Memory Monday – February 27th

February 27 – a day that brings many fond memories for us.  First, my dad (Grandpa B. would have been 90 today.  He was a man who did his job, and pretty much kept to himself.  We (especially Grandma B.) were always amused how involved he was with his grandchildren!  He did things with them that he never did with my sister and I!  It was just my sister and I; and, Jacob and Emily are the only grandchildren on that side of the family. Dad  retired from John Deere Des Moines in Ankeny (good thing I married a John Deere farmer – sometimes when we would buy parts we would tell Dad that we were contributing to his pension fund) before we had children, so Grandpa and Grandma B.  took care of J & E quite a bit; and Grandpa loved to mow, so he would help me out by mowing the yard.  Being a tool and die maker  – perfection was one of his strong points.  So, we had to explain to him that a farmyard usually has a few dandelions and does not need to look quite as prefect as a town yard!


Dad was a good basketball player in high school.   So, you can imagine his excitement when Jacob played high school basketball.  Seven years ago, on Dad’s 83rd birthday, Jacob’s high school basketball team, the Lynnville-Sully Hawks, played the game that earned them the honor of playing in the state tournament.


February 27, 2010 – What a great birthday present for Grandpa B.!!

For Meatful Monday and in honor of Grandpa B. – click here to see the recipe for ham balls, one of Grandpa B.’s favorite recipes.


Enjoy each day with family and take lots of pictures!  (I was going to post this earlier tonight, but I was distracted by old pictures as I walked down memory lane.)

Have a great week!





National Wear Blue Day to Celebrate National FFA Week

Across the nation this week National FFA week has been celebrated.  FFA is one of the three parts of an integrated agricultural education program which also includes classroom instruction and a supervised agricultural experience (SAE).  With the exception of myself, all members of my immediate family have been involved with FFA.  So, I thought today would be a good day to share some pictures of the blue jackets. Emily, or I should say Miss Van Manen, is still involved as she is currently student teaching at Newton Senior High School under the direction of Mr. Horn. She left for school early this morning in order to assist the FFA officers as they prepared breakfast for the faculty as one of the activities to celebrate National FFA week.

It has been fun to witness Miss Van Manen prepare for her teaching experience each day! In the picture below you find Emily (Miss Van Manen)  with her students.  In front of Miss Van Manen(2nd from right) is Logan.  Logan is our neighbor and he has worked for us for the last four  years as part of his SAE project – that could be an entire blog post!


Miss Van Manen with her FFA students at the Iowa State Capitol.

Following is  a little background and definition of FFA:

The letters “FFA” stand for Future Farmers of America. These letters are a part of our history and our heritage that will never change. But FFA is not just for students who want to be production farmers; FFA also welcomes members who aspire to careers as teachers, doctors, scientists, business owners and more. For this reason, the name of the organization was updated in 1988 after a vote of national convention delegates to reflect the growing diversity and new opportunities in the industry of agriculture.

Today, the National FFA Organization remains committed to the individual student, providing a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

FFA continues to help the next generation rise up to meet those challenges by helping its members to develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of agricultural career pathways. So today, we are still the Future Farmers of America. But, we are the Future Biologists, Future Chemists, Future Veterinarians, Future Engineers and Future Entrepreneurs of America, too. – National FFA website

Now for a few pictures that highlight the FFA experiences of my family as they proudly wore the blue jackets.

Read about Miss Van Manen in the Newton Daily News as she shares her FFA experiences and explains why she is doing what she is doing today!


“Van Manen hopes for future in ag education and FFA”  was the caption in the Newton Daily News and “Major Change” was the headline of the article in the Central Iowa AG Mag  that featured Emily in March 2014.


Emily and her friend Kristin Samson prepare to walk in the FFA Parade of Champions at the Iowa State Fair.


One of my favorites of Emily taken during her senior picture photo shoot by Four Seasons Photography


Emily and her friend Mikalya Vos


Cousin Dillon and Emily


Jacob was not quite as active in FFA as Emily; however, he really enjoyed exhibiting at the Iowa State Fair and won several awards in the horticulture division.  He still enjoys gardening and competing in the horticulture open class division at the Iowa State Fair.

Jacob’s love of gardening and his passion for the sweet corn business can be linked to his interest from his FFA projects and inspiration from his FFA advisor, Mr. Lowry.


Photo credit to Joe Murphy, Iowa Soybean Association

Kate was an active member of the Sioux Central FFA in NW Iowa.  She and Emily both had the opportunity to be presidents of their respective FFA chapters.


And…last but not least – here is Kevin in his FFA jacket in 1978.  Emily had fun last night modeling her dad’s jacket and comparing pins on their jackets, and comparing the colors of the emblems and lettering.


If FFA was or is still a part of your life, I hope this blog post brings to mind some of your own memories.  On the other hand, if you do not know much about FFA, I hope you have learned a few things.

Happy National FFA week and have a great Friday!


Winter (Spring) Update and an Easy Recipe – Potatoes, Broccoli, and Bologna

WOW!  The weather the past couple of weeks certainly does not feel like February in Iowa!  This afternoon it was 72 degrees and I was skimming some leaves off of the top of the pool with a T-shirt on!  I think that is about to change tomorrow.  Oh well, I am not quite ready for yard work yet!  Today I am including a few of the happenings on the farm this last month.

Jacob doing some serious thinking.  (This was obviously not today as he would have roasted in his coveralls!)  Are the markets up?  What do we need to sell the group of cattle for next year to make a profit?  How much corn do we need to keep for feed?  Who will buy our Holsteins(black and white cattle)?  (Tyson, a large cattle  buyer has not been buying Holsteins for a few months!  Not a good thing!!)  We know our black and whites make just as good if not better steaks and hamburger as any other breed of cattle!!


Last month we received a new group of pigs!


On the day our new pigs arrived we had the opportunity to do a Farm Skype with a 4th grade class in Waukee ( west of Des Moines).  I think Farmer Jacob did a good job of answering the students’ questions.  They wanted him to pick up a pig; so he did. (I need to practice my technology skills.)


When the roads and fields were dry we were able to haul some natural fertilizer (cattle manure)  for our crops that we will plant this spring.  Speaking of hauling manure – today Kevin attended a class this afternoon in order to receive a required certification to haul and apply manure.


It has been so nice outside!  This weather makes it so much more enjoyable to open gates!


Saturday morning  – when Jacob hollered in the house, “Mom, what are you doing?  I need a gate opener.” –  I must admit, I let out a groan as I had just started a project; however, after enjoying the warmth and beauty of the morning, I was glad I was able to open gates while Jacob put in cornstalk bales for bedding and hay in the hay bunks.


                                                      The sky really was that blue!


This is what a whole beef and 1/4 looks like when it is ready to be consumed!  Thanks to our local locker we have fresh beef.  The newlywed were happy to get their first 1/4 beef with their name on it!  The back sacks are meat we canned in quart jars.  It is so handy for beef and noodles, BBQ beef, or hot beef sundaes!


Well, we moved Jacob out in November, and we moved Emily back home as she is student teaching in Newton.  She keeps busy working on lesson plans.  30 years ago I did not use a laptop to do such things!  Snickers thinks Emily needs a study break!!


Today I was working from home – so I wanted a quick dinner.  I had some broccoli that needed to be used.  Thought about baked potatoes, but it was too hot!  I have not made this for quite some time (Jacob acted like he didn’t even remember it)!  So here is a quick, easy recipe.


Potatoes – one per person, cooked and mashed,

Broccoli – cooked (fresh or frozen)

Bologna – one ring, chopped finely (The original recipe I have says to grind it.)

(Today I used deer bologna. I know I usually use our own beef and pork; however, in a way we feed the deer too!  The guys take the opportunity to do some hunting the first week of December – they call it “crop protection”!  Yes, we usually see a herd of deer crossing the road each day!  They were extremely hard on one section of the sweet corn this summer.)

Combine potatoes, broccoli, and bologna, and add some (lots of) butter!  Season with salt and pepper.


You see chunks of cheese in the picture, because the bologna I used had cheese chunks in it.

One last update for today.  On Wednesday afternoons I have had the opportunity to help out with our STARS program at church.  Currently I have a crew of children that I  lead to Bible memory, a Bible story, and an activity.  Today our activity was constructing robots.  Here is Conner, one of my crew members with my friend, Karna, who is also a crew leader.


Have a great rest of the week!