Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cucumber Vanilla Jam

It's cucumber time.  I don't know why I plant so many cukes.  We can't possibly eat them all.  And, there doesn't seem to be any decent way to preserve them other than pickling.  I'm the only one in the house that eats pickles, and even then, I don't eat that many.  I still have dozens and dozens of pickles from the 2013 season that I'll probably end up throwing out.

I only planted four seeds.  Maybe I grow them because they are always successful.

Anyway, once again I am on the hunt for cucumber recipes.  I found this one for a quick Cucumber Vanilla Jam on Pinterest, here.  The author's measurements were in grams.  I'm used to our good ol' American "cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons", so I used my little kitchen scale and converted the grams into cups.  It turned out pretty tasty and was simple to make.  It would be a nice addition to a fancy brunch or wedding shower.

Cucumber Vanilla Jam

1 1/4 cup peeled, grated cucumber (about three medium cucumbers)
scant 3/4 jam sugar
Seeds from one vanilla pod

Peel the cucumbers, slice in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.  The Pinterest recipe said to use two medium cucumbers, but I had to use three to get the required amount of grated cukes.  I used my food processor to grate them.  It took, like, two seconds.

The recipe also calls for the seeds from a real vanilla bean, which, being the mighty chef that I am (haha), I actually had on hand.  (Shout out to Costco for stocking vanilla beans for the masses)

To get the seeds out, use a knife to split the seed lengthwise, then just hold it open and scrape them out with the knife.

Put the sugar, grated cukes, and vanilla bean into a small pot.  Those black spots are the vanilla bean seeds, which are teeny tiny and sticky, so they clump together until you stir the mixture well.

See the specks that look like pepper?  Yummy vanilla bean seeds.
Let this mixture marinate for two hours.

Then, Over high heat, bring to boil and simmer for five minutes or until the jam coats the back of a cold metal spoon.

Transfer to a clean jar, close the lid and allow to cool upside-down.  The lids will seal.
I used two jars because I'll probably give one away since I won't use this up quick enough.  

Store in the refrigerator.  Since this isn't "canning", it isn't preserved and probably will only last about ten days in the refrigerator.

I also found a suggestion on Pinterest for dehydrated cucumbers.  So before I got started on the jam, I sliced up several cukes with my amazing Breville food processor (also, took seconds), and put them in the dehydrator, sprinkled with chili powder.

These were awful.  Ugh.  Don't do it!

Friday, June 26, 2015


Unbeknownst to us, during one of the recent storms, the wind blew the roof off of one of our goat sheds.  We were out separating baby goats from mommas so they'd be weaned and happened to see a roofless shed.

I don't know how long it had been like this.  The entire thing came off in one piece and was laying on the ground where the big square spot of dead grass is.  In this picture, husband has already removed the sheet metal from the frame and is trying to determine if he can fix what he has, or if he need all new wood.  The answer was...all new wood.

He also had to take the back off so that he could replace the roof.

It took two full days to rebuild it.  Had to get it done pretty quick, though because more rain is in the forecast and the goats hate being out in the rain.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


We planted some fruit trees about three years ago.  I frantically tried to keep them watered through the drought and they barely made it.  This year we had two peach trees that had one or two peaches on them and one tree that was loaded!  I was very excited to finally have some fruit on the trees.

I picked all of these in one day.  They're tiny, I know.  We only had one peach that was like a normal sized piece of fruit.

And, I thought they weren't going to be any good because they were all spotted.  I don't know what caused this, but it happened early on when the fruit had just formed.  I was disappointed about that, but I left them to ripen anyway and hoped for the best.  And, the best is what we got.  They are delicious!

I cut them all up and froze them.  I couldn't help eating lots of slices as I cut them up and I saved the only big one for our dinner.  I can't wait to make something yummy with them.

Speaking of peaches, this is my current favorite song, Peaches, by Bob Schnieder.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dangers of Mowing

My family thinks I'm a menace with a mower...shooting rocks, breaking fingers and windows, running over cattle panels and sprinkler heads.  I try to be very careful, I really do.  But, I almost had a very nasty accident this week.

Son, who no longer lives on the farm, left this contraption when he moved.  It's a frame built out of steel that he used for his crossfit workouts.  It's probably about 8 ft. tall tower and used to be tethered to the ground in another spot over by the barn, but was untethered and moved to another spot.  It has these long straps on it that are attached to acrobat rings.  Really, the straps should have been taken off and put away, but nobody took the time to do it, so they've dangled there for a year.

