Farm Life, Farm Wife, Farmer

Why I love GMO’s and not so grass fed beef

As a born and raised farm girl, GMO’s and grass fed beef were things that weren’t really talked about just a few years ago. Growing up, I would ride in the combine with my grandpa, while he was harvesting his GMO soybeans or corn. As a kid, I would be going for a bike ride while our neighbors and my dad sprayed pesticides or insecticides on their mid-summer crops. My parents didn’t buy anything organic. My dad would bring me whole wheat kernels to eat while he was hauling wheat to the elevator. And I feel like I turned out okay! ūüôā

 

Now, my husband sells his cows and steers to “finisher” feed lots, where they are fed corn and other grain to be “finished” off for a better quality, and tasting meat. Most of your better steaks and burgers are not grass fed at all. It’s honestly bad marketing. And guess what, grass fed doesn’t mean it’s healthier. It will maybe save you a few calories and it has a “cows tail” more omega 3’s fatty acids, but you can get those from fish too.

 

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I guess what I am trying to say that when you buy “organic”, “non-GMO”, or “grass fed”, you are really only paying for a “designer” tag. Just like buying a purse or shoes! And of course, I am going to use a fashion example! ūüėČ The same sandals that you buy at Target or Micheal Kors, will get the job done and be a great shoe, but you are only paying for the name of one.

 

It is crazy to no end, that when most people are asked, “what is a GMO?” They have NO clue what it actually means OR what foods are actually genetically modified. First GMO means “genetically modified organism”. If it weren’t for GMO’s there would be no crops to harvest because most bugs, weeds, and other pests, would have taken over the field. They help even in drought conditions, so the seed can survive. GMO’s even help the soil and they are a great option for ever changing soil conditions and crop diversities. For example, GMO’s increase crop yield therefore less ground is needed to produce more crop.

 

GMO’s are also the reason why we don’t eat bananas with seeds or why ruby red grape fruits are truly ruby red! This picture from the Genetic Literacy Project is truly amazing and mind blowing! How would food look like without GMO’s?!

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In fact, what most people don’t know is that we have been eating GMO’s for nearly 20 years!¬†

 

And this is truly the beginning! GMO’s can be used for great things, like creating allergy free nuts! My own mom is allergic to several foods, and hasn’t been able to eat dairy products, fish, or nuts most of her adult life. How amazing would it be to have an allergy free peanut butter spread!?

 

A sweet potato is a natural example of most liking the very first GMO, where bacteria got into the plant organism of a potato plant and puffed up the root to make it edible and sweet! That is right, sweet potatoes were NOT naturally grown at first!

 

But what foods are actually GMO today?!

 

In this GREAT blog post from Prairie Californian, she give a great breakdown on GMO’s and goes on to explain, that most foods that have been genetically modified are actually found in oils and syrups, and not in the product sections, like you would think! Yes, some are in corn and papaya, but for fresh produce, that is about where it ends!

 

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Most people also don’t know that the ONLY foods that are genetically modified are most corn, soybeans, sugar beets, canola, and papaya.

 

I believe that people NEED to be EDUCATED before they can truly say WHY they buy something, because most people aren’t. If you don’t have the luxury of growing up on a farm or marrying a farmer, you have to stay educated on farming and WHERE you food actually comes from. And with that, I am thankful to have a choice of what foods we can buy. Some countries do not have our technologies and are being plagued with droughts or malnutrition, that GMO’s could help with!

 

And as farmers, we NEED GMO’s in order to farm and do our job! GMO technologies have done a lot for the agricultural world and it’s about time that people get educated… GMO’s are NOT bad, horrible things. They are a great use of technology and literally carry the future of our farming industry in their hands. So when you eat a banana without seeds or a grapefruit that is ruby red, remember to thank a farmer and the agricultural technology that brought it to you!

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A little humor because I like to laugh! ūüôā¬†

 

 

Organic. 

Grass Fed. 

Non-GMO. 

Are ALL choices, but we need to be aware of not only false advertising, because let’s face it, EVERYTHING has a label these days. When we buy something we need to know WHY we are buying it and WHERE it comes from. I am not saying that grass fed or organic is bad, it’s a choice, but we need to be educated on where our food is coming from, and not just assume that just because something has a label, means it’s “healthier” or better.

Farm Life, Farm Wife, Farmer, Farming

Things No-one Told You About Being a Farm Wife

Us farm wives are the unicorn of all wives. I grew up as a farmer’s daughter and when I got married, I said, that I got “promoted” to being a farmer’s wife! Sometimes, it’s not always that glorious though.

 

The long hours get VERY long. Starting about Mid-March through October, and even into November, is the prime season of a farmer or rancher. Spring is warm, and the snow meals to dark, black dirt, that needs to be dug, fertilized, planted, and sprayed. Then comes the hotter than hell summer, and of course haying season; Cutting hay and baling hay. And in between there, getting the cows out to pasture and working cattle. The fall brings harvest, more digging, bring hay home, hauling grain to the elevator, bringing cattle home, giving shots, and cleaning up the equipment for the year. Sometimes, there is so much going on, I can’t physically keep track of it all. I am sure you know what I mean!

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Just know that when he is out late, you won’t sleep as well, You will wake yourself up looking for him in bed. He won’t be there because it’s only midnight, his quitting time is 3 in the morning, because there is rain coming. You will also find yourself praying a lot more.

 

It WILL get lonely. Because of the long, and busy season, you will have to attend events and even travel by yourself. People who don’t farm or ranch, won’t get it. It’s okay though. Weddings, baptisms, funerals, graduations, will be things that either you will get used to going alone, or just send a card, a gift, and your well wishes. Don’t bother explaining why, if they aren’t farmers, they will never understand. Know that in your heart, it’s just a season.

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Cooler food will become a primary staple in the house. You’ll have to know how to pack a cooler in three minutes tops. Grocery trips will be expensive. Seriously, how in the world did sandwich meat get so expensive?! You will have a cart full of sandwich meat, buns, bread, Little Debbies, chips, soda, and candy. Then will be your grocery items! It’s sometimes like shopping in two different worlds!

 

Be prepared to either stop or go on a dime. There will be times when you get asked to go on a parts run, with zero notice. Or you might have to stop doing whatever you are doing and help move to another field during harvest. {{A pro tip, make sure the parts are ready and setting out, BEFORE you get there!}} There will be times when you are ready to head to church and the cows decide jump the fence.

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And then there will be times when you have to deal with a cranky farmer. Maybe it hailed in August or maybe the planter broke and you had 50 acres left. I have learned to not mention travel plans, dinner, or basically anything other than saying nothing at all.

 

Be prepared to make lunch at various times. It might have to be reheated, because he is running an hour late. I have learned that crockpots are your best friends and so are leftovers. Especially, when he get’s in late from harvest. It’s alway nice to keep extra cookies, or food in the freezer that he can easily re-heat, no matter what time he gets in.

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And be prepared to fall even more in love. No matter what people say, spend every moment you can together, because it makes up for all the nights you have to go to bed alone and the lonely days. The heart does grow fonder and know that each day and each lonely moment, it’s just a season. Every year is so different and so is each day. He is feeding the world and his family, so give him all the grace, and all the love, and all the patience that he needs. Be there for him, help him, and even offer to help him, if you can. And most of all, fall in love with the farm.

 

Sometimes you might resent it for taking away your husband, but it’s his passion and his living. He probably works harder than any other human being you know, but he does it for you, and your family, and the farm. Farming is in his blood and it’s in your heart.

 

 

 

Farm Life, Farm Wife, Farmer, The LIfe of the Dakota Farmer's WIfe

A Farmer’s Wife Harvest Prayer

Let’s face it. Harvest is either here or around the corner. We got done with our wheat a couple of weeks ago, and soybeans will be here before we know it. In the mean time, we have been busy getting hay home and getting the last bales of millet made.

It’s a cool Labor Day on the farm today, and cooler weather makes me think that harvest is only getting closer and closer. This season is busy, but it’s also my favorite because I know that the calm is quickly approaching! Before I married my farmer, I always loved summer. Don’t get me wrong, I still do, but fall and winter is where my heart is. It’s when the crazy comes and the slower season, and calving are getting closer! The end IS in sight, ladies! We also have more corn and soybeans compared to wheat, so our crazy is just getting started! {{Bring it on!}}

So with that, here is a prayer dedicated to all of us farm wives from losing our minds during this crazy, hectic season of life!

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Photo credit:  Laura Schlenker. 

Dear Lord,

Please watch over us during harvest. During the busy. During the crazy. During the parts runs, the harvest food runs, and elevator runs. During the fast paced on the go unloading, and the slower than slow break downs. Grant us the weather conditions that allow us to get harvest done in a timely matter. Guide and protect all of us during this season.

Help my husband to be safe always. Give him reason and time to think and somehow, enjoy this busy season. Cover him in your grace and blessings. Allow him patience during the breakdowns, because we know they are enviable. Allow him quick reflexes and thoughts when he has to think on his feet. Allow him the love and strengththat he needs to function during this busy season.

Help our children to understand why dad is busy, can’t tuck them in at night, or can’t be home for dinner. Guide their little hearts and bless them. Help them to understand this season and grow up with an appreciation of the farm and knowing how hard their daddy worked to provide for us. Help them to remember and cherish this season, as a time to harvest.

Help me as a wife, Lord. Help me to stay strong. Give me the strength to pack the coolers, help with the homework, clean the house, do chaff filled, dirty laundry, prepare and think of easy harvest meals, and somehow allow my heart peace during this crazy time. Help me to find time for You and for me. Even though I go to bed a tired, and alone woman at night, I know You are there protecting our family. Watch over my husband during the late nights and early mornings, and grant us the rest we all need.

Most of all, thank you for the harvest season. We know it’s tiring and seems endless, but it is just a season. And with You, every season brings a time of hustle, crazy, tears, and also joy and blessing. We are so blessed for this harvest, for this season, for our family, our love, and for You. Please lead, guide and direct us, during this harvest season, and in Your perfect timing and love.

Amen.

 

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Sunday Dinner: Meatloaf

One thing I love doing is making a recipe my own. Whether it was one of my mom’s or grandma’s or a childhood favorite, I love re-creating it to make it healthier for me to enjoy now! I feel that a lot of times, just because we are eating a certain way (I refuse to say diet, because I am not on a diet, it is my choice of eating and frankly, it is not a diet to me!), we limit ourselves to foods. That should not be the problem! Why don’t we just re-create the healthier, better versions!

This weekend, I was hungry for my late Grandma Sharon’s meatloaf, so I re-created it a healthier, clean version that I will enjoy this week as my lunch! It has no brown sugar topping or unhealthy processed grains. It does have, some nutritious vegtables and proteins to keep you feeling full throughout the day (it would be a great meal to take out to the field for those hardworking farmers of ours!).

It turned out wonderful, and I am excited to share it with you!

Sorry, I didn’t take a lot of pictures, when I was meal prepping on Saturday. This is one of those recipes, I just threw together, so I’ll do my best to explain everything to you!

What You’ll Need:¬†

  • 1/3 cup, canned mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 1 red or green pepper, chopped finely
  • 2 pounds of lean ground beef, or you could even use 1/2 lean beef and 1/2 ground turkey
  • 1 can of organic, no salt added tomato sauce
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 cup of Sharp Cheddar Shredded Cheese
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup of organic mustard
  • 3/4 of a sleeve of whole wheat saltines
  • 2¬†Teaspoons¬†garlic powder
  • 2¬†Teaspoons¬†onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • Pepper¬†to taste
  • Extra Mustard and Ketchup for topping (Yes, I know Ketchup is not exactly “clean” or 21 Day Fix approved, but I drizzled a little on top and it was worth the small cheat! I probably used a couple of Tablespoons all in all of Ketchup for the entire loaf, not bad!)

