Raising a Farmer

Alot of work but always room for laughter

New Decade-New do

I had decided the beginning of December I was going to share this expiernce with my kids on New Years Eve. I didn’t tell them what I had planned.

It took them a little bit to get used to the idea I was going to cut my hair. Everett left the bathroom yelling, “I am not going to cut your hair!!” Nate stood in the door way with a sad face.

By the end of the night, all three of them had said they liked my new hair cut.

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Best Meal Ever follows Turkey Bingo in a Church Basement

This Column was originally published in Agweek on November 23, 2019


Thanksgiving can bring many debates about food at the gathering table. Those debates surrounding food can be what foods to phase in or phase out. Mashed potatoes versus baked potatoes. Cranberries fresh or from the can, jellied or berries. (I prefer jellied cranberries and it has to be a certain brand.) Marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes or no marshmallows. Stuffing or dressing (yes there is a difference between the two.) Bake the turkey or deep fry the turkey. Green bean casserole or no green bean casserole. Oh, the desserts galore.

What time do families gather around the table to eat can be debated in families.

There is one thing for sure that isn’t debated about food is what meal is the best on the planet. This particular meal is only delicious in a church basement or fellowship hall. This simple meal is a sandwich with lunch meat and butter, a pickle on the side, a dessert bar, with milk or watered-down Kool-Aid and, of course, coffee. This meal is always served after turkey bingo at a church.

The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving parishes around Central Minnesota are offering your chance to win a turkey for Thanksgiving. Twenty games and each game wins a turkey.

I love bingo. I especially love turkey bingo. I always smile when someone yells “Bingo” because the crowd groans and moans and carries on how they didn’t win. This is the only game where your disappointment is greatly shown of not winning while the winner smiles all the way to “That’s a good Bingo.”

You can feel in the air during a bingo game when someone will yell “Bingo” soon. The bingo players begin to become silent. All you can hear is the tumble of Bingo balls waiting to be called. You can hear each Bingo card close the plastic window hoping to win a turkey for Thanksgiving. The watchful eyes of moms making sure their children didn’t miss a number called.

With the excitement building, wondering who will yell, “Bingo!” When someone yells “Bingo,” the instant moan of not winning fills the room. The hum of players shuffling in their chair explaining to the person next to them how close they were fills the air. Each player saying how many times they were one number away. Some players begin to rise from their chairs to change out their Bingo card in hopes of a better card before the next game begins.

After all the games are played and no more turkeys to be won. The group waits for the best meal on earth. A sandwich, a pickle, and a bar.

I have often wondered how this simple meal tastes so good in a church basement. When I make this meal at home, it isn’t considered a meal; it is at times considered a disappointment.

So why is it so delicious in a church basement? It is because of the fellowship we share with others. It is the time and smiles we share with others that make the moments and food delicious. Not the food.





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Top 5 Blog posts for 2019

2019 is coming to an end. I am looking forward to a New Year.

Below are the top 5 blog posts for 2019 on Raising a Farmer. This last year has left us with many new challenges but as I look back some pretty great things also happened in between our struggles.

#5 Hungarian Soup 

#4 Morrison County Milk Project Week 1 

#3 Raising a Farmer Podcast 

#2 Morrison County Milk Project Week 2 

#1 Blog post for 2019, Saying Goodbye to Lady Wilt 


Morrison County Milk Project 2019


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What does Advent mean to me

As I share this with you I type with one hand. Vivian is snuggling with me in the chair as I wrap my other arm around her. The earth is white. The sky begins to glow a light blue as rain and snow falls from the sky. This afternoon I will gather with family to celebrate Christmas. Five years ago I sat in this same chair snuggling my newborn. Listening to every breathe she took. Every noise she created. Our heartbeats were one. Every breathe I took, I could smell her newness. Now as I sit with her, I can smell traces of Play dough on her hands.

We didn’t celebrate Christmas the year Vivian was born with gatherings and celebrations. We didn’t even make it to church that year. We celebrated quietly in our home. Thankful we were a family of four.

Below are the links for my  two part meaning of Advent for Catholic Rural Life 

The Meaning of Advent (Part 1)

The Meaning of Advent (Part 2)


Vivian in December 2014 in my arms 


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Holiday Baking Videos

My favorite cooking video.

Vivian with the flour.

She was so tiny.

Everett had short hair.

I wish I could report Vivian stays off the counter.


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Popcorn Stuffing

We tried a new recipe.

At first I thought it was a joke recipe I found in one of my mom’s old cookbooks. My uncle thought it could most defiantly work.

So we had to try to see if it would work to stuff a bird with popcorn and see if it would pop.

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Pumpkin Roll

My favorite Thanksgiving dessert is a pumpkin roll.

A couple years ago the kids and I shared how to make one.

I would be kicked off of Holiday Baking Championship. Flavor would have to carry me through.

As I watch this I see how I let my kids cook with me. We taste, we make a mess and we smile. This isn’t staged or pretend. This is how I am with my kids. I am not perfect. When I watch this I think of my first  year in college when I stayed with my aunt and uncle. My aunt made a pumpkin roll about every week that fall until she had it perfected.

I watch this, I see Vivian’s bangs or there lack of is a better description. She had cut them so short she didn’t need a bang trip until June. I watch this and I see the same mannerisms Everett has today as he did then two years ago.

I watch this and I am reminded how much I enjoy my time with my kids in the kitchen.

Happy baking!


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Chicken Dumpling Soup

Chicken Dumpling Soup

In a big pot Start with:

14 cups of water

1 teaspoon of celery seed

1 teaspoon of garlic

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon of pepper

1 teaspoon of salt

4-5 bay leaves

add left over chicken from a roasted chicken, I added a chicken leg and thigh, a wing and part of a breast.

Simmer for about 40 mins on med- low, strain bones out add meat back into pot with broth add 6 cups of water2C61DDF5-561F-48E9-9AD9-27B5D520CA4B

In a pan sauté with 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 large onion and many carrots chopped. (I like a lot of carrots in my soup add how ever many you prefer) add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic 2 teaspoons dried parsley, 1 tablespoon of chicken broth base: saute till tender add to pot: simmer again for about 40 mins- good soup takes time. 0dc120bf-6a0c-4d79-a2ae-20b949fd798f.jpeg

Veggies Sautéing with the Crown in the background.

Bring to a boil add noodles or dumplings. Today I felt like dumplings.


4 eggs

1 1/2 cups of flour

Mix together.

2F0821C4-AF5A-4CCF-8223-567EB1E4DDA1Drop by the fork into boiling soup. Dumplings will float to the top when done.

Bring to a simmer for all the goodness to collide together!





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Creamy Chicken Sandwich

Creamy Chicken Sandwich

What you will need 

2- tablespoons of oil

2- tablespoons of butter

1- med onion finely chopped

2- cooked chicken breasts or the remains of chicken meat from a bird you have roasted

1 teaspoon of garlic

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

1/2 cup of water

Creamy Sauce 

whisk together

1 cup of sour cream

1 cup of whole milk

2 tablespoons of flour

1 tablespoon of sugar

Start with oil and butter in pan add onions and seasonings sweat out on med to low heat about 10 mins (if you have chicken grease from the bottom of the pan from roasting a chicken add some of that to the pan that’s the good stuff); add chopped chicken simmer add 1/2 cup of water simmer about 10 mins

Add creamy sauce mixture simmer till thick

Serve on your favorite bread, rice or mashed potatoes. I bet you could even serve it on noodles. 1B05DA49-7DC9-4C67-877D-FB593197F9DF

I brown the inside of my buns with butter, so good. 







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The problem with keeping ourselves in boxes

This Column was originally published in Agweek on October 26, 2019

This last year I began struggling with my identity. The idea that my identity needed to fit in just one box hindered my creativity.

As people, it is our natural way to be always wanting or striving to be able to place each other in boxes. We want to be part of boxes. We want to know how we relate to each other with our own commonalities. We think being put in a box will somehow make us feel like we belong somewhere thus supporting our identity.

Not fitting into a box, I began to feel lost. I began to question my “why.” I have never felt like I fit into just one box. I couldn’t understand my need to fit into just one box. I have always felt like I am stuck between two worlds. A world of being a farmer and a world of being a consumer.

I have felt stuck between living rural and seeing value in urban areas. I have felt stuck between conventional vs. organic. I felt lost asking myself, “what is the definition of a farmer?” What makes a farmer? Who can be a farmer? Who gives authority to the social license to farm?

One of the boxes I don’t feel like I belong in a good chunk of the time is agriculture.

At times I didn’t belong in the agriculture box because my husband was the farmer and I was just the farmer’s wife. I didn’t fit in the agriculture box because I didn’t grow up on a farm. I didn’t fit in agriculture because I didn’t dress like a man. I had too much of an opinion to fit in. I didn’t fit in agriculture because — fill in the blank, the list is endless.

There have been times I am left questioning myself. Why do I want to be in this box when I am always having to prove I belong?

The moment I realized I needed to stop putting myself in a box was in the hallway of Vivian’s dance class. As my 4-year-old put her ballet shoes on for dance class, I picked up her pink hooded sweatshirt. I wondered what was so heavy in it. So I searched her pockets to find a rusty bracket. I wondered, “what box would a ballet-loving girl who carries around farm supplies in her pockets fit in?”

When we put ourselves and others in boxes, we start drawing lines between each other. We stop listening to each other. We exclude each other. We don’t support each other.

We miss out on some amazing people and ideas because we box people out. We don’t allow ourselves to grow.


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