Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cottage Kitchen Reno

I've been asked to collaborate with Nephew to renovate the kitchen in a little old farmhouse.  I ordered the cabinets a couple of months ago and we finally began the actual work a few weeks ago.  It's been keeping me busy, but we've reached the slower time of year for our farm, so it's a good project to be working on now.

As best I can tell, this house was originally built in the 30's or 40's.  We were told that it was moved to it's current location in the 60's.  Either then or at a later date, someone did some DIY remodel.  They opened up the kitchen to the dining and living room, moved some walls, added a bath and who knows what else.

This is the kitchen before Nephew started the demolition.

This is the view from the living room.  Clearly, a wall was removed where those beams are.  They look good and solid, but we were in for a nasty surprise when Nephew got into the demo.

I spent a day scraping the popcorn ceiling off.

Ugh.  I had ugly thoughts about the person who invented popcorn ceiling texture.

It became clear that the walls needed to be torn down to the studs.  There was no insulation, but the walls were surprisingly cool to the touch even on the west side with the afternoon sun beaming on them.  Two layers of insulation were installed - one by me and one by Nephew.  I felt it was overkill, but that's not my department, so I just did as I was told.  At least there won't be any problems with the kitchen being too hot or too cold.

This was one of the layers of wallpaper that we found.  I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I kind of like it.

All cabinets removed and part of the sheetrock is done.

So, the nasty secret...those beams that were holding up the ceiling?  They weren't resting on any supports under the floor.  And, the beam across the ceiling was not supporting any joist.  It was just two by fours resting on the floor and on top of that, no supporting beam.


Tom and Nephew crawled under the house to put in some supports.

It was a dirty job.  Eek!  When I was little, I used to voluntarily play in the crawl space under our childhood home.  It would take some powerful motivation to get me under there now.

Nephew emerging from the depths.

And cutting blocks and beams for the supports.

After the floor was shored up, they turned their attention to the ceiling.

They made a crazy network of wooden supports on jack stands alongside the beam that was supposed to be supporting the ceiling.  They jacked up the ceiling far enough to lift the weight off of the original supports so that they could be removed.  

Here it is from a different angle.  In the middle is the new beam not yet supported by new columns.  The weight is being born on the supports on either side of the middle beam.

I didn't get pictures of the finished supports, but they are done and the area is now structurally sound. There's a lot more to be done, but it's exciting to look forward to the installation of the cabinets and having a beautiful new kitchen.

Disclaimer:  I do not pretend to know the proper terms for the the things in the attic or in the crawl space that structurally support a house.  I did the best I could with words like "joists and beams" to describe the situation.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Speaking of Guineas

Turns out that guineas are much better parents than I've been led to believe.  The most recently hatched keets have done very well.  Eleven out of twenty hatched successfully.  After I moved them all to the coop, thinking they'd be safer there, I could see that the babies were able to get through the chicken wire.  And they did go through.  I thought that would be OK since they always just popped right back inside, not wanting to be far from their mother.  In fact, they usually stayed right under their mother.  But, I was wrong about them being safer.  When I checked on them one morning a few days after putting them in the coop, four of them were missing, including the little grey one that I wanted to keep.  I suspect that they popped through the chicken wire at an inopportune time and the cat or some other critter grabbed them up.  There were a couple of others still out.  They had gotten confused and were trying to follow another guinea around.  I decided that they had a better chance of survival if I just let them all out and the mother could at least try to protect them.

She has done far better than I did at protecting them.  She hasn't lost one since they've been out and roaming all over the farm.  The guinea in the above picture is the mate.  They mostly hang out in pairs.  The mother and keets are behind him in the tall grass.  You can see the mother's head poking up.

There she is with her little brood of seven.  They follow her closely.

Most of the time, directly under her.

She doesn't look very attentive, but she is.  If anything comes near them, she will puff up, charge, and peck if she gets a chance.  She gave a curious goat a good peck yesterday because it came a little too close to the babies.  I suspect that Ginger and Harry have been warned in a similar manner because they leave the babies alone.

She roams all over the property with them.  I'm glad to see that she periodically brings them back to the coop.

She shows them the way in.

They all tumble in, have a little drink from their waterer and peck around for a little hen scratch.

I need to find homes for them before they get much bigger.  I hate to take them away from her and it will be a challenge.  But, if I don't get rid of them.  I'm going to be overrun with guineas.  I have a hen sitting on 28 eggs right now.  They should hatch in a few weeks if left undisturbed.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Gardens and Guineas

Well, I learned a valuable lesson this season.  Don't depend on the guineas to keep my garden pest- free.  Oh, and taking the easy way out doesn't always turn out the way I want it to.  I should have remembered that God told Adam, "cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life" and, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" (or, pumpkin, as the case may be).  Genesis 3:17 and 19.

The whole reason I got the guineas was so that they'd eat the squash bugs and I wouldn't have to spend time sweating on my hands and knees searching for those squash bugs and their eggs.  And they did keep the garden squash bug free at the beginning of the season.  I was feeling pretty cocky.  My boutique pumpkin vines were big and healthy and blooming.  They took up half the garden and were reaching for more space.

But...I guess the guineas found greener pastures.  They wanted what was on the other side of the fence.  They roamed further and further afield.  Sure, we don't have a grasshopper problem, or an army worm problem.  There's hardly a tick to be found.  But, in the garden, this is what happened...

The squash bugs built themselves a kingdom.  By the time I realized how powerful they had become, it was too late.  The pumpkin vines were desimated. 

I didn't get one useable pumpkin.  There will be no boutique pumpkin sale at the farmer's market this year.  I am so bummed.