Friday, September 24, 2021

PRODUCE CRATE TRASH TO TREASURE

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!

This was sitting with a pile of cardboard boxes and I almost passed it up thinking it was just another cardboard box.  The writing on it caught my eye.  I grabbed it, looked at it and decided it was worthy of saving, ha.  It's a wooden crate, albeit a very thin wood, that held oranges shipped from Spain.

It has great graphics on it with a very retro look to it.  It will be neat to use for storage.  We were thinking of using it in the pantry to hold something...maybe packages of pasta or something similar.

After all, storage doesn't have to be only practical, it can look fun too, right?


Thursday, September 23, 2021

FINALLY FALL

Well yesterday was the first day of Fall...

...and Houston weather did not disappoint!

We got down into the mid 50's overnight!  Welcome to Houston, Fall 2021!  Best of all, there is almost no humidity.  It should be a great weekend this weekend.  A little on the warm side during the day but still about 15 degrees below where it was just a week ago and without the humidity, for us who are used to it, it will feel like 60's, ha.

It will be a good weekend for yard work again.  Of course it is Houston, we could be back up to a 100 in a week, so we make the most of these days while we can.

We hope your Autumn is off to a cool start.

So long Summer 2021...

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

NO NO NO NO NO

When I got to the farm, I walked into the kitchen as usual.  The light switches are there above the trashcan.


I looked ahead of where I was walking and I saw that spot on the floor in the living room (see it there?).  I thought to myself, "dang it, I must have tracked in grass the last time I was in".

I flicked on the light switches...


A SNAKESKIN...about 3 feet long.

OH. HELL. NO.

Here's actual video of my reaction:


I got out of there and back to the porch to collect my thoughts and calm down my heart rate.

Not a mouse this time, not a mouse in the house...

What could it be and where could it be this thing in the house that is not a mouse?

Could it be in a closet for us to see?
Or in a cabinet to hide and be?
Under the bed to crawl on our head or
under the couch to be a big ouch?

It's a snake!  It's a snake!  It was not a mouse in the house!  It was a snake inside, run run away far outside.


OK, so I'm no Dr. Seuss...at that point I really had ZERO interest in figuring out where it was.  It was hot, my heart was racing, and so I just spent the rest of the time outside doing what I needed to do.

2nd Man suggested a for sale sign but we'll get through having a snake in the house.  It's not the first time, it won't be the last.  We hope it leaves the way it came in.

It's a snake!  Grab the rake, grab the rake and take care of the snake.

Monday, September 20, 2021

LAST HOT WEEKEND

It was hot again...


When I decided to wrap things up, it was 95 with a feels like of 103.  Fortunately, I was able to skip mowing as it just didn't need it and in this heat that was OK...


Here is a picture of what it looked like.  Not much change since last weekend with no rain.  Even the hoped for wind hadn't blow away much of the grass clippings, though I guess some of it did.


The driveway grass was still short so there was no need to mow that either.  With mowing off the table, for now, I thought about doing some edging but really, the cool weather is coming, it can wait.  I watered the things on the porch, watered the fruit trees, and did some weeding in the garden.  It was still hot and humid to the point that I could only work in short time frames so I could cool down between them.

About 2:30, I decided to call it a day.


Lows in the 50's by the end of the week.  With the first day of Autumn coming midweek, we're getting there.

If it's as pretty as we hope it might be this weekend (the low humidity makes ALL the difference in the world), it will be a good time to finally start getting everything back on track in the yard and garden.

Come back tomorrow to see what I found inside the house...

Sunday, September 19, 2021

GOOD FOOD AND HOBART SUNDAY

 Sometimes, simple is best...


2nd Man made his stovetop mac and cheese and we fried up some slices of ham.  It's so good and always such good comfort food...


And of course it's Sunday and we know what that means, Hobart! But shhh, don't disturb him, he's busy meditating and contemplating the meaning of life, or maybe just sleeping in the sunshine after breakfast.  

