Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Big Thanks From Santa

Holy cow! We were hoping for a great turn-out, but wow!
Our Santa On The Farm event last Saturday brought quite a crowd. 
Read on to see a video of our Christmas display too!

Kate loved Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Nearly 400 people visited Bremer Farms. Each car that drove through our holiday display brought food shelf donations or money to donate to the Great American Milk Drive. We received more food than Santa's toy sack can hold. Good thing he has a big sleigh!

Megan and Jack came to visit.
There were lots of photos taken with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Mrs. Claus gave everyone a cow coloring book, crayons, and "I heart Milk" stickers, and Santa made sure all the good little boys and girls, and the moms and dads too, went home with candy canes.

Porter and Maverick's aunties brought them to see Santa on the Farm.
Thank you to everyone who came to see how we celebrate Christmas on Bremer Farms and for all the generous donations! After only our second year of hosting "Santa on the Farm" it has quickly become one of our favorite holiday traditions!

Please enjoy our SANTA ON THE FARM VIDEO

Thanks to Santa and Mrs. Claus for visiting Bremer Farms! I only wish Sara and Michael could have been here to see them (wink-wink).

"LIKE" My Barnyard View on Facebook and you will be entered to win a dairy goodness holiday package. This random drawing includes milk and cookies tree ornaments, 2 "Dairy Christmas" kitchen towels and The Dairy Good Cookbook! Good luck!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Santa On The Farm 2017

We at Bremer farms are bustling about as fast as Santa's Elves right now. While the Elves are building toys at the North Pole, we are creating a Christmas extravaganza on the farm, and we hope you will come for a visit. Santa and the lovely Mrs. Claus are taking time away from their busy schedule to be here to greet you!

Here's a sneak peek-

A few of our gingerbread houses.
There may not be gingerbread samples, but there will be goodie bags for the kids, and candy canes for all! We will also be collecting food donations for Hastings Family Service and cash donations for the Great American Milk Drive. On average, people served by food banks receive the equivalent of less than 1 gallon of milk per person per year.

Snoopy is helping too!
There will be thousands of lights, characters you will recognize, and be sure to tune your car radio to 88.9FM to watch the light show synced to music. This year's show features "The Christmas Without A Santa Claus."

We hope you can come!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Harvest17 Is In The Books

There were days when I didn't think we would ever be able to say it, but Harvest17 is finished!

As farmers we quickly realize that not everything is in our control. 

Take the weather for instance. This Fall brought many rainy, wet days which screamed, "We can't combine corn today!" 

Then there was the tractor that needed to be fixed which meant taking off a few days of combining since we needed the tractor to bring the wagons in from the corn field. Thanks to our local implement dealer, it was fixed quickly though! 

And then there was the day that fuel was delivered to the farm and the gasoline was accidentally pumped into the diesel fuel tank. In case you don't know- gas and diesel don't like each other! So the next step was to drain the fuel from everything we had filled...tractors, combine, two skid steer loaders... and more trips to our local implement dealer for new filters and repairs because of the delivery boo-boo.

When our two corn storage bins on our farm were filled, it was off to the grain elevator in a neighboring town.  At this point of harvest, we opted to take a few days off to avoid the long lines at the elevator since many farmers were now delivering their bounty to the elevator to be either stored or sold. The whole time we prayed the good weather would hold out.

But hey, we got it done. No one got hurt, we have two bins filled to the brim with corn, and we had a large enough yield that we were able to sell a bunch too. I do know that in our area, and across the state of Minnesota there is a lot of corn (and soybeans) still standing in the field. I pray that all farmers can soon say, "We got 'er done." 

See you next year combine. Until then, my work here is done!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Calzone Pinwheels

I'm sure this comes as no surprise, but I love cheese! I have pretty good radar when it comes to finding recipes that include cheese, and lots of it! When our friend Ana made these Calzone Pinwheels as a snack for my family, I knew I needed to share the recipe with you. 

This batch stayed in the oven a bit too long, but I'm still shocked I got a photo before they were gobbled up!

Calzone Pinwheels

1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup diced pepperoni
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 jar (14 ounces) pizza sauce, warmed

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the first nine ingredients.
2. Unroll crescent dough and separate into four rectangles; press perforations to seal. Spread rectangles with cheese mixture within 1/4 inch of edges. Roll jelly-roll style, starting with a short side; pinch seam to seal.
3. Using a serrated knife, cut each roll into four slices; place on a greased baking sheet, cut side down. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with pizza sauce. Makes 16 appetizers.

Thanks to Taste Of Home for this recipe.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Two Little Steps and What They Taught Me

August 22, 2017 - Two days before the beginning of the Minnesota State Fair. Two days before I begin my 12 days of chaperoning Princess Kay of the Milky Way and her court. This is what happens when you don't see two little steps in a dimly lit room. 

Thanks to my daughter Sara and the great staff of Midwest Dairy I was able to rest up at home the first four days and then return via a motorized scooter for the remainder of the fair. But I'm getting ahead of the story...

August 24- Two days after falling- can't get a shoe on my swollen foot- trip to ER- Dr. says "two broken bones- here's some crutches- can put some weight on it- don't think you will need surgery but call surgeon after the Fair."

September 8- I'm in surgery- staple permanently implanted in my foot- no weight on foot for 2 weeks- can't walk up steps- bedroom on second floor- sleeping in a recliner is not ideal- eating in a recliner is awkward.

September 21- Transitioned from surgery wrap to a cast- red is my favorite color- no weight for 2 more weeks- getting tired of sitting- nothing good on TV- my family is amazing help- thinking of my Mom and Dad a lot as they were not mobile for the last several years of their lives- reality check- stop complaining and be thankful.

October 5- Transitioned from cast to walking boot- no weight for 1 week- progress?- still sitting- sorted magazines- read two books- made two Christmas stockings- isn't being waited on supposed to be a luxury?- feeling helpless but thankful.

October 12- I can stand- walking boot for two more weeks- can walk to the bathroom alone (that's a big deal!- excited to do laundry and dishes- never thought I would say that.

October 26- Can start transitioning from walking boot to shoe with an ankle brace- what shoe is going to fit this swollen foot and brace?- swelling could last 4 months or longer- sigh... slow and steady wins the race.

Thank goodness for stretchy tennis shoes! They fit over a brace and a swollen foot. I can even climb steps, all the way to the seat in the combine so I can combine corn! is good! 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Farm Tours

Our farm gets frequent requests to host farm tours. My husband and I typically decline the requests. It can be a lot of preparation. It takes time away from doing our daily chores that still need to get done. Our farm isn’t new. We don’t have the latest equipment or state-of-the-art facilities. Our farm isn’t big. Yes, we came up with a long lists of reasons to say no.

Now don't get me wrong- growing up, my family has participated in farm tours for decades. Growing up on my parents farm I rubbed elbows with eager young school children every Spring. Living only 20 minutes from downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, we were often the destination for students to get their first chance to visit a real, live dairy and chicken farm!
When I was younger, all my grandparents and all six of my uncle’s families were dairy farmers. Notice I said were. Today only about 2% of the United States population lives on a farm. Most folks are two to three generations removed from farming.

With the decline in most people having little or no connection to farming, who is going to answer consumer questions? Who is going to refute misinformation? Who is going to defend farmers- our farming methods, our animal care, our supposed mistreatment of the land and our animals. So are we going to sit back and let this bashing and misinformation continue, or are we going to step up and tell our side of the story. And that’s how it happened. That’s what helped my family decide to host farm tours.

I’d like to share a bit about a recent farm tour. We hosted a youth orchestra from Germany. Eighty youth and their chaperones descended on our dairy farm. Since they were from an agricultural area in Germany, their host organization felt they would appreciate seeing the difference between our farming practices versus that of their homeland.  Upon arrival we discovered they were from wine country and knew very little about dairy farming.
Since there were 90 people in this tour, we broke into three groups and rotated between three stations. One was the calf barn hosted by Grandma Karen, our champion calf- raiser. She spoke about newborn calf care and feeding.
Our son Michael handled the milking station which explained cow care and the milking process.
My husband John then showed and described the feeding as well as the crops. The students were so eager to ask questions and learn as much as possible. And they didn’t refuse the ice cream treats at the end of the tour either!
Our family was honored guests at the concert the youth orchestra performed that evening. I am so happy that our farm was included in their American experience. 
So is it work to host farm tours? You bet. Is there preparation that needs to be done? Of course. Does it disrupt the flow of chores? Sometimes. Is it worth it? Absolutely!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Halloween Spooktacular

We love Halloween at our house. We decorate the inside of our house and the yard outside. Heck, we even decorate our food to get in the spirit of this spooky season. Daughter Sara went all out with these ghoulish recipes on her TV show Aprons Optional. You can watch her latest episode on YouTube, but first here's a sneak peek.

Whether you are entertaining friendly ghosts or goblins, or serving up a frightfully good meal to your family, I know you will enjoy these recipes.

These "Jack O'Lantern Stuffed Peppers" are filled with ground beef, brown rice, and PARMESAN CHEESE. I love the colored peppers!

"Tator Terrors" are a fun addition to a meal or as appetizers, and your young little prince or princess can help you decorate them! They are stuffed with MOZZARELLA CHEESE.

Don't be scared by these "Halloweeno Poppers" made with Jalapeno peppers, CREAM CHEESE, and PEPPER JACK CHEESE. These little mummies are delicious.

Show off your artistic flair with "Spider Web Dip". It's taco inspired flavor pairs perfectly with the cute black olive spiders. It can be eaten year 'round if you spread the SOUR CREAM and SHREDDED CHEESE rather than making the web design.

This one is my favorite! The "Pumpkin Cheese Ball" is dairy delicious with CREAM CHEESE, SOUR CREAM, and SHREDDED SWISS and CHEDDAR CHEESE. It will make another appearance after Halloween since I think it will look perfect on our Thanksgiving table too!

And now- on with the show!
Aprons Optional

You can find the recipes on Sara's  Aprons Optional Facebook page.

As you can see, we at Bremer Farms use a lot of dairy foods when we are cooking. Our refrigerator is always chock full of dairy because of its flavor and flexibility. 

What dairy foods are in your fridge right now?