Sunday, May 26, 2019

LOOSE COWS

 Not loose in the sense that they have low morals, LOL!  This was loose in the sense that they got out from the neighbor's property!  I called "R" from 2nd Family and he knew the owners.  While we waited we checked and there was a section of fence down. 


There had been two in the yard at one point but one quickly went back.  This one though decided to make herself comfortable.  When I walked towards her she was a bit wary but she did lead me toward the section of down fence.  She didn't want to go back through, with me anyway.


So she wandered back toward "Barnabas" (our old mesquite tree) and made herself comfortable in the shade.  "R" saw her and said "congratulations it's a girl!"  Um, no, we're good, we don't need a cow.  Another friend of ours saw this picture and said she looked very content under the tree.  No we don't need a cow.

She was kind of bony and the owner said he had an old cow that he was missing.  He was afraid she had wandered off and died somewhere on his property.  Great.  Don't die on our property.  Please.

Since we couldn't get her in, we had to temporarily patch up the fence to keep an entire herd, now curious about all the excitement, from coming over.  The neighbor has more than 20 head of cattle.  That could have wreaked havoc with our yard and garden and fruit trees, etc.  What was supposed to just be a quick trip out for mowing and then back into town for a Sabercats rugby game became an episode of Bonanza.  Or Dallas.  

Without the mansion of course. 

And the oil.


On the downside, we missed a home game in the new stadium.  On the upside, our team won!

In the end, the neighbor came over with his ATV, got a rope around her and walked her back to their property.  She followed him right back over the downed fence that she wouldn't with us.  Go figure.  

It looked like one of the fence posts had been damaged by one of his tractors.  Probably as one of the cows was leaning through the fence to graze on our grass, it partially collapsed, taking a small part of the fence section with it.  I guess the grass really did look greener on our side and she came on over. 

The neighbor was going to spend today walking the whole fence line to make sure all is good. 

That was an adventure we weren't expecting.  More updates later with the other exciting adventures of the weekend.

Hope you are having a relaxing, long weekend!

Friday, May 24, 2019

HEINZ NEW MAYO HYBRID OFFERINGS

So...we saw this in the store the other day...


It all started with them coming out with a combination of mayonnaise and ketchup.  This is a popular thing to do, and I will admit to doing it myself.  Heck, it's just a few ingredients away from either Thousand Island dressing or few other different ingredients from Russian dressing.  For years, "fry sauce" has been a thing as well and it's the same combo.  People have been mixing the two for years (I have done it with my french fries and chicken tenders).  But that's just it...I can do it myself.  I'm not sure I need to buy it already made up and of course if I can mix it myself, at least I know what's in it.

Does the world need this?  Some sort of weird condiment equivalent of genetic engineering, ha!

So anyway, back to what they have. 

Since this new creation has apparently been flying off the shelves, they have done it again:

MAYOMUST

A combination of mayo and mustard.  2nd Man and I imagined that it could be used to mix with egg yolks and make deviled eggs.  Or add some to potatoes for potato salad.  Quick and and easy.  Of course, once again, you can also just mix them together in a bowl you know, with a dollop of mayo and a dollop of mustard.

MAYOCUE

Yep, you guessed it, a mayo and barbecue sauce combo.  I can honestly say I've never done mayo and barbecue sauce.  Is that a thing?  I guess it is.  Or is Heinz just running out of ideas?  What's next?

Mayoelish?
Mayoranch?
Mayobasco?
Mayoestershire?

What say our faithful readers?  Yay or nay on this new hybrid line of condiment splicing?



Thursday, May 23, 2019

CLAY POT FLOWER BED 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!

Clay pots in flower bed image via Pinterest.com
While looking at photos of clay pots in flower beds, I found this.  It's oddly satisfying for some reason.  Maybe the pattern of pots of varying shapes and sizes, maybe the succulents, it's just cool.  Certainly a great way to use a bunch of random clay pots.  

Be inspired!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

DRIED WHEAT PROJECT

As many of you have read, we had an accidental wheat crop.  I put down EZ Straw as the mulch in the orchard beds last Fall.  We've used it a few years in a row in the garden, never had a problem.  This year though, for whatever reason, it sprouted.


With the wet late Winter and Spring, I never had a chance to clear out the beds until this past weekend (see Monday's post).  I pulled it up and surprisingly, it came out easily, pulling up with shallow roots and staying in clumps.


