Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Recently, I blogged HERE about finding a great old vintage cookbook.  A friend of the blog saw the post and contacted us and asked for our address, she said she had something to send to us.  

A few days later, we received this in the mail:

Round the World Meat Cookbook
It's an awesome vintage cookbook, entitled the Round The World Meat Cookbook, by Myra Waldo.  There are tons of great recipes, obviously with meat as the main ingredient, covering all different types of dishes from various and diverse countries.  It's an almost 50 year old cookbook and we love it!  It will go in a special place at the farm with our other vintage cookbooks.  We can't wait to find some recipes to cook, and of course share them here on the blog.

It came thoughtfully gift wrapped, in a really neat vintage paper (that we saved to use for some future project), and one of her children even made us a "Got Books?" bookmark (which we will forever keep with this book).  

The world of blogging is filled with such wonderful people!

Thank you sweet friend, it is much appreciated!

Monday, March 30, 2015


So on Sunday, I had to get started on the flower beds around the house.  We decided to use landscaping timbers to build something. 

This is the corner of the front porch, a big, weird space that needed something more than just sticking some flowers in the ground. 

I bought some landscape timbers, they are very inexpensive at the local big box hardware store.  Pressure treated (no food plants here) so they will last a good long time.  First, I laid them out.

I used this edging tool to make quick work of leveling.  Just putting them on the ground, chances are it's not going to be level so you have to dig out trenches and put the timbers in.  It took a few times of adding and removing soil until...

...it was level!  Seeing that little bubble in the middle is a great feeling.  It also means no more bending and stooping so the quicker it gets to the center the better, ha.

Here it is looking from above on the porch.  Lots of room now to plant stuff.
And above and below is the finished result.  At first we were just going to just leave the back open since plants in the front will (eventually) block it.  But the more I looked at it, the more I realized that overall it would look better (and probably BE better) to have a back tier of timbers too.  More work now, but we think it looks much better that way.   

Landscape timbers flower bed
This was phase one, we're also putting them along the front and side of the house (no angles on those, just straight lines), and then two on the front side of the veggie garden, one on each side of the gate.  I actually did most of one side but ran out of timbers (had enough until I put in the back ones on this).  

All that's left now is to add soil, dig some holes and plant some flowers.  I figure it's best to get the hard work done first.  Pouring in some bags of dirt, planting bushes, and adding mulch, that's the fun part.  

Today my muscles are sore but my soul is nourished.  It's a great sense of accomplishment, small as it may be.  

Sunday, March 29, 2015


So after working outside all day, I came home to my special birthday dinner and I promised to share the details.  I told 2nd Man I'd love to have lasagna.  Do you know that in all these years, he's never made a lasagna?  I know, weird huh?  We've eaten it many times of course, at restaurants or various friends dinners, but for some reason, he's just never made one at home.  I asked if he was going to look up a recipe and he said no, he'd just make it up.  So he went to the store, roamed around for ingredients and came back and made this... 

It was a huge pan of lasagna full of cheese and meat sauce and pasta...all from scratch and hot and bubbly when I walked in the door.

Unbeknownst to me, he also made a pound cake (one of my faves) and had it hot and fresh out of the oven.

We tried a new sparking wine (really a champagne but can't be called that because it's not from Champagne, France).  This is a California fizzy wine with added almond essence.  It was pretty good.  A bit sweet but different than champagne and actually a nice compliment to the dinner.
Closeup of lasagna....OMG it was heaven on a plate.  Since he just made it up on the fly, I need to get him to recite the recipe to me so we can write it down.  

Pound Cake
This is a slice of the pound cake.  I might be biased but I swear it's the best pound cake ever.  He's got that recipe committed to memory, but he tells me it has a couple of secret ingredients...I think that means I'm not sure if I'll be able to drag that one out of him, LOL!

After the perfect day and the perfect weather this was the perfect meal.

Today, as this posts, it's back to the farm to start building some flower beds at the front of the garden and around the house.  

