Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rockin' Tomato Cages

Tom and I put our heads together and came up with this design for tomato cages.  The first year, I used store bought tomato cages and they were so flimsy, the tomato vines just bent them over.  At the end of the season, it was a nightmare trying to untangle the dead vines from the wires.  The second year (last summer) I didn't have any cages at all.  That was a mistake because the tomato vines became one solid mass that I had to tiptoe through.  I couldn't reach the tomatoes and and lot of them rotted on the ground.  I was determined to come up with something sturdy for this season.  Of course, there may be some unforeseen problems with this design, but at the moment, I've very excited about them and can't wait to get my tomatoes in the ground.

All we did was take pieces of hogwire (that were laying around our property so these cages are FREE) and bend them into a U/V shape.

Then we put them along the rows over the place where the tomatoes will be planted.  The holes in the wire are large enough for me to put my hand in and , hopefully, pick the tomato and pull it out through the hole.  The hog wire is very thick and strong, so it should be able to hold the vines up easily.
The asparagus that I planted last year is coming up.  I was told not to harvest any the first year, but I should be able to harvest some this year.  Can't wait!

These will fill out and be all ferny later in the season.

See, here's a perfect asparagus...just like in the grocery store.  I'm constantly amazed at what will actually grow when I plant it.  Not everything grows, but it's exciting when it does!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

101 Uses for Duct Tape

Thanks to a tip from a helpful reader, my torn up hen problem might be solved.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with rooster procreative behavior, they jump on the hens back and hold onto the top of their head and/or comb while they fertilize the eggs.  Now that the roosters have become more mature and have their spurs, they are scratching up the hens' backs, ripping feathers out until the back is bare, red, and raw.  For some reason, they seem to concentrate on from one to three hens at a time so that only one to three hens have raw backs at a time and it gives the other hen's feathers time to grow back in.  At the moment, we have one hen that has been especially ill treated.  Maybe she's the cutest or something.  She's one of the smaller hens and her back is really torn up.

One reader told me that she used duct tape on her hens' backs.  In theory, the duct tape won't stick to the skin, will protect the back until the feathers grow back in, and will eventually fall off on its own due to dust and debris getting up under there and loosening it.  Or, maybe the roosters will be turned off by the tacky tape stuck to her and will turn their attentions to another hen.  So, I finally got around to taping up that little hen this morning.  She doesn't seem to mind having duct tape stuck to her and has been happily pecking away in the yard all day.

Monday, March 29, 2010

...Oh What a Beautiful Day, I've Got a Wonderful Feeling...

...everything's goin' my way.

Today is a beeee.u.tiful day.  Sunny, warm, true blue Texas in springtime.

I took advantage of the good weather and did some yard and garden work.  For fun, I went to the nursery and bought some flowers and plants to go in the pots around the front of the house and some herbs for my herb tank.  Maybe some day I'll get myself together and plan ahead, starting some in the garden shed so that they'll be ready when spring arrives.

Needless to say, there was no curtain sewing going on here today.

These kinds of days heal the soul from it's aches and pains, or, at least it makes it easier to forget them for a while.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Inside Projects

In addition to taking the truck around the edge of the mini forest to pick up branches so Tom could mow and cleaning out the goat stall, I did this little project for myself this morning.  It was quick and easy.

It's a place to store my earrings - a picture frame with wire strung across it that the earrings hang on. 

And here are the bedroom curtains that I'm going to replace.

I think these are the original curtains that were hung when the house was built in 1978.  I'd say somebody got their money's worth out of them.

