Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wordless Wednesday & Apple Pie Recipe

Sweet as Apple Pie

Mom's Pie Crust (Bev Krumm)
For 9" pie crust (double for apple pie)
1/3 cup Lard
1 cup Flour
1/3 tsp. Salt
2-3 Tbsp.  Cold Water

Cut lard with flour and salt into pea-sized dough, add 1 Tbsp. water at a time till form ball.  Flatten and roll on floured surface.

Mother's Old-Fashioned Apple Pie (Ideals Farmhouse Cookbook by Clarice L Moon, Copyright 1978)
4 to 5 cups Peeled and Sliced Tart Apples
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/3 cup Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 cup Water
1 Tbsp Butter

Prepare pie crust.  Roll out half and line pan.  Combine sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl; stir in water.  Add apples, mixing to coat thoroughly.  Pour into unbaked pie crust and dot with butter.  Roll out top crust; cut a design in the center to allow steam to escape.  Place top crust on pie, pressing around the edge to seal.  Brush pie crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake in a 350 degree oven 45 to 60 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is browned.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Taking an Inside Look at Animal Agriculture

I don't know why all of a sudden, but in the last week I have been alerted to a few articles, campaigns and TV shows that are raising questions about America's animal agriculture sector.  It all started last week when Dairy Carrie alerted me about Panera Bread Company's new EZ Chicken campaign.

This fear campaign sadly portrays farmers who use antibiotics as lazy.  My Farmer puts in long, hard days 24/7/365 to ensure the best environment for our pigs.  We conduct proper antibiotics use in our hogs to keep our livestock healthy.  Afterall, healthy animals provide healthy food.  Antibiotics help prevent and control disease.  And did you know, the FDA doesn't allow meat to be sold with traces of antibiotics above strict safety limits.  FDA and the US Food Safety and Inspection Service have regulations that requires specific withdrawl times, or a set number of days that must pass between the last antibiotic treatment and the animal entering the food supply.  This ensures the drugs have sufficiently cleared an animal's system.  The Panera Bread campaign, along with many others, tout being antibiotic free.  The thing is, no meat in the US food system has antibiotics in it - so technically, all meat is antibiotic free.

Then this week a friend of mine alerted to me about the New York Times article, "Can We See Our Hypocrisy to Animals?" by Nicholas Kristof.  Mr. Kristof believes our descendants will be "mystified" by how we, people of the 21st century, could have been "so oblivious to the unethical treatment of animals."  The well being of the pigs on our farm is a very high priority of ours.  My Farmer and I are constantly exploring new ways to raise our animals in the best way that ensures our hogs to be healthy and content.  The housing we raise our pigs in is well ventilated, the perfect temperature, well lit, clean and scientifically designed to meet the needs for temperature, light, water and food for our animals.

My Farmer doing his daily hog chores
He is standing next to the "food court" that our pigs eat at
And now, I have been made aware of a National Geographic episode of Inside: Secret America titled:  Animal Undercover that will be airing tomorrow night at 9 p.m. CST.  I don't know too much, since it hasn't aired yet, but what I do know from the overview given on National Geographic's Inside: Secret America website is this:  National Geographic meets with two covert animal activists (their words, not mine) who lead hidden camera exposes in slaughterhouses, farms and research labs who are pushing for stricter enforcement of animal cruelty laws.  I'm not sure what National Geographic's view will be on what these animal activists share with them, but I can only imagine...

I for one am proud to be a 5th generation farmer who, like the name of my blog says, raises corn, soybeans, pigs and kids on My Farmer's and my North Central Iowa farm.  We work hard everyday to ensure the best well being for our livestock.  Join me and share your voice in the discussion with these campaigns, articles and stories.  I'm proud to report that due to feedback already from Panera's EZ Chicken campaign, some aspects of the campaign have already been taken down or cancelled.  But we still need to share the "inside" story of animal agriculture with them, the New York Times and tomorrow night with National Geographic!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Moving Up Monday

It is time for a new Moving Up Monday update.  Work keeps moving along on the house and hopefully in the next couple of weeks work will not only ramp up but maybe even wrap up!

The biggest news is that the upstairs is almost done!  Every room has been painted, along with every closet, the hallway and the stairwell thanks to My Mom, My Farmer and My Father-in-Law.  Work that still needs to be done in the upstairs includes carpet being installed in the nursery and the master bedroom, as well as the half bath needs to be installed.  Good news is that I think all of those items will be finished this week!  Here is a look at how the upstairs has came along since the last update:

Master Bedroom paint - Glidden's Partridge Gray GLD808
(Photo taken July 17, 2013)
Master Bedroom new sliding closet doors
(Photo taken July 23, 2013)
LP's Bedroom paint - Glidden's Open Sesame #10362
(Photo taken July 23, 2013)
LP's Bedroom finished
Carpet, Paint, Windows, Ceiling fan/light, Wood Work
(Photo taken July 27, 2013)
LP's Bedroom Closet
(Photo taken July 27, 2013)
LP loves his newly finished bedroom!
MP's Bedroom paint - Glidden's Homemade Custard #10412
(Photo taken July 23, 2013)
All the wood work has been cleaned-up in one way or another
throughout the house.  Here is the hallway door that opens
into the huge closet that also has access into MP's room.
(Photo taken July 23, 2013)
Half bath paint - Glidden's Partridge Gray GLD808
Built in storage unit installed
(Photo taken July 17, 2013)
Built in storage getting final coats of paint
Sink and toilet ready to be installed
(Photo taken July 23, 2013)
Work is moving along a lot more downstairs lately in the Mudroom/Laundry Room/Office and Bathroom.  All the new walls are up now and mudding is being completed.  It sounds like the Bathroom's tub/shower will be installed this week if not also the toilet, vanity and sink.  And after all the new walls are done being mudded in the Mudroom and Bathroom all the walls and ceilings in the downstairs are going to get texturized so painting can begin in the downstairs.  Here is a look at how the downstairs has came along since the last update:

A look at our general contractor putting up drywall
in the Mudroom/Laundry Room/Office
(Photo taken July 23, 2013)
Mudroom drywall installed and mudding being done
A look at the built in closet
(Photo taken July 27, 2013)
Mudroom walls being mudded
(Photo taken July 27, 2013)
Drywall being installed in the Bathroom
(Photo taken July 27, 2013)
A look at a new vent in the back of the Bathroom closet
The heating and cooling guys are finishing their work on the vents
for the new central air/heat system
(Photo taken July 27, 2013)
I can't wait for all the work to be finished and for us to move in!  We are actually thinking of starting to move all of our bedrooms over to the new house once the carpet is installed.  We'll either sleep over there (remember, we're only moving 3/4 miles away so this is feasible), or still sleep over here on an air mattress, couches, etc., or maybe we'll go camping in our current house's yard.  I'm not sure what we'll do but we'd like to start moving things over as soon as we can.  I think moving rooms as they're ready will be nice to not only get both the new house done and organized, but to also get our old house cleaned up for the new tenants.

Hopefully there is enough progress this week that there will be a new Moving Up Monday update next week!

Check out how far we've come on our home remodel by checking out past "Moving Up Monday" reports:

Friday, July 26, 2013

What is a Corn Tassel?

What does it mean when corn is tasseling?  Corn has started to tassel in our area over the last couple of weeks, which is a few weeks behind a "normal" year.  Tasseling is an important milestone in corn plant's growth.  Corn's growth scale is divided between two different sets - vegetative (designated as V-stages) and reproductive (designated as R-stages).  The transitional stage between the V and R stages is VT - also known as tasseling.  This stage is also important for another reason, because corn plants have reached their final height, or close to it, by the time tasseling begins.  Tasseling is a very vulnerable stage for both drought (which we have been pretty dry the last couple of weeks) and hail (which we had earlier this week...)

What is a tassel?
Simply put, the tassel is the top most part of a corn plant.  Here is a picture that shows a corn plant with the tassel fully opened or out.

The corn tassel is the part of the plant where the pollen comes from.  The pollen pollinates the ear of corn, which causes the ear of corn to grow.  Pollination occurs when pollen falls off the tassel and then blows through the wind and eventually comes in contact with the silk on the top of the ear of corn.  Ears of corn start growing silk at the beginning of the R stages.  When the silks dry and turn brown, the pollination process is done and the ear of corn will continue to grow.

