Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Monday, January 31, 2011


Things around here have come to a screeching halt.  Tom is in the hospital.  On Wednesday he started having a lot of pain and thought he had a hemorrhoid.  He toughed it out until Saturday when the pain was so bad that he couldn't sit and could barely sleep the night before.  We decided that perhaps it wasn't a hemorrhoid and that it could be something that needed some medical attention.  So we went to the ER.  They determined that it was a perirectal abscess and they admitted him.  He had surgery to drain it on Sunday afternoon and because it might possibly be a staph infection, they have kept him there.  If all goes well, they plan to discharge him tomorrow.

Despite the pain and with Tom working in slow motion, on Saturday we managed to put the greenhouse frame up.

It backs up to the garden shed so access to the shed will be through the greenhouse.  We used the old dining room doors for the greenhouse doors and have two panels left (one is leaning up against the wall of the shed in the picture) that we're trying to think of a way to incorporate into the structure.  I might just end up using them as potting tables.  We didn't put the plastic over it because it was too windy that day.

A friend gave us 15 hens that will probably start laying eggs in March.  It only took them a couple of days to figure out that I'm the food lady.  They're running after me in this picture as they do every time I walk out there.  When our friend offered them to us, I thought he was offering little chicks.  When he brought them over and I realized they were practically adults, I was concerned about integrating them into our small flock.

I had read that you shouldn't try to put two flocks together because it messes up the pecking order, but it's been a little over a week and they seem to be doing fine.  We used the dog kennel to make an extra yard for them while for three days I conditioned them to come when I call, "chick, chick".  Then we took the plunge and let them free range.  They are definitely kept low in the pecking order by our older hens.  They get lots of pecks and an occasional feather pulled out and they are not allowed on the roost at night, but I expect all of that to be sorted out with time.

Today was the first time I got the opportunity to take a picture of one of the bluebirds with  my new camera.  These birds are so elusive and skittish that it has been very difficult.  They fly away if I'm anywhere near with the camera.  But this little guy keeps trying to get in the house.  Each  morning he (or one that looks just like him) sits on the bathroom window sill cheeping and fluttering and banging into the window over and over again.  And this afternoon while I was sitting at the computer, he was doing the same to the kitchen window, so I grabbed my camera and very quietly went outside just in time to snap this pic while he was sitting on a nearby tree.  Unfortunately, it is kind of blurry.  I've found that when I zoom in real tight, it is very difficult to hold the camera still enough for a clear shot, especially when I'm in a hurry like I was today because I knew he would flit away at any moment.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Craigslist Finds, Cottage Antiques, and Birthday Gifts

I found this patio set on craigslist.  Had to drive to Dallas to get it, but I took Netta with me so the drive was fun and she helped me pack it into the back of the truck.  Well, to be more accurate, she packed it and I kind of helped.

On the way, we stopped at an antique mall.  I bought this old tablecloth.  I love the colors.  I think I'll make it into a bedspread for the apartment.

I also got these two white lamps to go in one of the bedrooms.  Milk glass, hobnail?

For my birthday, my very sweet sister sent me this teacup wind chime.  Very cute.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

But the Good News Is...

The A/C guys came on Monday and finally finished installing the A/C unit.  So now we have real heat, not that we need it today because it is supposed to be 60 degrees.  But, that is progress.  Now that it is done, we can start moving stuff off the barn floor up to the loft and getting the barn cleaned up.

The heat is electric, but we just have that for back up.  We got a propane heater that will be installed by the door in the living room that is supposed to be able to heat the whole space and be cheaper than the electric heat.  We had originally planned to have a wood stove in there and I really, really want to do that, but Tom is not so keen on it and it would take up space in the tiny living area.  It's still a possibility in the future, but for now it will be propane and/or electric.

Gently Fired

We let our carpenter go this morning.  He was just doing shoddy work.  It's not like it was earth shatteringly awful, but why pay someone to do shoddy work? 

It's little things like this...

and this.  I mean, why not cut the casings to the proper length so that it all flows nicely, fits tight against the floor or the adjoining board and doesn't have to be caulked?  The carpenter's solution is to caulk these places that don't match up.  My thought is, why not do it right the first time?  What is so hard about measuring the board to fit correctly?

And, sure, all of the boards are not straight, but if they aren't straight and don't lie flat against the wall, why not be a little creative and find a way to make them as much as possible?

There are a few corners like this one where the baseboards aren't flat up against the wall, which leaves a gap both against the wall and a V-shaped gap against the adjoining baseboard.  Yes, these gaps can be filled with caulk, but why?

