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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Farm Tour...

On Saturday we hosted several Indiana women bloggers and their families at our farm for a farm tour. The event was sponsored by Indiana's Family of Farmers.  Mel was all decked out in her sparkly boots for the event...

A showcase of old and new...
The tractor on the right is original to the farm...

We were excited to introduce the families to our beef and grain farm.  I loved watching the kids' faces light up when they saw the calves or the tractors.  I told everyone all the facts about our farm as well as the history.  Brad is the sixth generation to farm the family farm, and we are raising the seventh.  Brad's Great Great Grandfather bought some of the land that we still farm in 1879 for $53.00/acre.  (Thanks to Heather from Basilmomma for snapping this pic)


Next Brad showed everyone what we feed our cattle....haylage, corn silage, corn, dry hay and supplements.



This kid below...he's one of our favorites...and Jo's favorite too;)...

The kids were then each given bags and a mixture of their own "feed" (don't worry it was all edible...cheerios, pretzels, candy corn, m&ms, and chex mix) to mix up and eat, just like we do with all of the things we feed our calves.





Lucas (driving the tractor and shown here with his sister) was full of questions!  They were all excellent questions and I loved that he had that much interest in the tour!
Brad and Jo talking about the combine.  Everyone was amazed at the cost of a combine!
After we finished with our part of the tour, we headed to Megan's parent's pond and cabin for an evening of food and fun...
Megan, welcoming everyone...
The night was a blast...complete with s'mores, (Jo roasting her own marshmallows)...


Chatting on the front porch with friends...



and fishing...



One of the highlights of B's evening was catching her first fish!!! 


Another highlight was meeting Heather...

Heather is on one of B's favortie TV shows on Friday evenings called The Friday Zone.  The Friday before our tour, B was watching the show and Brad walked in the room and said, "Hey it's Heather."  B asked, "Who?" Then I came in the room and Brad asked, "Isn't that Heather?"  To which I replied, "Yes." and B said, "Mom, you know her?!! I watch this every Friday.  It's one of my favorite shows!"  I said, "Yes.  She's a blogger and will be at the farm tour tomorrow."  B was so excited to meet Heather the movie star and she even asked for her autograph later on that night:)!

I really enjoyed hosting this farm tour.  I was a little nervous because I didn't know what people would think of our farm and what they would take away from it...other than a little manure on their shoes, but I was extremely happy with the outcome.  We were scheduled to talk for an hour and fifteen minutes and I asked Brad, "How are we going to talk that long?  That's forever!"  But we actually went over.  Everyone was very interested in our farm and asked a lot of good questions!  I hope everyone enjoyed the tour as much as I did!  Also, thank you to the Kuhn family for hosting us that evening as well!






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Friday, September 26, 2014

Fresh Homemade Applesauce in a Flash...

It's apple pickin' time and that means fresh apple pies, fresh apple crisp...fresh anything with apples.  Our favorite thing to make when it's apple pickin' time is applesauce.  It's so easy to do and if you have a couple of the nifty kitchen gadgets shown below it will make it even easier.  It's pretty fast too!  I normally buy a 1/2 bushel of apples to make applesauce.  You can use whatever variety of apples you choose for applesauce.  The orchards usually have suggestions on the best varieties of apples for making sauce.
The first gadget you will need is a food mill...
The next handy gadget is this apple slicer from Pampered Chef.  I love it and it makes this process go by in a snap!  Notice I didn't bother to peel the apple?  This is one step, that I skip because I don't see the point.  I think it's personal preference, so do what you want!  Some people don't even remove the core.
Next, place the sliced apples in about a cup and a half of water, depending on the size of your pan.  I like for the water to cover about a 1/2 inch of the the bottom of the pan.  I put about 7 medium sized apples in this pan.
Cook the apples until they are very soft and the skin is falling off.  Then put them in your food mill...
 Turn the handle of the apple masher until the sauce stops coming out the bottom holes.  The holes start to get plugged with all the "extra" stuff starts to fill up the holes, so you will have to turn the handle counter clockwise every once in a while..
Add sugar and cinnamon (optional) to taste (I usually begin with 1/2 Cup sugar and 1 Tablespoon cinnamon) stir,  and your applesauce is either ready to freeze or eat.  If freezing, place desired amount into quart sized freezer bags.  









Freezer Applesauce

Ingredients
  • 1/2 Bushel Apples
  • water
  • sugar
  • cinnamon (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Core apples and place in pan. Add enough water to make 1/2 inch of water in bottom of pan.
  2. Cook until soft and skin begins to fall off.
  3. Place cooked apples in food mill.
  4. Turn handle clockwise until all the sauce from the apples is in the bowl. Turn handle counter clockwise every once in a while to clear holes.
  5. Season to taste with sugar and cinnamon, if using. I usually begin with about a 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 Tablespoon cinnamon. Stir to combine.
  6. The applesauce is now ready to eat or freeze. If freezing, place desired amount in quart size freezer bags.
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Monday, September 22, 2014

It's Choppin' Time...

The chalkboard in our kitchen has had, "It's choppin' time" written on it for the last few weeks.  We started with a couple custom jobs as our corn wasn't quite ready.  We've been getting about an inch of rain every week for the last several.  I'm not complaining as I know there are several places that are extremely dry.

Brad loves chopping time because it marks the beginning of harvest and I guess it helps me get in the flow of harvest time and delivering meals to the fields:)

The green John Deere tractor in the picture below is called the chopper.  It picks the corn and stalks and chops them up into tiny pieces and then blows all of it out the yellow spout right into the red and gray wagon...
Here's a video for a better visual...
video
The corn is picked when it is still fairly green, but not too green.  It can't be too dry because we want the silage to have some "juice" in it.





The pictures above were taken when we were chopping for a neighbor who has a dairy farm.  He fills a silage bag, like the four below, as well as two silos.  We only fill bags because that's what works best for us.  Three of these bags hold corn silage and the other is filled with haylage.  Both of which we will feed to our beef cattle and will hopefully last all year.
Here's a picture of our neighbor's silos...
 The silage is unloaded from the wagon into this "blower" and then goes up the long white tube to fill the silo.
We mix the corn silage with haylage, dry hay, corn and supplements (vitamins to keep them healthy, just like our vitamins) all together to make a yummy meal for the calves and they love it!






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Friday, September 19, 2014

Gooseberry Patch Cookbook Giveaway!!!...

This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you to everyone who entered!  Stay tuned for the next giveaway from Gooseberry Patch.
Well, the nice people at Gooseberry Patch have done it again!  They've given me another awesome cookbook to review and one to giveaway to one of you!!  I'm a sucker for slow-cooker recipes.  For the longest time it seemed the only thing I ever made in my crockpot was roast, potatoes, and carrots. Now, it seems, you can make nearly anything in one!  Even desserts!!  
 Slow-Cooker Fall Favorites cookbook is fabulous.  It is loaded with appetizers, side dishes, main dishes, desserts, and drink recipes that are all made in the crockpot!  Since fall means football season and tailgating, there are tons of recipes for all those tailgaters out there and Super Bowl parties.  There isn't a picture with each recipe like in some of their other cookbooks, so I thought that I would miss that.  I'm a visual type person and I like to see a picture of what I'm planning on making, but it turns out it wasn't that big of a deal.

Here's a recap of some of the recipes I made from this book.

Classic Buffalo Chicken Dip...
 Bacon Cheese Breakfast Casserole...
 and LB's Beer Brats...

With harvest rapidly approaching, I know I will be making several more recipes from this book!

So, would you like to win one?  Here's the details:  Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite fall comfort food is and be sure to include your email address!  If I don't have an email, I won't be able to contact you if you win!  This giveaway ends on October 10th at midnight EDT.  I will pick a winner at random and the winner will have 48 hours to respond.  If the winner fails to respond with in 48 hours, I will pick another winner.

While Gooseberry Patch did provide me with a free cookbook to sample, all reviews, pictures and opinions are my own.
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