Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Thursday, June 24, 2010


The sunflowers have bloomed and they are big, bold, and beautiful!

This is 10 to 12 inches across.  Hmm, how to harvest sunflower seeds?  Or will the birds get them all before I have a chance?

On another note, I decided to do a little piano playing tonight, which happens once in a blue moon.  I dug out some old music.  This is a particularly old book with easy music, the kind that you have to play when you never practice.  And look!  I can date this book pretty accurately being as how my sister laid claim to it during her "label everything 'April' days".  She must have gotten caught in the act on this one and was unable to complete it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Biggest egg ever.

Can't even close the carton.  I wish I knew which chicken it came from.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Carrot Family

Remember Barbie Carrot from May 26, 2009?  Well,

here's her husband, middle-aged Ken, and their slightly freaky offspring, Baby Hughey Carrot.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Dog's Life

Mochi wants to learn to chill with Harry.  Harry's a pretty good baby sitter

Sometimes Mochi has to squeak in protest.

Mochi sez, "Look, Mom!  We're guarding chickens!"

Tom's Big Dig

More bird's nest sprinkler system problems resulted in Tom spending yesterday on his knees digging under roots and trees.  Zone 5 of 18 had a major leak.  Of course, where the water was pouring out was not where the leak was.  The actual broken pipe turned out to be several feet uphill and directly under a very tall pine tree.  Tom thought this would be about an hour-long project, but like everything else, it turned into a whole day's project.

Instead of trying to repair the break directly under the tree and/or trying to reroute the pipes entirely around the roots, Tom dug under the roots and routed the new pipe through there...

and around the other side.

Mochi was very curious about all the digging, "Whatcha' doin'?"
"Fixing the pipe."

"Because it's broken."

"Because it was installed under a tree."

Harry chills on his favorite dirt pile.  He's big on digging, but not on a hot day like today.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bulls, Horses, and Nettles

Tom has been fighting the battle of the nettles this year.  We have bull nettles and Carolina horse nettles and some other kind of nettles.  Last year he spent many hours digging the bull nettles out of our 36 acres with shovel in hand.  Since we're trying to keep everything organic, it has been a struggle and the nettles are winning.  Until now.

This is a bull nettle.  It looks remarkably like a watermelon plant.  But don't touch it.  It stings like fire, even through jeans and rubber gloves.

This is a hay field with bull nettles - those clumps that are currently higher than the hay.

This is the natural herbicide, Scythe.  Natural is not organic, but we checked with our organic hay buyer and he's on board with us using the Scythe to get rid of the nettle.  Scythe is mixed with Roundup and diluted with water.  The bull nettle must be treated when it is in flower, not before.

And, within a few hours, this is what bull nettle, treated with Scythe looks like.

This is what a hay field with dead bull nettle looks like.  Splotches of gold among green.

This is an as yet undetermiined nettle.  Last year we were clueless as to how to get rid of this.

As a result, this nettle was taking over in this pasture.  Nettle, meet Scythe.

Die, nettle, die.

Tom spends an hour or so each morning spot treating the nettles.  After a season or two of this, we should be nettle free.

Until today, Tom thought that the nettles in the field pictured above were the Carolina horse nettles.  When he took this to the extension office, they told him that this is a Carolina horse nettle.  Tom is on his way out to add this to his Scything rounds.

Last year we were also overrun with sand burrs.  This natural product from DuPont, Pastora, was recommended for that.  It is diluted with water and sprayed over the entire field when the burr grass is small and hasn't yet produced the burrs.  Tom applied it a few weeks ago, so we don't know the effectiveness of this yet.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Deja Vu

or "been there, done that".

Tom helped me repair the well planter this evening after church.  It is hot and humid and we were dripping with sweat, but I wanted to get my fish back in their little pond before they died of...well, whatever goldfish die of.  And my moon flower plant was wilting away, too.  The well guy said to expect it to happen again.  But, until then and for our planned Fourth of July party (on the third), the well is lookin' good.  And the fish are happy...if goldfish can be happy.

BTW, our neighbor's rain gauge registered seven+ inches for the big rain.  Our gauge only measures four and it was overflowing.

And, just because I'm proud of my weed free garden this year, here are some pics.
That first row is my sunflowers.  I'm very excited about them and can't wait until they bloom.

That big blank space is where the potatoes and broccoli were.  I'll be planting some sugar snap peas there this week.  Beside the sunflowers is the cabbage.  I've harvested a lot of it, but it looks like there are new little heads growing on them, so I didn't pull them up like I did last year.  I don't know if cabbages produce more than one head per plant or not, but I guess I'll find out.

My corn is smaller than everyone else's around here because I planted late.  Of the 30 organic heirloom seeds that I bought from Seeds of Change last year, only about 4-5 came up.  I'm not impressed with the seeds from that site at all.  The corn didn't do well last year either and the cucumbers were inedible.  Because my corn didn't come up this season, I ended up buying corn from a local feed store.  All but a couple of those came up and are doing well.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


This is what I found when I went to check on my goldfish today.  Apparently, just dumping the clay in the well wasn't sufficient.  But how could we have tamped it down?  This will not be fun fixing this.  At least all my plants are still intact...for now.  I couldn't see the goldfish.  I hope they didn't get killed in the mini-avalanche of rocks and soil.  Just so you know, that pond liner should be up level with that row of rocks

And the sink hole, even though it has been filled twice now, is opening up under the sod that we put in.

