Monthly Archives: September 2015

Work and Play

This Tuesday we went to the farm with the intention of clearing all the brush from the front gate area. But before I get too far into the story of our day, let me show you some Google Earth diagrams that illustrate what I mean.

In the above photo, the purple line is the boundary of our farm. We’re looking at the southwest corner. The south fence continues to the neighbor’s driveway to the west. The blue area represents part of the new fence that was put in. And I just realized I did it wrong but I don’t want to go redo it all so I’ll explain. The old fence on the south (the purple line) extended the whole way. We need to take down the fence on the bottom of the blue box. We cleared enough brush that one time for the fence crew to tie the new blue fence to the purple fence on the left and right sides. We were going to hire a guy with a bulldozer to come tear up the rest of the brush that’s totally overgrown the fence, but Andrew called two guys and neither of them came through. So we decided to save us who knows how much money and finish the work of tearing out the brush and clearing the fence out ourselves. When we are done, just the left, right, and top portions of the blue box will be left. The gate into the property is at the top of the box. The white line is how the driveway will go, but we aren’t sure exactly where it will end up.

And just for kicks and giggles, here’s the whole property. We used to access our property off the neighbor’s driveway, but once our fence guys erected the fence on the left/west side, we had to get the front (south) gate area cleared! The big yellow line is the natural gas pipeline that runs under the property.

Here’s the mess we have to clear, looking at it from the road.

Here are Andrew’s parents; they came out to help and we got SO much done with their help!

Unfortunately, it’s STILL SUMMER (I am totally bitter about that) and it only took us two hours to get totally overheated and exhausted.

We got a lot done though!

I got Emily to take a nap after lunch! We all just chilled out after we ate. We all found little bits of shade here and there and rested.

I admired the scenery. I love this place!!!

After Emily’s nap was done, we joined Ellie and my mother-in-law (their Grammie) on a walk. My purple-loving girl found some purple wildflowers.

Later on, the girls and I ended up at the pond where I watched them throw mud clods into the water. Kids + dirt + water is some crazy love affair.

Don’t tell anyone, but this was staged (in that I said “Ellie, close your eyes ok?”). I found an awesome deal on a collapsible stand and hammock and we thoroughly enjoyed it!

I just can’t wait until this is the view out my kitchen window every night!

Grammie’s dog, Oliver, is a huge hit with our girls. He’s so patient with them too!

A day of hard work

Last Tuesday when we went to the farm it was our goal to get enough brush off the front fence that we could pull out a couple posts and get the car through.

The girls love their portable sandbox!

Here is before. And a handsome dude with a chainsaw.

Naturally, the chain fell off three times, until Andrew was just like FORGET THIS and we finished doing everything with a hatchet and a pair of limb trimmers.

I got a chance to try out the post puller.

Go me!

The girls are hard to keep occupied when we are trying to work. It can get frustrating. But sometimes they are able to play nicely together 🙂

Oh look at that, we finished!

Farming is hard work. And every farmer ever said DUH.

But look! We did it! The SUV and trailer can get out our new gate and onto the road. This was the first time we have used this gate to get onto our property! We had been having to use the neighbor’s driveway and then drive on the pasture.

That’s about how we all felt at the end of the day!

Summer’s last gasp

It probably doesn’t shock anyone, but summer in Texas is hot. And when we went to the farm this past Monday, it was still summer.   

We had a lovely time, of course, but it was just miserable to be outdoors in the heat. We stuck to the shade as much as possible. Andrew’s parents and grandma came to the farm on Monday with us. They keep our Haylie dog for us and they have their own little Oliver, whom Ellie absolutely adores. 

   
   
We grilled some hot dogs and corn, and they were delicious. We just threw our corn husks and cobs on the ground knowing the cattle would come compost them for us. We didn’t think they would come get the corn remnants while we sat there eating! But a couple brave girls did!

  

The fence is done and the next step is a driveway!

 

SO MANY PICKLES, or, a foray into Things You Can Make at Home, Who Knew?

 
There is a problem in our fifth wheel. I can’t stop making cucumber pickles. I found pickling cucumbers at a nearby farm and thought what the heck, I’ll try to make some refrigerator pickles. That was five quarts of pickles ago. I made a quart of kosher dill pickles and they disappeared in two days. Then another quart. Then a quart of bread and butter. Then two more quarts of dill. 

Yesterday I found gallons of organic whole milk marked down for $1.89 so I definitely bought two with the intention of making Greek yogurt out of one. Well when you make Greek yogurt you strain out much of the whey, and I’d recently been introduced to the concept of home lacto-fermentation, which uses that leftover whey to ferment. It apparently creates delicious, probiotic-full fermented vegetables. 
   
I felt called to make another quart of kosher dills. And I still have enough cucumbers in the fridge to make another quart of pickles sooooo…can’t let them go to waste right?!

I didn’t follow one recipe exactly to make the lacto-fermented pickles. I combined my favorite parts of the refrigerator dill recipe with this easy recipe. And I’d better write that down so if they turn out well I can make them again. 

Spices: 

2 tbsp freeze dried dill

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp mustard seed

1 bay leaf

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

5 peppercorns 

Put the above in a one quart jar, then fill with slices of pickling cucumbers, leaving 1″ of room at the top. Then mix together 

1 cup water

4 tbsp whey

1 tbsp non-iodized sea salt

Pour over the pickles, then add water to cover the pickles. Apparently you need 1″ of room at the top of the jar; I’m not sure why. But I left the room at the top of the jar. 

Now it sits on the counter for three days and then I can taste it and see if it worked!

Further fence progress

When we went to the farm on Tuesday this week, there was some new scenery! Fence posts and a couple gates!

The girls had a blast climbing and swinging on both gates.

Andrew had the idea to take the girls to where we want to build their play area and just watch them play. They loved it. Ellie found tiny yellow wildflowers and picked some for everyone. Emily joined in, and at one point dropped some in my lap to “put in da collection.” Yes, our two year old properly used the word “collection.”

The scenery at the farm is really a total bummer, huh?

It’s Thursday now and the fence is DONE! Next step: Driveway. I got the paperwork in to the county development driveway engineer dude* and am awaiting his phone call. Hopefully all that’s required is hiring a guy with a bulldozer to take out the old fence, some brush, and install a culvert.

*may or may not be his actual title