Yesterday, we had our first 60 degree weather since last fall. Tim was itching to go check the culverts and see how the pastures were fairing. We took the hike as a family just before sunset. I wish I would have had my camera. Instead I took a few pictures from my phone.
It was warm enough to be without a coat, except for Hannah
Erik was making bridges out of the branches that fell with last week’s storm
Our trip started in the yard. We followed the “river” and see where is went.
No trip is complete without a really big stick
“Don’t fall in Jonnie!”
A full moon was rising behind us as we walked
Made it to the top of the hill (stick and all)
The heifers greeted us as we made our way back.
Milking was just finishing as we walked into the yard.
Hannah got all tuckered out from the fresh air.
The Prairie Home Companion does an annual joke show and they often feature this song about chickens. It makes me laugh so hard I cry. I picture our hens fleeing our milk truck or large tractors as they are crossing our driveway. Wonder if we should have chicken crossing guards…
Sound of Chickens
This weekend the whole family had a chance to experience the MOSES Organic Farming Conference. Over 3300 farmers were in attendance making it the largest organic farming conference in the nation. This conference is one of my favorite conferences of the year. I am not sure if it is all the delicious organic food, the great chance to meet awesome and inspiring organic farmers, or all the new ideas that we take away. While wondering the trade show with a sleeping baby, I found the Organic Trade Association booth.
They have a new website that is a go to for all things in organic information. Need information on what the Organic label means? What to learn why did it is important to eat organic food? Need tips to make buying organic affordable? This website has it all: Organic. It’s Worth It.
There is a lot of great information on this website. I recommend it to anyone who has questions about organic food and organic farming. There is also a section with recipes (but any recipe can be organic, just use organic ingredients).
It is hard to find recipes that include bone in pork chops. Since the bone in takes much longer to cook, the pork industry has focused their recipe developmental on boneless chop. I love bone in chops because they provide a little more flavor. So when I find a simple way to prepare bone in chops, I jump at it. Here is one that is sooo simple that you have to laugh, but it is really delicious.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Sprinkle seasoning on both sides of the chops. Place in baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the chops once. Make sure the chops reach an internal temp of 145. Let them rest 5 minutes and serve.
Easy as that! They come out juicy and perfect. Pair with green beans, brown rice and a large glass of Organic Valley milk.
Of course I forgot to take a picture, maybe next time. But this is what they would have looked like if I had
Our first calf of 2012 needs a name. She was born Feb 3.
What should we name her?
What a year 2011 was.
We had a record of over 60 inches of snow. The cows could walk right over the fences. Remember when they took for a walk in the woods?
When we had all that rain! We never thought we would get corn planted. In the summer came the extreme temps and sever storms. Remember when Tim took this picture minutes before a tornado touched down?
Sam winning Grand Champion at fair
The summer was filled with exciting events. Hannah was born and Sam won Grand Champion at our county fair. She then went win Honorable Mention at the State Fair.
BigFoot At World Dairy Expo-The Boy's Favorite Stop
Hannah being a beach bum on vacation this year
It wasn’t all work and no play. We went on a short vacation and then headed to World Dairy Expo in October.
Don’t forget all the funny stories about our pigs and chickens throughout the year.
It was a very memorable year. Thank you for making it so wonderful.
Happy New Year!
My mother has a tradition of buying a new Christmas story book each year. Several years ago, she bought a book titled “Farm Country Christmas Eve.” I loved the story instantly, not knowing that book would lead to me to meet some amazing people.
Set in the 1950’s, the story is about a dairy farm family celebrating Christmas Eve. The family must go to the barn to do chores and milk the cows, so that Santa has a chance to visit their house. The children are quick to do their chores and are greeted with simple, but meaningful presents when they are done.
I smile at all the ways Santa finds his ways to farm families. We are still trying to figure out how Santa is going to visit us this year. Will he visit our house? Or the farm (since Daddy will be doing chores and we open presents there)?
Two years ago, I learned that the author of this book, Gordon Fredrickson, was going to be doing readings at our county fair. Tim and I decided to take the boys to go meet the author. We instantly connected with Gordon and his wife Nancy. We learned that they do not live too far from us and they went to high school with some of Jon’s sisters.
I now consider the Fredrickson’s friends. They even have taken pictures of our pigs to use in one of their latest books. Gordon’s “If I were a Farmer” series books are actuate, educational and fun books about modern agriculture.
Farm book lovers both young and not so young with enjoy Gordon Fredrickson’s books. He even signs all the books he sells and has free shipping. Do you live in Minnesota? Invite Gordon to your school, church group, library, etc for a reading. His presentations are perfect for children. Visit his website for more information.
Disclaimer: I was not paid or compensated for writing this blog. I just love these books.
Filed under #AgChat, family
I just love Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network. I think her and I could be best friends. We are both Italian, we have kids the same age and both love to cook. The only difference is she had a TV show and published cookbooks. Ohh well 😉
Two weeks ago I made an amazing, but simple recipe from her Everyday Italian cookbook.
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Chicken, cut into 6 pieces (I used Zweber Farms of course)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Whisk the first six ingredients together
Pour over chicken pieces. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast the chicken uncovered until cooked through, about 45 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Carefully pour the cooking liquid into a small, heavy saucepan and spoon off the excess oil from atop the cooking liquid. Boil until the liquid reduces by about half and thickens slightly, about 8 minutes.
Pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle parsley and lemon zest over the chicken and serve.
This was fabulous!! Serve with mixed greens salad, brown rice and a cold glass of Organic Valley milk.
Each year as traditions goes,
they get in their cars at the first sign of snow,
and head to the farm at the edge of town,
to cut the family Christmas tree down.
Those are the opening lines to one of my favorite Christmas stories, “A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree”, by Colleen Monroe. The tale is about a Christmas tree that is never chosen and now he is too big to be cut for someones house. The woodland creatures who depend on him for shelter and food decorate him one night while he is sleeping. When he awakes, he learns that being a friend is the most important thing.
It has always been a family tradition of ours to cut down our annual Christmas tree. It is a tradition that we are keeping with our children too. Last weekend, we headed over to one of our local Christmas tree farms, Log Cabin Pines. In Minnesota, we are lucky to have many tree farms. Minnesota Department of Agriculture has a great link to help you find your local Minnesota Tree Farm.
Last year we had about 20 inches of snow the first week of December.
This year we had about zero….
But that didn’t stop us from finding a great tree and having some fun.
I just love the smell of a real Christmas tree in the house and snuggling up on a chair near a lit tree is a joy of mine too. But there are many environmental stewardship reasons to go real: (According to National Christmas Tree Association)
- Real trees are a renewable, recyclable resource. Artificial trees contain non-biodegradable plastics and metals.
- For every real Christmas tree harvested, 2 to 3 seedlings are planted in its place.
- There are about 1 million acres in production for growing Christmas trees. Each acre provides the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people.
- Real Christmas trees are an all-American product, grown in all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. Most artificial trees are manufactured in Korea, Taiwan, or Hong Kong.
If you don’t want to go through all the work f cutting down a tree, there are many great tree lots to choose from too. Our favorite lot is operated by the Knights of Columbus from St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Elko and supports our local Catholic school, Holy Cross.
What are some family traditions your family keeps each holiday season? Please share; we would love to hear from you!
EEECK I just agreed to host Christmas Eve celebrations at my house. What was I thinking? Well, it actually makes sense. Being dairy farmers whose cows do not take the holiday off, it is just easier if the party comes to us. Instead of: chores, milking, drive, party, drive, chores, milking…which often results in crabby kids, crabby parents and annoyed cows (since we are often late). There will be more Falalala in our holiday.
With Thanksgiving about a week away, it is a good time to start making those holiday cooking plans. I never need an excuse to bake, but my baking goes in high gear this time of year. Thankfully, Organic Valley has a great website full of delicious, healthy and organic recipes. Organic Valley’s Holiday Food Guide
click for source
I have heard great things about Organic Valley’s eggnog. Since I am FINALLY not pregnant this year, I think I will indulge a bit.
Check out this fabulous recipe: Spice Eggnog Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
Flavors of eggnog, gingerbread and spices cheer on the season in this delicious cheesecake.
1. Crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine ground gingersnaps and melted butter. Reserve 1/4 cup of the mixture. Press the remaining mixture into the bottom and partially up the sides of a 9-inch spring form pan. Bake 10 minutes. Set crust aside to cool (but leave the oven on).
2. Filling: Use electric beaters at medium speed to cream cheese for 4 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Gradually beat in sugar and flour and continue beating 3 minutes, scraping sides occasionally. Grate 1/2 of a whole nutmeg over surface of batter, add cloves and blend the spices into the mixture. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in egg nog, spiced rum and vanilla.
3. To bake: Gently pour filling into crust. Bake until cheesecake is lightly browned and instant thermometer inserted in center reads 160 degrees, 60 to 70 minutes. Turn off oven, open the door halfway and leave cheesecake inside until the oven has cooled off, 20-30 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to a cooling rack and run a thin-bladed knife around and inside its outer edges. (This will help prevent a crack from forming on the surface.) Cool cheesecake to room temperature. Sprinkle reserved gingersnaps over the cake. Chill cheesecake thoroughly before serving.
Copyright by Terese Allen
Leave a comment with your favorite recipe for the holiday season. I am always looking to try something new.