Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's Time to Choose a Goosberry Patch Cookbook for Me!


I am so excited!  It's my turn to cook from a Gooseberry Patch cookbook that YOU will choose for me.  If you haven't popped over to the Real Farmwives of America and Friends site to vote, you can click here to do so!

We are working on several new projects over at Real Farmwives and Friends.  Just the other day a group of us met to check in and work on our blogs.  I love these gatherings; I learn so much from everyone, and it's just nice to have some girl time!  Look for fun daily themes and posts from us this summer! 

Did you see our newest feature focusing on Home and Garden  for Mondays?  Miss Ott, A. is collecting all kinds of great ideas to share with our readers.  I know I am going over there regularly to get some ideas for the landscaping project I'm taking on this summer.  Stay tuned for more about that later this week.

Have laptop, will blog!  These ladies are awesome, and I hope you are getting to know them through RFOA&F!

If you are new to my blog, let's take a minute to become better acquainted.  Tall Guy and I farm about 1800 acres of corn and soybeans up in northwestern Indiana, a county north from PURDUE! and about ten miles from Illinois.  Take a look around the farm here.

We also raise around 100 feeder calves.  That means we buy them when they are just weaned, around 5-600 pounds, and feed them until they are ready to go to market, around 1200-1300 pounds.  They can be a trial some times, like this lovely day, but they sure taste good on the grill.  Let us know if your freezer will have enough room for a 1/4 or 1/2 or whole beef this fall.

In addition to corn, soybeans, and cows, we are raising two little girls ;-)  Tink is two days shy of finishing second grade, and Bear is a newly graduated kindergartener.  Look out first and third grade!

Did I mention I just turned 49??????

Dang! Yep!  Not sure how that happened, but it did.

It does get kind of crazy around here sometimes, but it's all just the way I dreamed it would be when Tall Guy and I married almost ten years ago.  Well, except for maybe that new chick in the mirror who keeps waving back at me!

Who is she?

People always tell me, "You are only as old as you feel."


Ok, more about aging later!

Another cool fact about us is that we are smack in the middle of windmills.  You can see all the fun of watching them go up here.

I really am looking forward to cooking with you this summer.  It's time for my girls and I to spend quality time in the kitchen learning the basics like I did from my grandmas and my mom.  Tink loves to lick the batter in the bowls, just look at her face here.  Our Little Bear can make a pretty good cheese quesadilla, but I want them to learn more.  They will be helping me in the kitchen.  This whole process takes about ten days to get underway, then I will cook eight recipes from the book of your choice.  At the end of the last recipe, I will give away a copy of the cookbook you picked to a lucky reader.  HOW FUN IS THAT???

Along the way, I will tell you a bit about the great cooks in my life and give you more sneak peaks into my life, like showing you my one-of-a-kind kitchen.....but that will wait for another day.

Today, I am off with Tink's class to visit Fair Oaks Dairy, a wonderful place to visit just a county north of us.  I am sure I will have to bring a cooler on the bus so I can bring home some of that great cheese.  I'll show you the loot and some fun pics when we get back.

Have a great day, and make sure you click on the button at the top of this post to help choose my new favorite Gooseberry Patch cookbook!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Moments

~ Listening to the end of the Indy 500.  I have always LISTENED to this race; we don't live far enough away to watch it on TV.  There is just something about hearing the excitement of the race from the radio announcers' perspective.

~ I could just kick my self for not taking my camera with me this morning on our trip up to Brook, Indiana.  This is home base for my family, and Tall Guy and I took the girls up for the Memorial Day ceremonies.  An elderly man read the names of those who served their country and are buried in the Brook Cemetery.  From the Civil War on up.  I was able to hear so many familiar names including the name of my Grandpa Wikle, my uncles, Floyd, Dick, Danny, Warren, Howard, and Swede (Don), and many other friends of our family.  Click here for a recap from Veteran's Day to see some great pics! The graves in our little corner of the cemetery were beautifully decorated with flags and flowers.  Can't believe I left my camera at home!  Oh well, I have the memory, and I hope you all are able to visit your family's cemetery to remember those who came before us.

~ We are so taking it easy this weekend.  It's raining just north of us, we had .7 inches of rain yesterday, about a half inch the day before, and we are really praying for a day of sun with some wind.

~ Thinking about my nephew, Josh, in Afghanistan, serving his second tour and getting ready to come home at the end of next month.

Hope you are having a great weekend.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Graduate!

Here she is in all her glory!

Doing the "Tootie-Ta" dance.  Really needed a video to appreciate the whole spectacle!

This young man in the yellow neck thingy to Bear's left, our right, is the apple of Tall Guy's eye!  Not really, but his family just moved to our area last year and runs a 3000 cow dairy operation.  I think he is hoping to somehow get back in the dairy business one day via the in-law program.  DADDY!  Too funny! Their next youngest son is in Tink's class, so Tall Guy thinks his chances have gone up.  I'm gonna have to warn the boys soon! ;-)  Seriously, they are a great family, and we have enjoyed getting to know them this past year.  Looks like we have many more years to share together.

The one and only Mrs. Elliott!  Tink would go back to Kindergarten in a minute to spend the day with this wonderful, inspirational  lady.  She has been a blessing in both our girls' lives! 

The godparents, and Ms. Godmother is one of my favorite first cousins!   I have 14, and they are ALL great fun, but this one and her siblings have always been at the big events in my life!

The Girls of Kindergarten.  Let's see, this would make them the Class of 2023????  I never was great with math, but I think that's right.


I'll be how old when she graduates????


The grandparents and Daddy on the end.  Somehow I missed getting my picture taken with Bear....it goes that way sometimes. 
Just as a funny end to this day, I get a call from the school secretary at 3:05 asking if I was supposed to pick Tink up after school.

"No, she should be on the bus."

"Nope, she is here."

"DANG!  Let me call her dad because I think he is in town...."

I hang up and call Tall Guy to see if he can pick her up.  He had hitched a ride to town with his dad so he could pick up his tractor at our John Deere store, so guess who had a great  GREEN ride home from school.

Yep!  I missed the photo op, but she thought it was great!

Only in rural American can you pull your tractor up to the school to pick up your child.  Gotta love it.

Hope everyone has a lovely Memorial weekend.  Take time to think about those no longer at your family table for the big meal, and say a little prayer for them.

Our Little Bear Is Growing Up!

Well, break out the tissues.  Bear is graduating from kindergarten today.  I am so NOT the type to cry at these moments, or so I thought until Tink graduated from kindergarten two years ago.  Sheesh!

Our Little Butterfly charmer is growing up.  Here she is last spring doing her best impression of the Butterfly Whisperer:

And here she is a year later, a pic from our visit to the zoo.

More pics after our big day tomorrow.  Sniffle..... Sniffle.....Sniffle......

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Honoring Our 42 Minutes of Spring

This transition from winter to summer is totally crazy!  I swear it was spring for less than a day, maybe not even an hour!  Here are a few pics to honor Spring, the missing season!

 "Mom, why are you taking pictures of my favorite shade (apple) tree?"
 "Because the blossoms are beautiful and fragrant Sadie, and yes, I know our readers can't smell the blossoms, but maybe they can imagine what they smell like."
 "What are you looking at?"
"OH!  You finally saw your tulips blooming!  About time Mrs. Farmer.'

 And the iris just popped this week!

Showers are popping up everywhere as Tall Guy is hopefully finishing up the last of our beans.  I know I sound like a broken record, but keep the farmers all over the country in your prayers.  It has been a very difficult spring, and many farmers right here in Indiana are far from done; some have not been able to get the first seed in the ground.  This growing season may take a lot of prayers to see it through!

I'm linking up to:

Pinke Post

Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fun at the Zoo!

The Indianapolis Zoo?

Nope, it's a great zoo, but Lafayette's very own Columbian Park Zoo is making a great come back.  I've been going there since I was born, and because I had a birthday Tuesday, we all know how long that is!  Scoot back to Tuesday's post if you missed the big day!

Here are some fun pics of Little Bear and her friends.  Tink went too, but she opted to spend more time on the monkey bars than visit with the monkeys!

The kids earned their seats on the bus for this day's trip by reading Accelerated Reader books and meeting goals they set at the beginning of the year.   What a great group of kids to spend my beautiful day with laughing and exploring.

