Thanksgiving

26 Nov

Thanksgiving | The Farm PaparazziWhenever I reflect on all there is to be thankful for, I become overwhelmed by the goodness of God. Knowing Jesus as my Savior is above all, the most tremendous thing to be thankful for.

I’m reading a great book right now, Overwhelmed: Winning the War Against Worry by Perry Noble. I love his examples of showing us how truly AWEsome our God is. Noble writes, “He is not threatened by our circumstances or situation – He is a grave-robbing, water-walking, miracle-working, death defying God, and He’s able to pull you through anything you have to face in this life.” Wow! That’s a God who deserves all our thanks and praise.

Last year I wrote a post about all the things I was thankful for. That list is still accurate and continues to grow. God provided me with a man who breaks his back and sacrifices every day to raise food for a growing global population and to provide for us. He gave me the most amazing families; one I was born into and continues to bless me daily and another I married into and continues to welcome me with open arms. He provided a community with wonderful friends and a fabulous Church family. God keeps long-time friends in my life who encourage and bless me. He gives me comfort, enough to eat, a strong body and a capable mind with which to serve him, and placed me in the best country on earth. In America we have abundance of food, freedom to worship and share ideas, courageous individuals to serve in our military, hard-working people to teach, protect, serve and provide us with affordable food, fuel and electricity. I could literally go on and on.

Great image by HoneybearLane (http://www.honeybearlane.com/2011/10/giving-thanks-thanksgiving-printables.html). Thanks to EG at Beef & Sweet Tea for drawing my attention to this!

Great image by HoneybearLane (http://www.honeybearlane.com/2011/10/giving-thanks-thanksgiving-printables.html). Thanks to EG at Beef & Sweet Tea for drawing my attention to this!

I pray your Thanksgiving is filled with safe travels, good food, loving people and a time to reflect on all the good God provides. Even in out toughest circumstances, God is working.

Back to the book I’m reading, Noble writes, “Every time I’ve walked through the fire, He has allowed me to do so in order for me to see Him more clearly and follow Him more closely. How would we know He’s a healer if we didn’t experience times when we need to be healed? How would we know He’s a Savior if we didn’t experience things we needed to be saved from? How would we know He’s a provider if we didn’t experience times when we thought we weren’t going to make it?…He is holy and He is good, He promised to always be with us, and He is in complete control. All we need to do is open our eyes.”

God Bless You and American Agriculture on this Thanksgiving,

Liz

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with him.
I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
    You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
    you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Daniel 2:20-23 (NIV)

D-U-N, Done

22 Nov

D-U-N, Done | The Farm PaparazziWe finished up our corn harvest on Oct. 31. I proceeded to celebrate by going quilting. Tyler kept working at other projects. See how I am.

D-U-N, Done | The Farm PaparazziOverall, our harvest was successful. Good yields, few breakdowns and relatively good spirits throughout. Praise God for all the bounty and for allowing us to farm for a living!

D-U-N, Done | The Farm PaparazziD-U-N, Done | The Farm PaparazziD-U-N, Done | The Farm PaparazziWhen my Farmer Husband took the last pass in the combine and unloaded the last dump onto my grain cart, I literally did a happy dance in my seat. I love harvest, but once all the crop was out, I felt a huge sense of relief. No more worrying about corn blowing down or early snow making it hard to get in the field.

The very last pass of T&L Farms 2014 corn harvest.

The very last pass of T&L Farms 2014 corn harvest.

The very last dump from the combine into the grain cart for corn harvest 2014.

The very last dump from the combine into the grain cart for corn harvest 2014.

We filled our grain bins up, so my Farmer Husband and Damon (our cousin and farm-team member), used some of the barley straw bales to create a temporary bunk for the rest of the corn. Part of the winter will be spent marketing the crop and delivering it to buyers.

D-U-N, Done | The Farm PaparazziNow that we’re done with harvest, my Farmer Husband will plan and prepare for next year. This includes wrapping up 2014 office work, settling up with landlords, purchasing seed and other inputs for the operation, maintaining equipment and fall/winter field work. My father-in-law also custom feeds cattle through the winter, so Tyler helps with that operation as needed.

"Playing with Diamonds." The quilt I started right after harvest during the 2014 Wheatwater Quilting Retreat.

“Playing with Diamonds.” The quilt I started right after harvest during the 2014 Wheatwater Quilting Retreat.

As for me, I think I’ll just put my feet up for a few months. That is, after all the housework is done, all my public relations projects are wrapped up, I check off the long list of tasks I put off during the busy farming season, I don’t have any more volunteer projects left and I paint the house and replace the baseboards. Then I’ll just lay around, eat chocolate bon-bons and watch HGTV and the Food Network.

D-U-N, Done | The Farm PaparazziWe hope your harvest was successful and you’re able to take time to spend with family and friends during the holiday season.

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV)

Red and Black

18 Oct

As we combined a field of corn yesterday, our dog, Clay, a.k.a. Red, was sniffing out all the best smells on the end of the field. I brought load after load of corn to dump on the trucks and Clay continued to sniff. During one cart run, I noticed a black cat on the end of the field. “I wonder if he’ll find her,” I thought.

