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Posts Tagged With: thanksgiving

So Much To Be Thankful For

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family this weekend when my sister could come from Iowa.  We had it all.

Thanks 1

Family.

Thankful 3

Fun.

Thankful 5

And food.

Thanks 2

Which my Dad reminded us, isn’t always the case.

Thankful 4

(Toddlers get their own table!)

A few years ago my parents invited some church members from Africa to stay at their home while they did a circuit of the area congregations.  One day my Dad took a gentleman named Sam with him to feed the cows and while they worked and the two talked about the fact that Sam’s family might be getting electricity in their home.  With Sam remarking about the very special cows my Dad commented that the thing he would miss most about not having electricity would be the refrigerator.

“Brother Gene,” Sam said.  “We do not need a refrigerator.  When we are done with a meal, there is nothing left to store.”

He indicated the grain being fed to the cows and noted, “That would feed a family in Africa for a day.”

Special cows indeed.

Thankful 6

When our meal was over I could hardly fit the leftovers into my triple door refrigerator and I took some of them to the basement fridge.

Thankful 8

When I came back upstairs I remembered to be thankful.

Thankful 7

So very, very thankful.

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Categories: Family, Food | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Meet a Turkey Farmer!

This post ranked in the top five of last year’s favorites, so today I’m revisiting the guest post written by a friend who raises turkeys!  With Thanksgiving just around the corner don’t forget to be thankful for the farmers who grew what’s on that table!

Hello! We are Josh, Jackie and Zane Witte. We raise cattle and turkeys. We raise approximately four flocks of 16,000 turkeys a year. Today, we are going to be telling you how the turkey that you eat on Thanksgiving is raised.

Meet a turkey farmer! This family shows you how they raise turkeys on their family farm!

We raise turkeys for Cargill Meat Solutions. In the grocery store you can look for the label Honeysuckle White.

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

The operation is a little confusing. We own the farm and barns that the birds are raised in but we don’t own the turkeys. Cargill supplies us with the turkeys, feed, and other needs, while we supply the labor to take care of the birds. We have a brooder house where the baby turkeys- or poults, stay for the first 6 weeks of their lives. From there, the birds are moved to our grow-out barn where they remain until around 16 weeks of age. At that point, Cargill comes to get the birds for processing. Our turkeys can become anything from ground turkey to your typical Thanksgiving Day turkey. Let’s look at the process a little more, shall we?

Poults require a certain type of care to get the best start possible. We set up cardboard pens that will keep the birds close to the ‘brood stoves’ (heaters). If the birds get too far from the heaters and get cold, they will huddle together to get warm and accidently smother each other. We have to keep the barn at 90 degrees for the poults so we use a lot of propane! The heaters are the small circular shapes hanging from the ceiling.

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm

The poults are delivered on a climate controlled truck, mostly in the early morning and at night. The truck is filled with boxes of turkeys. We load the boxes off the truck and onto our pickup trucks. Our brooder house is 440 feet long so we use the trucks to drive down the center of the barn.

turkey truck 1

turkey truck 2

Then it’s time to get the turkeys settled in for their stay on our farm. Remember those boxes of poults? The yellow boxes hold 100 baby turkeys each.

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

We have to carefully take each turkey out of the boxes and into their new homes. We are blessed to have great family and friends who come out to help. Aunt Jess and Zane are unloading the poults by hand.

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

When the poults are adjusting to their new life, we have to sort of teach them how to eat. You know the old adage that turkeys are dumb? Well, guess what, they really are. Josh’s grandparents used to raise range turkeys, and the birds would actually drown themselves from looking at the sky during a rainstorm. (Which is one of the reasons barns are used. Being free-range isn’t all its cracked up to be by commercials!) At any rate, we have to trick them into eating and drinking.

Fun Farm Fact: Turkeys are attracted to the color green. Thank me later when you win lots of money on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? So we put green colored feed on top of their normal feed and their water comes out of a green nipple. The turkeys instinctively peck at the green and then get the taste for food and water. Pretty cool, huh?

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

As the poults get used to their surroundings, they spread out a little but for the most part like to stay close together for warmth. (The big red thing in the middle is another type of waterer that they use when they get older).

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

They also have to get used to our little turkey wrangler.

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

When the poults get older and bigger, we remove the cardboard pens and let them have free run of the barn.

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm

Eventually, the turkeys run out of room in the brooder house so we have to move them to the 770 foot long grow-out barn. The barns are connected with an alley that the birds will walk through. This is the turkeys’ new home until they are big enough for processing. Our birds weigh around 22 pounds when they leave our farm.

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

After the birds leave it’s time to clean out the barns. I didn’t photograph this because it’s a nasty job. We take out all the old litter and manure and spread it on our cattle pasture. Turkey manure is an excellent fertilizer so whatever litter we don’t use, we sell to local crop farmers. Then it is time to start the whole process over again!

I hope you have enjoyed your peek into the life of turkey farming. Be sure to remember where all of your Thanksgiving meal comes from and thank a farmer! Happy Thanksgiving from Witte Farms!

Categories: Animals, Food | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Surprise!

20131127-083913.jpg

Tomorrow I’m hosting my family’s Thanksgiving, so you can guess what I was up early this morning accomplishing. That’s right. Bottle feeding the lamb. And if you were unaware that Marshall Farms had a bottle lamb, well, don’t feel left out. I only found out yesterday myself.

We started looking for a lamb this past spring, about the time I came home with goats instead. And when I say “we” I actually mean I called out veterinarian to ask if he could keep his eye out for a good lamb for us. This is not a normal veterinary service, by the way. Out vet is my Dad. :). He had a specific farmer he wanted to get our lamb from and we found out this farmer plans lambing for fall, not spring. And yesterday, just as I was dropping Brett off to work cows with Grandpa, an emergency lambing call came in. Not exactly sure how it happened, but there is now a three week old lamb in the chicken coop!

I think her name is going to be Lizzie, in keeping with the Jane Austen characters the goats are named for. However, MaryAnn and Eleanor are also on the list. Brett wants “Last Born.”. Nuff said. Anna has recently named everything a version of Lacey, but there is no way we are showing a sheep named Licey. Daddy is all for Lamb Chops. Clearly, I get to make this decision. Bt I’ll make the decision later, because I really am having Thanksgiving here tomorrow!!!

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Categories: Animals | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Meet a Turkey Farmer!

I’m so excited about today’s post!  Friends of our who raise turkeys on their family farm are guest posting today!  One of the birds in Jackie’s photos below might very well be the turkey your family eats on Thanksgiving day.  How cool is that?!

Hello! We are Josh, Jackie and Zane Witte. We raise cattle and turkeys. We raise approximately four flocks of 16,000 turkeys a year. Today, we are going to be telling you how the turkey that you eat on Thanksgiving is raised.

Meet a turkey farmer!  This family shows you how they raise turkeys on their family farm!

We raise turkeys for Cargill Meat Solutions. In the grocery store you can look for the label Honeysuckle White.

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

The operation is a little confusing. We own the farm and barns that the birds are raised in but we don’t own the turkeys. Cargill supplies us with the turkeys, feed, and other needs, while we supply the labor to take care of the birds. We have a brooder house where the baby turkeys- or poults, stay for the first 6 weeks of their lives. From there, the birds are moved to our grow-out barn where they remain until around 16 weeks of age. At that point, Cargill comes to get the birds for processing. Our turkeys can become anything from ground turkey to your typical Thanksgiving Day turkey. Let’s look at the process a little more, shall we?

Poults require a certain type of care to get the best start possible. We set up cardboard pens that will keep the birds close to the ‘brood stoves’ (heaters). If the birds get too far from the heaters and get cold, they will huddle together to get warm and accidently smother each other. We have to keep the barn at 90 degrees for the poults so we use a lot of propane! The heaters are the small circular shapes hanging from the ceiling.

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm

The poults are delivered on a climate controlled truck, mostly in the early morning and at night. The truck is filled with boxes of turkeys. We load the boxes off the truck and onto our pickup trucks. Our brooder house is 440 feet long so we use the trucks to drive down the center of the barn.

turkey truck 1 turkey truck 2

Then it’s time to get the turkeys settled in for their stay on our farm. Remember those boxes of poults? The yellow boxes hold 100 baby turkeys each.

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

We have to carefully take each turkey out of the boxes and into their new homes. We are blessed to have great family and friends who come out to help. Aunt Jess and Zane are unloading the poults by hand.

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

When the poults are adjusting to their new life, we have to sort of teach them how to eat. You know the old adage that turkeys are dumb? Well, guess what, they really are. Josh’s grandparents used to raise range turkeys, and the birds would actually drown themselves from looking at the sky during a rainstorm.  (Which is one of the reasons barns are used.  Being free-range isn’t all its cracked up to be by commercials!) At any rate, we have to trick them into eating and drinking.

Fun Farm Fact: Turkeys are attracted to the color green. Thank me later when you win lots of money on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? So we put green colored feed on top of their normal feed and their water comes out of a green nipple. The turkeys instinctively peck at the green and then get the taste for food and water. Pretty cool, huh?

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm! This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

As the poults get used to their surroundings, they spread out a little but for the most part like to stay close together for warmth.  (The big red thing in the middle is another type of waterer that they use when they get older).

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm! This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

They also have to get used to our little turkey wrangler.

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

When the poults get older and bigger, we remove the cardboard pens and let them have free run of the barn.

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm

Eventually, the turkeys run out of room in the brooder house so we have to move them to the 770 foot long grow-out barn. The barns are connected with an alley that the birds will walk through. This is the turkeys’ new home until they are big enough for processing. Our birds weigh around 22 pounds when they leave our farm.

This family shares how they raise Thanksgiving turkeys on their family farm!

After the birds leave it’s time to clean out the barns. I didn’t photograph this because it’s a nasty job.  We take out all the old litter and manure and spread it on our cattle pasture. Turkey manure is an excellent fertilizer so whatever litter we don’t use, we sell to local crop farmers. Then it is time to start the whole process over again!

I hope you have enjoyed your peek into the life of turkey farming. Be sure to remember where all of your Thanksgiving meal comes from and thank a farmer!  Happy Thanksgiving from Witte Farms!

Categories: Animals | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Last Piece Pumpkin Pie

There is something you should know about me.  I don’t follow directions well.  At. all.  So when I pulled out my favorite pumpkin pie recipe and realized I should have purchased evaporated milk instead of sweetened condensed milk, well, it didn’t really surprise me.  And if you know me you’ll also not be surprised that I went ahead and made the pie anyhow.  The pumpkin pie was so good we fight over the last piece every time.

After five attempts, this girl finally found the perfect pumpkin pie recipe!

The other thing you should know about me is that I tend to be a perfectionist.  Especially with a recipe.  I’ve now not followed the directions five times in an effort to make the best pumpkin pie imaginable.  And somebody really should benefit from all that sacrifice!

So here ya go:

After five attempts this girl finially made the best pumpkin pie recipe!

Last Piece Pumpkin Pie
3 large eggs
1/3 cup brown sugar
29 oz pumpkin puree (large can)
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
3 T melted, unsalted butter
1 T flour
1/4 t ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves
1/8 t salt
unbaked pie crust

Preheat the oven to 325.  Line a 9 inch pie plate with the unbaked crust.

Mix the eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, and butter together in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients.  Stir the spices into the pumpkin mixture.

Pour the pumpkin into the pie crust and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the center is set.  Cool completely before serving.

**Also, please note that these Paula Deen pie plates have high sides.  If you are using a normal, shorter-sided pie plate this recipe will likely make two pies.  Either bake them both now, or store the extra filling in the freezer.  Bake for 40-45 minutes.

After five attempts this girl finally found the perfect pumpkin pie!

After five attempts this girl finally found the perfect pumpkin pie recipe!

After five attempts this girl finally found the perfect pumpkin pie!

If you’re interested in not following directions yourself, here is the original recipe I sort of used!

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Thankful for the Harvest

I love Thanksgiving!  So many things to be thankful for!  I have a happy, healthy family, warm home, good friends, AND… lots of food on my table!  In a time set aside for being grateful for a bounteous harvest, I think it also makes sense to be thankful for those who grew that harvest!

Thankful for the farmers that grew the harvest!  {DaddysTractor.com}

This is the wheat harvest on our farm.

Everything on your Thanksgiving table, from yams to cranberries to the turkey itself was grown by a farmer.  Actually, most everything on your table everyday was grown by a farmer.  Fruit Loops?  Yep.  Cream cheese?  Yep.  Popcorn, salad dressing, crackers, ice cream, maybe even some of the ingredients in hot dogs. 😉

Thankful for the farmers that grew the harvest!  {DaddysTractor.com}

This is Daddy hauling corn to the elevator. Just one piece in the grand scheme of groceries!

And besides all that, did you know America has the safest food supply on the planet?  Ever.

I might check to see if I’m choosing all beef hot dogs, but I’ve never worried that I’m actually purchasing horse meat instead.  I get annoyed if the milk I buy is too close to its expiration date but I don’t worry that it has been watered down before it lands in my cart.  I don’t wonder what was processed in the plant along with my Cheerios and I trust that the nutrition facts printed on labels are actual facts.

Yes, there are recalls from time to time.  A few people each year may even die from food disease.  This is heartbreaking.  It’s also a big deal.  Why?  Because it’s so rare.

Thankful for the farmers that grew the harvest!  {DaddysTractor.com}

This is a soybean plant, safely growing on Marshall farms!

Guess what else.  America also has one of the most abundant food supplies in the world.  Ever.

Sure, the stores sell out of milk a few hours before a snow storm moves in.  Oh the horror.  I’ve gotten frustrated because the baby food options were sadly lacking at a small Wal-Mart.  My life is so tough.  The point is you’re not likely planning back-up menu options just in case all of the meat has sold out for the day.  Instead you’re more likely to walk up to the produce counter and be overwhelmed at the sheer number of choices!

Thankful for the farmers that grew the harvest!  {DaddysTractor.com}

Harvesting corn which will then be used to make food products like corn starch!

And its affordable.

According to the USDA-ERS, consumers in the US spend about 10% of their disposable income on food.  That means we have 90% to spend on whatever else we like!  In Italy they spend about 14% of their income on food, but the Chinese spend 33% and in Pakistan it’s a whopping 46%!  Maybe the price of beef isn’t as bad as I thought!

So yes, I’m thankful for pumpkin pie and yeast rolls and green bean casserole.  But I’m also thankful for the farmers of this country who grow the safest, most abundant, most affordable food on the planet.  And I’m thankful for it every day of the year.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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