Monday, June 21, 2021

TIME TO ORDER GARLIC FOR FALL PLANTING

In most areas, garlic is planted in the Fall for Spring harvesting.  Of course you have to get the variety that works best for your climate.  There are hardneck and softneck varieties.

OUR PLANTING EXPERIENCE

For us, we get softneck.  Growing garlic is much easier than you think.  You just get your bed ready, poke holes, drop the cloves in, cover it all up, mulch it and then just water occasionally (usually our Winter weather provides enough regular rainwater).  Water in the Spring if no rain and by late May or June, you have garlic ready for drying.  A few years ago, after a couple of earlier not so great attempts, we finally found a variety, the LORZ Italian, that worked great for us.

Garlic drying in the barn

We ended up with a LOT of garlic drying in the barn. 

The thing is, you have to order now (and in the next few weeks) for delivery in the Fall.  By the time we post about planting it in the Fall, it's too late for readers to order so we figured we'd be proactive and let you know now and remind you that if you want to plant garlic, in most places, now is the time to order it.

I put it off one year and by the time I tried to order, they were already out.  Last year with the pandemic I just plain forgot about it and sure enough, sold out!  So this year, 2nd Man has been reminding me to order it and I waited for it to show up and I ordered some.

Here is where we ordered ours from:

GREAT NORTHERN GARLIC

We do not get anything from them and this is not a paid endorsement, this is just us recommending a great company that had a quality product compared to what we had found elsewhere in prior years.

Here is the description from their website:

"Good at tolerating the heat of summer.  Lorz Italian excels in mild winter climates but is suitable for even the furthest north growing regions.  This robust, easy to peel artichoke cultivar imparts bold garlic flavor.  Very large bulbs with a storage life of about 10 months."

We found that to be 100% accurate as they did well for us and we had plenty of cooking garlic for almost a year.  A one pound bag gave us 36 great heads of garlic when we harvested.  There probably were about 48 if we used a bigger bed and we just might try that this fall by using the larger 4x8 raised bed.

Anyway, wherever you order from, now is the time to order garlic for the Fall!


Sunday, June 20, 2021

HOBART SUNDAY WITH CAKE

It's another lazy Sunday.  Hot.  Dry.  
Did we mention hot?

Sleepy Hobart 

Hobart is spending Sundays as he usually does...sleeping...dozing...laying around...occasionally eating...sleeping some more.  Sounds like a good day!

Here he has a pillow cushion to lay on.  And a cushion covered with his favorite blanket.  But he's chosen to sleep half on the floor and half on some packing cardboard that he "adopted".

Pineapple upside down cake

For us to share this weekend, I made a pineapple upside down cake.  It's an indulgent favorite and you can never go wrong with a classic like this.

Hope you are staying cool and safe!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

ANOTHER HOT WEEKEND AHEAD

Off to the farm...on a hot day/hot weekend.

We're under a heat advisory and you may have seen the headlines that Texans are being urged to conserve electricity so the grid doesn't go down like it did during the Winter.  Don't even get us started on the political incompetence that has led to this, sigh.  

The headlines here in Houston are that we dodged a bullet with the tropical disturbance that is making landfall near New Orleans.  We are, of course, on the dry side of the storm and so we won't get any of the 20+ inches of rain they expect on the other side. 

I'm hoping I don't have to mow today, the big project will need to be the edging around the fruit tree beds.  Oh my gosh, it is OUT of control.  Hopefully, I will have before and after pics to share.

Fingers crossed that I get that part done.

Hope you have a great weekend, stay cool if you are someplace hot and for those in the path of the tropical weather, stay safe!


Thursday, June 17, 2021

BUTTERED EGG NODDLES WITH HERBS

Periodically we like to keep it easy and quick and simple.  During the lockdown/quarantine, we had this often.  It couldn't be easier and now we have it often.  

Ingredients for egg noodles and herbs

Egg noodles, butter, and parsley.  In this batch we added some thyme that we had.  Boil the egg noodles, drain (reserve a bit of liquid if needed), add the butter and the herbs to the hot pasta and stir until butter is melted.  Pour in just a bit of the hot water that the noodles were boiled in to make a sauce.