I pulled them up at the beds and then trimmed off the stalks from he root balls but for a few bunches, I took them to the porch, put them in chair next to me and started trimming.  It was a nice project to do while sitting in the rocking chair with a glass of tea. I cut them off at the base and then stripped off all the leaves...


...and then laid them in a pile next to me.  I ended up with several hundred(!) of these.


Some are still a bit green but the rest are dried and brown.  I spread them all out on the floor of the barn so they can continue drying.  We've read that some will dry green if they are cut green.  

After all are nicely dried, I'll spend some time sorting them by color and size, getting rid of broken ones, etc.  After that, not sure what we will do with them, but it will certainly be a conversation starter in the future when people come over...that time we grew wheat by accident, ha.


Something like this would be nice.  I definitely think we have enough, ha!

Anyone have any dried wheat use suggestions? 

Monday, May 20, 2019

RAISED BED ORCHARD DONE

So in between sprinkling rain showers, this was my weekend project, something I've been preparing for but always waiting for clear weather.

Raised beds before
So this is what I started with.

This is the raised bed orchard behind the house.  Yikes!  I put in the center beds a month or so back, they have the citrus in them.  However, the "EZ Straw" that I used as a mulch over the Winter ended up sprouting and growing wheat!  I had to get rid of that (more on that in another post this week). 

Raised beds out of control
What I did was pull it up in clumps and then I cut the wheat stalks off and put them in the center beds and just tossed the clumps on the ground.  It took some time but when I was done, I realized I had made a mess.  Also, there was still grass that was hard to pull up in the beds.

Cleaning up the raised beds
I got the mower and edger out and went to work.  First I edged, around the beds and then used it inside to take out the shorter grass.  Then I used the mower to mow over the weeds, grass and clumps that I had pulled up.  A few passes over and over and it was all chopped and dispersed into the winds, ha.

Almost like vacuuming the yard!

Backyard orchard
Then I loaded each bed with a bag of soil and topped it all off with a bag of mulch (no more straw, ha).

Raised bed 
Here's a bed closeup before...

Raised bed
...and after.

Watch out weeds, if you pop up now your days are numbered!  Now that we have them like this, we can keep them like this.  Since I knew it was going to be an almost all day project, it was one of those that kept getting put off because of the weather.  But Saturday, the weather cooperated just long enough for me to get this done.

Raised fruit tree beds
I watered them well and stood back and admired how nice it FINALLY looks.  This is what we imagined three years ago when this project was started.

Since we have the raised bed garden for herbs and vegetables, we've decided to make the area behind the house the main area for our fruit.

We now have:

2 peach
2 pear
2 apple
2 plum
1 lemon
1 lime
1 orange

And off camera:

1 fig
1 pomegranate
2 mayhaws

Raised bed orchard
They are all now thriving and doing well and have grown nicely since being planted.  Here is a shot that shows how the new citrus are oriented into the existing orchard.  The plan is that as the trees become established, because these beds are "open" at the bottom, the roots are obviously finding their way down into the ground (the raised beds give them a head start) and eventually we can just remove the wooden sides and then there will just be hills of soil and the grass will grow to cover it.  

Out of the camera shot is the fig tree that struggled but is now finally growing (though it is more of a small bush than a tree, I need to trim it up) but we think we might plant a couple more fig trees (getting actual taller trees).  The next project is to find a spot to put the banana trees back there and then find a spot for a muscadine grape vine trellis.

Let the fruit start coming in!


Friday, May 17, 2019

A MONARCH COMES TO VISIT


Here is a Monarch that flew around while I was working.  It looked a little ragged, but it flew around nicely.  After I watered, it stopped and got a little water to drink.  Always nice to see these beautiful creatures flying around.  One year we had a good dozen flying around for a couple of weeks.

We'd really like to plant a lot of milkweed around the property for them in future years.  The Houston area apparently is a large path on the way to/from their migration in Mexico.  We wouldn't mind our farm being a stop along the way!

Not sure where you buy milkweed but I bet it's somewhere online, ha.  

Image via wikicommons

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

RED BEANS AND RICE QUICK AND EASY RECIPE

This is one of our favorite dishes (who are we kidding, we like everything, ha).  

Red beans and rice with sausage.


I don't have step by step photos but it's really pretty easy to make.

He starts by slicing one pound of andouille sausage (you can use any kind of sausage, andouille is just traditional in these parts, it's a spicy cajun style sausage).  The sausage is already cooked but he browns the slices in the pan he uses for all the ingredients.  Once browned, he turns the heat down to low and starts adding to the sausage in the pan.  He adds seasonings (whatever you like, we use garlic powder, cayenne for a bit of heat, onion powderetc).  Then he adds 2 TBSP tomato paste and let it brown a bit.  Next a can of fire roasted tomatoes with the juices to deglaze the pan and a can of red beans with the liquid.  2 bay leaves are added along with chopped fresh jalapeño.

Cover and let simmer over medium to medium low while you make the rice, stirring occasionally.


2nd Man always makes 2 cups of rice for us so that we have some leftover for other uses.  Standard preparation of rice, water, etc and covered for 15 to 20 minutes until done. 


When the rice is done, it should be just enough time for the red beans and sausage mixture to be nice and thickened as above.

Dish it up and serve!


2nd Man likes his with a little rice in the bottom, beans on top of that and then some more rice on top of the beans.  Garnish with chopped green onions.


I like the rice on one side and the red beans on the other side, then I can mix them together...so I can be contrary, ha!  Garnish with chopped green onions. 

Enjoy!

Monday, May 13, 2019

STORMY WEATHER BUT I DID MOW

It was a stormy weekend.  But not so stormy that I couldn't mow!  Which was a good thing.  Woke up Saturday morning and it was a line of storms to the South and a line of storms to the North.  I saw this as my window of opportunity as later in the day, the collision of the two lines were going to produce big storms with flooding downpours. 


When I got to the farm, I noticed that the road in front of the property was graded down to dirt and is about to be resurfaced.  By the way, if you want an idea of the property size along the road (the front of the property) this is standing in the driveway and all the way down to where that road dead ends into the other road is the entire front of our property.  It's sort of shaped like a slice of pie.  

Anyway, we're excited we'll have a nice, smooth, new road.  This might be why they worked the ditch along the front of our property a few weeks back.  Our tax dollars at work, we're OK with that. 


I parked the car facing out so I could leave in case it was a monsoon (this was taken after I mowed). 


I was able to mow, it was routine, not too wet and there was a cool breeze.  I checked my app history and this was within about 4 minutes of almost every mow I've done.  Funny how it's just so routine it doesn't vary much.  


This is the "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" plant that a coworker gave me for my birthday last year.  I didn't get it in the ground but it's very happily blooming on the porch. Wow, does it ever smell good.  


This was interesting (pardon the blurry photo, the wind had started blowing like crazy and I couldn't get the focus to work, ha).  Anyway, this is the 'wheat crop' that we have accidentally growing.  I was hoping to remove it this weekend to start drying some of it for decorative uses later but the rain stopped that.  Of course when I saw this, I realized that nature is doing what it does best I guess and it's already turning brown.  This coming weekend is supposed to be clear so I should be able to get it pulled up and harvest some nice pieces for use later.


This was the sky to the North when I started hearing thunder.  Time to head out.  I stayed for a bit as the rain started gently, but the radar showed that monsoon rains were coming, as well as hail and sure enough, about the time I got back into town, the skies opened up and stormed all the rest of the day.  I think we got another couple of inches at the farm.  The bad stuff stayed away.

Sunday was not much better, at least early in the day. In fact, we did not have Internet service for most of the day so I didn't get to catch up on comments and I didn't get to post yesterday to say "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY" to all those wonderful Moms who give so much of themselves to their kids.  

And for 2nd Man and I, we've lost both our Moms and so we think of them with love on this day as well.

Hope your weekend was better!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

WE ARE GOOD NO FLOODING

The Houston area has been having some serious rains the last few days.  

Thankfully, it was not as bad as we have had in the past, it has stopped and started, allowing it to drain away.  The good news is that it is finally now moving out of the area.


The farm had about 3 inches of rain, in downtown we had about 2 inches of rain but parts of town have had upwards of 10 inches of rain the last few days.

Two of our biggest floods from the last few years (other than record shattering Harvey of course) were the "Tax Day Flood" and the "Memorial Day Flood".  So one in mid-April and the other at the end of May.  'Tis the season I suppose.  

More update tomorrow.  Thanks for everyone sending notes or commenting to make sure we're OK.

Friday, May 10, 2019

CUPCAKE WARNING FRIDAY FUNNY


A couple of weeks ago we had a similar 'watch/warning' with the witches from Oz.  2nd Man saw this one the other day and thought it was perfect.  I like the way he thinks. 

Speaking of watches and warnings, we've been hit with some heavy rains.  The worst of it has missed us at both downtown apartment and the farm (so far) but areas all over town have had massive flooding.  Last night, one area of Houston had a massive 6" of rain in about an hour.

As I type this, it's just overcast but they say even worse weather is coming tomorrow.  Not sure how this weekend will play out at the farm, I'm sure we'll have lots of watches and warnings.  Hmm, maybe 2nd Man should make cupcakes, ha!

We'll see!  Will reply to comments this weekend!  Sorry for delay!


Thursday, May 9, 2019

WATER PUMP WATER FEATURE 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!



This is cute.  My grandmother had one of these tubs and had flowers growing in it in later years, ha.  I do love this idea of using it as a water feature, a fountain, combined with the old pump and it looks cool in the rock covered area.

Be inspired!  

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

SAUSAGE CHEESE AND PEPPER FRITTATA

2nd Man made a frittata the other day and it was so good.  I've posted some before, figured it was time to post again.  The good thing about a frittata is that you can put just about anything in them.  Eggs, veggies, meat, cheese, it's all good.


We had these peppers and some asparagus...


He chopped it all up, saving some of the long red peppers for the "rings"...

Unfortunately I missed a couple photos, not sure what happened.  We had a package of breakfast sausage links and cooked them in the skillet until they were done, removed them and set aside...


Put the veggies in the same skillet the sausage was cooked in so that you have the residual oil from that to keep them from sticking (side note, you could have used bacon, ham, even hamburger meat)...


Cook about 5 minutes or until the vegetables all start to soften...

 Another missed picture, while they were cooking, he beat up about 8 to 9 eggs (depends on how many other ingredients you have, the size of the eggs, etc, you don't want to overflow your pan).  Then add some seasoning (whatever you like), for this one he used salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic, onion powder, and dried parsley...


He poured the beaten egg mixture into the hot pan with the veggies and of course the egg starts to set up.  He arranged the cooked sausages on top along with the reserved pepper rings and popped it in a preheated 350 degree oven...


Let it bake for about 10 minutes or until eggs are almost done and set.  Remove from oven, top with a cup or so of shredded cheese (I guess I missed that picture too, ha), any variety this is cheddar, and put back in the oven for about 5 more minutes or until...


...the cheese is golden and bubbly!  Remove from oven, let it cool for about 5 minutes.  It will be very puffed up when you first remove it and will be what we like to call "rocket hot", ha.  Be careful!


Slice it up just like a pie and serve.  It's so good and a great way to use up leftover or extra veggies.  It's also not just of breakfast, we often have a couple slices for dinner and then a couple more the next day for breakfast and/or lunch too.  

Enjoy!

Monday, May 6, 2019

NATURE FINDS A WAY

Several years ago, not too long after we bought the property, I had a wild hair and thought it would be neat to plant fruit trees in different spots around the property, so it would look cool.

What I didn't think about was that they were far from water sources, far from just being able to check on them with a quick glance and I couldn't get to them every time we were there to check on things.

I got smarter, I began planting close to the house, water hose, etc and created the raised bed mini orchard behind the house.  I abandoned them and I let nature take its course.


This pear tree is about 12 feet tall (from about 3 feet originally).  We haven't watered it in years. 


And now it has two small pears on it!


Hard to see this because of the mesquite behind it, but this is a pomegranate bush/tree.  I planted two of these.  One died and that's when I gave up on the other one.  Now...


...it has small pomegranate fruit on it!


Then, behind the garden near the fence, we had read some things online about growing Mayhaw trees, that they do well in the South and they are supposed to make amazing jelly.  Well I found two at a small local nursery, they were the only two they had and the owners said they rarely got them in.  I bought both of them dug the holes and planted them.  

They struggled.  I struggled to care for them.  I gave up on them as well.


Here are small fruit all over one of them...


An here is the second one, also surviving...


...and also fruiting!

Now in all fairness, several other trees didn't make it.  There were two pear trees, one didn't make it.  Two poms and only one made it.  I planted an apricot tree elsewhere, it didn't make it.  And the original citrus (from a few years back) died as well.  I feel guilty that I left them to fend for themselves but hey, I guess they were of strong stock and "nature found a way" after all!  Now I need to prune them correctly, perhaps give them some proper fertilizing and watch out for pests and other problems.  Maybe I'll bring them a bucket of water on occasion too, ha!

This makes us wonder though, maybe it would be worth just randomly planting things all over the property and hoping for the best?  Not just fruits but flowering trees and bushes.  I always seem to find good deals at the end of Summer on plants/trees so perhaps some of those good deals could just be scattered around and we'll let nature do its thing!