Farm Life · Farmtastic Stories

It’s a Close-the-Gate Kind of Day

Life at the farm keeps Cowboy and me on our toes.  It seems between farm life and the critters, we are busy bees.  There is always food (dog, cat, and horse, oh my) to be bought, stalls to be scooped, and fences to be mended.  Well, you get the idea.  It’s a busy place, and the project list is never ending.  I tell folks all the time that while we love country life, it takes more time and money than we ever anticipated.

That said, there is nothing better than sitting on the porch looking out at the hills and horses, a breeze in the air with a wind chime serenade, and a glass of citrus iced tea in hand. The truth is, the farm is our favorite place on earth.   We feel so grateful and blessed to live this crazy farmtastic life, which is why our favorite days are what we call close-the-gate days.

Close-the-gate is our way of saying no one comes in, no one goes out, and we get to enjoy the farm with our critters all to ourselves.  While we love visitors, we absolutely cherish a little peace and quiet.

On these days, Cowboy is likely to be cooking up something lucscious on the grill, cats and dogs will be sprawled out napping, and I’ll have a batch of tea going on the stove while I flip through my stack of books for that perfect mystery fix.  Sometimes we’ll give the horses much needed baths,  laughing and getting ourselves soaked in the process.  Or sometimes we’ll  take the pups on a walk around the farm, stopping to inspect wildflowers while they inspect jack rabbit trails.

Farm Photo - Gate with sunflowers
Close-the-gate, enjoy the day, smell the flowers.

In short, we simply enjoy the day and each other.  We live for and prep for close-the-gate days.  We know when it’s coming and make sure our biggest chores are done, the fridge and pantry are stocked with fresh ingredients, and the critters are all set for some munching of their own.  It’s a day to count your blessings, and here at the farm we use all of our fingers, toes, paws, and hooves to count them up one by one.

So whether you live on a farm, in the city, or the suburbs, we highly recommend a close-the-gate day to refresh the spirit.  As we enter the hottest days of the year, take some time to soak it all in, and let us know how you enjoy your close-the-gate day.

Be blessed!




Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Farm Friends

Well sometimes things at the farm just don’t work as we planned, and so we pull up our cowboy and cowgirl boots and figure it out. Such was the case with our dear little Yeller Feller.

When Yeller Feller showed up at the farm, he was skittish, and Cowboy and I worked hard to get him to trust us and let us give him good scratches behind the ears. Well once that little guy got a taste of affection, he decided we humans could be pretty nice. He was hooked.

Yeller Feller hung out at the barn and stayed under foot. He also decided he wanted to have a kitty friend in our best pal Nightmare, a.k.a Mare (Yes, I know. He’s neither a horse or a female, but Mare it is.). Anyway, Mare was having none of it.

Now we’ve had our share of critters at the farm and gone through the introduction process with all the proper howdy-dos, and we know that they generally work things out. In fact country folks tell us all the time, “Awe, don’t worry about it. They’ll figure it out.”

But this neurotic farm mamma tried to help them work it out, giving love and attention to both, but it was just not working. Mare, who is the barn-cat-in-chief, was changing rapidly. He wouldn’t come when called. (Yes, he is part dog and does come when called.) He wouldn’t let us pet him. He wouldn’t come in at night, which is our routine that lets this farm mama sleep peacefully.

Mare started hiding in the barn attic, where the Texas heat was rising, and so we had to figure out a plan B. Now, if you know me at all, you know parting with a critter is something that is nearly impossible for me to do, but as I grow in this farmtastic journey, I’ve also learned that I owe it to the ones we have, all sixteen of them, to keep them safe, sound, and happy.

Photo - Dad and his three cats.
Dad and his three kitties. Just call him Dr. Dad-little. He loves them and they love him.

Mom and Dad to the rescue! Mom and Dad have two outside kitties, Waylon and Willie, who are laid back brothers, and my mom and dad thought they wouldn’t mind Yeller Feller as a new brother. Plus, Dad’s always wanted a yellow tabby cat, and as luck would have it, Yeller fit the bill. (If you haven’t guessed yet, I come by this animal thing naturally.)

