Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Another DIY Ottoman

This is fun.  I made another ottoman out of a coffee table.  I don't have room in my house to keep making ottomans for myself, so it's nice that I can sometimes make them for other people.

I found this retro coffee table at an estate sale.  I just really like the style of leg.

Eight yards of piping.

About half a yard of fabric.

Sew it all together, add a cushion, staple under the edge of the top, cover the stapled edge with piping, lightly tufted with three covered buttons.  And...


RIP Billy Goat

I feel like this is the end of an era.

Our herd sire, Billy, died this week.  He had been looking peaked for several months.  We took him to the vet once and they couldn't find anything wrong with him, but he continued to decline.  I read that a herd sire's life expectancy was 8-10 years and Billy was 9 years old, so I'm guessing that he just died of old age.

Even though he was thin and limping, he still got out in the field and browsed every day.  Until he didn't.  I noticed one day last week that I hadn't seen him come out of his shed all of the day before and that his companion/son, Gerbera was hanging around the door of the shed most of the day.  So I went to see what was going on.  Billy was back in the corner, laying down with his legs tucked up under him, like goats usually do.  What was not usual was that he didn't get up to greet me.  He couldn't get up, not even with my help.

He didn't seem to be in pain.  He was just weak.  So, I brought him some grain and water and made sure he had hay within reach.  For a couple of days, he happily ate the grain and hay and drank the water.  Then he stopped eating a drinking, then he laid on his side and couldn't lift his head.  Then he passed away.

We were sad.  Billy has been with us since the beginning of our farming days and we bought him as a small buckling.

I apologize for the slight gruesomeness of the picture below, but it tells a story...I think.  During Billy's decline, Gerbera was his constant companion.  He would go out to browse for short periods of time throughout the day, but he spent most of his time either laying or standing by Billy.  Even the donkeys, Kip and Sophie, hung around the shed more often than usual.

On that last morning when Tom went to check on Billy and discovered that he had died during the night, he found Gerbera, Kip, and Sophie all standing vigil.  And, this is how he found Billy.

His companions had covered him like this.  I prefer to believe that they did it out of respect rather than just standing over him eating his hay.

So, Rest In Peace, Wild and Crazy Guy.


Thursday, March 02, 2017

Seat Cushions Update

Just thought I'd post pictures of the finished seat cushions in use.

I think these chairs are from IKEA.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Controlled Burn

Tom did a "controlled" burn of our hay pasture last week.  I didn't have it on my own agenda, but I ended up out there with him anyway.  Normally, I don't do fire.  In the past, Tom has done the burns by himself and it makes me so nervous.  I was so happy that he had traded favors with a neighbor that is a fireman so that he came over to help with the burn.

The idea is to choose a day in which the winds aren't too high and they also are blowing in the desired direction.  Then, God laughs because you think you are controlling the fire and changes the direction of the wind, whipping it up just a little for emphasis.

From the house, I noticed that the fire was suddenly bigger and faster.

I thought, "Wow, that's burning pretty fast and high and oddly close to the enormous propane tank and wood shed.   And, why are the donkeys and goats running across their paddock?"

My phone rings and it's Tom saying, "I need your help!"
Um.  Not a fireman here.

This is when the pictures stop and I grab my boots, throw my long flammable hair in a pony tail and run out to the field.

Apparently, the wind had kicked up and changed direction.  Tom and fireman neighbor managed to keep it from burning down the fences and the paddock where the donkeys were, but the garden pasture burned.  It needed to be burned anyway, but we didn't want our large piles of wood mulch to burn up.  Fireman stopped that just in time.

There was a lot of running and dragging water hoses and a little bit of panic, but the guys finally got it back under control.

Whew.  I thought we were going to burn down the county.

I bet you didn't know this, but water hoses that get holes or cuts in them can be repaired by being spliced together.  I bet, for most people, when their hose gets a hole in it, they just buy a new one.  Well, most of our hoses have multiple splices in them.  Sometimes those splices pop open or leak or get stopped up causing low water pressure at inopportune times.  I've authorized the purchase of lots of nice new water hoses before the next burn.  

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Seat Cushions

I have been so UNmotivated this winter.  I have many projects that need doing outside, but I just can't bring myself to get out there and be productive.  Super lazy is what I've been.  I'm accomplishing very little inside, too, but I did do this.

Seat cushions for my daughter-in-law's dining chairs, which she requested as a Christmas present.

I got her to make a pattern by tracing her chairs for me.  Then I pinned it on the fabric.