Good Fences Make for Good Neighbors

Our acreage is currently fenced with barbed wire except where we have the wood slat fencing around the front and sides and where the previous owner had installed "no climb" fence.  I don't know why it's called "no climb"  It's a wire mesh fencing with wooden posts and a strip of wood across the top to keep the horses from mashing the fencing down between posts.  Tom has decided to replace the barbed wire with field fencing.  That's a wire mesh that is good to use for keeping goats in.  The wire squares at the bottom are something   like 2x6 and they gradually get bigger towards the top of the fencing.   We need something other than barbed wire to keep our goats in and to keep Harry off the neighbor's property where he steals their belongings, brings them home, and chews them up.  We've apologized and offered to replace said items, but our neighbors insist that they love Harry and don't mind him coming over.  Personally, I think that after having to replace several items over a period of time, that love will wane.  Harry needs to stay home.  Period.

This is a section that Tom has already installed.  This extends from behind our barn out to the road that runs along the side of our property and is between us and the neighbors behind us.  That small section of wood fencing was installed by the neighbors during our previous owner's tenure in which there was a bit of tension over the fact that neighbors could see previous owner's unsightly burn pile.  Maybe the wood fence will be coming down soon?

So, here's Tom's fence installation process.  First, he takes down and rolls up the old barbed wire, then he pulls up the old metal t-posts which have been bent in towards our property because the neighbor's Longhorns subscribe to the belief that "the grass is always greener on the other side".  Then he takes the tractor and levels out the fence line, measures nine to ten feet apart for the t-posts and lays them out.  The house in the background is the neighbor's house out behind our barn.

Then he uses a level and pounds the post in with a couple of knocks with the small sledge hammer to get them started straight.

Next, he hefts the t-post tool, which weighs about 50 lbs. way up over the top of the post....  Aaaaarrrrrr!
...then he lets it drop to pound the post into the ground.  Ooofff!

Lift again.  Aaaaarrrgghhhh!

...and pound!  Ummmph!  It usually takes three or four pounds to drive the post in far enough.

And then we have a row of poles ready to attach the fencing to.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Curtains, Here We Come

Blah.  I finally started on the curtains for my bedroom.  Pinch pleat drapes...I've never made them before, so I guess I'll just figure it out as I go along.

My floor is my cutting board.  Hard on the knees and back.  I've cut all the lengths of fabric except for a couple of lengths of lining because I ran out of it.

So now to turn this pile of fabric into drapes.


Brown Recluse!  Fiddleback!  Whatever it's called!  In the HOUSE!  This is just NOT right.

I started on my bedroom curtains yesterday and when I finished cutting the lengths of fabric, I took the leftover roll into the back closet to stash away.  When I moved a roll of white lining, I saw this spider on it and wasn't terribly concerned because it looked sort of like the big harmless wolf spiders that we see frequently.  But it occurred to me that this might be a good opportunity to see if Tom's new insect zapper would work on a spider, so I went to find the zapper.  I went back to the closet, dug around til I found this ugly bug and zapped him.  It sparked, but didn't kill him on the first touch.  By that time, I could tell it wasn't a wolf spider and was determined to eliminate him...or HER **shudder**.   I had to do a bit of searching and chasing, but I finally got it.  When I was sure it was dead, I looked at it very closely and, sure enough, it has a perfect little fiddle on it's back.  LOOK!

I enhanced the picture a bit so the fiddle would be easier to see.  Double click on the image for a larger view.

Here's the spider with zapper.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Goat Fun

Along with the capability of being able to place the pictures anywhere in my post, blogger seems to have taken away the capability to post videos.  Here are a few shots of the kids playing on the fallen oak.  Hyacinth's kid jumps up on the high side.

Two up.  One down.

Running and jumping.

Rosie even got in on it.

What Are They Worth

This is Hyacinth goat and her offspring from last year, Rosie goat.  Now, Rosie is a little over a year old.  She should be about as big as her mom.  But if you were reading last year, you'd know that we almost lost Rose due to a series of unfortunate events.  She recovered, but it seems that she is now destined to be a miniature.  I don't know if she'll ever be good for breeding or milking. 

Speaking of milking, take a look at that udder on Hyacinth.  You'd think that udder was just brimming full of yummy milk.  Apparently, it is not.  Or, if it is, it is stubbornly staying put.  I went out on Friday morning to milk Hyacinth for the first time this season.  All this time, I thought that her udder was so big and full because it was...well, FULL.  That udder is as hard as a basketball and I barely got a few ounces out.

