Monday, September 30, 2013


Last Summer, I blogged about our DIY seed storage bank or vault idea.  Recently, I realized we needed more space for our seeds, not to mention a way to make them more organized.  So I took that same idea and multiplied it by four.  It was a rainy weekend and this gave me something to do.

We love these cans.  They are Empty Paint Cans. You can buy them just about anywhere they sell paint or, using link above, via Amazon.  They are very inexpensive, these were $3 each.  So for $12, I was able to get four so that I could divide our growing seed collection.  I came up with Veggies, Herbs, Salad/Greens, and Flowers.

Here is a shot inside showing the seed packets and moisture absorber. Rather than repeat the particulars of how I did this part, you can CLICK HERE for the original post on it.  It's very simple to do and a great way to organize your seeds and protect them.  I put some labels on them, made a list of the seeds and dates, and popped the lids on.

Heck, they even look nice sitting on the shelves.  You can, of course, keep them under the bed or in a closet or cabinet, but wherever you do keep them, they are protected from light, moisture, etc.  Then they are ready for next season's plantings and you are organized for storage.  Or, if there was an emergency and you needed to grow food to feed your family and friends, you have them at hand, and ready to go.  I guess you could say that they are more prepping in plain sight.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


More rain clouds
Today was rainy again, from overnight to morning to midday.  These are the clouds are over downtown Houston.  2nd Man pulled  a muscle in his back (apparently while he was sleeping, go figure) and so we opted to stay in town.  Not much got done this weekend actually, except some cooking, a bit of cleaning, and some reading.

I did get a great new book in the mail the other day that I spent the weekend reading through.  I'll write about it this week.  Otherwise, we just didn't do much of anything at all.

Part of me feels guilty but then again, sometimes those are the best days, aren't they?  Hope you had a great weekend.


Vintage "Help Harvest Cotton" poster, image courtesy of US National Archives
This poster image is from WW1 and comes via the United States Food Administration.  As usual, with so many men serving overseas, the work at home still needed to be done, both for the allies and for the country.  Here they were urging people to help harvest cotton.  I like the tag line at the bottom of the poster; "Lock your desk, closer your door and do your part".

Cotton was almost, if not just as, important as food harvesting.  Remember this was from a time before artificial textiles and widespread use of blends.  Cotton was truly an important crop that farmers were growing.

Hope you are having a productive weekend.  Ours is a wash out so it's inside projects for us.  And eating.  Why does it seem we eat more when stuck inside?    LOL!  Oh well, we need the rain and on the upside, I don't have to water the fruit trees.  Now if the cool weather would just hurry up and come.

More later this afternoon!

Saturday, September 28, 2013


When I left the house in town, this was the radar image.  Nothing was in the direction of the farm so I thought I might get there before the rain.

Well, below is a photo of the road on the way to the farm.  Obviously, I didn't make it before the rain did.  Sigh.  We need it but how about during the week instead of on our weekends?

So it's a day (possibly a weekend) of inside projects yet again.
Probably for the best, it is still hot and humid and there is plenty to do inside.  There will be plenty of good weekends once the cooler weather gets here.

Hope your weekend is good to you!

Friday, September 27, 2013


OK, I was roaming around on the property recently and stumbled across this.  I have never see it before, so it's grown since the last time I was over there on that part of the property.  Kind of strange how something like this can just pop up.  I guess maybe it WAS there but smaller and I just didn't notice.  Still, with not a lot of plant diversity on our property, I like something different and unexpected.

Not sure what type they are, but we'll keep them!

Well, the cooler weather is gone, just as quickly as it came, ugh, but we'll be out at the farm this weekend anyway, checking things out.  Probably still no Big Green Zen Machine time, though the 4" of rain last weekend might have created some growth for this weekend.  And of course, there are those BABY CHICKS to see!


This is Brisbane and Sydney...they were laying on some pillows in the window one day when I snapped this picture.  What's funny is that I took the picture (several actually) and I went to pet Brisbane and he hissed at me!

