Sunday, August 19, 2012

County Fair

Kris turned over the blog to an amateur.  She may never do this again...

Where can you find cherry/lime sno-cones, monster trucks, sheep, pie, cows, pigs, funnel cake, poultry, rabbits, horses, and garden vegetables all in one place? And at the same time? Probably nowhere else but the Fair.

Here are my favorite stories from this year's County Fair:

In the middle of the dog show, while dogs were off-leash obeying commands from their exhibitor/masters, a chipmunk unwittingly scampered from the playground area into a sea of unrestrained canines. Not even the most disciplined dog could resist the temptation - nor should they be expected to. They are, after all, dogs. Took some time to restore order and round up the dogs, but eventually the show did go on.

A guinea hen was brought by one of the kids from our 4-H club. After managing a daring escape, the guinea became the most famous celebrity of the entire fair. Every day there was a new sighting, and talk of the guinea was everywhere.

"I saw it perched up in the tree over there by the goat barn about sundown last night."

"My sister saw the guinea yesterday. It was in the weeds off the bikepath behind the horse arena."
"Is the guinea still on the loose?"
"Three of us had it cornered this afternoon but it got spooked and took off."
"I saw it this morning perched up on the peak of Christy Hall like it owned the place."

Like any pageant, the Fair Queen candidates all wore very beautiful dresses, however, these beauties also sported either cowboy (or cowgirl, in this case) boots, or what are known as Ropers, which are sort of stylish lace-up Western boots. Our daughter Kelli was one of those beauties. She wore Ropers. Kelli was not awarded Fair Queen, but she should have been. Biased? Only slightly.

The Celebrated Jumping Goat of Story County also became somewhat of a legend. This goat decided that it would rather not enter its pen in the same fashion as every other goat. It leaped through the 2'x2' window opening in the front of the trailer and survived the five foot drop to the ground. After being checked out by a veterinarian it was determined that miraculously the goat had only a sprain. The rest of the story? That acrobatic goat won Reserve Grand Champion three days later.

The Steenhoek boys cleaned up as first-time livestock exhibitors at the fair. Cole received a trophy for his dairy calf and for outstanding Showmanship. 

All Jake did was win the overall Grand Champion of the entire Poultry show. Jake also had 2 pigs that received purple ribbons. One of them placed second in its class and got to come back for the championship drive.

Chad and Wendy, and grandma's and grandpa's were all very proud.  With good reason.

The Johnston's didn't get the results they were hoping for. The oldest Johnston (that would be the father and guest blogger) was once again reminded that 4-H, exhibiting, the fair, and competition is as much about participating and good sportsmanship as it is about the final pronouncement from a judge.

Kelli's pigs didn't quite hit the bullseye, and one of Will's chickens had a "classic inverted comb" (who knew?) which nearly got it disqualified.

But... Will's cage of 3 brown-egg laying hens did rival Jake and was in the running for Reserve Grand Champion.

And... Kelli was by far the most beautiful of all the beautiful queen candidates (no matter what the judge thought).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

County Fair - Part One

The guinea hen escaped it's gilded cage and successfully alluded capture until it felt the time was right. The goat unsatisfied by it's forced destiny, tried to escape through a window smaller than it's head. The weather, relentless, sweltering, kept people away as a result of it's wrath. Expectations, hope, victory, defeat. All these things wrapped up into two words - County Fair.

It's arrived and in fact as I sit here and type, it's almost over. However, it's passing leaves behind stories to be told. Stories that I heard from my family after they made their way back to me from a day given over to the Fair. Evening stories told after the dirt, dust and grime had swirled away, down the drain, lost to the refreshing power of a cool shower.

There are too many stories to tell all at once so let me start at the beginning.

Getting ready.

In the beginning there is a bit of franticness. There are things to remember to put in the back of the pick-up. Things like feed troughs, water bottles to spray the pigs down with, wood shavings for the chicken cages, and water containers. We rush from here to there making sure we have all we need, we don't want to make extra trips and we don't want our animals to suffer in any way once they relocate to the Fair.

After the list of necessities had been made, the duties and responsibilities clear, it was time for the   loading to begin.

Chickens were first. Their check-in night was Friday. Pigs and cattle were Saturday.

The beautiful thing about chickens is they can be picked up. You can't pick up a pig and place it in a cage to be transported. You have to convince a pig, in a very loving way, that it wants to leave it's comfy pen and re-locate to the back of a animal trailer. They can sometimes refuse to be convinced. Chickens don't have that choice - pick them up, put them in. Done.

"Wait a minute", thought Ms. Cluck, "I'm not sure I want to leave. Why didn't anyone ask me? Why don't I have control over my destiny? Why? Oh Why?"

At least she didn't have to face her future alone and unlike her swine friends, she would be able to return home and perhaps have another attempt at shaping her own destiny.

Kelli and Lizzy consoled their feathered friends by reassuring them that all was well, and that soon they would return to their beloved coop.

Everything was loaded. It was time to leave the barn. The chickens said goodbye. The pigs watched from their pen perhaps wondering what was going on, when their turn would come. The kids were excited, full of anticipation, ready to embrace all that the fair had for them this year.

The first leg of the fair journey was over. What was ahead was deliciously hidden for now, like a promised funnel cake, just waiting to be tasted and fully enjoyed.

More to come.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Count Down Continues

The count down to County Fair continues. Farmer Boy takes care of all details related to 4H which I am so thankful for. He loves it. I don't.

This weekend the pigs had an appointment at the beauty salon.

They like being fussed over. They like the feel of a clean shave. They have very nice looking hams. Farmer Boy is impressed with the pigs Kelli will show this year. If this was a respectable blog, I would now inform you on what the judge looks for in a good looking pig. This is not a respectable blog and I honestly have no idea. These look good - trust me.

This contraption is for the chickens that Will is taking. We removed them from the coop and put them in cages so they will pretty up for the fair.

There they are. Do they look pretty? When we order chicks from the hatchery we are not supposed to get any roosters but we invariably will get one once in a while. The one that came in this year's batch is very pretty. He's black and white with a spray of beautiful tail feathers. He's also camera shy and a little bit of a bully. He chases the chickens. He pecks them. He also chases the kids and when they go into the coop to collect eggs they take along a baseball bat just in case Ol' Cocky himself comes after them.

We thought he would be a great addition to the fair since he's so pretty. Farmer Boy corralled him, put him in one of the cages in the above picture and then Ol' Cocky had a little hissy fit. He must have missed his women. He wanted them back. He started flapping and carrying on until Farmer Boy got him back out of the cage, convinced Ol' Cocky was going to hang himself.

Ol' Cocky is not going to the fair.

Ol' Cocky better watch himself. I don't like roosters going after my babies.

We're getting there. Little by little fair preparations are being made.

Almost there.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Weird Week

Have any of you out there ever had a weird week? A week where you can't find your groove? You stand in the middle of a room scratching your head, searching for your groove, wondering why you chose this particular room to look in, and puzzling over where in the world you should look next?

That would be the kind of week I'm having.

I feel lost. I'm confused. My children are here, there, and everywhere, but they are not with me. One of my favorite things in life is going to bed at night, peeking in on my sweet children, seeing them all tucked in, safe and at home. This week they are not at home. I miss them. I worry. I want them home with me. I want them to have wonderful life experiences but I think when it's all said and done, wonderful life experiences are completely over-rated. Home is really the best. Being with their mother is much more important than summer camp or school trips to D.C., or trips with friends to Kansas City. What was I thinking? I gave them permission?

So this week I turned to food. What else was I supposed to do? No kids means more food for me.

I thought I'd share with you some of the things I fixed this week so you could peek at them and get some ideas for what you could make with our hamburger, chicken, pork and eggs.

First up -  barbecued hamburgers.

Yum! Easy to make. So easy I don't have a formal recipe but let me try to tell you how I make them. We usually have five people around the table which means I use two pounds of hamburger. I sprinkle a tiny bit of salt, some Mrs. Dash, freshly ground pepper and then a glob of whatever kind of barbeque sauce I happen to have in the fridge. Mush that all together and make patties. Grill. Snarf. Burp. Yum.

Tonight we're having pork carnitas. I have some cilantro, salsa, an avocado, sour cream, corn tortillas and some black beans waiting expectantly to go on top of the pork. It will be delicious.
Here's where I got the recipe -
Actually, I first spotted this on my friend Sarah's blog ( If it's good enough for Sarah, it's good enough for me.  Yum.

We just got some of our own fresh beef from Farmer Boy's cousin. My freezer is chalked full of ground beef.

So, I fixed this.

My kids love this. I omit the mushrooms as Farmer Boy has convinced himself that mushrooms cause his throat to swell. He's a bit dramatic, no allergic reaction, he simply doesn't care for them. I've made this several times with ground pork as well and everyone loves it that way too.

Now for a chicken recipe. Again, I have to say that Sarah showed me the way to this recipe. I believe she cooked it for us when we visited, but I also found it on her blog.

Here it is.

My kids also love this. There was one at home this week when I made this (they've been leaving me at different intervals) and the three of us almost cleaned this up. It's tasty, easy and a kid pleaser.

One more. We have to finish with a dessert.

I love the Mennonite Girl site. I am proud to be a Mennonite girl and I don't know if I'm a good cook, but I do know without a shadow of a doubt, that I'm a good eater. Maybe I should start my own site - ThisMennoniteGirlCanEat. I'll have to think about that.

These cookie sheet chocolate bars were fantastic. They are a mix between a brownie and a cake. Easy to make and delicious. I made them for a family get together on Memorial Day. They were well loved. I think it's our fresh farm eggs that make them so fabulous.

