Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Most Requested Recipe

 I share this blog post each year as it is the most requested recipe I have ever posted on my blog. I have a 50 pound bag of potatoes just waiting to jump into this recipe, and off to the freezer. I hope your family enjoys these potatoes as much as mine does!

 As a child, my family always celebrated Thanksgiving with my dad's family. Dad had four brothers, all farmers, all living within 5 miles of each other. Even though we saw each other often, it was special to come together on Thanksgiving. The moms kept themselves busy in the kitchen, complete with aprons to protect their holiday dresses. The dad's waited anxiously for the feast, while discussing farming and football. And the cousins played, and played until we were coaxed to the dinner table to join in the table prayer. We shared a wonderful meal, shared stories, and shared lots of laughs. As late afternoon rolled around, we all headed home to feed and milk the cows, thinking about our "Norman Rockwell" Thanksgiving celebration.
 
This mashed potato recipe often finds its way to our holiday table. I love that it can be made ahead and even frozen so every day can seem like a holiday.

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
5 pounds potatoes
8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup low-fat sour cream

4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Peel potatoes and cut into chunks. Put potatoes in pot and fill with cold water. Cook 25 minutes until fork tender. Drain potatoes and keep them in hot pot. Add all other ingredients. Mash all together. Place in freezer containers to freeze. Thaw in refrigerator for 2 days. Spray interior of slow cooker and add potatoes. Brush the top with 1 tablespoon butter and sprinkle with paprika. Cook on low 2-4 hours. If preferred, bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

For other Dairy Mom favorite recipes, check out Dairy Makes Sense

Monday, November 17, 2014

I've Become A Couch Potato

I like to keep busy. I rarely sit down to watch T.V. without something in my hands to do. Whether it be a magazine, craft project, bills to pay, clothes to fold- you name it, I'm never without something in my hands when I sit down to take in my favorite shows, until now.

I've become a couch potato!

My story requires a little background, so bear with me. Two years ago I took a nasty fall in the milking barn. While getting from point A to point B, I hooked my foot on the railing going down the steps into the milking pit where we stand to milk the cows. It hurt like a son-of-a-gun. Since I have a bit of stubbornness in me, I chalked it off to pulled muscles and refused to go to the doctor to get my knee and leg examined.

Fast forward to this September, 23 months later. While stepping out of my mini-van I heard a "pop" and something sure didn't feel right. Again, another  son-of-a-gun moment. Learning my lesson from my barn fall, I put my stubbornness aside and went to the doctor to discover that my step from the mini-van caused me to finish-off the torn meniscus and torn ACL that happened in my barn fall.

Last Thursday I had surgery to "clean-up" the meniscus.

Daughter Sara was my chaperone on surgery day and bought me a "recovery monkey."
Since the ACL is "too far gone" to repair, I am a candidate for knee replacement surgery, sooner rather than later. My surgeon recommends waiting until I'm older since knee replacements don't last forever. Well, there's a plus...I have been referred to as "too young." 

So here I sit, a couch potato...


elevating, icing, and exercising. 

And that pile of magazines, craft projects, bills to pay, and clothes to fold that I thought I would do while recovering...yep, still sitting next to me.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mom Was Right, Cows Are Cool!

Hi, I'm Julie. Meet my mommy Cindy, and my daddy Jon. 
People say I am pretty cute, and who am I to argue?

My daddy grew up in the city, and my mommy grew up on a dairy farm. Mommy's dad (my grandpa) doesn't have cows anymore, and mommy thought it was time for me to meet my first cow.


Mommy said, "Let's get a closer look." Daddy wasn't sure, but I trust mommy since she grew up around cows.


The cows at Bremer Farms are really friendly and gentle. 


This cow wanted to give me a kiss. Ewww...cow slobber!


This is fun! I smiled at the cows and I'm pretty sure they smiled back at me.
 I really liked meeting the cows.  Mommy was right, cows are cool!


Have you ever been to a farm? There is no better way to learn about cows than to visit a farm and meet a farmer. 

 








Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sum-It-Up Saturday

"That about sums it up." 
Have you heard this phrase, or is it a Minnesota thing? 
"Crazy busy!" That sums up our week.


We finished combining corn this week. You can  learn about the process here. It is a huge job to cross off our to-do list. Now Farmer John is baling corn stalks to use for bedding.  Learn about stalk bales here.


Daughter Sara's community TV show premiered this week too. Aprons Optional is all about preparing 3 recipes; one easy, one medium difficulty, and one more time consuming. By the look on Sara's face, this is not the easy one!


Speaking of TV, my other local television star, son Michael (aka. Take A Hike, Mike!) and I handed out candy to over 550 kiddos at a local Halloween Community Event. So fun, and lots of Frozen costumes! You can see Michael's show Take A Hike, Mike visits Bremer Farms  here.


Our week began with my mom having colon cancer surgery. Through God's guiding hand, mom's surgery went well. Thank you Lord for giving me a mom who is stubborn, and always willing to fight whatever battle is set before her. Love you, Mom!


Our week ended with an addition to our family. A big welcome to the family to Porter, my mom's first Great-Grandchild, and my first Great-Nephew, and Mommy and Daddy (Dena and Aaren's) first child. I'm hoping to hold him, and spoil him real soon!


Lastly, congratulations to Cindy Q. You are the winner of my latest giveaway, and this addition to your herd, cow bank, will be in the mail next week.

So that about sums it up. See you soon!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nature's Facelift And A Giveaway

My favorite season of the year is Fall.

Thanks to Megan Z. for this photo taken on the St. Croix River.
I love the Fall colors. I think Fall is God's way of giving the landscape a bit of a facelift before our Minnesota Winter sets in. You see, if you are not from a Winter Wonderland like Minnesota, you may not know that before the snow covers and illuminates the landscape, that said landscape is brown and downright dreary! That's when God pops the Fall color image back into your head and you say, "Yes, but wasn't it a gorgeous Fall!"

Love this tree on the front yard of my childhood home.
I've been doing a bit of facelift work too. Although not nearly as grand as the Fall landscape, I am still proud of some facelift changes at My Barnyard View. Perhaps you noticed the new photo at the header of this blog. Daughter Sara captured this image as we were finishing up hay chopping right before a rain shower that left us with a double rainbow. 

You may have also noticed the new "buttons" on the right side of my posts.

I have added Instagram, and
 my channel on YouTube showing all my videos.
I also recently added a "My Barnyard View" Facebook page. 
(That's another facelift.) 

 I invite you to click on the 

 on the right side of this post, and "like" my newest addition 
to the Barnyard family.


Following My Barnyard View is as easy 
as a click of a button!


and facelifts!

In honor of all the new changes at My Barnyard View, 
let's celebrate with a giveaway! 


 Enter to win the start of your dairy herd. I promise you will not have to clean-up after her, but if you feed her she will help you save for upcoming holiday gifts, or perhaps pay for another addition to your herd!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A BIG Lunch Bag

Every so often I get this crazy notion to fill my freezer with make-ahead meals. Have you ever had this thought? Just imagine coming home from a hectic day, reaching into the freezer and a short time later presenting your family with a hearty meal. This idea is still just in my head...not my freezer, but this week we finished make-ahead hearty meals for our cows.

This week we finished filling their lunch bags with silage.  


 Corn silage is made by chopping the entire corn plant into small pieces using a machine called a forage harvester, which is pulled by a tractor. A wagon with tall sides is pulled behind the forage harvester to catch the chopped corn. 


 The wagons are then taken to the bunker where they are unloaded and the silage is tightly packed inside to avoid spoilage, and then the bunker is covered with plastic. Our bunkers are large, but not large enough to store all the silage we need for our animals, so we fill lunch bags too.


These plastic bags are 8 feet high and 150 feet long. They do the same job as our bunker- keep our cows feed fresh and safe.


The field may be bare, but our "cupboards" sure aren't. The silage in our bunker and bags will feed our cows until next fall. You can see how we mix the silage with additional feed by reading 120 Hungry Mouths To Feed.

I would call this a silage success story, but there's another, even bigger, success I want to share...

My father-in-law, Grandpa Roy has returned to tractor driving to help with silage chopping.  Thanks to the grace of God, he has returned to good health after suffering a serious heart attack followed by emergency heart surgery last March. We are so happy he is able to return to doing what he loves!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

V Should Be For Victory

V is for "Victory."
V is also for "Vikings Victory."
But this week we will have to settle for V is just for "Vikings."

If you have been following my blog for very long you will already know that I am a HUGE Minnesota Vikings Football fan. So is Farmer John, and so is our son Michael. Daughter Sara...not so much.

Each year for Michael's birthday we cheer on our beloved Vikes at a game that Michael chooses. This year it was verses the Detroit Lions. 
Here's how our day went...

Get up earlier than usual to do chores and milk cows. 
Grab a muffin and some yogurt and head off to the light rail station.
Ride the light rail to the game. 
(This avoids traffic and parking headaches at the stadium).

Me and birthday boy Mike
Farmer John and Sara

Once at the stadium...
Find bathroom, food, and seats...in that order.


Since the Minnesota Vikings are currently building a new stadium, 
this (and next) seasons games are being held at 
the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium.


It is a beautiful stadium on a 60 degree, slightly breezy October day. A December football game...hmmm...maybe not so much.

Win or lose, we always stay until the end.

Other than my creepy "hat-hair" I love this picture.

So our Vikings couldn't pull out a victory (congrats to Detroit) but you can bet we'll be heading back to celebrate Michael's birthday with the Vikes again next year. Until then...

Heading home to do chores.

The players were leaving the stadium at the same time we were and I snapped this picture of 6 foot 8 inch, 343 pound, tackle, Phil Loadholt. After the game, I guess it's back to reality for all of us, dad's and farmers.


For more of our Minnesota Vikings encounters...

You can read about, and view a video of the day we met the Vikings, here-

and learn about the Vikings player that came to our farm, here-