Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Leaning Shed

This is the shed that we keep the lawn equipment in.  For some time, it has appeared to be leaning further and further forward.  At first, I thought it was an optical illusion because the ground around it is uneven.  The chickens like to take their dust baths in there and they're always tossing the dirt here and there.  It became increasingly obvious that it was, indeed, leaning.  So, I brought it Tom's attention and he went to investigate.  (This picture is of the shed after it was already lifted part of the way.  It was leaning much more than this.)

He rigged up this jack to lift the front of the shed.

The pole is wedged up against the beam that goes across the shed ceiling.  As he pumped the jack, it lifted the whole front of the shed up.

Then we could see that the poles that support the shed had either completely rotted away or been eaten by termites. 

As a temporary fix (which will probably be until the shed topples over), Tom shoved bricks up under the poles to hold it up until we can figure out a better way.

A shaky foundation.

It still leans a little.  At some point, we'll probably have to lift it out of the way and pour a concrete foundation to set it on.  That'll be better anyway because the chickens keep the floor torn up all the time.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Eggplant Focaccia

After trying two or three eggplant recipes in the past couple of weeks, I had about decided I don't really care for eggplant.  But, I made this recipe last night and it was actually quite good.  I got the recipe off of Martha Steward's website, but had to tweak it to make it gluten free.

1 medium eggplant (1/2 pound), cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
Coarse salt
One pkg. All-Purpose Chebe bread* (or your dough of choice)
2 T. fine cornmeal
4 T. olive oil
6-7 slices of swiss cheese (or 4-6 ounces grated swiss or Emmentaler cheese)
1 T. chopped oregano (if you have fresh oregano, use 2 T.)

In colander, toss eggplant with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.  Let stand 30 minutes.  (The eggplant will ooze, so make sure you put something under it to catch the mess).  After 30 minutes, press slices between paper towels to dry and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the Chebe bread following the pkg. instructions.  Instead of using a full cup of cheese that the Chebe calls for, I used 1/2 cup peccorino roma, and I added one clove of garlic squeezed in a garlic press.  

Preheat oven to 400 degrees; place a rimless baking sheet, or inverted rimmed baking sheet, or pizza stone (which is what I used) in oven while it's preheating.  Roll out the Chebe dough (or other bread dough) to 1/2 inch thickness.  Sprinkle cornmeal on a lightweight wooden board or other rimless surface and top with dough.  You'll have to slide the focaccia off of this and onto your preheated pizza stone, hence the need for rimlessness.  The cornmeal keeps the dough from sticking to the surface and allows it to slide easily, so don't leave out this step.  Pierce the dough all over with a fork.

Brush dough with 2 T. olive oil and lay swiss cheese out to cover dough, leaving edges uncovered.  Layer on eggplant; brush with 2 T. olive oil; top with shredded cheese (I just cut mine into julienne-like strips) and oregano.  Let stand about 15 minutes, make sure the dough isn't sticking.  

Remove pizza stone from preheated oven and carefully slide focaccia onto it.  Return to oven and bake until bottom of focaccia is crispy and edges are golden, about 20 minutes.  Serve hot.

So tasty!  And very easy.  

I served it with fresh cucumbers and this tomato recipe (also adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe) using tomatoes and jalapeños from my garden.

Ginger, Jalapeño Tomatoes
(serves 2, easily doubled)

2 ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 small jalapeño or serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 T. peeled fresh ginger, minced
1 T. lemon juice (and zest from the lemon if you'd like)
1 T. olive oil
sea salt and ground pepper

In a small bowl, place tomatoes, jalapeño (if you don't like a lot of heat, only use as much of the pepper as you like), ginger and lemon zest if you're using it.  Mix together the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper, then toss all ingredients together gently.  Serve at room temperature (because fresh tomatoes should never, ever, ever be refrigerated).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Farm Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

You never know what you're gonna get.  Truly.

We woke up this morning to the dogs making an awful ruckus in the front yard.  Tom jumped out of bed and looked out the window exclaiming, "A piglet!"

Now, it's one thing if the dogs go off and catch themselves a piglet in the woods...and kill it...and eat it.  Whatever.  It's an entirely different matter altogether if they are killing it in our yard, right in front of me.  I just can't let that happen.  It's a baby.  I know it grows up to be big, mean, ugly, and destructive.  But, right now...it's a baby.  And I can't take the cruelty of it all.  And the squealing.  Oh, the squealing.

So, yes, I threw on some shorts, grabbed the camera, some gloves and a towel and ran out there.  I intended to take pics of the dogs trying to get the pig, but I had taken the battery out of my camera to charge.  Bummer.  Anyway, I made Harry put it down and I threw my towel over it and snatched it up.

I stuck it in a dog kennel for lack of a better idea.  It's a feisty little thing.  In the picture above, it is in the process of ramming the sides of the cage.  I've seen an adult feral hog do that and it's pretty scary.

Still trying to find a way out.

I've given it some things to eat - tomatoes that were about to go bad, a piece of grilled chicken (what?! I don't know what piglets eat!), and some applesauce.  I put that bottle of water up there, but wasn't sure if it had figured out how to drink from it, so later I put a big bowl of water in there.  It charges at me whenever I open the door, so I have to be careful about that.  It charged me when I set the water bowl in there and got a face full of water.

I don't know what we're going to do with it.  "Fatten it up and eat it" is what we're being told.  Tom is just rolling his eyes at me for saving it.  Sorry.  It's what I do.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tea Therapy

I try to take a break every afternoon around two or three o'clock to sit with a cup of coffee or tea and a light snack; to just relax and regroup.  It's "tea time" for this east Texan.

This is my tea cabinet, stocked full of various teas mostly supplied by my ex-barista daughter.  

This was my tea of choice each afternoon this past week.  I think I hadn't ever tried this particular tea because I usually go for the Twinings English or Irish Breakfast.

I sweetened it with a couple of teaspoons of agave nectar and a generous swirl of heavy cream...
very nice.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Whoa, I'm fixin' to have a bumper crop of eggplant.  I don't have any experience with cooking eggplant, either.  Well, I had one experience trying to make baba ganoush years ago and it was a complete failure.

I've done my recipe search and am armed with several recipes.  Hopefully, there will be some successes.  I'll post the good ones.

Let the eggplant experiments commence!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Family Business

We're very excited that my brother (father of Nephew) has bought property close to us and will be moving here soon.  Meanwhile, Nephew is working on the place trying to get things in order.

His current project is the old pole and tin barn.  He has taken down the old decrepit stall walls in preparation for building new ones.  Last week, Tom went over to help him when it was time to pour concrete.  I took Liam over to watch the process and to see a real 'mint mixer in action.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera when I took Liam.  But, I went back later after they were done to get pics of the finished product.

This is where the milking station will be.  There's a drain in the middle for ease of cleaning. 

Across from that will be a large work room.