Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Who knew when I built the flowerbeds in front and we were so excited about the possibility, that now we'd be battling "something".  When we got to the farm yesterday we discovered that something had rooted around in them.

Whatever it was uprooted some of the new lantana I had planted just last weekend...

...and dug up the marigolds and salvia that had already been in the ground for a month or so.  Ugh

We're not sure what this could be.  Not wild hogs because they would have destroyed everything including the grass.  We're thinking either armadillo or opossum?  We asked 2nd Family and they've never had the problem, probably because they have dogs and cats roaming around that keep the other creatures away.  

I replanted everything but dang if the same thing just might be waiting for us again next weekend.  

Any suggestions/ideas?

p.s.  Will catch up on comments tonight!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Here are my Dad's workshop items that I kept after his death.  I had quite a few tools I had already taken either in town or the farm but these were the big items that we kept in storage because we had no space for them.  For years.  It was time to stop paying for storage now that we have the place for it.  There were other items in this storage unit too, mostly holiday decorations, boxes of books, junk, etc.  

We donated a lot, kept some, and gave away more.  

Once we got it down to just these few large items, on Saturday we had movers come to pick them up, follow us to the farm and put them in the barn.

Tool Cabinet
First up, here is my Dad's tool chest.  I should have opened a few drawers to show you, it is full from top to bottom with all manner of saws and screwdrivers and wrenches and chisels and hammers and a few things that I honestly just don't even know what they are, ha.  But now I will have time to go through them and organize it all.  

Vintage drafting table
This is a large, very old, solid oak drafting table.  Interesting story behind this.  When I was little (like 7 or 8) we lived in Rhode Island and this was in the basement of the house we rented.  My Dad asked the owner if he could have it and the owner said sure, it was left behind by another tenant once upon a time and they didn't want it.  Dad cleaned it up and it went with us every time we moved from then on.  It's a drafting table, we believe from about the 1940's.  There are a couple of drawers, a wide shallow one and a smaller deep on on the side (this pic is from the back) and of course it moves up and down at any angle for drafting/drawing.  When I was little and liked to draw, I thought this was the coolest thing ever.  Now I'll get to draw whenever I want, ha.  

Air compressor
Dad got this from his job once upon a time.  It's a heavy duty air compressor.  They were throwing it away so he brought it home (hmm, wonder where I got that from? LOL!), painted it, fixed it up and (at the time it went into storage) it worked perfectly.  I'll have to get "R" from 2nd Family to help with this when we get electricity to the barn.  Since it sat for a few years unused, we're not sure if it will need some more work but we'll see later this Fall.

Delta Midi-Lathe
And this was one of Dad's later purchases and he was making some really cool things on it.  It's a lathe for turning wood.  He was making bowls and salt cellars and spindles and wooden cooking tools and all sorts of neat stuff.  Of all of his tools, this is the one I wanted to keep because it is something I'd love to learn someday.  He even built this wheeled stand for it with an extension arm on the side that lifts up and has places for chisels/tools.  There's even a light mounted on it to make it easier to see what you're working on.

We still have the workbench to show you but I'll make a separate post for that because I took a lot of pictures.  All of this is in the barn now.  It's a bit crowded but only because we need a taller ladder to reach the lofts and put up the storage items.  Christmas/Halloween decorations, etc.  We thought our ladder would reach the lofts in the barn but it's a tad bit short and would be a bit dangerous to stand on the top step.  Then I need to just organize things. I think we're going to need some shelving, cabinets, pegboard, etc but that will have to come when the weather cools down later this year.

One more accomplishment!

Monday, May 29, 2017


Memorial Day wishes to the families of all who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice so that the rest of us may be free.  Never forget.

This weekend we harvested another load of veggies, lots of jalapeños, cucumbers, eggplant and now including our first squash!  Three zucchini and one yellow squash.  

Giant zucchini plant
Alas we think that will be the only yellow squash as the zucchini plant is apparently related to Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors.  She has taken over the entire 4x4 bed and the yellow squash is getting crowded out.  But this is how we year one bed for EACH squash plant. 

Bacon is my favorite flavor
Found these the other day, couldn't resist.  They are covers for bottle drinks and we agree with the words completely.  Bacon IS our favorite flavor.  

Ball half pint jars blue
When I decided to stop at the local grocery store on a whim, I found these!  Ball brand blue half pint jars.  With four per case, that's only 50 cents each.  I bought all five cases.

Last night was very stormy and today is a rainy day too.  Apparently all week will be the same.

Hope you all are having a good weekend!

Sunday, May 28, 2017


Regular blog readers know that we are big race car fans, NASCAR mainly but when there is a race like the Indy 500, well, we have to watch that.  
It's an American institution.

Indianapolis 500 is first up, already on as this posts.  Amazing what these cars can do at 225mph.

And after that race ends, a couple hours later is one of the biggest NASCAR races of the year, the Coca-Cola 600, six hundred miles around the track.  

