettier in person.  


At Thanksgiving, I found some horrible food ideas from the past and posted them.  I found this one just in time for Christmas.  What about it, a bologna ornament tree?  With weiners?  And ham?  


And we always like to ask, every year, for those new to the blog...


...do you open your presents on 
Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

Sunday, December 23, 2018

CLEAR SKIES AND LONG WEEKEND

 After the boring garden pics, there will be a food pic at the end of this post, we promise, ha.


We went to the farm Saturday morning and spent the day doing projects.  I thought this picture was interesting.  The pasture behind us (over 100 acres) is brown and "wintry" looking.  Our yard is green.  

I'd like to say it's my great gardening skills but alas, I think it's just that the weeds have not yet gone dormant!  Still, it's nice to have some green color in the yard, even in Winter.


Cabbage is still growing nicely, but no cabbages yet.  Hoping a few more weeks.  Not sure why it's so late this season.  Maybe I got it in the ground too late, maybe it was too warm early on, who knows?  It certainly looks good otherwise so we'll wait and see.


Garlic growing nicely (both beds)...


Collards are still giving us leaves to harvest so we cut another batch yesterday and brought them into town so we could use them for something...


I also cut some more bay leaves and have them drying in the window ledge.


FOOD!  I promised food!

One of my coworkers makes tamales.  In the Hispanic culture, tamales are a sort of holiday tradition.  She gave us two dozen, a dozen pork and a dozen chicken.  2nd Man make some Mexican rice and spicy beans, I made some guacamole with pico de gallo blended in and we added a few slices of avocado, just because, ha.  It was a wonderful meal!

So far, we're halfway through our long weekend. Slept in today.  I think there are steaks on the menu tonight.  Hope you are having a great weekend yourselves!  

Friday, December 21, 2018

JOHN DEERE GIFT

Got an early Christmas gift from some dear friends...

X320 Lawn Tractor
This is my real life "zen machine", our John Deere X320 lawn tractor...

1/16 scale replica of X320
...and this is my gift.  A 1/16 scale die cast replica of my zen machine!  Yeah, this is a small model, not the real thing. It's kind of crazy that the detail is amazing, right down to the cup holder!  I love it and it now has a home on my desk at work...so I can daydream about the farm.

Don't you love when you get something so unexpected but so perfect?
Thank you!  I love it!

Four days until Christmas!  
Is everyone ready?


Thursday, December 20, 2018

COVERED POTTING BENCH 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!

Covered potting bench, image via Pinterest.com
I've seen a lot of potting bench ideas but I really like this one. Not sure if it's the old sink, a great idea for potting soil, etc, or more importantly a little bit of shelter overhead. I know from personal experience via the last potting bench we had (the house in town) that standing in the direct sun is never fun.  A bit of shade would be nice and this one is well done. 

Be inspired!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND GREENS OVER PASTA

This past weekend brought more collard greens and so we're experimenting!

2nd Man made some homemade pasta (using the farm eggs we got from 2nd Family) and needed to make a topping for it.  I missed a few photos but it's all pretty basic.

Homemade pasta
The pasta is just a standard recipe; flour, eggs and olive oil, kneaded, rolled out and cut into strips.  Of course you can use dried pasta (and we would have if we had had some in the pantry).

 Butternut squash
Then we had some butternut squash and he cut it into cubes (two here in this picture, he only used one).  He fried a few slices of bacon in a skillet and set that aside and in the same pan, he fried up the squash cubes.  He cooked them about 10 minutes or until they started to soften and then added a batch of collards. Cook again until the collards were done and the squash was golden and fork tender.  In this case it was about 10 more minutes.

Butternut squash and collards over pasta
He added the bacon to the squash/greens mixture, about 2 TBSP of pasta water and stirred it around in the pan to create a bit of a sauce and just served it by pouring it over the pasta.  

It was a great combination of flavors another very  "Fall inspired" dish.


Monday, December 17, 2018

THE WEEKEND AND COLLARD GREENS QUESTION

Saturday was beautiful at the farm.  Cool, clear, and perfectly breezy. 

Sunny and clear day
Alas, it was pretty wet.  Last week we had about 3 inches of rain, mostly Wednesday and Thursday and with the cool temperatures, there just really wasn't any way for it to evaporate.

Needless to say I couldn't do much in the way of yard work.  Not that is a lot to do but I would like to edge a bit and I need to mow down the dormant weeds.  I always like to use one mow each Winter to clear some new areas and paths.  But there will be time for  that, lots of more weekends until the Spring.

Burn pile
While we were outside, we saw this smoke not too far away.  Always makes us nervous (especially in the dry months) but turns out, according to some neighbors online, it was a very large burn pile.  I guess they were taking advantage of the damp conditions to burn debris. 

Garden update:

Raised bed garlic
One bed of garlic...

Raised bed garlic
And the other...

They are progressing right on schedule and the rain has been really good for them.

Raised bed Napa cabbage  
Here is the Napa cabbage, growing well but a bit behind in where it was this time a couple of seasons ago when we planted it.  Hoping for some cabbages in a few more weeks.

Raised bed collard greens
Here are the collards, they are perfect.

Collard greens harvest
Of course we got another nice harvest and we're getting about this much every week now.  In the future we might grow more by moving this to the larger bed for the Fall garden.  This is, after all, a test each season to see what does well for us.  Collard greens are one of those for sure.  

Every season we like to ask, for those both new and old to the blog, any good recipes, storage tips, yummy uses for lots of collard greens?

Sunday, December 16, 2018

CLEAR SKY AND BISCUIT BREAKFAST


It was a beautiful Saturday.  Clear skies, cool and breezy.  Today has been more overcast and there is a a chance of rain.  Glad I got everything done yesterday that I needed to do.

More of an update tomorrow, but just wanted to check and say hello.


When I got up today, 2nd Man had made a pan of homemade biscuits...


...and served it up with butter and preserves.  


The breakfast of champions, ha!

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Friday, December 14, 2018

COUCH SURFING, FELINE FRIDAY

Hobart couch surfing
Hobart was doing his best to sleep on the the couch. 

Or partially on the back of the couch?

Or kind of half on and half off the couch?

There is one thing that is a fact of life; never underestimate a cat's ability to get comfortable!

  



Thursday, December 13, 2018

SCREENED OUTDOOR DINING ROOM 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!

Image via pinterest.com
OK, so last Thursday, we posted a picture of an outdoor screened in "bedroom".  While looking for pictures  online, we saw this.  We kind of like the way this is set up.  With a change of furniture it could be a dining area OR a bedroom...or any other room we wanted to make it.  

The two level outside is not necessary, what we liked is the idea of the steps up onto a platform and then having the screened in room built on there.  Of course a platform around it would allow for more use of the space outside of the screened area, chairs, plants, etc.  Maybe a cross between the one last week and this one.

Hey, if that didn't work out we could turn it into an aviary!  HA!

Be inspired!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

DAY OF THE DEAD CLEARANCE ITEMS

Over the last few weeks, I have found some great "Day of the Dead" items on clearance and you all know how I like a deal!

After every holiday I always try to find items when they are at steep discounts, (usually when 50%, 75% or more off).  I add them to our storage boxes of holiday decoration items.

Day of the Dead platters
These platters are awesome.  They are big, in fact the large one is so big it won't fit in the large storage bin we have. Bright bold colors, we love them. 

Day of the Dead vase
Found this glass vase for a dollar.
A place for flowers next year!

Dia de los Muertas wall art
These wall plaques are really neat.  They are made of wood and so colorful.

Wilton Sugar Skull cake pan
And of course I had to find something for 2nd Man.  This is a Wilton skull cake pan just for Day of the Dead.  Can you say Sugar Skull cakes next year?

Wait a second, does that mean this was for HIM or for ME?  Would that be a win win?

Monday, December 10, 2018

COLD AND WET WEEKEND

It's been wet yesterday and now cold today.  


Not anything I could do outside.

Now we're heading into a cold streak for a few days.  It's 42 right now and a possible dip to 32 this coming week.  But hey, then we have a return to 60's by the end of the week.  Gotta love Houston weather. 

We had about 3 inches of rain at the farm Friday thru Saturday.  Good for the garden and the fruit trees.


It was a good time for an oven roasted chicken.

2nd Man sliced up sweet potatoes and put them in the bottom of a cast iron pan.  Then he rubbed olive oil and salt and pepper on a chicken, put it on top of the sweet potatoes and popped it in a 400 degree oven (this one was about 45 mins).


Hobart has the right idea today.  We got out of bed and he gets in while it's still warm, head on the pillow and stretches out.

Rotten cat.

Hope you had a good weekend!