Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Electric Lights

Tom's latest project is lights in the barn. Currently, we have the system put in by the previous owner, which is two long cords with light sockets on them wrapped around the rafters. These lights are on a timer and one light switch in the tack room that I have to stand on a bucket to reach. The timer is convenient, but the hard-to-reach one light switch means that all the lights have to be on at the same time. That is usually not necessary and wastes energy. I'm also risking breaking something by climbing on the bucket to reach the switch.

So, my electrical engineer husband is wiring the barn lights properly, replacing the cords with cord in a conduit and the lights with flourescents. He's also wiring it for ceiling fans (and installing one that we took out of the house), light switches for each light, and power outlets.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Shocking News

...well, not really. Tom abandoned the dangle stick in favor of a shock collar for Harry. With the dangle stick, it was either too long or too short or something. Whatever...it wasn't effective enough. So Tom put a collar on him and wears a remote control around his neck so that when Harry chases the chickens, he can give him a little shock. It's been two days, which isn't nearly enough time to train him, but he does seem to be getting the message.

I have a good video of Billy's funny behavior that I've been trying to post, but my internet connection has been hideous lately and won't let me upload the video. I'll get it on here ASAP. I'm pretty sure that Billy is in rut (male version of "in heat"). It's not the right season for it, so I don't know what that means, but he is displaying classic goat rut behavior...and it is nasty. He's quite smelly. I can smell him when I drive down the driveway. And when I feed him each day, he invariably gets his scent on me so that I smell like goat for the rest of the day. **gag** For my city slicker friends and family that don't know about goat behavior...when a male goat is in rut he pees on his face, in his mouth, on his lips, and on the backs of his front legs. **more gagging** When he pees on his lips, he'll lift his head and curl his upper lip so he can get a good whiff. He also makes funny noises constantly, and sticks his tongue out, flapping it at me, "blubbalubalub". He isn't mean, but he is quite aggressive when I'm in the pasture with him, which I try to avoid anyway because I don't want him making me stink. Oh yeah, and he "sneezes" on me all the time, which is probably what gets the smell on me when I'm putting feed in his bucket.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Weird Billy

Good News and Bad News

The good news is that we got some very much needed rain. Now the hay should grow sufficiently for Tom to cut and bale it and we think we have a buyer for nearly the whole cutting.

The bad news is that our animals have gone haywire. First, the chicken that Harry got last week survived the night, but it looked so bad in the morning that Tom went ahead and killed it. Then we had the episode with Kip chasing, catching, and flinging Rosie goat. After we removed her and her mom from Kip's pasture, I caught him chasing Pansy. I happened to be out there and he chased her for several minutes until she fell down and he ran over her. We had to take all the goats out of the pasture. Unless I can find some way to keep Kip from attacking the goats, we won't be able to use him as a guardian. I've been searching the internet, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to find a solution. I'm not sure why he did OK at first and now has turned on the goats.

Then, this evening Harry got another chicken. Tom had put them in their pen, so Harry was lose and unattended. Tom heard a chicken ruckus, looked out of the barn door and saw that Harry had a chicken. Tom thought he had all the chickens in, but he must not have counted correctly. Last night he put them in before we went to church and when we got home, he found one out and put him in. Then this morning, there was another one out and soaking wet from the rain we got. I'm surprised that one survived the night.

Despite that, we still have 23 chickens. Our neighbor wanted us to have his two chickens because he doesn't have a place to keep them. One is a Barred Rock and I don't know what the other one is. They are bullied terribly by the Reds. Chickens are mean to each other.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Cardinals

While watching a mother Cardinal from my kitchen window yesterday, I discovered that she has built a nest in one of the ferns hanging on the front porch. I water them about every other day, so the nest has been getting a fair amount of moisture on it. The babies are just hatched, so hopefully I haven't been dousing them.


My new plan is to make loads of zucchini bread. I've got way more zucchini than Tom and I could ever eat. I've given some away. Often the zucchini escapes my attention until it's gigantic and, I hear, not very good to eat. So I'm grating it up and making bread with it. What I can't use right away, I've frozen. So far, I made chocolate chip zucchini bread which is absolutely divine. I can hardly stop eating it, so I gave away two mini loaves and froze the big one. Today I'm making blueberry zucchini bread ...and zucchini puffs for dinner.
Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread (adapted from a recipe on allrecipes.com):
3 cups all purpose flour*
1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum*
3 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (I used olive just because that's what I have)
2 cups grate zucchini
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans (I used one 9x5 and a 4 mini loaf pan).
Beat together eggs, sugar, and oil. Blend in the grated zucchini and then the sour cream. Mix in the flour, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon. Stir in the chocolate. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 70-80 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
* Because I bake everything gluten free, in place of the all purpose flour made from wheat, I used Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free flour and xanthan gum.

