Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Farmers Helping Neighbors on National Ag Day

Living in the country, the term "neighbor" has a pretty broad meaning.  Factually saying, my nearest neighbor is one mile away.  But if we limit neighbors to just one mile, then I only have three neighbors.  So like many rural residents, I stretch the boundaries of neighbors more than Wikipedia probably accepts.

One thing I love about the farming community is that we stretch our community boundaries, and are always willing and wanting to help out a neighbor.  Several years ago we partnered with many other neighbors to help out some neighbors (they live 5 miles away) harvest their husband/father's fields after he unexpectedly passed away.  We were there for Therron's family not expecting anything in return.  We were there because it is what a neighbor does.  We help each other out.  We are a friendly face giving the farmer wave driving down the road.  We care for the well being of our entire community.

Farmers Helping Neighbors on National Ag Day - Help with Wildfire Relief
The harvest crew for the Therron Miller family, October 2011
Right now is a time that the farming community is coming together to help our neighbors in Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas that have been impacted by wildfires.  Through these wildfires, more than 2,300 square miles have been burned and tragically seven people have died and thousands of cattle have been killed.

Last Friday, Iowa's Governor Terry Branstad signed a proclamation to allow the transportation of oversize and overweight loads of forage on Iowa's roads for the next two months.  This is allowing people to drive large bales of hay and other forages to the ranchers in need.

Another way Iowa's farmers are lending a hand is by an online auction happening on Friday, April 7th at 10 a.m. to raise funds for victims of the recent wildfires.  This is being hosted by the Iowa Cattlemen's Foundation, Iowa Cattlemen's Association and Dream Dirt.  You can learn more about the auction by checking out my friend, and neighbor, Cristen of Food & Swine's recent post.

You can also find a list of other aid efforts on AgWeb.

Do you know of any other ways to help our neighbors affected by the wildfires?  Be sure to share in the comment section below and always remember to Comment for a Cause!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March Madness Farm Edition

It is the start of March Madness and while I'm getting excited to watch some basketball tonight and hope to see a few ISU Cyclone victories, we're also gearing up for spring planting which will start in just a month.

Getting the Planter Ready

March Madness Farm Edition - Getting the Planter Ready
We've been working on the planter in the shop
Even though there is snow on the ground, we've been working hard in the shop giving our planter its spring-time inspection, maintenance and adjustment done.

Just like your car or truck, farm equipment has many parts that wear down and this is the time of year that we take time to lubricate and get replacements for those parts.  This hopefully will help us to not have any breakdowns after we get into the fields this spring.

Planter Clinics

March Madness Farm Edition - Planter Clinics help Precision Planting Equipment to work properly and efficiently
Getting our planter meters checked ensures
accuracy placing the seed in the ground
Yesterday, My Farmer went to our local tractor dealership for a Planter Clinic, where they learned how to calibrate and set up our planter.  This is essential for making sure our GPS and precision planting equipment are working properly.

Next week we will be getting our planter meters checked, as seen in the photo above.  Seed meters are part of our precision planting system that controls the seeding rate and population of individual rows on our planter.  Each row has its own meter.  This system allows us to start and stop seeding on individual rows, all on the go.  Our seed meters are checked for their efficiency by checking how many skips or double plants the meter gave through a test on the meter machine.  Making sure our meters are working properly is one way for us to make sure that our planter is putting seed into the ground accurately.

Corn and Soybean Seed is Here and Arriving

March Madness Farm Edition - Corn and Soybean Seed is Here and Arriving
Our corn and soybean seed is stored in seed tender boxes
Most of our corn seed has arrived and is being stored in the shop (in fact if you look at the top photo of the planter in the shop, you can see the seed tender boxes along the back wall), and most of our soybean seed will be arriving by the end of the month.

We use tender boxes to store our seed because it allows us to easily switch between different varieties while filling the planter out in the field, plus the tender boxes hold a lot more seed.  Tender boxes hold an average of 2,500 pounds of grain, where traditional bags hold 50 pounds.

