Tuesday, October 17, 2017

POISONOUS PLANT DO NOT EAT

A few weeks ago, I was mowing and saw this plant springing up in the underbrush on the property.  

Poisonous Jerusalem Cherry (NOT edible)
It was actually in several places around the farm.  We were hoping for something we could eat that's growing wild.  Maybe a wild pepper of some sort?  In fact, when you cut one open, it even looked like the inside of a tomato, seeds and all.  Of course, we're not going to take a chance without checking so I did some research online.  

We found a wonderful website, FORAGING TEXAS, and the owner of the site replied right away when I sent him this picture.  We found out this is a poisonous member of the Nightshade family called "Jerusalem Cherry".  It makes a pretty plant with these big red fruit all over but as he warned, DO NOT EAT IT AND DON'T LET ANIMALS EAT IT EITHER.

So I went around everywhere I could find it and pulled it all up and safely disposed of the plants. 

Side note, it's a great website to visit and even though it's Texas specific, many of the plants listed are across other states as well.  It's fascinating how much is edible out there. Oh how we'd love to have him walk around our property for an afternoon.  There is no telling what we have growing that we could eat, ha. His tag line is "harvesting the past to feed the present and preserve the future".


We don't get anything for mentioning his website,
FORAGING TEXAS , we just wanted to give him a shout out as a thanks for the quick answer and the warning.  It's a resource if you're interested in wild foraging and it also makes for just plain old fascinating reading of the wonderful world of nature that is all around us. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

NEAT YARD, FLOWERS, AND GOOD FOOD

It was a good weekend at the farm.  We posted a bit of an update yesterday, but here is more.  It's still hot here, upper 80's/low 90's, BUT good news, there is a cold front coming this week!  Finally!

Front yard after mowing
I mowed, for what will probably be the last time this season. I didn't NEED to, but I WANTED to, if that makes sense. Here's an angle from the middle of the front yard toward the garden.  


And here is the same standing spot looking back toward the barn and shed.  Other than blooming flowers and healthy trees, there is nothing in the yard that makes me happier than seeing things all neat and tidy.


Even the recently cleared mini forest area looks great and again, this will probably be the last time this season. I'll miss my time on the Zen Machine but it will be a nice break. Last year it was March 8th for the first mowing. That will be here before we know it.  

Flowerbeds
Here's an angle from the porch looking down at some of the flower beds in front. They are growing nicely and staying, mostly, clear of weeds.
Still looking good so far.


Speaking of flowerbeds, here are two of the lantana. They are so pretty in their colors.  This was one of the original ones we had that came back after we thought it had died.  It's thriving now (and quite large) and we love the colors. We thought when we bought more, they were the same...


...but these are a wonderful different color.  It was an accidental but pleasant surprise.  Hoping they get huge and fill up the beds.  We're OK with that.  It's what we've wanted and will add the color we're looking for.  We'll take the whole spectrum, ha 

Banana bread
The weekend ended with 2nd Man making some wonderful banana bread from some overripe bananas we had.  It was so good!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

SUNDAY IS A LAZY DAY

It's a lazy day today.  Yesterday I got stuff done at the farm, today it's things to do in town.  It's still in the 90's here.  Well, upper 80's with brief periods at 90 or 91.  Ugh.  I can't plant some of what we wanted in the garden because it's still too warm.  

Breakfast casserole
2nd man made this wonderful breakfast casserole we've been eating on and off all weekend so far.  


It's eggs, biscuits, sausage and cheese.  Breakfast (and lunch and snack) of champions, right?  

Texas shaped cookie cutter
I found this cool Texas cookie cutter for 2nd Man.  He wants to make some shortbread cookies and I figured "why not Texas shaped?".  

Hobart sleeping
And the cats are lazy day napping too.  Here is Hobart, sleeping on one of the pillows they love. 

Brisbane sleeping
And here is Brisbane, much better now, and also sleeping on one the other pillows.  Side note, these used to be pillows in our window seat at the house, now they are cat beds, ha.  

Hope you all are having a good weekend!



Friday, October 13, 2017

GLASS JUGS STORE FIND

Was at Target recently and found these. I just couldn't pass them up.  They were in the "Dollar Spot" section of the store and were normally $5 each (which is a deal in itself) but on this day they were on sale for $3.00 each.  Now THAT'S a deal.  

Clear drink local jugs
They are large (hard to tell the size but about 1/2 gallon each) heavy glass jugs with etching on them.  These are "DRINK LOCAL".  We thought that someday when we make our own beverages on the farm, be it fizzy or not, alcoholic or non, it would be fun to serve it from these.

Hmm, wait a second, water from the well, isn't that "drinking local"?  HA!

Amber glass beer jugs
Then these of course are amber colored jugs for "BEER". It might be hard to read but under BEER it says "BREW. ENJOY. EMPTY. REPEAT".  Not sure we'll make our own beer but it would be fun to serve beer from them on the table at the farm.  

I went back and bought one more of both so that we'd have three of each style. Somehow that seemed like the right number to have.

Home Distilling Handbook
Then the other day at lunch, I was at a bookstore and found this book. It's "The Home Distilling & Infusing Handbook".  Lots of recipes for infused liquors, cordials, blends, etc.  I think it's a sign to experiment sometime with drink making like this.  Now we have a place to keep/serve the end result, of our efforts, ha.  



Thursday, October 12, 2017

HANGING FLOWERS, INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Hanging flower baskets, image courtesy of Pinterest.com

We were looking at porch ideas recently as we prepare (if it EVER cools down) to clean up the porch (yet again, why is it always cluttered? sigh). Anyway, we ran across these two pictures.  Similar ideas, different flowers/colors, but still incredible.  

Hanging flowers, image courtesy of BHG.com
We know that this is most likely not something we can do when we aren't there full time. We're pretty sure hanging baskets full of beautiful flowers like these would not do as well part time of course.  Still, someday we'd love to recreate something like these. Of course, when they could be watered on a daily basis.  How beautiful must this be in person! 

Be inspired...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

PESTO MASHED POTATOES

Last week I blogged HERE about us making pesto and mentioned a few uses for it. 

One night when we were cooking dinner recently, we decided to use it to enhance a routine side dish.

Basil pesto
We had this in the fridge (plastic wrap on the surface to keep it green and fresh) and pulled it out to use it for something different.

Mashed potatoes
We made some regular mashed potatoes, the usual, potatoes, butter, splash of cream, salt and pepper.


Then we spooned the pesto into the finished potatoes.  You can use about as much as you prefer.

Mashed potatoes with pesto
We stirred it around a bit as we didn't want it to be completely mixed in. We just sort of swirled it to see what it would look like.

Pesto mashed potatoes
Maybe not the most attractive looking dish (green potatoes? ha), but wow, it was SUCH a delicious change from ordinary mashed potatoes.  You could do the same with any kind of pesto you like.  

We served this with some roasted chicken and it was delicious!  This is why we try to keep pesto on hand now...for moments just like this!



Monday, October 9, 2017

COW WRANGLING

FYI:  First things first...Brisbane update, he is almost back to normal today. Vet said it's just old age and his digestive system not working as fast as it used to. No blockage, just slower movement and a frustrated cat. We'll spare you the gory details but all seems back to normal now and he's catching up on lost sleep. Vet said to just watch his litter usage closely and give him the special laxative as needed.  

So this weekend, among watering and edging and general projects that I blogged about YESTERDAY, I also had to engage in some cattle wrangling...

For weeks, we've been noticing occasional hoof prints in mud, cow patties scattered around but no cow.  I told "J" from 2nd Family and she said they hadn't seen anything either, maybe we had a ghost cow.



Sure enough, captured this on one of the trail cams.  It's a GHOST COW!


OK, so no ghost cow, it was an actual real live cow.


video

 In our yard.

Mowing the grass.  Hmm, wait, that's not such a bad idea, ha!



But she wasn't there all the time.  A few weeks would go by and then she'd be back.  Here she is one foggy/humid morning. 


video

There is no sound on these trailcams but this one from the other day cracked us up. It looks like she was stopping, looking right at the camera and expressing her displeasure.  



Saturday I was walking around checking things out, rounded the corner of the house in the backyard and came face to face with her.  After a few seconds of panic (the kind you have when you "unexpectedly" see a large animal and your life flashes before your eyes), I realized it was OK.  She just stood there.  I tried to go up to her but she backed away.  

