Monday, July 31, 2023

THE PEAR TREE HAS BEEN CUT

You all may have see the post HERE about the power company needing us to butcher trim the pear tree behind the outbuildings.

In fact, they needed us to do it and then we had to send pictures so they could clear their file.

Well I did that Saturday...


Here it is before and the line is about the six foot mark.


Let the cutting begin.  I used my wonderful pruners, that have telescoping handles to almost four feet.  They ratchet-cut, so you open them, close to cut into a branch, open and it clicks a notch, then you close again with more leverage and then you can do it a third time if needed.  They work GREAT and cut through very large branches.  They made the job easier.


Took me about 30 minutes and here it is after.

Sigh.

We hope it won't be too bad.  I even left a few pears on the lower branches, though we're not sure if the tree will jettison those due to shock.  The rest of the pears, maybe eight or so, we tossed into the brush to share with the wildlife.

I even put a couple on the ground in front of the trail cam, hoping we might get some good pictures.


But it's at about six feet now (maybe I cheated a bit, seven or so?).  I texted pictures to the guy and he said it looked great and he would clear the followup.  He did say he wished us luck and hoped it would produce even more pears next year, so that was nice.

I also cut down a trash tree growing on the side of the house and pruned the bushes on the side of the stairs.  As long as I was getting hot and sweaty, I figured I might as well accomplish a little more.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

END OF SHARK WEEK BONUS

 Well, as Shark Week on Discovery Channel comes to an end, I had a surprise for 2nd Man...


I got these back in February (Valentines Day) and held onto them for this week.  A little July Shark Week Valentines is always welcome, right?  They made the perfect dessert treat and besides, he's FINTASTIC!

Speaking of a treat...it seems we got a little rain at the farm and guess who showed up?

No, not a #farmshark...

Jason Momoa aș Aquaman at the farm

#farmaquaman


OK, well maybe not but hey, we could always hope, right?

Saturday, July 29, 2023

HOT DAY UPDATE

It was hot today.

I did the cutting (that in an update Monday).


I didn't really need to mow but one thing led to another.  I edged around the outbuildings because they needed it and they look better when neat.  Then, with all the cuttings on the ground and areas I needed to cut shorter, I decided to get the mower out to do that.  Then I mowed the driveway...just because...and then around the orchard...just because...and the front a bit...just because...


But as you can see above, it was only about 30 minutes on the mower.  It was good to have it running so it is used and isn't just sitting.

Definitely no mowing next week because...


There is ZERO rain in the forecast plus a hundred degrees or more every day.  Next weekend the "and humid" means the "feels like" will be insane.

But hey, no mowing.  No edging.  Just watering and back to cool air.

OFF TO THE FARM

 It's going to be 101 today.  The "feels like" will be in the 112 range.  I will not be at the farm long.  I have to cut the pear tree (see yesterday's post).  Then I'm going to water everything well and that will probably be it.  I edged and cleaned up the orchard area last weekend and I still need to edge/trim around the outbuildings, so that might just be it for the day.

I don't think I'll have to mow and even if I wanted to, I'm not sure I could because...

#farmshark

Will have an update later.


Thursday, July 27, 2023

PHONE CALL FROM THE POWER COMPANY

 We posted the other day about the local power company doing their periodic brush/tree easement clearing last week.  We thought all was good.  Then yesterday I got a call.  My phone said it was possible SPAM so I declined it.  About 15 minutes later, 2nd Family called and said "the power company called me and they are trying to reach you about your pear tree?"  

Oops.

This is the tree in question.  You can see the lines above it.  It looks close but it's about 10 feet under.  However, that's still a problem.  I got in touch and this is what the guy from the power company texted me:

"Yes, that pear tree behind your outbuildings needs to be cut at about 6 feet from the ground to be able to stay in the utility Easement. We only allow shrubs and hedges that are maintained at 6 feet annually."

Well crap.

Now this is in no way connected to our orchard area, those are all far away from any power lines (that's why we located them in their spot behind the house).  This one is the "wild pear tree" that we posted about last year.  It's been ignored for a long time and is doing great on its own.  When it was planted, it was only about 3 feet tall.  Now it's about 10 or 11 feet tall. 

In fact, it produced a LOT of pears for us last year (still put up in our freezer), but I guess now we'll cut it back to six feet.  We're not sure how it will react to such a dramatic pruning, but it has proven resilient all these years, we hope it makes it through this event.


Never fear, we still have two pear trees in the orchard area so we won't ever go without pears!  Besides, we have a guard out there...

#farmshark

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

POWER COMPANY EASEMENT CLEARING

 Every few years, the local power company comes through all the rural properties and cuts back everything that runs near the power lines and is within their ten foot easement.

Update at the bottom 7/27

This past weekend, they had done the front of our property.  This is from the driveway where we pull in all the way to the other end.  Click to enlarge, see that third pole waaay down at the end of the road?  That's how wide our property is at the front end.

