Monday, October 31, 2016


Believe it or not, I photographed this spider at the farm last weekend.  What the heck?

Orange like a pumpkin...
With black spikes like a scary creature...

Yep, it's apparently Halloween alright!

Be safe and eat lots of candy!

Speaking of, we always like to ask, what is your favorite Halloween treat?

Sunday, October 30, 2016


 Regular readers know that I have a new favorite place to look for bargains...our downstairs trash area!  Our building has trash chutes on every floor and they feed into a separate room, but for boxes and other things that you can't put in the chute, there is an area (indoors) near the loading dock for people to put things they don't want.

I've come to find all sorts of cool stuff.  
And here are a couple more.

One find I had a few weeks back was a large shipping crate.  Now I found another, smaller one.  

These are so sturdy and well made.  I just know I can turn them into something sometime.  This one is perfectly sized for putting legs on it and and making it a table.  A table we can store stuff in.  No room inside the house but it could either be used outside, on the porch or in the barn.

Then a few days later, I scored these.  

These "Sunbrella" fabric pillows and cushions.  They are in perfect shape and don't even look like they were used.  Maybe someone just decided they didn't need them?  They might go well with the CHAIRS we scored last month when I get to painting them, or we could add pops of color to the porch rockers.


It's been a good weekend so far, still a bit warm, we are flirting with record high temps.  Where did Fall go?  Ugh.  We're in town today, have some errands to run, I need a haircut and then we are going to a favorite restaurant for a buffet, they will be decorated for Dia de Muertos, which is always so neat to see.

Hope you are having a good weekend!

Friday, October 28, 2016


Spotted this little guy or gal at the farm a couple of weekends ago.
We have seen quite a few frogs over the last few years but we have never seen one like this...

Do you see it there?  
Hidden down in the shadows and leaves?

Here it is! 
It's called a Southern Leopard Frog.  

Southern Leopard Frog closeup
Such beautiful creatures.  
Isn't nature wonderful?

Any frog fans out there?

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Every Thursday, we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm.  
Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Halloween porch, image via Pinterest
We've posted scarier porches before, we loved decorating for Halloween but haven't done it at the farm yet (mainly because the porch is full of fruit trees, ha).  But when we saw this image, we .thought it was kind of interesting to have a porch that's Halloween-ish, but not scary.  

In a way, what we like about this style of decorating is that with the lights, it could very easily go from Halloween to Thanksgiving and then with removal of pumpkins and the addition of some other things, it could become Christmas.  But there are years we will do scary too...   :-)

Be inspired...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Here is a post I've been waiting to share to see how they worked. Several of you emailed or commented in the past to see how we covered them.  

First up, this is what became of the raised bed covers that we had on the unused raised beds.

They just didn't work out (at least in the way we had them).  It was too hard to keep them down but I'm afraid even with them down via some sort of clip or screw, or even if we created some sort of frame for them, they would have acted as a greenhouse and just grown weeds.

So here was my solution. 

I did this late this last Spring and wanted to see how they would hold up all Summer.  I took the weedblock fabric that I put down all over the garden ground and cut some to fit each raised bed.  It helped that we bought the 4' wide fabric since the beds are 4x4 or 4x8.

Covering a raised bed
Then I just stapled it down on all four sides...a nice tight fit!

The ones we are actually planting in, I left open of course.  Even tightly down, they still "breathe".  They also let moisture pass through so it won't dry out the soil but the lack of light won't let plants (or weeds) grow beneath them and that's most important. 

Garden out of control
Believe it or not, this is an actual photo from about this time last year...there are the same raised beds in there...somewhere...that are in the photos below.  

For those that have been following the blog, you'll remember what it took to get this all cleaned up.  It was NOT easy.  But that's in the past now.  

Raised bed covers
Here it is this Summer.  That "before" photo from last year was taken standing just to the side of the gate at the top of this "after" photo.  This was taken a few months after I put them on (and a few thunderstorms later) and they look like the day I put them on.  Perhaps not the most attractive solution but hey, it works and we're happy with that.

Best of all: No. More. Weeds.

Monday, October 24, 2016


I spent most of this first beautiful weekend of Fall outside.  Lots of little projects we'll share in the coming days but one thing I was running out of time on doing was getting garlic in the ground before it was too late.  

Oh how we love garlic.  
No vampires around here!

Lorz Italian seed garlic
This box came in the mail last week.  It's organic "seed garlic".  Now you grow garlic from bulbs, not seeds of course.  This is just what the planting cloves are called.  Probably because people hear "garlic" and think food, not planting.  "Seed garlic" sounds better and more like what you'd need to grow more.  We did some research and purchased this variety, as it's best suited for Southern climates like ours.  

