Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Great state of Texas
I recently stumbled across some great advice I thought I'd share.  Almost every county in the United States has a County Extension Office.  A simple Google search of your county name and extension office should find yours.  I say "most" because smaller counties may combine with other counties around it, but you should be able to find one. 

Once you are there, look around under the gardening/agriculture sections, and most of the time, they will have a list of the best plants suited/adapted for your particular county.  I know in Texas at least, the weather can vary from county to county, for example, one may get more freezes than another, so certain plants are better suited for that area. 

I found the one for the county that our farm is in and found two awesome lists.  One was called "Home Fruit and Nut Varieties" and the other was "Suggested Vegetable Planting Guide", both for our county.  I printed them out and am now planning some purchases.

I'm hoping a neighborhood nursery will have the things I want.  By the way, if you live in Houston, swing by and pay them a visit, Buchanan's Native Plants, an awesome place.

Anyway, I'm thinking of getting some plants now, hopefully snag some end of Summer specials, then I can care for them through the Winter very easily in the city, and then plant them at the farm next Spring. I'm on a mission now to get a couple of Fig trees and some Muscadine grapes.


Scented Sugars
This is such a neat gift idea (or better yet, make some for yourself).  We've done the vanilla sugar and let me tell you, it's heavenly.  All of them are so super easy to make.

Just take your sugar, you can put it in any container to make it (we like glass so that the plastic doesn't absorb any of the scent), and layer it with highly scented, food safe (organic preferably) ingredients.  Rose petals, geranium leaves, lemon balm leaves, dried lemon, orange and lime peels, and of course, vanilla beans.  Mix them in small batches and cover them tightly and let them sit in a dark spot for a few days, even a week if you are so inclined.  When you take them out and open them they should have the scent of whatever you put in there.  You can them transfer them to nice jars.  Some people pour them through a sieve and take out the scent items and just label the sugar and use it like that.  I like to leave the ingredients in with the sugar when I put them in jars, as in the photo above.  It's so much more rustic looking.

You can use this just as you would any sugar, in your desserts or baking, it's even great in coffee and tea.

We will have to keep some going all the time.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Reached agreements with the painter, we're all on the same page, and the work will begin a week from today!  By this time in 2 or 3 weeks, the inside will be entirely refinished.

Some people might ask why we didn't just do it ourselves.  Once he's done, if we ever want to paint a different color, we can do it ourselves.  But for this first time, there is much work to be done OTHER than painting.  Because of the extensive foundation problems (see that blog entry HERE), there are many cracks and gaps, wood that is loose, etc.  He's going to fix those.  Then the doors to the closets and the bathroom have been covered in so many layers of paint over the years, they don't even close properly.  He's going to strip them down and he said he could make them look about 80% of new.  We can live with that.  They are original doors and we don't want to lose the character of their design.  He's also putting up Sheetrock to remove an old doorway between the dining room and guest room, and sealing up some vent holes in the ceiling.  Oh, and he's completely redoing two walls in the master bedroom and making really cool dividers between the reading area and the bedroom.

As you can see, there is a LOT that needed to be done before a proper paint job could be applied.  But we're on the same page now, everything is agreed, and we're on our way to an "almost" finished interior.  To say we are beyond excited would be an understatement.  After this, it's floors and then the inside will be ready for it's closeup!


Stove top cover

I know we don't have a stove yet, but part of what we do is plan ahead and this is going to be a must have.  It's a cover that sits on top of the stove and gives much needed additional "counter space" in a small kitchen.  With the handles on each side, you can simply lift it off and move it elsewhere, letting it double as a tray for other uses, maybe even for transporting food into the dining room.  It is certainly more unique than individual burner covers.  We think it's a very cool idea for our own farmhouse kitchen.


109 degrees
in Houston on Sunday.

Fall can't get here soon enough. 


One of my favorite catalogs that I get in the mail comes from
Seed Savers Exchange.

They have a great back story.  It's a group that has been around since 1975.  To understand their story, you need to know what "heirloom seeds" are.  Just like the name implies, as perhaps you might have a dining room table that was passed from your Grandparents to you, or maybe a favorite piece of jewelry, or maybe even something silly that's been in the family for generations, you probably call that a "family heirloom".

Seeds are done much the same way.  Plants that have been grown on a family farm, or found alongside the road in an abandoned homestead, are gathered for their seeds so that the genetic diversity of varieties that may no longer exist elsewhere can be maintained.  Generally speaking heirloom plants are more diverse and tolerant to diseases and pests so they are important to our food supply.

In 1975, Seed Savers Exchange began.  They are a NON PROFIT organization, based in Iowa, and their goal is to preserve and pass down these varieties for future generations.  They have over 25,000 now which makes them the largest seed bank outside of the Government.

Here is their latest catalog (a treasure I love to flip through and dream of our gardens next year).

Seed Savers Exchange 2011 Catalog
If you've ever been to the grocery store and bought "heirloom tomatoes", such as the ones in the photo below, you've had the product of heirloom seeds.

Heirloom Tomatoes
You see that they are different colors and different shapes and even different tastes....because they are varieties that haven't been around in years.  There are heirloom varieties of just about every type of fruit and vegetables
(at least 25,000).

So, kudos to the hardworking folks at Seed Savers Exchange.  If you get a chance, visit their website and order a catalog.  And plant some heirloom seeds...don't forget to save some seeds and pass them on!

Monday, August 29, 2011


As many of you may have noticed, over the weekend, we have joined all three of the major social media networks.  FacebookYouTube, and Twitter.

It should be pretty easy to find us.  With the exception of Facebook, which requires a first and last name (we used Seda Bolsa), the rest is under Seda Bolsa Farm.

So how will we use them?

Facebook:  This allows us to write more, not limited to 160 characters like twitter, plus we can share photos, links back to the blog, etc.

YouTube: This will be the place where we link to favorite videos we've seen that we think you might find interesting, and of course later on, we'll be uploading our own videos.  Tours of the farmhouse, craft projects, cooking, gardening, decorating the house, etc.

Twitter: This will be more of an immediate feedback type of use, a way to post a random thought that pops into my head.  Maybe about the farm, or something we ate or saw, or maybe even comment on a news event.  We'll also follow a lot of our favorite people and groups.

Be a friend of the farm and friend us, favorite us, tweet us, whatever.  We appreciate it!

1st Man and 2nd Man


TV Above a fireplace....
One thing we've discussed about the farm, extensively I might add, is having a TV out there.  Originally I just thought this was a no brainer...of course we'd have a TV.  We'd even have the perfect spot for it, above the future "faux fireplace" we want to put in.  But then we got to a TV really necessary?  Sure there are times when it would be nice to watch a movie on a rainy night, but then again, why not read a book?  Or play a board game?  Or work on the latest craft or food project?  Now mind you, I must confess, I am a bit of a news junkie, I love watching the latest news and catching up on world events.  The thought of being cut off like that does make me a bit tense.  But I DO have an iPad with 3G and since we get a good signal out there, I will have Internet access so I can at least know what's going on in the world.  We also have a stereo we'll be putting out there with Sirius Satellite radio so we'll have that as well.  Still, I come back to 'do I need to know all of that news'?  Unless there is a Hurricane bearing down on us, I think I can do without the news for a few days at a time.  Wouldn't a painting above the fireplace be better anyway?

....small TV hidden like this?
At the house in the city we only have one's a 55" flat screen in what we call "the TV room" and it satisfies our need for entertainment.  We've never put one in the bedroom, simply because the bedroom should be for sleeping, not watching TV.  You watch TV and then go to bed when you're done.  It's much easier to fall asleep this way. On the weekends though we often find ourselves mindlessly staring at the TV when we could be doing just about anything else.  We have to consciously push away from the TV.  We don't want to fall into this pattern at the farm.  The picture above shows a small TV sort of 'hidden' among the frames on a picture wall.  That would be a fun idea.  Of course, my iPad will stream just about any show we'd like to watch, so I suppose I could do something similar with it if I was so inclined.

...Or outdoor theater like this?
And before you ask about those nights when we just HAVE to watch a movie, we have something like this on the left in mind for that!  But more on that in a future post.

So I think we have decided, for now at least, no TV at the farmhouse.  We'll be old school and just enjoy life with a little less "noise" in it. Perhaps play a board game, or find a shady spot to read a book, cook something new, create something fabulous, or maybe we'll just sit on the porch for hours and decompress from city life...


What can we say that hasn't been said already?
Thanks so much for your continued visits, as of last night, 15000 and counting!

Looking forward to many more!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


We didn't do much today, other than get some info, make some decisions, drop off the toilet and ceiling fans, and visit with some friends, ha.

We met our friends at a gas station off the freeway so they could follow us out there.  I prepared them for the "Grapes of Wrath" look, but they fell in love with the place.  She walked in the front door and said "I love it!"   She can see beyond the current state of repair and sees the true potential.  She's so excited for us as she knows I've talked about this for years (we used to work together).  Side note, she is making HER dream come true as well, which is so cool to see.

Today was:

Her husband is doing the porch railing and new stairs for us.  It should look amazing when it's done.  He had lots of suggestions for things we wouldn't have thought of, and that was great.  Two new sets of 4 foot wide stairs, and a railing all along the front.  It will totally change the look, we can't wait!


Also met the painter again.  He brought some samples of the texture for the ceiling and for the walls.  We loved his ideas, and he is going to do so many extra things for us, we really have found THE one.  He also suggested a great idea for the reading area in the master bedroom.
Work should start just after labor day.


The painter brought an electrician that he worked with (and more importantly, trusted) and he walked around and we told him what we wanted.  We're going to have new outlets put in the mudroom, two on the front porch, one on the back of the house, two porch lights, two exterior motion lights, and, hopefully, a new ceiling light in the mudroom.
He's going to work up an estimate for us, fingers crossed that it's reasonable, $$ is running low, ha.

In about 2 or 3 weeks, hopefully by the first day of Fall, we'll have a NEW house inside!


As you read this, we are at the farm!  We need to check out what the painter did for samples, and then we are meeting a dear friend out there who's husband is going to build us new porch stairs and put up a railing all the way around the porch.  He's going to take measurements and then we are going to show him what we want.  And I believe an electrician is coming as well.  Should be busy.

Between him doing this soon and then the painter coming next week to hopefully start painting, things are finally starting to happen, and they are exciting things! 

More tonight when we get back, if I'm not exhausted.


British Victory Garden Poster
This is from Great Britain, during WWII.  They were in on the movement as well.
Basically their approach was to remind people that if you planted your own, you would have lots of food at your fingertips, but if you didn't grow it, then you'd have to get an allotment.

09/2103 Update:  Thanks to a comment by Peter (below), we've learned how this really worked.  The 'allotment' they refer to is sort of like being given a piece of ground to share and grow your food.  So they were saying grow it in your own home garden, or if you didn't have that, you could get an allotment of land to use to grow your vegetables.  Thanks Peter!!


Another day, another Social Media outlet!

Seda Bolsa Farm now has a Facebook page.

This one is a bit different, Facebook is odd on how you set something like this up, but hey, if you're on Facebook, we are too!  Search for us under the first name Seda and last name Bolsa.

Click HERE for the direct link.

Facebook will be an easier way to post photos and longer articles, and share some of our favorite businesses .  Become a friend of the farm on Facebook!

We can't wait to see you there!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Another favorite of late, is this great, full bodied red.  This one is actually from Sonoma, California.
The cool thing about this wine is that it's a blend of FIVE different reds.

It's a tasty combination of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Zinfandel.  An interesting combination on face value, but it really creates a rich, full bodied taste that's unique but very smooth.  It's very versatile, as you might imagine, and can be used to complement just about any occasion or dish and a great value for the price.  In fact, Food & Wine Magazine actually named this of the best American wines under $15.  We have really liked it with brisket and roast, and recently had it with a great Bolognese sauce (with homemade pasta) that 2nd Man makes.

It comes from the St. Francis Winery in California, click on the link to read more about it.

As I always try to do, here are the official winemaker's notes:
"Red, ripe and robust fruit flavors with spicy aromas make this a wine that pairs well with a variety of foods. Great with grilled foods and pizza or pasta dishes with red sauce. The perfect wine to serve at a cocktail party or backyard barbecue."

We like this red so much, we recently bought 6 bottles when it was on sale (normally about $12/bottle, we found it for $7/bottle).  We just might use this as our "go to" Farmhouse red wine, if we can find some more on sale.

Try some, we think you just might like it!


Well, we've done it again!  Seda Bolsa Farm is now on Twitter!

I want to expose our website and blog to as many people as possible.  If you haven't been on Twitter, it's actually kind of fun.  This is our first time as well.
We are currently following some of our favorite people and places, so check us out.

Click HERE to visit our Twitter page, or of course just go to twitter and search for seda bolsa farm.
I'm 1st Man, @sedabolsafarm.

The cool thing about Twitter is that I can post LOTS of updates throughout the day, things that might not warrant an entire blog entry, random thoughts we have for the farm, for cooking, for decorating, future plans, even random thoughts on current events.
It should be a fun way to keep up with us in between blog entries.

Yesterday, YouTube, today Twitter... hmmm, what will tomorrow bring?
Stay tuned!

Friday, August 26, 2011


Today on my lunch break, I went shopping for a toilet.  Fun, right?  Alas, the old one, besides being old, had a small crack in it (insert joke here) and we figured that was a disaster waiting to happen.  And since we'll be putting down a new floor in the bathroom, there's no better time to replace it than now.

Who knew there were so many choices nowadays in toilets?  High, normal height, round, elongated, super water saver, bigger diameter flush, top handle, side handle, even antimicrobial protection built in to the ceramic.  In the end (insert another joke here) we went with the American Standard, Cadet 3.  It's the lower flush, but the one in between the higher and the lowest.  Being on well water and septic tank, better to not use so much water, but don't want so little that you have to flush twice.  This one is an all in one package, it has the wax ring, the bolts, everything you need to install it.  Hope to get that done soon. 


Old bike planter (click to enlarge)
I think I forsee buying an old bicycle in our future!  This is such a cute outdoor decorating idea.  Similar to my post about the old tractor as yard art, only easier!

I think I even know a tree where this would look perfect.


Yes, we have set up a YouTube "Channel".

The link to it is HERE.  Click on it and become a Friend of the Farm!

The actual direct address is simple, you can go to and just search for
SedaBolsaFarm under "channels", or just type in and then /sedabolsafarm at the end.

SO, now you may ask, what is this all about?  Well, from time to time I might mention things I've seen online, for example, in my post about the Truck Farm, HERE, I mentioned a video of the idea.  Well now I've updated the posting and put a link to our channel where the video is posted.

For now, there are "favorites" that we'll be adding and you should check them out regularly, but here comes the best part:  in the not too distant future, we will be uploading videos of our farm!

There will be before and after remodeling videos, how to videos, property tour videos, gardening videos, even cooking videos once we get the farmhouse kitchen up and running.  It will be a work in progress.

So, become a Friend of the Farm today and join us on the journey.


Thursday, August 25, 2011


Aerial View of a Vegetable Garden
This is an angle you don't always get to see, an overhead shot of a vegetable garden.
This is so nice to me, it looks organized, orderly, and most importantly, well stocked with produce of all types.

This inspires me for our future veggie garden.  I need to start planning.

More tomorrow, have a nice day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Working on a new feature (three actually).
It's a learning process but maybe on my blog day off tomorrow,
I'll figure it all out.

After all, even farms need to join the technology of the 21st century.


THIS ARTICLE scares me just a bit...

Currently, we are experiencing the worst drought ever in this part of the country, and now it looks like there is a chance it might drag on for another year or two.

Yikes would be an understatement.


Candles in Bottles
I always like saving pictures from catalogs or shopping websites whenever I see a decorating idea that appeals to us.  We saw this at either Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel, can't remember which but we liked it.

I think we like this style because it's very simple and yet looks dramatic.  Clear bottles like this can of course be purchased just about anywhere, but you can also re purpose various bottles you might have at home after they are emptied and cleaned.

Candles as centerpiece

Notice how on this one, the bottles are all actually the exact same height...they just use candles of different lengths to create a more dramatic look.  Of course, you'd want to use dripless candles for sure, or you'd end up with a mess down the sides of your bottles and on your table.  But this is still a very pretty idea for your home.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Welcome to our newest out of the country visitors, those who visited our little corner of Texas,
all the way from Iceland and Norway.

Sure wish you could send us some cool weather!

Thanks for visiting, stop by again!


Talked to the painter today, he has just been busy finishing up another project and hasn't had a chance to finish the stuff out there for us to see some samples.  He said he would go either Wed afternoon or Thur, so we could have something to look at this weekend.  Yea!

He said if all goes well, he can start on our project sometime next week!  We can't wait.  I'll see if I can get some pictures of the samples on the wall and share them with you this weekend!


So here we are, another day, another record.
Yesterday Houston reached l00 degrees again and that now makes 32 days this year with 100 degree temperatures or higher.  The previous record was set back in 1980.

Now we are on track to make the entire month of August over 100 every day, which I believe will be another "new" record.

So far we have:
June - Hottest ever
July- Third hottest ever
August - Hottest ever (so far)
Most consecutive days over 100 ever
Most days over 100 ever (32 and counting)

And this isn't even counting any of the drought/lack of rainfall records that have been broken.
Is it Winter yet?  Fall?  Cool front coming?  Hello?  Anyone?


I found this picture online and we really like the use of furniture on this porch.  We'll have a couple of rockers of course, and probably a table or two, but what really stood out was the cabinet.  
I like the idea of repurposing a piece of furniture that might normally be inside, and using it outside to store things in.  I have no idea what they use this one for, but I can imagine all sorts of things that you might want handy on the porch.  Our porch is deep enough that I am pretty sure it will safe from the weather.  Not sure I'd pick this color but I could see red or white.

I might just have to hit up some yard sales and thrift stores once we get our porch redone and the exterior painted.  

Just thought I'd share!

Monday, August 22, 2011


This is a delicious dipping sauce we recently discovered.  I am not sure the origin, but it sure is good!
The sweetness of the honey, then the cayenne pepper kick, and the zestiness of the green onions, delicious!  Unfortunately, for some reason, my picture didn't come out the last time we made this.

So I got to thinking, since it's so simple and easy, why not just show the ingredients before they end up in the final product?  So here they are.  Four ingredients.


1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (both green and white portions)
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less according to heat preference)
salt and pepper to taste

In small bowl, combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Simple and quickly done, makes a great dipping sauce for either fried or fresh vegetables.



From what 2nd Family tells me, the painter came last week and did something, I would assume it's the test spots for texture on the walls, but he never called me to say it was done.

Now in all fairness, he was going to texture one day and then wait for that to dry and paint another time.  But I'm not sure if that's been done yet.  What worries me is that maybe he went out to do it and ran into problems on those "old walls" and maybe it's not ready for us to look at it.  I called him today and left a message and will wait to see.  We're anxious to get the ball rolling on the paint. 

