Saturday, March 31, 2012

ROAMING AROUND LOOKING AT FLOWERS

One thing I did last weekend is something I always enjoy doing...I wandered around the property looking for unusual plants or things I might find.  With acres to explore, there's no telling what I'll find.  These are some of the flowers I noticed while out and about.  Not sure what they are, and if anyone knows, please feel free to share, I'm always eager to learn something new!!




Love these pink/purple flowers.  They remind me of "Buttercups" or "Phlox", but I'm not sure what they are.
"POPPY MALLOW"
(thanks to reader Richard!)


These are very pretty and were scattered all over the place out there.  Not sure what they are called though.  Very tall with cute little pale purple flowers with bright yellow centers.

"BLUE EYED GRASS"
(thanks to reader Nancy!)

This was one of the most interesting ones I found while walking around.  It's  hard to tell in this picture but it had yellow and white and purple flowers in the center of green petals or leaves.  They were in large clumps and growing low to the ground.  So neat!
"ANTELOPE HORNS"
(thanks reader Janice!)




I wish I could have gotten a better picture of these.  They were a pale purple/blue and smelled HEAVENLY.  Tiny and delicate, they were all over the place as well.
"BLUE TOADFLAX"
(thanks reader Kelly!)





There were some others I wish I had gotten photos of but my battery was getting low.  Will get some more this weekend (new batteries now, yay!).  In fact, as you read this, I will most likely already be there.  Need to start getting the flower beds dug so i can begin putting in some bushes and flowers.  Found a few clumps of something that looked like it might be some sort of bulb type flower growing.  I'd love to find some wild bulbs that I could divide up and move to the beds around the house.  I'll be looking for those as well.  

I love that native stuff that's just been growing there for years, is still growing well, just waiting for me to find it.  I'm sure there are many plants that I could discover.  I would love to find some wild herbs or some wild garlic or other similar types.  I guess I need to find a field guide of some sort for wild plants and herbs and flowers for this region of Texas.


Will keep you posted!

Friday, March 30, 2012

VINTAGE GLASS WALL VASE

   

Since my posting the other day about the entry table, I received a few emails and comments asking about the vases I had on the wall and wanting more info.  Above, you can seem them, up close, and filled with water and wildflowers.

I took a picture of them before I hung them up, you can see that below:
Vintage Wall Vases
I can't remember where I found these several years ago, probably a tag sale or thrift store.  There is no maker or mark on them but I love them.  They are about 8" long, and are made of a thick, heavy glass so they don't feel fragile.  There is a design of a bird embossed on the front of each (I think it's called a King Fisher?) and they have a hole in the back for a nail so that you can easily hang them up.  It makes them a great way to have a few fresh flowers wherever you can put a nail.

If you can't find any vintage vases, don't give up, they are making a comeback and are popular today.  Just go to Google and search for wall vase or wall pocket and you can find all sorts of manufacturers producing and selling them.
Sorry I didn't have more info, but I'm sure you can find something!
Good luck!

GARDENING IS AWESOME, FRIDAY FUNNY

Courtesy of: CafePress
This was almost a water out of the nose moment when I saw it.  Truer words were never spoken.  Just TOO funny!  I suppose to an outsider, this might be something they are thinking.  You PAID money for WHAT?


Hope you get a kick out of it like I did!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

INSPIRATION THURSDAY, GREENHOUSE

Courtesy of: greenhouses.net
When we initially discussed buying land, I said that on my 'bucket list' of things to have on the property, one item would be a greenhouse.  I'm not sure when that will happen, hopefully next year, but until then, I can dream, right?

That's not to say we'd have a greenhouse like this of course, but it's a picture like this that certainly inspires me to want one.  I can only imagine how wonderful it would be to walk into something like this everyday.  Smaller, bigger, I don't care, I just want a greenhouse!  They are like little glass jewels!


Today is my blog day off, have a great day and I'll see you all back here tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

DEWBERRIES ARE COMING SOON

Dewberry blossoms
For those of you not familiar with "dewberries", they are a wild berry that we have growing all over the South.  They are closely related to the blackberry but are trailing instead of upright...they just sort of put out runners across the ground.  The berries are dark in color and as you can see above, they start as these white flowers.  Then, in a few weeks, they turn from flower to green fruit, then red, and then when they are dark purple, almost black, if you can brave the thorns, they are ready to be harvested.

Dewberries are prevalent all over this part of the country and in the Houston area, it's not uncommon to see people harvesting them from roadside ditches or empty lots while you're driving home from work!  I've been known to be right there with them in years past.  It seems everyone has their own secret patch they know about as the berries usually come back strong in the same spot every other year, especially after a wet spring.  But this time around, we are very fortunate; we have ACRES of them growing in several large patches all over the farm!  Over the years, when Ma lived there, we went out and picked quite a few with her blessing, but we never went crazy with it.  Now however, we own it and can go as crazy as we want! 

Dewberry Patch
A couple of dear friends have requested access to the patches so they can gather some for themselves.  Of course we said yes, and since we should have way more than we could possibly ever need, I think a "berry picking party" will be a fun way to spend a weekend here in just about a month or so.  The picture below shows just one large patch I found the other day when walking around, covered in hundreds of little white flowers that will, in a few weeks, become delicious fresh fruit.   As for what to do with them, they can be made into cobblers or pies, jam, eaten fresh...anything you can do with blackberries and raspberries, you can do with these.

Dewberry Patch
We will keep you posted...I just hope we don't get "berried away"!
(forgive the bad pun, LOL)

BIRTHDAY UPDATE

Yesterday was a great day!

We started by going to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston to see the King Tut exhibit.  It was amazing (crowded though, as it was apparently a school field trip day!) but it was still great.  The artifacts are just astounding.  It's hard to wrap your head around the fact that they are thousands of years old.  Sadly, but understandably, they don't allow photography of any kind. So, it's all just images committed to memory.  But they were beautiful images I won't soon forget.  This was about the only picture I could take and it's not even real, LOL!  But it still looks cool!  Would one of these be overkill at the entrance to the farm?


After the museum, we had lunch and then we wandered down to a part of town called "The Village".  That's where our favorite furniture STORE is and we roamed around in there for a bit.  Luckily, didn't buy anything, THIS time!

After Nadeau, we went into another fun store called Ten Thousand Villages.  It features handmade, fair trade items from all over the world.  While there, I saw this great wall hanging that I wanted to get but it was sold (someone just hadn't picked it up yet). I did the next best thing, took a picture!  Love the words on it:

The Earth Says Much to Those Who Listen
Then we stopped into a new store in the area.  Do any of you watch THIS SHOW?


We love it, it's a refreshing reality show, one with a regular, happy, grounded couple.  Imagine that on network television!?  It is filmed here in Houston and it's always fun to see local landmarks and places we visit as well.  Anyway, they recently opened a pet store, Rocky and Maggie's (named for their two puppies) and so we stopped in today.  We picked up a few cat treats and got to visit with Bill Klein and Judy Arnold (his mother-in-law) and they couldn't have been nicer.  Their store is wonderful, nicely stocked and they are doing some great things with eco-friendly pet products.  We would highly recommend that anyone who is in the area, stop in and visit.  We wish them all the best on their business venture!  We will definitely be back soon (side note, our cats loved the treats we bought).

Then we headed home...where I was given my birthday surprise.
I'll give you a hint...


Yep, 2nd Man has already set up an account with John Deere and put a down payment on hold!!!  There is a store/authorized dealer just down the road from the farm.  Not sure when he slipped away and did it, but he did.  We are going this weekend to finalize everything.  Not sure which model we will end up with but I've spent the last few hours looking at the catalog he brought home and I think we've narrowed it down to two different models.  We'll have to do a test drive (or would that be a test mow?) this weekend.  I can't wait.

Thank you all for your kind words and comments yesterday.  It meant a lot!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

BIRTHDAY TODAY


Today is the day, for better or worse LOL, that I came into this world.  A year ago, I was in the midst of the closing process, with all the drama that was inherent in that.  Wasn't even sure it would end up happening.  And now here I am a year later, we own it and are gradually turning it into what we had always dreamed of.  I can't think of a better gift than that!

I will be taking the day off from work and from blogging while we go visit King Tut!  Yeah, what can I say, I'm a nut for history.  We've been fortunate to have the major touring King Tut exhibit here in Houston, at the Museum of Fine Arts, since last October.  It ends in two weeks and we want to make sure we don't miss this perhaps once in a lifetime experience to see the grandeur of the "boy king".
King Tut - photo courtesy of National Geographic
It's funny, there was a time in my life that I was leaning toward pursuing a degree in archeology, but I didn't.  Now I live vicariously through historical exhibits such as this.  Hmm, now that I think about it, isn't gardening a form of archeology? We're just digging up different stuff?  LOL!
It should be a fun and memorable way to spend my birthday and that's only part of the day, not sure what else is planned, but we'll see how it unfolds!

Enjoy your day, whatever you are doing! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

FOYER ENTRY AREA


We had this small, empty spot right next to the front door.  It's kind of tiny for any big piece of furniture but we wanted to have some sort of entry/exit stopping off point by the door.  Originally, I thought about a coat rack but I got a wall mounted one a few weeks ago (mounted just across the open doorway on the other side of the foyer) and so we decided we needed some sort of table as a focal point for the spot.





The first thing we did was look for a table that would fit. A couple of weeks ago, we found this great little table at Nadeau, and it fit the narrow spot perfectly.  It was the same color as the desk we recently got which is at the other end of the foyer.  It also had a small drawer, and a lower shelf so that was perfect. Of course, we can't just have a table with nothing else around it.



So, in comes this mirror that I salvaged off the street a few years ago.  I think it was part of a dresser once upon a time. It's got some great art deco type details etched on it, and some of the silvering is coming off in spots which we feel just adds to the vintage look.  I decided to mount it on the wall above the table.

 



Next, I found a small key rail at Target and mounted that below the mirror.  We had this antique bowl that's been hanging around forever, so I put that on the table (on top of a doily) to give us a spot to throw whatever we want in there as we go in (or out).





 

Here is a close up of the mirror after it was mounted.  I just used those standard plastic mirror mounting clips.  Then, I pulled out these two wall pocket vases that I picked up a few years ago and hung those on each side of the mirror.
Finally, I added a basket on the bottom for additional storage (can you ever have TOO many baskets?) and voila!  Finished!From unused spot to a place to keep the keys, check yourself in the mirror before going out the door, a bowl to drop off the cell phone or loose change, and a drawer where we can keep stuff we might need as we head out the door.  The perfect solution for this previously unused small space. So look around your own house for that small space you don't know what to put there and maybe you can find enough room to create your own little organized spot.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

VINTAGE POSTER SUNDAY, GROW MORE FOOD

Vintage British "Grow More Food, Dig for Victory" Poster
During WWII, while we here stateside had our Victory Garden campaign, our friends across the pond in Britain had their own similar campaign called "Dig for Victory".  This poster depicts a strong guy, presumably digging for that victory.

John?  You there?  LOL!

Enjoy!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER

...when you don't mow!
This may look soft and luxurious, but it's actually the yard getting way out of control.  The reason is that we have had nonstop rain for three weekends in a row, so there has been no outside yard work done in that time. Even though the green is beautiful, the height is not as noticeable in this picture of the party/picnic tree... 
...as it is here in this photo.  We've had a lot of rain, which is, of course, AWESOME as compared to last Summer's drought, but it's really making things a bit more wild out there. The plan is to borrow 2nd Family's riding mower this weekend and knocking this all out.  If not this weekend, it will be next weekend for sure. We need our own mower...soon.

Friday, March 23, 2012

KITCHEN COMING ALONG

Shiny. Pretty. Not new.
Would you believe, these were purchased by 2nd Man back in the early 90's?  Yep, almost 20 years old! He takes care of his stuff! Over the years, we gradually replaced all of this with newer and different types, so this was put in storage to sell later. Never got around to that, thankfully, so we got it out, used some 
"Barkeepers Friend" and it's good as new!



For 2nd Man's birthday, I took him to AceMart Restaurant Supply and said to buy whatever he needed to complete some of the stuff in the kitchen at the farm. By the way, if you have a restaurant supply in your town, it is an AWESOME place to buy this type of stuff.  Very inexpensive and made of a quality that will hold up to restaurant use so it will for sure hold up under home use. He bought some baking things and christened his 'baking drawer'.  Luckily we have some extra tools already at home now that we can move out there. I'm thinking he's going to need a bigger another drawer.



Here is the other side of the open shelving we made when we had the kitchen redone.  I think we're going to use this side for the other cookware, like the cast iron pieces we have.  Still room for more!  We just moved some of what we had out there.  As for the cast iron skillets, those will go on the Julia Child wall I blogged about.  I'll work on that project soon, but until then, he still has room.

We also picked up a few baking sheets.  Grabbed two of each size; the 3/4, 1/2 and 1/4 sheet pan sizes.  A full size sheet pan won't usually fit in a standard residential oven.  The pans are SO durable, heavy, and just perfect for so many things.  Best of all, at restaurant supply stores they cost much less and will last longer than most anything you will find in a chain store.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

INSPIRATION THURSDAY, WHITE PICKET FENCE WITH FLOWERS

Flower Garden photo courtesy of: Burpee
I found this picture on line and I thought it was so pretty.  There is something so simply beautiful and inspirational about flowers and a white picket fence.  Not to mention, we just love yellow and orange in a garden.  They are "happy" colors.

Today is my blog day off, so I will see you back here tomorrow, have a great day!  Thanks for stopping by!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

THE LOVELY LITTLE HUISACHE TREE

Huisache Tree on our Property
Thought you might like to see this.  This is a Huisache tree, it's pronounced "wee-satch" or sometimes "we-sach".  It's an odd little native tree that is from the "Legume" family.  Yes, it's related to peas!  I've never seen these trees before, but since the property has lost some vegetation due to last year's drought, we spotted this one over the weekend!  It was hidden in previous years by heavier growth and possibly had no flowers in years past, as late freezes can prevent blooming.  This is a first for us.  There are also two more that we haven't walked over to yet.  We spotted them on the way out Sunday.  I said "what is that yellow tree over there?" and jumped out of the car to take a picture.  I had already taken off my boots and left them back at the farmhouse and since the ground was muddy and the sun was setting, I couldn't get near it.  My plan is to venture over to them this weekend and get some better pictures from close up.

Now as pretty at this tree is, the flowers apparently only last for a few weeks, and the tree is left with green leaves.  The flip side is that the flowers are supposed to be so aromatic, they are highly prized for use in perfumes.  As with so many things in nature that are often beautiful, this tree is also covered in thorns!  It's similar to a "Mesquite" tree (same family as well) in that respect and even produces bean pods in the fall.  I can't wait to go check out the fragrance up close and personal.

UPDATE:  I did check it out up close and it has an interesting scent.  It's different, sweet, but not like anything I've smelled that I could compare it to.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
I did some research online and discovered some interesting facts about our yellow trees:  The dried seed pods were made into ink; the juice of the green pod was used as a glue for pottery;  the bark was used for drying skins and treating influenza; the roots were smashed into a treatment for TB; crushed leaves were used as wound dressing; and the flowers were made into an ointment for treating headaches.

We're so happy to have these amazing little trees on our property.  Who knows, maybe I'll have to experiment with some of these techniques in our quest to become more self sufficient.  Isn't nature wonderful?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

AN AMERICAN SCALE?


OK, I laughed at this and then I thought, "I should put that on the blog!"  (I'm still learning about these great blogger epiphanies that come up on occasion).

What do you notice about this scale?  I was in a store and when I saw it, the retro design caught my eye first.  I thought "hmm, this might be cool to have at the farm".  Then I stood there and started laughing.  Do you see what I saw?

American Kitchen Scale...with metric measurements only!

Now I'm sure our visitors from other countries will laugh at the fact that America is still on the Imperial system, and yes I was taught metric back in the 19... *cough* sometime in the last century, and I tried, I really, really did, but it just didn't register in my head.  Now in all fairness, maybe it's a reference to the design, but still without even any reference to "pounds and ounces", it wouldn't work very well in most American kitchens.  I'm just sayin'!

So, alas, this neat looking, retro scale would be lost on us at the farm and sadly, it's still sitting on the shelf where I saw it.  I'm sure I'll find the right one (with Imperial measurements) someday, LOL.  Couldn't resisted sharing though.
Edited to add: This was at Hobby Lobby if you are so inclined to look for it.

MESSAGE CENTER TAKING SHAPE

Recently, I was visiting one of my favorite blogs, My Cozy Little Farmhouse, and she had THIS posting about creating a message center by the door.  That post intrigued me very much, so I set about making something similar.  I'm not quite finished, but it's almost there.  Instead of waiting, I figured I'd show what I've done so far.  I found a green chalkboard and frame on clearance for $5 at my local craft store.  I decided to use it and so I painted it white.  Sorry I missed those photos, my camera was left at the farm and not in the city so I only got the finished pictures after I took it out there and got it hung up, d'oh!

Use your imagination to see how I simply taped off the blackboard portion, used some gloss white Krylon spray paint to cover the green and ended up with this.  Then, I added a rail/shelf at the bottom using a scrap piece of wood I had and painted it the same color.  It sort of all looks like it's one piece and was supposed to be that way.  Best of all, it gives me a place to lay the chalk.  Of course, what did I forget?  Yep, the chalk!  Is there such a thing as "farm brain"?  If so, I have it!  I'll buy some this week and take it out there this weekend.  Here is the finished (chalkboard anyway) result:
Message Center
Closeup of key rack and bottle opener
This is a close up of the the key rack.  This is the only "new" thing I got, bought it at Target and thankfully, it was inexpensive.  It's the perfect gloss white to match the frame and we can hang our keys on it.  I have a similar one at the front entryway door that I'll show later in the week.  We have a bad habit of running around as we are trying to leave going "where are my keys?"  "have you seen my keys?"  A place to hang them at either door as you walk in is the  perfect solution.

As for that other reddish metal thing next to it, that's an old Coca Cola bottle opener!  We found that in a big pile of stuff that was left behind.  It's dated 1927 on the back!  Pretty cool.  I didn't wanted to paint it, I like it just the way it is.  The cool thing is that this is mounted right on the side of the mudroom exterior door, and around the corner from the fridge.  That makes it very simple to grab a bottle of, er, whatever we happen to have "on hand", stop next to the door to pop the top, then push open the screen door and head outside to enjoy the drink of your choice!

I still want to get a calendar for the wall, a wall mounted 'bottle cap holder' under the bottle opener, and then a place to pin papers and stuff like that, probably under the key rack, some sort of bulletin board.  Working on those things this week, hitting up some more thrift stores, and will hopefully take it all out this weekend and finish it up.  Overall, I am very pleased how this came out, keeps everything organized in one place, and it makes me feel productive knowing that I pulled it all together.

Thanks Tonya for the inspiration!
 

Monday, March 19, 2012

THE WILDFLOWERS ARE STARTING TO BLOOM

Here in Texas, we love March and April...it's when the wildflowers go crazy in bloom.  Last Spring however was very dry, and so there were very few wildflowers.  This year, we've been blessed with a very wet Winter and looks like Spring will be wet as well.  That's making for what appears to be a bumper crop of wildflowers this Spring.  What we wouldn't give to have them year round, sadly they last about a month and then it returns to just green and weedy.  So while we have them, I thought I'd share what we saw this weekend at the farm:  

Above is the view of the pasture across the street from us.  We can't see it from the house as we are a few acres down the driveway, but we see it every time we drive in or out and that's just fine with us.  It's about 20 acres of these white flowers, it almost looks like water and is so pretty.


And above is just one small portion of the roadside ditch down at the end of the road we turn onto.  It's just literally a mile or so of these flowers on both sides of the road as we drive toward the farm.  The mix of colors is also SO pretty.  It's a beautiful way to arrive home.  I'll have some more pics, including the famous "Bluebonnet", next weekend when we drive around looking for more.

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

200,000 THANKS


We have no idea how this happened, but sometime over the weekend, we surpassed 200,000 page views!  We really have no words we can say we haven't said before at other milestones, except thank you, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.  Someway, somehow, whatever I write and post here is interesting to you and for that, we are eternally grateful.

Keep coming along for the ride, the best is yet to come!

VINTAGE POSTER SUNDAY, SHOOT TO KILL VICTORY GARDEN

Vintage Victory Garden Poster
A cute poster this week, this was was a not so subtle reminder to "Protect Your Victory Garden" with a gardener "Shooting to Kill" a grasshopper on her tomato. I'm pretty sure we can all say "been there, done that", these days, ha.


Enjoy!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A THOUGHTFUL GIFT

Yesterday at work, one of my coworkers who is, sadly, leaving and moving out of state, was looking at pictures of the farm.  She saw the picture I posted of the eggs that 2nd Family had given us recently, and said, "wait, hold on!"  She went out to her car, where she had some stuff she was taking to be packed up, and brought back this basket.  She said we should use it to gather eggs when we go down to visit 2nd Family.  I thought that was a very sweet and thoughtful thing to do.  I'm going to have to fill it up with eggs and take a picture to show her.  Just wanted to share her kind gesture with all of you...and publicly say "thank you"!

HAPPY ST PATRICK'S DAY

In honor of St Patrick's Day, I thought that today I'd post some random pics I found of farms and gardens and and land in Ireland...from the beautiful greens so associated with Ireland to the thatched roof cottages to the ubiquitous stone fences that wind through the countryside, it's just a beautiful country...



Photo Courtesy of: National Geographic
Photo courtesy of: 4 Seasons Tours and Travel
Photo courtesy of: Ireland.com