Sunday, November 30, 2014


We had to do something with Thanksgiving leftovers, so 2nd Man threw it all together into something we like to call Thanksgiving Shepherd's Casserole.

It really couldn't be any easier.  First, he put a layer of stuffing in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Then a layer of gravy on top of that (if your gravy is too thick to spread, you can thin it with a bit of chicken broth).  After the gravy layer, he put on a layer of turkey meat, torn/cut into bite sized pieces.  Finally, to top it all off, he thinned the mashed potatoes so that they would be easier to spread across the top and form a kind of seal.  That was it for the prep.

Thanksgiving leftovers
Since it's all fully cooked, you're really just heating it up, but since ours came straight from the fridge, we put it in the oven for about 40 min at 350 degrees until it was hot and bubbly.

You can kind of see the layers here after we had dished it up.

Thanksgiving Shepherd's Casserole
Of course, we had to use the leftover cranberry sauce by putting it in the bowl when we served it.  All the flavors of Thanksgiving, together one last time.  

As you can see, it's topped like a Shepherd's Pie but under the mashed potatoes it's more like a casserole.  Hence the name, ha.  Oh and it was delicious!

Hope you had a great weekend!  
More updates upcoming!



We post this image every year at Thanksgiving weekend on Vintage Poster Sunday.  This one is a Norman Rockwell image that was turned into an inspirational poster during the war.  

It's just such a nice image to remind us all of family and the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving.  

Hope you had a good one.  More this afternoon!

Saturday, November 29, 2014


We thought we'd let the pictures share the story of some good food on Thanksgiving Day...

 Turkey prepped...oiled, seasoned and ready to go...

Rolls rising, Brussels sprouts ready...

A new dressing recipe that 2nd Man just made up on his own...

Giblet gravy (mashed potatoes missed their closeup)...

Turkey came out beautifully...14 lbs, 1 hour cook time...

Stuffing was moist and delicious...

Brussels sprouts caramelized with bacon...

Golden yeast rolls...

Turkey was juicy and tender...

The plate was full..and there was only one place for the cranberry sauce, plopped down in the middle.  There was wine and of course pie, but more on those in future posts.

This is not the plate for someone who doesn't like their food to touch...or maybe we just need bigger plates! LOL!

Food comas quickly ensued...followed by naps...


Friday, November 28, 2014



Regardless of what you think about it, it's here.  

We fall into the "don't participate" category.  I think going to the farm so often, where it's quiet and peaceful, coupled with getting older, has made us more and more "anti-crowd".  We like to keep it quiet and avoid the lines and teeming masses of shoppers looking for a bargain.  Not to mention we do so much of our shopping online, it's just so much easier.

We have two goals for what remains of the semi long weekend.  Going to the farm to get some things done and heading to one of our storage units full of stuff to pare it down and see what we have we can use.  For those new to the blog, my Father passed away unexpectedly and we had to move my Mom into an apartment from a house and put a lot of their stuff in storage.  The plan was to go through it with her and then she passed away and so we had to move her stuff into storage.  Her lease was up and we just didn't have time to sort through it.  We sold off the furniture so it's really just boxes of momentos, collectibles, vintage things, etc, so it's a project to consolidate down to one.  

It'll be like Black Friday shopping, for free!

Whatever your plans today, we hope you get rest, get that great deal, or just have fun doing what makes you happy!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Love these old postcard images of Thanksgiving wishes...and that is what we wish for you and yours...from 2nd Man and myself, we hope you have a  wonderful day full of great things to be thankful for (and eat some great food!).

Blog posts this long weekend will be sporadic as we take advantage of the mild weather and go to the farm to get some last minute things done before Winter firmly sets in.  If you missed yesterday's post, check it out and let us know what food traditions you have for today.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!  We have added two more, so we will be giving away THREE of them!  It ends this weekend.

Click HERE to enter!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


We'll be busy with last minute Thanksgiving preparations today, and of course Thanksgiving cooking, who are we kidding, eating tomorrow...

The First Thanksgiving, painting by J.L.G. Ferris, 1932, image courtesy of
We have a question for you...what kind of food traditions do you have (if any?) for Thanksgiving?  I ask because yesterday at work, one of my dear coworkers mentioned that they had to have noodles at their Thanksgiving table.  I said "noodles, with sauce?"  "Nope, just plain, thin, buttered noodles" she said.  It was a tradition of her Grandmother and they continue it now.  They still have dressing, turkey and all the other usual dishes, but there have to be noodles on the plate somewhere.  We thought that was very sweet...

So that got us wondering, what traditions do you have for your Thanksgiving meal?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I stumbled across this at the grocery store yesterday and just couldn't resist.  It's a commemorative tin that celebrates the 75th Anniversary of Nestle Toll House chocolate chips.  We needed some chocolate chips for cookies anyway.

Nestle Toll House 75th Anniversary Tin
I figured it would have one bag in it, but when we opened it, it has a regular sized 12 oz bag and then, bonus, another half size bag.  If that weren't good enough, there's a coupon for $1.50 off of any future Toll House purchase!

The tin, at our local HEB grocery store, was just about $4.00  Not bad for all you get and when you take the packages out, you get a really cool metal container.  The tin has a vintage look that will look really nice on one of the kitchen shelves at the farm.  We can even keep a few bags of chocolate chips in it! 

Toll House Anniversary Package
So if you need chocolate chips this season (and really, who doesn't when cookie baking time comes) and you want a pretty good deal, you might check this out.

Monday, November 24, 2014


So the last few weekends of nice weather, before the cold and rain came, was tree and bush planting time.  I figured I better get these pictures posted.  

The biggest goal was to get the driveway bushes/trees finished.  We had purchased them a month or more back and were keeping them in town but needed to get them in the ground out there as soon as possible so they could beat the Winter weather.  We made it just in time.  

Plum plumbago and Texas sage
Above is the corner of the porch.  I planted one of the Texas sage plants in the middle and then a blue plumbago on each side.  It's not a complete flower bed, as you can see I just tilled the soil and dug some holes.  I'll still need to make it more defined and of course mulch it, but for now, they are in the ground.  And three weeks in, they seem to be doing well.

Along the driveway, I had added all of the sweet almond bushes we purchased, one in between each of the Texas Lilac trees that were planted in the Spring...

This is a closeup of the sweet almond bush.  Wow, if only you could smell this through the computer, it's SO amazing...they also have flowers that are fairly similar to the flowers the Texas Lilac will produce, white instead of purple.  

Texas Lilac and Sweet Almond bush along the driveway
And this is the view down the driveway....I couldn't get them all in this photo, but there are eight of the Texas lilac trees and then nine of the sweet almond bushes.  That lines the driveway from the entrance down by 2nd Family's house all the way up to where the fence turns the corner...

More vitex and sweet almond
And that's the upper left corner is the driveway as it heads toward the farmhouse and then this is the back of 2nd Family's back pasture, part of our front yard.  I planted four more along here (two of each) to sort of carry that driveway design around the corner and to provide us with a pretty view from the front porch.  They will also, as they grow, provide us a (and 2nd Family) a bit of privacy between their pasture and our front yard.  Not that we need it, but still it's nice to have a break of some sort along an empty fence.  

There is one more major thing that has been done to the front yard area, but I'll save that for a future post.  It'll be nice to blog about something fun (and plan around) in the middle of Winter, ha. 

All in all though, we're very very happy that we got this done, we sort of started it in the Spring, then it just got too hot, and we couldn't find the sweet almond bushes, and suddenly the weather cooled and we found the bushes!  We love it when a plan comes together!

Did you get any big projects done that you had been putting off before Winter arrived?

Don't forget to click HERE for this week's giveaway

Sunday, November 23, 2014


It's time for a giveaway!

UPDATE:  We're going to give away THREE of these, so be sure and enter below by commenting and letting us know to enter your name.

Ball Infuser
I recently stumbled across this new item (new to me anyway) from Ball Brands.  It's a Mason Jar Infuser.  It lets you turn a canning jar into one of those infusers that puts the essence of fruits and other items into drinking water. I bought one for our own use and so I picked up a second one to give away.

Mason Jar Infuser
You simply fill the infuser section with the fruits/veggie combination of your choice (the back of the package, photo below, has some suggestions) and then screw the infuser piece into the lid.  Lastly, the whole unit is screwed onto a widemouth jar filled with water.  Pop it into the fridge and let the flavors infuse the water.  You can even drink directly out of it, like a sippy cup.  

If you don't win one and still want one (they would make fun Christmas gifts), they are available in some stores that sell Ball products or Amazon sells them via the following link:

Ball Wide Mouth Mason Jar Infuser  

This isn't a promotion from Ball, this is just coming from us to you, so we'll be shipping it out directly ourselves.

If you have any ideas for flavor combinations, do share with all of us!

As always (and for those new to the blog) the rules are as follows:

You need to be a "friend of the farm" (a follower) and then leave a comment here on this thread letting us know that you want to be entered.

The contest will run until 11:59pm, next Sunday night, the end of the Thanksgiving weekend.  Then we'll randomly pick one winner, post the results and the winner will need to email me with their shipping address at that time.  We'll ship your item directly to you within a few days.

Sorry, due to large international shipping cost of such a small item, it's only open to US and Canada residents.

One entry per person.

Thanks and good luck!



Rags for Salvage, image courtesy of UK Historical Archives
Salvaging rags....WWII Europe, there was a a huge conservation push to save things that could be used in the War effort and this one was reminding people to keep even rags, or worn out clothing, so that they could be reused.

They were used to make bandages for the wounded, and were also turned into blankets for soldiers.  

Love the graphics on this poster, they are so colorful and vibrant.

Hope you are having a good weekend.  After yesterday's storms, today is a sunny and clear (and probably up to almost 80, go figure).  2nd Man is staying in town, sick of course, but I'm off to the farm to take some things out there, and check things out.  Also hoping to gather some persimmons, unless they've all been washed off the tree after the rains.  We'll see!  More later this afternoon!  Tonight is leftover chicken soup...yum!

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Storm clouds brewing
Stormy weather and so far, nothing too severe (despite this picture!).

2nd Man, even though not feeling well himself, decided to make us some of his famous (in our house anyway, LOL) homemade chicken soup.

Chunks of chicken breast for the white meat, some thigh meat for the rich dark meat, heirloom carrots (yellow, purple and orange), small potatoes (red/white/purple), onions, garlic, parsley and...

Rustic chicken soup was all cooked in rich, homemade chicken stock (he uses more veggies, wings and a pressure cooker to make that).  That's really all I know, other than it's SO good.  And on a cool, rainy, feeling sick kind of day, it is spot on perfect.

Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful so I'll head to the farm to check things out for the first time in almost two weeks, hopefully we remain creature free and all will be good out there.  But for now, I'm curled up on the couch with one of the cats, full tummy, feeling much better.

Hope your weekend is going better and filled with things that make you happy!

Friday, November 21, 2014


Back amongst the living...still a bit stuffy, but much better.  Two days off work (well two half days and one whole day) and feeling better.  

Of course, now 2nd Man is getting sick...sigh.  I guess better to get it out of the way now before the holidays (as long as his doesn't lead into Thanksgiving).

Thank you all for your kind words, I'll catch up on comments this weekend...

...because it looks like we'll be having some nasty weather!  The city of Houston is even sending out alerts that we could have large hail, high winds, torrential rain, and of course, tornadoes.  Yikes!  They don't usually give these kinds of warnings, which is why this is so odd.  We've already had a 1/2" of rain over the last two days, which is nice and slow, but they are saying upwards of 3" or 4" in just a few hours.  Still it IS the unpredictable nature of the weather...

...because it could also be... skies and sunshine?

We'll see soon enough!

UPDATE:  Nope, they were mostly right...we've had rain all day, but nothing severe, so that's good.  Tomorrow is supposed to be nice.  Let's hope THAT part of the forecast is right, ha. 


Thank you!  Sometime yesterday, "Susan" became the 500th follower of our blog, or "Friend of the Farm" as we like to call you all.  I remember the early days when we would get one or two.  Then it was ten and twenty and it's slowly gone up from there.  Now we're at 500.  Yay!

It's a slow but steady journey and we are grateful that others find it interesting enough to want to follow.  Thanks for coming along on the ride.   

How many people can say that they have 500 friends?  

We can!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later...

...scratchy throat...stuffy nose...coughing...general malaise...
I came home early yesterday and today I'm staying home from work. 

Feeling a bit better, but still need to rest so I don't undo the good I've already done by resting and taking my medicine.

Yellow Wildflower
But hey, when we don't feel good, don't flowers make us feel a bit better?  So I'll share this yellow wildflower I photographed at the farm.  
Yellow always makes me smile...

Stay healthy this season!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


We have recently found the perfect tapered candles.  Now we know of course, that not everyone has a Trader Joe's nearby but if you do, or know someone near one, these come very highly recommended.  They are usually only available at this time of year.

Trader Joe's candles
They are simply called..."EIGHT CANDLES".  As the name implies, it is a package of eight candles, these being a cream color (they also have white).  They are dripless and self-extinguishing.  We are always doubtful of dripless but imagine our surprise when we lit a few for a dinner recently and they burned about 7 hours without any drips.  We lit them about 6pm and at 1am, they were almost gone...not a single drip in all that time.  Did they self extinguish?  Yep, we actually watched two of them burn down almost to the bottom and then the flames just went out.  Fascinating to say the least.

Side note, NEVER leave a burning candle unattended!

They come from the Czech Republic and the wicks attach them in pairs (simply cut the wicks to the desired length).  Best of all, they are low priced!  These eight candles were less than $3.00 package...or about 35 cents each!

Candles are always nice to have around; they are nice for ambiance, they are great alternatives to electric light, and of course they are great as backup light in an emergency.  That makes them great additions to your box of preps.

Monday, November 17, 2014


I mentioned recently that 2nd Family's "R" took a brush hog and a tractor and cleared some new areas on our property.  So last weekend, before the cold settled in this weekend, I decided to explore the new spots.  

I was just casually walking along when I found this tree:

Update:  It's a Persimmon tree
It was COVERED in fruit.  

Now granted, we couldn't eat any of it because it stayed on there past what we would presume is harvest season and shriveled up and went bad.  Apparently this is when they ARE edible.  Thanks for that info.  Hey, it's a wild fruit tree of some sort!  It's in a spot on the property that no one has been able to get to for probably twenty years or more.  Being Fall, all the leaves have already dropped off so it was so clearly visible and neat to see.

Update: Persimmons on a tree
I smashed one open and this is what it looked like.  There seemed to be two or maybe three seeds inside, they were elongated.  I didn't notice an identifiable smell but it did smell sweet.  These are growing without any human intervention, including watering.  They are growing near a wet area of the property, a kind of natural pond site, so the roots are probably able to get plenty of water.  They obviously survived during the great drought of 2011.

UPDATE: Persimmon!
The best part of all?  There was another tree, just like this one, with the same kinds of fruit on it, and it was at least 30 or 40 feet tall!  We love the thought of some naturally occurring fruit tree on our property that we can harvest from but before we start Googling recipes, we need to see what it is. 

SO...anyone hazard to guess what fruit this might be?
And if you do know, any good ideas for its use?

UPDATE:  THANK YOU all for the ID, we need to learn our wild foraging identification, LOL.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Yep, it's been two of those days...

Hope your weekend was better...


Our Food is Fighting, vintage poster image
First of all, this poster image comes courtesy of a very kind reader who sent us an email with a bunch of poster images attachments.  I'll scatter them around in posts in the coming weeks.  So we want to say a big thank you to her for thinking of us when she saw them!

This one is really neat..."Where our Men are Fighting, our Food is Fighting".  That totally makes sense as the Government was very forward in connecting conservation at home to the war effort.  But we think the words at the bottom are so appropriate today...

Buy Wisely...Cook Carefully...Store Carefully...Use Leftovers

True words then, and truer words today.  There is just so much waste in our society, especially when it comes to food, it would be nice to see these kinds of messages around today.

More later this afternoon!  
It's been a cold and wet weekend...ugh.

Friday, November 14, 2014


When we went to vote earlier this month, this was in the flower bed outside of the location where we went.  It was SO pretty in person...

Hundreds and hundreds of marigolds.  So pretty and cheerful and in this cold weather, it will be awhile before can have these now. I know marigolds are good deterrents for bugs, so this is inspiring me to think of some flower beds around the garden area where I could plants a bunch of them next year and add color and deter pests.  Always good to start planning now.

Kind of crazy to think that these were gorgeous and in bloom just ten days ago, now we are down in the 20's!  With the weather this weekend...

...we're thinking we'll just stay in town and run some errands.  It will just be cold and wet and that's never a fun combination.  Hopefully with the farmhouse being cold, no creatures will seek refuge while we aren't there. 

If you are in the United States, there's a pretty good chance you are experiencing the "Polar Vortex", so stay warm!  If you are anywhere else, be glad you aren't here experiencing this!


Hobart the cat, wanting a hug
Hobart, being silly.  Sometimes when he's sleeping on his back and we stand over him and say his name, he stretches out his front "arms" and just looks up at us.  It really does look like he wants to give us a hug.  

Hope you all get lots of hugs today! 

More later this afternoon!