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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Questions for the Farmer: "Are you or Aren't You?"

Living in the country and or Small Town USA is the best.  I can drive around, shop, and stop for a chat every time I head in to our small town of Fowler.  I have to stop and wonder, though, if Tall Guy and I are the topic of conversation because half the time I venture out, I am not wearing my wedding rings.  TG rarely wears his.  We will be at one of the girls' sporting events, church, or just out for a drive, and one will realize that we are "dating," not married, because of the missing rings.


I'm sure there are some folks out there wondering why we are not wearing our wedding rings.  Let me reassure everyone that our marriage is good, all is well here on the farm, but the farm is the reason we often leave our rings in the house.  Probably the biggest injury to farmers is the loss of fingers, and the reason is that a ring can get caught on several pieces of farm equipment, nails, screws, hooks or while we are climbing up/down something.

My Grandpa Bill lost part of his ring finger. His wedding ring got caught while climbing around on a grain wagon. TG has had a close call or two as well.  While helping TG put a box of bailing wire (one box weighs about 100 pounds) from the store cart to the truck bed, I almost smashed my finger, and the ring I had on my finger didn't help matters; it made a nice cut on my finger where it was pushed into the skin.  It's also not so pleasant to take an old toothbrush to your rings to scrub out organic material.


Nope, they were not on my finger here either!  Whew!

So if you see me out and about without my rings, never fear!  They are at home, safely placed for when I am out working around our farm.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day from the Heart!



Tall Guy and I decided to get a jump start on Valentine's Day by going out last night to one of our favorite "Date Night" restaurants, McGraw's Steak House!  It's a lovely restaurant, situated right along the Wabash River, and it's only tricky to find in the dark because it sits off South River Road as you go out of West Lafayette.  I'm still loving the memory of our steaks and alone time....sigh........

Today, however, is another day.  Tink went to a friend's house to watch the younger sibs so that friend's parents go venture out tonight.  Bear has a friend over here, and I thought it would be fun to make them a heart-shaped pizza.  Toppings used can be whatever is your heart's desire, but TG loves this crust recipe, so I thought it fitting I should share it with you tonight.

For the dough, you will need:

1 pkg. dry yeast
1 C. lukewarm water
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
2 T oil ( I use olive oil)
2 1/2 to 3 C. flour

This recipe makes two medium pizzas.

In a bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water.  Add sugar, salt, and oil.  Mix well.  Gradually add flour to form a stiff dough.  Knead on floured surface until smooth.  Place dough in a bowl, cover the lid with a damp towel and let rise until doubled.

Divide dough in half and roll to 1/4 inch thickness.  Put in a pizza pan or stone, cover with your toppings, and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes or until crust is golden.



Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!



Monday, February 2, 2015

Beauty








"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting — a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing. "

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Farmer Q and A: How Does a Farmer Get Ready for a BIG SNOW???

* Warning:  I just picked up my BIG camera after it spent about 5 weeks in the camera hospital, so this post is a bit picture heavy because, well, because I missed it so much!

I get the sense that some of America is under the misconception that a farmer's job is done after the last corn/bean/whatever you are growing comes in, and I so wish that was the case.   I'm here to tell you that it is NOT over, especially when the next latest greatest "BIG SNOW" is predicted.

So what do farmers do to prepare for a big snow?

First, if you have any snow removal equipment, it has to be ready to go, and that includes being in a position to get out of the barn/tool shed ready to work.

Bladed (back end) and bucketed tractor at the ready by the east door....We actually have a snow blower that can attach, but Tall Guy likes to move snow with a bucket and blade/scraper.


Semis in the back...


Combine by the south door ready to go the JD dealership for a going over when there is room.



Next, because we have livestock, we need to make sure their food is ready to be fed, and their waterers are all in working order.  This is kind of hard to 100% sure of until until we know the storm temperatures and amount of snow.


The blurry things in the picture below are birds.

Working waterer....


Under surveillance...heater might not be working.


Not being used at this time.


 One of our bigger 4-H calves



We had to throw down ten bales of straw for their bedding.  Uhm..., that "we" would be me!  I had some instructions from Angel as how to limb up to the hay/straw loft if I needed a refresher lesson!








Sadie and Angel making sure their waterer is also in working order.


Next, because we heat our home with a boiler system, we have to make sure we have wood chopped and two good stacks out by the boiler ready to go.




Finally, we need to make sure our "necessities of life" are in good supply.  Back in the day, my mom would run the tub full of water and fill up the kerosene lamps.  I still have those lamps even though we do have a generator that will help with electricity if the power does go out.  I also have a good supply of the BIG FOUR, toilet paper, milk, eggs, and bread, on hand in case we are socked in for longer than a few days.  Back when I was a teenager, I think the longest we were snowed in was two weeks during the late 70's BIG THREE blizzards.  Fun times, seriously!  We played a lot of euchre, put together several 1000 piece puzzles, and played outside whenever possible to shake off the cabin fever.

As you can see, farmers rarely get a day off, especially livestock farmers.  Grain farmers are usually out hauling grain to elevators and plotting next year's crops and strategies, and livestock farmers add care of the animals on top of that.  We all take safety precautions for our home and family because chances are even when the town folk can get out and about, we have about two more days before our roads are plowed out and and safe for traffic.  Stay safe and warm if you are in this storm's path.  I'm off to help Tall Guy split and stack more wood!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Geez! Where Did Those Last Two Weeks Go?

Well for Pete's sake!  I can't believe I haven't been on here for two weeks!  What have I been up to?

Here's a little photo montage of those last 14 days.

More awesome friend time with a fun trip to Indy


Talking about farming to this adorable bunch of kindergartners as I started my Junior Achievement lessons with them.


Sat in a meeting "with the guys" at our local John Deere store to learn the latest and greatest John Deere programs.


Sniff Sniff.... Went to Tink's last home game.  Time has gone much too quickly!




Trimmed our calves' heads, briskets and bellies so their hair will be beautiful come fair time.



Played a bit of H-O-R-S-E and P-I-G with the girls.


Watched some beautiful sunrises just outside my bedroom window,


Helped Tall Guy load trucks of corn to take down to Lafayette's Staley plants.


Sniff  Sniff....Watched our Bear play in her FIRST basketball home game.



Traveled to Indianapolis with some of our Benton County Farm Bureau Board members to chat with our State Representative Sharon Negele and Senator Rick Niemeyer at the Capitol.


So, I'm sure I will be telling you more about these stories in the next coming days and weeks, plus I will be keeping you better up to date with our latest projects, trips, and farm news. OH!  Maybe not the biggest news, but news that makes me smile is that my camera, the big one, is back from it's visit to the camera doctor.  Both body and lens are fixed, clean, and ready for action.  I swear it felt like I was missing an appendage without it by my side.  The phone does a pretty good job of taking pictures, but my camera is the best!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

When Life Gives You Snow, You Just Need to Make Snow Ice Cream!


It stands to reason that here on the farm we use what we have, and make do with it.  Happily that means there are all sorts of delicious meat, veggies, and fruits stashed out in my freezer, but with the recent snows and the fact Tink and Bear missed the whole first week plus one day of school in this new yer, we have been trying to be a bit creative to keep the crazies away.

Since Tall Guy's actual 50 birthday was Monday, and we had made him his favorite dessert, peach cobbler, the girls wanted to make him some ice cream to go with it!  (From this link, looks like TG's birthday is inclined to also be a snow day with peach cobbler served!  It's a super easy recipe to try!)

Snow Ice Cream


Clicking on the link above will get you to my super simple peach cobbler recipe, but this time we are going to focus on an easy peasy way to make snow ice cream.  You need just 1 can of Borden's Sweetened Condensed Milk, a bit of vanilla, and about 8 cups of 99% CLEAN snow!
(You can click on the videos to make them larger)


                                           

Heather Hill, you are mentioned in the following video because I know how precise you are about measuring ingredients.  I still love you anyway!  ;-)



So now there are TWO big ice cream buckets filled with "Snow Cream," and the girls are in heaven because they were able to make it.  Tall Guy is NOT in heaven after turning 50, and he is quite grateful for that. Turning 50 is not the end of the world; you just start to see the world from a different view point!

Monday, January 12, 2015

HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY TALL GUY!

Finally!  I have some company up here at the top of the hill!  Yep, today is Tall Guy's 50th birthday. We aren't doing a big "to do" today because we did the impossible and surprised him last Saturday!

It's been a week and two days, and I'm still pooped from all the secrecy and plotting and meeting behind scenes, on top of the Christmas season and hosting a very casual gathering at our house on New Year's Eve. That is my secret to getting motivated: Invite people over to our house.

It really works, and everyone pitches in, but the big job was getting the garage cleaned out from all the winter "stuff" that has found itself inside.



The plan was for a very good friend, our best man in fact, to come up home and ask us to meet him for lunch at the 100 Mile Rib and Chop House.  The girls were able to stay home from this with a bit of acting from Miss Bear, saying that her tummy was hurting her, and she didn't think she could eat anything.  (So wish that wasn't a believable situation, but more on that later).  While TG and I were eating lunch, all my helpers were busy back at home, swooping in with food, tables, chairs, and decorations.


Thanks to Ms. Gidget for whipping up TG's favorite cake: Texas Sheet Cake.  It was a huge hit with everyone!



I left a bit early from our meal, and spirited Miss C. home with me to meet Tink and Bear while TG and Big E talked boy talk.
  

Like our beards?  The girls and I had this brainstorm after seeing all the mustaches in the party store. We had to hit the fabric store, though, to find brown pieces of felt with a bonus sticky backing! Here I am with my Matron of Honor and my Bestie posing!  It was fun to have a lot of our wedding party join us. Keeping up with friends is important and hard as we all run our kids here and there.


So here is the Star of the Show realizing he has been had!






Kind of like Charlie with his Angels.......


I cannot even begin to count the number of times the four of us below have had our pictures taken together.  Timeless friends!


I truly think we invented the selfies!


There was plenty of food and friends, and the party lingered on into the evening.






A good time was definitely had by all!  I have to apologize for the quality of some of my pictures. Most were taken with an excellent camera by an excellent friend who managed to avoid the other side of the lens! Thanks Ms. Kim!  The blurrier ones are mine taken with my phone.  My BIG camera is at the camera hospital, and I am waiting to hear the diagnosis/prognosis.  In its place, I've been grabbing my phone, but I unearthed my Canon G9 point and shoot the other day, and I will start using it more. I forgot what awesome pictures it can take!

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