Four inches of rain so far today.

Ah...Texas Weather

We've been dry as a bone this spring; about one rain in the past two months or so and that rain was a month and a half ago.  We were eleven inches below our average rainfall.  Well, it has been raining here now for about eight hours straight.  And I don't mean sprinkling.  It has been pouring buckets for eight hours.  Yesterday the weathermen forecasted that we'd get about four to six inches...although, on their radar it looked like it would mostly be east of us.  Now they're forecasting that we'll get eight inches before the day is through. 

Our driveway is like a creek.

My patio is shedding the water nicely, but there's a low spot on the pathway.  The sod is just a little too high and is trapping the water on the stones.  Oh well, if that's the worse thing that happens, I think we can live with a low spot.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

First Flower Bed at the Farm!

Yay!  I missed having flower beds and am so excited about putting this one in.

A row of dwarf yellow cannas along the wall.  Cannas do tend to take over, but they are so easy to grow.  I had orange cannas at my other house that were about seven feet tall and totally took over.  I eventually pulled them all out and threw them over the back fence into the creek.  Some of them took root and still grow there to this day.

White trailing lantana in front of the cannas in the two wide parts of the bed.

A row of pink ruellia along the path border.  My neighbor/green thumb/avid gardener friend at my last house called these "Mexican petunias".  She had given me some lavender ruellia (also gave me the cannas that were transplanted from Memphis, TN), which spread pretty quickly, too.

And, the pink hydrangea, which will be finished blooming some time this month.  It's all flopped over because the flowers are so heavy, but in later years, the older, woody stems will help hold up the new growth with the flower heads on it.

I put those solar lanterns in there as an attempt to discourage Harry from walking through the flower bed.  He cuts through on that last corner and has smashed one of the lantanas so many times that there are only two stems left on it.  I'm hoping that will be just enough of an obstacle that he will just stay on the path.  I don't want to have to put electric wire around this.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Vintage A/C

Circa 1974
(I don't know what circa means; I'll have to look it up)

Is this not a-MA-zing?  We have two A/C units, one for each end of the house.  They are original to the house and still going strong.  Of course, they aren't very energy efficient and we're contemplating replacing them.  Tom did some research (thank you internet and all those people who love to put their information out there) and discovered that if we replaced them with new ones, we'd save about $200.00 a month on our electric bill.  You can't beat that with a stick.

Garden Patrol

This is Jasper cat. 
At night we call the cats in and close them up in the barn to keep them safe from the scary creatures of the dark.  Sometimes one of the cats doesn't come and, so, gets left out at night only to be waiting hungrily at the barn door in the morning.  I'm pretty sure they're capable of taking care of themselves at night, but we like to be sure.  Anyway, lately it's been Jasper that hasn't come when called, or she comes late running from somewhere in front of the house.

I finally figured out where she's been hanging out.  I went out to the garden around dusk the other night and she was there stalking a Mockingbird that was a little too interested in the tomatoes on the vines.  She kept after it until it flew away. 

This evening, she was there again.  So I guess this is her favorite hang out for now and an added bonus for us that she's keeping the critters out of the garden.

You go girl.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Butterfly Follow-up

For the enquiring minds among us and those of us who don't know anything about butterflies, I did a google search and it appears that the butterfly in the previous post is a Giant Swallowtail.

Thursday, June 03, 2010


Or maybe it's a moth?  I'll have to look it up.  In order to fully appreciate my admittedly terrible photography, you might have to double click on the pics to enlarge them.  The creature has some beautiful markings - the bit of red and blue I didn't even see until I looked at the pictures.  And I caught it in flight, also.  With my dinky camera.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Mowing Dangers

Some bozo who previously owned our house thought it would be attractive to put rock flower beds along the front of the house.  There's not much actually growing there, a couple of azaleas, a couple of stunted sad little boxwoods.  The chickens have rooted through them and kicked a lot of rocks out into the grass.  So,when I mow, occasionally the mower blade will catch a rock and throw it out.  I never knew with what force it was throwing those rocks until today.

Meagan moved out here yesterday and while I was mowing this morning, she was getting in her car to go to work.  Just as she was standing at her car door, I went by with the mower and it threw a rock at that very moment.  It hit Meagan's finger, crushed the little bone above the last knuckle, cut completely through her fingernail and into the nail bed. 

I took her to the ER where we spent four hours waiting, having an x-ray, waiting, moving to an exam room, waiting, waiting, waiting, having the doc come in, exam, give a shot of lidocaine, waiting, waiting some more, having the doc pull the nail off, wash the wound, put seven stitches in, waiting, having a nominally trained but very nice not-a-nurse, ex-cop put a splint and bandage on.

Doc said the bone should heal normally and the nail should grow back, but he recommended a follow up with an orthopedist, which will be Thursday.

Oh, and for the record, I wasn't mowing close by, I was mowing about 20-30 feet away from Meagan's car.