Saturday, March 24, 2012

It's hot in South Texas!

It's HOT in South Texas! And it is only March! I fear we will have a scorching summer earlier than expected.

We were out on the "green machine" breaking more ground to grow even more fresh veggies and the heat is driving us inside for a while.

Our little "green machine" was getting really hot...not mechanical problems, it's just the nature of that beast...and we couldn't take the heat from the metal and the sun much longer. Decided to come in for a while to let the machine cool down. And to give us time to cool down too.

Mosquitoes are buzzing today, and we expected as much after the recent rain. A breeze is picking up and was helping with those pesky bugs! At least they are not as big as they'll get this summer.

The hens gave us 11 eggs today. Thought their egg production would pick up after giving them treats of fresh veggie scraps a couple of days this week instead of throwing it in the compost pile. Those treats must have made them happy!

One advantage of living in rural South Texas is that you have a longer growing season and production is early. Many of the tomato plants have blooms. The zucchini have blooms too but are not big enough to produce so we are picking them off. We should be in full production by mid May....

Pictures soon...after I cool down....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dinner on the Farm - The Grill Master

Tonight we did a simple dinner, grilled pork rib eyes and fresh steamed cauliflower with melted 2% American cheese.

The 4 oz Pork Rib Eyes were simply marinaded with garlic powder, pepper and Mrs. Dash original. I used this incredible tupperware marinader I recently got from my local Tupperware lady. It has now become one of my top 5 things I cannot do without in the kitchen.

"Grill Master" John fired up the new grill to cook them!

The steamed cauliflower, cut into smaller pieces, was steamed for 30 minutes in our electric steamer with no seasoning. These cauliflowers were on-sale at our local grocer for just over $1.00 a lb, a huge savings. Once steamed we laid a few slices of 2% American Cheese over them and allowed the remaining heat to melt the cheese. The American Cheese has a slight salty taste, just enough so that the cauliflower was not bland.

Delicious!

"The garden plants are perky and laughing."

Goodness it's wet outside! Had to walk around standing water to get to the new garden spot to plant the onion sets someone gave us Monday night. I was elated that we got between 20-30 tomato sets from their left overs! Thanks Mike and Debbie!

Yesterday I messaged John from work and asked how much rain did we get? I also asked him to walk out to the new garden spot to report the damage as I knew I wouldn't be home until after dark.

He reported we received 1.34" rain and that  "The garden plants are perky and laughing." Thought that was funny....

Today I noticed some of the tomato plants are starting to put on their first blooms! I started these plants in January so it is about time for that to happen!

The rain storm that came through Texas Monday night was quite ferocious! The wind was gusting at 30+ mph before the storm hit and we were fortunate to get the "tail-end" of it. Bless those who were in the middle of that long line of severe thunderstorms. I was concerned that the new plants had blown to pieces or were drenched, although the new garden spot it quite built up with mulch.

Fortunatly only 2 tomato cages blew over and John was able to just place them back. There was absolutely no damage and like he accurately described it..."The garden plants are perky and laughing."

Yes indeed.....it's going to be a great spring!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dinner on the Farm - Garlic Lime Chicken Kabobs

On a skewer .... chicken breasts in cubes, fresh zuchinni, fresh pineapple, mushrooms and onion.

Marinaded in a garlic lime marinade that is very easy ot make.

1 c lime juice
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1/4 c olive oil

Pour lime juice into a ninja or blender or food processor. Add garlic and cracked pepper. Pulse 15 - 20 seconds. Slowly add in olive oil as you continue to pulse. The olive oil emulsifies this solution so that it will "cling" to the kabobs a little better.

Place Kabobs into a marinade pan for half and hour or more. Tupperware makes an excellent marinade container that you  flip to marinade the other side.

Grill until the chicken is done.Delicious!

Lime juice mimic's a salty taste. Chicken breasts are lower in fat than dark meat and is an excellent source of protein.

You can also use Margarita mix to make this  marinade.

Farm Sunday, A lot to accomplish!

It's another Farm Sunday and there are a lot of tasks to accomplish today as we expect rain again next week.

It's the day we catch up on laundry and normal inside household chores to start our week again. It's also a busy on the farm day as well. Since we have been getting rain our grasses are growing and the yard and pasture are starting to grow fast. There are areas we won't be able to get to today but for the most part it will be neater. For the pasture areas it's also a snake deterrent and they are waking up hungry with a nasty disposition with the warmer weather.

We also just bought another grill, this time a split electric and charcoal. We have a large charcoal/wood smoker but it just isn't doing it for us during the week when we prepare dinner. Grills are a great way to create low fat, heart healthy dinners and with the introductions of electric grill safe smoke pellets it adds the smoke flavor. The gas portion means no-waiting. We can use that side for quick fix dinners. Best of all, the kitchen clean up is a snap!

So here is our to-do list. Lets see how much we complete.

  1. Finish assembly of grill
  2. Mow (mostly John). Our yard isn't the typical neighborhood yard, it's an acre.
  3. Laundry including bed linens and comforter.
  4. Clean kitchen, organize refrigerator for next weeks meals.
  5. General household tasks including bathrooms, sweep and mop.
  6. Create more space in the garden area, about 200 sf more (mostly me, I'll blog this later)
  7. Plant Corn, beans
Will post a great Dinner on the Farm this evening.....using the new electric grill. I think you'll like it.

And as usual, we ALWAYS welcome volunteer help....just kidding!