Since I was using a two inch thick cushion, I had to cut the fabric one and a half inches larger than the pattern.  If you're a seamstress, you will already know that the fabric is doubled so I could cut the top and the bottom piece at the same time.  The one and a half inch extra fabric is meant to allow for the thickness of the cushion, plus a half an inch seam allowance.  I marked both lines with a pencil.

The pattern is marked where the ties needed to go, so I transferred those marks, as well.

While I waiting for the patterns to arrive in the mail, I went ahead and made the welting that I would need.  I've made welting several times, but never can remember exactly how to make the bias tape, so I went back to my favorite bias tape tutorial here.   So, after I got the seat fabric cut to size, I was all ready to sew the welting onto the top piece of fabric.  For those of you new to sewing/upholstering, pin the welting to the right side of the fabric, matching up the raw edge of the welting to the raw edge of your cushion.  It will seem backwards when you do it, but don't get confused.  This is the way to do it.  Clip the seam allowance of the welting at the corners so that the welting will turn smoothly.  I used as piping foot so I could make my seam right up against the welting cord.

A reminder...cut your cushion foam with an electric knife.  I've found that using scissors just results in a big jagged mess.

I made all of the ties ahead of time and had them ready to go.  I pinned the ties the same way as the welting - right side of fabric, raw edges together, then pinned the bottom fabric piece to the top (which already has the welting sewn onto it).  After sewing it all together except for a small slot in the back, I stuffed the foam cushion in, wiggled it around until it was positioned correctly, then hand-sewed that spot securely together.

The chairs that these cushions are for have three back supports on them, one wide one in the middle back and a narrow one on either side.  Instead of having three dangling ties, which I think would look too busy, I made these little straps for the two side supports.

Theoretically (I don't have the chairs here with me to test), these little straps will just snap around those supports to keep the cushion from sliding around.

The larger support in the back will have this strap tied in a bow, like so.

All done!  

I made two smaller cushions for the grandson's little chairs, which are a different design that the adult chairs.  They have the traditional two back supports, hence the two ties.

The cushions are now winging their way to their destination.

HO, HO, HO!  Merry Christmas!

To see pics of cushions on chairs, go here.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Refrigerator Repair DIY

I've mentioned before and shown in previous posts that I have a husband who can fix just about anything.  Sometimes I take this for granted, but it occurred to me yesterday as he was replacing our refrigerator door gasket, that there might be people out there who are paying big bucks for repairmen or just buying a new refrigerator or freezer when the door seal breaks just because they don't know how easy it is to replace it themselves.  I know that it never has entered my mind before recently that this was even possible.

We have a Kenmore refrigerator and freezer placed side-by-side in our kitchen; bought when we remodeled our kitchen back in 2008.  They still work well, look good and serve their purposes.

But, a few months ago, we noticed that the freezer was running all the time and condensation was dripping from it.  Tom had a look at it and determined that the door gasket was torn, causing it to not seal properly.  He searched on-line and found that he could buy a gasket for our model and he ordered it.   A few weeks later, he determined that the refrigerator seal was starting to fail, so he went ahead and ordered a gasket for that one, too.  We just got around to replacing it yesterday.

It came with instructions on how to install it.  Just one little page about half the size of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.  I know the print is too tiny to read on here, but this is just to show how simple the instructions are.  I didn't think to take pictures until we were almost done, so I can't show a step by step process.

To do the freezer was a little more complicated because we had to plan ahead to empty the contents of the door into coolers, then put plastic wrap over the freezer opening since we were going to have the freezer door open for an extended period of time.  But, for the refrigerator, we didn't need those things.  It takes less than a half an hour to do this, so it won't hurt the contents to be sitting on the counter for a while.  Although, if you keep milk or something like that in your door, you might want to put it in a cooler because after the new seal is installed, you can't open the door for an hour.

Anyway, the first thing to do is to remove the old seal.  If you lift up the edge of the seal, you can see a row of screws that goes all the way around.  Loosen those slightly, just enough so that you can gently pull the old seal off.  If you're having to tug real hard, then your screws aren't loose enough, although, you don't want the screws falling out.

Here's ours after being removed.

After that, you just put the new one in it's place.  The frame around the refrigerator door has a little groove that the lip of the gasket fits into.  Start at the top and fit that little lip into the groove all around the door.  It takes a little finessing and fiddling around, but once you get the hang of it, it goes pretty quick.

After the seal is in place, go back and tighten all the screws.  It really is that simple.  

It's so nice to have a new, clean gasket.  It makes the whole appliance look new again, which may inspire you to clean and organize your whole refrigerator.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Inaugural Ball...A Test of Endurance

So, Tom and I got an invitation to attend the 2017 inaugural events.  Wheeee!  We decided to fly to DC on Saturday morning, possibly attend the actual inauguration (depending on the crowds) and definitely attend the Freedom Ball that evening.

Our plane was delayed in Dallas, so we arrived in DC just about the time that President Trump was being sworn in, so we missed that and had to watch it on our phones.  A small disappointment since we weren't sure we were going to go anyway.

But, we did attend the ball and I just want to record my experience so that, if there is someone out there who is considering going to one in the future, you can know what to expect and plan for...assuming future inaugural balls aren't very different from the past ones.

First of all, it wasn't as cold in DC as it usually is reported to be in January, but we still needed our coats.  I took my full-length sheared mink that is completely reversible so that the lining, which is a heavy silk and actually feels like some sort of nylon, becomes a raincoat since it was also forecast to rain.  Tom took his long wool overcoat.  It was a good choice to take coats, because even though it wasn't as cold, and it's kind of a pain to travel with them (plus it was in the 70's when we left and returned to Dallas) , we needed them and did wear them.  We were blessed, though, that it did not rain, although there were a few instances of mist.  We both took light ponchos just in case.  I intended to wear mine over my hair if it did rain.

If I could only give one piece of advice to all the ladies who may attend an inaugural ball, it would be WEAR FLAT SHOES.  (more on that later)

Now, I was prepared.  I really was.  I am not one to sacrifice looks for comfort.  I mean, ideally, one can look good and be comfortable, and it is important to me to be comfortable and not ruin my feet.  But, I hardly ever wear flats with any outfit when I go out.  I even wear heels with jeans, even if it's just a small boot heel.   So, my plan was to wear my Fitkicks (super comfy gift from daughter) to walk to the ball and clip my gown up under my coat so it didn't drag, but that's not the way it went down.  First off, my gown wouldn't stay clipped up because the sequins made it too heavy.  Did I want to walk all that way and maneuver around the metro, holding my dress up?  Then, Tom made a face at my Fitkicks.  Sure, they looked goofy with a ball gown, but, who was gonna care?  In the end, *I* cared.  I stuck the Fitkicks in a bag to carry "just in case" and donned my red shiny pumps (which, for heels, are not uncomfortable).

OK, so nobody drives to the inaugural balls (well, unless you're the one in the Presidential motorcade).  Our hotel was about two and a half miles from the convention center where the ball was held.  We were told no limos, taxis, busses, ubers...no vehicles (other than security) are allowed within several blocks of the convention center (I noticed as we left, that there were cars driving around not too far from the convention center, so we probably could have taken a taxi).  So, we decided to take the metro train.  The station was just about a half a block from the hotel, down a hill.  The station  closest to the convention center was about, oh, three or four blocks away.  We walked.

When we arrived at the convention center, we discovered a line that wrapped around two sides of the center, so that added about two more blocks of walking just to get in line, then walking in the line (which moved very quickly) back the way we came, through security, then back another block to the entrance, to coat check, back out and down a couple of escalators to where to ball was being held.  Walking, in heels, walking.  Ouch.  I should have worn the Fitkicks.

The invitation said the ball started at 7:00.  It was recommended that we go early (doors opened at 5:00) to get through security.  I did not want to go early.  I just wanted to arrive at 7:00 and stand in whatever line we had to stand in.  But, Tom likes to get to places early.  So...we compromised at little and left the hotel at 5:00.  In hindsight, this was completely unnecessary.  If I had come across a blog post like this one, I would have known this.

Security was quick and easy.  They had done background checks beforehand, so we just had to have our ticket scanned and our picture ID to show that we are who we say we are.  We checked our coats (also very quick and efficient).  Loads of people had gone in before us, but it still looked pretty empty when we finally got in.

There were several places to have our photo taken, both with professional photographers and with our own phones and cameras.

Tom is announcing his run for Presidency in 2028, although, I told him we'll be too old and it should be sooner.  I don't want to be the First Old Hag.

I'm usually cold at these kinds of events, so I also brought my vintage mink capelet to throw over my shoulders.  I had to shed it a little later because it did become too hot in there, mostly because we were in such close quarters near the stage.

