Monday, August 31, 2020

STILL HOT BUT GOOD FOOD AND HOBART

 I think the entire month of August should be the month of doing nothing.  At least down in these parts.  It was hot.

Dry front yard
This is the front yard.  We have not had rain (at the farm) in over two weeks and with temps at or near 100, it just gets like this in the peak of Summer.  I definitely didn't need to mow and I doubt I will this coming weekend either. 


Feels like 110.  Hot and humid.*

*arrow and commentary added by me, not the weather app, LOL!

Fruit tree raised beds
It's so hot even the weeds haven't grown back around the fruit tree beds, ha.  The main reason I went is to water the important things.  I give a good, deep, soaking to the fruit trees in the back and then the plants on the porch including the ones we are caring for until planting in the Fall or next Spring.  

Thank goodness for free well water.  Of course, we had a drought about 9 years ago and several wells in the area started to run dry.  Hope we never have to deal with that again. 

Steak and vegetables
For dinner we had steaks, sautéed mushrooms and roasted vegetables.

And since we know you all love a Hobart appearance...here is a public service announcement:



"Hobart says that during a heatwave, be sure to remain hydrated."

Sunday, August 30, 2020

SUNDAY FUNNY

We thought on this Sunday we'd post something funny.  You know on our Inspiration Thursday, we've often posted about doors in the garden...so when I saw this online, it made us laugh...


...we never thought about it but yeah, why take a chance this year!?!?!


It's another super hot weekend here.  Yesterday was the farm, it was in, watering, and back out.  The city of Houston sent out this alert today:


We're just staying in where it's cool.

Hope you are having a great weekend.




Friday, August 28, 2020

TENNIS SHOES OR SNEAKERS FRIDAY DEBATE

On Friday in the past we have done a "Friday Food Debate" where we tackle some of the burning questions of the culinary world, ha...but now we'll expand to another fun question that came up.

This week, the burning question is:



We never thought about this but apparently it is yet another regional difference.   We're not sure where the differences are but for both of us here in the South, we say tennis shoes...or a more true Southern way of saying even that is "tenny shoes" ha.  But yep for us it's tennis shoes (and we don't play tennis!).  Apparently though in other areas of the country, people use the word sneakers to describe them.

So what do you call them?
Tennis shoes?  Sneakers?


Thursday, August 27, 2020

AN UPDATE AND IN GROUND POTS INSPIRATION THURSDAY


AN UPDATE FIRST:

We are fine, in fact, for all the scariness of that giant and dangerous storm, it stayed far enough away that we never even got rain or heavy winds.  It's sunny and clear today.

And now back to normal routines:

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!


We have posted something similar to this before, planting pots in the ground and using them for flowers.  In this case it's bulbs.  As I was looking at it I was thinking that if we did something like this we could put plastic buckets in the ground that fits the clay pots, put the the pots in and then swap them out with other pots that held different bulbs for the different seasonal blooms.  The bulbs can stay in the soil in the swapped out clay pot until next time.

Be inspired!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

AND NOW WE WAIT

The hazards of living along the Gulf Coast.  We occasionally get a big one heading this way.  Now we have Hurricane Laura coming this way.  We have swung back and forth between being in the cone  of landfall or just outside of it.

Yesterday morning we were just outside.
Last night we were back inside.
This morning we are back outside.


For those unfamiliar with the intricacies of storms like these, there are quadrants around the eye.  The NE quadrant is the worst. In fact, we often simplify it down to the "dirty side" of the storm.  That's everything on the right side of the eye.  The left side is more of the "clean side" meaning less impact of wind and rain.

With this one, the further East the models put landfall, the more on the clean side we are.  But because a storm like this is so large, they are notorious for wobbling in the last few hours.  For us a wobble this direction means a more direct hit from a large and very dangerous hurricane. 

So now we wait.  

Most of the city is shutting down early today. 
Areas to the South and East have been evacuated. 

The farm should be OK, at least with this storm at this point, it will definitely be to the East of us and Houston is so large that the farm is way outside the  cone of uncertainty.  Of course we are in downtown Houston so we'll have to watch the skies.  They are predicting wind and rain later today.

