Sunday, May 31, 2015


We were curious to see how wet it was at the farm after the epic rains we've had.  The insurance adjuster came out Friday to look at the roof from the last windstorm we had, but only a few missing shingles, not enough to be over the deductible.  As a side note, he got his car stuck in the yard, and had to get pulled out by a wrecker!  That's how wet things are out there.  Of course, we know where the "high spots" are to park but in all fairness, I did tell him to wait until it dried out, but he took the chance.

So first thing Saturday, we loaded up a few things and headed out.  

This is a major river that is several miles from the farm and we decided to swing by and see how high it was.

It was high!  We had to park at a rest stop area and walk over to the bridge.  This is the view looking toward the North...

...and this is the view toward the South.  This is the direction it is all flowing and sadly, for those downstream, that's where the worst of the flooding is.  Below is the view from the bridge looking down to the trees, those with the tops sticking out are on the banks and more than 20 feet tall.

I was able to mow, but not much.  The yard was SO wet and muddy.  As you can see in the photos (the spots I couldn't mow) it was completely out of control. I did the center part of the driveway so we can at least get in and around the house and some of the front yard but that was it.

These 'ruts' are where I chanced mowing through a really muddy spot with standing water and got the back tires of the zen machine stuck in the mud.  Oops!  Took some pushing but we got it out. 

The house was OK, so that's good.  The bees were good as well.  I took the roofs off and inspected and they were happy and doing their thing.  Even with the rains, they were coming back to the hives loaded up with pollen.  Once again, it was starting to sprinkle so I didn't want to leave them open too long.  

As has been the case, for days weeks on end, the clear skies of the morning gave way to the ominous gray skies of the afternoon.  Right after I took this picture, there was a loud clap of thunder and by the time we got back in the car, it opened up and started raining...and we had several more inches of rain.

Regular reader Colleen posted this link in one of her comments and I thought I'd put it here.  Click on THIS LINK to read some mind-blowing stats about the Texas flooding. 

But LOOK!!!

This is the just released forecast of for the next 4 days.  Can it be?  No rain?  Today is overcast, but the radar for the whole state looks to be clear of storms.  We aren't going to the farm, it really is just too wet, instead we'll stay in town and start cleaning out some closets and cabinets.  Time for some Spring telling what fun things we'll find.

If the weather holds all week, it should be nice and dry next weekend and it will be a yardworkapalooza, ha.  

Hope your weekend is going well!

Saturday, May 30, 2015


UPDATE:  It is 6:30pm local time and we are in the midst of a torrential downpour all across the city of Houston.  We are safely back home in town, left the farm just before it hit.  

There has been over 5" inches of rain in the last hour and a half and it's STILL raining.  Lots of lightning, our power has flickered a few times but about 50,000 people are without power currently.

Roads are starting to flood and cars are starting to get stranded in the water.  Several of the Bayous that flooded homes on Monday are now about to top their banks again.

This is just insane weather...I just really don't know what else to say.

They SAY that after this round, we're going to clear out and start to dry up.
Farm and picture updates tomorrow, now back to the TV.


Rain chances starting this afternoon into tomorrow...

Not what we need, especially that "5-7 inches" possibility at the end of the warning.  Off to the farm to check on the things, feed the bees and see what's happening in general.  The farm is also a few miles from a river that is cresting today, so we'll check that out. 

More later today!

Friday, May 29, 2015


OK, so after the crazy events of the last few days, we woke up to MORE rain.

No kidding...

This is the radar when we went to bed last night, and it moved through while we were sleeping and dumped another inch or so.  It is slow to leave the area and there is more in the forecast for the afternoon!  Flash Flood Watch in effect, and this is not what any of the streams or rivers need.

We called 2nd Family and asked how things were out there.  Wet and muddy and sloshy...imagine that!  Then "J" said "we've been picking up fish out of the driveway".  

Excuse me?  Fish?

Yep, minnows and a couple of other species.  I said "send me a picture!" and she sent this to me:

Not sure what this one is, but it was one of three just like it that she saved and moved to their backyard pond.  She also gathered up another random small fish, and a cup full of minnows, including a few in the chicken coop/yard!

Where do fish just come from out of nowhere?  The only thing we can think is washed out of ponds on nearby properties?  The water was standing and rushing down the driveway for the last few days so it's no telling where they came from.  Still, kinda fun that fish are just appearing.

