Friday, September 30, 2022


It's back!

Well, they said it's supposed to be dropped off today.

The weather is cool(ish) and nice with no humidity.  The guy at the service place said they made it a priority to get me back on the mower so I could take advantage of this nice weather.  I did mention that we'd have to hire some goats if it didn't come back soon, he laughed.

They think it was stale fuel and suggested flushing the fuel system and then changing the filter, cleaning the carburetor etc.  Since they were doing that, we asked them to go ahead and do the annual maintenance, blade sharpening, oil change, lubricating, tightening the belts, etc.  It's what we normally do in Feb/March before Spring but hey, there are only a couple more mows this year so why not just do it now.  One less thing to worry about in a few months.

Going to stop on the way out and buy a new gas can.  The one out there now has sat all Summer with the gas in it that I've been adding to the mower the last two times when it didn't run correctly. 

Also going to pick up some of this to put into the fuel can when I stop and fill it up.  We want to eliminate all chances of a repeat performance.

Wish I was off work today, I'd be mowing, ha!  But that's OK, tomorrow is Saturday and I'll be ready!

Thursday, September 29, 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 an update on one of them:

This basket was the one I found after Christmas that had some strands of lights in it.  That post is HERE.

We had been trying to figure out where to use it.  We tried it in the closet for storage but that didn't work.  We put it by the dresser and that just didn't work either.   Ultimately, we decided to use it for additional storage in the pantry because that's always needed...

...and here it is in the pantry!  We use it for our bags of beans and grains.  It fits perfectly on the shelf front to back and is sturdy.  The handles let us pull it out and sit in on the counter to see what we want to use. 

Someone's discard is something we put right to use!

Tuesday, September 27, 2022


The Zen Machine still isn't back.  They said they are busy this time of year.

They called Saturday to say that it's running fine they can't get it to recreate what it was doing to me.  So they asked me again what it was doing, I emailed a video that I took of it surging and slowing down and stopping and so we hope that will help them.

This is the last time I got to use it for the normal mowing time.  It's like when you take your car to a mechanic because it's making a strange noise and then when they check it out, it doesn't make the noise, ha.  They said they ran it for 20 minutes and nothing happened.  It kept running normally. 

Ironically, the thing I'm actually grateful for right now is that we don't have rain (see the forecast below) and it's not growing like it normally would.  We can't keep going this long without mowing.  We might ask them to just go ahead and tune it up like we have for beginning of the season and maybe that will fix it.  

 Here is the forecast from the past weekend through next weekend and Monday.  Sunny and clear.  We WILL get into the 50's a few nights, so at least that part will feel like Fall but still 80's and 90's during the day but there is no humidity so that will be refreshing.

Oh, saw some figs coming in on our new fig tree.  There are a few on another part of the tree as well.  It's doing great in its raised bed and putting on all sorts of new growth. It dropped all its leaves earlier in the Summer and we were worried but it bounced back and looks healthier than ever.


We know that we have many readers in Florida and several comment regularly.  Indeed, "Ma" that we bought the house and property from and her son that we bought the rest of the land from, both live in St. Petersburg and we're thinking of them as well.

We are sending our thoughts to Florida and we wish you all the best.  Evacuate if you need to and be safe!

Monday, September 26, 2022


A few weeks ago, we posted HERE about feral hogs that had come through.  There was no further evidence of them but now that things have greened up from the rains, we think they might be back.

When we were out there this weekend, we saw this:

Several areas in the yard where the grass had been rooted up and damaged.  Then we looked around back and saw this:

One of the raised beds (this is the pomegranate) had been dug up and another one nearby had been messed with too.  The trailcam didn't catch them but 2nd Family said they had some feral hogs in their yard a few days ago but their dogs were barking and scared them off.

We have the fishing line around the orchard area to keep the deer out and it's worked great so far.  Deer brush up against it and get spooked and after a couple of times, they just avoid the area.  We've gone two years now with no leaves or branches nibbled on but I had the levels at about waist high and higher (to make using the small mower easier).  But I didn't think about anything lower and smaller getting in.

So I decided to put two rows of lines around the "lower" part of the fruit tree area.  Hopefully it will work the same way for them.  They had 17 beds to get into and they only did this one and part of another so maybe there was nothing interesting and they moved on.

Friday, September 23, 2022


Sometimes a meme says it all...

We saw this online and I laughed.  I immediately told 2nd Man that this is how I feel when we leave the city and the craziness of the world and disconnect out at the farm.  It might not stop what's going on in the rest of the world while I'm there, but it sure feels good to be doing stuff with plants and the garden and the fruit trees, even mowing...

Just trying to stay sane!

Thursday, September 22, 2022


Well, after a long, hot, dry Spring and Summer...

...the calendar says today is the first day of Fall!

 However, the forecast says otherwise.

99 tomorrow?

Really weather?  It's almost October and it feels like Summer.  No rain either.  Hopefully cooler weather is coming, but we also have to keep an eye on this:

This is still far out there but it's approaching the area that they call "the envelope" which can funnel storms into the Gulf of Mexico.  It should become a Tropical Storm and possibly a Hurricane.  They say by Sunday it will be near Jamaica and we'll have a better idea of the  direction it will head once it is in the Gulf.

Oh well, Happy Fall y'all!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022


So the other day at the store, I saw this display of a new bread they are carrying.  "Martin's Old Fashioned Real Butter Bread".  I thought, hmm, interesting, I'll go home and research it.

They had quite a few loaves.  We read about it online and the reviews were great.  So I went back a few days later to get a loaf so we could try it...

Oops!  Gone.  I went to someone who was working in the bread aisle and asked and he said he would go check in the back.  He found some that they hadn't loaded into the display.  I snagged one.

It's really, REALLY good.  2nd Man said it's as close to homemade from a store that he's ever had.  I agree.  In fact, some of the reviews said it reminded them of "Grandma's bread".  It has a great homemade taste, rich in butter, soft, and fluffy.  Sure, 2nd Man can whip up homemade bread when we need it but when he needs a break from baking, this might just become our go to backup.

Anyone ever tried this?

Monday, September 19, 2022


If you all read last weekend, our Zen Machine had some issues.  It was picked up and they are currently evaluating it (appears to possibly be bad fuel).  Anyway, I was majorly stressed about the fact that I hadn't been able to mow in two weeks and in some spots of the yard, it had been three weeks.

The yard looked like this.

Another week or two of no mowing could have been a real issue.  Well, the other day, I got a text from "J" of 2nd Family (that lives out there at the front end of the property).  She said, "I didn't want you guys to be stressed about it so I mowed it for you so you wouldn't have to worry about it.  I hope y'all don't mind".


This was the same spot as the first picture!

Here is where I had to stop when the mower died and I just left it to be picked up.

And here is what that same spot looked like when I got to the farm Saturday.  Amazing.

Here is the front yard, she even went back over spots that I missed and also did the back yard and the side.  It was such a relief and gave me great peace of mind.

All I had to do was the area around the fruit tree beds.

Normally I drive the mower through here for the big swaths and then use the electric mower and edger to clean it up.  This time though, I had to use the edger first and then finish it off with the electric mower...

It worked well, though I did miss the Zen Machine for "cleaning up" the clippings but it's all good.  It's neater now and we're OK with that.

All thanks to "J" and her random act of kindness. Of course we asked how much we owed her and she said she didn't want anything but we couldn't allow that, ha!

So on Friday, 2nd Man baked up a couple of loaves of white bread and I packed them up for her.  We also gave her some cash for gasoline (that's only fair).  She was very thankful and has texted twice already to say how much she has enjoyed the bread.

Never underestimate how much a random act of kindness means to someone! 😊

Sunday, September 18, 2022


Solo to the farm yesterday since no mowing (more on that tomorrow) and when I got back into town, 2nd Man was working on dinner.

We had pork chops, sautéed mushrooms and broiled cauliflower "steaks".  The pork chops, pan seared with simple salt and pepper as always, the mushrooms were sautéed whole in butter and then a splash of white wine and the cauliflower was sliced thick and sprayed with olive oil and seasonings and then oven roasted and broiled at the end.  It was all delicious!

