Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Monday, June 30, 2008

Brain Dead

Why can't I remember to take my camera with me out to the farm? Even if I get it out of the charger and set it right here on the desk in front of me, it will remain there until I return from the farm...mocking me.

It's no fun getting old. An attorney friend, Greg, says to eat blueberries. Apparently, they have been proven to be the only food that will regenerate brain cells. I definitely think I need some.

Aphids! Not.

I did some research and discovered that the problem I'm having with my tomatoes is blossom end rot...not aphids. I've read different philosophies on what causes it and how to treat it, but most of them agree that uneven soil moisture has something to do with it. I can see where that might be my problem since I wasn't watering the gardening at first. I was just letting the rain take care of it. Then I decided that I needed to water and I soaked the ground every 2-3 days. Maybe not such a good idea, but I really don't have much of a choice since I'm out there for 2-3 days then gone for 2-3 days.

Some websites say not to panic, that only the first fruits will be affected. That seems to have been the case with mine. Unfortunately, now that the blossom end rot appears to be gone, the vine ends are splitting open, rotting, and are getting eaten by ants. Grrr! I've read that the soil moisture can be a cause of this problem.

Despite the problems I'm having with the tomatoes, we've actually gotten to eat some of them. I've been harvesting them before they are completely ripe - not as tasty, but still quite good. On Saturday I cooked lunch for Tom and myself at the farm. We had, from our garden, squash seasoned with a tiny jalapeno, salt and pepper, sauteed in butter, sliced fresh tomatoes, sweet corn (having problems with ants and caterpillars) and a little dab of leftover pork BBQ. It was so good. I'm not much of a squash lover, but even I liked it fixed that way.

The wood floors that I ordered have arrived (partial order as expected). Tom decided to scrape the popcorn ceilings himself and has been working feverishly on that. He got all of the kitchen/dining/hall area done and started on the master bedroom. He's planning to finish that on Wednesday, then we will have the floors installed. After the floors are installed, even though the house won't be completely ready, we can start moving in. We'll finish the rest as we have time. It's important for us to move some of our belongings and mostly live out there for two reasons: (1) we need to make our current house show ready by cleaning it out (2) we need to be at the farm most of the time so that we can work at making our farm productive.

Also, the barn is being built. When it's finished, we'll be able to store a lot of stuff in there that we don't have a place for yet.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Friends came to visit us at the farm today and I took the wife out to see our garden. We discovered that some of the tomatoes had ripened, but when we went to pick them, every one appeared to be rotted out on the bottom. My friend told me it was aphids. They suck the juices out of the bottom as soon as the tomatoes start to ripen. I've got to find a way to get rid of them right away or they will ruin my whole tomato crop.

It looked stormy out there this morning so the barn builders did not come. Tom and I got up early so that we could be out there at 8:30 to meet the floor guys. They didn't show up until about 10:30, so of course, they didn't finish today. They are planning on arriving at noon tomorrow to finish the subfloor.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Our first crop of hay has been baled. Our neighbor even custom baled it for us so that the bales wouldn't be too heavy for me to handle. We've already used some bales in the goat pen and as soon as we can, we'll pick up the bales and store them in the existing barn.

The erection of the new barn is supposed to be started tomorrow and the installation of the plywood subfloor in the house started on Monday - should be finished tomorrow. It's good to have the dirty concrete covered.

Also, I was able to harvest a couple of squash, the corn is growing ears, there are lots of tomatoes on the vine - still green, the lettuce needs to be picked again, and some new plants have sprung up that look as though they might be some of the bell peppers I planted and gave up on. It remains to be seen if they will produce anything.

Bad news. I had another kidney stone attack at midnight Monday when I was out at the farm all alone. That was horrible, but I called Tom and he drove out in the middle of the night to be with me. Is that love or what?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Views of the Farm

Looking out over the pasture by the barn and a view of the path from the barn to the house.

Amazing Feats

Really, Tom has accomplished so much. After he spent Monday afternoon sawing off the tin overhang on the existing barn, he got up early this morning and sawed off the overhang rafters. That was a big job. Everything is ready for the foundation pouring in the morning.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

First Harvest!

