Saturday, October 31, 2015


Even though our day got off to a very wet start, the rain has finally moved out of the area.  It came just in time for the ghosts and goblins and zombies to come out tonight!

We hope you all are having a fun and safe Halloween!

This was released the other day, thought it would be fun to post.  It is a poll of residents in each state to see what the favorite Halloween candy is.

If the map image above is hard to read, CLICK HERE for a link to the website that breaks it down state by state.

Being in Texas, even though I do like Candy Corn (2nd Man doesn't), I'm not sure how that made the top of the list.  I'm a Snickers, Almond Joy and Mr. Goodbar fan myself.

What about you?  Do you have a favorite candy?
And for those overseas, what is popular in your country?


No farm visit today.  Went to bed about midnight but notice the time on this radar capture...yep 2:52AM.  It was when all the weather alerts started coming in fast and furious...

We have had some huge storms overnight, including tornadoes in the area...

And more rain are the Harris County rainfall totals since last night when the rain started...we are at about 6" here in town.  We haven't heard from 2nd Family yet to see the rainfall totals at the farm (side note, we need to get some sort of WiFi connected weather station at the farm so we can monitor conditions remotely).

One thing that's pretty cool about Houston is that it has become a very connected and information sharing city.  In addition to the real time rainfall totals across the city, and real time bayou/stream bank levels, our electrical grid is also connected to show outages.  Above is a real time outage map.  Yellow triangles are 1-10 homes without power, orange 11-100, light red 101-300, and dark red 301+.  If they overlap, well of course that's just upwards of thousands in one area.  Thankfully, we have power here in town but the rain is insane...'s enough to turn someone into Grumpy Cat!

Hope your Halloween is going better!

Friday, October 30, 2015


Since tomorrow is Halloween...
can you see it?  

Up there in the sky, between the two trees?

Ah, maybe now you can see it a bit better...but just in case it's still hard to see...

How about NOW?  

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Halloween table decor, image courtesy of
Since Halloween is coming, we've been looking at decorating ideas for future parties.  Of course, since the farmhouse currently has all the stuff from in town that we wanted to take out there in preparation for moving to the apartment, there won't be a party this time around.  But hey, it never hurts to get ideas and this is a fun one.  We like this set up as a buffet type table.  It's amazing how some simple things can really add up together.  Here, black accessories, the torn up gauze, a large spider, etc, it all really comes together for a sufficiently Halloween tablescape.

Be inspired!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Saw this ceramic tray in a store the other day.  While I've always enjoyed Ralph Waldo Emerson, I hadn't heard this quote before:

Ralph Waldo Emerson quote
It came right after a time I was trying to explain to a coworker how we choose to be who we are.  I was asked why and how I'm always so upbeat and so positive about things and I said that it's because that is what I long ago decided to be.  There's no reason to be negative or down all the time, indeed what does it gain yourself or those around you?  And now, it's sort of become my nature.  It's the person I've become.  It's part of me.  

So when I saw this, I got a shiver.  

Thank you Mr. Emerson...

Anyone ever find a personal quote that hits home for you?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


One of my office coworkers has some jalapeño plants at his house.  He is an organic gardener and these have gone crazy for him.  He has about 20 more on the plants about ready to come off.  Yesterday, he brought in a bag to share with those of us that wanted some and I brought home a couple dozen...

He's going to have more soon, so we thought we'd ask if anyone has any good uses for jalapeños like this?  I know about the usual suspects such as salsa and of course jalapeño poppers, which we make frequently, SEE RECIPE HERE.  But we're looking for something we're not thinking of.  

One thing for sure, we'll DEFINITELY have them in our garden next year.  They do so well down here in our weather conditions.  We like them because, while they are of course hot, you can remove the ribs and seeds and have them spicy but not crazy, overwhelming hot.

Handy heat chart above!

Any good jalapeño recipes or suggestions?

Monday, October 26, 2015


Now that the flooding downpours are gone, time to get back to important flowers!  When I pulled up to the farm last weekend to work on the raised beds, even way down at 2nd Family's house, I looked toward our house and I saw color!  Lots of it!

These are the marigolds we planted last Spring.  They did great all Spring and Summer but now they have exploded in this cooler weather and seem to be growing even faster.  We love it!