What is detasseling?
You may have heard of high schoolers having the summer job of detasseling - so what exactly is it?  Seed companies hire detasselers to help them create specific cross pollination of corn plants.  The work done by detasselers will eventually result in new corn hybrids that farmers will want to plant.  To produce this specific cross pollination, seed companies designate male and female rows of corn.  All female rows have their tassels pulled by hand.  Male rows are left alone so their pollen in their tassels will cross pollinate in the neighboring female rows.  Cross pollinating is when you have pollen from one variety of corn fertilize or pollinate the silk of another and different variety of corn.

So now when somebody is talking about corn tasseling or you see those "yellow tops" on the corn, you'll know what tassels are and the importance of this corn growth stage!

How is it July 26th? Summer Bucket List Update!

Has anyone else's month of July been flying by like mine?  Actually, lets be real, anyone else's summer been going by way too fast?  To tell you the truth, summer is not my favorite season of the year - in fact, it might be my least favorite season, but I have been having a blast this summer!  (And I think it has shown in my blogging because I haven't been very consistent with blogs lately...)

I may have not been doing very well blogging lately, but I do think we have been doing a pretty good job checking off things on our Family Summer Fun Bucket List!  We still have quite a bit to do but I think we'll be able to get most of the things done within the next couple of months.  Here is how we currently stand on our Summer Bucket List:
  1. Go to the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines (and invite my Grandma S/LP's Great-Grandma to come along)
  2. Ride the Train at the Boone Scenic Valley Road (and invite my Grandpa & Grandma K/LP's Great-Grandparents to come along)
  3. Go to the County Fair
  4. Go to the State Fair
  5. Visit a New Midwest Town/Landmark
  6. Go Camping at Pine Lake with Friends
  7. Go on a Family Vacation
  8. Sign-up for the Summer Reading Program at our Local Library
  9. Participate in the Latimer Fun Day 5K Run/2 Mile Walk
  10. Go Swimming at the Swimming Pool
  11. Go Golfing
  12. Go on a Nature Walk at Beeds Lake
  13. Have a Picnic at Clear Lake's Beach
  14. Watch Fireworks for the 4th of July
  15. Have Family Dates (Mom & Dad, Mom & LP, Mom & MP, Dad & LP, Dad & MP)
Go to the County Fair
The Franklin County Fair was last week and we went to the fair a couple different times.  Some of our favorite things were going through the 4-H Building, riding the train, going to the rodeo and eating great fair food!  Here are a couple photos from our adventures at the fair:

LP watching the rodeo
MP at her first rodeo
MP and LP enjoyed the train ride (even if the photo doesn't really show it...)
MP having her photo taken in the 4-H Building in her 4-H onesie
MP in her Future 4-Her onesie
My Farmer (second from right) grilling with the County Pork Producers for
the County Farm Bureau Burger Feed
Family photo after the Burger Feed
LP having fun on the grandstand gates as
Mom and Dad take tickets for the Jared Neiman concert
Sign up for the Summer Reading Program
We not only signed up for the Summer Reading Program at our local library but we also completed the program last week.  One of LP's favorite places to go is the library.  I hope he continues his love for reading as he grows older.

LP standing outside our local library wearing his library shirt
and carrying his bucket that he received as part of
the summer reading program
Participate in the Latimer Fun Day 5K Run/2 Mile Walk
Last year I participated in my first 5K ever and so this summer I wanted to do another, but this time walk it, since I just gave birth at the end of May.  So I packed up the kids in the stroller and we participated in our local town's celebration's Fun Run/Walk.

Getting ready to participate in the Fun Run/Walk with LP and MP in the stroller
Go Swimming at the Swimming Pool
Well, I'm kind of cheating on this one...  My idea was to go to our local swimming pool (which I still want to do) but the kids and I did go swimming in a hotel while traveling to one of my cousin's graduation party.

MP and I getting into the pool
LP, MP and I all had a great time swimming
Have a Picnic at Clear Lake
One day after running errands in the area, LP, MP and I had a picnic at Clear Lake and then went to the splash pad at City Beach afterwards.  We had so much fun!  I plan on continuing to do this after future errands trips!

LP enjoyed watching the boats while we had our picnic at Clear Lake
And LP really enjoyed playing in the splash pad
Good thing I brought extra clothes because
LP was soaked when we left!
The Ice Cream Truck also made a stop at City Beach while we were there!
So LP picked out a treat before we headed home.
LP enjoyed his ice cream sandwich so much I think I only got
two or three bites of it...
Watch Fireworks for the 4th of July
We had a great time celebrating Independence Day with some of My Farmer's and my good friends from college and their families.

The kids getting ready for the Dads to shoot the fireworks!
Go to a Baseball Game
Ok, so it wasn't on the original list but it was so much fun I'm adding it (and then crossing it off because I find joy in crossing off things on lists).  Our family went to an I-Cubs Baseball Game earlier this week thanks to Pfister Seeds.  It was a lot of fun and a perfect night for a baseball game.

LP enjoying his hot dog at the ballgame
LP and My Farmer enjoying the baseball game
LP learning about the game of baseball from Dad
We've been having a great summer so far and we can't wait to continue working on our Summer Bucket List.  What is your favorite thing you've done this summer so far?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Moving Up Monday

It is time for a long over due "Moving Up Monday" update!  I think the best way to update you all on the house is to go room by room.

Kitchen and Dining Room

Looking into Kitchen from Dining Room
(Photo taken July 8, 2013)
Not too much has changed in the Kitchen and Dining Room since the last "Moving Up Monday" report.  All of the layers of wallpaper are now all off in the Kitchen and the kitchen cabinets are ready to be installed.  Also, all new windows have been installed throughout both floors of the house.  We have also chosen a wood laminate to go in the kitchen and dinning room:

Tarkett Nafco Good Living Honey Oak 3" GLP420
And we have chosen to go with Glidden's Winter Oats 10361 for the wall color for the Kitchen, Dining Room, Living Room and Den/Playroom.  I tried finding a copy of the paint online to give you an idea but ended up not finding it.  You'll have to use your imagination I guess!  It is a neutral tan/cream color that should go nicely with everything.

Living Room and Den/Playroom

A view of the Dinning Room and Living Room
I'm happy we aren't living in the house yet because as you can see
it is a big work zone.  Those are my kitchen cabinets in the middle of the space.
(Photo taken July 8, 2013)
A view of the Den/Playroom
In this current work space you can see the new sliding closet doors
for My Farmer's and My room and you get a good look at our new windows.
(Photo taken July 14, 2013)
Similar to the kitchen, not too much work has been done to these rooms (but there is work being done in them...).  These large open spaces have turned into great areas to work on projects.  Like I said under the first photo - this makes me happy we aren't living in the house yet.  Speaking of living in the house, our original plan was to move in at the end of this month but due to progress, it looks like we won't be moving until the end of August now.  This makes me happy but sad at the same time.  Happy because I don't want to be living in this and I'd like to move into a finished and ready house, but sad because I have many ideas on how I want to decorate and use the spaces of the house and I can't figure out what is going to work until the work is done.  Also I feel bad for our friends that are moving into our current home that they are going to have to wait longer to move in and find temporary housing for probably about a month.

The Living Room and Den/Playroom will be painted in the same Winter Oats color as the Kitchen and Dinning Room.  And we have decided to carpet the Living Room and Den/Playroom space:

Gulistan Bombay Oatmeal 4022-241

A view of the Mudroom from the main entrance of the house
This is another work zone in the house with drywall and mud
being stored in here at the time.
To the left you can see where our built in entry closet will be.
(Photo taken July 8, 2013)
This view of the Mudroom shows where the laundry machine and dryer
will go to the left of the photo and where things are piled up to the right
is where a desk will go.  The open door to the right leads into the bathroom.
The Mudroom/Laundry/Office has had work started for both storage and laundry in the space but things still need to be finished.  We will be putting in a laminate tile in this space, as well as the downstairs bathroom.  Originally I wanted to go with a ceramic tile but the flooring installers said there would be a height difference between the wood laminate and tile but if I went with a laminate tile (which I have to admit looks very similar to a ceramic) there wouldn't be a height difference.  I thought that sounded good - I didn't want anyone tripping as they were moving from room to room!

The tile we went with is:

Tarkett Permastone Travertine Weathered Beach
And we have chosen Glidden's Lil Sprout GLD702 for the wall color for the Mudroom/Laundry/Office.  I tried finding a copy of the paint online to give you an idea but ended up not finding it.  You'll have to use your imagination again...  It is a light green/yellow color that should be nice and bright in the space.

Downstairs Bathroom

A view of the Downstairs Bathroom looking in from the
doorway entrance of the Dinning Room
To the left is where the shower and tub will be, the right corner is
where the toilet will be and to the right is where the sink and vanity will be.
You can also see a new shorter window installed for privacy.
(Photo taken July 8, 2013)
A view of the Downstairs Bathroom from the shower/tub
You can see the sink and vanity area to the left and
the closet from the original hallway to the right.
(Photo taken July 8, 2013)
A view of the Downstairs Bathroom from the toilet
You can see where the tub and shower will go to the right and
you can see both entrances to the bathroom, the one on the left from
the dining room and the one on the right from the mudroom.
(Photo taken July 8, 2013)
The bathroom is waiting for all the fixtures to arrive - who knew getting your tub and toilet in bisque verses white would add so much more production time!  This room too will have the laminate flooring that will be in the mudroom and we are going to paint this room with Glidden's Spring Spritz GLD104.  This color too I can't find online but it is a light blue.

Upstairs 1/2 Bath

The Upstairs 1/2 bath after having dry wall installed.
The open hole is where a built in storage unit will be placed.
(Photo taken July 9, 2013)
The Upstairs 1/2 bath after having a primer coat
painted.  You can see the old kitchen tile floor
as well as the hook-ups for the toilet and sink.
(Photo taken July 14, 2013)
A look at the primed walls and space for the
built in cabinet.
(Photo taken July 14, 2013)
The Upstairs 1/2 Bathroom should be done soon.  All that needs to be done is have the sink and toilet installed and the built in closet finished.  Today My Mom (God Bless all Moms who help their children paint when they have a day off of work!) painted the bathroom with Glidden's Partridge Gray GLD808.  This is a light gray color I think looks nice with the flooring and will look nice with the white toilet and pedestal sink giving the "use to be unfinished closet" a clean and fresh look.


A view of My Farmer's and My Bedroom
(with LP patiently waiting for me to finish taking photos)
You can see where our new sliding closet doors will be installed
to the right of the photo.
(Photo taken July 14, 2013)
A view of LP's built in closet shelves that were
made and installed.
(Photo taken July 14, 2013)
A view of MP's room which is being used as a building area for
the 1/2 bath's built in storage.
(Photo taken July 14, 2013)
All of the bedrooms have had their new windows installed but still need the trim around them put back on and work as you can see has started in the closets.  Having slanted ceilings in our closets has been an interesting thing to try to make into functional storage.

Both My Farmer's and My Room and MP's will be installed with Shaw Flooring's Manhattan Gray #704 carpet (which I couldn't find a photo of online) and LP's room will be installed with Shaw Flooring's Argentina Sky Crewel Work #104:

We thought this carpet would be very "farmable" for
LP and at the same time the pattern isn't too crazy
that it can grow with him and whoever might be
living in that bedroom in the future
As for paint colors My Farmer's and My Bedroom has been painted today with the same Glidden's Partridge Gray GLD808 as the Upstairs 1/2 Bath.  This should look nice with the gray carpet and our barn red bedding.  LP's room will be painted Glidden's Open Sesame #10362.  This light tan color will go well with his carpet as well as his tractor bedding.  MP's room will be painted Glidden's Homemade Custard #10412.  This light yellow will go nicely with the gray carpet and the blues, greens, and tans of our Noah's Ark nursery bedding and decor.

Septic Tank and Leach Field

Other than all of that, the biggest thing that has been worked on has been installing our new and updated septic system and leach field.  We installed a new cement septic tank that brings us up to current codes and then created a leach field that will remove liquid that emerges from the septic tank.

Our new Septic Tank
(Photo taken July 12, 2013)
Installing the pipes from the Septic Tank
to the Leach Field area
(My Farmer is on the right)
(Photo taken July 12, 2013)
Now it is time to grow grass again on top of the Septic Tank and Leach Field area
(Photo taken July 14, 2013)

So as you can see we still have quite a bit of work to finish on the house but I trust our general contactor, plumber, and other helpers that the projects will be wrapping up soon so we can move into a finished home.

Check out how far we've come on our home remodel by checking out past "Moving Up Monday" reports: