Monday, April 30, 2018


Where have we been?  In case you missed the post, we moved!

Not to the farm, to a smaller apartment unit in the same building.  But it's another step in that direction.  

We both took the day off Friday, moved a million little things we could carry up and down the elevator (on a valet type cart).  We worked ALL day Friday and into the evening until about 1am.  Then Saturday morning the movers came and moved the big furniture. They were quick and efficient.  Without having to load it into a truck they saved that step and so it was just point to where the furniture went and they put it there.  Nothing really had to even be packed up.  But they left and we STILL had stuff to do. We also had a consignment shop coming to pick up some things we decided we didn't need. 

Unfortunately we could not make the SABERCATS rugby game after all.  We just had too much to do not to mention we were running out of energy.   

Of course, wouldn't it figure we missed their first win of the season.  Sigh.  They are on the road now for two games and then back here for two. We WILL be there!  #GoCatsGo!  

When we felt done enough to introduce Hobart into the mix, we loaded him in his carrier, brought him the short elevator ride to his new home and...

He made himself right at home.  Now if only he could carry something.

Sunday we woke up and I had a coworker come pick up our guest room mattress set to use for her mother.  She brought us a thank you gift too (more on that in an upcoming post).

Then after she left, I drove to the farm while 2nd Man stayed in town to keep working on moving stuff.  I mowed everything, did a few other things out there and came back.  Immediately started the final few things and at 9:15pm, we hauled the last stuff to the new apartment, closed the door and were done 

Needless to say, it was an exhausting weekend but in the end, we feel accomplished.  I'll start catching up on comments and go back to the "fun stuff" tomorrow, ha!

For now we rest...

Including Hobart, who, as you can see above, was just exhausted as well...

Saturday, April 28, 2018


Whoa, wait, what? 

Before everyone gets excited, we're not moving to the farm. Though in a way, this is a step closer.  We've been in a 2 bedroom/2 bath apartment now for a couple of years. We've decided to downsize and have chosen a 1 bedroom/1 bath with study.  

Our rent is much less so more savings ahead. That's how it gets us a step closer (and gives us more funds to upgrade things at the farm).  When we downsized from the house to the apartment we went with the bigger unit but after living here, we thought about how we use the space and came to realization that we could scale down some more.

So that was the reason for the absence yesterday.  We both took the day off and moved everything from every cabinet and drawer and every little thing that wasn't nailed down except the big furniture.  We used a valet cart and made a lot of trips up and down the elevator.  It's all indoors so we don't have to worry about weather or temperature. 

We're tired and sore today, but as this posts, the movers will be taking the big stuff.  Couches, bed, dresser, dining room table and chairs, coffee table, nightstands, hutch, china cabinet, etc, etc. 

We have a SABERCATS rugby game later today so that will be our escape from the moving craziness.

Tomorrow I will head to the farm early to mow/edge and check the garden and then come back to the chaos of putting things up where they belong. 

And then Monday it's back to work for both of us.

Hope you are having a good weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2018


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!

Open outdoor shed image via
As per usual, I start this by saying we aren't building things like this anytime soon.  We might not ever.  But we like seeing ideas and things that are relatively simple structures that we feel are doable. And with 11 acres, who knows what will end up where.

Not everything in this one is what we'd want to use.  The tall bring foundation?  Nah, not so much.  The sand?  Definitely not.  But we like the open sided shed style, relatively simple construction, cool roof, and the back wall with shelving and table.  We could make it become anything at that point.  Potting shed.  Outdoor bar.  Cooking.  

Funny thing is, when we bought the house there was a slightly smaller version of something like this that was the old mower shed. "R" from 2nd Family built it for Ma.  We could definitely enlist his help for something like this.  

Be inspired!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


Went to the farm and was surprised to see this had been done:

This is at the front of our property, along the road.  The county came through, as they do every few years, and cleared the "right of way" they have for the power poles.  You don' t have any choice, they just do it because that is what the easement is for.  They come in 10 feet from the property line and just cut it all down. 

The purpose of course is to keep the trees and brush away from the power poles/lines.  The one about midway down looks like it's a bit close but it's just the angle. 

The good thing about this is that we have been considering having a new fence put all along the front.  And of course part of the expense for that would be to clear this area first. Now that's been done for us.  

The next time I mow, I will begin going over this on a regular basis until it just becomes a grassy strip much like the green space around the house. Then when we get a fence put along the front, it'll be much easier for that to be done.  

Thank you to the county!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


It's almost that time of year.  The dewberries are almost here!  For those new to the blog, dewberries are a Southern thing.  It's a variety of blackberry that grows wild just about everywhere in the South.

Dewberry patch 
Usually they are growing in ditches and empty lots and along fence lines. We are lucky in that they are ALL OVER THE FARM.  Large patches of dewberries.  

Dewberry trails
A few places I've mowed around and through to leave whole areas like this one above.  Everything on the left is dewberry.  By mowing this trail and keeping it mowed season after season, we've created several areas to easily pick from.  

Dewberry fruit
They have gone from thousands of white flowers to small fruit.  As you can see, they are in varying stages of ripening.  Most are just starting to turn...

Dewberries ripening
...but some, as you can see here, were already turning and looked ripe.  I plucked the one on the bottom and ate it but it was still a bit tart.  It needs to go a bit longer.  They almost always ripen within days of each other.  After all the rain we've had, I'm guessing that this weekend (or perhaps next) will be the first dewberry gathering weekend of the season.  

Dewberries last year
For those wanting to know more about dewberries, I usually post every year when it's in season.  Over near the top of the blog is a list of labels, click "dewberries" there or just look at the bottom of this post and click on the label for "dewberries" and you can pull up all the posts we've had on them.  We've made dewberry jam, dewberry cobblers and pies and last year I made a dewberry cake.

They are yummy!  Let the harvest begin (soon!)

Monday, April 23, 2018


On Saturday, we attended out first ever rugby game. Well, I guess our first ever professional rugby game. 2nd Man's nephew played rugby in high school and we saw a few of his games.  But this is professional MLR (Major League Rugby).

Houston Sabercats image courtesy of @Hou_Sabercats
Houston now has its very own professional rugby team.  They are called the SABERCATS

They join the Astros, Texans, Rockets and Dynamo as hometown teams to cheer on. They are currently building a stadium that will be completed next year and so for now they are playing on a grass field at Dyer Stadium.

2nd Man and I braved the weather to go (it only sprinkled while we there) and I took a lot of pictures. Here are a few (click to enlarge):

Sabercats rugby
We are new to understanding all the rules of the game but wow is it ever fun.  We are learning, slowly but surely.

Houston Sabercats
Lots of action from beginning to end. More intense than American football for sure. 

Houston Sabercats vs NOLA Gold
The guys are definitely tough...

And talented...

Sabercats scrum
This is a scrum, the players get into formation and try to get the ball back to their side. 

They made a late game score that gave us hope...

...but alas, in the end, we lost 26 to 32.  

Still, it was an exciting game and when it was over we got to shake hands with all the players, including the opposing team.  They really are all about the fans, as sports should be.  

It was a great day and there will be more because we became season ticket holders!  Anyone out there interested in tickets, season or otherwise, you can click here for the link.

Sunday, April 22, 2018


It's a picture free post this morning... 

Didn't go to the farm yesterday, we had rainy and overcast conditions most of the day as a front pushed through and we had another adventure to go on (more on that tomorrow). 

2nd Family says we had almost 2 inches of rain. Today however is BEAUTIFUL and cool again!  We're OK with that though, it'll be hot and humid soon enough.  I'm guessing that it's going to be too wet to mow but I'll see what I can do. Probably not too wet to edge.  Sigh, I think edging is the thing I dislike the most, at least while I'm doing it. When it's done of course, I feel a sense of accomplishment with everything so neat and tidy.

I'll need to check the garden.  Thinking we might need to adjust the watering because we may be watering a bit too much with all this rain.  Thankfully, I won't have to water the fruit trees since we've had about 3 inches total since last weekend. 

Have a couple other projects to do, including the never ending task of tidying things up in the house and the barn/workshop.  

At least the weather is cooperating today.

Hope you are having a great weekend so far!

Friday, April 20, 2018


This is something my Mom found in a thrift store once upon a time and we just recently found it when emptying another box I had put in the barn. 

Vintage Solar Tea jar
Has anyone ever made the Southern treat "Sun Tea"?  It's made by steeping tea bags in a jar (usually a gallon) of water in the sunshine.  The sun heats the water and steeps the tea.  It really does taste different.

Well this is a glass jar and dates from the 1970's.  It's pretty neat.  It's a round bubble shaped glass jar and all the parts fit into the top just like this for storage.  This has obviously never been used.  

Here are the different tops all spread even has the original instructions!

The first part is the domed lid that allows sunshine to come in through the top as well.  Pretty neat.  

The other part is an actual pour spout.  You just unscrew the ring, remove the dome lid and replace with the spout and screw the ring back down.  

Can't wait to use it when it gets hotter.  It will be nice to have a glass of cold sun tea after I finish mowing.

There is some controversy about Sun Tea and it's potential dangers.  I can say I had it for years growing up and never had an issue.  But if you do make it, you must follow some safety protocols.  The big worry is that it doesn't get hot enough in the sun to kill bacteria as opposed to boiling water in a tea kettle.  Need to do some more research on that but hey, people have been doing it for decades, and they haven't "banned" them yet so as with anything, follow the rules.  

Thursday, April 19, 2018


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!

Image courtesy of
Simple outdoor decor that doesn't involve "much" work.  Objects as art/decoration and some flowers thrown in here and there.  We actually have a corner of the house where this could work.  We were also thinking about doing something like this around the barn and/or shed.  I think I might like a more formal "edge" to the gravel area, but still we like this idea for creating interest that doesn't require as much upkeep as an entire flowerbed, if that makes sense.

Be inspired!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


We're still trying out sheet pan recipes. Anything that cooks in one pan is nice.  Now this does mess up an extra dish (a bowl) due to the sauce but it's worth it.  The first time I made this 2nd Man said "wow, you need to make this again".  Now he asks for it regularly. Yes, I give him the night off from cooking on occasion, ha!

Sauce ingredients
First you make a basic sauce.  It is a mixture of 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 3 TBSP sherry, 1 TBSP minced ginger, and 6 cloves of garlic, minced.

Just put it all into a bowl and whisk together.  

Next, take 1 LB of trimmed green beans (we cut ours in half as well) and toss on a sheet pan with 1 tsp of red pepper flakes and 3 TBSP of coconut oil. You could use any oil but trust us when we say the coconut really adds a great flavor. Toss it all together and put in a PREHEATED oven at 450 degrees. Roast for about 7-10 minutes.

Slicing flank steak
While the beans are roasting, slice the flank steak against the grain into thin pieces.  If they are too long, just cut each thin strip in half to make more bite sized pieces.

Remove the beans from the oven and set the sheet pan aside for a moment.

Toss the sliced flank steak in 1/4 cup cornstarch and allow to sit for a few minutes.

You know it's ready when you see that it has absorbed into the meat.

Move the green beans to the outside edges of the sheet pan...why?

To make space in the middle to spread out the meat.  Try to get it in one layer as much as possible so they will get the same sear that they would in a wok.

Roast at the same 450 degrees for 10 minutes.
But wait, where's the sauce? 

Take the sheet pan from the oven and pour the sauce over the meat, toss and put back in the oven for about 5 to 10 more minutes or until...

Sheet Pan Mongolian Beef and Green Beans's browned and the sauce has started to turn into a glaze.  

Stir it all up so that the sauce gets all over the green beans and it's done and ready to serve.

Mongolian Beef with Green Beans
Dish it into bowls and serve!  We sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and some diced green onions just to add a bit of extra flavor and, of course, a pretty appearance.


Monday, April 16, 2018


It was an odd weekend. Saturday a front came through and we had rain, wind, lightning, and pea sized hail at the farm.  Needless to say, Saturday was a stay in town day.  Then it got down into the low 40's?!?!?  

Yesterday though was quite possibly the most perfect day of the year so far.  Cool, breezy, low humidity, and just, well, gorgeous!  The wildflowers are starting to come out around the property too.  So pretty to see patches of color here and there.  

I mowed, it's always such a relief to mow.  I had to leave a few spots un-mowed because it was just TOO wet but for the most part, I got it all mowed and it feels good to see it.  Until next week or two when it's a foot tall again, ha. 

We have fruit! I can't remember which this is (and it looks odd, it's either peach or pear, like I said I took a ton of pics and now I don't remember which tree this was on, ha). 

We also have plums...

And peaches...

and pears!

Tomatoes are growing nicely and have blossoms...

The cucumbers both are starting to spread and have blossoms as well...

And look!  

We had an actual harvest There was ONE banana pepper, ha, and then I gathered some herbs to keep them growing and not blooming.  There are three kinds of basil, oregano, chives and Mexican tarragon.  

I also worked in the barn, did SO much in there too.  More on that in upcoming posts. It was a great weekend, after the storms of course.