Either way, he's the king of the house today.

Hope you all have had a great weekend!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

OFF TO THE FARM

As usual, heading to the farm today.  Unlike last weekend, no prep for an impending hurricane.  I do need to check on things of course.  "J" from 2nd Family said that it barely rained out there Mon/Tues and since then nothing, but she said the wind gusts were pretty strong.  I need to make sure trees are OK and that the cardboard stayed on the raised beds.

If I'm lucky, no mowing.  Of course, even if it looks like I could, I may just put it off because next weekend, we may get our first cool weather of the Fall!  We shall see.

Until then, today it's supposed to get up to 90.  

I'm stopping on the way out to get wasp spray (they are taking over the porch), trimmer line for the weedeater (to get ready for the cool weather), and some bags of soil to start getting the garden beds ready for planting garlic (under the cardboard coverings).

If it's oppressively hot, I may also just water and come back into town.  Then I'll be saving my energy and time for next weekend and what is shaping up to be a perfect weather event (for us anyway, ha).

Hope your weekend is off to a great start!


Thursday, September 16, 2021

HURRICANE NICHOLAS OUR VIEW

 So you all know me, the storm watcher from way back.  I went out onto the balcony to watch it many times and took some pictures to share...


BEFORE:
This was the night before the storm...what's the old saying?  Red sky at night?  Does orange count?  It was actually very beautiful.


DURING:
Definitely dark and ominous.  The wind really started to pick up quickly and the rains came.


DAYTIME AFTER:
This was Tuesday afternoon as the center of circulation passed over Houston.  It was a gray, rainy, windy day.  It stayed like this until nightfall.


NIGHTTIME AFTER:
The skies cleared, the moon came out and things went back to normal.  Mother Nature is pretty amazing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

HURRICANE NICHOLAS

Nicholas became a hurricane before making landfall just South of us about 1am this morning...


Lots of rain and some flooding to the South of us.  The good news is there was almost NO rain at the farm!  Houston metro did not have any major flooding either, all the bayous and streams stayed in their banks.

There were strong winds however, here in downtown we had gusts over 65mph.


As a result, there are some trees downed, I took this picture near the building, streetlights are out, and there is some debris (mostly tree limbs) on the roads.

Unfortunately, there are also WIDESPREAD power outages all across Houston...


...this is the power outage map of the Houston metro area.  There are about 500,000 people without power right now and they are saying this could be a multi-day event.  We only have sporadic internet here at the apartment but at least we have power.

For the most part, we were lucky.

Monday, September 13, 2021

YARD WORK BEFORE THE STORM

So I went to the farm on Friday to get a few things done before the weather starts going downhill.


I was hoping I wouldn't have to mow but seeing the forecast with (now) tropical storm Nicholas headed this way, my thinking was that it will possibly be too wet this coming weekend.  So I mowed.  It's looking better though the clippings from previous mows are scattered about.  That's OK, once the wind comes this weekend, it will be cleaned up by nature, ha.

Still need to edge (as evidence by the mess around the buildings in the above picture).


It was a little less than a regular mow because I did skip a few areas.  There is just so much to do, I'm going to wait for the cooler weather to come so I can spend a longer time on the mower.


I finally tackled the area around the trees, got it all knocked down and all that's left is some hand cutting of some stuff growing around the bottoms of the trees.

My other goal of course was the garden.  There were two beds left to clean up...


Here is the worst one.  I got all the grass pulled up, the soil turned and...


...covered it all up with cardboard.  Phew.  Grass laying around that I had pulled up but again, nature will take care of that.  I did go back before I left and put more bricks and rocks on all of the cardboard.

I feel like I got what I needed to get done, done.  Except that gate, ha!

And now we wait for the rain...as this posts, it's raining.


New forecast is for some areas to have 15 to 20 inches of rain!  Houston could have 6 to 10 inches.  Of course, rain just doesn't stop because the "line" says it will.

