Wednesday, August 31, 2022


So, in between other things at the farm last weekend, we decided it was time to harvest some of the pears on our "wild kieffer pear tree".

As you can see they are weighing down some of the branches and of course they are kind of high up.

I decided to use this grabber stick that I've had for years.  Side note, they are very helpful around the house.  I got it when I hurt my back years ago and we both still use it for odd jobs around the house.

I also brought out one of the plastic crates from a trash to treasure find.

I used the grabber to gently bend the branches down so I could reach them and I also used it to pull off some of the ones higher up.  It worked great!  We know they have some special tools for doing things like this but hey, for now, it worked just fine.

We ended up getting about three dozen.  We were wondering what the brown spots where on the skin and found out that it is called "russeting" and is common to apples and pears.  It is usually caused by extreme weather conditions and in our case, our drought and humidity were probably the factor.  We'll be peeling them to process them so it should be OK.

We just have them in the same crate, sitting in the corner of the apartment so it will be room temperature.  We left a couple dozen more on the tree to let them go a little longer and see what happens.  The ones we brought in a few weeks ago never softened, they just shriveled up.  This is our first year with having this many so we'll just have to learn as we go.

Now we wait!

Monday, August 29, 2022


What a difference some rain makes...check this out:

Got to the farm Saturday and it was green again.  That's why we never really worry if the grass turns brown during a drought or freeze, it always comes back.  "Country grass" seems to be like that, such a mixture of things, it just stays green as soon as it gets water.  This was pretty thick and with more rain in the forecast this week, I figured I better go ahead and mow.

I got on the mower to start it and...dead again.  I had to remove the brush guard on the front end to be able to open the hood again and then use the charger to jumpstart it.  It started after a couple of tries and I put everything back in place and then started mowing.

The grass was a bit damp from the morning dew but I was able to mow for a bit until...

....after about 40 minutes, it started sputtering and feeling like it was going to die.  When I turned off the mower deck it would keep running.  I tried to keep mowing by turning it on for a bit and mowing then off again when it felt like it would die but after a few minutes of that, I figured I better get it in the shed while it had power in case it completely died.

I mowed the entire driveway except for this section you can see in the picture above.

I got the front mowed and the back mowed and all around the outbuildings but this was another section I had to skip.  At least I got "most" of it done. 

Oh and I did NOT get on the trails, with the way the day was starting, I did not want to get the mower stuck on top of everything else, ha.

Then I decided to get the trimmer and go around the house and buildings and fruit trees.

Got the buildings done first...

...and here they are, looking nice and neat and tidy.

Then I went to go around the fruit tree beds and about halfway through, I ran out of trimmer line and when I went to the shed to get more, I realized I was completely out.  Sigh.

I put the trimmer up and decided to use the little electric mower around the raised beds and realized I had forgotten to fully charge it the last time I put it up.  I mowed as much as I could until it ran out of juice (which was most of it, thankfully).

The last thing I needed to do was water the plants on the porch.  I moved the galvanized tub that the banana plants are in (I rotate it every week so they get even amounts of sun) and behind it was a snake.  

Needless to say, I didn't stop and take the time to get a picture, LOL, but it it slithered off the porch and into the brush.  It was a harmless brown grass snake.

By this time it was 4pm and 94 degrees with a feels like of 106 (Summer definitely not over yet).  I decided it was a good time to head home.  See yesterday's post for the wonderful meal 2nd Man had waiting for me.

Overall it was good just a few things not going according to plan but hey, I just need to get get a new battery, some more trimmer line, and make sure I plug in electric mower first thing when we get there.

Oh, and check for snakes...😁

Sunday, August 28, 2022


Time for some good food and some Hobart.Some of you may have seen this yesterday on our IG post but we wanted to share it here.  

I went to the farm solo yesterday, there was a chance of rain so I wasn't sure how the day would progress.  I missed the rain but there were other issues, coming up in post tomorrow.  All is good, thought just routine stuff. but it was a long day.

When I got home he had this ready for our dinner.  Steak with sautéed mushrooms, loaded baked potato, steamed asparagus and of course, a bottle of wine.  We haven't had steak in a couple of months so it was definitely a great way to end the day.

When I got home, Hobart was sleeping on his fuzzy blue blanket.  But he popped up to say hello.  Or maybe it was "good, you're home, now you can feed me".  We can never be sure because...



