Wednesday, February 21, 2018

SHEET PAN TILAPIA WITH VEGETABLES RECIPE

You know in the last few weeks, I've been exploring "sheet pan" meals.  Here's another one I sort of threw together and it's so good...


Green beans (about 1 lb, cut and trimmed), 4 tilapia filets (or any white fish you like, we use wild caught tilapia) and about two cups of cherry tomatoes.  Put it all on a sheet pan.  I poured a drizzle of olive oil over the tomatoes and green beans (but not the fish), and then sprinkled it all with salt and pepper.

Lemon garlic butter
Here is 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted. 3 cloves of garlic minced, and the juice of 1/2 lemon.

Mix all together...


...and pour it over the fish.  You can use a spoon (or your hand) to spread it around so the fish is evenly covered in the lemon garlic butter mixture.  

Sheet pan fish with green beans and cherry tomatoes
Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, turn the veggies (so they get a good roasting) and put back in the oven for 10 minutes more.  Move up to top rack and broil for about 5 minutes.

Sheet pan lemon garlic fish and vegetables
Remove from oven, drizzle the fish with a squeeze of lemon and place the vegetables on the plate. 

Enjoy! 



Monday, February 19, 2018

DONKEYS FRUIT TREES AND HARVESTING

Since Sunday was Daytona Day, we knew we'd be limited this weekend.  Of course the weather didn't exactly cooperate.  It was drizzling rain and cold when we got there.  Low 50's.  Then it got warmer and more humid.  Sunday we made it to 80. 


Some new friends.  Two donkeys, both very friendly.  Came over to the fence to see me when I called for them.  The bigger one came right up and nudged our hands and let us pet her.  The smaller one was a bit more hesitant but still very curious. 


I worked in the raised beds a bit, it was still cold at this point.  I pulled weeds/grass from the open beds.  It'll soon be time to turn the soil, add some more compost and get ready for Spring planting (which should happen in early March).

Where does the time go?


In Spring planting preparation news, we needed some fruit trees to replace the two that didn't make it last Summer.  One of the two apples died and I found this one, an "ANNA" variety, suited to our climate...


...and I found this peach tree. It is the "TROPIC BEAUTY" variety.  It will replace one of two we have that seemed to be struggling.

Notice they are both already in bloom. I guess Spring is coming soon!  Speaking of...


LOOK! It might only be weeds, ha, but at least something is turning green.  Nothing on the mesquite trees yet but soon, it'll be soon!


And in garden harvest news, yes, we finally have cabbages!  Two of them!  The big one is perfect, it's firm and looks like a store cabbage.  The smaller one I went ahead and cut because it was the second biggest and I'm not sure with the warm temps if we'll get the rest.  Jury is still out on growing cabbage again.  The Napa cabbage we grew Fall before last had a much better harvest.  We might do that again.

The collard greens though have been great.  This is another bunch of them.  We LOVE them.  More of them next Fall for sure.  


And just for fun, he's another pic of the little donkey...  


Oh what the heck, here's another because the little thing was so darn photogenic!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

DAYTONA 500 DAY



Those regular readers of the blog probably know this but for those new, we are NASCAR fans.  I grew up watching it with my parents and just became a fan through osmosis, ha.  2nd Man has just always enjoyed car racing.  

Today is "The Great American Race", otherwise known as the Daytona 500.  Someday, on our bucket list, is a trip to Daytona for the week.  

  

We have our shirts for this season and are ready to watch.  We're fans of a young driver, Daniel Suarez, who is now in his second season.  



We figured we'd fan crush on him this year, ha. 



For breakfast, 2nd Man whipped this up.  It's scrambled eggs with sausage links and diced sweet potatoes.  It was so good.  


Yesterday was farm day, but the weather was hit and miss, it sprinkled, it was cold in the morning then humid in the afternoon.  We'll have an update on that tomorrow.  

Today though, it's Daytona Day!


Friday, February 16, 2018

GLASS BOTTLES 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 several cool items so far.
Here is the latest!

Four dozen glass bottles
Downstairs, I found these two cases of empty bottles. Topo Chico is a bottled sparking water. When I saw them I immediately imagined them as drinking bottles, with some cool striped straws in them, at some future event at the farm.

Most bottles like these you can't remove the labels... 

Topo Chico glass bottles
...but these peel off!  

And that will leave us with beautiful, blue green glass bottles. Forty eight bottles. It'll be some work getting all the labels off (great rainy day activity) and then washing them (well, the dishwasher in town will help that part, ha) but it'll be worth it in the end. We'll get a plastic storage box to keep them in and put them away until needed.  




Thursday, February 15, 2018

FLOWERBED SIGH, 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!

Flowerbed photo via Pinterest.com
Is this ever going to happen? We wish but realistically, probably not. Still, a picture like this can inspire us to do more. Even if it doesn't come out like this.  Even if we can't grow THESE plants here, it's still nice to see and give us a goal. Flowers with colors and textures and shapes and heights. 

Like I said, we won't duplicate this and won't pretend we will, but at least we can see something that reminds us how to create beauty.  And plus, seeing this in the middle of this dreary, wet, cold Winter is like, well, a breath of Spring!

Be inspired!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

HOW DO YOU DO VALENTINES DAY

They don't make 'em like this anymore...


"Whip up some love!"


"I'll ketchup with you!"


"You're a honey, bee my valentine!"

What kind of tradition, if any, do you all follow on Valentine's Day?

Cards?
Candy?
Flowers?
Special dinner?

HAPPY Valentine's Day TO ALL of you!

  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS

So when I was out in the garden at the farm, I saw these black birds all over the ground behind our property.  Click any picture to enlarge:


There were dozens and at first I just saw them as regular black birds we see all the time.  

Red-winged Blackbirds in flight
But then as they took flight, I saw these beautiful red spots on their wings.  A quick Google search found this entry about them:


They are RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS.

Red-winged Blackbirds
They were very pretty and I watched them for quite a while.  It makes us realize the diversity of wildlife at the farm and how much we have to learn.  I can say I've lived in Houston most of my life and never saw these types of birds.  It's not like they are rare, but they just aren't always around.  We got lucky to have a flock stop by and visit.  

We need to do more to attract and take care of birds in the area.  It's really fun to discover new things!

Monday, February 12, 2018

BAD AND GOOD WEEKEND

First the bad...

It was wet this weekend.  How wet?
We got almost 4" of rain over the weekend.   


This is where we normally park.
Not this weekend!


This was out near the barn and shed.  


The water runs this direction naturally, down this depression and on down the driveway toward 2nd Family's house.  We are at the high end of the property.  It goes on through their yard and toward the road and then down the hill.  So we are safe from flooding, like flooding the house type of flooding, but that doesn't mean that the yard doesn't get water standing in it in places.  

Standing water
This is me in my rubber boots.  And yes, I was wearing shorts, it was 74 on Saturday.  Sunday it dipped down into the 40's.  If all this froze, we could host the Olympics, ha. 

So that might be the bad you ask but alas, it wasn't.  Sure it's a mess but the bad stuff was yet to come.

"R" came up to help us get the water back on.  I was in the house when he turned it back on, all the faucets came on because they were left open.  We went around and shut them off.  When the last was closed I yelled out "Everything looks good!"

Then I heard water running.  

Did I leave the outside faucet on?  I went outside and checked.  Broken pipe under the house.  Water spraying everywhere.  "Shut it off!" I yelled.  We turned the valve to the house and it broke off.  

Lovely. 

Gushing water (NOT ours)
OK, so it wasn't this bad but it felt like it.  

We shut off the main valve at the well so no water is going to the house at all. "R" said it was a pipe that had a dip in it and we didn't get all the water out when we blew it out with the air compressor.  We'll have to figure out something for next Winter but we'll worry about that next Summer, ha.  

His first job was as a plumber so he said he would fix it for us, when things dry out and the weather warms up of course.  I like to help him so I can learn some of these things myself.  He's a great way to learn!

So no water in the house until then.  We filled up some buckets so I can water the porch plants next weekend.  The rains are taking care of the in-ground plants, that's for sure. 

Storm clouds
Speaking of, it started getting dark and sprinkling so we had to wrap the day up.  More rain.

Now the good stuff...veggies! 

Raised bed garlic
Garlic is doing GREAT!  I've watered when it hasn't rained and the rest of the time we've had plenty of rain (and snow ha).  It seems very happy and is much further along that at this time last year.

Raised bed cabbage
Look!  We have cabbage (almost).  They are all developing nice tight heads.  

Cabbage head
Here is a closeup.

Probably another couple of weeks and we'll have some nice heads of cabbage to harvest and eat.  We think it will end up being a success even though we started a bit late in the season and our screwy weather confused it.  We are looking forward to it! 

Collard green harvest
And lastly, we harvested another nice basket full of collard greens.  We LOVE this stuff.  I think this is the fourth harvest.  Next Fall more will be planted.  It's so satisfying to go out and snip off the big leaves around the outside of the plants and bring back a big basket like this.  Was in the elevator carrying this and someone said "oh my, what lovely collard greens!"

That made us feel good!

Hope your weekend was better!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

SPRING FEVER THIS WEEKEND



Woke up to this.  Ugh.  Pouring rain.  I mean, water is good, but not on the weekend!  So the farm will be hit and miss this weekend.  
It's supposed to rain all day.  


It's going to be an interesting weekend.  At least the temps are OK.  They are kind of Springlike, ha.

Will go to the farm just to check on things, water the plants on the porch and drop off some things but then back into town.


But it will come soon enough.  Until then I will stay inside where it's dry and sit back with a glass of wine and dream of Spring...

Friday, February 9, 2018

HURRY UP SPRING

I have decided that I dislike this time of year.  Even though it seems like there is less work, really, I find I have stuff to do, just different stuff, but there are still things to get done and none of it is fun.  


Everything is bleak and desolate.  Nothing to plant.  Nothing to mow.  Nothing to harvest.  

Above is an angle from the porch this Winter...


And the same angle from the porch last Spring.. 


We like the trees with leaves on them and the grass green and things growing. Maybe it's Spring fever? 

It'll be here soon enough. 

What about you all?  Ready for Spring?  Or can Winter stay a bit longer?