Buttered egg noodles with herbs

Dish it up and serve.  We like the wide egg noddles because they are more substantial in a meal with few ingredients like this.  Buttered noodles have been a thing for years and are a nice side dish or base for something on top but honestly, we just love them as a simple and quick meal.  As an added bonus, the leftovers could be warmed up the next day on the side of something like roasted chicken or meatloaf.

During the lockdown, it was a wonderful way to have a filling meal using very little.  We always have butter in the fridge, the spice cabinet is full of herbs and we had fresh available.  Since I love pasta, I made sure we had every size and shape of pasta and egg noodle stored away in the pantry.



Wednesday, June 16, 2021

THE GARDEN GROWS BUT SOME OF IT TOO MUCH

Here is another weekend harvest...

Another small harvest from our small garden.  The red tomatoes, four cucumbers (with 2 oddly shaped round ones and a forgotten giant), and two asian eggplants.

We're hoping to get more of the cucumbers before this happens to them...


...the rain really set these off and they have grown exponentially.  In addition the ones I was able get in the first picture, there were these four yellow ones (we understand those are bitter) that were overripe and overwatered.  We'll have to see how that levels out over the next few weeks of harvesting.

Monday, June 14, 2021

HOT MOWING AND AN EYE ON THE GULF

It was a hot weekend (see yesterday's post).

2nd Man was experiencing some post vaccine fatigue so I headed out Saturday morning by myself to the farm.


At 2:00pm it was a feels like of 103.  It only got worse.  Yesterday we were close to 110 degree heat index.

The first thing I did was start mowing.  It was a long haul.  There was a lot of starting and stopping for breaks.  The stats below... 


...are not entirely accurate.  It was almost two hours on the mower but was two hours for sure because I forgot to turn on the app for about 10 minutes after I started. The whole process, because of having to stop and get off to unclog something or take a break for some water, was probably closer to about three hours.


This is the driveway...about midway through it.  That area on the side is the low spot and it was dry but slightly muddy.  Probably not enough to get stuck but enough to make me think twice about trying.  I did get a bit closer but not all the way to the fence line.


Here is where we park, last weekend it was underwater, this weekend nice and dry.  But the area of longer grass you can see, I usually mow that but it was also a bit too muddy for comfort, ha.

I did some other things but it just go so hot that I couldn't do much more.  I called it a day about 4:30.


AND NOW...for the not so fun part of living in hurricane country...we have to keep our eye on the Gulf as a tropical depression has formed and the general path is in this direction.  It could come straight this way or it could move more toward Louisiana which of course would put us on the "clean side".

Either way, we need to keep an eye on it because the arrival would be...the weekend.  Sigh.



Sunday, June 13, 2021

HOBART SUNDAY

 It's been a good weekend.  

But hot.

They are warning people to stay inside or be very careful outside.  It's very hot with our "feels like" temps approaching 110 degrees.  We're in for a long, hot Summer, that's for sure.

Here's what Hobart has done all weekend.  Sleep in the nice air-conditioned comfort of home.

We'l be honest though, we've done that today.  I was at the farm all day yesterday (more on that tomorrow).  Today, I thought about going back out but I was just worn out.  It was ALL day in the heat on Saturday and it sapped my energy.  2nd Man had what we believe was a bit of a delayed vaccine reaction and was tired and lethargic all day Friday and yesterday.

He is much better today.

Hope you had a great weekend and are staying cool!


Saturday, June 12, 2021

FINGERS CROSSED

No rain in 8 days...

Sunny and clear...

Temps in the 90's...


It should be a good day to mow and edge and do a hundred other things I need to do at the farm.  However, mowing is number one on my list.  I have GOT to mow or we'll start to lose some of the trails and it will just get harder and harder to cut.

There could be rain next week so this is the window of opportunity!  

Hope you all have a great start to your weekend!

Thursday, June 10, 2021

WE ARE VACCINATED

Well, we did it.

We have been fully vaccinated!

For me, this was a Mt. Everest moment.  You see, I have a terrible fear of needles.  My fear comes from a childhood trauma.  I was bitten by a stray cat when I was about four or five and they couldn't catch the cat so I had to have rabies shots.

20+.

In the stomach.

Over the course of a few weeks.

With 1969 "needle technology".

Ironically, LOVE cats, HATE needles, ha.