It's been a busy week at work (insurance biz) and so I am looking forward to the weekend.  Of course, there is a strong chance of...wait for it...



Thursday, May 28, 2015


For today, after the tragic events in our city over the last few days, I decided that for inspiration, we would put it where it belongs...on all of the first responders who came to help residents in Houston as they faced an epic storm.

The Houston Police Department

The Houston Fire Department

The American Red Cross

And of course, the thousands of Houstonians who risked their lives to help rescue people from cars, helped get them out of flooded homes, who worked in the hospitals, and brought food, and donated clothing...they are the 'everyday heroes' that always inspire!

It makes us proud to call Houston home.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


162,000,000,000 gallons of water...

That is how much water fell from the sky in just a few hours.  
Yep, that's 162 BILLION gallons...isn't nature amazing?  Now if we could just get that spread around to the places that need it.

Click HERE to read a fascinating article from our local paper about Monday's historic flooding and just how everything converged to form the perfect storm.

Just a quick post today because last night we came home from work, watched the days news coverage and crashed.  Were up the night before during the storms until 3:00AM and then got up at 6:00AM to see what had happened in the light of day.  Busy day for me at work, lot of customers calling in with claims.  As my good friend "R" said yesterday (he works at another office) "that's what we signed up for".   True, so very true.

Thank you to all who have written either directly or commented in posts, to check on us.  We are fine.  Rattled, but fine.  I will catch up on comments and replies tonight.  Thank you all for the well wishes!

Updated the link to the article (thanks Texas Rose!)


Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Unprecedented flooding event happened in Houston overnight.  Haven't heard from 2nd Family yet, been trying to reach them about the flooding at the farm, but this has been one for the record books in the city of Houston.  We were up until 3:00AM keeping an eye on things but just couldn't stay up any longer.  Woke up to a city under disaster status.

We are blessed that our house in town is in the higher part of the neighborhood but the city has been hard hit...

...we've had funnel clouds, wind gusts upwards of 100mph, hail, lightning like we've never seen before, and rain...lots and LOTS of rain.  Almost 8 inches at our house, many parts of town in excess of 10 inches.  This fell in just a couple of hours.  Bayous are overflowing, thousands of cars flooded, hundreds of homes flooded.  Entire freeway systems are shut down, across both sides, because water is covering all the main lanes.

During the night, the NWS issued a rare "Flash Flood Emergency" and the city went to "Level 1 Emergency Status" for the first time since Hurricane Ike, seven years ago.  The photo above is the freeway about 2 blocks over from our house.

And by daylight, it was surreal...

I-45 at North Main
This is the on-ramp we get onto to get to work.  I walked over this morning to take this picture. Needless to say, I won't be going this direction.  I'm in the insurance business, so I need to get to work to start taking claims, once I can make it to work this morning of course, I'll find out how bad it is...and it will be a long day...a very long day.

More tonight when I get home...

For those who want to see more pics, use Twitter, you don't have to have a twitter account.  Click here:  #houstonflood

Monday, May 25, 2015


Several of you have emailed us to ask how we are doing, the Texas flooding is making national headlines.  The really bad, tragic stuff in the Wimberly and Austin area is about 120 miles from the farm.  

However, that being said, it has all moved this way and expanded in intensity.  

Here is the farm at this moment....

...2nd Family called to tell us it's been insane out there this evening, over 5 inches of rain and counting.  Here in the Houston metro area, it is hit (or is that "spread" this direction), the city has told everyone to get off the roads immediately, massive street flooding is occurring everywhere.  We've also had reports of possible tornadoes in the area, 60mph wind gusts, and large hail all over town.  Our rain gauge shows 3 inches in just the last hour, and it's showing no signs of slowing down. 

As I type this, it's raining so hard and so loud, we've had to turn the volume up on the TV.  Trees down in our neighborhood.  Just while I was typing this, the rainfall went from 3 inches to 4 inches, in about 10 minutes.

Update tomorrow, we'll see what happens overnight!
Fingers crossed!


OK, after a recap of Saturday's TRAGIC EVENT, on to other things (that more or less added to a not so great weekend).

I missed the regular driveway path while driving in (it has gravel) because it was raining and made these 'new ones', almost getting the Jeep stuck.  Oops.  I'm sure grass will fill this in after a few weeks.

As I pulled in, this was the view.  "Barnabas" has lost part of his 'arm', ha.  The wind snapped this branch off.  Mesquite trees grow long offshoots like this and they are susceptible to breaks because of gravity.  But add in some high wind...

Mesquite branch broken
...and they can just snap off.  Sigh.  Oh well, it will just make the yard on this side of the house a bit sunnier, which isn't such a bad thing I suppose.  The lighter weight will keep the main part of the branch viable for years to come.  

Rubber boots in the mud
Of course, here is what the yard looked like.  It was squishy mud and standing water almost everywhere.  The rubber boots still rock.  LOVE them.  Needless to say, there was no WAY I was going to be able to mow (this is going on three weeks without mowing).  All I can say is the grass hasn't gotten as bad as I thought it might be, I guess there can be such a thing as TOO MUCH water and maybe it stunts the growth?  Too bad we aren't growing rice, LOL.

On to some good things...

Bee hive entrance 
The bees seem happy!  They were coming and going and lots of activity in the hives.  With the sprinkling rain I didn't keep them open for too long so I couldn't take pics but there was lots of comb being made and the queens looked good.  I removed the feeders which leaves a bigger opening/entrance to the hive and the girls looked happy to have more room to come and go.

Slight angle to read of bee hive
I had also read that you should always make sure the hives are a bit elevated in the back so that rain doesn't enter the hive and/or stand in the bottom.  I don't think we were having that problem but just in case, I put some broken clay pot shards under the back side of the hive stands.

Texas Lilac in bloom  
And we have some blooms!  All of the Texas Lilac trees that we planted along the driveway are in full bloom.  Even with all this rain and standing water.  So at least we know of one plant for sure that loves our weather conditions.  

Now we just need them to be about 6 feet taller, LOL!

And of course, on this Memorial Day, we say THANK YOU to all who serve and those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


So...I was at the farm yesterday and taking a break on the porch.  It had rained (imagine that!) and I had just unloaded some stuff from the car and was sitting on the rocker when 2nd Family's dog Blue came up to visit.  

He roamed around a bit and then wandered off into the yard as he often does.  I saw something out of the corner of my eye and noticed a pretty white and gray cat running across the driveway.  Within seconds, Blue was chasing and I saw the cat jump up onto the garden fence.  My immediate thought was 'OK, it will be safe up there', but Blue jumped up and grabbed the cat by it's back end.  In just a second, he pulled it off the fence and was shaking the cat back and forth in his mouth.  It was horrible to watch and took a couple of seconds for my mind to process what was happening. 

I screamed and ran toward them as he kept shaking and shaking it back and forth.  I twisted my ankle as I ran through the mud.  Suddenly he let go and he ran down the driveway and the cat ran into the brush around our tree.  I looked all around and couldn't find it, hoping that it got away.

About 20 minutes later though, I heard loud meowing.  I went over to the tree and the cat had come out of her hiding place and was laying on her side, dying, breathing her last breaths.  I knelt down and started petting her gently and telling her in a soothing voice that she was a good kitty as I began crying over a cat I didn't know.

She died within a couple of minutes.

I stood there stunned by the whole cycle of events.  I cried a little more (I'm like that when it comes to animals) and realized I can't leave this cat like this out in the open and I surely can't just toss it into the brush.  This is a stray that lived somewhere on the property but it still needed respect.  I went to the barn and got the shovel and found a high, slightly drier spot in the mini forest area and dug a hole.  I got some plastic and picked up the cat, put her into a curled up sleeping position and wrapped her up.  I placed her in the hole and filled it with potting soil we had and topped it off with the clay soil to kind of seal it up.   

I placed a rock on top so we'll remember she's there until I can figure out something more permanent...and cried a bit more.

Needless to say, that put a damper on the day and with impending rain, and everything else checked, I decided to come home.  2nd Man didn't come as planned because he needed to do some last minute work from home.  I'm grateful he didn't have to witness that.  This wasn't the day I had planned...

Image courtesy of
RIP kitty

I'll update the other moments of the day later.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Back from the farm this afternoon, came back early and yes the "40%" got us, ha, but there was also some drama that I'll share tomorrow with an update.  Let's just say the day, sadly, didn't turn out as expected. Bees are fine, house is fine, this is animal drama that unfortunately I had to witness and then deal with the aftermath.

Speaking of weather, we just got this email alert that the city of Houston sends out to residents (who have signed up to receive them).  This will give you some idea of what we're expecting this weekend and why we didn't stay at the farm.  
Note the rainfall totals in the third paragraph down...
The National Weather Service (NWS) and Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) are saying that the potential for major Flash Flooding exists throughout the Houston area this weekend and into Memorial Day (Monday). 
The City of Houston is under a Flash Flood Watch. This means the conditions exist for thunderstorms to produce heavy rain very quickly, resulting in quickly-developing flooding in streets and waterways.
Heavy rain could start as soon as Saturday evening, with rainfall totals expected 2-5 inches in most areas Saturday evening, with the potential of 8-11 inches total Sunday and Monday.  Because the ground is already saturated, and rivers are running high due to recent rains, this will cause flooding in some areas.
Residents should take steps to limit their risk by making sure that they avoid streams, bayous, ditches, creeks and low-lying areas including roadways while this threat continues.
In addition, pay attention to local media, AlertHouston or official Emergency Social Media Channels for information. If you have a weather radio, switch it now to "Alert" mode.  It only take a couple of inches of moving water to sweep away a vehicle.  Remember to Turn Around, Don't Drown®. 

8 to 11 inches?  Are you kidding me?  Sigh.  

Side note, we use our smart phones and television so much that we hadn't really thought about it, be we don't even HAVE a weather radio!  
I think that will have to be a purchase we make soon.

We'll have to see what happens...fingers crossed!


It has rained, almost daily, for weeks now.  We'll get a day or two off here and there, but it's pretty much rained some almost every day.  This week alone, we are closing in on 6 inches at the farm.  Thankfully, it's come slowly (mostly) and it has a chance to drain away before there is any major road flooding.  

Several rivers however (not near the farm, thankfully) have exceeded their banks and, sadly, flooded homes.  Today is supposed to be the day with the least chance of rain...

...A 40% chance.  But Sunday and Monday, for our long holiday weekend, are not even showing a % chance because it is going to just rain all day, both days.  In fact, we are being warned that flooding may be widespread.  So alas, we're not spending the night out there, thought we wanted to have a long weekend out there, but certainly don't want to get stuck out there if there are indeed flooded roads come Sunday/Monday.  It can and does flood out there...2nd Family was stranded for almost a week once when all the roads in and out were underwater.  We need to make it back to work Tuesday so we can keep our jobs and continue on our journey toward retirement out there, LOL.

So today is, most likely, the last chance to check things out at the farm before we get rained out.  Hopefully the driveway is passable, though my guess is it's muddy...I'll definitely be wearing the rubber boots!  

Checking on the bees is the first and main priority.  I didn't get to open the hive last weekend because it was sprinkling and it's not a good idea to let water get in the hive when the roof is off.  I'll put on the bee suit and get the smoker out and see how they are progressing.  It's good that they have plenty of fresh water to drink, I just hope they are producing brood (babies) and gathering pollen and of course, making honey!  We also have to make sure the house and surrounding property are OK after these storms.

More when we get back this evening...unless of course, we come back early because we got caught in the "40%".


Friday, May 22, 2015


I have another great book to review:

While we don't have chickens yet, because we aren't there full time of course, that doesn't preclude planning.  Heck, we read books about beekeeping for a few years before we had bees, so it never hurts to increase our knowledge.

This is a smaller sized book but trust me when I say it is packed with lots of info and personally, I like smaller books, they don't seem so overwhelming.  This one is filled with beautiful photos, many from the author's own chicken yard (and she's got a beauty).  Flowers, greenery and chickens galore.  The pictures are great because they show, visually, exactly what she's talking about in the writing.  Lisa has a talented way of describing in great detail exactly what she shows in the pictures. 

Her philosophy is natural or holistic chicken keeping. This one stands apart from other chicken books.  And that's the part of the book we love most, the herbal recipes.  Wow, this is one of the best books I've ever read for really hard to find information about herbs for your hens, how to treat for various ailments using herbs, what they like to eat.  It's a great book to start your chickens out right.  It covers a lot of the basics of chicken care, and I think it works well for a first timer.

Please visit her website linked above.  Her blog is a wealth of information on hens and egg laying.  Lots of great information.  One thing for sure after reading this book...WE WANT CHICKENS!!!!  Alas we still have to wait but we'll definitely know how to start the ladies out right from the very beginning. 

You can also purchase the book here via Amazon: 
Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens...Naturally

This book is published by a new favorite publishing company called St. Lynn's Press.  They have a wide variety of books in the gardening, self sufficiency, and slow and local lifestyles topics.  In my interaction with them, I found them to be kind, easy to work with and just all around wonderful.  A great, small publishing company worthy of supporting.

Thank you of course to St. Lynn's Press for providing this book to review, and thank you Lisa Steele for getting us even more prepared for the day when laying hens will rule the roost at Seda Bolsa Farm!

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Coneflower garden, image courtesy of
We needed to see some color and bright light today.  We have had three days of rain this week and more coming today.  Coming up on 8 inches at the farm.  Because of our gray and rainy days, I wanted to post something colorful and vibrant and potentially doable at the farm...these are coneflowers and I believe they will do well down in these parts.  I'd like to find a place for something like this, if we ever see the sun again, ha.  

Hope you are having a good week!

Be inspired!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Was at Kroger (grocery store) yesterday at lunch and they had these on clearance.  When we originally saw them, they were way overpriced (but we still liked them).  But now, this large platter was $24, lowered to $8, and then lowered to $4.

This large bowl will be great for salads/pasta, it's wide and shallow.  This one was originally $28, lowered to $9 and then lowered to $4.50.  They definitely have a nice 'farmhouse vibe' to them, with a French twist. 

Have you had any good bargain finds lately?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Rainy/muddy day meant we were able to get an inside thing done and scratched off the list of THINGS TO DO.

These were the last two curtain doors left in the house.  I blogged HERE about them when we first put them up in the doorways in the living room to one bedroom and in the kitchen to the guest room.  Later on, we put one between the foyer and living room and between the living room and kitchen.  They have been such a perfect solution that we thought we should 'finish' the house with the rest and get them before, with our luck, they discontinue the brand (isn't that the way it always works? LOL).

We still had two doorways left to do.  This is the one from the kitchen into the dining room and in the background you can see the doorway into the mudroom.  The curtains are heavy enough that we need a stronger tension rod.

Once we got that up, it's just a matter of putting the curtains on the rods.  We like these curtains because they have the large, grommeted openings so that they slide back and forth very easily.
Using curtains as doors
Here is the view from the dining room after they were up.  To the left is the kitchen doorway and to the right is the mudroom.  

While we don't leave the curtain doors in the house closed all the time, the nice thing about them is that they allow us to keep rooms cool/warm as needed without worry.  For example, during freezes in the Winter, we can keep a small heater in the mudroom, close off the doorway and keep it warm in there.  Or when we are there and it's cold, no point in heating rooms we aren't in.  In the heat of Summer, 2nd Man can close off the kitchen and keep the cool air in there instead of cooling the dining room where no one will be.  They also have a way of softening the rooms and making them more cozy, if that makes sense.

At least we have another small project scratched off the list.

Monday, May 18, 2015


My boss came in to my office the other day and handed me an article from the Wall Street Journal...he knows (and is so excited) about our beekeeping journey and wanted to make sure I saw the article (he's pretty wonderful like that).

This story is getting somewhat reported in the media but, in my opinion, not widely enough.  We don’t really need to know if Kim Kardashian is having another baby or that Taylor Swift has another hit song.  What we need to know is what is causing this massive bee die off and, more importantly, what can the world do to help reverse it.

The headlines alone are frightening (click any/all of these for articles):

"Sharp Spike in Honeybee Deaths Deepens a Worrisome Trend" 

"Honeybee Crisis Worsens as Summer Die-Offs Mount"

In one year, April 2014 – April 2015, beekeepers reported that more than FORTY PERCENT of their United States honeybee colonies died off.  
Think about that for a minute…

What if 40% of cattle died in one year? 
Or 40% of fresh fish disappeared?
Or even 40% of corn or wheat wilted away?

They would most likely be the top stories on the news outlets.  Alas, bees still don't get the coverage they deserve.  Oh sure, the story is around and it does get more traction than it used to, but still not so much in the mainstream press, where it should be...not as much as should be warranted in this situation.

"What we're seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal that there's some bad things happening with our agro-ecosystems," co-author Keith Delaplane says.  "We just happen to notice it with the honeybee because they are so easy to count."

Our first two beehives
They say that home and/or amateur beekeepers may be the best hope to at least maintain bee colony populations.  Home apiarists are usually less likely to be using the chemicals elsewhere in the yard that are harmful to bees, more likely to be checking them regularly and better ready to treat problems before they overwhelm the hive.  Plus, they create healthier and stronger varieties of bees.  We are hoping we can do at least a small part to help.  


Update: Marcia was kind enough to post this link just announced today.  It's the first ever
 National Initiative to Promote the Health of Honeybees