Family Farms

23 Jul

You hear a lot about “factory farming”. Anti-ag groups produce cartoons of a cow on a conveyor belt and smoke stacks coming out of the barn. A corporate CEO is at his desk puffing a fat cigar and ordering copious amounts of chemicals be poured on his crops. Meanwhile, the family farmer is sitting in the corner wearing torn and faded clothing as his starving wife and children huddle around him.

Farmed-and-Dangerous-Chipotle

Just like any cartoon, this is fiction. The reason they produce cartoons and create online series with actors, is because they can’t find these circumstances in real life. The wonderful truth is that most farms are family owned and operated!

Fall 2014 | The Farm Paparazzi

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reports that today 97% of U.S. farms are family owned. As they completed the latest Census of Agriculture, NASS Director Hubert Hamer said, “What we found is that family-owned businesses, while very diverse, are at the core of the U.S. agriculture industry.”

AGvocating | The Farm Paparazzi

USDA defines a family farm as any farm where the majority of a business is owned by the operator and individuals related to the operator, including through blood, marriage or adoption. This is certainly the case in our situation! Tyler and I are proud to farm the land we own, as well as work hard for the landlords from whom we lease acreage. We are closely tied to the land and the community and do our best to treat the land, our resources and our neighbors respectfully and responsibly.

Crop Progress Aug. 2014 | The Farm Paparazzi

Have questions about modern agriculture? Ask your local, family farmer!

Family Farms | The Farm Paparazzi

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. – Romans 13:8-10

Soaking up the Sun

18 Jul

After the long weeks of rain departed and the sun started shining, our crops and garden took off with a bang!

Growing | The Farm Paparazzi

Clay is happy to be soaking up the sun. Our short-haired dog did not approve of the rain and clouds.

The corn is close to head high and some is starting to tassel.

Growing | The Farm Paparazzi

Over knee high on June 25

Growing | The Farm Paparazzi

Over chest high on July 10

The barley is getting close to harvest. It won’t be too long before you can drink it from a Coors can.

IMG_2499

Growing | The Farm Paparazzi

The beans are really taking off.

Growing | The Farm Paparazzi

Growing | The Farm Paparazzi

The garden is growing like crazy. I’m picking zucchini and anxiously awaiting tomatoes and peppers.

Growing | The Farm Paparazzi

Garden on July 2…

Growing | The Farm Paparazzi

…and then on July 10!

The sweet corn is all tasseled. If all goes well, we’ll sell some at the Platte County Farmer’s Market this year.

Growing | The Farm Paparazzi

Sweet corn on June 25

Growing | The Farm Paparazzi

Sweet corn on July 13

Even my herb garden is providing abundant offerings.

Growing | The Farm Paparazzi

A bouquet from my herb garden: mint, Shasta daises and lavender.

Tyler and our farm employee, Brian, have been chasing water like mad. Irrigation is a huge task in our arid climate.

Growing | The Farm Paparazzi

They’ve been preparing pivots and cleaning out plugged nozzles, cleaning irrigation ditches, laying out gated pipe and plastic ditch and ditching rows and diking the ends of the flood fields to control the water and ensure it runs down the rows.

Growing | The Farm Paparazzi

And that’s just to prepare for irrigating! Then they actually have to set flood water and manage pivots to irrigate the crops. It seems like this happens all at once. Two guys and 1400 acres makes for a lot of hard work and long days.

Growing | The Farm Paparazzi

But Clay doesn’t mind. This is his favorite time of year.

Growing | The Farm Paparazzi

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. 2 Thessalonians 3:11-13 (NLT)

Mother Nature

20 Jun

Yes, I realize what a bad blogger I’ve been. Three months is like 30 years in Internet time. But, I always wanted this blog to be a fun outlet, not a chore. So, whenever I dread sitting down to write, I just don’t. It gives me a sense of power and freedom in at least one tiny part of my life. I’m such a rebel.

Mother Nature | The Farm Paparazzi

Instead of blogging I was doing things like celebrating the 10 year reunion of my State FFA Officer Team! The “cockroach face” came from a training we did early on in our SO year and it lives on today.

It’s been a hard spring to want to blog about. It’s fun to tell you about the years where we get our crops in on time and they grow like mad. It’s not so much fun to tell you that we started out really dry and had trouble getting our barley to grow. So, we turned on a pivot and the pump got struck by lightening.

Mother Nature | The Farm Paparazzi

Then it started raining in April and it felt like it never stopped. Since the end of April we believe it’s rained 14 inches. Our average precip for the whole year in Wheatland is 13 inches. We’re not equipped to till and plant in such muddy conditions, so this put a big chunk of our corn and dry bean planting behind. Some of it never got planted because it was too late.

Mother Nature | The Farm Paparazzi

I got Tyler a weather station for his birthday in March. We got it up the end of April, just in time to start watching it collect rainfall data.

Then, as it started to warm up, the severe weather started. There for about a week we had severe weather warnings every day. We got damaged by some hail and even had something tear through one of the corn fields shearing stalks off at the ground. Our best guess is that it was a tiny twister. We also still have standing water in some fields and the corn is literally drowning and dying.

Mother Nature | The Farm Paparazzi

Assessing hail damage.

Mother Nature | The Farm Paparazzi

No, that’s not a wheel track. Our best guess is a tiny little twister went through the corn field and the hail it gathered sheared off the corn at the ground.

This leaves a farmer and his farm wife a bit down in the dumps. To put it simply, it’s been a tough farming season so far.

Mother Nature | The Farm Paparazzi

Poor corn.

But, enough complaining! The crops we got in do look pretty good. And, a lot of folks have it way worse than us.

Mother Nature | The Farm Paparazzi

Getting corn planted in between rain storms.

The sun has been shining for two days without severe weather warnings. We’re going in the fields again at full speed. And, we’re going to do our best with what we’ve been given. We know as farmers that we are at the mercy of the weather and we know as Christians that God cares for us and will provide all we need.

Mother Nature | The Farm Paparazzi

There are days when we feel defeated by our dependence on the weather for our livelihood. But, we also know we’re in good hands for the bigger picture of our lives. Our faith in Christ as our personal Savior gives us strength and endurance through the difficulties. We just laugh and quote Mother Teresa… “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.”

Mother Nature | The Farm Paparazzi

Please say a prayer for those dealing with natural disasters all around the world. And, go spend some time in the sunshine!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? – Romans 8:31-32

Whistle While You Till

20 Mar
Drilling 2015 | The Farm Paparazzi

Drilling malt barley seed

Happy First Day of Spring! It’s been beautiful here in Wheatland. Our trademark Rapid Air Movement (RAM, a.k.a. wind) has been kind to us, the temperatures have been favorable and we haven’t yet gotten dumped on by a major blizzard. I’m sure this also makes the ranchers happy as they calve this time of year.

Drilling 2015 | The Farm Paparazzi

Filling the grain drill with malt barley seed

We’ve been in full swing getting malt barley planted. It’s one of my favorite crops to watch grow and to harvest. Nothing like seeing beautiful fields of green and, later on, golden waves of grain!

Tillage 2015 | The Farm Paparazzi

Malt barley growing in June 2014

 

Malt Barley Harvest 2014 | The Farm Paparazzi

Malt barley harvest 2014. Combine harvests the grain (left) and the grain cart takes the grain to load on the trucks (right).

In order to prepare the seed bed for the malt barley, we’ve been busy tilling; discing, plowing and roller-harrowing. I’ve been able to help quite a bit in running all three implements. I also helped drill some of the barley. When I was a little girl, I didn’t imagine I’d be married to a farmer and running huge tractors in the fields!

Tillage 2015 | The Farm Paparazzi

Discing a field. The disc breaks up the top layer of soil and works organic material from last years’ crop into the soil.

 

Tillage 2015 | The Farm Paparazzi

Plowing. In certain circumstances (variables depend on soil type, the crop grown the year before, etc.) it is necessary to perform “heavy” tillage.

 

Tillage 2015 | The Farm Paparazzi

Roller harrowing. We call it a roller harrow, but many folks call it a mulcher. This breaks up the soil clods and creates a smooth, consistent seed bed for good seed to soil contact.

Agriculture is being celebrated across the country this week during National Agriculture Week. I see no better way to do that than to be farming!

Tillage 2015 | The Farm Paparazzi

Discing a field where we had harvested pinto beans last year. Discing prepared the seed bed for drilling malt barley. You could really see how it lightly tilled up the soil and distributed the bean residue.

 

Tillage 2015 | The Farm Paparazzi

Can’t you just smell the soil? A beautiful day for plowing!

Why should you care about agriculture? It permeates every part of your daily life! From the food you eat, to the clothes and cosmetics you wear, to the medicines you take and more! Learn more at www.agday.orgwww.fooddialogues.com and www.factsaboutbeef.com.

 

I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to and what your spring plans are!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. – Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)

Hauling Corn

7 Feb

Winter is a slower time for us on the farm. I tell people it’s like all our weekends combined, because we don’t get any down time the rest of the year. One of my farmer husband’s colder-weather tasks is to haul stored corn to local feeders. Field corn is raised for livestock feed (this is different than the sweet corn consumed by humans). We sell some of our corn at harvest, but the rest of it goes into storage for marketing at a later date. When we sell corn to local feeders, we haul it to them.

