Monday, December 9, 2013

The wind is blowing, it's rainy. Good time to stock up on organic body products


I just mixed up another batch of our Organic Body Butter waiting for it to cool, add the organic oils and whip. Its a mixture of Shae Oil, Olive oil and Coconut oil that, once finished is as light and creamy and lasts for a very long time.

We have 1.5 oz containers for sale in our On The Farm section.




This is how we make it:

Melt 8oz Pure Shae Butter, 4 oz. Coconut oil and 4 oz  of olive oil in a double boiler. We use a metal bowl over a saucepan.

Once melted, set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water, add 20 drops of essential oils and whip with a stick mixer. Tonight we made lavender. We make orange - clove a lot too.

We mix and let it rest then come back in 10-15 min and whip some more. After a while it gets thick and
creamy.

Then we load it into containers weighing out 1.5oz. This recipe makes 10 - 1.5oz containers.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Nippy South Texas

Holy Smokes it is nippy out. With a chance of light ice or sleet....

Food plot covered, heater on in the coop and in the well house.

Chicken and dumplins on the stove....leftover from the last cold snap and just waiting in the freezer....

Live is good.

Yep, in South Texas we occasionally get the cold weather. This we call REALLY cold weather.

However it's not as bad as what some of you are experiencing!!

We will be bundled up and in the house for a few days....just watching.

Hope everyone stays safe in this weather.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

On foraging...

I think you're husband knows your a major naturalist when....while shredding today I pointed out he shredded several areas that had Curly Dock.... and he held up his hands and said "Hey, I didn't see them"....

They just got haircuts....and it didn't kill them and quite possibly will do them some good...... and I found OTHER big patches out by the mulch piles today which was quite sweet!

He then took me to the Goldenrod patch HE found..... and pointed them out. SCORE on Texas Native edibles today!!

GOOD JOB DEAR!!

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's always something....

Two stories about today before I go to bed....

This morning.....we kept hearing a thump on what we thought was possibly a wire or cable on the side of the house. The wind was blowing.....This started about 7am this morning and although I thought it was odd that I had not heard this thump before, especially earlier in the week when the wind was blowing even more....I thought maybe something had come loose causing something to flap in the wind.

It was a consistent thump.... just like a wire, rope or cable that extends from your roof to the ground or somewhere in between would have made.

Occasionally I heard a Mockingbird squak and fuss and each time the thump stopped only to return in a minute or so. I thought then something was trying to get into the house and was making this sound and perhaps the bird scared it off. John even said he thought something was trying to get into the house.

About 8:30 I finally got out of bed and went into the kitchen to make coffee for us both.

When I brought it back to the bedroom...John suggested I look out one of the windows.....a bird was trying to fly thru the bedroom window.

Thus the sound. Seems that a crazy Mockingbird was flying into the window pane, dropping slightly as it hit it, , flew away from the window and tried it again. Thump, thump, thump...For an hour and a half.

I bet he had one heck of a headache.

----------------

And tonight....we went to a local venue to meet up with John's nephews who were in town to play some pool. As we were coming home....and as we just turned off of the bridge that goes over the river behind the house.....several feral hogs ran in front of the truck. The last one was plainly feral, black and white and the perfect size.

And we didn't have a gun with us.

Shucks...but it did remind me that it's time to head to Farmer Genes other row crop area just down the road that borders the river to the rear to perhaps sit an evening and get one.....

ANY farmer in the area would GLADLY let you on the property if you ask to shoot hogs. Feral or Javelinas

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all.

John and I at the Rural Living hobby farm would like to extend a heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving to our readers in the States ....

We're very thankful and blessed... not everyone is as lucky as we are with a bounty of food today, a roof over our head and a little hobby farm to call our own.

Again, if you know someone who is alone today.... take them a plate OR invite them over....

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Meat Grinder

I love this meat grinder...

The versatile design of the Sportsman Manual Meat Grinder with Pulley makes it possible to connect the grinder to a motor and pulley or grind by hand! It handles very large quantities of beef, game, and pork and comes with a grinding plate and cutting knife so you can prepare even more professional looking and tasty food. The cart iron design is easy to clean and looks great on any kitchen table or countertop. Measures 12L x 7W x 20 H inches. About Buffalo Tools Buffalo Tools has been importing premium tools for home and industrial use since 1964. Dedicated to providing customers with the best, safest tools while saving them money, this company isn't going anywhere. When you need a great piece of equipment, look for the Buffalo Tools logo. Manual design can connect to a motor or grind by hand. Cast iron construction is durable and reliable. Easy to clean. Includes grinding plate and cutting knife. Dimensions: 12L x 7W x 20 H inches.

On Amazon.

Monday, November 11, 2013

YUM!

So this evening I HAD to "test" the sauerkraut....with some sausage and it is wonderful!! I'd love to start another batch...this time I will do much more but waiting until cabbage prices come down OR I can snag some locally grown.

And with the cooler temps expected I am sure it will take much longer than this batch took to ferment.

Also spent the afternoon making fresh pasta.... enough to supply us for a little while. One batch of whole wheat spaghetti and two double batches of spinach elbows. It's currently in the dehydrator drying.

John managed to get the green machine working again although there are still some problems - he made several trips with bucket loads of sand to fill the hole in the front.

Back to the 9-5 for me in the morning.....and I need to scoot in the bag room to fill an order before I go to bed....

Stay warm everyone this week!

We canned the sauerkraut!

Homemade sauerkraut anyone?

The kitchen smells divine ...

Wondering what to ferment next....

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sloch Slosh

I managed to make it out to the garden. Slosh-Slosh as I was getting out there but NICE once I got thru the gate.

Good 
harvest again of green beans and okra, clipped enough spinach for dinner and probably have 30+ lbs of ...green tomatoes. Some are starting to turn red. Just hope this front that is coming in midweek doesn't drop to frost temps. It is supposed to be high 30's and much cooler temps and plenty of sunshine does great things out there.

Oh and MOSQUITOES! It was a blood letting day. I would have stayed longer but the mosquitoes were horrible.... this quick run was worth it and I had to get out there to get the beans and okra....but I had to cut the trip short..!

Plan to clip the spinach down a lot later this week to get a heavy regrowth and will be sharing with the community when I do. I have a couple of families in mind....

Sauerkraut it perfect.... it's been warm in the house and it tastes divine. Not too sour or salty and still a little crunchy... I plan to can it tonight. Next batch tho I may let it go a little longer....maybe not tho. This is some good stuff...Wish I had some good deer sausage links to go with it...

John is outside working on the green machine. Remember a couple of weeks ago he got it running again but it died when he was on the trip to the back of the property ...and was in the road?

I expect he'll have it running in no time. It runs...for a minute or two then dies. He's got this tho. He's a great mechanic to have on a hobby farm.

Headed back outside but staying close to the house. Seems like the mosquitoes are not as bad.... I just wish we'd get a breeze...

All for now....we'll check in again later...

Monday, November 4, 2013

Peace

My 9-5 can be quite challenging... so when I walk out of the building to head to the RL farm... and see THIS...

I know everything is going to be just fine...


 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Absolutely Beautiful Out

Finally able to get to the garden .... it has been wet, wet. Too wet to get in it without bogging down..... (no complaints!)

I Picked LOTS of Okra, LOTS of green beans. There is a whole lot of spinach (didn't clip any today, it's sustainable until it freezes...can get it fresh when we want)

And LOTS of FIRE ANTS! I HATE FIRE ANTS!

Also have lots of green tomatoes...... big un's!

