Thursday, October 31, 2019

HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2019


It's Halloween.

Happy Halloween to you all!

Had a debate with a dear friend.
She pronounces it:  HOLLOW-een.
We've always pronounced it: HAL-oween.

I'm not sure if this is a regional thing or what.  

So how do you pronounce it?


And sorry to our Houston Astros who came so close to winning the World Series.  But hey, we've now gone two times in the three years.  I think we're on the right track for sure.  


And since it's technically "Inspiration Thursday", here is a porch we like, love the bats flying across the front door.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

OH GREAT THERE'S ANOTHER ONE

So...this past weekend I was thinking of moving THE BOX and looking for the snake. In preparation for that I needed to move some stuff around so I picked up a bag of mulch that was on the end of the porch...


...and was met with this. ANOTHER snake skin.

What the hell? 

Is this the porch of snakes?  I will tell you that it makes you think twice about dozing off in the rocking chair on a nice cool day.  


Perhaps we should call Samuel L. Jackson, we understand he has some experience with snakes...

Monday, October 28, 2019

ZEN MACHINE TIME

The weather this weekend was perfect.  A front came through Thursday night into Friday and there were huge storms around.  In Houston we got rain.  I was worried that the farm would be too wet to mow.  There was no measurable rain out there!


So I hopped on the Zen Machine.  It was cool and crisp and clear.


Here's my mowing app.  I mowed everything and then some extra (more on that in a future post).  About the average length of time but I did mow more than usual so it went fast.


It all came out perfectly.  Look at the blue sky!  It was one of the few times a year I can spend almost two hours on the mower and never break a sweat.

This will probably be the last time this year, though I may try something I did a few years back.  Mowing in the middle of Winter when everything is dormant and brown and dry and I can see what I'm mowing through and that way I can clear wider paths and even new areas around the property.  Then it's easier to keep it cleared in the Spring.


I did notice this branch that had fallen in high winds. It's a mesquite tree and they have notoriously weak branches as they get bigger.  I'll need to get the chainsaw out.  I hate cleaning these up as they are covered in thorns.  And they are SHARP.  Ugh.


Cool weather and time on the Zen Machine, it was a great weekend!!


Sunday, October 27, 2019

LAZY SUNDAY

 It's a lazy Sunday.  Did the farm yesterday, today we're in town to watch NASCAR and of course the Astros in the World Series.


It's been a roller coaster week of weather.  Almost 90 a few days ago, down in the 40's this morning.  

2nd Man is feeling a bit under the weather, no pun intended, and so I went to the farm yesterday. More on that tomorrow.  It was beautiful weather though.

We had some huge storms roll through on Thursday night...the farm got nothing measurable!  Go figure.

We're still rooting on the Astros...


I took this picture from the balcony last night, we think Mother Nature is rooting for the orange and blue as well, ha!


The Series is tied up 2-2.  It's a given that the final one or two games will be back here in Houston, regardless of tonight's outcome.  We love having the World Series just a few blocks away.

And if (no, when!) we win, it will be CRAZY!


Oh and Hobart says hello, while I was trying to take his picture as he did his little happy dance around our legs, ha.  

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Friday, October 25, 2019

CARAMEL PRONOUNCIATION 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:



OK, this one is fun because we love seeing how regional pronunciations are.  

This is one of those potayto/potahto debates.

We know know not everyone likes it (2nd Man is not a fan, I on the other hand love it in all forms), but regardless of what you think about it, you still have to say it when telling people you like it or don't.

The two versions which differ geographically are "CARE-UH-MEL" and "CAR-MEL".   We are both team 'care-uh-mel' here.  Embrace the three syllables, ha!

SO...how do YOU pronounce it in your area?


Thursday, October 24, 2019

GREENHOUSE FLOOR 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!



Recently, as we've begun planning the layout around the house after we get something new and/or remodeled, one of my wish list items is a greenhouse.  For now the designs I like are all over the place from simple to gothic to contemporary to rustic.  It seems all greenhouses have their own style and appeal.  But one thing I've almost always seen is that they are either sitting on the ground with dirt or landscape fabric or on a concrete slab.  Not sure we want the expense or permanence of a concrete slab but don't really want it just sitting on the ground with all the inherent problems that would bring.

