Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Guinea Run

I got the guineas for the purpose of keeping squash bugs out of the garden.  The problem is, I can't say that I ever actually see them in the garden.  I put their coop right next to the garden, so even though they never stay in it anymore, it is their home base.  The came back to it throughout the day for water or for a little chicken scratch that I put in there occasionally.  They also roost in the trees above the coop.  But, if they go into the garden, I don't see it.

They, along with the chickens, keep the rest of the property bug free.  I wonder, though, if we will somehow suffer for lack of beneficial bugs.

The guineas often chase each, at top speed.  These three decided to do a little chase around the garden pasture.

They ran here.

And there.

And 'round and 'round.

A fourth one decided to join in on one of the rounds.  I think it's the males chasing the males to prove their manliness to the ladies.  I suspect the ladies were just thinking, "What are those idiots doing?"

Anyway, the good news is that even though I have not seen the guineas in the garden very much, they must be making a regular pass through there.  I haven't seen one squash bug yet this season.  I suppose it could be that it's just too soon, but I'm hoping it's because the guineas are doing their job.  I've found plenty of potato beetles on the eggplant bushes, but not one little orange potato beetle larva.  I'm guessing that they like the larva, but not the adult beetle.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Saving a Birdlet

Tom brought it to my attention that there was a baby bird on our back porch.  Of course, I had to save it.

It's in the cute fuzzy head stage.

After I took picks, I got a stool and put it back in the nest it had fallen out of.

I hope it stayed put.  I've checked several times to make sure it hasn't fallen out again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Gardening 2014

I feel like I've planted everything late this year, but things are looking good.

I have high hopes for my boutique pumpkins this year.  If they make enough, I'm going to try selling them at our local farmer's market.  I reserved about half the garden space for the pumpkin plants to spread and only planted two of each variety.  Although, I just now remember that I forgot to plant my Jack-O-Lantern sugar pumpkins.  Uh-oh.

Look at the hay in the background.  It's growing like crazy and it's time to bale, although we don't usually bale that pasture.

To make room for the extra pumpkins, I'm trying a little vertical gardening with the butternut.  I'm using the trellises that Nephew built last year for the beans.  I had way to many beans last year and they went to waste, especially because I didn't like the string variety.  This year, I found a stringless vine and planted half the amount.

I have to check the vines each day to redirect them onto the trellis because they tend to want to snake along the ground.  They're already putting on squash, though.

The watermelon from last year reseeded itself, so I just let it grow and didn't plant any.  I did stick a cantaloup in there, though. 

The strawberries are filling up the boat.  The ones I planted in the front were from a different source than the ones in the back and they didn't grow at all.  But, the rest of them have had three waves of production and with each one, they are producing more and more and sending out more vines.  At the rate they're growing, I won't be surprised if the whole boat is filled up by the end of summer.  I love this idea of growing in a boat.  It's so easy to keep it weeded.  Now, every time I see a derelict boat somewhere, I want to bring it home with me.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Arugula and Asparagus Salad

I grew arugula in the garden this year and was searching for a way to use it when I came across this recipe for arugula and asparagus in a salad.  How perfect is that?  I have loads of arugula and loads of asparagus in the garden.  I happened to have the rest of the ingredients on hand (or reasonable facsimiles thereof), so I made it for dinner a few nights ago and it was delicious.

I forgot to take a picture of the finished product, but you can click on the link to see what it looked like.

Also, I didn't measure my ingredients and it turned out just fine.

10-14 asparagus spears
2 slices of bacon
fresh arugula
1 shallot, sliced
1 orange, peeled and segmented*
1 orange, juiced*
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup freely grated pecorino roma (or parmesan)

Snap the ends off of the asparagus and discard or save for later use.  Using a vegetable peeler, carefully peel the asparagus spears into long ribbons, starting from bottom to top.  Set aside.

Heat a skillet to medium heat.  Chop bacon and add it to the skillet, browning until crisp.  Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel, leaving the drippings in the pan.  Add asparagus and shallot to the skillet and stir to coat.  Cook for 5-6 minutes or until asparagus softens and shallot is translucent.

Put arugula in a large salad bowl.  Add orange slices, vinegar and orange juice and mix thoroughly.  Add asparagus and bacon, tossing to coat and mix the entire salad.  Season with salt and pepper if desired (I forgot to do this).  After serving onto plates, sprinkle with cheese to taste.

*I didn't have an orange, so I used mandarin oranges in place of the orange segments and a little under a half a cup of prepared orange juice in place of the fresh squeezed.

And, I wasn't sure how to harvest the arugula or if it would continue to grow after I harvested it.  So, I just used scissors to cut the whole clump off a couple of inches from the ground.

And, I'm pleasantly surprised to see that it is growing back.  This is something that will definitely be in my garden plan next year.

Who knew arugula was so yummy?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Avocado Toast

This is delicious!  I got the recipe from Martha Stewart's website and changed it a little to suit me.

1 slice Udi's gluten free bread*
1/4 large avocado, sliced
Coconut oil
Lime juice
 (bottled or just squeeze a fresh lime directly onto the avocado toast)
Red pepper flakes

Lightly toast bread and cut in half.  Arrange avocado slices on bread.  Drizzle with coconut oil and lime juice.  Sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes.

*The loaves of Udi's available at regular grocery stores are dinky little loaves with dinky slices.  I buy my Udi's at Costco because they sell the extra large loaves with decent sized slices for nearly the same price as a grocery store sells the little loaves.  If you only have access to the little loaves, you'll need to toast two pieces of bread.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Peach Season

It's peach season.  Liam and I ate our entire peach harvest in one sitting today.

Monday, June 09, 2014

God's Colors

You can't get any prettier than God's colors.

This is a cactus that grows along our fence line.

And the blackberries were beginning to ripen at the same time so the contrast of the lime green cactus, the yellow cactus flower, and the red berry was just stunning.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

The Birthing Center

Momma guinea has been sitting on her eggs, about 22 of them if I counted correctly, for a long time now.  She started at the beginning of May and the normal incubation time is 26-28 days.  I've been taking a peek at her every day to see if there's any action.  Today is the day!

Dad is in the waiting room pacing back and forth.  I'm not making this up, people.

There's a cracked egg and the little puff next to it is the keat that just came out of it.

The tiny little puff next to the mom is one of the fully hatched keats.  Cute little puff.

She's sitting in this alley between pastures where the goats want to graze.  If they get too near, she yells at them, so they keep a wide berth (pun intended).  See how they are all lined up against the fence.  They're trying to pass her and get to me at the end of the alley.  The goat on the right is having a look at whatever is in the grass screaming at her.

Momma guinea must be pretty intimidating for those goats to plaster themselves up against the fence as they go by her.  I don't think I'll have to worry about the keats getting trampled.

What I will have to worry about is Harry and Ginger eating them like chicken nuggets when the momma decides it's time to move them.  I'll have to be pretty vigilant so that when she's on the move, I can get the babies to a safe place.

Who wants some guineas?