There you have it. Your very own tutorial on how to make it through a weird week when your children have flown the coop. Now you have to come and get it.

We have plenty of eggs and hamburger just waiting for you. We also have some pork getting chubby as I sit and type. Click on the contact tab at the top and we'll set you up.

Happy eating!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I get distracted easily. I go off on little tangents and wrap myself up in silly things that last for a brief time.  This is my latest tangent.  Private Practice. It's a show I found on Netflix. It's a spin off of Grey's Anatomy which I didn't get distracted by at all.

Here's why I got distracted with this show. The characters are older. I like that. They are struggling with marriage, relationships and they are middle aged. I'm not saying how old I am, but perhaps it makes me happy to see older characters dealing with their life's decisions. Also, Amy Brenneman, who is on the left side of the couch in the above picture, has curly hair. I have unusually curly hair. She has curly hair and she doesn't straighten it! They give her cute hairstyles to compliment her curls and I love it! What's the big deal you may ask. I challenge you to look around and see how many models or actresses have curls and maybe you'll get it.

Here's the last reason why I got distracted by this show - it takes place in Southern California and the main character, Addison Montgomery, has a house on the beach. I used to live in Southern California. I love the beach. I love the sound of waves at night. Southern California for me was excitement, motion, adventure and freedom. It was a life of completely new and fresh possibilities for this Amish Mennonite girl straight off the farm. Possibilities were at my fingertips. I was free to choose who and what I wanted to become and I made the best choice for me.

My choice didn't leave me with a high power career. I chose a husband and three precious children. I gave up the beach house and chose a farm cottage. Instead of waves crashing against the shore at night, I hear wind blowing and flirting through the leaves of trees and corn as I sit and gaze out over wide open fields that are right now about to burst forth with their summer chorus. I don't have an expensive wardrobe and I don't wear high heels, those things simply don't do well with manure and dirt.

I suppose there are things I am missing out on, and I'm sure my life isn't for everyone, but I thought I'd show you around my world and see what you think.

P.S. We have plenty of ground beef, hamburger patties, pork and eggs for sale. Fresh, local products. Now it's your turn to choose.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Checking In

To find out what's been going on with Good Seed Farms click on the link below.

We have eggs, hamburger, hamburger patties and a few chickens waiting for you. Give us a call and we'll set you up!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We're Back!

Take a deep breath. Stretch your arms up, way over your head. Feel it? Move your legs up and down. Now twist side to side. It's time. Time to get back at it.

Things were quiet around here this winter. There was no Farmer's market. There were no veggies in our garden. Winter wrapped us up in it's cozy blanket and we relished the rest.

Winter is over. The blanket has been kicked off.

Spring is here. Summer is just around the corner.

We're ready. Are you?

Here are a few things to look forward to here at Good Seed Farms.

After much thought and deliberation we have decided not to participate in the City of Ames Farmer's Market.  Although we loved the people, the interaction with our customers, the cost of a spot and the insurance needed could not be justified. However, we will still have lots of things for sale all summer long. Stay tuned. We will post specific Saturdays when we will be selling from our own Country Store. You can come directly to the farm to purchase your local meat, veggies and eggs.

Here's what we expect to have.

Ground beef and plenty of it.  For sale now!

Just this week Farmer Chad brought home enough beef to fill three freezers at his place and two freezers here at our place. Chad ground up the entire cow into hamburger so it will be very tasty. He is charging $3.25/pound. If you prefer patties, we're ready for you. You can order a package of four patties for $5.00. These four patties weigh in at 20 ounces total, so you're getting a pound and a quarter for $5.00.

Along with our beef we also have a few halves of pork to sell. We have been selling through the winter and have had very satisfied customers. Call soon to reserve your pig. You can click on the 'Contact Us' tab or our 'Pork Production' tab to get more information. Some of the pigs are already spoken for so don't wait too long if you're interested.

Our chickens loved the mild winter. Their egg production remained consistent and therefore we have been selling eggs all winter. We are selling them for $3.00 dozen.

Cinch!: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches [Book]

In my ongoing effort to eat healthy, maintain my weight and control my changing hormones I found this wonderful book. In it, author Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD states, "eggs are a proven weight-loss food. Several studies have compared bagel breakfasts with egg breakfasts and concluded that for weight control, eggs are the better choice. "  She also says, "the protein in eggs ranks highest, among all foods, in biological value; in other words, more protein gets absorbed and incorporated into the body's protein tissues from eggs than from any other food. The biological value of a whole egg is a perfect one hundred, compared to ninety for cow's milk and about seventy-five for fish and chicken."

I think you need some eggs. I know where you can get them. How about some ground beef? Pork?

Local food is exciting. It seems to be a movement that is spreading and we are so pleased to be a part of it.  Are you warmed up? Are you ready? 

Let's go! Contact us and we'll get this party started.