Friday, April 30, 2021


Received a text from 2nd Family that said...

"Sooooooo...THIS happened!"


She said Mama has been staying under the house and rarely came out.  Then yesterday she walked out with TEN babies following along behind her.

They have made them a cozy home in their chicken coop (it's covered and protected from predators) so they are safe and getting lots of attention.  She said they are so stinkin' cute she just can't stand it, ha.

Was hoping we'd get to see them this weekend but things are not looking good for our weekend weather.

We'll just have to keep and eye on the sky as the saying goes.  We need the rain, so we're OK with that, as long as we don't get the other nasty stuff.  Stay tuned!

Now, time to go back and look at those adorable babies in the picture and think happy thoughts, ha.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021


Was going to post this yesterday but set the wrong time.  Oops.  So Saturday at the farm was GORGEOUS!

I knew I'd have to mow and I planned ahead for it by ordering the perfect weather, ha.  It was just the perfect temp, not a cloud in the sky and a cool breeze...

I must have had a tailwind because it was a quicker than normal mowing, ha.  I didn't edge but I'll work on that this weekend.  The good thing is there shouldn't be a need to mow this coming weekend because I keep it short this time of year to plan for the heavy Spring rains we sometimes get.  Instead I hope to be working in the garden.  The weeds are creeping in so they need to be pulled and I also need to set up the automated watering timer now that we have our water repaired and turned back on.

Eggplants are growing nicely.  A little slow but I think that later this Spring, they'll get big quickly...

Tomatoes getting bigger every weekend and small tomatoes now starting to appear on both plants...

Pickling cukes are growing nicely and starting to climb the trellis.  Grow babies grow!

And last Friday we posted HERE about the mystery fruit.  I took this picture to show you all it's definitely got peach-y kind of leaves.  You can even see a couple of the fruits in this picture.  We may pull one this weekend (yes even before maturity) just so we can check out the seed/pit, the smell, etc in case we lose them to birds or something like that.  We'll see how it goes.

It was a good weekend last weekend and looking forward to this weekend...if the weather cooperates.

Monday, April 26, 2021


 So...after the great freeze of 2021, we lost the citrus.  There was nothing we could do to save them in this type of cold (single digits) short of moving them inside or onto the porch with some lights nearby.

But of course they were in the ground.

Here was the orange tree.  Brown and brittle all the way down to below ground level.

Lemon tree.  It was not coming back either.

Lime tree, also not coming back.

We waited to see if there was any growth coming but this weekend, I did the scratch test at the base and it was brown and brittle on all three.  There was zero growth coming in.  In  fact, the lime tree just fell over at the base on its own.  They've all been removed.

So that got us to thinking.  The whole point of putting the citrus in now is just like that of the other fruit trees that we have planted; we've done it so that by the time we're living out there, we'll have producing fruit trees to enjoy without waiting years.  The other trees are doing great and are on track to be large and producing.  But hey, we'd also really love to have fresh lemons and limes and even some snacking oranges but until we're there, how do we let the trees grow but be able to care for them in these freezes?  Ideally, MOVING them inside the house or barn or even onto the porch for a night or two with freezing temps would be best.  As one of you suggested, an "orangery" would be an option too as would a greenhouse large enough to move them into when cold weather threatens.  Already doing some research on those. 

Image courtesy of wikicommons

How do we move them if they are in the raised beds?  We don't.  But what if they are in large containers?  Well that could be a game changer.

Heck, there have been many times when we've been in the garden centers and saw citrus trees that hadn't been sold but are covered in fruit, still living in their little 5 gallon black plastic containers.  If we put them in large clay pots (we don't like plastic), we could move them around to protect them and then, in a few years, we could still put them in the ground when we're there to protect them at 2am if necessary.

Of course, if they were producing well in containers we could also just leave them in there.

Now we're looking for the right sized citrus trees at the right price and we'll go ahead and get them (lemon, lime, orange) and just leave them in their garden center containers while we figure out the best larger pots.

A plus for us would be that this will open the three former citrus beds to plantings of other fruit trees or bushes (win/win/win!).  We have almost exhausted our list of fruit varieties that will grow here but there are still a few.  We know we can grow asparagus and herbs and such but we'd like to keep this area behind the house as the fruit/sweet plantings and then use the extra raised beds in the big garden for more veggies, herbs or perennial vegetables such as asparagus.

We've got some ideas and we're working on that part of it fact we have already bought one new tree, stay tuned.

Sunday, April 25, 2021


Lazy Sunday alert!

With a lazy cat named Hobart.  He's moved on from his fuzzy Christmas blanket to a crocheted afghan that we bought once upon a time at a thrift store, just for him to have something special to sleep on...and he does that very well.  Not sure who he learned that from!?

Pork chops, faro and roasted asparagus.  Yum.

Hope you are having a good weekend.  More of an update tomorrow and we'll catch up on replies to the last couple of posts as well.

Friday, April 23, 2021


We asked this a couple seasons back and thought with some new readers and followers, we might ask again.

So a few years ago when we bought our eight fruit trees for the backyard raised bed orchard, we did two each of apple, plum, pear and peach.  Seven of those are what they were supposed to be.  But the two peaches...well one is a peach (was, it died in the freeze) but the other that was supposed to be a peach is this:

We're pretty sure this is not a peach.

There are six or seven on the tree now and they all have this shape.  A couple of years ago, before our fencing, the deer got them before they ripened.  Last year the great goat incident snagged the two that were on the tree.  Hoping this year they make it all the way through and we can taste them.  From everything we can find, we think there is a good chance that these are nectarines.  The leaves and the tree definitely look like peaches but the fruit has no fuzz at all and a slightly different shape during the growing process.

Look familiar?

Wednesday, April 21, 2021


OK, this is one of our new favorite quick meals.  I'm not sure who to give credit to, versions of this recipe have been online for a couple of years at least.  The first time I saw it I think it was a "Tasty" video.  They are all variations on a theme but learn the basic premise and the world is your, um, quesadilla, ha.


8 burrito sized tortillas
4 cups shredded cheese, divided in half
3 to 4 cups cooked shredded chicken
Whatever else you want to add to this

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Bake 20-25 mins, remove top sheet pan 5-10 mins

Sheet pan quesadillas

You're going to start with six flour tortillas.  These are the large "burrito size" tortillas.  You could use regular size but just know you'll need more.  Maybe 10 to cover the bottom and 2 for the top center.  Now in most recipes I've seen, they just put the tortillas on a butter coated sheet pan.  See the end of this post for some more notes about that.  You put six around the edges, letting them hang off because you are going to fold up the excess later, like an origami project.

Sheet pan quesadillas

Put the seventh tortilla in the bottom to cover the empty spot where they all meet.

Chicken, cheese, green chilies

Then just start filling.  It's at this point that really, you can do anything you want.  Start by putting down a layer of shredded cheese, 2 cups.  Any flavor you like.  This is a Mexican blend cheese.  Next I put in some shredded, cooked chicken that we had in the freezer.  The meat from a rotisserie chicken works great for this.

Chicken and spinach quesadillas

We had some leftover baby spinach and a can of green chilies so I scattered that over the chicken.

Quesadillas with spinach and chicken

Whatever filling you use, put the remaining 2 cups of cheese on top, they are quesadillas after all and cheese is the star ingredient.

Next you just fold it up.  In this picture you can probably see the mistake I made.  First put the eighth and final tortilla in the gap in the middle just like you did with the one on the bottom earlier.  Fold over the long sides and then each end.  My mistake was putting the last one on top after folding the other sides in.  I should have put it on top of the filling and THEN folded in the sides.  But as you can see, it still works fine.

Buttered and filled chicken quesadillas

Brush the top of this with melted butter.

Sheet pan cooking

Then put another baking sheet on top of the buttered quesadillas.  You can see that again I put foil and parchment (on the bottom) to keep 2nd Man's pans pristine, ha.

Pressing down quesadillas

Push it down, it's all there, underneath the top sheet pan.  At this point, some people put a weight on top, like a cast iron pan.  I will do this the next time.  You want to do this so they they are compressed together like quesadillas should be and it forces the bottom to get more browned.

Baking sheet pan quesadillas

After about 20 or 25 minutes, the cheese should be gooey and melted and the tortillas starting to brown.  Take the top sheet pan off and bake for about 5 to 10 more minutes at the same temperature or you can switch to broil, watch it, and let it brown for a couple of minutes.  Watch it carefully though, it will happen fast with the flour tortillas exposed to the heat like this.

Cutting sheet pan quesadillas

Slice them up (a pizza cutter works great) and serve!

Sheet pan Quesadillas

Here they are...cheesy and delicious.  We topped ours with some sour cream and guacamole.  Definitely one of our favorites.  It's also so flexible...any type of cheese....add any veggies such as peppers, onions, spinach, mushrooms, olives...add any protein, cooked ground beef, rotisserie chicken, shrimp, turkey, etc...just be sure cheese on the bottom and end with cheese on the top.

Side note from above. Yes I used foil and parchment  but it's not necessary. I only did it to keep the pan clean. See how clean the inside of that pan is? Those sheet pans are about 8 years old. They have roasted chickens, turkeys, sausages, briskets, made countless sheet pan meals, roasted potatoes and even berries.  Yeah...he keeps his stuff clean and I'm not about to mess that up, ha.  This recipe works best on a hot sheet pan with some butter, you'll get the crispy brown spots but this worked too, just a bit more effort.

Monday, April 19, 2021


It was a weird weekend of weather.  A late season cool front came through and it ended up being rainy and cold all weekend.  Sunday was a little better but still cooler than normal for this time of year.

When I got to the farm it was sprinkling and about 52 degrees.  The wind was blowing and made it feel like upper 40's.  I didn't think it would be that cold (yeah I should have checked the weather app) and so I dressed in shorts and t-shirt.  Thankfully we have some warm clothes in the closet at the farm and I was able to change into a nice flannel shirt.  Shorts and long sleeve flannel was a great combination, I'm one of those that has to sleep with one leg under the covers and one out.

When I arrived I found that "R" from 2nd Family had fixed our water pipe!  I was supposed to be there to help and learn but he knew the rain was coming and wanted to make sure it was fixed for us...because he's kind of awesome like that.  And speaking of...

...he saw our hose that runs under the house from the faucet on the front side to the back so I can water the fruit trees and new bushes.  I crawled under there a few years ago to do that.  When he realized that, he put a faucet on the back of the house for us!

See?  Awesome.  

Even though it was sprinkling, with the water back on I gave everything a good, deep, soaking.  While watering I noticed the blueberries are all starting to form.  I guess they like their new homes.  I should get the Nanking cherry bushes in their spots either this weekend or the next.

The garden is growing well, thankfully.  Here are a couple of new developments...

The pickling cucumbers are big enough that their tendrils are now doing what they do best and have started wrapping around the trellis.

And what have we here?  An actual TOMATO!  Dang things happen fast in the garden this time of year.

And finally, 2nd Family brought us a dozen more eggs.  They said their chickens (and ducks) are laying like crazy.  The two large eggs above are duck eggs.  I've heard a rumor that there might be some duck egg pasta in my future...

Hope you had a good weekend!

Sunday, April 18, 2021

HOBART SUNDAY here we are, a cool (some dare say cold) Sunday...and what better way to spend the day than with Hobart...

...wrapped up in his favorite fuzzy blanket.  He's on the chair in the dining room.  We covered him up of course so he'd be nice and warm...

...and he's been asleep for hours like this.  Snug as a bug in a rug!  We keep telling you he's not spoiled.  Nope.  Not at all.  

Hope you are having a good weekend, it's been unusually cool for us and of course rainy and yucky most of the weekend.  More of an update tomorrow.

Friday, April 16, 2021


 After the weekend of bad news we recently had, we did get some great news that we wanted to share!

As many of you read a few months back, 2nd Family is getting divorced.  We hate that but we understand that life happens sometimes.  As sad as we were, we've also been wondering what would happen with their property as they hadn't really decided on what they were going to do or where to go.  We were really thinking that it would be sold and that would make us have to change some of our immediate plans.  Originally "J" and their daughter were going to move out of town and "R" was considering selling the property.

Well, we found out that she and her daughter are going to stay at their property!  They are going to tear down/move their old house and get something new (kind of like what we are considering) and he will live just down the road on a property that borders the back of ours (his family).  So nothing will really change!  We still get them living nearby (no strangers we have to worry about) and we can continue sharing the well and driveway until such time that we get our own done.  That can now move to the "need to do eventually" list instead of the "oh crap we need to do it now" list, ha!

He was thrilled because he said he gets to have his family nearby and can help with issues if anything comes up.  He had been worried about both of them moving out of town to an unfamiliar place.  Their daughter (she's almost 22) is excited and is going to start working on building a large garden and wants to learn about and grow medicinal herbs.  "J" also wants to plant an orchard of fruit trees like we have.

At some point in the future, we might have more food than we can use.  Nothing wrong with that!

Since he will have full access to the property that is behind us (about 100 acres), we've even discussed a gate on the fence for future use of the land with ATV's.  With all of us out there, we're going to stay a "blended family" and all three of them will still be a part of our lives...just as they have been for the last 20+ years...

...and that makes us happy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021


The garden is growing nicely...

The "Early Girl" tomato is putting on blossoms, living up to her name, ha.  The "Better Boy" seems to be just about to bloom as well so he's not far behind.  

Both of the "Pickling Cucumbers" are getting larger.  Can't wait for them to take off and go crazy.  Hopefully in a couple of months we'll be asking for pickle canning recipes that taste great and are easy!

The basil is growing well and so are the eggplants.  I also planted the jalapeño and Thai basil, we'll see how they do over the coming weeks.

We do have one more casualty of the record breaking Winter storm; the peach tree!?  It was in full bloom just before the freeze so of course the blooms were killed but we thought that would be the extent of it.  Alas, it's mostly dead.  The branches are brown and crispy...

...and here is the base.  It is leafing out but as is often the case, when the new growth is coming from below the graft, it will most likely never produce fruit, and this is all from below the graft.  We can't wait a few years to see if this tiny bush will grow into some sort of tree and then see if it will produce fruit.  We'll leave it as is while we're looking for a replacement but then it will be removed and replaced.  This was a "Tropic Beauty" peach tree.  Odd that it didn't make it because they are supposed to be tolerant to below zero, but hey, we'll keep trying.  Might try a different variety this time, still something for our area of course.

You win some and lose some.  We win more than we lose so we'll take that.

Monday, April 12, 2021


OK...let's try this again!

Got the Zen Machine back ($178 later, ugh) after bending a spindle shaft and snapping a drive belt.  In almost ten years of mowing, first time that's happened.  Not sure how, probably a tough branch or thorny one from a mesquite that got caught up in the belt.  At least it's back and THIS time, they cleaned it!

It was a normal time and distance (well maybe a bit longer) but the the weather was cool and breezy and it was a fun time like I enjoy.  I didn't solve all the world's problems but I came close, LOL!

Here's a different angle.  This is at the point of our our driveway meeting up with 2nd Family's driveway.  You can see our barn waaaay down there at the end.  This is still a few acres from the road (which is behind me from the angle I was taking the picture).  

And this was one point during mowing, I rounded a trail and was startled to see a covey of quail!

Texas Quail, image via

There must have been a couple dozen!  They were too quick to get a picture.  In all the years we've had the property we've never seen quail.  Oh sure, with the acreage we have, there are bound to be some since we're not there full time to see them but it was still a nice surprise.  They all flew off of course with the noise of the mower except for one that just ran everywhere.  As I rounded a corner, it would run in front of me, then I'd see it later, running down a trail.

Such beautiful and unique birds.  I know when hunting season opens, people love them but we'll be happy to just let them roam the property.  We need to find out what they like to eat and put something out to keep them around.


All in all, it was a good day, finally, back on the Zen Machine.  Remind me of this though come August when it's a struggle just to get out there in 100+ temps.

Tomorrow an update on the garden and other things growing.