Saturday, February 28, 2015


It was cold today, and gray and rainy.  
Not much I could do outside...

Of course, it wasn't too cold for the neighbor cow...she was not interested in me until I clicked the camera...then she looked over for her moment, ha.  

I did have these that I could put together...

...and so I did.  They are beehive stands that were delivered yesterday.

Metal hive stand
Here is what one looks like with the hive on it.  It lifts them off the ground and keeps them safer from animals.  They are made of powder coated steel so they will last for years.  And they look neat too!

We heard some noise behind the house and went back there to see.  It was the cow I saw earlier...with a few friends.  It's still so peaceful to walk around outside and have cows peering at us.

Pork medallions with asparagus, potatoes and gravy
All that was left to do was make dinner.  Pan grilled asparagus, pork tenderloins, mashed potatoes and homemade gravy.  It might have been cold and gray but it was still a good day in the end!

Hope you have are having a good weekend so far!

Friday, February 27, 2015


And a bit more of our youth slips away...

Leonard Nimoy passed away today.  I'll admit, big old Trekkie here (and so is 2nd Man as well as many of our extended family and friends).  Others from the cast have passed as well over the years, but he was special.  We all probably identified with one of the characters on the show, and I perhaps identified with him the most.  Someone different, someone who might be considered an outcast in different circumstances, but someone that proved they could rise above any those differences and do good things.  

I had the pleasure of meeting him in person when I was younger, and I can say he was the kindest and most genuine "star" you could ever meet.  He truly appreciated the fans.  How fitting that his final, beautiful tweet was a quote with a garden reference about life...

On February 22, he tweeted:

"A life is like a garden.  Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.  LLAP"

Thank you Mr. Nimoy, for making my childhood more adventurous and my adulthood more purposeful.

You lived long, but not long enough, and you made us prosper.


Not sure if we've ever shared this angle of the house.  It's the back, from what is essentially the backyard, near the fig trees.  

The two window units are in the windows of each bedroom.  The little window in between them is the bathroom.  On the left side of the picture is the set of stairs that lead off the porch and toward Barnabas (the party/dinner tree) from the front door, and on the right side of the picture, the bump out where the roof slopes down, is the dining room.

Back of farmhouse, pier and beam
For those not familiar, this house is what's called "pier and beam".  There is no concrete foundation or "slab", instead the house is built up, on "piers" which are the concrete cinder blocks (often bricks are used as well) and across each of those lies a "beam".  It is this beam that the floor of the house sits on.  The upside is that it makes it very easy for working underneath the house, for example moving pipes if you are plumbing, running wiring (though ours is mostly in the attic and walls) and/or leveling the house.  There are a couple of downsides to this as well.  One is that creatures can get under your house, and the other is that in Winter, you have to worry about freezing pipes.  

Now most homes like this put up lattice or something along the bottom to keep out the animals and this is something we have planned.  It's on our list but just not quite at the "top" yet.  Then of course planting bushes and other plants around the outside to keep it looking nice is important as well...we haven't done that yet because when we work on the exterior and have the roof done, we figured no point in getting everything trampled down.  But that being said, it looks a bit barren, I might plant a few things this Spring.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Planting areas in yard, image courtesy of
Here in the middle of Winter, cold, dreary, and (for many of us)'s nice to see pretty pictures like this and dream of Spring, right?  We love the various ares of plantings in this picture.  We're also leaning toward painting our garden fence white.  We have let it weather but we still keep coming back to pictures with white picket fences and we love it so much.  

We will have that to think about this Spring and so many other things to do, but of course, it's fun to plan and dream now.  Where does one start with something like this?  Perhaps right around the fence and then spread outward...

Be inspired!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Since it's cold and the added warmth in the house is OK, we broke out the dehydrator.  We decided to try mushrooms and bought two packages that were on sale.  They were white and baby bella varieties.

Buying them already sliced made it so much easier to start them.  We put them on two trays, one bag on each, and dried them at 125 degrees for about 12 hours.