I was so excited about getting lots of milk this year because her udder seemed to have recovered from the sad state it was in last year and this time she only has one baby to feed.  So, my first thought when I felt that udder was, "Uh, oh, mastitis again!"  But the milk that I got was white and creamy.  No pink tinge to indicate blood.  She's not off her feed.  Her baby is thriving  So what's the deal? 

As usual, I did an internet search and the only thing I can come up with is "congested udder" and the remedy was massage and milk, massage and milk.  I did that for a while, but it didn't seem to make a difference.  I got less and less milk and I'm concerned about taking the little milk that she does produce away from the baby.  So, I decided to just let it be for a while and see if it works itself out.  It doesn't seem to bother her.

Now I'm wondering if it's even worth keeping Hyacinth.  This is the second year that she hasn't produced enough milk to make it worth the effort of milking her.  And besides that, she's a kicky milker, always trying to kick my hands away and jumping around on the milking stand.  Bah!  What a pain.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Slaughtering Day

Today Mark and Larry came over and helped Tom slaughter the two meat goats that were born last spring.  I really didn't want to see any of the process, but since Tom chose to hang them in a tree right next to the house until he can take them to the meat processor tomorrow, I was forced to look.

This is the only  picture I could bring myself to take.  Maybe next year, I'll be braver or more hardened.

I had to catch one of the goats for them and I felt like a traitor.  I used my come-to-dinner call, "Here goat, here goat.  It's OK".  Liar.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


This is what we came home to tonight.  Don't be alarmed, it's not our house.  Some neighbors were doing a controlled burn on their hay field right across the street.  It was a bit scary to see, but they obviously had it under control.

Tom lit our burn pile so we could have a bonfire, our nieces could have s'mores and Meagan and I could have burnt marshmallows.  I caught the marshmallows on fire, risking scorched face, while my accomplished GSA leading sister, April, assembled the s'mores.  As usual, I forgot to get pictures of actual people, but here's a nice picture of our fire.  It's a good thing I don't attempt to make my living with photography.  We'd starve.  Maybe if I had a better camera?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

As Promised

Hog limb from yesterday.  For the morbid among us, if you look close at the joint, you can see some honking big maggots (double click on picture to enlarge).

And, oh joy, Harry brought home the other leg this morning.

A lovely closeup Harry's hog hoof.

If I knew how to put a thought bubble in the picture above Harry's head, you would see what I saw as Harry proudly carried his ham hock, "Mom's garden will be the perfect place to bury this!"  Or, maybe the way Harry thinks, just a picture of the garden.

Yep, he's headin' in that direction.  Just as he was about to slip under the fence, I yelled, "Harreee! NO!"  He stopped and gave it some thought, then turned and headed for the mini forest.

I don't know if he changed his mind about the garden because I told him, "NO!" or because he didn't want me to see the actual burial.  He's very secretive, in his big dopey way, about where he buries his loot.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Limbs In the Driveway

I found the limb of a dead animal in the driveway today.  I think it was a hog leg.  Phew!  It was stinky and had big maggots in it.  I'm sure Harry is the one who drug it up here.  I threw it out by the barn, away from the house, but if I can find it again, I'll take a picture so everyone else can enjoy, if not the odor, then at least the bone, sinew, and nappy hair still clinging to it.

Yum, yum, what's for supper, Harry?!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Why must some people throw their trash out the window of their vehicle?  Is it too much to ask to keep your own stupid beer can, water bottle, Twinkie wrapper, etc. in your own car until you get to your own home and throw it in your own trash can?  Some people are just pigs. 

Pretty Stuff

I bought this from local place that sells all kinds of metal art.  I'd had my eye on it for some time and finally decided one day that I'd just go get it and if it didn't look good in it's intended place (the master bedroom) that I could always hang it up on the front of the barn.  It doesn't look terribly big in the picture, but it's 40 inches across.

