Thursday, April 30, 2009

I am a flower...


I am a
Snapdragon


What Flower
Are You?

"Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."


I thought this was kind of a fun thing... go try it out!!!

For the love of R A M P S!!

OH People - Suzanne from chickens in the road sent me RAMPS!! from the beautiful state of West Virginia!!! THANK YOU SUE!
Guess what a trip through the woods found for me this morning?? RAMPS RAMPS RAMPS RAMPS RAMPS RAMPS!!! I jumped with joy and giggled with childish glee!! SEE - I have an addiction and well, to be honest, it started with Sue sending those tasty little pieces of heaven. The aroma of them simmering in my kitchen is almost to much - I had NO NO NO idea that they grew here in the cold north tundra country! NO IDEA - and I consider myself to be at least of average knowlegde of the local fauna and fare.... Guess I was thinking to much of myself!!! SO - thank you to Sue again and thank you JESUS for the ramps that are growing in the woods behind the barn!!!! LOVE THEM!!!

Ok, Who's doing what for supper this evening? I am So out of ideas and ramp crazed that I don tknow what to make???? Does anyone else ever get into that kind of slump?

Here is a ramp post!!! http://suzannemcminn.com/blog/2009/04/13/a-garden-of-ramps/

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Milk Marketing Board..

Sometimes I get off on a rant, today is one of those days... so if you don't want to hear this - come back tomorrow!! First I am going to explain what the board is suppose to do. It's their job to promote the dairy industry - by organizing events, advertising etc. I have been of the mind set that dairy products promote themselves, just because most people eat cheese and drink milk. However, I do feel that they have a place in the ag industry, but I don't know to what extent they actually help the farmers. I am not trying to make them the bad guy, but I would sure like to know why the feel they need raises at a time like this. Here is the whole story - please read it because maybe I have a jaded point of view because of my profession.




However, here is my thoughts on it....


The way the MMB (Milk Marketing Board) gets paid is that for every 100#'s of milk they get paid $0.10 - pennies I know. Before I get into much more of how they are paid, I should explain how we are paid. Farmers are paid per hundred weight for their milk. They have what is called the 'base price' which is what they are guaranteed to make per 100# of milk sold. Got it so far? Then they are paid 'premiums' based on the quality of milk that is sold for each category the dairy or creamery has. The creamery/dairy is who we sell our milk too. The category's are butterfat, protein, somatic cell count and other solids. There may be one more, but I don't have a slip in front of me so I cant be 100% sure I have all of the categories. However, I have the ones that count. The higher the first two are and the lower that last 2 are decides how much of the premiums you will be paid. The butterfat and protein are good things, the other 2 not good. Other solids is a conglomeration of different 'things' they are looking for and I am not sure what all that entails - its really not bad, but it doesn't help either - its kind of neutral I guess. However, somatic cell count can throw your whole milk check into the gutter so to speak. If its high you are docked your premiums - they still use the milk, but they just don't pay you as much for it AND they haul it in the same truck as the 'better' milk that has a low SCC...stupid huh? On a side note, there is grade A milk and grade B milk - the pay is different but the same milk hauler picks up both..... figure that one out - the milk ALL GOES TOGETHER. Anyway, the SCC needs to be low. What the SCC is, is cells in the cows bag (udder) that protect against infection - they are white blood cells really. The 'theory' is that if there are a high amount of SCC's than there must be an infection or a pending infection - mastitis in the cows udder. If I am honest, I think that the theory may have a foundation but it also is necessary for a cow to have this to fight infections... It's a double edged sword - its a way to control what we are paid - like I said, on this subject I can see both sides. HOWEVER, here we go again with the however's, in my opinion this can be skewed by the creamery. Every time a load of milk is picked up there is a 'test' sample taken by the milk hauler a.k.a. the other milk man not to be confused with MY Milk Man..*snicker* the creamery tests that milk and pays according to THEIR test results. We have the option of testing with a private testing company, but that costs us a little over $1 per cow every time you test and you have to test 2 times per month.... anyway, the creamery has all the cards if you don't test. We figured on testing at one time, but when we figured out the cost of testing with a private company, it would eat into anything that we made on our premiums if not all of it. SO, they have you by the short hairs. They can get test samples mixed up and have! In my opinion - MY OPINION ONLY -but I know others share this opinion.... the creamery will 'switch' tests with bigger dairies so that their cell count is lower and ours is higher... why you ask, because its much easier to pull up a semi-tanker to a huge dairy than it is to send out 3 drivers on separate routes to pick up the smaller farmers milk. However, big dairies will milk anything with tits....and 4 legs of course. *snicker* The creamery will 'work with' a bigger dairy for the simple fact that they make more milk - not because its better milk, its all about the volume and cheaper. Keep the big dairy happy and they stay with our creamery - make the big dairy do a better job I say - have better animal management... but when your running 600 head of cattle, IT CANT BE DONE! Do I think that 200 head is manageable, probably if done well - but more than that and the animals and milk quality suffer....SO - this got out of hand for gosh sake...sorry to be such a downer... Does everyone understand how we are paid now? No? Me neither...LOL

SO on to the MMB - they are paid with what is called a 'check-off'. All farmers, regardless of type pay some sort of a 'check off ' to the various 'boards' that advertise/promote the type of farm they run. Ours is $.10 per hundred and this is the point I am getting at through all of this. The current check off price was set up in 1984 - when milk was selling for base price of $13.14... Base price on our current milk check is $12.30... stunning huh - sure it has not went up when milk prices were high either, BUT - how ridiculous to give themselves raises now? One of the members of the board stated that with inflation the check off should be at $1.85 per hundred...ok, I understand that but then milk should always being going up too - right? We are getting less than we were 25 YEARS AGO PEOPLE!!!! With our expenses on some things being tripled!!! Please go and read that article that I posted the link too - and ask me questions about it would you? I don't want to write much more, but will answer your questions. The article was well written, but in my opinion the people on that MMB are out of touch with small farmers, but that should not surprise me should it. Oh btw, we have no choice about being part of that organization - if you produce milk you are FORCED to pay the checkoffs regardless if you agree or want to be associated with it. They gave themselves raises with 'uncommitted money', what the heck is that??? Should that not be put away if it's not NEEDED!!! They have a budget increase of $400,000 and a quarter or almost a quarter $119,000.00 is going for raises, but not ALL employees are getting raises, so that $ is going to a FEW of them.. HOLY CRAP already... I bet the ones at the top are the ones getting the raises - and as far as the position that was cut, I am pretty sure it was a part time one.... anyway, go read it will ya - I will feel better if someone else can give me their opinion/view on it.. Thanks guys for letting me get that off my chest! Here's a gratuitous Milk Dud photo....


Thats for you Karen and Goat Girl - I sniffed him too... LOL

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Milk Marketing Board...is giving themselves raises...

Again... a local ag paper reported that our states milk marketing board has decided to give themselves raises... Do many of you know how the states milk marketing boards work?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Home made potato soup...get your bibs ready..

< OOOOOOHHHHHHHHH MY!!! This is one of my favorite things to make - I heart soup. This is a soup that will stick with you, but is not heavy. Its a soup that is filling but not to the point of nausea AND its got flavor like no other. Well, that's what the Milk Man says but I sleep with him so he's kind of biased, but make and figure it out for yourself.

Heidi's Potato Soup... yes I am taking all the credit for this, cuz I thunked it up meself. Take a pot like this one... its older than I am but it works perfect.

Then I take ham... I usually use ham left over from a meal, but I didn't have any so I used this instead... I don't like anything that is 'lean', but this worked ok..


Most times I use the left overs from a meal that we have ham for, this is if I don't make pea soup with the left overs. When I do that I take the bone and whatever ham is left over, put enough water on it just so its covered and boil it until the meat is off of the bone. Then I take the bone out and add potatoes to that water. I think a bone in meat makes more flavor, but that's just the cough syrup talking-don't listen to me... anyway...
Cut up your meat into little pieces, just as much or as little as you want. You will find out the I measure very little, if anything when I make it - sorry if that throws you into convulsions but I am allergic to measuring cups.. its a well known fact, me being allergic an all...

Also cut up as much onion as you want/like and throw that in there as well - I use a whole nice sized onion....


Then I start with the potatoes... I peel them, cut them up and put them in until I have as many as I want... again no measuring but I have a picture that shows how much I put into the pot if that helps... I hope it helps...








When this is done, I cover them with water - but only enough to cover them. DO NOT FILL THE POT UP WITH WATER!!! Your eyes will swell shut if you do - I promise... not really.


While this is cooking I fry a pound of bacon till its crispy and save the fat.



Then take your mushrooms, wash them, dice them and get ready to fry them in your bacon fat..











Before you fry them, take some minced garlic - fresh or jarred - and throw that in the bacon grease and warm it up, then add your chopped mushrooms.













Now, when your potatoes are done - when I say done I mean DONE. Not just forkable - then I add some of this liquid gold...





After I add the cream, about 1pt I let this simmer for a while - then I add the bacon or not - Sometimes I don't add the bacon till the very last 1/2 hour because is gets mushy - but sometimes I do.. just depends on my time frame and my mood... BUT the secret ingredient to this is this little herb that I have never been able to find in a store. I grow this myself so that's why I have it. Its called Lovage - I am providing a link because I think its VERY important to read about what you eat before you eat it. Especially herbs and various 'natural' things. When you first go to this link, it looks like an ad and it is, but scroll down and READ IT ALL! Then decide if its something that you want to try to use. Its delicious that I promise - its a little bit like celery, but not as 'woody' as celery.. You don't need a lot of it for the flavor to take over, just a couple of little leaves and it enhances the soup without over powering it. The stalk is usable also, but like I said I only used a tiny bit, less than 2 tsp chopped and i dried the rest of what I harvested.

http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_lovage.htm








After you add this let it simmer for about another 1/2 hr or more. It will get thicker the longer you let it simmer - Its truly a delicious thing - one of my favorites for a rainy day. I make onion cheese biscuits with it most times and they are GOOOOOD too. I have also added roasted red bell peppers and its to die for... yum...almost as good as a Sunday afternoon nap.
Here is the end result...
These pictures are in the wrong order sorry...adding bacon
adding lovage..
Its nice an creamy and thick.... but not over cooked.. I used to use 'thickening' but found doing this much more tasty and satisfying..and pretty, its very pretty in real life...

I'll be putting up a post..

As soon as I get up from my nap.....yes I am taking a nap - its gonna feeeeeel goooood... :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Big Son the prude...

I have to share this with you all because I laughed myself sick yesterday, only after I was mortified because of somthing Big Son said and did.. Big Son and I went to town together. He was home from school not feeling very well and I needed to go to town for some parts for the farm - we're in the field now so things are breaking left and right - anyway... We stopped at the store. I have to explain to you all that we are a loud family, yes THAT family. The ones who talk loud even for no reason, or the ones that yell down the aisle such things as - Do You Here Me? or the favorite - JUST WAIT TILL WE GET HOME!! yup, its us... BUT, in our defense I think it comes from working cattle, around loud machinery and distances from one another. Ya have to yell back and forth to be heard while working cattle or running machinery OR because you have only so much energy and walking 200 yards to tell someone something while your picking rock, is just to much work. Rocks stink in case anyone was wondering... now that I have explained that, here is my story.

It all takes place in the produce aisle of the local mega-store that I wont name.... I am ogling the fresh produce, because honestly people I don't get out much. Other than a parts run, I shop very little. Big Son takes off a few steps ahead of me in search of a couple of items that I needed while I stop to fondle the artichokes - they are neat little buggers arent they - a few seconds later I hear this "HEY MOM" He's about 25ft away from me and there are at least 6 other woman standing around groping the produce - of course we ALL look because, well we were all moms.....need I explain that? I doubt it.. the only other person there was a 'produce guy' and he was stocking the grapes. The produce guy keeps stocking his grapes as the women all turn to Big Son. Big Son stands holding 2 huge white onions and says the following "These are as big as Fritzie's nuts" (Fritzie is our Angus Bull)..... *crickets chirp* all the women turn to look at me and the 'grape guy' - turns to look at Big Son. I am SURE he had to see just HOW BIG they are. I wanted to crawl UNDER the tile but no go - I just smiled and shook my head at him like I completely understood, which I did but that's beside the point. Thank God at least 1 of the women must have been a farm/country wife/mom cuz she started to smile then laughed. The other woman gave me the - what do you teach your kids eye-roll and kept shopping. The grape guy, well - I think he must have been comparing the grapes to the onions, cuz he had a grin on his face too.. it's a guy thing.
After the onion incident, I don't think I will be able to shop for onions again without laughing my head off. I know every time I cut an onion I will think of Fritzie... What is so funny to me is not only what he said and did, but the fact that he is a PRUDE! I believe in being modest, no short shorts, no 'crop tops' or low rise jeans that your butt crack hangs out like Earl the plumber - but Big Son is worse. He wont go in the ladies underwear section with me, but he will talk about bull nuts. He hates bra commercials and says 'That is disrespectful, you never see men walking around in the shorts (underwear) and lets not discuss 'feminine' commercials - he leaves the room. He wont look at girls with cleavage hanging out, but likes a well dressed woman and will comment on how nice/pretty she looks.I know most of that is his age, but it's funny how one child can differ so much from the other. The other day Lispy was watching an old movie that we taped, it had commercials in it and one was a Hanes commercial with the lady in her bra, undies and a mans shirt on like a house coat. He said 'Mamma, does that yady (lady) have a baby?" I said I didnt know and asked why - He said "Cuz her thirt (shirt) is open an her tidder's (titter) is sticking out".... good grief.... I guess I must have done that at some point in time, but I sure dont remember it...

Anyway, enough body talk - I have an informational section too...


This is what a staff meeting looks like at the farm....

The CEO is on the right and the VP is on the left... I sleep with the VP in case you were wondering....

This is our bail wagon. We haul big round bales on it. The Milk Man made this himself, yes he IS good at things other than makeing beautiful little boys. He can weld a mean bead.... for those who dont weld, a bead is what you call weld after its cooled...

We can haul 17 bales that weigh 800-850lbs on this bugger. There are unloading chains on it and the running gear is heavy duty to support the weight. Its our own design and he did ALL of the work himself. It works great and saves lots of time. When it unloads you have to drive ahead slowly as the drive chains unload the bales - pretty neat huh?



Well, I have to get the boys up for breakfast so I better call this good!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mustard Plaster...

Sorry to have taken so long to post about this, but - well - ok there is no reason but I am still sorry. I dont have any pictures yet, but I have a kid with a sore throat so I will get some today.

Mustard Plaster

1 cup flour
2 tablspoons dry ground mustard
enough warm water to make a paste

I want to warn you right now that this stuff is a bit dangerous. IT WILL BURN YOU!!!!
Mix this together and put it into a wet wash cloth and fold it over like a sandwich, then put it into a zip lock bag and then into a dry hand towel. Then place it on the area - chest or back but DO NOT LEAVE IT IN ONE SPOT FOR TO LONG! When I say this will burn you I am dead serious. My mother in law burnt my father in law's chest with it once. He literally had a blister from it - but his cold was gone. This stuff works so well you can use it for arthritis, cramps, back aches - anything that requires a lot of heat. One of our neighbors had his WHOLE herd of cows come down with spring pneumonia. The anti-biotics were not working so he sent his wife to town and told her to buy all of the dry mustard that she could. She did and he made mustard plasters for ALL of his cows. He make huge batches of it, put it in bath towls, then into gunny bags tied together with twine at the top and laid them over his cows backs like saddle bags on a horse. He saved his cattle, but where he had put the bags had gotten so hot that the hair fell out in some places on them..... but it worked. SO PLEASE use caution and dont use this on little kids. I did it once on Lispy, but NEVER on the baby or anyone smaller than 4. When you use this DO NOT leave the person alone and dont leave it on for more than a couple of minutes at a time. Check the skin often to see if its getting to red, it will burn and blister if its left unattended.
NOW - tell me how many of you are going to try this now!! LOL Who is crazy enough to listen to the rambeling of a sleep deprived, cough syrup drinking, mother of 5 who is on her 3rd cup of coffee....hhhhhmmmm tell me?

I promise to have pictures later today, but wanted to put this up here for those brave enough to give it a whirl...

Now its time to make the bread - again - and laundry - again - and pie - again.... Milk Man said I should do a running day in twitter, but I told him that I dont know if any one knows when I update my twitter, other than those who are followers. Can you tell me if I update twitter, do my subscribers here get a message of some sort, or just my twitter followers? BTW, I love my followers and twitter'ers...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hillbilly Delluxe....

I have a little brother, his name is Bubby boy, we threw him in the river to see if he could swim. He didnt drink the water, he got all full of mud - now our mamma wants to kill him and throw out all his cloths....



My baby brother turned 21 on the 16 of April....but only his body turned 21 - When he was little he told our mom that he was always going to be 4 - I think he has accomplished that dont you? He is forever going to be the baby of the family, even though he is 6'2 and 225. Me, I am always going to be the sultry 5'3 130 lbs I have always been - Pam C. if you say one word.... well, just dont say one word! Pam is a friend of our family and her family have always been our friends.. confused, I am.

My sister, BC - she knows what it means - was supose to marry this guy AC, does not stand for air conditioning. We had her paired with him for years, litterally since they were baby's.



BUT - NO she had other ideas, like this one..




Truth be told, either would have been a great addition to our family. But the one she picked - JC - is great... but AC is great too - glad I didnt have to pick. PC, AC's mom is my moms good friend - PC has been such a blessing to our family, she is ALWAYS there when you need her! LOVE YOU PC!!!

Anyway - it was Bubby's birthday party and we had a blast!! This is a hillbilly/redneck birthday party..




Mud, blood and gas....and food... lots of food that I didnt get pictures of! DANG IT!

Our dad had his 'four wheely' out too....




Well, thats it for right now. I have gotten a rotten cold and so has Milk Dud. SO Karen from Fresh Fixins... later today you will get your post about a mustard plaster!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

On the road again...

Well, I am not going to post part 2 of the auction just yet. I have more pictures to post and all, but I have a confession - I didnt watch the land be sold. Couldnt bring myself to see it. I consider myself pretty tough, *slaps hand over coffeemans mouth - gives him hairy eyeball look* but I could'nt do it.... sorry if your disapointed. However, there will be more pictures of the event, but today is another day of fun filled excitment. First I am going to the farm and then to my brother Bubbys birthday party... Bubby is the baby of the family, at least by age anyway. He is the youngest boy - and the funnest in our family to be around. SO - we are off to his party today. I will be back with pictures of a hillbilly birthday party, complete with muddy four wheelers, muddy horses and llama's - not sure how they fit in, but around here ya never know...


BTW - I am not sure that you are aware of the jokes or humor that a farmer has. Its a well kept secret and I have decided to share it with you....be warned. Most farmers have a slew of jokes in their stand up act that would rival Tim Conway... except the one about the elephant, that one rocks. so - here is one of our favorites. Ole and Lena are standbys in the part of the country so please dont be offended. We often self demoralize/degrade for the sake of a good laugh.


Ole and Lena were standing in the kitchen talking about the new line of machinery that they had seen at the John Deere shop just that morning. Lena turned around and bent to get a pan out of the bottom cupboard, as she did this Ole said "Lena, you are gettin as vide (wide) as that thar new combine down at the John Deere shop." Lena stood up and face Ole, but didnt say a word and just smiled sweetly. Later that night when Ole and Lena went to bed, Ole snuggled up to Lean and asked her if she was 'interested' in a little fun. Lena smiled her sweet smile and looked straight into Ole's eyes and said "Ole, if you think I am going to start up this $100,000 piece of machinery for that little cob, you have another thing coming."


ISNT THAT THE BEST EVER!!! I laugh so hard everytime I hear it... probably because I can relate to it.....


Well, here is another picture for no reason....

Friday, April 17, 2009

fuzzy math syndrome....

I have sinned and am falling very short in the math departement.... crap anyway. Ye Merry Quilter has shone me the way to admitting that I am in fact a victim of fuzzy math syndrome.... please forgive me and dont listen to a thing that I say about anything - I know nothing, especially math. My figuring was off because of a decimal point -*hides head in shame* I also used last months base rate - which was higher than this month...... so I screwed up all the way around. IN my defense however, like I have one at this point - and after consulting with the math man of the house - Milk Man - I have come up with a new figure or at least a shot at it.... ready - $.78 per gallon before any expenses or checkoffs are taken.....after paying hauling fee's, mandatory checkoffs for the government, creamry fee's and a crap load of other stuff..... I dont know for sure how much we get per gallon. I am going to figure that out though, no I mean Milk Man is going to figure it out for me... *snicker* I am SO sorry - I have no excuse save one, I am Al Gore's long lost sister that never exsisted. *deer in the headlights look, right eyelid is twitching* please forgive me.. And Ye Merry Quilter - stop checking my math!!! JUST KIDDING - actually, maybe I could send you my numbers and you can do it for me???

NOW, would anyone like to see what a milk check looks like?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The auction part one....

The day is finally over and I am relived to be home. Things went well, but the emotions were at times overwhelming to say the least. Everyone tried to be upbeat and it worked for a while, but only for moments. This is the machinery...

Those old tractor tires are flower planters....its a farm thing.


Here is machinery row - they go down one side of the machinery and sell it, then come up the other side doing the same thing.

The truck in the middle of the people is the 'auction truck' - the auctioneer sits in it and rattles his mantra.....
This is what it sound like to sell a piece of machinery that you have worked for 31 years to buy, then have to sell it 2 years after you buy it. This is a heart breaking sound to a man that has worked all night long at certain times of the year to pay for his machinery. This is the begining of the end of a legacy....



video

Yet in the midst of this there is still friendship. The funny thing about auctions is that they are also meeting grounds for old friends - friends that have not seen each other in years and pick up right where they leave off, and part with the same smile that they greeted with. This is how old farmers look....



Except for the hot guy, second from the right..... yum...


Then the cattle were sold - causing tears, hurt, anger, resentment and bitterness....



This is what it sounds like to loose what has taken 37 years of breeding to accomplish, this beautiful herd of cattle....




video


There will be more pictures tommorow - I just cant bring myself to relive today right now...



So I will leave you with the shred of hope that we small farmers cling too with all of our hearts..





our future.....