Friday, October 22, 2021

My LOVE-HATE Relationship With Trees

I have a LOVE-HATE relationship with trees. Not all trees, just the two black walnut trees in our front yard. 


 I LOVE the trees, but here's the little buggers that make me HATE the trees!

Each early Fall I find myself picking up dozens, hundreds, no, pails full of these darn black walnuts that plunk to the ground. Just when I have a batch retrieved, plink, another one falls. Then his friends follow. Plink, plink, plink!

"Why don't you buy a nut gatherer?" said my college friends that were visiting recently. After a few snickers, and some dirty jokes running through my head, I thought, what have I got to lose?

Here it is, but as you can see by my face, I'm a bit skeptical.

But this nut gatherer quickly became my new best friend. It took me about 15 minutes to fill these pails, and NO bending over! Of course, I have filled these pails again, and again, and again, and again. Five days, before the walnuts stopped dropping, but NO bending over! 

So a huge shout-out to Jim and Mary for the recommendation to buy the Garden Weasel Large Nut Gatherer. No, I am not getting paid to endorse this product, I just know there is someone else out there having a LOVE-HATE relationship with black walnut trees.

Plink, plink, plink. Dang, there's more!


Monday, October 11, 2021

Freezer Cabbage Slaw

 No, it's not a typo. Cole slaw can be frozen. At least this recipe can!

Even with dry conditions, daughter Sara and Grandma Karen are excellent gardeners! We have an abundance of cabbage, and purple cabbage. We also have lots of carrots and colorful peppers. I guess next year they will have to add celery to the garden plot, because that is the only vegetable we had to pick up at the grocery store!


Freezer Cabbage Slaw

1 Medium cabbage, shredded

1 tsp. salt

        Sprinkle salt over shredded cabbage and let stand 1 hour. Squeeze out moisture.

3 stalks celery, finely chopped

1/2 green pepper, finely chopped

1/2 red pepper, finely chopped

shredded carrot (optional)

        Mix together with cabbage.

Syrup recipe-

1 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 cups sugar (can use less)

1 tsp. celery seed

1 tsp. mustard seed

        Pour syrup over cabbage mixture. Freeze in desired amounts. Will keep in freezer for several  months. It is fresh and crisp when defrosted!


We now have nine quarts of crispy Cabbage Slaw in our freezer.

Thanks for the recipe, Gary!


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

What's the Draught Situation?

 

How much rain have you had?

Draught has been a topic of discussion for months among farmers. Naturally it is an important topic since we all know that plants need these three basic elements to grow- soil, water, and sun. We have the soil, and we have the sun, but the rain has needed a lot of help this summer.

Thank goodness for irrigation, but that's not the perfect answer either.


 For my non-farmer readers, here's a simple explanation of how our irrigators work. Irrigators are anchored in our fields by a center pivot. The irrigator then moves, (powered by electricity) across the fields in a big circle. 

Now, take a look at the two corn cobs in the top photo. Both came from the same irrigated field. So why the difference? Simple geometry (the stuff you learned in high school that you thought you would never actually use). Our fields are square or rectangular and the irrigator runs in a circle, leaving the corners unwatered. The little guy was growing in a corner, whereas the full ear of corn came from a watered area. So even though the field was irrigated, several acres of corn are lost to these "dry" corners.

The fields surrounding our farm buildings are irrigated- one hundred ninety acres. Much of that corn crop looks good, like the big cob in the photo, but there is a big cost to that good looking corn! 

Our irrigators ran eleven cycles this growing season. It costs approximately $5 per acre each time the irrigators completes a cycle.

190 acres x $5 = $950 per cycle 

$950 x 11 cycles = $10,450 

And that is just the cost for the electricity to run the irrigators. Now add seed, fertilizer, maintenance and repair costs, machinery fuel, and then there's the time we put into planting and harvesting. Will we make a profit? Probably not. Will we break even? Hopefully.  

And then there is the 70 acres of farm land that is not irrigated. It looks tough...really tough.

Last week our state officials held a news conference announcing the need for assistance to farmers due to the severe draught conditions. Although we appreciate their concern and willingness to help, there is just not enough money to go around. The Governor is proposing passing $10 million in assistance, some loans, some grants. 

Watch the Governor's Draught Relief announcement here.

Food for thought-

There are approximately 2,400 dairy farmers in the state of Minnesota. 

$10,000,000 in aid divided by 2,400 dairy farmers  = $4,167 per dairy farmer

Hmmm... less than we paid for electricity on some of our crops.

And that is just figuring on dairy farmers. I know that possibly not all dairy farmers were affected by the draught, but this $10 million proposal is for ALL Minnesota farmers, not just dairy. According to the 2017 survey results collected by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Minnesota is home to 68,822 farms. 

This article is not meant to be a complaint. I write this as information in hopes that my readers will understand the draught situation and how it affects the farmer, the government (that wants to help, but is responsible for helping so many) and ultimately how it will affect you, the consumer.


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

So Proud of "Take A Hike, Mike!"

It's easy for parents to say, "We are so proud of our ________ (insert son or daughter here)." But John and I are especially excited to say it, because our son Michael just received a national award!

Michael is the Executive Director of our local Community Television station, HCTV. Last week the NATOA (National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors) awards were announced and Michael came away a winner, not once but twice, for his show "Take A Hike, Mike!"

"Take a Hike, Mike!" visits businesses for a day to learn about what they do, and to lend a helping hand. It's a fun way to showcase local stores, restaurants, factories, services, and yes, even a farm! 

Michael's winning entry was filmed right here, on Bremer Farms. He learned about combining corn, feeding calves, and introduced viewers to Grandma Bremer, and our farm helper Ella, and a few of his favorite cows. It's just one more way to let folks know what happens on a dairy farm!

Full disclosure- Michael DID know how to combine corn and feed calves before filming this episode. 😉

Congratulations to Michael for his 2nd place award for "Take A Hike, Mike! Port of Hastings Outfitters" also. HCTV received five more top awards along with numerous honorable mentions too.

So, it's easy for John and I to say, "We are so proud of our son (insert Michael here)." And this is just one of the reasons we are proud parents!

You can see other "Take A Hike, Mike!" episodes on YouTube.




Monday, July 26, 2021

Zucchini Devils' Food Cake, Yum!

 We have zucchini coming out of our ears! Have you heard that saying before; coming out of our ears? I wonder how that saying originated. It sure conjures up a strange image in my mind! I Googled (of course) the saying but came up with nothing. Anyway... zucchini.

Sara's garden is blessing us with lots of zucchini, so after putting several packages of the grated stuff in the freezer, I broke out the cake pan and my mom's favorite zucchini recipes. First up, Zucchini Devils' Food Cake. Hmmm, I wonder why it's called devils food and not just chocolate? Hey, Google...


Zucchini Devils' Food Cake

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cup cocoa

1 cup grated zucchini

Cream sugar and butter. Beat in eggs. In seperate bowl sift together flour, soda, baking powder and salt. Add to sugar and butter mixture. Then add egg mixture alternately with buttermilk. Add vanilla. Blend in cocoa and zucchini. Pour batter into 2 - 9" greased cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. OR pour batter into 9"x13" greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 43 minutes. 

TIP: If you do not have buttermilk you can subsitute plain yogurt OR place 1 tablespoon  lemon juice or vinegar in measuring cup and add milk to equal 1 cup. Let stand 5 minutes before using.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Apron's Optional Meets Princess Kay Brenna


Our daughter Sara has a cooking show on our local TV station. It's called Aprons Optional, and it's filmed right here in our kitchen on our farm. 

I agree with Sara when she closes each episode with, 
"Remember, the apron is optional, but the flavor isn't."

Aprons Optional had a special guest at last weeks filming. Princess Kay (Minnesota's official goodwill ambassador for the dairy community), Brenna Connelly stopped by to share her recipe for Cheesy Hasbrowns. All the recipes featured in this episode are posted below. #DairyGoodness #Yummy!

Oven Fried Chicken

Ingredients 

3lbs chicken pieces, rinsed and patted dry
½ cup melted butter
½ cup flour, heaping
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 ½ teaspoons paprika

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Mix together flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a plastic bag. Dip chicken pieces in melted butter and then coat evenly with flour mixture.
Place in a single layer on a greased shallow baking pan (skin side down – if you’ve left the skin on).
Bake 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes.

Creamy Corn Salad

Ingredients
2 lbs. frozen corn, thawed under cool running water
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced purple onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions
Combine the corn, red bell pepper, onion and jalapeño in a large bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together the yogurt, mayo, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Gently stir into the corn mixture. Add in the chopped cilantro and stir. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cheesy Hash Browns

Ingredients
Hash Browns:

1 (20 ounce) package Shredded Hash Browns
1 (10.75 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
¾ cup sour cream
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
Topping:
1 ½ cups corn flakes, coarsely crushed
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 quart glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl combine all hash brown ingredients; mix well. Spread into prepared baking dish. In small bowl stir together topping ingredients. Spread topping evenly over hash browns. Bake 45 minutes or until hash browns are tender.


Friday, June 25, 2021

Dairy Trivia and a Prize!

 

As June Dairy Month winds down, let's have a little fun with some dairy trivia. The answers are at the bottom of the page. There is an opportunity to win a great prize too. You'll learn about that following the trivia answers.


1. Some cows wear pedometers, which can track:

a) how many steps a cow takes

b) the cow's overall health

c) how much milk a cow gives

d) all of the above

2. Who used chemistry to help perfect soft-serve ice cream? 

a) Angela Lansbury

b) Margaret Thatcher

c) Paul Newman

3. How many servings of dairy do Americans consume each day? 

a) one

b) two

c) three

4. How long does it take from the time the milk leaves the cow until it reaches your grocery store?

a) 7 days

b) 2 days

c) 1 day

d) 5 days

5. How many gallons of fresh milk does the average food bank client receive each year?

a) one gallon

b) 4 gallons

c) 10 gallons

6. Cows tend to produce more milk listening to what type of music?

a) rock

b) country

c) pop

d) classical

7. What is the approximate cost of milk per glass?

a) 10 cents

b) 25 cents

c) 75 cents

8. At any given time, what percent of Americans have ice cream in their freezer?

a) 40%

b) 67%

c) 87%

9. Dairy cows contribute to a sustainable food system.

a) true

b) false

10. American fighter pilots made ice cream using their planes during WWII.

a) true

b) false

ANSWERS: 

  1. All of the above! New technology isn’t just for delivering that delicious pizza to your front door. It also helps dairy farmers track the health of their cows, keeps tabs on the cows’ activity levels around the farm and monitors if a cow isn’t feeling itself or needs extra attention.

  2. Long before she was the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher’s work in chemistry helped perfect soft-serve ice cream.

  3. On average, Americans consume about two dairy servings of dairy a day. Adding just one more serving of dairy would help fill the average American’s nutrient gap.

  4. Believe it or not: your local grocery store has the milk on its shelves within 48 hours of leaving the farm! Most people usually live within 100 miles or less from a local dairy farm, which means the milk you enjoy every day is fresh and local. A win-win!
  5. Those relying on food banks receive about one gallon of milk a year. Milk is one of the top five most in-demand items at food banks. Learn how you can help by visiting The Great American Milk Drive.

  6. You are not the only one who can get into a steady groove listening to your favorite playlist. Researchers have found that many cows tend to produce more milk when classical music is played.
  7. Milk is a nutritional bargain, costing about 25 cents per 8-ounce glass. Few foods deliver dairy’s powerhouse of nutrients in such an affordable, delicious and accessible way.

  8. Americans really love their ice cream! We have it in our freezer at any given time about 87 percent.
  9. True! There are many ways that dairy cows contribute to a sustainable food system. For example, Cow manure can serve as a fertilizer, cow manure can be converted into electricity, and cows can eat and use food that people can’t. Learn more about on-farm sustainability practices.
  10. TrueTo pass the time, American fighter pilots in WWII attached pairs of 5-gallon cans of milk and cream to their planes. The cans were fitted with a small propeller that spun the mixture as the planes flew, and the higher altitudes froze it. By the time they landed, ice cream was ready! 
HERE'S THE BOARD GAME PRIZE YOU COULD WIN!
HEAD ON OVER TO MY BARNYARD VIEW ON FACEBOOK AND COMMENT ON THE POST WHICH DAIRY TRIVIA QUESTION SURPRISED YOU OR THAT YOU FOUND THE MOST INTERESTING. A WINNER WILL BE RANDOMLY SELECTED ON JUNE 29. GOOD LUCK!


Retail value $34.00

THANK YOU TO DAKOTA COUNTY FARM BUREAU FOR THE PRIZE!