Tuesday, December 31, 2019


Here we are, the evening before a new year.  A new decade.  Amazing to think that 20 years ago we were all wondering if the year 2000 would bring about the end of the world via the Y2K glitch.  Yet here we are!

2nd Man and I gave up on going out to celebrate years ago.  We just don't enjoy the crowds in our older age and of course nothing good ever happens on the roads after midnight.  

We'll stay up until midnight and toast in the New Year with a little bubbly we have put aside.

Hope you have a SAFE New Year's Eve, whatever you do tonight!  Happy 2020! 

Sunday, December 29, 2019


My office building puts out poinsettias at the holidays every year.  They leave them sitting around and put them, in pots, into the soil of the built in planters.

Just after New Year's they toss them out.  They always say we can have them if we want them.  I've often wanted to take a few and do something with them at the farm.  I remember seeing a huge poinsettia "bush" in our old neighborhood.  I asked the homeowner about it and she said the just planted a small plant once after the holidays and it just kept growing into a full almost hedge.  Every October she covered it for 12 hours a day so that they would turn the brilliant red they are known for.  It was incredible to see next to her porch.  

Anyone ever have any luck in planting them?  Maybe this will be the year that I take them up on the offer. 

Friday, December 27, 2019


Normally on Friday, we do a "Friday Food Debate" where we tackle some of the burning questions of the culinary world, ha...but this week we'll expand to another random fun question since it's Christmas.

This week, the burning question is:

We've asked this a few times over the years.  Now that we have new readers (and long time readers chime in too so everyone can compare) we thought it might be fun to ask again as part of the Friday debate question that everyone enjoys. 

There are really only two times you can open presents.  Christmas Eve (like I did when I was growing up) or Christmas morning (like 2nd Man did when he was growing up).  Now Christmas morning/day  can be anytime after midnight too.  We have some friends/coworkers that say they stay up until midnight and then open at 1:00am.  There are those that do a split, opening some the night before and the rest in the morning.  

2nd Man and I have sort of adopted that latter tradition...we get to open a present after dinner on Christmas Eve and the rest when we wake up Christmas morning.  I guess even though we grew up with different traditions, we've made our own now.

So...when do you open your presents?

Wednesday, December 25, 2019


Christmas...middle of the week.  It's off today and back to work tomorrow and Friday.  Posting will be sporadic while we and hopefully all of you, enjoy the holidays.

It'll be a quiet day for 2nd Man and I.  Being middle of the week doesn't give us that day or two after to relax and recover.

Best wishes to you and yours!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019


It's Christmas Eve, time to get started on your Hostess Meat Tree!

LOL, we love these old ads for food that we guess, at the time, was just what everyone (apparently?) wanted.  Interesting indeed.

Anyone up for a meat tree like this?

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve and of course Christmas Day tomorrow.  

Sunday, December 22, 2019


Saturday was the day at the farm and it was blah.  Cold, damp, overcast and just kind of yucky.

Everything is desolate and barren.  Weird we still have some green but it's probably the weeds and not the grass, ha.  The fruit trees are still looking good, the banana plants on the porch took a bit of a frost bite in the last sudden mild freeze.  The other night it was only supposed to get down to upper 30's so we didn't prep the plants for it.  Then the night of the original upper 30's, while we're in downtown watching the news, they say "new forecast shows 31 as the new low".  Great.  

The three citrus are hardy to upper 20's in a quick burst like this.  They looked OK, Spring will tell!

It was a good night for pizza in the oven, ha.  There is a local wine bar near us that we go to and we love their pizza.  They sold us one that we could take home and bake in our oven.  It was SO good.  We love a thin crispy crust. 

Hope you are having a good weekend, it's the last shopping weekend before Christmas.  Tonight we are having some very dear friends over for a pre-Christmas dinner of tamales and homemade beans and Mexican rice with tres leches cake for dessert. 

Speaking of, our posts will be sporadic this week as we know people are busy with the holidays.

Hugs to all of you!

