Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I'm working on my new herb bed today. It will be situated along the front of the new building, just outside the commercial kitchen - handy dandy! I brought home some compost to add before planting, and wasn't even able to get it all out before the chickens came in and started doing their thing! They were having a blast digging and scratching and picking at goodness-knows-what. I love my hens!

With their help and a little work from the actual tiller, I got it all worked in. This weekend we'll put up lattice around the building (hens aren't going to like that one bit) and next week I can plant my herbs. It's coming along nicely!


***WARNING: bloody photos included - don't look if you're squeamish

Most of the past weekend was spent enjoying time with friends at my 30th high school reunion. But once the festivities were over, Big John and I had a little time to work in the garden. We transplanted some tomatoes (finally found some heirlooms - Cherokee Purple - my favorite!) and planted more okra, broccoli and cauliflower seeds. Cucumbers have really taken off, so we decided to get the hog panels put up and ready for them to climb. This chore involves driving t-posts into the ground and wiring the panels to them. Big John and I were taking turns on the posts, but, as usual, I tired out faster than he did. He was driving one of my posts in the ground when the t-post driver (3 inch metal pipe with handles - heavy) slipped off the post and came crashing down on his head. OUCH!

Poor Big John - this cut seemed to bleed forever. I'm not usually one for rushing to the doctor; Neosporin and a Band-Aid will fix most anything, but this had me concerned. I didn't realize that head wounds bleed so badly. Once we determined Big John didn't need stitches, we decided to take an extended lunch break and rest a while. But being the workhorse that he is, Big John was back at it in a couple of hours. We managed to get all the garden work completed before we called it a night.

Glad that job is over! I think I'll invest in some hard hats!

Monday, September 24, 2012


This past Homecoming weekend was the 30th class reunion of the Palacios High School class of 1983! We had a blast - and the Sharks won! They're undefeated, 4-0! Go Big Red!

The reunion began with a reception at the high school before the Homecoming game. Several classmates were able to attend - some coming from as far away as Dallas, New Mexico and Oregon!



Vernon, Toby and his wife Angelica

 Scott (June's boyfriend), Ronnie, Vernon

my gorgeous husband, Big John!

 Larry, Toby, Angelica, Mario, Tina, June, Denise

 Angela, Tina, Kim, Peggy, Cindy, June, Patricia, Denise

All who made it on Friday:
Larry, Kim, Patricia, Cindy, Toby, Denise, Ronnie, Peggy, Tina, Angela, Mario, Craig
me, June, Vernon

And then Saturday, we had a get-together at The Outrigger, a local restaurant near the bay. Rudy provided the music and washers. The Outrigger prepared a shrimp boil and amazing cake. More people were able to attend, and we ate, drank, and visited our way through the afternoon and evening.

Donna, Martin, Kim, Robert, Larry

Tina, Peggy, Larry, Cindy
Jody (Robert's wife), Robert

me, Donna, Patricia, Kimberley
Angela, Kim, Wanda

the whole gang!
It's so great to be from a small town, where you know everyone and are truly excited to reconnect. We're good about having reunions every 5 years, so we're already planning the next one!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


As my friend Wendy noted over a month ago, we've been super busy here on the farm. I can't believe it's been over two months since you've last heard from me! Throughout the summer, many posts were created and carefully scripted ... then never written. There just wasn't time to catch a breath, much less let you in on all that's gone on. But today it's raining - again! - and I've got some time for a quick recap, with promises to post more timely in the future! So hang on to your hat! Here's what we did this summer.

We hatched, sold, and delivered 1096 quail chicks! Here are just a few of them:

Skippyjon and Blossom continue to grow and amuse us daily. (These are NOT my dirty floors - we were at someone else's house...)

There was a slight mishap in our closet that resulted in half of my wardrobe laying on the ground. It wasn't pretty. And because we only had about a hundred unfinished projects in the works, Big John agreed to completely redo our closet!

We moved the entire closet into the spare bedroom, where it sat for over a month. I began to wear only the clothes on the top of the pile - good thing I don't really go anywhere!

Then we pulled out all the shelves and clothes rods. The bare walls looked pretty ugly.

We added new (stronger) wallboards - to help support the fallen wardrobe!