All I could think was "look but don't touch", ha!

It's Friday!  Weekend almost here!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Last week, I posted about a table in the 

This one comes from Martha Stewart Living.  I actually have the original article I cut from the magazine back in 1998 when it came out and I saved all this time.  Told you I've been thinking about this property for a long time, LOL.

 Thankfully, with the internet, you can click HERE to read the article that it came from.  I love this idea.  With the big porch we have, I think we could very easily find something that would work just like this.  A place to keep some outdoor potting supplies, but also a place to keep perhaps supplies for outdoor use.  Yard games?  Outdoor dining supplies?  Candles?  Bug prevention items?
The possibilities are endless.

Have a great day!
Be inspired!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Sausage and Polenta Skillet Hash
This is a one pan dish 2nd Man whipped up with some random things from the fridge/freezer when we didn't want to get out in the recent monsoon rains.

I ran in there to get pictures of each step but of course, he was already about to dish it out.  It was so easy though, I don't think step by step photos are really needed, ha. 

1 tube of precooked polenta (we used Trader Joe's Organic)
1 lb of link sausage (any favorite variety, we like Holmes)
1 pkg of frozen mixed veggies
(any combo, we used a broccoli, corn, cauliflower, red bell pepper mix)
2 cups of shredded cheese (we used a cheddar blend)

We had a tube of ready made polenta in the fridge so he took that, diced it up, added it to a pan with a little bacon fat (about 2 Tbsp) and sautéed it.  I swear they were just like potato cubes.  Then he diced up the sausage, added it to the browned polenta and cooked it until heated through.  Next, he added a package of frozen mixed vegetables and kept the heat on until they were heated through. A bit of salt and pepper to taste (and any other seasonings you might like) and then he covered the top with the shredded cheese.  All that was left was to pop it under the oven broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese was just starting to brown.

We dished it out onto a plate with a couple of biscuits that were left over from breakfast and just like that, we had a quick and delicious meal from stuff we already had in the fridge.

It was SO good!

Sausage and Polenta Skillet Hash

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I wish I could say these are additions to our farm, but they are the newest additions to 2nd Family's homestead.  Born just a few hours ago.  This is their first ever batch of newborns so they are excited and we are excited for them.  Side note, what is a group of baby chicks called?  Clutch?  Brood?

There are 5 eggs that they have been waiting on to hatch and these are the first two that made it into the world.  Love the little "eye stripes" on this little gal (or guy?).  Should, hopefully anyway, be three more coming soon.  Can't wait to see them all this weekend.  Yes, we're suckers for baby anythings.

I can't wait until the day when we can have our own.  Until then though, we will live vicariously through theirs (and we get eggs!)

Monday, September 23, 2013


Foyer desk area before
Here is a rainy/wet weekend project I can check off the list.  We had this big empty space above the desk wall in the front foyer.  This area was an add on to the house by "Ma" several years back and this was part of the old wall.  Of course, we could have hung some pictures or art, but we wanted something more useful and/or practical.

So I cut a six foot long piece of poplar to the right dimension (5' x 12") and then brushed on a coat of white paint.  Earlier in the week, I used my lunch break to go back to the place where I got the cast iron shelf brackets for the kitchen shelves back in July and bought three more.

Foyer desk shelf after
And here it is up!

We think it looks good and will really make for some nice storage space, instead of just hanging random pictures on the wall.  Because the shelf spans five feet, I figured it was better to put a third bracket in the middle so that the board doesn't sag with weight on it.

It's obviously still a work in progress (as so much often is, ha).

Cast iron shelf brackets
Here is a closeup of the ornate cast iron shelf brackets.  They give a nice vintage feel to the room and even mimic the pattern on the desk chair.

I put some random objects on the shelf to get a feel for it (and snap a picture).  We hope it will become a good spot once we figure out the best way to use it.  Baskets and such are always good for storage.

Side note, the vintage globe of the Earth will definitely stay.  It's a great spot for it and because it dates from the 1950's, it's fun to read and see how many country names and borders have changed since then.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Blue sky
Sigh...what a beautiful day.

It was kind of warm later in the day, so we're not out of Summer yet, but the morning was absolutely heavenly.  As you can see, not a cloud in the blue sky, a cool breeze blew for a bit, there was virtually no was wonderful.

With almost 4" of rain Friday and yesterday, there was no watering necessary, but I did check the fruit trees.  They all look good, except for this one, it's the Meyer Lemon.  It's dropped all its leaves.  The branches are green but most of the leaves have fallen off.  I say fallen off, there aren't any on the ground, so perhaps something could have stripped them off?  An insect?  Not sure.  

Meyer Lemon dropping leaves
The most enjoyable part of the day was just being inside with the windows open and the breeze blowing.  Got some pictures hung, moved some stuff around, did a few other projects inside (more on those upcoming).  We can't wait for the first truly Fall weekend, where it's cool all day long.

My list of yard projects is long when that gets here.

Overall, it was a good end to the weekend after the stormy start and a great first day of Fall!  Hope you all had had a great weekend doing whatever makes you happy!

Blue skies


Vintage Doctors are Scarce poster, image courtesy of US National Archives
Here is a cool poster from the war.  It brought up a great point and a reminder to those still at home while so many people were serving overseas.

As the poster shows, with one out of three doctors gone off to war, people were reminded that they needed to learn First Aid and Home Nursing.  Makes perfect sense then and today, I think it makes just as much sense.  Not because one out of three doctors are gone now, but because it's always better to be more self sufficient so that you don't have to rely on others as much.

In fact, it's a reminder that we need to learn more about first aid ourselves.

Hope you are having a great weekend and hey, today is the first day of Fall!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Rain clouds coming
After the rain yesterday, there is more today.  Last night there was a deluge.

They said that in a few hours, almost as much rain fell as we usually get in an entire month.  Parts of the area received between five and six inches of rain.
2nd Family tells us that the farm total is just at four inches.  The fruit trees (and everything else) got a great and much needed soaking!

Houston roads flood just about every time it rains.  The area around the farm (getting to it anyway) is also flood prone so we'll probably stay in town for awhile.  It is supposed to be clearing out later this afternoon and will be followed by cooler weather.

I'll believe it when I feel it, LOL.

Friday, September 20, 2013


We've got rain!

Radar image 1
This was the radar image earlier today, after weeks of little to no rain at all, today there is rain all over our part of Texas.

Storm clouds brewing
I had "J" of 2nd Family snap a photo at the farm and she went out
(between storm bands) and got these clouds...kind of intimidating but if they bring welcome water, and nothing else, they're OK.

Radar image 2
Then on the way home from work, this was the radar image, still rain everywhere.  I'm guessing this weather will alter our weekend plans but it can do this Saturday and Sunday, we need it.

Hope you have a great weekend, I'll check in as things happen!


Yep, never fails, make the bed with fresh, clean sheets, get a good night's sleep, wake up, go get some coffee, come back and poof, a black cat hair bomb has exploded.  Sigh.

Yay, Friday is here.  We have a wet day in the forecast, we'll see.

More later this afternoon!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Potting Bench, image from forum

This is something I need (certainly by next Spring) and I like this look.  This one looks like something that would be right at home at the farm.  You can read all about this one by clicking HERE for Gardenweb.

I think I could easily find an old table in need of some sprucing up.  Then the back of this one is actually made from an old door fastened to the back.  I think a solid door done like this would be nice as it would allow for hanging of shelves and hooks and all sorts of fun stuff.

Have a great day!

Be Inspired!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Wooden Pig Bowl

This is something I recently found in storage that was originally from my Grandparent's house.  I don't remember if they ever put anything in it, I think it just sat on a shelf getting dusty.  I was going through boxes and found it and thought it would be perfect at the farm.  So I cleaned it up and polished it up a bit and now I wonder what to put in it.  One of the things I always enjoy about this blog is asking you for opinions and advice on stuff.

SO...what should I put in it?  And where?  Kitchen?  Coffee Table?  Foyer?  Nightstand?

Help us fill our pig!
Wooden Pig Bowl

Monday, September 16, 2013


OK, this weekend, I didn't have to mow much because it's almost all crispy, but there was an area I missed last time when I ran out of gas.  So I'm mowing along, sort of in the zone, listening to my iPod, kind of daydreaming, when something drops out of the tree that I'm mowing under, hits my arm and startles me.  I looked down and saw this...

...the one that fell on me hit the ground and sort of rolled.  I looked around  and they were everywhere, all around me.  In the dappled sunlight and moving shadows, I SWEAR I saw them move, and in that moment, my life briefly flashed before my eyes.  Some sort of giant worm or leech or something crawling, certainly with teeth, was about to cover the mower and me!  I was suddenly trapped in a bad 1950's movie with a certain horrible death just around the corner...

Well, turns out it was nothing so terrifying, it was just my imagination playing tricks on me.  They were actually the dried seed pods of the Huisache tree that had apparently fallen off while I mowed under it!

But come on, it's not just me, they DO look like some sort of creepy crawly don't they?  Right?  Right?

Huisache Seed Pods

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Vacation at Home, vintage poster, image courtesy of NY Public Library
This poster is pretty neat.  

Who knew that what we now call a "STAYCATION" was actually invented way back then?  During WWII it was to conserve resources, energy, save money, etc so that there was more for the war effort.  Of course today, we do it it to save money if gas prices are up, maybe cut down on emissions, or maybe to just put money into a local economy instead of traveling to some exotic locale.

Hope you are having a good weekend, it's been hot here, slightly cooler but when I say slightly, I mean it's 95 instead of 105, ha.

More later this afternoon/evening tomorrow, too tired to post tonight, off to bed early for a change.

Friday, September 13, 2013


I found this picture randomly online, with no information as to the original source but I just loved it when I saw it.  It reminds me of why we all garden (and/or want to garden).

Aren't vegetables amazing?

Hope to get to the farm this weekend for edging and cleaning up in the yard, since it's been so hot for weeks and it's supposed to be *possibly* cooler this weekend.  I'm guessing there won't be much more mowing this season, but there is quite a bit of edging to do.  I also need to start figuring out where the bounty from my plant crazy weekend is going to go.  Finally, I'm measuring the raised beds for an irrigation system that I'm going to order next week so I can get it set up once the cooler weather arrives.

Hope you have a great weekend doing whatever makes you happy.
Updates as they happen!


Without further ado, we now present a new Friday Feature.
We shall call it


Brisane, apparently NOT ready for his closeup 
Oh, OK, we'll shorten it to Feline Friday next week, LOL.

Since I can't/don't want to use the comics anymore, we were doing some out loud thinking and realized we have hundreds (and hundreds) of photos of our cat menagerie through the years (yeah, we're those kind of pet people, ha).

I know not everyone is a cat person, but it is my hope that you'll get a smile out of it anyway.  Cat's do the silliest things sometimes!

Friday here!  More later this afternoon!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Image from:
OK, so, I want to have this next Spring.  I love bulbs coming up as an early surprise.  Even like them as a Fall surprise.  I know you have to plant them in opposite times of the year for flowers in Spring and Fall.  I wanted to plant bulbs last Spring for this Fall but I missed that with the fence build and our early heat.  Now that the heat is hopefully ending soon, I want to plow through a bunch of delayed yard projects and one of the first things I want to do is plant the bulbs that I need to now (by now I mean soon, when it's cool) so that we have color for Spring.

I even have this fun tool that a good friend of my bought for my birthday a couple of seasons back.  I need to use it!

So I was wondering if, in order to start my Spring inspiration now, what bulbs would you suggest to plant this Fall for next year color?  I'd like a big bag of assorted bulbs that will naturalize and come back year after year, beginning next year.  With so much property, I can just randomly put them everywhere and hopefully they'll 'naturalize' and then bring wonderful color to enjoy.

I don't need anything exotic to start with.  I need to see how well it actually works, so hardy and easy to grow bulbs would be desired.  We've got the rest of our lives to try exotic bulbs, ha.  For now, just bursts of color next year.


Be inspired!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Temp display on dashboard
This was the temperature reading on the car display when we left the farm.
At 4:01PM!
Now granted, the car had been in the sun, so I'm sure the actual temperature was a little less than that but not by much.
I think our actual high out there though was still over 100.  It was just too hot to do most anything outside.

And as you can see below, the heat and lack of rain has turned the yard, what's left of it anyway, into something less like green grass and more like dried pasture land.


Yard is rapidly fading away

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Image courtesy of
This past week was a great one for shopping...plant shopping to be more specific.  I went plant crazy at a local nursery chain we have, Houston Garden Center, as evidenced by the image above.

I stopped in Home Depot for something else and decided to roam through their garden department.  I found a whole table of perennials, $2.00 each.  I got 4 Blue Plumbagos, 4 Black Eyed Susans, and 4 Lantanas.  Then I went to Houston Garden Center (ad above), where they have a 70% off all plants sale!
I bought 2 Mexican Firebush, 2 Purple Rubellia, 2 Balloon Flowers, 2 Firecracker Plants, 2 Durantas and 3 pots of Cannas (2 bulbs in each of several varieties).

Then I went to another location a few days later and bought even more!

More perennials
I bought 2 Oleanders, 3 more Lantanas in different colors, 3 Mexican Heather plants, 2 Pentas in different colors, and 2 Esperanza Yellow Bells.  I still need to find some Texas Sage, but that's on the plan for this weekend and/or this week during my lunch break.

I purchased almost 40 plants and spent less than $70 total.  Even though each was priced differently that still averages out to less than $2 per plant.  Now I just need to care for them (watering them daily, keeping them in town) and once Fall arrives, along with its cooler weather, I can start planting them.

Hoping next Spring will be colorful and beautiful, like so many of the inspiration pictures I find every Thursday.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Over the weekend, a package arrived in the mail.

Kylee over at the always inspiring blog, Our Little Acre had a giveaway, I entered, and I won!  The above is a BIG THANK YOU to Kylee for hosting the giveaway, I promise to use it wisely!

She sponsored it because it was "National Can It Forward Day" on August 17th (I had no idea, will have to make sure I remember next year).

So I sent her my contact info and she forwarded on to Ball and a week or so later, they sent me a box with this in it:

Home Canning Discovery Kit
It's the Ball® Home Canning Discovery Kit.  It came with three jars and this rack that you can put into hot water when canning.  They also included a coupon for a case of jars, any size or kind I want, AND a copy of the
® Blue Book Guide to Preserving (an awesome resource by itself).

Progressive Canning Essentials Kit
So this inspired me, I took it as a sign that I need to get started soon, so I went to the store and found this set to add to it.  It's the Progressive Canning Essentials Kit that includes a jar lifter, a magnetic lid lifter, a really neat canning funnel that shows head space, and a canning scoop that holds a 1/2 pint.

I'm going to try my hand at turning the frozen dewberries I have into jam as my first canning project.  I think I now have most everything I need to can, but later on, if when I get hooked, I'm guessing I'll need a larger pan/pot that will fit more jars in the bottom (depth and diameter).  Something that I can keep as my 'go to' water bath canner with a rack?

Thanks again Kylee, much appreciated.
And thanks to Ball for the giveaway.
Together, you both definitely Canned it Forward!