Saturday, March 28, 2015


AHHH....back on the zen machine, as it should be.  The yard was OUT OF CONTROL.  I mean, I've rarely seen it this long.  See below for the results.

This is the view off the end of the porch...it was growing up over the bottom step...

...but not when I was finished mowing.

This is the view down the driveway before (thought my Fiat was going to set the grass on fire it was so high).

...but afterward, it was nice and trim.  I set the mower to a low height to get through the clover and weeds and down to the grass so it would open up and start growing.

The day wasn't without a casualty however.  I ran over the hose...in several places (it was coiled up).  The grass had grown over it and I didn't see it and I forgot about it.  Oh well, now I can get a longer one for watering purposes.  Everything happens for a reason, right?  LOL.

More on dinner tomorrow, and I'll reply to the comments tomorrow evening as well.  It's been a long day, I have a bit of a sunburn, my muscles are sore, but my tummy is full, I have had a glass or two of wine...life is good for 50+1 day...


On this 50th year plus one day of my life, I'm off to the farm...and the weather could not BE more perfect.  Sunny, clear, and cool.  It's a rare gift in this part of the state.  Usually we go from Winter to Monsoon to Summer.  Now it feels like we went from Winter to Monsoon to actual Spring!

Today's agenda is to mow and edge.  The Big Green Zen Machine (our John Deere mower) is back from the shop, tuned up, cleaned up, sharpened up and ready to mow another season.  With all this rain, the yard is CRAZY out of control.  I'll make sure to get lots of before and after pics.

Mowing is my zen machine experience, the edging, meh, not so much.  But it all has to get done because it just looks so crazy.

2nd Man is staying in town because he has to do some work but he's also going to make my belated birthday dinner (he couldn't do it last night because he was working and it was late when he got home so today is the day).  

I'll have an update blog post up later tonight and I'll start replying to all of your wonderful comments about my birthday!

Friday, March 27, 2015


Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, this is 2nd Man typing but I had to get 1st Man to help me figure out how to log in and post this.  It's not as easy as I tease him about being so easy, HA.  So it wasn't entirely a surprise to him but I wanted to make sure I let everyone know that today is his birthday because he wouldn't do it himself.  

And it is not just any birthday, but the big FIVE-OH! 

I am thankful for every day we have and I know that our farm, small as it may be, as unfinished or incomplete as it may be, is the ultimate birthday wish for both of us and I'm glad to share the journey.

Happy Birthday to you!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Wheelbarrow garden, image courtesy of http://theownerbuildernetwork.co
This is a cool way to re-purpose an old wheelbarrow.  A few holes drilled in the bottom, some potting soil, and some herbs or small veggies.  It's so rustic looking and a great way to have some extra planting containers.

We already have one that we want to re-purpose and I'm going to do it with flowers but 2nd Family has at least one (or two) wheelbarrows that are aging and we want to claim when they decide to get rid of them.  

Be inspired!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Since I haven't been able to get out much on the property with the wet and the mud, I was looking back through some pictures I had taken over the last few months and found these two.  

Here are a couple pics of the other persimmon tree on the property.  It's HUGE....at least 50 feet tall.  See this picture?  The little dots WAAAAY at the top?  Those are the few that were left on the tree at the time I took the photo.  

Wild American Persimmon
Like I said, it's a HUGE tree...not sure there will be ever be much we can do to harvest the ones way up there in future years.  The picture below is the around the base of the tree.  It's a bit wiry and out of control (as I understand wild persimmon trees can be) but I think it could stand a bit of a trimming so that we can at least get around underneath it next Fall and get to the fruit.

We'd love to at clear out the ground around it and open it up a bit so that maybe it will flourish and we can have more persimmons than we'll know what to do with.   Even after THE LAST TIME, I'm willing to give them another chance later this year...ONE more chance.

American Persimmon
Still, it's so fascinating that these trees have just come up on the property and been there for years and years.  This tree in fact, according to a garden center friend that saw the pictures, is probably more than thirty years old.  

Isn't nature wonderful?

Monday, March 23, 2015


Well, I know parts of the country are still having snow on these first days of Spring...but we have buds on trees...

...the pear trees are flowering...

...this tree, ornamental pear we believe, is also flowering.
Indian Paintbrush blooming
...but the best sign of all are these first few pops of seasonal Texas wildflowers along the side of the road leading to the farm.  These are called Indian Paintbrush, which means Bluebonnets can't be far behind.

Wildflower season in Texas is rich with color and beauty.  I'll make sure to get a lot of pictures when it's at it's peak.

So while the weekend was wet and pretty much nothing we could do outside, it did nourish the soil and provide water for the coming Spring blooms.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Tires almost stuck in mud
NOTHING got done outside today after the rains stopped.  

Well nothing except almost getting 2nd Man's car stuck in the yard.  Oops!  I pulled up close to the house to unload some landscape timbers and opened the door and stepped out into a deep puddle.  Next, I realized my shoe was stuck in the mud so I got back in the car, of course, getting mud on the carpet.  When I started the engine and put it in reverse, the tires spun before finally backing up.

I parked it in a high spot in the yard, though as you can see below, standing water was all over the place.  I put on the rubber boots (I swear, I love those things), unloaded the timbers and decided to just do a few things inside.  

Standing water in yard
I stayed a few hours and came back into town.  Rain gauge showed almost 7 inches total over the last week and a half.  It was worth the round trip though, when I came home 2nd Man had prepared this for dinner...

Stuffed pork tenderloin over polenta
...bacon wrapped, stuffed pork tenderloin over polenta and peppers with roasted mixed vegetables on the side.  It was a wonderful way to end an otherwise mostly unproductive weekend.


Volunteer for Victory, vintage poster image courtesy of Wikicommons
While this poster isn't conservation or food or gardening related, I love the image.  And let's face it the Red Cross does a wonderful job.  When we had Hurricane Ike come through a few years ago, Red Cross was the first group you saw, passing out water, ice, and food...a great organization.  

One of those groups you don't want to see coming to your door but if you do need them, it's a good thing to see.

Hope you are having a good weekend.  Rain has stopped but we are supersaturated.  We'll see what gets done.  More this afternoon/evening.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


SIGH...pouring rain...nothing at all happening outside this weekend...

We are up another inch 2 inches and counting...under a flash flood watch until midnight tonight, possibly changing changed to a flash flood warning this afternoon and extending into Sunday.

Don't get me wrong, we love the rain, water is the lifeblood of the Earth, but can't it just come during the week instead of the weekend?

I've got things to do!  Time's a wasting!!  I feel like the garden is going to get behind if I can't get out there and do something soon.  Hope YOUR weekend is more productive than ours will be.

Afternoon update:

One of our dear friends and her husband are having their 40th Anniversary party tonight and sadly, we (and several other invited guests) can't make it as many roads around town are flooded, and had to cancel.  

So we will tell them here for the rest of the world to see:

Big hugs to you both!

Friday, March 20, 2015


Ahh...the perfect chilly evening treat...

Mexican hot chocolate and pan dulce
A cup of Mexican hot chocolate (it's a hot chocolate made with cinnamon and other spices) and a Mexican pan dulce (pastry).  This particular one is called a querno, or horn.  Very warming on a cold evening. 

What is your favorite cold night treat?


On this first day Spring, I thought I'd share this quote.  When I get the garden up and running this season, I'd love to put this on a sign somewhere:

"Gardening is one part science,
one part art,
and one part Peace Corps..."
                    - author unknown

More later this afternoon/evening!
(and 2nd Man will log on and reply to your birthday wishes)

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Yard Bell, photo randomly sourced on internet but possibly via Lehman's
I can't tell you how badly we want one of these yard bells.  They were popular in the 1800's on homesteads to call people to dinner or even to warn of impending dangers (storms, fires, marauders, etc).  Of course, as society changed and doorbells and other technology came about, there was no longer a use for them and they fell out of favor.  