John's currently working on the Green Machine. Same song same verse. Hot/Cool temps in S. Texas ALWAYS forms moisture in the gas tank. LOTS of rain and farm equipment out in the open (we don't have a barn to keep them in...yet) ...

Figure he'll have it going in a bit. Think it's also dry enough to shred a little more. That's a constant.

Baby lima's in a pot simmering slow with a ham bone.... Brown rice just beeped. About to start a small pork loin in the pressure cooker. I'm not cooking until Wednesday as we also have part of a smoked brisket in the fridge too.

Absolutely beautiful out.... see you after dark.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Organic Winter Spinach

Organic winter spinach ... my ladybugs have disappeared... and I have some grasshoppers... it still pretty! This is a bitter green!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What's lye? oh my.

Well the garden visit was quite nice. John had french fries for the Roosters....who created havoc to anything and everything that got in their way. When french fries are presented, roo's tend to perform a "me first" circus. Oh wait...that's their normal behavior.

I got some much needed weeding done and a little more seed sprinkled. If the weather holds the temp (high 70's low 80's plenty of sun) for the next 10-15 days we'll be all good. Our window in South Texas is narrowing but there are always some cold weather planting that will work .... so long as you have sunny days to warm the soil.

The moisture content is PERFECT. Not soggy and quite moist. FINALLY.

I hope to get back out there tomorrow to get a little more done and enjoy the sun.

In other news I picked up some lye today. Odd how folks in the stores don't have a clue what it is. One girl asked with a real puzzled look "What's lye?" John suggested I pull a good one and tell them it was the opposite of truth....

Now I've never made soap before. My friend at the 4 Pound Ranch makes EXCELLENT goat milk soap and I'd like to try my hand at some olive oil soap. Years ago John and I went to Florida and while we were there we visited Tarpon Springs. There was a great little niche shop that sold the absolute best homemade olive oil soap I've ever used. It was pricey but worth it.

Since then I've wanted to try to make it. And while I know about the basics.... I've never done it. I do know to add the lye to the water but beyond that I don't know about sponification (sp) or all those fancy things you need to know about.

So this evening I will be researching. How to make soap. With what I have. And what I might can obtain cheaply or quickly. Those containers of lye may have created a monster.

I also have pure Shea butter and of course can get Coconut oil.

Who makes soap? What can you tell me?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cooler weather is welcomed!

I managed to make it out to the garden this evening. It's the first time I have been able to get out there since all the rain.....and John's medical event.

Harvested a LOT of Okra, mostly big. Still keeping the really big ones and will play with ideas for them in the dehydrator and pressure cooker soon. I bet if I cook them in the pressure cooker with some fresh tomato for a while they'll be tender. The pressure cooker does amazing things for tough food....

For now I am putting them in bags and freezing. I hate to just give it to the chickens if I can make FOOD for US. Chickens get what's left or not edible.

The spinach is big enough to start clipping but I don't need it right now so I'll let it grow. I plan to clip enough for Chicken CousCous on Wednesday.

Most of the tomato plants are huge and full of blooms but no tomatoes yet. I expect if the weather cooperates this week we'll start seeing them.

Our beans are blooming up a storm so those will be ready to pick in a week or so too. Yummy!

However, where are my beets?? They never came up and I planted a very long row. Not one seed germinated! I will find some time to get out there to put in some turnips and mustard too in the next week or so. Here, we have time to plant late and still be just fine...

Best of all the mosquitoes were at a minimum. I am not sure if is the cooler temperatures or the breeze but I was surprised that I was not just totally swarmed. That's good news too.

I am hoping we can get out there a couple of evenings later this week, once John has caught up and back 100% to mow and shred a bit. It really doesn't take long for it to grow...and is the #1 thing that keeps us the busiest.... keeping the grass down...

We cooked a good pot of beef soup yesterday afternoon and packaged up what was left over. Today I made white bean, kale and Italian sausage soup and packaged that up too. I won't be cooking tomorrow and will be freezing what doesn't get eaten for lunch or dinner tomorrow.

Love this cooler weather in South Texas. It is WELCOMED!

Hope everyone is doing great....and for those on the upper Gulf Coast, stay safe with the rain from Karen. At least she started falling apart....

Saturday, October 5, 2013

How quickly things can change...

It's odd how quickly things can change in life.... sometimes at the snap of a finger or the blink of an eye...
On Thursday evening we posted a "we're back" message to you.... at about 8:30 I came back to the bedroom to continue working on a project. About 10:45 John came back there to take his meds and jack with the cat... About 11:15 he went to sleep...while I was still awake ... And around 11:30 he was starting to toss and turn and I asked him what was wrong... he tried to answer me but his speech was slurred.... he wasn't making much sense with his answers... and when I took his bp it was 80/40.

We finally arrived home about an hour ago after a couple of days in the local hospital. It doesn't appear he has had a stroke. And he is back to his old self...

So once again I will post another "we're back" message... this time we hope it's for a while..

And he's currently taking a long nap...you can't get quality sleep there....

Anxiously awaiting our first cool snap this evening...
And a good pot of beef barley soup...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Feed bag market mini's

Sometimes you have to experiment.... play around...create?

Market Mini's. Fully lined with bag material. 10x16x5.5.

I love the size!

Market Mini's .. available on my Etsy site.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

After the rains

John ventured out today after the tropical downpour to fix the chains on the 3 point hitch to the tractor that holds the shredder in place. For leveling. And then headed into the pasture to "test" it.

Now I'm thinking....well it's a good time for me to venture out to the garden that I am sure is well soaked....and if he is shredding perhaps it isn't too bad.

Well for the most part it isn't but I did have to wade water to get to the garden. And yes the garden is well soaked but everything still looks good.

And the okra has gone crazy! I got at least a couple of pounds or more of okra and noticed we have some good sized tomatoes already and that we can probably have spinach at the end of this week.

The okra however is HUGE. I am freezing it and will either try pressure cooking it OR dehydrating it to see if that makes it less woody or stringy tough.

Any other suggestions on what to do when your okra gets HUGE?

Other than feeding it to the chickens ...which is also a thought but I want to try to make it a food source for us first.....

Monday, September 16, 2013

Oye Ve...MOO

Why am I posting after midnight? Because the neighbors pulled the calf's from their big hurd across the road and the mama's are bellowing ...

#ruralliving #smalltown

Sunday, September 15, 2013

What a productive day...


12 Feed bag totes made, packed for mail out or packed and ready for local delivery.

5 loads of laundry washed, folded and ready for the week....

Yard and part of pasture shredded...

Garden fertilized, okra picked and frozen, spinach thinned...

Etsy site updated with new bags.

Dinner done (grilled pork chops marinated in a ginger/sesame marinade and stir fried cabbage) and dishes washed.

I bet we sleep good!

The shredding and fertilizing was necessary to check off our list today as more rain is headed our way thanks to Hurricane Ingrid.

Hope your weekend was great too!

We'll see you around the corner....eek Monday is staring us in the face....

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rain Rain Thunder and Rain

Rain Rain Thunder and Rain!

The tomatoes I had to water all week are really enjoying it. Cool weather spinach is starting to sprout and while I haven't be into the food plot I imagine there are other things that are either starting to come up or will in the next day or two!

Every window I look out....I can see dark clouds. Occasionally we hear yet another thunder grumble from a lightning strike in the distance that immediately prompts Chuckie to attempt to bark it away...

Between showers the Chickens are in the yard and pasture taking advantage of the feast of bugs that are forced from under the thatch that has built up under the grasses, trying to avoid drowning as the rain comes down. It's an easy feed for them today.

And it's much cooler today than it has been in quite a while because of the rain although I expect once the rain is gone it will be swamp hot again and the mosquitoes will be hanging around the doors just looking for a chance to come find us inside.

