Friday, October 28, 2011

A Day of Thanksgiving

Today is a day of thanksgiving and celebration.  It's not because we are done harvesting (we have about 2 weeks of combining to go) nor it is because the St. Louis won last night.  We are thankful because this morning I still have a husband, my boys have a dad, and we still have Stan - a good friend who has helped my family in the spring and fall for many, many years.

About 10:30 last night Stan and Joe were bringing the combine back to the home farm to service it.  They were going down a gravel road that narrows in some spots.  Stan stepped on the brake to slow down and the auto steer engaged and abruptly swung the combine into the left ditch.  The ditch is not deep but there is a steep drop off into it.  The left 1/2 of the corn head went into the ditch while the rest was still up on the road.  This brought the combine to an abrupt stop and caused the combine to tip forward snapping off the hear and throwing Stan and Joe forward.  The steer column held Stan in the combine but Joe went through the windshield. 

Joe had grabbed onto the door handle as well as the something else with his right hand - this slowed him down so that the glass had exploded out before he went through.  When he came back to his senses lying on the head platform he was still holding the door handle.  The door is gone.  It had exploded out as well.  The combine came back down so hard that the back tires exploded and the rims are bent up.  Fortunately, we were able to get the head somewhat attached to the combine and we limped the unit into the our neighbor's field.

We are not sure why Joe is alive today.  All Stan and Joe have are cuts and bruises.  I am not a person to where my religion on my should but I must tell you it is only by the Grace of God that these two guys are still alive. 

After we had the unit off the road I called my dad to have him come down to help assess and calm down the guys.  As my parents arrived at the scene friends and neighbors materialized out of the dark to help us.  Realizing that the the combine was in pretty tough shape there were hugs and a few tear knowing that the situation could have been a lot worse. 

It was a freak accident.  But then again most farm accidents are freak accidents.  We will be investigating to figure what caused the auto steer to engage.  So all combine drivers please be extra careful out there as we all head into the home stretch of harvest. 

Last night before we even left the accident sight we had an offer from a friend to use one of his combines.  This morning we have had phone calls from more neighbors and friends offering up their equipment even though they are not finished with their crops yet.

Standing out in the field in the dark, I knew Joe and Stan were ok and equipment can be replaced.  But, when Nicholas, Mom, Dad, Derk and Jared showed up it was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.  This is why I live in rural Iowa.  We had an accident and people came not to gawk and stare but to help and give comfort.  Not too many of us slept last night.  I spent most of the night thinking about all the what ifs, then remembering that we are watched over and thanking God for all that we have.

Here are a few pictures of the combine this morning.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Food Day

Common Ground Food Day ReleaseIf this is too small for you to read just click on the Common Ground Release above.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Brocolli - The Exotic Vegetable

Brocolli is one of my favorite veggies.  There aren't too many ways I have tried fixing it that I haven't liked - grilled, steamed, roasted, pickled - you name it I'll eat it.   Well, when Joe and I were first married, almost 19 years ago, I did steamed brocolli with lemon pepper one evening.  I noticed that Joe did not take any.  Me, being the loving, newlywed said, '"What's wrong with you?  Don't you like brocolli?"  Joe's response was.  "I'm not used to exotic vegetables."  I replied, "There's nothing exotic about brocolli - it grows all over the place!"  Thus began my mission in our marriage to get Joe to like brocolli. 

For a long time the only way Joe would eat brocolli was cooked with lots of cheese sauce.  I mean so much cheese sauce that you would need to look for the lonely floret of brocolli swimming in the sauce.  After MANY years and recipes Joe conceded that brocolli was an ok vegetable and he would eat it most ways I prepared it.  Then one day I found a recipe in a farm magazine for a brocolli salad that had bacon as an ingredient.  As far as Joe is concerned bacon is one of the main food groups.  So, I tried the recipe and Joe loved it.  This is now a standard recipe for my guys lunches during fall field work, as well as for picnics and potlucks. 

Here is the recipe as printed in the Iowa Farmer Today years ago.  I have made several modifications to this recipe to fit Joes likings and those appear after the official recipe.

Brocolli/Cauliflower Salad

1 bunch brocolli
1 head cauliflower
1/2 cup green onions chopped
1/2 cup raisins
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 T sugar
1 cup mayonnaise
1T vinegar

Chop brocolli and cauliflower into small pieces.  In a small bowl, combine mayo, vinegar and sugar.  Pour over veggies.  Fold in remaining ingredients.  Best if refrigerated over night.  

I have made a few modifications to this recipe to make it Joe friendly.  We had to take the cauliflower out.  According to Joe there is something wrong with a vegetable that grows in the sun and is still white.  I use 3 to 4 bunches of brocolli instead of the cauliflower but I do not increase the dressing amount as we (meaning Joe) don't want soggy brocolli. The raisins always get doubled and the bacon amount depends upon if Joe or the boys are around.  (They snitch the bacon as it cools.)  I typically use golden raisins as those are Joe's favorite.  My mother-in-law spoiled this guy way too much.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

No Worries

All three of our boys play the piano.  In order to fit all of the family's activities into a manageable schedule they take piano lessons in the morning before school.  With three kids that means that three days out of the week we need to be on the road to town by 7:10 am in order to be at the teacher's home by 7:30 so that the lessons are done by 8:15 and the kids are in school by 8:25.  I know - a typical morning for any family. 

The Shibrouns are not morning people.  OK, I should say three of the five Shirbrouns are not morning people - me being one of them.  However, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I want my boys to have a great start to every day so like every other morning I made breakfast.  Breakfast consisted of Eggo Whole Grain waffles - thank you wheat farmers, Hungry Jack syrup made with fructose - thank you Iowa corn growers, red seedless grapes produced by California farmers, bacon from a hog raised by one of our employees, and 2% milk produced by several of our neighbors and bottled in Dubuque, not too far from our home.

Two happy boys just waiting to start their day.. 
Like millions of Americans this morning I didn't even think about what we were going to have for breakfast until I got to the kitchen.  Within 5 minutes I had a nutritious meal on the table for my budding, concert pianists.  What I did not do was grind the grain to make the flour to make the waffles, milk a cow to put fresh milk on the table, be worried that the food I was giving my children was contaminated or spoiled do to poor production practices, or worry about the treatment of the animals that supplied a portion of this breakfast.  I did none of these things because of the confidence I have in the farmers, food and transportation companies that helped me put breakfast on the table this morning. 

Food Day is coming up on October 24th.  On this day I will be thinking about how fortunate we are in the US to have a safe, economical, nutritious, and reliable supply of food.  I have had the opportunity to travel to various parts of the world and I can honestly say that we in the US have the best food system in the world!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

It's going to be another great day of harvesting!

An October Sunrise

Monday, October 3, 2011

Harvest Update

We finally got started harvesting corn on Friday (9/30/11) after 10 days of cold, wind, and rain.  The weekend turned out to be wonderful for combining.  The moisture content of the corn really dropped between Friday and today.  Dad and Joe harvested a little Thursday evening and the moisture was running about 30 - 31%.   By Saturday, the same corn hybred was 27 - 28% and today that hybred ran about 25%.   It's amazing what sunshine and heat can do for the crop and the people harvesting!

Here are a few scenes from this beautiful weekend.

I will be explaining what is going on at a later time but right now some of us are headed to the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin!