Thursday, November 30, 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!

Small cedar closet 
Here is something that's always been in the back of our minds and when we were at the farm the other weekend, we both kind of said it at the same time while we were hanging up some t-shirts in the closet.  Cedar closets!!

Our closets are small, not too different from either of these.  So when I Googled some images and found them, we knew immediately that this is what they  could come out like and we like it!

Cedar closet with shelves
It appears that they are mostly DIY kits that you can easily (according to them, ha) do yourself.  You just get the wood, either composite sheets or tongue and groove planks.  We'd choose the planks just to make a nice finished and more "substantial" look. 

We only have three closets at the farm, all about the same size, and we'd like all of them to be cedar.  

We'll see!  That might be a good project for this time next year.  A good cool weather, two weekend, kind of project.  

Be inspired!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

BROCCOLI RICE CASSEROLE RECIPE here was my contribution to our Thanksgiving dinner. This is kickin' it old school.  60's? 70's? 80's?  I'm not sure.  When was Cheez Whiz invented?  The 50's I guess?  Maybe this has been around that long.  There have been a ton of recipes, all a variation on a basic set of ingredients.

I had this dish almost monthly growing up and this is the recipe my Mom used.  I'm none the worse for wear all these years later (most would say so anyway, ha).  Is there any more non-food sounding name than "CHEEZ WHIZ"?  It's the magic ingredient. I know it's processed cheese, but I've tried making this with just regular cheese and it just seems like something is missing.

 Broccoli rice casserole ingredients

1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of milk (use the empty mushroom soup can)
2 cups cooked, fluffy rice
1 14oz jar of Cheez Whiz
1 pkg of frozen chopped broccoli partially thawed
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped mixed bell peppers (we like red/orange for the color)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Melt the butter in a skillet and add the celery, onion and peppers. 


Cook the rice. The classic recipe calls for Minute Rice, I figured we could at least have regular rice.  So I had 2nd Man cook up two cups of his wonderful fluffy rice and set aside...

Saute the onion, celery, pepper mixture until it just starts to have color and is softened...

In a large mixing bowl, put the rice and and add jar of Cheez Whiz, broccoli, cream of mushroom soup, one soup can of milk, and the sautéed vegetables.

Stir to combine...

Place in a greased casserole and top with shredded cheese...

Retro broccoli rice casserole 
Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly....

Broccoli cheese casserole
Remove from oven, let stand a bit and dish it up. We must say, this went SO well with the flavors of the ham as the main course and the glazed carrots.  We'll definitely be having it again. I caught 2nd Man going back in the fridge a couple times for some leftovers. 

So take a trip back in time and have this retro casserole in all its glory!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


At the farm, as I was in and out of the barn, I kept hearing noises on the property next to us.  So I glanced outside and saw this.

I walked closer to get a better view...

And leaned over the fence to get a better look. I think there are some new ones from the last time we saw them.  Saw a few young ones too, we guess they are breeding.

They were actually friendly, these two came over to the fence and let me scratch them on the head.  Beautiful animals for sure, we love their coloring and the curve of their horns.  Very exotic looking.

Not sure if they are all the same breed, etc, but it was fun to interact with them and watch them do their thing (eat everything). Having neighbor animals at the fence when I'm outside (be it cows or donkeys or horses or these guys) is like having company over.  Plus they are fun to just have around and we can leave whenever we want to, ha. 

Monday, November 27, 2017


Post Thanksgiving, we feel like this cat...

By the way, this is not Brisbane, LOL, it's just random Internet cat that summarized how we feel, ha!

With a four day weekend, we had to maximize our time off.  Thursday was eating day of course.  
Friday was off to the farm, after oversleeping a bit, to work in the barn and do some stuff in the house.  Saturday was more of the same but back into town a bit earlier so we could relax.  

Garlic is growing nicely...

The cabbage which was planted in three plantings each a week apart, is growing small, medium and large, just like we wanted.  So far so good...

Collards have finally all popped upright and are getting taller.  We might be inundated with collard greens soon.  Will be looking for some recipes!

Sunday was our day of rest before back to work today.  And eating.  The last of the leftovers. 

Don't forget, today is CyberMonday.  
It's a great day for online deals. 

We did a great deal of our shopping at (affiliate link) but I think most of the rest of it has been done online as well. I'd link to some of the other sites we shopped at but of course, that would give away the gift giving, ha. 

Happy shopping!

Thank you for being our blog family of friends, we appreciate you all more than you could know!

Sunday, November 26, 2017



Brisbane is sleeping...

Hobart is sleeping...


It's a good day to rest and recover.

Will catch up on your wonderful comments later and until then, here are some words of wisdom:

Saturday, November 25, 2017


We opted for a different Thanksgiving dinner this year than we usually do. We started the holiday weekend with steak for the night before.  It's something we did a couple years ago with 2nd Man's family and decided to do it on our own and make it a tradition for ourselves. Sometimes we have to realize that in the end, all we have is each other, am I right?

We started the day with snacks. Chips, crackers and dips, cheese and salami, nuts, and mini bologna and cheese sandwiches.  This was so we could eat dinner later in the day and sleep in a bit on the first day of the long weekend. 

2nd Man made some homemade yeast rolls and let them rise...

They came out golden and delicious (as always!)

Then he made some honey glazed carrots with parsley in butter...  

For this year's main course, we decided on a ham.  But not just any ham, this is called a "carver ham".  It's by a company called FRICK'S and is the first time we've ever had one of theirs.  WOW, was it ever GOOD!  I think it might be the best ham we've ever had.  Since it is not pre-sliced, you can cut to whatever size.

By the way, we don't get anything for mentioning them (we bought ours at HEB, a local grocery store) but we thought we'd put their link in case anyone wants to see where else they are sold.

So this was our dinner (oh and I made a retro classic casserole side-dish, more on that next week).  All together, it was a relatively simple dinner, the flavors were perfect together and it was a nice change for Thanksgiving.  

Oh and there was pie.
Pecan pie.  

Life is good.  
And so is the food!

Thursday, November 23, 2017


We are thankful for so much every year.  Each other...good health...our sweet kitties...good food...our jobs and of course our ability to have the farm and the work that we are doing to get it just the way we want it.  

We are also so thankful to our friends, like all of you, who visit and leave such wonderful comments. 

Thank you all for being part of our journey so far!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Simple post today. We don't have much growing of course but what we do have seems to be coming along nicely so far...

Raised bed collards
Collards, growing about twice as big as they were when we planted them. They should love this cooler weather...

Raised bed garlic
Garlic, compared to last week, is also almost twice as tall this week...

Raised bed cabbage
Cabbage, slow but I think it was the warm weather, now that cool is here, they have started to grow more rapidly...

Squash died in the cold
Remember the random squash that sprung up from some leftover seed in the raised bed?  Well it was definitely a Summer crop, the first night in the 40's and this happened!  Oh well.  

Lemongrass in flowerbed
And the lemongrass is HUGE. I'd say it's definitely happy where it is. We have two, one on the other side of the garden gate almost as big. They started out just a few inches tall and maybe 4 sprigs.

They say small plants don't tolerate freezes well, but large plants might freeze back and come back in the Spring.  This is pretty large.  We'll just have to see. 

Everything in the ground is a learning moment!

Monday, November 20, 2017


OK so not a huge harvest but these are the ones I left on the trees after I planted them earlier this year to see how they would do.

Lemons and oranges
Lemons and oranges. The limes were eaten by something, one week they were there, the next all gone.  Not sure what it was that ate them but whatever it was, it only liked the limes apparently.  I'll have to work on that next Spring.  

Anyway, here they are from "Farm to Table" as the saying goes...

Meyer lemon tree
Here are the lemons on the tree. We only left the three but they did well, albeit a bit small for Meyer lemons.  Still a small tree though and this was its first production.  

Meyer lemon
We sliced one up, tasted it and wow, it was so good. It had the traditional Meyer lemon flavor which is sour with a hint of sweet.  I used slices in my tea for a couple of days and it was wonderful.

Satsuma orange tree
Here are the oranges.  Now these are Satsuma oranges.  They survive our weather conditions here. They are a bit smaller than, say, a Navel orange, but they grew well for their first time.  

We pulled off five of them to try.

Satsuma orange
Here they are after we peeled and segmented them, just before we ate them.  All of them!  Ha!  They were SO good.  As I was peeling them in the kitchen, 2nd Man sitting in the living room said "wow they smell great".  The orange scent was amazing...and they were delicious and sweet!

It's a small reward but considering we just planted them a few months back, we're happy to know they are on the right track.  Next we just have to get them through the Winter, reading up on the right fertilizing, etc.  After eating this small bounty, we'll do whatever we need to protect them, it was definitely worth it.

Let the citrus fun begin!

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Homemade strawberry jam and biscuits
Homemade strawberry jam (a gift) and homemade biscuits (2nd Man)...

Put them together with a little butter (not homemade but locally sourced) and it is was heaven on a plate. 

The weather yesterday at the farm was weird.  Still warm and windy and started out clear but then got cloudier and dark and VERY windy. Then it rained a bit so we ended the day about 4pm.

Today we have an appointment in town, I wished I could have switched our days, ha.  

But here is our forecast for the week. This is just about the most perfect weather for us this time of year.  Lows in the 40's, highs in the upper 60's.  Should be a great week!  We have to work Mon/Tue/Wed, but with a 4 day weekend after that and some perfect weather, I'm hoping to get a lot of those little projects finally done.  

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Friday, November 17, 2017


For regular blog readers going a few years back, you will recognize this process. 2nd Man reminded me a couple weeks ago that it was time to start some new vanilla extract since we are running low.  It's been over a year since we started our last batch.

First thing I had to do was get over the shock of the price of vanilla beans. Did you know there was a vanilla bean shortage last year?  2016 was the smallest supply of beans in decades and as a result, vanilla everywhere has skyrocketed.  

We still buy ours from the same place we always do.

Now we sometimes do the 5 beans if we're going to let it sit awhile.  This batch I just made had 7 beans. We've done as many as 10 before, which makes a really strong vanilla really quickly. When cheaper, 10 is good, when expensive, 5 or 7 will work too.  

Making homemade vanilla extract
Seven beans and a bottle of vodka...pour off some of the vodka into a glass since the beans will displace some of it... 

Vanilla beans for extract
I like to slice them in half lengthwise so that more of the bean is exposed to the alcohol, then just drop them into the bottle of vodka...  

Beginning vanilla extract
Add as much of the displaced vodka as will fit back in.  Think of it as more future extract, don't waste it.  Of course whatever doesn't fit, well that's up to you to dispose of by whatever means necessary. :-)

Keep it in a dark cabinet away from heat and light and every few days, gently turn the bottle a few times to get it mixed up.  About three months later it will be ready, though 2nd Man likes to wait a full six months to start using it. 

Making vanilla extract
Here it is after a few days.  Already going from clear to dark.  In the end, it turns a rich, deep brown color just like the extract you buy in the store. We have one of those gold permanent coffee filters that we use exclusively for this.  Just pour it through and you have beautiful, homemade vanilla extract!  Seeing as how a little bottle at the store is about $12, this is about $125 worth at that rate, ha.