It's a good day for staying in, the weather is iffy and my muscles are sore.  Yesterday was a good day until the end when I dropped my phone, face down onto concrete and shattered the glass:  

Other than than this, sigh, I got the yard mowed and edged, harvested some more veggies, and most importantly, got the smaller storage unit cleared out and brought to the barn.

Update posts on all that later!  
For now we're off to the races (on TV, ha!)

I'm the one in the straw hat, LOL!

Saturday, May 27, 2017


Quick post up today.  The weather is HOT.  And humid.  And going to change later this weekend and then it will be rain, rain and more rain.  

Today something different is happening first...we are closing out one of our storage units (we have two, one small and one large, this is the smaller one).  We've been slowly removing stuff from it for the keep/sell/donate pile.  

Now we are down to a few large items that are going in the barn.  One is a workbench that my Dad built and finished shortly before he passed away.  It's incredible (pictures coming) like a piece of fine furniture. Then I have his tool chest full of tools, a large air compressor, an antique oak drafting table and a woodworking machine that I hope to take up someday and utilize my creative side.  Anyway, we have a box truck and some movers coming to the storage unit and loading it up and taking it to the barn.  I'll have my work cut out for me getting the barn in shape, and in this heat that might have to wait until Fall but it will be nice once it's done.

Then after they leave the farm, it's mowing and edging since I didn't do it last weekend.  And then checking to see what harvest we'll have THIS time.

More later, hope your weekend is off to a great start!

Friday, May 26, 2017


Here are Brisbane and Hobart, sound to sleep in the window more than 10 stories up.  

Of course, Hobart got the spot on the desk because he likes to stretch out and lay on his side, Brisbane takes the window ledge because the warmth feels good on his old bones. 

When we first moved in to the apartment, they were wary of the we can't keep them away. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017


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 someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Painted garden totems, image via Pinterest
Since much of what I'd normally do outside in the Winter, getting the garden built or the fruit trees planted, is now done, I'm starting to be on the lookout for Winter projects.  These are just something random that fascinate us and something I think I could handle, artistically, ha.

We'd like some yard art to scatter around the property for some interest and something handmade would be really nice. Maybe THIS Winter I can finally relax while visiting the farm and unleash my creative side in a different way!

Be inspired!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


We tried something new the other night.  We have seen this used on cooking shows and found some at the local grocery specialty store.

Classic rendered duck fat
Rendered duck fat.  Apparently it was something we had to try at least once.  And now we see why!

Fingerling potatoes 
We bought some purple and yellow fingerling potatoes and just sliced them in half lengthwise and put them on a foil lined baking sheet.  

2nd Man used gloves because the fat melted via body heat and he didn't want to lose half of it to moisturizing his hands (though I bet they would be nice and smooth, ha).  He scooped it out and rubbed it all over the potatoes, turning them to coat all sides and then sprinkled it all with a bit of salt.

Duck fat roasted potatoes
Then he put them in a 425 degree oven and roasted them for about 15 or 20 minutes, or until the fat started to turn them golden.

Steak with duck fat roasted potatoes 
We served them with steak and they were so delicious.  Now this isn't 100% pure duck fat like you might get from a butcher, but that's our next thing to try.  This was really really good and now we understand why "duck fat" is a magical ingredient.  

Update:  We forgot about sharing the "why".  It does add a rich flavor but it's kind of hard to describe.  It's almost like if you roasted potatoes plain and then coated them in butter and roasted would be hard to describe that butter flavor.  Duck fat is rich, adds a silky texture but has a delicate flavor, more of the elusive "umami" flavor as was mentioned below.  Because it has a high smoke point you can roast at the higher temps without smoking and changing flavor and end up with the golden spots of color.   

Anyone ever used it?  
Or used fresh rendered duck fat?  

Monday, May 22, 2017


So what is this?  
A farmer's market cart?  
Grocery store produce section?  

Harvest cart
Believe it or not, this is our harvest from this weekend!  Yep.  Things are coming in fast and furiously, ha.

Purple top white globe turnips
Here are the turnips.  Still a few more in the ground but this is a big first batch.  We planted these to see how things would work for us.  Um, apparently very well!  Any good turnip recipes/uses?  
Best way to store them?

Garden harvest
And here are five eggplants, some cylindra beets, okra, a few carrots, and a bunch of jalapeños!

Huge cucumber harvest
Here are the cucumbers, more than two dozen!  They are going CRAZY.  I swear, I think they grow hour by hour.  I harvested some in the morning and before we left, 10 more grew in their place. OK, so maybe I just overlooked them the first time around, ha!  I have plans for pickle making but they are growing so fast I can't keep up.  They seem a bit too long for slicing into spears, what about "sliced pickles".  Anyone have advice on that?  I know I could Google but I wondered if any tried and true canners out there have some good tips for this.  I'm definitely trying the microwave bread and butter pickles that sweet Texas Rose left in the comments last week, but that will give us a few jars, what about the rest?   

Overripe cucumbers
Speaking of, apparently I REALLY overlooked three of them.  Yep, that orange one is a cucumber!  I had no idea they turned orange.  The orange one alone  weighed a bit over 2 lbs!