The place was starting to fill up as it got closer to 7:00.  These people are random strangers that we formed a bond with as we staked out our small section of floor space close to the stage.  Our thinking was that if we were close, we'd be able to see everything better.  That holds true for tall people.  I never really think of myself as being short, but at 5 feet 3 1/2 inches, I had no advantage being close to the stage.  We started out right up by the barricade, but as time went on, other people kind of inched in front of us.  We weren't really paying attention, but we ended up about five people deep away from the barricade.

So, while President Trump was on stage making his comments, then the family was dancing their "first" dance as President and First Lady, this was my view.  I say "first" because he had already had two "first dances", one at the Military Ball and one at the Liberty Ball, which we could see on the jumbotron.

And, this was my phone's view as I held it over my head trying to get a picture of the President.

The ball was scheduled to start at 7:00, but at 8:00, the announcer announced that the party was beginning and the entertainment started.  The entertainers were very good, although I could see very little of what they did without standing on my tip toes.  The food was mediocre, but plentiful.  They had several buffets scattered throughout so that lines were short or non-existent.  However, I really don't think people ate much.  I know I didn't.

They had cheese, fruit, and veggie trays with assorted crackers and breads, along with three different hot pasta dishes.  Because I have celiac disease, I couldn't eat anything except the veggie, fruit and cheese.  They gave us drink tickets and anything beyond the value of the drink tickets, you had to pay for yourself.  I didn't even bother getting a drink the whole time I was there.

Here's the thing...there were NO CHAIRS and NO TABLES.  Seriously, no place to sit.  At all.  There was a small section with chairs for the handicapped that was cordoned off, but none for anyone else.  Not even a ledge against the wall to perch on.  If you wanted to sit, you had to go sit on a toilet or leave the party.  After standing for so long, I was beginning to wonder what happens to a body that stands still for too long.  Seriously.  

Now, when I was young, I used to have a job that kept me on my feet for pretty much eight hours - and oftentimes I wore heels.  And, yeah, I know people work and stand for that long and longer.  And, yeah, my farm work requires that I'm on my feet a lot and I'm walking a lot.  But, in all of those situations, I can take a break and sit for a minute, even if it's on the ground.  But, there was no option at the ball except the cold, hard, dirty concrete convention floor...in a ball gown.  There was nothing to even lean on.  And, I didn't bother to eat much or drink anything because there was no place to even set a plate or cup.

Believe me when I say no place to sit, because I was desperate enough to want to go shove one of those handicapped people off their chair like we were playing musical chairs.

Anyway, it was fun and exciting to be in DC while history was being made.  And it was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience to get to go to an inaugural ball and to be with all of those people that were equally excited for this new Presidency.  But, it also was an experience to test my endurance.

Oh, and Inaugural "Ball" is a misnomer, because there is no dancing at the ball other than the few moments the first family swayed back and forth a few times.  As soon as they left, we and at least half the other attendees made a bee line for the exit.  Like me, they probably couldn't wait to find a place to sit, even if it was a train seat.

For the walk back to the metro station after the ball, I did switch to my Fitkicks.  Otherwise, I might have had to crawl back.

If I had it to do again (and that won't happen unless I'm arriving in THE motorcade), I'd do things differently.

Things to know:
(1) Take a taxi and be dropped off as close to the venue as possible
(2)  Wear flats to and from the venue (I ended up taking my shoes off at around 9:30 and going barefoot (I had checked my Fitkicks with my coat).  I stepped in all manner of who-knows-what and my dress dragged the floor, but by then I didn't care.
(3)  Eat before going
(4)  Don't wear a wrap into the party and carry the least amount of belonging as possible
(5)  Invitations say black tie and most men were wearing tuxes, but it is not essential.  Nobody will care if your man wears a suit instead.
(6)  I did see a couple of women in street length dresses, but they were out of place.  Wearing a ball gown is a better choice.  Even though nobody will likely remember or care what you wore, you will not look like you belong there if you aren't dressed appropriately.  But, don't try to be Cinderella because a big, over-the-top princess ball gown is impractical in that crush of people.
(7)  Arrive late.  Really, there is no reason to go early.  As we were leaving, there were some people just arriving - they were smart.  Here's what I'd do...I'd arrive between 8-9:00, switch to my heels, dance to the great music away from the crush of people near the stage, watch the President from across the room (because he didn't arrive until around 10:00 and the view is better and you can see the jumbotrons better), nibble on the food here and there, dance some more after the President leaves, then go home.

Monday, December 12, 2016