Wednesday, June 29, 2022


Believe it or not, I did mow a little bit this past weekend.  There was just enough green in some places that we figured if we get the rain they say we might, it would keep it all the same level and give me a good starting point for the first mow after the rain, ha.

The whole yard is mostly a beige color, but it was still a good mow.  There was a bit of a breeze early in the day and so it was actually not too bad but of course, that didn't last long, it got hot.

I didn't mow everything of course, just where it needed.  It was only 30 minutes but that took care of the front and back yard spots and the driveway.    

No, these aren't the beginnings of crop circles and it's not me with a libation other than iced tea, ha.  It's just the mower leaving tracks on the dry grass while I'm riding around trying to hit the green spots.

At almost 6pm at the farm, it was still 101 and had a feels like of 109.

There is a tropical disturbance brewing the Gulf and while it won't become a big wind making storm and no flooding (shouldn't anyway), they say we might have some much needed rain.  We are on weather watch and hoping for some good rains.  The ground is too dry and we definitely need the rain for the grass, the trees, and of course, the aquifer deep below our feet.

Monday, June 27, 2022


So about 9 years ago, after we bought the property, we had the idea at the time (not so good later) to just put our fruit trees randomly around the property.  It didn't really work as we had hoped, having to manually carry water to each one was just too difficult and care for them being so far apart from each other.  One by one they died as we focused on the area behind the house where we have all of our fruit trees now.

But one survived, a "Kieffer" pear.
Here it is right after we planted it:

Kieffer pear tree
It was maybe 4 feet tall at the time.  When we started the orchard area we just left this one alone.  It has never been watered or fertilized.

It just sort of grew...

Pear tree in bloom
...and grew.

This was earlier this year.  It's about 20 feet tall and has only been watered by Mother Nature.  We noticed it was covered in blossoms and we thought "oh that's so pretty".  We didn't give it much more thought until recently when we saw this:

Loaded pear tree
It is COVERED in pears and we do mean covered...

Pears on tree is a close up of one section.  I stopped counting at 50!  Not sure how many we'll lose to birds as the tree is too tall to cover, but hopefully we'll have a bountiful (if not unexpected) harvest of pears.

No worries about our drought conditions, we are bringing it water, more in an upcoming post.

We've read up on this variety and in early Summer we are supposed to thin them so the branches don't get too heavy.  They begin to ripen and are at harvest maturity in August/September when they change from hard to firm and slightly change color from green to yellow.  
After that, we must ripen them at room temperature in a well ventilated area for one to two weeks and then refrigerate them until ready to use.

We have called this our "wild pear tree" since it's just sort of on its own.  It reminds us of the stories of old homesteads in the country where fruit trees are still producing years after the homes are long gone.

Kieffers are supposed to be best for canning and baking and we're 100% OK with those options!  Pear cobbler?  Pear preserves?  Pear chutney? 

Nature finds a way!

Sunday, June 26, 2022


It's hot.
Not much happening outside for sure...

We posted this on Instagram recently but for those who don't visit there, here it is here.  We made these using some leftovers we had and put them all together.

Toasted bolillos (a Mexican variation of a baguette, from a local bakery) spread them with some refried beans we had, 2nd Man scrambled some eggs and mixed them with pico de gallo, and topped it all with bacon, avocado and crumbled queso fresco.

A TexMex treat!

Hobart is asleep again on his afghan on the table for his weekend special treat.  Because...


Saw this and it made us laugh:

No truer words right now!

Friday, June 24, 2022


Was in the grocery store the other day on my weekly shopping trip and I saw this display:

S'mores ingredients at the store

I thought it was pretty cool that they put the three items together in one spot for that iconic of dessert treats, "s'mores".  It really is just three ingredients:

Graham crackers

It seems there are a variety of ways of putting them together but in the end, it's just melted chocolate and toasty marshmallow with graham crackers.  Oven, campfire, stovetop.  Whatever works.

S'more image, courtesy of wikicommons

In the end you get what many (including myself) consider a delicious sweet treat.  What I didn't realize though, is how polarizing it can be.  When asking some friends and coworkers, I found that many people simply don't like them.