Today Hobart is sleeping on the couch, swaddled up in his fuzzy blue blanket.  It's hard to tell which end this is, but his ears are there somewhere, ha.  He is sleeping peacefully and warm.  Because...



Friday, September 16, 2022


With the return of the green grass, the deer have also returned to our yard.  The trailcam has been quiet for months, capturing an occasional bird or insect crawling across the lens, but nothing else.

By the way, the time stamp is off but we think the dates are correct.  I'll have to doublecheck this weekend.

We caught these two roaming through the green of the front yard.  No antlers on them, so they were either young bucks or doe.

Here's a young one picked up on the camera late one night.  Gosh it looks so small.

Later that night, there were friends coming by (or maybe Mom and siblings?).  There were four this time but they were gone by the time the sun came up because no more photos of them in the daytime.

We did capture this one on camera in the daylight  another day.  A male with a rack of antlers.

I cropped the photo to get a more closeup view.  He's probably still youngish, but we're not sure how you count the points on a buck.

Still nice to see them back now that things have greened up.  They have never caused any problems (knock on wood) for us.  Of course we do have the orchard area sectioned off with the fishing line fencing so they leave those alone.  "J" said she sits out on her back deck in the mornings (facing their back pasture which is the other side of that fence in this picture) and has a cup of coffee as she watches them graze in the pasture and hope the fence back and forth.

She said it is very peaceful...

Wednesday, September 14, 2022


We were on the porch when we heard a strange noise and so I stood up...

...and saw these two military helicopters (Black Hawks I think?) coming in low and fast.  In the time in took me to pick up my phone...

...they were already flying over.

This second one was so low when it flew over the house, if I had been on the roof, I literally could have reached up and touched it.  "J" from 2nd Family said it rattled their windows.

We're guessing it has to do with this:

It looks like they were heading in to get ready for this training event.  It was cool to see but a bit unsettling as it happened live and unexpected.  We know why they are used in battlefield situations...they can sneak up on you and you'd never know it until it was too late.

Monday, September 12, 2022


It was a beautiful weekend, temperatures were mild and humidity was very low.  There as a cool(ish) breeze and the grass...

...was definitely in need of mowing.  Remember, I hadn't mowed in two week since it rained Labor Day weekend.  The grass was pretty tall.  But then remember a couple of weeks ago, when I had the battery problem on the mower?  Well I didn't finish mowing then and so in some spots, it has been THREE weeks since the last mowing.  Like this:

No, Bill the Truck isn't sinking into the ground.  This is three weeks without mowing.  After our months long drought, it's back with a vengeance.

I stopped at the John Deere shop on my lunch break one afternoon and bought a battery.

It was fairly easy, and I always remember what my Dad taught me about changing batteries, everything off, key out of the ignition, black (negative) disconnected first, then red (positive), put the new battery in and do the reverse, red first and black last.

About ten minutes later, mission accomplished.  Reminder, wear gloves next time, ha!

I was having a great time on the Zen Machine.  I got the driveway done, some of the back and front, I moved the truck so I could mow where it was parked and then...the mower started acting up.  It would sputter and backfire and sounded like it was surging before finally dying.  The battery didn't appear to be the issue, it would start right up every time and was running the proper voltage when I tested it.

With no rain in the forecast, I just left the mower where it stopped.  You can see where I left much of the yard unmowed.  At least the driveway was done.

Here's the view from the porch.  I went over the higher parts with the mowing deck raised so it would take off the worst of it and then back over it with the regular mowing height.  It was going great like this until the mower decided to stop cooperating.

2nd Man and I think that the mower may be nearing the end of its life, or at least aging to the point where it's going to give us more and more problems.  We'll have to see how much this will end up costing.  If we can get it back up and running, maybe next year will be the time to get a new mower.

It's always something.

Goats rented to graze image via wikicommons

We just hope we get it back quickly or we might have to rent a herd of goats! 😂