Thursday, September 28, 2023

ASSORTED CHEESES

 Recently, at my favorite lunchtime grocery store (HEB), I found this section in their deli department:

They have a basket of assorted cheeses that are marked at below $5.00 each.  They aren't on clearance, they are just smaller cuts of cheese, probably as they slice up a larger wheel or section to make other bigger ones, they end up with smaller pieces.  It's been a good way to discover and try new cheeses.

This Port Wine Derby was SO good.  We had it with some fresh fruit, and so good.

In this batch, we tried some Chipotle Gouda and some Queso Adobera.  Both were great, the gouda was a bit spicy but wonderfully flavorful.  We want to try the Smoke Cumin.  We're sure it's all good but then again, since we love cheese, is ANY cheese bad?  ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

BONNE MAMAN ADVENT CALENDAR 2023

We got one of these a few years ago for the first time but we skipped the last couple of years.

This year, when the availability email came, we figured we should get one again since we loved it the first time. 


It is the Bonne Maman Advent calendar for 2023.  Every year, they come out with this set that lets you try some really cool and unusual flavors and combinations that they will never have in the large jars.


From the Bonne Maman website:

"Count down to Christmas with 23 unique limited editions spreads and 1 honey.  Discover delicious flavors such as 'Caramel with Cinnamon', 'Raspberry Chocolate' and 'Lemon Yuzu' that can only be found during the holiday season.  Perfect for gifting or treating yourself!  The highly coveted Advent calendar will sell out fast.  Don't miss out on this limited edition treat."

If you are so inclined or want more info, the link to the website to get one is HERE.

We don't get anything, just fans sharing the fun.


We also got this cool little spoon, engraved with the Bonne Maman name, that fits into the small jars that come with the calendar.

We really like trying all the flavors and last time we bought it, some of our favorite flavors were "mango peach lime" and "fig with cardamom".  Really different and fun flavors to try and with 2nd Man baking break and making biscuits regularly, we'll definitely go through them.


On the other plus side, washed, cleaned and labels removed, the little jars are just adorable, ready for some sort of project .  Yes, I have all 24 from the last time.  Now I'll have 48.  2nd Man indulges tolerates my love of jars/containers.

๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€

Monday, September 25, 2023

DOESN'T FEEL LIKE FALL BUT GREEN IS COMING

 Saturday was the first day of Fall.  Maybe for others around the world, but not for us...

This was when I ended up leaving because it was so hot...95, felt like 109.  On the first day of Fall.  Sigh.

2nd Man had to work so he stayed in town, I took some stuff out that needed to go out there, took the truck for a spin and then watered everything well.  It's all looking pretty good after the decent rain last week.

In fact...


Look!  It's getting green again!

That rural farm grass is tough stuff.  City grass seems to die in a drought and you have to replace it with new sod next Spring.  At the farm, it can be crunchy brown with cracks in the ground and a month later it's lush and green.  We're a little ways off from lush, ha, but at least green is on the way.

There is a good chance of rain today, about 70% according to the weather forecast.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

GOOD FOOD AND HOBART SUNDAY

The weekend is here and now almost over.  They always go so much faster than the work week, ha!

We had the classic recipe that's sometimes called "no peek pork chops and rice" or "oven baked cream of mushroom pork chops".  Whatever you call it, we call it GOOD.  We'll post the recipe next time we make it and I'll take some pics.  This one was with some sautรฉed broccolini on the side.  For dessert we had another one of those chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches you saw posted a couple days ago.

One day at work, I was telling a coworker how 2nd Man says that every day, about 4:30 or so, Hobart wakes up and goes over to lay by the door, waiting for me to get home apparently.  When I got home the other day, I slowly opened the door and peeked in to snap a picture.  This is him.  Ostensibly waiting on me because he missed me but probably waiting for the 'evening meal giver' to return. Because...

#notspoiled


Friday, September 22, 2023

WHEN YOU HAVE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

2nd Man made a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

There were a couple dozen.  I immediately knew what we should do with at least a few of them:


Put some softened ice cream on them and...


MAKE ICE CREAM SANDWICHES!

We made two chocolate and two vanilla, smooshed them together and froze them for use over the weekend.  They were delicious!

After all, when life hands you chocolate chip cookies, make ice cream sandwiches, right!?

๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

OUR HOMEMADE GARDEN GUIDE

We're old school.  We both still like paper.  Sure we have tablets and smartphones and laptops but in the end, just like reading an actual, physical book, we like to have paper.

Over the last couple of years, I've been collecting information and printing it out. Recently, I found a binder, got some plastic sleeves and put it all together.

One part for the fruit trees and bushes and one part for the veggie garden area.

