Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Monday, April 28, 2008


I wasn't able to go to the farm yesterday or today, but Tom went. Yesterday, he took our handyman friend, Nolan, with him and they finished tearing out the kitchen cabinets and took more tile out.

We've hired one of our neighbors, Perry, to do the "dirt work" on our barn site. He has to level out the pad so that the foundation can be poured. He's a super nice guy. Tom met him out there today and while Perry started on the dirt work, Tom moved all the stuff that was laying around the barn - wood and old wire, etc. The barn builder is going to order the supplies to build the barn soon, so things are under way for that. We're going to have to finalize our plans for the layout of the barn apartment so that we'll know where to put the plumbing before the foundation is poured. The septic system at the house and the barn appear to be finished.

I have to go tomorrow and open all of my cabinets boxes to make sure nothing is damaged. Hopefully, that won't take all day and I can get some other work done - namely weeding the garden and scraping the texture off the kitchen ceiling.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Growing Garden!

Our garden is actually growing. I'm so excited.

From the top picture is the corn, the row of squash and one little bean plant that is the only one sprouted so far. The onions are also sprouted, but they are so tiny, they probably wouldn't show up in a picture.

I spent a couple of hours mowing today and it is getting so pretty and green, I took some pics. One facing the house and the other facing away, looking down the drive toward the street.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Peptic Septic

Ugh. We know nothing about septic systems, but we're learning. The first step in getting our new systems was pumping the old ones. The septic guys did that yesterday. That was a smelly job. He told us that one of them was completely taken over with roots. I'm surprised we didn't have gunk bubbling up in the yard.

So he pumped both of them in the back, then told us we have a "grease trap" in the front yard (in front of the kitchen). I didn't know what a grease trap was, but...OK. So they dug in the yard and found the lid. I was curious about it, so I went out to watch. Apparently, it is a small tank and it was FULL to the brim with a slimy, stinky sludge. When they stuck the hose down in to pump it out, I had enough and went inside.

The worker told me that it needed to be pumped about every year, but it probably hadn't been pumped in several years. It's no wonder. Nobody knew it was there. It was underground. So I asked him how we could have it pumped without digging up the yard every year. He told me they could put "risers" on the top to lift the lid up to ground level. That makes sense to me. What doesn't make sense is to put in a tank that needs to be pumped, but not put an easily accessible lid on it.

Today they are supposed to come crush the old tanks that were just pumped and fill in the holes with dirt. Then they will put the new tanks out behind the fence instead of in the yard. I was told that the whole process only takes a few hours.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Implements and Evidence

Our good friend, Bill, gave us three farm implements to attach to our tractor. Tom has our implements in a neat little row. There's our trailer (compliments of Paden), our tiller, then the three implements from Bill (which are some sort of plows), then our finish mower attached to the tractor.

Also, evidence of our newly planted garden. The tiny green shoots sticking out are the 24 tomato plants. I might have gotten a little carried away with the tomatoes. Tom and I have to build their cages some time soon.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What Were They Thinking?

That is a question oft asked during a remodel.

Who puts one plus inches of mortar under tile?

One nasty little secret we've discovered is that someone thought it would be a good idea to do exactly that. The living room and bedrooms are carpeted and I pulled up a little piece of carpet in the master bedroom to see what it was laid on - the concrete foundation. The kitchen, entry, and hallway are saltillo tile. Apparently, someone thought it wood be a good idea to pour the foundation in the kitchen/hallway/entry about two inches lower than the bedrooms so that they could fill it up with mortar and tile. How weird is that?

I want to take the carpet and tile out and replace all of the flooring with wood. The problem is, if we take out the tile and mortar, which is what Tom has begun to do (see picture), we'll have to build the floor back up with 2x4's and plywood so that it will be even with the bedrooms. It's a mess.

Friday, April 18, 2008

No Asbestos!

The house has popcorn textured ceilings that I want to remove. While researching on the internet the best way to do that, I discovered that houses built before 1978 sometimes had asbestos added to the popcorn texture. Our house was built in 1974. So, the question was, "Do we want to know? Do we want to live with the texture the way it is? Do we want to risk our lives removing it?"

If there was asbestos, to have it removed legally, we'd have to hire a HAZMAT team at great expense. Or we could scrape it off ourselves and hope not to kill over some day because we breathed in a piece of asbestos. Another option was to sheet rock over the existing ceiling...not such a great option.

We decided that it was best to find out for sure and then decide what to do from there. So I risked my life to scrape off a piece and send it to a lab to get tested. We've been waiting a week for the results to be sent to our attorney. I finally called the lab and they told me they had e-mailed the results on Monday (note to attorney...check your e-mail occasionally :) ). And they went ahead and told me that the texture is safe.

Yay! So now I get to scrape off approximately 2,800 square feet of ceiling texture. Anybody want to volunteer to help?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


My very good friend, Linda, went to the farm with me today and we scraped off wallpaper in the dining area. It was slow going because we had to tear off the top layer, then soak the backing and scrape it off. It's like twice the work. We finished about two-thirds of the room.

Our compost was delivered, so Tom came out to spread it and the other garden ingredients around and till them in good with the tractor. We have to wait a few days to allow the compost to cool and then we can plant. Woohoo! I'm going to the feed store tomorrow to see what kind of seeds I can get, then hope to plant on Friday if it isn't raining.

I had another contractor come out to give me a bid on tearing out the kitchen. He's supposed to call me soon with a quote. Also, the septic system installer came out to have a look. We currently have two systems for the house, but he's going to replace those with one large onem then put a system out by our barn site for the apartment. Septic installment is scheduled in two weeks.

We also decided on a barn builder - the first man to give us a quote. He came up with a more cost effective way to build it so that the existing structure can be enclosed, although the price has gone up overall because the cost of materials, especially metal, is soaring. We should be able to get that project under way soon.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Workdays Number Three and Four

Yesterday, Tom started repairs on the little well cover roof. The posts were rickety, so he took the roof off and skinned it of it's three layers of shingles. In the coming days, he's going to replace the posts and the roofers are going to come back and put shingles on to match the house. I'm not sure, but I think that used to be a real well and was capped off when the new well was dug.

Today, he finished scraping the grass out of our garden plot and we started a compost pile. I read that it's good to start a compost pile with brush and branches on the bottom, then put compost material on top of that, then more branches in a pyramid shape, then more soil and other compost material. Supposedly, the branches create an air flow that is helpful. So, that's what we did to start our pile.

After helping Tom start the compost pile, I went inside and started the kitchen tear out - taking off paneling, wallpaper, nails, curtain rods. I got the breakfast nook done. The only thing left to do in that part of the kitchen is to take out the door and block it up and remove the old sound system that is there. The radio works well, but it has an 8-track system circa 1970's that has got to go. Then Tom has to do some electrical work.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

First Disaster

We spent the whole day at the farm yesterday. First, we went to the organic supply store and bought our organic fertilizer, horticultural cornmeal, and dry molasses. I really don't know what all of those items actually do, but it seemed a good idea. I read an article in the Dallas Morning News by Howard Garrett that said those are what you need to prepare a garden plot...only his recipe included lava sand and expanded shale. Common sense told me that since our soil is very sandy, I didn't need to add any more sand to it, so I skipped those ingredients.

Coincidentally, the store owner decided to give me a book on gardening since I'm a newbie and the book was written by Howard Garrett! I told the man that I had e-mailed Garrett to ask where to get all that stuff and he had recommended that store! I guess he liked me, 'cause he gave me a free bag of fertilizer, too...or maybe it was pity. heh.

We also ordered eight yards of organic cotton burr compost to be delivered (it's made of all the leftover cotton products after the cotton is harvested). After it is delivered, hopefully tomorrow, Tom will till all of the ingredients into the garden plot. Brian (our friend who had come to visit) and I marked 30x30 feet out in the front pasture for the garden. It sounded like a good sized plot to get started with, but after we marked it out and Tom scraped the grass off, it looked more like a postage stamp. But...we're going to stick with that size and see how we handle that for starters. We can always add to it later if we need to.

So, Tom started working on the tractor and I started mowing on the Toro again. The first pass down our very long driveway, I bumped a water spigot and it popped into the air, followed by a geyser of water. So I raced back to the barn where Tom was to find out what I should do. Brian and I found the shut-off valve in the well house, I borrowed a repair kit from Joann, Tom capped off the break, and we all went back to work.

We worked until dark, were exhausted, and covered head to toe with dirt. Ahhhh, the joys of farming.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Couple of Pics

Here's Pearlie the pup enjoying country life. She is not being good. She seems to think she doesn't have to come when I call her while we are out there. Bad, bad dog.

And a picture of one of Joann's foals. There are two that were born two-three months ago. Pearlie is very afraid of the horses.

The Tractor Has Landed

WooHoo! We brought the tractor home today and also towed the trailer with the riding mower out to our place. Tom taught me how to drive the zero turn Toro lawn mower, so I had a blast zipping around mowing the yard while Tom tinkered with the tractor.

...think we like red?

Moving Day

Well, it's not really moving day for us, but the previous owner finally did move out. She cleaned the place up nicely and even got rid of all old equipment, etc. in the garage and on the property. So we towed our ski boat out there and parked it in the garage (that is really semi-enclosed carport).

We moved the boat out of our garage so Paden could put his lawn equipment into it until he sells the rest of it. Now that he's taken that equipment out of the trailer that we bought from him, we will tow the trailer with mowers in it out to our new place. While we're there today, we're supposed to pick of the new tractor.

Then...let the mowing begin.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


The roof is finished. I love it. It's such an improvement over that tired ole' asphalt shingle. Eventually I'd like to change the color of the trim on the house from the dark brown. I'm thinking...light tan might brighten it up a bit, but am open to suggestions. The top picture is the front of the house and the bottom picture is the back porch.

The little pump house got a new roof, too. Cute. That happened sort of accidentally. I had asked the roofer to leave me some scraps so that I could roof the little well cover beside the house. Somehow he misunderstood and ended up roofing the pump house. They charged me for it, but since it was their mistake, they knocked a few hundred off the price.