Looks like we're on our way to a great season this year.  Tomatoes are still a bit up in the air, one plant looks great and they are all green but the other plant looks weaker and two of the green tomatoes on it have been eaten (possibly birds).  But we know tomatoes are resilient.  We should have zucchini this coming weekend as well.  It looks like it might be a "hiding vegetable" too.  We'll see!

Sunday, May 21, 2017


When we got to the farm, it wasn't too bad.  Hot and VERY humid but overcast and a bit of a breeze.  I got a lot done and the garden haul was awesome 
(post on the that tomorrow).  

Remember when I left last weekend I sprayed a second coat of the siding cleaner?  Well here it is week later.  White and bright and clear of mold/mildew.  It works great!

But alas, all good things must come to an end and by late in the day it was getting darker and darker.  We decided to head back into town.  

Storm front moving in
Here is a view from the apartment as one of the storm cells moved over.  It didn't drop a lot of rain here in downtown but 2nd Family said it was about 3/4" of at the farm (last night). 

Fruit infused water
I took the time to make a couple more infused waters.  One strawberry and lemon...and the other one lemon and cucumber (from our garden!).   
They are SO good.  

Bacon and eggs
For breakfast this rainy morning we had some farm fresh eggs, and for those that mentioned it last time, I told 2nd Man to make them scrambled, and of course a side of some thick sliced bacon.  
Simple but delicious! 

Cats watching bird 
And best of all, we sprinkled some birdseed on the balcony and the cats have been GLUED to the windows ALL morning.  Hobart lays as flat as he can possibly get, Brisbane sits there frozen in place and slaps the window occasionally.  The dove however is not fazed.  She's got food to eat.  

Hope you are having a good weekend!

Saturday, May 20, 2017


We're off to the farm and the original plan was to spend the night.  But, the weather is supposed to get  possibly severe tonight and then into all day Sunday.  

Since we both have to go to work Monday, we can't take a chance of getting stuck out there in a big rain.  So it's out there today to do what we can before the weather moves in later.  2nd Family says no mowing will be necessary because we haven't had any rain in a couple of weeks and I mowed last weekend.

So we'll find some projects to do, and I'll take lots of pictures as always and check in later!

Friday, May 19, 2017


Here is something I spread out recently to check out as it's been in storage for years.  This is a quilt that my Grandmother made a LONG time ago.  

It's hard to describe though.  One side is made up of random fabric squares, probably from old clothing and fabric scraps.

Just a random collection of them sewed together. The filling between the front and back is also very heavy.  But when you flip it over, the other side is...

...made up of my Grandfather's old jeans and overalls!  You can even see where there were repairs made once upon a time. 

Old blue jeans and overalls quilt
So the entire other side is just squares of blue jeans, khaki colored overalls and even the traditional blue striped ones (those are the ones I most often remember him wearing).  Needless to say, this is HEAVY, but I remember when I was little and visited them, this was my favorite one to sleep under.  

It's a different kind of quilt than you might normally see, not even sure what you'd call it other than random patchwork.  We have a bunch of the more traditional quilts as well, flowers, kittens, dutch girls/boys, stars, etc. we'll share pictures of them on the blog as we pull them out.  

Love old quilts with so many memories.  

Thursday, May 18, 2017


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 someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

One thing that's on the dream list for the farm is a greenhouse.  However, I go back and forth between a large(ish) size and a smaller size.  

A larger one would be nice to have the space for small trees, setting up the seedlings for Spring, etc.   But realistically, our weather here is usually fairly mild in Winter and I'm not sure we'd have a need for the space and footprint that a big one would take up.  There is not that much we'd have to put in there and that's when the small size comes back into focus.

 When we see something like this, I fall in love with small all over again.  Seems like the perfect size for holding seedlings, a few bush type plants or small saplings for a few days of freezing weather...with the added benefit of looking kinda fabulous!

Be inspired!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Here is something else we did with our dewberries we have growing at the farm.  Weekend before last, we managed to get one more small batch.  

Fresh Dewberries
I put them in a canning jar to bring them back into town.  It wasn't enough for a cobbler or to make some jam, so we did the next best thing.

All we did was add about half a cup of sugar to the berries in a bowl.  You could use any berry in this process, they will all break down with time.

Dewberries and Sugar
Stir it all around.  We mashed a few of the berries while stirring and let the natural process of breaking down kickstart the work.

Macerating Dewberries
Of course, this natural process is called maceration.  It usually involves adding a liquid but the sugar and semi mashed berries draw out natural liquid so it's pretty close to maceration.  No cooking, just let them sit for about 30 minutes or an hour, stirring occasionally.  As the sugar breaks down the berries, it all becomes a lovely sauce with a vibrant berry flavor.

Bluebell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Be sure to take the ice cream out of the fridge so it gets soft.  We used "Bluebell Homemade Vanilla" 
(it's a beloved Southern brand).

Dewberries over Ice Cream

All that was left to do was pour it over the vanilla ice cream and enjoy our bounty from the farm!  One of these days, we'll try our own homemade vanilla ice cream.  Might be a nice Summer treat.