So, as you can see, we are having our own version of March Madness here on the farm.  If you are interested in getting a sneak peak at spring planting, check out some of these posts:

What do you look forward to with Spring's arrival?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pi{e} Day Link Up Party + Easy Sour Cream & Raisin Pie

Happy 3.14, also known as Pi Day, where everyone that loves pie (which includes me 😉) has an excuse to eat pie!  I love to not only eat pie, but also make pie.  Something about making the crust, rolling it out, making the filling, getting creative in the kitchen - making pie gives me a sense of accomplishment and happiness.

One of my go to pies in my recipe collection is my Easy Sour Cream & Raisin Pie.  It is a go to recipe because it is super simple and is a fast pie to make, as well as it's a favorite of both My Farmer and my Father-in-Law.  In fact my Father-in-Law has requested this pie from me for his birthday the last few years.

Easy Sour Cream & Raisin Pie

Easy Sour Cream & Raisin Pie

1 cup Flour
5 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, softened
Dash Salt
1 cup Raisins
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 - 3.4 oz box Instant Vanilla Pudding
1 1/2 cup Milk
1 - 8 oz container Whipped Topping

To start, make your crust by blending the flour, powdered sugar, butter and salt with a pastry blender and press into a 9" or 10" pie plate.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350°F.  Let the crust cool and begin to make your filling.

For the filling, start by boiling the raisins.  After the raisins have boiled for a minute, drain off the juice and add cinnamon, brown sugar and sour cream.  In a mixing bowl combine the vanilla pudding mix and milk.  Then stir in 2/3 cup whipped topping.  Add raisin mixture and combine.  Pour mixture into cooled pie crust and then top with the rest of the whipped topping.

Easy Sour Cream & Raisin Pie

Besides having a slice of pie today, I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate then having a Pi{e} Day Link Up Party.  I have partnered with my old Country Fair Blog Party Co-Hosts: Jan of The Tip Garden and Nicole of Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom to bring this link up to all of you today.  Feel free to link-up any and all of your pie recipes - sweet to savory, traditional to unique.  We want to see them all!

What's your favorite kind of pie?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Monday, March 13, 2017

When Life Gets Busy? Refocus Priorities

It's been awhile since I've blogged.  In the last month I've ran in the Cupid's Undie Run, celebrated Mr. K's 6th birthday and lead a couple activities through some of my volunteer commitments, not to mention being a mom to four kids, wife to a farmer, and have dealt with a couple rounds of "crud" going through our household.

Needless to say, life's been busy.

In fact, I've been doing a lot of thinking and praying lately about my busy life, because it has seemed like I've just been busy and not really productive.  I realized that this was not good for me, and not good for my family.  I needed to refocus and really think about what my priorities are.

So what are my priorities?  

My top priority is obviously my family.  My relationship with My Farmer and taking care of my kids is #1.  I never want to get so busy that I miss out being there for my family.

When Life Gets Busy? Refocus Priorities - Family is always #1
I am so lucky that I get to be Mom to these four 💗
My next priority ties in with supporting my husband and that is the farm.  Anything I can do to help My Farmer and help our farm is a priority.  Farming isn't only the way we make a living, it is also both of our dream and the way we want to raise our family.  Spring time is around the corner and then this role and priority in my life will become greater.

When Life Gets Busy? Refocus Priorities - Farming is more than just how we make a living
Spring planting will be here before we know it for My Farmer and I
My final priority is being a positive role model and a supportive influence for others.  I feel like I can do this through my volunteer efforts.  But I will admit, this is an area where I've been taking a lot of time to think and pray on refocusing where my time would be best spent.  I am a loyal person and that can make it hard to step away.  But as my family and farm both grow, I know I need to give a little in this area.  It's not that my volunteer commitments don't align with my goals and priorities, it is just that I realistically don't have time to fulfill all of these commitments properly and on time.  That is something I recognize and I don't like to give less than all.

So what does this all mean?  What changes am I making?

I'm not positive yet, but it is something that My Farmer and I have been talking through together.  Serving is an important thing to me and it will always be apart of my life, but at this time I know I need to decrease my commitments.  I will add though, that this blog has and is something that I enjoy.  It not only is a personal outlet for me, I know it is supportive tool for our farm too.  Thank you for catching up with me today and I look forward to bringing my blog back into my focus and priorities.

Have you ever had to just stop yourself and refocus when life seems too busy?  What steps have you taken to refocus your priorities?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Friday, February 10, 2017

I'm an #ActualLivingFarmer

Each morning while I'm waiting for the school bus to arrive, I usually do some scrolling through Twitter on my phone.  This morning was no different, except that a hashtag caught my eye - #ActualLivingFarmer.  I thought, well this is cool!  A couple fellow farmers that I follow were using it and I thought, sure, I'll introduce myself to the world of Twitter as an actual living farmer too:

I immediately started getting great feedback from the post, so I decided to dig deeper into the hashtag.  Last weekend the hashtag #ActualLivingScientist became trending after a couple scientist decided to introduce themselves, after feeling under scrutiny and under appreciated due to some reports in the news and government changes.  They realized that most people today wouldn't be able to name a living scientist, so the hashtag began and caught on fast.

Then on Wednesday of this week, a plant scientist spawned a new hashtag - #ActualLivingFarmer:

If you are a farmer, get involved, and share your story as an #ActualLivingFarmer.

If you aren't a farmer, follow the hashtag and check out all the neat and different types of farmers that are willing and interested in sharing their story.  For me personally, I love sharing about my life on the farm because it is not only what I do for a living, it is also my passion.

Here are some posts about me and my farm that will give you a better idea what it is like to be raising corn, soybeans, pigs and kids on a North Iowa farm.

Harvest of Thanks to our Farm Family
We are a FAMILY Farm
What it means to be a FarmHer
When I Grow Up I Want To Be a Farmer
Planting a Seed
Here Piggy, Piggy, Piggy

If you have any questions about my farm or being a farmer, comment below.  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Slow-Cooker Smoky BBQ Pork Ribs and 20+ Game Day Foods #FootballFood

Do you ever go on a Pinterest binge where you find yourself pinning something everyday for days on end?  Well, that has been me lately; between trying new zoodle recipes (or any excuse to use my new spiralizer), to getting ready to celebrate Mr. K and Miss L's birthdays, to preparing for next weekend's Big Game, it seems like I'm turning to Pinterest every night to help me think through ideas.  Well, today, I'm passing the addiction on to you and I'm sharing my Slow-Cooker Smoky BBQ Pork Ribs along with over 20 other great recipes from some of my blogging friends to help you find a great dish for next weekend's Big Game or really any day 😊

When it comes to the Big Game, I don't know about you, but I'm really only there to watch it so I can eat great food and hopefully see a couple good commercials.  So for me, anything that is simple and can sit around, is a win for me.  That is why for my Smoky BBQ Pork Ribs, made with Chipolte Chiles in Adobo Sauce, I turned to my slow-cooker.  I hope you enjoy these easy, savory Pork Ribs at your Big Game Party!

Slow-Cooker Smoky BBQ Pork Ribs and 20+ Game Day Foods #FootballFood

Slow-Cooker Smoky BBQ Pork Ribs

4# Country Style Pork Ribs
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and Pepper

BBQ Sauce:
1 cup Ketchup
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Chipolte Chiles in Adobo Sauce, chopped
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Salt

Place pork ribs in a slow cooker.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and minced garlic.  Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

About 30 minutes before serving, drain and discard juices from the slow cooker and pour or spoon BBQ Sauce over the ribs.  To make the BBQ Sauce, combine all the ingredients and mix well.  (And by the way, this is my go-to BBQ Sauce that I use on everything!)

***Cook's Tip***  Chipolte Chiles in Adobo Sauce is bought in a small can.  You will never use the entire can in one recipe, so what I do is put the entire can (chiles and sauces) in the food processor and mince til the chiles are finely chopped.  I then use the mixed chopped chiles and sauce in the recipe as directed and put the unused in a freezer storage bag.  I freeze the leftovers and then thaw the bag the next time I need chipolte chiples in adobo for a recipe, like for my Sweet and Spicy Hog Wild Baked Beans, recipe #20 down below. 😉

Slow-Cooker Smoky BBQ Pork Ribs and 20+ Game Day Foods #FootballFoods

Ready for over 20 other great #FootballFood recipes to get you ready for the Big Game from some of my blogging friends and I?  

#FootballFood Great Grub for Game Day and Any Day, 20+ Recipes
Here they are - you'll have to comment below and let me know which recipe you're most excited about!

#FootballFood Great Grub for Game Day and Any Day, 20+ Recipes

   1. Mini Sweet and Spicy Cheese Ball from Dad What's 4 Dinner
   2. Mexican Queso Dip from Palatable Pastime
   3. Baked Onion Dip from Family Around the Table
   4. Sloppy Joe Buffalo Chicken Sliders from Tip Garden
   5. 5 Ingredient Loaded Baked Potato Dip from Corn, Beans, Pigs, Kids
   6. Buffalo Chicken Taquitos from Cooking With Carlee
   7. Toasted Mexican Ravioli from Jolene's Recipe Journal

#FootballFood Great Grub for Game Day and Any Day, 20+ Recipes

    8. Bacon Wrapped Shrimp Jalapeno Poppers from Cooking With Carlee
   10. Masala Spiced "Bollywood" Popcorn from Palatable Pastime
   11. Spicy Beer Bratwurst Sliders from Dad Whats 4 Dinner
   12. Caramel Crispix Mix from Corn, Beans, Pigs, Kids
   13. Pizza Quesadillas from Jolene's Recipe Journal
   14. Pepperoni Cheese Pizza Sliders from Family Around the Table

#FootballFood Great Grub for Game Day and Any Day, 20+ Recipes

   15. Healthy Turkey and Cheese Roll-Ups from Palatable Pastime
   16. Game Day Black Bean Habanero Chili from Dad What's 4 Dinner
   17. Warm and Cheesy Pulled Pork Dip from Cooking With Carlee
   18. Cinnamon Streusel Dessert Pizza from Tip Garden
   19. Raspberry Glazed Chicken Wings from Family Around the Table
   20. Sweet and Spicy Hog Wild Baked Beans from Corn, Beans, Pigs, Kids
   21. Doritos Locos Nachos from Jolene's Recipe Journal

So what do you enjoy the most about the Big Game?  Are you there to watch football?  Watch commercials?  Watch the half-time show?  Tell me below and remember to Comment for a Cause!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Bloom Where You Are Planted

It doesn't seem possible that it is Friday after the New Year already.  I normally do a New Year Goals post at the beginning of each year but I got to thinking as the New Year rolled around that I really didn't have any new goals.  I concentrated on eating healthier and being more active after Miss R arrived this summer, and I plan to continue doing that.  I wanted to continue to focus on mine and my family's routine this year.  And I wanted to continue to simply build a happy home.  At first, I didn't know if this was a good thing, or a bad thing.  But then I read my morning devotion, which I started as a goal this past fall, on January 1st and the first line said, "Lord, guide my choices today so they will bloom blessings for the generation tomorrow."

Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids - Bloom Blessing in the New Year
Fun Fact! Those are soybean flowers
I thought WOW!  How perfect!  I love and live by the saying, "Bloom where you are planted."  And then to read, and remind myself, how my choices will impact me and future generations, just seem to work completely.

Grow Where You Are Planted
Another Fun Fact! This a row of corn
sprouting out of one of our fields
As a Wife and Mom, I work hard to provide opportunities for my family.  I want to see my husband and all four of my kids succeed both now and in the future.  How can I do this?  Share God with them.  Show my love to them.  Spend time with them.  Can it really be that simple?  I think so.  And I think it is one of the most important things I can do right now.

As a Farmer, I'm working hard to make the right choices and decisions for our farm, so our land and animals are the best and healthiest they can be.  I also want to do this so my kids can be the sixth generation of farmers in our family.

So how are you blooming blessings?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!  And I hope you all are having a great start to your New Year!