Great news!  While we were bowling and playing at the zoo, Tall Guy added the bean units to the planter and started planting beans!  Poor guy is still out there (it's about 10:00 P.M.) trying to finish the field he is in.  God bless all the farmers who are out there working in to the wee hours to plant our food.  God also be with the farmers still trying to get in the field to plant.  This is such a crazy life from now until about September.  Watch out for us on the roads, especially at night.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: A Mark in Time!

Ten years ago these beautiful faces did not exist, except for in our dreams.  Ten years from now we will be planning Tink's graduation party.  Time is a precious thing!

Linking up to my RFOA friend Miss Pinke' Wordless Wednesday  at Pinke Post

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Number and a List

Well DANG!  It's that day again.  It comes every year; sometimes with more fun and folderrah than others, and I have to tell you I'm feeling it!

Yep, get out the birthday hat.  Maybe pour a birthday drink?

I'm sure 9 was a fun year.  I would love to go back some days and find out!

19 was AWESOME because I had just finished my first year at Ball State and was feeling on top of the world.  

29 was a bit traumatic.  All or most of my friends were married and having babies, and I started fielding that lovely question, "So when is it going to be your turn???"  NEVER ask that to someone over the age of 28!   I spent most of this year not being 29 but being  "OMG I am going to be 30!"

If  I had just had a crystal ball, I would have known that, minus one or two big potholes, my 30's would be a BLAST!  I had so much fun, met life-long friends, and lived life.  39 was great because I was planning my wedding!

I think today I am having a flashback to my 29th birthday because I am feeling every bit of my 49 years!  Maybe that is a good sign that my 50's will be yet another BLAST????  I hope so!

Meanwhile, you are never too old to feel very special when your mom calls to say that she and Dad will be here this afternoon bringing my favorite food to eat:  Cheeseburger Pie and Angel Food cake!  

Yea Me!  

Mom and Dad also sent me a bunch of life lessons that are supposed to make me smile and learn (parents are always trying to teach their children, even at this advanced age!).   I think I'm supposed to figure out which ones I still need to work on.  There are a few.  I highlighted in purple the ones I especially liked.  Do any of them hit home for you?  I would love to hear about them!

Have a great day!   Believe in miracles!  Get outside and enjoy the day and the fact that you can go outside!  Don't waste time or life or a single minute of your day!

~  Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
~  Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
~  Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
~  Pay off your credit cards every month.
~  You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
~  Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
~  It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
~  When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
~  Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
~  Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
~  If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
~  Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
~  Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
~  Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
~   It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
~   When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
~  No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
~  Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
~ Always choose life.
~  Forgive everyone everything.
~  What other people think of you is none of your business.
~  Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
~  However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
~   Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
~   Believe in miracles.
~   God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
~   Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
~   All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
~  Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
~  If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
~   Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
~   The best is yet to come...
~   Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Playing with the Computer John Deere Style!

 Isn't this a pretty picture?    Do you know what it is a picture of?

Nope, it's not one of Tink's or Bear's latest, greatest art projects; although, Miss Mindy is GREAT at turning simple geometric shapes into a variety of animals and objects!

Nope, this is not random, bored doodling on the computer.   Give?

Thanks to our John Deere Apex mapping system, this is a map of one of our farms, actually MY family farm, planted in corn last Wednesday!  The total area planted is around 160 acres.  The top is north, and the left is west. Each color represents a different kind of seed.  Miss Amanda, your seeds are in yellow and pink!  The legend below tells by color each variety of seed planted on the farm.  The white space going east-west is a road, and the white space going north-south on the angle is a house and creek, or crick as I call it.

The dark stripes represent refuge corn.  What is refuge corn?  It is corn that is non-resistant to bugs.  We plant it with the treated corn so that bugs do not become resistant to pesticides.  We do not want to promote the creation of a super bug, sort of like not wanting a super virus. 

Here is the actual elevation of this farm:

As you can probably guess, the glaciers went right over our farm, so it is rather flat with a bit of a roll on the east side.

If you have been reading my last few posts, you know there is a thought going 'round the farm that even I could run the planter because we have set up GPS lines so the tractor is on auto steer until you have to turn around.  All this is done with that little green and yellow dome on the top of the tractor.

 It bounces information from satellites to figure out all the longitude and latitude details.  Here is a screen shot of what satellites we can use from space to help with the mapping:

Here is another very cool bit of information.  The Glonass satellites are RUSSIAN!  We can use whatever group of satellites available to give us the best signal for measuring.  It's nice to share right? 

I know a lot of you have been commenting that farming sure isn't what it used to be, and you are right.  20-30 years ago a farmer and his family could live off of 500 acres of ground.  Now not only is that impossible, but we have less ground to use to produce more food for more people.  We have to become more efficient in how we plant, and still maintain the ground so it can continue to produce for generations to come.  Technology like the Apex system is helping farmers be precise in how we use our ground.

Here in northwest Indiana, we have been planting like crazy.  The weekend rains put a lot of us out of the tractor, but that isn't all bad.  My Tall Guy would be doing his version of a mad Leprechaun dance if he read that last statement because he so wanted to get that last field of corn planted, BUT as his wife, I know he needed to rest a bit after going out at 8 in the morning and not coming in until 10-11 at night!  Do that for five days in a row, and anyone would need a rest.  Hopefully, we will be back at in tomorrow morning with some clear skies.  Sun is a necessity right now!

Have a great start to your week!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Race Day #2

Well, I have a bit more energy, despite the fact that it's like 100 degrees outside!  SERIOUSLY!  Where the heck was spring????

Yes, I have my AC on.  Allergies and old age are my two trump cards!

It will go off before Tall Guy comes home! ;-)

Here are the pictures I promised:

We still physically fill the planter, but Tall Guy and his dad found this handy gadget that helps eliminate most of the actually handling of bags of seed.   It's like a mini auger that will carry the seeds from the wagon to each bin on the planter.

This crank lowers the auger so we can swing it around to feed seeds into the bins.

 There is a little switch at the top of this picture on the black part.  See it?  This is how TG controls the seed out-put.  That and his hands so they don't go bouncing all over the place!

The black "stuff" in the corn seed is graphite!  We put some in the bottom of each seed bin then on top so it will work down and keep the seeds sliding smoothly out into the ground.

 These last four containers have a smaller one in front of them.  They hold insecticide.

This is insecticide!  Bugs beware!

 Now our absolutely wonderful friend (and manager at our local John Deere store) is on Tall Guy's speed dial.  They are taking measurements to plug into the computer inside to help TG's planting data to be exact and precise!

This green and gold dome on top of the cab is our life line to GPS.  I will tell you more about this later.  I need Tall Guy here to help with all the technical lingo, and he's a bit busy right now, so I will save it all for a rainy day!

 This old friend is in need of some help with its hydrolics.  We will get back with him soon!

Mike and Tall Guy are plugging away and punching in numbers!

Hey Miss Lauren, of Four Ransoms!  Like the wonderful advertisement?  Miss Lauren's husband is another of our very good friends at our John Deere store!  We HEART JOHN DEERE!

Ok, now after a word from our sponsor, just kidding, we are back to business.  This is the business end of a planter.

The two disks on either side work the ground between the rows.

The seed comes in the ground right infront of the middle wheel, then the two side wheels help cover it up.*

*Tall Guy is NOT here, so if I don't call a few parts by their right name, please be patient!  I read my explanation the first time and realized I had the process backwards!  I'm learning as fast as I can!

Now, Once you get going, you have to stop and check the rows for a number of things including
1.  Is it planting seeds?
2.  Are the seeds spaced the way you want them?
3.  Are the seeds being planted deep enough?  I heard the guys talking, and I believe we are planting ours about 1 1/2 inches deep or a bit deeper.

HEY!  Check out my Real Farmwives of America pal Jent, over at From My Front Porch! We just had one of those farm girl mind swaps and posted almost about the same thing!  She has better names for parts than I do!  Thanks Jent!

 I was driving the seed truck and wagon this day, and while I waited for Tall Guy to empty the planter, I went asparagus picking again.  Wasn't quite as romantic, or as good a view as the other day, but I still picked about 30 pounds of the green stuff!

That was fun to lug up and down a grassy ditch bank!  For about two miles!  They were a bit trickier to find with the grass growing taller!

Today, we dodged another rain, and everyone seems to be working without too much stopping.  Gonna be a another long night for the farmer!  Please keep an eye out for all the farmers working late and pulling equipment home in the dark.  We love them and want to see them home safe and sound.