Friday, August 26, 2022


You ever just have a craving for something?  The other day, I told 2nd Man "we haven't had any watermelon yet this Summer".  He thought that sounded good too and when I came home from work, he had picked one up at the market near the apartment.

It was so good and satisfying.  Like a lot of people (we think?), we enjoy sprinkling a bit of salt on the slices to help bring out that wonderful flavor.

Not sure if you all have ever used this but we LOVE this salt for things like this.  This is more of a finishing kind of salt, not something you'd use as your everyday salt.  The flakes are large (as you can see in the picture) and it works so well for something like this.  It's also great on chocolate items when you want that "chocolate/sea salt" flavor combo.

And hey, we finally got to use that watermelon knife that we found on clearance late last Summer, ha.  It worked great and it's fun to just have a knife dedicated for something like this.  

We cut the rest of it up into smaller pieces and ate on it for a few more days.  Watermelon is just so refreshing and definitely something we want to grow at the farm garden but, we'll need to be there for plenty of watering while it grows.  Cantelope is our other favorite melon.

Do you all like salt on melon slices?
Or is that a Southern thing?

Wednesday, August 24, 2022


You all know I love to find a bargain.  The other day at lunch, I was at the grocery store getting our weekly groceries and I found this:  

A Ball jar canning utensil set.  I have some of these items already, but it's been our experience with most any kitchen equipment, it never hurts to have extras because you just never know when an extra tool or something might be needed.

This was in the clearance section at my local HEB grocery store.  The package had been torn so we figure that's why it was on clearance.  But how much was it?  Would it be worth it to have some extra tools?

99 cents!  Now THAT'S a bargain.

It looks like it has been floating around since mid-July (or at least that's when they printed the new label).

A jar lifter, a jar funnel and a bubble remover/headspace tool.

I'm trying to get the canning cabinet at the farm all stocked with everything I need.  It's where we keep the jars, rings, lids, tools, pots and pans.  This will also give us some extras to have here in town so they don't all end up at the farm.

Who knows, perhaps an extra set will come in handy if I need 2nd Man to assist me in the process.  We do have a bunch of pears (hopefully) coming soon, so I foresee a possible canning event in the near future.

Monday, August 22, 2022


Random fruit plants update.

These are the banana trees, including the most recent addition.  They are growing like crazy on the porch.  It got too hot and dry to get them in the ground and the lingering drought conditions meant they might not have made it so it worked out best.  The ideal time to plant them is either Fall (October/November) or early Spring (February/March).

We are debating a few spots to plant them so we'll have to see how the weather cooperates.

These are the two muscadine grapevines and they are doing great as well.  We are pretty sure we've decided on a place for these (one at each end of the orchard area).  The best time to plant them is "after danger of frost has passed" so probably March or so.  That will give us time to get the raised beds for them ordered and start filling them with soil.

And here is the "wild" pear tree.

We've been watering it by hand, well, by "truck", ha and they are looking good.  Should be ready to harvest soon.  After reading info from people in our part of the country who grow these, they said to just use "Labor Day" as the harvest weekend.  Once we take the pears, we'll have to figure out a pruning plan since it's obviously in need of some correction.

Or, we could just let it keep doing what it's doing and give us pears while we wait for the others in the orchard to give us their pears.

Sunday, August 21, 2022


This has been a weekend to stay in.  Yesterday was sporadic rain on and off and today is more of the same.  But hey, we need the rain so it's all good.

This is not a pizza, as much as it looks like one.  It's more like a frittata.  2nd Man makes this often and we love it.  He takes some hash browns and presses them around in the bottom of an ovenproof skillet.  He cooks them in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Then he takes whatever we have in the fridge, in this case, mini bell peppers, sausage, onions, and mushrooms and sautés them.  Then he beats up some eggs and adds the sautéed mix to it and pours it over the hash browns.  Back in the oven until the eggs are cooked.
Easy and delicious.

And of course, here is Hobart.  We love this picture because the sun was lighting up these white/gray tufts that he has on the sides of his ears.  When he's just sitting there looking around you can't really see them but when the light hits them just right, they glow.
As always, we believe he is...


Friday, August 19, 2022


It's that time of year when Hatch peppers make their appearance.  This pepper has a great flavor and is not hot like a jalapeño...they are a perfect balance of both.