Over time, somehow the long straps began dangling on the ground.  They dangled in the tall grass where I couldn't see them, so, when I went to mow yesterday, I mowed over one of them.

Before I could reach back and slam the button that operates the blades to the off position, within seconds, the strap wound tight around the blades and pulled the tower towards me, crashing down right beside me.

Of course, the strap was mangled and wrapped several times around the blades.  I decided to not involve husband (who had just spent the last two days servicing the mower and putting brand new blades on) and after about 30 minutes of scrabbling around on the ground with my arm under the mower deck, I managed to get it untangled.

A near miss for me, and the mower wasn't damaged, so it was a good day.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Triple Duty Jeans

Husband goes through lots of jeans out here on the farm.  I recently bought him some work pants from Duluth Trading Company that will, hopefully, last longer than regular jeans.  But, in the meantime, I try to make the most of the ones he has.

When they're nice and new, he wears them as casual wear like we all do.

When they start looking a bit rough, they are put into work service.  Husband manages to get really, really dirty.  Apparently, he's on his knees a lot...

Because the pant's knees always get holes in them.  I've tried patching them, but it really isn't worth the effort for as little use he gets out of them afterwards before the knee tears again.

So, I cut them off right above the tear.  As shorts, we can both wear them.  They're too big for me and they look horrible just hanging on my hips as they do, but I like to wear them to do extra dirty jobs.  It extends the life of my own work clothes.

But, there comes a time when they are so holy (not sanctified, but full of holes), that they are no longer fit for anyone to wear.

So, I saw this great idea for a no-sew jean apron , and I unabashedly copied it. 

First, cut the seat out of the back.

Then cut up the sides at the seam.

Then, cut just under the waistband on both sides of the front, leaving the waistband attached to the back.

This is what you end up with.  Use the button to fasten around your waist.

It' probably looks like I'm walking around backwards, but since I made the first one, I've been using it like crazy.  

Here it is from the side.  The deep pockets can carry all sorts of things - cell phone, garden produce, tools, etc.  And, the belt loops are handy to hang things on.

This is a seriously useful thing to do with old jeans!

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Chicks Au Naturale

The same hen that got broody and hatched some chicks under daughter-in-law's supervision last spring took it upon herself to do it again this year.  I noted that she had started her vigil toward the end of April.  She had a couple of snafus, such as a snake eating her first clutch of eggs, then getting confused and sitting on the wrong nest (chickens aren't the brightest of God's creatures).

 A couple of times, I just had to go with it and slip the right eggs under her.

I was excited to see that, with very little help from me, she had a little peeper (the fuzzy gray spot at the bottom of the picture) last Saturday evening and she was clucking contentedly.

She started out with six eggs, then three, then the final total was about a dozen.  After hatching three, she abandoned the nest.  So we took her out, held her upside down by her feet and dusted her with Sevin 5% dust in case she had gotten lice or mites while sitting for so long.  Then we moved her and her babes into a cage and put her in a stall in the barn, hoping to keep the chicks safe from predators.

They stayed in the barn for a week.  To minimize trauma, I waited until she had bedded down in the cage nest for the night, closed up the door and covered the cage with a sheet, then moved them into the guinea coop as a transition to the outside.
They've been happily scratching away in there all day.  When I think they're big enough, I'll let them out with the rest of the chickens.  Hopefully, she can keep them alive without to much help from me.

Monday, June 01, 2015

More About the Pond Rescue

Tom felt the pond was still in danger and our temporary measures wouldn't hold, so he consulted with Helpful Neighbor (and expert pond builder) and they decided to do this...

This pipe extends out into the pond.

It goes up and over the dam

 and is connected to a pump.

The pipes go into the ravine on the back side of the dam.  FYI, the pipes are put together with connectors and silicone, but they also have straps on them (the orange strap in the picture) to help hold them because the water pressure is so great, it will pull the pipes apart.  The straps are an extra safeguard against that.

The pump is used only to start a siphon.  Once that gets going, the water flows up, over, and down, pouring out into the stream behind the dam.

This systems has brought the pond level down so that it is no longer threatening the spillway or dam. When the ground dries up a bit, Tom is going to put in permanent system that will siphon the water out when it gets too high.  The permanent system will not go up and over the dam, though, it will be buried under the spillway.

I doubt will have this much rain again for a long time, but if we do, we will be prepared.