Wednesday, February 27, 2019


With our Fall influx of collards, we had to get creative.  Here is something I came up with.  Super easy and was really good.

We used about 1 cup of shredded Parmesan...
1/2 cup cream (or half and half)...
1/2 of an 8 oz pkg of cream cheese...

I'm not sure how many collard greens we used...

I rinsed them, cut the center stems out and chopped them into smaller pieces/strips.  If I had to guess, about 4 cups chopped?  All of this is really just to taste, personal preference.

I brought a pan of water to a rolling boil and added a chicken bouillon cube for a bit of instant seasoning.

I added the collards and cooked about 10 minutes or until they were tender.  Drain the water completely and put collards back into the hot pan over low heat.

I missed a pic of each step but they probably looked about the same, white, white and white, ha.  First I added the cream cheese and stirred it around so it would melt.  Then I added the cream and the Parmesan cheese and just kept stirring until everything was melted and incorporated.  You can add more cream if it's too thick.  It can really be to whatever consistency you like. 

Serve it on the side and enjoy.  It's really a great side dish.  We had ours with steaks and potatoes and it was really good.  Just like what you'd find at the steakhouse restaurants...only collard greens instead of spinach.

Monday, February 25, 2019


Don't stop reading without seeing the bottom photo of this post.  Our patience finally paid off, ha. 

It was gray and overcast, on and off.  We went out Saturday and this was the day.  Of course Sunday was better but still cool and the ground was way too wet to try to mow or edge.  Sigh.

Of course, the fruit trees feel like Spring is coming.  Three of them are breaking out into blooms.   The citrus are still on the porch in their black containers.  They didn't let that stop them.  All three of them (lemon/lime/citrus) are in bloom.

The garlic is doing its thing in both beds.  Nice to see.  Hoping for a great harvest this season.

Collard greens are still producing.  After trying collards, kale, mustard greens, and even a mixture of all in one bed over the last few Fall seasons, we have found that collards do best.

We harvested another large batch of leaves. As we were driving back into town we decided that we will always include them as part of our Fall garden plans. They are, for us, foolproof and hardy.  They also give us a lot of great meals.  

But HERE is the exciting part!  We FINALLY got Napa cabbages!  They look like magazine worthy heads, ha.  We gave one to 2nd Family and they said "you grew these here?"  They didn't know they would work in our climate.  Need to eat them before they go bad.  We should have three more next weekend, we left them to grow a bit more.  Not sure why they took so long or if it was just our odd weather but we're glad.

Any uses you have experience with for this type of cabbage?  

Sunday, February 24, 2019


In Sundays past, we used to post images of old posters that we found images of during online surfing.  We always enjoyed the ones that reflect farming, gardening and/or food preservation and rationing.  We enjoy them because we often wonder if anyone today would heed the kind of advice they gave back then...enjoy!

We thought we'd see if there were some we hadn't seen before and here is one. This one focused on rationing which of course was more or less mandatory during the war.  What we are curious about is how would that go over today?  If there was rationing would the vast majority of people accept it?  Or would there be hoarders selling on the black market?  Would people share or keep what they have to themselves?

Hope you are having a good weekend, it's kind of an odd weekend here, warm, then cold, and foggy, then rainy and then sunny, just blah.  

Friday, February 22, 2019


A funny nod to the Yelp/Google review generation.  We think this is probably true in many parts of the country right now.  It's definitely cold and wet here and the older we get the less we like crowds, ha.  We'd give it 0 stars too, ha!

Sorry for lack of replying to comments the last few posts.  Been working late and that's usually when I get to the replies.  I'll start tonight.  But in the meantime, keep them coming.  

Thursday, February 21, 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!

Whatever we have done at the farm with regard to the house, new or remodel, I told 2nd Man I want a front porch like this when we're done, ha.  Yes I know it requires regular maintenance but when we're living there full time, that's the kind of thing I would enjoy doing.  This is just going to be a reminder of how to balance some flowers and their colors to create a beautiful "welcome home" front entrance, ha.  

Be inspired!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Super simple dinner this weekend.  One of my favorites and another three (main) ingredient meal.

Here they are in all their pre-cooking glory...

Three ingredient dinner
A pork loin, rubbed in olive oil and herbs de Provence (with lavender), sweet potatoes and peas.

We wrap the sweet potatoes in foil, roast them in the oven at the same time as the pork loin.  The pork loin is put in a dutch oven, covered, and roasted at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  Then 15 minutes with the lid off.  When it's all done (internal temp about 150-155), we remove the pork loin to rest, put the peas in the dutch oven and place it on the stove top and let it heat up in the juices from the pork loin. 

