Friday, November 9, 2012

Technology on the farm



Technology plays a big role in all of our lives and I must admit almost daily I'm amazed how fast it is changing.  When I graduated from college in 1999, my employer gave me a pager and a bag phone and I thought I was cool.  My how times have changed.

Just like technology has improved things in our daily lives, technology has made a big difference on our family farm. We are able to use GPS technology to more accurately plant our crops and precisely apply crop protectants when needed which has drastically reduced our carbon footprint as farmers.  And this is just one of many examples of how technology on the farm is making a big difference.

One thing The Farmer and his dad could not live without is their smart phones.  Whether it be to check the markets, the weather, or read their email, they are constantly using their smart phones for something other than just a phone.

So needless to say when I got the opportunity to try out some of the latest and greatest gadgets from Verizon Wireless, I knew The Farmer would be more than excited as he is always trying to find ways to help him on the farm.

From the moment the Samsung GALAXY S III arrived, I could hardly keep it out of The Farmer's hands.  He loved the big screen as it made it easier to type and read.  (This Blackberry lover still can't give up her keyboard.)

He also loved the 4G service which allowed him to access the weather and other essentials for the farm in no time at all everywhere on the farm.

All in all, The Farmer was impressed and he is not easily impressed.  So when you can impress him and it helps him on the farm, you have a winner.  (The Farmer was sad the day I had to send it back, but can hardly wait to see what comes next.. I know, but I'm not telling.)


Thursday, October 11, 2012

15 things to do on fall break

Fall Break...

I don't really even remember having a fall break from school growing up.  Now I do remember maybe a half day here or there or one day off in the fall for parent/teacher conferences, but it was never a big deal at our house when I was growing up.  When Big Sissy first started school, Fall Break was a 2 day (Thursday-Friday) vacation from school.  This year our school is now on a balanced calender which means Big Sissy and Bubby started school on August 1st and now currently in the 1st week of their 2 week fall break.  While I must admit I was a bit apprehensive of the 2 week fall break when it was announced (because as a full-time off-farm working mom I wasn't quite sure how it would work), the kids and I have checked a lot off of our fall break bucket list and it is only Thursday of the first week.  (We are in overdrive as this momma will be gone all next week for work.)

I thought I'd share some of the things we've checked off our list as well as a few we are hoping to yet accomplish and although this is a fall break bucket list, a lot of the items could be done on any break from school.  


15 things to do on fall break

1.  Go to a basketball game - Big Sissy's first ever school basketball game was last Sunday.  Although the score was a bit lopsided, we know the fun is just beginning.  (Go #20!)


2.  Get your craft on - Heading to Jo-Ann's with this family is often dangerous for my checkbook.  We left with fabric and fleece to make blankets, pillowcases, and maybe even a 4-H project or two for next year.  


4.  Go shopping

5.  Visit Kelsay Farms - We haven't made it there yet this year, but we absolutely love visiting Kelsay's and this year they have special fall break hours.  

6.  Get a flu shot - Big Sissy, Bubby, and Little Sissy all got their flu shots yesterday.  

7.  Check out the programs at your local library - Little Sissy has been to a few story times and Big Sissy and Bubby attended a program entitled grossology yesterday.  

8.  Read

9.   Make a new recipe 

10.  Check out The Children's Museum Guild's 49th Annual Haunted House, Wicked Workshop - Big Sissy, Bubby, and I were very lucky to be able to preview the Wicked Workshop yesterday with the lights on.  I don't think I would have made it out alive with the lights off.


11.  Spend the day at The Children's Museum - After visiting the Wicked Workshop, we decided to spend the day at the museum.  


12.  Take a nap

13.  Visit with family and friends

14.  Take a road trip - The kids and I are headed north to The Homestead Resort for this weekend as Uncle A is getting married on Saturday and we can't wait to gain a new family member.  (The Farmer is staying behind for reason #15)

15.  Celebrate the harvest - In our opinion as farmers, it is hard to beat this time of year.  We love harvest.  Although the effects of this summer's drought are making for a less than desirable harvest, we still consider ourselves very blessed to be able to raise food for our family and yours.


I hope your family has as much fun as this pigpen checking these item of your fall break bucket list!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

1 important life lesson

Things we teach our kids...

It is a huge responsibility to be a parent and one I think you are never prepared for no matter how much you try to prepare.  It is a also a huge joy to watch your children grow and experience life; even if, it is very bittersweet.  Now when I can not only have fun with my kids, but also teach them an important life lesson, it is a win-win for all of us. 

Giving back to the community was a lesson I learned early on in life thanks to my family and one that The Farmer and I have tried to instill in our children from an early age.  Yesterday, the kids and I along with my mother-in-law had some fun while giving back to our community. 

For the last few years, several times throughout the year, we have tried to make a 100 pound donation of pork to our local food pantry. (We actually buy it from the grocery store when we see that they are having a great sale.  This time we were able to buy pork chops for $1.28/pound.) Yesterday was the day for one of our donations so we headed to the food pantry with a trunk full of pork

and then watched Big Sissy, Bubby, and Little Sissy fill a refridgerater full of pork

that will now be used to help feed the hungry of our community.  It is sad to me that so many people worry about where their next meal will come from in this country and closer to home, our community.  Although our 100 pounds of pork won't go very far, we are glad to know that we are able to help in  a small way and passing on the importance of giving back to the community to the next generation.