SO I went down to 2nd Family's house and got "R".  He came up with one of his dogs (Ruben) following behind.  I wished I had recorded it, that dog was so excited to play with the cow.  He would run around, she would put her head down like a bull ready to charge but he was around her in circles. "R" said that the cow belonged next door, he recognized her. Because of the dog running around, she started moving quickly.  We followed along and between us and the dog, she went right back out the way she came in. Ruben was herding her and keeping her on a path and we were there to occasionally encourage her with taps on her rump and cowboy words you'd hear in old Western movies, LOL.  It worked out well and she went exactly back through the same spot in the fence that she came in. "R" and I then fixed the barbed wire, temporarily, and he's going to go over to the neighbor's property and make sure she's in her pasture now and patch up the fences.


I was excited. "Does that make me a cowboy for a day?" I asked 2nd Man.

"Um, NO, that's not how it works", he replied.

Fine. 


She regularly came and went through two fences to get to our property...maybe the grass is indeed greener on the other side...

Sunday, October 8, 2017

SICK KITTY, HOT WORK, GOOD FOOD, WEEKEND UPDATE


2nd Man didn't go out yesterday and I didn't go back today because Brisbane is acting strangely.  We're not sure what it is but we're watching him.  He's 17 years old and so when he's not his usual self we have to be alert.  He seems to be better today but we're still watching him and giving him lots of attention.


I didn't have to mow, this is the yard a week after mowing.  Still looking good.  Thankfully, it's the time of year when the grass growth is slowing down.  I will probably only have one more time to mow actual growing grass.  I say growing because sometimes I mow after the first freeze or two when everything is dead/dormant and I can clear new areas that way.  

It's still hot here, upper 80's and humid.


I did edge everything though, haven't done that in a few weeks and it was definitely out of control.  Now it's all nice and neat once again.    


The lantana is getting huge...and we are happy about that.  It's so pretty and hey, they can fill up the flower beds, we're 100% OK with that.  This one had a head start on the others but we're definitely happy with this plant in the flowerbeds.  There WILL be more in our future planning.  


I stopped at Home Depot and bought some more landscape timbers for some Fall projects. I carried them from the car with the cart and dumped them here but I didn't leave them all scattered about. I stacked them up but just forgot to take a picture.  2nd Man saw the picture and said "you did NOT leave them like that did you?", ha.


Meanwhile, back at the apartment, 2nd Man made a couple of bacon wrapped meatloaves.  We had some for dinner last night...


...and again today as sandwiches.  You can probably see that he loads them up with minced vegetables (carrots, celery, onion, and green pepper) so it's a complete meal.  Right?  Right!  LOL!   

We always make two since you have to dirty up the same number of utensils (other than an extra sheet pan) and the second one we slice up, vacuum seal and freeze for a few future meals.  

Hope you all are having a good weekend!



HUH?  More on THIS, tomorrow...

Friday, October 6, 2017

HAMMOCK TREES READY AND WAITING

Hammock trees
These are two of the trees in the recently cleared "mini forest" area at the farm. This picture was taken before I was finished cleaning out the area, but it was the only one I had from this angle with these two trees.  I measured last weekend and they were the perfect distance apart for a hammock!

We can't wait to find the right one and set it up. There are all types of hammocks available so we just need to get one that fits the space and looks right at the farm.  We're thinking something colorful.  Stripes perhaps?  You know how we are about color at the farm...we'll take it wherever we can get it!

Dang, now I wonder how much work I'll actually get done with a shady hammock calling my name on a hot Summer day...



Thursday, October 5, 2017

VINTAGE SINK POTTING BENCH INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!


You know, about 6 years ago, before we had the farm, a person in the neighborhood had one of these old cast iron sinks.  They were getting rid of it and it was free to whoever wanted to haul it off.  I remember us seeing the posting and going "nah, what could we ever do with that?".  

Um, put it on a stand of some sort and do this!  

Obviously this isn't a functioning sink, our guess is this use is a potting bench of some sort.  But hey, you could put it in the garden and use it to rinse off veggies if you just connected a hose to the drain.  Or you could use it as a place for potting soil while you work on plantings. We kind of even like the flower skirt, it adds color and seems somehow fitting.  If I should happen across another one sometime, I will pick it up immediately and take it to the farm. There could be something like this in our future someday.  

Be inspired...