Thursday, December 31, 2020



It has rained all night and all day.

We're on the Nextdoor group for the area around the farm and people are reporting their rainfall totals and it's anywhere from 4" to 6".  It's supposed to end this evening and then turn cold.

We don't go out for New Year's Eve in a good year.  Just seems nothing good ever happens on the road after midnight.  Plus the older we get the less we like crowds. 

Then yesterday afternoon, everyone in Houston got this push alert on their cell phones.  In our office all our phones went off at once (kind of freaky).  So things are getting worse here as we start 2021.

We have some homemade pizza dough on a slow rise in the fridge for the last couple of days so 2nd Man can try out his new cast iron Lodge pizza pan...

...and we also have a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge.  

So we're going to stay home, eat well, have some champagne and stay up until midnight to make damn sure 2020 goes away.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020


I was looking through photos and saw this that I forgot to post a couple weeks back.  I was at the farm checking the fruit trees and when I walked up on this raised bed, I saw this... was a branch off the tree that I had trimmed the week before and I guess it had dropped there but I didn't notice it.

Until this day. 

When I thought it was a snake.

And I may or may not have quickly taken a few steps backwards.

I have seen branches, hoses, a piece of a cord, and even twine that has always looked at first glance like a snake and my heart rate speeds up a bit.

Why does everything remind us of snakes?  Human nature? Or just our fear manifesting itself?

Monday, December 28, 2020


We hope everyone had a wonderful season this year, as wonderful as 2020 can let it be.  We stayed inside, in fact we didn't leave the apartment all weekend.  It was wet at the farm and cool so there wasn't much I needed to do.  No watering.  And the stuff on the porch was well watered last weekend and with the cool days and nights we've had, I'm sure it's all still nice and damp.

It was kind of nice to stay in and just relax.

We went outside to see the Jupiter/Saturn event that created  a Christmas star.  We saw this, the brightest star in the night sky at the time.  We weren't 100% sure that was it so I got my starchart app out and held it up to the sky and...

...and yep, sure enough that was it.  At first I couldn't understand why I couldn't read this, then I realized it was the word Saturn on top of the word Jupiter, ha.

For gifts this year, usually we're shopping during the year so we're done well before Christmas but of course, because of our financial situation, we had agreed not to do anything big.  Get each other something useful...

For him, I got these.  Lodge cast iron has a new line of bakeware.  He loves cooking with cast iron and when I saw these I knew he had to have some.  We've recently gotten into making homemade pizzas and he had been wanting either a pizza stone or a pizza steel.  Pizza cast iron pan!  He also makes pies and more often, chicken or turkey pot pies for dinners.  Cast iron pie pan!

They make other cast iron baking items and those might appear for future gifts, ha!  Once we use these, we'll do a review of sorts and let you know how well they worked.  Best thing is he gets to have fun cooking with them and I get the end result.  Win/win!

2nd Man got this for me.  It's the Halo Bolt portable power, jump starter and air compressor.  It will really come in handy at the farm for the Zen Machine.  I've got a big air compressor but it's a pain to use on the few flats I've had and at least twice over the years I've needed to jumpstart the mower.

It will also charge cell phones and other electronic devices.  Since it is small, I can fully charge it and then keep it in the back of my Jeep. If ever needed, I can use it on my car for a dead battery or air in my tires if they were low and I couldn't get to a gas station.

Good choice 2nd Man!

This year I bought another Frick's carver ham.  We discovered carver hams a few years ago and LOVE them.  They are different looking than a large round ham you might see but wow, they are oh so good.  Just a true wonderful ham flavor.

Our Christmas Day dinner was the ham, some garlic roasted broccolini and homemade mac and cheese.  Simple and good.  Of course we had ham in some form for the whole weekend.  Sandwiches Saturday and then ham and eggs on Sunday.  

So we had a good weekend, nice and long, lots of sleep and lots of good food.  Wait, does that make us cats?

Friday, December 25, 2020


Regular blog readers will probably remember this.  This picture was amazingly captured by the trail cam around Christmas in 2017 when we had actual rare snow at the farm.  The odds of two deer coming by at the right moment in the snow, well, it was a great picture to get.  

We thought we'd use it for our Christmas greetings. 

Thank you all for coming by and going on this slow moving journey with us.  We wish you peace and good things for this Christmas season.

We appreciate you!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020


We haven't decorated for Christmas in a while.  My Mom loved Christmas and she got sick around Christmas-time and passed in July of the following year.  So that first Christmas we just couldn't do it.  Then the next Christmas we thought about it but decided not to again.  

Then a year became two and three and we tried again but the pole of the tree broke and so we just gave up.  We exchange presents every year of course but just no tree or lots of other decorating. 

Then we sold the house and moved, less space etc.

Flash forward to three Christmases ago. You all know I find a variety of cool things downstairs that people discard.  The big score was in early 2018 (this would have been just after Christmas 2017).

I saw this large box (this was the back that was facing me).  I thought "well ok, I could be persuaded, let me check this out some more" and I turned it around.

An artificial tree!  


