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September 29, 2011

A Different Perspective!

Why when I see a pile of gravel do I feel compelled to climb to the top,

then run back down and get my camera and run to the top again?

I looked all around, the view wasn't all that different -



I really couldn't see over the farrowing barn any better than before,



I could still see right into the compost pile, but the sun was pretty,


Chris was getting the pressure washer set up so I could wash yet another barn,


but I could make a great shadow and wave at myself and then I felt inspired to belt out one of my all time favorite songs - High On A Mountain Of Love by Charlie Pride - it made complete sense at the time and it made me smile!

It was a different perspective!

September 28, 2011

GP: A Meal Fit For A King or at least a farmer!

I kinda can't believe how long it has been since I posted a Gooseberry Patch recipe!

So here we go- this is another 2 for 1 - meatloaf and mashed potatoes - my all time favorite meal, usually I don't mess with this meal but these two recipes looked really good so I gave it a go and I really liked them and so did Chris!

First up - Company Meatloaf!
 And when they say "company" they mean it, this made A LOT!  So I divided the meat mixture in half and baked half for this meal and put the other half in the freezer (I think a certain somebody would be very proud of me - just sayin')!

So here is the one I baked (well before I baked it) - I don't like pics of raw meat so I just didn't take any except this one - so I stuck it in the oven and baked it!

Now for the Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole!

I cheated and used "Potato Buds" - I LOVE MASHED POTATO'S so there was no way I could make homemade ones and not eat them immediately with a gallon of gravy so I just decided to cheat and use instant which is what some in this house prefer!



Well I have to say instant or not - this was AWESOME!

Usually I don't like people laughing at my food but he claims he just felt stupid posing with food and honestly I am just glad I got a picture with the food still on the plate - his doesn't stay there long!

And I do love it when he laughs!


Company Meatloaf:

1 lb. ground pork sausage
3 lbs. ground beef
1 T. dried sage
8 oz. tomato sauce
2 c. quick cooking oats, uncooked
1 .35 oz. pkg. onion soup mix
4 eggs
2 c. evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well.  Shape into 2 loaves and place on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees; bake for an additional one hour, or until browned.

 
Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole:

5 1/2 c. mashed potatoes
1/2 c. milk
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
8 oz. sour cream
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Beat together all ingredients except cheese and bacon until smooth and creamy.  Spoon into a lightly greased 13x9 baking pan; sprinkle with cheese and bacon.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

September 27, 2011

Conversations with Chris

I put this conversation on Facebook last night but there were further developements that I thought warranted this conversation to have it's own post!

Last night after supper Chris and I were sitting at the kitchen table talking  and he says to me:
"Since your getting up anyway would you bring me another beer?"

Ummm I wasn't getting up but I was feeling generous so I got up anyway and got him his beer, which requires a bottle opener - we are fancy around here, no twist off tops for us, well for him, I drink Boones Farm!  So I grab him a beer and the can opener laying on the counter and hand it to him - which prompts this conversation:

Chris: See this can opener?

Me: Yeah?

Chris: When I was a kid we never had one this big - it didn't have long handles like this one and was harder to use - see this can opener, this is luxery, this is how I spoil you!

WHAT?  I just walked away - and then laughed hysterically (but don't tell him!)

So anyway after lunch I decided to put some chicken and stuff in the crock pot for supper and am looking around for my "luxurious" can opener, which by the way was still laying on the table ( no one put it away - just sayin') so I pick it up and off-handedly say "Boy I am one lucky girl to have such a fine can opener" and he says "Yes you are!"  - grabs the camera and actually takes pictures of me opening a can - this is the same man that I have to hand the camera to and say outloud "Now would be a good time for you to take a picture of me!" decided that opening a can deserved a photo shoot!



Yes my kitchen is a mess but he did manage to get me in the picture and not just the can opener!

September 26, 2011

Discombobulated

I love that word - my Mom uses it all the time - it is a funny word - go ahead say it and I dare you not to at least smile - now try saying it 3 times fast and I bet you giggle!  If you didn't try saying "discom'boob'ulated" if your not laughing now there is just something wrong with you!

Anyway that is how my day has gone or I have felt:

Ever have one of those dreams where in the dream you are asleep and dreaming?  All night last night!  And then you would finally be able to wake yourself up but then realize that you are only awake from your dream dream but still dreaming??????  It drives me insane!

Then I decide to take the dishwasher apart and clean it (not in my dream or dream dream but in real life)!  Am I the only person who takes their dishwasher apart to clean it and then take the pieces down to the shop at the hog barns to wash it with the pressure washer? (Insert you might be a Redneck if:)  Just sounds weird to take something out of my house to the hog barns to get it cleaner than it is in my house - that is the story of my life!  And if a dishwasher is supposed to clean dishes why should I have to clean the dishwasher, can't it keep itself clean?

