Monday, December 31, 2012

Slow-cooker broccoli cheese soup

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

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


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

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

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…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
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