We went out on Friday, our usual "date night" and met up with a co-worker from my 9-5 who works at a different location in a different division and whom I had not met before but who I partner with daily. Sometimes several times a day....

That dinner led to a trip to her house about 15-20 miles from here on Saturday. She had purchased a little house on 2.5 beautiful acres and was having water well problems. The "professionals" were going to charge her a trip charge and possibly charge her out the wazoo to fix a simple problem. She had lost the air space "head" on her tank that was causing water pressure problems.

John fixed it in no time.....and then wanted to go play pool at a little place between her house and ours that we go to occasionally. We got in late...

So, it's been a busy week here and today I have to make more bags to fill the latest orders then start on some I've promised in exchange for saving the raw bags for me. We need to cut down and roll the new ones that have some in. I bet there is a hundred or more.

We'll be around and will check in from time to time....

Hope your weekend was a great as ours has been.....so far..

Sunday, September 1, 2013

KaPUT!

Tomato plants are in.... a good portion of the garden tilled and several rows are made. Between the heat and mosquitoes ....and I'll admit AGE.... it's progressing - although slower than I'd like.

Took an excursion of the property and what John has managed to get shredded. It's amazing how beautiful our property is...especially the pasture is when the grass is mature. And when there is a slight breeze....

We are both kaput.

I am grateful to be in the south where we can literally grow food all year long. As the years go by it takes a little more out of us to get it done and a little more time... but the end result makes all the hard work...worth it.

I am cleaning the kitchen, showering and headed to the back to work on a quilt....see you tomorrow.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Progress!

WOW ... it's starting to look like we're productive around here again!

The tiller of course needed some maintenance. John to the rescue, carb. problem...? Managed to get 1/3 of the garden tilled before the 'skeeters tried to cart me to the lake and dunk me.

John got to make some more passes on the very tall, and very beautiful Gordo pasture before he ran out of daylight.

The pasture grass that we have is sometimes called Gordo. I've heard it called King Ranch Red Tipped too. I am not sure of the "official" name.

Right now it's very tall and thick. But...we don't have enough for anyone to bail or at least no one wants to come get it anymore. There is at least 2 acres of straight run (no obstacles) and another acre or so that you'd have to move in and around trees.

Sort of ashamed to shred it down.

I think we're headed to the shower pretty quickly. We both sweated our buns off in this hot summer sun and took showers with mosquito spray...coupled that with gas from the tiller and carb cleaner ... oh yeah!

Tomatoes will be set tomorrow and fall garden planted by sundown....

And John's famous ribs ....

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The shredder is fixed...and runs like a charm....

There's just some sexy about coming home from the 9-5 to catch your hubby on the tractor....



And yes I got my turn too....

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

On rotating eggs

How do you rotate the eggs you've gathered?

This is how I do it. And every few days....I move some from #2 up to #1 and from #3 to #2 and etc.

I also keep the oldest to the right of the carton. Make sense?

Right now we're down to just at 3 doz in the refrig. I am sure by the end of the week carton 4 & 5 may be in there... or sold. One of the two.

Share your ideas....

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Making homemade salsa

Today is salsa makin' day. Pear salsa, green tomato salsa and possibly fig salsa. I am making a quick brunch and then will get after it.

Then the chest freezer should be emptier..... working my way thru that one too...

We're still talking about the baby possums...

John says we are more than a mile from the river. It's not far down there...but there are 2 other houses between us and the Lavaca River and a pretty good trek for those little boogers. I am certain they are not coming back to our house and our pantry. Too many other places to get into.

I am still laying money on their birthplace (early last spring) was probably the garage and they are making it into the house from there. Mama is either dead OR pregnant again and kicked them out of "her" house or they were just big enough to forage on their own.

The trap is already set although I doubt we'll be getting anything until tonight. I am also doing laundry and will be in and out of the door to the house from the mud room to the laundry room all day. The pantry is the room opposite the laundry room.

However, I'll take these little boogers over the snake in the house!

Also finished the quilt top last night and need to get it laid out with batting and backing and start quilting it.

Is it nap time yet?

Quite disappointed that we may not get any of the rain next week from the system that was forming in the gulf ... God bless those readers who are currently getting drenched ... stay safe please!

Hope your Sunday is good.... off to the kitchen!

We got a double yolker!!

I knew that really big egg John gathered the other day was a double yolker. It had to be. Or one huge yolk.

BTW: This is our first ever double yolker... I think

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Seriously?

Seriously? We are up to 8 either trapped or grabbed. That's a pretty large little for a possum mama. Either one or more has come back or there were in fact 8.

One we had released in the pasture. The other 7 we released over a mile away.

What are the odds I wonder?? All but one were caught in the pantry. Smart boogers. Kind of cute too.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Are we possum free yet?

I *think* we're possum free.

Nothing was knocked off of the shelves in the pantry.

That's not to say that another one of those boogers is somewhere else close or in the house.

And John drove to the river (1/4 -1/2 mile away) to check on them this afternoon. Didn't see them. What were the odds?

While it was a bit entertaining.... I'm just wondering....what's next?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

More? How big is this litter??

Pictures of the little possums we discovered last night and tonight.

Either it's #1 that found it's way back in the house OR there was 7....

Hope there isn't any more.

Sigh.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

What's a tarp?

Finally getting home after a trip to Houston to meet up with a gentleman who had a welding machine on Craigslist ... and we took our time after we picked up the welding machine.

And - we had to find a tarp to cover it as a pretty good rain storm was coming up on us quickly...and the welder was in the bed of the pick up.

SO.... John dropped me at a Gucci Academy store to run in and get a small tarp while he went to find gas...(we were getting the "low fuel" indicator beeps at the same time)...

When I walked into Academy...the "greeter" ..a very nice young man said "Welcome to Academy!"...

I asked him "Do you know where the tarps are located?"

In which he replied "What's a tarp?" ...

Shaking my head.....

I commented "And you work for Academy?"

"Yes mam!" he cheerfully replied.

Wait! Here's the good part! It took 5 people to assist me...5.

One other young man asked me "How big is a tarp?"

SERIOUSLY?

Walking fast up and down the aisles I found them myself...
Still shaking my head...and quickly made my way thru the check out and out the door. John was just pulling up...perfect timing and it was only just starting to sprinkle.

With the tarp secured I made my next quick stop at a Whole Foods right next door, snagged a gallon of Real Milk and we were on our way home.

Think I should send Academy corporate a customer service message? Their service was excellent...nice a polite....but ...Academy employees not knowing what a tarp was much less where it was?

Or just blow it off as ......

Your comments are welcomed!

An entire litter....in the house.

Wow that's a lot of fur....wait, that's not 1....that's ....2, no, there's another set of ears...that's 3!

Total count so far? 5.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Possum in the pantry!

So tonight while I was looking for things to share..just about to head to the back...thru the door to the home office walks this baby possum... he just stood there.for a while then went behind the door...

Grabbing a towel to throw over it... he managed to make his way to the bottom shelf of a book case...that's when Chuckie decided to investigate ...and the baby possum hissed...

And we know there is still a baby in the pantry. Hoping the trap gets it...

John remembered that there was a grown possum dead a couple of days ago in the road in front of the house...

So guess what we've inherited? Apparently a litter..

While Granny Clampet might have been thrilled we are

#nottohappy

There's Two??

Late breaking news......

I just found the baby possum. OR his brother/sister.

In the pantry. While I was fetching something....

It HAS to be a different one. There is a door between the main house and that area of the house that stays shut. In fact we lock it at night and when we leave and only go thru it when we head to the pantry or the laundry room. Generally we are in either room for a second or two but we close the door behind us.... we keep it closed off...

