It’s fall! Around here that means harvest and our harvest isn’t just corn and soybeans, but pumpkins as well.
Below is one of our very favorite pumpkin recipes. Two things to note regarding this recipe - the extra work of using fresh pumpkin purée is 100% worth it and although this is a great dish for your cast iron skillet, it can also be prepared in a cake pan.
Fresh Pumpkin Crisp
Fresh pumpkin purée recipe can be found here.
Fresh Pumpkin Filling:
2 cups fresh pumpkin purée (You can substitute one 15 oz. can of pumpkin purée)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup milk or heavy cream
2 cups flour
1.5 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray and flour a cast iron skillet or cake pan.
2. Whisk together all filing ingredients except the milk. Slowly add milk, whisking as you pour. The mixture will be very runny. Pour this into your prepared baking dish.
3. In a clean bowl, mix together dry topping ingredients until well mixed. Add butter and mix with fork until crumbly. Topping will be dry but crumbly. Evenly spread this on top of the filling in baking dish.
4. Bake for 45 minutes. Crisp is done when firm set.
Best served warm, with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
Making fresh pumpkin purée is easy and delicious. It can be frozen for long term storage as well.
Different pumpkins will have different tastes, color and texture, so if you feel adventurous, try a few different types. The seed flavor and texture can vary as well, making for a fun and unique snack if you like roasted pumpkin seeds.
The classic pie pumpkins are smaller, orange pumpkins as pictured above. If you are buying from the farm, ask the growers what their favorites are!
Fresh Pumpkin Purée
What you need:
1. Preheat over to 375 degrees.
2. Remove pumpkin stem and slice in half.
3. Clean the middle of pumpkins out. Set aside seeds for roasting if you’d like.
4. Lay pumpkins meat side down on pan.
5. Bake for 45 minutes or until tender.
6. Clean skin off pumpkins.
7. Use a food processor or blender to purée pumpkin.
8. If pumpkin is too try, add water 1 tablespoon at a time. If pumpkin is too wet, drain excess water.
“There’s always fence to be fixed.”
People say this all the time about life on a farm.
I don’t know if I heard it before I married a farmer or not. But if I did, I didn’t get it. Much like a lot of the people who say it, I wouldn’t have understood just how true it is. I didn’t know it wasn’t an over exaggeration in the least. If I had understood that, I might have thought twice before I said , “I do.”
But true it is. Fence isn’t a one and done kind of thing. You put it up. You fix it. You adjust it. Weeds and trees grow into it. You tear it down and build it new. Just when you do that a crazy cow comes along and rips it all down.
So, you put on your gloves and put it up again.
Fence goofs up all sorts of plans when it doesn’t work right. It makes a person sore, and tired when they have to fix it. Only a handful of people are left in this country that are willing to deal with it.
But that handful are unlikely to give it up for much of anything. It’s in their blood. They need the work. The sweat. The sore.
A few years into this life and I hated fence. I would have told a woman to run like hell from a man who thought he needed it around.
But time has a way of bringing perspective.
And now I’d tell you this.
Hang on tight to any man with the patience, the strength, and the sheer grit to lead a life of building, fixing, and redoing fence. It’s a job that never ends, never gets any easier, and often leaves you exhausted and sore. The only reward comes from knowing you’ve done what you could, in the time you have, for what you’ve got.
And if he can do that for fence, you’d better believe he will do that for you too.
Monday morning I was curled up at my desk, and glanced down at my hand.
My heart stopped.
My diamond. Gone. What?
My mind started racing to where it could be. The morning before at church, I remembered spinning my ring around my finger while our preacher was challenging us. The diamonds were there.
But since then? Oh Lord help me.
I’d been picking pumpkins in a 3 acre pumpkin patch. I’d been all over the house, the farm, in with the calves and the lambs, the goats.
I’d gotten up and run 5 miles around town and been back to work around the house.
It was hopeless. There was no way I’d find it. Feeling that weight, I closed my eyes and I prayed.
And instantly felt foolish. And guilty.
Who am I to pray over a lost rock?
Here I am, sitting in almost new house on a farm we’re blessed to call ours. My family is healthy, our crops are good, I get paid to do work that I love. Our bellies are full, our bodies are clothed.
And I have the audacity to ask God to be concerned with my diamond?
There’s a global pandemic. An election. Injustices. Cancer. Hunger. Slavery.
And I bothered Him with my diamond.
Now granted, it’s not just any diamond. It’s the diamond that the man of my dreams spent an entire summer stashing cash away in a safe to be able to buy. A rock he gave me when we were to young and dumb to have anything figured out beyond the fact we loved each other. It’s the rock that sits on the ring I’ve only taken off three times since he gave to me: once when it was getting attached to my wedding band, twice when I swelled up from carrying his children so much that it wouldn’t fit.
But still. It’s a rock.
And God has bigger problems to be concerned with than a rock.
I text Matt. I made a note to call the insurance agent. I cried. Then I got up to get some more coffee. I’d have to worry about it later.
On my way upstairs I swung into my bedroom to grab a notebook. On the way back out I noticed I’d left the lamp on, so I went to switch it off and a small glisten on the floor caught my eye.
There, deep in the carpet, was my diamond.
I laughed at myself. Thinking this was too small of a problem for Him. Thinking that he couldn’t balance carrying the weight of the world with also helping me find my diamond. Thinking that he didn’t have time.
That’s not God.
That’s me, projecting my human inadequacy onto God.
“But in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
Every situation. Even a lost diamond.
“Maybe when I’m done with college I can come back and run the pumpkin patch for you Mom. Because you’ll be old, right?”
Our oldest asked, while helping to harvest pumpkins this weekend. And although I will definitely not be “old” when he is done with college, it melts my heart that he talks about wanting to come home to the farm.
Bringing children back to the farm isn’t an easy, or automatic thing. Generating enough income to support another family is a huge hurdle, one that almost any small business owner can understand.
So although it’s by no means a guarantee, right now we take as many steps as possible to move in the right direction of securing an opportunity for both our boys here, should they elect to pursue it.
That looks like this:
1 - Diversification: From cash crops of corn and soybeans to cattle and sheep and now the pumpkin patch and corn maze, the more diverse we can make the income streams here the better we can weather the ups and downs of agriculture. We also want the boys to see that farming can take on hundreds of different forms so hopefully they’ll continue like their Daddy to think outside the box on this business.
2 - Conservation: Every decision we make around here is ultimately about being good stewards of the resources God is allowing us to manage. We have to protect our land and water and everything surrounding it to protect the boys’ future opportunities on this farm. Our goal is that this farm is in better shape when they take over than when we started here.
3 - Hard Work: If they want to come back home and be happy, they have to learn now that pleasure and contentment can be found in long days and hard work because although farming changes daily, one thing that will never change is the hours and sweat it takes. If they can learn to find joy in dirty hands and a sore body, they’ll be better set mentally to succeed here.
We don’t know what the future holds. But if the boys want to come home, we’ll do like any farm family we know and work everyday to try and make it a possibility.
We are laying out the red carpet for our guests...
Well actually it’s green. Or it will be, once it comes up.
It’s our goal when people visit our farm that they not only have fun, but that they also learn just a bit about modern agriculture. When visitors make their way through our corn maze, they’ll be walking along a path seeded with a combination of cover crops.
Although we hand seeded the maze paths, the rest of our fields are seeded by an airplane flying over top, a tractor and drill, or a broadcast application.
Cover crops are grown on our fields in between the cash crops (corn and soybeans for us) to keep our soils and the millions of organisms that live in them healthy. Cover crops also hold our soil in place, minimizing harmful impact from erosion and protecting water quality.
But for our corn maze visitors? The immediate benefit is that even on wet days they won’t have to walk in mud!
Come see us for some outdoor, socially distanced fun (and learning) in October!
Here’s a view you rarely get from a drive-by of a soybean field! Our beans are flowering right now and are beautiful up close but the flowers are harder to see from farther away. The varieties of soybeans we plant have purple or white flowers, others can have pink flowers.
Estimates are that somewhere between 60-70% of the flowers will abort, with the remaining turning into the pods we will harvest in the fall to be made into soybean meal (mostly for animals) and oils (cooking and biofuels).
The rumors are true.
I thought we had gotten over this conversation the last go round, but I’ve got two boys so I understand the stay ability of a good fart story.
Cows burp too, which actually releases way more methane than their farting but isn’t nearly as fun to talk about (apparently).
You know what else is true?
Cow farts do smell. Bad.
Farmers have already worked their tails off to shrink our total footprint - production agriculture makes up less only 10% of total GHG emissions and we are on track to reducing that even more.
You know what might be true?
