Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Farm Favorite Friday: Where I’ll Want To Be

Posted on: November 28th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold No Comments

I can not wait for you to meet today’s Farm Favorite Friday author!

She grew up in Bureau County and is currently working at the local vet clinic while working on her college degree. I got to know her through 4-H and let me tell you she makes the BEST CUPCAKES. They look like Angus heifers!

Anyway, her talents are many, but her way with words will stop you right in your tracks.

So without further adieu, take a journey with Danae Ross:

“Life is full of surprises. It often takes us on turns we never expect, throwing us into situations we never imagined would we’d be in. As life gets hectic, often the refuge we seek is rooted where we grew up or in a place like it. I think this is especially so for those who started out in the country. Though life may call us away, there seems to be an irreplaceable, almost ethereal feeling to heading back and appreciating the slow, quiet earthen atmosphere.

Danae Ross

Just for a minute, sit back and take a journey with me.

An early morning walk brings a sneak peek of a wondrous scheme unraveling beneath my feet. Pops of bright green spring up from the ground, not quite ready to reveal their surprises; trees quiver, shaking off the stiffness of a long winter rest; animals stir, preparing for the coming of new young; the sun smiles down on us all, welcoming the new spring.

Before long, though, the peaceful awakening is replaced with the buzz of life. Temps warm and send people and animals all around me flocking to the sunlight, soaking up its freedom and overwhelming the land, afraid to lose any time. Tractors and lawnmowers bring a comforting hum, moseying across the soft earth. Horses plod down trails, kids shinny up tree branches, and gardeners amble in the dirt, delighting in the feel of earth between their fingers. Summer has arrived.

But there is no time to waste because soon a crisp breeze cuts through the air and the earth begins transforming again. Deep maroons, fiery reds, golden yellows, and burnt oranges paint the landscapes. Leaves flutter around me, stealing my attention, and showcase the Lord’s brilliant design. Farmers and hunters take the scene, stripping the land of its bounty and providing for the world’s needs.

As we gather together to thank our creator for His blessings, glittering flakes begin to fill the air, bringing with them the cold bite of winter. Carols and Christmas tunes permeate the homes, and children scramble to pull on their mittens and scarves so they can go whizzing down the hills on bright colored sleds past gleaming icicles that bedazzle the trees for miles and miles.

No, there isn’t anything quite like being out in God’s country.

Danae Ross

Whether it’s going to the barn to visit the livestock, gazing across the land that stretches for miles, or enjoying a meal grown from food you tended to yourself, there is nothing that can replace that feeling, no words to even describe it. No matter the time of year or the season, there is always something new and wondrous, always something to amaze us and bring us peace at the brilliance of our Father’s hand.

I still have a lot of things I want to do in my life, places that I want to go: big cities, national parks and monuments, beaches….who knows, maybe I will even end up living in a bigger area, surrounded by homes and buildings. I don’t know what God has planned for me, but I do know that when the stress and strain of life start weighing me down there is only one place I will return to for true peace: The loll of gently swaying trees spanning all around me, animals sauntering quietly along their way, flowers poking up wherever they choose to bloom…All taking me away from rushing, hurried people, cold, hard structures, and petty, unnecessary drama.

The country, the farm, the timber, the pond… That’s where I’ll want to be.”

If you liked what you read, be sure to follow along with her adventures at ‘A Piece from Elise.’

And if you have a similar story you’d like to share, we’d love to feature you right here next week. Please email your story to

What’s on our Thanksgiving Table

Posted on: November 24th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold No Comments

Here at AgriEnergy Resources, we strongly believe a delicious, bountiful Thanksgiving feast begins far before it reaches the dining room table. It begins when the farmer chooses what seed to plant.

It begins when that seed is planted into biologically alive soil. It begins when the farmer is dedicated to producing the most bountiful crop yet.

And it’s those innovative minds and hands that make it happen. So from our table to yours, we’ve gathered our top seven side dishes for this holiday season.

1) Stuffing. This classic stuffing recipe makes approximately 15 servings and takes 50 minutes to cook.
Classic Stuffing
– 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
– 1 cup chopped celery
– 3/4 cup salted butter
– 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
– 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
– 8 cups stale fresh unseasoned breadcrumbs/bread cubes
– 1 tablespoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper
– 1 teaspoon sage
– 1/2 teaspoon thyme
– 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
– 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1/2 cup white wine
– 1/2 cup or more as needed chicken broth
– 1 large egg, beaten.

