Monday, January 16, 2017

FREEZE UPDATE

Definitely LOOKS like Winter has come through...


The fields are brown and dormant, and the trees have lost their leaves (the green colors left in the photos are invasive vines growing in trees behind us).


This is one of two citrus, the orange and the lemon, they look fine...  


...this however is the lime tree.  
The leaves have been freeze burned but the tree still looks viable.  
Fingers crossed.


This is the bay laurel tree, 2nd Man was happy.


Here is one of the avocados.  
They don't look good but like the lime tree, hopefully they still have life in them.  


Sadly this is the aloe.  
100% my fault, forgot to move it inside for protection.  Sigh.


Here is a plant that we were happy with, it's called "Gold Star Esperanza" and it was another that just took root where it sat and was doing great.  Not sure if it will come back, we won't pull it up and will wait for Spring to see if it's alive.


This is the blue plumbago, probably got it in the ground too late in the season for it to be established but we'll see.


Lost all the ferns hanging in baskets on the porch.  Again, my fault, didn't put them inside.  Maybe we need some hanging plants that aren't so sensitive to freezing weather, if there is such a thing.


For some reason, the back of the house is covered in mildew again?!?!  Maybe being the North side and somewhat shaded this time of year?  

Too bad the freeze can't kill all this!


Here's a tree that fell, not sure why, it might have been dead but with the brush around it we couldn't see it.  In the wind and cold, it just fell over.  Now I have something unexpected to add to the list for Spring...lovely. 


And here is hope...this is the lavender we just planted a couple of months ago. It was doing great and we were both excited to have lavender.  This is what it looked like.  Now that's not frost on the foliage (kinda looks like it but this was mid 70's weather so definitely not, ha).  I moved the dead leaves and found green underneath.  I think there is hope for this one.



And of course, we have to laugh when we can.  Saw this and thought it was just too fun and just had to share.  

Yep, this is the way it is in this part of Texas.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

OFF TO CHECK THINGS OUT


EDIT:  I had this scheduled for this morning at 9am but alas, I put 9PM in the scheduler.  Oops.  When I didn't see a post up, I edited this on my phone.  
Hope it works.

Well today it's off to check things out after the great freeze of 2017, ha.  The water has been off and the pipes blown out.  So we should be alright there, but we need to make sure.  Also need to check the plants and see what survived

It's an odd weekend here, mornings cool, afternoons hot (we broke a record the other day) and it's overcast and looks like it might rain.

More later this weekend!


Friday, January 13, 2017

FRIDAY THE 13TH

OK...today is one of only TWO Friday the 13th's this year (the next one is in what seems now like far off October).  



So, that got us to wondering, how many of you are superstitious?  
Anything you will or won't do relating to a superstition?  

For me personally, I won't walk under a ladder, and I do "knock on wood" when I say something that might warrant that form of protection, ha.  I'm also very careful around mirrors and I still cross my fingers for luck...

But today doesn't feel like a bad day to us and of course we own a black cat so that's not even an issue.  I step on lots of cracks in my life.  I'll pick up a penny if it's on heads OR tails.  And I've been known to open an umbrella inside (though in all fairness, I don't "like" to do that).




Or are you the type like this and today is just another day?

Chime in below!  
We'd love to hear!


Thursday, January 12, 2017

FIRE RING AREA INSPIRATION THURSDAY

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

Fire ring, image courtesy of trendir.com
One of this year's for sure projects is to get a fire ring in place.  Not sure if we'll make it in time for more cold weather this season (if we even have any, ha) but there are times we can have cool weather in March and even into April.  Our main goal is to have it ready for SURE for next Fall.  That's part of a bigger plan for this year, more time to just relax and enjoy things at the farm...but more on that later.  Anyway, we're still gathering ideas and we like this look.  

The stones are really neat for sitting and look very "Stonehenge", but of course we understand from a practical standpoint that they are probably not very comfortable.  However, we do like the idea of a cleared out area and having some native plantings scattered about.  We'll probably lean toward Adirondack chairs for seating, but we'll see.

Be inspired!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MARKETING

When is a stick just, well, a stick?

Smorstix
So I'm at the store the other day at lunch and saw this package.  "Smorstix" it said, in a catchy text spelling sort of way.  Perhaps designed to appeal to young people?  I was intrigued...after all, the advertising says "easy to use marshmallow sticks".


I looked at the package thinking there was some neat, new invention...a must have for the farm?

Um, hold on, they look like dowel rods...


...with one end stuck in a pencil sharpener?!?

I'm sure they work just fine, but hey, it's all about the marketing, right? 


Monday, January 9, 2017

CORNER FLOWER BED

Here is another project I've been working on, took a couple of weekends of sporadic working over the last month whenever we would have good weather, but it's done...until Spring anyway...


So here is the back story.  

