Wednesday, May 31, 2023

MORE BLUEBERRIES

Well what do we have here?

MORE blueberries!

Went out the long weekend and there were more ripe blueberries.  You can see there are yet even more in various stages of ripening.  Woo hoo!

Not a bad harvest yet again and I will confess to eating a handful on the drive back into town, ha. These bushes (we have two) are the Austin variety and from what we've read, once established, a mature bush can produces much as TWENTY FIVE POUNDS of berries! 

We're not sure what we would do with FIFTY pounds, LOL, but I'd bet we could figure out something.

Blueberry pie...
Blueberry jam...
Blueberry muffins...
Blueberry pancakes...



Monday, May 29, 2023

MEMORIAL DAY 2023

It's a rainy day here, gray and overcast.  Watching the races (though as this posts, delayed again) and eating leftovers from the weekend meals.

Speaking of, here are the carnitas:


I took lots of pictures of each step so there will be a post soon with all the details.  It's a process but 2nd Man does it the authentic way, frying the pork in lard with oranges and milk and more.


It's SO good.  We tear them up to make tacos but the chunks of meat are good just eating on their own.


We cannot let today go without saying thank you to all who serve, to the families of those who serve and of course we are remembering those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to their nation.

Thank you...

Sunday, May 28, 2023

GOOD FOOD AND HOBART RACE DAY SUNDAY

It's been a nice long weekend so far.  See yesterday's post for that update.  Today is time for sharing some good food...


Yesterday we had steaks with mushrooms and a wonderful baked potato with all the fixings (butter, cheese, sour cream bacon and chives).  Also had a salad on the side and a couple glasses of wine.

On the menu today is a batch of pork carnitas with homemade corn tortillas and all the extras.


Here's Hobart doing...wait, WHAT???  What happened to his ears?  LOL!  


No surgery, we used a filter to give him rabbit ears.  Hilarious.  Even with big ears, he's...

#notspoiled


 Regular readers know that we enjoy NASCAR and Indy races.  Today is the big day for racing.  Right now as this posts, we are watching the Indy 500.


Then later this afternoon is supposed to be the NASCAR Coca Cola 600 (the longest race of the year) but the weekend has been a washout in NC so far.  Not sure if it will happen tonight or tomorrow but right now, it doesn't look promising for happening.

UPDATE:  Postponed to tomorrow due to rain

Hope you all are having a good weekend!

Saturday, May 27, 2023

PRODUCTIVE DAY

Errand day...


Bill the Truck got to drive into the big city...ok, little town, since we go to the town nearest the farm, ha.  It was inspection day for vehicle license plate renewal in Texas.  In the county the truck is registered in, all that is required is a safety inspection (lights, seatbelts, horn, etc) and with 226,674 miles on him, he passed with flying colors.  Good for another year.

They did say that the windshield wipers needed to be replaced (and they did, last time I used them to clean the windshield the rubber strips came off).  I opted out of getting them there at the place, stopped and bought some on the way back and put them on myself.


I needed to mow.  Got most of of it done but skipped a few trails.  The excess grass from last weekend (when it was three weeks between mowing) is still blowing around in the yard but it's all good, it'll be mostly gone by next weekend.
  

Not sure how I timed it like this, I just put it up when I'm done and pull out my phone and push "finish mow".  Came in at exactly one hour and got almost 3 acres mowed.  It was a good day for mowing.


The other project was to clean up the orchard area.  I should have taken a before but suffice it to say, it did NOT look like this, ha.  I edge around everything first, then take the big mower through it to get the wide swaths, then use the electric push mower to get the final areas between beds.  Then I watered it all well in case we don't have rain this week.

We always like it when it's done because it's so much neater.  Speaking of, I need to get some soil and mulch to top off the beds for this year.  I sense another trip into town for Bill the Truck, ha.

That was it for the day, back into town, steaks and baked potatoes with salad tonight, carnitas and tortillas for tomorrow (and leftovers for Monday).  Oh and 2nd Man is currently making brownies (it smells so good!).

