Monday, July 31, 2017


Dog Days of Summer that is.  Tomorrow is August 1st and it's here.  The heat. It's literally the best we can do to just try to keep everything alive.  

Lots of water.  

Plants AND us.

These are some of the plants on the porch that we need to plant in the ground but it's just too hot to attempt that now (including the pecan tree).  

They will have to wait until the Fall.

Here is yesterday (Sunday) at about 3pm.  With humidity it felt like 118 degrees.  Needless to say, we didn't even go out to the farm. Saturday was just all I could do to get anything productive done. 

Lemongrass and Lantana
The flowerbeds are hanging in there.  These are the recently planted (recently meaning early June) lemongrass and lantana.  We really want them to make it.  The lantana does so well in our climate and the lemongrass, well, we just want some to use and once it's established here, it does well. I found two of the smallest size plants and have been keeping them well watered and they are making it and growing 

Texas Lantana
This is a lantana that we thought was dead last year after it was overlooked in a pile of container plants that had died and we were throwing out.  A little sprig came back and I figured, why not plant it and see what happens.  It's getting large, can't wait for it to fill up that end of the bed. Lantana does so well here, we might just have to have it all over the property. Thankfully it comes in lots of colors.  

Next season might just have to be the season of planting lantana!

Speaking of, these were planted as very small plants back in June. Two lantana and one penta per bed. They are doing great.  I soak them twice when we're there...once when I get there and then once again when it's time to leave.  So far, they are growing and doing well between watering times.

As for the garden, the two eggplants are covered in blooms and setting more fruit. I didn't think they liked the heat but apparently they do, for now anyway.  Maybe even they have a limit, ha. 

Okra dying
The okra on the other hand, is a different story.  Here it is.  Ugh.  This time last year, our okra was so tall I couldn't reach the top of it.  Almost looks like something has eaten it but I looked everywhere and didn't find anything.  Oh well, I think 2nd Man is tired of okra anyway. I'm a good Southern boy, I can't get enough but I can wait till next year I suppose.  

Jalapeños and eggplants
Here's the harvest for this week.  More jalapeños and a couple of nice eggplants. 2nd Man is going to make some jalapeño cheddar bread so we'll use some of these for that.  

'Tis the stay inside where it's cool!

Sunday, July 30, 2017


It's hot.  

The time of year when really we just do the bare minimum...

The grass is turning a dust bowl beige...

...and doesn't even have to be mowed from week to week.

At 11:40 in the morning, it was 91 but with the humidity, it "felt like" 108.

But wait....

At 1:30 it was 96 and felt like 115.

But wait...

When I finally had all I could stand and left at about 3:45, it was 100 according to the car outside temperature.  

And just to make sure I checked the weather app...

Yep, officially our first triple digit day of the year.  And check out that "feels like".  

Yes, it says 117.

In case you wonder if it gets better when the sun goes down in the evening...

Here is 8:00pm.  Sure it's "only" 91, but it also "feels like" it is 113.

113 DEGREES!  At 8pm!

I watered, pulled a few weeds, harvested a few things in the fading garden and that was it, there was nothing else I could do.  

Today, Sunday, we're staying in town where it's cool.  This is just dangerously hot, no point it pushing it.

Stay cool!

Saturday, July 29, 2017


OK...time to share. When I was cleaning out the storage unit recently and brought the items to the barn, these two were in there.  Here is my artistic side, from many, MANY years ago.  

This was my high school art project (30 something years ago). At one point during the semester, we did a drawing (which is the photo below). The art teacher gave us a basket full of emotions/feelings on slips of paper.  We had to pull out five of them and then we had to put them into a 12" x 12" pencil drawing.

I ended up with these five:

"Joy/Happiness", "Anger", "Sorrow/Sadness", "Loneliness/Solitude" and "Confusion".

 He told me I picked some of the most difficult to convey into a physical representation. Lucky me, ha.
I did my best and there is the end result above.

Then, at the end of the school year for our final exam, we had to take any one of our art projects from during the year and turn that into a 3'x3' canvas painting.  I chose the drawing to recreate in paint (I no longer have my "hand study" in charcoal or "flowers with fruit" watercolor so I cannot subject you to those, ha).

At the risk of boring you all and/or embarrassing myself, here are the five closeups:


This is ANGER...

This is CONFUSION...



Five Feelings on canvas
And here is the whole thing, all 9 square feet of it!  Funny thing, even today all these years later, my "doodles" while I'm on the phone at work or just killing time with a piece of paper, look much like this, abstract with various shapes, etc. 

I'd like to get back into painting one day, perhaps when my weekends aren't all consumed at the farm with yard work...perhaps in a nice little (air conditioned!) art studio building somewhere on the property?  

Oh, and I got an A on both!   

SATURDAY:  No time for a new post, overslept (oops!) and now on the way out to the farm to do what I can do in this heat.  

More later when I'm back in the cool. 

Thursday, July 27, 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!

Wheelbarrow Planter image via
Here is something I'm just about to ready to do (well maybe when it gets cooler again, ha). We found an old wheelbarrow on the property a couple of seasons ago, in some overgrown brush.  It used to belong to "Ma".  The tire is old and worn out, there is rust in the bottom but how cool would it be to paint it a nice cheery color and bring it back to life...

Flowers in a wheelbarrow image via Pinterest
...As a planter!  Just plop some soil in and plant some flowers (or seeds).  The base has a couple of small rust holes in there so it has some automatic drainage, ha. Anyway, we think this is so pretty and actually the one above, just sort of under the tree, is almost exactly like the one we have now, sitting in a very similar spot under the old mesquite tree.

Be inspired!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Several of you have asked what we've done with the veggies we've harvested. We've eaten it, ha!  And of course we've given away some to coworkers.   

Garden fresh tomatoes
But here's what we did with a small harvest of tomatoes.

2nd Man diced them up and added some seasonings. Dried basil, parsley, some garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Really it's just to taste. The juice is what naturally came out of the tomatoes  

Meanwhile, he browned 1 1/2 lbs ground beef.
Then added the tomato mixture. 

Reduce heat to low and simmer for about ten minutes or until the sauce begins to reduce and thicken, which concentrates the flavors.  

While that's happening, he boiled some pasta.  You can use any shape you like, we chose this one because it's got crevices to hold meat sauce.

Pasta and meat sauce
Add the cooked and drained pasta to the meat sauce and stir to combine.  It's really that simple.

Fresh tomato sauce with pasta
Put in a dish and serve...with cheese on top...

...or without.  It's wonderful either way, ha!

This is just a nice way to make up a quick sauce, no jar/store brand required.  It's a light sauce, not heavy or rich and that's what makes it so good.  Of course with garden fresh tomatoes, um, the flavor is tenfold!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017



This is one of the things we've been wanting for the farm (well, maybe me more so than 2nd Man, ha). Several of you have trail cams and have posted pictures on your blogs.  We love seeing them and so that pushed it up on our "want list" even more.  

Well, the other day was AMAZON PRIME day.  They had all sorts of great deals, many of them would just appear for a few hours and then expire.  One of those deals was for trail cameras. 

Blazevideo Digital Trail Camera
I couldn't pass that deal up for sure...and here they are.  It was a deal where you could buy two for about the same price as one.  These are 16 megapixel, waterproof, and have night vision.

These are gone from being on sale but there are plenty of them still for sale.

Camouflage trail cam
They are camouflaged of course and they take still photos AND video.

I couldn't wait to get them put up!  

I put the first one on one of the porch posts.  

This is the view it will have so that it will cover the front yard and driveway.  

The second one I put on this tree near the mower shed.  Hmm, looks like the camouflage is not so camouflaged on THIS tree, ha.  

Ands here is the view that it will have.  I pointed it toward the back of the house to see what we could capture.  The time I saw a coyote, it was in the pasture behind our house.  Plus if anything is interested in the fruit tress, we'll see what it is.  

They utilize the SD memory cards so I bought four cards so we'll have two extra.  What we'll do is swap them out every weekend so we can bring the most recent one back into town and see what we captured by loading it into the computer and put the empty one in the trail cams for the next week.

In a way we hope we don't capture anything but in another way, I hope there are some animals on there so we can see what's creeping around while we are gone.  I wish they were live webcams but that will come later when we get WiFi at the farm.  

Until then, we'll see what we capture with these two cameras for now.  Anyone have any "trial and error" tips for using them?  Where they should or shouldn't be?  Up high/down low?

Monday, July 24, 2017


It was hot.  So so hot.  And humid.  But that goes without saying this time of year in these parts.  

Duck comes to visit
2nd Family's duck came to visit.  After I mowed, he was right there running around the front yard.  Love having their furred and feathered family members come to visit.  It's the best of both worlds, we get to play with them and enjoy having them around and then they go back home, ha.  

Here is the harvest basket for this weekend.  It looks a lot like the one last week.  These will probably be the last of the eggplants, there are two more small ones on the bush but I'm guessing the heat will put that to an end.  The okra is fizzling out too, not sure what happened.  Not enough water?  Too much water?  Something got to it?  We thought okra was pretty much indestructible. 

Jalapeno Queso Fresco
I made this quick snack with some of our jalapeños.  I simply took a roasted jalapeño, finely minced it up and mixed it into some Queso Fresco (Mexican crumbling cheese).  Then we sprinkled that over some chips and added some fresh sliced on top.

So easy and good (but spicy!).  

Our Happy Place
This was a birthday present this year from a very sweet friend and we got it hung up at the farm.  She and I were talking once about the farm and I mentioned to her how happy we are when we are there and she said when she saw this, she knew it was perfect for us.  We told her we'd put it on the blog and I have been meaning to post a picture of it. 

The farm is indeed Our Happy Place!
(thank you "D", we luv ya!) 

For those that missed yesterday's post, click this link to see some LAND SHARKS at the farm, LOL!

Sunday, July 23, 2017


Regular blog readers will know that one of our favorite Summer diversions on TV is "Shark Week" on Discovery Channel.  It starts tonight.

HERE is the schedule for those interested.

In honor of our favorite time of Summer, I took these photos at the farm of...LAND SHARKS (thanks Carol!)

Why do I hear the Jaws theme while mowing?

Not the Jeep!  Save the Zen Machine!

Um, I think I'll put the mower back in the shed later...

Shark Week 2017
Hope you are having a good, shark free weekend so far.  We got some basic stuff done yesterday but it was a "feels like" of 108 degrees at one point so not much got done inside or outside.  I mowed, watered the trees, pulled a few weeds and about had a heatstroke.  Today is rain.

Time for some sharks.

Friday, July 21, 2017


Occasionally I like to find two similar pictures but from different perspectives of the city and the farm.  Here is a set...

City Sunset
This is sunset as seen from our balcony in downtown.  Always a pretty sight with the twinkling building lights just coming on...

Country Sunset
And this is the sunset last month at the farm when we spent the night. They both are pretty, in different ways of course, but there is still something about sunset in the country that's just on a completely different level.  It's just the sun and the sky.