Tom went in and used screws instead of nails to screw the wood to the stud.  That pulls the wood tight against the wall, even if the wood is warped.  The carpenter should have taken the time to do this.  Since, he didn't and he already cut all the wood to fit with gaps, when Tom made the adjustment, it left an even bigger gap.  The choice is to take the whole other piece of baseboard out, go buy more and replace it with a longer piece, or put this little sliver of wood to fill the gap.  We're going with the sliver.  We can't afford to replace all the boards that would need to be replaced, so we're going to fix what we can and remind ourselves that "this is a barn, it doesn't have to be perfect".

So, it's a whole bunch of little things, of which the above are just a sampling, that have added up to "fired".  Now, either we have to find another carpenter or Tom is going to have to finish the trim work.  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the  moment and Tom must be, too.  There are just so  many things that need to be done NOW, that it's hard to know what to do first.

We have to get the entry gate up now to stop Harry from leaving the property and chasing cars before he gets killed.  We have to get the greenhouse up now so that I can get my seeds started for the spring garden.  We need to fence off the back yard now so that when the plants start coming up in the flower bed, the chickens won't scratch them all up and destroy everything.  We need to get the barn cleaned up now so that when the baby goats arrive at the beginning of March, we'll be able to keep them in the barn.

I  haven't even cleaned up the garden from last summer.  There are still dead plants in there and lots of winter weeds have sprouted up, so it will have to be tilled.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Harry v. Wylie Coyote

While fixing my breakfast this morning, I happened to glance out the kitchen window just in time to see a small coyote (about the size of a border collie, but scrawnier) lope from the direction of the road into the circle that our driveway makes right out in front of the house.  It appeared that he came right up the driveway.  At first I thought it was some ugly little dog, but I couldn't identify the breed and it suddenly dawned on me, "that's a coyote!"

Harry happened to be in the front yard and saw the coyote right about the same time I did.  He jumped up and gave chase and the little coyote turned and high-tailed it as fast as he could go.  Harry chased him all the way down the driveway, across the road (thank goodness a car wasn't coming right at that moment), and into the hay field across the road.  Harry came back empty handed, so I guess it got away. 

Brazen little thing to march right up to our yard at 8:00 on a bright clear morning.  He was probably on a  reconnaissance mission for his pack.  I hope his report back was, "humongous, scary, mean dog there, too risky to try to hunt on that land." rather than "only one dopey dog watching the place, lots of chickens and goats for dinner, I'll lead him away, while y'all go catch a chicken."

Wish I had had time to get my camera and get that on film.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

On a Happier Note

So, I wasn't going to post pictures of the kitchen until it was all trimmed out and done, but I couldn't wait.

Here's the peninsula.  The butcherblock countertop will jut out a few inches in the back to make an eating bar.  The apron front sink will go in the cabinet right under the window.

This is to the right of the window/sink.  The refrigerator and stacked washer/dryer will go in the blank space, microwave in that tall cabinet with the open space in the middle.  In retrospect, I could have made the kitchen a few feet smaller.  Actually, I did try, but I couldn't get the cabinets to work out unless I moved the sink out from under the window and I didn't want to to that.

The IKEA cabinets were super easy to put together.  Most of them literally snapped together and you can put them together without any power tools, although a drill comes in handy.  The installation is pretty simple, too, however, power tools are necessary for that.  A level is a must.  During installation, every angle must be leveled.  The process is rather tedious, but again, simple.  IKEA provides little plastic legs that snap onto the bottom of the cabinets and can be screwed up or down to level each side.

Here is how the trim is going to look...and the colors.  This is one of the bedroom closets, doors taken off and primed by the carpenter **mad face**.  All of the apartment and Tom's office is painted this color with the exception of the bathroom, which is a shade lighter, and the other bedroom in the following picture.

I LOVE these colors!  And I love the contrast with the white trim.

This is Tom's office with two buit in bookcases, so far, only primed.

What do you think?  Cottagey?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fed Up

That's what I am, fed up with these workmen that have no respect for our space.  The A/C guys still haven't finished the job.  They finally...finally came this week to finish it, but they drilled a hole in the wall in the wrong place.  They have to repair that so all work has stopped.  That was Wednesday and they still haven't come back even though they made arrangements to come yesterday.  No show.  No call.

I didn't realize unti too late that when they left on Wednesday, they just left all the stuff right in the middle of the floor, blocking the door.  If I had known, I would have had them move it all upstairs out of the way.  Instead, the carpenter had to move it all out of the way so he could work on Thursday.  And I'm paying him by the hour.  So, essentially, I paid him to clean up the A/C guys mess.  Currently, it is just shoved out of the way so we have at least a pathway through the middle of the barn.  To this mess...

And this isn't even half of it.  I couldn't get it all in one frame.  Every flat surface is covered with painted boards, drying in the barn.  Basically, the carpenter bullied me into letting him paint all the trim boards.  Yes, he did in just a few hours, with his spray rig, what it would have taken me much longer to do.  But, I didn't hire him to paint.  I hired him to install the trim.  And, yes, I was kind of dreading painting all that trimwork after it was up, but I could have done it in my own time and for free.  I had to pay him.  So, I do feel bullied.  It's a good thing that we don't have to put any animals in right now because we literally could not use our barn.  At all.

This is a working farm.  I guess I'm just tired of people not respecting that.  And I'm tired of dealing with contractors.  Period.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Since I got no volunteers to put the cabinets together, Tom and I did it ourselves.

Figuring things out.

Coming together.


This is our first day's work.  Three cabinets sitting generally where they will be installed.  It may look like Tom did all the work, but I did do my fair share.  It's just that I'm the one with the camera.  I put all the drawers together and the hinges on while Tom built the cabinet boxes and put the hardware in them.

This is what the inside of an IKEA cabinet looks like.  Particle board.  I'm not sure I trust it, but I have it on good authority that this is reasonably quality stuff.  Honestly, I don't think I'd put anything but solid wood cabinets in my home, but...this is a barn.  And it will probably only be used moderately. 

And it snowed this week.  We actually got more than this, but this is when it just began.  The temperatures have been the coldest that we've had in a year - low twenties, possibly a teen here and there.  The A/C guys have yet to show up and complete the installation of the A/C/Heater, so there is no heat in the apartment.  It has been bearable only because the apartment is so well insulated that it has stayed warm.  But that warmth is slowly wearing off because we've had several days of below freezing weather.  If we were working in the open part of the barn, I don't think we would have lasted this long.

Oh, and I had a birthday this week.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Craigslist Deals and Kitchens

The apartment is painted.  Above is the wood for the trim, all of which has to be painted by moi before the trim carpenter can get started.  40 8 ft. 1x6's, 40 8 ft. 1x4's, 4 sheets of 4x8 1/4 inch plywood, and 4 sheets of 4x8 beaded board.  HooYa.

This is my kitchen from IKEA.  Any volunteers to come put these together for me?  88 packages loaded into the back of the pick-up truck by myself and my friend, Netta.  I couldn't have done it without her.  In the meantime, I locked the keys in the truck.  Netta broke in, crawled through the back window and unlocked it for me.  My new resolution, "Don't go anywhere without Netta."  She has a bag like Mary Poppins and pulls things out of it like rabbits out of a hat.

And, la piece de resistance...
An antique wardrobe-turned-pie safe from Craigslist for 85.00.  Needs just a tiny bit of work, which Tom has nearly completed and it will be perfect storage for towels in the bathroom.  So excited about this find.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

First Monday Flea Market

About a 15 or 20 minute drive from us is the biggest flea market in the country.  It's called First Monday Trade Days and is the weekend containing the first Monday of every month.  I've gotten several things for our farm from there, including Harry.  I went yesterday looking for things to furnish the apartment.  Sometimes the market is so full one can hardly walk down the aisles, but I guess since this was New Year weekend and the middle of winter, there were much fewer vendors and much fewer shoppers. 

These are pictures of the old open air flea market area.  Normally there are no empty lots and the aisles are packed with people.  There is the old part of the flea market, which I think of as a "true" flea market with everything old and junky that you can imagine.  Then there are several long pavillions and several completely enclosed buildings that tend to house higher end antiques, handmade furniture, and craft items.  I usually stick to the open air market and the junk.

There also is an area called Dogtown (some people call it Dog Alley) that has all kinds of puppies (many from politically incorrect and admittedly cruel "puppy mills").  But there is also all kinds of livestock for sale - cows, goats, horses, chickens (it's where I got mine), rabbits, etc.  Then there's anothe area called The Mountain that I haven't been to at all, so I'm not sure what's there.  The flea market takes over the whole town on first Monday weekends.

My purchases yesterday:

These were in sets of four for 10.00 bucks a piece.  I bought four sets (two of each design), making the total 40.00.  When the guy asked me if I wanted them packed in a box, I said, "How else would you do it?" wondering if perhaps it would be better to carry them out in bags.  He must have misunderstood because immediately said, "Oh, I'll let you have them for 35.00 since you're buying four sets."  Heh.  Deal.

Then on my way out I walked down the row to a booth with some old quilts that I had looked at on my way in.  I had spoken to the vendor about this quilt that was priced at 75.00.

I had 65.00 left over from my 100.00 and asked the lady would she take 65.00 for the snowball pattern quilt.  She would.  She did.  Deal.

It does have a bit of damage that you can see right about in the middle of the picture, but it's nothing that can't be patched or overlooked.  The rest of the quilt is in great shape.