Monday, December 1, 2014

Dear Heather

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Well last week's Farmer Fridays didn't happen quite as planned with the passing of my Gramma, but we survived the events of last week and as I said then, I find much comfort in the fact that she is no longer suffering.

That being said, almost every day I get asked some sort of question about our farm, our crops, our pigs, etc...  Many of those questions I have answered over the years with past Farmer Fridays so I thought I'd get them organized all in one spot for you as part of this "Dear Heather" post.  I hope this answers some of your questions, but if you still have some, I'd love for you to contact me or leave a comment and I will answer them in future Farmer Fridays.

So here's some of the past "Dear Heather" questions I've been asked and answered:











Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Gramma

This Thanksgiving is going to be a little different than in years past.  Earlier this week my Gramma was called home after a long battle with Alzheimer's.  On Saturday, we will say our final good byes for now, but I find much peace and comfort in knowing that she is no longer suffering and in remembering and sharing the life lessons and loves she taught and gave me.

My Gramma taught my mom to sew and bake and together they taught me.  Although the Alzheimer's prevented my Gramma from teaching the next generation, together my mom and I with the help of an amazing mother-in-law are teaching my kids to do both.

My Gramma introduced me to soap operas, the CBS soaps to be exact, as we would watch them together on sick and snow days when my parents had to go to work.  As she got older she was more protective of what she let my siblings watch, but I have fond memories of watching them with her and using many of the names for my dolls and such.

My Gramma also used to make me eggnog from scratch.  I can't seem to find a recipe just like hers and of course it was in head not written down so I don't make it from scratch myself, but I always buy a half gallon as soon as it is available in the grocery stores each year.  My kids don't seem to have the same love for it, but I can't drink a glass of it without thinking of her.

My Gramma could play the piano by ear.  Till this day, I can still hear her playing The Battle Hymn of the Republic like the best of them without a piece of music in front of her.  I can only wish that she had passed this talent down to me.

My Gramma was a competitive and fierce card player.  She had her poker club and I can still remember her playing Euchre with everyone at my high school graduation party.

My Gramma was very devout in her faith and thankfully passed this down to the generation after her.
My Gramma was an amazing lady that loved the Lord and her family more than anything else.  She was so talented and I can only hope that I can share a small part of what she taught me and my siblings with my children and future generations.

Until we meet again, Gramma.  I love you!

http://www.esslingfuneralhome.com/notices/Beverly-Olson



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Friday, November 21, 2014

7 Reasons Farming is like childbirth


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Well it's official, I just survived my 15th harvest as The Farmer's wife.  Normally we would have a small little celebration of sorts, but I think this year everyone is just looking for a good night's sleep as this has been one of the longest harvest seasons I can remember.  This got me thinking... farming really is a lot like childbirth and here are my top 7 reasons why.



1.  It can be short.

Whether we are talking about planting or harvest season, it is all dependent on Mother Nature so it can be a short season or defer to #2.

2.  It can be long, as in never ending like this year.

3.  It can be a false alarm.

 Just like some women experience early contractions only to be sent home from the hospital, planting and harvest can often have a false alarm thanks to Mother Nature.  You know where you get everything ready to go to the fields and then it rains and rains and rains for days.

4.  It can be painful.

As a farmer there is not much worse than a broken piece of equipment, tractor, or combine during the planting or harvest season.

5.  It might require medication.

There might be a few nights during a long and painful planting or harvest season that some adult beverages are needed after many hours in the tractor or combine.

6.  It is all about family.

One of the best parts of being a farmer is getting to share our love and life with our kids each day.



7.  You can't wait to share the news.

At 6:32pm tonight I got the text from The Farmer that Harvest 2014 was finally done and I couldn't wait to tell all of you.

You see farming is a lot like childbirth because in the end we don't remember the bad parts of planting or harvest season.  We just remember the good, our love for the land, and doing our small part to make sure our family and all of yours have food to eat.  Just like my experiences with labor and delivery with these 3 amazing children.



So here's to the end of Harvest 2014 and looking towards Planting 2015.
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

My baby's growing up...

So many words and thoughts have ran through my head with plans of writing a blog post the last several months, but finding the time or getting the words to flow when I have time in front of a computer has been harder said then done.  But leave it to my baby AKA Little Sissy to get me back to blogging.  You see today our little girl turned 5.

It is such a bittersweet moment with each child as they grow older, meet new milestones, and achieve new accomplishments.  But I must admit it is even just a little bit harder with the baby.

When Big Sissy was born over 11 years ago, we didn't even own a digital camera.  Flash forward to when Little Sissy was born, 5 years ago today and essentially her entire life has been documented by some form of social media...



From the announcement of her arrival on Facebook




to the sippy cup wars,


her first swim lesson,


her first day of preschool on Instagram,


and her assistance at Farm Girls Freeze.

It is all there which makes access to quick reminders of the memories a little bit easier.



So here's to Little Sissy turning 5 and my hopeful return to blogging to help document the memories!


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Saturday, October 12, 2013

6 ingredient Beer Bread

Some of you may know I have a fear of baking with yeast.  My first experience was in 4-H and not a very good one so I have tended to shy away from baking with yeast my entire adult life even though I love baked goods made with yeast.  So that being said when I found the recipe for Beer Bread in Gooseberry Patch's Hometown Harvest cookbook, I knew I had to try it especially since was recommended for serving with that Fried Corn Chowder we happened to love.



Beer Bread

Ingredients

3 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
12 oz. can beer or non-alcoholic beer
2 T. butter, melted

Directions

In a bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add beer; mix well.  Pour into a greased 9"x5" loaf pan.  Drizzle butter on top.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 40-50 minutes, until golden.  Slice while still warm.  

Enjoy and I may or may not be able to speak from experience when I tell you that this bread is pretty dang good with the melted butter accidentally gets omitted.  (I found the melted butter in the microwave as I was cleaning up the kitchen after we ate our Fried Corn Chowder and Beer Bread.)

We have loved every recipe we have tried so far from Hometown Harvest so don't forget to enter for your very own chance to win a copy of the cookbook!

Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. Additionally, this post does contain an affiliate link.
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

8 tips for meal planning

Feeding a farmer during planting and harvest season is not always an easy task and more than likely every farmer has their own "rules" for eating when they are busy in the fields. Over the past 13 years, I've tried to learn the "rules" of The Farmer and his dad, but even then it isn't foolproof.

However, I will say that these 8 tips usually serve my mother-in-law and I well.

8 tips for meal planning on the farm

  1. Supper will never ever be at the same time every night especially during planting and harvest season so we must be flexible as well as the meals we make and/or buy.
  2. A slow cooker can be your best friend, especially one with a keep warm feature.
  3. Sometimes fast food or carryout from a restaurant are your best option.
  4. Messy is never good whether we are talking about sauces, sandwiches, etc...
  5. Easy to eat is essential.  
  6. Planning is good essentially when it comes to meals, but you must also be flexible that plans can always change.
  7. Never try to guess what they are thinking.  Sometimes they will want to grab their food and go and sometimes they will stop and eat with you on the tailgate of the truck.  
  8. Be flexible, never take it personal, and enjoy every moment as some of our kids' best memories involve taking dinner to their dad or grandpa and sneaking in a ride in the tractor, combine, or semi.
So while following #1, #2, and #4, and possibly #5, #6, #7, and #8, I'd like to share this quick and easy recipe from Gooseberry Patch's Hometown Harvest for Layered Potatoes & Onions.  

Layered Potatoes & Onions


Ingredients

3-4 lbs. potatoes, thinly sliced
3-4 lbs. yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 c. butter, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
chopped fresh chives to taste (optional)

Directions

In a slow cooker sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray, layer 1/4 each of potatoes, onions, and butter; add slat, pepper, and some chives.  Repeat layering, ending with butter and seasonings.  Cover and cook on high setting for one hour.  Turn slow cooker to low setting; cook for 5 hours more.  Serves 10-12 or one hungry farm family.  

Be sure to enter my giveaway to win your very own copy of Hometown Harvest!



Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. Additionally, this post does contain an affiliate link.

Additionally, I am participating in Indiana's Family of Farmers Table Talk Series and received a gift in exchange for my participation.  I'm one lucky girl!



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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fried Corn Chowder

The temperatures are starting to drop a little and on days like that soup sounds perfect to me.  So when I found this recipe for Fried Corn Chowder in Gooseberry Patch's Hometown Harvest , I knew we were going to have to try it and we were not disappointed.  Even my normal non-soup eaters liked this chowder.



Fried Corn Chowder

Ingredients

3T. butter, divided
2 c. fresh or frozen corn
2 T. dried, minced onion
2 c. potatoes, peeled and finely diced (this was 4 potatoes)
2c. hot water
2 T. all-purpose flour
2 c. milk
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

Directions

Melt one tablespoon butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Add corn; cook, stirring often, until tender.

Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a separate large saucepan or stockpot.  Add onion and cook until lightly golden, stirring often.  Add potatoes and hot water. Simmer until potatoes are tender.  Drain half of the liquid.

In a bowl, add flour to milk; whisk until no lumps are visible.  Add salt and pepper.  Stir flour mixture into hot potato mixture; blend well and stir in corn.  Simmer until flavors are blended, about 10 minutes.  

Serve hot with Beer Bread and bacon bits if desired (unfortunately, we didn't have any bacon.).  Makes 6-8 servings.  

This chowder was relatively easy to make but my hands were busy so I apologize for the lack of photos during the cooking process.

This was the perfect lunch on a rainy Sunday even if we were slightly depressed since the rain is slowing down the harvest season on our family farm.  

Be sure to enter my giveaway for this awesome cookbook and good luck!


Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. Additionally, this post does contain an affiliate link.

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