Friday, July 12, 2024

LAST LEASE RENEWAL AND A GIFT

We recently signed another year lease at our apartment (the last one we have to deal with, or at the most, month to month for a couple of months since we are building a new house) and the leasing office dropped this off at our front door with our lease papers...


A bottle of wine!  Trader Joe's.  We enjoy TJ's house wine, it's good to drink AND, since they say to always cook with a wine you would drink, 2nd Man uses it in recipes too.  We'll just keep this for cooking.


Tied to the bottle with a ribbon were some stalks of dried lavender...it smelled so wonderful!

We thought it was a great way to present a bottle of wine as a gift (we'll have to remember that if we ever take a bottle of wine as a gift)!  It was a very nice gesture and will be appreciated and used to its fullest!

And now the clock starts ticking!

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

WEEKEND WEATHER AND BERYL UPDATE

Well, in retrospect, this post was a harbinger of things to come.

First, an update.  The city is still reeling from the Beryl.  There are still well over a million homes and businesses without power.  School campuses are closed.  Mass transit is not yet back.  Downed trees EVERYWHERE.  Even my office is still without power, the entire six story building and all the places around it.  We're hoping to have power (possibly today as this posts) soon or maybe tomorrow.  Who knows.

It's miserable for so many because we are having heat indexes well into the triple digits.  The city is opening cooling centers all over town.

"J" from 2nd Family said the power came back Monday night at 9pm.  About 12 hours without power at the farm.  Not too bad, considering many in Houston may wait days more for power to return.

I went to the farm over the weekend to get ready before the storm arrived...


Thankfully, I was able to mow.  With heavy rain in the forecast, that was my goal.  I accomplished that.


Literally 1 minute difference from the last regular mow.  Right on average.


I put the mower up in the shed and put everything that wasn't tied down in there as well.  Just to keep the flying objects to a minimum.


When I l left at 2pm, it was a feels like of 115.


I've never had this message before.  My phone was in the little compartment thing on the mower and when I took it out to check my status, it had this message.  I didn't even know they would do this.  As 2nd Man said, that's a sign for you to take a break too.  Yes sir.


This is the sky to the Southeast when I was leaving.  Clouds were coming.


And when I got to the end of the road, it was this.


I stopped at the gas station on the way home to fill up (as they always say to do when a hurricane is coming) and this is what it looked like.


At home in the safety of the apartment, this was the radar for the farm (the pin is the house).  Yep, I mowed just in time!  Of course, just a few hours later, the bottom dropped out as an actual Category 1 (gusts to Category 2) hurricane came in.

"J" said the farm seems OK, she said we might have lost some shingles but with the house going soon, not worried about that.  More the trees and stuff around the property we are worried about.  We'll make a better survey this weekend.  No rain in the forecast now for a while and we're fine with that.

Considering the storm was a Cat 5 and 4 for so long when it formed, as bad as it was here after it diminished, we dodged a disaster of epic proportions.  Houston will recover, we always bounce back stronger.


Monday, July 8, 2024

HARROWING BERYL UPDATE

 It has been a crazy morning without much sleep.


Here is the radar at about 5am when the howling of the wind woke us up.  We're downtown, the red pin.


Four hours later, it was slow moving and we are in the intense part of it, the dirty side.


Here it is a bit ago, it's finally moving out.  The eye went over the farm.

We had winds of 90mph sustained.
There has been 10 inches of rain (and counting).
2.1 million people are without power.
Bayous are overflowing in some areas.
Airports are closed.
Many roadways are impassible.
2 fatalities so far.


A coworker sent this picture she took from her front porch.  She said it has been very scary.

And here are a couple of videos.

First up, one I took from our balcony (door open, hand outside, I didn't go ONTO the balcony, ha).


Wish you could hear the howling wind, it makes this eerie whistling noise. Like some end of the world movie.

Then there is this video that "J" from 2nd Family send showing how intense it was at the farm:


Yikes!  She said she is finally able to sleep and will be taking a nap...well deserved nap after the night she had out there.

The mayor just told everyone to stay home and shelter in place while they get emergency crews out across the city, they are still rescuing people and trying to get power back on to essential areas.

I think we might take a well deserved nap as well...

Sunday, July 7, 2024

HURRICANE WATCH GOOD FOOD AND HOBART SUNDAY

Here we are.  Sunday before a hurricane.  Sigh.  More on that in a moment.  Right now, some good food and some Hobart.


Eat the rainbow!