2nd Man is one of those...he's not a fan.  For him, it's really because he does not like marshmallows. So that made us think about about posting here:

What about you?
Yes for "s'more" or "no s'more" ha.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022


Today is the first day of Summer.

It is hot and dry.

And has been for a few weeks now.

The view from the porch this past weekend.  The green is almost gone (in the grass of course).

5:14PM yesterday when we got home from work, it was still 100 degrees.  

Felt like 104.

This is the most recent drought map for Texas.

The farm is in the "severe drought" category and borderline "extreme drought".  The worst category is "exceptional drought" which large parts of the state are, unfortunately, already in.

I haven't mowed in three weeks now.

Here is the forecast for this week into next.

Saturday and Sunday, we are looking at 105 degrees and they say we could have "feels like" temperatures this weekend of well over 110 degrees.

Welcome to the FIRST day of Summer.  It's going to be a long, hot one for sure. 

Monday, June 20, 2022


Look!  We have blueberries!

Both bushes (the tifblue varieties) have berries on them.  This bush has a few...

...and this one has even more.

So we realized it was us or the birds this season...

We bought some bird netting...

...and I used the stakes with tennis balls on top that we made for the freeze cloth.  I took the netting (side note, what a pain that stuff is to unroll, ha) and wrapped them around the poles and secured with clips.

Now we wait...

Sunday, June 19, 2022


2nd Man sent this picture while I was at the farm yesterday...I drove back as fast as I could, LOL.  

Homemade meatloaf

He made his wonderful meatloaf.  It's loaded with veggies, carrots, onions, celery, mushrooms, and then breadcrumbs, some Italian sausage combined with ground beef.  Oh, and topped with bacon!  It's so good.

Also, as you can see, we do like we always say, if we're going to heat up the oven to cook one, we'll make two and slice one up for later freezer meals.

Meatloaf dinner

Here is a slice, served with a side of broccolini he chopped up and mixed with corn and sautéed them together.  It was a great meal, definitely comfort food.  And bonus, meatloaf sandwiches today!

Hobart says hi

Hobart was relocated, per his request, to the table with his afghan.  It's a special treat from time to time.  He's too "senior" to jump all the way up so we pull a chair out and he can make it in two jumps.  We know exactly when he wants this as he will look at us and then back up at the table and then back at us.  Because...


Thursday, June 16, 2022


It was hot this past weekend...

No mowing
When I got there, this is what the yard looked like.  Definitely no mowing.

At 5pm at the farm it was 99 degrees with a "feels like" of 109.  Yeah.  It's hot.  The weather people say that we are having late July temps now.

Not sure how that bodes for July!

Dry grass
The grass is starting to die off and with several acres around the house, nothing we can do to water it.  It'll come back when it rains.  With no mowing and these temps, all I really focused on was watering the fruit trees and bushes.  Gave them a lot more than usual.

Drying garlic
I also checked the garlic.  When I opened the door to the barn/workshop, it smelled like an Italian restaurant, ha, but the garlic is drying nicely.  Heads are tightening up and paper is becoming husky.  You just want to make sure there's no moisture around the heads and then you'll be able to peel off a lot of the dirty exterior husks.  Will probably wait another week or so.

Check out this forecast for the week.  HOT.  Very hot.  And ZERO chance of rain.

And as the title of this post suggests, Sriracha!  Not sure how many of you have seen the news about this  but the weather in Mexico/California (drought) is affecting pepper production.  The company that makes the iconic Red Rooster sauce says no more until "maybe" the Fall but possibly none until sometime next year. I went to three stores at lunch looking for some (we LOVE the stuff).  None.  So I went to the small grocery out by the farm and bingo!  Got some.  Now we're hot like Sriracha, in more ways than one, ha!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022


So here is the part two of putting up the peaches we got from a coworker.  Click HERE to see the post.

Ripe peaches
We wish you could smell these, there is nothing like the scent of ripe peaches.  The bag trick worked great, they were soft and ripe and when I sliced them and gave them a quick twist, they just came apart.

Peach halves with pit
I cut them all into sections.  We left the skin on because we are OK with skin on peaches.  Some people will blanch them and peel but we are fine with it on, in a cobbler or pie or smoothie, they will just cook/blend in.