Hope you all are having a great, long weekend.

Friday, May 26, 2023

ADDED SOME MORE HONEYBEE JARS

Almost two months ago, we posted HERE about these great limited edition jars from Ball.

At the time, I only picked up a 4 pack.  I said then that I might have to get another one.  Or two.  They had been out, but the other day they had restocked.  I decided to get two more.  That gives us a dozen which seems like a nice, even number, almost like having "a case" or something, ha.

Photo courtesy of www.ballmasonjars.com

Saw this on the website showing the jars...it's something called a Pimm's Cup (cocktail).  We'll have to look that up because it looks amazing.  Anyway, looking forward to having these jars in our collection.  They will be useful and cute, ha.

Friday is here, long weekend ahead.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

BLUEBERRIES CREAM CHEESE AND BAGELS OH MY

Yesterday, we posted HERE about our blueberries and my wasp encounter.

First of all, my hand is much better, swelling is almost gone, pain is completely gone, and my knuckles are almost all the way back, LOL.


We had another small batch and put them them in the fridge.  When I gathered these big ones this weekend, we decided to use them all somehow.

I decided to make a small batch of blueberry cream cheese.  It was super simple, no real recipe; I took some softened cream cheese, put a tiny bit of sugar in the blueberries and mashed them up (the sugar to draw out moisture) and then just stirred it all together.

It turned a beautiful pink/purple color.


We toasted some bagels, spread the blueberry cream cheese all over and dropped the plump sweet berries over the top of that.  It was delicious!

When you turn something you grew into a meal, even the small harvests are worth it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

BLUEBERRIES WASPS AND PAIN OH MY

So this happened:

Look at these plump, wonderful blueberries!  Yay!  Let me go get a bowl and pick some as a surprise to bring back into town.  I pulled some from the bottom and then I decided to reach in from the top and get some...

Did I look before I leaped?  Nope.  If I had, I would have seen the above.

But no, I stuck my hand into the netting and...

Boom!

Got stung.  Twice on my hand.

The stings were immediate and then the itching.

Then the swelling.  Here was my hand yesterday at work.  No knuckles.  You can see in the first picture that I DO normally have knuckles, ha.

Read that swelling can last for 3 to 7 days, especially when it is on an extremity like hands or feet (now THAT would hurt, yikes!).


But I was able to snag these beauties and it made the pain worth it.  They are huge and plump and, as 2nd Man said, better than we get in the store.  I guess just like tomatoes fresh from the garden, blueberries are just as awesome.  I was honestly surprised how big they got and how truly 'blue' they really are.

We had another handful in the fridge from the last time we gathered some out there (a bit smaller).  Luckily, we have just as many left that are ripe and more unripe and the second bush of that variety has just as many coming on.  We love that we're starting to get some production from these bushes.


Monday, May 22, 2023

WEIRD WEEKEND AND BONUS HOBART

 The weekend was kind of a bust...well, I did get to mow but other things interfered.

On Friday, at work, I started getting sick.  Stomach bug of some sort.  Not sure if it was something I ate or what but suffice to say, it was not a pleasant afternoon and into the evening.  I had a terrible headache as well. I came home and went to bed about 7pm.  Slept (well, I use the word loosely) until about 11am Saturday.

Decided not to go to the farm, I was feeling a bit better but not 100%, I wanted to stay close just in case.


Sunday it was overcast and drizzly (of course Saturday was gorgeous, wouldn't it figure) but I went anyway.  After mowing a bit, I noticed it was uneven.  I'm hoping the mowing deck is just not level, I need to read up on how to re-level it.  But didn't feel up to it yesterday.


Did what I needed and left.  There was another moment of not so Zen, I'll share that in the next post.

I was feeling better but of course being Sunday, I couldn't stay too late since work comes early and I needed to rest and recover for Monday morning.

I know this is probably a boring post, just didn't have much in me when I was typing. Sorry.