Local stores will get them in about this time of year and make a big deal about it.  HEB grocery store chain here in Texas is the Hatch king...

When you walk in they have an entire refrigerated section with Hatch hummus, cheese, bacon, sausage, dips, soups, bread products and elsewhere in the store, crackers, cookies (yes, cookies!), chips, popcorn, etc.

They sell them whole like this.  Since they aren't really eaten raw, they are best when fire roasted.  When we had the house with a gas stove, we would roast them on the stovetop but it's time to let someone else do that part for now.

They aren't that expensive either which is  nice.  We haven't bought them in a couple of years because of the pandemic but we decided to get some this year.

I was at lunch and saw the big fire roaster going outside and would toss them in and roast them, let them steam so the skin slips off and then sold them ready to go.

I bought a package of them and brought them home.

I chopped them up and put them into a bowl and then divided them up.

We had about three cups in this Hatch batch, ha.  I used a measuring cup and divided them up and...

...vacuum sealed them.  We then popped them into the freezer and they are ready for 2nd Man to throw into a dish later in the year.  I went back the next day and bought another package and got three more cups.

A week later, they were gone.  None to be found anywhere in the store.  

Fleeting is the Hatch Chile pepper...

Wednesday, August 17, 2022


Thank you all, from the bottom of both our hearts, for the sweet comments the last couple of days.  We'll go back and reply soon.

Now back to regular farm/yard stuff.

I checked the fruit trees and bushes, including the "wild pear tree" and all was good.  No damage and only two pears on the ground, but that could just be the tree shedding a few as they ripen.

After the rain last week, guess what?  We had GREEN!  OK, not a lot, but it did mean that I could mow...for the first time since the end of May.  I pushed the mower out of the shed, jumped on and turned the key.



Dang it, I didn't think about that happening. It hasn't been driven for a couple of months.

I removed the brush guard on the front and lifted the engine cover.  Everything looked ok, wiring tight and everything still connected, no creatures living inside so I figured it had to be the battery.

You may recall that a couple of Christmases ago,  2nd Man bought this for me...

It's the HALO Bolt, portable battery charger and air compressor.  I've used it numerous times for airing low tires and I've used it to jumpstart a friend's car once and a strangers car in a parking lot.  I figured it should work on the mower too so I hooked it up, waited about 30 seconds, turned the key and I was back in business!  The Zen Machine was back.

*and score another point for a great Christmas gift!

Here, you can kind of see the grass and how it was during the mowing...

...and here it is finished. The weather was hot but there was actually a nice breeze.

I didn't go the full time or distance but that's because there were still areas I could skip because they were brown and not growing.  I also skipped further toward the front of the property where I got the mower stuck in mud a couple of seasons back.  With rain a few days before, I did not want to go through that again.

Here's another view, as you can see, it's greened up from just the three inches of rain we got.  Another reason I mowed is because we have more rain coming.

Here's what it's supposed to be like Thursday night at 7pm.  LOTS of rain as a front pushes through.  We need the rain, but please just let it drop and move on through.  We don't need flooding.

Monday, August 15, 2022


23 YEARS AGO (!!!) this month, a chance meeting turned into something a bit more long term, ha.

In February of 1999, I went to a friend's birthday party at a restaurant.  There were about a dozen people there, all friends of friends and after dinner, we all went to a piano bar.  I really hit it off with one of the guys that was there.  We talked about so many things and had so many things in common.  We talked forever (much to the exclusion of mutual friends, ha) and at the end of the night, went our separate ways, forgetting to exchange numbers or contact info.

I asked my friend for more info about the person I had been talking to & he said "oh I think he lives in California and comes into Houston on occasion".  Oh well, I didn't give it much of a second thought.

Flash forward to July of that year.

The internet was still a relatively new thing. We certainly had no smartphones with dating apps like in recent years but there was a national LGBT magazine that had an online version and there were personals ads, like ads used to be in papers and such.  The "I like cats, enjoy cooking, reading, looking for someone to share adventures with, hiking, biking, blah blah...etc" ads like they used to be.  I looked online and only one caught my eye, so I replied.

He replied back to me and we set a time to call.  When we introduced ourselves on the phone, we realized "WAIT, were you at K's birthday party?"  Sure enough, almost six months later, we had randomly met up again, thanks to the new fangled thing called the internet. 

Turns out he did live in Houston, born and raised here, and only worked in San Francisco.  He would fly out on Monday morning, sometimes Sunday night, and work the week in SF, then fly back to Houston for the weekend.  That was just the nature of the contract job he was working at the time.

We made plans to meet in August when he got back into town and had some free time.  We went to dinner at a new (at the time) restaurant.  It was just as it was at the birthday party, we talked forever and had a great time.

He continued commuting for a few more months.  One time, he used his frequent flyer miles to fly me out to SF, first class.  It was my first time to ever fly first class and since this was pre-9/11, they went ALL out.  I chatted with the pilots while the cockpit door was open at times, there were warm mixed nuts in crystal bowls, free flowing wine (might have had a bit much on the trip out, ha), amazing food served on china.  I remember on the return flight, I was dozing off and the flight attendant leaned in and said we were approaching Houston, and did I want a warm chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk while landing?  Um, yes! ha!

After that, we dated, long distance and in person, eventually moving in together and we've been together ever since.

We have always used that first dinner date in August as our anniversary day and when we could finally (and legally) get married a few years ago, and we told our story to the Judge's office, they rearranged some things so we could have our ceremony ON the same date.  It worked out perfectly.

We've had great fun and been on adventures to other places, moved a few times and had the highest of highs and we've had loss that we never imagined (losing my parents 5 years apart).  We've added kitties to our family and of course have lost two of them.  We've changed jobs and bought and sold cars.  And now we have the farm/land and are currently making our final plans for our retirement out there.

We both love the movie Titanic and always quote this scene.  We may look a little different 20+ years on, but that's life and we wouldn't change a thing.  So there you have it...the story of 1st Man and 2nd Man...a book that is still being written.

Saturday, August 13, 2022



Very heavy storms moved through the area the other night, including the farm.  That "pin" in this radar image is the house.  2nd Family said there was a little over 3 inches of rain.  Of course there was also very strong winds, crazy lightning and a tornado thrown in for good measure.  The tornado was radar indicated but rural enough that no damage was reported anywhere.

Of course with the high winds, we worry about the pear tree, we might be gathering them all off the ground if Mother Nature or the wild animals haven't beaten us to it.  We'll see!  Today as this posts it's off to the farm to check on on things.  Who knows, there might even be mowing on the horizon.

Updates to come!

Friday, August 12, 2022


 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!

So it was recon time and this time I figured I'd get a picture to let you all see where I look.  This is where people put boxes and recyclable type trash.  This was this past weekend.

A Christmas tree part of some sort.  Hmm, maybe a small tree?  Upon closer examination however, I found  another section under a box and then another and yet another.  I gathered them up and took them to the other end by the freight elevators and laid them out.

It is a pre-lit artificial tree.  VERY large.

Four sections (our current one only has three sections and it seems big, you can see it HERE).

Each section plugged into the other and so I did that and plugged it in.

Beautiful white lights all came on except for one side of one section.  This may be why someone discarded it.  The fact that it's August probably also means they were moving out and just decided "remember, the lights don't work in one section" and so they trashed it.

We're hoping that when the time comes to put it up and use it, we can play around with the lights and maybe find a loose wire that will get them to come back on.  But worst case and they don't come on?  Well, we could just add some lights to that one section.

This is my arm stretched upwards as high as I could reach and it's still not to the top.  This tree is easily 10 to 12 feet tall and a large diameter at the base.

Here is a closeup.

It is a good quality tree with different types of branches and even little pinecones as decorations all over.  The lights are LED and white.

Back when my Mom was alive, we had at least two trees every year.  One with personal memories of things (trips, events, etc) and one with standard collected ornaments (like the ones we use now).

We got rid of those two when we took a break on decorating after she passed and now that we're excited to be decorating again, the trees seem to be falling in our laps.  This will become the fourth tree we've found since we moved here.  We now have:

4 foot
6 foot
8 foot
10+ foot

We're thinking of bringing back the tree of memories by using one in the bedroom, a food/cooking theme tree in the kitchen or dining room, a regular large and grand tree with our beautiful ornaments in the living room and a 4th one somewhere else...theme to be decided!

All free discards!  We'll give them a great future.