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

The Farmer’s Wife Wedding Quilt

23 Aug

When I was a bright-eyed newlywed, my good friend, Judy, asked me if she could make me a wedding quilt. In a moment of insanity, I said, “Actually…could we make one together? That way I could learn along the way!”

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziWell 3 years and, almost exactly, 3 months after I said “I do”, I finally finished said wedding quilt.

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziThe journey has been so fun. Judy was so patient with me (especially after a year in there were I didn’t accomplish anything on the quilt) and really helped me get excited about being a quilter. I can’t thank her enough for her kindness in teaching me and dedicating so much time and so many resources.

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziWe got the project up and running after Judy handed me a copy of The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt. The book description says:

“The 1922 The Farmer’s Wife magazine posed this question to their readers: “If you had a daughter of marriageable age, would you, in light of your own experience, have her marry a farmer?” The magazine at the time had 750,000 subscribers, and received over 7,000 letters. The best answers to this question are included in this book, along with the traditional quilt blocks they inspired.”

How fitting for a girl who’d just married a farmer!

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm Paparazzi The entire sampler quilt has 111 unique blocks, so we decided to scale it down. Instead, I found another quilt pattern I liked, chose 23 blocks out of the book and Judy created a design from which to work.

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziBecause we wanted to include family in the process, I sent a letter to many of my and Tyler’s female relatives and asked for donations of fabric from their “stashes”. I received fabric from many generous family members. My maternal Gramma Marcie also gifted me with most of her huge fabric stash.

Then my mom gifted me my paternal grandmother’s sewing machine. Although she died when I was a baby, having Grandma Rozella’s machine made it feel like she was cheering me on as I sewed my wedding quilt.

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziJudy and I spent a lot of time selecting the right color values for each block. She also washed and ironed all the fabric (no small task). My first piecing experience was at the 2011 Wheatwater Quilters Retreat that the Platte County Parks and Recreation Department hosts each year. Judy started me off sewing all the little tan pieces. I even tried my hand at a couple blocks during that retreat.

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm Paparazzi

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm Paparazzi

Over the next couple of years, Judy and I worked on the tan blocks, the sampler quilt blocks and the piano keys (the striped borders). Finally at the 2013 Wheatwater retreat, we finished the blocks, added the brown borders and the piano keys and figured out what order we wanted to display the blocks.

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziA couple weeks later, we got together to finish the quilt top. It was so exciting to see all the intricate details start to form a REAL LIVE QUILT!

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziAfter the top was finished, Judy quilted it on her longarm machine.

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziOnce that was done, she showed me how to square up the quilt and how to sew on the binding. I took the project home, finished the binding and then proceeded to jump up and down and squeal!

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziIt was finally done! The girl who couldn’t sew a straight line in Jr. High Home Ec. just finished a whole quilt!

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm Paparazzi

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm Paparazzi

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziWe still have to put the label on, but as of April 2014, the Farmer’s Wife Wedding Quilt is done!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. – Proverbs 16:3

Freezing Green Beans

18 Aug

Last year, before trying my own hand at gardening, my friend Melinda shared loads of veggies and herbs out of her beautiful garden.

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Freezing Corn IX | The Farm Paparazzi

Freezing Green Beans XIVShe shared lots of delicious, fresh green beans. We ate many of them fresh, but I also froze some of them. This year, my garden is exploding with green beans so I’m freezing some again. It’s an easy process and there’s a great set of instructions here.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziHere’s how I do it…First, start a pot of water to boil on the stove. Put the lid on the pot so it gets hot faster. While the water gets to boiling, sort through the beans and toss any that didn’t look so great.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziThen trim off the ends. You can cut them with a knife or snap them off with your fingers.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziFill a large bowl with ice water.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziLower the beans into the boiling water in batches.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm Paparazzi

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziCook them for a few minutes, until they turn a beautiful bright green. Then throw them into the ice water.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziThis process is called “blanching”. You dunk the beans in hot water for a few minutes to kill any bacteria and soften them slightly, then the ice water is used to “shock” them to stop the cooking process.

After they’ve cooled, fish them out of the ice water and drain them. I also pat them dry with paper towels.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziOnce all your beans are blanched, cooled and drained, it’s time to store them. You can put them in freezer bags, removing as much air as possible, and freeze. I have a food saver, so I use that.

Freezing Green Beans XII

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm Paparazzi

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziVoila! Delicious garden green beans. These serve as a reminder during those long, Wyoming, winter months that summer will eventually come around again. Even if it seems so, so far away.

Freezing Green Beans XVGod Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”

But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”

“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered.

“Bring them here,” he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children! – Matthew 14:15-21 (NLT)

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