Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Here are some of my latest thrift store finds.

First the broom looking thing.  It's actually a "cobweb broom".  It's got a long handle and the broom end is angled and jagged to help with getting cobwebs that are up in the corners and edges of ceilings.  $3.00

The clear, pressed glass item is one of those old style candle holders that holds a candlestick.  You carry it with your finger and thumb in the holder. $1.50 

Finally, two of my two favorite finds of the week, stoneware bread warmers.  You put them in the oven, heat them up and then put them in the bottom of a basket with your bread, usually under a towel, and then they radiate the heat to keep your bread warm while on the table.  $3.00 each

$10.50!  Not a bad deal for some fun things for the farmhouse.  I'll hang the cobweb broom in the mudroom with the other cleaning supplies, the candle holder will find a home on the desk in the foyer, and the bread warmers will definitely have a home with the bread baskets we already have.

I just love a deal!

Monday, October 29, 2012


Keeping those of you in the path of the storm in our thoughts...

...and sending good wishes your direction for safety and recovery.



That's how many trees were lost in Texas during the 2011 drought.

With a population of 25 million, it means that for every single person in Texas, more than a dozen trees died in just one year.

(click above for article)

We lost a few trees on the property ourselves.  One was an integral part of two trees in a future landscaping project that I had in mind but alas, now I only have the one. With all the acreage we have, most of it grown up with trees and plants, it's hard to tell how many were lost.  The Mesquite trees which are so prevalent on the farm are extremely drought tolerant and I don't believe we lost any of them.  But with so few other tree varieties on the property, the loss of just a few was significant and noticeable as you walk around.

So, by the Spring of next year, we have set a personal goal of planting two dozen new trees on our property (a dozen for each of us), not counting the fruit and pecan trees that we already have of course.

We're looking at the best varieties for our area, making sure they are drought tolerant and native to this area and best for our overall zone conditions.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Fishing Fleet WWII Poster, image courtesy of US National Archives
Here's a fun poster image.  This one dates from WWII, circa 1941-1945, and was put out to remind people how important fishing was to the war effort.  With food reserves going to the troops overseas, fish became a more popular staple in homes.

Of course, it has a double meaning, as many did, that not only was the fishing fleet important for victory, so were men.  Men who were fighting and the men who couldn't should be working on the fleet.  Assets to victory!!

Hope you are having a good weekend and I hope those in the path of Sandy and the "frankenstorm" are prepared and ready and stay safe!

Friday, October 26, 2012


Galvanized metal magazine rack
I've have had this stored away for awhile, but was never sure where to put it.  It's a galvanized metal storage rack, maybe for files originally, perhaps magazines?  I've been trying to figure out where to put it and I just realized the width was about the same as one of the set of shelves in the mudroom.

So last week, I mounted it on the side/end of that smaller shelving unit and will use it as a place for all the owners manuals for appliances and tools at the farm. There are four compartments, and for now I've just put some random stuff in there but I'll have to divide them up into four categories.  Maybe "appliances", "outdoor tools", and two more, just not sure what those will be.

Any suggestions?

I do know that it's great to be able to now have them all in one spot.  No more running around going "where is that instruction manual?"

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Photo courtesy of:
Last week, I posted an image of a random flower bed.  I loved the random nature of it, and then I saw this one.  Formal and obviously planned, but SO pretty.  I love the contrast of the green grass and the bright colors of the flowers.  It's always nice to have varying heights of flowers, from low to tall.

A lot, if not all, of these flowers are annuals, so I'm guessing at this time of year, it's more than likely just an empty and weed covered spot of dirt in the middle of the yard, ha.  Still, this picture makes me long for Spring, which is a long Winter away.

Today is blog day off, I'll get back to your comments and have new posts tomorrow.  Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Got the October batch of seeds from the SEEDS OF THE MONTH club.  As I always do since I've been getting these, here they are for this month:

Amaranth, "Red Garnett"
Parsley, "Forest Green"
Rutabaga, "American Purple Top"
Cress, "Wrinkled Crinkled"

And also as always, I ask you for gardening tips, harvesting advice and just general information on growing them from those that may have first hand experience with any of these.  Any cooking and/or eating tips on the veggies if anyone has any?  I'm not sure I know what Amaranth is or how it's used and I'm almost certain I've never eaten a Rutabaga.

Thanks as always!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Recently, I received a couple of book recommendations in the comments of other posts and it got me to thinking; we have a lot of gardening books and cook books and decorating books.  Without a TV at the farm, when we go out there and relax a bit, it's nice to just sit and read.  But these are all pretty much "how to" books.  We love them of course but... of you suggested Charlotte's Web (great suggestion to read a classic that I might look at differently now) and another suggested a book on WWII that featured someone working on a chicken farm (sounds fun). 

So now I'm wondering, what fiction and/or historical books would you all recommend for the farm "library"?  I'd like to keep them farm related, maybe about someone building a garden, or raising livestock or maybe a book about a beekeeper?  Heck, maybe life on a farm now (Amish?) or even a hundred years ago (Little House on the Prairie-ish perhaps?)

Speaking of fiction, I recently read a book called "One Second After", and while it was depressing at times, it also reminded me of the importance of self sufficiency and yet another reason we want to create this farm.  We've got some "how to" books on self sufficiency but any fiction book on that topic would be great as well (something like "The Road" which I read a few years back).  As I said, I'd like something I can get wrapped up in a continuing story and maybe learn a little something about life on a farm or self survival along the way, even if it is a work of fiction.  I need some escapist reading.

Feel free to suggest away in the comments below.  I might just have to start a new bookcase full of books ready for this Winter.

Monday, October 22, 2012


The last few weekends, I've been shopping...CAR shopping.

My car is older and it was time.  It's not that I relish going out and having to deal with that, but I currently drive a Saturn, which was a GM car.  Unfortunately, Saturn didn't make it out of the GM bailout and the company no longer exists.  It's also a couple of years out of warranty and parts are no longer being made so I run the risk of a break down with who knows what problem in getting it repaired.  With my new job being close to the house in town, us driving back and forth to the farm more often, and gas prices on the rise, I also wanted something with good gas mileage. 

So I've been shopping at various dealers the last few weekends, trying to narrow it down and decide and now I can officially say that I ordered a car!  It's being built exactly the way I want it and should arrive in about four weeks.  I'll unveil it here on the blog when it comes in but there are a couple of clues in this image, ha.  I'll have to admit the process was very easy.  Perhaps it's the dealer or maybe brand I chose but regardless, I'm grateful for the ease that's for sure.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Seda the Pig arrived (via livestock sale) a little over a week ago!

Every weekend, I'll give you a pig update with all the stats and how he is progressing.

PIG STATS 10/21/12:

Age: About 3 months
Length: 37" long, snout to curly tail
Height: 16", ground to back
Weight: 76 lbs

Here is his latest picture:
Seda the FFA Pig
He's had his shots and is eating well and growing on schedule.  His weight gain is right on track and he is getting a lot of exercise.  T (the young man raising Seda) has been awesome, getting up early every morning and going to the livestock pens to take care of him and coming back home in time for school and then doing it again in the afternoon after school.  His family, as are we of course, are very proud of him.  We might just have the beginnings of a lifelong interest in agriculture.


US Crop Corps poster courtesy of US National Archives
Here is a poster from WWII that was part of the US Crop Corps.  That was a pretty neat program that urged citizens to help with the farming effort.

It was said in the program that "farmers and their families and what steady hired help they have usually manage to get the crops planted and tended and keep up reasonably well the chores of caring for cattle, horses, sheep, hogs and chickens, repairing machinery and making gardens. But when it comes to the harvest, they must have outside help."

This program was divided up to focus on groups like children 14-18.  I like that philosophy.  It would be nice if there was an effort today to help farms harvest, though something tells me if we called one up and asked if they needed help harvesting, they would not turn it down, ha.  I think the best way to help today is to just get more people interested in gardening.

Hope you're having a great weekend doing whatever makes you happy!

Friday, October 19, 2012


We just went to a local Farmers Market this past weekend and scored some awesome (as always) vegetables, a jar of local honey, and some fresh fruit.  It reminded me of a sign I saw once and so I went online to look for it to share.

Remember to try and buy local whenever you can.  It supports our local farmers and small businesses!  And let's face it, the food is fresher and always tastes better.

HERE IS A GREAT LINK that can help you find Farmers' Markets in your area.

What about you?  Do you shop local?  Have a favorite market?


OK, since this month is Halloween, and in honor of the 3rd season premiere of the hit show The Walking Dead, I thought that this would make an appropriate "Friday Funny" feature today.

Who knew our innocent "Garden Gnomes" could be turned into vicious hordes of zombies? (side note, I'd LOVE to have some of these in the yard at Halloween)

Enjoy and hope it makes you laugh!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Informal garden, photo courtesy of:
This is such a neat picture.  It's another one of the first ones I ever saved when we started thinking about looking for land to buy.  I have always said that while I do like formal design gardens, I think I love randomness and mixing like this.  It looks like they just sprang up and started growing.

We have some areas on the property now that look just like this, MINUS the flowers of course.  There are a few trees scattered around like the ones here and this inspires me to get the planning ready for next Spring and decide on the flowers I want to plant.

Today is my blog day off, I'll catch up on everyone's posts tomorrow and this weekend.  And don't forget to enter the cookbook giveaway.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Some momentary computer issues today.  Actually, I think it's more a "" thing than a computer issue.  I tried to resolve it last night, but I quickly ran out of awake time, ha. 

So today is a day to try to fix it.  I've got some emails out there and am waiting for a reply.  Hope to be back on the blog later tonight when I get home from work.  Enjoy your day, I'll check back in tonight.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


This isn't a thrift store find but it was in the clearance bin at a discount store.  I loved the design but the black left me a little nonplussed.  The price was right was on clearance for $5.00, marked down from $20.00.  I'll take 75% off any day, ha.

Black was not an issue, I figured I would just pull out my trusty can of apple red Painter's Touch Rustoleum.

About 10 minutes later, here was the painted end result.  I just love this color red, and it totally changed a boring black metal bargain find into...

...the perfect paper towel holder for the kitchen!  Best of all, it matches the COOKBOOK HOLDER I painted in the same color last month.

(I'm sensing a red theme in the kitchen!) 

Painting stuff with spray paint is so easy, it's really changed the way I look at the things I find.  Now I see things for their shape and design instead of the color.  I figure just about anything can be painted whatever color fits our design.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Well, T, his mom and brother H got the pen all ready on Friday night.  Here it is when they got there. It is located at the school district's Ag barns.

After they finished, it was all ready for it's new occupant.  Fresh and clean and new...for the last time ever, ha.  It was neat seeing all the family members there with all the kids and their animals.  We had a blast just hanging around for a couple of hours!

On Saturday, T went to the sale and bought the pig.  Congratulations, it's a boy!  Here is his back end.  Why did I show you that first?  Well, it's how this crossbreed gets its name.  It's called a "Blue Butt", funny name I know.  It is a cross between a Yorkshire (white) pig and a Hampshire (black/black and white) pig.  It ends up all white/pink on the front end and it's rump is actually a bluish color, hence the "Blue Butt" breed, not very dignified if you ask me, ha.  

Here is Seda getting his first meal in his new pen.  He really seemed to like the feed that T gave him.  In fact, he ate like a...oh yeah, right, that's what he does.  The marks on him are from the transport to the auction, scratches from other pigs, etc.  They say it goes away in a week or so.

Here he is!  I tried to get him to wink for the camera, but all I could get was this goofy grin, LOL.

Next on the agenda, he gets his round of shots.

The only stat I have at the moment is his weight.  As of last night:

61 lbs

Sunday, October 14, 2012


WWII Poster - Image courtesy of UK Historical Archives, Imperial Museum
In honor of SEDA, the pig WE SPONSORED for our friend's son, I found this poster online while researching vintage posters.  This one comes from WWII, the 1940's, and urged people to save their kitchen feed to pigs!

It mentions to keep it dry and free from, among other things, glass, bones, metal and paper.  They would even send someone around to collect it.  Apparently, there were bins all over as well for people to drop food waste into and it was collected regularly, just like trash waste, then sterilized and converted into pig food.  This helped the overall wider home front food production.

It seems hard enough to have people recycle their everyday trash
(we do!), I can imagine how hard it would be now to get people to save food scraps for something like this.

For those new to the blog, every Sunday, for almost two years now, I find a photo of a vintage poster from our history (usually during the two World Wars) that was related to gardening or canning or recycling, to just share a glimpse into our farming/food past. To see any of them, just click the 'history' label.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Martha White's Southern Sampler - book giveaway
For this month, we're giving away a great cookbook!

It's the Martha White (makers of flour and other baking products) Southern Sampler.  It features ninety years of baking tradition with recipes ranging from biscuits to yeast rolls to chicken pot pie to cornbread to cakes to cobblers and everything in between.

222 pages and over 300 favorite Southern recipes.

As usual, the rules are the same, be a friend of the farm (follower) and leave a comment here on this thread that you want to be entered.  The contest will run until the end of the month and then I'll randomly pick a name.  Open to everyone, even those in other countries.

Thanks and good luck!


Friday, October 12, 2012


Relaxing in the shade
While I was mowing recently, on a hot day, 2nd Family's horse was in the back pasture.  This is the one closest to our house and as I went up and down the driveway, she kept a watchful eye on me.  It was probably because I had given her a couple of apples as a snack earlier in the day and there was always the chance I had more.

It was hot (high 90's day) so she decided to watch me from the inviting shade of this Mesquite tree.

"More apples?  I'll venture out.  No apples?  I'm staying right here!"

Smart horse...

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Outdoor Bed photo courtesy of: Southern Living
Believe it or not, this is one of the first photos I ever saved when we were "thinking" of shopping for land. I saw it and instantly thought WOW!

This doesn't apply to this picture in particular as I don't know its full story, but I read an article once where someone had an old bed frame outside.  It was metal.  When they had a nice evening, they would put an air mattress that matched the size of the frame and use it for naps or sleeping outside.  This picture reminds me of that story.

I'm not 100% sure about sleeping outside in the open ALL night, but this might be fun for some stargazing in the evening.  I'm certain however that it would be fun for an afternoon nap in the shade.  Beats the heck out of a hammock!

Is it silly?  Sure.  Is it practical?  Probably not.  Is it fun to dream about possibilities like this?  Absolutely!!

Blog day off, see you back here tomorrow!  Enjoy your Thursday, the weekend is almost here!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


This past weekend, I announced HERE that we had sponsored a pig for a friend's son in the FFA.  Well yesterday, we got the nicest card in the mail.  I died laughing when I saw that they had searched around until they found a thank you card with a pig on it!  His mother even wrote a note to us that made us both get teary eyed.

The note that T wrote inside was SO nice and very thoughtful and then he used this card to let us know that he is going to name the pig "SEDA", after the NAME of our farm!  More teary eyes, LOL.  What a wonderful young man they are raising.

Thanks T, now go raise a prize winning pig!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


 Here are some pictures of another view...the view from the porch, sort of in a panoramic form.  I stood in one spot and just turned each direction to take the pictures.  I like sharing the different views of the property.  Hope you enjoy!

Porch view
This is the view coming from the end of the porch by the mudroom door.  Exterior has not been painted and railing had to cure for 6 months before we could paint it so that will be a Spring project.  What you see from this direction on the house is the "front yard".  With the weather cooling down, my next project is cleaning out around that tree you can see there.  It's an old overgrown flower bed that needs to be redone.  I don't like square flower beds around trees, I prefer them to be free form and more natural.

Another porch view
Here is the next view, straight ahead from the rocking chairs.  That tree there in the background is another large mesquite.  I took these pictures a few weeks ago and that tree has since been trimmed.  You can also see the driveway in this picture.  Oops, how did the big green zen machine end up in the picture?  

