Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Wedding

Paden and Lucy's wedding was held out at her parent's farm in east Texas.

An old family friend, Rob, officiated.

The groom's side.

The bride's side.

A new family.  Aren't they adorable?

The mother of the bride did a beautiful job.  It was like being in a Southern Living magazine shot.

Lucy's family made this cute tassle bunting.

And strung up lights and paper flowers over the table.

They cooked a wonderful dinner for the reception...

which began with this lovely salad...

And lasted into the night.

I baked the cake - gluten free (for the celiacs among us, of which the groom is one) and, at the bride's request, chocolate on chocolate (for the chocolate lovers among us, of which the bride is one).  Meagan decorated it and did a great job.

It's so nice to be able to actually eat wedding cake at a wedding reception.

Paden and Liam dancing a little jig of happiness.  Looks like the Salsa, what 'd'ya think?

Flowers by Meagan.

Our new daughter.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bean Pickin' Made Pleasant

I was right that if bean picking was made a little more pleasant that I would keep up with it better.  Picking about every other day seems to be about the right schedule to catch the beans before they get too stringy.

The trellises are just about all grown over now and make a quiet, secluded little tunnel.  I can go in there and feel like I'm in another world, quiet and cool, and the beans are easy to reach.  I pick from inside the tunnel and then go around the outside of it and there's not much bending and stooping.

As you can see, the top is almost solid leaves.

Each of these little blossoms turns into a bean.

I can' let them get much bigger than this because they get too tough and stringy.  I've learned that when I snap them, if there is a string, I might as well just throw it out because I really do not like to eat stringy beans.  I guess I should find a different heirloom bean that doesn't have strings.

I'm not the only one who likes this quiet spot.  A bird has built its nest of sticks right there.  I haven't seen the bird yet, so I don't know what kind it is.

And Jasper likes to come hang out with me while I work in the garden.  She really is a pest, but I can't blame her for wanting to be in here.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fruits of Our Labors

Everything on our dinner plates tonight was produced on our farm.

We're at the end of the asparagus season, so I'm trying to use it up.  I managed to get a few tomatoes before the chickens (or bunny, if that is a co-destroyer) got to them.  The corn has just now become ready for harvest.  And goat chops.  Even the water is from our well, but we didn't labor for that.

I have yet to grow olives or coconuts to press them for the oil that I cooked with.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ironman Repairs

Repairs involving a screwdriver...

An imaginative little guy...

And, apparently, recharging (this is the cord that recharges my drill battery.).  I think Ironman might be a little bit embarrassed if he knew.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Aquaponics, Day Five

Leaves on the sprouts!

This is pretty cool.

And easy for me.

And this is why I wonder why I bother to plant a garden at all.  As soon as the tomatoes are ripening, the chickens are getting in there and eating them.  They don't even have the decency to eat the whole thing, fill up on one, then leave the rest alone.  They just ruin all of them.  At least in the aquaponics garden, the chickens won't be able to easily reach the produce.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Aquaponics, Day Four

We have sprouts!

 See the dot right in the middle?  It's a sprout.  I wasn't sure at first, but I looked very closely and there are actually little roots on it.

And the little red ones in the middle of this picture.  Yes, sprouts.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Aquaponics by Tom

Tom got a wild hair and decided to create an aquaponics garden.  I don't know much about it, except that I'm all for it because it takes some of the gardening burden off of my shoulders.  This was right up Tom's alley because it involves research and engineering.  I've enjoyed watching him put it together and I've especially enjoyed being just along for the ride.

Basically, aquaponics is a way to grow fish (that you can eat, if you choose) and veggies all in the same environment and they feed off of one another.  That's about the best explanation that I can give, but if you want more, you can read Wikipedia's explanation here.

Anyway, I chronicled Tom's adventure in photos.

 First, he bought this container called a tote.  It's a big plastic bucket that comes in a steel crate.  It must be "food grade", meaning that it hadn't previously carried something non-edible in it.  This one happened to have transported maple syrup at one point.  There's a big screw on lid on top and another spout at the bottom (which will later be used to drain the tank when necessary).

The first step was to cut the top off of the plastic container, then the solid bottom portion of the steel cage.  Tom wore out his saw blades on the steel, so it's a pretty hefty contraption.  He flipped the top upside down and put it in the bottom that he cut off.

This is what it looks like assembled.  The bottom of the steel cage holds the top of the plastic tote, which has become the container for the plants to grow in.  The top of the steel cage holds the bottom of the tote, which is filled with water for the fish.  The lid is set on top of the water tank, offset several inches so that there is access to the fish when they are introduced into the system in about six weeks.  This also allows for bugs to land in the water and get eaten by the fish.

Tom made this filter/drain thing out of PVC pipe.  It fits into the hole where the top lid was screwed on.  It's a double layer thing so that the middle white pipe can be lifted out and cleaned without having rocks  fall through into the water tank.

Apparently, the plants are supposed to grow in rock rather than dirt.  We scoured the area looking for rock that was not caustic.  Crushed granite and expanded shale are recommended.  We couldn't find any crushed granite, but we did find a couple of bags of expanded shale.  Tom researched a little more and found that lava rock works, as well.  So he put a mixture of the shale and lava rock into his system.  Tip:  caustic rock (such as limestone) will bubble and fizz when vinegar is poured on it.  We carried a bottle of vinegar with us to test various rocks and some stone yards that we visited.

Into the water tank, he placed a small water pump, which is attached to the hose.

It pumps the water (which is fertilized by the fish) up into pipes on top, which carry the water, dispersing it evenly throughout the tray full of rocks.

If you look closely (or enlarge the picture by clicking on it) you can see the water dribbling out through the holes in the pipes.

After circulating through the rock and the (future) plant roots, the water is cleaned and pours back down through the drain in the middle into the fish tank.  The water also carries nutrients from the plants back to the fish.

Tom has planted some seeds in the rocks, so now we wait.   He's supposed to wait about six weeks to allow the plants time to prepare the water for the fish.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ugh. What a Day

Well, this day started out great.  I got to spend the day in Dallas having lunch with my good friend and catching up on all the news.

But, it went downhill from there.

For some unknown reason, one of our black astralorp chicks was found dead in the coop.  I hope it doesn't turn into an epidemic.

I waited until pretty late to go out into the garden because it's so hot, but when I did, I walked out there to find chickens feasting on the tomatoes and this:

This was a watermelon vine.

Just last night, it was a vibrant, healthy vine that looked like this.  Today it is dead and shriveled.

And my beautiful pumpkin vines that are just beginning to flower...

in one day look like this

and this.

I've googled it and looked at my organic gardening book.  It could be vine borers or a bacteria or a fungus.  I don't know how I'm supposed to figure it out.

I was so excited about my garden this year.  It was beautiful and everything was looking so healthy and then, boom, it comes crashing down.  I really don't know how pioneers survived.

Rehearsal Dinner

We were so excited that our son, Paden, married his sweetheart, Lucy, this weekend.

We hosted the rehearsal dinner at a wonderful local restaurant called the Railway Cafe.  The Cafe's Facebook Page and Their Website .

Pretty much all I did was book the restaurant and choose the menu.

Meagan brought the items for the place settings she had designed.

And, she did all of the flowers for the dinner and for the wedding.

On a different note...
I don't know what it is about our family and white dogs.  After running the Ginger/Harry gauntlet outside, we arrived home from the dinner to these three little yapping terrors.  Sure they look all sweet and innocent right there, but just a moment before, they were a cacophony of yaps and screeches that could wake the dead.