Saturday, March 27, 2010

Yesterday was a seed day. That means, we got the first delivery of our seed corn and beans. (That's the stuff that gets planted...and then we pray will grow.)

The first thing that showed up yesterday was this tiny shipment from a man in a pickup truck.This is 50 pounds of sweet corn seed. They are pretty proud of this seed. It sells for almost $15 per pound. (You do the math!)

This is the (mostly) empty place in the shop where the seed will go. Ted will get it cleaned up a little more. A place needs to be spiffy before you fill it up again with stuff.

The semi truck arrived and Ted started to unload the bulk bags first. Normally, we get our seed in "pro boxes" (which you'll see in a minute), but the plant that had our seed had a fire this winter and 3000 pro boxes burned up. They didn't have enough to go around this year, so everyone is making due with less. (More on pro boxes in a minute.)

These bags weigh 2500 pounds a piece. Ted is pretty particular about how they get stacked for obvious reasons. The seed shifts a bit in transit and the bags aren't perfectly square.
He really doesn't want one to fall over.

Ted puts a layer of cardboard in-between the pallet and the bag to keep the bag from getting torn.

The bags are unloaded.

A fork lift is necessary equipment. Especially when you have to unload the truck yourself!
Ted starts to unload the pro-boxes.

This is what a pro box looks like. It, like the bags, holds 2500 pounds of seed. What is nice about pro boxes is that they are made to actually fit onto a cart with a conveyor that we take to the field. This eliminates manually carrying and unloading thousands of pounds of seed by hand. The boxes are also nice and square, making them easy to stack, and they get RECYCLED! (You can't recycle the bags.)

This is a little over half of the seed we will plant this year.
More than 25,000 pounds...and we're not done yet.

We also unload some seed for neighbors at our place. This particular neighbor can't get a semi into his place so they just bring the seed to our place, where Ted unloads it and then loads it onto the neighbor's truck. These are traditional paper bags of seed. These bags will get unloaded into his planter by hand. That's a lot of hard, back-breaking work...but easier than a few years ago. It used to be that a bag of seed weighed 60 pounds...why? Because that is a bushel. But, several years ago they changed it to 50 pound bags. No, I don't know why.

And, as always, our ever-present "watch dog" was in attendance. We call him the "watch dog" because Buddy can watch people work all day long...kind of like me. Hee hee!

Friday, March 26, 2010

How much wood?

Let me just say, that the farm loves trees. But with trees, comes a lot of work. The farm has planted a lot of trees, but we also have to harvest a lot of trees. (The term "we" is being used very loosely as I actually have nothing to do with this process. I'm much too fragile to stand on frozen ground doing hard manual labor all day. My place is in the to the nice toasty fireplace!) Most of our fields are surrounded by creeks which are surrounded by trees. Naturally, trees die and then, if not taken care of, they will fall either into the creek, creating problems, or into the field, creating problems. So, what does a farmer spend a great amount of time doing in the "off season?"Cutting firewood!Hauling logs. Sawing logs. Splitting logs. Stacking logs. Moving stacks of logs...

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
I really have no idea but I bet it's not as much as your average farmer in the month of January. (Please note that this is just what is remains of the wood after a long cold winter and two wood stoves going at a constant clip.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring has Sprung

It is finally showing signs of spring on the farm. Harvest was soooooooo late last year, and then it was sooooooo cold, that stuff that should have been done then, is just getting done now. "Cleaning up" the corn head is one of those tasks. That involves making sure there are no broken springs, bad sprockets or bearings, bent metal, replacing parts that need replaced.
Blah, blah, blah...
This is Jim...Ted's dad...working on some do-hickey that he took off of the corn head. Ted was busy with a salesman at the time. That's a strange thing about farming, the salesmen still tend to come to you. Anyway, I don't know who was enjoying themselves more: Jim with the corn head or Ted with the salesman. I quickly accessed the situation, and then moved on to greener pastures...I went on my first flower photo shoot of the year.

The crocus have been up, then buried under about 10 inches of snow, then uncovered again. They don't seem to mind.

Hello lovely!

Ahhhh...mellow yellow. Ok. Maybe NOT mellow.
But still quite right!

Just waiting for a bee.

Oh! Here one comes now.

The bees are back! Definitely spring!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Brownie Pan...Made in the U.S.A.

