business, cattle, combine, corn, cows, fall, Family, family time, Farm Wife, Farming, harvest, Holidays, North Dakota, October, prairie, Ranch, soy beans, The Fit Farmer's Wife, The LIfe of the Dakota Farmer's WIfe, tractor

Why I Love Octobers

Octobers are filled with pumpkin spice everything, Halloween candy, and for my fellow farmers, harvest. If you read my blog at all, you’ll probably notice, I love my fall posts. I never used to love fall so much. Let me tell you a story…

Fall to me was like death. I hated fall growing up. All the leaves dying, the brightest green grass turning brown, flowers freezing up and dying, and when the whole planet of North Dakota turns a grayish, brown. I am not quite sure why I didn’t like fall. Maybe because I lost my first grandma in October, when I was 16, then a few months later my paternal grandmother, and another few months, my great grandmother. I’m just not really sure, but now…

I love the autumn season! To me, becoming a farmer’s wife changed me. Autumn is now filled with excitement, primarily because after harvest, my hubby will be in the house more and be home just about when I get home. To me, having someone there when you get home from work, to greet you at the door or help with groceries is the greatest gift. It’s a short lived gift, but still one of the best.

For farmers, harvest means we get our first pay check in close a year. Depending if you have cattle or not, harvest is about the only time farmers are brining in some sort of income, even if it does all go back into their farm operation. About 99% of the time, farmer hardly sees the money they just sweated, worked, and prayed for because it goes directly back into the farm operation. Have you ever filled diesel in a tractor before? Or bought a “new” (used but new to you) piece of equipment before? Do you know how much those guys at John Deere charge for servicing a truck or tractor? You know what I am talking about!

Honestly, fall gets so crazy and busy at times. It’s almost like holding your breath. In the middle of harvest, right before rain is coming, and you have a day and a half left, the combine breaks down. Then, the cows decide that now would be a good time to get out. Sometimes that grass really does look greener on the other side of the fence…

Fall is also just the start of the holiday seasons. The holidays that are spent with family and friends, laughter, and so much love. Here on the prairie, we look so forward to family time because family is SO important. In most cases, we run our businesses with our families and work side by side our parents and grandparents. Family time spent relaxing on the farm are days that are few and far between, but well deserved! Just talking about it, gets me excited to spend time with both sides of our families. By the way, I am hosting Thanksgiving this year… Pray for me!

Now that I am a married farm wife, autumn to me took on a whole new meaning. I am so thankful that I live on the North Dakota prairie where there are 4 seasons in a year. Especially, when the air turns crisp, the leaves are a beautiful golden, orange-red color, the sky is the deepest blue  you’ve ever seen, the harvest is close to done, and our prairie hearts are full. In every way possible.

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One Year of The Life of the Dakota Farmer’s Wife

Can you believe it? One year ago TODAY, I started this blog. I started out not really knowing what to post about, share, or what this whole “blogging” thing was really about. All I knew is that I loved writing and I needed a creative release outlet.

I can remember the day I created my blog! I remember being over-whelmed by setting everything up and not knowing what to write at all. Looking back, my first posts were well, tough but good. I enjoy looking back. It’s so emotional and biter-sweet, remembering feeling the exact emotions I was feeling when I was writing each and every post.

After one year, I have actual, real life followers, a like page (two actually!), and one year under my belt as a blogger. I seriously LOVE writing and being able to share it creatively with all of you is just mind-blowing.

When I first started, I had no idea how many people my blog would reach or touch. This past year, has been amazing. Today, I am sharing with you some one year flashbacks and stats of The Life of the Dakota Farmer’s Wife/ The Fit Farmer’s Wife!

Views: 73,747

Most Popular Posts:

  • A Letter to the Future Wives of Our Farmer’s (over 47,000 views in many different countries like Canada, South Africa, Germany, France, Mexico, United Kingdom, Netherlands, New Zealand, Japan, China, many countries across Europe, Africa, and Asia. (Seriously, WOW!)
  • What I Learned Growing Up as The Farmer’s Daughter – over 12,000 views

Likes: 34

Comments: 119

Followers: 1,364

Finally, I just want to say THANK YOU. Thank you so much to all of you who shared, liked, and commented over the past year. It means so much that people actually read what you write, and more than anything it has meaning to you! I just can’t believe it has been a year.

Here’s to MANY more years!

As a thank you, I am going to be giving away a VERY special and the BIGGEST prize EVER worth up to $130!!!! To win, please 1.) Share your favorite past blog post, 2.) Share my Fit Farmer’s Wife Page, 3.)Leave a comment on this blog post! I’ll be announcing it this weekend! Good Luck!

Beef, Chicken, crockpot, crockpot recipes

My Tips and Recipes for Harvest

Harvest season is soon upon us, which means fast meals, fast part runs, and pretty much fast everything. I love fall and harvest, but not the busy, fast paced part of it. This year on our ranch, will be extremely busy because the way things are going, soy bean and corn harvest will run together. It’s an early harvest this year, which is okay by me. Then, my hubby will be done sooner, cows will be home in a few months, and time will move more slowly.

  
As a farm wife, every spring and fall is a battle to find fast and easy foods that are filling and make great left-overs. I don’t know how you do it at your farm, but with me working in town full time, I don’t bring food out to the fields. I just make sure I cook enough over the weekends so that, in the evenings if and when Taylor comes in and he is hungry, he has something he can warm up. For the most part, he packs a cooler for his entire day, but he does like something hot late at night when he gets home.

  
That’s why crockpot meals are great! I seriously love my crockpot!! I actually have two, but I could have three or four! Maybe that is a little over kill, but you get the point! So today, I am sharing with you some of my favorite crockpot meals, along with a few tips for us farm wives to survive harvest!

  1. Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings:
  • 2 packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can of cheddar cheese soup
  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 2 packages of Pillsbury Biscuits
  • Frozen Veggies like corn, carrots, and peas

Put everything in the crockpot starting with the chicken on bottom. Combine soups with frozen veggies and pour on top of chicken. Top with biscuits. Cook on high for four hours or on low for 6-7 hours.

  

  1. Tip One: Plan Ahead. Make sure to have your freezer well stocked with meals that can be reheated in the crockpot. Make sure to have grocery lists ready for unplanned store trips, when you go to town for a parts run. Keep extra snacks, cookies, crackers, and fruit snacks on hand at all times. Put the snacks and other food items in a specific drawer or cabinet so your farmer has easy access to it and doesn’t have to search the house for his Snack Pack Pudding cups! Plan ahead with other things like cleaning and doing laundry! When you have a spare moment, which is probably not too often, get household things done!
  1. Crockpot BBQ Beef Brisket:
  • 3 lb Beef Brisket

For the Rub:

  • 1 tsp. Chili Powder
  • ½ tsp. Garlic Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Celery Seeds
  • 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper

For the Sauce:

  • ½ cup Ketchup
  • ½ cup Chili Sauce
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Dry Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp. Liquid Smoke

Put in crockpot and cook 8 hours on low.

  1. Tip Two: Make time for each other. No matter how busy it gets, always make time for family or an occasional date night, even if that means a combine date! Plan a quick family game night on the weekend or even a home movie night. Something quick and easy, just as long as you are able to spend time together. I know harvest gets crazy and busy, and sometimes both at the same time! It’s important to stay connected as a husband and wife and as a family. It helps everyone work together better and everything run more smoothly!

  

  1. Crockpot BBQ Shredded Chicken on a Bun

 

  • 6-8 Skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts
  • Your favorite BBQ Sauce

Place in the crockpot and smother chicken with bbq sauce. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Place chicken in electric mixer bowl and mix on low until chicken is shredded. Place on bun and serve with potatoes and corn.

  1. Tip Three: Be prepared for anything and everything to happen. Always keep first aid kits on hand and plenty of band-aids. This is the time of year when so many of us are on the go and it seems like things happen when we are in a hurry and not fully paying attention. Be prepared, you just never know if a paper-cut or a full on stab wound will be coming through your door!

  

  1. Crockpot Mac’n Cheese

 

  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled to room temp.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups shredded Italian blend cheese
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Grease the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray.

Combine milk, evaporated milk, butter, eggs, and salt in slow cooker and whisk until smooth.

Add the Italian cheese and macaroni and sprinkle with pepper to taste — stir gently to coat evenly.

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.

Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to low and cook for 1.5-2 hours, until center does not jiggle and pasta is tender.

Place this cheesy goodness in a bowl and eat like you’ve never eaten before.
Have a wonderful and safe harvest!!

  

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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)?!

image4

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

image1

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.

image2

And that is lunch for this week! Yummy!