The other night we had some mahi-mahi seared with chili powder from New Mexico.  Served over spring greens, chopped mini peppers, pickled red onions will cilantro vinaigrette.  So good!  So healthy!


Hobart found a towel from the laundry basket and made a nest in the sun (while it's still out).  We didn't disturb him and he is not the least bit worried about the hurricane, he knows we will protect him.  Because...

#notspoiled



Latest wind estimates for the area.  The pinkish colors (dark to light) are 80 to 100mph gusts.  If it wobbles even a bit to the right, we will have 100mph winds over most of Houston.  As this map stands, the farm will have almost 80mph winds (though again, a wobble the other direction could put the stronger winds over the farm).  We're as prepared as we can be.  Now we just wait to see what we wake up to tomorrow morning.  Work has told us to stay home.




Saturday, July 6, 2024

HERE WE GO AGAIN

 Off to the farm today to mow, because chances are pretty good, I won't be able to mow again for a couple of weeks...sigh.


Things are ramping up and are starting to look pretty harrowing for parts of Texas.  While we would (at least as this posts) avoid a direct hit, what a few days ago was for sure a Northern Mexico/Brownsville, TX landfall has now become...


...a major worry for us.  We'll be on what is called the 'dirty side' (the wet side with training bands of rain).  What is making many here nervous, is that this is an almost identical scenario to "Harvey" that is setting up...arguably the worst disaster to ever strike Houston.  A hurricane going in at almost the same place and then we got stuck with the days and days of rain.

'

These are the tentative rainfall rates, we're in the 8 inch range but this is VERY subject to change.

Fingers crossed!

Go away Beryl.

Friday, July 5, 2024

MORE WINE CRATES 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.

Here are a few more:


Went downstairs and found two more wine crates.  I'm glad they just sat them on top so I could find them, that's very nice of them, LOL!


We love the look of the wine crates and the printing on each one definitely gives off a farmhouse vibe ("French farmhouse vibe?" LOL).  Remember a few weeks ago, I mentioned about the crawfish bargains and said we could keep them in a box?  And that we could use different boxes for different "holidays" or "events"?  We're going to be able to do that in the new house pantry or upper cabinets and now we have two more, in addition to a few we already have that we've rescued.


I also found this other crate looking box.  Not sure how we're going to use this one, but it has a great rustic appearance.

These will all get great use at the new house to help keep us organized.  Cool and organized and repurposed.  The best three things, ha.

And yes, we're gonna miss this resource when we move, but we'll make the most of it while we can!


Thursday, July 4, 2024

4TH OF JULY 2024

Well, here we are, another holiday has arrived! 


Having a day off in the middle of the week is weird.  Work yesterday, off today, work tomorrow, off for the weekend, but hey, we'll take it.

We gauge all holidays now by saying "this time next year, we will be celebrating at the farm".  And we already have ideas.  We have a sofa table that we love that will go in the new foyer and will become my holiday decorating fun zone, ha.  More on that later.

UPDATE: Don't forget about those who are affected by loud noises.  We are in a city that bans fireworks so it's not as loud as we know it can be.  But for those impacted, people and pets, it can be a stressful time.


Speaking of, we already have a few farm themed 4h of July items but they are in a box in the barn. Tomorrow on my lunch break, I'll go check out some after holiday clearances and see what I can find!  Stay tuned!


And check out this card that we got from one of the dear readers here.  She makes the most amazing holiday cards.  We save them all because they are works of art in and of themselves and you can tell they are made with love.  Thank you!


We'll be staying inside where it's cool as we are under a heat advisory.  Here is the current temp at 11am...with a feels like of 111.  Yep, inside where it's cool.  Hope you all have a good day and stay safe!


Wednesday, July 3, 2024

THE ONLY YARDWORK I DID

Realized after the big news post, I didn't mention the weekend (other than signing the contract to build a new house, ha, see previous post to this if you missed it).  Saturday it was hot.  How hot?


Well this was when I left at 2pm.  It was 97.  And it "felt like" a ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN!

What?!?!

I didn't mow...thankfully.  But I probably will have to this weekend.  Last weekend, I had to get the orchard area cleaned up.  It was out of control.


I thought I had a good "before photo", but I only have this one that I think I took by accident, ha.  Hey, whatever works!  I had made a path through the center with the Zen Machine.  Then I took the weedeater and cleaned out the raised beds as much as possible and then around them and lastly the electric "not so zen" mower was used in the spaces in between.

And it was done.