Tyler loads the grain into the truck using the auger unload on the grain bin.

Hauling Corn | The Farm Paparazzi

Then he drives to the feedyard. This corn was headed to True Feedlot where they finish 20,000 head of cattle every year! Finishing is the final stage in beef production before going to the processing plant.

Hauling Corn | The Farm Paparazzi

I guess a Farm Wife should clean the windshield every now and then.

Once at the feedyard, the driver pulls on the scale to get a full weight.

Hauling Corn | The Farm Paparazzi

Hauling Corn | The Farm Paparazzi

Once the truck is on the scale, he runs into the scale house to print the weight on the weight ticket.

Hauling Corn | The Farm Paparazzi

Then he pulls around to the feed mill where he unloads.

Hauling Corn | The Farm Paparazzi

The feed mill operator turns on the auger and as the corn unloads into the pit, it is lifted into the storage facility.

Hauling Corn | The Farm Paparazzi

Hauling Corn | The Farm Paparazzi

Hauling Corn | The Farm Paparazzi

Hauling Corn | The Farm Paparazzi

The corn will be milled and mixed with the rest of the feed ration ingredients (this varies, but can include distiller’s grains, liquid minerals and more). Soon these cattle will become delicious, nutritious beef for your table!

Hauling Corn | The Farm Paparazzi

They look hungry.

Once the load is empty, he pulls back onto the scale and take a “tare” weight of the empty truck. Subtract the tare weight from the gross weight (taken from the full load) and you get the number of pounds of corn delivered. Pretty simple stuff.

Hauling Corn | The Farm Paparazzi

And then my farmer husband does it again (and again, and again).

What’s happening in your world this time of year?

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” – Genesis 1:26

Fundraising Brochure Design

19 Jan
Endowment Brochure-1

Front Page

Last spring I was hired by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association to design a fundraising brochure for its Endowment Trust. This brochure is glossy, 4-pages, 8 1/2 x 11″ size and full color. The intent is to use as a fundraising tool during face-to-face interactions. I pride myself in tailoring my services to meet each client’s specific needs and purpose.

Fundraising Brochure | The Farm Paparazzi

Inside Pages

As my former employer, I already had a good understanding of the look they like and how the content should be presented. As with any client, I work hard to make sure I’m giving them exactly what they want. I try to keep an open dialogue flowing and I regularly communicate where I am with the project and budget. This ensures the client is kept up-to-date, the end product is effective in meeting its purpose, and we produce something we’re both proud to show off.

Back Page

Back Page

Have a need for marketing materials of your own? I’d be honored to visit with you about fulfilling your needs!

Liz Lauck PR

Liz Lauck PR

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23 (NLT)

Friends Don’t Let Friends Quilt Alone

12 Jan

Since I started learning to quilt four years ago, I’ve discovered my favorite part about it is the socializing. There are times when I haven’t quilted for a whole year and pick it back up just in time to go to the annual Wheatwater Retreat in my hometown. It’s that much fun to hang out with other quilters.

Don't Quilt Alone | The Farm Paparazzi

Me, Carmen & Leslie

This weekend, two of my friends and I got together to quilt, eat, drink wine, quilt, laugh and quilt. What fun we had! None of us got a huge amount done, but we had a huge amount of fun. We’re looking forward to the next get together and hopefully more quilting friends can join us!

Leslie won the prize for first one with a block done. This is the Wyoming State Block.

Leslie won the prize for first one with a block done! The prize was to hurry up and start on her second block.

Don't Quilt Alone | The Farm Paparazzi

Leslie’s Wyoming State Block. Fun Fact: each state has a block!

 

Don't Quilt Alone | The Farm Paparazzi

This is an inverted star block that I did. I need to replace the white and red striped fabric with something darker so you can really get the inverted effect. Got instructions for this block for free on Craftsy.com!

Carmen didn’t do any piecing, but she is working on embroidery pieces for a baby quilt for her new nephew. Each block is a different, hand-embroidered animal and will be adorable when complete.

Don't Quilt Alone | The Farm Paparazzi

Hand, embroidered and custom-designed by Carmen

Now go forth and quilt with friends!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble…Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10, 12(b) (NLT) 

Beans and Chili

10 Jan

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziOkay, so I know Christmas is over, but I was organizing some photos on my hard drive and ran across these gift bags I made several years ago. They are too cute, easy and inexpensive not to share! So, maybe it’ll inspire you for Christmas gifts next year, or maybe you can make some for birthdays and thank you gifts throughout the year.

To be fair, I have easy access to both major ingredients in these gift bags. A) We raise pinto beans on our farm and B) Chugwater Chili is based just 30 miles south of us in, well, Chugwater, Wyo. However, you can obtain the dry beans at any supermarket (or check with a local farmer!) and you can find Chugwater Chili in many stores or order online at www.ChugwaterChili.com.

Trust me, Chugwater Chili is the best! And I’m not just saying that because my Grandparents were co-founders of the company.

Start by making the fabric bags.

Cut a piece of fabric to a suitable size. Make sure to calculate for seam allowance on the width. Make it double the length you want to end up with plus about an inch for the drawstring pocket. Fold right sides together and sew along both long edges. The fold on the bottom saves you from sewing another seam. Leave the top end open.

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziThen cut a piece of yarn or ribbon so it’s long enough to loop around the bag to create a draw string. Fold the top end of the fabric over and tuck the yarn underneath. Pin so the yarn stays above where you’ll sew (you want it to be able to move later, so don’t sew it down). Keep the two ends of the yarn showing outside the folded end and tie a knot so the two ends stay together.

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziStarting at the end where you’ve tied your knot, sew a seam all the way around. You’re creating a pocket to hold the yarn, while leaving the top of the bag still open. Leave a little space on the end so the yarn can still move freely, and again, make sure you don’t sew over the yarn.

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziPull out your pins and turn the bag inside out. You should probably use a thread that more closely matches your fabric. Don’t be like me.

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziNext put the beans and chili together.

Fill small plastic bags with about 1 1/2 cups of dry pinto beans. If you’re using beans straight out of the field like I do, make sure to sort them first. You don’t need to rinse them, but make sure you tell your gift recipient to rinse them before cooking.

Beans and Chili | The Farm Paparazzi

Tuck a 1 oz. packet of Chugwater Chili in the plastic bag with the beans. The chili packet has enough seasoning for one batch of chili and the beans should be enough for the recipe (beans expand to about 2-3 times their original size when cooked).

Beans and Chili | The Farm Paparazzi

Tuck your yummy treat into the fabric bag.

Beans and Chili | The Farm Paparazzi

Pull the draw string and, voila! You have a fun, homemade gift.

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziWhen I made these, I also included instructions for rinsing and cooking them. The chili recipe is on the back of the packet, so no need to repeat that.

Have fun!

Do you have some creative magic you want to share? Be sure to link to it in the comments below.

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. – Galatians 6:7-9 (NLT)

Marking Memories

8 Jan

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

Today is our 4th Anniversary. Tyler and I met because, well, when you live in a small town, you end up meeting. Six years later we were married. At the wedding reception we asked guests to write their birthdays and anniversaries on a calendar I’d created. The thought was to keep them a part of our marriage beyond the wedding.

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

The calendar was a fun, custom addition to our first year together, so I decided to make one every year. I missed making one last year, but made sure to get on the ball for a 2015 edition.

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

I use Shutterfly. It’s super simple to use. I’m sure there are other great calendar-creation services out there, but I just use what I know. (This isn’t an ad for Shutterfly…they’ve never heard of me…except when I order stuff from ’em).

I try to match the image to the month, but sometimes I go rogue and just use an image I like.

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

This year I also added some favorite Bible verses. Sometimes they fit a theme for the month, but some are just ones I love.

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

It’s just a fun way to highlight our work, display some of my novice photography and to create a keepsake to look back on.

Do you have any annual traditions? I’d love to hear about them!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

Christmas, Kids, Cows and Clay

6 Jan

Over Christmas, we got to spend quite a bit of time with both sides of the family. That’s the beauty of all our family living within a 3 hour drive.

Christmas, Kids, Cows and Clay | The Farm Paparazzi

Christmas, Kids, Cows and Clay | The Farm Paparazzi

There were lots of special moments. One of my favorite memories didn’t have anything to do with food (although it was delicious) or presents (although I love tearing into wrapping paper) or the snow (although it was a beautiful white Christmas). It was when my (almost) four-year-old niece came running up to me and asked if I’d go with her and Uncle Tyler to the farm.

Christmas, Kids, Cows and Clay | The Farm Paparazzi

She wanted to see the cows and the combine. So we put on our boots and ventured out. My father-in-law custom feeds cattle and she loves watching them. Uncle Tyler held her close after they climbed into one of the cow pens. Then he called Clay in and we watched as the curious cows came closer.

Christmas, Kids, Cows and Clay | The Farm Paparazzi

“They like him,” Tyler said and little Skye watched as Clay licked their noses.

Christmas, Kids, Cows and Clay | The Farm Paparazzi

“Ick, yuck,” she said, mystified at the scene. She made faces, chuckled, asked a couple of questions and noticed all the different colored ear tags.

Christmas, Kids, Cows and Clay | The Farm Paparazzi

What fun to watch a kid on a farm.

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Teach them God’s decrees, and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives. – Exodus 18:20 (NLT)

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