Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Friday, September 27, 2013


After we fed the livestock, Liam and I played the morning away.  In case anyone is wondering, this is why my house is so messy.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

My mom, great-grandma to Liam (but he just calls her Grandma), bought Liam this great tent.  When I told him we were going to set up a tent, a bit dubiously (for he was a little crabby) he said, "What's a tent?"  I explained to him that it was like a little house made out of fabric.  "What's favric?" he said.

After I showed him what to do, he really got into it.

He was very proud of his accomplishment.

We set it up in a nice shady spot with soft grass under it.

He couldn't wait to get inside and operate the zippers.

It looks vast inside.

After we got the tent all ready and tumbled around in it for a little while, I promised that we'd bring our lunch out and have a picnic inside the tent.  But, first...we were going to build an obstacle course.  "What's a ostbitcle course?"

First we gathered up bricks and laid them out to step on.  Liam caught on to this pretty quick and when he saw chunks of wood that Jordan had left laying around, he quickly suggested that we could use those, too.  So we did.

Then we set up a ramp to carefully walk up to the gazebo on.  It was wobbly, but he didn't want me to steady it with my foot.

Almost there!

Then a giant leap off the other side of the gazebo

Then a crawl through the tunnel.

Which, apparently, was hilarious.

And, yes, I did the obstacle course, too.  Several times.  I even shimmied through the tunnel.  Liam thought I needed help, so he took my arms and pulled.

After wearing ourselves out on the obstacle course, we had our lunch in the tent, which was pretty cool.    I don't know why I didn't take pictures of that, but we threw some big pillows in there and lounged around and face timed Honey until it was time for Liam to go home.  A little bit of nature, a little bit of technology.

Liam wanted to take some pictures with my camera through the tent screen.  There were about ten pictures that looked pretty much like this.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Liam and the Livestock

Liam has been spending some time with me this week feeding the livestock.  Since the young goats are skittish, they won't run him over in their zeal to get to the food like the adult nanny goats do.  So, I let him feed the little ones by himself.

They are anxious to dive in, but don't want to get too close to Liam.

These are the last three young 'uns from the spring kidding.  They are reserved for Liam's other grandparents and will be moving to their new home soon.  The grey one is a cross from a Kiko doe and our Nubian sire, Billy.  The other two are from two different Boer mothers crossed, again, with Billy.

Then it's on to the guinea coop.

Liam made sure that I promised to let him feed the guineas "by himself" before we even got out there.  As long as they go to the back of the coop so they can't fly out when we open the door, I'm fine with Liam taking over the feeding duties.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Liam had a few fun hours with his cousins yesterday.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Chicks, Again

OK, I'm starting over with chicks again.  The spring chicks had just started to lay eggs when all but two of them were killed off.  Now we'll have to wait another 2-3 months before the new ones will start laying eggs.

I got a few Americauna, Black Astralorpe, one Rhode Island Red, and that grey one on the right is a Blue Andalusian.

The aquaponics cabbage has grown a lot, but still hasn't put on a head.  Pumpkin and watermelon seedlings are growing pretty good and Tom planted a few broccoli that have sprouted.  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Aaaah, Rain

We're getting some much needed rain.

Four and a half inches and counting.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Step Awaaay From the Testosterone

With Billy and his little unsold offspring, the goat pasture is overflowing with testosterone.

There's lots of sputtering and tongue flapping and knocking each other about.

Billy's "mini-me", Clem, kept escaping and sauntering across the driveway to the does' pasture until we  discovered where he was slipping through the fence and blocked it off.

He's for sale now and has reminded me, in a big way, why I don't want two bucks on the farm.  I tried to sell him in the spring, but it's more difficult to sell bucks than it is to sell wethers (castrated males) or does, so I didn't have any takers.

This is one of Billy's offspring from a couple of years ago, a buck that we weren't able to sell, so we had him wethered.  See how shiny, smooth, and clean he looks?  No testosterone.

And this is with testosterone...grizzled, course hair, long beard, and dried (and/or wet) urine all over him.  Bleh.  Even the shape of their face is different.  One of the charming things about billy goats is that they like to pee on themselves, especially on their own face.  And Billy so likes to be petted.  Thankfully, he doesn't stay like that all year.  When he's not in rut, he's still coarse and grizzled, but he isn't covered with pee and stink.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Painted Door

I couldn't wait until the weather cooled to paint the coop door, so I sweated it out in the heat.


I went to the store with the idea in mind of getting red paint.  But, then I was standing in front of those hundreds of colors of paint chips, knowing that I could choose any color I wanted - not having to coordinate or match it with anything and...the world was my oyster.  

