Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I really....really....hate this.

When Tom went to pick muscadine grapes on Monday, he decided to also pull some of the vines out of the tree with the idea in mind that he could trim the vines and pick the grapes off of the vines that he pulls out.  Before they got started, Tom and our teenage helper, Reid, saw a racoon up in the tree.  For some reason, they decided that the racoon must die.  When I later asked him "why?", he said that if they left it there, it would have been bothering them or trying to get them while they worked in the tree.  My thought was that the racoon didn't want to be anywhere near them and would stay as high in the tree as it could.  Nevertheless, Tom came in and got his gun.  I heard two shots.

When I went out to help pick, I commented, "I hope that racoon didn't have babies somewhere that it was taking care of."

Lo and behold...baby.  In tree.  Beside dead mother hanging in tree.

I'd rather not have even known this, but Tom took a picture and loaded it on my computer.  So now I know and am haunted by it.  And now you know.  I hope it doesn't affect you the way it affects me.

I am not the kind of person that would join PETA or think that animals should never be killed for any reason.  Obviously, I am not a vegetarian and I do think that animals are here for us to make use of.  I eat meat, I wear leather and furs and I have no problem with that.  It's just that...I don't want them to suffer.  And it makes me so very sad thinking about that baby racoon seeing it's mother killed right beside it and not knowing what to do and not understanding why it's mother is not responding to it.

As far as I know, that racoon hadn't done anything to us.  Yeah, that one summer we had a racoon fishing our goldfish out of the water buckets and I didn't like it and I wanted that racoon out of here.  Maybe it was the same racoon.  I don't know.  But this just doesn't seem like a fair exchange somehow.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Boyz In Da 'Hood

Billy the Goat

Harry the Dog

Edward the Cat
The vet says Eddie Cat is going to be a big fella...'bout 17 pounds.  He'll fit right in.

Crummy Trees

Remember Ewell Love the Arbor Barber (Dec. 17, 2010)?  And the extreme trimming that he did on the ugly maple trees in the front yard?  And how they were supposed to come back all beautiful in the Spring?  Well, this is what they look like now.

This one is kind of OK.  Better than last year.

And the one on the left is OK, too.  Not great, but it is an improvement.  But, the one on the right is pitiful.  The problem with all of them is that the new branches keep falling off.  They just...drop off.  And if a big wind blows, the yard is littered with them.  That terrible one on the right has got to go.  I'm going to replace it with either an oak or a magnolia.

So, the Arbor Barber was sort of right.  They do come back with a better shape, but what comes back seems to be very weak.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Ever since Edward came to live with us, Alice and Jasper have decided that they hate each other.  I don't mean a mild dislike, either.  Alice has driven Jasper out of the barn.  Everytime Jasper tried to come in, or was put in, Alice would growl and they would both hiss and spit and Alice would chase Jasper up into the attic or into a corner and then stand guard to see that she stayed there.  Otherwise, there would be a hairflying, rolling on the floor catfight.

Jasper has finally moved out for good.  For a while she lived with the outside goats and slept in their shed, but she has now decided to live on the back porch.  I don't really want her living on the back porch.  Her job is in the barn.  But I finally felt sorry for her and put her food out there.  I was wondering why the flock of blue birds weren't  hanging out at the birdbaths anymore.  I guess I have my answer.  It is very frustrating because I really enjoyed watching the birds.  Also, Pearlie is now obsessed with going outside and bugs me all day, acting like she needs to potty, but I know she only wants to go out and mess with Jasper.

Who knew that two sister cats who grew up together would all of the sudden hate each other with a passion.  It probably has something to do with Edward, but I haven't figured it out.  Jasper hates Edward and Alice merely tolerates him.

Any cat people out there have any ideas?

Gardenia Tree

I finally got these gardenia trees that Meagan got for me on Mother's Day repotted so that they aren't falling over and drying out.  I thought they weren't going to survive the waiting.

