Saturday, May 30, 2020


Male and female cardinals (click to enlarge)
Off to the farm.  

2nd Family said we got about 4 inches of rain so the ground will be too wet to mow but the hope is wet enough to easily get the posts in the ground around the fruit tree area.

Took the picture above last weekend.  After I mow the birds go crazy all over the yard.  I guess seeds and bugs are upturned and they have an all you can eat buffet.  That's when I saw these two cardinals looking around for some good eats, ha.  

Stay safe this weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2020


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!

Image via
Regular readers know that we love a split rail fence.  We've posted some pictures before with them and this idea is nice.  It's sort of a way to define an area or perhaps create an area to direct people walking toward a certain area.  We have our small wooded area I cleared a few years ago and something like this could go there just as in the photo above. 

Really, anywhere on the property as we clear new areas in the future something like this could work to help "direct the flow of traffic", ha.  Plus there are places to plant flowers and bushes and that always works for me!

Be inspired!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


It was a good weekend.  

The weather however was all over the place.  

Well, one place it stayed was hot.  This was Saturday afternoon at the farm, it was 91 but of course down here in these parts we have high humidity so it makes the 'feels like' way hotter.  So we had temps feeling like 100 degrees.

Saturday I got to the farm early and started mowing.

I hopped on my second favorite vehicle, the John Deere mower aka the Zen Machine...

I checked my last mowing stats and without even looking at the time once during my mowing, I was within 2 minutes of the last time (it was 1 hr 27 mins last time).  I was also fast on this round, I guess the grass was not as thick.

I rounded a corner on a trail (ON the mower) and I saw a brown pile.  I wasn't sure what it was until it straightened out and started moving.  My heart skipped a beat or two but then it slithered into the brush and I mowed on by.  Needless to say, I decided that path was mowed enough and I didn't go down that path again.

But when it was done it's always nice and neat.

I had some watchers on this trip.  I walked over and got some good closeups, I'll share those in a future post.  They were totally adorable!

After that I worked in the garden.  I pulled weeds, made sure the watering was going OK.  Nothing to harvest yet, tomatoes still green and squash still small, so I cleaned things up as best as possible in the heat and then went on to the next project.

The next thing I worked on was the orchard area.  I edged around the fruit tree beds and then weeded inside them, pulling grass and weeds.  After I finished that, I used the mower to go around them and clean up the debris (should have done that first but I wanted to get on the mower during the cooler part of the day).  The entire plan was to put up the deer fencing as well but I ran into two problems.  One the ground was REALLY hard.  I had already figured if that was an issue, I was going to borrow 2nd Family's fence post driver.  I called them to see if I could but it turns out they had loaned it out to a coworker and it hadn't been returned yet.  Oops.  Next I thought maybe I could try with a mallet but before I got to that it was time to take a moment and relax on the porch and water the plants there.

You can click HERE to see how that ended, ha.

It was already almost 4pm and storms were heading in from the West.  Sure enough, they arrived about 7pm.  Rain, lightning.  Then Sunday it rained on and off.  And yesterday it rained a bit.  And this morning another line of strong storms came through.  

Thankfully no flooding but maybe the ground will be softer this weekend, ha. 

Apologies for missing posting yesterday.  It was a day of rest.  My leg was sore all day (see post linked to above) and so we both just relaxed.

Thank you to all who served and remembering those gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Sunday, May 24, 2020


It was a beautiful day at the farm yesterday...I got some things done (more on that in another post)...and then disaster...OK so maybe not an actual disaster but it did put a damper on the afternoon.

I was watering the plants on the porch.  I have another, larger watering can that I use since it holds more water.  I filled, it and then came here to water the pineapples (you can see the leaves in the photo above).  Obviously to reach them I had to stand over this smaller watering can.

So I did.  

Do you see what's there inside the top?

Yep, here they are.  Back on the nest resting after stinging me FOUR times on my leg.

Yes I was standing over this, shorts on of course since it was hot.  I guess I bumped it with my foot and out they flew.  I don't know if it was one wasp four times or four wasps once each (or maybe two twice...oh wait I can't go down that math tunnel, ha).

Those suckers hurt.

One on the back of the calf.
One behind the knee.
Two on upper thigh.

I guess I can be grateful I got away quick enough before they made it higher up, LOL!

The pain was sharp for a few minutes then subsided.  I rested a bit and then it started coming back.  It's a weird pain kind of like a splinter.  Then it went away once more and came back as an inflammation where it feels like it's stretching the skin.

I decided to call it a day.

But not before I killed them...all of them.

This morning it is puffy...I put some Benadryl cream on the spots to help.

Hope you are having a good weekend.  Today is rainy.  And tomorrow is supposed to be as well.

Friday, May 22, 2020


Regular readers know that I have a favorite place to look for bargains...our downstairs trash area!  Our building has trash chutes on every floor and they feed into a separate room, but for boxes and other things that people can't put in the chute, there is an area (indoor) near the loading dock where people can put the things they don't want.  

I've found several cool items over the last couple of years.  Here is one of the latest!*


Found these two baskets.  There is a restaurant in our building and we're guessing that these are produce baskets.  One had a sticker that said "mushrooms" the other said "tomatoes".

There are little tabs/posts on the top and bottom and that allows them to lock together for stacking. 

Or they can be used separately.

We're not sure how we'll end up using them.  I'm sure they will someday be great for produce from the garden but for now they are in the barn/workshop.  I'll use them to store smaller or unwieldy things on the shelves.

The long weekend is almost here, hoping weather cooperates as I need to mow and edge and get some deer deterrent fencing up.  Our forecast for next week has rain almost every day.

Thursday, May 21, 2020


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!

image via (canada)
OK this OBVIOUSLY isn't our house, ha.  But we just love a creative spot like this.  For 2nd Man a creative spot is anywhere in the kitchen.  For me, something like this would fuel inspiration for anything creative.  Writing, art (as in this picture), etc.  Just sitting there with a peaceful view, windows open (on a cool day of course) would inspired just about anyone.  Surround yourself with beauty...nothing wrong there.

This does make us realize that putting a desk up against a window like this could be a great thing.  Don't sit there and look at a wall.  Look at something beautiful.  Paying bills might not be as stressful, ha!

Be inspired!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020


 Every few days, we are going to post some food/meals we are eating.  Usually there will be no recipe, what we want to post is just a reminder that simple is good, simple is comfort and during these times, we can all use a little (or a lot) of that.

Alfredo beef stroganoff
Here's one we just stood and looked in the pantry and said "hey, here's an idea!", ha.  It's a beef stroganoff made with Alfredo sauce.  Sure you can make beef stroganoff from scratch and we have done that many times but these days it's easier to do it this way.  Less fuss and 2nd Man gets a break, ha.

During pre-pandemic shopping, we mentioned in a post that I had bought a dozen or so jars of prepared sauces.  This time it's an Alfredo sauce from Kroger and we like it.  Their Simple Truth line is all organic and all regular ingredients with no additives and such.  Along with all the pasta that I stocked us up with, I also bought several bags of egg noodles and here we used some extra broad egg noodles.

A pound of ground beef is the only other major ingredient.  Brown in a skillet, drain and if you wanted to add any seasonings, you can do that now. 2nd Man added a bit of onion powder.

Pour the sauce into the cooked meat and heat it all to a low simmer.

Boil the egg noodles according to package directions.

Drain the noodles, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.  Add the noodles to the simmering beef Alfredo mixture and then thin it with reserved pasta water to your desired consistency.  That's it.  

Dish it up, add a dollop of sour cream on top for that stroganoff touch, sprinkle with some dried parsley and enjoy.  It is super easy, very filling, and most importantly, satisfying.

Monday, May 18, 2020


It might have been a rainy, wet day but I still went to the farm to check on things.  Plus it gets me (us when we both go) out of quarantine for a bit.

With all the rain, the garden and orchard got a nice boost of water and they are doing great.

Here are some pictures of how things are going.  

First up the vegetables:

Green bell pepper plant
Pepper plants all have blooms and even some small buds on them.

Heirloom straight neck squash
Squash blossoms!  We see some little squash on there too, pinky finger size right now so should be a few more weeks and we'll be having a squash casserole.  This one plant is well on its way to filling up the raised bed that it is in and we're OK with that...more squash casseroles, ha. 

Celebrity tomato
And look!  Two tomatoes (this is on the celebrity tomato plant).

Rutgers tomato
And another tomato on the Rutgers tomato plant. Plenty of blooms starting to appear as well.  Fingers crossed!

This is the basil...not doing well for some reason and we're not sure why.  We usually grow monster basil.  In fact it has always taken over the entire 4x4 bed by the end of the season so this year we just planted one in the middle.  Maybe it's lonely, ha, but for now I'll blame our screwy weather.  This is actually looking better than last week so maybe it's finally on a growth spurt.  Come on basil, we need some pesto!

Now on to the fruit trees:

Persian lime
Person lime tree.  Blooms all over and even a few tiny limes making their first appearances!

