Crawling Baby Photo Shoot

17 Oct

Each month I do a little photo session with Ella to mark her growth and progress. It’s what any good Pinterest mom would do.

In all seriousness, I just enjoy the creative outlet and it’s fun to brag about my kiddo.

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The quilt was made by my Great Grandmother Helen and finished by my Aunt Mary. It’s called Pussy Willows. Adorable, right?

Ella has been very compliant (for the most part) as we do these photo sessions. But, three days after she turned 9 months old, she started crawling. It’s exciting and wonderful, but not conducive to these photo shoots. Allow me to demonstrate.

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I was laughing so hard and Ella was moving so fast that most of the images are a blur.

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I kept trying.

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And trying.

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But Ella got the better of me each time. I think it may be foreshadowing of our future battles.

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We’ll see how the 10 month update goes.

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God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;his faithfulness continues through all generations. – Psalm 100:5

 

Back to Blogging and Free Giveaway!

30 Sep

As any blogger knows, it’s so fun to tell our stories, but sometimes we just don’t have time to devote to writing. Having our first child this year has been the best, most amazing, most fun and hardest, life-changing thing I’ve ever done. So blogging isn’t really a top priority – even though I love sharing our farm life with you.

I can’t promise I’ll be able to blog very regularly in the near future, but I do have a fun giveaway to do, so that’s good enough reason to dust off my typing fingers!

The Denver Rescue Mission’s Harvest Farm has generously donated 4 tickets to the 14th Annual Fall Festival & Corn Maze for me to giveaway! I’ve never been, but you can bet I’m going this year. I’m already imaging the fall fun we’ll have with Miss Ella!

The Harvest Farm Fall Festival & Corn Maze opens tomorrow (Oct. 1) and runs through Oct. 30. It is located at 4240 East County Rd. 66 in Wellington, Colo. (Exit 278 from I-25). It’s open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sundays from Noon – 6 p.m.

Attractions include the corn maze, hay wagon rides, pig races, petting zoo, kettle corn, pumpkin junction and lots more! Visit their website to see special weekly events and learn more!

The best part about attending is you are supporting Harvest Farm, a 209-acre farm and rehabilitation center for men, with the goal of breaking the cycles of addiction and homelessness. Harvest Farm works in partnership with Fort Collins Rescue Mission, and both operate under the umbrella of Denver Rescue Mission.

So, enter to win by commenting on this blog post and telling me your favorite part about Fall! Giveaway ends Wednesday, Oct 5 at Noon. One entry per person.

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. – Hebrews 6:10

Ella Goes to Work

16 Apr

Ella has been getting an introduction into what Mama and Daddy do – besides being her parents, of course.

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First, Ella got a crash course in magazine layout as I put together the Spring 2016 issue of CowCountry: The Official Magazine of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.

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Ella decided InDesign and Photoshop weren’t that interesting.

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Then we took our first tractor ride with Daddy while he did some strip tilling. This was WAY more interesting. She loved looking at everything work and listening to the new sounds.

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We are so glad to be raising our daughter around farming. It’s a wonderful lifestyle and an important part of our world’s economy. Around 97 percent of American farms are family owned and we’re proud to be one of those families.

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God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

 

Introducing Rozella

7 Feb

Biirth Announcement_Page_1Biirth Announcement_Page_2

Photography by Leah Yetter (check out her Uprooted Magnolia blog: https://leahyetter.wordpress.com/)

Brewery Tour: Where Our Malt Barley Turns into Beer

22 Dec

 

Malt Barley Harvest 2014 | The Farm Paparazzi

Malt barley harvest on T&L Farms

Last summer we arranged a tour of the MillerCoors brewery in Golden, Colo. As contracted malt barley growers, we got the special treatment.

MillerCoors Tour | The Farm Paparazzi

Our tour group consisted of Tyler and I, my mom Amy, dad Steve, brother Ben, Tyler’s mom Kim, her husband Bill, and Tyler’s Great Uncle Harry, and Great Aunt Veletia. Veletia put together a detailed, very informative slideshow of the trip, the company’s history, and the brewing process here. It’s a fun read with great photos!

MillerCoors Tour | The Farm Paparazzi

During Prohibition, the company diversified by making ceramics and other malted products.

We learned a lot about how beer is brewed in mass quantity. It was fun to see the final leg in our barley’s existence. Now I’ve seen it go from field to cup!

Malt Barley Harvest 2014 | The Farm Paparazzi

Barley growing on T&L Farms

MillerCoors Tour | The Farm Paparazzi

I’d never seen hops in person before. Have you? They had it growing outside the brewery, and had some of it to touch on the way into the facility.

MillerCoors Tour | The Farm Paparazzi

MillerCoors Tour | The Farm Paparazzi

We saw what the barley goes through before other ingredients are added.

MillerCoors Tour | The Farm Paparazzi

Steeping tanks. The barley is soaked twice before it is germinated.

MillerCoors Tour | The Farm Paparazzi

Germinated barley. This must be done before the grain is suitable for brewing.

MillerCoors Tour | The Farm Paparazzi

Kilning or roasting is done to get the barley just right for different types of beer.

MillerCoors Tour | The Farm Paparazzi

Kilning or roasting before the barley is sent to the brewing process.

This was the best smelling place. The barley goes through the brewing process where other ingredients are introduced. Veletia’s slideshow really has a great explanation of the details.

MillerCoors Tour | The Farm Paparazzi

MillerCoors Tour | The Farm Paparazzi

The finished beer goes through quality control. It’s all more scientific than I ever imagined beer brewing would entail.

MillerCoors Tour | The Farm Paparazzi

We also got to see the product being packaged on site. Look at that sea of cans.

MillerCoors Tour | The Farm Paparazzi

And, of course, we got to taste test some of the product. Was a fun time had by all!

MillerCoors Tour | The Farm Paparazzi

 

“Let a man walk ten miles steadily on a hot summer’s day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented.” – Gilbert K Chesterton.

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. – Hebrews 10:25

 

Learning About Corn

14 Dec

Corn can sound like such a mundane topic, but its genetic evolution and impact on the world around us is actually quite fascinating! Recently, my farmer husband ran across two pretty interesting pieces of learning material about corn.

The first is Discovery Channel’s How Stuff Works episode on corn.

It’s about 43 minutes long, so hunker down with a bowl of popcorn and watch this fun overview of the crop and how it affects the world.

The second is from the University of Utah and describes the evolution of corn genetics from a primitive plant to a domesticated crop.

So, now that I’ve completely “nerded out” on you, hopefully you’ll find some of the information as interesting as we did! And, always remember, if you want to know about how corn is grown, be sure to talk to a farmer near you. They are the professionals on the ground, after all.

Mother Nature's Pop Science Guide to Corn [Infographic]

God Bless You and American Agriculture,

Liz

Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. – Proverbs 18:15 (NLT)

Lessons Learned from a Novice Canner

7 Dec

10 Canning Tips

Before we had a garden, I never canned anything. It looked scary and complicated and I wasn’t going to go there. But, once we planted our first garden in 2014, it became quickly apparent that my “waste-not, want-not ways” would force me to take on some canning. Thankfully I had my farm wife mentor, Melinda, on hand to help me and I got great advice and recipes from my Aunt Mary and Tyler’s Aunt Debby.

Tips from a Novice Canner

Now with two canning seasons under my belt, I can proudly say, I’ve become a canner! If you’re scared to get started, let me give you my best advice and encouragement. It really is wonderful, gives you a great sense of accomplishment, and saves you room in the freezer. And, it’s not as scary as it looks. I promise!

  1. Start small. One of the biggest mistakes I made was overwhelming myself with too many projects. Take on one recipe at a time and try doing a couple of batches at first. Don’t try to be like the woman down the street who has been canning for 50 years and can whip out 100 quarts of pickles in one afternoon. You’re a beginner and it’s okay to be proud of your 10 quarts of pickles!
  2. Get equipped.  Get all your materials and supplies ahead of time. Make sure to read the instructions/recipe thoroughly to make sure you have everything you’ll need. Nothing is more frustrating when you’re canning than to realize you are missing a key tool or ingredient while you’re in the middle of a batch.
  3. Read up on the general process. Most water-bath canning involves the same general steps. Familiarize yourself with the process so you feel comfortable and don’t miss a vital step.
  4. One jar at a time. When you are in the midst of canning, it’s so tempting to fill all the jars, and then check all the headspaces, then wipe all the rims, and then put on all the lids…BUT, that’s when you forget to do something important to one of the jars. Just suck it up and do one jar, then follow the same steps for the next jar.
  5. Seek expert advice. That woman down the street who has been canning for 50 years? Ask her if you can come over for an afternoon so she can show you how to do it. Most likely she’ll be thrilled to pass the tradition on to the next generation. And you won’t have to make 75 mistakes because she’s already made them and can tell you how to avoid the heartache. Be sure to offer to help her with something in return or bring her flowers to thank her!
  6. Do your research. There are lots of great resources out there. One of the best is your local/state Extension service. The University of Wyoming Extension service has a wonderful food preservation website. It is all specific to our climate and higher altitudes…which brings me to my next tip…
  7. Know your area. Canning is greatly affected by altitude, so be sure to do your due diligence in determining proper processing times for your region.
  8. Don’t get in a hurry. I was trying to do too much the first year and was distracted while carrying a batch of jars from the water-bath canner to the table for them to cool. Before I knew what happened, the entire batch was broken and splashed all over my garage floor. Don’t be like me. Take it easy and pay attention to what you’re doing.
  9. Safety first. You’re working with glass, hot liquids, and high pressure if you’re pressure canning. And, if you’re like me, you’re using a nifty propane camp stove so you don’t ruin your glass cooktop and you can keep the heat in the garage. All of these things can cause injury. It’s not scary if you’re careful and paying attention to what you’re doing. Just be aware that you can singe your eyelashes on the propane stove or burn your hand with hot water. Not that I’ve done either of those things.
  10. It’s a lot of work. But, it’s worth it! I always heard people talk about canning being a lot of work. There’s a reason they say that. It is a lot of work! It’s probably smart to team up if you have friends or family who like to can, but also know that if you go it alone, you can handle it. And when you are pulling home-canned peaches, pickles and salsa from your pantry all winter long, the great taste and sense of pride will make that sore back, stiff neck and achy feet just a distant memory.

Holler if you have questions. I might have an answer, or most likely, I might know someone else with an answer. Now go forth and can!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. – Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)

Showered with Love

29 Nov
Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

Me with my Grandma Marcy’s Better Homes & Garden’s Baby Book from 1951. Photography by Stephanie Russell at Cowgirl Graphics | http://www.cowgirlgraphics.com/

As of tomorrow, I am officially four weeks away from my due date. When you first get pregnant, 40 weeks sounds so far away. Now it’s nearly here and I am excited/terrified/elated/apprehensive/insert emotion here. Basically, one moment I feel an overwhelming sense of love and anticipation for Sweet Pea’s arrival and the next moment I just feel overwhelmed. But, I think that’s pretty normal. Right?…Right?

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

Photography by Stephanie Russell at Cowgirl Graphics | http://www.cowgirlgraphics.com/

Well, even if I’m not normal, I guess I’ll forge on ahead. I’m rarely normal anyway.

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

Clay doesn’t quite know it, but his world is about to be turned upside down by a tiny, pink baby girl. Photography by Stephanie Russell at Cowgirl Graphics | http://www.cowgirlgraphics.com/

One thing’s for sure, I’m feeling much more prepared for Baby Girl Lauck’s arrival after we were showered by friends and family this month. And when I say showered, I mean it was an absolute downpour of love, support, encouragement and generosity!

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

My mother-in-law borrowed this vintage baby buggy and decorated it with Tyler and I’s baby blankets. It held gifts and was inspired by the antique doctor’s buggy we had at our wedding to hold gifts.

The first shower in Wheatland was hosted by my incredible in-laws. Tyler’s mom, Kim and sisters Sunni and Kristny poured the most amazing amount of love and effort into making the day beautiful and special. Just look at the fun details they put together for the Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice theme!

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

 

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

It was also an incredible turnout! A lot of Tyler’s family lives in Wheatland, so we had family, friends, church family, and P.E.O. Sisters form a crowd of around 55+ people. Talk about a flood of support!

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

The first table to sort the sprinkles by color won a prize!

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

We had to call in reinforcements to haul all the adorable gifts home. We thank God for all these amazing people in our lives and are so grateful He is allowing our daughter to be born surrounded by such wonderful spirits.

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

Mom had her hands full writing down all the adorable gifts.

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

Mom, Kim, Me, Sunni and niece Skye.

While we girls were having fun at the shower, my dad and Tyler were busy at home with the nursery “to-do” list I left. Aren’t I a good cruise director? I had expected only a few things to be checked off, but when I arrived home, they’d gotten nearly everything done on the list! Grandpa and Dad get a gold star for sure.

The very next weekend my wonderful Aunt Mary and friend Cheri hosted a shower in Colorado where a lot of my family lives. It was a much smaller gathering, but was just as special. We got to enjoy a Peter Rabbit Storybook theme complete with bunnies everywhere and flower cupcakes. It was so precious and a great tribute to my favorite childhood pastime – reading!

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

I was presented with some wonderful handmade treasures, as well as some practical gadgets and lots of really good advice. I respect these mother’s so much and soaked in all their wisdom.

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

My Aunt Mary cross-stitched this blanket, as well as finished a quilt my great grandma had started. Including the wool rug she made, I’d say she was one busy woman and my daughter is one blessed girl!

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

Wonderful friends Kosha, Dell and Leanne with my Mom.

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

Cousin Emilie and Aunt Alisa look at the baby pictures from Tyler and I’s albums.

As if I weren’t spoiled enough, my amazing friend Kassi hopped on an airplane and flew from Missouri with an 18-month-old just to be at the shower. We’ve been State FFA Officers together, roommates, bridesmaids in each other’s weddings and now we get to share motherhood together. Our mutual friend Megan also was able to be there. Even though she lives in Omaha, Neb., she was in Denver for work and was able to come to the shower as well. Amazing!

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

Nora put her seal of approval on the gifts.

Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

Nora, Kassi, Me and Megan.

I am so blown away by the love and generosity we’ve received throughout this whole pregnancy. We have people all over the country praying for us and sending us sweet gifts. It’s hard for me to express how truly thankful we are. Praise God for putting all of you wonderful family and friends in our lives!Showered with Love | The Farm Paparazzi

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – Psalm 139:13-14

Halloween Merriment

2 Nov
Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe here). I made homemade pumpkin puree for the first time this year and this was my maiden voyage using it. Super easy and turned out great!

By the time Oct. 31 rolls around, I’m not always in the mood for Halloween. Sometimes it just seems like more work at a time when we’re busy getting crops out. But, this year I got excited to dress up with my pregnant belly. Who knows if I’ll ever be pregnant during Halloween again? So, putting together a simple costume really got me in the spirit.

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

I bought a $5 orange shirt, some black felt and green pipe cleaners to dress up like a Jack-O-Lantern. The hat is the stem and the pipe cleaners are the vines. I used spray adhesive to attach the felt and at 32 weeks along, Little Girl Lauck filled out the pumpkin portion of the outfit quite nicely.

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

I also talked my husband into carving Jack-O-Lanterns with me. We’ve never done this together and we thought it was great fun! We raised the pumpkins in our garden (I had 34 in total!). I think the convincing factor for him was the promise of roasted pumpkin seeds. It’s the best part of carving pumpkins. Here’s the link to the recipe for Jalapeno Pumpkin Seeds and several other yummy looking options.

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

I got all geared up to give out candy. I get a kick out of seeing all the little costumes and since we live in town, we actually get quite a few trick-or-treaters.

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

We live in a community where most kids say thank you and are a delight to interact with. And they come up with some great costumes! My favorites were Punky Brewster and a Lego Block. Clay, however, was not amused by the constant doorbell ringing and parade of strangers in startling outfits at his door. It was a stressful night for him.

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

Did you pass out candy? Dress up? Hope it was a fun and safe day!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. – Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 (NLT)

Frijoles!

1 Oct

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi
It’s bean harvest time! When you listen to farm reports, you’ll hear them talk about beans. Thems not our beans. Thems soybeans. We ain’t got no soybeans.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

Okay, now that every English teacher I’ve ever had is crying tears of desperation, I’ll tell you that we raise dry edible beans. Mainly pinto beans. Yup, those beans you buy for your Chugwater Chili and your Mexican food.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

I love raising a crop that I can cook with. Corn is great, but I have to wait for the cows to turn it into nutritious, delicious beef. Malt barley is great, but I have to wait to drink that as beer. And right now, at 27 weeks pregnant, I’ll be waiting awhile before I can even do that.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

But pintos? Yes, those, I can cook up and eat in all their original glory. They are also fun to give away as gifts.

We harvest beans two ways. The first way is called direct cutting and is a more modern method. On center-pivot irrigated ground, we grow upright bean varieties. These plants grow taller than other varieties and we can run a flex-header through the field to combine.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

The header’s cutting bar actually flexes to contour with the ground, rather than staying rigid. This allows the head to move across the field and harvest the beans more effectively.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

We also have an air reel on the head that helps keep the shelled beans in the head once they’re cut.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

There’s more to growing beans for direct cutting, but you get the gist.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

The second method is the traditional method. On flood irrigated ground, we have to pull ditches in between the crop rows so the water can run down and irrigate the entire row. This creates mounds in the field that aren’t conducive to direct cutting. So we take our Pickett machine through the field first.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

This machine cuts the plants at the roots and a rod breaks partially cut roots and lifts the plants. Then the cut plants are pulled into a windrow behind the machine.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

This is done when the beans are mostly dry, but not completely dry, to prevent the bean pods from shattering during the cutting process. It helps to cut when the humidity is high and/or there is a dew.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

Then the windrows are left to dry and a second pass is made with the combine to finish harvest.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

I’ve told you about the grain cart before, but in this harvest, we don’t run the cart. Beans are more fragile and apt to split the more they are handled, so the combine usually dumps directly onto semi trucks and the semis haul them to the beanery.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

Our beans go to Kelly Bean in Torrington, Wyo. where they get sold all over the world and may end up on your dinner plate. Ole!

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

[Jesus said,] “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5

 

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