My plan is to mow that this coming weekend and hopefully keep it mowed so it stays like it is.

Update: I have decided, thanks to your comments and 2nd Man's concern, not to mess with this on the new mower, at least not right now.  It should stay clear for awhile, maybe we can figure out something in the Fall.

We need the space for when we have a new fence put up along the front.  But for now, that's not a priority.  Let me just keep it cleared for a while.

Here is the other side of the driveway, the front portion of 2nd Family's property.

Oh no, we think all that clearing has angered the...


#farmshark!

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Monday, July 24, 2023

HOT DROUGHT AND FARMSHARK

Went to the farm.  Figured I wouldn't have to mow.


And I was right.  It's turning "Summer beige".  Or maybe "drought brown", ha.

I did need to cut back some bushes and trim some things.  Also needed to work in the orchard area because it was out of control before things turned brown so it was a good time to do it.


I edged around each bed and then used the electric mower in between each one.  It looks much neater, albeit a little dry.  I did water it all very well and watered everything on the porch.  

I worked my butt off in the heat and I realized it was after 3pm.  I checked the weather app:


...99 degrees with a feels like of 117!

On the good news side, I came back into town and was looking through photos and I think I found out what happened to our missing apples:


That darn #farmshark

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Sunday, July 23, 2023

SHARK WEEK STARTS ON HOBART SUNDAY

 Those who have been visiting us for a few years know that in addition to NASCAR, we also love Shark Week that comes to Discovery Channel every year.

It starts tonight!

CLICK TO ENLARGE

In years past, there were silly shows.  We didn't really like those, they would do something peripherally related to sharks like Jackass doing stunts in the ocean...I think once, they even had a mermaid show and how they could coexist with sharks.  Um, no thank you. 

This year though, these all seem pretty legit shark shows (albeit with some goofy titles, ha).

Now, we also will have our own silly thing we do every year and that's where we have a fun picture of a #farmshark sighting so watch for those this week in posts, you never know where they might show up.

Oh and most every year, they have a host to intro episodes, comment between commercials, etc and this year it is hosted by...


...Jason Momoa.  Sharks AND Aquaman?

We're OK with that...

And just to get things started:


When Hobart is sleeping, we won't even let a shark disturb his sleep.  Because...

#notspoiled
#notscared
#farmshark

Friday, July 21, 2023

A FUN LITTLE GIFT

So a couple weekends ago, 2nd Man knew I was making our favorite BBQ ribs as I always do for Daytona 500 weekend and 4th of July weekend.

And he knows how I like my "theme towels".

He found these and thought I should have them.  They are a pretty big size...


...and have a terrycloth backing for extra drying ability.


Great fun graphics and of course I'll be glad to be known as the BBQ BOSS around the house and will have to remind him from time to time, ha!!


But he will always be the
COOKING AND BAKING BOSS!

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

UNBEARABLE HEAT

Normally, I would say even a bad day on the mower is a good day but this heat is really pushing that.

You may have seen this picture on our Instagram...funny thing, I had my hat and my headphones and the key and then I was frantically looking around for my phone...which you know, was in my hand...taking the actual picture!

I mowed a little less than normal, I just had all I could stand in the heat.  It's nice to be on the mower, it can be breezy and in the shaded areas it's nice, but in the wide open sunny spaces...JUST. SO. HOT.

The grass, without rain now in three weeks, is starting to turn "Summer beige".  I hope that without rain again this week, I won't have to mow this weekend because I need to focus my stamina on edging and cleaning up the orchard area, which is a bit out of control.


Notice the warning at the bottom of the weather app:

"Conditions are extreme, delaying/canceling outdoor activities is recommended".

I followed the advice.  When I left, it was 99 with a "feels like" of 110.  Later in the day, it made it to 100 and a feels like of 117.


Saw this the other day. So often, people will go "it's always hot in Houston" or "it's just as hot as it was last Summer".  This is a chart showing the number of hours with a heat index (feels like) over 105 at both Houston airpot monitoring stations.  The two bars on the left are last year through July 16 and the two bigger ones on the right are this year through July 16.

Waaaay more heat than last year.  Last year broke the record.  We are now breaking that record for longest heat index temps.

And no end in sight...



Monday, July 17, 2023

NO SUGAR COLESLAW RECIPE

Several of you have asked for this recipe over the years and so when I made it this most recent time, I took pics and here it is! 

We found this recipe online a few years back (don't remember where) but we've modified it over the years to make it how we like it so I guess that makes it more like our own recipe.

Now please note, there is zero sugar in this coleslaw.  This ain't your Grandma's coleslaw, ha!

It's contrary to normal slaw.  2nd Man has never really liked sweet coleslaw (or potato salad that's sweet for that matter).  I do like them, but when I started making this, I was a convert.  Of course you could always add a bit of sugar (to your taste) and just turn it into a more traditional style, if you desire.

We make it with "broccoli slaw" which we get at our HEB grocery store but you can use a regular slaw mix.  We like the prepackaged mixes because they are much easier to prepare (feel free to shred your own).

Ingredients:

14 oz bag coleslaw mix (the mix we use comes in a 9 oz bag so we use two bags but it still works fine)

1 cup mayonnaise

1 TBSP yellow mustard

2 TBSP heavy cream (we only had half and half this time, it works just fine)

Seasonings:

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper 

1 tsp dried chives

2 tsp celery seed


Once you have your ingredients, mix them all together.  It might seem a bit dry as you mix but remember, the salt will start to pull out additional moisture and it should be just right.

However, if it needs to be adjusted later, you can always add a little more cream or mayo or even a little more mustard.
Make it as you like it.


I always try to make this the night before, because it's even better the next day after all the flavors have melded together and it gets nice and creamy. If you get the prepared bags of mix, it literally comes together in less than 10 minutes, so it's super easy to do ahead.

If you can't do it overnight, at least do it a few hours before dinner so the slaw veggies have a chance to soften up a bit and the flavors to developed.


Lastly, just dish it up and serve!

Even though I enjoy a sweet coleslaw, when we have something like BBQ, which is inherently sweet with BBQ sauce, it's a really nice compliment to the meal.  Bonus points for also being "low carb", "lower calorie", "no sugar", "keto friendly" and all those things, ha.

Enjoy!

Friday, July 14, 2023

99 RANCH BONUS FOR 1ST MAN

I forgot to include this the LAST POST.

On our recent trip to 99 Ranch Market, while all the cooking ingredients and fun stuff were for 2nd Man (though I reap the rewards of eating said wonderful ingredients), I saw these!


The gardening side of me was happy!


I didn't buy any because I wasn't sure what I'd want to try (all of them? ha).  I need to venture back and pick some up when we have our garden or maybe go ahead and snag a few and store them away?  They seem a little pricey, though I haven't bought seeds in a while so maybe this is normal, ha.

How long can packets of seeds like this last?


Wednesday, July 12, 2023

SHOPPING TRIP PURCHASES

 We know many of you always like to see what we picked up on shopping trips so here is some of what we got on our recent trip to 99 Ranch Market.

We posted HERE about that trip.

We got a package of our favorite brand of wheat noodles.  We use these to make our own homemade Ramen noodle bowls, these are healthier than the ones in the store.  Of course, you have to make your own seasoning but that's healthier too, ha.

When we got home, 2nd Man made us two bowls, for mine, he used beef bouillon and frozen meatballs and for his, he used some cooked chicken breast we had cubed up and chicken bouillon.  Then we added some veggies and seasoning of our own.


These are our favorite frozen potstickers.  We LOVE these for a quick dinner, steamed to cook them and then pan fried in some avocado oil until they have a crispy exterior.  We stir up a dipping sauce (which varies from time to time).  So good.


Then we stocked up on seasonings, our main reason for going...we did a lot of research online and watched a ton of Youtube videos to see what cooks and chefs recommend for various things in a good Asian grocery like this.  So we picked up Oyster sauce, Hoisin sauce, Fish sauce, Dark Soy sauce, Sweet Soy sauce, Ponzu sauce, and regular Soy sauce, all the brands most highly recommended.

Oh, and some chopsticks because 2nd Man loves eating with them...me, not so much, I haven't mastered that technique...yet, ha. 

We also got a package...of...chicken feet?!?  2nd Man wanted them to make some chicken stock.  More on THAT adventure in an upcoming post!


Monday, July 10, 2023

PUTTING UP STRAWBERRIES

I have the best luck with my coworkers!

Another sweet coworker had a glut of fruit and offered it to me.  Everyone at work knows that 2nd Man likes to cook/bake and so I always get offered excesses of ingredients since they know it will go to a good home. 


This time it was two pounds of fresh strawberries!

Yes please!


We have a strawberry huller somewhere in the back of a drawer but a few years back, I discovered using a straw and enjoy that method.  It's more difficult with a regular straw as they bend too easily, but we have these hard plastic straws in the bar drawer (they are reusable, meant to be washed) and I used one of those.

It takes a couple of times to get it just right but when you do, it's super easy, you just push it from the bottom up through to the top and...


...you get the core and the stem/leaves all at once.  Usually you can grab the stem from the end of the straw and pull the whole thing out.  If the stem breaks off though, no worries the core part will just push though and come out the other end as you use it.

There's something oddly relaxing about doing it, ha.


Here's a plate full of the stems and cores.


Here they are after I cut them in half.  I figured it would be easier for future use if they were already in half.  I did sprinkle a bit of sugar over them and then...


...I spread them out on a parchment lined baking sheet and popped them in the freezer for a few hours.  We always do our fruit this way, it freezes them individually and keeps them from mushing up when vacuum sealing or sticking together later as they thaw.


Once they were frozen like this, I split them into two packages of a pound each (seemed like a good amount for a dessert) and vacuum sealed them.

Not enough for jam or something like that but ready for strawberry shortcake perhaps?