That area of the house has a mud room (hall) that comes in off the garage...with a walk in pantry to the left and a laundry room / full bath room to the right.

I am betting...it's a different one. Or the same one who found his way into that part of the house by going out of the house and finding his or her way into it again....

Haven't caught him/her yet. Dinner takes priority.

This should be a very interesting weekend.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Trying to catch the possum....

Baited with French fries and ready to go!

I also bring the last few bites of dog food in the bedroom for Chuck to munch on before bed. John was encouraging him to eat it gone "before the possum gets it.."

It was quite funny...

Diinner on the Farm - Fresh Blackeyed peas


Dinner on the farm:

Freshly shelled (not dried) blackeyed peas with ham we scored at the farmers market in Luling we told you about....with steamed Kale and jasmine rice.

For dessert - watermelon. One of the sweetest I've had in years....thanks to the lady at the farm stand who went "a-thumping" when John requested the sweetest one in her stand.

Actually it was more like a firm "pat-pat" on the side. She was awesome and indeed had the best selection and was very nice....

This is the VERY BEST time to go to the Luling farmers market... watermelons galore, fresh peas in abundance and their home grown tomatoes are huge!

And we recommend the lady at the first market space... she was very nice...

If you live close....head on over...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

It's always something!

Oh my gosh.. the things that happen around here are endless....

Yesterday I came home feeling tired....but willing to stay awake to take care of things....It's much too hot to start the tiller, even at 7-8pm. Darn heat advisory! None the less there are things to do inside....

I did choose to head to the bedroom to take some much needed time to just....read. I am reading a great early historical account of this area the Texas Coastal Bend. My what problems the early settlers had. If they weren't killed and eaten by the Indians they suffered the heat, mosquitoes and disease.

Then we went to sleep a little earlier than usual...only to be awaken by another baby possum who was tooting around in our bedroom. Cute little fellows they are but not at 4:30am. They are curious and very near sighted and tend to bump into lots of things. Thunk is a better description!

And to top it off....we couldn't catch him. I wasn't in any mode to move dressers around at 4:30am. It's fine. Either he went out on his own OR he'll be caught tonight. I think these babies are getting in through a tiny opening in the bathroom. We'll fix it this weekend when we're sure the little critter is out. And then we'll find other curious openings somewhere else in this house.

John got the small animal trap out and dusted off.

Picture this: small animal trap in the bedroom that is likely to go off in the wee hours of the morning. heh. That's life here.

For dinner we made some ham salad. John boiled and peeled a dozen eggs today and of course we had ham left over from last weekend when we cooked the black eyed peas. I'll chip off most of the ham tonight and freeze it but leave a liberal amount on the bone for this weekend to cook the cream peas we also picked up last weekend.

Hope your week was great.... I'm ready for the weekend!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Learning to use what the Lord provides.

Today we attended a seminar we've been working to put on for quite some time. It's on foraging. Finding and preparing Wild Edibles. Native plant material that, if you had to...could sustain you and your family.

Want to learn more? Visit Foraging Texas or look for a foraging or naturalist in your area.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A little farm humor for today

Heard thru the grapevine...

______________

A big city boy preaching in a small country town wanted to learn everything “country” so that he could fit in. As he was searching for Rural Living hobby farm, he got lost on the back roads. He saw a farmer walking into his barn so he stopped for directions.

The farmer was just beginning to milk his cow but took time out to tell the young man how to get to the Rural Living hobby farm. “By the way, ” he asked, “Do you know what time it is?” The farmer leaned in to the udder of the cow and said, “12:30.”

The young man started to leave but he just HAD to know. He told him, “Hey, I’ve just moved from the city and I really want to know the ways of the country. How could you tell what time it was?”

“Sit right here on this stool, son.” The young man did.

“Now, grab hold of that udder.” the young man. (Before this, his closest experience to this was grabbing a milk carton).

“Now lean into the cow and lift up on the udder.” He did.

“Lean over and look right over there on that wall. See that’s a clock. When the little hand is on the 12…”A little farm humor

Hot South Texas

HOLY Guacamole! It's HOT in South Texas and humid! We were out working on the gear box for the shredder...John got it put back together. We need to pull the old gear box off but just that work made us sweaty and out of energy.

We will be headed to the pool in a little bit.....

I also have 10 bags to pull together this evening. Most of the bags are cut to size, just need to sew them up.

You can certainly tell when summer weather is upon us...the sun on your skin feels different.

Just made a trip to the garden. Decided to stake up the two big tomato plants at the end of the first row where I saw the snake yesterday. Took John along who was glad to supervise and assist. No sign of said snake...and again, I betcha he vacated the premises when he saw me. Like John said "I bet he has been in and out a dozen times since you saw him yesterday." Comforting. I will take a hoe in hand just in case i see him again to "encourage" him to move away if he doesn't do it on his own. I don't want to kill him as he IS beneficial. Just don't like to rub elbows with him....

Hope you weekend was great!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cowboy Caviar

Well, I managed to get Avocado Chicken Salad made....and Cowboy Caviar made.... fruit salad will have to wait.

We're headed to the coast...a little town called Indianola that has a rich Texas history..It's now just a sleepy little fishing village after several hurricanes wiped it out...

We are going to a little fishing / bait stand that also attracts an evening crowd. Cool breeze coming off the bay, great scenery .... excellent music. If you're in the area and want to come kick back with us there's always room for RL friends.

What's Cowboy Caviar?

Here's the recipe. And I do mine very similar...and can't eat enough. It's an extremely addicting healthy food... :)

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Building a quilt

I love quilting. Not only can you create beautiful fiber art but you also create something that is useful and beautiful..for years to come.

This is a crazy quilt design I just started.

Another coop

Excited simply because it is Wednesday! Weekend ahead!

John is headed to El Campos this morning to fetch another large coop someone made and is selling cheap. It will come in handy...

Chickens..as you may well know..are clique'ish. If they don't like a hen...they'll torture her...to death.

From the babies we bought at New Years..there are two hens that John rescued from certain death. Each are in their own smaller pens. We usually reserve these hutch type pens for chicks ... they are big enough to lay now but are in a relatively small space with no room to make a nesting place.

John tried to reintroduce them - but no luck... So when this other coop came up for sale... he knew it was perfect timing.

Hope I can muster up the energy to work in the food plot a little this evening..throat is better but energy level is in the dirt ...LOL!

Have a good day..we'll be checking in later...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Harvest time!

I managed to venture out to the garden...hoe in tow to check for tomatoes, zuch's and anything else. Folks in the county are seeing a lot more snakes this year than they normally do and after spotting the one I saw not too long ago...I am going prepared now.... It also makes it safer to pick up or look into zucchini's ....

We have a cat who loves to follow us to the garden. Her name is RPITA ( pronounced "Are Pita" acronym for royal pain in the a**) and she is notorious for getting in between your feet to love on you at every step. I literally had to run her out for fear that she will trip me and either I'll break a hip and lay in the garden until John comes to find me or the odd chance of falling near where a snake could be coiled up for a nap. I love her...but wished she would just come out there to explore instead of being her sweet self.

This year my garden....sucks. Sorry, no other good word for it. This extended drought is killing me and my soaker hoses are just not doing it although I don't keep them on all the time I do drip them a good portion of the time... And for the first time ever I am having a horrible weed problem despite 5-6" of mulch.

The fall garden rocked, and last year the spring/summer garden rocked. This one is in the ditch for sure and I have no clue why... Others in the county are having much better luck. SMH.

I think I will probably get out there next week and dig the remaining potatoes, pull what is left of the fall Bok Choy cabbage that is still making but starting to have that "last leg" look and blanch and freeze that. My beans are kaput and the corn never made a good stand. Then till all of that up and just keep the tomatoes and zucchini's going until they give up and just do a good clean up and work on the bigger food plot we didn't get a chance to put in.

Late August and into September I can start planting the fall garden. The okra still has a shot and can take a lot of abuse.

I was able to harvest several tomatoes and 3 very over-sized zucchini's and some good sized smaller ones. Many folks toss the over-sized ones because they are big...too big to steam. They are good fried or a good size to make zucchini chips but I like to slice them lengthwise and scoop out the middle creating a "boat", mixing the zuch I scooped with lean ground beef, fresh tomato, Italian herbs and Parmesan cheese then refill the zuch boat with this mixture and grilling them. YUM.

Will probably head into the other room in a bit to continue working on the rooster quilt or try my had again at starting another crazy quilt. I learned quickly the success to doing a crazy quilt is in the first, 5 sided block. And now, I have a template!

I also need to start cutting strips for a rope rug...and put out the call for unwanted cotton clothing that may be past it's prime...to recycle into a rug. Best place to find it: after a garage sale offer to take off their hands anything that is made out of a woven material. You can use knits too. Some people will give it to you OR you can offer $ for a big box full so they don't have to pack it back up.

Then with a rotary cutter you just get after it cutting strips and rolling into balls, sorting by color. Great recycle project and these rugs last a very long time.

Hope your weekend is progressing well.... how's your summer garden coming along?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Dinner on the farm: Freshly harvested new potatoes

Freshly dug today.... washed them and cut them in half or more then added Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic and olive oil... cooking in the steamer.

Can't beat the taste of freshly harvested potatoes.

Lazy Day

We had a wonderful time last night but didn't get home until after 2am. I don't know about you but as a rule my pumpkin rolls up about 10p every night.

Had the opportunity to sleep in a little while then got up, made a strong cup of coffee, made breakfast sandwiches and sat down to pay bills. Not my favorite thing to do....

We have a possibility of rain. Currently it is thundering near us but radar shows it is going around us. It looks like it's building up tho....PRAYERS! We sure could use it and the food plots would really appreciate it.

John just snuck to the back for a nap. I think that is more important than getting outside to work on the shredder. It's starting to heat up around her mid-day so going forward we'll probably work on projects before lunch and then after 5.

It's fine with me. I'm overdue in the creative room (bag room). I need to get some things done and I recently discovered the beautiful fiber art of crazy quilting. Haven't tried it yet, still reading and watching tutorials but I have a couple of jelly rolls and some extra coordinating fabric that is just begging to be tried....

Does anyone else quilt or crazy quilt?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Dinner on the Farm: Grilled chicken tenders

How about Grilled chicken tenders tonight, spinach mushroom couscous and a fresh salad?

Yes, I think that is what we'll have for Dinner on the farm....

Got home a half hour ago and made the spinach/mushroom couscous.... have chicken tenders seasoned and ready for the grill and of course the salad is a snap to make.

Need to change from 9-5 clothes to "on the farm" clothes and get out into the garden. Praying for rain. There is a slim chance we could get a drop or two over the next couple of days.

And we need to get the shredder put together. With the drought there isn't much need to shred...but the weeds are sprouting up and it looks messy.

Our local winery Lavaca Bluffs Winery and Vineyard just bottled some of my favorite wine and we might head over there this weekend.

Other than that we are just hanging out and not trying to over do it in this heat. Funny, just a month ago we were still having fronts...not the temperature is creeping up into the low 90's during the day.

Hope your week has been great...and again, God bless our readers in N. Florida. You're getting wet although the wind isn't supposed to blow that bad...it's still a mess. TS's can do as much if not more damage that Cat 1 hurricanes...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Typical Saturday Morning

Good morning everyone! I hope everyone had an uneventful night with this odd weather we are all having....and it's not over I am sure....

I got up fairly early.....early for me on a Saturday morning...and made myself a cup of coffee....from coffee our reader Fritz (a former hometown man who left years ago...) had sent us ... it's a fantastic blend...and we are really enjoying it!

Then I headed outside for a few minutes....to take care of small things before taking some "morning time" for myself...

Had to turn off the extended soaker hose in the food plot that I had turned on night before last and also went to check on the bug eradication on the tomatoes and zuchs.....when I heard a light crunch at my feet and found about a 18" garden snake slithering away....it was quite healthy but had seen me way before I saw it and was already moving away....not fast though, but moving out of MY way none the less. And of course... I was in my yellow box flip flops...not my garden shoes...

Now, several years ago I would have freaked and had messy pants begging John to kill him but over time I have learned to look before you make the snake a victim of a hoe. He's a keeper. Not that I am THAT comfortable being around it but I do know that it is VERY beneficial to the food plot. It may have slithered out all together but I am betting he is at the end of the first tomato row under tomato plants that are not staked or caged.

Not sure if he was a large ribbon snake or a small coach whip (both have long, light colored stripes from the head to the tail and not banding) .... I just have to remember it is there....

So... I decided to head to the front to water some new landscape plants that we've put in or will soon (still potted) and as I was walking from the food plot to the patio....Golden Boy rooster came up behind me and tried to spur me again. It's been a long time since he's tried that....he immediately got a face full of coffee with a stern NO .... that stopped that behavior and he walked quite quickly in the other direction.... John removed spurs from many of the Roos last weekend.... they just chest butt you now. This behavior is rare here and it would be an off chance to even get a true spur. It's the bahavior we don't tolerate...kind of like a kid saying a cuss word...

Then I headed to the front to turn on the water hose, with Chuckie in tow and proceeded to water those plants again.....With the water hose in hand, and Chuckie wandering on a smell adventure I noticed in short order that he kept creeping closer to the farm road we live on that is quite busy......I kept calling him to come over to me but he'd only raise his head, look and continue on his smell adventure. He's starting to get quite stubborn as he gets older....

Finally, I had enough.

I turned off the water, grabbed Chuckie up and came in the house to make another cup of coffee since my first one was gone...And to sit down at the computer to drink it and talk to all of you.

We'll be headed into town in a bit to Edna Auto (who has just about everything you ask for ...and is quite an eclectic mix of auto/farm pieces and parts collected over many, many years) to get gasket material to reassemble a gear box - so that we can start working on the shredder again to get it going...

And to continue on our outdoor project and to pray...for...rain.

Hope your Saturday is as productive......

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The project - almost complete

I don't think our backs....and body's... will ever forgive us for taking on this project. Good news is that we have the water hose in the pool filling it. We are getting about an inch per hour. It's 52 inches tall so it will be a while. And - it looks amazing.

Next: the rest of the back yard area....but for tonight....I'm headed to take a very hot bath and finding a good book.

We will start on another section of the yard tomorrow... the rest isn't as intense as the pool project...

We got a little rain today...not much but enough to perk up the food plot. There was a pretty good sized tornado in Victoria....yikes!

Hopefully we can accomplish a few other things too this weekend...including some bags I need to make and cleaning the kitchen well....

Hope your Memorial Day weekend has been safe!

We'll see you tomorrow....

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The project continues

Work our buttocks off this evening trying to get the "back yard" area in shape for the new pool.....and we haven't even started on the pool area.

Looks like an entire "make-over" for that area.

It's something we've been wanting to do for a while and hopefully we'll get the bulk of it taken care of this weekend.

At any rate, it's a great calorie burn!

Made some avocado chicken salad for dinner and we ate it on whole grain bread with enough for tomorrow's lunches. YUM and very good for you....then cut up the last cantelope to munch on...not as good as the one's we got last year but pretty juicy and sweet!

I may head to the back shortly. Couldn't sleep last night and I am overdue for an early night. Tomorrow may be a long day at the 9-5 but ...at least it will be a

TGIF day!

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Our latest project

In the summertime in South Texas there are a couple of ways to stay cool... get naked or get wet. We choose the latter...most of the time.

As such we have a pool, a great way to spend a leisure evening. Our pools are not the traditional "cement pond" in-ground pools but portable above ground pools as seen in the blog post Chuckie and the Roo. Up until now we've had 15 footers and John installed a much bigger pump/filter with the 1st one that was designed for much larger, permanent, professionally installed above ground pools and it's made a huge difference.

When we were in San Antonio we had a different style. It was quite complex to put up and John literally took a week of vacation to install it. We brought it to Jackson County when he retired but instead of taking the time and labor to reinstall it, we opted for one of those blue, above ground "Intex" pools. I call it the redneck pool and occasionally the Margarita pool but that is another blog post.

All in all Intex makes a fine portable above ground IF you invest in a better, more powerful pump/filter and perform daily pool maintenance on it. In other words, treat it like it is an expensive above ground or in ground pool. This one has lasted 6 years and this year we needed to make a decision if we'd keep this one up for one more year and make minor repairs OR change it out. I understand they only have a 5-6 year life.

We opted to replace it. With a 24'. It will arrive in about a week.

In order to make this change we need to tear the old one down and re-level the ground and pack in about 3-5" of sand where it will be built.

We found out quickly that it was cheaper to order an entire dump truck load of sand than to get the few yards we would need to pack in under this pool. This means...we'll have a lot left over. And - our soil is hard clay. If you don't catch it with the right amount of soil moisture it's impossible to till...so the plan is ..to work on the pool first and get it up and running then use the remainder to work into the clay soil in the food plots!

So this will be our weekend. In 90 degree weather as we'd like to have it up and operational for Memorial weekend. I am sure the Green Machine will get a work out and so will we but...in the end.... I can sit in my float ring, music in the background, looking up at the brightly lit night sky, watching for Satellites and wondering how I got so lucky....

Sunday, May 12, 2013

On starting grapevine....

Just replanted a dozen Spanish Grape vine cuttings I've had rooting in a covered but breathable container for 3 months. (rubbermade covered tote)

Got the cuttings from our local vineyard Lavaca Bluffs Vineyard and Winery in February and stuck them in the soil the next week. We kept it damp but not wet and pinched any leaf growth as the buds emerged forcing the "energy" of the cutting to form a solid root system instead of wasting it's "energy" of leaf development.

It worked. 7 out of the 12 had significant "white roots" on them while the rest of them had a solid, small root system established.

I still have bundles in the fridge I may pull out and start more....

My guess is that about half will survive.... at this point we will keep them in a shaded area and not let them dry out until spring 2014 when we can actually plant them. They are way too fragile to endure the hot summer the first year. And even now....we will pinch most of the leaf buds off for the next month or so.... still forcing growth energy to the vital root system in their new containers...

And of the 3 I got last year from the vineyard starter bed...only one survived but is doing quite well.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

First new potatoes

I was out trying to take some weeds from the garden and the potato's were calling my name. I needed to make some room for kale anyway... good excuse!

So 1/2 row provided us with fresh red potatoes for dinner.

Life is so good!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Duties after the 9-5

What a wonderful evening!

It rained a little more today.....and because of it John decided it would be an excellent time to scoop the coop.....when the "fluff" is wet.....

We did manage to have dinner first...then in old clothes he filled buckets with "chicken soup" and I dumped them into the lick tub.....it took a while. Then he hosed the coop out. When it's dry...we'll reline it with fresh hay. And you might have guessed by now...ours is on a slab.... but it's just fine if you keep enough hay in there for the hens to scratch...

We both smell "mighty fine" about now. Or to paraphrase a post from a year ago on here.....when a fan said her child would say "Smells like money to me..." ...

(sorry for probably not getting that exactly right...)

Will mix the soup into the compost this week.....and to think people pay big bucks for this stuff....

How's your week going?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Homemade deodorant

Another batch of homemade, natural deodorant made.

This time, scented with lavender essential oils...just a slight fragrance.

Made enough to last way into the fall if not longer....for pennies!

Here's how you do it:

1/4 c baking soda
1/4 c cornstarch
5 tablespoons (more or less) of coconut oil solids.

Mix the dry together. Then start blending in the coconut oil until you have a very thick paste. You may or may not use all of the coconut oil solids... I usually start with 4 tlb and then add in a little more if I need to. Once blended, add a few drops of essential oils and blend and smell....if you want it more scented add a few more...

If you are in a warmer climate, refrigerate for a while to help solidify.

To use, load up a spent deodorant container OR just store in a resealable container and put it on with your fingers the way grandma did... Don't use much! You don't need it.

NOTE: When you first start using this it will work for 6-8 hours depending on your activity level. It takes appx 8-12 weeks for your body to get accustom to this .... after that you'll never go back to the store for deodorant.

Cost? Pennies! And...you'll be using less toxic chemicals on your skin....

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter weekend: A busy saturday!

I am one dirty woman.

Accomplished a LOT. Had a good visit with our middle son who's working on someones diesel truck on our property. No problem, it was closer for his "client" and we enjoy the conversation we we both took a break from our prospective jobs...

10-15 loads of NEW mulch from our FREE mulch piles on the trailer and ready for offload to the small food plot. Then tomorrow I'll set tomato plants. I let the soaker hose run a little too long and it's a bit too wet today. Tomorrow should be perfect. And with the topping of this mulch it should be perfect for a while.

We are currently steaming broccoli I soaked in lemon juice and fresh ground pepper right now and John will fire up the grill in a bit to grill the big Salmon fillet that has been marinading in lime/garlic/cilantro all afternoon.

John also fixed the stereo on the patio ....a nice evening playing some bluegrass and some old Boston on it.... while feeding the roo's scratch from red solo cups...

Also discovered 2 piles of "scat" (dung, manure, poop) that were pretty big ... one near the small food plot and another further in the pasture.

Folks, when you live in the country sometime identifying scat is more revealing than anything. Not that we identified it...but it was quite a large pile and nothing that I've seen before. Curious as to what is visiting. It was white but that could be from days of sitting there. If you are a "scat" expert, I'll describe it in more detail off line.

Our middle son first thought it might be wild pigs again but no apparent sign of "rooting" anywhere which usually accompanies it. And...with Farmer Gene's corn coming up that could be a possibility but none of his corn has been disturbed. Coyotes? Would be a very large coyote.... just not sure and may try to research it.

Hope your Easter Saturday is progressing as well as ours....

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Windy Windy...

SO.....we're back inside and finished for the day. Didn't finish all the tasks we planned to do but....THIS WIND and humidity has my hair matted and I am exhausted trying to compensate for it.... I'm tired of not being able to hear what John was trying to say 10 feet away.... and loosing things in the grass.. (a nut and lock washer to be precise) is not good either. Not to mention cloud cover and dark clouds - although we are not supposed to get rain until tomorrow.

We came in and are calling it a day.... I just started what we'll have for dinner and think I will head to the bedroom to do something I rarely get to do, read.

We are waiting for the rain.... it will be a later than planned planting here but will still be good.

We made some minor outside repairs to the coop so now it's good to go for a while...and also laid fresh hay bedding in the nesting boxes and on the ground.. which scared the heck out of the little ones at first... they all ran to one corner and piled up on each other not wanting even one piece to touch them. Now they think it's great fun to scratch and peck it and are having a ball. One of the two mama hens found her place quickly, made a "nest", laid down and went to sleep.