I hung it up in our still undecorated master bedroom.  I was afraid it would make the room look small, but instead it accentuates the largeness of the room.

And I'd found this mirror at a local store over a year ago and knew I wanted to buy it, but was waiting for it to go on sale.  It never did, but I was in a mood that same day and I went ahead and bought it for $179.00.  I was vindicated yesterday while looking at a catalog that I'd received in the mail.  They had that very same mirror priced at $349.00 plus shipping.  Now I feel like I got a great deal!

TIP O' THE DAY:  If you have a problem with flakiness on your face, wash it with T-Gel shampoo regularly.  **shrug** It worked for me.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

A Big Thanks to Blogger.com

They finally made it possible and easy to position several pictures in one post with captions under them instead of me having to write one paragraph for several pictures and/or make a new post for each picture.  I don't know how long they've offered this, but I just recently decided to click on their upgrade and this was one of the features.  Yay!

More Babies, Freshly Born

I went out to the barn to feed the momma's this afternoon and this is what I found.  Two little boys (bah, we need some girls), still wet and minutes old.  I even helped Pansy expel the afterbirth since she was just letting it hang there.  I know, gross, but hey, I'm a farmer now.  When I saw the black one, I thought, "Who's yo' daddy?"  Billy's got him some powerful genes.

And I'm so happy that I was keeping Pansy in the barn with Hyacinth.  It's raining and yucky outside today and if Pansy hadn't already been in, Tom and I would have been out in the rain bringing goats in.  Yay for planning ahead!

Another tan one like last year.  Pansy is an attentive mother.  Much more so than Hyacinth.  She was nuzzling, licking, and muttering to them contstantly.

And she stands very still while they nurse instead of kicking them in the head in her haste to get away from them.  In this pic, you can see that the umbilical cord is still very fresh.

Baby Sittin'

Awww, just look at that sweet face.

Baby tried to nurse again.  Harry was very patient.

Harry decided to join in the grazefest and see what all the fuss was about.  No, he's not just sniffing, he really is eating the grass and did for some time.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

I Kid You Not!

This morning...baby goat tried to nurse on Harry.  Harry stood very still with a hilariously baffled look while baby goat nudged around under him looking for the teat.  The look on Harry's face was priceless.

Annnd, for the first time ever, Hyacinth showed concern for a baby.  She saw her baby standing under big Harry dog and muttered worriedly a couple of times.  When the baby continued to nuzzle Harry, Hyacinth walked over, nudged him out from under Harry and led him away.  Maybe there's hope for that momma yet.

So, kick me. I never have my camera when I really, really need it. OK, so don't kick me, but at least remind me to get my camera before I ever leave the house.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

It's a Boy

Hyacinth's new baby was born today.  When I went out to feed the goats, I noticed she was noticeably thinner and knew right away that she had given birth.  I ran down to the shed halfway expecting to find it dead because she had just left it there.  But it was fine, just laying in the sunlight shining into the front of the shed.  I am so glad she only had one this year.  Since she was such a bad mother last time, I was afraid we might have to go through that again.  Also, since she had mastitis last year and one side of her udder stopped producing milk, I thought that side was ruined for good.  But, her whole udder is very full and looks normal, so that's great.  Maybe I'll get lots of milk this season after all.

And this is why we had to get rid of all but two roosters and for the past couple of days we've had those two penned up separately from the hens.  This is what they do to their backs.  We let the roosters out today and penned up two of the hens with the worst wounds.  This is why I need to learn how to make chicken jackets!

Weird that somebody stole two of our Medina for Governor signs.  Was it meanness or did a Medina supporter want a sign for their own yard?  I suspect it was meanness.  I can't imagine a Medina supporter stealing a sign.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Spam. Bah!

Why do people spam blogs?  What a colossal waste of time and energy.  I just spent about an hour cleaning spam comments off my blog this morning.