Friday, December 20, 2019


It's time for the "Friday Food Debate" where we tackle some of the burning questions of the culinary world...LOL!

This week, the burning question is:

So this came up at my office yesterday.  I bought a pecan pie for an office luncheon.  That brought up the debate of how to pronounce the ubiquitous nut.  Setting aside one pronunciation that was "peck-un", LOL, we realized that some people say puh-kahn and others say pee-kan.

Here in our household, 2nd Man and I both use the  puh-kahn pronunciation.  I think it's a Southern thing from what I see online.  Or certainly regional across the country in different areas. 

So...how do you pronounce it?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


Recently, we've taken to roasting two chickens at the same time.  We figure if the oven is already being heated up for one chicken, why not make two at the same time and double the amount we can use?

 This was last weekend, 2nd Man roasted a couple of chickens, olive oil, salt and pepper.

For the first meal we just took one chicken, cut it in half and served with mashed potatoes and peas.

The next day, 2nd man took the second chicken, stripped the meat off the bones and made a quick dish of arroz con pollo (Spanish for rice with chicken).  It's rice, seasonings, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, etc.  With the chicken already cooked, there is no need to wait for it to be done.

 So good!  I'll get the recipe for it the next time he makes it.  Anyway, w e were saying that the next time we do this, we just might roast four chickens at the same time.  Again, it will fit in the oven, it's already being heated up anyway, and we can strip the meat and package in vacuum sealed freezer bags for future recipes that call from something like "the meat from a rotisserie chicken".

Anyone else "pre-cook" chicken for later use?

Monday, December 16, 2019


This was a surprise.  It's the Meyer lemon tree.  It had some leaves that were frostbitten in the last freeze.  It didn't seem like that many when we saw it the last time.  But after some windy days recently...

...almost ALL the leaves fell off.  Yikes.  I checked the branches and a few outer ones are brown but almost all are green.  We are hoping it comes back.  Not sure why it suffered so much freeze damage when the other two were just as covered.  Maybe being on the end it was more exposed to cold winds, maybe the freeze cloth touched it more than the others, we're just not sure what the difference was. 

We're hoping that this will happen: this is the lime tree which lost some leaves in the same freeze but they are already sprouting back.  We cross our fingers that the lemon tree does the same thing.  We've got a plan in place for the next freeze (more on that in an upcoming post) and while we hope there isn't one, it's only mid-December, we know there will probably be a couple more before March.

Fingers crossed!

Sunday, December 15, 2019


It's been a quiet weekend again, which is nice.  Sometimes we need those, especially in the chaos leading up to Christmas.

Heirloom tomatoes
When I was at the store the other day I saw another batch of heirloom tomatoes and I couldn't resist taking my phone out and getting a picture.  I love taking pictures of produce when it's all stacked up.  In these days of personal shoppers and click and pick up at grocery stores, it doesn't look odd for me to be taking pictures of food, ha.  I just love the colors and shapes of heirloom tomatoes.

Steak with Alfredo gnocchi
For dinner last night, 2nd Man made potato gnocchi in an Alfredo cream sauce and grilled steaks. We also cracked open a bottle of rose wine. It was so good.

Hobart the cat
And as happens on any Sunday...or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday...Hobart is in a ray of sunshine doing what cats do best.  Sleeping.

Hope you all are having a great weekend!

Friday, December 13, 2019


Well it's that time again.
It's Friday the 13th!

To us, it's just another day.  But we know some people are nervous about the day as well as other things that could happen on any other given day.  

That's why we periodically like to ask about superstitions and which ones you follow or not.

Umbrellas open inside?

Break a mirror?

Walk under a ladder?

Step on a crack?

Black cats cross your path?

Knock on wood?

Toss salt over your shoulder?

I think we don't have many that we avoid.  I will admit to not walking under a ladder.  And we both "knock on wood" frequently.  And if I can avoid opening an umbrella inside, I will.  

As for black cats?

Hobart the cat
Well this one crosses our path dozens of times a day...and we love him like crazy.  