And then I let loose with some color. It's the closet, after all - who's going to see it - besides me!

The finished product:

It was well worth the wait and work! This is my new favorite room of the house. I've since hung Big John's cap collection and made a rustic necklace holder. There will probably be some art hung above the belt rack. And in the process, we managed to scale back on the clothes and weed out what hasn't been worn in a while. Most of my stilletos from my drug rep days went to resale. That was a sad day - but time to let go!

We got the commercial kitchen finished and all the appliances loaded in - HAPPY DAY!! It is amazing, and I absolutely love it!

We need to add some shelves, and I've got a great vintage metal cabinet for spices that will go above the cooling racks. It will probably be installed this weekend.

We've finished putting up the paneling in the craft room, installed the tin ceiling and laid the floor. All that remains to do there is to install trim, counters and a sink. It will all be finished in time for winter, and I will probably spend all my time in there cooking and crafting! 

Big John's workshop has come together as well. We moved everything out of my childhood feedroom, which had been Big John's workshop for many years. Here's his new space:

Then we were able to revamp the old feedroom. We tore down a dividing wall, and built an incubator room in one corner.

This amazing little room will soon house the incubator, hatchers, small brood box and assorted bird supplies! And the garage will finally be just a garage again!

I took a day to remake the rest of the space into a feedroom and antique storage/workspace. It's so nice to have a feedroom.

All the new hens - except the Ameracaunas - have started laying - although not all in the proper place. It's a bit of an Easter egg hunt around here each evening, trying to find the two to three dozen eggs they're laying. But they make for some cute pictures! 

In our search for an affordable vent hood for the commercial kitchen - the one "appliance" we don't have - we ran across one at a local restaurant that had gone out of business. We got a great deal on a huge vent hood that Big John will be able to cut down to size. 

And because a girl just can't have too many 60 inch commercial ranges, we also brought this beauty home! Eat your heart out ---- it's a Vulcan!

This six burner, flat top, double oven beauty was actually Big John's idea. Fitting this into our kitchen will require a complete remodel (which I'd secretly been planning anyway) and running a gas line from our new propane tank to the house - since we're all electric. But I'm pretty sure it will all be worth it. We're inviting the whole neighborhood over for pancakes as soon as it's in! With all the other projects in the works, that might be a while!

A couple of weeks after Skippyjon and Blossom came into our lives, we had the honor to adopt two much-loved cats from my much-loved niece's family. Sasha and Sofia needed a new home because of allergies to cat hair. We were so happy to be able to give them a home - although it's taken them some time to be as happy about the move. They weren't the only cats on the farm, and some of our others have been less than welcoming. 



In the past month, Big John and I were able to get the fall garden in. I took down the fence between the old and new gardens, and we also took out the pea gravel path we'd put in a few years ago. That left us with one really big garden space - big enough to work with the tractor, thank goodness! We purchased a 5 foot tiller and a middle buster. What had taken days to do in the past, Big John was able to whip out in a couple of hours. Amazing!! We planned out our fall plantings and came up with 9 long rows. So far, tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, squash, broccoli and caulifower has been planted from seed and germinated. We're waiting for a little cooler weather to plant our cabbages, lettuces, spinach, and such.

And then there's Jack! Quite unexpectedly, about 3 weeks ago I was united with a new puppy - a 7 month old Doberman!

We've bought stock in chew bones and try to make sure Jack has one in his mouth at all times. Otherwise, he'll grab a boot or hammer - or cat - to carry around. 

Jack was at the vet's and in need of a home. I just happened along at the right time, and Big John gave the ok. I changed his name from Jager to Jack (in honor of my father-in-law; in the country, it's a sign of affection to name animals after people and vice versa.) He has since gained 12 pounds and grown another couple of inches - he will be a very big dog.

Jack and I have bonded and are almost inseperable. Who knew I was a Doberman girl? He's such a sweetie pie - even though he looks pretty ferocious as he patrols the yard.

So that's a quick recap of the last few months. There's never a dull moment on the farm, and I live by the saying that "happiness lives on busy feet!" We've had so much wonderful rain, and I'll spend the next few weeks shredding pastures and degreasing ranges and vent hoods. Fun! I'll keep you posted!