The beds are overflowing with marigolds.  Of course, we planted them along the edge of the flower bed so they are all hanging over into the yard.  Another plus is they smell so good too (I know not everyone likes the smell but we sure do).

They are even springing up elsewhere...this is not one I planted, it is a volunteer that came up on the other side of the stairs in a not yet completed flower bed!  Seed blew over?  Bird dropped it?  Somehow it popped up!

It's a riot of color and we only bought yellow and orange!  Now we know one flower for sure that does VERY well in our heat and since I only watered on the weekends, they are drought tolerant too.  But we don't know much else about marigolds and while I know I can Google info, we like firsthand info from people who have had experience with them. 

Anyone have some "marigold advice"? 

Are there other colors?  Varieties?
Growing tips?

Sunday, October 25, 2015


This is from a new feature that the city of Houston has.  It is the Harris County Flood Warning System, a network of stations all around town that show real time rainfall totals and because they are scattered all along the bayous (streams) across town, the site also shows the real time water level vs the bank height so we can see what is close to or actually overflowing.  

Click on the image above to enlarge.  

I just captured the image about 45 minutes ago, it shows the amount of rain we have had in 24 hours.  Our house here in town is in the area called "The Heights" and the gauge there shows 9.76" of rain.  

Fortunately, the rain has slowed down, the bayous are receding and being a weekend, not many people are out on the roads.  All things considered, the city has fared rather well this time around.

Haven't heard from 2nd Family yet to get the total at the farm overnight.  When we chatted yesterday afternoon, "J" said it was 3.5" and the ground was soaking it up like a sponge so that's good.  So glad I got the raised beds cleaned up last weekend, because it would have been another weekend or two at this point.

Hope you are having a better weekend!

UPDATE:  2nd Family tells us just at 6" total at the farm.  That's wonderful, no flooding and the ground soaked it right up.

Saturday, October 24, 2015


No farm visit this weekend.  Probably not much of anything else either as this is shaping up to be our actual weekend...

A trifecta of moisture is converging over us...

4-8" while some models are saying upwards of 12" locally...

We need the rain, it's been about 4 weeks since the last measurable rainfall.  It will be nice to have a good soaking rain for the plants and trees and yard and now that the raised beds are empty, a nice soaking of the soil inside them will be good, helping get the soil moist before putting them to rest for Winter.  

Of course, a gentle rain would be nice but this alert that was sent out last night to all residents in the Houston area talks about 3" per hour...

Flash Flood Watch in Houston - Galveston

Active for next 2 days · 
This alert has been updated.
Posted 12 hours ago
Flash Flood Watch in effect from Saturday morning through Monday morning.
The National Weather Service in Houston/galveston has issued a Flash Flood Watch for a portion of southeast Texas, including the following Austin, Brazoria, Brazos, Burleson. Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes. Harris, Houston, Jackson, Liberty, Madison, Matagorda. Montgomery, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, Walker, Waller. Washington and Wharton.
  • From Saturday morning through Monday morning.
  • Widespread heavy rainfall is expected to develop and spread across the region. Rainfall totals of 3 to 5 inches will be widespread and some area of rainfall may reach 9 to 12 inches.
  • The rainfall rates Saturday night and Sunday may exceed 3 inch per hour rates which will easily lead to street flooding. River and Bayou flooding will be possible wherever the heavier amounts are concentrated. By Monday morning the heavier rains may depart the area to the East but the threat of river and Bayou flooding will linger through the day.

We'll get through our deluge, we always do, but definitely sending thoughts today to those in Mexico and Texas that are in the path of Hurricane Patricia...

Friday, October 23, 2015


A couple of years ago, I registered the domain name for the blog but I wasn't sure what I had to do to make it direct to the blog.  As all things computer related often are, it seemed like it just HAD to be complicated somehow.

Little did I know, it was as simple as flipping a virtual switch on the registry website for the domain name.  I just "told" the system where to direct people, simple, quick and 1-2-3. 

So, with all that being said, we are now ALSO at

Now, if you ever forget the longer address, you can just type in www (sometimes you don't even need to do that), our blog name, and of course the ".com", and it will find us.  If however you have us saved as a favorite or bookmarked as it is now, there is no need to change anything at all, it will still work as usual, no worries.  