It's called LORZ Italian.

UPDATE:  We bought ours HERE at Sustainable Seed Company. 

I pulled back the covering on an unused raised bed and the soil was good.  The top layer was dry but underneath was nice and dark.  

4x4 raised bed
I added a bag of compost and a bag of raised bed soil blend and then used the shovel to mix it all up.  I watered it and made it ready for the planting.

Seed garlic
While I got the garlic a couple of weeks ago, it was too hot to plant last weekend so I left the bag in the refrigerator just like you would for a flower bulb.  It needs to think it's cool weather even if it's not.  

We took it out this weekend, it was time!  Yay!

Planting garlic in a 4x4 raised bed
I used my finger to poke around in the soil and made the holes.  In this 4x4 bed, I planted 36 cloves.  You always pick the largest you can get in each head of seed garlic.  I discarded a few smaller ones so we could have the biggest possible to grow.  After the sorting, I was ready to plant. 

How to plant garlic
It really couldn't be just put them in the holes, root end down, pointy end up. This variety goes 1-2 inches deep (because of our climate).

Not much to see here now, it looks like it did when I started, ha.  

I covered it back up and watered it down again.  I'm not putting a watering system in this bed because we'll be out there weekly and at this stage, as cooler weather sets in anyway, that's about all the watering they need now.  It should be mulched of course and I will put some straw over it, if I can ever find that great straw I found this past Spring for the Summer garden.  Tractor Supply was where I got the last bale and they don't have them this time of year (odd since so many people put in Fall gardens and/or plant trees and such).  

Anyone else plant garlic?

Saturday, October 22, 2016


This quote says it all...

I can't even begin to describe how perfect the weather is today.  Truly THE first real day of Fall for us.  It's cool (actually chilly last night, 40's)'s's sunny...there's a breeze blowing...

Off to the farm to do who knows what.  I have some things to plant, need to finish edging and maybe mow for the last time this year.  There is some painting to be done and other projects to be done.

Hope your weekend is off to an equally wonderful start!

Friday, October 21, 2016


A few weeks ago we ordered some soap from one of our dear blogging friends...

Homemade Soap by Donna O'Shaughnessy
...Donna O'Shaughnessy from over at The Poor Farm blog.  She makes some wonderful soap in small, handmade batches, using all natural ingredients.  

These were the two we ordered.  The oval one is unscented and uncolored (it showed up golden with the flash but is more cream color).  It is made from cow's milk, in this case from colostrum (the first milk after calving).  We are using it as a shampoo bar and wow, it's so nice.  It makes a lot of lather and is very gentle.  We guys don't normally care so much about how soft our hair is but this really does make it softer.  

The second one, that looks like a beautiful slice of stone or granite, is a mildly exfoliating coffee-cinnamon bar.  It's made from pastured lard, with olive, castor and almond oils and she colors it with real coffee and scents it with cinnamon essential oil (and ever so mildly, which is nice).  She even put a middle layer with a few actual coffee grounds for the exfoliating benefit.  2nd Man said "it almost looks too pretty to use".  But we did (and do, ha).  She said in her post that it's good for cook or a gardener.  Well, 2nd Man is the cook and I'm the gardener...and we can both say without a doubt, it is wonderful!

She makes soap as time permits, usually posting about them with the details on the weekend,  calling it Saponification Saturday (or Sunday).  Side note, isn't "saponification" a cool word?  It's first come first served and when they are gone, they are gone.  We'll be looking forward to using these up and buying some more when the time comes.  Thanks Donna, keep up the good work and we'll be ordering some soon!

So check out her blog, the link again is HERE.  

Oh and did we mention she and her hubby built and moved into an amazing and round GRAIN BIN HOUSE?  It's ten kinds of awesome.  Tell her we said hi!

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Every Thursday, we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm.  
Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Birdbath and flowers, image courtesy of
We've always loved the look of a birdbath in the middle of a flowerbed.  In fact, I found a birdbath on our property that was covered up in brush, left by the previous owner. I'm just now cleaning it up and will have to find a home for it.  Would love to have it in the middle of some flowers and grasses like this.  Actually, working on a flower bed by the front porch and it might be pretty there, surrounded by whatever I plant.  Coming soon!

Does anyone know what the pink flowers are?  I think the small yellow ones in the front are lantana (which we have a couple of containers of).

Be inspired!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


I blogged HERE a few weeks ago about fruit tree sales I found.  I've spent the last few weekends (and a couple of lunch breaks) scouring other locations to complete what we need for our plans.

Peach trees
Here are the two peaches (thought I wouldn't be able to find them but I did!).  One is a Rio Grande peach and the other is a Florida King peach.  Both varieties for our climate. 

Pear tree
Kieffer pear...low chill hours and will be a perfect compliment to the one we already have, an Orient pear.  

Apple tree
And this a Dorsett Golden apple, to compliment the Ein Shemer apple that we already have.  These are about the only two apples that will grow in this part of Texas, both a yellow variety.  Alas, no red apples growing in Texas.

Plum tree
And this is the other plum that we needed, a Methley plum.  We already have a plum ready to be planted, a Bruce variety, so that will give us two plums as well.  

Last Spring, we bought eight sets of these corners, for building the raised beds (more on that when it happens).  Our plan for the "mini orchard" is to have eight fruit trees...2 plum, 2 apple, 2 pear and 2 peach...and now we do!

The three citrus will go together in another spot and then we'll have to find a place for the avocado and olive trees.  There could be worse problems, ha.

So far anyway, mission accomplished!  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


This Summer, we grew our first ever okra plants.  They were prolific.  2nd Man has never had them and always equated them to slimy.  I wanted to introduce him to a true Southern staple, fried okra.

We started with a basket of okra.  
Not sure how much, probably a pound or so.

I washed them, dried them well, and then sliced them into bite sized pieces.

Next is the coating.  

1/2 cup of cornmeal, 1/4 cup of all purpose flour, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Again, these measurements are to taste, more or less, depending on how much okra you need to coat.  You could even add a bit of red pepper for heat. 

Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  What is that in the middle?  I added a dollop of bacon grease.  I mean, come on, that makes everything better, am I right?  

But of course, that's optional...Southern, but optional.  

Put the sliced okra in a paper bag or even a bowl.  Trust me when I say the bag is much more fun and involves no cleanup.

Pour the dry ingredients in, close the bag, and shake your problems and/or stress away.  See, I said it was fun!

Cast iron skillet with fried okra
Remove from bag with a slotted spoon and drop the coated okra into hot oil.  It will cook quickly, so just fry until it looks crispy and starts to brown a bit.

Southern Fried Okra
Like this.  I sprinkled a bit more salt on after putting it on a paper towel to drain...and then dished it up into a bowl to give to 2nd Man.  

...and here is his bowl afterward.  He loved it!  His exact words were "are we going to grow more next Summer?"


Monday, October 17, 2016


Here is a Fall garden update.  

This is one side of the tomato raised bed.  This tomato is doing great, as are the Bibb lettuce plants.  Our warm weather is only around for two more days, so I expect it to take off once the cooler weather is here to stay. 

This however is the other tomato plant on the other side of the bed.  Yep, it's in there, not doing well at all.  Not sure what happened but I think we're too late to replace it so I'll just let nature take it's course and see if it rebounds.  Tomatoes are nothing if not resilient.

This is the "greens beds".  Kale, Mustard and Collards...and our "perennial chives" in the corner, ha.  

This is the squash and Napa cabbage bed.  The squash is doing great and has four blossoms on it.  The Napa cabbage is growing nicely as well.  

We have cooler weather coming, only a couple of days away, and then the heat is done for the season.  Hopefully, the cool weather crops will take off then. Next weekend, I'm going to plant a new bed full of something wonderful.

More to come!

Sunday, October 16, 2016


No these aren't bubbles...and they aren't was hard to get a picture, I had to take about twenty photos to get this one but I wanted to capture just how many there were.    

(Click to enlarge)

This was yesterday at the farm and it was a dragonfly haven.  They were EVERYWHERE.  It didn't matter where we walked, there were dragonflies. I even had one land on my shirt for a few moments.  

A few last yellow wildflowers of Summer sprouting up along the fenceline...

Okra for sale
Stopped at the grocery store on the way back and saw this.  They were selling fresh okra in 1 lb packages...for $4!  Four dollars a pound?!  You'd think it was asparagus or something!  I think we should grow more next season and sell it at a farmers market the rate in produces, we'd have a fortune every week, ha.  

Did a few outside projects but really it was just too hot.  High of 91, almost a record for this date.  But there is a cold front weekend we could be in lows of 50's.  I can't wait for a full weekend of perfect weather.

Hope you are having a good weekend!

Saturday, October 15, 2016


It's a good day to be watched by a lone cow, ha!

The skies are mostly clear but some clouds coming and going.  Unfortunately, Summer is making one last gasp, high today is supposed to be 90 so we'll limit our outside activities a bit.  

More garden plantings today, some work in the front flower bed and other small projects. Hope you have a great start to your weekend!