As a reward, here is some bonus Hobart that we usually post on Sunday:


Hobart laid next to me on the couch most of the day Saturday, swaddled in his fluffy red blanket. Because...

#notspoiled (both of us!)

Friday, May 19, 2023

COUNTDOWN BLOCKS 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.

I found these in this baggie in a box of other things that I left behind (towels, some cracked plastic storage boxes, etc).  I wasn't sure what they were until I got them out and did some research.


They are called COUNTDOWN BLOCKS (or cubes).  The number cubes have all the numbers necessary to recreate 0-52 so it will work for any period of time on a calendar from days and months...


...to weeks and years.  They can be used to mark and keep track of the time until an event, we suppose either count down or count up.  They are heavy wood, with a nice distressed color that fits a rustic look.

It's possible they had a holder of some sort. This came with a small cardboard tray that they could sit in but it might have just been from the purchase.

We currently have them set to 23 years for our anniversary time.  Later this Summer we'll change it 24, ha.  Once we get something done with the house out there it will be fun to change it daily as we countdown different milestones.

Someone else threw them away, we find something fun to do with them and give the a second shot at life.


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

DOWNTOWN VIEW AT NIGHT

It's always interesting what people ask about.  A few of you have emailed us to ask what kind of view we have from the apartment balcony at night.

So here you go.


Here it is when we face toward downtown Houston...


And here is the other direction, away from the heart of downtown Houston...

It's definitely pretty.  We love seeing the buildings lit up at night.  It's cool to see during the day but at night, , well all the lights of the office buildings just sparkle like the facets on a diamond.

Monday, May 15, 2023

FINALLY NEGATIVE

Finally.

Four days in a row of consistently testing negative, so we won't test anymore.  We'll save our remaining tests just in case we need them later.


This means we're safe to mingle in public again, ha.  We will not be going maskless in big groups though.  It was worse for 2nd Man, like a bad flu, for me it was more a mild cold, but either way, it's just no fun.


The weather kept us inside all weekend.  It rained ALL day Saturday and most of Sunday.  There are areas around town that have some minor river and bayou flooding but thankfully it's trailing off.  The next three days have about a 50% chance of rain. We look at that as it is just as likely that it won't, ha.

They say after midweek, we are moving into a drier weather pattern.  Hoping that if that if the chance it doesn't rain is that way at the farm, we could have a nice hot week where the ground will dry out and I can mow this weekend...and edge...and mow between the the raised beds in the orchard area, ha.

At least we don't have to worry about watering!

Now that we're better and I have more energy, I'll get back to replying to comments.  And hopefully more posts, though I haven't been to the farm to get some new ones out there but I'll see what we have we can use for a few posts until next weekend.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

GOOD FOOD AND HOBART MOTHERS DAY SUNDAY

It's another rainy day.  You may have seen last night's post, well today we have been under flash flood warnings on and off all day.  This weekend has been a COMPLETE washout.  Fortunately, they say we are on a drying trend.  We hope so. 


Yesterday, we cracked open a can (LOL) of "Our House Wine", their rainbow edition sparking rosΓ©.  One can is just enough for two glasses.


Then we made some steaks, roasted broccolini and, don't hate on us, French fries.  Because sometimes you just need something other than a baked potato, ha.


Hobart is taking advantage of the rainy day by sleeping...on the table...on his afghan...with his favorite catnip infused sock toy.  Because...

#notspoiled


We didn't want to forget to wish all the moms out there the very happiest Mother's Day!  Thank you all for being there to guide your children through life!

Saturday, May 13, 2023

ANOTHER WEEKEND WASHOUT

 SIGH.

RAIN AGAIN.


At 8:30am Saturday, the farm was in the middle of a heavy storm.


Lest we worry about not going later in the day, here is the radar at 3:15pm, still in the middle of heavy rain.  Haven't heard from 2nd Family yet to see how much rain we've had but suffice to say, it was a lot.

We were going to see how it is Sunday but more rain is forecast, in fact, an 80% chance.