If this is spread over a few days, we'll be OK, it will drain away as it's supposed to...we shall see.


Sunday, September 12, 2021

GOOD FOOD AND HOBART SUNDAY AND NICHOLAS

Several of you mentioned that 2nd Man would probably have some good food waiting for me when I got back into town on Friday...


...and he did not disappoint, ha!  He fried up some chicken tenders, made some mashed potatoes with homemade gravy and lest you all worry about us having vegetables, there was an awesome salad on the side too, ha.  It was all so wonderful...as usual.

It's funny, we were talking the other night and realized we haven't been to a restaurant in well over a year, but then when we see these pictures and look back at our meals, I don't think we're missing out on anything, ha.


And here is Hobart of course!  One night he was laying on the arm of the couch as he kept an eye on things.

Or maybe it was just that I was in the kitchen, it was close to feeding time and he was keeping an eye on ME!


And here we go...Tropical Storm Nicholas is on the way. It shouldn't make it to a hurricane so that's good and this probably won't be a big wind event but the big worry, as usual, is rainfall.  They say anywhere from 4 to 12+ inches of rain.  If it's spread over a couple of days, that's OK, we can handle that.  I'm guessing no mowing NEXT weekend!


Saturday, September 11, 2021

TROPICAL TROUBLE HEADED OUR WAY

 Well, here we go again...

...there is an area of disturbed weather moving in this general direction.  They are not sure if it will become a named storm yet.  Even if it doesn't, it will pull rain into our area as we'll be on the "dirty side".  In fact that eye goes right over the farm in this forecast.

They don't think it will be terrible flooding like we've had with Harvey or Ike or Allison, but notice the "plus" sign on this map...I think that's their way, if we have major flooding, of being able to say "well we said it could be even more than our forecast", ha.


And of course, on this 20th Anniversary of the terrible events of 9/11, we remember...

Friday, September 10, 2021

OFF TO THE FARM

 WHAT?

On a Friday?

During the work week?

Since we had a three day weekend last weekend, I thought I'd take this Friday off and have two in a row.  Plus a three day work week!

Side note, I REALLY like three day weekends, ha.

2nd Man has to work, so I'll head out this morning and get my yard work stuff done today instead of Saturday. Then I can come back into town and relax the rest of the weekend (Sunday is supposed to be rainy).  My goal today is the garden.  I want to finish that up, pull the weeds and then get the rest of the beds covered with cardboard.  We want to plant a few things for Fall, plus we'll have our garlic to plant as well so if I can get the beds ready for fresh soil and compost, that will speed up the process of getting the Fall garden planted.

We shall see!

I'll check in later, hope you all have a great day!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

WHO KNEW IT WOULD BE SO GOOD

So 2nd Man made some flour tortillas and sent me to the farm with a couple for a snack after mowing...

Flour tortilla

When I was done mowing and sitting on the porch with a glass of iced tea, I put the ziplock bag with them on the porch railing.  I left it there for a bit in the sunshine.  The bag puffed up and when I opened it, they were hot like you just took them off the stovetop.  It's kind of neat to see that.  This makes us think it might be fun to experiment with a solar oven someday, we certainly have the heat for it!

I ate the first one with some butter and of course it was wonderful.  Then I remembered that when I was mowing, I saw a ripe fig on the little fig bush we have.

Fresh fig

I pulled it off and sliced it up...

Figs in a flour tortilla

...and I put it in on the other tortilla and rolled it up.  Oh my, it was so good.  The slightly salty nature of the tortilla and the delicate sweetness of the fig was a brilliant combination.  We might have to explore that further with future fig recipes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR

Well, the hottest day so far anyway, and of course, I was out in it...


Notice the time.  It was 11:41am and it was 99 degrees with a "feels like" heat index of 115 degrees!

Phew...