I wish I had a before photo but last Spring I put cardboard down in this corner flower bed.  Then on top of that, I put all the plants in containers that we brought from the house after it sold. They sat there through the monsoon rains and oppressive heat of the Summer.  I watered them regularly when it was dry but that was it.  Well, about two months ago, I decided to clean it out because it was a jungle of mess.  Many of them had grown roots down through their containers into the ground.  Oops!  Most I could easily pull up, careful to save the roots of course but a few had, unfortunately, died.  

Standing tall in the corner was this this, the Texas Lilac (Vitex) and its roots had grown VERY large and VERY deep...AND it was blooming.  The funny thing is that it was sort of already in the perfect spot where I might have planted it on purpose!  So I carefully cut away the plastic container and left the root ball in place.  I dug out around it and settled it down into the ground a bit deeper and then mounded additional soil around it.
 .

That left me with needing to add a bit more soil to make it all more level so I added one more landscape timber to the height and watered it all down. 

We had a blank canvas to work with so I got busy the following weekend. 


We have a birdbath!!!

OK, so it's nothing fancy, but we're excited. "Ma" left it behind when she moved (too heavy to move) and so it's been in two pieces behind the house, with weeds growing up around it.  It's concrete and does indeed weigh a lot, but I cleaned it up as best I could, moved it, and put it in place.  

We think it's the perfect spot to be able to enjoy it.

Flowerbed
Then I watered it down again (it was a week between steps, ha), and planted some of the plants we already had in containers.  For future color, I started with blue plumbago between the purple vitex and birdbath.  Next I planted two lavender plants (yay!).  Lastly, on the other side, I put in a Texas lantana, a variety with wonderful red, orange, and yellow flowers.  These should all give us a lot of color right on the porch corner by the front door.  

All of these plants are favorable to our climate, especially the plumbago and lantana. Even the lavender is a variety for more tropical, humid climates but we are, of course, uniquely wet and humid so we shall see!  Now we have had the freeze this past weekend so we'll have to see what survived. The vitex and lantana should be good but not sure how the lavender and plumbago will do.  We shall see.  All this work might be for nothing, well, actually, even if we lose the lavender and plumbago, that just gives us space for more flowers, right? 

So, after several "Inspiration Thursday" posts featuring birdbaths surrounded by flowers, we are hopefully on our way to recreating those into one of our own. We want to watch them fill in and then figure out some annuals to plant around them in the Spring.

Let the color begin!


Sunday, January 8, 2017

FROSTY


"J" from 2nd Family sent us these photos of our yard and driveway at the farm.  It's not snow of course, but frost/ice.  We're still in the 30's today and the low last night was about 21...  


I guess whatever green was left in the yard and trees is gone for sure after this weekend.  We're supposed to be back up to the upper 70's in a few days. 

Stay warm!
  

Saturday, January 7, 2017

BABY IT'S REALLY COLD OUTSIDE

 For us anyway...




Our coldest weather in FOUR years...feels like 9 degrees, yep, that's REALLY cold for us.




We had sleet and snow flurries (very scattered) yesterday and today is clear...and COLD.  This is what they call "pipe busting" weather for our part of the country with temps below freezing for a couple of days. 

Thankfully, the farm house pipes are still drained and the water is shut off.  Several bridges and roads around the area have iced over, so we'll be staying in town today where it's nice and warm...


...and I get to wake up to homemade pancakes covered with butter and still using Jaz's gift of Pennsylvania Maple syrup...

Life is good!

Friday, January 6, 2017

CAST IRON TWINE HOLDER

2nd Family gave us the neatest Christmas gift and we just had to share...


It's this cast iron vintage (reproduction of course) twine holder.  The ball of twine sits around a post in the middle...

Cast iron twine holder
...and because the post is hollow, it has a pair of scissors stored in it.  "J" said when they saw it, they just knew our little farmhouse needed it. 

For those new to the blog, 2nd Family is what we call the family that lives at the property attached to the front of ours.  They are "Ma's" daughter, son in lawn and granddaughter, and they have lived there about 20 years.  They helped take care of Ma until she sold the land and house to us and moved to Florida.  We call them 2nd Family because they are like each of us having a second family in addition to our own families.  

We think it's a wonderful gift and we appreciate them so much!  We just wanted to thank them and acknowledge them for all they do for us.  


Thursday, January 5, 2017

FENCE FLOWERS INSPIRATION THURSDAY

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


OK, it's the middle of Winter (or the beginning I suppose) and after looking at seed catalogs, we're all about flowers, ha.  We have fences along sections of the property so they seem to be ideal places to put sections of flowers.  

And of course the two blue chairs are pretty nice too!

This will of course take work to prepare the soil and there's so much other stuff to do but that's why we save these pictures, to give us ideas for things to plant.

Be inspired!