We think one would be awesome mounted to a post in the yard or perhaps even on the porch.  With 2nd Family living at the front of the property, we could even use it to communicate with them ("come up for dinner" or maybe "the zombies are coming", etc LOL).  

Update:  I forgot to post the link to where these are for sale.

Click here: Large Cast Iron Farmhouse Dinner Bell for Amazon


Click here: Yard Bell for Lehman's

The Lehman's version is original and made in USA, the Amazon one is probably made elsewhere.

Be inspired!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


I've spent the last few months, when weather allowed, clearing a couple of areas for the beehives.  We're going to start with two and maybe expand to four next year and six total the year after that.

It is said that beehives should face (the opening where the bees go in and out) to the Southeast or South.  It keeps the cold North wind from entering the hive and if you can get them SE facing, the morning sunrise wakes the colony and gets the bees up and doing stuff early in the day.  These face Southeast.

Beehive location
This will be the first area for bees and is my rough photoshopping attempt to show how we want it to look.  The brush here was all the way out, covering most of this picture.  It connects around to the driveway on the left side of the photo and a year ago it was impossible to walk through here and get to the driveway or the garden.  It is close to the garden and in a more open area.  This will be the first choice for location.  It allows for future expansion.  2nd Man calls this the 'park area' because, well, when it's green of course, it looks like a park with the grass and trees.  Again, a year or so ago, this was just overgrown brush and random mesquite tree saplings.

Beehive yard
Here is the beginning of the spot, an 8' x 4'.  I put the stands inside just to space it out, make sure they fit, etc.  Will put them on concrete pads and fill with mulch.  This is made using three 8' long landscape timbers, two for the long sides and then cutting one in half to gain two pieces, one for each end.  

There is another spot behind the garden that would be perfect for hives, it's big, and open and long and rectangular shaped.  But it is totally visible to anyone on the other side of the fence on the neighboring property.  In fact, it would be visible for several acres beyond that.  We've read that you shouldn't really make your hives that visible to just anyone roaming around...why?

Because bee rustling is an actual thing!  Who knew?

The location above is behind enough trees on the side that faces the other property so they will be discrete and out of view of anyone outside the property lines...as it should be.

We've been busy buying beekeeping supplies over the last few months, more on those in an upcoming post.  Will also show pictures of the painted hives.

Then all that will be left are the bees, and those come 4/17/2015...

Monday, March 16, 2015


Today is 2nd Man's birthday...and I want to wish him all the best.  

Thank you for coming with me on this crazy, uncharted journey.  
Here's to many more!


Sunday, March 15, 2015


Wow what a difference a day makes!  Both of these pictures were taken at almost the same time, only a day apart.

Barns under a clear sky
Above is the farm weather on Saturday...sunny, clear, beautiful.

Barns under 
And this is it Sunday...gray, overcast, misty and colder.


I started the day with these work boots but as you can see, the ground was muddy, mucky, squishy and just a total mess.  While these particular boots are water resistant, that didn't mean water PROOF...don't ask me how I know...

...so I switched to my rubber boots.  I swear these things are like miracle footwear.  If ever there was a full on requirement for having a property, it would be a pair of these.  Even squished a couple of inches into the mud and water, my socks were clean and bone dry when I took the boots off.  It's so nice to just splash around in the water as you walk around and not worry about it.

Got a few things done...though not as much outside.  Just too messy.  I did get the beehives painted, located the area where they will go and set up the landscape timbers, and did a few inside projects as well.  More on all that in upcoming posts.  

So we kind of cut the weekend short and headed out.  As we left to come back into town, 2nd Family brought us...

Farm eggs
...a dozen fresh eggs, all laid in the last few days!  In fact, four of them were laid just this morning!  We always love the blue/green color.  

Gonna be some good eats this week!

Hope you had a good weekend, I'll catch up on comments later tonight!