There was another note on the other side that said "We only used this once and are moving overseas, enjoy!"

I got a valet cart, loaded it up and put it downstairs in our storage room.  2018 Christmas came around and we were packing to change apartment units and so I kind of put it out of my head.  Then last year, 2nd Man had just been laid off and there was no Christmas spirit.  This year though, I was determined and I wanted to do it as a surprise for him.  That's why you haven't seen this tree on our "trash to treasure" posts.  He didn't even know we had it.

So one day a few weeks ago while he was at work, I did some decorating.

I filled up our apothecary jars with a few Christmas-y things (there is another one off camera).

A wreath I put on the inside of the front door.

This wreath is from a very sweet coworker who made it for us and we love it.  This hangs on the outside of the door so all the neighbors can see it.

These are artificial poinsettias we have had in storage.  The are huge with velvet leaves.  They look very real but of course they are kitty safe!

Now for what you all what to what did the tree look like once I set it up?  Did it work?


It's almost 9 feet tall.  It came in three sections with the branches folded up.  You put the bottom section in the base, then the middle section slides into the lower and lastly the top.  There is a cord at the bottom I plugged it in and voila, beautiful tree!

But wait, that's not all...if you push the button again...

...the lights change from white to color!

We have a lot of ornaments in storage at the farm from our earlier tree decorating days.  The are glittery and sparkly and so pretty.  But since this would be Hobart's first Christmas with a tree, I wasn't sure how he would react so I put just some simple ball ornaments on.

Oh and the star on top?  It was a find as well in a different year after Christmas!

So Christmas 2021?  Watch out, it's on!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2020


The first part of this is just an update on the rainy weekend.  Scroll down toward the end for the truth in advertising portion of this post.

If you saw the weekend blog post, it was rainy Saturday.  VERY rainy.  I didn't realize just how much until yesterday when I went to the farm to check on things.  We had a little over 4 inches of rain.  There was a LOT of standing water at the farm.

This is where we usually park to be close to the house to carry stuff in or out.  I had to park further away.  Side note, when we have a new driveway put in and get the house taken care of, we're going to have this area filled in more so we can park.  The thing we don't know now is how close this will be to whatever we have done later so we'll have to kind of wait and see what works best at the time that is done.

Look!  A great spot for a small decorative pond, LOL!

OK now here is something we had to get everyone's opinion on:

OK, so I bought this at the grocery store one day.  It looked good.  We love corn and this was a great combination, it looked like lots of corn with some broccoli and red pepper.  Should be delicious and was different than so many other frozen vegetable blends...

...but, um, this is what it looked like out of the bag.  What the heck?  Looks like broccoli with a few corn kernels and some red peppers?  It bears ZERO resemblance to the picture on the bag.  I emailed HEB (the store) and sent photos.  I told them either the picture didn't match the product and they needed a new picture or the product didn't match the picture and they needed to adjust the product amounts so it matched.  In the end it was still good, they always are, but we were hoping for what it looked like on the bag.

They replied that they would send it up the chain to management.  We'll see what happens.

Christmas week is here!

Saturday, December 19, 2020


Well, today has been a washout.  Quite literally.

There is a cold front passing through and when it hits the warm air...

...well this is what we get.  Heavy storms and rain.  We've already had about 2 inches.

This is a view from the balcony downtown.  I went out during a break in the wind and rain.  The sky is still heavy with rain and clouds.  We aren't having bad storms just rain and after it passes through it will be colder and clear.

Needless to say, I didn't go to the farm today.  It will be very wet but I'll still go tomorrow and check on things and maybe do a couple small projects.

Hope you are having a great weekend...

Thursday, December 17, 2020


 On Thursdays, 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!

Since a week from today is Christmas Eve, we figured this was a good time to post this.  Here is something we're giving some serious thought to, mainly because we need to start soon to plan ahead for the future.

We've been researching growing our own Christmas trees.  No, not to have a Christmas tree farm like the latest Hallmark movie (though 2nd Man would love that), but instead to just use ourselves (and maybe some close friends and family) and we think this is a great way to do it.  It's like a flowerbed island as we've posted other times but this one is dedicated to trees that can be grown and cut down for future holiday uses.  You could even stagger the planting times so you don't cut them all down in one season.

Plus, it just looks kinda good.

There are Christmas tree farms here in our neck of the woods so we are researching which ones they grow.                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Be inspired!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020


We're pretty sure everyone has had a broccoli casserole at one point or another.  They were ubiquitous in the 70's and 80's.  The recipe is pretty standard.
Here is the original:

1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp butter
1 pkg frozen chopped broccoli thawed and drained
1 cup minute rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 8oz jar cheez whiz

In the interest of making things a little different, 

Here is our recipe:

1 cup chopped onion and celery total
2 Tbsp butter
4 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 cup rice, cooked
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 15oz jar cheez whiz (melted 30 secs in microwave)

The pics below are ours that we increased the size of for Thanksgiving so we'd have lots of leftovers for the long weekend.  We used 1 1/2 cups chopped onions and celery, 6 cups fresh broccoli, 2 cups of rice (cooked), still 1 can of soup, and then two jars of cheez whiz.

