Monday, December 31, 2012

Slow-cooker broccoli cheese soup

2 comments:
This is a pretty awesome way to ring in the New Year – a comfort food recipe and the promise of a giveaway to come! This broccoli-cheese soup is the perfect slow-cooked warm up to a cold winter’s day.
broccoli cheese soup
And, I just happen to have one of these hot-off-the-presses Gooseberry Patch cookbooks to give away to one lucky reader! I’ll be starting the giveaway next week, so be sure to come back and enter!
Slow Cooking All Year Round

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Snow day

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As you’ve probably heard by now, we got a Christmas snow storm here in Indiana. Lucky for us, it held off until Christmas night, and we got to spend a nice relaxing day with our family before the “Blizzard of 2012” hit. Not everyone was upset about the snow – Sadie, our husky mix had a blast!

Sadie in the snow

(Yes, she had somewhere warm and dry to go. She just didn’t go there. Silly girl.)

This is what we saw when we got up on Wednesday morning. Almost every window in the house got this winter treatment overnight. First the screens iced over, then they collected snow. Made it pretty dark inside!

snow covered windows

The doors were not left out of the snow experience. And our outside tree was a little windswept…

front door snowed in

It always amazes me how the wind moves on top of our hill. There were patches of bare ground that had been swept clean, and snow drifts 4 feet tall. The back part of the house got covered in snow, but it didn’t really stick to the front part on this side.

snow on the house

We intentionally left the barn doors open during the night. There is no center beam to hold the doors shut (makes it easy to get trucks and tractors in and out, but means the wind catches the doors when they’re closed). So… open doors meant snow inside.

snow in the barn

My truck is behind this door… behind this very tall, still growing, snowdrift.

garage snow drift

Farmer Doc spent about 3 hours on a tractor on Thursday afternoon digging us out. Here’s the garage after a bit of thawing and lots of plowing.

garage plowed out

The trouble with a gravel driveway is that if you plow too deep, you move around a lot of the dirt and gravel that is the driveway and make lots of ruts and bumps. If you don’t plow deep enough, you don’t get all the snow off.

down the driveway

Getting down the driveway and this hill is the easy part. The hard part is getting back up. The trick is to start up the hill with just enough speed so you make it to the top on the first try… but not so much speed that you lose control in the snow before you get to the top.

It’s a fine line.

And… as I write this on Friday evening… it has just started to snow again. Which means we get to do this all again this weekend! Who’s excited?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fun with Verizon Wireless

3 comments:
Last week, a Public Relations Specialist from Verizon Wireless came down from Chicago to spend the day with me and Farmer Doc. Paul wanted to see how we use technology in our daily lives and at work and how Verizon Wireless could help us do our jobs better.

I know that we learned a lot from Paul, and I think he learned some things about rural Indiana and had a pretty good time in the process. We started the morning off with a farm call to do pregnancy checks on a herd of beef cows. We let Paul have the full experience. This cow was 5 months pregnant. And Paul got to check it out for himself! (Apparently, VZW does not have an app that will help with this. Oh well. I guess that’s job security for us!)

Pauls first preg check
We definitely gave Paul feeling of what it’s like to be a mixed-animal veterinarian in southwest Indiana. We saw a little bit of everything – a cold farm call to check pregnant cows, pet vaccinations back in the warm office, a dog with heartworms, a cat teeth cleaning, and a series of x-rays with barium contrast in a cat with a mass in its abdomen!

While we do have a website and some neat online services for our clients, there is still one big technology gap at the Princeton Veterinary Hospital. Cell service. Right outside our building (and throughout Princeton and almost all of Gibson County) the VZW 4G service is spectacular. (Just download the free Speed Test app to check it out!) But as soon as you walk in our door the cell signal evaporates. Something about a two-story metal building. Since our phones are constantly searching for service all day, the batteries don’t last very long. The problem is that we are on call for emergencies after hours. And if our cell phones go dead, we can’t take emergency phone calls.

To try to solve this problem, Farmer Doc and I have a Motorola RAZR MAXX HD phone to try for a few weeks. This phone has a monster battery life, and so far is passing the test! (PS, that’s 11:17 PM in this photo… and still 57% battery life left!)