I mowed only what I had to mow...as you can see above, shorter time than average.  It was just getting too hot too quickly so I finished up, watered the fruit trees and things on the porch and that was it.  Time to get back to where it was cool.  It was just getting too dangerously hot...


...but not too hot for these deer!  Here's a surprise catch.  The night vision on the trail cam picked up this group last week.  We know of course there are deer (and quite a few) around all the time and the fruit trees are, knock on wood, fine, so the fishing line fencing seems to be working as we hoped. I do need to take it down later this Fall to be able to mow in there (it's a nightmare right now) but I suppose once the leaves have fallen, the trees will be safe for a couple weekends until I get it all cleaned up and restrung.


And just for good measure, here's a golden orb weaver spider.  This time of year they are all over the place, doing their thing, eating other bugs.  We try to leave them alone, they are harmless, but occasionally they build their webs in the most inconvenient places...like across top step of the porch, ha.

Here's to cooler weather soon, we can only hope!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

GOOD FOOD AND HOBART SUNDAY

It's a long weekend with Labor Day, but we can still have a good food and Hobart Sunday.

Steak dinner

When I got back from the farm yesterday, 2nd Man had this waiting for us.  Steak, duck fat roasted French fries and broccolini, one of our favorite meals.  Oh and a couple of glasses of wine of course. 

It was a good end to a REALLY hot day.

Hobart sleeping in bed

Then this morning when we got up, Hobart just took over one side of the bed and the pillow and there he sleeps, even now as this posts.   Oh well, I guess we can't make the bed today!  Thank you Hobart!

Hope you all are having a good weekend!


Friday, September 3, 2021

BITS AND PIECES PART 3

 Here's another still life moment from the desk at the farm.  A few months ago, we posteHERE and HERE about items we have on the desk at the farm. It's a scattering of things connected to our lives in some way.

Everyone seemed to enjoy it so here are some more:


Four items here in this closeup...

Small wooden box - given to me by a friend who passed away.  She put a wax seal in it for a character we were going to write about someday.  We never got to write about it as she passed unexpectedly.

Glass and brass jar - nope, not for candy it was where my Dad kept his pipe tobacco.  It's an antique (I need to polish that brass lid) heavy thick glass.

Chinese soldier - for a while here in the Houston area, there was an outdoor Chinese culture/history museum that had a 1/3 scale replica of the Chinese archeological site called "Forbidden City".  It was popular with tourists until it closed in 2011.  2nd Man and I went and we bought this in the gift shop.  It just always looked kind of neat and since we'll probably never travel to China, we'll bring a bit of it to the farm, ha.  

Transistor radio - OK this looks vintage but it's retro reproduction of an old transistor radio.  It does work great though, has a long antenna that pulls out and hey, it never hurts to have an AM/FM battery operated radio in Hurricane country.

Bits and piece of lives lived...

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

SNAKE TRACKS

Saw this at the farm when the grass was tall. I was walking to the mower shed and I saw these.  At first, I thought "hmm, that's weird..."


It almost looked like where a hose had been laying but this is the front yard and no hose there...


Then I saw another one nearby that was another kind of s-shape.  Again, I was thinking of what it could be...maybe rainwater runoff?  That would be weird though to be so narrow...

Then it hit me, SNAKE TRACKS!  They looked exactly like where a snake would slither through the tall grass or stop to warm up in the sun.  Because the grass was so high, it displaced it just like our footprints do.  It gave me goosebumps but I kept an eye out and went on to the shed.  I figured once I was on the mower, that would scare them off.  

Never saw one the entire time but all I could think was "there is one somewhere here...watching me from a distance..."


We keep a machete hanging in the mudroom next to the broom and mop.  Hey, don't judge, LOL.  I'll make sure to carry that with me in any long grassy areas.

The flashlight would be good at night, but let's be honest, there is no way I'd be roaming around in tall grass in the middle of the night.

NOPE...