Here is the fruit side/half.  I made a quick cover sheet for that side of the binder.


When you open it, for the first page, I created a graphical representation of the actual layout of our orchard area with each tree/bush labeled for the bed that it is in.  I even have the correct shape to make sure we remember what is what.


Then, in alphabetical order, are pages of info on each fruit that we are growing.  They are sourced to be articles put out by local arborists and experts (including Texas A&M University) so that it is unique to our growing climate.  We have found info on every single thing we are growing.  Apples, bananas, blueberries, cherries, grapes, pears, plums, etc.

The info is how to plant and when to fertilize, how to care for them in different types of weather, harvesting, pruning, etc, all for each plant we have in the ground.

Then, if you hold it in front of you and just flip it over, top to bottom, the back half (which is upside down from the front half, ha) is the other part.


The Vegetable Garden Guide.


Opening it, the first page has a graphical layout of all the raised beds in the fenced in garden area and what we could plant each year.  This one is for Spring/Summer garden planning...


...and on the other side of that page is the one for Fall/Winter garden planning.

There are blank multiples so we can change things from year to year and rotate crops.


While we don't have pages for each planted or planned item yet (since we don't have anything growing this year) I have found great info, from our county extension office, local urban harvest group and even some friends of the farm who live near our growing zone...they are lists of all the vegetable varieties that grow best here, when to plant them and when to harvest them, for both Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter.


And speaking of planning, I also put yearly planners in each section, month by month, to remind me what I need to do and when.

It will allow us to plan each season and keep track of what we have done, what has worked and what maybe didn't work one season.

Monday, September 18, 2023

RAINFALL FINALLY

We finally got some much needed rain.  About 3/4" over Thursday and Friday.

When I went out Saturday...  


...there was some green starting to appear in the yard.


Even in the area where the cracks in the ground are, there was green grass springing up.  

I watered just in case, had to water the stuff on the porch for sure.  Moved a few things from the house to the barn/shop, drove the truck, and then called it a day.


I was watching the radar and could see more rain coming.  When I finally left about 1:30, this was the sky.  We were hopeful for more rain and sure enough...


This is the radar about an hour later when I got back into Houston...the red pin is the farm.


And this is 4:30, about two hours later, it was still raining but getting lighter.  It ended at about 5pm and was nice the rest of the weekend.  We ended up with about 1 1/2" over the course of a few days.  None the rest of this week but cooler temperatures finally.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

GOOD FOOD AND HOBART SUNDAY

We have had rain!  Intermittent, but definitely welcome.  It is Sunday so that means it's time for some good food and some Hobart!

This was last weekend's big meal.  2nd Man once again knocked it out of the park.  Pork with mole verde, refried beans, rice with corn and jalapeรฑos and this time homemade flour tortillas.

Sometimes friends will ask us why we don't go out to eat more often...um, hello?  Why?  This is just as good and we get to wear our pajamas, LOL!


LOOK!
He's awake!!


Aaaaaand...he's out!

Ha!  We thought you all might like these pictures.  He was on his blanket on the table, a weekend tradition, and I thought "oh, he's awake and looking at the camera" so I took a picture.  I went to the other room to do something, came back a few minutes later and he was asleep.  We don't dare disturb his sleep of course, because...

#notspoiled

Friday, September 15, 2023

SMALL VINTAGE OIL LAMP 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 went downstairs on my usual reconnaissance mission and saw this.  A small little oil lamp sitting all by itself.  Nothing wrong with it, no cracks and no chips.  I looked at it and the bottom said "Made in Austria" so I figured it might be a nice little find.  

Brought it upstairs and washed and cleaned it all with soap and hot water.  Wow!

It cleaned up nicely and is actually very pretty.  We couldn't tell until we cleaned it, but there is even a floral motif etched into the glass.  It's so pretty.  We just need to get a new (longer) wick.

The knob says "Lamplight Farms" and the bottom of the glass says "Made in Austria".  I found a couple of these for sale, they both said vintage, though not sure what year.  Average price was about $20-$30.

It's not valuable but we figured for a throwaway item, it will work great.  It never hurts to have a small, alternative means of lighting in an emergency or even a little old fashioned ambiance.


Thursday, September 14, 2023

LIQUID FALLING FROM THE SKY

RAIN!



This is the radar image of the farm this morning.  Nice heavy rains moving over.  It's supposed to be like this on and off the next few days.  

We'll take it!

Waiting for 2nd Family to give us a rainfall total update.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

PUTTING UP CHERRIES

We recently picked up a large bag of "dark sweet cherries" and wanted to put them up for future use.

The bag said it was 2 1/2 pounds, I measured them out and it was 8 cups exactly.  I froze them so they'd be solid and hard and then I divided them in half and put 4 cups each in two bags...


...and sealed them up.

Because they were frozen solid first, they vacuumed nicely.  I love the feeling of the bag when all the air is out, something satisfying about that, ha.  I labeled them and popped them in the freezer.

Our plan at the farm is to have a large separate freezer from the one in the kitchen with the fridge and I told 2nd Man, I'll be dangerous with a vacuum sealer and a big empty freezer, ha.  But we do enjoying cooking "out of our freezer", it is nice to have stuff available.


Monday, September 11, 2023

HEAT HEAT GO AWAY

The grass is officially dead/dormant.

Just a shade of brown, triscuit-like, crunchy stuff where green used to be.  Now it will come back, it always does, with some regular rain.  One downpour won't do it but several days of nice rainfall will.

I went out there Saturday, only to water the fruit trees to keep them alive.  I got there about 10am, stayed until just about noon.  As I l left, I checked the app...

101 and felt like 110.  Actually felt like 150, ha.  I was soaked from sweating but I always have a change of clothes ready before heading back.

I checked the app and the last time I mowed was at the end of June.  So it's been 2 1/2 months.  I took it out a few weeks ago for a spin but otherwise, so much for buying a new mower this year, we could have waited, ha.  But oh well, at least we haven't put many hours on it yet.  It'll be good as new for next season.

There IS a chance of rain a few days this week, but it's always like 40%...which to us means it's a 60% chance it won't rain.  We shall see!


Of course, today is a somber anniversary.  The terrible events of 9/11 are separated by 22 years now but one only needs to close their eyes to be immediately taken back to that day...

Sunday, September 10, 2023

GOOD FOOD AND HOBART SUNDAY

IT'S HOT.  Nuff said.

This is last weekend's big meal.


2nd Man made everything from scratch.  Homemade corn tortillas, Mexican rice, charro beans, and the star of the show, pork carnitas.  Oh, even the pico de Gallo was homemade.  SO. Good.

It has been our tradition the last few years to have this meal on Memorial Day weekend and again on Labor Day weekend.  Sort of a start and end to Summer.


This weekend, Hobart has moved from the table and quilt to his afghan on one of his cushions in his favorite sunspot overlooking the balcony.  Notice we said HIS afghan and HIS cushions and HIS favorite spot.
That's because...

#notspoiled

Thursday, September 7, 2023

LEMON BUTTER PASTA WITH PARSLEY

 A few years ago, 2nd Man was looking around in the pantry and fridge for dinner.

Pasta.

Some fresh lemons.

Parsley.

Butter.

That all sounds like a meal...

He zests one lemon, minces up some parsley, squeezes lemon juice from half and cubes up some butter.  It's really all to taste. 

Boil the pasta (any shape) and drain it (saving 1/4 cup of the pasta water).

While it is still hot, just toss in the butter, lemon juice and zest and a bit of the pasta water the thickness you desire and stir until melted.  Finally, toss in the fresh minced parsley and stir again.

We like this on a night when we want something that's not heavy, like a cream sauce or rich tomato sauce.  It's almost refreshing in a way.  Sometimes, he'll put in some minced garlic sautรฉed with some chicken or, our favorite addition, shrimp.

We're sure there is some Italian dish for this same thing with a fancy name but we call it lemon butter pasta and we love it.  It's now one of of my favorite dishes.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

A GIFT FROM A FRIEND

A former coworker reached out and asked me if I wanted a fertilizer spreader as they got a different one.

Um, yeah!


We took it to the farm and I got the hose out and cleaned it up.  It looks good as new.  Of course, not like we can fertilize an acre with this, ha, but we'll use it.  We hope to have some sectioned off areas of the yard and it might be nice (on a cool day) to walk this around and just be outside in the moment.  Can they be used for seeding areas?  Not sure.

But you know me, never one to pass up a good freebie!

Sunday, September 3, 2023

GOOD FOOD AND HOBART LABOR DAY WEEKEND

One more hot weekend in the record books.  Ugh.  101 yesterday.  There is a decent chance of rain this week but we're not holding our breath for that to happen.


Woke up to 2nd Man making a traditional Mexican breakfast, Huevos Rancheros (eggs poached in tomatoes and seasonings) with homemade corn tortillas and refried beans.

Sigh.  So comforting.

Today, we are having carnitas!  We do it Memorial Day weekend and again Labor Day weekend.  It's our beginning of Summer and end of Summer tradition.


It's the weekend, so that means it is time for us to make sure Hobart's quilt is on the table and the chair is at the end so he can jump and and down.  He is happy and we make sure he is because...

#notspoiled