Christmas is Almost Here

Well, a few days away it will be Christmas.  The kids are home for Christmas break, and it’s a good thing!  We’ve already needed their help this morning.  Some of our cows got out this morning, so my 9 and 13 year old took off to put them back in and fix the fence.  They got all of them back in and fixed the fence all by themselves!  I headed to town to get a battery and fence charger so that we can keep them in.  After my husband finishes with the morning feeding chores, we’ll get the charger installed, and hopefully that will do the trick.  Those of us that raise livestock must take care of them, and the health and safety of them is our top priority.  Our operation consists of 300 head of cattle that must be cared for on a daily basis.  I followed my  husband around this morning so that you can see how this process works.  He starts off by filling his vertical mixer with silage (ground feed sorghum), alfalfa, and brome hay.

Brome bale just loaded into mixer

Brome bale just loaded into mixer

Then, he lets everything mix up.

Vertical mixer mixing alfalfa, brome hay and silage

Vertical mixer mixing alfalfa, brome hay and silage

Then it’s time to feed the cattle.ee30ecbc-9813-423b-95bd-82329de5075d

Cattle enjoying their breakfast

Cattle enjoying their breakfast

This doesn’t seem like a very time consuming process, but it actually takes about 5 hours of a day.  That being said, when there are special days such as Christmas, our day is a little different.  When I travel to see my family my husband does not get to come along.  So, the kids and I will pack up on Christmas day, and head to the airport after we’ve opened presents.  Wishing all of a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We Love Our Cattle

Instead of gathering with family friends on Thanksgiving Day, I, along with my husband and our 13 year old son, weaned and vaccinated our Spring calves.  This is a day long process.  It started with my husband and son catching them in our working corral, so that we could separate the calves from the cows.  Once we had sorted out the calves, we let the cows back out into the pasture.  We then moved our calves to our working facility/feedlot.  We all have our duties during this process.  My son brings up groups of about 7 calves at a time, while I keep them moving into the chute where my husband vaccinates and pours them.  What this means is they each get two shots to keep them healthy (similar to vaccines humans get for flu), and then we pour a liquid down their back to keep them from developing parasites.  These calves have already had one round of shots back before they went to pasture for the summer.  They will stay in our feedlot until we decide we’re ready to market them.  There were 87 head worked.  That was plenty for one day!  We still have some to move and vaccinate, and we have our Spring heifers to vaccinate.  They will be having their first calves this next year.  Thank goodness for kids that are willing to help!  Our son jumps right in!  He’s a real trooper!  He’s hoping to get to pick a steer to take to the fair out of the calves we just weaned.  I’m hoping the process goes smoothly!

Our working facility

                      Our working facility

We then enjoyed a dinner of pork roast (from our own farm) and stuffing!  It was delicious!!!  I’ll share the recipe below.

Pork Roast and Stuffing

Pork Roast (3 to 4 lbs)


6 Cups dry bread crumbs(I use Pepperidge Farm), 3 ribs diced celery, small onion (diced), 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup chicken broth, 1 cup beef broth, mushrooms (optional)

Mix stuffing ingredients.  Cut slits into pork roast and place stuffing inside as best as possible.  Place roast fat side up in crock pot and place more stuffing around roast.  Score fat of roast and season with a dry rub or salt and pepper.  Cook on high for about 6 hours then turn on low.  Enjoy!

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
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!