Sunday, March 31, 2013


Here is one that somehow seems appropriate on Easter.  It dates from WWI, about 1918.  It reminded people of the soldiers fighting the war in the trenches overseas.  The more food that people at home were able to save and not waste, the more was available to ship overseas to feed the troops.

I love the formality of the language used, "Waste Nothing - that he and his family may have enough".

Hope you are having a great Easter weekend.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Baby Snake
I reached down to pick up the handle of a rake that had fallen over in the yard and as I moved a piece of plastic, I saw this.

I'll admit that the first reaction I had was to be startled and jump back.  There is nothing better to get your heart racing, that's for sure, though a big spider would accomplish the same thing as well.  Hey, at least I didn't scream...that you know of.  I don't love snakes like some people do, but after my blood pressure subsided, it was fascinating to look at.  It was a baby snake of course (that black thing is the handle of the rake, for size reference) and he/she seemed to be enjoying the warmth of the black handle.  

There was no reason for me to do harm to it, it wasn't hurting me and it was just living its life on our farm, so I covered it back up and left it alone.

I'm not sure what kind, does anyone know?
I'm guessing a grass snake of some sort?

Gotta love the country!

Friday, March 29, 2013


Guess what I got for my birthday?  A fence!  Huh?

Yep, 2nd Man hired a contractor and just told me to figure out what I want around the raised beds and make it happen.  He's been saving up for it over the last few months, even before I got the raised beds built.

I'd love to have something like this handmade "Hobbit style" fence that I mentioned once in an Inspiration Thursday post:

Photo courtesy of
But alas, I DO have a budget to stick to, ha.

So I've been back and forth about the design, trying to figure out what I want.  It's still subject to change before work starts, but I think I'm just going with something simple, a picket fence, like these:

It will be big and rectangular like this one...

And might have an arbor entrance like this one, but...

...not painted white, I think that's too formal, so it will age and weather like this one.  And I'll plant flowers all around it.

I've already called the contractor and sent these photos so he'll know what I want.  He's going to call and/or come by this weekend and go over everything.

If you had told me 15 years ago that I'd be excited about a fence for my birthday, I might have thought you were crazy, but it's exciting now!  I'm finally going to get one of those fences I've always wanted.  Of course, I still have acres more space for other fences later on, so this won't stop my love of all types of fencing.  Besides, there's always Christmas and anniversaries and future birthdays, LOL.

P.S. I've gone through and thanked each of you for your birthday wishes, how kind you all were.  It warmed my heart.  Thank you again!

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Flowers and a gate, photo courtesy of Southern Living
I've always been fond of this picture.  I'm not sure what kind of flowers these are (anyone know?), but they are just gorgeous.  If I knew I could get this look, I'd just throw down some seeds, all along the driveway.

Heck, we even have a gate like this one. When I saved this picture, I didn't know we would have the gate but now we do. All we need now are the flowers.

Enjoy the day!

Be inspired!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Seeds of the Month for March 2013

It's time!  Seeds of the Month from Mike the Gardener have arrived and given me a surprise in the middle of the middle of the week.

This month's seeds are:

Sorrel, "Large Leaf"
Pumpkin, "Small Sugar"
Artichoke, "Green Globe"
Pea, "Thomas Laxton"

As usual, I'll ask for comments from anyone who has grown these varieties.  As I plan the plantings, for Spring, Summer and Fall, I will look back on the blog for tips and advice that any of you have left.  I'm pretty sure the pumpkin gets sown later in the year and I don't think I've ever grown artichoke, not sure if it will even grow here.  Sorrel I've eaten a few times and of course I love peas but tried some a few years ago in town and it was a failure both times.

Thanks ahead of time!

Seeds rule!!!


Hello all, this is 2nd Man.

I know, I know, I'm always the mysterious one in the background, cooking and baking usually, and yes, the biscuit recipe is coming soon!

But today, I am hijacking the blog for a moment to wish 1st Man a very
Happy Birthday.  I hope I do this correctly to post it.  He puts so much of his time and energy into this blog, I sure don't want to mess it up, ha.

Yes, today is his forty-something birthday.

Happy Birthday 1st!  Thank you for everything.

from me (2nd)

Wed evening:  1st Man checking back in! I will reply to all of your wonderful comments tomorrow, thank you each and every one of you!  How awesome you made me feel.  Friends I just haven't met yet!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Does anyone know what this tree is?  While I was at the farm, I was roaming around and found this one that was in bloom.  The tree has been there for a long time of course but I have never seen it in bloom.  

It was covered in these little pinkish purple flowers.  It was actually very stunning to see in full bloom.  You know, looking back, I forgot to see if they had a scent.  I was just excited to see something somewhat "new" to me.  I'm sure it bloomed last year but if it has a short bloom time, I might have just missed it when I was there last time.

Here they are closeup.  Any clue?  Since our property is mostly covered in Mesquite trees, whenever there is anything else in bloom that I can perhaps identify, I'd like to know what they are so I can properly care for them and clean out around them to make them stand out as a focal point.

Thanks in advance!

UPDATE:  Thanks to those of you that responded, it appears to be a 

Monday, March 25, 2013


I got this email about tonight's weather, and I noticed the line they put in about tender plants (I put it in bold).  I know it's not as cold as it is in many parts of the country, but it's definitely unusual for us to have a late season freeze.

Alerts/Warnings for Houston, TX | 
 Special Statement 

... Low temperatures will fall to freezing tonight... 

A very dry air mass coupled with clear skies and light winds will
set the stage for very cold temperatures overnight. Temps
will fall to near 40 by midnight...and into the lower 30s by sunrise. 
There will be pockets of even colder temperatures in some locations... especially in rural areas. 
The cold temperatures 
could cause damage to tender plants and vegetation that may have been planted during earlier warmer weather. Temperatures will warm up quickly on Tuesday with high temperatures back into the 60s.  Low temperatures on Wednesday morning will again fall into the lower 30's.

Didn't Spring start last week?  I guess it's fortunate I haven't gotten the seedlings and plants in the ground without me being there to cover them.

Stay warm wherever you are!


It was a good weekend.  It was odd for sure, and maybe not the perfect weekend I had imagined in my head but still good in the long run.

We got there early Saturday morning.  It was misty raining when we left so I thought that would put, no pun intended, a damper on the weekend.  The first thing I noticed when we drove up was the grass was out of control.  Thankfully the John Deere (Big Green Zen Machine) was back and ready to use. I was trying to beat the rain but managed to get it finished in time.

So after I finished mowing, I decided to take work on the inside with a few projects, one being a new shower head for the shower.

I removed the old one and cleaned up the pipe.

Got the new one installed and it is great.  But while I was testing it, I kept hearing a strange noise from the water heater.  So I checked it out...I looked in the cabinet and saw water spraying out in a stream from the cold water inlet pipe.

I pulled back the linoleum to find wet wood.  Arrrgh!  I knew that plumber was not focused.  Anyway, I went down to 2nd Family's house to ask R for advice.  He does plumbing work on the side.  He came up, knew how to fix it and came back about 15 minutes later with the tools and pipe pieces and fixed it!  He is AWESOME.

Meanwhile, 2nd Man was busy preparing a great meal for us.  He had problems  however with his bread not rising.  He tried two loaves and neither came out, it just wouldn't rise.  Still now sure what the cause was.  We're thinking that the yeast was bad (but it was newly purchased and not near the expiration date).  He put on a pot of bolognese sauce to cook all day and it sure smelled great.  He also made some pasta but we ran out of flour (after the two loaves) so I had to run to the grocery store after driving back into town to feed the cats at the house in town (they are old, need special food, and don't travel well, so they stay in town and we make the drive to take care of them).

Here is the bolognese sauce simmering on the stove.  It literally simmered for about 6 hours.  Pork, beef, San Marzano tomatoes, fresh herbs, garlic, etc.

Freshly made pasta, made with farm fresh eggs that 2nd Family gave to us when we got there.  This takes a bit to make but of course, only about 2 to 3 minutes in boiling water to cook.

So dinner was a big bowl of pasta bolognese, a salad, topped with freshly shaved asiago cheese, and a glass of our favorite white wine, Gazela Vinho Verde.  Since 2nd Man's bread didn't come out, we fell back to some New York Brand garlic cheese bread baked in the oven.  It was a delicious meal.

After dinner, we sat on the porch with another glass of wine and relaxed. It was later than we had planned, but it was a nice evening.  We decided to share our dinner with 2nd Family as a thank you, so we put some in a container and walked it down there.  It's about 1/4 mile walk down the driveway and in the dark of night it was interesting.  About halfway down, we heard this strange scream that sent chills down my back as I envisioned all manner of creatures, of both fact and fiction, jumping out of the shadows of the trees.  Turns out it was a bull on the property next door.  Damn cows.
Nosey AND loud.

We walked back up to the house and decided to go in for the night.  We closed up the doors and windows, and changed into some warm pj's and relaxed the rest of the evening.  It's refreshing to be away from the TV.  We just had music  to listen to and lots of books to read.  Oh, because it was still warm (the cold air hadn't arrived yet), we had some Blue Bell ice cream for dessert.  By the way, these are the individual serving sizes, not entire half gallons, LOL.

We have no heat in the house yet and so it got cold during the night with the front's cold air finally coming through.  It got down into the 40's by about 3am but it was warm under the quilts and blankets and by morning, I can assure you I was NOT wanting to get up.  But of course, I awoke to the smell of sausage cooking and found that 2nd Man making his wonderful  sausage gravy and biscuits, so I somehow managed to drag myself out of bed for that.

I went outside to try to capture the sunrise but it was rising behind these trees and it was so cold and windy outside, I didn't linger.  Meanwhile inside, 2nd Man finally got to use his marble top table for the reason he wanted it originally:

Using the cold marble to roll out dough.  They were, of course, delicious, and we ate our breakfast on the porch.  It was still cold and VERY windy, but sitting on the porch in the country, eating a steaming hot plate of biscuits and sausage gravy made that all go away.

We wanted to stay longer but really, there was nothing I could do outside, it was just FAR too windy and the house was a bit too cold inside for 2nd Man to be Spring cleaning.  One thing is for sure, we'll have to get heat of some sort before next Winter.  We had put it off this season because we knew we wouldn't be out there overnight until the water heater was replaced.  Now that it's been done, we didn't anticipate a late season cold blast, ha. 

SO it was a weekend of ups and downs, mostly ups so that was good.  I didn't get to work on the raised beds because of the rain on Saturday, the wind on Sunday, and now, believe it or not, we have a freeze coming!  It's a late season freeze for us but a freeze is not good for any seedlings.  We're leaving that project for Easter weekend.

We are so happy to have the house and property.
It truly is a dream come true and I'm glad we can share it with all of you
(the good AND the bad).  I'll catch up to all of your wonderful comments from the last few days later on this evening.

Stay warm wherever you are!

Sunday, March 24, 2013


WWII Don't Waste Food poster, image courtesy of US Nat'l Archives
Here is a really cute and funny poster.

As usual, the gist of the poster was to urge people not to waste food and reminding people to help grow food for the troops overseas.  

This one is neat because it's a Mom and Dad writing to their son in the Navy to remind him to eat all his food and not waste any of it.  I love the "I'll whale him good..." line, you don't hear that anymore!

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Baby calf
We're off to the farm today, and I'll get to say hi to the little neighbor calf above that always watching me when I'm outside.

We were up and out early and already had the Jeep loaded with stuff that we've been stocking up on over the last week.  Now that we have full hot water and plumbing all connected, we can spend the night, like in a real house.  Until now, it had been more like camping, you know, no showers, couldn't really wash dishes, hard to clean up, etc.

Oh sure, I know there is the old way of heating water on the stove top but we're not ready for that just yet, ha.  We want to enjoy the luxury of hot water when you turn on the faucet.  So anyway, it's out there to spend the weekend and guess what else I get to do?  The Big Green Zen Machine is back from it's annual maintenance and check up and, just in time, the grass is green and getting out of control.

Of course, irony of ironies, a cold front is on the way and it's going to be getting into the 30's by Monday!  So much for that stupid Groundhog, LOL.

Have a great weekend and I'll check for your comments and reply Sunday afternoon/evening when we get back.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Wicker picnic basket
A very sweet friend of ours (the one who is doing some sewing for us) surprised me with this picnic basket at dinner the other night!  She had heard me mention once that it was something we didn't have and with 7 mostly undeveloped acres to explore, a picnic at the other end of the property sometime might be fun to do.

So what did she do?  She went out and found one for us!  Very thoughtful!

Now what to put inside?  I guess a couple of plates, cups and some utensils for sure, and then leave room for storage containers full of food.