Pork Loin dinner with sweet potatoes and peas
We mash the sweet potatoes with a bit of butter and some garlic power (it's a great combination) and then dish it all up.  The flavors all work so well.  And again, it's just so easy and simple.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019


Here is a new(ish) piece of furniture at the farm. I say newish because we already had it and were using it for something else that just wasn't working. 

So we decided to repurpose it. Well, by "we", I mean it was my idea to use it for something dedicated. 

We moved it into the dining room on a different wall than where it was.  We were using it for just a collection of extra stuff.  It's amazing how when you have space but don't really have a specific use for it, it just begins to hold random "stuff" without purpose. 

So we cleaned it all out...


Here it is after we emptied it out.  

It's a neat cabinet, a nice size and solid wood. When the doors are closed, it looks like a cabinet with separate upper and lower doors but they open the full length, which is kind of nice.  The only downside is the shelves are not adjustable, they are permanently attached.  So I guess I'll have to work with what I've got.  

So what are we going to use it for now?  Since we're going to be doing something different at the house in the next year or so, part of our plan is to make sure we have furniture that serves a specific purpose, in this house, in a different room or in a different house.  

The goal is to turn this into a "canning cabinet"!  I want to fill it with my empty jars, canning tools and accessories, rings and lids of course, even canning related cookbooks, etc. (I might even have a few canning themed dish towels, ha).  Right now, I'm making an inventory of what we have and getting it all together in one place.  This will make it easier to pack up if we have to move it into a new place later one.  Until then, we still need to make it look nice.

These are the jars that I used for the rings and lids a while back.  In hindsight, I kind of wished I had gotten colored jars instead of white (since it's a white cabinet) but hey, it is what it is.  I suppose I could paint the inside of the upper cabinet at some point.  That would work, right?  Or maybe even line it with wall paper or something?  I put them on the top shelf so they can be seen behind the glass.

There are two more empty "visible" shelves (behind the upper glass section of the doors) so I can use them for cookbooks (only have a few canning ones) and then maybe hang some tools or store them in a utensil holder of some sort. I can also keep pectin and other supplies like that in the upper portion.

These are the two shelves concealed behind the solid part of the doors.  There are most of the jars we have and my canning pot.  Inside the pot are some tools, etc.  It seemed like everything was scattered around the house in various locations, jars on the shelves in the mudroom, the canning pot in the kitchen, rings and lids in the storage jars on another shelf, etc and so now I'm just trying to get it all on the same place and then I can organize later.

I need to get some of those wire pantry shelves so that I can stack the jars.  If there are too many, I'll put as many as possible here.

It will be a great Summer project when at the farm and stuck inside due to the monsoon rain.

By the way, we got this at NADEAU, one of our favorite furniture stores. That's the National website link, for those in the Houston area, here is the HOUSTON NADEAU website. We don't get anything for mentioning them, but we like to call out our favorites in case someone might be interested.

Sunday, February 17, 2019


Regular blog readers know that we love NASCAR. I know, some might find it odd but we love it.

For me, my Dad loved it for as long as I can remember and when you're a kid at home on the weekends and Dad is in charge of the remote, well, you know how that ends, ha.  So I watched and grew to enjoy it as well.  Even my Mom got into it, of course she also liked the nice looking drivers.  I think I got some of that from her too, LOL!  

This is one of the drivers that we root for, Daniel Suarez.  He's a younger driver and it's his third season in the Cup series.  We root for a few of the veteran drivers as well.

2nd Man watched it on and off over the years and then more regularly after we met.  Now we try to catch every race.  Most certainly we always catch the big ones and today is THE big one.  The Daytona 500.  It's like the Superbowl of racing.

....and hey, the cars are pretty cool to look at too.

On the menu today is steak, potatoes and creamed collard greens.

Yesterday was COLD and WET.  Ugh.  I went to the farm, checked on things, harvested some stuff, watered the plants on the porch and came back into town.  Today is cold and wet again.  Hope you are having a good weekend!

Friday, February 15, 2019


Happy Friday, we're off today, running errands again.

Many of you like when we post a pic of our sweet kitty, Hobart.

Here he is the other night, he was laying on "his" afghan (one I found a few years ago at a thrift store and he promptly adopted it) and I distracted him to get a picture (my hand up in the air wiggling fingers while using the other hand to take the picture, ha).

And yes, that basket in the background is full of his toys.

His afghan.

His toys.  

Nope.  Not spoiled.

That's our story and we're sticking to it.

Thursday, February 14, 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!

Red white flowerbed, image via
It's Valentines red and white flowers seem appropriate.  There has always been something so simple yet so dramatic about grouping red and white flowers together.  

Red White flowers, image via
I guess they are also two of the most common colors in the plant world.  They just work.  And hey, throw in some blue and you've got a patriotic display, ha!

We hope you have a wonderful Valentines Day and don't eat too much chocolate!  As for us, 2nd Man and I have the day off (tomorrow too!) and so we're going to run errands today (those things we never seem to get done on the weekends) and then just make the rest up as we go along!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


A few photos to share of things I've noticed and things that we do and use. 

Our local grocery store chain has these right outside their main entrance.  Recycle bins for plastic bags.  We try to use paper bags or our own reusable bags for groceries when we can but there are times when we get plastic.  It's nice to see places like this for people to bring those ubiquitous plastic grocery bags (and other plastic bags).

In one of the suburbs on the outskirts of Houston, I was sitting in traffic one day and noticed that they are using reclaimed water to irrigate the public areas like esplanades, flower beds in parking lots, the grass along sidewalks etc.

Of course they do remind people not to drink the water that comes out of the sprinklers!

I found these at the grocery store a few months ago and we really like them.  They are scrubbers to replace our sponges in the sink when cleaning dishes.  They are made of agave fiber twine which of course is 100% natural and sustainable. We've been using them for about six months now and they work great!  If you keep them dry (up out of the sink) they last a long time and you can even pop them in the washer to freshen them up.  Best of all, they don't scratch when cleaning 2nd Man's prized pots and pans, ha.

It's nice to see things like this because it reminds us that contrary to what our politicians do (or don't do), there are always things we can do to play our part.

Every little bit helps!

Monday, February 11, 2019


So the other day in the office, the topic of toilet paper came up.  Yeah I know, that's how we are, ha.  Anyway, someone mentioned "do you remember colored toilet paper"?  Of course.  

Well the younger people in the office thought we had lost our minds.  Toilet paper in colors?


So when I got home that night, I just had to find some pictures online to show the. Now that was a down the rabbit hole moment that I spent an hour reading about toilet paper, ha.  Anyway, I found these that made me remember them distinctly...



And of course pink...

And another brand in pink...

And yet more pink...apparently pink was a very popular color for bathrooms.

And look at this magazine ad!  Who knew toilet paper was so GLAMOROUS and FABULOUS?!?! 

The Northern brand is the one I remember.  I think my Mom bought the pink many times.  And blue.  I seem to remember blue.  Somewhere along the way where we lived, we had blue.  They were big in the 60's when bathrooms in matching colors were all the rage and lasted well into the 70's and 80's.  Near as I can tell, they started to fall out of favor in the late 80's.  From what I've found online, fear of dyes and health risk, lack of interest in matching your toilet paper to your decor, environmental issues and thoughts by a newer generation that it was weird "using" colors on your backside, led to their eventual downfall and falling out of favor.

But look at this.  We realize there are gimmick/gag gifts of toilet paper with images, camouflage, politics, holidays, etc and have been for years.  But (or is that butt) it seems that, as with so many other things where "everything old is new again", there are companies making the pastel colors today!  Above is a sample of some I found for sale online now.  

And look at these.  Some very BRIGHTLY colored rolls for sale as well (not sure about brown though).  Still, they seem to be a niche thing (and kind of pricey).  Maybe nostalgia is making them sell?  I'm sure that one downside to these is that everyone has their own favorite "brand" know the whole "quality factor".  No one wants to use "tissue paper" quality that isn't going to, um, hold up.   

Hmm, I wonder if 2nd Man would think I lost my mind if we had colors someday at the farm?

Anyone remember colors?
Would you do it today?

Sunday, February 10, 2019


It's been a weird weekend.  Cold, rainy, warming, cold again and foggy...

This is the view from the balcony of our apartment.  Keep in mind we are more than 20 floors up...surrounded by buildings...and we can usually see the horizon.

Last night we had a simple three ingredient meal, ha.  Went to the store and got two pork chops, a bag of cut and fresh broccoli, and a small bag of red new potatoes...

2nd Man pan roasted the chops in the cast iron skillet.  I sliced the potatoes, drizzled them in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them cut side down on a baking sheet in the oven.  Lastly we steamed the broccoli with butter and some lemon zest.  

Simple, easy, quick and definitely comforting!

Now I didn't buy this but I saw it in the store and thought it was brilliant branding on the part of the company that made this.  It made me laugh.

We decided to skip the farm this weekend.  It rained on and off all week.  It's cold.  There is still standing water around.  This is the time of year when we can skip a weekend because there is not much to do.  No mowing.  No edging.  Nothing happening in the garden.  Now with us leaning toward a new house out there, it's more just us planning what we might want to do, what we can reasonably afford to do ahead of time and of course what we need to do for the garden and yard this year.