Nothing is changing.  This is just another way to reach us.

Ain't technology grand? *

(* when it works, LOL!)

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Flowers and chairs, photo courtesy of
Sigh...someday.  Two chairs (great color on them), lots of flowers and a picket fence on top of it all!  We love this look...formal in a way, but still somewhat random.  Yes, we know, lots of work, but hey, when we get tired, we just need a couple of chairs to sit in and admire the work, right?  

We kind of like the idea of sectioning off an area in the yard with a fence and using that as a guide for flowerbeds.  Right now they yard is just wide open (and empty) space around the house.  Might be a way to create "rooms" as many of you have suggested.  

Be inspired!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


4x4 Raised Bed
OK, so yesterday I posted HERE about how the garden area is now cleaned up.  Now we have a question.  Above is a closeup of one of the beds.  For those of you out there with experience, what is the best way to put these to rest to wait until next Spring?  We thought about planting a few things now but we don't have the irrigation set up (had to take it all apart to do this cleaning and now want to do something different for that).  There's just not enough time now to get it together for planting and we're OK with that (this cleaning was the biggest relief).  All of that (irrigation/plant selections) will be a Winter planning thing.  

Anyway, there is nothing green growing in them now, it's just a few strands of dry grass.  I've heard of cover crops but they require some care (we're only available the weekends) and in the Spring, you have to give them time to be able to turn them under and let them decompose.  We could have a wet Spring again and I'd not be able to get that done.  I'd rather just have them prepped and then just "open" them for Spring, turn the soil and start planting.    

I'm guessing maybe some more soil of course, they are a bit low now, but I'm just wondering if anything else would be good to do now:

Cardboard under the compost/soil first? 
Layering something else?

And then, perhaps more importantly, how best to cover them?  I thought about using thick, black plastic, stapled to the sides, to cover them up?  Tarps weighted down with rocks?  Or would weed block fabric stapled around the outside be better?  Something else?  Our Winters can bring rain and thunderstorms and I'm afraid something like straw mulch or lightweight plastic would not last very long.

What is best way to have them at optimum condition next Spring when it comes time for the planting festivities to begin?

Monday, October 19, 2015


You don't have any idea how much of a relief this's been weighing heavily on me and the more it got out of control, the more it weighed on me.  I kept thinking, how could we possibly get beyond this?  So I jumped in on this first cool weekend, rolled up my sleeves and went to work.  

I'll share the story in pics (click to enlarge)...

Part of it before...

...and after (peek inside) with a little bit of the outside, where I went ahead and worked on some new planting beds on either side of the entrance gate.

Another before...

...and the same direction after.

And again, before.  Notice the clay pot for frame of reference...

...and here it is after.

This is another before (note the barn for another frame of reference)...yes believe it or not, there really are raised beds in there...somewhere...

...and here it is after.  There are those raised beds after all!!
Raised bed garden
This is such a relief for us.  It was a LOT of work, and yep, I did it all by myself as 2nd Man had to stay in town and work on things for the house sale/eventual move to the apartment.  I was in my element, thoroughly enjoying it...mostly anyway, I won't lie, I did have a few moments where I thought "I just can't finish this..." but I pushed on through.  I would work about 45 minutes at a time and then take 15 minute porch breaks with lots of water.  I had to pull the tall weeds first, and even with gloves, I have blisters on my hands today.  Next, I used 2nd Family's push mower to take down the tall grass that was left.  Then I went back to the beds and pulled everything growing in each one, again by hand.  Finally, I cleaned it all up with the string trimmer.  

After all that, I still had a bit of time to work on some future flower beds along the front of the garden, on each side of the entrance gate.  Eventually, we'd like to have them run along both sides and the rear, but for now, we're OK with just the front.  When I looked back after it was done, I think I had a tear in my eye. 

I really thought this was so out of control that it would take several weekends to clean up but it only took one day.  9am-6pm.  Just like a regular office work day, ha!  I still need to rake up some of the dead grass (or maybe just let it blow away in the wind).  Next season we will order more mulch to put down, but for now, we can pull weeds as they come up...and with cold weather coming soon, they will be much fewer and farther between.  

The garden is back from edge of oblivion!
Tomorrow I'll have a question for all you gardeners...