But they have fully recovered, are blooming, and smell heavenly.

The Gate

We finally got that old gate that I bought months ago installed across our driveway entrance.  Our welder friend, Charles, took it home with him for a month or so and repaired all the rusted out spots.  I wasn't expecting to get a power opener on it so soon, but Tom got right on it, ordered it and installed it, so the gate is up and running and Harry is no longer running amok every morning down the driveway, across the road and into the neighbor's fields.  The only way he can get out now is down around the pond and through the barbed wire.  That avenue of escape will be closed off ASAP.

I'll be painting it soon - probably black, but I have to think on it a while.  I'm wanting to stay with our red/tan farm colors, but, as you can see the tan that it is now just blends in and is pretty yucky.  I'm going to test a rusty red color, but I'm planning on not liking it.

Decorative insert in the center.  We added this because of a measuring snafu.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cottage Curtains

In the midst of all the goat drama, I've been working on curtains for the bedrooms in the apartment.  Tom and Meagan have been very insistent that our guests want some sort of window covering, but I just hadn't gotten around to it.  So, with Tom threatening to go buy some mini-blinds, I decided to use that vintage tablecloth (that I was going to make a bedspread out of) as a curtain.  It wasn't big enough to do both or small enough to do just one, so I cut it in half and added a white panel to the top of each and made a curtain for both rooms.  I'd like to add some sort of decorative trim to the seam in the middle of the curtain, but I had to get these made and hung fast because we're having guests again starting Sunday.  Maybe I'll get around to adding the trim some time down the road.

They're pretty much a flat panel with hardly any fullness at all.  I lined them, put button holes along the top, and hung them on hooks that I screwed in to the window facing.

And they can be pulled back, like so, and hooked on the drapery tie-back hook thing (can't remember what those things are called).

**Rain and thunder threatening today, but so far,  nothing more than a smattering of sprinkles and it's blowing on by.**

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What a Contrast!

I was noticing my front page picture of the driveway taken a couple of years ago in constrast to the Funeral Procession post's pictures of the driveway.  We're having a drought this year and what little grass there is is brown and crispy...except for the lawn around the house, of course, because I keep it watered.

If we don't get rain soon, our pastures are going to dry up and blow away.

The Funeral Procession

Tom was trying to find someone by phone to come over and bury the goat, but when I saw buzzards circling our property, I knew it was time to take matters into my own hands.  Meagan came along just in time and went with me down the drive to the goat pasture.  I rigged up some ropes around the goat's head and horns and Meagan and I, with all our might, managed to drag her through the pasture and out the gate.

I wish I'd had a free hand to take a picture of the other goat's expressions, which said something like, "That is just so wrong!"

Then I tied her to the back of my riding mower. 

And started off down the driveway.

Along the path to the barn, with a glance back to make sure she hadn't snagged on something and come loose.

Past the chicken coop that they share with the snakes.

And into the woods.  I had to drag her into the woods by myself (no mean feat) because Meagan was bringing up the rear of the procession in the golf cart, taking pictures, tending gates and keeping Harry out.

And because the mower got stuck in the sand and there it remains.

Text conversation with Absent Husband:

Me:  The buzzards were circling, so I drug her down to the woods with the mower, which is now stuck in the sand.

Me again:  Taking a shower now after dragging dead body.

Absent Husband:  I'm sorry, but I am laughing.

Me:  That's OK, yuck it up now because when u get home, u get to bury Beetlejuice and it will be my turn to laugh.

She's Dead

Well, my morning started with a dead momma goat and two orphaned kids.

I knew when I saw the kids with the rest of the herd that she must have died during the night.  Otherwise, they wouldn't have left her.  I took them to the barn and tried to bottle feed them.  They weren't interested in that, so I put them in a stall with the milk in a bowl, sweet feed in a bowl and a block of hay.

I am second guessing myself, though.  They didn't look gaunt like I expected them to after not having nursed sufficiently for 24 hours.  I'm beginning to wonder if either they are eating enough solid food to survive or if one of the other goats let them nurse.  Normally, the momma goats knock babies away that don't belong to them.  Is it possible that some kind of other instinct kicks in if a herd member dies?

So, now I have to figure out what to do with the goat body laying out in the pasture.  She did manage to get herself outside of the shed at some point during the night and there she lays.

Monday, June 13, 2011

What Are They Thinking?

I've observed some interesting behavior from the other goats during this episode.  Buttercup, the head honcho of the Boer herd, has shown little interest in the sick goat.  She came over and checked her out once, but the number three goat has shown much interest.

While I was out there, she hovered a little bit and sniffed the sick goat.  After a while, she gently nudged her with her head, first just kind of rubbing heads, then nudging down her neck to just behind her shoulder blades.  She pushed and nudged until the sick goat got up and walked towards the shed.  She made it about halfway and let the kids nurse for just a couple of seconds, then she laid back down.

The way it looked to me was that #3 was trying to get sick goat up on her feet to feed her kids.  But she could have just as easily been telling her, "Go off and die somewhere else, we don't want your dead body in our shade."

I'm at a Loss

Each time I checked on the goat today she seemed worse. She's not feeding her kids and only lays on the ground moaning. She did at least move into the shed. I've done all I can do for her, but expect to find her dead in the morning.

So, what does one do with a dead goat? I guess if Tom was here he'd go dig a hole out in the pasture and bury her. But I can't dig a hole that big and even if I could, I couldn't move her to it.

And if I can't get the kids to eat, they'll probably die, too. They are eating some solid food. Baby goats start eating at a very young age, but at less than a month old, they still rely heavily on their mother's milk. I don't think they are drinking any water at all.

I think I'll take the kids tomorrow and see if Pansy will nurse them. I fully expect her to reject them, but I have to at least try it. If she won't take them, I'll put them in the barn and try to force feed them. I just don't know what else to do because it looks like even if the mother recovers, she won't have any milk.

It's times like these when I really don't like farming. I have a constant "dread" feeling in the pit of my stomach when one of the animals is sick.

It's Gonna Be a Bumpy Ride

Today is not a good day on the farm.

Tom had to leave for a business trip, which automatically means that something must go wrong.

I was feeding the goats before he left and noticed that one of the Boers wouldn't get up to eat.  It is never a good sign if they don't come running and knocking each other out of the way to get their fair share of sweet feed.

She will only lay on the ground and moan.  I couldn't prod her or pull her up.

Thank goodness Tom was still here at this point so he was able to hook up the livestock trailer and with the help of a friend, drag her by the horns into the trailer and take her to the vet.  My guess was that she had worms and the vet confirmed it.  Worms can kill a goat quickly.  This goat's babies are less than a month old and she wouldn't get up to nurse them even though they were clamouring all over her.

So, the vet gave her a nutritional supplement and gave Tom instructions to worm her and all the other goats today and again next week.  Of course, Tom won't be here and had to come straight home and get ready to catch his flight right away, so the worming and supplement chore is all mine.  Normally, that is not a problem.  I worm the Nubians by myself by locking their head between my knees and squirting the medicine into their mouths.  But the Nubians don't have horns and they are tame and used to me handling them.  The Boers have big long horns and, although they are not aggressive, they won't tolerate me locking their head between my legs and those horns hurt when they hit you.  They are too strong for me to handle myself.

I was able to worm the sick one because she won't get up, but all I could do for the healthy ones is to put the wormer on their food.  They don't like the taste and didn't want to eat it.  When I went back later to check, they had reluctantly eaten it, but I don't know who ate it or if any of them got a full dose.

Another issue is that this momma looks like her milk is drying up and she won't let the kids nurse.  I tried bottle feeding them, but knew it was futile to begin with.  When they are used to nursing, they won't switch to a bottle.  All they did was yell while I was holding them and forcing the bottle in their mouth.

At least Tom killed the snakes that were eating the eggs in the chicken coop last night so that's not something I'm going to have to deal with on my own.

Oh yeah, and if you live near me, come get some eggs.  We are so overrun with eggs that I didn't half mind sharing them with the snakes...creepy as they are.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Today I accomplished one of my goals and it's sort of like a milestone for me.  I made goat milk butter.

For about a week I've been saving cream.  Each day after milking the goats, I poured the milk into a casserole dish and put it in the refrigerator,

 leaving it undisturbed for 24 hours so the cream would rise to the top.  In this picture, you can see how the cream is separated around the edges.

Then I skimmed the cream off with a spoon

and stored it in a pint jar.  I did this each day until my jar was full.  If I had a cream separator, I wouldn't have to go through these steps and would be able to get more cream out of the milk.  Supposedly, the milk is still just as good after the cream is skimmed off because there is enough cream left in it to not make a difference in the taste.  I poured the leftover milk out, but could have kept it and used it if I had chosen to.

About an hour before I was ready to start the butter making process, I put a mixing bowl, the beaters, and two cups of water into the freezer to cool.

Then I set the cream out on the counter with a thermometer in it and waited for the cream to reach 52 degrees.

When the cream reached 52 degrees, I poured it into my cold mixing bowl and whipped it at high speed until it was stiff and beyond.

The cream formed "grains" surrounded by the milky liquid (buttermilk).

As soon as the "grains" started to clump together, I poured the buttermilk off and into a jar.  Supposedly, this buttermilk can be used in other recipes calling for buttermilk.  Next, I poured in the same amount of water as the buttermilk I poured off and mixed the butter at low speed.  This is a "rinse" which I did three times, the last time with ice water.

After the rinse, the liquid has to be squeezed out of the butter by mashing it against the sides of the mixing bowl again and again, pouring off the water as you go.  I like my butter a little salty, so I added some salt during this the squeezing stage.

And that was all!  It was quick and easy.

Yum.  I can't wait for breakfast time so I can have it on my waffles.

I followed instructions for making goat butter without a cream separator on Mother Earth News on-line.  For more detailed instructions, click on the link below:

Monday, June 06, 2011

Hellooo Radish

I picked half the radishes when they were little, but they were so hot I doubted we'd eat them so I left the rest in the ground.  I didn't know radishes would get so big.

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

During his week with Pops, Shelly, and Aunt Meagan, Liam learned lots of things.  He perfected his stair climbing technique, always with a little leg flailing at the top of the stair while he looks around for his target.

"There she is!"
"Ack!" she says.

Then commences the zombie crawl, which is accomplished on the belly.

...and drag.


...and drag.

And with a bit of big toe action, he can go so fast that he's a little blur.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Four Generations

Cresting the Hill

More on Tom's birthday.  With 50 people in attendance, I decided not to cook everything and had it catered by a BBQ place.  All I made was desserts.

Rather than making a birthday cake, I opted for a cupcake tree.  I was so happy to find this pretty stand at Costco a couple of weeks before.  I made chocolate, coffee/pecan, and vanilla cupcakes with white buttercream icing.  Meagan decorated the cupcakes for me.

The birthday boy with his handy bifocal safety glasses and friend, Ken, that he hadn't seen in years.

Tom and some family.

More family.

Nieces from California, wishing they lived in Texas.  :-)

Local pals, hanging out in a patch of shade.

The weather was reasonably cool until the day of the party then it was just about the hottest day of the year so far, but at least the wind was blowing at nearly gale force to blow our sweat away and create the illusion of a little coolness.

Candles on the cupcakes were pretty much a bust since they blew out the minute I started walking out the door with them.

Boots Continued

Voila!  Flowers courtesy of Meagan, the florist.

We had a big 50th birthday party for Tom on Memorial Day weekend.  These were the centerpieces for the two of the tables.