Friday, May 29, 2015

Gray Fox

We were completely caught off guard one afternoon when a grey fox came up on our back porch, sniffed around for food, and wandered off into the woods. By the time we noticed and got our cameras out, he was a bit far for a good photo.

Thanks to Factor who was the quickest with his camera.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

More Fruit Trees

We saw more fruit trees the other day at Lowe's, so we bought a few more. I had been wanting some citrus trees. They can't be planted outside, but can live outside in containers until it freezes when they need to be brought in. Of course, if we ever have a greenhouse then they could live in there.

(left to right, first photo)
Meyer Lemon
Seto Satsuma Mandarin
Thornless Key Lime
Ponkan Mandarin
Lisbon Lemon

Monday, May 25, 2015


Ok. We've had enough rain now. The ground is so saturated that all the rain is just running down and flooding lower ground.

A few days before the last thunderstorm, Guv'nor created neat little charts showing rainfall and temperatures over the past year. Since then, though, we had over 5" in one night!

The following morning we found several of our pastures flooded. The creek behind us sounded like a roaring waterfall. The gravel approach to a small bridge up the road washed away.

Don't get us wrong. We are very thankful for the rain. We usually need the rain. We would just prefer that it was spread out a little more with a few sunny days in between to dry out.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


The first thought we had when we saw the wild blackberries was how nice they would be in an apple and blackberry crumble. It's one of our family's favorite desserts. 

It's a really easy dessert, as desserts go. We have learned that we like a little bit of applesauce mixed with the blackberries. Straight blackberries tend to be a little bit too tart. I use my basic shortbread recipe for the topping.

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

1 lb. of fresh or frozen blackberries
1 jar of applesauce
8 oz. plain flour
4 oz. softened butter
2 oz. cane sugar

Mix the blackberries and applesauce in a 13"x9" baking dish. Mix the flour, butter and sugar in a bowl (I use a mixer). Sprinkle the crumble over the fruit. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream!

Easy peasy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Raised Bed

Son offered to come home from the City the other day and build me another raised bed. Believe it or not, we still have scrap wood left over from the old back deck. Or at least we thought we did. When he started going through the lumber, we were disappointed to find that most of it had soft and rotten sections. But he was able to piece several lengths together.

Next step will be to fill it with good soil and compost.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Four Cats

We've been wanting a few cats for our property to help with mice control. I saw an ad on the Facebook group the other day offering 5 free cats. I told the lady we only really needed four and that they would be strictly outside cats. We wanted two for the garage area and two for the workshop area.

I took a couple of animal carriers with me, and she provided a couple more. The four cats were all different: orange and white, red, mottled, long haired black and white. A couple of them had been rescued cats. They were large and well fed. They meowed all the way home.

We tried to give them some tender loving care when we took them out of the carriers. We let them sit in our laps. We showed them the food and water bowls, and litter box. They jumped down and hid behind the outside chairs.

That's the last we've seen of the two here at the house. Guv'nor has been seeing the mottled one out at the workshop. We're not sure if the others are here or have run off into the woods. The first few days we could tell the food had been touched and the litter box had been used. But since then we can't tell if they're still around.

We have heard stories of cats traveling many miles to return to their original home, so maybe that's what's happened.

We would've taken more photos if we had known they were going to disappear so quickly.

Friday, May 15, 2015

A-frame Coop

I don't use Facebook much, but I do follow a local "for sale" group fairly regularly. The other day I saw a chicken coop advertised. 

We were really needing a solution to house the 5 small chicks that had been living in a plastic tub in the garage. As a short term solution, I had been taking them outside each day and letting them roam in the "peck & play" coop that I have. It reminds me of the mesh foldable laundry baskets college students use. Our original small coop would work well except for the fact that the door is broken from the last nighttime attack.

We thought the A-frame coop would work for the chicks, so we contacted the seller and drove out to pick it up within a few hours. Turns out we're the third owners.

It's a bit more than we actually need at the moment. It has two access doors on each end, and moveable upper side panels. There is also a watering system, gravity fed from a bucket that sits on top to several valves inside. It is designed to be moved every few days, but it is quite heavy and requires two people to move it. Some of the hardware cloth was loose, so we tried to tack it down around the edges before moving the chicks to their new home.

The chicks liked the soft sided "peck & play" after being confined to a tub.

The coop is about 7 feet long.

We turned it over on its side to repair the hardware cloth.

The hardware cloth was not tacked down in some places.

We used "U" nails to tack it down.

The top doors on each end are designed as nesting boxes for laying hens.

The lower doors allow access to the chicks as they graze on the ground.

The automatic watering system uses a small bucket.

The water runs along the inside and has several valves.

There is a small trap door with a ramp to allow them to climb upstairs.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wild Blackberries

We discovered some wild blackberries along one of the fences the other day. We were surprised that some of the berries were already ripe. So Daughter and I went out there one evening and picked a small bucket full. It took us about 15 minutes to pick about one pound.

She was trying out her new digital camera she got for her birthday - a Lumix GF-1. I forgot to take my phone with me, so she has kindly given me permission to use her photos for this post. I told her we could make postcards from her pictures - they were so pretty.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Texas Trash

One of my fond memories of childhood is visiting my relatives in East Texas. My aunts were all wonderful cooks and I always looked forward to their cooking. It seems like they always had a snack available which they called "Texas Trash." So recently I've searched for a recipe online and found one that sounded similar. It's like store bought Chex Mix except with lots of pecans! I don't like things to be too spicy so I usually half the hot ingredients. I started making this around Christmas time, but we liked it so much I've made it several times since.

Texas Trash

9-10 C of dry ingredients:
     1 C Cheerios cereal
     2 C each of Chex cereal (wheat, rice, corn)
     1 C pretzels or crackers
     1 C nuts

For the topping:
     1/2 C melted butter
     1/4 tsp celery salt
     1/4 tsp garlic salt
     1 tsp seasoning salt
     1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
     1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
     1 Tbsp Tabasco sauce

Combine all the dry ingredients on a large baking sheet. Pour the seasoned butter over the dry ingredients and stir until everything is coated well. 

Bake for an hour at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes.