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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

We Don't Want to Eat with Utensils......


A time for beautiful sunsets.
A time for farmers to rise before the sun and hit the hay long after it sets.

And a time when I volunteer myself to make lunches and dinners for the guys on the farm.

I hate packing my own lunch, so what was I thinking?!?

Maybe it was so I could see my husband more and get out of the house and talk to a 
live person in the evenings instead of being a harvest widow?  Maybe that's it.  

But I still hate packing them up!  I just want to cook and then enjoy my dinner with my wine.
But nope, I volunteered.  

And when my husband informed me, 
"We don't want to eat with utensils.....it slows us down."

Well, I kind of panicked.  I don't really make sandwiches. 
And how do you make sandwiches so different each day and night that still taste good?

So I racked my brain, visited two different groceries, made sure I had my handy Penzeys Sandwich Sprinkle and cleared half of my bench to hold the goodies so I could get organized.

Sunday night I made my first round of lunch sandwiches.  

Then last night it was three lunches (one with arugula lettuce--his favorite, remember?).

And four dinners ready to eat in the field.

And then there was the pie crust I had to make for my monthly Pie Adventure!

All within 45 minutes! 

I have a very small kitchen in our little bungalow house on the farm, and I think that's why I can get so much accomplished so quickly when I cook.  I don't have to move from my little work station. 

For this month's pie, I decided to make apple pie turnovers.  
One because apples are a big part of my love for the fall season.

And I kept hearing something in the back of my mind, 
"We don't want to eat with utensils". 

They aren't pretty (need to practice more) but the boys don't really care what my turnovers or sandwiches really look like anyway and they won't have to use utensils!

(P.S. That's cinnamon on top, not burnt crust!)

So as the guys were harvesting last night, I was at home dreaming of the corn, praying for a safe harvest, more beautiful sunsets and how the heck I am going to make those sandwiches more tasty! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pumpkins & Pawpaws (The Indiana Banana)

I stopped at the local market for some pumpkins yesterday to add to my fall decor.

My husband never really says much about my decor until I ask,
"Did you see our new pumpkins?"

"Sure" he responds, "I also saw that new sign over there too.....".

"What new sign?!" I proclaim.

"Uhh huh....it's just best for us both when I don't notice your new decorations,"
he says in an oh-so-lovely tone.

Let's just say that we get along just fine in our little home even after my shopping sprees.....

And as I was preparing dinner earlier in the night, he came home from the farm and told me, 
"I am going to go pick some pawpaws for dessert."

"What!??!" I yelled as he strolled across the porch and into the yard with no response.  

Later I learned something that I can't believe I never knew being an Indiana farm girl.  
We have these trees in Indiana called Pawpaw Trees that produce a fruit that is tropical tasting.  
Pawpaws are the only North American temperate member of a tropical family 
of trees known as Annonaceae or the custard-apple family.

And my wonderful husband picked some of the fruit, the pawpaws, for us. 

Before he cut into the fruit he told me, 
"Every year in the fall, right before the first frost came, you knew it was time to go and check the Pawpaws.  This is especially true if we have had a wet summer; they like moisture."

 "When I was younger, no matter how much we had been arguing, grandpa and I 
always enjoyed checking the pawpaws together."

"They taste like a banana with something tropical in them.  They call these 
the "Indiana Bananas.  And the texture is almost like a custard texture."

Well this is living, learning from your husband and sharing stories with 
each other about your childhood and the random stuff you just happen to know.

Believe me, I looked up all of this and he was right:
* Indiana Banana 
*They like moisture 
*Fruit matures in late September until mid-October (right about frost season)

I told him it had a hint of pineapple in it too and when I researched, it says it does!

So, it looks like we will be enjoying some pawpaws along with our pumpkins 
the next few days and weeks.  

And now I am wondering if I can make a Pawpaw Pie 
for my monthly Pie Adventure?!

I think I'll drink some more of that wine before I decide, 
but should probably just stick with a pumpkin pie for now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Below Heaven & Between the Corn

This past Sunday I was shopping for a few wedding gifts for brides-to-be.  
I logged into my Bed, Bath and Beyond account and it said, 

"Day 365 of Happily Ever After". 

I was slightly confused and then it hit me, our Wedding Celebration was one year ago that day!
We got married in Colorado in July  but celebrated on our family farm in September.

I got a little giddy as Brett was busy mowing the yard and decided to peruse through 
some photos of that day on our farm with family and dear friends.  

It was a perfect day with big, white clouds above the barns.

It was nice to take photos with family that weren't with us at the wedding and next to a 
hitching rail that Brett's dad had built many years ago.  

The homegrown wheat from our fields that Brett and I picked earlier that 
summer made for some nice decor. 

And I always wanted to have a party with long tables filled with people I know and love 
while listening to their conversations with each other.

A fall party isn't complete without some apple cider....

....and some apple pie.

Our photographers from Honey & Salt really understood how important our  work and lifestyle 
was very much a part of our wedding celebration and made sure to capture it all.

They even captureed one of me when I was totally in my element and 
had no idea I was being watched........

When it comes to events, I believe in adding character and different aspects for people to enjoy.  Hence, Brett's cigar lounge with an old barber chair that was found in an old haymow.

And if the boys got to enjoy a cigar lounge, you better believe there was a ladies lounge.

This might be one of my all time favorite photos.  

My husband surrounded by my:
Full of Life Irish Gal, Grounded Gypsy, Left Arm, 
Sister who is the the other half of my soul and my Blessed Jewel.  

He's pretty good at just letting us be while enjoying his beer.
I am blessed to have a husband who understands that he didn't just get me when he said "I do" but he got these 5 plus 50 or so more.  

And yes, someone was returning our old Farmall tractor during the party.  It had been getting worked on and some of our guests were neighbors of the Farmall experts so they just brought it to the party.  Why not? 

Our celebration was during my favorite time of the year, fall, and just before one of our busiest on the farm, harvest.  So we took a little time that night to celebrate the harvest and to give thanks to all the farmers, especially our farmer dads who were watching from up in the clouds. 

It was pretty Fancy in the Country.

And it was pretty perfect.

As we danced Below Heaven & Between the Corn 
we gave thanks and then celebrated for 367 days and counting......

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Gather Here with Grateful Hearts

Last night I planned and attended a Harvest Dinner on a family farm.

I was grateful for them hosting.

I was grateful for them opening up their home and family farm to us.

I am always grateful for their commitment to and passion for agriculture.

There will be more to come about the dinner and harvest on our farm in the coming weeks.

But today, I am grateful for coffee and a little time to catch up on emails and more.

Tomorrow I will be grateful for today and the days behind me and the days ahead.
And the next day, I will continue to be grateful for the many things ahead in life.

What are you grateful for?  

I am grateful for you.

So let's gather here on Fancy in the Country with a grateful heart next week too!  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hands & Heart Shall Never Part

Fall has officially filled the air this week with the crisp mornings and cool evenings.  As we prepare for harvest on the farm, I am reminded of the little cross-stitch art in my grandma's house that says:

"Hands & Heart Shall Never Part"

As I reflect on that saying, I am reminded that hard working hands have some heart to them.  The work we do with our hands and the care we give to others with them never part from our heart and our passion.  

My farmer and I both are passionate about agriculture and work in agriculture.  However, he works outside while I usually stay inside.  Can you tell?

Old farmer hands are the best, they reflect the heart it has taken over the years to grow a family farm.

It's now time for those old, worn farmer hands to care for the garden while 
the grandchildren care for the fields with their young, strong hands.

 Have you taken the time to learn from some old, worn hands?  
They know more and have been connected to the heart for much longer than you may know.  

For example, grandma's hands have made soooo many pies.  Why wouldn't I want to learn from those hands?

But remember that the small hands can remind us of the simple things in life.  Like taking the time to sit barefoot on the picnic table in pigtails with a sucker in one hand and an American flag in the other.  
Don't let the young hands grow up too fast, let them have a young, playful heart and grow up slowly. 

On the farm, we have to use our hands a lot not only for the crops, but for the animals too. 
This little calf wasn't getting fed from his momma so I had to do it.

And this cow was being a little dramatic during the summer sweet corn feeding. 
We use our hands to care for our cattle and our heart to keep us going through each and every season with them.

Some people are very passionate about wine (that would be me) and 
appreciate the hands and heart that go into wine making.  

I used my hands to sign my marriage license over a year ago.  And from that day on I had to train my hands to write a new last name which is not so easy!  But I do love those farmer hands I held while giving away my heart that day.

 Many people use their hands to write and type so they can share their stories like I do with you on this blog.  I also use my hands to give back, make pies, cook dinner for my husband, care for animals, and work in an industry I am passionate about.  

Are you using your hands for something that you are passionate about 
and that you feel strongly about in your heart?

My "Hands & Heart Shall Never Part" 
and I hope to use them for a very long time until they are old, worn and wrinkly.  
I hope you do too!

Today these hands and heart will celebrate. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Get the Champagne: It's Fall!

Last night, as the Harvest Moon took its place in the night sky, I dreamed of fall.  

Fall is my favorite time of year.  

The crisp air and the deep, bright colors bring something in me to life.  Then there is the smell of harvest, the quality time around a bonfire, sweaters and the festivals that bring people together.  

This is my best friend Leslie and I at the Country Living Fair a couple of years ago.  With our cute outfits and boots on, we were ready to shop and prepare for fall!  And that's my mom in the background yelling us to hurry up because we have more shopping to do!  She has been yelling at Leslie and I since we were our kindergarten carpool days, we took our sweet time with the pumpkins and gourds and caught up with her later. 

And I love bonfires....especially the unexpected ones with friends. 

This is why, when it comes September, you should just stock up on s'mores stuff.  
This is a MUST for fall.  

Well, and you should always have a bottle of champagne in your fridge for unexpected celebrations.
This is a MUST for every season.  

(Note:  Yes, I do drink champagne around bonfires.)

Fall means harvest time on the farm.  And sometimes I become a chauffeur.  
I don't even have time to change my heels to my boots in order to run the guys from tractor to combine to semi.

But that's okay, it's fall. 

And sometimes it's an excuse to buy new shoes! 
(Don't tell my farmer.)

Fall means you eat too much food at German festivals.  And the so called biergarten is really a cattle corral where they lock you in there to drink beer after beer after beer.

 So before your fall schedule gets too busy, like every other season these days, take some time to enjoy fall.  
Take the time to plan a trip to a nearby festival. 

Here are a few sites I found that can help you plan some quality, fall time.

Visit Indiana for my Hoosier friends and anyone who wants to visit!

(This exists, who knew!  I am sure every state has something similar.)

So remember, enjoy the crisp, fall air in your new shoes while enjoying that comfort festival food 
and some champagne.  It's a must!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

When My Worlds Collide

Last week, I had work meetings at my Alma mater, Purdue University.  I was so excited to get back on campus, and dream a little about my college days when one of my biggest worries was when to meet the girls at the famous 

I went to campus the night before to visit my sorority and have some meetings with the collegiate women.  While I was getting ready that morning, the fire alarm went off.  Now this happened every so often in college, I just never thought I would have to deal with it in my grown-up life.  

So I headed for the front door with the parade of women as the siren blared throughout the chapter house.  I thought I was going to be late for my work meetings, but these guys gave the all clear and we headed back in after standing in the front yard in our pajamas.....

So my day started with firefighters at the sorority house but got better by early afternoon when Purdue President Mitch Daniels spoke to our corn and soybean farmers.  

I used to work for the former Governor of Indiana who is now the President of Purdue University.  Hearing him speak about agriculture and the great strides we are making with technology on our farms makes me proud to know him, and to be an alumna of a university that is so focused on agriculture.  He spoke about how important it is for our farmers to be engaged with the research being done at universities and the value each and every one of us plays in the future of our family farms and the food we produce and consume.

A few years ago, I was hoping I would hear him talk about agriculture more as I celebrated his appointment as President of Purdue University.  A proud day for this Boilermaker!  

So as I sat on campus and visited the Chocolate Shop that evening, I thought, "my worlds collided today".  I woke up at my old home at Purdue University for my current job in agriculture listening to a man I used to work for and enjoying a drink at my favorite bar.  I feel blessed!"

Do your worlds collide sometimes?

I have realized in my few years in this grown-up life that having passion and working in an area you are passionate about and volunteering for people and organizations you are passionate about are really refreshing. 

I have lived my life by this motto:

"Have passion finding your passion."

Do you have passion?  

Do you let your worlds collide and passions lead you there?

For me, joining a sorority gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of real, strong women who would be become lifelong friends.  And some of them were already a part of the agriculture and farming community.  Worlds collide.  

And sometimes you meet people at your jobs that become lifelong friends AND enemies, especially when your teams are opponents for a game at your Alma mater.  Brad and I became close, like a brother and sister type of relationship, where we loved and hated each other all at once.  Can you tell?

So have passion finding your passion and let those passions lead you along the 
way in life and celebrate when they collide together.