Feeding lemon grass to cows MIGHT reduce their release of methane. Contrary to Burger King’s cringe worthy new song, we don’t actually know because as the lead researchers at UC Davis explained - The study isn’t done yet!
You know what definitely isn’t true? Cows being the problem and whoppers being the solution (burgers or lies).
Cows are not the problem. Our total ag industry makes up only 10% of emissions and only a fraction of that is from cows themselves.
Buying a whopper will NOT make a difference in our drive as a nation to become more sustainable or reduce our impact. All of us want to do something to make a difference and Burger King is trying to manipulate our desire to do good into more sales for them. Don’t fall for that type of advertising.
Farmers and ranchers are committed to raising food better. That means raising more food, more safely, with more quality - on less. Less impact, less resources, less emission. We’ve been moving the needle on this for decades and we will continue to get better each day.
If the science ends up showing that lemongrass reduces cow farts in a meaningful way you can bet we will be on board - we are, after all, the ones that wall behind them everyday at the feed bunks!
In the meantime, why don’t we let Burger King stick with grilling whoppers instead of telling them and let farmers and ranchers focus on raising beef.
The lightning must have woke me up. It was pitch black, early, early morning. I turned an ear to the window and heard the steady fall of a good rain. I checked the radar on my phone to confirm it - a solid zone of green and yellow, and fell back to a peaceful sleep.
Before I married a farmer I didn’t pay much attention to rain, other than when it interrupted my plans.
Over a decade into this union, my ear is fairly well trained at identifying rains. There’s storms that blow in loud and obnoxious but don’t actually deliver much in the way of water. There’s rains that come drizzling in that barely get the ground wet. There’s rain that comes so hard and fast most of it will rush off into the ditches without ever seeing the roots of our crops.
Then there’s good rains. They are long and steady and completely ground penetrating. You can almost always hear the difference in just a second of listening.
For us, this rain was critical. This was the difference in getting to play or being put on the bench.
There’s few things that bring an engulfing peace like a good rain when it’s badly needed.
Last week I went to the dentist and was surprised with an unexpected root canal. Nice, right?
The dentist explained the entire process and said that root canals have come along way with modern technology and were safe, and fairly pain free.
I shocked him and said, “Doc, I appreciate the offer but would you mind doing the procedure the same way it was done in the 50’s?”
OK, I didn’t actually say that. (Everyone knows you can’t actually talk to the dentist because they only talk to you with their tools in your mouth.)
I just nodded and embraced the modern advancements that made the process nearly pain free.
As crazy as that request sounds- for a patient to request a dentist revert back to practices from decades ago - it’s the same request that is thrown at farm families all the time.
“Grow food the way we used to.”
“Farm the way Grandpa did.”
“Technology doesn’t belong in my food.”
I understand there’s much more nostalgia associated with our food than a root canal. It’s more personal and frankly, there’s more at risk if we get it wrong.
But can I share something with you?
We aren’t getting it wrong.
I’m not claiming the system - especially the system beyond the farm level - is perfect. But overwhelmingly, modern farming is moving in the right direction.
The list of technology and advancements available to farm families like us is long: modern plant and animal genetics, modern chemistry, precision farming, data collection and analysis, improved machinery, more advanced weather prediction. And on and on.
All of this technology allows us to meet growing demands of a modern world with less: Less impact on our environment, less released carbon, less land, less water.
In other words - we are raising a safer, more transparent and more traceable product than ever before all while moving in the direction of actively protecting our environment and resources.
I want you to keep holding farmers and our industry accountable for doing it right. But I also want you to pause and think about the importance of technology in hitting those goals.
A person would be crazy to request a root canal with 50 year old procedures.
Likewise, it would be crazy to ask us to farm that way too.
(Corn pictured is a GMO hybrid with traits for insect protection and herbicide resistance, key traits for minimizing our environmental impact on our farms. It was planted and will be sprayed and harvested with machinery equipped with computers and GPS to manage outputs down to the square inch. If you ever want to understand how that technology makes us better stewards of the environment just holler.)
Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
All Ag Industry Conservation Cooking Cover Crops Crop Farming Farmer's Wife Farm Takeover Fertilizers Food Safety Gardening GMOs Hunting And Fishing Livestock Local Farmers Modern Farming Mom #My60Acres Parenting Politics Pumpkin Recipes Recipes Running Rural Lifestyle Sheep Showing Livestock Sunday Struggles #SustainabilitySundays #UptownUploads