More tomorrow!

Friday, May 12, 2023

PEACHES PEACHES PEACHES

 Last summer, a coworker brought us some peaches from her Aunt's house.  We vacuum sealed them and put them in the freezer in town and at the farm.

She brought more this year.  Yay!  So I brought this bag home, kept it on the counter for a few days and then got them out to seal them up.  A few were too overripe and I discarded those.  The rest were ripe and wonderful (a couple didn't make it to the freezer, ha).

I cut them into pieces and then put them into a bowl with a bit of sugar for extra sweetness and some lemon juice to keep their color.

When I was done cutting, I put them onto a sheet pan and stuck them in the freezer for about an hour.  Did this twice (our freezer in town is small, won't fit a large sheet pan so had to do them in two smaller batches).

In the end, we ended up with about 4 cups (heaping) of sliced peaches.  I decided to put them all into one vacuum seal bag instead of two.  We figured 4 cups would be a good amount (especially since they are a bit on the small side) for a cobbler or pie.

With all the peaches we now have frozen we need to come up with some quick and easy desserts.  

Anyone have any ideas for peach desserts?  Got any great recipes you'd like to share?  If you don't want to share online in the comments, please email us directly and we'll keep it secret, ha.

We'd just like some good recipes...


Wednesday, May 10, 2023

RAIN RAIN RAIN

 These are the rainfall estimates for this week by the time the rain clears out (if it does).


The farm is in the 4" to 5" range of rainfall totals.  Yesterday, there was very heavy rain and some pretty intense lighting but nothing else thankfully.  Just when it seemed road might start flooding, it slowed down and stopped for a break.  Good.  Today as this posts, more rain happening again but hopefully moving quickly.


Health wise, post covid, we're doing better, still a bit sick, lingering cough and stuffy nose but both of us much better.  2nd Man was much worse off, where I said mine was like a cold, his has been like a flu.

Probably going to be too wet to mow this weekend so I might skip the farm, we'll see how it goes the next few days.  Just seems like it might be better for us to rest all weekend long and make sure we recover. 

Hop you all are doing well!

Monday, May 8, 2023

FLAT TIRES HEAT AND RAIN

 Y'all probably saw the post prior to this, so needless to say this weekend was going to be light duty.  I went to the farm mid morning, really wanted to sleep in but work to be done, specifically, mowing.  This was the third weekend since the last time I mowed.

Opened the shed and two of the tires on Zen Machine II were flat!  Picked up some mesquite thorns the last time I mowed.  Fortunately, I had purchased some "Slime" for this very possibility.  We used this years ago on the first Zen Machine tires after a few flats and they never had a flat after that.

One bottle will do four tires on a riding mower according to the bottle so to be proactive, I went ahead and did all four tires.  It coats the inside with a self-sealing coating so that future punctures seal themselves.

Using the bottle of Slime and my Halo Bolt air compressor/charger (Christmas gift from 2nd Man couple years back) they saved the day.  The bottle gives you a special tool that lets you unscrew the valve stem pin, then a hose that you use to put in 8 oz slime, you screw the pin back in and just fill the tire to the proper, normal air pressure.

They worked perfectly the rest of the day, never lost any air and if I ran over any more thorns, I didn't know.

Mowed for a little over an hour and a half but I was tired.  No edging, even though I needed to.

The yard looks good once again but it was definitely a very warm day on Saturday.


When I left at about 2:30, it was a 'feels like' of 103 degrees.  Yep, that was enough for one day back after COVID.  Everything else was fine, fruit trees/bushes are doing great, more update on that later.

When I woke up on Saturday, I almost decided to put it off to Sunday.  Glad I didn't, as it rained pretty heavily on and off all day Sunday.  Now THAT was a good day to sleep in and sleep we did.  We needed the rest.

Both feeling much better today as this posts.  The forecast this week is for a good chance rain most every day.  Glad the mowing is done, in case I have to skip it this coming weekend.