VZW RAZR MAXX HD screenshot
Paul is also going to ship us a Network Extender to try for a few weeks to see if this solves the signal problem in the building. Theoretically, all we need to do is set up up near an upstairs window, and it should boost the cell service and 3G signal inside the entire building. We should be getting this neat toy in a few days, and I’ll be sure to let you know how it works!

As a large animal internal medicine specialist, I mainly serve as a consultant for Farmer Doc and the other vets in our practice. And I get a lot of phone calls with “can you give me your opinion on this case?” The truth is, it can be really hard to give a medical opinion without seeing a patient. Verizon Wireless to the rescue! With their Looxcie Bluetooth Video Camera, Farmer Doc can send me a live video stream of his examination of a complicated case. We can talk to each other over the video stream so I can ask more questions and he can get the answers from the owner or do a different exam right then and there. Now that’s customer service!

VZW Looxcie video camera
Paul definitely got us intrigued by a few other products. We love the idea of the Tagg Pet Tracker (keep virtual tabs on your cat, dog, or farm animals on your smart phone!). The Belkin Net Cam WiFi Camera could be great help to keep an eye on kids at home, mares getting ready to foal in the barn, or that sick goat who needs a little extra TLC. Wonder who is coming up your long driveway? Set one of these puppies up to monitor the driveway and get an email alert when the motion detector goes off!

I’ve got to say, we had a blast meeting Paul and learning about some of the fun things that Verizon Wireless has to offer. Check out the Verizon Wireless Midwest Area blog for Paul's thoughts on his visit!

{Verizon Wireless has provided me and Farmer Doc with devices to try, but the opinions expressed her are our own.}

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fast BBQ bacon-stuffed meat loaf

1 comment:
Farmer Doc loves meat loaf. Seriously. It’s one of his favorites. I was never really fond of just “plain old meat loaf.” So I look for ways to dress it up. And this one was a winner, for both of us!
BBQ bacon-stuffed meat loaf

Monday, December 17, 2012

Excellence in Agriculture

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Last week, Farmer Doc and I were honored to be named the winners of the Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Excellence in Ag award. (Yes, it’s a mouthful. It’s also a pretty cool award.)

Marybeth and John at the farmIndiana Farm Bureau photo by Linda McGurk

This award is open to all Young Farmers in the state (35 years and under) who do not make most of their income from production agriculture (a farm), and is based on an extensive application process followed by a presentation and question and answer session with a panel of judges. The application includes county, state, and national Farm Bureau involvement and leadership; leadership and involvement in other agriculture organizations; and other community leadership. Another important part of the application is to explain what we feel are the top 3 issues facing agriculture in the next five years.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Not your grandma’s fruitcake

3 comments:
Fruitcake is one of those traditional holiday foods. It’s heavy, dense, and has those funny green bits in it. You can buy it everywhere. But who really buys it? And who really likes it?

Well, hold on to your fruitcake hats! This is not your grandma’s fruitcake!
not your grandmas fruitcake

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Every Christmas Story Ever Told

1 comment:
…And Then Some

This was the big project I was working on last week. Oh yes, I just finished a starring role in the Gibson County Theatre Company’s production of “Every Christmas Story Ever Told… And Then Some!” And, boy, did we hit them all…

I would have posted about this ahead of time, but… well… the tickets had been sold out. For 5 weeks before the show opened! What a big problem to have! Also, our director didn’t want me leaking any of the very funny bits of the show.

So here’s the recap…

We started off with the plan to perform “A Christmas Carol.'” (You know, the Beloved Holiday Classic!)
Christmas Carol

Friday, November 23, 2012

How to comment on blogs

6 comments:
Okay, so you’ve found a couple of blogs you like to read, and you figured out how to follow them. Great job!

You know blogging isn’t a one-way street, right? We want to hear from you! Most bloggers have a way for you to leave them comments. If you’re not used to commenting, it can feel a little intimidating to start, but we won’t bite. I promise.

Most blog posts will have a spot for you to comment at the end of the post. If you’re reading a blog post in your email (or in an RSS reader), you’ll need to go to the website to leave a comment. All you have to do is click on the title of the post in your email (not the subject line of the email) and you’ll go right to the website. Scroll down to the bottom of the post, and see what you find.

