Baby Sign Language: Milk

What is interesting about me telling you the word and sign we are learning?

Nothing…well, maybe where Milk comes from or where it ends up….on my shirt, bra, pants, sofa, floor, trash can, magazines, bible, sink, purse, diaper bag, church pew, hair ….I will stop, because again it is not that interesting–not in this format.

I learned my first baby signs at My Baby Can Talk.   They have an excellent video dictionary.

This week we are adding Milk to our daily usage.  I do not expect my baby to use this sign until he is nine months and correctly around ten months.

That gives you plenty of time to recognize the sign–then when he signs ‘milk’ you should find my bra that is where he keeps his milk.

Did You Crop Your Pants?

Today, I enjoyed meeting blogging friends in person. And they learned that I have an uncanny ability to talk and talk….and talk. It reminded me of this post I never published.

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Boss man is….well…. How is a verbose woman to admit such a fate?

Let me try again.

He is….a man of ….of……. a man of few words. There, I said it, I married the strong-silent type.  You can send your condolences to Rural Route 2.

You know the type, whose actions speak louder than words.

He will just stare down an unsuspecting soul who utters nonsense….usually me.

A few summers ago….

We were expecting a crop adjuster to declare our dryland crops demise.  Mr. Crop Adjuster requested Boss Man drive him to each field to be surveyed–to which Boss Man agreed. Poor Boss Man– Small Talk Time–not at the top of Boss Man’s favorite pass times.

Now Boss Man will take over this post-for this man of few words does NOT appreciate me putting words in his mouth (mis-quoting him–innocently enough.  I occasionally…often…ok, ok, almost always expand his few words to capture the innuendo of his communication–and may or may not completely mis-interpret what he said. A certain verbose wife just went into overdrive. Here is the Story:

Truck. Crop Adjuster. Pivots. Corn. Irrigation. Dryland. Same.

Well, Boss Man is not here so I will risk telling the story:

While driving along the road Mr. Crop Adjuster comments on how he has not seen a single irrigation system turned off for the past week. In Mr. Crop Adjuster’s opinion  irrigation ‘did not do a thing for the corn–it was a waste’

I feel sorry for Mr. Crop Adjuster because I know  Boss Man just sat there in silence.

Boss Man waited for the right time to say his few words. “So your telling me that this dryland corn (pointing to a half section with dryland corners)  does not look any different from that irrigated circle of corn?”  Mr. Crop Adjuster, “Well I guess they do look different!” bada bing bada boom!

Mr. Crop Adjuster must have wanted to ‘Crop’ his pants! I pity him…And admire Boss Man’s ability to wield  words with precision.

I cringe knowing Boss Man continued driving from field to field without tension busting small talk.

He let that adjuster sit in his ‘Crop’ as he toured of our dryland drought destruction.

I think we will take my truck to church this week.

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Flat Aggie Visits Stafford County Flour Mills

Hi, Class!

I arrived in Central Kansas in time to join a farm family picnic.

After I looked around the farm site, I asked  to tour the flour mill down the road,

 

 

 

I arrived early in the morning and watched large semi trucks drive on to scales to weigh how much wheat they were hauling in to the mill.  After the wheat is unloaded the truck weighs again.  Next, the mill workers solve a subtraction problem to find out how much wheat the truck unloaded.

After another farm family joined us for the tour we  dressed for safety.   My hair net would help protect the flour from contamination…no one wants to find a hair in their food.

Randy, our tour guide, walked us to another building  where the flour is packaged and stored.  We learned that the flour is packaged in five pound and fifty pound bags.

 

This is a conveyor system that carries five pound bags to the next station.

I hopped on for a ride on a pallet as it was wrapped for shipping.

This pallet holds fifty fifty pound bags of flour.

Next, I saw stacks and stacks of flour waiting to be shipped out to businesses around the country.  This flour is used by two different tortilla companies, a hot wings seasoning, government commodities for people in need of food assistance and  baking mixes.

Due to safety restrictions I was not allowed in the milling building with my host family.