(rabies shots are much better now)

Since 2nd Man and I didn't really get out into public situations much, we waited to let more people get their vaccines first but then it became so widely available here, we decided to do it.  Had our first shot back a couple weeks before Memorial Day weekend and then a couple of days ago we got the second dose.

For those afraid of needles, I have to say, I did NOT feel a thing.  Literally the first shot (don't look at it) I was looking away, I felt him rub on the alcohol, I was chatting away talking about my rabies shots experience and whatever else and the guy goes "all done!".  I swear to you if you offered me $100 to tell you the moment he injected me, I would lose that bet.  It was an amazing experience.  I was actually looking forward to the second and same thing this time, though I did consciously try to catch the moment.  I "think" I did know the microsecond moment I might have felt it but again, a wonderful experience. 


I'm happy to report, no reaction with either the first or the second shot, other than a sore muscle in the arm.   I may have had a bit of a low grade fever in the night while I was sleeping, but I didn't take my temperature, woke up feeling fine and went to work just like normal.


We got the Pfizer vaccines.  Other than the sore arms I mentioned, everything was normal for both of us.


We will still wear masks for the foreseeable future when in large gatherings.  Texas has pretty much dropped mandatory masks and most businesses have done that as well.  However, signs saying "masks encouraged" or "masks suggested" (instead of "masks required") are now up and in Houston at least, most people honor that and wear their masks.  But we feel both relieved and empowered now that we "have our shots" (sounds like going to the vet).  It's a weight off our shoulders.

And we know how Hobart feels...ha! 

Monday, June 7, 2021

FLOODED YARD AND GARDEN

This part of Texas started May with a rainfall deficit but during the month, we "officially" received 11.5 inches of rain.  The farm total has been closer to 15 inches.

Thankfully it didn't come all at once but in some ways that might have been better, or at least if it was spread over a few days.  Instead, it rained on and off almost every day for a month which helped prevent major widespread flooding of cars and homes but caused the ground to just become supersaturated.

At the top edge of this photo you can see my car parked and in the middle of the photo is where I usually park the car.  I have already gotten a mower stuck, I was not about to get the car stuck this time, so I parked in the high spot of the yard.

Still, the garden and indeed the whole farm, is just SO wet with water.  It's standing everywhere that there is a low spot, including here in the garden...

The back of the garden is really wet but at least the middle is a little higher (where the veggies are) so there is not as much standing water...


...but at the front, it's really standing.  The weed cloth fabric we have lets water permeate, but we're guessing the ground is too saturated to absorb any more water.  The gate won't even close because the wood is swollen.  I had to use a brick to keep it closed.  Oh and of course weeds are filling a couple of unused beds because I have not been able to get out there to weed them.

The veggies seem to be fine.  We have had the automated watering system off for the entire month of May and it's still producing veggies.  We just used Mother Nature's soaker hose, ha.

Mosquitoes, image courtesy of wikicommons

Of course all of this standing water means MOSQUITOES...clouds of mosquitoes.  I wore my rubber mud boots and shorts, and my knees have bites on them.  I did wear a long sleeve shirt.  They are horrible little things, that's for sure.  


This was the yard last weekend when I tried to mow and it was left a mess...


...but it bounces back nicely.  This was Saturday (notice the sky, rain was coming) but it wasn't too bad.  Of course I couldn't mow so this coming weekend it will be definitely be ready.  BUT THERE IS GOOD NEWS...


Here is the forecast for this week.  WOO HOO!  NO RAIN!  Sure, highs near 90 but they said it would just be hot and sunny all week with no real rain threat.  That means we'll have a week of things drying out.  Hopefully this weekend will be dry and ready for work...I'll have my work cut out for me, that's for sure.


Sunday, June 6, 2021

FLOWERS BEES AND BREAD

Our Vitex bushes are in full bloom and the flying critters love them and wee enjoy watching.  Bees and butterflies (tried to get a few in a picture but they didn't come out).

There are regular honey bees of course but we also love the large bees that frequent the flowers.

This is a carpenter bee...


And this is a bumblebee.  Love the fuzzy nature of these bumblebees.  They look like stuffed animals, ha!

Hope you are having a good weekend.  It's rainy on and off again.  More on that tomorrow.


Yesterday, 2nd Man made some white bread...


...and this morning we had some as toast.  It's always so good, crispy and toasty on the outside and still soft inside.  Toast with a little butter is so good.

It's almost a comfort food. 

As we post this, it's starting to rain again.  Sigh.

Friday, June 4, 2021

AND THE MYSTERY FRUIT IS...

Well, this weekend it was time...

....time to harvest a couple of fruits off our "NOT A PEACH" tree. There are still some on there but we pulled off a couple to sacrifice for the common good!

We pulled off two of them...

This one is still perfect and almost soft and ripe.  We wanted to go ahead and get one that we could eat so we'll leave it on the counter to ripen a bit more.

The other one was overripe and had started to split open and so it was on the verge of going bad.  Perfect chance to see what was on the inside.  

Here it is!  That's a "peach like" pit if we ever saw one.  It also smells like a peach.  There was no "fuzz" on the outside.  We tasted the other one and it's super sweet like a peach on steroids.

This pit + color + no fuzz + smell/taste = nectarine!

Apparently a nectarine is not a cross between a peach and something else, it's just a variation of a peach.  Slightly smaller with no fuzz.  The flavor is much sweeter, hence the part of the name 'nectar' meaning sweet.  Since we lost our peach in the freeze and it will take time to replace it with a producing tree, we're glad we at least have this producing a similar fruit.

Is there such a thing as a nectarine cobbler?  Or can we use nectarines and "say" it's peach?




Wednesday, June 2, 2021

A SMALL GARDEN HARVEST

So here is the weekend harvest...

A garden harvest

Two ripe tomatoes, one green tomato (it fell off in the storm), a few cucumbers and our first three eggplants.  Oh and we cut some bay leaves.  

Not too bad, all things considered.  Sure it's not a lot, but we've always considered the weekend gardening that we are doing as a sort of "proof of concept" for the future.  We're testing what works, what doesn't work, and everything in between.  Which varieties of different vegetables work for us and which don't.

It's also a way to find out things we can do with our harvest, even if only on a small scale.  For example, since we're not overflowing (yet) in cucumbers for canning, we sliced these up and added them to some brine we already had in the fridge.

Anyone have any great uses for the eggplant?  This is the long and slender "Asian" eggplant variety.  We've tried regular eggplants and these (twice each) and these far and away did the best.  One year we were getting six per week.  There are two more on there now, probably ready this coming weekend.

We have used our mayo/parmesan oven fry method but now we're looking for some more ideas on how to use only a few smaller eggplants at a time.

Any suggestions?


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

A MOWING MESS AND BBQ RIBS AND MORE RAIN

Yesterday it was off to the farm and I was able to mow...kind of anyway until it turned into a mess.

I looked at the stats and thought "not so bad" but then I realized how much less I mowed than usual.

Here is why:

Standing water in ALL the low spots...


I did most of the driveway but not the side, there is a natural depression where water drains away toward the road and it was about 4 inches deep with water.


And the water here was too deep to go further than I did.  See the tire ruts?  I almost got stuck here.  I had to push it out.  I had a minor panic attack, ha.
Not gonna do THAT again!


This is the mess I made before I gave up for the day.  Piles of wet grass, deep ruts, un-mowed spots, tall grass in other spots.  It was not very Zen, ha.

I didn't need to water, but I checked on stuff and harvested some things. More on that in upcoming posts.

Since we had to go back to work today, it was best to get back into town to rest for the remainder of the day. I had mentioned that I made two racks of ribs on Sunday.  They are oven baked but...

Oven baked bbq baby back ribs

...they look like they came off the grill but they didn't.  Low and slow for a couple of hours and then 20 minutes at a high temp and 5 minutes under the broiler.  A local grocery store had a "buy one get one" sale before Memorial Day and we figured we could get two days meals out of these.  And we did!

Sunday...

BBQ ribs with coleslaw

...we had them with homemade coleslaw.
It was delicious!

Then on Monday...

BBQ ribs with mac and cheese

...2nd Man made some mac and cheese and we had the other rack with that.  Delicious again!


Now we're back to rain,
ALL. FREAKIN. WEEK.

The forecast is for 5 to 7 inches of rain through Sunday.  At least I mowed what I could but this just means no time to dry out and probably no mowing this weekend.  It's just delaying the mess another week.  Sigh.