Sunday, June 19, 2011

For my dad...

Dad making Katie smile and laugh!
Dear Dad,

Thank you for being there for me.  I know that I can always count on you to listen, love, and support me.  You have always believed in me.  You’ve showed me right from wrong and stood as a guide when I needed it.  I love watching you with my kiddos and I am proud they have you as a grandpa.  I love you bunches. 

Papa OD teaching Orran how to drive the tedding tractor.
As you already know, today is Father’s day!  I have been blessed with an absolutely amazing father and father-in-law, grandpas, and uncles.  How could anyone go wrong when you are surrounded by strong, Godly men to lead you in the right direction? 

And then there’s Glen.  Orran and Katie may be too young to verbalize, but they have the best dad.  He has eyes only for them and does his best to give them what they need.  Watching him with my babies makes me love him more and more each day.  

Tell your daddies you love them.   Always.
Orran holding a picture of my dad.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

130 Italian Meatballs

That’s right, 130 Italian meatballs. 
You’re probably sitting there wondering “why in the world, would ANYONE, make 130 meatballs?!” 
I would assume at this point it’s pretty obvious that one of the reasons behind this endeavor is the fact that we love meatballs.  And we do!  The recipe I use came from mom.  She made these for us growing up and when I would walk through the door and saw them cooking I knew it was going to be a good night! 
Maybe you’re still wondering, why 130?  Last summer I got the brilliant idea of defrosting several pounds of burger and making up more than a few batches of meatballs.  I put them in some freezer bags and tossed them in the deep freeze.  Throughout the school year, if I had a busy day, was running late, exhausted, or just plain lazy, I would pull out a bag and we’d have a super easy and tasty dinner.   Did I mention that this was a brilliant idea?  So, this morning I once again set out to make my favorite Italian meatballs, in bulk. 
Can you hear them sizzling?  They smell great!

Here’s the recipe for a single batch.

1 lb. hamburger
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs (I use Italian)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove mince garlic or 1 tsp. garlic salt
½ cup Milk
2 well-beaten eggs

·         Combine ingredients and mix thoroughly.  (Go ahead!  Get those hands in there!)
·         Form into small balls.  (I make mine bigger than cocktail meatballs but not huge.  Probably around 1 ½ - 2 inches)
·         Now it’s time to cook them.  As I see it you have two options.  You can either brown them in a skillet with a little bit of oil OR you could cook them in the oven.  I bake mine in the oven at 400° for 18 minutes.   If you’re going to bake them in the oven you’ll need a broiler pan.  Spray it with cooking spray and place your meatballs on it.  When you do it this way, any grease is allowed to drain down into the bottom of the pan. 
·         Either way you decide to cook them, when they're finished the meatballs should be done all the way through or the juices should run clear if you squeeze it. 

Once you do all of that you are done!  Add them too your favorite spaghetti sauce and pasta for dinner.  Maybe put them on a hoagie bun and cover with sauce and mozzarella cheese for lunch.  You can’t go wrong!

Convenience food doesn’t have to mean fast food, or unhealthy food.  It could just mean that one morning you made 130 meatballs, or browned up some hamburger to store in the freezer for tacos.  You could even put together a couple of lasagnas to pull out of the freezer and pop into the oven on one of those nights you don’t have the strength to extend the footrest on the recliner!

This is what I got to eat for lunch!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Loading Cattle

We've been pretty busy lately.  With the gorgeous weather we've been having, haying has been going full swing!  We’ve also been loading out cattle to go to the feedlot.  Sometimes we take our cattle to the sale barn to market but we also sell directly to the buyers from home. 


When we sell cattle from home we will load up large semitrailers called pots.  Each pot can hold approximately sixty-eight 700 pound steers or heifers.  When working with this many cattle things can get hectic! 

The first thing we do is gather up all of the steers or heifers that we are going to sell and bring them to the pens.  When they get there and settle they can then be sorted.  Cattle are sorted into groups by size, trying to get groups with similar age and build characteristics.  After all the sorting is done, it’s all about the loading.

Some of the steers we sold today.

When you load a pot you want to get the cattle in the trailer as quickly and calmly as possible.  You don’t want them to get too excited or they will bang into a fence or the side of the trailer.  You also don’t want them to get too hot on their ride.  In fact, the cattle are given every opportunity to snack and drink before the entire process begins. 

Loading cattle.

After the trailer is loaded, it is ready to head for the scales and the moment of truth is here.  You see, when your profession is raising cattle you don’t get a paycheck every week or even every month.  Your paycheck comes twice a year when you take your animals to market.  Since so much depends on these animals you have spent the whole year caring for, you can become anxious when you are loading them up and heading to the scales. 

We have a game that we play as we are waiting for the weights to come in, trying to guess the average weight per head.  The winner doesn’t get a prize it’s just a good way to do a little distressing after a very stressful morning.  This morning, after the trucks headed towards their destination in Iowa, we came home to the hay fields.  Gotta keep moving!