Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Yay for Upholstery!

And, YIPPEE for finishing!

I had these two slipper chairs that I was going to get rid of when we got our cool new recliners from West Elm.  But, I decided to reupholster them and keep them in the living room (it's a long story involving Chester Field).

I had these two chairs professionally recovered when I was in my light blue glam phase.  I thought they did a terrible job and was never very happy with them.

Without further ado.  This is the after photo.

When I bought them, during my jewel tone phase in the early 90's, they were pretty expensive.  I remember paying $700 a piece for them and was very excited about furnishing my huge living room that had been empty for a few years since we bought the house new.

I thought it was going to be a quick deconstruction because, after all, I had had them professionally reupholstered.  I figured that when that was done, they had stripped them to the bones.

That was so not the case.  I was very frustrated to find that they hadn't even stripped off the old fabric.  They had just put padding over it so it wouldn't show through.  Lazy swine.

So, it took twice as long as it should have, but I still got both of them stripped down in just a couple of days.

I chose a neutral siege because I have a lot of other colors going on and still plan to have a teal colored couch some day.

For this task I broke out Ye Ol' Singer instead of Cheapo Brother.  She makes a much more even stitch.

I decided I wanted a puffy, squishy, down-filled cushion, so I made this casing with three pockets.  Top and bottom are narrow pockets for the down and the foam cushion goes in the middle.

I did this task outside because goose down was a flyin'.

Then I looked at this and thought, "this foam goes into that case?"

With much effort and sweat, I managed to get it in there, then stitch up the ends.

Too much?  LOL

By the way, when I made the cushion cover and it was time to get that behemoth into it, I wrapped it in a plastic bag and sealed the opening around the vacuum cleaner hose.  When I turned the vacuum on, it sucked all the air out, making the cushion flat.  It easily slipped into the cover.  When I got it all situated, I turned off the vacuum, cut the plastic bag off and pulled it off of the cushion and out of the cushion cover in pieces.  It was so easy, I couldn't believe it!

And, surprise!  I couldn't just make it all beige.  I saw this fabric at Hobby Lobby and loved it immediately.  I had to find a way to incorporate it onto my piece.

I made several mistakes on this project and have one more chair to do.  Now my dilemma is, should I fix the mistakes and risk the chairs looking a bit different, or should I make the same mistakes so that they'll look the same?  Hmm.  Also.  Still trying to decide if I should paint those legs or leave them nude.

The End.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

And the Cherry Tomatoes Keep On a Comin'

I thought I'd try another way to use the cherry tomatoes...pizza sauce.  I scoured Pinterest for the perfect recipe.  I mean, how do you make pizza sauce pizza sauce?  It basically has the same ingredients that spaghetti sauce and lasagna sauce do.  Tomatoes, oregano, basil, thyme, garlic, onion.

No recipe really struck me as outstanding.  I looked at the ingredients on the jar of pizza sauce that I have in my refrigerator (which always gets moldy because I don't use it up fast enough), but it only says "spices".  So, I kind of made up my own by using the ingredients in two or three other recipes that I saw.

I grow oregano, basil, and thyme in my herb garden and wanted to use all fresh herbs, so I didn't follow any particular measurements.  I just used a lot of each.  Who knows if this will be any good.  It might just taste like spaghetti on crust.  But, I don't have anything to lose and it will get the tomatoes off of my kitchen counter.

I chopped up an onion and about four garlic cloves and sautéed them in olive oil until soft.

Then I added the tomatoes.  There are a couple of Roma tomatoes thrown in there.  Just because.

A handful each of fresh basil, oregano, and thyme.  Of course, I stripped the leaves off the stems.

Photo op.  Ain't that purty?

After letting it simmer for about an hour, I tossed it in my amazing Breville and processed it until smooth.  Pizza sauce is supposed to be a brighter red than that and maybe a little thicker.  Some of the recipes that I read said to add tomato paste, but I wanted this to be all fresh produce, so I didn't do it.

When I make pizza, I only use about three tablespoons of sauce, so I decided to package my sauce in individual packets.  Looks like spaghetti sauce popsicles. 

I sealed them up with my food saver.  Hint:  When using the food saver for liquid or really wet things,  fill the bag, then freeze, then seal.  Otherwise, the liquid will be sucked out into the appliance and it won't seal.

So, I have about a years worth of pizza sauce.  

We'll see how it tastes the next time I get a hankering for pizza.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Cherry Tomatoes Galore

I don't really know why, but I always plant one cherry tomato in my garden and have way more than I could ever use.  I accidentally bought two cherry tomato plants this year, so I am absolutely overrun with them.

This is harvest from two days.  I have too pick, at the very least, every other day, or they will start to go bad on the vine.

In the past years, I've just throw them out and it's such a waste, but since I discovered a couple of years ago that dehydrated tomatoes are so stinkin' delicious and useful, I decided I'd try to dehydrate the cherry tomatoes, too.  I wasn't disappointed, they are very good, if not a pain to cut up and dehydrate.  I mean, each tomato had to be cut into thin slices, about 1/4 of an inch thick.  So, that means each tiny tomato made about three to four slices.  Tedious, to say the least.

I was lamenting this to Husband and he suggested that I use my food processor.  I'll admit, that had crossed my mind, but I was picture a mushy mess.  After a few days of slicing each tomato individually, I decided to give it a try.  And, it worked wonderfully.  My Breville has a blade that can be adjusted for thickness.  So I packed up the chute with the tomatoes and whirled away.

At first, I thought it did turn them to mush.  But, when I opened it up, I found that there were just hundreds of perfectly sliced little disks.

All I had to do was take them out and place them on the dehydrator.

It's not fun (there isn't much about preserving food that is fun), but I'll be enjoying these little bits of deliciousness for the coming year, so I guess it's worth it.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Which Bedding is Best for Goats in a Barn

Finally, after nine years I have solved the problem, cracked the code, discovered the secret of how to maintain a goat stall.  Each year, I have searched the internet trying to find someone to tell me how to keep the goats in the barn without having it be stinky and also keep the goats really clean overnight so that it takes minimal effort to get them ready for milking in the morning.

For the first several years, I used hay on the floor of the stalls.  I read about "deep bedding", but didn't really understand it.  I thought that was what I was doing, but it wasn't working for me.  After several weeks of having the goats in the barn during kidding and milking season, the stalls would get full of poop and soggy with urine and the barn would get that unpleasant ammonia smell.  My nanny would frequently come out of her stall in the morning and jump on the milking stand with a big glob of poop on her hoof or poop stuck to her side. and Tom and I (mostly Tom) would have to clean the stall by taking out all of the hay bedding every week to two weeks.  That is a tough job.  Then I would replace all the bedding.

One year, we tried using wood shavings.  That worked pretty good for a while, but we still ended up having to clean the stalls out too frequently.  Plus, buying wood shavings seemed like an unnecessary expense to me.

Last year, we designated one of our three stalls as a test for having sand as the bedding.  That really did work well, but each morning, I had to use a large kitty litter scoop to scoop out as much of the poop as I could.  Our stalls are 10x20, so it was like scooping a mammoth kitty litter box.  And there really was no easy way to do that and no tools on the market that I could find to facilitate that process.   It did keep the goats clean, though, and there was no smell.  We use sand in our chicken coop and it is the best.

Anyway, maybe farming isn't supposed to be easy, but I like easy.  At least, I like to make things as easy as they can be.

This year I tried something new.  Or, at least it was new to me.  I think I just finally figured out "deep bedding".  But, truly, this was THE answer.

For those of you searching for THE answer, I'll tell you how I managed my stalls this year, step by step.  I've had two adult goats and seven kids in the barn since the beginning of March and my stalls still smell and look like clean, fresh hay.  And, I haven't had one glob of poop tracked up onto the milking stand.  Now, we grow and bale our own hay, so those of you who have to buy hay might not find this as economical as we do.

So, here it is:

I started out the season by covering our clay floored stalls lightly with hay.  It took two bales in each stalls to get this done.  It's not all a waste because while it's clean, the goats will also eat it.

Each morning after I let the goats out of the barn, this is what the bedding would look like.  Some visible spots of urine.

Some goat poop sitting on top of the hay.  If there are kids in the stalls, they run around and play and much of the poop gets buried or half buried by the hay that they kick around.  I was sometime lucky enough to have undisturbed piles like this that were easy to scoop up.

I would take my fork and scoop up any obvious wet spots like this one.

And dump it in my wheelbarrow.

I did the same with any poop that I could easily see.  I did not go digging around in the bedding searching for wet spots or poop to scoop out.  But, when I scooped, I took a lot of the surrounding hay with it.  If I tried to pick up just the poop with this fork, it would have just fallen through the tines and scattered.  It's better to just sacrifice a clump of hay, even if it is clean and dry.

Each morning, I would have a wheelbarrow full of dirty hay to haul out.  Tom just took it to the burn pile, but it could have been composted.

I always have a hay net hanging for the goats to eat from.  Usually, when the goats pull hay out of it, a lot of it falls on the ground right below the net.  And, the goats tend to stand with their nose to that spot instead of their rear, so that is the one spot that is usually safe from pee and poop.  Because of that, I would place a bale of hay just below the hay net.  For the next several days, I would use this hay to scatter on the spots that I had scooped out and anywhere else that I could see wet hay or poop that hadn't been scooped out.

The goats eat from this bale as well, so it gets torn up and scattered, but I found that most of it stayed in a mound right there and I could use the clean hay for about 5 days.

Again, if kids are in the barn, they love to jump on the bales and they get torn down and spread about much more quickly than the stalls that the adults stay in.  This is a bale after just two nights of kids playing in it.

This is kind of hard to see, but this is a divot where I scooped out the soiled hay.

Here I am taking from my clean bale of hay.

And liberally spreading it over the soiled areas.

Now it's covered up with clean hay.  The clay floor is damp underneath there, but it is dry and fresh smelling on top.

After two months, the hay is about eight inches deep in this stall and looks, feels and smells fresh.

Here's another picture of my set-up.  Hay net, hay bale, deep bedding, water bucket with fresh water every day (I've discovered that it is easier to keep a smaller water bucket in there.  It's easier to refill and, surprisingly, the goats never spill it).  I also put a few bowls out with a dab of sweet feed in them for the goats when they come in.  They know it's there and are always very eager to get back to the barn in the evening, so there is no dilly dallying on the way.

We also have a ceiling fan in each stall.  I turn these on full force and let them run all day.  I feel like this keeps the air circulated, helps dry out any wet spots that I may not have covered, and also discourages flies from hanging out in the stalls.

And, there you have it.  This worked great for me this season.  I know that it's going to be a bear to clean out at the end of the season because there are several bales of hay and the hay is damp underneath, which will make it very heavy.  But, this made my daily maintenance sooo much easier and quicker.  It only took me about 20 minutes each morning to clean two stalls and get them all prepared for when the goats came in at night.  So, all I had to do is open the doors and let them run in.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

DIY China Hutch Turned Sewing Cabinet

I think I have a new hobby.

I found this semi-old china cabinet at an estate sale for cheap.

And, I got to thinking...I need a place to put all my sewing stuff.  It was beginning to take over one of the guest room closets - hard to keep organized and hard to get to.  So, where to put it, where to put it?  Aha!  I have a niche in the room we sort of use as an office that this would be perfect for.  So, I brought it home and organized all my sewing stuff in it and it worked out great.

But, I was itching for another project (even though, ahem, Chester Field is still in the barn awaiting attention and I'm ashamed) and I couldn't just leave this alone.

Extra can of chalk paint in the closet, meet sewing hutch.

All white.  I'm thinking...not enough bling.

And, I do so love to paint birds.

And, one here on this side.

Another one here. 

One on the door

One on the drawer.

On another drawer.

Just one more on the other door for good measure.

All done.

Ye Olde Singer gets a place of honor.

I figured, why hide that little work of art in it's box when I have room to put it on display?

A word about chalk paint.
I used Annie Sloan.  I've used it before and I like how it looks.  But, eh, I think I'm over it.  I've seen lots of websites, videos, blog posts, etc. that claim that a can (a very expensive can) of AS chalk paint will do, like, five pieces of good sized furniture.  I have not found that to be the case.  I thought, for sure, that I'd be able to easily do this project with one can of paint with some to spare for another project.  But no, I had to drive an hour away to find a "stockist" (that's what they call their distributors) and pay the big bucks for another can, which I used about half of.

I asked the stockist about it and she told me I needed an Annie Sloan brush and that will make the paint go further.  Uh.  Not buying that one or the bridge they also wanted to sell.

Then, there's the waxing.  Man, what a pain.  It's fine if it's a small piece of furniture with only flat surfaces.  But, I'm exhausted from applying the wax.  My plan was to put a dark wax over the clear wax, sort of as a glaze.  But, I barely made it through the first coat of clear.  I'll still probably get around to doing the dark wax, but I've gotta rest a while first.

And, a word about Blogger.  They've changed some things and I must apologize for my pictures appearing blurry.  They are not blurry until I put them on Blogger.  My videos also don't work, so there's that.