Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Thursday, August 21, 2014

More Keets

I've been monitoring this guinea hen that's been sitting on 20 eggs.  I figured it was about time for them to hatch.  When I went to check on her yesterday evening, she had several little balls of fluff surrounding her.  I hate to interfere with the natural process, but if Harry and Ginger, or some other creature come upon the little keets, I'm pretty sure they would get eaten.

So, I decided to move them.  At first, I thought I'd just take the keets and put them in a separate cage, but, I did not expect the fight that the hen put up.

At first, she just pecked me hard, but stayed on her nest.  After, I got a few of the keets into my little travel cage, she went into full attack mode - off the nest flapping around me, biting and pecking.  Ouch!  She tore my hands up.  I found out that guinea beaks are not sharp, but they can do some damage. 

Since she was putting up such a fight and I really didn't want to have to worry about keeping the keets warm or, really, to take care of them at all, I ran back to the house to get an old towel.  I went back out there and tossed it over her, swaddling her up tight so she couldn't see what I was doing or fight me.  As I held her tucked under one arm, I gathered up the rest of the babies and unhatched eggs (two were already pipped, but there were several that hadn't done anything) and put them into the guinea coop.

All but one of the babies look the same.  That little grey one in the front apparently has some throw-back blood in it.  I think I'll keep that one.  It will be interesting to see what color it turns out to be.  I looked up "grey keets" and it could be one of several colors.  All but one of our adult guineas are "Pearl Grey" like the one pictured here.  We have one male that is a charcoal color without all those dots.

I went to check on them this morning.  One of the pipped eggs had hatched, but one was still stuck in the shell.  Like before, the mother had abandoned the eggs and they were cold.  I thought the keet still stuck in the shell was dead, but was surprised to find it still alive when I picked a little of the shell off.    I cracked the rest of the eggs and was relieved that none of them were fully formed keets.  I guess the hen knew this and that's why she abandoned them.  I'd like to know how they can tell.  Maybe the hen can feel heartbeats in the eggs and she sits there until there are no more heartbeats.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pig Slop

In caring for Piglett, I'm finding the true meaning of "I ate like a pig, or he eats like a pig".  Not only does she eat an enormous amount, she is messy.  I don't know how she does it, but her food pan and water dish always have a layer of mud in them.

This is her evening meal.  Daughter-in-law left me a whole bunch of expired canned food that I was slowly feeding to the chickens.  I thought feeding Piglett would make better use of it.  So, this is one whole can of green beans, one can of tuna, and half a package of crackers.  She will eat all of it tonight and an equally big portion in the morning.  In addition, she will eat anything else I give her throughout the day.  She especially enjoys melon rinds.

She is losing her fear of me and will hardly even wait until I set the dish down before she digs in.  I was able to be right beside her to take pictures.  I haven't tried to touch her yet because I'm still a little wary of her sharp little teeth.  I don't know if pigs bite, but I don't want to find out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Eggplant Parmigianna, Gluten Free

This is my version of eggplant parmigianna (or parmesan for those of us in Hicksville).  It's gluten free, quick and easy, just like I like my recipes.  This is the first time I've ever made it in my life and it turned out pretty good.  This made two generous servings.


1 medium sized eggplant
1 1/2  cups spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 cups gluten free Panko crumbs (or other bread crumbs)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup tapioca flour (any other gluten free flour will work)
fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/2 cup grated peccorino romano or parmesan cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper

Slice the eggplant into about 1/2 inch rounds.  Sprinkle each slice with salt and let sit in a colander for about 30 minutes.  The eggplant will ooze quite a bit of liquid, so make sure to place your colander in a bowl or the sink to avoid a mess.  While the eggplant is draining, prepare the rest of your ingredients.

Heat the spaghetti sauce.  I already had some spaghetti sauce that I made from my tomatoes and had frozen, but you can use your favorite spaghetti sauce, homemade or jarred.

I was excited to find these great gluten free Panko crumbs by Ian's at Drug Emporium.

Put your panko or bread crumbs in a shallow dish or plate and season with salt and pepper.  Crack your eggs into a bowl and beat them good.  Put the flour in another shallow dish.

Put olive oil in a large pan, about 1/4 inch or so deep and get it good and hot (panko crumbs should sizzle when you drop a few in the oil)

When the eggplant is ready, dredge each slice in the flour, shake off excess, then dip in egg, then coat with panko/bread crumbs.  Cook the prepared eggplant slices in oil until golden (about 2-3 minutes on each side).

When they are done, place on paper towel to soak up excess oil, then quickly, while they are still hot,  transfer to a plate and place a slice of mozzarella (so it will melt) on each slice.  Layer 3-4 slices on the plate, alternating eggplant and cheese.  Pour a generous amount of spaghetti sauce over slices and top with peccorino or parmesan.

This really was so easy.  It goes together very quickly once you start cooking, so be sure you have everything else ready, the table set, and your husband in from the field before you start cooking the eggplant slices, so that you can put it straight on the table and eat it hot.  

Monday, August 04, 2014

A Walk On the Culinary Wild Side

 With smut.. corn smut, that is, huitlacoche (weet-la-ko-chee).  The first time I found this on my corn a few years ago, I was completely freaked out.  Not now.  Now I'm a seasoned smut grower.

Oh no you didn't!  Oh yes, I did.  I ate it.  And so did Tom.

This is some seriously gnarly looking stuff.  Whoever was the first person to eat this must have been on peyote, or starving or...something.  I mean...just imagine you're walking along picking your corn and you come across this freakish ear.  Would your first thought be, "Hey, I bet this would taste good."?

Oh well, now that I've done a google search and discovered it's actually a delicacy and people pay good money for it, I decided to not let it go to waste.  When I discovered it on some of my ears of corn yesterday, I did a quick google search for some recipes.  I decided on a huitlacoche soup because I had all of the ingredients.  And, here they are:

2Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced*
1 cup fresh huitlacoche
2 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro (more if you like it, like I do)
5 cups chicken stock or bullion
1 cup cream
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste (if you're using bullion, you won't need salt)

In a large pot, heat olive oil and sauté the onion until golden.  Add the garlic and peppers and sauté one minute more.  Add the huitlacoche and minced cilantro.  Add the stock or bullion, bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, about 10 minutes.

Simmering ingredients.

Puree in two batches in a blender or food processor.  Add the milk or cream and pepper and salt, if using.

Serve hot, sprinkled with cilantro, if desired.
Oh, so tasty!
It tastes similar to cream of mushroom soup, which I have loved all my life.

I served it with some regular corn and our first cantaloupe, both from our garden.

*Note to self:  Use some of the jalapeño seeds to make it a little spicier next time.

Depending on the stage of development of your smut, your soup can be a light grey (like mine is) or black.  So, don't be alarmed if you try this recipe and your soup comes out black.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

First Monday Flea Market

Ever since I moved out here to East Texas, I've been planning to write about the First Monday Flea Market.  It is a big deal around here.  First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas is the oldest, largest continually operating flea market in the United States.  Although, it's called "First Monday", the activity surrounding the market last the whole week, two weeks if you count the clean-up afterwards.  Vendors begin arriving and setting up their booths on the Saturday and Sunday a week before the first Monday of the month.  We are always reminded of that time of month when we see a whole bunch of RV's driving down the highway.  By Wednesday, there usually are enough vendors set up to make it worthwhile to make a trip to the market.  But it really doesn't reach full capacity until Friday.  My favorite time to go is on Thursday or Friday mornings before the biggest crowds have arrived.

I've only gotten around to posting about it now because I actually remembered to take my camera with me today.

There is a lot of walking when I go to the flea market.  I like to be hands free and unencumbered.  To prepare, I wear cargo shorts or pants (insulated coveralls in the winter) with several pockets.  I stash cash, credit card, driver's license, lip gloss, my phone, and a kleenex in my pockets.  I put my ear bud in my ear in case I get a phone call while shopping.  Leave your purse at home, ladies, because it will feel like you're carrying a load of bricks by the end of the day.  I have a basket on wheels that I take with me if I anticipate buying something I might not be able to carry back to the car.  But, I don't like dragging that around either.  Not having the basket probably saves me from buying too much because when I see something I think I must have, I think about lugging it around for the rest of the day and I change my mind.

This morning was a very unusual first day of August in Texas.  By noon, it still hadn't gotten above 71 degrees.  That made for a very pleasant morning of treasure hunting.

There are lots of places to park.  Most of them charge five bucks.  I suspect that regulars have favorite places to park.  I know I do.

Mine involves driving over this creepy little bridge that might cave in some day.  Only one car at a time can cross.

My favorite parking gets me right up close to my favorite part of the market - the real flea market with all kinds of neat junk and vintage stuff.  Some of the areas are covered with open air pavilions, some areas are completely closed with A/C (comfortable to shop in, but the vendors pay a higher price for their booth and the shoppers pay a higher price for their wares).  Most of the pavilions house vendors that sell crafty stuff and cheap clothes.

You can find just about anything at the market.

Fire hydrant, anyone?

How about a traffic light?


Iron cookware.

Every kind of vintage cookie jar imaginable.

This is cool.  If I had an enclosed garden, this is what I'd want at the entry.

Maybe it's from a New York subway?

How about a brass doorknob?

Or a metal minion for your yard art?

There are creeks that run through the vast market areas.  This is one of the walkways.

It's always nice and shady in this area.

I guess the creek has to go somewhere.  And, food abounds.  Most of it is like the food at a fair or carnival...corn dogs, popcorn, nachos, lemonade.  But, there are some places with more choices.  There are even a couple of places with fancy Starbuckish coffee drinks.

With all the motorized carts, you'd think it was the land of the disabled.  But, no, just the land of the lazy.  For me, going to the market is an opportunity to walk off my breakfast calories and then some (so I can have something fattening to eat later in the day), or just to get some needed excercise.  Apparently, that is not an important issue for a lot of people.

Here's one of the parking lots.  And, this wasn't one of their busiest times.

These two fabulous 40's mini pendant chandeliers where my purchase for the day.  I have a plan A and a plan B for them.  Aren't they great!?

The vendor packed them up in this box for me. As I headed back to the car with it, I got a couple of odd comments about partying from a couple of snaggle-toothed, pot-bellied, rednecks that I didn't understand until I finally looked at the box.