Wicker picnic basket

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Rest area, photo courtesy of Sunset Living
I have always liked this picture.  It's not necessarily the style of the chairs (though they sure look comfy don't they?).  I think what draws me to it is the landscaping more than anything else.  I like the idea of a little pocket of serenity in the midst of all the other serenity, ha.

Sure you can take a couple of chairs and plop them down in the yard somewhere, but I like a little area like this that looks like it's been carved out of the existing landscaping.  Of course these were planted after the fact I'm sure, but it still looks like they came first (always the sign of good landscaping).

Enjoy the day!

Be inspired!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Just discovered this recipe last year and it's quickly become a favorite.

Here are the ingredients:

4 Tbsp Mayonnaise,
 1 Avocado peeled/chopped,
1/2 cup of roughly chopped Cilantro,
 2 cloves Garlic minced
Juice of one small lime
1 lb pasta

Put all your ingredients except for the pasta in a blender or food processor.  Here, we used our stick blender which has a bowl attachment but a blender will work just fine.  

Give it all a whirl until it's blended, creamy and thick and voila!  The hardest part is done.  

 Boil your pasta (we used shells but any of your fave will work) to your preferred tenderness and drain. Then simply combine the creamy avocado cilantro sauce you just made with the pasta, refrigerate to chill and serve.

This is so creamy and delicious.  It's not a looker, LOL, but it's a unique combination of flavors and sure to please the avocado lover in your family.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013


New Dewberry plants coming up
While I was working on the raised beds this weekend, I noticed that dewberry bushes are starting to spring up all over the place.

HERE is last year's posting about them if you'd like more background about the plant.  Last year was a very prolific year for them, so I'm not sure how this year will be.  These look promising in that there are a lot of them coming up, but I'm not sure how much they will produce this season.  Sometimes it's every other year that's good.  We'll just have to wait about a month to find out!

Last year we were able to have a dewberry picking party.  Fingers crossed that we can do that again this year!

Closeup of new dewberry plant

Monday, March 18, 2013


I'm not sure what is up with Blogger lately but as many of you know, fellow bloggers included, spam comments are going c-r-a-z-y.  The spam filter gets most of them but they just keep coming more and more and more often...and today one slipped through that was obscene and offensive
(my apologies to anyone who was subjected to it).  Arrgh!

I've hesitated to ban anonymous comments because many of you use that to comment and we love comments from everyone.

I also don't like the word verification feature since it was upgraded because probably 75% of the time, I can't figure it out on the first try and if I can't, I'm guessing that many of you can't either.

So for now, I've decided to just moderate all comments.  I have my phone and my iPad with me most of the time so that I can approve a comment almost as quickly as it's left.

I've read on other forums that Google is working on some possible upgrades to the system that we use so perhaps they can figure out a way to help us.  Let's see how this goes for now.

Thank you for understanding and please keep on commenting!


We had this dilemma:  The house has two bedrooms and neither one has doors.  Because of the layout of the house, there really wasn't any room for doors (without taking up valuable wall space of course). I got to thinking one day, what about using a curtain for a door?  You could go any number of ways, light and gauzy, or heavy and dark.  We opted for white to look most like what a white original door might have looked like and sort of blend in, and we chose the heavier weight so that it gave the most privacy and would keep heat in the room in Winter and cool in the Summer.

First we found these great rods that fit nicely.  They are heavy duty and extra strong to hold the weight of a heavier curtain.

They are called the  In Tension Rod.  A bit more expensive than a regular spring tension rod of course, but they are VERY strong and can be screwed in if needed for added support.

Next, we chose these great curtains from Bed Bath and Beyond.  They are a textured, lined, heavy weight curtain and had the pre-cut holes at the top with metal grommets.  They make it much easier to slide onto the rod.

Here is the doorway to the guest room.  It's right off the kitchen, so we figured if we had guests that spent the night, it would be nice to have a "door" for them so we bought the same curtain and rod for that doorway.

And here it is closed.  Some privacy and it blends in almost as much as a white door would have.  It almost just disappears into the wall.  The way they slide on the rod makes them fold up like an accordion so they just slide right out of the way when not in use.  It's a great quick and easy solution.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Vintage Don't Waste Bread, image courtesy of Imperial War Museum
Love these posters.  I found the one above and as I was looking online for more information about its history, I found another one that matched it so I thought it would be neat to post both together.

These posters date from WWI in Europe, about 1917.  On the home front, of course conservation was the word.  The German U boats were sinking supply ships and so rationing of scare resources was the norm for civilians.  With these two, they were urging citizens to save bread in an order to add to the rationed food so that there would be more for everyone.  It was hoped that this would lead to less need for supply ships and that the U boats would, in essence be defeated.  They even gave a number, two slices per day!

Hope you are having a great weekend and

Vintage Don't Waste Bread, image courtesy of Imperial War Museum

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Today is 2nd Man's birthday!

This will probably be the only post today (Saturday) as we are off to do whatever he wants...and he wants to go shopping for stuff for the farm!  Now that we have hot water and all the sinks and plumbing connected, we can start staying out there overnight more often.  Lots of things to buy in order to finish it up inside and make it truly livable instead of just kind of camping out as we have done in the past, ha. 

Then it's off to a nice dinner at a new Italian restaurant with some dear friends of ours and tomorrow it's out to the farm to take all the stuff we buy today..

Have a great day doing whatever makes you happy!

p.s.  2nd Man is not 25, he's twice, er, um, older than that.  :-)

Friday, March 15, 2013


I stumbled across these photos that were posted online the other day and thought I'd share.

The Denver Post published some amazing pictures of life in United States during the Great Depression and into the early part of WWII.  Sure we've all seen photos of this time period many times in our lives, in history books and on documentaries, but for the most part, we've never seen them quite like this.

For example, this homestead below:

Garden adjacent to the dugout home of Jane Whinery, homesteader.  Pie Town, New Mexico, September 1940.  Reproduction from color slide.  Photo by Russell Lee.  Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

These are some of the only known COLOR photos from that time period.  I have to admit, it's quite a jolt to see images like this and see how colorful life was.  It wasn't the drab brown, sepia tone and black and white images we've seen.  I guess I always knew people had to be wearing bright colors or were painting buildings vibrant shades but until you see it, it's hard to wrap your head around.

These photos reminded me of movie sets or extras from a period piece movie being filmed today.  Be sure and click on the link above to see all the great pictures.  Just extraordinary.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Garden Gazebo, photo courtesy of Harmon Hill Farm
I'm not sure why, but I've always wanted a gazebo.  Maybe it's the fact that they can be used for just about anything, a place to eat, a place to sleep a place for a celebration.

But so often you see a gazebo just sitting in the middle of a yard or open space.  I love the thought of putting one in the middle of flowers and trees like this one is.  I'm not sure we'll have a gazebo anytime soon, but someday, as with most of the things that inspire me, we'll do something similar and I'll look back on these pictures and go "oh yeah, I want to do that!".

Enjoy your day!

Be Inspired

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


No, not our chickens, sadly we don't have any of those yet.  Can't do that until we are out there on a more regular basis.  Fortunately though, we can live vicariously through 2nd Family's chickens.  Theirs had stopped laying, as hens often do in the 'off season', but now they are back to producing and when I was out there Saturday, they surprised us with two dozen fresh eggs gathered in the last week.

I got to use our new ceramic holders and I think the fresh eggs, especially the ones in that beautiful pale green, look so beautiful against the white ceramic.

Almost too good to eat!  No, not really, they will definitely be eaten.  There is nothing better than fresh eggs, or "real eggs" as we often call them, ha.  Fresh eggs are to store bought eggs like garden fresh tomatoes are to store bought tomatoes:  No comparison!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Chinese Long Beans, images courtesy of Wikipedia
OK, I'm in the middle of planning the garden and I was looking at beans.  I read about these.  They are most commonly called "Chinese Long Beans", but also go by "Snake Beans" and "Asparagus Beans" and "Yard Long Beans".

What appeals to me is that they grow a lot of beans in a smaller space.  Their length (they can grow up to 3 feet long!) means that a few beans harvested can be cut into smaller pieces to make a whole serving of green beans.  That would be really great in our limited space garden this season.

The catalogs say they have a great flavor and I found some delicious looking recipes using them.  After some Googling, I even found that they are supposed to grow very well in our area and are relatively pest free.  It's all appealing to my garden plans but I'm wondering if anyone out there has grown these and can give some real first hand advice in the comments below?