We also tried letting a young roo out...but the big guys were not kind. We got him back in and will try again in a week or two. In the meantime we think the hay will keep them occupied and slow down the feather picking. We have another plan to separate them to another smaller pen if we have too....

Speaking of dropping things in the grass.... like nuts, bolts and washers, etc. There HAS to be evil monsters that live there and who are fast..quickly snitching your lost item and hiding it in their secret place. I think they laugh about it too... Can anyone relate? Or have a theory? Share your thoughts on our Facebook site!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Making your life a little easier; Free or cheap from Amazon.com


We will be featuring free or inexpensive books from Amazon.com that will make your life a little easier...



This is a great book for dehydrating and food storage. When we found it, it was free for Kindle users and a great price for Amazon Prime Account users.

Enjoy!

Windy, Windy day....

YAWN....stretch.....best nights sleep in months....and I sure took advantage of it....

John ran into town (drove actually) to pick up a package from the Post Office before it closed at noon...and will be swinging by our little Wal-mart to pick up a couple of things before we head outside. It will save us a trip - and he'll only be a couple of blocks from there.....with gas prices skyrocketing (what's up with that??) it was the smart thing to do...

I am about to cook brisket & egg cowboy "brunch" wraps with fresh salsa.... if I can find some energy to get up off this chair.... 

It's quite cool outside...for us that is. 50ish with a good wind blowing. We don't have a choice but to dedicate the afternoon to outdoor tasks.... I bet this is the last cooler weather we get or close to it. Looking at the extended forecasts we'll be mostly in the 70's going forward for the majority of the month.....I can hear the wind picking up outside - it's howling which should provide for an interesting day....

2 more weeks until daylight savings time which will help me to get things done after work and 18 days until spring.

We will be working on the little food plot, big food plot and making some minor repairs to the coop.....

Hope your weekend is good and those who've had major weather events this winter....I hope you are starting to get some relief!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

End of the day.... how beautiful it was...

Ok! That's it for the day. While we didn't start turning the ground we DID make progress. At the last minute we decided to move the new, bigger food plot over a bit. It has to do with Farmer Gene..... If you're new there is a post on the blog that describes a recent event with him.....

The first selection bordered the back edge of our property. Gene occasionally uses the back of our property to turn on when he's tending his 400 acres...and while we were very much within our right to plant there ...or any other darn place on this property, we would have really cut him off AND we need to support the close friendship.

To move the new food plot to the new place required moving an old boat that John has that has been in his family for many, many years. It is quite cool and I've often thought of making it into a hang out, wine spot or something...It's not on a trailer and he had to move it about 30 feet where we keep the boats that are on trailers....He tried it with the Green Machine (that's the front end loader/back hoe rebuilt Terramite we use for everything) but again, we couldn't get traction enough to do it. Being on the ground and with the ground very soft and with years of sitting on the ground he decided to lift up one side then another with the front end loader to try to free it up. Each time he lifted it I looked well underneath to make sure we didn't have something slithering that we didn't expect. We didn't.

He then went and to get the "big red pony", our F-150 and with ease moved it to the slab where the other boats are kept.

This boat had also been sitting on some tires....which also had to be moved before he shredded the new area to the ground. John grabbed the first one and off he went to deposit it near where he moved the boat. I decided to help and chose the one that had less dead grass and debris thinking it was safer and picked it up from the front tilting it away from me. Usually you pick things up from the backside to look in case of a snake because it will partially shield you...and you can drop it much quicker.

I'm glad I picked it up from the front because there was about a 15' Copperhead inside the tireeasy to see without any debris to cover him and against the black of the tire. Copperheads are one of the three venomous snakes in Texas and are easily identified. They are also very pretty snakes...I suspect that because it has been quite cool was the reason he was moving slowly and didn't try to bite me. Had I reached over the tire to pick up from the back there is a possibility he would have got me under my arm. Slight in this cool weather but a possibility.

So off to get the hoe I went (which is what I usually have in my hand to lift things) and John chopped his head off. We tried to get the Roo's to do something with him.... several of them did try to pull him by his tail but quickly gave up. I think they knew he was already dead. This is the first snake we've seen in years and we attribute that to all the Roo's we have around here and that we keep the grass down. See, there is a reason we take them in when others don't want them..... not to mention they are quite entertaining!

We also managed to get the trailer loaded with mulch that has been sitting for several months. John will try to get that spread next week while I am gone so we can start turning the ground next weekend after I get home.

Now the sun is setting, we have dinner going and will spend some quality time together after while. 

We hope your day was productive too or at the least you were able to spend time with those you care about...

Discuss this and other topics on our Facebook site!

Beautiful Spring like weather again!

Just came in to eat. John sounded the effects on the bull horn to tell me he had cooked lunch.

Fresh eggs, warmed up pork chops from last night, whole grain toast....so good!

Emptied 6 big bags of leaves onto compost courtesy of some friend of ours in another town who so graciously hauled them to us....and now it's full and we can start working on bin 2.

John got the cd player on the outside stereo working and plugged in the bluegrass cd's from MilkDrive, an amazing group of young men from Austin, Texas we were honored to have been introduced to at a small, local venue..... you can hear it all the way into the pasture.... and makes life very sweet!

And...with the sun shining and it's warming up nicely...I may switch into Capri's in a bit. It's the day I've been waiting for ...for quite some time.

Tomorrow is a little more harried. We are meeting folks at the local winery and then I have to pack for another trip for the 9-5..... so taking advantage of as much of this day as I possibly can!

How is your Saturday going? Tell us about it on Facebook!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Weekend is HERE! Bring on the tiller....

It's been a LONG week......today John moved 1/2 of the chicks to the regular coop. They have really grown and were quite crowded in the outside chick pen.

He selected those that appear at this point to be hens. Poor babies! When I got home they were really peeping! He said they immediately took a dust bath when they got in the big pen..... it will be a learning curve for them to understand what this is all about but before long they'll be big enough to maneuver their way into the hutches...

Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful and I plan to spend all day outside. Work needs to be done and I need to spend some time in the fresh air, sun beaming down, and experience all of what God may send past me...

Next week it's back to Phoenix again for my 9-5 but at a different hotel. I will post pictures. Their online site looks beautiful and you can bet...I'll be quizzing chefs about their food source to share with you! So far no indication that they use locally grown food in their food selections...maybe I can convince them?? LOL!!

Then on Sunday we are meeting several friends at Lavaca Bluffs Winery and Vineyard to spend the afternoon. We are long over-due to spend some time with owners Doug and Beth.... It's a great social event... and wonderful company as well....

What do you have in store for the weekend?? Join us on Facebook to discuss this topic and others....

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Monday....

Good evening everyone!

Headed straight to the garden when I got home to start plugging in those potatoes. I had planned to start before now but it's still raining off and on......this evening the air was thick with misty humidity.....so I put on sweats (fleece) and headed out anyway. Got about 1/2 of them complete.

I need to run the cultivator through it and hope to accomplish that this week.

And... a friend was nice enough to load up in his truck the 5 bags of leaves he had bagged up and that were by the curb for the trash pick-up to dispose of...John met him in town and we'll add them to the compost tomorrow. It was dark by the time we got to that chore and I needed to start dinner.

I sure will be glad when daylight savings time gets here. Just about 3 more weeks!! It will allow for more "outside" time after work. Whoo ho!

Dinner tonight is left over Pork Ribeyes we cooked in the pressure cooker last night with a heavy Canadian Steak Seasoning.....and some steamed brown rice and also fresh Bok Choy cabbage from the garden.

We also received our second delivery from Johnny's Seed.... mostly corn but I also wanted some giant sunflowers if for nothing more than show. I love those..... so we have 150 sunflower seeds too....

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Potato Experiment

Good morning everyone!

I took an excursion this morning with Chuckie (so he could do his morning duties) and it is still pretty wet but do-able. I walked out to the compost and threw on the left over potato pieces after cutting the eyes off the other night. Of course all the Roo's thought it was potatofest time. I still need to clean out the fresh veggie bin in the refrigerator today as I haven't done that in a few weeks and add it to the compost pile as well.

I also decided to "experiment" a little and bury some of the seed potatoes
that were left from cutting the eyes off of them the other night that still had tiny eyes. I buried them here and there around the sides of the compost pile and then I will forget it. 

This compost is a cold compost where it takes a long while for the total decomposition to occur. That's fine with me as I add in or toss in carbon and nitrogen "ingredients" through out the week and bury them on top by mixing or raking over older compost from the sides. Those ingredients could be organic kitchen scraps, egg shells, coffee grinds or it could be chicken poo from either the coop or the chick pen leaves sometimes, a little hay sometimes, chips/mulch from the big piles, anything organic...About twice a year we turn it with the front end loader.....

So with my experiment I want to see if these potatoes do anything. I will not maintain them, water them or fertilize them. I don't plan to do a thing except to "forget" them and carry on adding new things to the whole compost pile on top as usual and let mother nature take over. If it works then the result of my experiment will be to show that you can produce potatoes without any skill or maintenance in less than optimal conditions...and that it can be an easy food source for those who may not have the ability to provide on a larger scale.

What do you think the results will be?

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

On my way home....

Ahh! Finally home after another trip with the new spot at the 9-5. This time just to San Antonio and I must say...it was kinda nice.

Seemed like it took forever to drive home. I did stop at a favorite BBQ house as I was just down the road from it anyway....Rudy's in San Antonio ROCK!

Drove across town and stopped in a little community just east of San Antonio called La Vernia to grab a bag of ice to lay on the BBQ I paid a small fortune for... (it's worth every penny tho!)....

As I was pulling out..... the Cuero, Tx trailriders were headed to the San Antonio Rodeo. Of course I had to pull over to take pics for all of you....

I have friends who schedule a week or more off from work to ride in them....either headed to the San Antonio Rodeo OR the Houston Rodeo...

So...it's Rodeo time in Texas and these sites will be common through-out the state.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Are you ready for some organics in Jackson County?

We spent the entire afternoon doing pre-work on the bigger food plot. Yesterday we took an excursion to determine WHERE on the property to do this.....Our excursions consist of John driving the Green Machine while I ride in the bucket. It's fun and effective!

Anyway, John came up with the ideal place that almost borders the back of the property and next to Farmer Gene's corn field. It will allow an easier access to extending the water supply and is also easy to get to from our house and the road.

This afternoon just after lunch he jumped on the lawn tractor and shredded it down to the ground. Then we moved a small trash pile..... Next week (when I get home after yet another 9-5 trip) we'll start dumping mulch and tilling. We can plant direct in the ground about mid March. If we time it right it will be perfect and ready to go!

It's appx 40 x 100. 4000 sf to turn.  Good for us the tiller is self propelled and a real work horse. It may take a few hours...but it will be a mighty good calorie burn. And...with the ground still soft it shouldn't be much of a problem at all.

4000 sf in addition to the personal food plot that is expanding this year to 1000 sf.

That's a lot of food..... but the community is jumping on board and will purchase overages.....

How are you this Sunday afternoon?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Looking towards spring.....

We now have started in the mini greenhouses:

72 tomato plants - Mostly beefsteak, some early girl.

108 Cucumber plants.- a good pickle cuc but also a good edible one! Yum sliced thin and used in your wraps! (we prob. won't use all of these and will give away the excess)

48 zucchini plants - CashCrop. We had one plant last us from early last spring until the first frost this year and I picked 2-3 everyday all thru the fall. They produce like crazy so this will be a TON of zucchini!

If the spring cooperates we should have a good crop.... and some to sell..... fingers crossed.

And have started the big food plot. Lots of work to come but it will be all worth it!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

When a farmer comes a'knockin....

The other day there was a ring at the door and John found Farmer Gene at our front door. He is the one who farms those 400 acres behind our property and usually grows corn. Yes, GMO corn. Read on before you boo....

He was here out of kindness....he knew we doted over our organics and came to tell us it was time for the crop dusters to come and spray Round up on his fields and wanted to make sure there wasn't any drift.

He walked the pasture to identify our food plots.

He didn't have to do that but out of kindness he did....and he is one of the first to admit, if he could make a living growing organics himself he'd do so..... A lot of farmers would agree with him....

Today, John spotted the crop dusters behind the house.

If you look closely you can see it...we had to put it in a photo viewer to see it.

And..by this picture it's definitely winter at the Rural Living farm. I do miss my green...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Chicks are really growing.....

This afternoon just before sun down we moved the chicks to the outside chick pen. All 28 of them. I think. I lost count. John has the number....John got them out of the small pen inside one by one and put them in a small pet carrier to take outside.... two trips.

The chick pen outside is made of redwood. We bought it many years ago at a pet store when we had Cockatiels but kept it after we lost them because it is the perfect large pen for chicks. I think it was originally for rabbits or other small animals.... it's been a good one and we have certainly gotten our money's worth.

It has one big door in the front with two sliding locks and two smaller wire doors that allow easy for access to change out food and water. The roof also hinges open. We keep it on the patio under an awning....so it stays nice and dry....

John bought new water containers and food containers and came home with new chain and hardware to suspend them off the floor of this cage. He did a really nice job as usual!

Then we ran to town for a few things and came home to clean up the mud room......yuck! I don't mind....it's more good stuff for the compost! And with that many chicks it doesn't matter how often you clean it.... it's still a mess, especially when they get bigger and start doing the scratch dance.

It's cooler here but not too bad and the weekend is supposed to be beautiful again. I just hope we both have energy to accomplish and outside task...

What's going on with you this Wednesday?? 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Spring weather this weekend...short lived I am sure..

Good evening everyone! It's going to be a great weekend here....sunny and in the 70's... FINALLY! I plan to get a lot of outside time in the sun!

My boss sent me home after a long meeting yesterday but before the afternoon activities....as I was suffering from a cluster headache. Had not had one in YEARS but knew the signs and was going to be in trouble quickly if I didn't get headed towards home with a pill and a caffeine laden soda. Odd for me but anything to get rid of the pain. I am very tired of fighting bronchial crud....and John is tired of being tired of being sick as well. So..tomorrow I hope the healing power of the SUN gets us back in shape.

Today I went to the local (30 miles away) drivers license renewal place as my license expires in about a week. I don't have my ss card and had a long list of required documents to take if you couldn't show your ss number.

So for about a week I gathered all sorts of docs and had them in a nice folder ready to whip out when they asked.

They didn't ask for a thing. I was glad and it didn't take hours to do...I was in an out. Just hope it comes in before I have to fly again as I don't want to fight TSA with a cut drivers license that will be expired by then and a paper replacement.

Our chicks have really grown and are outgrowing the chick pen in the mud room so we'll be out getting ready to move them into the mini-coop this weekend. Oye ve they are huge messes too...I will be glad to get them moved.

Currently in the ugly stage where they are just getting their real feathers but still have some chick fuzz. Kind of cute but not.... for those who have chickens you know what I mean....

So what do you have planned this weekend??