Peach slices on tray
I put the slices on a sheet pan lined with parchment to keep them from sticking to the pan and then...

Peach slices in the freezer
...I popped them into the freezer overnight.  This freezes them individually.

Frozen peach slices
Here they are 24 hours later, each slice is frozen solid.  I picked up the parchment and they all fell off.  I poured them all into a freezer bag...

Vacuum sealed frozen peaches
...and vacuum sealed them.  Being individually frozen like this means when they pull together in the bag from the vacuum sealing process, they won't smash together and end up as peach pulp.  When we use them in a recipe, they'll still be nice, intact peach slices.

We ended up with about 4 cups in total (they were smallish peaches) but that should be just enough for a nice peach cobbler in the middle of Winter when we are craving the taste of Summer! If they still have some the next time she goes out, she will bring us some more.

We can't wait to have our own peaches someday but for now, this is good practice.  Now, we just need to work on a good cobbler recipe, ha. 

Monday, June 13, 2022


Look!  A peach tree with peaches!

Alas, not ours (yet, ha).  Our tree is still growing.

Peach tree with peaches
This tree picture comes from a coworker who visited relatives in the country where they have several peach trees.  They were all full so she pulled a bunch...

Basket of peaches
...and brought this basket to the office with a note "pesticide free peaches from the country"!  I brought home about a dozen.  They were still slightly firm so we read up online to see how to ripen them at home.  The windowsill method is most common but we read about using a paper bag to speed up the process and we thought it was worth a try while giving us practice for ours down the road.

Ripening peaches in a bag
Simply put them in a paper bag, "shoulder side" down.  We didn't know they had shoulders but apparently that's also known as "stem side" down.  Oh and you shouldn't let them touch to avoid overripe spots. We placed them inside, spaced apart, six in each bag...

Peaches ripening
...and closed up the ends.  Peaches, like many fruits, give off ethylene gas that will speed up the ripening process.  Everything we read said to leave them for a  couple of days and so I left them on a cabinet out of the way and waited.

Part 2 tomorrow

Saturday, June 11, 2022


Off to the farm today, going by myself.  I'm hoping I don't have to mow and with no measurable rain in well over a week, that's probably going to be true.

The reason we're not doing much is this:

Our entire area is under a HEAT ADVISORY.  Last night at the farm, the weather app showed it to be 99 almost 7:00pm!

Before I get to the farm, I will stop and visit a former coworker who is moving out of state.  After that, I'll be getting to the farm about 11am and hoping I can get the important stuff done before the worst part of the day.  The only priority is to water the fruit trees/bushes.

I'll water them heavier than normal as there is no rain in our forecast for the next 7 days.  Just days and days of 99+ degree temperatures.

Oh and I'll also check the garlic of course that is drying in the barn.  With this heat and dry weather, they should be doing well with that process. 

Thursday, June 9, 2022


Apparently it was snake-fest last weekend.

Now this first one is a bit different...

...there WAS a snake here.

These are the side steps on the front porch.  When I got to the farm I went up the front steps, up and and down a few times unloading stuff etc.  Then I got on the mower and when I went around the corner of the house, there was a snake, right here on this bottom step, probably warming in the sun.  I never even saw it while I was on the porch.  I grabbed my phone to take a picture and it slithered off the step and under the porch.  It was a solid reddish brown snake, not sure what kind it was but at this point it was the best kind, gone.  

Then I was mowing and I was on a back trail.  It's a narrow trail that is just the width of the mower.  I ducked under some tree limbs and my hat and headphones came off.  I stopped to get them and as I stepped off the mower and looked ahead of me...

...see it there?

Stretching the length from one side of the trail to the other?

Here's a close up.

If you click to enlarge you can even see its head...looking at me.  It appears to be what we call in these parts a "rat snake", a non-venomous snake common least that's what we hope it was.

I was not going to continue forward for obvious reasons, not only would it not be fair to the snake but it could have lunged at me as I got closer to it with the strong vibration of the mower.

So I backed up, which is not easy on a narrow trail, and got out of its way to finish mowing elsewhere.  We'll leave them alone if they leave us alone.

Maybe we need this sign...