Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Burlap Bedskirt

So, since I've bought this new machine, it's time to do some projects. 

I got this burlap on sale at Hancocks several months ago to make a bedskirt for the queen bed in the barn apartment.

I bought a cheapo twin size sheet to use as the base for the skirt.  It almost fits a queen size box springs so I only have to cut off a little bit.

The great thing about burlap is that you don't have to worry about cutting straight.  You can pick a thread loose on the end and pull it all the way out.  It slides out easily.

And leaves a nice straight line through the fabric.  You can see it in the middle-right of this picture, just below that fold line.

Then you can just cut along that straight line.   I needed to find the middle of the fabric (which wasn't at the crease ironed into the fabric) so I could cut it exactly in half.  I just folded it in half and picked out a thread right at my fold and pulled the thread out.  No measuring, no marking!

It's also easy to gather.  Instead of pulling the thread all the way out, you just pull it, but hold the other end so that it doesn't pull out, gathering the fabric as you pull.

After I sewed my two long lengths (created by cutting the fabric in half, lengthwise) together, I gathered them to fit the sheet, which I had cut to the exact size of the box springs, then penned them together.  Then I sewed the whole thing together.

Since the bed has a footboard, I needed to put slits in the skirt to fit down over the legs.  I never like how skirts are split all the way up letting the box springs show.  So, I sewed mine without slits, then went back and put them in by, once again, snipping and picking a thread only the height that it needed to slip down over the bed rails, but still cover the box springs.

After I made sure everything fit, I took the bedskirt off and ironed out the crease.  Then, using a zigzag stitch, I stitched all of the raw edges to (hopefully) prevent the burlap from raveling.  It's great to use the raveling to your advantage, but unless preventative measures are taken, you can have a big raveled mess on your hands.

I pulled about six layers of thread off the bottom to give the skirt a frayed edge.  I'm considering using some hot glue on it to keep it from fraying further, but that's a project for another day if it turns out it needs it.

Finished in just a few hours!  How easy was that?!

Sewing Machine Retirement

Remember that old Singer Featherweight that I was so attached to?  ( http://tilemosaics.blogspot.com/2010/04/old-technology.html )  I finally decided to bite the bullet and retire it.  It was having some problems that I'm sure could be easily fixed, but I couldn't find anyone around here that works on sewing machines.  I had some sewing projects that I wanted to get done; sewing machines were on sale at Costco with free shipping, so I ordered one.

They don't make 'em like they used to.  This new one is actually light as a feather, but that's because it's made of plastic parts.  I bet it won't last 50 years.  But...it will do for now.  It's easy to use and, I'll admit it, it does more than my ol' Singer does.

Apparently, there are some seamstresses out there who like to have a picture of their beloved handy at all times.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Me and the Mr. at the lighthouse in Montauk.

They show this lighthouse frequently on Royal Pains.

Look!  We can see Connecticut from here!

Our Trip

Aside from the actual travel, which was hideous, our vacation was lovely.  Our hosts, Tom's cousins, were wonderful and fed us gourmet meals every day.  Gourmet and healthy and beautiful, I should say.

Here they are.  They look like they might be having fun.  Imagine that, having fun cooking.  This is a new concept for me.  I'm a good cook,  in my Southern cooking kind of way;  I cook because I want to eat and nobody else is going to do it for me. I cook good tasting things because I don't eat bad tasting things.  But fun?  Cooking?  Not. 

But, yes, they actually enjoy cooking and they do it well.

Grilled striped sea bass straight out of the ocean, with a wonderful topping of cucumber, red bell pepper, and olives; sides of steamed asparagus and corn on the cob grilled in the husk.  The corn was lightly buttered (with olive oil mayo, actually, but butter works) then rolled in freshly grated parmesan.  It was all wonderful.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Penn Station

When we traveled on our Royal Pain adventure, we had to pass through Penn station on four different occasions. Although, it was not my first time to travel by train, not by a long shot, it was my first time to experience Penn station and it's weird little idiosyncrasy.

There is no regular schedule for which track a train will be arriving or leaving on. Yes, the trains are roughly on schedule time wise, but it's all a suspenseful surprise as to where you are supposed to be when actually catching a train. They have these big signs with the destinations posted on them and a blank spot beside them for the track number. A great crowd of humanity stands in front of the signs staring at them intently, then at approximately ten minutes before the train is scheduled to leave the station, the number of the track appears on the board. As soon as it appears, there is a great surge of the crowd while everyone makes a mad dash through the appropriate door, down the escalator (or stairs when the escalator is not working, which happened more than once), and onto the train.

Apparently, people-who-know-best have decided that this is the most efficient way to handle the train traffic and make it more fun for people-traveling-with-suitcases.

There are no pictures of this event because this person-traveling-with-suitcases was afraid she might miss the all important first viewing of the track number and mad dash to the track.

Ah, Home Again

There truly is nothing like like home.  I knew I wasn't in Texas anymore when I entered the Starbucks in Penn Station to order my favorite mocha coconut frappuccino.  Enter surly barista who made the drink wrong and sprinkled cookie crumbs on top of the whipped cream.  As much as I'd love to have had cookie crumbs, my body doesn't allow gluten so I handed it back.  After several tries too boring to write about, I finally was able to drink my watery frappe.

In addition to taking a few days to laze about and recover from the trauma of traveling,  I've been playing catch up around the farm.

Things keep growing even on vacation and we got our much needed rain, so things have really greened up.  What is it about rain that is so much more effective than watering with a sprinkler?  I've been watering our yard faithfully through the hottest part of the summer, but the best results I've gotten are green circles right around where the sprinkler heads are buried.  A week after it rains, the whole place comes alive and the spots that were green now pale in comparison to the rest of the yard.

I spent most of Friday mowing and weedeating and using the blower trying to get our yard tamed. 

And we're getting more rain as I type this, which is crazy wonderful.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Our Big Royal Pains Adventure

We haven't taken a vacation in ages.  I guess, other than going to a couple of family weddings that were out of town, I haven't traveled more than a few hours away from home since we bought our farm.  Those really aren't vacations, so I guess it's safe to say that we haven't taken a vacation since we bought the farm.

It's not for lack of trying.  Tom is always trying to get me to go here or there.  But, at heart, I'm really a homebody and since all this nonsense with "security" at airports, I just don't enjoy the process.  I figure that if I don't enjoy it and if I don't really have to get on a plane, then why do it?

Well, I finally gave in and consented to a trip to The Hamptons in New York to visit some of Tom's family. 

Tom and I have TV shows that we watch together and one of our favorites is Royal Pains (although we call it "Hank Med").  It's about a concierge doctor in The Hamptons.  In case you don't know what a concierge doctor is, it is one that makes house calls exclusively and is at your beck and call if you can afford the retainer.  Anyway, supposedly it is filmed there, so we feel like we kind of know the place already.  Of course, it's probably like the show Dallas where pretty much nothing really looks, in real life, like it does on TV (we used to live near and drive by Southfork several times a week, so we're pretty familiar with that phenomenon - people, don't be crushed, but the house is not some great big mansion as you've been led to believe).

So, maybe something fun will happen that I can blog about (anything is better than my squash bug saga)...that is, if I can remember to take my camera.

So, off we go.

Buh-limey, Waiting for the Rain

This looks like a foggy day, but it's lime in the air instead of moisture.  (And sad little dogwood that looks like it might have died of thirst)

Tom sent some soil samples to some university to get tested and the results were that we needed lime and certain fertilizers added to the soil to grow better hay and choke out the weeds (theoretically, I'm doubtful that any amount of hay or grass growth will choke out weeds).  Tom searched for weeks for someone to apply the lime - one big outfit told us they are only applying lime in the winter because they're too busy applying fertilzer right now - he finally found a man nearby that would do it and he got the application scheduled.  Of course, his equipment broke down and we had to wait several more weeks for him to finally show up.

We were curious as to how the lime would be applied to the fields.  Turns out they just dump it with a dump truck.  They hauled tons of it in from somewhere in an eighteen wheeler with four large dump things on it.  They look kind of like those big commercial trash bins like are out behind stores or apartment buildings.  If you look close, you can see them in this picture.  By turns, they were each dumped into a regular dump truck.

Then the driver took off across the field with the tailgate of the truck loose and flapping. 

As he zoomed around the lime fell out the back and onto the ground.  It was pretty windy so a lot of it blew around before settling.  Our neighbors probably got a fair amount of lime on their fields.  We're glad to share.

The fields were white. 

And as we wait for the rain to water it in, the wind blows.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

More Squash Bug Damage

I think I've mentioned fighting the squash bugs all season.  It has sort of  been a losing battle.  I've only managed to keep them from completely destroying all of the vines like they did last year.  But, every morning, when I go out to search them out, I still find them - fewer, but still eggs on the leaves, nymphs, and adults crawling around sucking the life out of the vines.

I smash everything I find.

These are the pumpkin vines damaged by the bugs.  The whole area was full and lush and full of pumpkins.  I was able to pick several before the bugs managed to kill off over half the vines.  It's still blooming and still putting on some small pumpkins, but I can't imagine that it will last much longer.

I really need to find a good preventative.  That will be next season's task.

We can't complain too much because we've had a fairly mild summer here in east Texas, especially compared to last year.  But we've had temps in the 100's for the past week with no end in sight and it's taking it's toll on the grass, hay, flowers, and trees that are already stressed from the drought.  We've also had no rain for several weeks, which isn't helping.