Red and Black | The Farm PaparazziDuring one particular run, after I’d finished unloading corn onto the red truck and started back to the field, I looked down and saw Clay going crazy. He was barking and shaking uncontrollably and at first I was worried he was hurt. One of my worst fears is to run him over with my tractor and grain cart’s massive tires. So, I jumped out of the tractor to inspect the situation.

Red and Black | The Farm PaparazziNo injuries, just a Red dog cornering a Black cat. As I leaned in to see if there were any escape routes, she spazzed out, sputtering and hissing with all four legs flying. Both Clay and I jumped two feet in the air. I carefully leaned in again and could see Black was safely in the undercarriage of the truck and Clay would have to try some serious maneuvers to make it to where she was. Not that I’d be opposed to him catching her. It’s nature at work, after all.

Red and Black | The Farm Paparazzi

Red and Black | The Farm PaparazziSo I returned to my job as grain cart operator extraordinaire. On another trip back, I noticed Clay running after new smells and thought Black must have escaped. Part of me was glad. Less bloodshed for the day.

Red and Black | The Farm PaparazziLater that night, when Farmer Husband came home, he told me he had a hidden companion on the ride back to the yard. He’d taken the red truck to be dumped at the end of the day and when he parked, off ran the Black cat. She had stealthily ridden the two miles in the truck’s undercarriage to her freedom in a new land.

Victory was hers and Clay was left to fight another day.

Red and Black | The Farm Paparazzi

What adventures have your animals been up to lately?

God Bless You and American Agriculture,

Liz

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13 (NIV)

Experiencing Agriculture Hands-On

13 Oct

thefarmpaparazzi:

RealRanchers.com featured the 2014 Laramie Peak CattleWomen Ag Expo writeup we sent them. This was my first year organizing this event after more than a decade of Chugwater rancher Judy West orchestrating the event. A great day and fun had by all!

Originally posted on Real Ranchers:

Thank you to Donita Graves, Laramie Peak CattleWomen for your contribution!
It was recognized years ago that generations of young people were moving further away from their roots in agriculture. No longer was their awareness of where the basic components of daily life had their origin. As a result, the Wyoming CattleWomen organized an outreach program, called Ag Expos, that teamed up with various local businesses and agencies to offer a fun, hands-on day for third and fourth graders across the state. The Laramie Peak CattleWomen (LPCW) got involved in hosting their own each fall.

The 2014 Laramie Peak CattleWomen Ag Expo was hosted by Top Hat Arena in Wheatland. About 175 elementary students attended the event.

The 2014 Laramie Peak CattleWomen Ag Expo was hosted by Top Hat Arena in Wheatland. About 175 elementary students attended the event.

Dozens of individual farmers and ranchers, as well as local agricultural businesses willingly commit themselves to take part on alternate years. Liz Lauck, this year’s chairman, coordinated 10 “stations” with each business responsible…

View original 521 more words

Corn Harvest 2014 – The Beginning

10 Oct

Corn harvest has begun.

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Luckily Clay is at the helm.

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Happy Harvest to you all!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,
Liz

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

Time to Ditch The Rule

1 Oct

Note: The following is a column I wrote for our local paper, The Platte County Record Times, as part of my local Laramie Peak CattleWomen‘s monthly column.

Ditch the Rule | The Farm PaparazziDid you know that regulations can have big, often negative, impacts on your local farmers and ranchers? Platte County producers are well aware of this fact. As responsible stewards of the land and our livestock, we work hard to use the best environmental and animal care practices available. Yet, government agencies continue to weigh down our family farms and ranches with more and more burdensome regulations.

The most recent example is the proposed expansion of regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. Under the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) proposed rule, power will be given to the Environmental Protection Agency and US Army Corps of Engineers to dictate land-use decisions and farming practices in or near puddles, ponds, ditches and more. The rule will make it more difficult to farm or change a farming operation to remain competitive and profitable.

On our farm, we take measures to properly use chemicals and healthy tillage practices. On my neighbors’ ranches I see them provide the best environment and care to their cattle, horses and other livestock. I see wildlife making their habitat among the fields and pastures of family farms and ranches. I visit with agriculture producers at conferences and meetings as we update our education with the latest, most scientifically-sound production practices. I watch as older generations pass on good values and ethics to their children and grandchildren. Farmers and ranchers in Platte County and across the United States work extremely hard to provide the world with safe, healthy and affordable food, fiber and by-products. We do this every day with environmental sustainability in mind, because we need the land to stay healthy for generations to come.

Ditch the Rule | The Farm Paparazzi

Under the EPA’s proposed rule, even temporary bodies of water like irrigation ditches and ponds will be heavily regulated. Please send your comments to EPA by Oct. 20th and tell them to stop their overreach!

Still, the federal government proposes what the American Farm Bureau Federation calls “a serious threat to farmers, ranchers and other landowners.” According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, almost all activities on open land will now touch a “water of the United States” under the expanded definition. Even the most temporary water sources, like irrigation ditches, would be regulated. The rule would require landowners to get the permission of the federal government anytime they needed to expand, do maintenance, or perform routine activities like driving a tractor through a pasture. Imagine if you had to get a permit every time you drove your car to work!

Many local, state and national groups within agriculture and beyond are calling on people to tell the EPA how detrimental this regulatory overreach will be. Many groups, including your local Laramie Peak CattleWomen and Laramie Peak Stockgrowers, believe the expansion of WOTUS language is contrary to the U.S. Constitution, the plain language of the Clean Water Act, and Congressional intent and is therefore illegal.

Whether you’re a landowner or not, please take time to submit comments to the EPA by the Oct. 20, 2014 deadline. Visit http://ditchtherule.fb.org/ or http://cqrcengage.com/beefusa/ to learn more and submit your comments today.

Fall 2014

29 Sep

Yup, I guess I have to admit that it’s officially Fall and has been for a full week. It’s a busy time of year on the farm. The time of year where I think back and try to remember what happened the past couple of weeks, but specifics don’t come to mind. It’s more like a blur of bean harvest, canning, family visiting, and volunteer activities. Do you ever get done with the day and remember being busy, but can’t remember exactly what went on? That’s been my brain for awhile now. But, I’m sure it has nothing to do with sleep deprivation. Nothing at all.

Fall 2014 | The Farm Paparazzi

Fall 2014 | The Farm Paparazzi

Fall 2014 | The Farm Paparazzi

Well, Happy Fall/Autumn to you and yours!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Homemade Ice Cream

15 Sep

Last week we had temps in the 20s and 30s. As Eeyore would say, oh, bother.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziSo, in a last, ditch effort to squeeze every drop out of summer, I’m making homemade ice cream this week. It’s supposed to warm up considerably (forecast says a high of 90 on Thursday!) so my efforts will be worthwhile.

Homemade Ice Cream Recipe from my Gramma Marcie Brown

Makes about 3 quarts

Tools:

Large sauce pan

Liquid measuring cups

Dry measuring cups and spoons

Whisk and rubber spatula

Ice cream maker (with freezer bowl already frozen)

Large container with lid to store ice cream in freezer

 

Ingredients:

¾ C sugar

1 ½ T cornstarch

4 eggs, yolks and whites separated

2 ½ C milk

1 ½ C corn syrup (light or dark)

2 ½ C half ‘n half

2 ½ C heavy whipping cream

2 t vanilla

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks. (For chocolate ice cream, add 4 T cocoa powder to the sugar.)

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziAdd half the milk.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm Paparazzi

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziCook on medium, stirring constantly, until it resembles the consistency of custard.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm Paparazzi

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziAdd the corn syrup and set aside to cool.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziWhile cooling, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziMeasure out the rest of the milk, heavy whipping cream and half ‘n half.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziWhisk the egg whites into the cream mixture.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm Paparazzi

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziWhen custard mixture is cool, add vanilla and combine with cream/egg white mixture. My ice cream maker is 2 quarts, and this recipe makes 3 quarts. So, I pour half the mixture into the ice cream maker.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziBe sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your ice cream maker. When it gets to about this consistency, I stop the machine.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziIf you want to add chocolate chips, crushed Oreo, toffee bits, etc., pour them in about 5 minutes before the ice cream looks ready. They will mix in really nicely and not all land in the bottom.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm Paparazzi

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziI scrape my ice cream into my stainless mixing bowl with a lid (from Pampered Chef). I pop it into the freezer to harden and put the other half of the ice cream mixture into the refrigerator. Then I clean up the ice cream freezer bowl, dry it and refreeze it. Once it’s refrozen, I freeze the rest of the ice cream mixture with my ice cream maker and add it to the last batch to harden.

A great treat on a hot, summer day!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! – Psalm 119:103 (NIV)

 

 

Proverbs 31

9 Sep

A Wife of Noble CharacterSmall

Click on image to enlarge

Sharing is Caring

28 Aug

When I look around my yard and garden at my house, I’ve noticed a trend. Most of what I have planted was given to me.

Here’s the iris my mom gave me about four or five years ago.

Sharing is Caring | The Farm PaparazziThe tulip and daffodil bulbs given as a shower gift by my Aunt Patty.

Sharing is Caring | The Farm Paparazzi

Sharing is Caring | The Farm PaparazziThere’s the strawberries and raspberries kindly shared by a church friend this spring.

Sharing is Caring | The Farm Paparazzi

Sharing is Caring | The Farm PaparazziRight next to it, my friend, Bonnie, gave me some rhubarb to transplant earlier this year.

Sharing is Caring | The Farm PaparazziShe also gave me the seeds that grew into these beautiful hollyhocks in the back yard.

Sharing is Caring | The Farm PaparazziWhat an example all these women have set; to give generously from what God has provided. I pray all these beautiful plants will serve as a reminder to share with others in return.

Sharing is Caring | The Farm PaparazziGod Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. – 2 Corinthians 9:7-8

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