Friday, May 18, 2012

Is It Over Yet?

It has been a crazy, crazy 13 days!  We finished up planting on Wednesday, May 16th, only to start replanting soybeans yesterday and today.

 Everyone is tired. 

I put up a few new videos.  If you are interested take a look on my Virtual Farm Tour tab.

Maye it will rain Sunday.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day!

I'm wishing all mothers a great day whether you're spending it with your family at home or in a corn field somewhere!  Take time to enjoy those around you and know that you are appreciated and loved.

What a great day for Grandma Nus' iris to blossom!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Saturday Afternoon Pit Crew

Corn and soybean planting continue on.  It was a good week once the soil dried.  Dad stopped at home to refill the corn planter and fuel up the tractor.  We were caught up in the seed warehouse so everyone pitched in to get the planter filled and greased up.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday's Favorite Farm Recipe

I do not know anything about sheep but I wanted to highlight a recipe that includes lamb.  In our corner of the world there are a few sheep farmers.  Lucky for me some go to our church so I convinced Glee and Ron to be this week's recipe contributors and pass on a little insight into their family and sheep operation.   I'll let Glee and Ron take it from here. 

Ron and Glee in Hawaii.  No, that is not their backyard in Iowa.
I am not real comfortable talking about myself but I will try. I grew up on a dairy farm south of Monona. I really appreciate the work ethic of farmers and being able to work out in nature. I helped with chores on the farm growing up and worked with Ron side by side for about 20 years before I started working off the farm.
I attended college at Winona State University and have a BS degree in education. I started going with Ron my senior year in college and we married a year later.
I enjoy reading. I started making baby quilts and really like that but haven’t made too many yet. I am a BIG sports fan. Go Packers and Cyclones! I enjoy watching NASCAR too. Mike is our son. He is a 4th grade teacher and basketball coach. Beth is our daughter and married to Karsten. Beth is an RN and works at the Community Hospital. They have two sons, Jackson who is 4 and Tristan, who is 2. They are the light of our lives. Talk about wrapping someone around your finger. They sure know how to do it. But it sure is fun.
Glee and Ron with their grand boys.
I really don’t consider myself much of a cook. I of course make meals but would rather bake than cook. In the stew recipe I put about anything I can think of in it. If the spice looks like it would work, in it goes.  Glee
We have about 175 ewes that we lamb every year. They start lambing in February and we finish by planting time so the work load goes well with our farm.When we wean them the lambs go on self feeders and finish them out for sale starting in August. They will weigh about 135-140 pounds .The ewes go to pastures where ever we find some small lots, like several neighbors yards and around their building sites. We usually have about 7 –8 different places for our ewes. We sell most of our lambs to Phil Yocum from Mable MN, we have been doing business with him and his Dad for about 20 years. They also do our shearing witch we have done about January 1st. The sheep business has been good for our family and we really enjoy the sheep. 

The lamb stew is awesome.  Ron
Lamb Stew
1 nice sized lamb roast
several potatoes
vegetables of choice
seasoned salt
celery salt
Cool the roast and cut it up into nice pieces. Put in pot with chicken broth. Cut up boiled potatoes. Put in any vegetables you wish and the spices and barley. Let stew for a couple hours. The longer you simmer it the better it gets. Can also add a can of any type cream soup.
Thank you Glee and Ron for sharing your family and sheep business with us.  I have always wanted to try cooking with lamb but never had a recipe to work with.  Now I do! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday Thoughts

This morning one of my favorite children's authors passed away.  Maurice Sendak was the author of Where the Wild Things Are, In The Night Kitchen, amongst many other books and he was also an illustrator of books such as Little Bear's Visit and A Hole Is To Dig.  In Suzanne's list of great authors, Maurice Sendak ranks right up there with Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss. 

My Grandma Nus was a high school librarian and books were an always for birthdays and Christmas. (I'm pretty sure I got my book obsession from Grandma.) She must have liked Maurice Sendak as I have a nice little collection of Sendak's work.  In The Night Kitchen was one of my favorite books growing up.  Mickey swimming in a bottle of milk always amazed me.  And, Oliver Hardy as bread bakers was pretty cool too.  I didn't realize there was so much controversy about the anatomically correct Mickey until I had kids of my own. But, that hasn't stopped me from reading this book over and over again to the boys through the years. 

The mix of fantasy and reality was the draw for me.  Mickey yelling at everyone to be quiet so he can sleep (I remember doing that especially during family vacations in hotel rooms because sister Nancy would be breathing too loudly.) and then ending up in a bread dough airplane are things that intrigue kids.  And, there is something about the goblin and the cave in Little Bear's Visit that is a little dark and scary.   I asked Son #3 why he liked to read Where The Wild Things Are and his response was, "I like Max's tail."   Enough said.

This past weekend Son #2 announced that he didn't want "the little kid books" in his room any more.  Since the weather hasn't cooperated to get back in the field to plant we had time to sort and clean.  We sorted, culled and moved the "little kid" books into #3's room.  This morning I went looking for the Sendak books but they weren't in #3's room.  They were back in #2's room along with the Shel Silverstein books - so much for "little kid" books.

I did not know a lot about Maurice Sendak beyond his work as an author and illustrator of books.  However, after reading different news articles, I suspect Sendak was one of those fortunate people who could make a living doing what he was most passionate about.  For him it was being a book artist. 

Today, is the first day that farmers in this area have been able to plant since April 27th.  Over, the past 10 days seed customers and neighbors have been coming and going, picking seed, and going over farm plans.  It's interesting seeing the passion that these individuals have towards farming.  The age of the farmer, the number of years farming, and size of the farm have nothing to do with this.  Maybe it's because in farming career and family over lap?  Or, is it because so many people rely on the farmer for food, fuel and clothing?  Or, is it because a farmer knows he/she carries a lot or responsibility for taking care of land and livestock?  I'm don't know the answer but I'm glad that farmers have this passion.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday's Favorite Farm Recipe

"Remember June Dairy month is coming, but dairy is great all the time!" says Leslie, this week's recipe contributor.  Leslie and her husband Trent are dairy farmers here in Northeast Iowa.  When I was thinking about what I wanted to write about Leslie, three things came to mind - Holsteins, 4H, and Iowa State University.  To be quite honest I can't write about one without including the other two.  Leslie and Trent are Iowa State Dairy Science sweethearts.  Leslie is originally from an Illinois dairy farm, but being a smart lady she came over the the light side and graduated from Iowa State.
Leslie, Leah, Matt and Trent with one of their gorgeous cows.

Leslie and Trent were also both very active in 4H while growing up.  And, of course dairy cattle were part of the 4H experience.  Today, Trent and Leslie have an extensive embryo transfer program and have cows and bulls all over world!  In the summer they stay busy with tour groups visiting their farm. 

Leslie and Trent have passed these same passions on to their children.  Leah and Matt are both majoring in Dairy Science at Iowa State.  Last summer Leah was the Clayton County 4H intern and this year Matt is the intern.  I credit Leslie, Trent and Matt for cultivating Sons #1 and #2's interest in dairy.  Leslie, Trent and Matt have been great coaches for the county 4H Dairy Judging Teams as well as the 4H Dairy Quiz Bowl Teams.  Their passion for 4H and dairy is contagious and appreciated!

Matt showing at the World Dairy Expo last fall.

Leslie is sharing a cheesecake recipe today.  I love cheesecake. Cheesecake should be considered another food group.  If I take time to snap a picture of this cheesecake when it comes out of the oven I'll post it, otherwise know that it is wonderful and I'm busy eating cake!

Almond Cheesecake

 1 1/4 c crushed vanilla wafers
3/4 c. finely chopped almonds
1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter, melted

4 8oz. packages cream cheese, softened
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 t. almond extract
1 t. vanilla extract

2c. sour cream
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1/8 c. toasted almonds

In bowl, combine crumbs, almonds and sugar; stir in butter and mix well. Press into the bottom of a greased 10 inch spring form pan; set aside.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in extracts. Pour into crust. Place on baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from the oven; let stand 5 minutes(leave oven on). Combine the sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Spoon around the edge of cheesecake; carefully spread over filling. Bake 5 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight.

Just before serving, sprinkle with almonds and remove sides of pan. Refrigerate leftovers.

Serves 14 to 16

Thank you, Leslie, for sharing your recipe!

Matt and Trent giving Son #1 pointers before showing
at the World Dairy Expo in Madison.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rain, Rain Go AWAY!

We had four good days of planting last week.  Unfortunately, we were chased out of the field early Friday morning and have not been able to get back in since then do to rain and cold. While we can't plant there is still plenty to do from catching up on paper work to hauling corn to the barge terminals.

Here are some pictures of what we have been up to while we wait for Mother Nature to get the rain out of her system.
Dad loading a semi with corn to deliver to the river market.

Talking about crop protection products
with DuPont reps.

Derk & Travis getting ready for the next shot at planting.

Bruce from Iowa Corn stopped to vist about planting
progess in Northeast Iowa.  We are about 30% planted.

If is would stop raining now we could probably be back in the field
Friday afternoon.  However, the weather forcasters say we are
going to be getting more rain and storms this evening.

The last week in April is the sweet spot for planting corn in our area.  Since we have lost this week to rain there will be a mad dash to get the crop planted as soon as possible. 
Joe can multi task.  He can mop the floor
and talk on the phone at the same time!