Looks MUCH better and is a weight off my shoulders knowing it's done.  I feel accomplished.  I didn't get the blower out or rake up the clippings but let's be honest, with a 118 degree temp, it was time to GO home.  

Now that the cat's out of the bag on the new house, I can say things like this:  2nd Man reminds me every weekend now, "this time next year, we will be living out there in a new house with cold a/c and I can mow in the evening, the early morning, or over the course of two or three days."

We can't wait!  Until then, I'll do the minimum to stay safe this Summer. 

Monday, July 1, 2024

LONG AWAITED ANNOUNCEMENT


As you all know, I got a clean bill of health at my last cardiologist appointment and that's kind of what we were waiting for.  So here it is, the announcement we, and of course many of you, have waited years to be able to say:

WE.

ARE.

BUILDING.

A.

HOUSE!

Well, OK, we aren't building it ourselves, my workshop skills aren't that good, ha!  We picked a builder, we picked a plan, we started the design process and yesterday, we signed the contract!

A couple months back I posted about how we went out to speak with a builder and the whole experience was awesome.  The quality of their builds was great and just what we wanted.  We did our research and even chatted with some customers who built homes with them in our area via the Nextdoor app.  We decided yes!

It's been twelve years (2012) since we established the farm and gave it the name Seda Bolsa, so in this, the twelfth year of its current incarnation, after all that we and indeed, the world, have been through, it seemed like the right time to finally turn dreams into reality.

We chose a great floor plan and are making some modifications to it (we have had several visits so far, the appointments we've been having on the weekends) and next we will get to sit with the design team and figure out countertops, paint colors, flooring, light fixtures, etc.  They said three or four visits will get everything finalized, though we have been modifying it on our desks with pens and paper for weeks now, ha.

A few tidbits to tease you:

2nd Man will get his dream kitchen; double ovens, 36" induction cooktop, farmhouse sink, lots of cabinet  and drawer space and best of all, a HUGE island (with no sink in the island, it will be all glorious prep space)...

A giant walk-in pantry (my big wish) with built-in floor to ceiling shelving on both sides and a counter with shelves above at the far end...

Space for a future "Summer kitchen/Grilling porch"...

A study/office that we can fill with bookcases...

 Lots of storage space throughout the house...

A walk-in shower with a rain shower head...

A nice, deep covered porch on the back that we will be able to furnish like an outdoor room because it will be entirely SCREENED IN...

A good size front covered porch, of course with room for at least two rocking chairs...

An oversized two car garage to keep our cars safe...

A large laundry room with space for a separate freezer (you know me and my vacuum sealer, ha)...

And by having a brand new home, we'll finally have central a/c and heat, PEX plumbing to keep our pipes safe in freezes, it will be on a slab so no more crawling under the house and hopefully no creatures (or at least 'less'), plus all the other stuff we haven't had...new roof, insulated double pane windows, smart home features, etc.

There are other changes we are planning and thinking about but we're locked in now to the build and most of our final decisions.  We still have our color appointments to pick out the interior stuff. 

More details on those soon!


By the way, "D" and "A" from the builder's office have been incredibly generous with their time and suggestions and most of all, patience, as we made several trips/appointments to figure things out.  So of course yesterday when we went, 2nd Man did what he does best and made a dozen NY style "black and white cookies" as a thank you.  We hope they enjoyed them!

THANK YOU BOTH!

We are blessed that we can just stay here in our apartment like we always have during this whole construction process.  It also helps that we're flexible and timing is open, we don't have a set deadline that it has to be ready though the sooner the better, ha.

Of course, we're gonna have to empty the current house and I'll still have to go out and mow and take care of things while they are working on the house (THAT'S most likely going to be a mess, ha).

The first thing we have to do is get the house packed up and keep what we want to have in the new house and pick out the stuff we're going to sell/give away/etc.

Y'all ready for posts about house construction?  There will be a lot going on along the way.  Room designs, color choices, choices on faucets and countertops and lights etc.  We will share as much as we can and of course, tons of pics as things progress on the house.

So buckle up, there are going to be big things happening.  Hopefully all will be good, but as with any project like this, there could be hiccups along the way and we'll share it all, the good and the bad, ha.

Like we mentioned yesterday...

Our dream begins and in the end though, we hope to end up with a great little "new farmhouse" and who knows, maybe someday when we're gone, someone else will be able to enjoy what we have created on our little slice of heaven.

HOUSE. COMING. SOON(ISH).