Monday, August 30, 2021


Look a cool down!

Yeah OK so not THAT cool.  The feels like was 107 instead of 110, ha.  But it was a bit overcast and there was a cool(ish) breeze.  I did have to mow, was hoping it wouldn't be too bad and it wasn't terrible but it still needed to be done.

Only an hour and sixteen minutes so not too bad.  A bit less than normal (but I skipped a few areas).  Baby steps to get it back under control.

This time, I mowed with the mower deck down like normal but the blades at 3.5" height.  It worked well.

The driveway is looking much better.

I took a break, watered the fruit trees and then tackled the garden...

I forgot a before but suffice to say it was a mess.  I got everything pulled up and all the grass pulled up, turned the soil and got the cardboard covering it.  I added more bricks after this picture was taken.  This is the 4x8 bed where the two eggplants, the jalapeño and basil were.  I pulled them all up but not before they gifted us with a surprise:

A final harvest!  One nice eggplant and a couple of jalapeños.  One was green and the other was starting to turn reddish so I must have missed that one last week.  Definitely over for this season.

It wasn't too bad and I got a few things accomplished.

But I still didn't fix that gate...

Sunday, August 29, 2021


It was a good day yesterday, update tomorrow.  It was hot but mostly productive.  When I came back into town, 2nd Man had made one of my favorites...

Homemade chicken pot pie

...homemade chicken pot pie!  He makes the crust and then fills it up.  Regular readers know that we always roast extra chickens when we have one in the oven and then take the meat off the bone to vacuum seal and freeze.  Well, that is for moments like this, ha.

He used his Lodge cast iron pie pan that I gave him.  We'll do a review of that soon (hint, it's awesome, ha).  Anyway, the meal was wonderful and the good thing is, it will feed us all weekend.

Hobart the seat stealer

And of course, here we are, another Sunday in the books and that means another day of Hobart lounging around.  He's a seat stealer...when you get up from the couch and go to the other room, more often than not, when you return you'll find your spot occupied.

Do we move him?  Nah, we just sit on the other end so we don't disturb his majesty.

Hope you are having a good weekend!


Saturday, August 28, 2021


 Sorry for our absence the last few days.  Several of you reached out to us via email to make sure all was OK.

We've both just been busy with work and then keeping an eye on the Gulf.  To top it all off, the internet connection kept logging us off at our building.  I can blog from my phone of course but it's a pain.  It is much easier to just wait until I have the laptop connected to the internet.

I mentioned keeping an eye on the Gulf.

A few days ago, there was a chance we'd have a Cat 4 hurricane on our doorstep.  We dodged that bullet and now all the models are converging on Louisiana and Mississippi as Hurricane Ida.  Our thoughts are with everyone there.  If any of our blog friends live in the path of this storm, leave now.  It's going to be a very dangerous storm.

Our forecast here is for the "low 90's" and a chance of rain...we'll take it.

Today for me, it's off to the farm.  Last weekend was mowing only.  Hoping this weekend I can mow quickly since it shouldn't be too tall (just to keep it down) and then finish a raised bed or two.

Oh and fix that darn gate...

Wednesday, August 25, 2021


Nothing better on a weekend than a good pot roast.  Here is a recipe I have just sort of always done.

A variation on a theme:

Pot roast ingredients


3.5 lb beef chuck roast
2 large onions (sliced)
4 (or 5) large carrots (sliced into large coins)
5 cloves of garlic (whole)
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup red wine

Chuck roast

Season the beef with seasoning, salt and pepper of course, I also added some Italian blend seasoning. 

Heating oil in the pan

Heat some oil in a large pan.  The roast is of course going into a slow cooker and so you can skip this step.  However, because the slow cooker won't create that color that adds so much 'flavor' to the end result, I do this step to add the extra level of flavor.

Browning the roast

You're not cooking it here, just browning it.  I flip it and sear on both sides for a couple minutes on medium high heat (I even do the edges for a minute or so).

Brown food tastes good!

Sautéing onions

I missed a photo but after you take the meat out, set it aside for a bit and put the onions in the same pan/oil and sauté.  When they are done, toss in the garlic cloves for a bit of color as well.  Again, this is more just for an extra layer of flavor, you could skip this step.  After the onions have some color on them, put them in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Carrots in the potroast 

On top of the onions, add the carrots and garlic.

Pot roast

Place the browned roast on top of all that.

Bay leaf and red wine

The last two ingredients, a bay leaf and the only liquid (yes the ONLY liquid) the red wine.

Pot roast in the slow cooker

Pour the wine around the carrots and toss in the bay leaf.  Here it is, ready for the lid to go on. 

Put the slow cooker on low and let it go for 8 hours.

Slow cooker pot roast

Oh my.
SO good.  

We know there are pot roasts with potatoes and celery but this one is simple, carrots and onions.  But hey, you could of course add any of those, sometimes we add mushrooms around the meat on top of the carrots.

Monday, August 23, 2021


It was hot when I got to the farm...and I got there about 9:15 am!

