Homemade Vegetable Soup

                                        This is before cooking - everything is raw.

                                       This is before cooking - everything is raw.

This is very simple, but the combination of the veggies is the best. And so easy. You can throw this in your crock pot for 6 hours on high or in your Insta Pot on soup for 60 minute

Cut into bite sized pieces:
            Potatoes                      Adjust amount to how much soup you want to make
            Carrots
            Celery

Round steak, Sirloin steak or soup meat
You can add canned tomatoes – I use home canned stewed tomatoes

Add just enough water to cover the raw veggies.

Mix in one packet of Lipton Dry Beefy Onion Soup Mix

Add:
            1 Can of drained corn

Add:
Enough tomato juice to make it as soupy as you want.

Add fresh baked bread to dip into the soupy goodness - delish

Crock Pot or Insta Pot Away!


 

 

 

 

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Cream Frosting

IMG_2185.JPG

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and line with parchment paper 3 round cake pans – 8 or 9 inch

Cream:
            ½ C oil – I use canola
            2 C sugar

Add and mix:
            2 eggs
            2 t vanilla

Carefully add and mix:
            ¾ C cocoa
            2 C flour                                  Alternate the dry ingredients
            2 t baking powder                   with 1 C milk
            1 ½ t baking soda
            1 t salt
            1 ½ t espresso powder

Add and mix well:
           1 C boiling water

Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl when mixing.

Pour evenly in the three prepared pans.

Bake about 25 minutes – always check with toothpick – make sure you don’t overbake.

Let cool about 12 minutes and then remove from pan – loosen the cake from the edge with a knife before flipping them over.

Make sure cake is totally cool before frosting.

 

Raspberry Cream Frosting

Cream:
            1 C room temperature butter
            1 8 oz. room temperature cream cheese

Add and mix well:
            2 t vanilla
            ½ t salt
            6 T seedless raspberry jam

Slowly mix – a little at a time:
            7 C powdered sugar – I sift mine to make sure there are no lumps

When the frosting starts to get too stiff add:
            2 T milk

Mix really well scraping the side of the bowl.

If your cakes are rounded, level them off with a serrated knife.

Assemble - cake, 1/3 frosting, cake 1/3 frosting, cake and the final 1/3 frosting

Garnish with raspberries. – If not serving for a while you may want to wait to add the raspberries, so they don’t bleed.

 

 

A Man Who Changed the World

29598075_10216059089819974_4506212944316934124_n.jpg

There is a man who changed the world.

Most of you won’t know him.

He built a house for his family with his own hands.

He’s been faithful to his one and only wife for 66 years.

He put food on the table for them year after year.

He taught them to plant a garden – to till, plant and harvest.

He taught his family to hunt wisely and respectfully of the prey and the weapon.

He built a building where people learned about Jesus.

He brought all of his kids to the place where they wanted Jesus as their own.

He has read his Bible daily for years.

He prays daily for his kids, grand-kids, great-grandkids and great-great-grandkids.

He gives freely when a need arises.

He instilled a great work ethic into each of his kids.

He is revered in his circle of influence.

He has changed the world.

Maybe not your world.

But he has changed my world daily for the better.

My dad.

 

Happy 88th Birthday Daddy!

 

 

We’re Better Than That

Snapseed 2.jpg

When a fellow farmer has a problem whether it be sickness, accident, fire or other natural disaster we farmers jump in and fully invest ourselves to assist.

I’ve heard many times how wonderful the farming community is and that the rest of the population should take heed and learn to work together and help.

I’ve been watching some infighting with farmers because of Walmart’s choice to use milk from different producers than it previously had. Walmart’s choice has left some farmers without a market which is horrible.

But, there’s more to the story – there always is.

Some are saying Walmart is starting their own dairy and adding cows to the market – False.

They are using milk from different farmers than in the past. Walmart is using milk from three suppliers. One of the suppliers is Foremost Farms – our coop. Another thing I know about Walmart’s different milk producers is that the milk has to meet certain somatic cell count specifications.

I’m hearing that Walmart is using milk from large farms only. I’m not sure that is correct. They are purchasing milk from coops and I know our coop takes milk from all sizes of farms.

I’m hearing “boycott” Walmart and whatever you do, do not buy milk there. How hypocritical is this? If you’re a dairy farmer right now you are hurting – it doesn’t matter what size, you are. By boycotting Walmart you are boycotting fellow farmers.

When we farmers accuse and attack each other we are doing the job of anti-animal activists. They can sit back and watch as our community unravels.

There is a farmer behind every drop of milk.

I was called out about a year ago when I wrote a blog that involved almond juice. I’m pretty zealous about fooling or scaring our consumers about food choices. In the process of comparing nut juice with dairy, I became very judgmental which shed a bad light on the almond farmer. One of my followers commented that I was totally criticizing a fellow farmer. They were right. I felt physically sick and proceeded to blog about my mistake and apologize.

This is happening now in mass. Large farms are being blamed for pushing out the mom and pop farms. And CAFO – or the very misnamed factory farms are still painted as evil.

In the spirt of transparency – we are a CAFO farm. We increased our size back in 2003 – we haven’t had any large increases since then. But, we did so to support three sons coming into the farm. We are a family farm. Our farm is hurting. We are all in – don’t have time to go off the farm to bring in income from other places. We’re sweating it out and working our butts off to cut costs. It’s not a fun time and it’s a worrisome time.

The bottom line in all this low milk prices is capitalism. We just don’t want to connect a family farm with the business world – impossible to separate.

I'd prefer to be referred to as those farmers who come to the rescue of other farmers, who lend a helping hand, to fill in the needed gaps of each other.

I’m just asking that we farmers stop the back biting, in house fighting. Let’s circle the wagons and try to support all farmers.

We’re better than that.

A house divided cannot stand.

 

 

O Bill Schuette, Where Art Thou?

IMG_1941.JPG

Once, again, Bill Schuette is a no-show.

We were at the Michigan Ag Gubernatorial Forum with the other candidates that are running for governor.

There have been several forums where the gubernatorial candidates have come together to meet the public. Events to hear what we, the public, have to say and what we need.

Yet, time after time Bill is a no-show.

Makes me wonder - why?

Is he so sure of himself he doesn’t want to waste his time meeting with us?

Does he have better things to do than meet the people he wants to serve?

Does he not want contact with us because we will ask him why or why not on his decisions?

For me, it just doesn’t make sense that he, who is trying to obtain an office that is supposed to serve us, has been absent over and over again.

If you know me, you know I support Dr. Jim Hines – take a moment and check him out here: www.hines4michigan.com

My opinion – if Bill isn’t available and present now, what makes you think he will be if elected.

O Bill Schuette, Where Art Thou?

 

 

Earthly Sabatical

IMG_2732-002.JPG

A week ago, I was in the ER for about 4 ½ hours.

You know how your heart does that weird flip, flop, flutter thing and then goes back to normal? Well, mine wouldn’t quit the flip, flop, fluttering – went on for several hours for days. After a phone call to the on-call line for my doctor I was told to go to the heart center right away.

EKG, X-ray and blood tests were done. The cardio doctor came in and watched the monitor and said “Yep, there. And there, Again ….”

Apparently, my heart was stopping, stuttering and starting again.

Farmer claimed it was due to his nearby presence.

After each test was the long waiting period for results.

Finally, after 4 hours the doctor came back in and said “The first blood test came back good, but we always do a second one to be sure. We are going to send you home with a Holter monitor and have you follow up with the cardiologists.”

My response was “So, I have to wait here another hour and a half for results?”

“Yes, we just want to be sure with the blood work.”

I then replied, “How about you take my blood, I leave and if there is a problem you can call me?”

She then said, “I can’t MAKE you stay.”

I answered “Then, let’s do it that way. You take the blood, I leave and you call if necessary.”

That’s what we did, and I never received the phone call and am waiting to see the specialists. I believe I will go in, spend too much money on tests and they will tell me “Don’t worry, it’s just something that happens.”

I’ve told all this – not for concern on your part because I am believing I am totally normal – well, you know, as much as I can be.

I wanted to explain why I’m writing this.

One of the reasons I didn’t want to wait for the blood test is because I had an overwhelming, crushing desire to go home. I longed, yearned, needed to be home. I had an unexplainable, what I think would be unnatural, craving for my home.

Today as I was coming home from the store I was thinking about how grateful I was to NOT be in the hospital and how over the top my desire to be home was last week.

As I pondered, my thoughts went to the fact that this isn’t really home. Heaven is my real home, I’m just having a sabbatical here on earth.

For a flittering moment I thought I really should have this same desire for heaven. But, to tell you the truth I would fight tooth and nail to stay here on this earthly vacation.

Does that make me a bad Christian? Nope.

Is God disappointed with me? I don’t think so.

The whole thought process brought me to a request of God. I asked him to please, please give me that undeniable quench for heaven when his appointed date of my departure was scheduled in his Book of Life if I had time to think about it.

I also asked that he would give that understanding to any of my loved ones. That it was a good thing, a joyful thing.

I had one more conversation with God – “Please make sure you get my scheduled home going date right.”

Better May Not Be

IMG_1596.JPG

This morning I saw this – the beginning of what could be a great sunrise.

Anyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with sunrises and sunsets.

My first thought was to wait until it got better.

I’ve seen enough sunrises to know that there could be so much more than this as the sun rose.

But, something told me to take a picture right then.

So, I went out and took the picture and felt a message in the sunrise.

Here there was a beautiful, soft sunrise beginning and I almost missed the beauty in what was because of what I thought it could be – better.

How often are we waiting for better to come along that we miss what’s right in front of us?

We look past what we have in anticipation for what could come next.

An ever playing thought that I have to harness is “When this _____________, then ___________. 

Meanwhile what was just in front of me was the better I missed while waiting for more than what I thought I had.

My goal is to enjoy what I have, what’s in front of me and if better comes along, then bonus.

Thank you, God, for good, better, best and what you have chosen for us.

Stop Scare Tactic Shopping – no Food Fear Needed

IMG_9486.JPG

I am beyond sick and tired of the lies being spread about our food safety in the US – specifically the non-GMO rubbish that runs rampant throughout our grocery stores.

Dear Consumers –

There is a project out there and its goal is to confuse and dupe you into purchasing food products that are not GMO – for their profit.

According to an article in the Genetic Literacy Project concerning a non-GMO company - Executive Director Megan Westgate told the Wall Street Journal that it is focusing on shrinking the market for existing GMO ingredients and prevent new commercial biotech crops, which would grow the business of the organic and natural products industry. 

Now, if you want to eat non-GMO food, great. Have at it.

But, if you’re purchasing it because you think it’s safer or more healthy than GMO food then please read on.

What is GMO – Genetically Modified Organisms?  Genetic engineering, also referred to as biotechnology, allows plant breeders to take a desirable trait found in nature and transfer it from one plant or organism to the plant they want to improve, as well as make a change to an existing trait in a plant they are developing. – from gmoanswers.com.

Are GMOs bad?

If you are fearful that there is something wrong with GMOs there is no reason to purchase non-GMO products. There is no scientific proof that GMOs are harmful.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) issued a report confirming the safety of GMOs and also their compositional and nutritional equivalency with non-GMO foods – from gmoanswers.com

American Medical Association, World Health Organization, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization are other organizations that deem GMOs safe.

Recently, Genetic Literacy Project reports that GMOs provides substantial health benefits and yield increase in crops. With GMO corn there is a reduction in mycotoxins, which are toxic and carcinogenic for humans and animals.

The mycotoxins weaken the plant's "immune system" and leave it more susceptible to fungal development.  Mycotoxins remain a persistent health threat and studies have shown a correlation between mycotoxins and certain cancers.

I’ve created a cheat sheet for you if you still want non-GMO food.

IMG_1548.JPG

These are the only GMO foods available in the US.

The following are not even available as a non-GMO, yet the slick tricky label is plastered on many items.

IMG_1378.jpg
IMG_1379.jpg
IMG_1380.jpg
IMG_1383.jpg
IMG_1407.jpg
IMG_1408.jpg

As a farmer we use GMO seed. We plant the seed. We walk through the fields with GMO plants. Our kids, dogs and grandkids run through the fields. Do you really think we would if we had any fear of a health issue?

IMG_2535.JPG

People are starving.

The world is growing.

Do we want to move forward with technology and feed our communities or do we want to scare people into spending money they work so hard for on unnecessary expenses?

Here are a few other sites that explain and report much more than covered here.

https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2018/02/19/gmo-corns-yield-human-health-benefits-vindicated-21-years-studies/

https://gmoanswers.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oatmeal Cake with Carmel Frosting

IMG_1488.jpg

Preheat oven to 350 - if using a cake pan, 325 if using a cookie sheet

Soak 1 C Oats with 1 1/4 C boiling water for 20 minutes. Cover the bowl with another plate while soaking.

Cream:
1/2 C softened butter
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar

Add and mix:
2 eggs
1 t vanilla

Add and mix:
1 1/2 C flour
1 t soda
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamom
1/4 t nutmeg

Add the oatmeal and mix well.
Pour into a greased pan and bake
*10 - 12 minutes in a cookie sheet
*30 minutes in a cake pan

* I am horrible at time for baking. I watch it and take it out when done, so keep an eye on the cake while baking and don't over bake. You can tell if a cake is done if when you insert a toothpick it comes out clean.

Frosting:
In a sauce pan bring to a boil and boil one minute:
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C white sugar
4 T shortening
1 T light corn syrup
1/2 C milk

Let it cool a bit and then add 1 t vanilla.

When the mixture starts to thicken pour over cake and carefully spread to the edges.

For the cookie sheet cake I made one and half times the recipe.

IMG_1487.jpg

Somewhere Along the Way . . .

IMG_20100906_124832 copy.jpg

When you go to the hardware store to purchase a drill you really don’t want the drill, you want the hole that the drill will create.

When you go to the grocery store to purchase a gallon of milk you don’t really want a gallon of milk, you want your thirst satisfied.

When you go to the pharmacy you don’t want the drug, you want your illness/pain relieved.

With all and the latest school shootings we say we want to keep the violence out of our schools. What we really want is responsible kids that value life; co-exist together with respect, kindness and compassion.

Somewhere in the past, along the way in life we learned about the drill, milk and medicine.

Somewhere along the way the value of life has been left behind – lost on life’s journey.

Somewhere along the way we have determined that respect must be earned. It seems the effort to receive respect has gotten harder and more arduous through the years.

IMG_6274 copy.JPG

Somewhere along the way kindness has been forgotten. It was laid down when our hands were full and busy and forgotten to be picked back up.

Somewhere along the way compassion was passed to organizations that went overseas or fed the local homeless.

If our hands are full and busy showing value, respect, kindness and compassion to others there will be no room for devices that kill. Let’s start filling hearts and hands.

IMG_7683-001.JPG

Lessons from the Farm

File0770.JPG

1.     Get out of bed in the morning and get going. Getting started on chores early helped keep problems at bay. “Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it” –  Richard Whately

2.     Finish what you start. “It’s too hard, I’m too tired” fell on deaf ears here.There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure” – Colin Powell.

3.     Take good care of the critters. God entrusted them to us and our livelihood comes from it. Their needs come first. Feed for the cows came before the latest and greatest shoe style. “A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” -  Proverbs 12:10 (NKJV)

4.     Respect and help the employees. Once again, God brought us good people. They come first. We work WITH them. Their time off comes first. “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled” – Anne M. Mulcahy

5.     If you drop it – pick it up. If you open it – close it. If you use it – replenish it. “Accountability breeds response-ability” – Steven Covey

6.     If you didn’t drop it – pick it up. If you didn’t open it – close it. If you didn’t use it – replenish it anyway.If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders” - Abigail Van Buren

7.     If there is a challenge, ask for help and learn for the next time. “Be the kind of person who dares to face life's challenges and overcome them rather than dodging them” 
- Roy T. Bennett

8.     Two half-filled 5 gallon pails are easier to carry than one full one. “Being wise is better than being strong; yes, knowledge is more important than strength” – Proverbs 24:5

9.     Spending an hour to get a calf to drink not only keeps the calf alive but helps develop perseverance.Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did” – Newt Gingrich

10.  Physically struggling to the point of exhaustion can be rewarded by the miracle of life when you finally get the calf delivered. No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave” - Calvin Coolidge

11.  Working in the rain, eating dust and dirt is rewarded by seeing the new leaf of a corn plant break through the ground. “Farming is a profession of hope” – Brian Brett