When we returned to the office I watched a short video describing the process of making  flour from wheat.  First, wheat  is hauled to the mill on trucks from fields in June.  Next, the wheat is sampled to check for quality.  Once approved the wheat is cleaned..not with soap and water!  Then, the wheat is sifted to remove stems and dust before being store in grain silos until it is time to be milled.

The milling process is a cycle of grinding the wheat, and sifting out the large pieces. Grinding those pieces and sifting out the large pieces. Grinding the large pieces and sifting out. Grinding and sifting until the wheat is the consistency the mill will approve to sell.

I learned a wheat kernel has many parts. White flour is made by grinding the soft inner part of the kernel.  I learned about many types of flour.

1. Bread flour which has high protein to make yummy bread!

2. Cake flour which has low protein to make crumbly yummy cakes.

3. All purpose flour which is a compromise and can make either cake or bread!

4. Self-rising flour has added ingredients for making yummy biscuits.

5. Whole Wheat Flour is the ground with the entire kernel and is often mixed with other flours to make yummy food.

My tour ended with a gift from the flour mill to my host family.  A five pound bag of flour.  But my host decided five pounds would be to heavy for each of you to carry home after class today so I helped her pick out biscuit mix!  Happy Baking! you can read about my other Agriculture adventures on NIcole’s website, Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom.

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas In The Country Surprise

Boss Man handed me a packaged as he stomped in the back porch, covered in a day’s worth of cattle grime.  I smiled, wondering what he had done….then I spied the sender-Stupid.com. With a confused laugh, I asked if he had bought me something from stupid.com…nope.

My sister visited stupid.com and warned me that I could have recieved something that would make me blush--so I have not taken a peak.

My sister visited stupid.com and warned me that I could have recieved something that would make me blush–so I have not taken a peak.

Boss Man accused me of shopper’s amnesia.

In the package were a trio of boot stockings…no name…a true secret santa.

 

The ladies in my bible study laughed with me as I related the mysterious gift from some company named Stupid.com.

 

A week later I received another suspicious package–this time I laughed for several minutes.  A lump of coal with a tag you’ve been naughty…this time there was a clue–Colby of myaglife.com.

And I laughed harder–a stranger who knows little about me sent me a lump of coal–how did he know that I had been bad this year?  And how did I forget about the Christmas in the Country gift exchange for rural/Ag bloggers created by Laurie of countrylinked.wordpress.com and Jamie of  unchartedrhoade.blogspot.com.

 

I reason Colby has a great sense of humour–or he thinks my blog is stupid and that I have been naughty with only a handful of posts in 2013?  I am not certain…but either way his gifts proved to lighten the mood as we prepared for a pre-Christmas snow storm that dumped a foot of snow on our cattle.

As the twelve days of Christmas come to an end over the weekend I look forward to the next Christmas Season–reminded by Colby’s lump of coal that in spite of being naughty God still loves me and sent Jesus as a gift of payment for my sins.

p.s. if you want to see who I had the pelasure of meeting and sending a gift cick here!

Event Planning: Porta-Potty Numbers

I have avoided blogging lately under the auspices that I am busy with planning an event…but I realized I am learning very valuable information along the way and thought I would share.

The question plaguing me this week:  How many portable toilets do I need to rent?  The gentleman at the local portable toilet renting business was a little unsure of how to determine with my specific event so we settled on two..and then I remembered that I have Google services at my finger tips.  What do you know two great resources popped up:

 

One charting hours of duration/number of attendees

 

The other Graphing Hours of Duration/number of attendees/male/female/alcohol consumption

 

Not exactly what I dreamed of my first event planning post..but it was one of my top five musts for the event to occur.

Talk to you soon,

Amber

p.s. I’ll try to refrain from  no potty talk next time.

CATCHY TITLE!

Well, I am back from my hiatus.

I did it again, I began to aim for perfection then realized I was falling short of my goals and turned my attention elsewhere.  The good news is else where was on my family and home.  In the past few months we took a vacation, Boss man planted thousands of acres of corn, beans and milo.  If you are asking what is milo…I hear you..it looks like a corn plant when it is first growing…I will have to add this to my farm dictionary.  We usually do not plant milo but due to the drought and irrigation limit s we are being flexible.  and now we have harvested thousands of acres of wheat..with two more days left and a severe thunderstorm looming.    This wheat crop was disappointing on the dryland fields and  slightly below our goal on the irrigated…ten percent to be exact..the exact percentage our agronomist predicted in freeze damage….I suggested to Boss Man we readjust our lofty triple digit goal…today I would trade the 90 bushel wheat and the 108 degree day…any for 108 bushel wheat and 90 degrees?   Ok I am rambling as I prone to do…but I am back and hopefully I can share the complexities this agriculture culture I living int he midst of in plain talk but I am still learning and at times it feels like a research paper just explaining a five minute conversation with Boss Man and his Dad….or even taking messages…as I sat down I listened to the answering machine from a number listed as U.S. Government:

Boss Man this is Marty with the FSA.  I have an availability on July 22 at 9am to enroll in the farm program and report spring seeded crops.  I actually knew what she was talking about but I still decided to email it to Boss Man rather than convey it on phone while he was driving the combine with his little phone piece in his ear…or leave a message where a certain six year old may decide to paint a pretty 4th of July flag…but I could not begin to explain what all this entails without some serious research with Google and Boss Man’s dear wise mother…patient, kind and detailed mother.

 

and you deserve a picture..let me dig one out of the external hard-drive….ok it is not hooked-up.  I took it with me to  our tornado shelter last month and forgot to plug it back in…so ….well I found this from last year…this is my excuse for no recent photos on my computer…I live in tornado alley.

Where is my external hard drive?

How I Celebrate National Agriculture Day! Give Away! (Winners!)

The four winners of the How I Celebrate National Agriculture Day! Give Away! are:

$25 Hudson Cream Flour/Stafford County Flour Mill

Rachel: The farmers shared a quote they heard on Agri Talk yesterday… “every day is Ag day here in the heartland. National Agriculture day is just for the rest of the country.” I asked if they got to take the day off in honor of Ag Day. HA.  I used to think flour was just flour, WalMart brand or Hudson didn’t matter. I am a convert now though, only Hudson flour for us.

 

A Dozen Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Krystal: Well, after reading your blog I will have to say my favorite Ag product is…. COOKIES !! As far as Farmers go y’all are the only one I know so you get my vote, maybe my parents are considers ranchers but I dont thinks so, But the do produce the oppurtunity to share there love of horses and the Lord, so maybe they are. I do find it very unique and would love to see the wheat that I (with the Lords Help) grew and harvested go to the mill and come back to me as the flour I used in my baking and cooking. Pictures are wonderful, Pip is very photogenic, but that also could be over exposure to mamma camera. haha

Kim: My favorite farmer has to be my husband, Randy. My favorite ag product is wheat. My favorite flour is Hudson Cream Flour, the only flour to use for baking. I am spending National Ag Day working baby calves with my hubby. As I wrote on my blog today, we are having our own kind of parade. I just hope the participants stay on the parade route. Happy Ag Day to you and yours, Amber! I agree with you. You are raising the best crop of all on the farm – your beautiful girls! (You have a reader across the county. I will endeavor to do better at commenting.  I love the photo with the yellow galoshes in the wheat field.

Julie: My favorite farmer is the hubby! Wheat is awesome and of course I like flour because I like to cook! Love your blog! Have a great day!
Glad we can all blog about ag, and life!

Nicole: My favorite Ag product would have to be our kids who learn soooo much growing up on a farm. 

Yes, I realize that is five winners but how could I leave out one person?

Congratulations, Winners!  I will contact you soon!

Stafford County Flour Mill ships Hudson Cream Flour all over….take a look here if you want to experience the flakiest biscuits ever.

 

Have a fabulous day!

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Today, is the first day of NCAA Basketball Tournament…my bracket is filled out..Boss Man and I compete every year…we have not agreed to the terms of the winners bounty…..and some how we both picked Kansas Teams for the Championship…with KSU winning. (p.s. I randomly decided at the end of the post to make one of you a winner! )

Well, it is fitting that we are possibly blindly hopeful because Agriculture is an industry based on hopes.