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Such a nice weekend.  Sunny, clear, cool, low humidity...just lovely.  Yesterday was so successful getting the garden cleaned up.  Post coming tomorrow morning with pics, the horrible before and the wonderful after.  It's such a weight lifted from my (gardening) shoulders.  

When I came home after being there all day, 2nd Man had this wonderful pasta dish prepared.  He knows I love pasta (I think I must have been Italian in a previous life, I could eat pasta every day).  This is pasta with a mushroom, pepper and pork cream sauce.  We also had some wonderful bread and a glass (or two) of wine.  It was a good day!  

Today I did stuff around here, to get the house closer to being ready to move when it sells.  Tomorrow we're having stew (cooking today) now that the cooler weather is, sort of, here.  


Most every Sunday, we try to post an image of old posters that we find during online surfing.  We enjoy the ones that reflect farming, gardening and/or food preservation and rationing.  We enjoy them because we often wonder if anyone today would heed the kind of advice they gave back then...enjoy!

Here is an image of a poster from WWII when rationing was put into place to help keep us from consuming as much.  We were not only providing food for our own people but for our soldiers and the Allied soldiers as well.  This one shows how selfish people are without and how happy they are with.  Makes one wonder if society would do this today, doesn't it?

Hope you're having a good weekend.  We are cool and beautiful here.  I got so much done in the garden yesterday (cleaning it up), need to finish up.  Then will just relax for a change.  So much going on lately, it will be nice to just kick back and relax.  More of an update later and I'll be replying to all your comments.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, October 17, 2015


Off to the farm today...the weather is BEAUTIFUL this weekend.  Next week, we are expecting rain, which is OK with us because it is much needed.  

Green farm
Very soon, the yard and property won't be this green...the colors will change, the leaves will drop, and it will be barren for months.

Store firewood display with Halloween decorations
Of course, the last couple of weeks have been in the upper 80's and several times, low 90's...for October!  It is October and Fall decor is out but even in this heat and humidity the stores are stocking up on firewood bundles.

Sadly, we don't have any place that we need firewood for. The farm is all electric and along with the house in town (and soon to be apartment), none have fireplaces or cast iron stoves.

Hope to get the garden cleaned up, CLICK HERE to see what that job entails, and have some things to plant, or at least prep the areas for planting.  We hope you all have a great weekend doing what makes you happy!

Friday, October 16, 2015

ANIMAL CRACKERS GONE WILD one of my fave snacks, probably a leftover from my childhood, is animal crackers.

I love having a small box nearby on occasion.  The other day at work, I'm snacking on some as usual when suddenly, I pulled this out of the box:  

Avert your eyes if you are sensitive to graphic acts of unbridled 
animal cracker lust...

Animal Crackers Gone Wild
What the heck?  
Hmm, maybe one is carrying the other one.  
Yep.  That's it!


Thursday, October 15, 2015


Rusted rings, yard art, image courtesy of
As we clear more and more spots around the farm property, we look for future ideas for artistic focal points.  We saw this image a couple of years ago and saved it.  I'm not sure what they used for these wonderful circles, but they look really cool.  Sort of modern...sort of rustic...sort of "long abandoned".

We kind of like that look that's kind of blending in a bit but is still a bit of a focal point or something to catch your eye.  Something like this also gives a spot to plant around "on purpose", ha. . 

Be inspired!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Never wanting to be at a loss for storage, we had this set of shelves in town.  We decided to move it to the farm since it wouldn't have a place at the upcoming apartment.  We put it here, about the ONLY place left in the house where it COULD fit, ha.  

It's in the entry/foyer area next to the front door.  

Shelves by front door
Do you think it's too close to the door?  When the door opens, it doesn't bump it but we're just not sure if it's too close?  There is a painting hanging above it and the glass terrarium next to it.  Too crowded?


Monday, October 12, 2015

RAISED BEDS OUT OF CONTROL here is our hidden shame, laid bare for the world to see, ha.  The garden area, which is fenced in of course, has been neglected this season.  First it was the never ending rains of April/May/June.  Then the heat kicked in and it was upper 90's or higher for most of June/July/August.

Do you ever have those moments in life when you walk past a mirror in your house and just can't bring yourself to look at your own reflection?  Maybe you feel you need a hair cut?  Or maybe you feel the need to lose a few pounds?  Or you don't like what you are wearing?  Better to just not see it and then it's not that bad, right?  So I've done that, just not looked in the garden.  Even as I mowed, I mowed around it and looked the other direction.  Of course, letting it go just adds exponentially to much more work later on. 

Raised bed covered in grass and weeds
Well, this is what has happened.  See the picture above?  Yep, there is a 4x4 raised bed in there...I had to draw on the black lines so you could have an idea where it is.  I guess you could call this a "cover crop"...but not the GOOD kind, ha!  This is one of our raised beds.  It reminds us of the TV program "Life After People" that was on a few years back showing how nature takes over so quickly when mankind is not involved.  

Well we weren't involved, that's for sure.

Raised bed kind of cleaned out cleans up after a bit lot of work.  The weeds and grass just pulled right up.  Still had a bit to go on this one.  In addition to the beds themselves, I also had to start on the ground around them.  That's going to take a bit longer.

Mulch covered in weeds 
Here is a section of the mulch.  Wait, what?  Mulch?  Where?  Oh it's there...all it took was a bit lot of pulling and...

Mulch after weeds pulled

The good thing is that the weeds are only growing in the narrow space between the top of the weed block fabric that we put down first and the mulch that was put on top of that.  This makes the roots grow laterally in that narrow space and so when I grabbed the base of clumps of grass or weeds, they pulled out in about 2 seconds (while making this oddly satisfying "velcro like" sound).  

So it's coming back, slowly of course, but coming back.  The plan is to go out next weekend and spend both days working in the garden only.  I hope to get all the weeds and grass pulled up, making things look more tolerable (so we won't have to avoid looking at it when we walk by, LOL).  Then I'll just cover the beds with plastic for the winter and I can scratch that off the list...for now!

Anyone else ever let things get wildly out of control?

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Most every Sunday, we try to post an image of old posters that we find during online surfing.  We enjoy the ones that reflect farming, gardening and/or food preservation and rationing.  We enjoy them because we often wonder if anyone today would heed the kind of advice they gave back then...enjoy!

Teamwork, vintage poster image courtesy of NY Public Library public domain
Now if ever there was an old message that was relevant to today (and dare I say, much needed), it's this one.  This dates from WWII and of course focuses on those left at home to help by working together to, we assume, build the infrastructure needed for the war effort.  

If more of society worked together today and had a sense of teamwork, regardless of nationality, group, religion, political differences, etc, it seems like we could get so much more done to solve problems affecting everyone.

Wise words then, wise words now.

Hope you are having a good weekend.  Weather has been hot and more humid than it should be.  As this posts, I'll be at the farm, going to tackle the fence in garden area.  I am embarrassed to say that it hasn't been touch since the endless rains of the Spring/early Summer and then the heat appeared so quickly for the Summer, it was impossible to get much done.  Now, to use the words "out of control" would be an understatement.  The plan is to tack the raised beds, pull all the weeds, and cover them for Winter.  Then maybe when it's cooler, I can tackle the ground around them, where weeds are reclaiming all of our beautiful black mulch.  Sigh.  It's always something. 

More later!

Saturday, October 10, 2015


Off to run in town errands today, tomorrow will be farm day.  I'll be glad when we are not split between three locations.  The realtor has scheduled an open house, so fingers crossed that will prove fruitful for us.  We need to get the house sold so we can pack up and move on to the next phase of our lives, ha.  

So, for today, here are some random pictures that I have taken at the farm the last few weekends.  I love playing with the camera and roaming the property to find the beauty in nature around us (as always, click to enlarge):

We love these white flowers.  They are all over the farm.  I'm not even sure what they are but they add color!  And speaking of color...

...we found these growing together.  I know the purple is a fairly invasive vine, but it is not near anything that it will take over, it's just growing in with the other weeds and a random marigold that we can only imagine just popped up via a dropped seed.  Makes for some pretty color though!

Huisache Leaves
These are the leaves of one of our Huisache trees, fine and delicate and very pretty in the sunlight...

Nature's Bouquet 
Here's another "nature's bouquet" we found, yellow, purple and white all growing together in one spot.

Hope your weekend is off to a good start!  It's warm and humid here but we'll see what we can get done.