I watered the few plants on the porch since it had been two weeks since their last drink, they were still pretty good but definitely happy to have water.

I went into the garden to pull some weeds and it was getting so hot so fast, I decided to tackle the yard...

The grass was tall, it looks nice and green and lush here, and it was, but it was also about halfway up to my knees.  That's a bit too tall.

I hopped on the Zen Machine...

It was a mess.  I tried mowing like normal with the blades at the highest level but it would bog down and stall.  We don't want that happening again so I mowed with the mowing deck lifted all the way up.

It doesn't make for a pretty mow, but it gets the job done for now in these dog days of Summer.

I still need to edge but again, no one around to complain to some Homeowners Association, LOL, so when it cools down, that will happen.

This mesquite branch is about to come down and I need to get up there and cut it down, but not until Fall, that will happen when the weather cools down.  For now I just mowed around it.  It's the end of August.  We don't care what it looks like at this point.

TWO HOURS later I was done.

As we look back at the stats from previous mows on the app, it's the longest one and the least coverage done.

I watered the fruit trees.  That area is a horror show of its own.  You almost can't see the raised beds, it's all grass.  I'll worry about that in cooler weather.

I went to the garden and started pulling weeds from a bed but after an hour or so, I think I got dehydrated because when I was taking a break, I started to feel a bit weird.  I decided to put the mower up since it had cooled down and was cleaning it off and started to feel a bit lightheaded and dizzy.

I checked the weather app, 99 degrees with a "feels like" of 110 degrees.

I decided enough was enough.  We've already said that August is the month of doing the least possible and I tried to do too much.  I'm hoping this coming weekend I can mow again and get it short enough that there won't be much more this season.  No rain in the forecast all week so hopefully no grass growing.

The garden did surprise us with these two final tomatoes.  We'll take it!

Oh and I still didn't fix the gate...

Sunday, August 22, 2021


It's hot.  We may eclipse 100 today.

Today will just be staying in and not overdoing (something I almost did yesterday).

For dinner, we had potato gnocchi sautéed in herbed butter with mushrooms.  There was definitely some good food this weekend.

Why do I feel like, someone is watching me?

Oh yeah.  It's just Hobart.  Who always seems to be keeping an eye on things, ha!

Hope you are having a good weekend!

Saturday, August 21, 2021


Well, after two weeks, it's back to the farm as this posts.  Last weekend I was sick (fully recovered by the way and negative for COVID, yay).

Two weeks (well, maybe three since mowing) so that will have to happen no matter what else...

Need to work in the garden too, clean out a couple more beds, pull up the overdone veggies and I'm bringing more cardboard to cover them up...

And I need to fix the gate...

A hot day but at least no rain.

I'll stay hydrated and in the shade whenever possible.

Hope your weekend is off to a great start!

Thursday, August 19, 2021


   Thursday special!

On Fridays in the past, we have done a "Friday Food Debate" where we tackled some burning questions of the culinary world, ha.  We have expanded it now to other fun and different regional uses of words in addition to food related words. We haven't done one in awhile so for Thursday, we'll bring it back.  We know everyone enjoys it so...

This week, the burning question is:

Recently at work, I was speaking to a customer on the phone and she mentioned the "icebox".  Both of my grandmothers called it that.  Then I was talking a few days later with a friend on the phone and noticed they said "refrigerator" and after I thought about it, I realized I rarely said the whole word.  More often than not, 2nd Man and I both just say "fridge".

So that got me to thinking, what is most common?  Seems like icebox can be more age related and/or up North/Northeast.  I know it's related to how they started, literally a box with a block of ice that cooled things as it melted.  The most common term is the shortened version, fridge.  Heck, there may be other names out there we've never heard of.  I remember a person on a TV show used to say "fidgerator" every single time (not even sure how to spell that).

So what do YOU call this essential kitchen appliance?

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


 When we got to the farm a month or so ago (before the mower incident, ha), we saw these holes in one part of the yard.  I mowed and in this spot I mowed really short because we wanted to figure out what they were.

Our first thought was hoof prints, but we looked closer and they were too deep and random for that.  It seemed to be holes that were dug by some animal... 

We're in Texas so of course feral hogs are a possibility but none have been seen in the area and certainly 2nd Family would have had some damage since feral hogs are crazy destructive.  We're guessing it could be something else common to Texas, an armadillo.

Armadillo, image via

For those unfamiliar with this prehistoric looking animal, they are prolific across the Southern US.  They are harmless but, as you can see in our pictures, if that is what did it, they can mess up yards and flowerbeds.

There haven't been any holes since these.  I was going to put the trail cam in the spot where they were and see if I could catch it but the holes stopped.

Still not sure that's what did it though...

Sunday, August 15, 2021


 Much much better today.  Well, I was way better yesterday and now today I feel like I'm almost back to normal.  2nd Man and Hobart took care of me.

2nd Man made lasagna, because he knew I'd be hungry.  And I was.  And it was so good, ha!  A new recipe, béchamel and meat sauce.  He's still perfecting it, though I think it's pretty perfect, but recipe next time he makes it and I'll get some step by step pictures.