Hoping that the sun will come up tomorrow with a rain shower on the horizon to bring moisture to the cracked earth, sprouting wheat planted in the fall with hopes of higher prices per bushel in June when we are hopeful to harvest a crop that survives, late freezes, lightning, hail, wind, tornadoes,  insects, fungus, disease, drought, and fire.   Yes, all of those have impacted the fields on this farm in my ten years as Mrs. Boss Man.

And that is why I am proud to be a farmer..a rancher…a central plains woman raising the most valuable crop on a farm….children!   Teaching the girls about seasons, weather, hope, plant growth cycles, hope,  life and death in the form of little calves, hope, sweat, perseverance, hope,  patience….

 

 

Yes, I use Boss Man as an object….an object lesson..there is nothing like acting out a whining crying Boss Man…oh, let me just give you the dialogue…

My distraught Pippi lamenting having to wait for her birthday…or Christmas…or going to see gran ma I do not remember the utter deprivation of the day I first began this charade…but I do remember getting into character a little to enjoyably (hey I learned a new word..enjoyably.)

Me as Boss Man:  Why isn’t my Wheat ready to cut yet?” WAHHHH!!! stomp stomp stomp…I want my wheat to ready now!!! air punch…I am just going to cut it a  month early! I want it NOW!!!!  this was my demonstration that waiting for something usually provides a better outcome…yes, I followed with a lengthy discussion of how we have to wait for the natural processes of things to occur…patience

Me as Boss Man #2: “Boo HOOOOOOO!!! the rain did not fall on my crop!!!! I am MAD! stomp kick kick…I want the rain to come back RIGHT NOWWW!”  Lesson: Do not get upset about things you can not control…self-control

Me as Boss Man #3: “I do not watn to work…I just want to watch TV and sleep and play with the dogs all day….who cares about work…it is hard…YAWN..I will feed the cattle another day.”  Lesson: Pippi summed it up… The cattle will be hungry Daddy Has to feed them!  and then how would we have money to eat?   AHHH! such wisdom and she was only four people!  And already learning that hard-work takes perseverance if it is going to bear fruit…

Yes, I continued this for a few days…and now that I remembered my acting debut I think I may replay it tomorrow for any wisdom training I need to deliver.

And while not the typical response to why a farmer is proud to be involved with agriculture it is my answer today..along with providing jobs for our family, and employees, and the people at the co-op and the crop insurances adjusters and the bankers, and the water inspectors, and the meat inspectors, and cowboys….and so many other people….OH and I am proud to grow the wheat that I eat…it is milled in the local town…one of the few independent mills in country… click the name to learn more about the company STAFFORD COUNTY FLOUR MILLS  Hudson cream flour…I guess I finally have an idea of how I will celebrate  National Agriculture Day!

Giving a $25 dollar gift certificate to the Flour Mill …then you can tell me what you think of my wheat…leave a comment about your Favorite Farmer or Rancher or just your favorite Agriculture product…. and I will select one winner at the end of  National Agriculture Week!  And now I am getting greedy…please like my facebook page while you are at it…pretty please?

I suppose I could mail a few of you a dozen cookies…I guess that is legal on the internet…if you where my neighbor I would force you to eat them….so why not….three other winners will get a dozen cookies mailed to your home! Made from wheat grown &  milled here in Central Kansas!

P.S. the odds of winning are GREAT since you and my sister in Paris are about the only people who read this blog..and that person from Thailand…and that other person from Russia…hmmm maybe a few more of you are out there than I realize…Maybe I will be sending cookies and flour further than my hometown after all?

Thanks for participating. Comments are still open for your favorite agriculture thoughts…but closed to the giveaway.

The winners are announced on top!

Farming St. Paddy’s Style!

Green is my favorite color…

This is my ninth wind-blown spring as the farmer’s wife…my eleventh spring break looking out at the tree anemic central plains…the dead sky-scraping cotton woods and porcupine Honey Locusts will burst forth with the color I long all winter for as I drive the sandy roads….but not yet…

The color of life…renewal…my eyes ache as I scan the prairie only to gasp a new reality…..Wheat is my favorite crop! And let me give  rye it due as well….all winter long the ‘miracle grow’ green color sustains my color searching heart…and in March before the wild nature springs to color my eyes rest upon the emerald display. Boss Man earns brownie points for the lush green…sticker free…landscape he planted me back in the fall…

Wheat Picnic

 

 

Oh, Wheat!

You are a lush retreat

under my unshod children’s feet!

Spring would not be complete

without this emerald meet and greet!

My step is once again upbeat!

Oh! Wheat you are Replete!

~ wwww.agentleword.com 2013

 

 

Thanks for visiting our little patch of green!

Amber

p.s. What did you think of my original poem?

p.p.s.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

New Beginnings

Happy Friday! I have a confession…

Friday does not hold the same promises it once did…there is no end of the farm work week…cattle still get fed on Sunday–twice.  Sunday is nice with fewer responsibilities and Worshiping in town with fellow believers.

But, I am usually giddy for Monday…

I love fresh starts…a new opportunity to get it right..do it better…re-set…start-over…Mondays are this girl’s favorite day!

My next to last butternut squash…the garden is outside this window waiting to be prepared for the new season.

And on the Farm I suppose March is as  good as a Monday…Well, maybe March is more like Sunday night.  It is a time of finalizing  plans for the rest of the year…What to crop to plant?  Where to plant it?  How to prepare the ground?  Double check the fertility?  Ready the Planter…

Ready the Planter..that was the task  Boss Man tackled, yesterday.  He drove to an out of the way farm field with a stray storage shed that houses our planter and planter tractor…the big one!

And…well that was about it…after loading trailer after trailer of cattle…cattle were shipped to the sale barn an hour north of us and cattle were shipped to a buyer from an internet auction a few weeks back…so the big process of “go through the tractor” began by the simple two hour task of getting it to the farm site…it seems everything takes time on the farm.

 

Speaking of the planter I am reminded of the time Boss Man was filmed for YouTube …Take a look here and prepared to be…wowed?

 

And do not get me wrong about Fridays…we know how to spend a Friday night click here if you want proof.

 

Here is my true confession: I once again allowed Friday’s in Farmland to slip to the bottom of my agenda…something about a two year old birthday party looming and three sick charges in my home…There is always next  Monday to prepare for a great Friday in Farmland post!  Until then, I hope you enjoyed another snippet from our farm life!  

p.s. the squash photos are from my butternut squash soup recipe….yummy!  Pippi requests it when she is sick…few things make a momma’s heart skip more than meeting a need for a sick child….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shoot, I Failed Ranch Rodeo School!

Once upon a time lived a cowboy…

Cowboy Frank……

 

His sons host an annual  ranch rodeo in his memory….

last night I had the privilege of attending….

with hopes of capturing great photographs to share with these young men..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

you may remember one of Frank’s Sons as the humorous cowboy who cracks jokes at my expense… he is the black hat watching his brother James…I can only imagine the jokes James will endures about his team mates pinning him under a steer during the competition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the next raucous laughter was at this Cowboy’s expense during the bronc riding competition…

His pony did not have much buck…

even the pick-up riders were laughing…

the entire ride…needless to say the cowboy stayed on… with a redo promised.

 

 

 

 

I failed my assignment..my skills could not match the dim conditions, the speed, the dust…not a single picture that is framable…but I know have more skills to use next year!

The snow must go on!

Welcome to Fridays in Farmland!

This week’s  four letter Farm word is  S-N-O-W.  While our neighbors in town enjoyed several snow days, the show must go on for cattlemen and road crews.

Boss Man woke me this morning in the four o’clock hour…at least that is what I think I heard him say..I mostly ignored what he was saying and rolled over for more sleep.  I did remember why he was up, the cattle needed to be brought in from the wheat pasture.

*wheat pasture : farm ground that is planted to wheat can be grazed for several months with minimal damage to crop yield if you remove the cattle soon enough…soon enough is an ambiguous time frame of the wheat plant’s stage of growth.

county road crews refueling at the co-op

This critical time period is predicted to arrive on our farm in the next few weeks…so the cattle must be moved off the ground…the two feet of melting snow-sloppy-muddy-ground. Wise Boss Man made a plan…start moving cattle before the ground thawed…AKA as soon as the sun is up…which is why he was up hours earlier than the girls and me….FYI: if he needed or wanted my help with two little ones in tow I would have jumped up with a smile on my face.

 

The only vehicles I encountered on my way to a play date the morning after the blizzard..until I made it to the US Highway.

Now, I wish I had pictures for you of this process but I had a meeting in town an hour after the moving was slated to begin…but being the dedicated farm wife I am….I called after the work was over and asked how the plan worked. A certain humorous cowboy seems to think I have a knack for this sort of timing.

Look at that smile…one more job that keeps the agriculture live moving..road crews! Farm to Fork food production requires roads!

Me:  “Hi, how did it go? The temperature is below freezing and the sun is hiding behind the clouds to keep your ground frozen. (Yes, I almost always follow-up my questions with statements before giving anybody a chance to answer…awkward, I know.)

Boss Man:  “Barton One did not freeze the panels were set out by the trees. The semi got stuck several times and we had to use the tractor. Then we moved the panels to Barton Six, it was frozen and just loaded the last steer in the truck”

Me: “OK, we will catch up with you later. Bye Handsome!”

Boss Man: “Bye Honey!”

Oil lease roads need to be cleared, too! One more industry strongly tied to agriculture.

I realize that his short story is full of visual images for me and blank stares from you…I will try to explain:

The cattle panels were set out yesterday on on quarter of ground near a shelter belt….and it was the shelter belt that created the problem…the ground did not freeze.

*Quarter: 1/4 section of ground:160 acres

*acre is roughly a football field minus the endzones

*Cattle Panels: a series of metal panels that make a corral and a loading chute

*Shelter belts: a row of trees (sometimes several trees deep) that provide a wind break and habitat for wild life and they some how keep the ground warmer over night.

The short story (I always get a short story on the phone from Boss Man and I on the other hand can take a one minute conversation and retell it in now shorter than five hundred words):  The semi truck was stuck multiple times….{Which means he fed the cattle at the feed lot…fed the cattle in the pastures…met with the rest of our team and met them at Barton One (a specific quarter of ground on our farm) which happens to be on a US Highway.  One of the guys drove a semit-truck with a cattle pot. }

*cattle pot: a semi-trailer used for hauling cattle or hogs

and rescued by the tractor each time…{someone had to drive back to the feedlot and return with a tractor…attach a chain and pull the semi out of the mud…multiple times.. I did not ask how many but from experience I know this meant more than desired.}

The cattle made it back to the feedlot and the panels were moved to the next pasture and the cattle were loaded with no problem as the ground was in the open and frozen.

The job is done and it is time to feed the cattle for a second time…and time for me to put the girls to nap.   Maybe one of these days I will have actually farm photography to accompany my story….in the mean time I have started a Farm Word Dictionary page here.

Talk to you soon!

Amber

 

 

 

 

 

WINNER! ONE MINUTE SNOW-CONES!

1. Send kids to gather fresh snow. We are in the middle of a blizzard so we barely stepped out the front door.

 

2. Mix  1/2 cup Water with Country Time Strawberry Lemonade (or any sweetened drink mix)…I used enough mix for two quarts…

3.  Pour flavoring over snow….

My favorite part of this recipe is the taste of summer in the middle of winter.

We did try other kool aid  recipes…

but could not get it concentrated enough…or sweet enough…

and I did not feel like making a simple syrup then waiting for it to cool..I had excited girls jumping up and down ready for fun…

the mixture does not dissolve entirely…but it tasted good and matched the consistency of the snow…

p.s. if you get the last of the flavoring yours is sweetest!!