Whoa, where did they go?  LOL!  They're all there, just much smaller than they were when they started.  Amazing how much moisture they hold.  Nevertheless, we bagged them, vacuum sealed them and stored them in the pantry, until the right recipe comes along!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


This is the moon one evening at the farm...the camera usually takes a sharp clear picture of the moon when I've done it in the past...but on this particular evening, the moon had such a bright glow...

Moon quote was almost as if it was lit up from the inside.  Definitely a beautiful sight from the front porch as it rose over the trees.  Yet another thing we love about having our place away from the city.  

It just doesn't get any better than this!

Monday, February 23, 2015


Taking stuff to the barn this weekend had us wondering how best to use our storage.  We'll have questions about other types of storage ideas (a few of you have already found some great ideas!) but for this first post about it, we want to ask about storage containers...

Loft in barn
These are the two lofts in our new barn, one at each end of the building.  They are four feet deep, sixteen feet long and have about six feet clearance above.  They're even big enough to get up there and walk around.  We wanted them so that we could use them for storage of items that wouldn't fit in the house, rarely used items, for example, holiday decorations, extra dishes and supplies, etc.

Barn loft
So our question is this; does anyone have any advice for storing things in an environment like this?  Obviously we know cardboard is a no-no.  We want something that will keep the things inside as safe as possible from bugs, rodents, etc., and that won't collapse if we stack things on top of them.  

We immediately thought of Rubbermaid storage totes, but there are so many different types...different types of lids, taller, shorter, wider, etc.  We looked at the Sterilite brand at the store the other day but they seem kinda flimsy to hold up for several years of storage.

Any storage suggestions?  
Brands?  Sizes?  Styles?

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Today we are staying in town.  It's rainy and getting cooler anyway...but even if it had been a nice day, we'd give it up for some television.  We are big NASCAR fans...I know, I know, probably seems kind of odd.

2015 Daytona 500 
We both enjoy the racing and watching the drivers handle those cars at such amazing speeds.  Funny thing is, we're not so much into the Indy Car or other types of racing, just enjoy NASCAR.  Could be the driver personalities and associated drama, ha. 

On the menu for today is Frito Pie and Dewberry Cobbler...yum!

Of course, later tonight, The Oscars!

More sometime this evening (and will catch up on comments)!

Saturday, February 21, 2015


These were the skies as we left town to head to the farm.  The forecasters were off by a day, but we were determined to make the best of it.

Dark Skies
We got there and it was a bit lighter than the drive in but it was coming. 

We brought the hives that have been in town since before Christmas and put them in the barn.  I took all the pieces out of the boxes and put them together.  They will need to be painted soon but at least they are out of the living room.

Then I spent about two hours running stuff back and forth from the house to the buildings...utilizing the garden cart made life much easier, LOL.

Mudroom Shelves
2nd Man is so excited.  We he now has an entirely empty set of shelves in the for more food, cooking supplies and things kitchen related!

The funny thing is though, I realized as I took all the stuff to the barn, there are no shelves out there!  I'll need to buy some and start getting places for things to be stored and organized.  But for now, the floor will work fine.

By mid afternoon, it was getting darker and darker and then the skies opened up and the rain came.  At least we felt somewhat accomplished for the day.

Hope your weekend is productive!


NO, not that kind of moving!  (but someday!)
Nope, we're off to the farm, before the weather takes a turn...

Red Barn Roof Line
...and from the house in town, we have a full load of stuff to take out to the new buildings, including the (empty) beehives and the various other bee related things we've been purchasing along the way (more on those things soon) as well as some large boxes currently taking up space in the guest room.  Once we get there, we also plan to get all the gardening/outdoor related items out of the mudroom...and the kitchen...and the closets...and off the porch...well, you get the picture.  Those things seem to multiply exponentially when they have no home.  NOW they have a home!  

Hope you are having a good start to the weekend!  
More later when we get back into town.  We just need to beat the rain and looks like Winter is about to come roaring back to our area.