Meyer lemon
Meyer lemon tree.  Same thing, blooms all over and a few tiny lemons appearing.

Owari satsuma
And here is the Owari satsuma orange tree.  It's got about ten fruits on it all about the size of large marbles.

Anna apple
And what do we have here?  An Anna apple.  But not just one there are about eight on the tree and I might have missed a couple hiding in the leaves!

And look!  A peach!  OK so we may only get one but so far it's a pretty peach.  This is on a peach tree we thought wouldn't make it but it's finally bearing fruit and that's OK.  We posted once that this tree was on the "replacement" shortlist and now we've got one perfect looking peach.  It's gotten a reprieve for now.  

Bruce plum
And lastly, here are some plums!  There are about half a dozen on this tree in various stages of ripening.  Since they apparently ripen at different rates, I need to see how to know when to pull them.

So that's it, so far so good.  

This coming weekend (weather permitting) will be mowing and edging but also on the list is a simple deer deterring fence (albeit simple) to go around the fruit tree area.  A reader sent us a video link to the idea and people swear by it.  We'll see how that goes and of course details and photos when I do it.

Hope you had a good weekend!

Saturday, May 16, 2020


We've had rain.  Quite a bit.

Thankfully, no flooding but according to 2nd Family, we had about 3" at the farm.  Lots of standing water out there today.

Now the stats above are from LAST weekend when I mowed.  I always like to have these posted so I can quickly go back and look at stats later on while I'm checking the blog.  Last Saturday was evidenced by this before and after. 

Above is last Saturday when I mowed...

...and today.  I'm glad this was the "off week" on mowing.  That means with all the water that has fallen from the sky the last couple of days, next weekend the grass will definitely be ready to be mowed.  And edged.  And probably raked, ha.  No, who am I kidding, we never rake.

Hope you are having a good weekend.  We are expecting more rain later today.

Friday, May 15, 2020


Well a few days ago we had the Blue Angels flying over Houston (CLICK HERE) and last Sunday we had a vintage plane flyover.

They flew 120 miles crisscrossing the Houston area.  We are downtown (#3 on the map) and so they flew by the building.  It was a little high up and some buildings blocked them from our view but with the camera and telephoto lens I was able to get some good pictures that we can share with you.

(as always click pics to enlarge)

We'll admit, we don't know all the plane types but they are still fun to see.

They flew over in groups...

...and singly.

And three at a time...


...just so neat to see in downtown.

It's fun seeing them still flying today, all these years later.

The best part to us is the sound they all make. It's a distinctive buzzing sound that you don't hear today. As they flew around downtown, the echo was amazing. We can only imagine that in WWII that sound let you know what was coming...good or bad.

Hope you had a good week.  We are still in quarantine lockdown but next week things start reopening.  We'll see.  We wear masks if we have to go out now and we'll continue that next week.

Thursday, May 14, 2020


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!

Well pump decoration image via
I'm telling you, these things haunt me when I'm idea searching, ha!  Here is another old style well water pump and it's combined with a partial split rail fence (another fave) to make a sort of decorative spot in the yard.  We even like the white color as most we have posted have been red or black (though blue might be nice too).  There is a spot in the yard that once we do something with the house, I think something like this would make the perfect area to visually"define" a corner.  We 

By the way this is the post that went up at the wrong time last Thursday with no text. So if it looks familiar that's why.  It was only up for a hour or so before I caught it but if you commented those went away so comment again, ha.  

Be inspired!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020


We had some flaxseed and wheat bran in our baking pantry and 2nd Man said, "how about some bran muffins?"  Who am I to say no to fresh baked goods, ha!

There was a reference on the package to a recipe on the website so that's what he used.  We thought we'd share and show you the results.


  • 1-1/2 cups wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (our substitution instead of raisins)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup brown flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup unbleached white all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt


1. Preheat oven to 400°. Grease muffin tins or prepare with baking cups.

2. Cream shortening, brown sugar, and eggs. Add molasses and beat together well. Add milk, then bran. Set aside.

3. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Add nuts and flaxseed. 

4. Mix liquid mixture with dry mixture until completely moistened. 

5. Fill prepared muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 15- 20 minutes.

The Red Mill recipe called for raisins but 2nd Man is not a fan of them so he swapped them out for chopped walnuts.  They bake up nicely though 2nd Man wished they rose just a bit more.

...they are moist inside and have a good dense and rich texture.

...and of course spread with some butter on them they are even more wonderful.

It was a great way to use up some of our quarantine ingredients.