Sauté onion and celery in butter over medium heat until tender. Remove from heat and set aside. Then cook sausage and mushrooms until the sausage is no longer pink. Drain the fat. Add the onion and celery and stir together. Then combine breadcrumbs and seasoning with sausage/vegetable mixture. Moisten with wine and broth. Add egg and mix well. If the stuffing seems too dry, mix in more broth. It should be pretty moist or it will dry out in the oven. This stuffing can either be used to stuff the turkey or baked in a covered casserole dish at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes and then an additional 10 minutes uncovered.

2) No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Pie. This recipe is my personal favorite as it tastes like a rich peanut butter cup, but is totally healthy. It’s perfect for those of you on a paleo or gluten-free diet.

For the Crust
-1 1/2 cups almond meal
– 1/4 cup cocoa powder
– 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
– 3 tablespoons coconut oil
– A pinch of salt
For the filling
– 1 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
– 3/4 cup water
– 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
– 1/2 cup maple syrup
– 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the chocolate topping
– 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
– 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup at room temperature
– 3 tablespoons cocoa powder

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Line an 8-inch springform pan or pie dish with parchment paper and set aside. (Note: This pan size is smaller than a traditional 9-inch pie plate. If you use a traditional pie dish, the resulting pie will be thinner than what you see in the photo.) To prepare the crust, combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well to create a uniform dough. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined pan and set aside. To prepare the filling, combine the four ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth and silky. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times to get the batter very smooth and evenly mixed. (Alternatively, you could probably use a hand mixer to combine these ingredients, as long as they get whipped together very well. Mixing by hand doesn’t work as well.) Pour the filling over the top of the crust, and use a spatula to smooth the top. Place the pie in the freezer to set until firm, about 4-6 hours. Once the pie is firm, prepare the chocolate topping. Combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, and cocoa powder in small bowl and whisk well to combine, creating a smooth chocolate sauce. (If your ingredients are cold, this mixture will clump, but it will become smooth again when gently warmed.) Use the parchment paper to easily remove the pie from the pan, then drizzle the chocolate over the top. When the chocolate touches the cold pie, it should solidify pretty quickly — like a “magic shell” topping you’d use on ice cream. Allow the pie to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, to make it easier to slice and serve. Store any remaining pie in the refrigerator for up to one week. (If you freeze the pie, it will be too firm to serve right away.)

3) Pumpkin Pie. This recipe is also one you can eat seconds and not feel guilty about as it calls for all clean ingredients.

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

For the Crust
– 2 cups all blanched almond flour
– 1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt
– 2 tablespoons coconut oil
– 1 egg
For the Filling
– 1 (15 ounce) canned pumpkin puree (or 1 1/2 cup homemade pumpkin puree)
– 3 eggs
– 1/2 cup coconut milk
– 1/2 cup honey
– 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1/8 teaspoon celtic sea salt

For the crust, place flour and salt in a food processor and pulse briefly. Add coconut oil and egg and pulse until mixture forms a ball. Press dough into 9-inch pie dish. For the filling, combine pumpkin puree and eggs in a food processor. Pulse in coconut milk, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour filling into pie crust and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Allow to cool then refrigerate for 2 hours to set up.

4) Cowboy Beans. What’s a Thanksgiving feast without cowboy beans?
Cowboy Beans
– 1 pound hamburger
– 1 onion
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 1 cup ketchup
– 1 large can (or 2 regular size) pork and beans (not drained)
– 1 can northern beans (drained)
– 1 can kidney beans (drained)
– A pinch of salt and pepper

In a skillet brown hamburger and onion (drain off grease). Then add brown sugar and ketchup. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large pot and add beans. Mix all ingredients until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can either microwave for about 18 minutes or bake them in the oven for about an hour. Be sure to cover lightly with saran wrap or something, otherwise you will have beans all over your microwave!!

5) Sweet Potato Casserole. This recipe serves approximately 10 people and takes 10 minutes to prep. Plus, it saves room in the oven as it can be baked in the crockpot. Can you say yum?
Sweet Potato Casserole
For the Potatoes
– 5-10 sweet potatoes, depending on size
– 1/4 cup butter (softened)
– 2 tablespoons white sugar
– A pinch of salt
– 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon orange juice
– 2 large eggs
– 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– 1/2 cup milk.
For the Topping
– 3/4 cup pecans
– 2/3 cup brown sugar
– 1/4 cup white flour
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/4 cup butter

Line your crockpot with a disposable liner or spray generously with nonstick spray. Peel, bake, and mash the sweet potatoes. Add butter, white sugar, pinch of salt, brown sugar, and orange juice in crockpot. Then lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Pour in the lightly beaten eggs, vanilla extract, and milk into the crockpot. Beat until completely smooth. Smooth the mixture with a spatula. For the topping, stir together all of the topping ingredients in a different bowl. Spread mixture evenly on top of the sweet potatoes. Cover the crockpot and cook on high for 2.5 to 4 hours depending on how hot your crockpot cooks.

6) Scalloped Oysters. For all you sea-loving eaters, this recipe takes 10 minutes to prep.
Scalloped Oyster
– 1 quart shucked oysters in their liquor
– 2 cups coarsely crushed saltine crackers
– 1 cup dry bread crumbs
– 3/4 cup melted butter
– 1 cup cream
– A pinch of nutmeg
– A pinch of salt/pepper
– A pinch of celery salt (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pick oysters free of any shells. In a deep buttered casserole, mix together crackers, bread crumbs, and melted butter. Place a thin layer of crumb mixture in the bottom of the casserole. Cover it with half of the oysters. Season cream with nutmeg, salt, pepper and celery salt (if using). Pour half of this mixture over the oysters. On the next layer, use the oysters, 3/4 of the remaining crumb mixture and cover that with seasoned cream. Top with the remaining crumbs. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

7) Green Bean Casserole. This recipe seemed to be an absolute favorite here in the office as 3 folks recommended it.
Green Bean Casserole
– 1/3 stick butter
– 1/2 cup diced onions
– 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
– 2 cups sliced green beans
– 3 cups chicken broth
– 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
– 1 (2.8 ounce) can French-fried onion rings
– Pinch House Seasoning (recipe below)
– 1 cup grated Cheddar
Pinch House Seasoning
– 1 cup salt
– 1/4 cup garlic powder

Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt butter in a large skillet and sauté onions/mushrooms. Boil green beans in chicken broth for 10 minutes and drain. Add the green beans, mushroom soup, onion rings, and House Seasoning, to taste, to the onion mixture. Stir well. Pour into a greased 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, then top the casserole with the Cheddar and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the casserole is hot and cheese is melted.

All these recipes have been AER staff approved for your enjoyment and we hope you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Farm Favorite Friday: From City Lights to Starry Nights

Posted on: November 21st, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold No Comments

I am so excited to introduce you all to today’s Farm Favorite Friday author!

She grew up in Michigan and much like me had dreams of moving to the big city with no intentions of EVER settling down with a nice, young, farmer. Especially in Bureau County.

When I first met her, I’ll be honest, we were arch enemies. I think she’d agree with that too. You see, we wrote for competing newspapers and how could you be friends with the competitor? Well, one day while covering an event together (for our competitor papers), I found out she was dating a farmer. And it was in that moment, in that blustery parking lot, we clicked.

Goldie & Nick

Since then, she’s become my partner in crime, the Christina Yang to my Meredith Grey.

So without further adieu, meet Goldie Currie as she narrates how one farmer flipped her world upside down (in a good way of course):

“It’s been eight months since I got engaged to my favorite farmer.

Some days I can’t believe I’m on the road to marriage, while other days I find myself at the calendar counting the days until our June 20, 2015 wedding.

If someone would have told me 10 years ago that I would grow up to be a farmer’s wife, I definitely would have laughed and assumed they were kidding.

I always imagined my future life tucked away in the big city dreams. I imagined myself being what many call a “city girl” — complete with a big closet full of fashion duds, an apartment overlooking the city and some sort of fancy event to attend to every night.

I’m a long way from that these days, and to be honest, I couldn’t be happier. I can truly say I am where I’m suppose to be.

The Rapp FarmsteadMy fiancé lives on a farm just north of Princeton. The house is the one his father was raised in, therefore it has a lot of sentimental meaning to us.

I’ll be the first to say, I was nervous leaving my nice town house in downtown Princeton for the quiet, country life.

I wondered if it would feel lonely and empty without the chatter of kids biking by or motors from cars strolling through the streets or even those friendly waves to neighbors. But, guess what, I haven’t thought twice about those things since getting engaged. To be honest, I’m enjoying the peace and quiet. Looking out the windows over the summer, seeing the yard surrounded by corn stalks, gave me a sense of comfort and security, as I saw it as a border around my new little world.

