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Thursday, April 30, 2015

What is Anhydrous Ammonia?...

We seem to be dodging rain showers every other day around here making it hard for us to find the perfect window to get in the fields.  We have managed to get all of our anhydrous applied.  The anhydrous ammonia is in the white tank that you see below behind the tractor.  The implement in between the tractor and the anhydrous tank is called a toolbar.  It has a hose that connects it to the tank so the anhydrous is applied equally under the ground.
We use Anhydrous Ammonia to obtain the element nitrogen.  We apply most of our Anhydrous before the corn is planted, weather permitting.  Some farmers apply it after the corn is planted.  This is called side dressing.  Since we are adding more nitrogen to the soil, it makes the corn a lush green color and creates a healthier plant.  Anhydrous is the most efficient form of nitrogen.  Anhydrous Ammonia is stored in its liquid form in the tank you see in the pictures in this post, until it is injected in the soil.  The application is carefully controlled by valves and meters.  As the Anhydrous Ammonia is released from the tank, the drop in pressure causes it to boil, releasing the element nitrogen that is used by the corn.

To maintain soil fertility without man-made sources of nitrogen, the 11 million tons of industrially created nitrogen that farmers in the US use each year would need to be replaced by manure from about 1 billion cattle.  Those cattle would require another 2 billion acres to feed.  That demand would take much of the continental United States. (source)

 Anhydrous Ammonia can be dangerous only if it's not handled properly, therefore important safety measures are used at all times.  Special goggles and gloves are worn when switching tanks.  B is modeling the very glamorous goggles here... 

So now you know what those white tanks are in the field!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Banana-Orange Yogurt Pops...

One of the girls' favorite "recipes" to make in the summertime...or anytime rather...is lemonade Popsicle.  The recipe is pretty difficult;).  You make a pitcher of lemonade and then pour the lemonade into ice cube trays, or if you're fancy, Popsicle molds and freeze.  So, when Gooseberry Patch sent me a copy of their new Mom Knows Best Cookbook and saw the recipe for these Banana-Orange Yogurt Pops, I knew this would be a recipe we would have to try.  Actually, B saw the recipe while I was skimming the opposite page.  It adds a nice twist to our traditional recipe..and they're healthy too!
 All you do is add the yogurt, orange juice, and bananas to the blender and process until combined.  As you can see below, some might prefer ear protection when working with a blender;)  Seriously, why do those things have to be so loud?!
Pour the liquid into the Popsicle molds or plastic cups.  Freeze for an hour, insert Popsicle sticks, then freeze some more until completely frozen.  Enjoy!


Banana-Orange Yogurt Pops

  • 16 oz. vanilla or plain yogurt
  • 6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 2 ripe bananas sliced
  • 8 5 oz. freezer treat molds or paper cups
  • Popsicle sticks
Cooking Directions
  1. In a blender, combine yogurt, orange juice concentrate and bananas.
  2. Process on medium speed until smooth.
  3. Pour into molds or paper cups.
  4. Freeze one hour and then insert sticks.
  5. Continue to freeze until completely frozen.
  6. To remove, dip into warm water for a few seconds.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mac and Cheese Lasagna...

It's almost planting time which means I will be busy taking meals to the field.  Casseroles are probably my favorite food to take because they stay warm for a long time.  My family loves spaghetti and lasagna and a few of us love mac n cheese;)  I'm not a huge fan of macaroni and cheese, but I do like it in this recipe.  This pairs great with a fresh green salad and garlic bread!

Mac and Cheese Lasagna

  • 2 7.5 oz packages Kraft Thick and Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 Cup mozzarella cheese
Cooking Directions
  1. Prepare the macaroni and cheese according to package directions.
  2. While the macaroni cooks, brown the beef and drain. Add the spaghetti sauce, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper to the beef. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. In a 9x13 pan, spread half the meat mixture to cover the bottom of the pan. Follow with a layer of half the macaroni and cheese. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  4. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the layers and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

That One Outfit...

We all have a favorite outfit.  Mine happens to be my oldest pair of yoga pants and an old t-shirt.  I could live in yoga pants.  In fact, I practically do.  And if I'm not wearing yoga pants, then I'm usually in jeans and a t-shirt.

Jody is very particular about her clothes and pajamas.  She only has a few outfits that she will actually wear.  They are usually fleece outfits.  Her favorite outfit is her "wheels" outfit.
She loves it! She has possibly even slept in it and worn it multiple days in a row...maybe;)  Sometimes it just isn't worth the battle.  If it is in the dirty clothes hamper and she happens to see it, holy meltdown!  I try to bury it in the other clothes so she won't see it.
Why does she call it her "wheels" outfit, you might ask?  She thinks the peace signs are wheels.
Since it is fleece, it is very warm, so I don't know what we are going to do this summer!  She may be sweating it out in her "wheels!" ;)
We have learned with this child that whatever makes her happy, we deal with...to a certain extent..and her "wheels" make her happy.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Corn Stalk Craft...

It's officially Spring and that means that the planting season is just around the corner.  Farmers in the Midwest are anxiously waiting for the conditions to improve so they can head to the fields.  Right now, it feels like we are in the middle of mud season as the rain just does not want to stop.  It can be frustrating, but we also know how frustrating dry weather is, so we take what we get and handle it as it comes.

If you are just stopping by for the first time, my friend Crystal at Mom for Less and myself are partnering with Indiana's Family of Farmers to help educate kids about modern agriculture.  This month we are talking about planting.  For a "behind the scenes" look into planting, check out this post from a few years ago, where I talked in-depth about the planting process.

 The girls and I made this corn stalk out of hand prints, foot prints, and finger prints.  If you've browsed my blog at all, you know I love anything that involves those three things and what kid doesn't like dipping their hands and feet in paint, or having them painted (less mess that way!)?  Not
Not only is this a super fun craft, but it also includes a little learning lesson at the end, so make sure to read to the end:)  Now, let's get started!!

You will need:
yellow, brown, and green paint
white cardstock
green construction paper

Begin by painting the child's hand green...
 Then stamp it onto paper being very careful not to move their hand.  Continue this process with the other hand.
 Next, paint the child's foot.  This is sure to get a lot of giggles;)
 Stamp their foot on to the paper. (Sorry. I guess I forgot to take a pic of this step._

Next paint the child's pointer finger...
Then stamp the pointer finger on to the paper.  Add several in a "bunch."  This will be the tassel part of the corn.  You may need to pain the finger a few more times.
 Next paint the child's hand brown and stamp it on to the paper three times.  Again, you may need to paint the child's hand after each hand print.  Since, I have three girls, each one created one hand print.
Let the paint dry.  
Once the paint is dry, cut out the prints.

Glue the hands to the feet like so...
 This creates the ear of corn and the husks...
 cut some leaves and strips of paper for the stalk from green construction paper.  Assemble the corn plant...
Now, you can stop there or, to make it a bit more educational (you can't only have fun, right?) you can have the kids label the parts of the corn plant.  You can find a list of the parts here.  Note: There is a part of the corn plant called the silks, I left them out intentionally, but feel free to add them if you wish.  Fun fact: For every silk there is a kernel of corn!

Print off the words and cut them out individually and attach a piece of tape to the back.  Place them face down on the table and have the kids take turns labeling the parts of the plant.  (Even Elsa had to take a turn.)

Last but certainly not least, the girls and I talked about seed germination.  What all the seed needs to grow...water, heat, sunlight.  I remember doing this activity when I was in grade school.  We rolled the seeds in wet paper towel and waited for them to germinate.  I wanted to make the observation process a little easier for the girls so they would be able to watch it step-by-step.

The first step is to wet several paper towels.  We used about 7, but you just have to gauge what will fit in your cup.  Place the wet paper towels in a clear glass and push them back from one side of the glass.  Then insert the seed and allow the paper towel to hold the seed against the side of the glass so the seed won't fall to the bottom.
 Keep the paper towel moistened and keep the glass in a warm, sunny spot and watch the germination process take place!  (You can do this with any type of seed...it doesn't have to be corn...it will work for soybeans, flowers, vegetables.  AND it doesn't have to be field corn either!  Sweet corn that you plant in your garden will work too!)  Have fun!!

Don't forget to head on over to Mom For Less for a lesson on planting.  The kids will love learning about planting and making a craft to go with it!!

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