Although, lime green, tangerine, magenta, pink were all calling to me, I naturally gravitate towards the blues.  This one said to me, "vintage".  And so it is.

The guineas are growing well.  One flew out through the open door today and I thought it would be gone for good.  They can fly pretty good and I was sure Harry was gonna grab it when it flew over the fence, but he actually obeyed me when I told him "no".  Big surprise there.  Tom and I managed to kind of herd it back to the coop and shoo it back through the door without having the rest of them come flying out.

Tom was priming the water tanks in the well house this morning.  When he got done with that, he quickly put a coat of primer on the boat for me.  Yay!  True to form (for I hate the grunt work) I was dreading the primer, but am looking forward to the actual painting.

Dead Coyote

When I told the nephew about the marauding coyote, he made it his mission to shoot it.  And he didn't waste any time.

At dusk, he loaded up and used his rabbit call to summon the coyotes.  This one showed up before he could even lay the call down on the golf cart seat and get his rifle ready.  

She was a good healthy weight, of course, because she has been dining on chicken for some time now.

Jordan knew he hit her, but wasn't sure if she was dead.  Since it was nearly dark by then, he came in for a bigger flashlight and Tom and I went out with him to search for the coyote.  I was anxious to confirm it was dead because, even though I was frustrated that we had lost all those chickens to the coyote, it still made me sad that Jordan shot it.  I wouldn't have slept well thinking about it possibly suffering out there in the woods all night.

We took Harry and Ginger with us and Harry found it for us right away.  Thankfully, it turns out that she died almost instantly.  There was no blood trail.

There might have been more than one coyote stealing chickens, so I expect that Jordan will be doing some more hunting in the coming evenings.

It is very difficult to tell the difference between a grey fox and a coyote, but I'm pretty sure this is a coyote.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Killing Field

Of the fourteen chicks that I bought earlier this summer, there are two left.  Maybe.

For some reason, those chicks sort of keep to themselves, like their own little flock and when they leave the coop in the morning, their favorite place to go is out into the hay field and around the edges of our little forest that is between the house and the road.  Those are the most dangerous places they could choose to go.  Every day, they make a beeline out there.  Then we started losing them one by one, two by two.  We suspected that something was coming out of the forest and snatching them or that a chicken hawk was picking them up out of the middle of the field.

Yesterday, we were down to three - an Americauna, a Black Astralorpe, and a Copper Maran.

So, this morning I was in the back yard watering some of my flower beds with the hose and I noticed that the last three were out in the field between the back yard and the forest.  After a little while, I heard a commotion and looked up just in time to see an animal chasing wildly after them.  It was either a small coyote or a large fox.  I got a good look at it, but it was hard to tell.  I started yelling, waving my arms, hopped over the fence and ran after it.  This alerted Harry and Ginger and they came running and looking at me like "What is it?! What is it?!".  I was yelling, "Harry!  Get it, get it!" and gesturing after the quickly disappearing killer as it ran away into the forest with my last Americauna in it's mouth.

Harry jumped the fence and took off after it, but I had to run around and open the gate for Ginger because she can't jump the fence yet.  I could hear them off in the distance running and barking, but they eventually came back empty-handed.  I think the coyote/fox slipped under the fence and crossed the road into our neighbor's field.  There are some places along that fence line that have been dug under so that some small animal can slip in and out.

Here is the killing field.  To the right is our back ear where I was standing.  The chicken was caught over by the dead tree.  You can see a small patch of feathers just to the right of the tree.  The coyote/fox hesitated for a second to savage the chicken in those two other places where you can see the feathers.

Then it ran off into the forest.

This is all that's left of the chicken.  That's not blood.  The chicken was white with red and grey speckles.

Harry went back for a second look, following the trail, but the chicken killer was long gone.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Strawberry Boat

This is my future strawberry patch.

I've been looking for a free old boat for about a year now.  Would have preferred a vintage wooden one just because it would have looked good, but as Tom pointed out, a wooden one would rot.  So, aluminum it is.  Turns out, a friend of ours had three of these languishing on his property and when he found out I wanted one, he offered it to us and we gladly took it.

It's upside down right now because we're going to drill some drainage holes in it, then I'm going to paint it.  After that, we'll turn it over and fill it with dirt, then I'll plant strawberries in it.

Very cool.

Update on the aquaponics...

Having the guineas perched over the water tank for a couple of weeks really perked up the aquaponics system.  The birds pooped in the water which, apparently, was good fertilizer.  In the background are the same cabbage plants that were started in the beginning, but would never grow.  They had a growth spurt since the guinea poop.  In the foreground are some pumpkin and watermelon plants that sprouted two days after Tom put them in there.  I argued that it's too late in the season to plant them because even if they grow a vine, they won't produce any fruit.  And, if they did, I'm all pumpkined out anyway.  He should have planted something useful like broccoli or lettuce that will produce in cooler weather and not take up so much room.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Walking Stick

I saw this bug on our back door today.

At first, I thought it was just a stick stuck to the door, but I couldn't figure out how it was sticking.

Then I realized that it was a walking stick, but it looked so much like a stick that I had to give it a little poke to make sure.

It's camoflage is so amazing.  There's no way I would have seen it if it weren't on the white background.

Double click on the image to see it's weird little head.  It's hard to believe that there are actually organs inside that little stick body.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Guinea Coop

Yay!  The guinea coop is finished.

I'm diggin' it.

The guineas are diggin' it.

We thought it would be a good idea to reuse one of the old screen doors that we took off of the house when we remodeled.  Jordan took the screen off, cut the top off and rebuilt it to fit the a-frame, then replaced the screen with chicken wire.

(Coming soon...when the weather cools a bit, I'm going the paint the door a fun color)

We have several extras of these latches that we use on the paddock gates.  Of course, if we were to walk in and let the door shut behind us, we'd be locked in.  Hence, the orange baling string that is tied to the latch and strung through to the inside.

This is the door the guineas will use when it's time to let them out.  Jordan calls it the "Shelly door".

It slides up, like so, and can be propped open so that the guineas can come and go without having the big door propped open, which wouldn't work on windy days.

The back slides open for easy access to the nesting boxes and, hopefully, future eggs.

Another view of the back.

Jordan made a "track" for the nesting boxes to fit into.  These are drawers that came out of our kitchen during the remodel.

The frame is made out of treated lumber and we already had plenty of chicken wire laying around.  All of the cedar is from the trees that Jordan cut down and milled.  For this project, he cut a "rabbet joint" into each board so that they would overlap and the enclosed area would be water tight.  He also sealed all of the wood, which really brings out the pretty grain.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Pumpkin Coconut Chocolate Chip Muffins, Gluten Free

More punkin'

These are so delicious.

I got the basic recipe from allrecipes.com, but have altered it significantly to make it gluten free and to fit with the ingredients that I had on hand, so it's really not the same recipe anymore.

First of all, you'll need to roast your pumpkin.  If you don't have any, come see me.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet that has a rim on it.  The pumpkin will seep some juice out and you don't want it running all over your oven.  Cut the pumpkin in half.  Scoop out the seeds and pulp.  Save the seeds to roast later because they're very yummy.   Place the pumpkin, hollow side down, on the cookie sheet and bake/roast it until you can pierce it with a fork very easily.  

Sometimes, the peel will separate from the meat of the pumpkin and you can just pull it right off.  If not,  just use a spoon to scoop it out into a bowl and mash it with a potato masher.  Throw the peel and the pulp to the chickens.

Let the pumpkin cool on the countertop or the refrigerator.

Now for the muffins.

2 cups pumpkin puree
4 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup butter, softened*
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups gluten free flour**
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 heaping tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 cup flaked coconut
3/4 cup chocolate chips

* For a healthier option (but, really, is healthy what we're going for with a muffin?), the butter can be replaced with applesauce.
** I usually use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour, but other brands or your own mix will work as well, providing you know what you're doing when you make a baking mix.

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour muffin pans or use paper liners.  I use silicone muffin pans, which don't require greasing.  This recipe made 12 regular sized muffins and 24 mini muffins.

2.  Blend together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, butter, and sugar in a large bowl.  Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and xanthan gum in a separate bowl.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture.  Fold in the coconut and chocolate chips.  Scoop the resulting batter into the muffin pans.  For the mini muffins, a large cookie scoop worked well for me.

3.  Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean and the tops are a light golden color, 20-30 minutes.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Art for the Artiste

So, I'm not even sure "artiste" is a word, but it sounded good in the title.

I said a while back that I was going to have a look at the sales blog of one of the followers of my blog, Maree Clarkson, who is an artist in South Africa, and hoped to buy one of her works.  I finally got around to that and ordered one of her watercolors.  I was very excited to receive it and have been looking for a good frame for it.  I actually wanted something much larger with a mat and all, but then I realized that if I put it in a larger frame, it wouldn't look right hanging in the spot that I bought it for, which is by my little workspace off my kitchen.  So, I settle for the smaller frame and it does look very nice in this spot.

Isn't it lovely?

Later:  I looked it up, "artiste" - an artistic or creative person.