I am sure this is just me but I dirtied 3 pans heating up leftover chili for lunch! Seriously!  I had heated up a little for Casey to take in her lunch in one pan, thought well that would be good for lunch, so I added the rest but that pan seemed too small so I dumped it into the next size pan and decided that it could use some doctoring up so I added a few things only to have that pan overflow and have to dump the whole thing into the next size pan!  3 pans to heat up leftover chili!

I spent 2 hours in the Verizon store just to add one line - really is it that hard!  Oh and while we are sitting in the Verizon store my MIL is talking on her Verizon cell phone to my FIL on his Verizon cell phone and the connection is dropped - seriously they are taking forever to just add a line and trying to talk me into spending more on a better plan all while they are dropping calls on their devices in their store!  The guy was very helpful but it was just weird!

I asked the boy to mow the grass last week - he informed me he was too busy with harvest - so I mowed it Friday - I get home from the Verizon store and the boy is whipping around the yard mowing the grass - I told him I just mowed it Friday, he said "Yeah but it's too wet to combine" - WHAT?   I just walked away!

A gutter salesman shows up to give me an hour long speech that he gave me 2 mo. ago but swears he has never been here before - he says that he talked to my husband earlier today so I called Chris and he took care of it - by ordering gutters from the guy!!!!!!!!

The oldest had "WAY" to much homework tonight to go to piano lessons but caught her up in her room watching 'The Wiggles' - WHAT THE HECK?  I just walked away!

After the boy's fiddle lessons I wanted to run to Wal-Mart for just a few things - I do believe everyone in Johnson County had decided the same thing - I really think that is the most crowded I have ever seen that Wal-Mart - 6pm on a Monday evening!

I was just told I will need to wash the other finisher tomorrow afternoon so now I need to go wash my water-proof pants that I bought on my big shopping spree last week - yeah that's right my big shopping spree consisted on Chris sending my to Columbus to get an auger motor fixed IMMEDIATELY, but the guy that was supposed to fix the motor didn't feel the urgency that I felt - he was not nice to me, I was told I would have to wait an hour and a half in not so kind terms so to appease me Chris said I should treat myself to something special at the Outlet Mall while I waited - credit card in hand and ready to spend I marched in and out of a dozen stores only to walk away with water-proof pants off the clearance rack to wash hog barns in!  On the bright side they worked wonderfully Saturday when I washed the other finisher!



It's a glamorous life -
but somebody has to live it so why not me?

September 25, 2011

The Smell of Fall

Well we are off and runnin' - harvest officially started earlier this week - going at it slow and steady right now!

Three generations in the cab ready to roll!

They started and had to stop to make a slight adjustment to the "new" to us corn head,

finally ready to roll!  Do you think he might be excited - he lives for this!




The corn is "wet" now, mature, but not dry enough for storage-it would spoil and rot in the bin if put straight in for storage. The corn is "dried", with heat and forced air. Most of the corn we have harvested so far has been in the "high 20's", that is 26% to 30% moisture, or water by weight. Corn needs to be 15% for storage. Wetter corn spends a hour or more in the dryer, later in the season, as the corn loses more moisture just standing in the field, we will not need to dry the corn as much. The dryer has several parameters that change the rate of drying.
Though drying corn is expensive and time consuming, we like to get a jump start on harvest. Field losses are less earlier in the season. As the weather takes it's toll on the dying plant, more falls down, or falls off. The more corn we shell "wet", the less we shell in November, and experience down corn then, as well as avoiding late fall weather concerns, such as mud and snow.


The fans on the dryer, the flames are always on but cycles between high and low heat cycles to regulate the tempreture of the dryer.


It is a full time job to make sure the settings are always adjusted exactly right so that the corn is discharged at the right moisture and tempreture.  You can burn corn, on the other hand you don't want to have to run it thru the dryer twice.



The dryer fans running at night - there is really no good way to get a picture of how briiliant they are and the amazing smell of corn drying - it is truly what Fall is to me!

My Mom tells a story about visiting the Frito Lay factory when I was little and while everyone else in the tour was adjusting to what they considered an odd smell I looked at her and said:
"It smells just like home Mom!"

Every semi load of 27% corn contains apprx. 9000 pounds of excess water or a 1000 gallons that we remove with the dryer!

September 20, 2011

Cleaner than my kitchen floor!

Seriously I think it is - which if you know me really doesn't surprise you at all!

We finished cleaning out the last bin of old corn this morning - I say "we" loosely as this one is technically the only one I helped with this year!  It didn't go quite as I planned but then rarely things do!

Last night Chris said to me "uh yeah gonna need your help in the morning cleaning out a bin, Dad is gonna take the load already loaded then you and I and Josh will take the other semi down to Marietta and clean out the bin and load it - we will need someone to load the semi and pull it up!"!

Well I will be perfectly honest - I was more than a tad bit excited - I was going to get to drive the semi - once again using the word "drive" loosely as in I was going to get to put the semi in gear and allow it to roll up slightly so that the corn didn't run over out of the trailer!  I was still excited!  You see one of the very first things I remember ever wanting to be when I grew up was a trucker, Yep that's right Ladies and Gentleman - A Trucker -  well that and a vet - but Chris says every little girl wants to be a vet at some point!  Anyway I feel I was pretty much prepared for anything - if the whole school thing wasn't my forte (which it wasn't, that and the fact that when I hear anyone throw up I throw up weak stomach thing) my plan of trucking across the USA was my American dream - and today that dream was gonna come true!  Now don't get me wrong Chris has been trying to get me to drive semi's for years and I have tried, the older one we had I was OK at driving but semi's are so long when you put a trailer on them and the newer ones we have I seem to give people whiplash in when I drive - I can't keep even pressure on the gas pedal and then my foot goes on and off the pedal - well it's just not pretty and after about 50 feet you just want to throw up!  And then there is the whole nightmare issue!  Yep ever since I was little my only recurring nightmare has been me driving a semi and the gas pedal gets stuck and I am careening out of control at a high rate of speed in a semi hauling a full grain trailer - I SWEAR this is true!

BUT TODAY WAS GONNA BE DIFFERENT- I was going to jump in the cab of that semi, put it into gear and put the hammer down slowly roll forward like I was a pro - needless to say I was EXCITED - So can you imagine the look on my face when we jump out of the truck at the bin and Chris looks at me and says the words:

"Crawl in the bin, you'll be in charge of the
broom sweeping up behind me!"







So I swept - and I am not kidding when I say that bin floor is cleaner than my kitchen floor!

September 17, 2011

Because Eveyone Is Not The Same As Me!

Follow-up conversation with Emi Lou from yesterday!

So this morning as Lou rolls out of bed about 9am and wonders thru the house she casually starts this conversation:

Emi Lou:  So Mom I read your blog post!

Me: (slightly shocked, I didn't know she read my blog) Oh yeah - so do you still think I lay around all day watching TV, surfing the net and napping?

Emi Lou: Yep!

Me: ARE YOU SH*&ing me! (yes I said it) Did you read the WHOLE thing?

Emi Lou: Yep!

Me:  Well than I don't understand, who do you think does all the stuff around here?

Emi Lou:  You do Mom that is why you deserve to lay around all day while we are gone!

I knew she was beautiful and SMART - I just forget sometimes that we all don't think alike!

September 16, 2011

Conversations With My Kids!

Emi Lou Age 12


Emi Lou:  Mom, what do you do all day while we are at school?

Me: Oh you know take naps, lay around, surf the web

Emi Lou: Huh, well that makes sense!  I can't wait till I have kids and they go to school so I can lay around doing nothing all day like you Mom!


She seriously believed me and just walked away - who does she thinks puts the clean underwear back in her drawer to wear everyday?  Cooks the meals?  Picks up the dirty dishes she leaves in the living room?  Brings the snacks home from the grocery store?  Bakes the cookies that are waiting on her when she gets off the bus?  Mowed the grass?  Dropped everything to run and get parts for her Dad? 

Good thing she's beautiful!

September 14, 2011

Conversations With My Kids!

Cole - Age 8

FYI "Grumpy" is what my kids call Chris' Dad, their Grandpa!

Cole: You  know Mom I am Grumpy's left hand man!

Me: Left hand?

Cole: Yeah, he is left handed and I sit on his left side in the combine!

Me:  OH I see - that is clever!

Cole: Yeah, so when he passes out in the combine I am right there to take over and run the combine!

Me: Ummmm how often does Grumpy pass out in the combine?

Cole: Never, but if he does I am there!


And I think we can all be Thankful for that!

September 13, 2011

Today . . . .

. . .the dirty dishes are piled high in the kitchen,

. . .my laundry room smells of an interesting combination of hog and cattle manure,

. . .there is a distinct smell of a dead mouse around the fireplace,

. . .it is supposed to be 90 degrees,

. . .I just swept up about 5 pounds of dirt, manure and mud off the kitchen floor,

. . .I cleaned out the kids' bags from this weekend which were an interesting combination of cattle manure and wet swimsuits that had been marinating together in the back of a pick-up truck in the sun in 80 degree weather,


Today the dirty dishes are piled high in the kitchen, because I love to cook, Chris loves to eat and I hate clean!

Today my laundry room smells of an interesting combination of hog and cattle manure, because we do what we love and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Today there is a distinct smell of a dead mouse around the fireplace, which is much better than a live mouse running around!

Today it is supposed to be 90 degrees, but there is an awesome breeze, I can hear the corn rustling and the windows are open (which is also helping with the dead mouse smell - bonus!!!)!

Today I just swept up about 5 pounds of dirt, manure and mud off the kitchen floor, because, well . . . quite frankly Chris and the kids (OK me too) don't bother to take our dirty boots off when we come in the house!

Today I cleaned out the kids' bags from this weekend which were an interesting combination of cattle manure and wet swimsuits that had been marinating together in the back of a pick-up truck in the sun in 80 degree weather, because we were lucky enough to get away as a family, sight see a little and pick out show cattle!


LIFE IS GOOD

September 12, 2011

I despise grocery shopping and bluetoothing!

Is bluethoothing even a word?  Who cares I don't like those blue tooth devices!  I am sure that they make driving and talking on cell phones safer but why do people wear them into stores?  I firmly believe that there is nothing so pressing in any one's life - short of guarding the President (and why would he be shopping in Wal-Mart?) - that requires you to wear a blue tooth device into Wal-Mart!

Secondly let me say that I am very grateful that we can afford food and that we eat very well - it is the actual act of grocery shopping that I hate and have always hated!  I disliked it when I first got married, I disliked it with small children (not because it was necessarily any harder) and I dislike it today!  Although I will say now that the kids are older it is getting a little easier, I usually go when they can go with me - I breeze thru the aisles trying to grab everything on our list and then head to the front to check out where I take one last look at the list and there are a ton of things I forgot - so I off handedly say something like "Oh darn I was going to get some Double Stuff Oreos but I forgot to pick them up - oh well maybe next time!", at this point a Kid jumps in and says "I'll run back and get them!" and I say "Oh OK, while you are back there grab this and this and this" and then I send Kid 2 after a few more items, and Kid 3 back to Dairy goods while I stand at the check out counter reading magazines that I don't intend to buy - works every time!

It never seems to fail that something ridiculous happens to me at the grocery store!  For example:

I have been blue toothed more than once!  This one time I was in produce looking over the lettuce or something and this women (wearing slippers and pajama pants - seriously what is so pressing that she needs a blue tooth device for but doesn't have time to put on real clothing for!) says:
"Picking out fresh produce is hard, your never sure how long it has been out"  Now I don't possess the "chit chat" gene or the "kiss ass" gene - this can make me appear shy and blunt all at the same time but I try to never be rude - so I casually shake my head yes and say "yep, not always easy"!  She then proceeds to talk about her friend who is dying of cancer - it was horrible and sad but of absolutely no interest to me, I shook my head a few times, said some generic polite phrases - just really wanting to move on, when the woman suddenly looks at me full on and says "I don't know this lady is trying to be a part of our conversation!" at the exact moment I notice the dumb ass thing attached to her ear!

Then there was the time I was about 8 months pregnant with #3, I had a 6 year old and a 3 year old, we were almost done, the cart was full and my back was killing me - I started having some contractions - but there was absolutely no way I was leaving there without my groceries, the cart was full and I was almost done so I took the girls over to the toy aisle and let them play while I sat on an empty shelf for about 15 minutes waiting for the pain to go away - luckily they were only braxton hicks but I was not going to have to go back and do that shopping all over again!

But my all time favorite happened when I was almost 9 mo's. pregnant with #2 and #1 was 3 years old!  She was riding in the front of the cart, the cart was full, we were at the front of the store, standing in front of all the cash registers, I was reviewing my list and I offhandedly said to myself:
"Crap I forgot to get Chris' beer, I do not feel like walking back there for it!"
When all of a sudden I hear this horrible beached whale like sound almost busting my eardrums, it is coming from my 3 year old who is sobbing (real tears) and loudly blubbering the phrase repeatedly:

"But Momma please go get the beer, Daddy needs his beer -
OH Momma please please Daddy needs beer!"

Needless to say "Daddy" got his beer just so the kids would shut-up


The absolute worst part though for me is how many times I have to handle the same item!
Have you ever thought about it:
     1. pick the item off the shelf put it in the cart
     2. out of the cart onto the cashier's counter
     3. pick the grocery bags up and put them in the cart
     4. out of the grocery cart and into your car
     5. out of your car into your house
     6. out of the bag into the cabinet
     7. out of the cabinet to prepare
That just seems absurd to me!

Now I have no choice but to quit typing and go put today's grocery's away (step 6) because the frozen stuff won't keep until the kid's get home from school and I can make them do it!

September 7, 2011

This time I am going to hold it till everyone is gone!

I love our farm (have I said that before) - I really do and I am so proud of the hard work my In-laws and Chris put into it to make it viable, our farm solely supports 2 family's and 1 full time employee,  So when the National FFA Organization called and asked if we would  be willing to be one of their Career Success Tours I immediatly said "Hell Yeah Us?  Wow, that would be an honor!"

I love farm tours - when I was a kid my parents had several different farm tours - you know back in the day - the good ole' days - the 70's!  They always offered house tours so "the women had something to do as well" - farm tours were fun when I was a kid, now they are just hard work - back then I had no concept how hard my parents had to work to get ready for those tours!  I remember them all fondly, except for one!

The 1978 Indiana Farm Management Tour - this one just makes me hang my head and giggle!



I was 8 years old, it was July, people were touring our home farm with our shop and equipment, our grain facilities and "for the women" a tour of our recently remodeled farm home!

Here is the description from the guide book of our home:


Note the part:
      -Down the circular stairway to the lower level . . . . .
                 to the part that says
       -The farm office with bath is easily accessible to the patio entrance.

The tour started upstairs, thru the "entrance, with a place for sewing and book storage", into the kitchen, the master bedroom, the dining room with "a fantastic view of the farm fields and woods along Sugar Creek" (don't you wonder who writes this stuff?) then onto the "children's bedroom wing" then down stairs - my point here is that there was some time spent upstairs before heading down - it was later in the day and the "farm wife" crowd was dwindling, I said to my Mom "I really have to go to the bathroom!" - I pause now because you are either:
 - laughing because you know where this is headed
     OR
  - you should re-read the above layout of the home for further understanding

Here is where I will tell you that I was stylin' that day - sporting my all yellow with white trim one-piece terry cloth romper, pigtails and white thong sandals - by 1970's standards I was one cute 8 year old, if I do say so myself!

For those of you who were not fortunate enough to own or know what a "romper" is:

this is exactly the style mine was that day - all ONE piece, elastic waist, ties on each shoulder

So I have said to my Mom that I really need to pee - she says "OK go down stairs to the office bathroom, I will stall the next group as long as possible"!

From that moment until the bathroom door flew open is really nothing but a blur - I do recall hearing my Grandmother say the words:  "And this is Stephen's office, he and Bobbie keep all the farm books here - and it even has an attached bathroom . . ." and the door swings open and I am sitting on the toilet with my snazzy one-piece terry cloth romper and flowered underwear dangling around my ankles while my Grandmother and about 15 "farm wives" are staring at me naked as a jay bird takin' care of business!  It seemed like forever until my Grandmother fully comprehended that she needed to close the door - I am glad it was near the end of the day because I spent the rest of the tour hiding in the furnace room "where there is plenty of storage shelves, a furnace as well an efficient wood-burning stove capable of heating the entire 2 level home and a space just big enough for an embarrassed 8 year old girl to hide"!

So here we are about a month and half from said tour and it is time for me to kick it into high and get some work done but at the top of my list is the reminder:

Pee before the tour and then hold it till everyone is gone!

September 6, 2011

I asked for it!

Fire pit weather - why didn't mother nature answer me when I asked for some rain for the crops the last 2 month's?

Saturday we started our hunt for our new "show string" sporting shorts, flip flops and tank tops!  On Monday when we went on another trek we were having to wear jeans, boots and sweatshirts, today's high was supposed to be 74 it got to a whooping 62 with a constant wind - so nothing sounded better tonight than chili!  Which I made with some fresh tomato juice - I am not a canner (that is a whole other post) but the chili I made tonight with the fresh tomato juice might make me change my mind - might being the key word!

Anyway I had marked this recipe in my Gooseberry Patch Church Suppers cookbook,

it was a super easy, super fast recipe, really delicious and perfect with tonight's chili!

Basically you dumped all the ingredients into a bowl


mix it up real good


put the batter into the muffin tins - the recipe said it made 1 1/2 dozen, I had plenty of batter for 2 dozen,


cook them in the oven and serve them - very simple, very easy!

So there you have it - we are 1 recipe closer to giving one lucky person a copy of Church Suppers!


Our Family's Corn Muffins

1 3/4 c. yellow cornmeal
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
8 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2 c. milk
3/4 c. oil

In a large bowl, combine ingredients in order listed; beat until well blended.  Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick tests done.  Makes 1 1/2 dozen.