So happy Friday the 13th...what superstitions do you have?  Any that are unusual?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


Last week I shared our (very) small Meyer lemon harvest.  Today it's the satsuma orange harvest that was quite a bit larger.

Owari Satsuma oranges
Got these off before the last hard freeze.  Almost a dozen were on the tree so we pulled them off.

Peeled Satsuma orange
They peeled so nicely.  I think I've read that they call them zipper peels or something like that.  They just separated so easily from the orange itself.  Then the orange segments just sort of opened up like this.

Pretty cool.

Peeled oranges
They were delicious and we ate quite a few segments.  2nd Man couldn't get over how "orange" they tasted...meaning that they tasted how you imagine an orange SHOULD taste.

Putting up orange segments
The rest of them I stood at the sink and peeled off the little white pithy (is that a word?) parts on the outside of each segment and put them in a baggie.  We are trying to decide if we should freeze them? I mean, we'll have another crop in the Spring and hopefully for years to come but can you freeze oranges like this?

It's so much fun growing these trees. We're having a great time learning the ins and outs of raising fruit. It's definitely a process of winning and losing and winning again but hey, if we can get our own mini orchard cranking out fruit by the buckets full in the end, then it's all worth it for sure.

Monday, December 9, 2019


So…2nd Man had a toothache at Thanksgiving.  We tried everything.  3 Advil.  4 Advil.  Aleve (that helped).  Still, he said it was the worst pain he’s had.  It was a holiday weekend so he wanted to get through it until he could get to the dentist.  
The pain was unbearable.  In fact, Thursday night/Friday morning, he said he felt like he might need to go to the ER or Urgent Care.  I did some checking online (others had asked the same question) and the general consensus was that they don’t give strong pain meds, they just give you Extra Strength Tylenol or Advil and tell you to go to the dentist as soon as you can (and charge you $$$).  
2nd Man said he had to do something, the pain was a 10.  So on those same forums where I was reading about people wanting to go to the ER, people would say “so I found a miracle treatment...”

It was this:

It’s basically a packaged version of clove oil.  So at 3am on Friday morning after Thanksgiving, I was driving around trying to find a place open that had it.   It was our only hope.  Walgreens were closed.  Only two CVS’s were open and they didn't have it.  Then I remembered Walmart.  It was 3am but it was like a Saturday with people shopping for Black Friday deals.  I bypassed the flat screen TVs and found it.

Got home, he put it on and I kid you not, in 5 minutes he said the pain went from 10+ to 1.  Now the only problem I had was reminding him to do it periodically, even if there was zero pain.  After doing some research, I found that clove oil has all sorts of antibiotic properties, anti-inflammatory, and can actually help eliminate an infection.  Once he started using it every few hours, the pain has now gone completely.  Many people said after using it for a few days their tooth/nerve got better.  Now he still has to see the dentist of course at some point soon but for now, it’s letting him go back to a normal life (and letting me get a full night of sleep as well). 

Red Cross Toothache Medication Drops 
(Amazon link but also available at Walmart)

I guess it goes to show that nature sometimes knows better.  This has really gotten us interested in medicinal herbs and their use.  I know essential oils are a big thing now as well and this is basically clove oil that has saved the day.  What else lies out there that we need to learn about?

I’ve always told 2nd Man that when we plant stuff, we should plant things that are beneficial, not just for cooking but for other uses.  I need to look up some medicinal garden designs and ideas.  I know a lot of medicinal herbs are perennials so I can’t just stick them anywhere, need to make a plan.  Start simple with the basics and move forward from there.

Sunday, December 8, 2019


It's been a cool and quiet weekend.

We both had errands to run but separately.  2nd Man had to go get a new suit.  We knew that would take a bit of time with getting tailored etc.  I didn't have much to do at the farm but I had to take some things out there and check on things so that was our Saturday.  The farm was fine, I watered the trees and things on the porch, did a few other things and then came back into town.

This is the fig tree part that I broke off of a new fig tree.  I put it in some water and it's not only putting out roots, it's also sending out new leaves!  Not sure how long it will last in the water so I guess at some point soon I need to get it in some soil.

It looks like we'll have a third tree to plant next Spring, ha. 

When I got home, 2nd Man made a wonderful dinner of roasted pork chops, broccolini and with fettuccine Alfredo.  SO delicious.

Hope you are having a good weekend!

Friday, December 6, 2019


While it's not a farm sunset, it does have an appeal of its own.  This is the view from our balcony at our apartment downtown...

...it does have a magical quality with office building lights and people and cars on the streets below.  At night, as we watch the buildings light up as the sun goes down, we get to watch office lights blink on and off as people come and go.

This is the view toward the horizon.  On some evenings, the sky is ablaze with color.  Again, it's not s sunset behind the trees in the country, but it's a good runner-up.  Beauty is where you find it.

It's Friday, we hope you all have a good end of the week.  I'll be at the farm this weekend checking on things after the long holiday weekend.  We have colder weather coming but thankfully no freeze.

Thursday, December 5, 2019


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!

Sometimes when we see inspiration somewhere it might not be a specific object that attracts us to it but a color palette.  That is where this picture appealed to us.

Of course you know we love these split rail fences but what we really like here is the combination of ferns and foliage in the green colors and then the shades of purple and varying heights that are SO gorgeous together.  Anyone know what all the flowers are?

Be inspired!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019


In preparation for the recent freeze we went ahead and pulled some of the citrus that was on the the trees.  It wasn't all quite ripe but was close enough.

Here is a Meyer lemon on the tree.  It looks nice and yellow but that's on one side.  The other side was a bit green so we left it in the window to get fully yellow.  The other one was the same.  But we have to admit, this is a pretty good looking lemon!

Here are the lemons after we cut them open.  Tart but slightly sweet.  They were small but considering the tree is only about 4 feet tall, they will get bigger as the tree gets bigger. 

Of course, short of a whole batch of lemons for something bigger, we opted for a big glass of iced tea with lemon.  It was so good.  We assume just like garden veggies, home grown fruit is always best. 

Amazing to think that we will (fingers crossed they make it through the Winters) have fresh citrus every year.  Hopefully as all the trees get bigger, our harvest gets exponentially larger as well.

Monday, December 2, 2019


Hope you all had a great holiday weekend.  Back to work today.  

2nd Man's toothache is better but it was hit or miss for a few days.  I will have a post on that coming up with the amazing treatment we found.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store and they had turkeys on clearance. These were small turkeys, about 8.5 lbs each.  They were fresh, not frozen and raised free of hormones and such.  As close to natural as you can get.  

Best of all, I got both for $10.00.

Fresh small turkeys
We figured if we were heating up the oven for one turkey why not do two at the same time?  So yesterday afternoon, we oiled them up and seasoned them with our own farmhouse blend (that's what we call it, ha) of seasonings.

Roasting turkeys
We roasted them for an hour and a half and they came out perfect.  Moist, tender and full of flavor. 

Turkey meat
We took all the meat off the bones, mixed it together and shredded it up.  We measured it all out into about 3 cup portions and them put them into vacuum sealed bags.

Vacuum sealed turkey
We ended up with 6 packages of turkey for the freezer.  They will be used over time for things like turkey pot pie, turkey tetrazzini, and so on.  The taste of Thanksgiving for months to come, ha.

We kind of like the idea of two smaller turkeys, it's the equivalent of one large one and is done in half the time with twice as many legs, wings, breasts, etc.

Anyone have any great recipe ideas using turkey meat?

Thursday, November 28, 2019


Hello!  We hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your family and friends.

It's a gloomy day in the Houston area.

2nd Man has a terrible toothache, but we're making the best of things.  We opted out of a full turkey dinner but we're making a homemade turkey pot pie.  That counts, right? 

Hope you have a great next couple of days!
We will check in later this weekend

Hugs from both of us to all of you!