Monday, October 3, 2022

ZEN AGAIN

 It was a great weekend.  The weather was almost perfect (no humidity but could have been just a few degrees cooler, ha) but really it was nice.  What we've been waiting for.  If you are bored with mowing pictures and want to see some good food, scroll to the end and see the lunch I had.

2nd Man is in the middle of a big project at work and had to work at home so I was solo.

If you saw the post Friday, the mower is back and I needed to get some gas.  Several of you as well as the service guy, suggested "Ethanol Free" gasoline.  The guy at the shop said Bucees has it. 


There is one on the way to the farm and so I stopped.  For those not from the South, Bucees is a chain that is very well known and if you are ever traveling and want an adventure, stop at one.  They are amazing.  This one is in Katy, TX and the food and stuff inside is just incredible.  They also have the Guinness Book of World Records certified longest car wash in the world.  

Anyway, I pulled in and saw the signs for the pumps that have the Ethanol Free gas.


It's a little more than regular gasoline (but hey, still cheaper than when regular gas was higher earlier this Summer).  I filled up the 5 gallon can and headed to the farm.


The mower was sitting there where they dropped it off.  They even left some of the fuel stabilizer they used (I had already bought some Sta-Bil brand).  I filled it up with the new gas and started it.  It was much smoother running than it has been the last few times.

Of course they also did a regular tune-up, sharpened the blades, etc.

I was off to mow!


In some places, I had to mow with the mowing deck all the way up first to keep from getting bogged down in thicker grass.  For example, this was along a side fence.


Then I'd go back over it with the mowing deck down to normal level to finish it.  Looks good!


Here's one to show you how tall it was (the trails were the worst).  Again, one pass with the deck up...


...and then a pass again with the deck down.
Neat and tidy.


Bill the Truck isn't "knee deep" in grass.  In fact after mowing this area, you can see that our dry weather is back.  We haven't had rain in a couple of weeks.  Good for less stressful mowing and let me hit all the remote spots without fear of mud and getting stuck.


Here's the front yard.  This looks much prettier, more green (and look at that stunning blue sky).

The mower worked like a new machine!


An hour and half, almost 7 miles and about 4 acres.

2nd Man sent me to the farm with some fried chicken in a bag for a quick lunch.  I warmed it in the microwave and then thought..."I need to make this perfect to go with this perfect weekend".


I went to the pear tree and pulled one of the pears that was still on there that we hadn't harvested.  I sliced it thin and realized the plate needed some color.  I plucked a couple of "Yesterday/Today/Tomorrow" blossoms and put them on the plate.  I pulled up the rocker to a small table on the porch, had my glass of tea and voila!  It was just the most perfect lunch.

The pear, I guess because we had left some on there, even straight off the tree actually tasted fine.  It was still a bit firm but sweet, juicy and warm from the sun.  Flowers were inedible of course, but we eat with our eyes first and this made it beautiful.

I sent a picture to 2nd Man.
He was jealous. 😁


Yes, it was a great day!

Sunday, October 2, 2022

GOOD FOOD AND HOBART SUNDAY

It's been a good weekend.  The weather is gorgeous I was at the farm all day, mowing, edging, relaxing...


Came back into town and 2nd Man made some pork medallions that he pan seared and then broccoli and cauliflower with cheese sauce.

It was simple but so good.


After dinner while watching TV, Hobart got up on one of his several blankets we have scattered around.  He was next to me on the couch and slept for a few hours.  I uncovered him for this picture, but normally he likes to be covered with just his head sticking out.  Because...

#notspoiled


Friday, September 30, 2022

ZEN MACHINE COMING HOME

It's back!

Well, they said it's supposed to be dropped off today.


The weather is cool(ish) and nice with no humidity.  The guy at the service place said they made it a priority to get me back on the mower so I could take advantage of this nice weather.  I did mention that we'd have to hire some goats if it didn't come back soon, he laughed.

They think it was stale fuel and suggested flushing the fuel system and then changing the filter, cleaning the carburetor etc.  Since they were doing that, we asked them to go ahead and do the annual maintenance, blade sharpening, oil change, lubricating, tightening the belts, etc.  It's what we normally do in Feb/March before Spring but hey, there are only a couple more mows this year so why not just do it now.  One less thing to worry about in a few months.


Going to stop on the way out and buy a new gas can.  The one out there now has sat all Summer with the gas in it that I've been adding to the mower the last two times when it didn't run correctly. 


Also going to pick up some of this to put into the fuel can when I stop and fill it up.  We want to eliminate all chances of a repeat performance.

Wish I was off work today, I'd be mowing, ha!  But that's OK, tomorrow is Saturday and I'll be ready!


Thursday, September 29, 2022

SMALL BASKET TRASH TO TREASURE UPDATE

 Regular readers know that I have a favorite place to look for bargains...our downstairs trash area!  Our building has trash chutes on every floor and they feed into a separate room, but for boxes and other things that people can't put in the chute, there is an area (indoor) near the loading dock where people can put the things they don't want.  I've found quite a few cool items over the last few years.

Here is an update on one of them:


This basket was the one I found after Christmas that had some strands of lights in it.  That post is HERE.

We had been trying to figure out where to use it.  We tried it in the closet for storage but that didn't work.  We put it by the dresser and that just didn't work either.   Ultimately, we decided to use it for additional storage in the pantry because that's always needed...


...and here it is in the pantry!  We use it for our bags of beans and grains.  It fits perfectly on the shelf front to back and is sturdy.  The handles let us pull it out and sit in on the counter to see what we want to use. 

Someone's discard is something we put right to use!


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

STILL NO ZEN MACHINE AND STILL NO FALL

The Zen Machine still isn't back.  They said they are busy this time of year.

They called Saturday to say that it's running fine they can't get it to recreate what it was doing to me.  So they asked me again what it was doing, I emailed a video that I took of it surging and slowing down and stopping and so we hope that will help them.

This is the last time I got to use it for the normal mowing time.  It's like when you take your car to a mechanic because it's making a strange noise and then when they check it out, it doesn't make the noise, ha.  They said they ran it for 20 minutes and nothing happened.  It kept running normally. 

Ironically, the thing I'm actually grateful for right now is that we don't have rain (see the forecast below) and it's not growing like it normally would.  We can't keep going this long without mowing.  We might ask them to just go ahead and tune it up like we have for beginning of the season and maybe that will fix it.  


 Here is the forecast from the past weekend through next weekend and Monday.  Sunny and clear.  We WILL get into the 50's a few nights, so at least that part will feel like Fall but still 80's and 90's during the day but there is no humidity so that will be refreshing.


Oh, saw some figs coming in on our new fig tree.  There are a few on another part of the tree as well.  It's doing great in its raised bed and putting on all sorts of new growth. It dropped all its leaves earlier in the Summer and we were worried but it bounced back and looks healthier than ever.



HURRICANE WARNING
'DEVASTATING TO CATASTROPHIC' 

We know that we have many readers in Florida and several comment regularly.  Indeed, "Ma" that we bought the house and property from and her son that we bought the rest of the land from, both live in St. Petersburg and we're thinking of them as well.

We are sending our thoughts to Florida and we wish you all the best.  Evacuate if you need to and be safe!

Monday, September 26, 2022

FERAL HOGS ARE BACK

A few weeks ago, we posted HERE about feral hogs that had come through.  There was no further evidence of them but now that things have greened up from the rains, we think they might be back.

When we were out there this weekend, we saw this:



Several areas in the yard where the grass had been rooted up and damaged.  Then we looked around back and saw this:


One of the raised beds (this is the pomegranate) had been dug up and another one nearby had been messed with too.  The trailcam didn't catch them but 2nd Family said they had some feral hogs in their yard a few days ago but their dogs were barking and scared them off.


We have the fishing line around the orchard area to keep the deer out and it's worked great so far.  Deer brush up against it and get spooked and after a couple of times, they just avoid the area.  We've gone two years now with no leaves or branches nibbled on but I had the levels at about waist high and higher (to make using the small mower easier).  But I didn't think about anything lower and smaller getting in.

So I decided to put two rows of lines around the "lower" part of the fruit tree area.  Hopefully it will work the same way for them.  They had 17 beds to get into and they only did this one and part of another so maybe there was nothing interesting and they moved on.


Friday, September 23, 2022

SANITY IN AN INSANE WORLD

Sometimes a meme says it all...


We saw this online and I laughed.  I immediately told 2nd Man that this is how I feel when we leave the city and the craziness of the world and disconnect out at the farm.  It might not stop what's going on in the rest of the world while I'm there, but it sure feels good to be doing stuff with plants and the garden and the fruit trees, even mowing...

Just trying to stay sane!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

FIRST DAY OF FALL 2022

Well, after a long, hot, dry Spring and Summer...


...the calendar says today is the first day of Fall!


 However, the forecast says otherwise.

99 tomorrow?

Really weather?  It's almost October and it feels like Summer.  No rain either.  Hopefully cooler weather is coming, but we also have to keep an eye on this:

This is still far out there but it's approaching the area that they call "the envelope" which can funnel storms into the Gulf of Mexico.  It should become a Tropical Storm and possibly a Hurricane.  They say by Sunday it will be near Jamaica and we'll have a better idea of the  direction it will head once it is in the Gulf.

Oh well, Happy Fall y'all!


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

MARTIN'S BUTTER BREAD

So the other day at the store, I saw this display of a new bread they are carrying.  "Martin's Old Fashioned Real Butter Bread".  I thought, hmm, interesting, I'll go home and research it.

They had quite a few loaves.  We read about it online and the reviews were great.  So I went back a few days later to get a loaf so we could try it...

Oops!  Gone.  I went to someone who was working in the bread aisle and asked and he said he would go check in the back.  He found some that they hadn't loaded into the display.  I snagged one.

It's really, REALLY good.  2nd Man said it's as close to homemade from a store that he's ever had.  I agree.  In fact, some of the reviews said it reminded them of "Grandma's bread".  It has a great homemade taste, rich in butter, soft, and fluffy.  Sure, 2nd Man can whip up homemade bread when we need it but when he needs a break from baking, this might just become our go to backup.

Anyone ever tried this?


Monday, September 19, 2022

KINDNESS OF A NEIGHBOR

If you all read last weekend, our Zen Machine had some issues.  It was picked up and they are currently evaluating it (appears to possibly be bad fuel).  Anyway, I was majorly stressed about the fact that I hadn't been able to mow in two weeks and in some spots of the yard, it had been three weeks.
 

The yard looked like this.

Another week or two of no mowing could have been a real issue.  Well, the other day, I got a text from "J" of 2nd Family (that lives out there at the front end of the property).  She said, "I didn't want you guys to be stressed about it so I mowed it for you so you wouldn't have to worry about it.  I hope y'all don't mind".

Behold:


This was the same spot as the first picture!


Here is where I had to stop when the mower died and I just left it to be picked up.


And here is what that same spot looked like when I got to the farm Saturday.  Amazing.


Here is the front yard, she even went back over spots that I missed and also did the back yard and the side.  It was such a relief and gave me great peace of mind.

All I had to do was the area around the fruit tree beds.


Normally I drive the mower through here for the big swaths and then use the electric mower and edger to clean it up.  This time though, I had to use the edger first and then finish it off with the electric mower...


It worked well, though I did miss the Zen Machine for "cleaning up" the clippings but it's all good.  It's neater now and we're OK with that.

All thanks to "J" and her random act of kindness. Of course we asked how much we owed her and she said she didn't want anything but we couldn't allow that, ha!


So on Friday, 2nd Man baked up a couple of loaves of white bread and I packed them up for her.  We also gave her some cash for gasoline (that's only fair).  She was very thankful and has texted twice already to say how much she has enjoyed the bread.


Never underestimate how much a random act of kindness means to someone! 😊