Porch stairs
This view is looking toward the front steps.  Beyond the birdhouse pole, in the distance, is the site that I've been slowly clearing in preparation to fence in and make into the raised bed garden area.  I just have a couple of small "trash trees" left to remove so I finally have a blank slate and then I can start building the raised beds.

Porch stairs
And last but certainly not least, this is the view looking toward the other end of the porch. That door at the end is the front door, that goes into the foyer.  Those stairs on the end head off toward Barnabas the party tree and the side and back of the house.

Hope you enjoyed the mini tour of the porch!

Monday, October 8, 2012


How strange is this story?  Do you know what this is below?  Paint?
No, it's a jar of regular honey and a jar of "blue" honey.

BLUE honey?  What the heck?  Apparently bees in an area of France have been producing blue honey (as well as green and purple and shades in between).  When beekeepers would check their hives, they saw this below.  At first, apiarists weren't sure what was happening to cause this strange phenomenon. Something in the environment?  A new virus infecting bees?  A problem with the hives?  Some sort of poison?
Blue honey in the honeycomb
Turns out it was an odd discovery:  They now believe that the bees were stopping off at a nearby plant that handled the waste from the manufacturing process of M&M's!  They were collecting the sweetly colored residue from barrels and heading back to their hives to turn it into honey and store it away.  The end result?
Green, purple and blue honey
Multicolored honey!  As soon as they figured out what was causing it, they put steps into place to prevent it such as sealing the barrels, keeping them inside instead of outside, etc.  They say it doesn't taste differently and the consistency is exactly the same but still, they are destroying all of it, as they say it is not sellable and they don't want people to be worried about honey which could hurt  sales in another unexpected way.

Sadly, it's yet another blow to the honey industry in France which is already reeling from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) as well as a shortage of honey supplies and an unusually cold Winter last season.  They are also worried about what effect the artificial flavors/colors/chemicals the bees encountered will ultimately have on the entire hive and its future generations of bees.

Personally, I'm just wondering how long before some scientist tries to figure out a way to "genetically modify" bees to do this on purpose?

To read more about this fascinating and kinda scary story, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Women's Land Army, British poster from WWII
I've posted a couple other "Women's Land Army" posters over the past couple of years but here's a new one I found.  The group was a British civilian organization that was formed during both WW1 and WWII.

It's purpose was to replace the agriculture workers (men) that had been called off to war so that food production could continue uninterrupted.

I like the concept of a "land army", women and men and children.  It would be kind of cool to have people helping out local farmers, even if only for a couple of hours a month. 

Hope you are having a great weekend.  I'm off to mow, possibly the last time this season as cooler weather sets in across the area and of course, to check for mice, hoping they are still "gone", ha. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Don't get too excited, we're not having a pig on the farm
(someday, yes).  No, what we are doing is sponsoring a pig!
Coming Soon (kind of)
One of our dear friends has a son who has been telling his parents he would like to be a farmer and/or do something related to farming, so this year, he signed up for the FFA.  For those that aren't familiar with that acronym, it is for an organization called Future Farmers of America.  It has been around since 1928, teaching young people leadership and personal growth through the use of agricultural education.

Students can raise livestock, chickens, cows, pigs and more.  They have to do this starting from buying them as small animals at auction, all the way through to selling them back at auction six months later.  The kids have to do everything in between, from buying the food, to taking care of the animals including veterinary issues, keeping them groomed etc, and hopefully raising them well enough to collect a top dollar bid at an auction in about six months.  During this time, they keep track of all expenses and costs associated with the process so that they can learn the business side of things.

Of course, buying the pig and related supplies requires a large investment up front, so usually, the students look for sponsors.  2nd Man and I talked about it and knew immediately that we should be the sponsors.  It will be great to help this awesome young man (we'll call him "T") and nurture his interest in farming.  In this day and age of iPods and smartphones and Facebook and Twitter, it's nice to see a young person wanting to do something related to agriculture.

