Friday, November 16, 2012

Fridays on the Farm

In an effort to blog more frequently, I recently decided on several daily writing prompts (to get me started and keep me focused). Based on the day of week it is, I will add posts accordingly. I even thought I figured out how to type them in ahead of time and then I set them to what I thought was a setting that would post them automatically. Silly me, guess I won't be a techie when I grow up. Sigh..........
In my further need for cutesy titles, I decided on Fridays on the Farm for todays post. Since this is the first installment, I'm going to attempt to do a 'history of' post.....or at least as I know it. My actual knowledge, based on being a witness to events of historical importance around our farm spans almost a quarter of a century.
About the time I was a Senior in HS, I started running around with my cousin and his friends, we hung out quite a bit in the neighboring town, as he had a job there. Well, in time, I met and fell in love with The Farmer. First we were friends, best of friends, then by the end of my Senior year we were dating. The next few years were college, wedding, then before long it was babies. I didn't grow up on a farm and worked in town before our kids were born, so my ag education came right along side of my kids. The last several years have been spent in the trenches of parenthood, some of the times depending on the date, it's 'seasonal single parenthood' as The Farmer spends long hours working during planting and harvest.
As our children have grown, my involvement on the farm as evolved. I am sometimes the parts runner, the gal who picks up stuff at many an equipment dealer, parts house or feed store, could probably tell you where most in the 50+ miles radius are located and how to get there. I have slowly (very slowly) became a decent truck and stock trailer driver, but if particularly accurate backing up is required, I am always more confident-----when one of the boys are with me! :) I have done some of the field work, but honestly we have generally always been blessed with many hands who are more capable and I am generally put on 'chuck wagon' duty, which I happily take on. I think I can cook up a hearty meal that competes with the best of them.
During the busier times when The Farmer needed to spend more time in the field, I have been the evening chore girl, feeding what needs 'supper' around here, four legged as well as two. I have been known to dump trucks, pull silage wagons, hay wagons and more. Over the years I have slowly gotten to where I can usually do the requested job without having to have a 'full lesson' and of course now we have cell phones and I can call if I am unsure.
So since I am not a 'back bone' piece of the daily operation, I try to do what I can to make sure everything else runs smoothly. Whether its taking the meal to the field, mowing the grass, or being both mom and dad some days; I like to hope that's a contribution. I sometimes say I am in the 'future employee development' division of H&K Farms. It's gotten to the point as our kids have gotten older that I could manage to add some other jobs to my main one, as mom. I now substitute teach in the buildings my kids attend. I teach sewing and quilting classes. I sew for others. Those are the paid things. I also strive to 'Agvocate for Agriculture' through social media and this blog.
Now that I have gotten side tracked and rambled on about the very minor contributions I make to our farm; I'd like to offer a virtual picture of H&K Farms. The actual farmstead we live in on was purchased by The Farmer's parents when he was 6 yrs old. Before that they lived in Warren County MO. The west bound rest stop near Wright City on I-70 used to be part of their farm. They have lived in Monroe County for 40 yrs.
We have a diversified farming operation. We row crop corn, soybeans and wheat. We bale alfalfa hay. We have a large herd of mostly registered Angus cattle, its primarily a cow calf operation, we no longer feed out many calves, except for the kids show animals and a few we sell as butcher beef. Until about 5 yrs ago, we also had a farrow to finish hog operation with 75-80 sows. We do custom baling. The Farmer sells seed corn, and our partners, his sister and her husband, are ABS dealers; so we do a little of it all.
A typical day changes almost daily for The Farmer. Depending on the time of year, he is likely to be doing almost anything. Every morning, 365 days a year, yes even Christmas morning, there's something to feed. This chore might take less than a hour or most of the day depending on weather conditions, time of year and where the herd is located.
Maintenance is a good job security activity on the farm. There are miles of fence that needs to be maintained. There are hundreds of head of cattle that depend on The Farmer for food, assistance in maintaining their health and require him to provide them with a safe and healthy place to live. There are multiple tractors, trucks, combines and pieces of machinery that need to be fueled, require properly moving parts, might need to be lubricated, repaired or properly stored until their use is called upon next season.
There are acres and acres of land spanning two counties and 4 separate pieces of property. This land, in order to be profitable and take care of our family financially, needs to be productive. On some of it we raise row crops, other parts are set aside for hay production and yet another part is this real estate is home to our cattle. This ground all needs to be fertilized regularly, weeds need to eliminated and the part that is in production requires long hours spent preparing, planting and maintenance and if we are very lucky, it will yield a harvest that will support both our ongoing business and our family. This cycle is in constant motion.
Then there is the 'book work'. This might be paying bills, figuring the pluses and minuses in order to pay taxes, it might be recording information in the herd book, or logging what chemicals were applied into which field. It could be researching for a new purchase, whether that is a feed improvement or more proficient piece of equipment. Its reading about new advances in animal care, an improved computer monitor system for a piece of equipment or the combine.
After writing the rough draft on and off this afternoon while subbing at school and thinking about all that The Farmer does, I truly find it ironic when I ask 'How was your day?' and he says 'Same old thing'

Reading alot of sewing and farming blogs and writing alot of the same and really wishing I was doing more of the things that I only seem to have time to read or write about as of late,
From Tulip~

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankfulness Thursday

I thought I was all smart and had this set to post automatically, apparently I was mistaken. Here it is a day late.

I am thankful this Thursday to be an American. In the last few weeks many examples of why have came to mind. Here are a few:
While I wasn't thrilled with many of the election results and ashamed at how candidates ran their campaigns; I am glad we have the democratic process. I am starting to think that the electorial college is an antiquated idea. It's frustrating to me to look at the 'Red/Blue' map of American broken into counties and you can quickly see the differences in rural and urban. Kinda sad that stating your case either for or against a candidate or issue is like speaking another language when the conversation is had between the two groups. I think that's mostly because our environments are so different, it's just hard to see the other side.
In my endeavor to not make this a political rant, I will continue. I'd like to share some of the other reasons I am thankful to live in this great nation of ours. I think freedom of speech is something to be thankful for as well. It allows me to create this blog. While sometimes on forums like Facebook you can see both the worst and best that freedom has to offer; its still a great tool to freely express our feelings.
Freedom of Religion is an important one in this household as well. While my family considers it to be part of our everyday life to practice the religion of our choosing, we forget how rare that is world-wide. We attend church weekly, pray daily before meals, with our family, in private and in public. It's hard to imagine that this basic part of our day isn't 'allowed' in other parts of the world.
I've been sort of going down through the Bill of Rights, and if I continue, this is likely going to get long, so instead I want to highlight just one more thing from this past week that makes me thankful to be an American.
Veterans Day was a few days ago. I had the privilege to see our district's youngest students honor our local vets. While there were extraordinary events/ceremony's going on throughout the day, this was the one I witnessed. That building had a coin drive. The ultimate goal was to sponsor a local veteran's trip to Washington DC on the 'Central Missouri Honor Flight'. That building has about 300 students. Those kids not only sponsored a vet, they collected enough to sponsor 4 vets! About $1500. Our youngest son was one of the kids involved in counting up the collected money, so  he and a friend presented the 'big check'. Then to see the Marine who received it get choked up by the generosity of these littlest kids, of course also made me cry; this was such a heartwarming example of what is good and right in this great country of ours.
Proud to be an American and God BLESS the USA,
From Tulip~

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What's for Dinner Wednesdays

I have a blogger friend who posts one of these every week. I hope to be as consistent. It's also my hope with these posts to offer great tasting meals for families to share, easy for moms to prepare and ones that the whole family will eat. I will be posting 6 star meals, in other words, ones that all 6 of us like.
For my first offering, I'd like to share 'Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings' I am not sure exactly how the original recipe went, but I am going to tell you how I fix it. :) Keep in mind I serve 6 people, two of which are teenage boys, so you might want to adjust for your household.
In a larger (6 qt-oval) crockpot add:
5 or 6 frozen chicken breasts
'Cream of' soup (use whatever you have on hand that your bunch likes, I haven't found one that doesn't work, any will do)
about 1# of frozen veggies (I have used a combo of raw baby carrots and frozen corn or peas, again use your favs)
1-2 boxes of chicken broth (it's do-able with one, but I like the finished product with two better)
1 pkg of Knorr homestyle chicken stock this
Place in crockpot before work or early in the day. About 1 1/2 hrs before serving, add two cans of biscuits, that you have cut each biscuit into fourths. At this time I generally break up the chicken into smaller pieces and make sure the biscuits/dumplings are covered by the broth. That's all serve later and enjoy.
This is a recipe I found on Pinterest probably a year ago and we have eaten this twice a month since then. Everyone likes it, there's never any leftovers. I like that I can stick it in early and outside of throwing in the biscuits there's very little pre-supper prep, as it seems that later in the day, time seems to be a hot commodity.
Another thing I use that I like when using my crockpot are these. They are liners for your crockpot. We all know how 'cooked on' things get in a crockpot, and these guys make that heavy scrubbing step practically non-existent.
Rough draft blogging with paper and pen while subbing and wishing I had actually put this in before leaving this morning,
From Tulip~