More after it's over.  Thoughts for those in its path because this is a VERY large and powerful storm.

Monday, August 24, 2020

2020 WHAT CAN WE SAY

I went to the farm this weekend, mainly just to mow and to batten down the hatches as they say so that we could get things ready in case we had the one/two punch of Marco and Laura.

As this posts looks like at least Marco will spare us a direct hit though rain is expected.  Laura is still undecided and we are in the cone of uncertainty. 


I mowed, it all looks good.  Parts are a little dry, I really could have skipped mowing but in case we got a lot of rain I didn't want it to be out of control in case it rains this coming weekend too.  I'm so glad I edged last weekend.


Here are the mowing stats.  What I would call a "regular mowing"...usual time to mow what I mow is about an hour and 20 minutes on a good, fast day...if I mow over some new paths or take time to go back over something to blow grass around,  about an hour and a half.  If it's thick and overgrown I have to go slower and it's more than 2 hours.  In this heat as little as possible is better.  Speaking of...


...this is what happens when I do as little as possible in the Summer heat/humidity.  These are the two bushes on each side of the stairs to the porch.  Um, yeah, I think I need to cut them back.  It's just that a) they are so pretty and b) yeah it's really hot and that's a lot of work.  

They'll be there in the Fall and I can cut them back then.  These things are practically indestructible.

So now we watch the weather and wait...one of two things will happen.  It will hit, we'll have bad weather and people will complain they didn't have enough warning to prepare.  Or it will miss us, as they often do, and people will complain that they scared everyone with a storm that didn't come here.

On that thought, here is something funny for 2020:





Saturday, August 22, 2020

BECAUSE 2020 OF COURSE

Well we are under storm watch...


As if we shouldn't expect anything less with 2020, here come two storms at the same time in the same place hitting at about the same time.  They may cross paths and hit different areas, they may spiral around each other, one may get absorbed by the other or they might just be a one/two punch of really bad weather.  


Either way, as we do this time of year, we make sure we are prepared.  It's off to the farm to mow in case we are washed out next weekend, make sure the trees are well staked against wind, nothing loose to fly around, etc.  The pandemic/quarantine has made sure that we are well stocked on food and supplies so all is good there.  I don't even think I need to go to the store for anything.

So now we wait.  These things wobble and move and change and of course now we're dealing with a situation they haven't seen before...


...the weather people say there is not much chance of a megahurricane...but again, it's "Dumpster Fire 2020", can we really be sure of that?  HA!

Friday, August 21, 2020

LOLLIPOPS OR SUCKERS FRIDAY DEBATE

On Friday in the past we have done a "Friday Food Debate" where we tackle some of the burning questions of the culinary world, ha...but now we'll expand to other fun question that come up.

This week, the burning question is:



This was something I never really thought about but apparently it's another regional difference.  In most parts the country they are called lollipops and in the South they are suckers.  

Thinking back, both of us have just called them suckers but then again, we are children of the South.  I asked around with some friends and coworkers and they said they called them lollipops.  In some areas they differentiate that flat ones are the lollipops and the spherical ones are suckers but still, suckers seems to be a more Southern only usage.

So what do you call it?  Sucker?  Lollipop?  Something else?


Wednesday, August 19, 2020

BBQ BEEF AND BAKED POTATOES QUICK AND EASY


This couldn't be easier.  Now sometimes we have some bbq beef in the freezer that we've saved and put up ourselves.  We haven't done that in a while so we buy this at our local grocery store, we like it because it's all natural, they don't add stuff to it, it's just smoked shredded beef mixed with bbq sauce. (I forgot to put it in the picture so I added the stock image to this photo, ha).  But really if you've got shredded bbq beef ready or leftovers or buy something like this, all you need to add are some potatoes and you have a very filling meal.

Bake your potatoes in the oven (or in the microwave to save time).  Heat the shredded bbq beef.  Slice open the cooked potatoes, put some butter inside, cheese if you'd like, top with some of the beef mixture, a dollop of sour cream and chives...


...and you are good to go with a hearty, filling, very satisfying meal that rivals that at any bbq joint (especially if it's your own homemade bbq beef).  This much beef makes four potatoes for us so we get two meals out of it for just a few dollars each.


Monday, August 17, 2020

LEAST AMOUNT, AN ANNIVERSARY, A PANDEMIC, AND FRIED CHICKEN

It was a hot weekend.

It was our anniversary weekend.

We're in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.

Welcome to Summer 2020, ha. 


I went to the farm Saturday.  Thankfully I didn't have to mow.  With no rain and hot temps, the only thing growing is the grass around the buildings and fruit trees.  Here is a before...


...and here is an after.
It's better than nothing, ha.


The fruit tree beds got edged too.  And the inside cleaned out and on that all I do is edge inside the raised beds from the grass that's growing in there.

It was the least amount to do.  Watered well and then came back into town.


It was also our anniversary weekend (which several of you remembered, thank you for that). 21 years.  That's a long time.  Didn't imagine that last year when we thought about what we could do for this anniversary that we'd be in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, in lockdown, and one of us out of a job.

Sigh.


We decided to get out and go do something like a normal routine.  We got our masks and gloves on and went to a store to just relax and wander around.  We went inside and it was packed with people.  Kids running around without masks, some adults without masks and I kid you not, I even saw a woman pull down her mask to sneeze and then put it back on. 

Not sure if it's PTSD but we were feeling very uncomfortable and looked at each other and said "let's just leave".  It was crazy.  Not sure how long it's going to be until society gets back to normal.  Even with a vaccine at some point in the future, it feels like it's going to be a while before we are feeling normal again.


We stopped at our favorite place to get fried chicken to go. Our tradition used to be to go and have it in person but not now.  


2nd Man had made a pan of homemade mac and cheese...


...and for those worried we aren't getting our veggies, we had some bowls of salad to start with. We even had seconds on the salad it was so good.


2nd Man asked if I wanted pie or cake.  Given the choice, I'm more of a pie guy so he made an apple pie.  It was a good weekend for eating, ha.

Now today it's back the normal routine.  Or what's become the new normal in these strange times.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

HOT AND MORE HOT

So...we got this alert the other day on our phones:

ALERTHOUSTON

Heat Advisory for Houston Extended

Weather Information

The National Weather Service has extended a Heat Advisory until 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16.  Heat index values of 108 to 110 (with some isolated brief 110 to to 112 values) are possible.

According to the National Weather Service, heat indices of 108 will begin around 10 a.m. on the coast Friday and will be possible inland after 1 p.m. In the sun, temperatures will be higher. Overnight temperatures will only fall into the upper 70s inland, and to the mid 80s on the coast, so little relief will occur overnight.  Into the weekend areas will experience these heat index values.


Stay inside where it is cool and do not stay outside for extended periods of time. 


This was when I left the farm yesterday.  It was 97 and felt like 105.  Today as this posts we are at 100 and a "feels like" of 109.  

Tis the season of 'do as little as necessary' at the farm.  I was able to edge yesterday, more on that tomorrow.  It's just hot.  So very hot.

Stay cool and safe wherever you are!

Friday, August 14, 2020

LITTLE BUG THAT ROLLS UP FRIDAY DEBATE

On Friday in the past we have done a "Friday Food Debate" where we tackle some of the burning questions of the culinary world, ha...we haven't done one of those in a while but this week we'll expand to another random fun question that came up.

This week, the burning question is:


Last Friday, friend of the farm blog Leilani had a great idea for one and here it is.

I think no matter where you live, you have encountered these little bugs.  Usually under a rock in the yard or maybe a clay pot you pick up or even some old bricks in the ground.  Seems like they love those damp shady conditions.  These bugs always reminded me of a prehistoric creature and of course the best part (when you're a kid, ha), is that they roll up into a ball! 

2nd Man grew up calling them doodlebugs.  I grew up calling them a roly poly.  I heard a few people say pillbugs as well.  Not sure if there is a regional difference on this or if it's just what you hear first.