Then I saw these two while I was browsing and they are sitting on a deck.  We like that idea.  It's not as permanent (for future relocation) and we're guessing it's less expensive than concrete.  Pressure treated wood or coated with a sealant, it should last for a long time.  

Be inspired!

Monday, October 21, 2019

FRUIT TREES AND BARGAINS WEEKEND UPDATE

Well, it was a good weekend.  And not just because the Astros are going to their SECOND World Series.  It was a good weekend to get some things done at the farm but not as much as I had hoped because it was hot...


...this is the temperature about midday.  I think the high ending up being 91.  In late October!  Ugh.


This is the yard.  As you can see, still no mowing needed.  Now we do have rain headed our way as this posts.  We saw that the Dallas area had some tornadoes overnight.  Hope everyone we know up that direction is OK.  They aren't expecting that here but it could be heavy rain.  We do need it as you can see by the picture above.


Speaking of weird weather, this is the mystery peach/nectarine tree that we have in the backyard orchard...I noticed it was in full bloom!  I don't think they should be blooming now.  The tree is as confused as we are, ha.  I plucked off all the blooms except one.  Hey, let's see what happens.


Speaking of fruit trees, this is the lime tree, it's flourishing.  No blooms which is fine but lots of growth and getting taller.


This is the Meyer lemon tree.  It has about half a dozen lemons on it (the wind was blowing in this picture). They are somewhere between green and turning yellow.  Can't wait to see how they come out!


I re-potted the olive trees (we have two).  After I got this in some new soil and I took this picture, I trimmed off the shoots at the bottom.  I'm thinking next year it might be time to upgrade to a larger container.

Never one to pass up a good bargain, I saw that one of the chain garden centers was having a "70% off sale on all plants and trees.  Usually they don't include fruit trees (they know everyone wants those at a good price).  But since it was a sale for ALL plants and trees, I stopped on the way to the farm to look for some fig trees.  They didn't have those but I did find these two great deals. 


 One (on the left) is another bay tree and the other (on the right) is a "tiffblue" blueberry bush.  

We of course have one bay tree that we've blogged about but I figured that someday when we are using the leaves regularly and giving some away to friends/family, it would be nice to have two trees so we can take some leaves off of one and use the second tree the next time so each will have time to recover.  As for the blueberry, we had a couple of blueberry bushes a couple of seasons ago but I'll be honest, they were in a spot that didn't get the regular automated watering that we thought they were and died.  They only had this one so I got it.  

I'm thinking I might check another location this week.  I got to the register and these ended up bing 80% off.  Both of these were $7.00 total!  Can't pass up that deal.  The bay tree alone is bigger than the one we have now and it's been growing for a few years already.

Hope you had a great weekend!
 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

CONGRATULATIONS HOUSTON ASTROS

It was a late night last night as probably most of Houston stayed up to watch the Astros clinch the ALCS championship and head to the World Series...


It was a great series against the Yankees and up until Jose Altuve hit the game winning run, we thought it would go to extra innings and/or another game.  But he was amazing (as he always is) and we won it!

It's been hot here again, the cool weather is gone, but yesterday was still a good day at the farm.  More of that in an update tomorrow.

Hope you are having a good weekend.


This week...the World Series begins here in Houston!   It's only a few blocks from where we live in town.  Always exciting.  Tickets are hundreds, in some cases thousands, of dollars so....we'll be watching on TV.

Go Astros!

Friday, October 18, 2019

SOUP AND CRACKERS 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 a very dear coworker came up with this one.  We were talking about crackers and the subject of soup came up.  Come to find out, she hates crackers crushed up and IN the soup, she prefers to eat them on the side, dipping into the soup.  I love them crushed up and added right into the soup.  

We never thought about it but apparently that is a debate that many have.  Some people like soup that you crush up a handful of crackers and scatter them over the top.  Still others like to enjoy their soup with the crackers as an accent on the side to enjoy eating along with spoonfuls of soup.  

So...what do you do with your crackers when you eat your soup?



Thursday, October 17, 2019

GARDEN DOORWAY 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!


As we clear areas around the property, I thought it would be neat to have something like this.  To recycle an old unused door into a gateway to a section of the property.  A simple frame made of two posts set into some quickcrete, a top post of course, then hinge an old door onto them and just like that, a doorway to a secret garden.

