Raising a Farmer

Alot of work but always room for laughter

Christmas Clusters or something like that

During the Christmas Season I think I bake about every other day. I have a mental list of  cookies to make. I enjoy baking. I enjoy the mess cut out cookies bring. It took a few times to master not having headless Santas and reindeer with no legs. When the kids and I made cut outs this year and Vivian yelled, “Oh his leg fell off!” I smiled to myself because I have had many reindeer with no legs.

My ultimate favorite Christmas treat is plops of chocolate, peanuts and marshmallows. They have to be a cluster, not put in a pan and cut.

They are so easy.

First melt 1 bag of choclate  chips, 1 bag of butterscotch chips and about 3/4 cup of peanut butter. IMG_2149[1]

When just melted add 1 bag of miniature marshmallow and one bag of peanuts. IMG_2153[1]

Stir together.

Dollop on wax paper. Let sit till set. I made some last night, about 24 hours later there are about 4 left. I should call “See them now, now you don’t” treats.



Bean Soup with a Ham Bone

My go to for the kid’s birthday parties is a double smoke ham from our local meat locker. The best part is the ham bone to make bean soup. I did have a question about what the difference is between navy beans and great northern beans. I think they taste the same and one is just bigger than the other. What beans do you use for bean soup?

Raising a Farmer Bean Soup

In the kettle add

1 diced onion

about 2 cups chopped carrots

about 1 cup chopped celery (with the leaves the inside is the best for soup)

we had bacon for breakfast so I added the bacon grease to the pot

4 Bay leaves

1 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon corriander

1 teaspoon garlic

med heat until onions are sweated outIMG_1846[1]

32 oz Chicken broth

about 5 cups of water

add Ham bone

Simmer about 1 hour

Take out Ham bone and 4 bay leaves, remove meat from bone, put ham back into kettle


2 cans of Navy beans

1 can of Great Northern Beans

make a roux to thicken soup

dumplings can also be addedIMG_1854[1]


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Fear can be a good thing

Yesterday throughout the day my thoughts were centered on 4 years ago.

December 4th 2014.

I remember the day as if it was yesterday. From the funny video I had watched in the morning from Everett’s school. I remember the red shirt I had on with a black cardigan. I wore it because I was going to keep it on when I went to volunteer at Christmas at the Mansions later in the day. I remember waiting in the waiting room ready for my name to be called. I ran the to do list for the day in my head. The endless to do list that needed to be completed before Christmas. The cookies I had narrowed down and needed to be baked. The things I wanted to do one last time with just Everett before the baby came. I had a plan of not doing any baby nesting until after Christmas. As I waited in the waiting room, I was looking forward to spending my afternoon volunteering at Christmas at the Mansions.

My doctor appointment on December 4, 2014 was supposed to be a routine visit. A visit to the perinatologist to get a plan together for delivery in January. I have chronic high blood pressure even when I am not pregnant. I had gestational diabetes with both of my children. Having a high risk pregnancy made for 2-3 appointments a week. With Everett I was able to control my gestation diabetes with diet. This baby I was insulin dependent.  I was used to the drill. What my numbers should look like. Where I should be at. Constantly checking my blood pressure at home. Constantly paying attention to what I was eating. I knew if anything didn’t look good I would be on bed rest. I was trying my hardest to not have that happen.

From the day I found out I was pregnant, I was in fear and worry. I had two miscarriages between Everett and Vivian. After the second miscarriage I had said, “No more. I am done trying. We have a healthy beautiful boy. I do not want this heartache and pain to consume my life and take away from Everett. I am happy and content with just the three of us.” God had other plans for us. This baby was a surprise. I was almost 5 months along before we announced we were expecting. I was afraid I would lose this one too.

On December 4th at my appointment my blood pressure was high. From the ultra sound the baby looked perfect. Weighing in at about 5lbs. I joked with the nurse I would have a normal size baby this time. Everett was a tiny 6.9lb when he was born. They monitored me for a couple hours. I thought they would send me home and have me come back the next day. I kept asking the nurse how long it was going to be because I needed to get to Little Falls.

I remember the look on the doctors face the last time she came in the room to check on me and blurted out, “We are taking the baby.” My heart dropped. Worries of lists and where I needed to be instantly faded. I held my tears back and asked, “What? What does that mean? It is to early? Why? When?” The doctor explained my blood pressure wasn’t dropping and it was actually rising to much throughout the morning. NICU would be on stand by. I would be induced. The baby looked good and we wouldn’t know for sure until I delivered. The doctor left the room when all my questions were answered, I called Nate and burst into tears.

On December 4th 2014 I began the day with expectations. I have always been able to adjust to life. On that Thursday my focus instantly changed with five words. In the morning I was consumed with lists and what needed to be done. My world changed with five words. I changed my focus on staying calm. I focused on what is next. What is next this minute.

We had no names picked out. One of the student nurses tried to distract me by writing baby names on the white board we had liked. Vivian was the only name we wrote down on the white board. We still didn’t know what we were having until she cried for the very first time. Vivian was born at 12:48am December 5th 2014.

Vivian continues to take my world by storm. She continues to show me no matter how many lists or expectations I have, none of them matter. She taught me fear can be a good thing. My first emotion with her from the very beginning has been fear. Vivian has been a good thing.

Vivian and I December 4th 2018




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Name that tune

Nate sang two songs to me during milking time. Can you name the songs and the artists?


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How to make Mashed Potatoes

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Morrison County Fair prep 2018

It started out as a highlight video for the Morrison County Fair and then turned into a short film.

As I edited and re-watched and re-watched again. I kept thinking about how many people I have in my life who support me. So many people help me behind the scenes and in the scenes. So many people help me so I am able to do the things I do. I am so grateful for each and everyone of them. Some might think they are little things they are helping me with but it is a big thing to me!

This year I hosted two events a scavenger hunt and a “Fun Night with Dairy” at the fair. Both exceeded my expectations and I plan on these events again for next year. Everett added a pig to his lineup of animals which was an experience in itself.

The scavenger hunt was all three days of the fair. Some of the questions were to find all 7 of Everett’s non-livestock 4H projects along with his livestock projects. Another question was to name a 4H club for each spices of animal at the fair. It was a great success with 120 t-shirts given out. The response was it made hunters look in the barns and spend time in the barns instead of just walking through.

On the first night of the fair I hosted “Fun Night with Dairy” in the show arena. About 150 fair goers came to the arena and could walk, pet, take pictures, play games and receive some awesome dairy giveaways (milk and cheese sticks). The best part I think was kids were able to find a calves heart beat!

Thank you again to everyone who helps us along the way!

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Adventures in the Tractor

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Fried Cabbage

Start by frying a pound of bacon.


While the bacon is cooking, chop up an onion and half a cabbage or a whole cabbage depending on the size. cabbage and onions

Take the cooked bacon out of the pan and add the cabbage and onions to frying pan with bacon grease. (The bacon grease is the good stuff!) cabbage and onions 1

Saute Cabbage, onions and this time I added some sliced fresh mushrooms. Salt, pepper to taste and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.


Depending how much bacon you have left because if you have a Nate or a Vivian or anyone who loves bacon it won’t be a full pound when you are finished. Chop up remanding bacon and add to pan.

Add about 2 cups of cooked egg noodles.

Try not to trip over a Vivian. IMG_0801 Cook till noodles are golden brown.

fried cabbage

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Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno Poppers are not my personal favorite.

Some pretty important people in my life LOVE them.

So when I end up with a bucket full of jalapenos I make poppers for my loved ones.

Jalapeno Poppers

First cut top off and slice jalapenos. Take out seeds and guts. Line them up on baking sheet. IMG_0591

Mix together

Room Tempature 8oz Cream cheese

1 1/2 cup Shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup Swiss shredded Cheese (you can use mozzarella Parmesan or any other cheese. I used Swiss because that is what I had) IMG_0592

1 Teaspoon garlic powder

1 Teaspoon Cumin

1 Teapoon salt

shake of black pepper

1 Tablespoon of sugar

1 lb of crispy bacon chopped upIMG_0595

Of course we have to test the bacon



Place a dollop of mixture on top of sliced jalapeno. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Wait for them to cool off a little bit or you will burn the roof of your mouth. IMG_0602





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Bowlus comes together to support first responders

This column was first published in Agweek on June 29, 2018

In central Minnesota, there is a small community nestled in the heart of the state that explodes with excitement the first Sunday in July every year. The tiny town of Bowlus is the poster child of how a community comes together to support its own.

Bowlus Fun Day is a community festival put on by the Bowlus Fire and Rescue and Bowlus First Responders. The town gathers for this event filled with good food, live music, fireworks at dusk and of course the famous tour of Bowlus with the Bowlus Fun Line Rides to name a few. If you have followed my Raising a Farmer blog, you might know Nathan is a firefighter and we run the snack stand so we can not forget, “NACHOS!” I yell “Nachos!” all day and last year we added cheese curds to our stand!


It isn’t just the people who come together — the businesses in town are closed or close early, except the American Legion, which generously supports the day as well. What town’s businesses close during a festival? The businesses in Bowlus do! This alone is a testament to the support the community has towards Bowlus Fun Day. It takes countless volunteers to put it together.

The food stand alone takes about 100 volunteers to run smoothly all day from flipping burgers, cutting fresh onions, running for supplies or being a friendly face welcoming you to Bowlus. The volunteers you see are generations working together — parents working with their kids, kids working with their grandparents. The park is filled with traditional festival food, cotton candy, hand scooped ice cream, sno-cones and pickles on a stick. And it all goes back to the fire department and first responders.

Sharon and Rich Zabinski along with their family donate their time and horses to give horse rides, and all the money they raise during the day is given back to the event. The Zabinskis are a true example of how families support their community wholeheartedly. Jordies’ Trailside Café is right across the street from the park, and you can find owners Sonya and Jordie, a first responder herself, along with their staff working in the outside Bingo stand with a smile.

The rural community of Bowlus comes together because they know how vital these organizations are to a small town. The fire department and first responders are the first ones to arrive in time of need. In a small community, they are the ones called to car accidents, if someone needs to be airlifted out to secure the area, when a toddler wanders off, when someone is hurt, along with fire calls. They are the manpower when someone needs help.

These departments are called on when their communities are having their worst days. When the call comes in, the volunteer fire departments and first responders drop everything and go. I can’t count the times I have been left alone to do chores because Nate needed to go on a call. Even my two small children know when the call comes in that it’s time to move because someone needs help. During birthday parties, doing chores or at work, these volunteers drop everything and run to someone who is in need without thinking twice. And in small communities, there is a good chance these strong volunteers will personally know the person they are helping.

If you are looking for something to do in central Minnesota, come check out Bowlus Fun Day on July 1. The parade starts at 11:15. If you don’t know where to sit, pick a street, because it travels almost every street in town! If you are a bicycle family, bring the bikes and take a ride on the Soo Line Bike Trail that runs right through the park. If you do make the trip with your kids, make sure to bring an extra set of clothes, because they will not be able to stay out of the puddles or mist from the fire department water fights. If you are looking for me, just listen for “NACHOS!” and you will find us. Come support an amazing town I promise you will not be disappointed!

Recap of 2018 Bowlus Fun Day


This year Bowlus Fun Day started out rainy but that didn’t stop the fun.

Our good friend and firefighter Luke Harakel had the weather report.

The parade was delayed and we were wet but we were still smiling!

And just like that the sun came out and it was a perfect day!

Its the VOLUNTEERS that make Bowlus Fun Day a success. From big to small from the departments to community members. It is all the volunteers who say yes with a smile!!


Our reward for working hard together and having fun, the fireworks. 

Make sure to mark The First Sunday in July on your calendar for Bowlus Fun Day!

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