Monday, February 23, 2015

Yogurt Pie & Balloon Bowls

I was spending some time in my kitchen this past weekend and finally made my friends delicious dessert.  It's simple, it's low calorie, and it's awesome tasting!

Yogurt Pie. That's what I made.  Here's the deal though, since VVDDP is coming up soon I thought I would put a little change in the presentation!

Of course my idea came from Pinterest! To see the original post on it check out InStyleFashionOne!  You use balloons and dip them in melted chocolate.  Place them on aluminum foil and put in the refrigerator for an hour.  

Removing the balloons and not breaking the chocolate was a little harder than I anticipated.  I did dip them twice per instructions but will probably do three times next time.  

I would normally insert a photo here of my creations. Unfortunately I deleted it and can not even find the picture in my recycle bin.  And of course they are ALL gone!

I decorated mine with a cut strawberry because I used strawberry jello.  I am going to make this again and again and probably again.  It really is that delish!

Not sure if I will serve them in the chocolate bowls or my pretty ramkens but I'm glad I tried it these two ways!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Women in Farm Management - Information Abounds!

If you haven't had a chance to read the following posts you might want to before reading this one.  It's leading up to this final one on the conference I recently attended.

Take Aways #1 - Food - from #WMFheroes


One of the breakout sessions I was lucky enough to attend brought me knowledge I think will be quite valuable to our farming operation.  

It was presented by an assistant professor from Kansas State University.  I was completely thrilled that she didn't talk over my head! :) This is a big thing for me!

The first session I attended was about cash rent vs. renting on shares. You might recall I wrote a post in 2012 about farming arrangements.   I actually was surprised at how many more options there are in regards to arrangements.  The basis thought is these two.  One thing I took away was that it is beginning to become a trend that the landowner share in the seed cost as well as the other expenses.  Previously this was not the trend.

Another great thing about this session was that we were able to enter data in by a remote clicker.  They were questions in regards to our farming operations.  Then we could see the percentage of each answer from those in the room.  Very interesting to see the diversity, yet similar things happening on farms!

The second session she presented gave us tools to determine equitable lease rates for our specific farming operation.  It was an excel spreadsheet and if you are interested in taking a look, you can find it on AgManager.

The day before the actual conference began we were given a couple options to visit some local Ag related establishments. I chose the Tour of KSU Grain Science Complex.  

I truly enjoyed this tour and wish we didn't didn't run out of time.  I had been in a flour mill before as I worked in a flour mill lab for a short while.  Each building had it's purpose and it was an enjoyable tour, although quite chilly that day! I would love to take my husband to tour the complex sometime!

This is the last post I will write about the Women in Farm Management.  The dates for next years conference are February 4th and 5th!  If you are a woman in Agriculture in any form I would recommend this conference!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Farm Meetings & Meals

In the winter time lots of agriculture organizations have meetings and meal for farmers to attend.  Between the grain elevators, crop insurance companies, and local boards you can fill your winter with quite a few if you wanted to!

We recently were invited to an appreciation meal from ADM . ADM is where we sell most all of our grain that we raise.  As I've explained before we store a great deal of it at our farm, then watch the markets to decide when would be best to haul the grain and sell it.

ADM hosted their meal at The Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas.  We had the opportunity to tour the establishment that afternoon as well.  We took our daughter and mother in law with us.  To be honest, this type of thing isn't really my interest but being together as a family is important.  Milton and PV really enjoyed it and I learned a few things too!  I recommend it if you are in the area.

We had a meal of barbecue and side dishes.  I was visiting with another farm woman about the meal.  Although it was one of my favorite barbecue caters, we agreed that there is  a lot of barbecue served at farmer's meetings! :)

It is nice to be appreciated, no matter what occupation you are in.  And when ADM takes the time to feed several farmers in one sitting for using their company in our journey to feed the world it's even better!

So thank you ADM for the meal and opportunity to visit with fellow farmers!

Thanks for stopping by!


*This was not a paid endorsement, they are all my own opinions.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Out with the Old In with the New - 1688 Farewell

You met the newest addition to our farm equipment inventory already in The Red Machine that Made my Farmer's Valentines.  

It thrilled my husband to finally have this piece of equipment after caring for the 1688 machine.  Out with the old in with the new but before we start the journey with the 2009 Case IH 6088,  let's take a look at our faithful friend for over 14 years.

The Case IH 1688 combine was first introduced in 1985 for the 1986 production. Our combine of this model was a 1994 and was purchased in the year 2000 by my husband and his father.  

Milton and I started looking about two years ago, via online auctions and attending auctions. Buying farm equipment is not an easy or inexpensive venture.  It was somewhat difficult for me to grasp this when we bought a piece of land a year or so ago.  

This go around of replacing the combine was easier for me.  I understand the concept of an item "nickel and dimeing" you and breakdowns are no fun. My husband and in father in law take very good care of their equipment, they don't run them into the ground or anything like that.  Just like with our bodies, as we get older, things need cared for more and we can do less.  It's still a good machine but after 14 years it was nice.

So we took the plunge, called the banker, found a combine finally that we both felt comfortable with.  It actually is coming from the same gentleman that sold my husband and father in law the 1688.  The 1688 was a good machine to them and it helped us feed our family and the world in good and bad times.  

This is the combine our daughter has ridden in each year since her birth at harvest time.

This is the  combine that ran one year without my husband as the primary driver, except for about 10 minutes.  

This is the combine that as we dated I was able to sit next to him in and watch the wheat be harvested up close and personal.

This is where our family snapshots occurred.

Where breakdowns and repairs were made.

Where my husband sat and year after year felt that rush of the first cut of wheat.  Feeling more adrenaline than he ever will with anything else in life.

Where at the end of harvest it's gotten us through and we are grateful.  May the next owner of this 1688 have good harvests, happy memories, and relish in the fact that this machine came from a farmer who cared well for it.

Good bye 1688!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Farmers - Not What I Imagined - #WMFHEROES

When Jim Richardson began to speak I knew it would be an enjoyable session I was attending.  His voice was upbeat and he had joked pretty quickly into his presentation!  That's always a good sign!

Then the photographs began.  My words will not do justice to the talent this man holds.  The way he opened my eyes and mind to the fact that farmers are not only this....

OR this.

But also the way we farm in our neck of the woods seems to look pretty easy compared to how some must farm just to feed their family.  Although they might be  helping feed the world too.  Planting by hand, children helping daily, and starting over each new day early to late.

Jim opened my eyes to see other farmers in a human light.  It makes me hope that I am able to do that for those that are no longer familiar with farm life.  That are generations removed from rural living.  This blog is one way to share the way we farm, and to reach out to groups of people that are living off the farm.

I invite you to visit Jim's website and look at some of the most beautiful photographs you will ever see.  You will have the chance to see not only beauty but a view into a world removed from our Kansas Agriculture. Yet we have a link to feeding the world between us.

Jim Richardson Photography - Farmers Growing Our Food

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Red Machine that Made my Farmer's Valentines!

My farmer husband is a man of few words, few expressions, and a great deal of patience. If you have been following us for the past two years you probably know this already.  I, on the other hand am slightly different.  I'm a tad bit more outgoing, expressive, and have more patience than I used to. 

Gift giving is something I enjoy and I also enjoy receiving them, I will be honest my hubs, not so much.  He could go without any gifts ever, or so he likes to say that!

Today Valentine's day or some call it a "commercial holiday" came around this year and although I would LOVE flowers or a card from my husband he was more than thrilled with what was sitting in the farm yard come late this morning!  So my gift giving abilities were not needed!

His Valentine's day brought something red, something he's been waiting for since December, and although used ( 5 years) it's like brand new to us! 

Even the littlest farmer got right in to check out "her seat"!

Being a farmer's wife is always a learning process I think.  I went into this marriage having one mindset and as the years have gone by I've learned that was not the one needed to be married to my forever Valentine.  

I think this Valentine's gift will suffice for many many many years to come. I will be writing a farewell post this week on our 1688 Case IH that worked for 14 years quite well for our farm.  Be sure to check back to read it!

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Take Aways #1 - Food - from #WMFheroes

As I mentioned in my post Women Managing the Farm Conference,  today I am sharing some of my take-aways. I feel if we can not share knowledge then we have lost one of the great things about living a life with meaning.  I hope you find some of the tid-bits helpful!

Judi Adams (Wheat Foods Council) spoke on the first day and it came at a very good time in my life.  I am really making a conscious effort to become healthier.  Being on a farm and living with bread as a large staple in my life, it's difficult to eat in moderation.  But her presentation was one that gave me hope that I could eat the bread or other things made with flour, but do it in moderation.  If I include common sense, moderation, and a variety I should be able to live a life with  My Plate eating plan. (Note: not diet)  

"Less than 8% of Americans follow these guidelines" (Judi Adams).  To be honest after hearing that 8% I feel ashamed, because I am part of that percentage.  It's a work in progress and definitely not easy, but hearing this information gives me willpower and motivation!  Check out My Plate, it's pretty neat!  

Judi explained many things about gluten and celiac disease. Also that there are lots of people now deciding not to eat gluten and it's not because they have a health issue from it. 

I liked this video, take two minutes out of your life to learn what gluten is.  It's pretty easy to understand.

Judi also brought to mind the fact that we (the farmers) are some of the best candidates to share knowledge about wheat. We can offer knowledge to the public about how it is grown, teaching about the practices, and what it produces.  If I wanted to know something about a contract I wouldn't go to a doctor, I would go to an attorney.  So why are people going to non-producers for information about how wheat is grown and what it is?  I will be checking out my newest resource Wheat Foods Council to grow my knowledge!

The next topic I'd like to share about is one that involves food as well.This session I left feeling excited and dreaming.  Mary Mertz from River Creek Farms explained their Feast of the Fields they hold twice a year.  This, from what I can tell is agritourism at it's best!  

Mary explained how Feast of the Fields came to be, what one must do to prepare to hold events like this at their farms, and the food served sounded incredible!  She stood before me freely explaining what should be done to have events like this!  

I'm sure inviting 50 to 70 people to your operating farm to be served in a corn field or beautiful stone barn is no easy task. The meals are prepared by a chef, served by youth in various culinary and farming clubs and schools.  An explanation of farm life from real life farmers is something those off the farm should take advantage of when it's offered up! And it is offered up at these events!
My thoughts are" The Little Apple", Manhattan, Kansas has more than just the K-state Wildcats to be proud of! Feast of the Fields looks to be a once in a lifetime experience perhaps!
I have already contacted Mary to get my name on a list as this is one of those experiences I do not want to miss in my lifetime! You might want to do the same!
Be sure to connect with us via the following ways!  You won't want to miss upcoming posts!  Feel free to comment as well!
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Women in Farm Management Conference 2015

I was lucky enough to spend some time growing my knowledge of Ag things, connecting with other women in the farming world, and enjoy visiting with a couple friends I do not get to see much last week.

I attended the Women in Farm Management Conference and I must admit I enjoyed the experience a great deal. I recommend it to all women in agriculture, whether you are the farmer's right hand, business manager, absentee landlord, or work in an Ag related field.  I can already think of two ladies I hope are able to come with me next year.

The speakers varied from a dietitian with Wheat Council Foods, a photographer that was both a great speaker and extremely talented, Senator Pat Roberts, and Dr. Barry L. Linchbaugh to name a few.  I came away with information and happier heart for their speaking abilities. 

They offered a very nice location for the event and the food was more than plenty! The breakout sessions were helpful and sometimes I wanted to attend more than one, but was unable too.  Anything from What is GMO? to Record Keeping to Farm bill information, Estate planning, and Feast of the Fields.  That last one was extremely enjoyable for me!

During the conference I was texting my husband, the farmer to visit about things I was learning.  I couldn't wait to get home.  Having conversations about farming and me understanding more than I have in the past is a true enjoyment for me.  I feel I am truly understanding more of the dream that lays so close to his heart.  It's growing within me as well and together we will make farm life a legacy.

Being a Farmer's wife can mean many things to different people.  But when you collectively place several in one location, with information abounding, the end result will be great conversations, ideas shared, and new friendships made. 

I encourage you if you are a part of the agriculture world and a woman, please join this conference next year on February 4th and 5th.  

I will be posting more take aways this week!  So you don't miss any, please be sure to follow us in some manner!

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Farmer's Love

I decided since the theme for the Country Fair Blog Party was LOVE, I would write a new post about what Milton loves about farming and living life on the farm!  These are his words and I'm very proud of him for indulging me and sharing them here on the blog!

Wide open outdoor spaces.

When I see the first sight of plant life poking through the soil, it let's me know the choices I made during planting were good ones.

The community of neighbors in rural living look out for one another.

The quiet of the country.

Your first cut of the season into a wheat field. The feeling of pride comes over because you have planted, help nourish, and raised something from a seed. 

Early morning when it's calm and brings a sense of peace.

Being a Farmer gives me more than I can put into words.

Thanks for stopping by,
Julie & Milton

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Cakes - Homemade or Box Mixes?

Hello from the Entertaining Kitchen!  I'm not entertaining anyone other than the two people that live with me right now but our annual couples gathering is right around the corner!  So be sure to follow us so you can see the results of this years VVDDP!

I headed into the kitchen this past Sunday with PV.  I had been at the grocery store and this colorful cake mix drew me in.  Yes I bought it, pricey but the cake is actually very good. Duff and Walmart made $2.98 off me, although I didn't buy his frosting!

Since marrying my husband the only box mixes I really use are angel food cake and brownies.  I like the Kroger brownies, very good!  Milton was raised on homemade cake his entire life!  The benefit is that it is cheaper in the long run I'm sure and you know exactly what is going into your cake.

We took some of the batter and made it purple.  PV really liked this part of the cake making process!

It ended up being a good cake, with family in the kitchen, spending time together!  What better way to spend our Sunday afternoon!

How about you?  Do you  have a preference on cakes?  Do you prefer made from scratch or from the box?  Let me know by commenting below!

Thanks for stopping by!

*This was not a paid endorsement, it is all my own opinions!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Blog Sharing Workshop

As I mentioned in my Stage Fright post over at Pushing Forward with Grace,  I was invited to speak about blogging this weekend. It was an opportunity that presented itself a few months ago via a friend.  She introduced me to Angie which come to find out actually grew up in the area that we live now!  Small world and she is a true delight!  After working on the presentation the past couple weeks it was time to make it happen!

We traveled to Ellinwood, Kansas to a quaint little coffee shop called Gather.  If you are ever in the area, be sure to stop by or you can follow their Facebook page. They have daily lunch specials and cute stuff for sell too!
Gather Gather Counter Gather CUP
A few ladies gathered together to hear me talk about our blogs, what inspired me to start blogging, and to take a look at the behind the scenes of each blog.  Since this was my first presentation I am thankful it was on a smaller level in a more intimate setting.  We were able to converse and they asked questions which I thought was beneficial to all.  Although the wifi was an issue I feel we still had a successful time sharing and learning, me included.

Making connections is one of the reasons I took on this opportunity.  I believe connections bring forth value to our lives.  Through this experience I was able to meet new people, a chance to road trip with my sister, best friend, and a friend from high school.  The entire time was pretty enjoyable I must say, even if I was tad nervous to start! :)
Blog Sharing Workshop 2014 Ellinwood, Ks 2
I'd like to thank all those that made it happened, sent me text messages to check in, and those that attended the workshop!
Grace is a gift,