Wednesday, August 30, 2023


A few weekends ago, we ran some errands and posted the shopping bags from the day on Instagram.  Several of you asked what we bought, we thought we'd share.

2nd Man likes his bowls.  We have quite a few.  One thing we have that he loves are small bowls that he uses when prepping meals.  We had some ceramic and stoneware bowls, medium and a little smaller, but we felt it was time for a little something new.

Here are the contents of the Pottery Barn bag.

2nd Man wanted some newer larger prep bowls.  He likes to put his ingredients together ahead of time to make it easier when cooking/baking.  These are from the same line, two different sizes.

You can see the difference here and their depths are different so they will work great.

They are the Cambria line of dishes.  Honestly, these were like a soup bowl and maybe something like a cereal bowl but they were exactly the size he wanted and we liked the style and color.

We already have some little bowls for small prepping as well, these stainless ones and glass ones.

But we're already using the new ones:

I like using them for my seasonings when cooking and prepping...for example, this is from when I made the coleslaw for our ribs...

...and 2nd Man likes to use them for his baking prep when cake and cookie making.  Measured out sugar in one, room temp butter in another and cocoa powder in the smaller one.

As 2nd Man likes to say...
Can you EVER have TOO many bowls?

Monday, August 28, 2023


Thought this would be interesting.  Photos taken almost the same weekends, each just two months apart:




We're hoping that the "END OF OCTOBER" photo will be green again...just in time for Winter, ha.

Sunday, August 27, 2023


We are on track today to break the all time hottest temperature ever recorded in Houston.

Can't wait.  NOT!

We shall remain inside where it's safe and cool.

The other night, we had some chicken flautas using our frozen cooked chicken and 2nd Man made corn tortillas.  We topped them with shredded lettuce, cheeses and salsa.  Yummy, as always.

So you all know Hobart has his special glass of water in the middle of the dining room floor, well he also has a bowl of water in the bathroom and one beside his food dish.  He will drink out of them normally but he also "plays" in the water with his paw...

...and then licks his paw dry.  Hey, we keep him well hydrated, that's for sure.  Because...



While the official high was 109, the weather station near the farm got to 112.  Still broke the all-time highest temperature for the record books.

Friday, August 25, 2023


 Tropical Storm Harold...swirled up in the Gulf of Mexico and made a beeline for South Texas.  It teased us with the potential of rain to break the drought but...

It went into South Texas and all the rain was down there.  Yesterday, Houston tied the all time highest temperature recorded on this date, 109.  Then last night, a pop up thunderstorm brought rain to the airport (where they have the instruments for the weather stats) and it broke the drought of no rainfall for 48 days.  It did not rain at the farm though, so we are closing in on 50 days out there without rain.  That's almost two months with not a drop of water falling from the sky.  Crazy.  

Next week there is a glimmer of hope...

But not much...Tuesday there is a 30% chance of rain or thinking the other way, a 70% chance it won't rain, ha.  Of course, there is the heat...100whatever...102, 103, 105, 106, 107...maybe higher.  It's HOT.

Hobart just sleeps like a baby on one his special blankets.  We've always loved when he sleeps and covers his face with his front leg arm.

Hobart also says "COME ON FALL!"

Wednesday, August 23, 2023


We always like to try something new and recently, we saw this one that went viral on the internet.  It is called "Chicken Cobbler", two things you normally think of separately, chicken for dinner and cobbler for dessert.

The recipe is attributed to Matthew Bounds, a home cook whose video has been watched more than 30 million times.  He goes by @yourbarefootneighbor (side note, he is is hilarious while cooking).  

Chicken cobbler ingredients


1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 16 oz bag of frozen peas and carrots
Salt, pepper and garlic powder
1 stick of salted butter
2 cups Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuit mix
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken stock
1 can cream of chicken soup

13x9 casserole dish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Melted butter
Melt the stick of butter in the microwave, or do like we do, just put it in the dish while the oven is preheating and when you are ready for the next step, it's melted.

Shredded rotisserie chicken
Once it is melted, put the shredded chicken in an even layer over the butter...

Don't stir

Frozen veggies, peas and carrots
On top of the chicken, spread the frozen veggies in another layer and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste...

Don't stir

Cheddar Bay biscuit mix and milk
Mix the entire bag of Cheddar Bay biscuit mix (including the little packet of seasoning that comes with it) with two cups of milk...

Cheddar Bay biscuit mix over top
Pour the Cheddar Bay and milk mixture over the top of the vegetable in another layer.

Don't stir

Chicken broth and cream of chicken soup
Mix 2 cups of chicken broth with the can of cream of chicken soup...

Chicken cobbler ready to bake
Pour this over all as the last layer.

Don't stir

Are you sensing a theme here?  LOL, this isn't a mix it all up casserole, it's more letting the layers do their thing as it bakes. It forms a gravy layer and a biscuit type cobbler top.

Baked chicken cobbler
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  It will be a bit jiggly in the center but you will let it sit outside of the oven for about 15 minutes to cool down and the gravy it creates thickens up.

Chicken cobbler
Dish it up and enjoy.  Oh my, we have to say, this is a delicious recipe.  It really is like a savory cobbler.  The second day, it's really firmed up and holds its shape, like lasagna the next day.  We like it both ways, ha. 

They say this is a flexible recipe, different veggies, different cream of soup, etc.  The Cheddar Bay biscuit mix is wonderful though, it has a great flavor and works perfectly to make the cobbler-like top.

Sometimes recipes are viral for a reason, they're good!

Monday, August 21, 2023


Hot.  A quick trip out.

I watered the fruit trees/bushes first.

A couple weekends ago, I brought a chair from the garden and put it in the shade of the house.  I set the water hose in each raised fruit bed, turn it on and set a timer for three minutes.  That gives them about 15 gallons of water and so far, so good.  The fig is a bit parched, I gave it extra but all we can do is hope we get a break soon though it doesn't look promising.

You can see in the pic above, the grass is almost all summer beige now.  That green patch is where the septic tank and leach field is.  I guess a few gallons of water per week are keeping that green, ha.

This was yesterday afternoon...we made it to 108.  Broke a record out there.

I opened the shed to apologize to Zen Machine 2 for his lack of use...his day would be coming once it rains.  Check out the grass here, definitely not green.  I was standing there and decided it would be good to to run it and keep it all going smoothly.

I drove it about 5 minutes or so before I remembered to turn on my app to keep track, so about 10 minutes of using it.  I mowed a couple of areas in the shade where it was still greenish, and then put it up.

It was 106 when I left.

Check out this forecast for the next ten days:

106, 104, 102, 103, 106, 106, 106, 106, 103, 103...YIKES!

Summer continues with a vengeance...

Sunday, August 20, 2023


It's hot.  Have we mentioned that?  LOL.  Literally just so little we can do outside but of course, that doesn't stop us from having some good food.

Friday night, 2nd Man said "How about hamburgers and fries?"  Yep that sounds good.  We get these great patties at HEB grocery that have brisket meat ground up with the beef.  So yummy.  A good old loaded hamburger is definitely comfort food.  Bacon, Swiss, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato and onion...with mustard for 2nd Man and mayo for me.

Special fuzzy red blanket sleeping palette?  Check!
Cardboard box option?  Check!
Glass of fresh water?  Check!



Friday, August 18, 2023


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 are a few more:

Saw these items in the recycle area with all the cardboard boxes.  I gathered them up and brought them back upstairs.

The first is this glass vase/candle holder.  It's a cool retro design, the clear spots are shaved into the heavy glass and it's a large size.  The bottom says it is from the store "Anthropologie".  No chips or cracks, someone just decided they didn't want it for whatever reason.

Then there were these three glass vases. They are very tall (about 16") and in perfect shape.  No chips/cracks.  We can always use a vase for something.  Or maybe floating candles?

And this was an unexpectedly cool find...inside that small cardboard box was a set of small glass dropper bottles.  There are a dozen but one was missing.  The rest have never been used as they were still sealed.  There are three metal funnels for filling them (also still in their plastic wrappers) and a larger glass pipette. The bottles are small with rubber tops and glass droppers.  It looks like maybe someone just used one of them and tossed the whole thing without ever using the rest.

