Tuesday, October 31, 2023


Couldn't get on today due to unforeseen technical difficulties, ha.

SO a quick post to just say hi and hope you are having a great Halloween!

And here's a question for you:

According to several shopping analysts that watch trends and what is purchased each year, for 2023, the most popular purchases are Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Peanut M&Ms.  Classic M&Ms are in third place followed by Snickers, Tootsie Pops and Twizzlers.

So what is YOUR favorite candy this time of year?

Monday, October 30, 2023


It was a good weekend.  I went to the farm, didn't need to mow, so I did some small projects and came back.  Saturday afternoon, we had an appointment and then Sunday, we had to go to an appliance place to get some ideas (and did we get some good ones, ha)

I wish I could have gotten a picture, but as I drove down the driveway, there was a deer, a decent sized buck, just standing there (this was early morning).  As soon as he saw me, he bounded off into the trees.

It was a beautiful reminder of the nature around us.

The grass has greened up nicely with our recent much needed rains.  Still a few dry spots in the yard, but it has all filled in nicely.

The last gasp of Summer is hanging on as there are still a few purple flowers on the Vitex bushes.  It was a nice day and I did a some projects, measuring a few things and came back in the afternoon.  Sunday was a warm day with scattered showers.

But check out our forecast:

Lows in the 30's midweek!  Of course, it is Houston, so it's back up to 80's this weekend, ha.  But with the cold weather blast, the grass will stop where it is for the season and I'm OK with that.  It's short and mowed.

No freeze in the forecast, thank goodness.

According to the weather almanac, the farm area for average frost is December 8th to February 18th.

That'll give me time to get our plants ready, the ones on the porch that need to be inside where it's a little warmer.  Can't believe we're already to THAT time of year but, here we are.

Sunday, October 29, 2023


The weekend is here.  It's been good, lots of errands for some pending things happening soon!  More on that as they come up.

2nd Man made this yesterday.  It was a beef ragu/stew type meat sauce that he served over orecchiette pasta.  The pasta had sauce made out of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) pureed with garlic, cheese and some sherry.  We had nice salads on the side.  It was so good.

Hobart is back to his favorite many favorite sleeping place to spend on a lazy weekend day.  His comfy afghan, the dining room chair and some sunshine.  Because...


Friday, October 27, 2023


So this happened as I was leaving the farm recently...

These are the keys to the barn/shed.  This dog tag came from a dear friend who passed away and we thought it would be a good way to always think about her.  For these last few years, it has never been a problem.  Then, I was taking them back in to hang them on the hook in the mudroom and was walking across the porch and...

...this happened.  I dropped them, they landed juuuuuust right and disappeared into the darkness of the underside of the house.  Not what you want to happen after a hot day of yard work and in your mind you are ready to get in and rest and realize you now have to crawl under then house and retrieve them.

I did that (at least it was cool under there, ha) grabbed them and hung them up where they belong.  2nd Man said we need to add something to the keychain, like a small round item so if they DO fall again, they will not drop all the way through.

It's always something...

Wednesday, October 25, 2023


Guess what I did?  1st Man baked!

You might remember HERE where we got some bananas from a coworker and we put them up in freezer bags.  Recently, I began researching banana bread recipes and found several.  I combined them until we found one that we really loved.


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
3 or 4 super ripe bananas, about 1 1/2 cups mashed
8 TBSP (1 stick) of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan.

Mix wet ingredients - to the mashed bananas add the beaten eggs, butter, vanilla, and brown sugar.

Whisk dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Add the dry into the wet, a little at a time, stirring to incorporate until flour disappears.

Pour batter into pan and pop into the preheated oven.  Bake 55 to 70 minutes, depending on your oven, until knife in the center comes out clean.  Our one was 60 minutes on the nose.  Check it after about 40 minutes just to make sure it's not browning too much.  If it is, you can put foil over the top.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Then turn it out and let it cool.

Slice and ENJOY!  So good.  It's even better a day or two later.  Can keep at room temp for a day or in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

If it lasts that long.

My next plan is to try walnuts and/or chocolate chips.

Monday, October 23, 2023


I took a vacation day Friday to go to the farm and do my yard stuff because we had an important meeting Saturday.  More on that soon.  Of course to both of us, any day out there is a vacation!

I got there about 8:45am and it was sunny, clear and just an almost perfect day.  The colors of everything seemed so brilliant and vibrant in the early morning light.  I might have been able to skip mowing but with our cooler weather and limited chance of rain, this could very well be the last mow of the season.

I fired up the Zen Machine 2 and got to it.  It was a happy day for sure.  With the cool breeze, I enjoyed every moment of it.

A little shorter length of time than normal, but almost as much coverage.  I could tell from the brush on the trail areas that there was no need to mow them because they are fading away.  I'm fine with that.

As usual, we love the way it looks when done, so clean and tidy looking.  I checked my mower app for the previous years of mowing and here are the last dates:


It could end up being this one or might have one more.  Odds seem to be in my favor but we shall see what the weather brings in the next week or two. A couple inches of rain could give us another burst of green.

Here is the 'wild pear tree' that we had to cut a few months ago at the request of the power company.  Several of you have asked about it and so far, it's hanging in there.   It is starting to spread out into a sort of new canopy that will hopefully look good and still produce pears next year.

Time to pull out our homemade orchard guide and see what to do now to give it the best chance next Spring.


Sunday, October 22, 2023


It's been a good long weekend.  Wait, long?  No you didn't miss a holiday, ha.  I took a vacation day and went to the farm Friday because we had an important appointment yesterday (more on that soon).

In the meantime, the other night, 2nd Man cooked up some of our frozen potstickers (from our trip a few months back to the Asian Market) and a side of rice with broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and water chestnuts and some of the wonderful sauces we got.  So yummy!

Every morning when we wake up, if he's not ON us, Hobart is laying at the end of the bed, waiting for breakfast.  Of course, if we happen to be a few minutes late, he lets us know. This moment was captured after I got up and walked toward the kitchen but looked back and he was giving me the eye, seemingly "Really? Five minutes late? Really?" I fed him immediately. Because...


Friday, October 20, 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 years.

I went downstairs and saw these in the recycle dumpster!  What the heck?  I snatched them up immediately and took them back upstairs.  When I brought them in, even 2nd Man looked at them and said "wow, those are really nice!"

Here they are dusted off and at the farm.

They are really pretty.  Not too heavy as they are made of a lightweight metal.  Since it's more of an open 'woven' pattern, they don't hold water of course.  They are matching in style but two different nice large sizes.  One is 30" high and the other is 24".

We were thinking they might be good painted or perhaps left as is and used at the farm maybe outside on the porch.  If we get the back porch we want, it will be large and covered and will hold a dining table...so that gives us a whole other "room" to decorate, ha. These would be perfect on an outdoor dining table. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2023


OK, so 2nd Man is not much of a s'mores fan but I love them...and so do many of our friends and family.  The other day, I was at the store and they had a clearance section of "Summer merchandise".

It's Fall and to us, that's more "s'mores time" than Summer but hey, a bargain is a bargain.

This is a s'mores caddy by Hershey's!  Think "fishing tackle box" but for all the ingredients in a s'more.

Normal price, $19.99.

Summer clearance 75% off, so I snagged it for $4.99!

The top tray holds the chocolate and graham crackers and the bottom holds the bag of marshmallows.

S'mores caddy image via Hersheys.com
Here is a stock photo I found online that shows what it looks like when it's filled.  Pretty neat and will be awesome to have at the farm whenever we have a fire going and someone asks if they can make s'mores...or maybe I'll just make them all by myself!

Maybe I can convince 2nd Man that they are good.

Monday, October 16, 2023


Well, Saturday was not only a beautiful day weather wise, but also the day of the total eclipse.

While the farm wasn't under the direct path of totality, being 45 miles West of Houston meant it was 45 miles closer to the path and gave us a partial "almost total" eclipse.  Not sure when the next one is, so we figured best to enjoy this one now.

A few weeks ago, I bought these great eclipse viewing glasses.  There was a list of certified glasses that met the proper safety standards so I made sure to get those.  No need to risk eyesight!

Then, there is this great website we often use, www.timeanddate.com.  We sometimes use it for sunset/sunrise times, moonrise/phases, etc but this year, they had eclipse times as well!  You go to the map and can zoom down to your actual house location (or let your phone be your location) and it will give you exact times to the minute and even show what it will look like from your location as well.

This was cool, I was using the camera to take a picture through the glasses and before I did, it took a picture and the reflection of light in the camera lens showed the start of the eclipse!

We watched it through the glasses, way cool.  Then I thought about holding them up to the camera to get a picture. It wasn't as easy as I thought but...

...I did capture this one.  We didn't get the "Ring of Fire" this far west but you can see here it was exactly like the website showed it would be.

It got fairly dark but in a weird way.

The shadows were in unfamiliar places and the sky just had an odd appearance to it.  The porch was also very  dark for the middle of the day.  Pretty neat.  Also, we didn't think about it until later driving back into town, but it became very quiet...there were no birds chirping or the usual crickets and other insects you'd hear on a nice, clear Fall day.

Nice experience and one we hope happens again.

Sunday, October 15, 2023


It has been a gorgeous weekend.  Cool weather with a breeze.  It's so nice after our long, hot Summer.  Yesterday was the big eclipse day so more on that tomorrow.  As this posts, we're off to do errands (time for a Costco run) and have some lunch.

Recently, 2nd Man made some wonderful seasoned chicken tenders and mashed potatoes.  Lest you all worry about our vegetable intake...

