Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Estate Sale Chairs Reupholstery

I was determined not to drag this project out for years like the last dining chairs, so I managed to get them all done in about two weeks.

Chairs from the estate sale...12 bucks.

I decided to do them right and make them very cushy, so I ordered some proper three inch foam from an upholstery shop.  While I was waiting for the foam to arrive, I cut out all the pieces, using the wooden seat bottom as a pattern.  Then I made some contrasting welting and I was all ready to get started when the foam arrived.

Finished all four in record time!

Welting on the top and bottom of the cushion.

I had so much fabric left over from my dining chair redo that I decided to use it for these new chairs.  Even though the fabric is the same, it looks so different with the green welting and the light wood.  I'm toying with the idea of painting them because I'm not crazy about the wood finish.  But, I'm going to wait until I find a table that I like and depending on what kind of shape it's in, I'll either paint the table or the chairs.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Canteloupe Popsicles

It's cantaloupe season and, although I didn't get many of my own (due to all but one vine dying), my sister-in-law got loads of them and is sharing them with me.  To use up them up, she has been making cantaloupe popsicles, so I thought I'd give it try myself.

I searched the net for some guidelines on making them, then devised my own recipe.  I guess you really can't go wrong even if you just blend up the cantaloupe without adding anything to it and freeze the juice.  But I wanted a little pizzaz, and of course, I have to add something fattening to them, else what's the use?  I experimented with two recipes and found that this first one is my favorite.

Crummy (Creamy + Rummy) Canteloupe Popsicles

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup mint leaves, crushed
1 tsp. lime juice (or zest of one lime
1 large canteloupe
2 Tbs. white rum
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Make a simple syrup by combining water and sugar and boiling until sugar is completely dissolved.  Remove from heat and stir in mint leaves and lime (or lime zest); let steep for about 30 minutes, then strain into a bowl and discard solids.

While syrup is steeping, peel cantaloupe, discard seeds, cut the fruit into chunks, then puree in food processor or blender.  Add rum and cream, then add the syrup and process a few seconds.

Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Second recipe is from Martha Stewarts website and is actually a honeydew recipe.  I just substituted cantaloupe for honeydew...

Canteloupe Pistachio Popsicles

1 Canteloupe, seeded, peeled, cut into chunks
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup roasted, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped.

Put all ingredients into food processor or blender and puree.  Pour into molds and freeze.

I only had one set of Tupperware popsicle molds, so I had to branch out and find other things that would be appropriate for popsicle molds - a good size and easy to get the popsicle out once it's frozen.

I had several ice trays that make shaped cubes that I used first.  Then I used my tiny tupperware food storage containers (I have four vintage ones and four modern ones).  After I ran out of those and still have loads of popsicle "batter" to use, I decided to use these little paper Dixie cups that I keep for  use during milking season.  I let them freeze to a slush, then stuck the sticks in them.

Really, the Dixie cups worked better than anything.  I only had to run warm water over the outside for literally three seconds and they slid right out.

After they were all frozen good and solid, I put the ones that were frozen in the ice cube trays in a baggie and the other ones that were frozen in the cups, I took out of their molds and wrapped in plastic wrap.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

What Is This Squash?

Someone gave me these seeds and I seem to remember them saying they were some kind of squash.  The leaves are big and look like something between a butternut squash and pumpkin vine.  They were sort of the shape of butternut when they started growing, but then morphed into this.  Does anyone know what it is?

This one is very curved at the top.  It's the biggest one and is starting to get soft enough so that I can feel it give a little when I squeeze it, sort of the texture of a zucchini.

Most of them are shaped more like this.  This one is still hard.

They look small in the picture, but they're probably about 10 inches long.  I thought it might even be a gourd, but they're pretty heavy and fleshy.  Aren't gourds hollow?

Who knows what it is?

Update:  I've been searching on the internet and think I might have found it - Green Striped Cushaw Squash.  If so, it's really considered a pumpkin and can weigh 10-20 lbs.  Oops, I probably shouldn't have put it on a trellis.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Guinea Nest

One of the things I have learned is that messing with Mother Nature is usually not rewarding.

Our chicken egg production has been dwindling in the last couple of weeks.  I suspected that the chickens had found another hiding place and I stumbled upon it last week.  They have been taking turns laying eggs in the guinea hen's hiding place.  So, there is this huge stash of eggs - guinea and chicken - out behind the pig pen.

So far this year, the guineas have started three egg stashes that I know of.  One was in the tall grass early in the spring that I ended up mowing over because I couldn't see it until after I mowed over it.  Eggs broke and scattered everywhere, but at least none of the hens had started sitting on them yet, so there were no babies forming.  (Guineas wait until there are about 30 eggs in the nest before one will decide to start brooding.)  Another was started in the tall grass of the pig pen.  That one surprised me because I thought Piglette would have trampled or eaten the eggs.  Apparently, she left the nest alone because Tom ended up mowing over that one.  The third nest, the guineas had made across the road from our entryway.  That one was raided and the guinea hen lost her life trying to protect it.

So, all summer the guineas have been unsuccessful.  Even out of all the eggs they brooded last year, only one hen survived into adulthood.  I guess this is why there is not an overpopulation of guineas.  And, it's no wonder.  They just pick a spot, totally unprotected, but fairly well hidden, out in the open.  Any predator could either sniff them out or happen upon them at any time.  It seems to be pure luck that any are hatched at all.

Since I found the nest, and while waiting for a hen to decide it's time to brood (and one of them has started brooding as of two days ago), I've been pondering this dilemma and trying to decide what I should do.  I mean, could I make the situation any worse for them, or could I help them get some eggs hatched?  If I disturb the nest, will she abandon it?

I thought about building a temporary pen around the nest so the dogs can't get to it.  They won't bother the guineas, but if they find eggs just laying about, they will eat them.  Ginger has the decency to look guilty, but her guilt doesn't stop her.  And, I guess Harry pretty much thinks he's entitled to eat anything he finds, so his conscious is clear.  Anyway, Tom and I figured that even if we keep the dogs away with a pen, a raccoon could get in there and raid the nest and the dogs couldn't get to the raccoon to chase it off.  So I discarded that idea.

I'm left with the option of just leaving the nest there, unprotected, or moving eggs and hen into the guinea coop, risking her abandoning it.  I've pretty much decided on the move.  Today I got the coop ready.

At first, I thought I'd just tuck it back in the corner of the coop where it's all cozy and covered.  There are nesting boxes in there, but guineas nest on the ground, out in the open.  They don't care if the sun is beaming down or if it rains on them.  I also thought that maybe they nest out in the open so that they can catch any breeze that blows.  It's in the high 90's and low 100's during August/September, so the guinea is going to be pretty hot.

So, I decided to move the spot up to the open area in the coop.  I piled hay on the ground, even though they pretty much just scoop a hole in the dirt for their eggs.  Then I took a bunch of wisteria vine I had just cut last week and piled it up around the hay nest.

I piled more on the outside of the coop, propping it up against the chicken wire.

I tried to make it so that she'd feel hidden in brambles or tall grass, which is what she chooses on her own.

So, I'm going to move her and all the eggs tonight after dark when she's in her semi-trancelike state so she, hopefully, won't freak out and tear up my hands or break eggs.

So, y'all can be in suspense with me while we wait to see if she'll sit on the nest after I move her.  I figure it can't be any worse of a track record than they already have this year.  Plus, I can start gathering the chicken eggs if they continue to lay them in the same place.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

A Pretty Bad Year All 'Round

This has been a bad year for us on the farm.  Well, we're still blessed with our health, but if we had many years like this in a row and actually had to live off our land, we'd be in big trouble.  I can't even remember everything that has gone wrong, but here's a list of things I can think of.

(1)  We only had eight baby goats this year.  Last year we had about 17.  Two of the goats needed assistance at birth and they both lost a kid during labor.  One goat that had triplets last year only had one this year.  One goat that always had triplets previously only had two this year.  One baby was born with what I think was a birth defect.  She lived several weeks - got stronger at first, but then quickly got weaker and finally died.

(2)  We've had lot of illness in our goat herd.  Two of our Nubian does came down with a very bad case of worms and coccidiosis.  We treated the whole herd before they all came down with it.  One of the adults died despite the week long treatment.  That left her twins abandoned too early.  At that stage, after having nursed for so long, they won't take a bottle, so I just had to let them survive on solid food.  I realized later that the doe that lost her baby had started nursing at least one of those twins, maybe both.  But that doe had a relapse of coccidiosis and one of the twins she had adopted got it, too.  I isolated them and did another round of meds.  When they recovered, I put them back with the herd.  The next week the other twin got it.  So I isolated the twins together and treated them both.  They both recovered, but they both were so pitifully thin and bony.  I think there was another round of illness in there somewhere, but I've lost track.  They're all healthy right now and the orphaned twins are putting on weight and looking better.

(3)  Some of our chickens got something funky - two of them got big growths on their wattles, extending up to their beaks.  I isolated them.  Their growths got bigger, but otherwise they seemed fine, but they eventually stopped laying eggs.  I had Tom kill them because they obviously weren't going to get any better, they weren't laying eggs, and I didn't want it to spread to the other chickens.  Then we had another chicken get sick.  I had noticed her sitting in a nesting box for days, but she wasn't sitting on any eggs.  I finally took her out and discovered that she couldn't walk.  I isolated her and she continued to live, but would only just king of lounge.  She would eat and drink if I put the food close enough for her to reach.  After several days of that, I had Tom put her down.

(4)  In the middle of our monsoon spring, our generator broke...kind of.  The generator is set up so that it automatically comes on when the city power goes off.  When I was home alone (of course) one night during a rainstorm, the power went off, the generator did not come on.  When Tom got home, he tried to get it to come on, but couldn't.  Long story short, he worked on it for weeks, went to the Cummings place to talk to their engineers, nobody could figure it out, he finally diagnosed it and one of their techs came over to help him fix it.  That was over a period of at least six weeks.

(5)  This sounds minor, but when you're living on a farm and need a gate opened and closed several times a day, it doesn't feel minor...our front gate opener stopped working properly.  It took months to diagnose and fix that problem.

(6)  The garden.  Oh, the garden.  The only thing it has produced this season is asparagus, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, a couple of quarts of green beans, arugula, a few watermelon and, so far, one cantaloupe. My plan was to have most of the garden space used up with pumpkins.  But, every time the pumpkin plant would just start to vine out, it would die...POW, like, within hours.  It would be big and beautiful in the morning...completely dead in the evening.  I replanted three times.  Each time the same thing happened - same with the zucchini, lemon squash (although, I did get two squash off of one of those before it died overnight), butternut squash, watermelon, and cantaloupe.  For some weird reason, one watermelon vine and one cantaloupe vine survived the massacre and are producing.

Since I couldn't get any pumpkin to grow, I went ahead and planted four rows of corn using the seeds I had leftover from last year.  Out of four rows, SIX plants came up and none of them have an ear of corn on them worthy anything...just a couple of skinny ears that I'll probably throw to the chickens.

I looked in my Texas organic gardening book to see if there was anything I could plant in August and it said pumpkins.  So, I stuck two seeds in the ground to see if they will grow.

 I have no expectations.

Oops, Watermelon

I didn't see this watermelon growing until it was too late to move it.

I tried pushing it out of there when it was smaller, but it was stuck tight.

Time to pick it.  I had to cut it open to get it out.