One thing I love more than new brownie pan!
A friend of mine and I have a love of brownie "edges." You know..the chewy part that is worth fighting over...and we have had our share of battles over those edge pieces. Now, I know that there are a lot of "middle" piece people out there. My daughter is one of them. And some people just don't care. "It's a brownie! Who cares WHICH piece it is?" Well, I kinda do.
My friends know this.
They presented me with this pan for Christmas.
Look at all of those surfaces for edge pieces! It has a non-stick coating that works really well, although I still give it a squirt of the spray anyway.
It is a nice heavy pan and really does a superb job of cooking the brownies. (I haven't made anything else in the pan...yet.) It even says "Baker's Edge" right on the handle so you don't mistake it for another pan.

Here's my favorite part...where it says "MADE IN USA."

Verdict: I'm in love with this pan. I was actually thinking about buying one before I was presented this one as a gift. I guess my friends know me a little too well. (Lucky me!) They can come over for a brownie anytime they want...and I promise not to fight over which piece I get! We have more important things to argue about.
Oh! A link if you want to check them out:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tumblers...Made in the U.S.A.

My friend Gail tipped me off to these fantastic tumblers. She knew I was on a quest for "made in the U.S.A." stuff and so she told me about these and how much she loves them. These are Turvis Tumblers! I went to the website and was pulled in. They seemed a little pricey, but what really got me to bite was the fact that these babies have a LIFETIME GUARANTEE! No kidding! If one ever just mail it back and they mail you a new one. No receipt, no questions, no nothing required. Just the tumbler! Wow! It doesn't get any better than that.

Oh wait! It does get better. They have these cute embroidered patches layered inside the double walled glasses and you can get just about anything. I ordered this John Deere glass for our little friend Ben. He likes to ride the tractor with Ted whenever he can flag him down. The funny thing is, after I picked out this glass for him, I had second thoughts and invited him to pick out his own (without showing him what I had picked for him). Despite the tons of designs to choose from and the three different John Deere glasses, he picked the EXACT same one! (He has good taste.)

I also had Ben help me pick out a glass for his little sister. He picked out the rose because that is his sister's middle name. Rose! What a sweetie! He and his sister are Cute with a capital "C!"

I also wanted to order his parents some glasses, too. I got them both one like the K-State glass on the far right. I also got one for the hubby since that was his alma mater. As a KU girl, let me tell you that I had a really hard time not getting KU glasses for everyone. But alas! I want them to actually use the I relented. (Turvis has all of the collegiate teams.) I have been proudly using my KU glass today and can honestly tell you that my tumbler has passed the cold test. It did not sweat with ice water. I haven't given it the hot test yet, but they say they are also good for hot beverages, as well. My big 24 oz. glass fits in my car cup holder. You can also order these handy dandy lids for them. I can't wait to put these to the test this summer when it gets really hot outside.

KS Wheat

This is a great explanation of where our flour comes from. Much better than what I could do, so I thought I'd just post the link. And I love King Arthur Bread Flour, so it's all good.
I've seen this process myself, from the field to guided tours of wheat processing plants. Very interesting and it really gives you an appreciation of where your food comes from. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ah, Nuts!!!

When I went in search of things made in the U.S.A., I really was NOT going to focus on food. After all, I'm married to a farmer. Producing food is what he does. But, in this case, I simply could not help myself. This is a U.S.A. product that I've been so in love with over the years, that to not mention it would be a sin.

Virginia Diner peanuts! These are amazing!
My hubby has family that lives out on the east coast. Whenever we visit, someone usually makes a run to the diner where they sell these. (I usually order mine on-line from home because I simply cannot run out of the yummy goodness.) But I think it's fair to say, had I not married this wonderful man, I would still be ignorant of the joy of these peanuts.
Who knew marriage could bring such pea nutty bliss?
I think why their peanuts are so good is because of the "blistering." No, I have no idea how they blister a peanut. All I know is that it makes them super extra crunchy and delicious.
Oh, and coincidentally, March is "national peanut month."
And have I mentioned that George Washington Carver is a hero of mine? It just makes sense that I should show homage to him and to peanuts. Specifically, these peanuts, but then I never met a peanut I didn't like...
If you want to read about the history of these peanuts that they've been making since 1929, you can read here: