Sunday, September 30, 2012


Little Americans Poster,  courtesy of: US Library of Congress
Here is a poster from WWI, about 1917.  As with most things from the war, it was aimed at waste and keeping food available for those fighting.

This poster was put out by the United States Food Administration.  Asking even the "Little Americans" to do their part by cleaning their plates.  It even reminded parents to use oatmeal, cornmeal mush, hominy and even rice with milk in order to save the wheat.

I wonder, do parents today urge their kids to clean their plates?  I know I grew up with that ingrained in me, don't be wasteful.  I couldn't get up from the table until I had cleaned my plate.

We should all leave nothing on our plates.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


We are house bound today
(in town) because of the heavy rain in our area and after last Summer's drought, I won't ever complain about rain again!  So I decided to look around for things that I have purchased and see what else I can use them for.  Here is a thrift store find from awhile back, an old glass jar with a metal lid.  I think it was a $1.  It is embossed on the front with the word "TEA", so I presume that it was originally used for the storage of tea or tea bags.  We have a tea storage box, so I began looking around for something else to put in it.

Then I happened up this idea.  I decided to fill it with fresh, dried catnip!  It's the perfect size for a nice batch of our cats' favorite special drug weed herb.

It will be a fun way to store it in the pantry or out on the counter. We'll always know what's in it when the cats need a quick high, hit, fix, pick me up. 

Besides, isn't catnip sometimes made into tea?  I guess it's a jar of catnip tea, ha.

Don't forget, this month's book giveaway ends tomorrow at midnight and there are only about 15 or so entries, so you have pretty good odds of winning.
And if you aren't interested in this month's book, a cookbook is coming next month!  Click HERE to enter.

Hope you are enjoying your Saturday

Friday, September 28, 2012


Here is a real life "Friday Funny"

Went to the grocery store today to get some matches for the farm.  Sounds simple huh?  It was a new store and I was a bit lost so a young employee asked me if I needed help.  What follows is the actual exchange:

HIM: "Hi, um, can I help you find something?"

ME: "Yes, actually I'm looking for matches".

HIM: "Looking for what?"

ME: "Matches.  You know, like kitchen matches?"

HIM: "It matches what in the kitchen?"

ME: "No, no, to light things...with fire"

HIM: "Oh, you need a lighter, those are on aisle 12"

 ME:  Heavy sigh as I dejectedly headed off on my own.

Are matches becoming "old school"?  Or am I?

Hey, at least I got my matches!*
And they are "green" (eco friendly) at that, made from sustainable forests!  That's kind of cool.

*matches were in the picnic supplies section

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Boy, how did the stars align for this?
Today is usually when I have an "Inspiration Thursday" post. 
This is also my 1000th post.
And it just so happens that today, we also turn two!

Yep, it is the 2nd anniversary of the Two Men and a Little Farm blog.  I believe in the world of blogging this is called a Blogaversary.  Or Blogiversary.  Or Blogoversary.  I'm never sure which one is right but the sentiment is the same.

However you spell it, it means the same thing; two years ago today, I turned on my computer, sat down to a blank screen and used my fingers to type into the scary world of blogging.  My goal at the time was to just keep track of buying the house and property and have a record of sorts of the progress we made on it.  I always thought it would be great if people found me and even better if they came back more than once, but of course, I didn't know if it would really happen.  I just enjoyed the process, it allowed me to be creative and it was also far less scary than I had imagined it would be.

Now here I sit, 2 years later, on my usual day of posting an inspiring picture, typing the 1000th post!  Yes, if you can believe it, I've managed to blab on and on about some topic or another ONE THOUSAND different times.

The last year has brought many changes, both to the house and to the property.  There have been triumphs and fun things and things we've learned that we didn't know.  There have been some exciting makeover projects and DIY things, some great recipes and cooking adventures and even some gardening fun.  There are also projects I had hoped to get to but didn't quite make it.  There were creatures galore (snakes, mice, wasps).  There was a sudden job change, a new car and even an unexpected car accident.  But through it all, you keep visiting and offer the kind of support I only dreamed of when I started this two years ago.
Photo courtesy of:
Thanks, each and every one of you.  I just can't imagine how this journey would have been without being able to bring each of you along for the ride.  So much more to happen in the next year.  Can't wait to share it all!

Thank you again. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Frostweed on each side of the trail

When I've mowed recently, this is the sight that greets me on a certain part of the property.  No worries, I didn't mow over them, this is one of the paths, I've been continually mowing and it seems to have created a border of these flowers.  According to my Wildflowers book, it is called "Frostweed".  Its other names are Virginia Crownbeard, Ice plant, Tickseed, Tickweed, Squaw-weed, and Indian Tobacco.  Believe it or not, it is actually a member of the Sunflower family.

Frostweed in bloom
It is a perennial that grows between three and seven feet tall.  As you can see above, there are a variety of sizes in one grouping.  It blooms from August until November, so I'll have them to look forward to until the mowing season is finally over for the year.

Field of Frostweed
Here is what they look like when viewed as a whole.  Isn't it great?  It's so pretty to see so much white in the Summer because it actually reminds me of Spring. The flowers have an interesting scent too; the closest thing I can use to describe it is that they smell like a sweet soap.  I know that sounds odd but it is actually a very pleasing smell.

Interesting side note: Native American Indians dried the leaves of this and used it as a substitute for tobacco in smoking!  I don't smoke so I won't be attempting that and besides, I'm not sure what laws might be involved, LOL.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Almost missed it this month, but here it is, this month's batch of seeds from the SEEDS OF THE MONTH club.  Not only do I love it when they arrive in the mailbox (it's like Christmas!), but I love sharing them and getting advice.

This month brings the arrival of the following varieties:

Pea, "Sugar Snap"
Cabbage, "Late Flat Dutch"
Broccoli, "Waltham 29"
Kale, "Dwarf Siberian"

Anyone grown any of these vegetables and/or varieties?  I always like to ask so I can see if there is any advice you all can give on best methods of planting, growing tips, etc.  I'm never sure what is best for Fall planting, or Winter, or wait till Spring, etc. and so I have to divide them up into what I can maybe plant in the Spring or save until later.

Thank you, as always!

Monday, September 24, 2012


Here is a great DIY I did with my recent thrift store find, turning something meant for one purpose into something for another purpose.  I did it as a surprise for 2nd Man.  It gave me something fun to work on and he gets the end result to use while cooking up something wonderful for dinner or dessert.
Wait a second...I guess that would be a win win for me?? Ha!

Here is how I did it, hope you enjoy!

DIY cookbook holder
First I started with this metal easel.  I found it at the thrift store.  It's made for a photograph or small picture frame, stands about 16" tall and is made of a wrought iron type metal.  I knew as soon as I saw it that it would be perfect.

Painting the cookbook holder
First, I decided on a color, in this case red, since that will be the accent color in the kitchen.  I got out my trusty can of Rustoleum and took it outside to spray paint it.  Rustoleum is always good on metal objects because it goes on so well and covers up a multitude of problems (including, of course, rust).

Cookbook holder in place
After an hour or so of drying time, it was done!  Simple as that!  Here it is on the counter in all its red glory.  It really is a quick and easy project.

Cookbook holder in use
Here is how you use it.  Just take your cookbook, and put it on the easel as if it were a picture frame.  The lower portion of the easel holds the book open to the page that you need to view and gives you a hands free way of reading your recipe while you're cooking.

Cookbook holder on kitchen counter
One thing to remember is that you want to find one that's an appropriate size for larger cookbooks.  If a cookbook was too big for a small easel, it would just tip over.  This one was just perfect, as you can see.  2nd Man was very surprised and loved it.  Now I just need to get him to make that pie that I conveniently opened it up to!


Sunday, September 23, 2012


Image Courtesy of US National Archives
This is a really different poster.  They were definitely sounding the alarm about the "alarming shortage" that existed.  During World War I, there was a shortage of corn and the quality/quantity was not where it needed to be in order to get a good supply of corn harvested for the country.  They even urged people to report any surplus to the bank and they would arrange the sale of it.

I love the line "the quality is poor".  Um, yeah, that's true today for sure if you buy and/or plant the GMO seeds.  But I'm guessing we'd never hear that from the corporate owned media because Monsanto and those companies like them would never allow it.  They'd say "buy GMO, it's all good!" (NOT!).

Don't forget to enter this months book giveaway contest!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend and this second full day of Autumn.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Photo courtesy of: Mt Washington Valley New England 
Ah, it's here!  It's been a long, hot summer.  Thankfully, we were rainy here enough times that our rainfall is about normal but sadly, many parts of the country are still in a drought.  But now it's only a few hours away here.  Autumn, or Fall as it's more often called (I still prefer "Autumn"), has arrived and we are happy.  With it comes all the great stuff of the season.

The trees, American seasonal tree change is astounding. If you've never seen it, it truly is a sight to behold. 

Aren't the colors of the season pretty?  I just love this color palette.  It's so warm and comforting and inviting.  They certainly can make a place feel like home.  Green, gold, orange, rust,'s the colors of the leaves!

Image courtesy of:
And who doesn't love the veggies and fruits that Autumn brings? Squash in all shapes, pumpkins, corn, apples, pomegranates, cranberries, pears and more.

Image courtesy of: Wikicommons
The food!  Oh how we love the food.  Much like the comforting and warm colors of the season, the food shares a similar theme.  It's even often the same colors!  It's always warm and comforting too.  Hearty stews, thick wonderful soups, warm casseroles and flavorful slow cooked meals.

Pies, image courtesy of: Wikicommons
And pies.  Pies, pies, glorious pies.  Pecan, pumpkin, apple, fruit, custard...they just seem to be perfect embodiment of the season.

And as always, the start of Autumn brings the promise of cooler weather and eventually cold, with Winter not too far down the road.  Until then though, let's enjoy all we can of this wonderful season.

Happy Autumn!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I've always liked this picture.  It's just a simple wooden bench in a garden meadow.  But it represents so much of what I love about the country.  Peaceful.  Relaxing.  Reflection.  Book reading.  Napping.  So much to do on a bench like this.  I think I love the fact that it's just sort of "there", more or less in the middle of nowhere, beckoning you to come and sit for a spell.  

Ironically, I have a bench very similar to this, in kit form, in storage.  Found it once upon a time at a garage sale and it has never been opened, I just need to put it together.  Haven't done that yet because I want to find the perfect meadow for it to be in.  As random as this one looks, my guess is that they planned it to be there in that spot.  I can do the same! 

Blog day off, see you back here tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Driveway view
In the interest of sharing, and seeing more of the property, here is a view (right after I mowed it all!) that I thought I'd share.  This is looking down our driveway toward the house.  It's from where 2nd Family's house is.  It isn't from the main road though because we share the main driveway that goes from the road to this point (about 3 acres away) with them.  Here you can also see, on the other side of that large post, where our property begins.  So this part of it is our driveway, all the way up to the house.

On the left in both of the photos, you can see a fence line that separates it into what we all call the 'back pasture', which belongs to them (2nd Family).  We hope to someday share some livestock with them in that pasture.  Sheep?  Goats?  A couple of milk cows?  Pigs?  Time will tell I suppose.

The photo below is about halfway up the driveway so you can see a bit closer view of the house.  We've always liked how the house sits back far enough and behind enough trees that it stays pretty private.  No one can see the house from any of the roads around the property and that's nice.

House and driveway view

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


If you'd like, you can prep it the night before.  Here I prepped it all the night before to make it easy to throw together before leaving for work.

1 lb white beans
1 lb sausage, diced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
5 whole sprigs thyme
2 small white onions, diced
1 glove garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
8 cups chicken broth
2 cups torn/chopped kale
2 TBSP cider vinegar
salt/pepper to taste

The kale can be torn by hand or chopped into small bits, just be sure and remove any hard stems or woody pieces. Put about 2 cups aside in fridge until slow cooker is done.


Place beans, sausage, thyme, celery, onion, garlic, and seasonings in crock pot.

Add the chicken broth and put the lid on.  Set your crock pot for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high and forget about it.  

It should look like this after you take the lid off later when the cooking time is done.  

About 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, remove the lid, pour in your kale pieces (no worries, it will cook down), pour the cider vinegar over the top, and stir.  Put the lid on and let it go for about 30 more minutes.

How yummy is this?
Ladle it into bowls, and serve with a nice crusty piece of bread.  It's so satisfying and delicious.  A great use for kale
(which seems to grow like a weed down here when it's in season).


Monday, September 17, 2012


Vintage Chalkware bank
Now for some a happy post.  This is a neat thing I recently found in storage.  It was my Mom's, but not just hers from collecting it in later years, this was hers when she was little.  It's got a great story.  She got it when she was little, a carnival as she recalled, and then it sort of got "lost" for years.  After my Grandparent's passing (her parents), we were going through boxes of things in their cellar and found this.  

She was excited to see it again.  It's a "Chalkware" bank in the form of a basket full of kittens.  Chalkware was commonly used for giveaway items at circuses and carnivals, mucn like stuffed animals are done now.  We certainly couldn't let that linger in storage again yet again for more years, so I brought it to the farm and put it on the end table in the living room.

It makes me smile when I see it and I guess that's all that counts huh?  Still have lots of stuff to go through and it's fun finding these little things.
The farmhouse will be full of good memories and that's always a good thing.

Don't forget about the September blog GIVEAWAY.
Enter today!


This past weekend was a mouse proofing weekend at the farm.  After our RECENT MOUSE TROUBLE, and asking you all for advice, we saw another mouse in the house.  The time had come.  We devised a multi-prong plan of attack.
Ortho mousetrap
First we got these mousetraps, the Ortho Kill and Contain traps.  They will keep the mouse body inside and sealed up until we get there to dispose of it.  We put six of them around the house, baited with peanut butter and a little vanilla (apparently mice love the smell of vanilla).

Great Stuff Pestblock
Then we found this awesome stuff at our local hardware store.  The guy there highly recommended it.  I remembered that several of you said that mice will chew through the regular foam sealant.  This is the "Great Stuff" brand but it's called Pestblock.  It contains a bitter tasting and smelling additive.  The guy said he had a mouse coming in and out of a small hole in his house, he used this and never saw the mouse again.  Pretty ingenious of them to come up with something like this to prevent future chewing.  We'll see how it works at the farm.  I spent the day sealing up all the little gaps and holes I could find.
Hey, if nothing else, we're sealed up for better a/c and heat operation!

Fresh Cab by Earth-Kind
Next, we got 8 of these.  Based on some of your suggestions for "smells" that repel mice, I did some googling and found a company that makes these.  They are called Fresh Cab and were invented by a farmer's housewife.  Supposed to work great because they are filled with the smells mice don't like.  I put one in each closet, a couple under the two sinks, one under each bed and one in the living room where we saw the mouse.  We shall see.
Ro-Pel Rodent Repellant
Lastly, we got this.  It also came recommended, and we used it on the external part of the house.  I sprayed it around the front doors, and then all along the porch, the stairs, and then sprayed it all around the perimeter of the house.

We've, hopefully anyway, made it miserable inside for mice, created a barrier outside for those wanting to come in, sealed up the entrances, and for those unfortunate enough to be stuck inside, they will meet their demise.
Fingers crossed that we've done enough to nip it in the bud!

Don't forget about the September blog GIVEAWAY.
Enter today!

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Here is an interesting poster.  I guess during the war, they were asking people to eat less meat so they were advertising that cottage cheese provided more protein for people.

I happen to love cottage cheese, and as a side note, I really didn't know that it had more protein than equivalent weight in meat.  Homemade cottage cheese is wonderful and so much different than store bought.  

Definitely interesting the times they lived in not that long ago.

Don't forget to ENTER THE NEW GIVEAWAY!  

Hope you are enjoying you weekend.  Ours has been all about mouse proofing and rain.  But more on that later.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


After the recent success of our first ever blog giveaway, and then our 500,000th page view, it got me to thinking.  The purpose of the first giveaway was to thank you, the faithful readers/followers/friends, for your support.  We had fun watching you enter and I'll have to admit, we felt bad that all those nice comments you left us couldn't let you all win, ha.

So, without further ado, we have decided to have a MONTHLY giveaway.
Yes, monthly!

We'll keep the rules the same.  When I post the contest each month, you must leave a comment and be a friend of the farm (follower).  One entry per person.  I thought about just randomly drawing a follower's name each month, but then I realized that someone might not need/want the book that we'll give away so they might not want to be entered automatically.  So, when I post the contest, the only way to enter each month will be to just comment and let me know that you want your name entered.  I'll make sure that you are.  If you forget to enter, instead of trying to find this post, the photo above will be on the side bar so that you can click on it to enter.  Tell your friends too!

Each month, because of our love of books (and large collection at the farm), we'll give away a book so you can start your own collection.  It will be a gardening book, or a cookbook, or a decorating/crafts book, the three things we enjoy and try share on this blog.  Since the last giveaway was a cookbook, this next one will be gardening related:

So for September, this will be the book.

It's the Reader's Digest Garden Basics book called "Slugs, Pests & Diseases", copyright 2007.  Expert advice on combating common garden problems. 128 pages long and has a lot of great information on all the nasty critters and diseases that can affect your plants.  It covers a lot of ornamentals, fruits, trees, bushes, veggies, flowers and more.

The contest will run for 2 weeks, until midnight (US CST) at the end of the month, at which time I will close it and then randomly draw a name sometime in the next few days.

Just check back after that and I'll post the name of the winner so that they can contact me to give me their shipping info.

As always, this will be open to everyone.

Thank you!


Friday, September 14, 2012


Beeswax Lubricating Compound
Have you all ever used this stuff?  I just discovered it the other day at a local hardware store (mom and pop type store, not the big box type).

I used it on some wood screws and they screwed into the wood perfectly without even drilling a pilot hole first.  I'm going to try it next on a drawer on a piece of furniture that is constantly sticking.  It looks like it has a long list of uses, and I'm looking forward to trying them out.  I like that it's all 100% natural, no chemicals, nothing that will hurt you or the environment. If you can find some, you should try it, it's pretty neat.

It would be even neater if we could sometime get this from our own hives!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Windmill with flowers
I saw this picture and was instantly drawn in.  A windmill is something I've always associated with a farm.  It could come from my visits to my Grandparents' homes in Oklahoma, where it seemed every other house and farmstead out in the country had an old windmill of some sort on it.

I told 2nd Man that once we have the outbuildings established and other more important and functional things, I want a windmill.  It can be old, it doesn't have to be shiny and new.  I'm guessing it won't be pumping water, but who knows, maybe someday it could be hooked up to a generator.  When we do have one, I want it covered in flowers, or at least flowers at the bottom, just like this one!

Blog day off, see you back here tomorrow.
Have a great Thursday!  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Sydney the sleeping cat

Thought I'd share a picture of another of our cats.  
This is Sydney...he'll be 17 next month.  Yep, he was born way back in 1995!

Here's the little trick he has learned.  When we have the doors open to the room where the TV is (this is in the city house), he gets on the couch and roots up under these large pillows, which are of course upright on each end of the couch,   moving one of them around until it falls over flat.  Then he hops up on there and has the most comfy bed in the house.
As for the sleeping position?  Don't ask me!  Only a cat could come up with the upside down/sideways/twisted all at once pose and sleep that way for hours!

Our cats aren't spoiled at all, nope not at all...

(just keep saying that, right?)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


OK, so I got my fancy pants new Wildflowers of Texas book a while back and I've already used it to identify a few flowers.  This one however eludes me.  I guess maybe it's not really a true wildflower so that's why it's not in there?  So, in my ongoing effort to catalog and identify as many plants as I can on the farm, I'll reach out to all of you. 

It's growing all along the fence on one side of farm.  It's about 2 feet tall.  And as you can see, it has these little fuzzy yellowish "blooms" of some sort.  I'm not sure, yet anyway, if it gets bigger, opens up into something, or even if it produces a fruit or seed pod of some sort later on in its life cycle.  I think, in a way, it's actually kind of neat looking.  I just want to be able to walk around in the future and know what everything is that's growing on our land.

Does anyone know what this is?

Update:  Thanks to several commenters below, we've got it identified:

Its official name is: Texas Croton.

Thank you to all who commented!

Monday, September 10, 2012


Mouse nest in basket
I opened a drawer at the farm and found the above in a basket.  I immediately thought "oh oh".  But before I could get the second "oh" out, I saw movement!  A live mouse!  In a drawer in the living room!  Eeek!

Channeling my inner "He-Man", I lifted the cabinet up, drawers and all, and took it out on the porch in about 15 seconds (OK, so it wasn't that heavy).  I pulled the top drawer out and there I was, nose to whiskers with a little brown mouse.  
Cute mouse, NOT actual size
Of course 2nd Man came out and what were the first words out of his mouth?  "Oh, he's so cute!"

That, however, was followed by screaming, as said "cute mouse" lunged jumped out of the cabinet and began running around on the porch, heading for the door to go back in.  Of course, then 2nd Man goes "get your camera!" (at least he's thinking about the blog!).  I run to get the camera, then I hear "get a broom!"  So I go get the broom and come out, "where's the camera?".  "You said bring the broom!"  "Yeah but we have to get a picture!"  "OK, let me snap a pic"  "He's getting away, get the broom".  Lord, give me strength.

So we proceed to chase it around with a broom (go ahead, laugh) but let me tell you, Mighty Mouse had nothing on this little guy:
Faster than a speeding bullet...
Like a blur it was up my tool bag and back down.  It's weird, they sort of hop like rabbits when they run.  Sort of a run/leap/run/leap/run motion.  In all fairness, I'm sure it was really looking to be anywhere but on the porch with two crazed city folk and a broom!  

Eventually, I did get him down the stairs and into the yard and he was ready for his close-up (see above).  Yeah, sure, OK, kinda cute...but...

We found mouse droppings around the house!  In some window sills, behind pillows, along baseboards, in a few drawers, etc.  We didn't see any other mice and we checked all drawers and cabinets and under cushions and the couches just to make sure.  After 2nd Man spent the better part of about three hours cleaning everything from top to bottom "just to be sure", I'm guessing he was hoping I'd run over the "cute mouse" with the mower.

SO...I'm putting this out:

Help!  We need advice!

Here is our unique issue: We are not there full time so we can't have the dead carcass of a mouse in the house for a week.  That means poisons or traps are out.  I'm afraid to put poison around the outside of the house, because I worry they could go outside for dinner and go back inside to, um, meet their demise.

Ultrasonic?  Any sort of home remedy for repelling them?  Mothballs?  Some essential oils?  Any over the counter remedy I can buy at the store?

We've got curtains and beds made with sheets and blankets and pillows and couches and baskets galore.  We definitely need to nip this in the bud so it doesn't get out of control.