This week on the Half-Ass Homestead: February 14-21, 2021

As we wind down from the Galentine’s Party last weekend (more on that from Ella and Grace soon), and we start to warm up from the winterpocalypse that froze much of our country, I can’t help but itch for springtime.

I mean, the struggle is real, y’all. Back in Texas, pre-2020’s anyway, spring starts NOW. My Mom already has most of her garden and plants in the ground with sprouts and buds everywhere. Yet here in the Midwest, it’ll be May before we are out of the freeze window. Again, I love it here and all the beautiful snow, but I think the socially distanced winter has kept me feeling cooped up a little too long this year. Or maybe this is a result of having garden success and wanting to bring my gardens out of hibernation. Either way, I’m looking forward to breaking soil, opening ALL the doors in the sunroom, and watching all the green sprout from the thawed ground.

This week I took the Cut Flower Garden Winter Mini Course from Floret Farms which I found out about after I ordered some seeds late one evening a few weeks ago. I bought Floret Farms’ beautiful Cut Flower Garden book last year after the girls shared how much they’d like to have a flower garden. For Christmas this last year, Grace asked for her very own flower garden… again, spring cannot get here fast enough! And this year I plan to be more prepared than ever.

We got a late start on the cut flower garden last year and planted nearly of the big garden with seeds sown directly into the ground. After I picked up the nifty Clyde’s Garden Planner tool, I realized there’s a lot I can start planting indoors as early as March!

As I took the Floret Farms mini course, I started filling up my Amazon cart and making garden plans. And for some reason Amazon felt it’d be cool to send it all in individual packages over several days (enter stare down from Sr. every time he had to grab a package form the frozen porch 😬🤣🤷🏻‍♀️)

Here’s what I ordered (not all pictured):

Non-Necessities :

  • Gardner’s Tool Belt – Erin, founder of Floret Farms, has a cool tool belt like this. This one is a fraction of the cost and I may look more like a member of the Village People with this on than she does, but I will FEEL legit and that’s what matters, right? 🤣.
  • 5 Year Gardner ‘s Log Book – Two things… 1) Purchasing a 5 year journal should show REAL commitment y’all! 2) This was MUCH smaller than I thought it would be but I like the seasonal checklists and todos.
  • 5 Year Gardener’s Record Book – Um. I just realized I bought two 5 year books… I guess this one is more of a record book than the other
  • Mini-Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre – I mean, why not?!

Now that I’m armed with more knowledge about staring seeds indoors, have the right tools, and more gardner’s journals than one person needs at one time I’m ready to get a jump start on spring!

And if that’s not enough, I also got the privilege of sitting down to coffee with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law Mary’s soon to be mother-in-law to begin planning a late May backyard engagement party! Have I told y’all how much I LOVE to host things?



Dreaming of Spring and taking the recently released mini course from Floret Flower Farm tonight. I bought their beautiful book, Cut Flower Garden, last year which inspired a late season build of a small patch on the side yard. It was less than successful but I’m hopeful for a better outcome this year, especially since Grace asked for her own flower garden at Christmas.


Learning From the Best


Falling for Silver

As I shared in another post, I’ve come to love finding beautiful pieces to add to our home. From furniture to stemware, these vintage pieces are adding a bit of character, comfort, and even class to our home. In addition to furniture, I’m becoming quite fond of crystal and silver pieces. Silver is something I’ve always had but never really cared for until recently. I just didn’t have much use for it and it didn’t go with anything else we owned. When I was a teenager my Mother and I ventured into an antique store while visiting family in Washington state. She found a silver-plated tea set that she insisted on buying and having shipped home to Texas. She was so excited and said it would be given to me when I got married. I didn’t understand her enthusiasm but weeks later a large white box was delivered to our door and sent straight to the attic with all the other new and old treasures Mother was storing away for when she had grandchildren.

After Sr. and I married, Mom brought me my silver set the first time she came to visit our first home (a rental then). I had no idea what to do with it. Over the past 13 years, that ray and tea set has been either hidden away in a cabinet or on a shelf as a poor attempt to decorate; only to be dusted once in a while and polished even less. I even acquired a silver urn/bucket somewhere along the way.

While I’ve found some function for the tray from time to time – only when I want to feel fancy – I’ve been hesitant to use any of the teapots given they have some tarnish and I have no idea how to properly clean them for serving drinks and not killing someone.

Maybe I needed to become a little more “refined”, my first few silver hairs, or just the right inspiration but this Christmas I finally found a purpose for that beautiful old silver.

As I was setting everything out for mimosas for a small Christmas brunch we hosted last month figured I could use the silver urn as an ice bucket. This decision was then followed by searching if this was actually what this urn was for and how to clean the tarnish FAST without polish.

I just loved how the Mimosa station turned out with the silver tray and urn.

The mimosas were pretty delicious too!

Since then my Pinterest has been flooded with pins like “Ideas for Decorating with Silver” providing me with new ideas and ways to clean and care for my old silver.

Oh, and I finally found a great way to display at least one of my pieces, the tray. It adds some vintage interest to the collection of cutting boards and serving trays on my counter. How do you display/use your silver?

Oh! And if you have any tips for me on caring for silver/silver-plated service ware, put them in the comments! I am all ears!



Houston, we have a problem!

So, we’ve spent the last few days in a battle with groundhogs. Sunday morning we noticed something had gotten into our garden and ate the tops off the carrots, leaves off most of the green beans, and a good chunk of our lettuce, spinach, and kale crops.

Later that evening during dinner, Vinny told Clinton and Tarin he noticed something through the window in the garden. Sure enough it was a groundhog! Clint chased it out the garden and discovered it CHEWED a hole in our fencing (cheap-ass chicken wire!).

Clint ran to the store to get reinforcements and I debated if I wanted to pull out my riffle for some target practice.

When Clint got back, I showed him an old trap I found from the previous owners and we loaded it up with all the groundhog’s favorite things then set it outside the garden by the hole it made. Inside the garden we situated the owl.

Then we waited.

The next morning it didn’t appear that the groundhog returned. The trap was untouched and the garden appeared to have no further damage.

The waiting game continued… until Sr. took Jack outside:

This. Was. War.

Sr. added celery to the trap and reset it inside the garden covered with hay. A few hours later Jr. came screaming inside with news that we caught the villain!

As we all gathered outside, the kids were the first to fall prey to the evil groundhog’s cute exterior.

Clint offered to remove the animal to a local park but Tarin’s dad was unsure this was legal and offered a more permanent solution.

Sr. was put in charge of “handling it” after the kids all went inside, which turned out to be much more difficult. Apparently our garden vegetables made it temporarily invincible and it knew it as it but the end of the barrel and tried to eat it way through the side of the trap.

Ultimately it was done and our crops were safe…

Or so we thought….



My Poem

by Brian J. Camp Jr., age 10

We have been learning about poetry in school. This is my poem.

WWE 2K

I love 2k

It’s awesome too

I like the Miz

John Cena is champion

Brock Lezner is not

The Big Show is big

And we are small

Everyone must lose

At least once

But in the end

We are good people

Even the Big Red Monster Kane