Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ball o' Shrooms

Saw this weird thing out in the yard.

Turned out to be a big ol' ball of mushrooms.  I don't know if it's a whole bunch growing in one place or actually one mushroom.

This little guy must have gotten chased up the tree during the night.  He slipped away some time during the day while the dogs weren't looking.

Can you see him?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dumber Than a Chicken?

I didn't think it was possible for any animal to be dumber than a chicken, but I seriously think guineas are.  The first guinea outing was successful because they didn't go more than a few feet from the coop and I only had them out an hour or so.

The second day was a different story.  I let them out in the late afternoon hoping that they'd go back in the coop around sunset like the chickens do.  I had watched them for a while, so I knew they were meandering along the fence line in the garden paddock where the coop is and they didn't seem particularly interested in flying over the fence even though they easily could.  So far, it seems that they only fly when they are startled.  I figured they were safe - Ginger had her shock collar on and she can't jump the fence into that pasture and she she's still only looking at them out of the corner of her eye - so I left them to their own devices for the afternoon.

When I went back at sunset to close them up in the coop, not a one was in sight.  The grass is tall, so unless they are standing with their necks stretched up, I 'm not able to see them.  I listened for their chatter (they seemed to constantly chatter), but didn't hear a thing.  So, I went in search of them, following the fence line.  I finally came upon them at the farthest end of the paddock, seemingly bedded down for the night in the tall grass.

Well, it surely isn't safe for them to stay there where any predator can get them.

So, I herded them gently back across the paddock toward the coop.

I discovered if I move slowly and calmly along behind them, they will stay in a tight little group in front of me.

When we got to the coop, instead of going through their little door, than ran round and round, flapping at the sides trying to find a way in.

I herded them around the coop about a dozen times.  Each time, the herd ran right past the door and one would happen to look at the opening and go through it like, "Hey, what's this?"

I became exasperated and finally opened the big door and herded the last two through it.  They couldn't miss it because the door itself blocked their route around the coop.

I sure hope I don't have to do this every day.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mud Bath

Ginger and Harry disappeared for a while yesterday evening.

Looks like Ginger went wading in the marsh. 

Harry went, too, but I think he must have taken a dip in the pond before he came home.

Our neighbor told us she saw them chasing coyotes, but Ginger couldn't jump the fence, so she got left behind.  I wish Harry couldn't jump it.

Strawberry Boat Update

Remember the old aluminum boat that I wrote about?

Here it is, revamped and ready for next year's strawberry crop.

I painted it and put our farm name on it.

I had read that sandy loam is best for strawberries.  Our soil is very sandy, but I don't know about the loamy part, so our neighbor offered us some of the sandy loam he had dug out of his property.  Tom brought some home in the dump truck and we put about half of it in the boat.  The rest of it will be used to fill low spots in the yard.

I topped it off with pine straw, also recommended on gardening sites.  I already planted some strawberry plants that I had bought about a month ago and they seem to like it so far.  We got some rain this weekend and it really perked the plants up.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Holiday Season Is Almost Upon Us

It's almost time to break out the feather boas and long-legged snowmen.

Old Post

Sometimes I go back and read old posts that I've written throughout the years.  It makes me laugh.

The Release of the Guineas

The guineas have been in their coop all this time.  I've been hoping to condition them to seeing the coop as their home or safe place, calling, "guinea, guinea, guinea" as I feed them in the confined space, so that they know my call means food.  It works for chickens, but guineas have a bit different temperament, so I don't know if it has worked yet.  Another reason for keeping them in the coop was to give the dogs time to accept them as part of our farm family and not view them as prey.  So, the fowl are big enough to be let out to forage for themselves and I had some free time to devote to watching them to make sure the transition would be safe.

To get ready, I put Harry on a leash and the shock collar on Ginger just in case the guinea activity triggered their chase response.

I opened their little sliding door and they all crowded around the opening, afraid to venture out.  The ones in front got pushed out by the ones in back and then they all piled out in a rush and congregated around the front of the coop eating grass like they were starving.  Maybe they were...I guess they can only bear to eat the chicken scratch for so long.

Harry was perfect.  He only spared them a glance and then seemed completely uninterested in them.  Ginger perked up and watched them for a while.  Then, as I saw her crouch into her stalking stance, as soon as she took one step towards them, I gave her a shock.  She immediately stopped and turned away from them.  She didn't try it again and, although, she gave them a few looks out of the corner of her eye (as if just looking at them might bring on a shock), she didn't try to rush them again.

We stayed out there a good long time, then I put the dogs out of the paddock and just watched the birds  from outside the fence as they went in, out, and around the coop.  After about an hour, they seemed to tire of eating grass and most of them went back in the coop.  I took that opportunity to herd the rest of them in there and close the door.

I'll let them out for longer periods of time each day until I'm fairly confident that they'll be reasonably safe and can be left out all day to free range like we do the chickens.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The End of an Era

The entryway is done and it is loverly.  Next up...landscaping.

And, The Nephew is gone.

  It is a bittersweet moment for me.  I must admit, it was an adjustment for me to have an extra adult male living in my house and I have longed for an "empty nest".  At the same time, I love my nephew and he has been such a tremendous help to me and Tom on the farm, besides just being a fun guy.  Also, it was a good trial run for us if such an event as an economic crash happens and necessitates some family members coming to live on the farm.  I don't think we'd trade our time with Jordan for anything.  I'm not a very emotional person, but at the moment, I'm a bit weepy.

He rented a U-Haul van to transport his stuff.  He had accumulated a lot of woodworking tools during his time with us.

And this little trailer to tow his car.

Ginger's parting gift was to chew the straps on the trailer.  I think she had a near death experience when Jordan discovered this.

We told Liam that Jordan is moving to Tennessee.  This morning he said to me, "I want to tell Jordan goodbye before he drives to....Halloween."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Flesh Eating Bacteria in East Texas

Oh my, this is something you hear about in the news, but think will never happen to you or near you.  I'm rethinking that life philosophy right about now, because our neighbor got a flesh eating bacteria!

He got necrotizing fasciitis on his own property right down the road from us.

Here's what happened (as told to me by Neighbor, but I might not get every detail correct).  Neighbor had orthoscopic surgery on his knee a few weeks prior to getting the bacteria.  The knee surgery only involved two small holes on the top of his knee.  One was completely healed, but the other one was not.  The surgery and recovery was uneventful.

Neighbor waters his flowers with a garden hose pumping water from the pond that was dug within the last year or so.  So, he was watering the flowers and the water splashed onto his jeans getting him pretty wet.  Normally, this is not something to worry about.  I do it all the time.  Even though the water coming through my hose is our clean well water, sometimes it still sits in the hose for days, and hoses can be a breeding ground for this bacteria.  They think that the bacteria was either in the pond water or in the hose.

A couple of hours after watering the plants, Neighbor remarked to his wife (who is a retired nurse) that his knee felt funny "like there was bubble wrap under the skin".  They called the doctor and he said not to worry, that during surgery they blow air/gas into the leg and sometimes all of it doesn't come out right away and that he probably just had an air bubble come up.  So, Mrs. Neighbor went to run errands.  When she came home a couple of hours later, his whole knee and calf were swollen to twice the size and, if I remember correctly, an angry red, blotchy color.  She took one look at it, knew what it was and rushed her husband to the emergency room.

This bacteria is nothing to mess around with, people.  Within minutes of arriving at the hospital, Neighbor was rushed into surgery.  Afterwards, the doctor told him that if he had waited a couple of more hours, they would have had to amputate his leg.  And, if it were any longer, there would have been nothing they could do to save his life.

This is very scary.

Neighbor was kind enough to let me take pictures of his leg a few days after his surgery.  Don't be scared to look, it's not as gruesome as I thought it was going to be.

The surgeon opened up the whole side of his leg, on top of the knee (you can see the staples on top of the knee in the next picture) and under the knee and a little way up the thigh.

And, on the inside of the same leg.

It was opened up, scraped out, and left open to be scraped out again to make sure they got all of the affected tissue out.  After a few days, it was finally sewn up.  He is still in the hospital, but recovering nicely and hopes to be able to go home in a few days.

If you ever think you might have been exposed to something like this...tend to it immediately.  Do not wait.  I'm the worlds worse about those kinds of things.  I always have a "wait and see" attitude, hoping that whatever it is will resolve itself.  If I ever have a "bubble wrap" moment, though, I'm racing to the hospital as fast as I can go.

Guitar Hero

Practicing his serious musician face.

Very intent on pressing the correct frets.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Wrapping Up the Zucchini Season

Or, at least I'm trying to.

I had a hard time getting the zucchini started this year and had almost given up on it, but it rallied so that I haven't kept up with it.  So I've ended up with the giant zucchinis like I do every year.

I let them pile up on the counter until I can't take it anymore.

Then I cut them up into pieces that will fit into my tiny food processor.

This Oster was a wedding gift and it has served me well, mostly because I hadn't used it very often up until the zucchini invasion.  Now I use it to shred the zucchini so I can freeze it and use it to make things like zucchini bread with it later.  I really do need to get myself a proper food processor.  This one lets the juice run all over the counter while, with one hand,  I try to hold a container up to the spout to catch what is oozing out and with the other hand, I have to turn the whole top section, which is the "on/off" mechanism.  My third hand feeds the zucchini pieces into the spout on top and pushes them through.  Well, I could go on about it, but suffice it to say that this one is inadequate.

But, I "got 'er done" and packed away in the freezer.  But there are more monster zucchinis lurking out in the garden that I will have to deal with soon.