Once we have the repairs and painting done, we'll be on to the floors and when that's finished, the interior will be ready for us to start the fun part...decorating.  Of course we might not have any funds left by then, but hey, a couple of window units, an inflatable air mattress, a portable fridge and some sandwich stuff, and we can spend the days out there and stay overnight if we are too tired to drive back to the city.


How pretty is THIS??

Watermelon Radish
This is a vegetable I've never had before but saw it on a recent tv cooking show and thought I needed to research it some more.  It might be something cool (and unsual) to grow on the farm.

It gets it's name of course from the fact that you slice it open and it's got the brilliant pink interior that looks more like a Watermelon that a Radish.

The are very easy to grow (as are most radishes) and seeds can be found almost anywhere.  Their flavor is said to be much sweeter and not as "spicy" as regular radishes.  Radishes are divided into Spring and Winter, these fall into the Spring category.  That gives me hope that we might be able to have some at the farm next Spring.  I'll see if I can sneak it onto our "must have" list of things to grow.

As for cooking, they can creamed and served as a side dish, added to stir fries, braised and sauteed, pickled, diced and put into soups and stews, served with dressing in a salad, or even raw in a vegetable platter.  Don't be afraid to try something new, you might just have a brand new favorite!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Well, the Beekman 1802 Blaak cheese arrived.  It was very well packaged.  What looks like a label is actually a card that has the Beekman 1802 Blaak name on the front and detailed instructions on the back showing you how to serve and care for your Blaak cheese.  
Upon removing the string and card, you find that the cheese is double wrapped.  This keeps it fresh and presentable.  When unwrapping, you'll see the care with which they take at Beekman 1802 in making sure your cheese gets to you exactly as it left Sharon Springs, NY (their hometown).
Here it is unwrapped and in all of it's beautiful "Blaakness".  The choice of coating the rind in the black wood ash gives this a very striking appearance.  It is sure to wow your guests when presented. We would recommend a white serving dish for presentation.  Yes, the black ash is food safe and edible, actually adding a slight smoky flavor to the overall bite.  

A word of caution, the black ash on the rind does come off very easily, as you can see on 2nd Man's hands, but all that means is you need to be careful when cutting and don't wipe your hands on your clothing.  We found that simply using a paper towel or piece of wax paper was enough to keep yourself clean.  It's a fair trade off for such a great end result and we think it's kind of fun.

This is a semi-hard cheese.  It's more like what you might think of in an Italian style of cheese.  A little salty, yet deeply earthy and savory.  If you are worried about the goat cheese taste that some find a little too much (we don't), this has none of that.  It's a 60/40 blend of milks (60% goat/40% cow) so it creates a rich flavor with just a hint of the acidity that you get with goat cheese and yet you still have all the mellowness of a cow's milk cheese.

For best taste and texture, let it come to room temperature.  It slices beautifully, no crumbling at all, and the black coated rind is just visually stunning when served.  Yes, you can eat the rind, it's firm yet gives just enough to blend with the cheese perfectly.  It's a seamless transition from where the rind ends and the cheese begins.  We served it with some roasted Italian sausage, tomatoes and balsamic, toasted homemade bread and a glass of Malbec.  You can see a picture of that dinner here.  The next morning, we had fresh bread with some of my famous jalapeno jelly (more on that in a future post).  Wow, the sweetness and spiciness of the jelly was a fabulous compliment to the cheese.  Bottom line, we LOVED it!  We've only had it three days and we are 1/4 of the way into the wheel!  Our only regret is we don't have more!  We would recommend that you get on the waiting list to get some the next time it's available...this is a seasonal and aged cheese so it's not available year round.  You aren't obligated to buy it, it just lets you know the next time it's ready.  You can do that at their website HERE.

So a fabulous THANK YOU to the Fabulous Beekman Boys for being not only an inspiration, but producing a delicious and quality cheese that will be the hit of any dinner (or a midnight raid on the fridge, shhh, just don't tell 2nd Man).