I would have them crawling all over my hand.  For some reason they didn't freak me out like other bugs.

So what do you call this little bug?  Doodlebug?  Roly Poly?  Pill bug?  Something else?



Wednesday, August 12, 2020

OVEN BAKED BBQ BABYBACK RIBS

This is our new favorite way of making ribs that are fall off the bone tender without spending hours on the grill.  It's an amalgamation of several techniques but we've got it down now and the best thing is that it's so flexible for your own personal flavor profile. 

We've done them in a slow cooker before and while that works of course, this couldn't be any easier. 


Our local grocery store had baby back pork ribs on sale for cheap.  We got two racks (curbside pick up our favorite safer way of grocery shopping).  Here is where it's forgiving.  You can use whatever your favorite BBQ sauce is and whatever your favorite rub is.  In this case we used Sweet Baby Ray's "original" and some mesquite seasoning (for the smokey grilled flavor) and a spicy cajun seasoning rub.


After removing the silver skin (takes a bit of patience but a nice and some gentle pulling will remove it cleanly), rub the ribs generously with your seasoning of choice.  Be sure and put it on both sides.  Then put the rack of ribs in a pan (we had this disposable pan that worked perfectly for both racks) meaty side up.


I missed including the picture but here is where you do the next step...pour a can of coke (not diet) in the bottom of the pan.  Don't pour it over the ribs because it will wash off the rub.


Cover your pan tightly with foil and put in a 350 degree oven for 2 hours.  Do not take the foil off to peek.  It's doing its thing, ha.


Take them out and remove the foil to check them.  They should be falling off the bone tender but you're not done yet.  Turn the oven up to 450 degrees.


While it is heating up, brush the ribs with your BBQ sauce.  Just the exposed top side.  Be as liberal with it as you prefer.


Leave it uncovered and put it in the oven for another 20 to 30 minutes.  You want the sauce to bake on and for them to start to develop color.


Take them out and serve.  SO good.  Falling off the bone tender and sticky, smoky, saucy.

We love this method now.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

FRUIT TREES POST GOAT ATTACK

Everyone probably saw the "goat incident" post from last week.  A neighbor's goats got out and ate all the leaves off several trees and broke a few branches on several trees trying to reach for more leaves.

The goats were returned home, the fence was fixed and things are returning to normal.  

I went through and trimmed the broken branches and checked everything.  I also gave them a good deep watering.  They are looking much better now.


The leaves are growing back so we guess the leaf eating doesn't hurt the tree.  This is the Meyer lemon, leaves are coming out all over.


Here is one of the two apple trees and it is leafing out (oops, ignore the lack of weed eating, see yesterday's post about that, LOL).


The lime tree is leafing out and has a couple of flower blossoms on it so we guess it's really bouncing back.

Side note, the aroma of those two flowers is just intoxicating.  We can't imagine a large tree bloomed out all over in the Spring, it must be amazing.


Then this was the other apple tree (the Anna) that had the most damage (they REALLY liked this one) all the leaves were stripped off and several branches broken.  I cut off the broken branches to clean it up but wow it's almost completely leafed out again. 

The neighbor fixed the fence so we should be good with that.  I know some of you were concerned about the neighbor and the situation.  He has been pretty good, we've never had any issues and he has kept the fence line maintained most of the time.  We've done some repairs a couple of times over the years as well.  Most of the fence line from the road to the back touches 2nd Family's property.  Our part is much shorter, maybe 100 feet?  Easy for us to keep an eye on our part and 2nd Family is going to keep an eye on their part.

The neighbor has had goats and donkeys and a cow or two for years and this is, as far as we know, a first.  We've had some cows in the yard a few times, once from a rear neighbor and a couple times from the neighbor on the OTHER side.


We guess we'll just have to get used to that potential and of course walking the fence line fairly often would probably be a good idea.  The good thing is while I'm on the mower I can check most of it since I ride right beside almost all parts of it.  I'll just have to be even more observant, ha.

In the future we may fence in the fruit tree area with something more permanent just to be safe. 

As some of you commented,

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors!