Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Its been officially spring for 2 months and 10 days. Spring means lots of things but one of the things I most look forward to is Gardening. This year in my garden I FINALLY have rhubarb to harvest and was able to pick some for the first time this week!

I love rhubarb but it seems like most recipes have some much sugar in them so last year I went in search of a low-sugar rhubarb crisp recipe and found this low-sugar Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp at This recipe is great because it uses the natural sweetness of the strawberries to offset the tart of the rhubarb. I tweaked the recipe a little bit and came up with the following, talk about a simple recipe:

Low Sugar Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp:

  • 4 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced (use an egg slicer to speed up the slicing)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (more for a sweeter crisp)
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F

2. In a medium bowl, mix together rhubarb, strawberries, honey, and corn starch. Transfer to a 9×9 baking dish. (tip: I just mixed it right in the baking dish and tossed it with clean hands)

3. In a medium bowl, stir together rolled oats, brown sugar and melted butter. Mix together until completely combined.

4. Bake for 40-45 minutes in the preheated oven, until rhubarb is tender and the topping is toasted.

Low Sugar Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Low Sugar Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

I think this is best served warm with vanilla ice cream. If you are going for the low-sugar theme serve with low-sugar ice cream, which is really good and my hubby doesn’t even know its low sugar.

I love rhubarb, so check back for some more delicious rhubarb recipes this summer! Do you have a favorite recipe you would like to share?


You might drive a farm vehicle if…

This past week I had to drive my husband’s farm car a few days to town so it could get fixed up a bit. Driving that vehicle got me thinking about what make a farm vehicle worthy of being called a farm vehicle. So with the help from my husband and a few co-workers here is a list of 33 items that might signify you drive a farm vehicle; I think you have to meet at least 5 of these for it to be considered a farm vehicle.

You might drive a farm vehicle if:

  1. You can write your name in the dust on the outside and inside of the vehicle
  2. There are disposable plastic boots in the backseat
  3. You can’t quite determine what that smell is but it’s likely a combination of manure and something else
  4. There is an empty pop can or ten in the back end or on the floor
  5. It has a lot of rust on it
  6. There is at least one idiot light that is always on
  7. The AC and/or heat don’t work
  8. The windows don’t roll down or if they do they don’t go back up
  9. The oil gets changed 2 times a year if it needs it or not
  10. When you fill up with gas you add more oil
  11. Your vehicle has 4 different brands of tires and 2 different styles of rims
  12. Tailgate? Its either missing or so bent its not possible to close anymore
  13. Likely the vehicle was a hand-me-down
  14. Your wife can’t take the car anywhere with good clothes on unless she puts a blanket down on the seat
  15. A building collapses onto it because of the weight of snow, and “totals” it with a few large dents in the roof and box; you say it’s still a good pickup and continue to use it, but the insurance company says you just can’t insure it with full coverage anymore. (Wait, it was still insured for full coverage? WIN!!!!)
  16. When it rolls down the driveway and hits a telephone pole, all you do is laugh
  17. There is a fuel tank and tool chest in the back
  18. There are still ears of corn hanging out in the back from checkin’ the crop from the year(s) prior
  19. There is always at least one big rock in the back that you threw in because you saw it from the road
  20. You can’t drive at night because the lights haven’t worked for years
  21. Radio is set to an AM station
  22. You cannot lay a sheet of ply wood down in the back of the pick-up because the 5th wheel plate will wreck your wood
  23. You have to “pump” the gas/throttle when you turned the key to get it to start
  24. The farm dog is riding shotgun
  25. You can never find the tool you need in the shop because the farm vehicle has most of them
  26. The P-R-N-D-3-2-1 doesn’t mean anything, you have to put it into gear by feel
  27. Each vehicle has a can of ether in it to help motivate it to start
  28. There is a coat, hat, or shirt with some sort of seed logo on it
  29. There is a water jug with some sort of seed logo on it
  30. There are lots of fast food wrappers on the floor
  31. There’s a stack of insurance cards but the current one isn’t in the truck
  32. The only time it gets washed is when it rains
farm truck

Epitome of a farm truck

What would you add to the list? Leave me a comment and don’t forget to subscribe to get email updates!

Planting and Pigs

The farm has been busy for the last week. Why? Because its planting season! I wrote about planting my garden last week and about tillage work. My husband has been helping with tillage work at the farm and here is his view from the cab.


This piece of equipment we refer to as a ripper.

In addition to tillage work happening at the farm, we are busy planting!

Filling up with seed

Filling up with seed

Behind the pickup is a seed tender, its pretty much a trailer that they can put big plastic bins of seed on and an auger puts seed  into the boxes. The other option is to get your seed in 50lb bags and load each box bag-by-bag.

Just like different varieties of plants in a garden, there are different varieties of corn all with different traits and maturity dates (days until harvest).  The farm plants a handful of varieties and will use the corn raised to help feed the pigs.

Today it was 100°F at the farm and that means extra work. Kyle got up this morning at 5:00AM so he could get to the farm early for a few different reasons. One reason was so the sows would be done eating and digesting food long before it got too warm. The second reason was to make sure all of the cool cells were working, since this is the first hot day since last fall you never know if things are still going to work the way they should and its vital to keep the pigs cool.

A cool cell is like air conditioning for the barns, they utilize evaporative cooling to reduce the temperature in the barns by 8+ degrees. Unlike the expression “sweat like a pig”, pigs can’t actually sweat so they rely on their environment to help regulate their body temperature. Pigs, just like people, can have heat related problems like heat stress. Pork producers really don’t like really hot days, they worry about the pigs but certainly are glad they have the pigs in barns and not out in the sun (pigs get sunburns like people) where they have more problems with overheating.

Stay cool, I know the pigs are!

Garden: Planted

What a difference 9 days makes!

What a difference 9 days makes!

Finally, the weather has been nice for more then one day! I took advantage of a couple of warm days and planted my garden. I talked about getting antsy for spring in my Garden: Prep Work post and thought it might snow Thursday of that week. Well guess what, we missed the snow but a hour away the got 18″+!!

Garden Planted


I planted the garden on May 7th this year. I have not planted everything yet, I’m still waiting to plant my tomatoes and peppers until the night lows aren’t in the 30°s.

In the corner with the straw are my potatoes! Yes, I’ll admit I saw the idea on Pinterest; I grew them this way last year and it didn’t work the best so I thought I would alter it a little bit and try it one more time. For my garden, where space is limited, its nice to be able to plant potatoes without taking up much space!

The same day I planted my garden, the farm started planting corn! I know all of my farmer friends are getting pretty anxious to get corn planted because they can all remember last year they were done planting by now!

Just like I prepped my garden, the farmers have been prepping their fields this week before planting. They have some bigger and far more advanced equipment then I do. I’m pretty old fashioned and didn’t use a garden tiller to work my garden, just a hand tiller. I spread some rabbit manure on my garden and likewise the farmers are recycling animal manure and using it as fertilizer for their fields. I know those farmers are sure happy for the advancements in technology, can you imagine farming multiple football field size areas of land by hand?!

Garden: Prep Work

The weather this weekend was BEAUTIFUL! Finally. We have been waiting a long time for it to warm up some and it looks like the warm weather was just a teaser with the possibility of snow on Thursday. Regardless of what the weatherman is forecasting  I wanted to get out and start some prep work on my garden.

When we bought our house there was already a garden in the back yard. It was overgrown and full of weeds; this will be the 3rd year we will have a garden at our house and it has taken of bit of work to get it going.

The first year our garden did not produce well, so farmer husband and I decided to do a soil test. We took our soil sample after harvest that fall and sent it off to the test lab. Results indicated our soil type was high in clay, which we figured, and low in nitrogen.

The next spring we were able to get soil off of peat ground. This soil has a lot of organic material and is a light soil type; we determined this would help the soil mixture in our garden and provide a better seed bed and growing condition for our crops. In addition to the peat ground, my husband also brought home some rabbit manure from the farm for fertilizer. If I would have said yes, my husband would have brought home liquid hog manure to fertilize the garden with but I was more then happy with the rabbit manure. Our harvest that year was much better then the prior year and we got the weeds under control using corn gluten meal.

Garden Pre Tillage

Garden Pre Tillage

This year we are repeating our fertilizer plan and applied a 5 gallon pail of manure to the garden and worked it in. I’ve bought all my seeds and purchased tomato and pepper plants. I tried starting my tomato plants from seed the first two years and it just didn’t work out well so I pay a bit extra to get plants that have been started so I know they will produce.

The garden is only 11.5′ x 14′ so its not tremendously large but it is adequate for Kyle and I.

Garden Post Tillage

Garden Post Tillage

This year we plan on planting:

  • 4 tomato plants
  • 2 green pepper plants
  • 2 jalapeno plants
  • carrots
  • green beans, bush
  • beets
  • spinach
  • Mesclun salad mix
  • 1 mound of zucchini
  • potatoes, above ground

Additionally, we have raspberries planted in the garden and a small patch of rhubarb in the corner of our yard.

Yes, this is a fair amount of stuff to plant in our small garden  but it works out quite well. The distance between rows is minimal but it cuts down on weeding, one of my least favorite jobs. Hopefully it will warm up soon so I can plant my garden!

The best part is eating the produce year round, we freeze a lot of carrots and beans and can salsa and tomatoes for year round feasting.  Another great part of having my garden is being able to share produce with others. The neighbor lady has a daycare and I am affectionately know as “Garden Lady” to some of the daycare kids, they enjoy coming over to see what I’m doing and even eat some of the veggies!

Do you have a garden, what are you planting this year and what is your favorite part of having a garden?

Snow Stories

Well there is snow flying again. I know everyone is sick of winter and sick of hearing everyone talk about the snow and cold but as I’m sitting here watching everything turn white, I got to thinking about some great stories that involve snow:

I vividly remember one day in high school where it had snowed a couple of inches and that day I drove my neighbor, Renae, home from school for some reason. We lived just ¼ mile from each other just a couple miles outside of town on a gravel road. We were talking up a storm and before I realized it we were almost to her house. With about 30 yards before the driveway I started to brake only to realize I was not going to make the turn into the driveway. Next thing I know, I locked the brakes up and the car is skidding and sliding, for those who have done this you know there is no turning one direction or the other at this point. We are skidding and sliding and headed for the ditch and front yard, we miss the mailbox by inches on one side of the car and somehow missed a tree on the other side. We came to a halt. We starred at each other. There was dead silence for about 10 seconds follow by hysterical laughing for 5 minutes. Renae got out of the car and walked to the front door which was 10 feet away, and I drove through the front yard back to the drive way and headed home. From the terrifying ride through the ditch and the hysterical laughing its amazing that I didn’t pee my pants!

For those who know my husband  you know that he is an avid hunter. For those who don’t know him, I’m a harvest widow and immediately after harvest I become a hunting widow until mid December. If it flies, it dies and if its brown, its down. The first winter that my husband and I were married was VERY snowy, especially in December, and we didn’t have a snow blower. Every time Kyle was gone hunting it snowed. Did I mention that we did NOT have a snow blower?! The one weekend he was gone it snowed about 12″ of HEAVY, wet, heart attack type snow. Don’t forget, no snow blower. Now my little car was going nowhere without someone cleaning out the driveway. Dreading the task ahead of me I headed out with shovel in hand. I got about halfway done and was pretty proud of myself but I was tired. I wanted to take break but I knew if I did I would not finish shoveling the driveway so I kept at it. Finally, after what felt like 2 hours of shoveling I was DONE! About the time I turned around and got back to the garage I heard the most horrible noise. The SNOWPLOW coming down the street. I wanted to run to the end of the driveway and boycott the snowplow but he probably wouldn’t have stopped for a young lady shaking a shovel at him and I probably would have been covered head to toe in snow and slush. The plow went by and left a thigh high drift at the end of the driveway; now I’m about 6’0″ so this pile was a good 2.75′ off the ground. I think at this point tears were streaming  down face and freezing to my cheeks. I was exhausted and now I had more snow to shovel. I was devastated. Once again I told myself, “Self, you CAN do this. You MUST do this.”  and I did. Now the next morning my alarm clock is going off on my bed side table and I tried to go through the motions of turning the blasted thing off, only to find out that my arms would not move. I could not physically lift them up to shut off the alarm! Now picture this, I literally had to roll out of bed and stand up so that my hands were at the right level to pick up my phone and shut off the alarm! That is a Minnesota upper body work out!

The one weekend it snowed the my husband was home and we got a snowblower

The one weekend it snowed that my husband was home and we got a snow blower

Although the snow is no longer welcome by most Minnesotan’s, especially the farmers who are anxiously awaiting planting, we are glad to have the moisture that was so desperately needed for a good growing season this year. Saturday’s high is 72°, only in Minnesota.

Enjoy the weather. The first person who complains about it being “too hot” better remember how much they wanted the heat not that long ago.

Easy Beef Enchiladas

So its been a while since my last post. I guess that is what happens when you have one computer and you sever the power cord in the recliner…talk about sparks!

Speaking of sparks, we could use a spark to get spring going. April 11, 2013 and we had 8+ inches of snow. Since it was cold outside, I wanted something warm and a little spicy for dinner and it needed to be quick and easy.

A family friend, Lori, gave me this recipe for Beef Enchiladas and it is ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! Farmer tested and approved.

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • ½ cup salsa
  • 1 can refried beans, optional
  • onions and peppers as desired, thinly sliced
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 pkg tortilla shells
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

Brown the hamburger until cooked thoroughly. Stir in the next 4 ingredients and heat until bubbly and hot.


In a separate sauce pot whisk together the enchilada sauce and tomato soup and heat until hot, this could also be microwaved until warm.

Place and equal amount of meat and vegetable mixture into each tortilla and roll up.


Place in a 9×13″ pan (will hold 8-10 tortillas). Pour enchilada sauce and soup mixture over the top of all of the tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese.


Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350°, until hot and bubbly and cheese has melted.


We top this with sour cream, lettuce, and jalapeno pepper jelly!



13 Questions

I’m pretty new to blogging and just getting into the swing of things but I’ve been following quite a few blogs for a while now and this week as I was catching up on some reading I happened upon 13 Thursday-My Answers from Megan over at The Beef Jar and then I came upon Jenny’s post 13 Questions from a Butcher’s Daughter. Both of these posts stem from Ian’s (An Irish Male in America) call to farmers/ranchers/ag people to answer 13 questions. Well I work off-farm but my hubby works for his family on the farm so I thought he could answer these questions. Mind you, my hubby wasn’t all that excited about me blogging so I had to be sneaky. I got through the first 4 questions before he caught on and then we were too far along to quit!

Answers from my crop and pig raising hubby:

1: What is the worst time of year for you? Fall is the busiest time of year with harvest, field work, manure hauling on top of the  normal day to day work the days are extra long, sometimes working 16-18 hours a day. Winter can also be a bad time of year here in Minnesota because of the weather. Days where it is snowing, blowing, and extremely cold are dangerous not only for the people but also for the animals. So we spend time blowing snow so we can get to the barns and making sure the barns are sealed up tight so the heat stays in and the cold stays out.  Those cold days are when things are most likely not going to work properly, so we make sure the heaters and make sure the generator is working, just in case.
2: What is your favorite farm job? One of my favorite farm jobs is hauling manure. Ya, its smelly but I get to utilize all the up-to-date technology; GPS, AutoSteer, flow meters and its an important job that needs to be done. Bonus: I use my head set and spend a bunch of time catching up with my farming friends who are also out doing some sort of field work. On the livestock side, I really enjoy working in the farrowing barn (with the sows giving birth) because its a challenge and its where everything starts.
3: What is your least favorite farm job? Power washing the barns because its a dirty, wet, and tedious job. Euthanizing animals is another job that I don’t enjoy but if the choice is between euthanasia or to let the animal suffer then it needs to be euthanized.
4: What type of truck do you drive (on the job) and why did you choose it? (this one is a must know, not only do I find American trucks awesome to look at, but with all the truck companies trying to advertise themselves as the “biggest toughest” truck out there, I think it’s about time we round out the truth from the people that put them to use!) I drive all sorts of trucks for my job; Ford/Dodge 4WD running around the farm, Freightliner feed truck, Ford diesel trucks for hauling pigs, International Semi for hauling grain in the fall. I went through the process of getting my CDL this past fall so I can drive just about anything!
5: What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned in your line of work? There are some things you just cannot control, and no matter how much you want to you can’t. Moving pigs (they’ll always want to do it their way), disease challenges, weather; Murphy’s law: what can go wrong, will go wrong.
6: What do you think is the most valuable tool you have, the one you probably couldn’t live without? Environment controlled barns. In Minnesota, the temperature variations are so great that having humidistats and cool cells (think evaporative cooling) and heaters provide a more stable environment that induces less stress on the animals.
7: What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your business/what you do? The biggest misconception is that we do not care about the animals and only do what is best for our pocketbook/bottom line. Actually, it’s quite the opposite, we are very concerned about treating our animals well; treating them well helps them performs better which is better for our bottom line.
8: If you could invest in a new piece of farm equipment tomorrow, what would it be?(and I mean it, just one!  let’s not get greedy!) 475 horsepower quad track tractor. (I asked my hubby why he wanted this and his response was “Why not, beings we’re dreaming. Have you seen what I drive?”) 
9: What was the most serious injury you ever suffered in the line of work? Well so far I’ve been pretty lucky but I did have an incident last spring…I tripped out of the skid loader and fell face first into the ground with one leg catching the loader bucket. At any rate, I had the biggest goose egg on my shin for 3 months and it hurt so bad I thought I had broken it at first.
10: Least favorite animal to deal with? Cats and horses…I just don’t like them. (note these are my FAVORITE animals)
11: (excluding all of the above) What’s the dumbest question you’ve ever been asked? No such thing as a dumb question, please ask away!
12: Favorite beer? (come on, out with it!)(I’ve seen people take their beer pretty seriously, and it’s time to know what a real working persons beer of choice is!) Coors Light, especially after a long day at work. 
13: Thing you’d most like the public to know about what you do! (I admit you do this every day on your blogs no doubt, but was looking for something addressing maybe a misconception you hear the most about your business!)
So what do you say folks, who wants to take that challenge? That farmers work really hard to produce a safe, quality product for you to eat and that we care about our animals. Please ask me questions about farming!

And then read the answers from these wonderful Ag folks: 

Christ is Risen!

It has been a busy week and weekend with Holy Week and Easter, and preparing for Easter at our home.

Our church shared the following video at the end of the Good Friday service and I thought it was a good reminder of the events leading up to the crucifiction of Christ. If you put yourself in the place of Mary or one of the Disciples, you would have felt pretty hopeless.

It’s Friday…but they didn’t know Sunday’s a coming.

Today, Sunday is here and we rejoice in the gift Jesus has given us! He has paid our debts; He took our place on the cross, so that we might have eternal life!

I will leave you with one of my favorite songs:

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!