Wednesday, February 20, 2013

God invites us to express our  uniqueness and have fun by making things with our hands. These things don’t have to be big or elaborate or even “correct,” but making them should provide solace and personal fulfillment. Handmade things should reflect us: a fine meal, a garden patch, a beautiful quilt, a backdrop for a play, a piece of music, a poem, a letter. The idea is to keep our hands busy with meaningful activity so that we develop inside ourselves, depending upon the Lord and not on others for endorsement or approbation. May God help us to express and define ourselves in our one-of-a-kind way.    Lucy Swindoll

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Red Hot" Cinnamon Popcorn

I love this Red Hot Cinnamon Popcorn and thought it would be the perfect recipe to share for Valentine's Day.  I found this recipe a couple years ago at and have really enjoyed making it and I hope you do too.

6 quarts popped popcorn
1 package (12 oz) red cinnamon candies
sugar (about 2/3 cup)
1 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda.

Spread popcorn in a lightly buttered roasting pan, bake 250 degrees while preparing syrup (I am not sure the purpose of this step and I have actually only done this one time, but I thought I better include it in the steps since it is in the directions).  

 Pour cinnamon candies into a 2 cup measure.

 Fill remaining space to the top with sugar.

  Place in a heavy pan. Add butter, corn syrup and salt. 

 Bring to a boil; boil 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, carefully stir in baking soda.  Pour over popcorn, stirring to coat.

 Bake 250 for one hour stirring every 15 minutes.
  Remove from oven and cool on wax paper. Store in air tight container.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

So God Made A Farmer.....and this is the rest of the story

I didn't really watch the Super Bowl.  I sat on the couch with my husband while he watched and I played on the iPad.  I watched the commercials of course.  Some were pretty good, others just so, so.  But the commercial that kept me in awe was the Dodge Ram commercial with Paul Harvey's "God Made a Farmer."  The commentary was not new to me, as a kid I remember riding in the pick up truck with my dad listening to Paul Harvey on the radio. Maybe hearing "So God Made a Farmer" during the 2013 super bowl was so much more meaningful to me because I married a farmer.

It has been 35 years since Paul Harvey first read his "So God Made a Farmer" poem.  He first shared it at the 1978 National FFA Convention. 

I was thinking.....would Paul Harvey say the same thing about farmers today as he did 35 years ago?  Millions of viewers watched that commercial, but did it really communicate to viewers what today's modern farmer is all about?  

Today's farmer still works from sun up to sun down, snow, wind  or sleet,  loves his animals and land, gets his hands dirty everyday, and puts his faith in God for a bountiful harvest. The farmer - who he is and what he stands for will always be the same....

Yet, I feel there is such a disconnect today between the farmer and the consumer.  U.S. Agriculture has fed this country and the world for over 200 years.  In the 21st century, American agriculture not only produces food to feed the world, but the products of today’s farms are used in the fuel, fiber, polymer, and medical industries.  Many people don't realize that today's modern farmer feeds 155 people worldwide compared to only 25 people 50 years ago.  Yet, most of the public still views agriculture as the industry it was in the 1960’s.

Ninety-eight percent of Americans have little to no on-farm connection, yet many are becoming increasingly more vocal about how food is produced and how farms should operate. Often the consumer takes for granted that we have the most bountiful, healthy, and diverse food supply in the world. Modern agriculture has researched and discovered the best ways to care for animals and produce high quality grains, while using fewer resources and producing more, in an effort to keep food costs down.  (side note: the last two paragraphs were actually part of an essay written by my daughter who is  at OSU majoring in agribusiness. She has a passion to help re-connect the farmer and the consumer and I think she is awesome!)

Today’s farmers are doing a good job and they have a great story to tell. 

If you don't know much about modern agriculture I challenge you to do some homework.  

Did you know???

* Today my husband can plant in half a day the same amount of land that his grandfather could plant in an entire planting season.

*  My husband's grandfather treated every field the same.  Every field got tilled, planted and fertilized the same.  My husband's father farmed by the field - meaning the type of seed,  fertilizer or crop protection changed depending on the location and soil type of each field. Today, my husband is able to farm by the foot.  Because of today's modern technology he is able to vary the seed, fertilizer and protection chemicals based on the needs of each foot of ground.

* While working ground, planting or harvesting, my husband can send emails, read the paper or sell grain.... all from the luxury of his tractor cab.  The auto steer and the GPS system in today's farm equipment allows him to multi-task in ways he never dreamed. But with more information and data to observe comes more decisions to make to assure the best crops possible.

* The Future of Farming -  You can’t order one from your dealer today, but robotic tractors could be available in the near future. On-board computers already have the capability to control many tractor functions. Add a little more hardware, a GPS-powered guidance system, some navigational software and you have a tractor that doesn't need  a farmer warming up the cab seat.  Also referred to as autonomous tractors, they basically remove the need for a person to be physically on the equipment to operate it (AgrAbility).  Wow, wonder what Paul Harvey would say to that?

Whether a horse pulls the plow or the robot drives the machine, it's the farmer's skills and experience, along with God's blessings of sunshine and rain that produces the crops that benefit mankind.

Life on our farm.....

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 - For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.......

Genesis 1:29 - And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.

 Proverbs 16:3 - Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established

Exodus 34:21 - Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.

Thank God I married a Farmer!

So God Made a Farmer by Paul Harvey
And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the field, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the township board.” So God made a farmer.
“I need somebody with arms strong enough to wrestle a calf and yet gentle enough to cradle his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait for lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies, then tell the ladies to be sure to come back real soon and mean it.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year,’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from an ash tree, shoe a horse, who can fix a harness with hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. Who, during planting time and harvest season will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon and then, paining from tractor back, up in another 72 hours.” So God made a farmer.
God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to help a newborn calf begin to suckle and tend the pink-comb pullets, who will stop his mower in an instant to avoid the nest of meadowlarks.”
It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed, brake, disk, plow, plant, strain the milk, replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with an eight mile drive to church. Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh and then reply with smiling eyes when his family says that they are proud of what Dad does. “So God made a farmer.”