Anyway, Dad came and packed up Mr. Feller and carted him home. They spent a couple of days working through howdy-dos with all the proper stares and inspections. Mom and Dad spent loads of porch time with Yeller giving him attention to teach him where his new home was.  Gram even fell in love with the little guy, and cats are not her thing.

Well wouldn’t you know it, Yeller Feller caught on like a champ. Ate up every pet and ear scratch, and even discovered tree climbing. Although, Mom says he’s not too good at it yet. He’s having one big dandy time.

Cat Photo - Yeller climbs a tree
Yeller Feller tries to climb a tree. Let’s hope he gets the hang of it.

So my heart rests easy knowing that Yeller came by his fur-ever family via the farm. So on our Meet the Farm page, Yeller has moved form a fur-kid to a farm friend. I guess technically he’s now my brother, since we share parents. Nothing new for me, the best siblings have four legs.

Farmtastic Recipes

Farmtastic Recipe – Tomato Basil Salad

This year we’ve been trying our hand at growing a small vegetable garden, and in honor or Ouiser Boudreaux and southern girls everywhere, it most certainly includes tomatoes.  Right now, we’re getting tomatoes daily, which just begs the question, “What the heck do you do with them all?”

This recipe is one I mix up in the kitchen for a quick snack or dinner side, and was taught to me by friends and by observation.  Having grown up with a limited palate (yes, I was the kid whose food could not touch), I’ve enjoyed exploring what, to some, may have very well always been part of their realm of deliciousness.

Enjoy and let me know how you like your tomatoes!

The Recipe: Tomato Basil Salad

The Source: My Farmtastic Life


  • Tomatoes, chopped
  • Fresh mozzarella, chopped into bite-sized chunks
  • Fresh basil, torn into bits
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

    Recipe Photo - Fresh tomatoes and basil
    Fresh tomatoes chopped straight from the garden, and some beautiful basil from Cowboy’s mom’s garden. (And yes, that is Goober snoozing in the background on the far left. It’s our farm, so of course there’s a critter close by.)


  • Mix all ingredients and enjoy immediately.

Farmtastic Notes:

  • This is one of those recipes that doesn’t have exact measurements, which truth be told used to drive this slightly OCD farmgirl a bit nuts. However, the point is to just have fun.  Make a little or a lot, depending on how many you have to feed.  In general, one medium tomato per person.
  • The key is to get a little taste of each yummy ingredient in each bite.  I like to chop things up somewhat small so I can make sure to savor the farm fresh glory of this salad.
  • In general, I like to to use equal amounts of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  And don’t forget the salt and pepper.  The fresh mozzarella will soak up the juice and the spice.
Recipe Photo - Tomato basil salad
The finished product ready for munching.

I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe, so give it a try and share your thoughts.

Adventures Away From the Farm · Farmtastic Stories

It’s Hip to Be Square

I’ve had a thing for small town squares as long as I can remember.  I love the nostalgia of it all.  The local mom-and-pop shops, the casual atmosphere, and the architecture of the buildings.  Life just seems simpler on a square.  Through the years as I’ve drug Cowboy from square to square through Texas and beyond, I’ve always thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to live in a town like this?”

Well since moving to the farm, now we do!  Granted, we’re several miles outside of town, but the square is close enough for a quick stroll, checking out the Saturday farmer’s market, or popping into my favorite shops for that perfect gift.  But I have to say one of my all time favorite activities every year is the Fourth of July Parade that comes right through town and passes in front of our courthouse.

When the patriotic music is playing and our town, state, and country pride is on display, it just about feels like you are in a Norman Rockwell painting. The kids bring bags to collect candy being thrown from the entries, vintage cars and tractors shine like new, and we all rally together for a few moments in pure happiness and thankfulness to live where we do.

So to honor my small town, here are some great photos from this year’s entries.  We’d love to hear how you celebrated the Fourth in your town, so please be sure to share your stories and photos, too!



P.S. – Cowboy jokes that my perfect spot in this world is 100 acres on a square.  Needless to say, we’ve yet to find that unicorn, but that is perfectly okay.  The farm makes me happier than I’ve ever been.