The Fly

To the left on the rock is a regular house fly. To the right is the movie star from The Fly. I expected him to sprout a little man's head at any moment.

Friday, July 10, 2009

And So It Goes

Harry now sports a dangle stick. It's not a comfortable thing.

The idea behind the dangle stick is that as soon as he starts to run, or even walk fast, it will trip him up. With the dangle stick, he cannot chase chickens.

Chicken Sez

"Are you going on holiday?"

(One would need to have seen the claymation movie, Chicken Run, to appreciate the sad hilarity of that question.)

Twenty-two Reds?

So, today was day two of free ranging. Tom let's Harry out of barn, chickens out of coop and leaves to go to a property tax hearing.

I look out the window and see Harry dashing around chasing a chicken. I put on my shoes and run outside, "HARRY! NO!" and hang around telling Harry "no" for another 15 minutes. He finally gets bored and goes away to chew something. So I go to work in the garden and Harry follows. He hangs around for a while and then leaves. I wonder what he's up to, but I'd never get anything done if I'm constantly checking on Harry.

So when I get done weeding the garden (with Paden's help) and drive the cart around to the back of the house, I see Harry pouncing on a chicken laying on the ground. I go get him and see that the chicken is laying there with no visible signs of life - limp, eyes staring sightlessly - really, very dead looking. So I take Harry away and tie him up.

When Tom gets home, I tell him the sad news, "Harry has killed a chicken." Tom goes out to check and lo and behold, the chicken lives. Tom puts it in the isolation cage. Personally, I think it should be put out of it's misery, but then, I thought he should have put the broken legged chicken out of it's misery, but he has recovered.


Freedom With a Price

Tom started letting the chickens free range yesterday. I thought it was too soon.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

And Still More Excitement!

Tom has heeded my pleas for gates into the pastures on the driveway side. How wonderful is he?! You may remember that I've been having to climb the fence if I need to get into the pastures, which is frequently. He and Charlie have built two and there are four to go. I think they look great and will be, oh, so useful.

The Queen of All Garden Sheds

This is one of the projects that Tom has been working on - turning the loafing shed by the garden into a garden shed. We used one of the windows taken out of the house during the remodel and the front door (so it has a peek-a-hole, as Tom calls it). Tom, his friend, Charlie, and Paden all worked hard digging out the old hay and tall bermuda that had grown up in there, and they used the old bi-fold closet doors from the house for shelving. I used more of the saltillo tile that we took out of the house for the floor.
The only thing we lack is a doorknob and the metal sheeting for the walls. We're waiting for the metal store to get some seconds in so we don't have to pay full price.
I LOVE my garden shed and can't wait to move my gardening stuff in. There is an electric line run out there already and Tom is going to put in an electrical outlet (I'm secretly planning to put one of our unused stereo systems out there) and overhead light. I'm giddy!

Clown Feet

Larry says that Harry is so clumsy because he has clown feet.

Great Pyrenese and Anatolian Shepherds both are breeds that have double dewclaws. They look pretty funky, but I guess they have a purpose.

Too Gone for Too Long

It's not that nothin' is happening around here, it's just that too much is happening around here.

I had a wedding to go to in Maryland two weekends ago. Before that, it was shop, shop, shop trying to find something to wear. I don't know why, but I always feel like I need something new to wear to a wedding. Maybe it's to celebrate the new relationship that is being formed...or maybe I just want something new. I bought three dresses with the intention of wearing one and taking two back. But I am bad. I kept all three. I figured I've got all of my special occasions covered for the year...even the big lawyer's firm X-mas party. And two of the dresses I can wear for more casual events.

Then last weekend I went to a wedding in Oklahoma. We had to get someone to farm sit.

And this coming weekend we're having a big Fourth of July bash, so all week is being spent on getting ready for that. Well, for me, anyway. Tom didn't have to shop (I got him something new to wear), so he spent his time doing projects around the farm. Pictures of those coming soon. But he will be spending the next two days strictly on the party prep.