Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Well, here we are. The night that the veil between the worlds is thin and all sorts of things can come and go between...   

...oh and there's candy.  Lots of candy! 
Buckets of candy!

We do enjoy candy and this is perhaps the only time of year we eat it.  A random candy bar here and there throughout the rest of the year but for the most part we consume most of the candy we eat during this time of the year.

So that got us to thinking, what candy do YOU like?  We always like to ask...

Have you seen this?  It's a map (click to enlarge) showing the 2016 most popular candy state by state.  Here in Texas it's....CANDY CORN?  Um, OK I do like a few of them occasionally, only at this time of year.  But to choose that over say, a snickers?  No.  Oh and 2nd Man and most of my coworkers hate candy corn.   

So tell us, what do you like?  
Is there something unusual in your region you enjoy?  Chocolate or hard candy?  
Sweet or sour?

Monday, October 30, 2017


Oh this was such a great weekend.  The weather was just beautiful and perfect.  I was all over the place at the farm.  Plus I goofed off a bit on Sunday by relaxing in the cool weather.

My goals were varied. Garden. Porch. Flowerbeds. Barn. Shed. House. Plants. 

Yeah, I didn't get to all of it but I made some big dents.  First up, and most important, was the porch. 

Porch before
A large porch is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because, well, it's a large porch and so nice to sit and relax on.  But a curse because it also becomes a catch all for stuff.  For us it was a place for plants.  And pots.  And bags of soil and mulch. And stuff that needs to go to the shed/barn. It's just easier to have them protected on the porch when not in the ground yet.  Then it just becomes their home because it's too cold or too hot.  So before it got too cold again, I decided to sort through them and put them where they needed to be and throw out the ones that were not worth keeping.  

First step was to pull them all off.  Now I probably don't have to tell you all that seeing this makes your heart skip a beat.  Yep, another snakeskin. At some point, there was a long snake, curled up amongst the plants and pots.  Mental note: Great reason NOT to have it on the porch!  You see the dirt and turned over pot?  Yep, that was me dropping it and screaming cursing running walking off the porch.

Porch after
After that initial scare, I worked hard and got it all cleaned off.  Plants were put elsewhere  some planted, some disposed of, others in a spot behind the house where they will be protected but off the porch.  We need a greenhouse at some point but that's still a ways off.  Still need to pressure wash the porch floor but hey, it all looks so much neater and clean.  Less clutter is more calming to the mind. 

And for the first time in a couple of years, we have access to BOTH sets of stairs! The funny thing is, I kept going around to the front stairs even after the side was cleared, old habits die hard I suppose, ha. 

Some of the clay pots, a set of four matching ones, were put in the garden flower beds. We figure one less thing to plant in the flowerbed next season since the pots take up some ground space.  These have the blueberry bushes in them currently, not sure if we'll leave them or put something else in.  

But we think they look good there.  One on each end of the flowerbeds on each side of the gate.  More plants and pots off the porch!

Olive trees in clay pots
Speaking of, there were a couple of Arbequina olive trees on the porch as well.  So I took two of the largest clay pots and moved them to the front of the barn/workshop.  I filled them with soil and planted the trees.  These olives are very drought tolerant and currently only get watered once a week so they should do well there.  Just in case though, I put the wine bottle watering spout in them.  

The goal next year is a flowerbed of sorts on each side of the barn doors.  Maybe just gravel and the clay pots since they will be small beds.

We didn't spend the night, the Astros are in the World Series after all and there is no TV out there.  Plus it was a bit cold (38 out there) and we still don't have a permanent heating solution.  So I went back Sunday and worked in the garden.  We scaled it back for the Fall since we are getting a late start this season. More on that in the next update. 

Spaghetti and meatballs
 2nd Man made spaghetti and meatballs for me when I got home.  Can't go wrong with pasta!  It's my most favorite thing to eat, in any form.  

Hope you had a great weekend!

Sunday, October 29, 2017


I wish the weather was like this more often (OK, maybe a tad bit warmer at night). Yesterday was just as perfect as today is going to be.  It was a bit cool when I got to the farm but oh my, the day turned out to be perfect, just absolutely perfect.  

It's one of those weekends where I just don't know what to do first.  And my mind was in a hundred directions (and I think I did about 30 of them, ha).  Just little things here and there, those little things you've wanted to do all Summer but it was just too hot.  Moving things around, cleaning, decluttering, planting, picking up trash in various receptacles, rearranging things, etc. 

Didn't spend the night because A) the house needs a good deep cleaning first and B) we have no TV out there and since the Astros are playing in the World Series, we have to watch that!

As this posts I'll be out there again, doing another couple dozen things on my list.  Updates later!
Hope you are having a great weekend!

Friday, October 27, 2017


OK after months of waiting and putting it off, we finally ordered a weather vane for the top of the barn/workshop.  Here it is:

Rooster Weathervane 
We figured this seemed like the right one the moment we saw it.  We wanted something with an animal of some sort on there. Pigs, cows, they didn't seem right.  The rooster?  Yep something about that seemed like the right one to pick. It's black and white, with a little red, it will fit with the colors.

Barn decor
It's going to go up here, along with the large white metal star we have.  Of course guess what?  We STILL need a ladder to reach all this!  We'll get that soon and then be able to get them both put up.  This was going to be a Fall/Winter project anyway so the timing is just right as cooler weather finally comes in.    

Thursday, October 26, 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!

Putting food up, home canning and seasoning blends
Sometimes, inspiration comes when you least expect it. For us, it came yesterday when out of the blue, we received a package in the mail from a very dear friend.  She sent us a sampling of some of the wonderful items she puts up for her family every year.  She is a home canning machine!  And she even makes her own spice and seasoning blends.

Fresh dried pepper flakes, strawberry jam, caramel apple butter, banana pepper mustard, taco seasoning, chili seasoning, burger/fry seasoning, jalapeño relish, zucchini relish, and more.  

Of course we appreciate it so much and can't wait to try them all, but seeing it all lined up on the counter reminds us of why we want to have a garden. Why we want to have fruit trees. Why we want to learn all we can about putting things up.  So that we ca become more self sufficient.  

So we say THANK YOU, and...

Be inspired...

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Here is a new area I've started clearing.  I wish I had a before photo, because a year ago, it was covered in brush and random branches.  It's not entirely finished of course as the rain has slowed my progress but I took this photo to share anyway.

It's in the midst of a grove of trees and we thought this little clearing would make a nice spot for a small bistro table and chairs. I'm not sure what to put down under it, I think I would be OK with just keeping it mowed and put these there since they would be movable and it would be easy to get it all out of the way for yard work.

We're thinking just a small table and chair set for two would be best, something more personal for us rather than large tables/seating for groups at future dinner parties.

Yellow is pretty...

So is blue...

And of course there is always red...

It faces the neighbor's fence (and occasional cows) but it has a nice view of green and sky all the time as seen in the picture above.  We loved these yellow wildflowers that popped up just as Fall started to set in. The best part of all is that it also faces the general direction of sunrise so we can eventually enjoy a cup of coffee/hot tea in the morning and watch the sunrise.

I'm getting areas cleared this year so that next year we can start the process of buying outdoor furniture and things to put in those cleared areas.  Do the hard work now and the easier work of decorating later, ha. It's all part of the works in progress, just one spot of many around the property.  

Slow and steady right?  
After all, it's a marathon not a sprint!

Monday, October 23, 2017


So here is something we really enjoyed doing, I mentioned it a couple of weekends ago as one reason we were out running errands. 


2nd Man's work was asking for donations for something called the "SINGLE SOLDIER PROJECT".  They were asking for either monetary donations or donations of actual items in order to create baskets for single soldiers coming back home after deployment.  

For those unfamiliar, before deployment, all of a soldiers belongings are put in storage. When they return home to the barracks, they often don't have access to their personal items for weeks.  That means they come home to an empty room, a bed with no sheets, no grooming items, no laundry soap, not even a pillow.  So this project creates baskets from donations and each soldier ends up getting a complete basket of items to welcome them home. 

Instead of just giving items or money, we decided to just make two complete baskets to donate.  

They gave us a list of all the items needed:

We started with a laundry basket, something they need for their laundry and we started filling it with other items from the list...  

Paper towels, toilet paper and hand soap...

A loofah sponge, a shower curtain and the rings, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste...

Bath towel, washcloth (I found army green!), 3 piece sheet set (I found a fun set in camo colors), a comfy pillow, razors, shaving cream, body wash/shampoo...

Paper plates, plastic utensils, laundry pods, and snacks (we got assorted crackers, Oreos, etc)...

Single Soldier Project Welcome Home Basket
We filled it all up (times two), tucked in "THANK YOU" cards, and then went to the craft store to buy a roll of basket wrapping plastic to wrap it all up. To finish them off, I got some red, white and blue striped ribbon and tied them off. 

We are happy that two soldiers returning home from active duty will feel a little more comfortable after all the time they have spent away. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017


Woke up to this heading our way.  And it rained until about noon.  Heavy rain too.  Since yesterday was a wedding, and today was rain, didn't make it to the farm.  But what I really needed to do was water everything and that's been taken care of naturally!

But the weather was perfect yesterday for 2nd Man's nephew's wedding.  It was outdoor at their house.  And yep, their yard backs up to this wonderful lake.  Makes us wish for the day when we can have something like this at the farm (there's a natural pond site that will be expanded).  It was a lovely ceremony and they both looked amazing, the sun was shining through the trees and the lace was billowing in the breeze...so pretty! 

Loved their vintage lace theme. This old Pepsi bottle was on our table. I need to find some on eBay, maybe an assortment of vintage soft drink bottles and have them at the farm.

The colors were pretty too...

And this was at the reception in the front yard.  The sound was so wonderful.  The sound of tricking water is so relaxing, it even feels cooling on a hot day.

So no farm this weekend, time to stay in town and do some more daydreaming...and eating good food, ha!

Houston Astros World Series
And oh yeah...our hometown team the HOUSTON ASTROS are World Series bound!!!!! 

Amazing final two games.  We live a few blocks from the stadium where there will be a World Series in a few days!  Alas, tickets start at $750 so...no games for us, but we'll go visit outside and the nearby park and celebrate with all the other fans, what hopefully will be a victory.  But either way, from a last place team a few years ago, to reaching the pinnacle of baseball, after the terrible events here just a few weeks ago, Houston needed this.  

  Hope you are having a good weekend, what's left of it of course. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Today is a wedding!   

2nd Man's Nephew is getting married so the family expands yet again!

We'll be gone most of the day, but back tonight after the reception to root for our hometown Houston Astros to secure the other spot in the World Series! 

Tomorrow, regardless of the weather (rain in the forecast), I'll be off to the farm to check on things.  


Thanks for letting us share in your special day!

Friday, October 20, 2017


Oops I did it again...

After I put up THIS POST last month, I found a few more dish towels at the store!  

Vegetable dish towels
Carrots and radishes...

Garden theme dish towels
Corn and tomatoes...

These are really neat, pretty good size too.  They remind me of old seed packets or ads in vintage magazines/billboards.  Naturally, these were on sale too.  Oh and we still have PLENTY of room in that kitchen storage bench!

2nd Man just smiled and said "those are nice".  

I'm sure on the inside he was all "more towels seriously?"  

He'll appreciate the plethora of towels someday.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


We haven't often showed views of the barn and shed from these angles.  

This is standing in front, looking toward the back.  Barn/workshop on the left, mower shed on the right. 

I walked to the back and turned around and took a picture back toward the other direction.  That fenced area waaaay across the front yard is the garden.  

As you can see, lots of space here. In our long term plans for the farm upon retirement, we thought about fencing this area in even perhaps having a chicken coop behind there...

We mocked this up just to see what a fence might look like and we think it would be pretty cool.  But if not chickens (we have plenty of space around for that, they might be nicer close to the house) what else would be good in this space?  

Here are some ideas that we've tossed around over the last couple of years:

Chicken coop and covered run? 
Another red building in a different size?
A greenhouse?
A pool or hot tub? 
Flower cutting garden?
Underground storm cellar? 

Any ideas on something maybe we haven't thought about?

Been getting home late the last couple of nights, will catch up on comments later tonight!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


A few weeks ago, I was mowing and saw this plant springing up in the underbrush on the property.  

Poisonous Jerusalem Cherry (NOT edible)
It was actually in several places around the farm.  We were hoping for something we could eat that's growing wild.  Maybe a wild pepper of some sort?  In fact, when you cut one open, it even looked like the inside of a tomato, seeds and all.  Of course, we're not going to take a chance without checking so I did some research online.  

We found a wonderful website, FORAGING TEXAS, and the owner of the site replied right away when I sent him this picture.  We found out this is a poisonous member of the Nightshade family called "Jerusalem Cherry".  It makes a pretty plant with these big red fruit all over but as he warned, DO NOT EAT IT AND DON'T LET ANIMALS EAT IT EITHER.

So I went around everywhere I could find it and pulled it all up and safely disposed of the plants. 

Side note, it's a great website to visit and even though it's Texas specific, many of the plants listed are across other states as well.  It's fascinating how much is edible out there. Oh how we'd love to have him walk around our property for an afternoon.  There is no telling what we have growing that we could eat, ha. His tag line is "harvesting the past to feed the present and preserve the future".

We don't get anything for mentioning his website,
FORAGING TEXAS , we just wanted to give him a shout out as a thanks for the quick answer and the warning.  It's a resource if you're interested in wild foraging and it also makes for just plain old fascinating reading of the wonderful world of nature that is all around us. 

Monday, October 16, 2017


It was a good weekend at the farm.  We posted a bit of an update yesterday, but here is more.  It's still hot here, upper 80's/low 90's, BUT good news, there is a cold front coming this week!  Finally!

Front yard after mowing
I mowed, for what will probably be the last time this season. I didn't NEED to, but I WANTED to, if that makes sense. Here's an angle from the middle of the front yard toward the garden.  

And here is the same standing spot looking back toward the barn and shed.  Other than blooming flowers and healthy trees, there is nothing in the yard that makes me happier than seeing things all neat and tidy.

Even the recently cleared mini forest area looks great and again, this will probably be the last time this season. I'll miss my time on the Zen Machine but it will be a nice break. Last year it was March 8th for the first mowing. That will be here before we know it.  

Here's an angle from the porch looking down at some of the flower beds in front. They are growing nicely and staying, mostly, clear of weeds.
Still looking good so far.

Speaking of flowerbeds, here are two of the lantana. They are so pretty in their colors.  This was one of the original ones we had that came back after we thought it had died.  It's thriving now (and quite large) and we love the colors. We thought when we bought more, they were the same...

...but these are a wonderful different color.  It was an accidental but pleasant surprise.  Hoping they get huge and fill up the beds.  We're OK with that.  It's what we've wanted and will add the color we're looking for.  We'll take the whole spectrum, ha 

Banana bread
The weekend ended with 2nd Man making some wonderful banana bread from some overripe bananas we had.  It was so good!

Hope you had a great weekend!