...I made two large salads, lots of veggies (and some fancy little crunchy croutons, ha).  It was very filling.

Here is Hobart, last night.  I was sitting on the couch, adding some stuff to our garden planning book, when he jumped up to lay next to me.  Then he stretched out.  And stretched out a little more.  And took up more real estate.  I put the book aside and let him enjoy his comfort.  Because...


Thursday, October 12, 2023


Last week, it rained all night....and at 8am the next morning, this was the radar...

...and at noon, this was the radar again.  The red pin is the farm.  We ended up with about 2 inches of rain.  The ground was too wet to mow last weekend and hadn't grown that much, but it sure is all greening up.

But in the end, all this rain after the drought has been great for the yard and plants.

Things greened up but the newly planted apple tree is confused.  Blooms???  I plucked them off of course but too funny.  Even nature is confused, ha.

The fig tree was looking horrible all Summer and at one point, dropped all its leaves and was just some sticks sticking up out of the ground.  We almost gave up on it, but now it's looking pretty good.

However, we lost a blueberry bush.  This was the weekend before and we were hoping the rain would bring it back but nope.  Dead.  Still dead.  Thankfully. this isn't one of the two varieties that gave us so many this past Spring, this is one of the other two that didn't fruit this year.  It's definitely dead, the branches just break off with no green at all.  Not sure it was the drought/heat as the other one like it is still doing pretty well.  Maybe this one was just weaker for some reason.  We'll have to look for another variety either like it or maybe just try another blueberry.

On the plus side with fruiting bushes, the Gogi berry bush, still on the porch and not in the ground, is covered in blooms.  Since it's not in the ground and we don't have to worry about root development, we'll let the blooms continue and see what develops.

We are thankful for the rain we've had, though I did  enjoy having the Summer off from mowing in the oppressive heat.  I should have some good mowing to do this weekend for sure!

Tuesday, October 10, 2023


We get questions, ha.

A couple of readers have asked what salt we use in cooking.  Well, that is a legit question!

We found this salt a few years ago.  It's called "Redmond Real Salt".

We LOVE it!

Like many chefs and home cooks alike, we use Kosher salt.  Not for any religious reason, but because Kosher salt is a slightly larger granule and not as fine, so it's easier to grab pinches and toss them into cooking.  Kosher salt in general always has a more natural salty flavor and this brand has the added benefit of naturally occurring minerals.  Of course, they sell fine salt as well if you want that and everything from pocket shakers of the salt, to bulk 25 lb bags and everything in between.

Locally, we can only find it at the HEB grocery story chain.  Of course you can buy it on Amazon HERE.

We like it for several reasons.  We like the texture and granule size and it has a rich, great flavor (as salt goes) that's almost sweet.  It's North America's own pink salt as it has a pink hue to it along with the darker colors from the other trace minerals found in it. 

This from their website:

"We think salt should be simple. It shouldn't contain artificial additives or unhealthy pollutants. And it shouldn't be stripped of beneficial trace minerals. It should be sea salt the way nature made it - nothing added, nothing taken away. Redmond Real Salt is unrefined sea salt mined from an ancient seabed in Utah where it's safe from modern pollutants. It's pure, unprocessed, and full of trace minerals that give it one-of-a-kind nutritional benefits and a subtly sweet flavor that brings out the best in each bite."

We don't get anything for posting this (though Redmond, if you're listening...LOL).  We just thought we'd share an ingredient we love from our kitchen!

Sunday, October 8, 2023


 It's been a beautiful weekend.  Finally cool(ish) and we had rain last week.  Today we are going to be out running errands but as always, it's time for some good food and some Hobart.

Recently, we had some great food when 2nd Man made made fajitas.  They were marinated and we put them on some homemade corn tortillas with shredded cabbage, radishes and cilantro on top and some wonderful Mexican rice on the side.

Here's Hobart, laying on the rug in the living room.  He often sleeps there because it's in between where I sit on one couch and 2nd Man sits on the other one.  He has to be close to us because...


Friday, October 6, 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 years.

Saw this chair by the recycling area.  I thought there might be something wrong with it (like a broken leg or spindle) but nope, other than the 'decorative' effect you might see above, it was fine and sturdy.

It looks like someone distressed it.  In fact, if you see in the first picture, it's kind of "half done".  It's like they painted it and then started scratching it up to give it an aged effect?  Maybe it was an art project?  Or maybe a home project they gave up on, ha!

Here it is when we took it to the farm.  You can see how two legs on one side aren't 'distressed' so I guess I'll have to complete that process, ha.  Not sure how it was done, maybe some rough grit sandpaper perhaps?

Hey, it never hurts to have an extra chair, might be nice to have it to move to the garden or orchard as needed, always good to sit down and take a break.  Or maybe we should put it alone in the foyer with a spotlight shining on it, ha.