Happy Monday! How was your weekend?!

image3
A well planned week ahead!
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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.

Garden 4
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!

Garden 2
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!

Garden 1
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

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A Letter to the Future Wives of our Farmers

Many of you may  watch the current season of The Bachelor. This years main man is a farmer, from the small town Arlington, Iowa. “Prince Farming” his early thirties, good looking, down to earth, and he is also a farmer who just happens to be looking for his soul mate.

The ladies on The Bachelor are mostly city, born and raised, and a few small town Mid-West girls who are also looking for their future husband (at least some of them, anyway). Let me start by saying, I know a few ladies that never grew up farming and came from the city to marry their own Prince Farming, and they adjusted well!

Nothing against all the city girls out there, but I think they should be a little bit more educated about what they may be getting themselves into. Some would probably adjust very well, and others not so much, and you can almost pick out the ones that wouldn’t last a minute on the farm!

So, I have decided to write them an anonymous letter from someone who has a couple years of experience under her belt. Someone like, me. Here it goes…

Dear Future Farmer’s Wife, First off, I want you to know that I am a farmer’s wife too. Being married to a farmer is one of the hardest, but most rewarding jobs there is. You get to be a part of a dying community, but a thriving world that brings food to everyone else’s tables. You probably don’t care now how the markets are doing, or if there is a momma cow having trouble calving her first baby in the old barn, but you will. You probably don’t care now when the tractor is broke down and parts aren’t available until next week Wednesday, but you will. You probably don’t care now how long it takes to plant or harvest a field or do chores on a winters morn, but you will. Oh, how you will.

You might not be used to getting invited to weddings, parties, family gatherings and not being able to attend because it’s haying season. You might not be used to sleeping beside someone who has to get up every two hours to check if a cow calved in the middle of the night when it is 25 below.

You may have been worried before in life, but you’ve never experienced worry until you get a text saying “I got kicked by a cow” or “I’m putting in an all-nighter”, and let me tell you, an all-nighter doesn’t mean he is out drinking with his friends. You get used to the long, strange hours, and the hard work, but you never out grow the worry.

You may know how to cook now, but in a few months, you’ll be able to whip up a meal, have it packed in the cooler with time to spare before he comes in to pick it up before he starts a long day in the field.

You may think dirty laundry is wearing an outfit more than once, but you have never seen dirty laundry until you have married a farmer/rancher. Be prepared to find bolts, pliers, corn, soy beans, manure, and gum in the washer or dryer. Don’t expect to find any money.

Whether you work in town or are based at home, be expected to run and I mean literally run, to town on a parts run. Be expected to know how to stretch your money wisely and cut those coupons from the Sunday paper. Be prepared for early mornings and long nights.

Be prepared for basically anything, dirt, mud, poop, bugs, blood and guts, live animals, ANYTHING that comes through your front door (and onto your living room carpet).

Designer is no longer Gucci, Michael Kors, or Prada, but rather John Deere, Case IH, or flowers, freshly picked from the field he was fixing fence at today, and they could be dandelions. But trust me, you’ll cherish them.

Be prepared to eat dinner no earlier than 7 o’clock pretty much every night. Be prepared to keep your weekends free because Sunday, is basically the only day you get to see him for more than 10 minutes while he is sleeping. And be prepared even on Sunday, for the cows to get out, because cows don’t care that it is Sunday.

Be prepared to spend $50+ every week on sandwich meat, Lil Debbies (if you don’t know what these are, you’ll find out), soda, bottled water, chips, and buns for cooler food during the week. P.S. Cooler season is about from April to November. And during cooler season, sitting down at the table for a hot meal, is considered a date night.

Be prepared to deal with a super cranky man when the combine breaks down during mid-harvest and there is rain coming or when a cow dies from slipping on ice.

Also be prepared for the farm life to completely change your life in such a positive way.

Farmers may have rough hands, but they have a gentle spirit and a loving heart. He already loves you more than words can say. Why do you think he works so hard anyway, to support you and the little family the two of you have made together. And don’t ever second guess yourself, on those lonely, late summer nights, because he does love you. More than the cows, more than the new John Deere tractor, and more than life itself.

Somewhere in between the long and hectic summer days and the freezing cold winter nights, you’ll fall in love with this crazy but beautiful life too. You might not think so now, but you will. Oh, how you will.