Dust In My Coffee

Dust In My Coffee

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Something to be Egg-cited About

It is an egg laying, egg hatching, egg hunting time of year.  It is the time of year when nature reminds us that new life awaits with the arrival of spring.  Canadian geese have been flying north since February.  March came in like a lamb bringing warmer days that gave us a greening up in time for St. Patrick's Day.  This is a very egg-citing time!

Pictured here a two pair of geese on our fresh water pond.  Last summer one
pair of geese stayed and raised 4 goslings.  Around eleven geese were here for
a week.  Now we are left with one pair of geese that we believe are the same
two from last year and will lay eggs here to raise another family of goslings.

We adopted a stray cat, Ezza, as winter was just beginning.  We thought she was going to have kittens and prepared a place for her to stay in the house garage over winter.  Ezza did eventually have five little kittens on March 21st.  She has been a good momma cat so far with nice straw bedding to keep her little ones warm in.

Ezza and her five kittens! We have two of the
kittens spoken for so far.  If you are interested
in one of them please let me know!  For now I
am enjoying the little meow sounds they make.

There is something very special about new life.  We were very excited to show our granddaughter, Ella, the kittens.  We have also told her about the geese and the possibility of seeing a little family of geese in the near future!  As we share our excitement over the new life unfolding on our farm we also share the excitement of Easter in a variety of ways including an Easter Egg Hunt.

Our local nursing home has an Easter Egg Hunt every year.  This
year it was cold and wet outside so the eggs were hid inside.  Ella
had fun looking for the eggs and then showing some of the residents
what she found.  It was a great way to mix the old with the young!

Eggs are an important part of many Easter celebrations.  Coloring boiled eggs, filling plastic eggs with candy or money and hiding them for kids to find is something our family has done over the years.  My family also has a tradition of having an egg toss on Easter Sunday.  We gather for food and fellowship at my mom and dad's in Grand Island.  After enjoying a wonderful meal we divide up into teams, get an egg and head outside.   We have shared many laughs when a family member received a yolking!

The great egg toss!

What do you do with all of those left-over boiled eggs you colored?  One great way to use eggs is to make a potato salad.   My recipe has been a favorite for several of my family members.  I put in one egg per medium potato and adjust the dressing as needed.   Potato Salad goes great with burgers and steak!  Here is my recipe if you find yourself with more boiled eggs than you can eat.

Joan's Potato Salad

6 medium red potatoes-boiled, peeled and diced
Add caption
6 eggs-boiled and diced
¼ cup crumbled bacon

1 cup Miracle Whip
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup mustard
¼ cup milk
1 tbsp onion flakes
Dash of salt and pepper

Mix the potatoes, eggs and bacon together.  Mix the dressing ingredients in separate bowl.  Pour the dressing mix into the potato mix.  Stir until all ingredients are coated.  Refrigerate overnight or at least several hours before serving as the potatoes soak up some of the dressing.

Eggs and spring weather wouldn't be complete without the hope Easter brings.  Our faith is what gets us excited!  We have hope in a life that is eternal and that hope gets us through the challenges this life brings.  Wherever you are, whatever your situation, we send you our Easter prayers for hope, joy and peace in your life! 


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Who Put the Hormones in my Corned Beef and Cabbage

     A few years ago I put together a demonstration showing the levels of estrogen in different foods including cabbage, peas, potatoes and beef.  The demonstration was meant to be a conversation starter about hormones in our food.  What I didn't realize was the shock it would be for people to realize that estrogen is found in all living things that we eat.   One of my farming friends asked me "Who put the hormones in cabbage?".

This photo was taken by Kassi Williams at an event I first used the
M&M/Estrogen demonstration.  You can read her blog post about it here.

     My response "God did.".  Plants and animals need estrogen to grow.  When we eat things like cabbage, peas, potatoes, eggs, beef, pork and poultry we will eat the estrogen that is naturally found in those products.  A website that explains different levels of estrogen naturally produced in foods and in humans shows an incredible amount of estrogen produced by our own bodies!

     Many foods cannot be labeled "hormone free" because we cannot remove the microscopic amount of hormones they naturally contain.  Using M&M's to represent  nanogram ( one billionth of a gram) levels in various foods became a very effective way for me to talk about hormones.

My husband is using his left hand to hold the ear of the steer
while inserting a needle and little hormone pellets under
the skin with his right hand on the implant gun.

     We use a hormone implant on all of the cattle in our feedlot.  We work with our veterinarians and the Beef Quality Assurance standards to make sure we administer our implants responsibly.  The implant looks like a small pellet that will lay under the skin in the ear.  The hormones are available to the steer over a period of several months to send signals that help him use less feed to produce more pounds of meat.  The animal has a growing period for his frame and a finishing period for the muscle to increase.  The hormone implant works in both phases to allow the animal to thrive as well as he can.

I'm not sure how lucky these two steers are to each have a "7" for a
marking on their foreheads.  I do know that we do not rely on chance
or luck when we use research to improve our care of cattle.

      The steer receiving that implant is allowing us to produce a more sustainable meat protein.  In 1977 it took five steers to produce the same amount of meat as four steers in 2007.  According to Dr. Jude Capper "Growth enhancing technologies (i.e. growth hormones) reduce the environmental impact of beef by 10.7%!"  That's 4.2 tons of feed, one acre of land, and 22,722 gallons of water per animal that are saved.

Farmers and Ranchers pool their money together through the
Beef Checkoff Program for research like this on sustainability
so we can continue to improve our use of resources. 

     My husband and I care deeply about providing a nutritious product you can feel safe about eating.  We know through research and studies that the meat from an implanted steer is as nutritious as eating meat from a non-implanted steer.  Don’t base your food purchasing decisions on fear—look for the facts.  CommonGround is one organization bridging the communication gap between farmers and consumers

As a volunteer for CommonGround I have had opportunities
to spend time in grocery stores to answer questions people
have about the way we grow crops and care for cattle.

     As St. Patrick's Day approaches don't fear the estrogen in your corned beef and cabbage.  In our house we will be celebrating that little bit of green in us with a beef and cabbage Runza casseroleAs you enjoy some Irish traditions or some of your own, don't forget to share what you've learned about hormones, beef and cabbage.
A serving of Runza casserole!