I picked the lettuce today even though I'm not exactly sure how to do it. I decided that since the outer leaves seemed to wither and die while being replaced with younger leaves in the middle, I would just pick the outer leaves. I picked about half a plastic grocery bag full. Then I picked the one little jalapeno.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More Projects

Just when we think we've got the big projects done, something else crops up.

We went out to the farm for a couple of days to clear away several things from around the existing barn because the builder has scheduled the concrete foundation to be poured and they need lots of room to manuever the trucks. Tom got everything cleared away and the builder told him, "By the way, you need to cut off the overhang in the back so that we can set some poles."

So Tom spent the afternoon on the hot tin roof. First he started to pull off the whole roof, but after one strip, he saw that it was just too big of a job to get done in such a short time. So he ended up taking a saw and cutting the tin off along the back. He's going back today and tomorrow to cut the overhanging rafters off. The foundation is scheduled for Thursday. He'll take the rest of the roof off during the 7-10 day concrete curing period.

I've scheduled with the wood floor installer to begin the installation of the subfloor on Monday. We're almost ready for that, but there are still a few small projects to be done ...and one big one - the rebuilding of the office wall.

Tom has to go to Houston on Thursday and Friday for some Republican voting thing. He has been elected as a voting delegate. I think the convention he is attending is for electing the electoral college delegates from among the district delegates.

In the meantime, Tom went to a hearing on our property taxes. He prepared and presented his case to the panel. They ruled against him, but were intrigued and excited about the information that he presented. I asked why they ruled against him if they were so convinced. One of the reasons was that if they ruled in his favor, it would set no precedent. They want him to file a suit and go to court because if he wins, it will benefit everyone in the county. In the meantime, they did lower our appraisal by 30%. But, really, does Tom need another project?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Amazing Progress

It is quite amazing what Tom is able to accomplish. In just a few days he has torn out and rebuilt much of the living room walls that were eaten by termites. When he tore everything out, we were astonished that the room was still standing. It must have been held up by the window frames. One whole wall had to be torn out, window taken out and replaced. And these are not tiny sissy windows. These are huge slabs of glass about five feet wide and six to seven feet tall. Fortunately, he only had to remove and replace one. For the rest of the repairs, he was able to pry out the damaged wood from underneath the windows and shore them up without removing them. He had help from friend, Nolan, for two of the days and I was there, but wasn't much help with the heavy work. Mostly, I just tried to keep the area cleaned up so he wouldn't have to work amongst the debris.

Now he has to tear out and replace about one and a half walls in the office. Except for that, we're ready for the wood floor guy to come put in the plywood subfloor.

Yesterday, the granite countertops were installed. The installer did a horrible job. But to correct the problems would mean selecting new slabs and causing further damage to my lovely new cabinets by taking out the granite. The fix is worse than than living with the bad job. I'm not willing to go through it, so I will live with it. Otherwise, the stone is beautiful, the island turned out great with a big curve across the back so that we have some space to sit at the counter on bar stools.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Two New Goats

Since Billy was so lonely, we decided to get him a pal as quick as possible. On Sunday afternoon Tom went to the Canton First Monday Flea Market and bought a little goat. He was told that it is a Nubian, but I'm pretty sure she is not. She's a little white goat with light tan markings similar to a Boer goat and she has some funky ears - long and pendulous like they are supposed to be, but they turn up at the ends.

I think I'll start my flower themed names with her and call her Pansy.

After Tom got that goat, I happened to check Craigslist that same evening and found a registered Nubian nanny. I went to see her this morning and bought her. I think her name should be Hyacinth.

Hyacinth is as affectionate as Billy. When I put her in the pen with Billy and Pansy, both Hyacinth and Billy were jostling for a place to stand next to me. Neither wanted the other to be near me. This resulted in a head butting contest which was hilarious to watch.

They would both stand their long ears straight up, which made them look like little donkeys, then they'd rear up on their hind legs and come crashing down, butting their heads together. After watching that scene for a while, I decided that if I left, they might be able to work out their differences. I watched them from the house and they did stop butting heads soon after I left. In a short time, they were all happily grazing together.
The building in the background is the previous owner's new barn. Ours will look similar to that. She chose the same colors as me so that our properties would kind of look like one big place and everything would go together.