Here is the comment section on my blog. When you first get there, you’ll see this shadow guy with a text box that says “Leave a message…” 

Alarm Clock Wars comment section

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Crockpot rosemary apple chicken

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This is going to be a new favorite fall dish! Who doesn’t love a fall dinner in the crockpot?

rosemary apple chicken

Monday, November 19, 2012

Basement, part 2

2 comments:

Big huge thanks to my mother-in-law who has agreed to host Thanksgiving this year! Wahoo, we got a reprieve on Project Eat-Off-The-Basement-Floor!

It’s a temporary reprieve… we are still holding our office Christmas party down here next month. So we are still working our butts off to get this thing finished.

Since there were a few parts of the floor that had never been painted, and we were never going to get all the dirt off the floor, we decided to paint the whole dang thing. We moved the freezers away from the wall, scrubbed the entire thing (with a major floor scrubber!), painted where the freezers were supposed to go, and then moved them back.

freezer section

Friday, November 16, 2012

How to follow blogs

4 comments:
I know I’ve got a few friends out there who aren’t bloggers, but know people who are bloggers. (You know who you are…) You may not want to dive into the world of blogging, but you want to keep up with what a few of your friends are doing. Surely there’s got to be an easier way than remembering to go to their websites every day to see if there’s something new!

Good news – there is a much easier way! As bloggers, we’re writing for you – and we want you to read it! So we do our best to make it easy for you to keep up with what is going on in our little corner of the internet.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cleaning the basement

3 comments:
This is not your run-of-the-mill “we need to sweep the floors and knock down the cobwebs once a year” sort of basement cleaning. This is serious basement cleaning.

One of the drawbacks of doing some of the work for our home remodel ourselves is that, well, the construction guys didn’t do everything. Including the post-construction clean up. And, frankly, we haven’t gotten to the basement yet.

But it is time. (Okay, it’s well past time.)

There are sort of three parts to our basement now. The part under the new house (we’ll deal with that later…), the main part under the old house, and the smaller part under the old house (we put up a wall to separate these two sections).

We’ve been dealing with the smallest part of the basement so far. Here’s half of it… with a bunch of junk.

basement east end before

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Filling in water line trenches

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Last we saw, our yard was criss-crossed with 4-foot deep trenches. Everywhere.
But, not to fear! Farmer Doc has been working overtime to get the trenches filled up (with water lines) and filled in (with dirt). The trench across the driveway was the first part of the project. Look how pretty and smooth!

driveway trench filled in

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Upside-down pizza casserole

8 comments:

Okay, I know that when you think “casserole” you don’t automatically think of something yummy. But hear me out here… I’m a huge fan of a dish that I can prep, toss in the oven, and then forget about for a little bit. (You know, wash the dishes, clean up, do a load of laundry, read a book, put my feet up with a cocktail… well, one of those anyway…)

And, come on, how yummy does this look?!

upside-down pizza casserole

Monday, November 5, 2012

Trenching for water lines

4 comments:
Yes, we are still remodeling. Only now we’ve moved from the house to the yard… And what an adventure it is!

Remodel Monday badge
This is a trencher. It’s a scary piece of equipment, and Farmer Doc rented it. For exactly one day. Which meant there was a lot of trenching…

trencher
Which looked like this. (The barking dog helps the trencher work right. Everyone should have one.)

(If you’re reading this in a reader or your email and can’t see the video below, click through to the website and you can watch it there.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Apple-Pecan Pork Tenderloin

3 comments:
I’ve been looking for new pork recipes to experiment with. I found this recipe on Pork, Be Inspired, and it is definitely a winner!

apple-pecan pork

Monday, October 29, 2012

Organized freezers

4 comments:
Three weeks ago we got a quarter of a beef cow from a local farmer. This was great, because we were just about out of steaks. This was not so great because it meant I needed to dig into the chest freezer, rotate the older beef to the top, and do a general re-organization. It turned out for the best, because now I know exactly what is in the freezer, and pretty much where it is. (I love me some organization!)

The left side of the freezer is ground beef, hamburger patties, roasts, and pork.

chest freezer left

Friday, October 26, 2012

I-69 Community Day

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Last weekend we had a block party. On the interstate.

Okay. The new Interstate 69 isn’t open yet. But it goes right smack through Gibson County. And it’s been making a bit of a mess of traffic while it was getting built.

So the INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation) and the Gibson County Chamber of Commerce put together an I-69 Community Day once the interstate was almost finished. How cool to be able to just hang out and wander around on an interstate?!

interstate proof

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Crockpot chicken with chive sauce

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I’ve already said that I love fall… and the yummy food I can cook in the crockpot is one of the reasons! This was an amazing chicken breast with creamy chive sauce.

crockpot chicken with chive sauce

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall Decorations

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It should be no secret by now… Fall is my favorite season! I love when I can pull out those big sweaters, and hats, and scarves! I love scarves!

I also love the colors of fall. Last year we were getting packed up and moved out of our old house to make way for the remodel project. So I really didn’t decorate for fall like I wanted to.

I’m making up for that this year!

I brought home a truck full of mums and pumpkins over the weekend!

fall is here

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cows like fall

2 comments:
Just like me, the cows love this time of year! We’ve got Black Angus cows, and it’s really hot for them in the summer. Cows can’t sweat, so they need plenty of shade to stay cool in the summer months.

cows in the mist

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Roasted butternut squash

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In my last recipe, I cooked oven-fried pork chops with a side of roasted butternut squash. One of my favorite things about fall is all these winter squashes that are ready, but they can be a little intimidating if you’ve never cooked them before. I’m here to tell you – if I can do it, you can do it!

Start with a butternut squash. They should have pale skins, and be very firm to the touch. Wash it off, and cut off the base. (Set that aside, we’ll be using it in a minute!)

cut butternut squash

Monday, October 15, 2012

Remake Mondays – Office bulletin board

2 comments:
I’ve got this blank wall in my office, right between the door into the room and the (giant) closet. It’s right in the traffic flow when you come in the room, so I can’t put much furniture there. But it is the perfect spot for a big, bright wall hanging. So I made this bulletin board!

new bulletin board

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wedding photography

2 comments:

I photographed my first wedding last weekend! Well… it wasn’t my first wedding. It was the first wedding I photographed. It was my friends Jessie and David’s wedding.

happy couple

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Oven-fried pork chops

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I love cooking pork chops on the grill. But sometimes the grill is too hard to get out of the garage. (Trust me. It’s kind of buried right now.) This is an easy way to get flavorful, juicy pork chops from the oven!

pork dinner

Monday, October 8, 2012

Remodel Monday – Hanging photos

3 comments:
No, we’re not remodeling anything new. (Phew! That was one heck of a project!) But I am working on doing some decorating in the house, finally! I was inspired to get the ball moving on this by my friend, Jessie. She and her new husband moved into their house 6 weeks ago, and they are already pretty well unpacked, put away, and have curtains hanging and some decorating done. Already.

So I felt a little bit like a slacker.

I entered these photos in the Gibson County Fair open show. Last July. They’ve been sitting here, in my kitchen, right in front of the door, ever since. I see them every time I walk in the house. And every time I see them I think, “I really should get those hung up one of these days.”

photos in kitchen

Friday, October 5, 2012

New roof

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No not on our house. We just did that earlier this year!

This time it’s on our garages. (Yes, I said garages, plural. No, we don’t park vehicles in both of them. That’s a long story…)

There have been some big hail storms in our area this past summer. And the roofs (rooves? roofes? more than one roof…) on our garages got damaged. So last weekend Farmer Doc called up some friends to come help replace the roof on the smaller garage.

Before they got started on the roof project, they fixed the dusk-to-dawn light. It’s been down since the major construction started last winter, and it gets dark around here at night! We’re pretty thrilled to have some light now after sunset!

small garage

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sausage and grits

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I never had grits before I moved to Indiana. It’s just not something that we eat in New England. But, I have to say… I am a fan! (Especially when they’re loaded with cheese…) And to celebrate National Pork Month, let’s cook these cheesy grits with some sausage!

sausage and grits

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pineapple moment of truth

1 comment:

We brought back some Maui Gold pineapples from our trip to Hawaii in January. Farmer Doc wanted to try his hand at pineapple farming, so we planted the tops of four of the plants. Only two have made it so far. They did okay living on a table inside at the temporary apartment during our home remodel. Then the lived on the back porch at our new house. And they loved it there this summer! I think they’re well on track to start looking like the ones I saw at the State Fair anytime now…

pineapple on the porch

Friday, September 28, 2012

Time for some fly spray

1 comment:
While some of my friends and I are having a problem with gnats and fruit flies around the house, our cows are having a problem with flies out in the field! This summer was so dry that we didn’t really have a big problem with insects earlier in the year. And now that we have gotten some rain, the bugs have come back out. Ick.

Because the cows are being bothered so much by the flies, we treated them with fly spray. Farmer Doc and I went out to visit some of our cows we keep at a different pasture and give them a fly spray bath.

First, Farmer Doc put out some corn to entice them to come out of the rolling pasture and into the barn lot. (Where we could reach them.)

feeding the cows

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Washington, DC

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I had the opportunity to visit Washington, DC twice this summer! Both trips were thanks to the Farm Bureau, and I had a wonderful time on both trips. The first trip this summer was back in July, and I attended the American Farm Bureau’s Women’s Communications Boot Camp. That trip was jam-packed full of learning and workshops, and we really didn’t have much time for sight seeing.

The second time was earlier in September. Farmer Doc and I went with a group of people from the Indiana Farm Bureau. Our main goal on this trip was to meet with our state senators and representatives, but we did have some fun time built in, too.

We spent the first day in meetings with American Farm Bureau staff learning about some of the legislative priorities for the rest of this year. To be honest, it was a pretty frustrating day. There are a lot of bills that still need to be voted on, but are not being brought to the House floor for a vote. It seems like election year politics are playing a big role in the House of Representatives not getting their jobs done.

But a bright spot of that day was the chance to get up on the roof of a 10-story building for a bird’s eye view of the city. Just like last time, I was struck by the construction and the number of cranes that dotted the skyline.

cranes over DC

Monday, September 24, 2012

Porch furniture

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All this travel has finally caught up to me. I’ve been sick. Coughing until I can’t breathe sick. So I took last week off, more or less. Anyway, I didn’t write anything for any of my blogs. It was a barren week.

Finally, I’m starting to feel more like a person! Well, at least when I can see through the haze of non-drowsy decongestants and NyQuil. So, only sometimes.

Here’s one thing that we did manage to get accomplished between trips to Indianapolis and Washington, DC this summer – new furniture for our porch!

table and chairs

Monday, September 10, 2012

Indiana Farm Bureau policy

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At it’s heart, the Farm Bureau is a policy organization. Yes, it is a grass roots organization of farmers. And they do lots to develop leadership skills, networking opportunities, and educational programs for farmers and non-farmers alike. But the heart and soul of the organization is policy.

Farm Bureau is very involved in any legislation that can affect farmers, whether directly (like the Farm Bill) or indirectly (like time zones).

Every year, the Indiana Farm Bureau holds a delegate session in Indianapolis in August. At this meeting, the delegates (representatives from each county) discuss and vote on the policies that Farm Bureau will support (or not support) in the next calendar year.

delegate session

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ravioli with tomato sauce

2 comments:
One of Farmer Doc’s favorite dishes is lasagna. I usually make it for him on his birthday, but it can be a big pain in the butt! This year we compromised with ravioli and a homemade tomato sauce. And Garlic Bubble Bread. (Seriously? This bread is the way to his heart!)

ravioli dinner

Friday, August 31, 2012

Birthdays and anniversaries

3 comments:
The end of August is a busy celebration time for us. Our third wedding anniversary was last week and Farmer Doc’s birthday was earlier this week. Why did we schedule our wedding so close to his birthday, you might ask?

wedding photos - teamwork

Believe it or not, we scheduled our wedding to be after fair season, but before college football season. And with a 3-week state fair in August and Purdue football starting the first weekend in September, we weren’t left with a lot of options!

(Seriously, that’s why.)

It’s all about priorities.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Burrito lasagna

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The cookbook where I found this recipe calls it “Family Burrito Bake.” But it’s burrito ingredients smashed into lasagna form. And Farmer Doc knows what I mean when I say “burrito lasagna.” Easy, no explanation. When I say “family burrito bake,” I always get “huh? what’s that?” It’s just easier this way.

burrito lasagna

The beauty of this recipe is that it’s all done in the microwave. It’s not quite a one-dish meal, but it’s pretty close.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weaning calves

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It’s that time of year again. Our calves were born in February and March, so now they’re around 6 months old. It’s time to wean.

We started them on creep feed back in June, and they’ve been eating hay with their mothers for a few months. They don’t know it yet, but they’re ready to be weaned.

First, we brought all the calves into the barn and left the mothers outside on the pasture.

calves in barn

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