What To Do: 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the meat of your choice, mushrooms, pepper, mustard, tomato sauce, cheese, eggs, crackers, garlic and onion powder, Worcestershire Sauce and pepper. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.

In a large baking dish, (I got mine as a wedding gift from my uncle and aunt off my gift registry from Sur la Table, here is the 2.75 Quart Blanc Round Cocotte), combine the above ingredients. Using your hands, make into a loaf. Then, drizzle the Ketchup and Mustard on top to desire. Place in preheated oven and cook for about one and a half hours or until done. Enjoy!

I like serving mine with a few saltine crackers on the side, almost like a dip! It is so yummy and makes great left-overs! For the 21 Day Fix, one cup of meatloaf would equal 1/2 purple (tomato sauce), 2 reds, 3/4 green, 1/2 yellow, and 1/2 blue.

On a side note, ¬†if you haven’t heard of Sur la Table, it is a great kitchen shop to visit! They have EVERYTHING from linens to bakeware and cookware, to spices! Things that would make excellent gifts for Mom! Right now, they have 20% off one item and free shipping! The promo code to enter at checkout is MAKEHERDAY15.¬†

Happy Monday!

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Sunday Dinner: Chicken Stir Fry with Pineapple and A Birthday!

Well, this weekend was an interesting one! Let me first flashback to Friday.

Friday, I found out my brakes¬†on my Jeep were wore¬†out to the bare metal. Taylor made me an appointment because all week I was hearing this grinding noise. This was extremely frustrating because I just had it in to get the brakes¬†checked a month ago and the repair man said nothing was wrong. Huh. So Friday, I had my Jeep at our local Co-Op to see what was going on. Of course, parts had to be ordered from a far-away land and won’t be in until later this week. Totally not complaining, I would rather go local any day!

Also Friday, Taylor caught a spring flu bug. Not fun. He was up pretty much all night and felt achy for the next several days after. Finally Saturday night, he ate his first meal in three days. He wanted fish. Not something I would be craving after being sick to my stomach for three days! I gave in and cooked him tilapia, noodles, green beans, and biscuits.

I was ever so thankful that Taylor’s stomach issues cleared up and that I didn’t get it (thank you Shakeology!!), by Sunday for his birthday! He insists on a Dairy Queen cake year after year, they are his favorite so, guess what was waiting in the freezer for us to devour on Sunday after a meal of roast and boiled potatoes (per his request also)?!

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Since I was homebound for all of the weekend, I spend it cleaning up the house, doing laundry and letting some fresh air in to get all the flu bugs out. Oh and cooking and meal prepping!

This week, I made a chicken and veggie stir-fry (21 Day Fix Approved and Clean as well) and today I am sharing it with you! I haven’t tried it yet, it is in my lunch for today though, but it smelled amazing!!

What You’ll Need:

  • 5-6 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • California Stir-Fry Frozen Vegetable Mix (in the frozen veggie section)
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Ginger
  • Honey
  • Pineapple, sliced

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Place cooked and cubed chicken with onions and veggie stir-fry into electric skillet. Cook over medium until frozen veggies are tender. Add in pineapple. Add in spices and honey. Mix well until everything is coated in spices and honey mixture. Cook another 3-5 minutes over medium high heat.

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And that is lunch for this week! Yummy!

Happy Monday! How was your weekend?!

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A well planned week ahead!
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Praying For Rain

In case you haven’t heard, North Dakota has been in the news a lot about the drought we are currently having. We received well below normal snowfall this winter, in fact, we hardly had any. Now that it is spring, temperatures are soaring and the winds are roaring. Trust me, every night I can clean the same window sill and check it a few house later and literally dirt will be sitting where I just cleaned. It is bad. But unfortunately, the dirt inside my home is the least of my worries.

Just recently, there have been several fires breaking out in Bismarck, our capital city. The college was evacuated and the streets of Bismarck were chaos. We are not only facing dangerous fires, but also for this farming community. Small sloughs in pastures are starting to dry up and disappear, which is devastating for cattlemen, like us.

Farmers are starting to dig and plant their fields, but all you see is a whirlwind of dust. WIth the extremely low grain prices already and cattle prices are falling rapidly as well, we as farmers can’t afford a drought, not this year. Farmer’s work hard and long hours and take a gamble every year with weather. We don’t protest the low grain prices, we just have to deal with it. There are no raises in farming. What you get is what you get. And drought across our North Dakota prairie, could also mean soaring food prices nation-wide.

In case you didn’t know,¬†North Dakota ranks first in the production of flaxseed, canola, durum wheat, all dry edible beans, all dry edible peas, spring wheat, honey, lentils, sunflowers, barley and oats. Which is a food source for many of you most likely.

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Bismarck Fire by University of Mary. KFYR TV Photo Credit
kfyr+firereignite
KFYR TV

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And as you can see, its windy and hot everyday and little to no chances of rain in the seven day outlook.

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So I ask you, as friends, and fellow blog readers, no matter what religion or your beliefs, please remember our little state of North Dakota in your prayers and thoughts. RIght now, please join me and say a little prayer for us.

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Gardening: Planning & Growing

How many gardeners do we have out there?! If you are a farmer’s wife like me, I am sure lots! Last summer I planted my first ever garden!! I was scared, nervous, and excited to see if anything would even grow! I could only hope and pray I would be blessed with my great-grandmother’s gardening skills.

In late May, my hubby helped me plan, plant, and seed my entire garden! It was a great and fun marriage building activity to do together! It was OUR garden! For just about each seed we planted, I said a little prayer that it would grow. I really, truly, deeply wanted to be good at gardening. So many farmer’s wives and wives that I know, have huge and successful gardens.

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Fall of 2014. My sweet corn that the raccoons got made some cute fall décor! Plus a pumpkin that I grew!

Turns out, I had a pretty successful garden! Even my brother-in-law joked with Taylor saying “I think she is a better farmer than you”! That made my day!

I had lettuce growing so fast, I could hardly keep up! The raccoons got the best of my sweet corn, but hopefully this year my hubby will fix something up so they can’t eat all of it, and we get to have a couple of cobs! My carrots, peas, and beans froze very nicely and we still enjoy them throughout the year! My potatoes were by far my favorite to garden! They did awesome! I still have some left and they will by my bulbs for this year! I also had some pretty good sized pumpkins and cucumbers did well too. I surprised even myself with my new-found gardening skills!

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Harvesting Potatoes. Late Summer of 2014.

Lately, I have started planning more creatively as to what I want to do and see in my garden this year! I just got some seed catalogues in the mail this week and you could say, it got me in the mood for all things spring and all things garden! I can’t wait!

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My biggest pumpkin from last year! Fall of 2014.

This year, I plan to plant once again sweet corn, lettuce, peas, beans, cucumbers, potatoes, radishes, pumpkins, zucchini, squash, melons, and carrots. I am thinking of expanding my garden spot a little more with all these melons. Last year, my pumpkin plant pretty much took over my entire garden at the end of the summer!

I would also like to try tomatoes, and then make big batches of tomato and spaghetti sauce in the fall. I plan on doing some sunflowers on the edges of my garden this year, just to make it pretty. I’d also like to do some stone edging on the front side of my garden, since it is in the middle of our yard, on the side of our house.

Of course, last year, I had a few things that didn’t come up like peppers and my herbs (lavender and spearmint). I was a little disappointed because I wanted to try my hand in making homemade body scrubs and soaps. I’ll save myself some heartache and work because I don’t think I will be planting any of those again this year.

This year, I would like to see good to better yields and produce better produce overall. I am trying Sugar Snap Snow Peas this year instead. Shelling peas for one whole Sunday, from sun up to sun down was not fun! And I swore last year, that I would never do it again so, this year I am getting the edible pods! It will make blanching and freezing so much easier!

Do you plant a garden? What are you planting this year?!

I leave you with warm thought of all things spring and sunny days ahead!! Happy Thursday! xo