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December 30, 2013

Tangy Crock Pot Smoked Sausage Bites

If you are like me and wait till the very last minute to figure out what you are taking to a party you will love this recipe!

If you are nothing like me and always plan ahead then you will still love this recipe!

My Mom has been making this forever and I have absolutely no idea where the recipe came from but it doesn't really matter because it is AWESOME!  It requires 3 ingredients and very little time-as in less than 5 minutes and only a slow cooker!

Easy appetizer or snack - Tangy Crockpot Smoked Sausage Bites

Tangy Crock Pot Smoked Sausage Bites


Family size package of skinless smoked sausage
2 - 18 oz. jars of apple jelly
squirt of yellow mustard

Slice the smoked sausage into bite size pieces, place in your slow cooker, add both jars of apple jelly, a squirt of yellow mustard - set on Low and cook till party time - you actually might want to give it a stir once the jelly melts to combine everything.

In a hurry: set your slow cooker on high and just stir sooner-turn down to low once cooked!

In an even bigger hurry:  Combine all 3 ingredients in a pan and heat on the stove, put in your crock pot on low or warm to serve during the party!

Chef's (that's me) notes:  I am aware that 'squirt' is not an actual measurement however I have total faith that you can determine and actively administer a squirt of mustard without much trouble!  I have also not listed a recommended amount of cooking time that is because the brilliance of this recipe is the ease-if they look done and are warm they are good to go - trust your inner chef!

December 24, 2013

The Christmas with no pictures.

Every year as the kids and I are putting up the Christmas tree I find myself talking to God-you might call it saying a prayer I tend to call them conversations (one sided-I am crazy but not that crazy)-thankful beyond words that we have farmed for another year together as a family!  It ALWAYS hits me hardest and makes me most thankful when I am decorating the tree.

We have always had a live tree except for one year- 1998 - the hog market didn't just crash it obliterated - there wasn't one-if you were to ask me I recall we were paying packers to take our hogs!  They bottomed out for us at $12 per cwt and the cost to produce for us was $29 per cwt (thanks to cheap corn at the time-at least for feeding, but we also raise more than we feed - so while it was cheap feed we weren't making any selling corn either)- we had an artificial tree this year!  This seems like a trivial thing to remember about such a rough year but it is always what comes to mind, makes it real, reminds me to be Thankful and puts things into perspective for me.  We were lucky, Chris' parents had bought a new artificial tree several years earlier and still had their old one in their basement which they were more than willing to loan us.  We have never spent over $40 on a live tree but that year the $40 was going to be spent on something that would last longer than a Christmas tree, it was never a question.  I don't recall having to put up an artificial tree being traumatizing that year-lots of people put them up every year.  But what I do remember is that that was the year that decorating the tree became the time that I evaluated my year.

Oh and we had an almost 3 year old daughter and I was preganant (math is not my strong suit, neither is remembering my kids' age - so I was wrong in the Indiana Prairie Farmer article)  - I have looked and looked, I look every year at this time and I can't find one picture from that Christmas!  I know she had presents, we got up Christmas morning and did our thing, we celebrated with Chris' family and my family but I can't find one picture that I took that year - I don't remember it being an intentional omission - I just must of not taken any.

I couldn't tell you what Casey got that Christmas but I know she opened presents from Santa and I know that Chris got me something-again I don't remember but every year I remember what Chris got and so does he-work boots.

Hog farmers go through work boots like nobodies business - hog manure eats leather work boots for breakfast, lunch and supper - Chris goes through 2-3 pair of good RedWings a year - that year he was still wearing the year befores pair- I kept insisting he buy himself a new pair and he refused - so I bought them - it may have been one of the first times I outright made a corporate decision on my own and carried it out!  But I also remember being a little nervous about that decision, so instead of admitting I bought the boots I had Chris' parents leave them on the porch swing-and pretended I had no idea where they came from saying maybe his parents had bought them for him.

Every year he tells me that that is his favorite Christmas present ever - that and the years that I buy him nothing (cause that doesn't cost him anything)!

I am thankful at Thanksgiving for the life I lead, the people I am surrounded by-family and friends, our health, the country I live in but it is the weekend after Thanksgiving as we are putting up our tree that I am reminded and give Thanks that we have made it another year involved in Agriculture!

A Very Merry Christmas From Our Farm To You!

December 15, 2013

It's not about God.....

......I believe in God - God The Father, His Son Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit.  But I am a believer he is everywhere not just in church.  While I have no problem with people who believe once a week a quiet place to worship Him, have spiritual time and learn/listen to the word of God from a preacher is right for them I sometimes sit in the barn after feeding the calves and marvel on this wold he created, I have found myself staring out a window at a sunset or storm telling Him how blessed I feel.  I can't quote the Bible, I can't list all the books in order but I am positive that I won't need to to get into heaven.

It's not about the preacher.....

........it is the people/my friends/my family that make up the church.  They, together, are the reason I love my Boggstown Church.  But I also know that after 43 years in this church that the day I choose to walk thru the doors, whether it be every single Sunday or once a year, they will smile at me, hug me, say they are glad to see me - and it won't matter that the preacher up front doesn't recognize me because it is they, my church family, that I want and need.

It is, however, about me.  About finding my peace and my healing - not a day goes by that I don't say a prayer for my Mom and my brother - I can't begin to imagine losing a piece of my everyday life - and that was what my Dad was to them.  I didn't see or even talk to my Dad everyday so as strange as it is to say- his passing didn't affect my everyday life - but it affected my Sunday's.  Right after he died I continued to go to church but it never failed to send me into tears - it only took a year for me to realize that it wasn't church that was making me sad but the fact that my Dad wasn't there.  I knew he wouldn't be at family dinners, holidays, birthdays, school functions - Chris and I talked about all the monumental moments we wouldn't have him at, I cried for my Mom and my brother and their everyday life, I cried for all the 'teenage' things I did that I never told him I regretted but I never gave a second thought as to how hard it would be to sit in the 3rd pew from the back on the right side of the church and him not be sitting on the center end with a kid on his lap and a handkerchief in his pocket that he was more than willing to share and then put right back in his pocket again.

But it is - it is hard, too hard right now.

December 9, 2013

I wore the dirty jeans!

I opted for the dirty ones on Friday of Hoosier Beef Congress - via an unofficial pole on Facebook!

I am glad I did because by the end of the day it didn't much matter how I started it - I was dirty, tired and barely able to move!

Chris stayed home to take care of the hogs-so I was sent from home with 3 kids and 4 calves waiting in the trailer at the fairgrounds parked in BFE and lots of snow and ice - good times were sure to happen!

We fed the calves in the trailer in the hopes that Chris would be up in time to help move them into the barn-but no such luck, the kids and I trekked out to the trailer, haltered everyone and started the journey in - several calf switches along the way and we are half way in when the fun begins-I ended up with a slightly flighty heifer - she is an absolute doll at home but maybe the thought of being judged had her all worked up - I sent the 3 kids and their calves on ahead hoping that once 'Princess Dusty' and I had our come to Jesus meetin' we could make our walk in holding our heads high - yeah that didn't pan out!!  After 2 sight seeing tours around the gazebo at the state fairgrounds with a heifer as my tour guide (a rather quick tour guide - picture me while still on my feet basically being drug around the gazebo) I managed to get her up next to a lamppost where I tied her up, caught my breath and phoned for help-thankfully I have Keegan Poe on speed dial up here and he sent someone to walk the heifer in for me - so instead of walking in with our heads held high, mine was hung in shame and hers was tightly held so she couldn't get away - but better than being on the front page of the Indy Star being known as the one who let a heifer run free on 38th Street!

Once in we watered them all - bucket after bucket after bucket after head but and bucket of water bucket of water dumped down my leg!

But trudging forward I kept moving-the kids got all the calves washed and blown out and quite frankly the afternoon was a blur - there was some clipping I am positive of and can prove that because even though I was wearing two shirts, a jacket and a vest there was cow hair clippings in my bra that night!

Showmanship was in the evening - well planned out or so I thought - showmanship numbers/backtags had been handed out earlier in the day and as they were handed to us they wrote the child's name and class on the back.  I carefully checked each backtag class and name, placed them in the order of showing, laid them on the showbox and proceeded getting everything and everyone ready - first calf blown out, show halter on, kid dressed, in the show ring, back out - second calf blown out, show halter on, kid dressed, in the show ring, back out - and then waiting for for the third kid - and waiting - and waiting and finally figuring out we were waiting for an assigned non-existent class - long story somewhat short is apparently there was a mix up in class numbers and kids (not just mine) were told they were in classes that didn't exist - by the time we figured out what was going on, made my way to the announcers stand they were in the middle of judging the last class in her division, we were told to go ahead and jump in the class - ummmm what?  her heifer was clear back in the South Pavilion -  I was not happy, turns out it happened to quite a few kids - it cost $10 extra dollars (besides the $75 entry fee per calf) to show showmanship-in all honesty I wasn't overly concerned with my $10 it was more the way I was 'dismissed' and not even a hint of an apology from the person in charge-surprisingly I kept my temper under control - probably because I was in shock - we turned around, headed back to the barn, fed and led the calves out to the trailer for the night - physically and metally exhausted - and still fuming!  Next year I will be cross checking with the sheets hanging on the wall!!!!

A quick stop at Steak-n-Shake for a late supper and home where I took my even dirtier jeans off as I walked in the back door - I am pretty sure that they could of stood up in corner by themselves-glad I didn't bother wearing clean jeans!