We already have the candle holder in the bathroom (which has the same green in the shower curtain) and the clear vases, well, who can't use some extra flower vases?  The set of dropper bottles might come in handy at the farm when I do some things with herbs.

We'll put them all to good use.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023


SO, a bit of backstory.  When we moved into the first apartment here in the building after we sold our house, it had a cooktop and a separate oven/micro combo.  The oven was convection, which is what we had at the house, 2nd Man loved baking with it.

When we moved to this 1 bed/1 bath unit a couple years later, it had a regular electric, glass top slide in range/oven, no convection.  A couple of years ago, we went to the model of this unit we are in now just to kill some time and see how it was decorated and noticed the range had a convection oven and an induction cooktop!  We asked about it and they said it was ordered by accident.  We asked if we could have it swapped with ours but someone was about to move into that model unit.  

Flash forward to when we signed our lease this last time, they asked if we needed anything in the unit.  We told them how we were big foodies and asked about having a new fridge and possibly a new range with convection oven.  We got a new fridge a few months ago and last weekend...


Our brand new range and not only did we get a CONVECTION OVEN, we also got it with an INDUCTION COOKTOP!

There are no knobs, it's all touch pad tech, so no cracks and crevices to food and splattered grease in.

When you touch them to turn on a burner, you move your finger along the scale to the desired temp. It also makes a really cool sound, ha.

There are five cooking areas with the one on the left having a bridge to make it one long griddle area.  Now this is not just a glass is induction, which some may not be familiar with.

There are three types of cooking surfaces...gas (flame)...electric (coil or glass top)...and induction (glass top or hidden).

Induction is incredible to cook with.  There is no direct heat, you can't get burned and heating begins instantly.  Using magnets, it heats the pan itself and doesn't transfer it from the surface to the pan.  Because the technology uses magnets, you must use cookware that works on it which is almost anything except aluminum or ceramic/glass.  A good way to test is to see if a magnet sticks to the bottom of your pan, if it does, it will work on induction.

The first thing we did was boil water, ha.  A little over 60 seconds to bring a pot of water to a boil.

The other cool thing (literally, ha) about induction is when you remove the pot from the surface, you can put your hand right on it.  There is no hot element that can burn you.  It's a very efficient means of cooking and doesn't heat up your kitchen.

We also have a convection oven once again.  The convection feature is selectable which is nice; for example, you don't need it for casseroles or covered dishes, you also don't want to use it for sensitive cakes/breads where moving air would affect their rise.  The convection works great for breads and regular cakes and makes unbelievable roasted meat and veggies.  The fan blowing hot air around is what helps that.  The racks also roll out and there is even a steam feature for cleaning!

We haven't even started to try out these features yet but it will also Air Fry, Warm, Proof (bread rising), and has preset selections for frozen items and baked goods.  

2nd Man has used a convection for a while since we had one at the house and one for a bit at the first apartment.  At the new house at the farm, he wants double convection ovens and since we won't have gas out there, we had already decided on induction.  It's efficient, doesn't use as much electricity as electric burners and doesn't heat up the kitchen.  Plus it's just so amazing to cook with.  Now, we'll get to become proficient at it by practicing, ha!

Monday, August 14, 2023


When I had to do some pruning Saturday and the pear tree that was pruned a couple of weeks ago, I had a LOT of large branches/debris.  I started to drag them to a pile elsewhere on the property but then I realized...


I drove the truck to each pile of debris...

...and loaded tossed it all in the back end.

Here's from Saturday when I had to cut back some limbs/branches.  Same thing, I loaded it all up...

Drove to the corner of the property where we dispose of debris like this, hoping for some nice compost or a future place to plant stuff...

And emptied it all out!

It's so nice having an old truck where we don't have to worry about scratching the bed or paint or getting things dirty with leaves and soil.

Side note, it's also nice having a property where you can just drive wherever you want.  On Saturday, I drove along the side of the house and behind the orchard area along the fence line.  When I was done, I circled around through the front yard and parked it back in the shade.

Bill has earned his keep once again!
Time to reward him with something...

I'll have to do some online shopping.