It could be a solid door or an old door with windows, painted or distressed.  Either way, we think it would be a really cool and inexpensive "feature".

Be inspired!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

AND THE WINNER IS...

We wrote down all the names and put them in a bucket and pulled one out...


...and the winner is, Shelley from GiantsDanceFarm.

Not sure if she has a blog (would love to know the meaning behind your farm name, those always fascinate us).  

Email your shipping info and we'll get the book out to you. Use the "EMAIL ME" button over on the sidebar.

And never fear faithful contest enterers (is that a word? ha), we'll do another one next week.

Do you know we got up to 90 degrees today?  Now they say another front is coming, along with rain, and there is also a 40% chance of a tropical disturbance forming in the Southern Gulf of Mexico.  


Never a dull weather moment around these parts, that's for sure. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

PINEAPPLES DOING WELL

It was a good weekend, but not as much got done as I had hoped.  We stayed up late Saturday night entertaining (had a blast) but that meant we got a late start Sunday, it was already warming up outside (told you we'd "miss it", ha) and the day was lost.

So, here is a pineapple update:


Here they are back when we rooted the pineapple tops and I put them in soil in some pots.  They were showing signs of new growth.


And here they are now.  They are getting large.  I need to get them upgraded into larger pots.  We're really amazed at the growth.  I'm not sure what the growing time is, I think it's a couple of years before a stalk in the middle shoots out a pineapple.  These are not even a year old yet so we have time.  I just need to protect them from any freezes.  

Crazy to think that we're already starting to think ahead to Winter and possible freezing weather.  I guess I better start getting things ready for that possibility.  Now that the citrus is behind the house, we can keep it protected so we're going to need to figure that out soon as well.


Contest results were delayed we were tired Sunday and yesterday it was a long day at work.  Now that we're literally back into the 80's and possibly low 90's (!?!?!), feeling kind of defeated again, ha.

We will draw a name tonight and post the results tomorrow.  Then we'll have another book giveaway soon!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

WEEKEND PLANS AND FALL HAS ARRIVED


Yesterday morning when I got to work it was 84 degrees.  When I left a little after 5pm, it was already down into the 50's.

Currently, it's 66 glorious and humidity free degrees. 

We've been waiting for this weather for months and months.  We'll either have it for awhile or it will be back up to 80's next week, ha.  

Today we are having a friend over (in town) for a visit and dinner so no farm today.  But rest assured, we'll be up bright and early Sunday for a whole day of fun out there.   I want to get the garden all cleaned up and put to sleep for Winter.  

Meanwhile today for dinner it will be roasted chicken with carrots, potatoes, onions and peppers, sautéed broccolini and fresh baked bread.

Oh and because her son will be here, homemade chocolate chip cookies (he's going to help make).  We're gonna make a foodie out of him yet, ha.  

Hope you are having a good start to your weekend.  We'll do the drawing tomorrow when we get back from the farm.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

OLD WINDOWS OUTDOOR DECOR 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!


Not sure why we like this.  It's just kind of fun?  I guess yard art and/or decoration can be "fun" right?    These vintage unused windows were hung to create a sort of "wall" so to speak that divides up an outdoor space. Sure I guess wind is a factor I'm not sure how they fixed that issue, but we still like it.  

We actually have three old windows in storage, need to figure out a way to use them someday.  This might be an option (with a few more, ha).

Be inspired!

Don't forget to enter giveaway, click on sidebar "giveaway" image to go directly to page or scroll down a bit to a couple days ago. 
                                                                                               

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

FROM THE OH HELL NO FILE

This past weekend I went to the farm by myself.  

First the good news...I did not have to mow, it still looked exactly like it did last weekend when I did mow.  I'm guess probably only one or two more times this year until next Spring.

Now for the other part...there is a box on the porch.  It has a galvanized metal ring inside that we're going to use as a planter.  I didn't get to it this year so it's just been sitting there on the porch.  No big deal...or so I figured.

I was watering some plants on the porch and I leaned over to reach for something and saw this...


...a snake had shed its skin...

It wasn't coming out.  It was going in.

OH.
HELL.
NO.

Of course now I have visions of the round galvanized fire ring inside the box with a giant snake curled up inside its comfy, wonderful, new home...

...raising a nest of baby snakes.


2nd Man asked if I was going to move the box.
NOPE.  Gonna leave the box alone.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY

It's been a while since we had a giveaway.  We'd like to get back into that. We have some books to share as giveaway items in the coming weeks.

Here is the first one.  

It is called "Grandma's Farm Country Cookbook" by Martha Engstrom.  Over 400 blue ribbon winning recipes.


There are some great tips as well, recipes range from appetizers to desserts, side dishes to breads and even some candy and fudge.


There are illustrations from "The Farmer's Wife" magazine scattered throughout along with some old school tips and tricks.


As always (and for those new to the blog) the rules are as follows:

We'd like you to be a "friend of the farm" (we love having followers and Google recently deleted a bunch because of some glitch) but of course that's not required.  Please leave a comment here on THIS thread letting us know that you want to have your name entered in the drawing.  Remember, be sure that your name or your user name is on your comment so that we can have something to write on the slips of paper when we do the drawing.  If two or three of you post as anonymous, we can't know which anonymous wins if that's what is pulled.

The contest will run until 11:59pm Friday.  At that time we'll randomly pick one winner, post the results and the winner will need to email us with their shipping address at that time and We'll ship your book directly to you within a few days.  

Sorry, due to overseas shipping costs based on the weight, the contest is limited to residents of the United States.

One Entry Per Person

Leave your entry request below as a comment.  We won't reply to them we'll just use them to have a list of entries.

Thanks and good luck!

CONTEST OVER, WILL DRAW A NAME THIS WEEKEND.  ANOTHER ONE COMING SOON!

Friday, October 4, 2019

ENDS OF A LOAF OF BREAD 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:


Here is another possibly regional word description.  We were with some friends recently and they mentioned a loaf of bread and said they never ate the BUTT part of the bread.  We said "the what?"  The replied, "you know, the slice on each end, it's the butt".  We've always called it the HEEL.

A quick search of Google found that this was a big Twitter debate not too long ago.  There was a whole list of names that people used.  Heel.  Butt.  End.  Crust.  Knob.  Outside Slice.  And the oddest one of all, the scab.

We've both grown up calling it the heel.  Maybe that's a Southern thing?  Not sure. 

Here's a part 2 to the question:  Whatever you call it, do you eat it?  I could probably count on both hands the number of times I've eaten the heel in my entire life.  I just figured it was there to keep the bread fresh, you eat the inner slices first and put the "heel" back...by the time the other slices were gone, these would be too dry anyway.  2nd Man likes them though.

So...what do you call these pieces?
And do you eat them?



Thursday, October 3, 2019

TREE TABLE 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 LOVE this picture.  We have so many trees on the property (both "discovered" and "undiscovered", ha).  An old table, some measuring and a bit of careful cutting (probably two halves attached together on the underside) and voila, a great table that looks like a tree has grown through it.

It wouldn't necessarily need to be just for outdoor dining, it looks like it would be great as a place to sit and read or a potting table of sorts or heck, with it a little taller, it could even be bar height...for a cocktail or glass of wine.

Be inspired!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

US DISASTER RISK MAP

Last month was National Preparedness Month.  We always try to post something during the month for this but somehow I missed it.  Probably because the last two weeks of the month were, ironically, dealing with more record breaking flooding in the area.

When we saw this image we thought it was interesting.  For those of us in the United States these are the risks we face but we're guessing that much, if not all, of this is possible just about anywhere in the world huh?


We are in Region 6 so for us it is:

Severe storm (done that many many times)
Flood (definitely done that)
Hurricane (sadly, several times)
Winter storm (meh, not in this part of the region)
Tornado (a few near misses)
Pandemic (other than flu season, and the Dallas Ebola scare, no, thankfully)
Economic Downtown (2008/2009 but we made it)

At the farm, we have a closet stocked with all our emergency supplies.  Some canned goods, bottled water (though we are on well water only out there and have a hand pump if necessary), some long term survival foods, etc.  I call it the preppers closet.


In town we have our three day survival backpacks from Red Cross that we won a couple of years ago (see photo above).  They will cover most anything that will happen here in town (plus of course the apartment is stocked with water and supplies just on a regular basis).  It would also allow us to get out to the farm for our safer and more remote space if we needed to do that.

Remember, as this year's phrase reminds us: