Tag Archives: farm

Wordless Wednesday-Family Pasture Walk

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.

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Filed under #AgChat, family, Pasture, Pictures

The Sound of Chickens-Monday Funnies!

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


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Filed under #AgChat, Chickens

Now that is what I Call a Winter Storm on the Farm

Yesterday and last night we had a major winter storm. The day started out with light snow. Then it moved to rain. We had over one inch of rain before it turned back to snow/ice over the night.

This is what Jon and Lisa woke up to:

You can see the weight of the ice damaged some trees and a river is running through the back yard. Some of our calves got spooked last night and were out this morning. We are not sure what happened, but the sound of the breaking trees might have done it. Also, our dog, Boo, completely chewed through the wall in our mud room.

A kind of day like today calls for only one thing:

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Filed under #AgChat, farming, Organic Valley, Pictures

Organic. It’s Worth It-New Website

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.

organic worth it food family farm usda

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).

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There is Hope for Tim’s Wedding Ring

Remember this post “My Husband Doesn’t Wear His Wedding Ring”? In the post I mention that Tim lost his first (and very expensive) wedding ring while working with calves. I am sure the ring is now in one of our fields waiting to be eaten by a cow.

There is hope that we might find it though. Today there is an article on Mail Online  titled Wedding ring eaten by calf  three years ago is re-discovered… inside cow’s stomach at butcher’s shop.

The farmer lost his ring while feeding calves. A calf sucked it off his hand. When it was time to butcher the fully grown animal the farmer asked the butcher to look for the ring. Low and behold, it was there!!

Cattle swallowing metal objects is actually a bad thing. There is even a name for it Hardware Disease. This is when a metal object is swallowed and it is pushed through the rumen to the reticulum. The reticulum is one of the compartments in the bovine stomach, and its function is not well understood. However, the contractions of the reticulum force the object into the peritoneal cavity where it initiates inflammation.

To help prevent an infection, cows are sometimes fed magnets to prevent the metal objects from piercing the stomach walls.


So here is to hoping we find Tim’s wedding ring…someday.


Filed under #AgChat, family

Peppercorn Tenderloins With Whipped Mustard Butter

This is a re-post from February 14, 2011. Goes to show good recipes never grow old. Tim and I will be making this for the kids tonight.

We don’t sell tenderloins individually, so make sure to include them in your beef package order.

Happy Saint Valentine’s Day!! A day of love, romance and sweet hearts.

While others might go for spendy crowded restaurants, Tim and I usually stay in and cook for ourselves. We have found that we can do it much better than most restaurants (at least the ones we can afford). And not having to spend at least $50 on a babysitter is also a bonus!

Our favorite recipe is from Cooking Club of America. We have been making this for so long that the link on their website is no longer available.

image from painlesscooking.com

Peppercorn Tenderloin with Whipped Mustard Butter

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher (coarse) salt, divided
1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns*
1 tablespoon cracked white peppercorns*
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 beef tenderloin steaks (1 1/2 inches thick) (Zweber Farms of course)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1. In small bowl, stir together butter, mustard, honey, lemon peel and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt until smoothly blended and of whipped consistency. Let stand at room temperature.

2. Heat oven to 425°F. In another small bowl, stir together black peppercorns, white peppercorns, crushed red pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Brush steaks with oil; sprinkle with peppercorn mixture, pressing evenly onto both sides.

3. Heat large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add steaks; cook 4 minutes. Turn steaks; place skillet in oven. Bake 7 minutes for medium-rare or until of desired doneness. Serve steaks topped with mustard butter.

TIP *Purchase cracked peppercorns in the spice section. Or, to crack your own, place whole peppercorns in heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; seal bag. Pound with flat side of meat mallet until coarsely crushed.

Once you have tenderloins this good, you will never order tenderloin at a restaurant again. Pair this meal with a Caesar salad, pan fried asparagus, crunchy French bread and a glass of Cannon River Winery Gunflint Red.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!


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Filed under 30 Minute Meals, Cooking, Cooking with Beef, Food, Hunk of Meat Monday

Help us name first calf of 2012


Our first calf of 2012 needs a name. She was born Feb 3.
What should we name her?


Filed under #AgChat, Calves and Heifers

Murphy’s Law on the Farm

Murphy’s Law states: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

What reminded me of this old adage was my father, Jon, taking off the weekend to go to a Superbowl party with my uncles. You see whenever he leaves the farm for a weekend something or multiple somethings will invariably go wrong. It’s a running joke said with only a half smile and cautious glance around that as soon as Jon leaves the farm expect the unexpected.

Our cows are generally fairly well behaved. They seem to know when Jon has left the farm though and that is the time they choose to do their annual escape and visit the neighbors trick. Three years ago they decided to run laps around two of our neighbors’ houses in a figure-eight pattern at 2am for fun. It is a good thing we have wonderful neighbors who weren’t only forgiving but had a blast rounding up 100 cows in the dark with me. Two years ago they went for a romp through a drainage ditch to get to a neighbors sweetcorn patch. They had only begun to start detasseling the corn when I caught them in the act and rounded them back up to put back in. Unfortunately, the poorly maintained ditch crossing I was bringing them back across was not where I thought it was resulting in a waterlogged ATV and a very unhappy me. This last summer the cows decided that they wanted to visit town. Yes, that’s right, they went to town. They must have visited at least 10 neighbors’ yards during the wettest spring we’ve had in a long time. No one was happy with them after that prank. They seemed to be pretty happy with themselves though and spent the rest of the afternoon napping on a hill. It seems no matter what kind of fencing a person puts up cows will always find a way to go have a good time if they really want to.

Cows are not the only thing on our farm that follows Murphy’s Law. Our farm equipment is a far more common offender than the cows who, like I say, are generally a well behaved bunch. We don’t have the newest tractors and implements on our farm so some breakdowns are be expected, however, they seem to occur at the absolute worst times. I’m sure any of you who rely on some kind of equipment to get a job done from a combine to an inkjet printer are very familiar with this phenomenon. We log over 1000 hours per year in our skid loader. Needless to say it’s a very important piece of equipment and without it we really can’t do many of our chores. For some odd reason our skid loaders have a tendency to burst hydraulic lines during Christmas. I could understand it happening once and calling it coincidence. The odd part is that it has happened twice now with two different skid loaders. I’m not talking the little hoses for the hydraulic cylinders that move the bucket. No, those ones could be made at Carquest, it was a big one both times that supplies the drive motors to make the loader go. Those are special hoses and must be purchased from the Bobcat dealer which is tricky during the holidays.

My favorite example of Murphy’s Law as demonstrated by our equipment was the meltdown of our Case 970 tractor’s engine. I started it to let it warm up and came back 5 minutes later to find it wasn’t running anymore. Turns out it wasn’t running because the engine had seized up due to a lack of oil. I would like to say its my fault for not checking it often enough but it wasn’t, it was so much less likely than that. After the local technical college students took it apart I found out the cause of the engine failure was the oil pickup tube falling off the oil pump after 20+ years of apparently being firmly stuck there.

Nothing major has gone wrong (knock on wood) this weekend and Jon gets back tomorrow afternoon. Here’s hoping our luck has improved and it will stay that way. What great stories do you all have about Murphy’s Law?


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Creamy Chicken and Tomato Soup Recipe

Oye, has it really been 10 days since I last blogged? Terrible! I am even participating in a “31 Days to a Better Blog” series.  Not a star student… Good news is that I have a super simple and tasty recipe that you can have on the table in 30 minutes or less. Like most of my recipes, this one takes ideas from about 3-4 other recipes. I played with it a bit and I hope I remember all the ingredients I added.

Cream Chicken and Tomato Soup Recipe

  • 3 cups cooked Roasted Zweber Farms Chicken, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Organic Valley butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Organic Valley heavy cream or whole milk
  • cilantro and Organic Valley sour cream for garnish

Melt butter in large dutch oven and sauté the onion and chicken for 5 minutes, until onion is tender.

Add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the sugar, salt and pepper. Swirl in the cream.

Serve with a spoon full of sour cream and chopped cilantro.

This was super simple. While the soup was simmering, I whipped up a batch of miniature corn bread muffins. The muffins only took 15 minutes to bake, so everything was done at the same time. Creamy chicken and tomato soup and corn bread in less than 30 minutes. Got to love that.

Hop on over to Hunk of Meat Monday to see what others have on their plates this week.

Hunk of Meat Mondays
Enjoy! Make sure to “Pin” this on Pinterest to share with your friends.

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Filed under 30 Minute Meals, Cooking, Cooking with Chicken, Cooking with Dairy, Food, Hunk of Meat Monday

Christmas Gift for Farm Book Lovers

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