Friday, February 20, 2015


Recently, we went to the Houston Auto Show.  It's a show with the new 2016 cars coming from all the car manufacturers.  It's fun to go and sit in and play with cars you might not ever get a chance to otherwise. 

Well, outside the arena, they had some "Art Cars" on display.  Art cars are regular vehicles that have been turned into rolling works of art by being modified and decorated.  Houston is very well known for its thriving Art Car scene and hosts a parade every year that is amazing to see.  

Giant Rooster Car
As we walked toward the arena, our eye was caught by this rather large feathered bird that was towering above all the others.

Hen-a-Tron art car
As you can see, it's very large...and there really is a car underneath there, the chassis is a 2011 Porsche Cayenne!

Art Car
The name of the car is the Hen-a-Tron...though it kind of looks like a rooster too.  The funny (tongue in cheek) back story of the name is that the owner built it so his pet hens could learn to drive and protect themselves from predators under the scary guise of a giant bird.  Thus, the Hen-a-tron was born.  Sadly, the hens never learned to drive so the car just goes from show to show.  :-)

Houston Art Cars
Here are a few other art cars that were on display...all very neat and totally unique and original, but we loved the Hen-a-tron most.

We thought you might enjoy something different!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

3,000,000 PAGE VIEWS

Last night, at 01:12am CST, the blog surpassed a big milestone!  

For that we are humbled...

...and grateful to each and every one of you.  You are followers, subscribers, commenters, or just visitors looking for pictures or information...

Our small corner of the Internet has now grown to averaging a little over 1,000,000 unique views per year.

Thank you, very much.

So, on this normal Inspiration Thursday posting, we're going to say that it is YOU that inspire US...

I do believe it'll be time for another giveaway soon!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


After our semi-successful sweet potato project last year, we decided to do it again.  It takes a while for them to start rooting and then develop the slips that you pluck off and plant, but we figured we might as well start now.

Organic Sweet Potatoes
Be sure you ALWAYS start with organic sweet potatoes.  This goes for any potato or plant that you are trying to start/root from store bought.  The reason is that regular produce (non-organic) is often treated with with a chemical that inhibits sprouting, for obvious reasons.  Organic will of course be chemical free.  

We just slice them in half...

Sweet Potatoes in a Glass of Water
...and then do the time honored "three toothpicks and a glass of water" method.  Last year we tried another method but we found that even though this is perhaps a bit more work, they seemed to sprout faster this way.  

Rooting Sweet Potatoes in Water
I just lined them up on top of the fridge where they can get natural light and we can see when the water needs to be added/changed.  2nd Man looks up on top and sighs...I'm cluttering up the top of the fridge...but he knows the end result is worth a few weeks of rooting sweet potatoes in this way!

Time to get the gardening started, somehow!

Monday, February 16, 2015


So here we have our two newest additions...a large barn and a smaller shed.  They are both by the "TUFFSHED" company.  No, unfortunately we didn't get anything in exchange for mentioning them, ha.  We just figured if anyone was curious about them, so far anyway, we have no complaints.  The entire process has been very easy, very professional and the quality is top notch.

Two Tuffshed barn buildings
The large barn/workshop is 16'x24' with a 15' peak height and the smaller garden/mower shed is 10'x12' with an 11' peak height.

Interior TB-700
This is from the middle of the large barn, looking toward the front double doors.  There is a 4' deep loft running across the top, above the main doors.

Interior TB-700 with loft
This is in the same spot, only looking toward the back.  There is a large window on the back wall, a large side door, and another loft, 6' deep, running across the top.  We have room to expand the lofts to be deeper, but for now, splitting them up onto each end of the barn made the most least until we see how we end up using the space.  

Tuffshed TB-700 barn
This is looking at it from the back side.  The window and the gable end vents let in a lot of light.  We opted for the side door because our future plan is to fence in this area (chickens!) and a side door will allow access to the fenced in part of the yard.  The loft is even large enough to stand up in.  This is a very large building and in one of our remaining storage units is a workbench that my Dad built before he died (it's an amazing piece) along with his tools and some other stuff...they will turn this into a much needed workshop.


