Will We Be Able To Keep Farming?

                     Image

I am writing this with heavy heart.  There is a large amount of focus given to how media affects agriculture.  I agree, that is a concern that needs addressed.  However, there is a bigger problem that has gone on for years amongst the farming community.  Larger farming operations buying land from smaller operations.  I witnessed it growing up on our family farm when my own father lost nearly half of the ground he had been farming.  It’s now become a large problem in the county in which I now farm with my husband.  For some reason, there is a certain family that thinks they can buy every piece of land that comes up for sale.  They have no respect for farmers who have smaller farming operations.  If they could own every piece of land they would.  I guess they’ve forgotten why most farmers are involved in production agriculture.  I myself could have worked in food manufacturing my entire life, but I wanted to return to the farm, and couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.  I hope I get the opportunity to pass down the farm to my children, but it’s looking dismal right now.  I just don’t understand why anyone would want to take away the livelihood from farmers that work hard because they love what they do, and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.  I hope these farmers that think they’re better than anyone else will finally realize that they reap what they sow.  God is always watching, and he knows every action that they make.  I also pray that they will have a change of heart someday, and that all farmers will be able to continue doing what they love. 

                       Image

Wheat Harvest 2013

We have almost wrapped up wheat harvest 2013. We should finish today, if everything goes as scheduled. It was a safe and bountiful harvest and we give thanks to the Lord for the great weather he provided to allow it to mature so nicely. Keaton had to step in this year and he did a great job!!! I have to say not many 12 year old kids run a tractor and grain cart from the field to the grain bin by themselves! We know Grandpa Veryl was up in heaven looking down and smiling on us!!! Hope all of the farmers everywhere have a safe and bountiful harvest as well.

Feeding The Crew

We began cutting wheat yesterday here in North Central Kansas.  I will be sharing some photos soon, once I have them uploaded to my computer.  I am in charge primarily of feeding the crew.  I never know for sure when the first meal will need to be delivered to the field, but my duties officially began last night at suppertime.  I try to keep it simple and fairly light as temperatures have been very warm.  I thought I’d share a few of my recipes, so you can enjoy them with your family as well!!!  Wishing a bountiful and safe harvest to all of the farmers!

Chili Burgers

1 lb. hamburger, 1/4 C. chopped onion, 1 tsp. chili powder, 1 8oz. can tomato sauce, ketchup, dash sugar

Brown hamburger with onion.  Add chili powder, tomato sauce, a little water ketchup to cover all of the meat well, and just a little dash of sugar.  Let simmer for about 5 minutes.  Serve on hamburger buns.

fruitsaladFruit Salad

Fruit of your choice (watermelon, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, kiwi, peaches, apples), orange juice, honey

Slice fruit.  Cover with orange juice and honey.  Toss.

Potato Salad

6-8 Potatoes, 4 boiled eggs, 1/4 C. chopped onion, 1 C mayonnaise, 2/3 C. pickle relish, 1/2 C. sour cream, 2 tsp. mustard, 1 tsp. celery seeds, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 C sugar, 1 1/4 tsp salt.

Cut and dice potatoes and cook.  Drain and add chopped eggs and all other ingredients.  Chill.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 C Butter Flavored Crisco, 1 C Brown Sugar, 1/4 C White Sugar, 2 Eggs, 2 Tbsp. Vanilla, 2 Tbsp. Milk, 2 C. Flour, 1 tsp. Salt, 1 tsp. Baking Soda, 1/2 bag chocolate chips.

Cream together, sugars and butter flavored crisco.  Add eggs, vanilla, and milk.  Sift together dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.  Mix.  Add chocolate chips.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

 

 

 

Freezer Pleasers

I was watching the show, ” The Chew” today, and they were making meals out of leftovers in the freezer.  I always find this rather challenging and fun, as well.  So, for supper I thought I’d see what I could find in our freezer.  I started digging around, and found some leftover Beef Vegetable Soup I had made during the winter.  It made a rather large pot, so I decided to freeze part of it.  I have found that I can use my frozen portions to make Shepherd’s Pie.  So, that’s what we’re having for supper.  I just thaw out a butter container of the soup, and then make a batch of my party potatoes, put those on top, pop it in the oven, and it’s that easy!!!  The family loves it!  I’ll share the recipes for the soup and party potatoes below.

Old-Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup 

1 1/2 Pounds Beef Shanks or roast
1 tablespoon vegetable  oil
4 cups tomato  juice or
vegetable juice cocktail
2 tablespoons  cbopped  parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 bay leaf
3  peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon  basil                                                                                                                             1/4 teaspoon  marjoram
1/4 teaspoon  thyme leaves
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery  with leaves
1 cup chopped  potato
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons  pearl barley
2 cups or 1 (I5-ounce) can
tomatoes
1 cup chopped  cabbage
1 cup frozen  corn kernels
1 cup cut green beans
1 cup frozen  lima beans
1/2 to 1  cup frozen green peas
4 cups hot water

Brown the beef in hot oil in a large  kettle.  Stir in the tomato  juice, parsley,
salt, bay leaf, peppercorns,  basil, marjoram  and  thyme. Bring to a boil.
Reduce  the heat. Simmer, covered, 1 1/2to 2 hours or until beef is tender.
Remove  the meat from the bones and cut into small  pieces.  Discard
the bones. Return  the meat to the kettle. Add the carrots, celery, potato,
onion and  barley. Bring to a boil. Cook,  covered,for  2O minutes. Stir
in the tomatoes,  cabbage, corn,  green beans,  lima beans, peas and water.
Cook for 20 minutes or until vegetables  are tender.  Remove  bay leaf and
peppercorns.  Ladle  into soup bowls.This soup freezes  well.
Quick  Vegetable Beef  Soup
Substitute  1% pounds  lean ground  beef and 1 tablespoon  reduced-
sodium  instant  beef bouillon  for the beef shanks, oil and  barley. Brown
the lean ground beef with the onion and  beef bouillon.  Add the tomato
juice, parsley, carrots, celery potato and seasonings.  Bring to a boil. Cook,
covered,  for 15 minutes.  Add the remaining  vegetables  and water.
Cook for 15 minutes  or until vegetables  are tender.

Party Potatoes

4 C mashed potatoes (8 to 10 large), 1 C sour cream, 1 package cream cheese, 1 tsp minced chives, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese.  In a large bowl combine potatoes, sour cream, chives, and garlic powder.  Turn into a greased 2 qt casserole dish.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes.  Top with cheese and serve immediately.

Out To Pasture

It’s that time of year again when we begin to haul our cattle to the pasture.  This process begins by sorting our cattle, and vaccinating them so that they remain healthy, and putting fly tags in their ears.  They’ll be in the pasture for about 5 months.  We then begin sorting the pairs of cows and calves, making sure we keep our mommas with their babies.  Here’s a pictures of what we use.

Our sorting corral.

Our sorting corral

After we’ve gotten about 5 pair, we put them on our stock trailer and off we go to the pasture!

Our stock trailer.

Our stock trailer

Once they are in the pasture, we then check on them periodically to make sure they are all there, and give them mineral, and range cubes.  These provide them with the nutrition they need when not being fed silage/hay/ground milo.  We take them to the pasture because we don’t have enough hay/silage/milo to feed them all year round, and once it’s warm, the grass growing in our pastures provides them with something to eat.  Each pasture also has a pond for them to drink water from.  We have about 1,000 acres of pasture we own/rent.  This allows us to divide up our 150 cows and calves so that they have plenty of space.  It also gives us a break in the spring/summer so that we can devote our time to putting up more hay/alfalfa for them, planting silage, soybeans, milo and harvesting our wheat crop.

Cattle in one of our pastures

Cattle in one of our pastures

They look pretty happy don’t they!!!  I think I could handle being a cow too!!!  Well, my husband will soon be calling for me to bring the stock trailer so that we can haul more cows/calves to pasture, so until next time, happy trails!

Caring For Our Animals

Do animals raised for meat live in inhumane conditions?
Healthy, content animals are simply good business for farmers and the well-being of their animals is a very high priority. Farmers and ranchers are constantly exploring new ways to raise their animals in the best way. Many participate in stewardship and certification programs that ensure the good care of their animals, according to the Animal Agriculture Alliance.
All production systems have advantages and disadvantages, but all have been designed with the health and well-being of animals and humans in mind. Housing protects animals from predators, disease and bad weather. Housing also makes reproduction and birth less stressful, protects young animals and makes it easier to care for healthy and sick animals. Modern animal housing is well ventilated, warm, well lit, clean and scientifically designed to meet specific needs for temperature, light, water and food, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. On a well-run farm or ranch, the animals’ well-being is a part of all considerations. Shana Beattie, a farmer from Nebraska talks about how they take care of the pigs on their farm during the winter to keep them comfortable.

We also take pride in caring for our animals.  Each day my husband spends two hours feeding our herd of beef cattle.  We feed them a mixture of ground hay, silage, ground milo, and vitamins to provide them a balanced diet.  We make sure they have plenty of room to move around, and water to drink.  We also give them preventative vaccines in the Spring and Fall, to make sure they stay healthy.  If we have a sick animal, we get them treated right away with antibiotic, and make sure that animal does not leave our farm before the antibiotic has left their system.  We also take our cattle to the veterinarian, if there is a problem we can’t address on the farm.  We enjoy taking care of our animals, and make it a priority!!!

Wheat Worry

Matthew 6:34

This morning my husband seemed to be a little weary-eyed. I asked what was wrong. He responded, “I was up all night checking on the temperature”. We’ve had some abnormal temperatures in our area over the last few days, with temperatures dipping down into the low 20’s at night. When your a wheat farmer, this is not good. Our wheat has entered the jointed stage, shown below.

 

Picture showing wheat in the jointing stage.

Picture showing wheat in the jointing stage.

 

Any temperature below 24 degrees could cause the wheat to freeze, and thus die. We’re hoping that has not happened, but we won’t know for sure, just yet. Here’s a picture I took this morning in one of our fields.

Picture of wheat in our fields.

Picture of wheat in our fields.

We’ll check again in a few days. If if looks wilted, we’ll know it has been frozen. So the only thing we can do is trust in the Lord, for only he knows what will happen. So if you’re overwhelmed with the pressures of daily life, take time to pray, and let God handle your worries for you. Until next time, Blessings!

Karra