So here in about a week, we'll be heading down to the local livestock sale with T and his family so that he can buy the piglet that we will be sponsoring.  I told him I'd like to have pictures once a week, as well as the stats (weight, etc) so that we can keep track of the pig's progress here on the blog.  We'll also have "visitation rights", LOL, and that will be fun since we'll learn a bit about what is involved in raising livestock also, all courtesy of T and the FFA!

The motto of the FFA is:

Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve

That's certainly a motto that we could all live by.

Friday, October 5, 2012


We interrupt our regular "Friday Funny" feature to announce a winner.  We drew from all the names of everyone who asked to be entered and the winner of the gardening book for the September giveaway is...

2 Tramps!

Click HERE to visit their great blog.  Hooray!

In the meantime, will one of the tramps (LOL) please email me directly and let me know where to ship your book and I'll get that out to you soon. Congratulations!

If you didn't win, don't give up (*cough, John, cough*), we're going to do this every month so check back.  In a few days, the next book that will be up for grabs (a cookbook) will be posted.

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Photo graciously provided by: Sue, of Sue's Garden Journal
Here is another favorite photo of mine and it comes from a fellow blogger.  This is but one small part of the lovely gardens of Sue.  She blogs all about her gardens over at SUES GARDEN JOURNAL and rightfully so, her efforts are beautiful and oh so pretty.

This is the kind of look I like so much.  It's the random yet planned nature of the flowers.  Love the colors and the textures and the fence, even the little path down the middle.  It's so serene and calming to me.  That's always the best way to plant, so it looks like it just popped up all by itself.  Of course, who can NOT love those amazingly tall Sunflowers?  Awesome!

Thank you Sue for giving me inspiration, and of course, thank you for allowing me to use your image so that I might share your inspiring work with others.

Blog day off, see you back here tomorrow morning with the giveaway results!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


OK, now this is kind of strange.
Or maybe cool?

The Weather Channel has decided to name Winter Storms this season.
So without further ado, here are the "names" of the major winter storms for 2012-2013:

Winter Storm Name photo, courtesy of:
Now being down here along the Gulf coast, we are more than used to named storms...Tropical Storms and Hurricanes.  The reasons they give for now naming winter storms are the same as for tropical systems.

They say it will a better way to communicate the threat and timing of impacts of the storms as they approach different parts of the country.  They also mentioned that social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter would be a better way to bring together information about the storms when they have a name that can utilized throughout posts by people in the path.

The parameters for when a storm gets named, like wind speed or snow levels, vary for each 'event'.  As for the "names", not sure how they came up with the ones they settled on.  The majority are mythological but some are odd to say the least.  Twitter was even abuzz about the rejected names.

SO what do you all think?  Especially those of you here in the states that might live in the path of possible storms?
Old Man Winter
"Watch out, Gandolf is coming!"
"Oh no, it's Nemo!"
"Here comes Q!"

Read all about it BY CLICKING HERE for more details.


White chair
Was driving home from work the other night and saw this on the side of the road.  Side note, I still feel strange doing that, like I'm taking something I shouldn't.  But I figure people put stuff out on the curb for either trash pickup or hoping someone else might want it so it's OK.  Anyone else feel that way?

Anyway, I drove around the block, deciding if I should get it, where I could put it, etc.  Ultimately, I circled back around and picked it up.

It's a solid wood chair that has a really cool design to it.  It had been painted in a whitewash type of flat paint, which will actually work great as a primer.  I'm assuming they threw it out because the back of it has two small cracks, one on each side (someone must have leaned back in it one too many times).  It's nothing a little Gorilla Glue can't fix!  I liked the style, we need a chair in the master bedroom and besides, you can't beat free right?!

So, this will be my next redecorating project.  I'm thinking blue, the same blue I used for the dresser and end table in the master bedroom.  I might even leave part of it white (the back perhaps?).  After painting, all it will need is the perfect seat cushion.  Darn, that reminds me, I forgot to measure it for a cushion so I could look for one on my lunch breaks this week.
Oh well, I need to get it painted first.

Stay tuned!