How do you help give back to your community?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Quick and easy pickle dip


Are you ready for some football?

I know that this pigpen is.  As hard as it is to believe that football season is here (I mean where did the summer go?), we love this time of year.  Whether it be Bubby's flag football games, high school, college, or the  NFL, we love football.  So when I saw Gooseberry Patch's Touchdown Pickle Dip recipe in The Harvest Table, I knew we had to try it.


Touchdown Pickle Dip



2, 8oz. packages of softened cream cheese
1 pound of deli shaved ham, finely chopped
32 oz. jar baby dill pickles, drained and juice reserved
round buttery crackers or cracker sticks


Chop the shaved ham.


In a large bowl, blend cream cheese and ham. 



Finely chop pickles and stir in.


Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of reserved pickle juice; blend well.


If dip seems too thick, add more pickle juice.

Cover and chill until serving time.


Serves with crackers or cracker sticks.


Who will you be cheering for this football season?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Time marches on...

3 weeks to go.

The last time I blogged, Bubby had just graduated kindergarten and school was out for the summer.  As I sit here today, I realize that 3 weeks from today Big Sissy and Bubby will be heading back to school to be 4th and 1st graders, respectively.  Where has the summer gone?

The month of June was a whirlwind for us with work for this full-time off-farm working momma,

Big Sissy's 1st year ribbon collection

Big Sissy's first year of 4-H,


Bubby's first year of mini 4-H,

Little Sissy thought she needed to go to soccer camp in Big Sissy's gear

 soccer camp,

Big Sissy and my mother-in-law get ready to board the bus to 4-H camp

4-H camp for Big Sissy and my mother-in-law,

My family at the wedding

 and a very special wedding for Uncle K and Aunt N.

And so far July is just flying by so with the kids heading back to school earlier than normal this year with the introduction of the balanced calendar, their summer vacation is almost over.  This is so bittersweet as I know time doesn't go by any slower during the school year and my children are growing up before my eyes.  I know this is supposed to happen, but I just didn't think it would happen so fast.

So I must apologize for my lack of blogging the last few months and I hope to get back on track, but please forgive me if my posts are far and few between now and August 1st as I want to enjoy as much time as possible with the kids before school starts.  (We refuse to call it the end of summer as we still have a few more things to accomplish once the kids go back to school.)

Needless to say...

Time marches on


Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Harvest Table Giveaway


It is one of this pigpen's favorite times of year so  I was super excited when Gooseberry Patch asked me to review one of their newest cookbook's, The Harvest Table.  


This cookbook is full of yummy recipes that I can't wait to share with you over the coming weeks.  Now many of the recipes have a fall twist to them which will be perfect for our upcoming harvest season, but since we just finished up planting season on our family farm, I was quite happy that there were several recipes that could be made year round.  

In fact, I even found too super easy dessert recipes that were perfect for our family's Mother's Day celebration... Too-Easy Toffee Cheesecake and Heavenly Key Lime Pie.



Now in addition to these desserts in the Save Room for dessert section, we have found many delicious recipes from the Hearty Autumn Brunch, Soup Supper with Friends, Simple Harvest Supper, Thanksgiving with All the Trimmings, and Festive Fall Flavors sections.  Are you hungry yet?   (Just wait until I share the recipes and pictures.)

Now here is the best part... My friends over at Gooseberry Patch sent me an extra cookbook to giveaway to one of my lucky readers so be sure to enter below for your chance to win The Harvest Table .

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bubby's Big Day


It is the only word I can think of to describe Bubby's Big Day.

In a blink of an eye, Bubby went from his first day of kindergarten


to kindergarten graduation.


And he has been on cloud 9 ever since despite having to have 2 baby teeth pulled today.  (Don't worry he is milking it for all it is worth complete with a trip to Dairy Queen and a sleepover at my in-laws.)

Where does the time go?


Monday, May 7, 2012

Yummy Quick Taco Soup with a winner

Seriously what is not to love with the words yummy and quick being in the same sentence and when that sentence just happens to be a recipe it really can't get any better.  Unless this also happens to be where I announce the winner of Gooseberry Patch's Simple Shortcut Recipes ... time will tell.  But for now, let's get back to this super easy recipe.

Yummy Quick Taco Soup


1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 16-oz. cans black beans
2 16-oz. cans kideny beans
11-oz. can corn
10-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles
46 oz. can tomato juice
2 1 1/4 oz. packages of taco seasoning mix
Optional:  sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, jalapenos, etc...


Brown beef in a skillet over medium-high heat; drain. (Or use this handy dandy Pampered Chef Micro Cooker  that Miss Cris and Miss Leah told me I had to buy (they were right).  I had browned ground beef in about 5 minutes.)

Add beef to a large slow cooker.

Add onion and undrained beans, corn, and tomatoes.

Pour in tomato juice.

Stir in seasoning mix.

Cover and cook on low setting for 6-8 hours.

Serve with sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips, jalapenos and other toppings, if desired.

This was a big hit with The Farmer and will definitely be a go to recipe at this pigpen in the future.

And now it is my pleasure to announce that entry #290, Apple B, is the winner of my giveaway of Simple Shortcut Recipes thanks to Gooseberry Patch.  Thanks to all of you that entered and be sure to stay tuned as another amazing Gooseberry Patch cookbook or two may have just arrived in my mailbox.  

Linked to Beyer Beware's Hunk of Meat Monday

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 affiliate links.

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