Spring 2017 and Red Velvet Cake

WOW!  The month of May is gone and the crops are in the ground and are growing faster than I am getting this published.  It has been another whirlwind spring.


Jacob is planting his test plot.  The seed corn bags he uses for this are much smaller than the regular bags.  (Actually, I prefer the little bags.  This gal is too old to lift those 66+ lbs. bags!)

Kevin applied anhydrous. Read  The Blomme’n Coop  for a great explanation of this process.  In addition, the Iowa Ag Literacy Foundation has an excellent article on fertilizer too.

All corn and soybeans have been planted.  The first few pictures show Jacob planting his seed test plot. This is actually the beginning of next year’s 2018 planting season. In the test plot he will plant several different seed varieties in a small area.  In addition to farming, Jacob sells seed for Wyffels Hybrids. Besides making decisions for the farm, it is also a great way for Jacob’s customers to see the many different seed options available.

Jacob test plotbagpour17

Jacob and Snick Test Plot17

Snickers is helping plant the test plot.

Snick and Jacob in the tractor

Snickers loves every opportunity to ride in the tractor!  (I’ve found out that Jacob is more receptive of his picture being taken if the dog is with him!)

Jacob played adult basketball at the YMCA in Newton.  They had an exciting last game and ended up coming from behind to win the championship!  The season did overlap a little with spring planting.  The picture on the right shows what a farmer’s pickup looks like in the spring when he goes from the field to the basketball court.

Jacob filling planting17

Jacob is filling the planter with corn. These bags are a little bigger than the earlier pictures.

Jacob planting barrs172

The marker makes a line to follow for the next row.

Jacob planting Barrs173

Jacob usually does a great job of staying on the mark.



Jacob planting barrs174

This field is a nice flat “river bottom” piece of ground.  Notice the field has a strip of grass between the river and the field to protect the river from any runoff that might occur.

This spring Snickers discovered that sometimes what may appear to be a cat to chase is actually a skunk!  Snickers learned this the hard way!  So, this experience definitely required a bath!  Thanks to Emily she got a triple rinse that day.


Miss Van Manen (Emily) enjoyed her student teaching experience at Newton under the direction of Mr. Horn this spring.

Emily and Mr. Horn

Emily and Mr. Horn at the FFA Banquet.


Emiy and Jenna17

Emily with student and family friend, Jenna Smith.


We did take the first Saturday in May off to attend Emily’s graduation from Iowa State University.  It was a beautiful day!  (Watching our youngest graduate from college makes us feel a little older!)  Grandma B., Grandpa and Grandma Van, cousin Heather, Jacob, and Kate helped us celebrate.

Emily Grad 1

Emily Graduation2


In addition to planting, we have also been selling hogs this past month.  This week we will empty the buildings and begin preparing for a new group of pigs scheduled to arrive in a couple of weeks.  Emily has enjoyed being able to help out with this task this summer!



We finished planting (with the exception of a few beans that we just planted last week in a hay field, after baling  the hay) on May 16, which was also Kevin’s birthday.  So, we celebrated with his favorite cake – RED VELVET.

Red Velvet Cake


Recipe from Aunt Dee – Jansen Family Cookbook

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup butter (I usually use 1 stick margarine and 1 stick butter)

1 (1 oz.) bottle red food coloring

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

2 1/3 cup cake flour

2 tsp. dry cocoa

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. vinegar

1 tsp. baking soda

Cream butter and sugar together for about five minutes.  Add food coloring, vanilla, and eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one.  Sift flour and cocoa together.  Combine buttermilk, vinegar, and baking soda.  Add alternately with flour mixture.  Mix after each addition. Bake in layer pans (lightly greased with Crisco and floured) or 1 large flat pan. Bake layers 35 minutes and 9″x13″ 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

The frosting recipe can be found here.

The last few days have definitely felt like summer!  So, it is time to break out the recipes that do not require the oven!

Have a great first full week of June!