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September 24, 2013

A Great Representation of The Farmers Wife of 2013?

Is there such a thing?

I had a reporter call me yesterday as I was running the grain cart unloading on the go with my FIL giving me instructions over the 2-way-yes I ended up in the wrong place!  She wanted to ask me a few questions and then do a follow-up ride along one day next week - A Day In The Life Of A Farmwife!

I answered her preliminary questions - with complete honesty - to which she responded she enjoyed my candor - I wanted to say 'Lady you have no idea how candid I really am' - BUT I didn't Mom -don't worry I was polite!!!!

She asked what a typical day for me involved - amidst snickering I told her there was no such thing as a typical day, other than getting the kids up and off to school I never know what I will be doing!  She then asked if what I did was weather dependent......ummmmmm YES!!  She said "so if we did a ride along say next week what would you be doing?" -well I don't know- "have you finished your canning?"-I believe this is where the conversation took a left turn for me-I quite honestly sat dumbfounded for a second trying to get a handle on what exactly I wanted to say-I will be honest my mouth works A LOT faster than my brain but I said something to the jist of:

"whoa I don't can-I am not opposed to canning-I just don't do it-home grown vegetables are good, homegrown canned vegetables in the winter taste awesome but I spend everyday helping to produce food for the US food system-I trust it wholeheartedly and knowing I can buy good quality food at the grocery store I personally choose not to spend my time canning-I buy my food at the grocery store-I do work in the hog barns, help with the cattle and drive tractors but I also love to cook and bake but I don't wear an apron and my house is ALWAYS a disaster and the laundry is never done"

Probably more than she wanted to hear or know about me but I wondered if there wasn't a stereo typical image she was looking for-I don't want to be stereo typical.

I told her I would talk it over with Chris and the kids and get back with her-she asked for my email address to send me her number and we hung up.

Her follow-up email was short and polite but this sentence bothered me for 2 reasons:

'I think it would be a great story and you'd be a great representation of the farmer's wife of 2013. LOL'

1. why is this funny?
B "representation of the farmer's wife of 2013"

One has way too much time to think in the cab of a tractor and I spent the next several hours pondering that phrase:

"representation of the farmer's wife of 2013"

The word 'representation' bothered me- the first thing that came to mind was -typical-well quite honestly I don't want to be a typical anything-I just want to be me-so I Googled it:

 Then I got really scared-'the act of speaking or acting on behalf of someone'-I can barely speak and act respectably on behalf of myself and I am almost 100% positive the farmwives I know have no desire for me to be their poster child!  

I come from generations of farmwives and know hundreds more-no two are alike-I do what I do because I love it and because I am lucky enough to be able to!  Some farmwives work on the farm, some off the farm, full time, part time, some may not work at all!

So after hours of pondering, over analyzing and one last conversation with Chris that ended with him saying:

"I don't want you to-I just don't want people opening up the paper and saying 'damn there is Jennifer Campbell again', they are gonna get sick of seeing your face-not that I am because I love you!  But you do whatever you want!"

I think my answer will be no!

September 20, 2013

Hog Farmers Chili

One of the first things I remember Chris and I having to agree on as a married couple is chili - Yes food - if you know Chris this doesn't surprise you, he is a very easy going guy that takes his food seriously!

There are literally a million different ways to make to make chili so coming to an agreement that would have to last the rest of our married years was something we took very seriously:

pasta or no pasta
thick or thin
mild beans or hot beans

It was not a marital decision to be taken lightly - so instead of going one way or the other we entered the kitchen together and came up with our own recipe!

We start with sausage!!!  That was pretty much a no brainer for us - we both grew up with hamburger in our chili but since we had a freezer full of pork that we raised and at the time not a freezer full of beef - sausage made sense - and who doesn't love sausage!!!

Once your sausage is browned, pour in tomato juice, add in a couple of cans of chili beans and you have Chili - seriously, that's it!

Most of the time now I do add just a few other ingredients to spice it up a bit-I dice an onion (very small because my kids are extremely picky), add some chili powder and some cumin - other than that it is all in the 'extras' you choose to add!

The three basic ingredients are always the same but over time it has evolved-but when in a pinch we still just make the basic recipe and it is always a big hit!!!

Hog Farmers Chili

1 lb. Sausage
64 oz container of tomato juice
2 - 15.5 oz. cans chili beans
1 diced onion (optional)
1 tsp. chili powder (optional)
1/4 tsp. cumin (optional)
pasta of your choice

1. Brown your sausage and diced onion
2. add chili powder and cumin
3. add tomato juice and chili beans; bring to a slow boil
4. add your uncooked pasta; cook until pasta is tender and serve!

Garnish with: diced onions, jalapenos, shredded cheese, sour cream - anything you desire!!!

I am participating in Indiana's Family of Farmers Table Talk Series and received a gift in exchange for my participation.

Behind the scenes:

So as per the usual way I do business I was way behind on this post-I made this chili at 6:30am today as well as the cornbread in the picture - this was my Facebook status as I was getting the kids out the door:

"So I made chili at 6:30 this morning for a blog post due . . . . well last night and now the house smells all fallish and good and I am starving-but I have to have cornbread and milk with my chili even if it is for breakfast so now I have to make cornbread, go buy milk AND write a blog post-then explain to Chris why he can just heat his won chili up in the microwave for lunch because I am just not all that hungry!"

I then spent the majority of the afternoon setting up the light and the picture (not easy for me since I am not a perfectionist by a fly by the seat of my pants kind of person-I even read the directions)-I also went to the effort of looking for 'props' (aka the CLEAN bandana) in the picture all to have Chris walk in the house burst out laughing and ask "What the heck are you doing?" pointing at the bowl of chili, cornbread and bandana while I am standing on a swivel barstool with my camera trying not to bust my . . . .

But now we have chili (and a pretty picture of it) - Chris ate some for lunch and there is enough for the kids to have some when they get home from school - yes we snack on chili!

September 11, 2013


Thanks to Gooseberry Patch and this cute little book full of Freezer Friendly Recipes I had the best day cooking and hanging with my girls AND my freezer has 10 ready to go meals in it for busy harvest nights!  OK technically only 9 as the first thing we did was eat Megan's Sunrise Cinnamon Loaves!

I honestly spent a ridiculous amount of time reading, re-reading, analyzing, making my family read and choosing a recipe - I actually let everyone else choose first so that I had less choices - then I narrowed it down and finally (2 days before the big cooking day-which is way ahead of schedule for me) I picked 'Lisa's Chicken Tortilla Soup' and headed to GFS for all my goodies!

I have never shopped in bulk to cook in bulk - I won't lie I actually had to read labels and do math - it was scary and I actually had to call Chris while in GFS to have him double check me-because really nobody wants to many re-fried beans, that kind of thing just isn't pretty!

Lisa's Chicken Tortilla Soup

4  14.5oz. cans chicken broth
4  10oz. cans dices tomatoes with chilies
1 cup canned or frozen corn
1  30oz. can refried beans
5 cups cooked chicken, shredded

In a large stockpot over medium heat, combine broth and tomatoes with with chilies.  Stir in corn and beans; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add chicken and heat through.  To serve, garnish as desired.

Freeze & Serve Instructions: Cool; do not garnish.  Ladle into freezer container and freeze.  Thaw overnight in refrigerator.  Ina saucepan, simmer over medium heat until hot and bubbly.  Garnish as desired.

Couple of things I did:
1. I used chicken base instead of stock -all the flavoring in already in the soup and when I cook it I will just add the extra water - basically I made a condensed soup!

B. To freeze I left the chicken out and froze separately  - I think chicken sometimes gets 'wonky' or a different texture when it sits in liquid too long!

I have no yummy looking picture of my soup because as hard as it is to not give in, all the food is still in my freezer-I am normally all about instant gratification but I am practicing great restraint knowing that once we get in the field I will be thankful one evening at 10pm when we finally come in that in less than 10 minutes I can have a hot pan of soup on the stove to feed 5 grumpy and tired people!