Friday, July 31, 2015


The other day, I posted here about a dish that we like to throw together really quick.  In the post I mentioned a "high fructose corn syrup free" BBQ sauce.  I think that generated as much interest as the recipe, ha.

So I went to the store and snapped some pics for you...  

KC Masterpiece with real sugar
It is KC Masterpiece and it's their 35 anniversary blend.  Notice the tag line on the front of the bottle?  It says "Made with Love and Real Sugar".  Not sure about the love part, ha, but the real sugar is a definite plus.

I snapped a pic of the back ingredients list.  Pretty much all good stuff.  Tomato puree, sugar and molasses as the first three largest ingredients so we're OK with that.  It's not homemade but to find it as a mainstream brand in a regular grocery store is that got us to wondering...

Does anyone have any other HFCS free products from the store they like?  Share in the comments below...

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Photo image of flowers courtesy of:
Hello, blogger is acting up so I am not sure how this posting will look.  If the picture comes through, that's all that really matters on the post for an "Inspiration Thursday", LOL.

We like these flowers, does anyone know their identity?  The website I found this on said they were heat loving / drought tolerant but it didn't list the flower types, go figure.

I'll keep this post short, just enjoy the flowers in the dog days of Summer!

Be inspired!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Here is something we regularly throw together for a quick meal.  It's only three ingredients but a wonderful combination of flavors.  

Take some large sweet potatoes and slice in half lengthwise.  Put them on a foil lined baking sheet (they'll mess up an unlined pan while baking).  Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until fork tender. 

We make it easy by using a precooked rotisserie chicken available in the grocery store.  Just shred the chicken and put it in a pan on the stovetop. 

Add enough BBQ sauce to your liking.  We used about 2/3 of an average size bottle of good sauce.  KCMasterpiece makes an all natural sauce we high fructose corn syrup, just good old fashioned sugar.  Heat until bubbling.

BBQ Chicken over Sweet Potato
Place your roasted sweet potatoes cut side up on a plate, fluff the potato a bit with a fork, top with several spoonfuls of the BBQ chicken mixture and sprinkle on a few chopped green onions.  That's all, it's ready to eat!  The BBQ chicken combines well with the flavor of the sweet potato and we had ours with a green salad on the side.  


Tuesday, July 28, 2015


I realized I hadn't shared any garage sale/thrift store finds lately.  I'm always scouring the thrift stores a few times a week at lunch but don't always find anything.  It has to be just the right item for us to want to add it to the farm.  

These rated as keepers, ha. 

This is an awesome popcorn bowl. It's a heavy, off white ceramic/stoneware bowl and on the outside it says "Popcorn is for sharing".  2nd Man and I enjoy watching movies and enjoy our popcorn...

...and when we're done, well, you see the message.  That's All Folks!

Love it, it will be fun to use.

Then I found this little guy, a nut cracking squirrel.  It's made of metal and when you lift his tail, the lower part of his mouth opens... place the nut in the open mouth and push down on his tail, cracking the nut open.  Definitely another fun find that we will use at the farm.  Too cute!

Happy bargain hunting!

Monday, July 27, 2015


I can't remember if I mentioned this, but a few weeks ago, 2nd Family gave us this clay pot with this Aloe vera in it.  They said we had to have Aloe nearby in case we needed it.  A very thoughtful thing to do.

Newly planted aloe vera
It must be happy in its new home because here it is this weekend...

Aloe vera plant with babies
It's getting bigger and babies are springing up all around it!  Yay! 

We haven't had need to use it yet, thankfully, but it's great to have one handy on the porch...and so that got us to wondering.  What are any other healing herbs/plants to keep in a pot on the porch to pull and use as needed?  I know there are herbs that make teas and such, but we were thinking more of something like the Aloe, something that's right there when you need it and you just break off a piece and use it when you need it.

Anything we must have?

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Not sure if a photo can convey heat, but if it could, you'd be sweating right now...

No mowing, no edging, just watering and unloading a bunch of stuff from town into the house, barn and shed and lots of sweating.  The porch was a nice respite from the heat but still...our hottest day so far, with "feels like" heat temps of 110+.

I think the cats have it all figured out.  Find a cool place to sleep...

curl up...

stick your feet out and sleep...

all day...


Hope you all had a great weekend.  Mostly uneventful here. Just stayed around either in town in the a/c or when we went to the farm, stayed inside there with the a/c on.  No end in sight it seems.  


Eat Less Bread, vintage poster image courtesy of Library of Congress
Haven't had a vintage poster image in a while and with the heat this weekend, and not much going on outside, here is one for you.  This is from WWI and is part of the "save wheat for soldiers" plan.

Though at albs per person per week, I wonder if complete victory today would be over not gaining weight, LOL.

Hope you are having a good (and cool) weekend wherever you are.  I'll post a weekend update later tonight and catch up on comments.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Below is the warning we just got in our emails from the city of Houston:


...Heat index values of between 104 to 109 degrees are expected this weekend with higher values possible...

Peak heat index values of 104 to 109 degrees are expected this weekend.  A heat advisory may be required if the area begins to experience heat indices that exceed 109 degrees.  As of now, we may reach or exceed 109 degrees for an hour or two during the afternoon. 

Residents with any outdoor activity plans are urged to drink plenty of water...wear lightweight and light colored clothing...and take frequent indoor or shaded breaks away from the heat.  Avoid strenuous outdoor activities if at all possible.  Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances!  Remember, car interiors can reach lethal high temperatures within a matter of minutes.

________________________________________________________________'s going to be a very hot weekend.  Not sure how much will get done, outside at least, and might not go both days.  We are in what we call the Hell days of Summer.  Our humidity makes the heat doubly awful.  

Updates as we can...might be a great weekend to accomplish some "inside" things on the list of things to do this year.

Friday, July 24, 2015


Our bees were all over the property this weekend, though they particularly loved these wildflowers.  I snapped a few pictures and thought I'd share:

Bee on flower
So peaceful to watch them go about doing what they do best...

Bee closeup
We'd love to be able to follow one from the flower back to the hive but of course, that would be next to impossible...

Bee gathering food
We like this picture, sort of seems like we snuck up behind her while trying not to intrude on her work.  She's definitely a busy bee...


Thursday, July 23, 2015


Now that we finally have our red barn and shed, we've started looking toward getting other things around it, for example, fencing.  But another item that I've always wanted it a windmill.  It doesn't have to pull up water of course, but it would be awesome to see it spinning and rotating according to the wind. 

The one above really made us want one even more, seeing it next to a red/white barn, albeit a LARGE red/white barn, ha.  Something this size might be a bit TOO large, because size is something that would matter.  The large barn we have is 16' tall at the peak so we don't want a small 6 foot tall windmill that would look like a toy next to it, but we also don't need one that towers over everything else.  We're thinking 10 or 12 feet tall sounds about right.  

We just love this look.  

Be inspired!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


A couple of weeks ago, I posted about our frittata that we make.  The recipe for that is HERE.  Well we made another one using some of the eggs 2nd Family gave us this past weekend.  For this one, I took pictures to show how flexible it is with different flavor combinations.  

We've taken to calling this one our "cheeseburger frittata"

Sauté some mushrooms in the pan you will cook your frittata in...

Then we added one pound of ground beef and browned it with the mushrooms.  Be sure and drain off the fat as that will interfere with the cooking of the egg mixture.

Then we added some baby spinach to the drained mushroom and beef...

...and of course, as spinach does, it cooked way down.

Normally we use sliced onions (hence the cheeseburger name) but we didn't have any on hand.  We did have some small peppers so we sliced them up and added them to the pan to sauté a bit while we prepared the egg mixture.

The egg mixture is the same as last time, about 8-10, depending on your pan size, salt, pepper and favorite seasonings and 2 TBSP cream or milk.  Pour over the meat and vegetables.

Bake in the oven until almost set, 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

This is a bit of shredded yellow cheddar we had leftover from another meal and since it wasn't enough, we finished it off with some white cheddar (have to keep it cheddar so it's like a cheeseburger, ha).  Still about 2 cups total.

Bake another 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese is browned and bubbly.
Cheeseburger Frittata
Slice it up and eat!  Almost like having a cheeseburger!  We usually have one slice each for dinner with a salad and then refrigerate it and the next morning, a slice makes a great "on the run" breakfast, either cold or pop in the microwave for 10 seconds or so. Great for a brunch as well. 


Tuesday, July 21, 2015


 Notice anything different about the hives?

They are taller!  
Yep, our lovely ladies are getting a luxury high rise addition...

English Garden Hives
Bees naturally move in a hive as they need more space.  If they are up and get crowded, they move down.  If they are down and need more space, they move up.  On a recent inspection, I noticed that they are moving up into the second level.  I decided to go ahead and order two more supers.  We have to make sure they have enough room to make plenty of honey stores since they had such a rainy start to the season.

Third level honey super
So, we added this third box, often called a "honey super" so that they can make more than enough honey to keep them going through Winter and hopefully give us a bit to share in as well this first season.

Monday, July 20, 2015


Sometimes we get a surprise from the least expected place.  