OK so there are three ingredients that are somewhat controversial.  The original recipe uses Minute Rice.  Probably for ease of preparation and that was kinda the thing in the 70's.  2nd Man can cook up a pan of rice in no time and it's always amazing.  If you just do it the night before it's even easier.

Another controversial ingredient is frozen broccoli.  Fresh is so good.  Now in years past, chopping broccoli is a pain.  With today's convenience items, we pick up the bags of ready to go florets.  In this case you can microwave the bag and it cooks right up.

The last ingredient that is definitely controversial is cheez whiz.  Yes, processed cheese in a jar.  Yes, like Velveeta.  We've actually tried making this with cheddar and/or a combination of cheeses.  It's good but it's not AS good, ha.

In a skillet, melt the butter and then sauté the onions and celery.  Have your rice cooked and ready as well.  Remember it's one cup (or two as we used) BEFORE cooking (meaning the cooked amount is a bit more).

The broccoli needs to be cooked a bit, these bags allow it to be cooked in the microwave in the bag.  It worked great.  You can of course steam it or pop in the skillet that the other veggies were in.  Just get it cooked a bit so it's not raw in the casserole.

Then just get a big bowl and mix it all together. The sautéed veggies, the cooked broccoli, rice, soup and cheez whiz.  Mix it well.

Then put it all in a casserole dish. The smaller recipe should fit in an 8x8 casserole dish.  As I mentioned we made a large batch so we used this larger, deeper casserole dish.

Cover with foil and cook for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove the foil and cook for 20 more minutes or until the top starts to brown.  For some reason I forgot to get a picture of it out of the oven.

Here is is on the plate.  Just cheesy and gooey and a great comfort food dish.


Monday, December 14, 2020


Here is something fun.  We wanted this last year but they sell out quickly.  I ordered this one back in September and it was sold out in just a few days*

We are big fans of Bonne Maman jellies and jams.  They are so good and about the closest to homemade that you can buy in the store.

*By the way, we paid for this ourselves, this is not sponsored, we're just fans of their product and wanted to try it out.

It comes in this great sleeved package.  You slide off the outside package (the "exterior" of the house) and then the advent calendar box is decorated as the "inside" of the house with all the rooms.

Just like any advent calendar, you open the little doors, one per day until Christmas and get a sample of a limited edition creation in a small 1 oz jar.  For example, the one above was "pear-mirabelle plum" (delish!)

This was a mango-peach-lime spread (SO good!)

We'll have them with a little butter on some homemade bread (we split one jar between the two of us).

Here's a cherry-elderflower spread.  What a great combination that was.

We've had it on toast too and sometimes we try two jars at once if we get behind.

We miss a few days of eating them on occasion but we do make sure to take one out each day and see what it is.  For example, the ones above are from December 9, 10, 11, 12.

Now I know why advent calendars are fun, ha. 

And hey, bonus gift is at the end of the month I'll have a couple dozen tiny jars for future projects!

When we're all done, I'll post a list of the flavor combinations because to me, they give ideas for future canning adventures.  I mean who would think to put together mango, peach and lime?

Friday, December 11, 2020


Thought these pictures would be interesting for everyone.  As with all picture, click to enlarge.

This is our driveway.  These pictures were taken a few weeks back when it was hot and the grass was dry.

When I took this picture, I was on the mower just at the spot where our driveway starts after coming in from the road on 2nd Family's driveway.  This shows how far down our house is from their house (behind me would their house).

The little white spot is my car parked by our house.  Side note, I need to trim a few trees back before next Spring, they are encroaching on the driveway area!

Now this one is is at the house next to my car so you can see where it is in relation to where I was (by the arrow) when taking the first picture and I said the little white spot was my car.

It's about a quarter mile from from our front porch to the mailbox on the road (it'll be a nice walk to get the mail for now we pick it up on the way out, ha!).  You can see, since we share the first part of the driveway, we're what you would call landlocked.  We own everything on the left side of the arrow all the way to the road so we have room to make a new driveway and connect it to this part.  All it takes is $$, ha.  For now, as long as a member of 2nd Family stays there in their house, we're OK.  We' just have to save back up some money and work on something with the house.

I'll catch up on comments tonight.


Wednesday, December 9, 2020


If you saw Monday's post, you'll see the frost damage to our citrus.  Well two weekends ago, in anticipation of the freeze, we pulled the fruit that was on the trees.

Only the orange and lime produced as the lemon was nibbled on during the Great August Goat Incident so we'll hope for some lemons next year.

Above is the harvest.
Five satsuma oranges and eight limes.

The limes were wonderful.  Tart and very strong lime flavor.  I love lime in my iced tea.  We also used some in a marinade for chicken.

The oranges, well, 2nd Man is crazy for oranges especially these smaller "zipper skin" types.  They were SO good.  Really bright and sweet, just like oranges should be.  

It was nice to have these and gave us a taste (figuratively AND literally, ha) of what it will be like to have them at our disposal.  Now if we can just keep them from freezing in the Winter...