Hobart did his best but apparently, it was all just so exhausting that he had to sleep in the sunshine.

We hope you all had a good weekend!


Still feeling fine but totally forgot to create a post for today.  So, I'm editing this one to include this update and for those who might have missed it, check out Saturday's post.

Saturday, August 14, 2021


Well, I'm sick... sick on Thursday.  Scratchy sore throat, stuffed up nose, sneezing.  I never lost sense of smell or taste but last night I had a fever and chills.  I took medicine/vitamins and slept from 8:30pm last night to 9:00am this morning and today I feel much better.  I wore my mask at home and 2nd Man slept on the couch most of the night.  We also ran the air purifier and sprayed Microban on everything.  So far he's feeling OK.  We also have one those finger monitors that checks your oxygen level and mine rarely dropped below 95.  Pretty sure it wouldn't be COVID this is exactly how I usually get a sinus infection in the Summer.

Remember the carefree days before 2020 when we got sick and thought "oh crap I have a cold" instead of worrying about a deadly pandemic?  I guess we still get colds and we still have allergies and sinus infections from time to time, that hasn't changed.

I checked the forecast this morning and it's hot...

...right now as this posts the "feels like" is 105 at 11:30am.  So, rather than push myself at the farm in this heat, I've decided to stay in town.  I'm trying not to think about the grass and how tall it must be but really I have no choice.  I have to put my health over that and stay in and rest this weekend.

Hope you're having a good weekend!

Friday, August 13, 2021


 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 quite a few cool items over the last few years.

Here is one of the latest!

Found this!  A teak (perhaps?) stool.  We were thinking it was one of those shower stools though most of those have slots in the top so that water flows through and this doesn't.  We also saw some Asian style stools for use either on a patio or indoors as a furniture item.  

This doesn't show signs of ever having water on it.  Not even 100% sure it's teak but whatever it is, it is heavy.

It's got a great design to it.  2nd Man said "what are we going to do with that?  It doesn't match our furniture or style inside."  My immediate thought was a stool in the garden.  I am always looking for something to use that is small and can let me sit beside a raised bed (even in the orchard) and pull weeds or work in the soil.  It's a bit heavy to carry from the garden to the orchard so maybe I'll just leave it in one place.  If it is teak, it will be fine to be outside though I probably need to coat it with something.  

Best of all, this is one of those finds that we can put to use right away...and here it is, being used when I was pulling weeds in the garden.  It's actually pretty comfortable and very sturdy.  Doesn't feel like it will fall apart and it's not rickety.  It worked perfectly!

Someone else was throwing it away, it will have a long life now at the farm.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021


The last harvest from this past weekend...

...things are definitely done for the season.  Our rains were a challenge as we had to turn off the automated watering which caused the garden to get uneven watering.  However, even with those challenges, the few plants and specific varieties we had did well for us.  We got small harvests every weekend and we're ok with it.  Things don't go bad before we can use them and it's fun to just eat something that we grew.

Now it's time to clear out their beds and put them to sleep for the Winter.  Well, maybe for the rest of the Summer, if we decide to do something for Fall.  We're going to have the garlic of course but we might do some collards (those were great the last time we grew them) and then some Napa cabbages (also great).  

Every time we do this, we have a little more data on what works best for us.  

Monday, August 9, 2021


Well, to my surprise, when I got to the farm, there was standing water everywhere.  Turns out a "pop up" line of thunderstorms Friday afternoon/evening dropped almost an inch of rain!  Of course being late in the day/early evening meant it hadn't had time to dry up in the heat of the day.

SO...there was no mowing this weekend.  Sigh.

On to plan B.

Item two on my list of course was the garden.  So I tackled another raised bed that was literally taken over by grass.  The weird thing is the first bed I cleaned out last weekend was no grass and tall weeds while this one was crazy tall grass.  Much harder to pull up.  I took some scissors and after pulling up what I could, I cut them down to soil level.

Here's the pile about halfway through it.
What a mess...

...but when it was done, it looked SO much better.  All I had left to do was turn the soil with the shovel, smoothed it out and then cover it up.

Regular readers know we have an area downstairs in the building where we find cool items but that's not all it's good for.  As a building of several hundred units, there are ALWAYS boxes and packing material of all shapes and sizes available.  Literally, we've been able to find any size box we could ever need.  In this case I needed something that would cover up one of the beds and I snagged this one.  I cut it in half and...

...voila!  It covered it up perfectly.  We always have some bricks laying around and so I covered this bed and called the garden a day as the heat was just getting to be too much... it is when I finished and decided to call it a day.  97 with a feels like of 110.  It didn't help that the sky looked like this...

...and indeed, when I got to the highway to head back into town, it started pouring rain.

At least I got another raised bed cleaned up.  Hopefully next weekend I can knock out two more (the rest aren't nearly as bad as the first two were).  It will also mean pulling up the veggies because they are done (the next post will show our final harvest of the season).

That's Summer in these parts.
Hot.  Humid.  Chance of thunderstorms.

That's why we do as little as possible outside.