Friday, June 28, 2019

PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY FRIDAY FOOD DEBATE

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, here we are again with a divided household.  2nd Man and I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Hey, what can we say, we're kids at heart.  It's comfort food.  And it's even better when you have homemade bread, your own canned jelly and you use a Vitamix to grind peanuts into fresh peanut butter, but I digress.

So the debate is this.  Some people take the bread, lay the two slices down and spread peanut butter on one slice and jelly on the other slice and then simply put the two pieces together. (2nd Man)

Other people will spread the peanut butter on one slice and then spread jelly on top of the peanut butter and put the clean slice on top. (Me)

So...how do you PB&J?
Separately or together?


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

ONE POT CHICKEN LO MEIN RECIPE

2nd Man likes to cook and enjoys making it up as he goes.  I do better following a recipe usually with a few tweaks.  Here is a new one I tried and 2nd Man said "wow this is good!" when he finished it.  And went back for seconds.  Possibly thirds, ha.

One pot chicken lo mein ingredients
It's a one pot, chicken lo mein.  The recipe is at the end of this post but these are the ingredients.  The original recipe calls for shredded RED (or purple)  cabbage and shredded carrots.  Since I was going for after work quick and easy, I bought a bag of coleslaw made up of only shredded cabbage and carrots to save time.  The cabbage was regular green cabbage.  No taste difference but "appearance" would be more colorful with red.


In a large dutch oven, you saut√© the chicken in the vegetable oil with salt and pepper to taste.  Leave it on one side over medium high heat for about 7 minutes until browned on one side.  Stir and cook for 2 or 3 more minutes or until no longer pink (they will cook further later).  

Remove them from pan and set aside.


Add remaining 2 TBSP oil to pan and put in the sliced mushrooms and white portions of the the green onions.  Cook for about 5 minutes, again over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until softened. 


Add shredded carrots, cabbage, broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, ginger and brown sugar to pan.


Heat to boiling...


Add the chicken and spaghetti noodles and return it all to simmering...


Reduce heat and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes...

Cooking chicken lo mein
Stir frequently until sauce has thickened and spaghetti has cooked through.

One pot chicken lo mein
Dish it up, top with the green portion of the onions and serve.  It's really good, tastes very much like something from a restaurant.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup vegetable oil divided in half
  • 1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 green onions, sliced, separated into green/white
  • 32 oz low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded purple/red cabbage
  • 8 oz (half a package) of uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP grated ginger (or 1 tsp ground)
  • salt and pepper to taste

See step by step instructions in photos above.

Enjoy!

Monday, June 24, 2019

HOT WEEKEND AND TWO PLANT QUESTIONS

It has been hot here.  Of course it's officially Summer now so it's what we expect.

We have two plant questions at the bottom of this post so scroll down if you want to skip to that.

Hot
Needless to say, near 100 degree temps and "feels like" temps of 115 means there won't be much done outside.  Since the window unit can barely keep up, it's best to err on the side of caution and heed the city's advice:  Keep outdoor activities to a minimum.

Overcast hot day
The sky was overcast later in the day and by late afternoon a few sprinkles started.  That didn't cool things down though it made it worse (more humidity which makes the feels like temp go up).  Today is supposed to be stormy but nonetheless I watered everything well, pulled a few weeds and that was it.

No mowing or edging this weekend.  I could have but as long as we don't have daily rain, I can usually go every other week this time of year.

Bay Laurel tree
This is the bay laurel tree on the porch (2nd Man loves his bay leaves in cooking!).  It's getting big while still in the same pot I planted it in.  When we got it, it was about 4" tall.  Now it's about 4' tall.

Anyone have experience with these?  Planting them in the ground or best to keep in a container?  I need to prune it too.

We're not too worried about freezing because now we can put it behind the house where we can protect it along with the citrus trees if necessary.  Our soil has so much clay that we don't want to stunt it by putting it in the ground but instead of a 4x4 raised bed we were thinking maybe just a large container like a whiskey barrel planter?

Honeysuckle
And this is a HUGE row of honeysuckle in full bloom (just as much is off camera too).  Anyone have any good uses for honeysuckle flowers?  The scent is so wonderful.  We can smell it all over the property and of course bees love it.  We'd also like to transplant some to other areas.  Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance for tips and advice!

Friday, June 21, 2019

BEANS OR NO BEANS FRIDAY FOOD DEBATE

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:



In Texas this is a BIG debate.  We love our chili that's for sure and most consider it a sacrilege to have beans in it.  It's supposed to be all meat.  But there are people who prefer the extra protein and texture of beans, usually red kidney beans.  This could also be a regional thing, perhaps a North/South debate?  

So...how do you take your chili? 
With or without beans?



Thursday, June 20, 2019

GREEN AND PURPLE INSPIRATION THURSDAY

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!



We're always looking for color palette ideas for future flowerbeds.  Combinations that catch our eye and make us go "something like that would be perfect next to...whatever".  That's what happened when we saw this.  Not a lot of flowers, more green than anything else, but the pops of color and texture and heights are just beautifully simple.  Not sure what all the plants and flowers are but it's very pretty.

Be inspired!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

FRESH HERBS

Last weekend we were able to harvest some herbs that we have growing in random spots around the outside of the house.

Lots of mint
In the corner flowerbed between the two sets of porch stairs, we planted some mint a couple of years ago.  In the hard freeze Winter we had, they died, to the ground.  Thought they were gone for good.  But as the old axiom about mint goes, you really can't kill this stuff!  It came back like crazy. 

I love when I use the weedeater around that part of the flowerbed, it smells so good, ha.

Fresh mint
I cut some to bring back into town.  Great use for a random Mason jar, and instant vase and best of all, this size fits in the cup holders in the car.

Fresh rosemary
Also cut some rosemary and brought it back.  Again, another Mason jar vase to bring it back easily.  

Any suggestions for LOTS of mint and rosemary (besides the obvious, ice tea and potatoes, ha)!

Monday, June 17, 2019

THE WEEKEND


Friday was a nice day to work in the yard.  Yes, I took the day off because we had plans for Saturday and Sunday was a chance of storms.  The grass hadn't been mowed in a couple of weeks so it definitely needed it.  


It was a bit quicker than usual, by about 20 minutes.  I guess I had the wind at my back, ha. 


I also edged with the weedeater.  I have said it before and I'll say it again, it's not my most favorite thing to do but when I'm done it's my favorite thing to look at.  It's always amazing how trimming around the beds, the house, the shed building, etc just makes it all look so clean and tidy.

Above are the fruit trees behind the house.  Good for another few weeks I suppose, ha. 


Remember the ongoing saga of the road in front of our property?  Last weekend it had "fresh oil" put down?  Well the advantage of going out on the weekend is we get to see the difference as it changes.  Now we have the first coat of asphalt!  Next they put a second one and then they'll stripe.  It should be nice when it's finished.  Now we need to get someone to clear our ditch again (it's too "curved" for our mower to do it).  The county did it last time so we might have to hire this out.


 Now this is what rolled through last night.  The storms woke us up in downtown Houston with the rain and thunder.  Pretty severe for some areas around us and lots of rain for most everyone.

Not sure yet how much at the farm but we're thinking a good two to three inches of rain.  Nice for the trees and yard so we'll take it.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, June 14, 2019

HOW DO YOU CUT YOUR SANDWICH FRIDAY FOOD DEBATE

It's time for the "Friday Food Debate" where we tackle some of the burning questions of the culinary world...you know, like we had a few weeks back with the "dark meat/white meat" debate and last Friday the french fries and ketchup debate, ha.

This week, the burning question is:

How do you cut your sandwich
Yep, apparently there are three schools of thought on sandwiches (and people are adamant about this from what I see online).  They all involve the question of cutting your sandwich?

As for us here, I rarely cut my sandwiches.  2nd Man loves to to cut his and when he does, he's a diagonal cutter.  I will admit that if he asks me do I want him to cut my sandwich and I say yes, I do like the diagonal cut. It somehow makes the sandwich seem bigger.  Maybe it's that it's more visually appealing?

Do you just dive right in, whole, as is?

Do you make a nice cut down the middle to divide into two rectangles?

Do you cut on the diagonal to make two triangles?



Thursday, June 13, 2019

STUMP PLANTER INSPIRATION THURSDAY

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!



We have two stumps on the property and we really like this idea.  Hollow out the top a bit, put some soil in and some flowers, plant a few around the base and done.  Of course after a year or two of flowers in the stump with the soil and watering etc, I'm sure the stump would start to rot away.  

But for a period of time, an eyesore would become something pretty and eye-catching.  

Be inspired!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

DEER VS FRUIT TREES

Well, this wasn't unexpected...we only had a few pieces of fruit on the trees.  Since we're still letting them develop strong root systems, we plucked most of the buds earlier in the Spring.

But one weekend they were there and this weekend they were gone.  Of course this could have been birds, though there were no half eaten pieces on the ground.  They were just gone.  Completely missing from the trees and the yard.


The plum tree (one of them) had about 8 or 9 plums on it a few weekends ago...


...now it has zero.


This is the mystery peach tree (possibly nectarine).  It had four pieces of fruit on it...


...and now zero on it.  However, we did manage to snag one to try out last week, thank goodness.  More on that in an upcoming post.


Now the citrus doesn't seem to be bothered at all.  Not sure if deer like it or what.  This is the orange tree and both the lemon and lime have small fruits on them as well.


Gotta figure out a good solution before next Spring.  Thinking of some tall posts at each corner of each bed and then just putting deer netting around it with zip-ties.  With tall posts, we could toss bird netting over the tops if we needed too.  

Thoughts?

Sunday, June 9, 2019

WEEKEND IN REVIEW

Wow it is hot this weekend.  94 degrees with a feels like of 101.  Ugh.


I didn't mow, it was a bit too wet from Thursday and Friday rains but it hadn't grown that much. I checked the stuff drying in the barn. This is the garlic and it's drying up nicely. After I took this picture I decided to spread them a bit further apart and put up some more nails in the rafters to spread them out.


Of course I couldn't help myself, I had to steal one to bring back into town so we could cook with it.  Still a bit moist around the paper husk but drying well. 


The wheat is also drying well.  This is just one stack of three.  Not sure what we'll do with all of it but it'll be fun to figure out.


I was taking a break and noticed a weed growing up between the porch floor boards.  I guess that's why weeds have been around forever.  They find a way.


Have had several little green frogs hanging around on the porch the last few weeks.  This one was on some cardboard that was on the porch.  As frogs go, they are pretty cute.


Today, we are just staying inside where it's cool.  And doing like Hobart.  Just resting.  

And/or possibly napping.

Hope you are having a good weekend!

Friday, June 7, 2019

FRIES AND KETCHUP, FRIDAY FOOD DEBATE

Going to try something different on Fridays and tackle some of the "great food debates" in the culinary world.  You know, like we had a few weeks back with the "dark meat/white meat" debate, ha.

This week, the burning question is:



Yes, there are two kinds of people in the world.  Those who put their ketchup on the side of the fries (that would be 2nd Man) and those who drizzle it all over (that would be me, 1st Man).  

We never knew that was a thing but apparently it is a source of great debate among foodies.  At first we thought it might be a generational thing but since he and I both do it differently, and we're only 3 years apart in age, that's not it.  

So, what about you...ON THE SIDE or DRIZZLE?


Thursday, June 6, 2019

GARDEN SINK INSPIRATION THURSDAY

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!



I've been contemplating projects in the garden.  One of them is to put in a sink of some sort for just rinsing of veggies or washing hands or tools or whatever.  Of course, who wants just a plain old sink and faucet.  This was made using a galvanized bucket and some galvanized pipe with what looks like some garden hose watering attachments for a faucet. 

It looks like this was run up through a wooden table and the bucket may even have a drain in the bottom.  Need to do some more research but seeing as how a large surface of some sort is one of the things I'm going to do in the Fall for the garden area (a sort of potting table) this could work.  It looks neat.

Be inspired!
  

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

GARLIC HARVEST 2019

Vampires beware...it was time for...

Raised bed garlic harvest
...the Great Garlic Harvest of 2019, ha.  I figured I better get them out of the ground before the monsoon rains and because they were turning brown.  The general rule of thumb that we've read about (and what I did last year) was as soon as the lower 1/3 or so of leaves were brown and dry, it's time to harvest. 

I don't pull them up of course, that could damage the bulbs.  It's easier to take a small shovel (or your hands) loosen the soil around each head and then gently lift them out of the ground.  

Since garlic can sunburn, I put the cart in the shade as I harvested them. 

Rubbermaid cart with garlic harvest
Once I filled up the trusty Rubbermaid garden cart with the harvest, I headed to the workshop.  I opened the doors and back window and there was actually a nice breeze blowing through (this was two Saturday's ago, not a couple days ago when it was mid-90's, ha).  

Twine and scissors
I sorted them and got the twine out and bundled them all up.

Garlic drying
We had left the nails up from last year's harvest and so I just put them right back up in the same spot as last time.  Why mess with a good thing?  We should only have to let them cure for a couple more weeks.

You have to wait until all the green has turned brown.  It would be fun to braid them but I need to read up on that.  It might be easier to just sort the heads and keep them in storage, especially since we have so many and will be giving some away.


Monday, June 3, 2019

HOT WEATHER PURPLE FLOWERS AND NEW ROADS

Well, blogger was having issues Sunday so I couldn't get this posted then.  Instead, I'll use this post for today as an update on the weekend. 

It was a good weekend, but hot.  We had a high of 94, almost broke a record.  Ugh it's going to be a long hot summer for sure.


Who says we don't have color at the farm!  OK so maybe it's only green and purple but hey, we'll take it, ha. This is the Texas Lilac (actual name Vitex) in full bloom.  The bees and butterflies were LOVING it.

These do SO well for us, we just might plant a lot more of them.  They thrive in our soil, are drought tolerant (we never water them) and they bloom from Spring to the first freeze.  Kind of a win win.


The original plan was to skip mowing this weekend as it didn't really need it. It's the time of year when I can do every other week but weather changes are coming (more on that further down) so I decided to go ahead a mow. It went a bit faster since it was shorter and so I shaved about 15 minutes off my average time, ha.


When we drove in, we saw this sign.  Wasn't sure what it meant until we got to our road...


It's been graded and coated with oil for the asphalt that we're assuming is coming next.  It'll be nice to have a smooth "new" road in front of the property.  Our tax dollars at work.


And now this is why I decided to go ahead and mow.  There is a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico and while it is NOT heading this direction, it will make landfall somewhere along Texas/Mexico border and pull a lot of moisture from the Gulf and spin it this direction.  Forecast (as of now anyway) is for several inches of rain Wednesday and Thursday.  If we do get that much it will mean the ground will probably be too wet Saturday.  

Of course if it doesn't end up doing that, well then I can skip mowing THIS weekend, ha. 

Check back tomorrow for a post on the other gardening thing that I did last weekend.