Shed with loft
This is inside the smaller shed.  We opted for a built in workbench/shelf along the back under the window so that we'd have a horizontal counter type surface to do work on.  Above the window is a 2' deep loft for storing chemicals, oil, etc, things for the garden tools.  And speaking of...  

Mower shed
The Zen Machine has a new home indoors!  Safe from the elements!  It fits in nicely, with lots of space all the way around.

Tuffshed with riding mower
We had to get ramps so we could do this.  Driving in was easy...backing out?  Well, I'll have to get back to you on that one when I do it!

Tuffshed TB-600
This is the back of the smaller shed.  We wanted to mimic the larger one and also have the natural light coming in so we have the same end vents and a bit smaller window.  Both buildings have radiant barrier roof decking and ridge vents, making them surprising cool inside.  

The smaller one will be the keeper of all the gardening tools.  Shovels, rakes, weedeater, auger, chainsaw, and their supplies, etc.  The big barn will evolve.  There is a lot of room for storing things such as boxes of holiday decor, supplies we aren't using at the moment, etc but we will figure it out as time goes by.

They were an investment of course, but definitely an investment in our future and that's really all that matters, just one more step toward making this our retirement place.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


For those who may have missed part one this morning, CLICK HERE to read all about the first part of the barn building project.

So after Thursday, I got up Friday morning and we still had a barn in the wasn't a dream after all!

2nd Family's horse Artax was excited about the new addition to our farm, coming down to visit and peering over the back pasture fence.  Alas Artax, it's not for you...but you can come visit anytime!

The guys showed up again bright and early and with another trailer full of pieces...but for what?  Wasn't the barn almost finished Thursday?

It's for a second building!  Yep, we decided to just go for it and get two done at once.  This one went up even faster...

...because the second one is smaller than the barn.  We're calling it a shed and it will have a specific use.

Lastly, they got it roofed and finished, the doors put on both, touched up the paint wherever needed, and left. 
Two Red Barns side by side
And we now have two new outbuildings on our property!  It's funny, "J" from 2nd Family was sitting on the porch with me as we were watching and she said "all you need are some bales of hay and a horse sticking out of them".

It definitely looks like a farm and after three years of me posting inspiration pictures about classic red American barns, we now have TWO!

Tour of the inside tomorrow!


Sorry to be such a tease the last few days about what was going on.  2nd Man didn't get to see the end result until Saturday and he wanted to be surprised.  I didn't want to put pictures on the blog that he might be tempted to look at.  

One of the biggest things on our list of things to do at the farm, was get a barn/workshop/storage building.  Without much storage space in the house (it's 900 square feet) we need space to put the stuff that doesn't belong.  There is no shed, no garage, not even a place to put any of the items that don't belong in the house.  With a large yard and property and all its accompanying tools and products, it can get out of hand quickly.  Weedeater leaning up against the fridge?  Paint and chemicals on the shelf next to food?  Auger on the dining room table?  It just doesn't work, LOL.

Well, somehow, someway, the stars aligned for us and we had to make the decision quickly.  Either do it now or wait until later...we felt the best decision was to do it now.

On Thursday morning, I took the day off and drove out to the farm.  Two trucks showed up carrying all the materials.

They unloaded and started building.  Seeing it all laid out made it look like a big complicated puzzle.

They built the various parts in sections and painted them right there on site.  It was pretty efficient actually.

By lunchtime, it looked like a real barn!  A BIG real barn!

When the rafters went up, it was almost a blink and you miss it moment.

Then the roof went on (this is from the back side) and it was getting to be toward the end of the day.
Red barn at sunset
So at the end of day one, as the sun set behind the mesquite and the guys left for the day, we had a barn up!  Without doors of course but hey, it's a barn!  

Part two this afternoon, so you won't have to wait!  

There is more to see...