Recently, the local power company at the farm called us and said they were in the area doing clearing along easements.  There is nothing we can really do about that, they do have a 10 foot easement all along the spots where there are power lines and we just have to let them do it.  They called to make sure we didn't have livestock or anything that might 'get out' while they were there.  They asked if we wanted the waste hauled off or chipped in place and left.  We opted for chipped in place and left behind. 

We really had no idea about the outcome or what it would look like as we had never experienced this before.  

Front of property before
Here it is before (a picture I took late last year).  This picture is from the corner of the front of the property looking toward the driveway entrance.  As you can see, you couldn't even really tell where the fence line started, or stopped, and the brush began.  Look for the barely visible power poles.

Front of property after
Now, here it is after!  This picture was taken from the driveway looking back toward where I was standing when I took the other picture.  How amazing is this?  They pretty much just cleared it all the way back, 10 feet from the property line which is where the power lines are above.  They also, unfortunately, sprayed brush killer on the stuff left behind (which is why it's turning brown) but there isn't much we can do about that.  

But they weren't done...

Woodland spot before
The power lines run along the road in front and then down the property lines separating parcels of land to the spot where the pole runs over to the house.  We didn't even think about that until we saw it.  Above is a photo from when we had the property cleared that created the small wooded area.  

Notice the area behind the trees.  Again, this is before.

Woodland spot after
And here it is after they got done.  Wow!  It's definitely a difference, kind of looks like an island of trees now.  We are grateful that it was done, saves us a lot of work along the fence line.  Not to mention, I should be able to keep it up now with the mower...theoretically.  

Saturday, July 18, 2015


You ever use up all your energy and just hit the wall and can't do anymore?  That happened today.  I DID have to mow once I got out there....could have let it go a week but just to be on the safe side, I figured it was best to go ahead and mow so that next weekend wouldn't be more work.  

Of course the temp was in the upper 90's (we almost made it to 100 today).  After a couple hours on the mower, I was reaching that point.  After mowing I had to do some work with the bees and working with the hives (more on that in an upcoming post) and that was a good hour and a half of the day (and hot, had to wear the bee suit).  I also unloaded about 30 of those large rocks I'm bringing from in town and then I had to unload some bags of mulch.  

I was going to break out the weedeater, but as you can see from this flower bed I didn't get to that.  Side note, photo taken to show we have some color!  They are only marigolds but hey, it's some color other than green.  Anyway, see the tall grass around the landscape timbers?  It's like that all around the house and garden fence and barns and trees...sigh.  

I just hit the wall and couldn't do anymore.  I had to put everything up and call it a day.  I stopped off at 2nd Family on the way out and dropped off a loaf of freshly baked bread that 2nd Man made early this morning.

They surprised us with THREE DOZEN fresh eggs from their girls.  Woo hoo!  I sense another frittata in our meal planning this week, and maybe some homemade pasta.  I headed back into town about 5pm and when I got home...

...2nd Man had one of my favorite meals ready...pan seared pork chop, mashed potatoes (forgot to get the picture with gravy) and of course southern style green beans with tomatoes and bacon, RECIPE HERE.

Oh and a glass (or two) of wine...

I might have been worn out but it was a good day.


A very dear friend of ours, who is vacationing in Mexico this week, sent this picture to us and I thought it was so pretty, I wanted to share it with others who might not know about this beautiful Colonial city in the mountains.

Guanajuato, Mexico
The city is HERE for the Wiki entry about it.  Being up in the mountains, she said the mornings are in the low 50's and afternoons are in the 70's.  Sigh.  Beautiful, perfect weather...

Anyway, enjoy this little bit of another country!

And speaking of country (ha), it's off to the farm today for me.  2nd Man has to work so he'll be in town.  Boo!  Tomorrow we have a 4 year old's birthday party to attend so that means today is my only day out there.  2nd Family said that since there hasn't been any rain, the grass has barely grown.  I think I'll focus on other things if it looks like it doesn't need it.  I have a plan for the fruit trees that will require weed eating, rocks and mulch, ha.  

Updates as I can.  Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, July 17, 2015


These are all over the farm.  

Not sure what they grow up to be when the cycle is complete, but it's always fun watching nature do its thing.

I do believe though that if you touch these, they cause a severe rash with raised welts.  I seem to recall a childhood incident with one, but not sure if it was this. 

Black Wooly Caterpillar 
I'm NOT going to take a chance and find out.  I just left them alone, they weren't on any important plants, just on the weeds and grasses around the property.

They are kind of pretty to see and imagining the transformation that they will soon be going through is fascinating.  

Nature truly is amazing...