Other than being on the farm, my life hasn’t changed that much as a “future farm wife in training.”

This past harvest season was my first one spent on the farm. It was exciting to see my fiance, his brother, and father all revved up and ready to get out to the fields for the day. The fall season is an exciting one for our family. I love riding in the combine, eating dinner in the fields as the guys take a quick rest, and listenening to them talk about how far along they are and which fields they will tackle the next day.

I feel lucky I get to be apart of this family, whose roots run deep in the agriculture world. I look forward to learning more throughout the years and getting to watch first hand how their farm progresses. I can’t wait to see what’s in store, and you never know,I might be the one out there driving one of those big, green combines someday.”

Goldie is currently the Senior Staff Writer at the Bureau County Republican.

If you have a similar story you’d like to share, we’d love to hear about it. Please email your stories to

Farm Favorite Friday: My growing love for cover crops

Posted on: November 7th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold 4 Comments

It all started when Eric Johnston came to work at AgriEnergy Resources as an agronomist nearly a year ago. While visiting customers in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio, Eric was awakened to a whole new world.

A world filled with cover crops, which is proving to be one of his favorite parts of farming. And for good reason.

He farms row crops alongside his family near Tiskilwa, Illinois and is always on the look out on how to best increase yield potential year after year.

Meet Eric:

Rolled Rye

“Yes I had read about them in ag magazines, but had never personally seen cover crops growing in fields or talked with the cutting edge producers who were implementing them into their farm systems. Heck one of our customers in Indiana had alternated Austrian winter peas and radishes in 30 inch rows. This year he was going to use RTK to plant corn in the middle of these rows. Another of our customers from Wisconsin planted some fields with cereal rye. He let the cereal rye get to 3-4 foot tall this spring and then no till planted soybeans into it (pictured to the right).

Then he used his roller crimper to knock down the rye. Notice the weed control – this field had no herbicide on it!! And we just got word that it yielded very well also.

Visiting our customer’s farms, talking with farmers, and of course reading about cover crop use has me hooked. I fell for them hard and there’s no looking back.

Johnston Cereal Rye

We drilled in cereal rye following the combine on some of our fields this fall. We also flew on (by helicopter) some oats and radishes into standing corn. All of the cover cropped fields are looking great so far and I cant help but get giddy when I drive by or walk these fields.

I don’t understand why more farmers aren’t trying to implement cover crops into their farming systems. To have living roots in the soil throughout the year can only do good things. These roots release root exudates in the form of carbon and sugar and are what feed the soil microbes and increase organic matter. They also protect against wind/water erosion, increase water infiltration, decrease compaction, increase aeration and scavenge nutrients as to avoid run-off in our water system. Talk about soil health!

The Johnston Boys

Another big reason I am falling in love with cover crops is I think they will decrease our herbicide usage on our farms and help us with weed control. Mother nature wants to cover every acre of bare dirt with something, so why not have it be a beneficial cover crop instead of a weed!! I feel that cover crops and biologicals are going to be the future of farming, and I hope to pass my knowledge onto my son, Cullen (pictured with his grandpa).

On our own family farm, we’re already discussing ways we can put cover crops and biological products from AgriEnergy Resources on more of our acres next year. We know it takes a little more work and planning, but the benefits far outweigh the work. As I drive by one of our green cover cropped fields, and then look at the neighbors bare field right next to it, my love for cover crops keeps growing. We need to be thinking about the health of our soil for not only now but for future generations as well.”

What about you? Do you use cover crops? We’d love to hear about it. And maybe even share your story in next week’s edition of Farm Favorite Friday.

Until next time, happy trails!

Who’s bringing the Daily Dirt anyway?

Posted on: October 9th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold 1 Comment

If you’re anything like me, you want to know who is on the other side of the screen. Especially, when it comes to social media.

Well today, is your chance! Wonder no more!

Aside from growing up on a diversified livestock farm in small-town Illinois, I have found farming is in my blood. I just can’t get away from it.

Daily Dirt editor, Katlyn Rumbold.

Daily Dirt editor, Katlyn Rumbold.

However growing up, I took it all for granted. I had dreams of becoming a musical therapist, and I just knew I was going to get out of my small town and make something of myself. Because in my mind, one couldn’t make anything of themselves in small-town USA.

Well as I ventured outside of rural USA, I realized just how disconnected the average person is from the agricultural world. The things I took for granted like showing cattle, driving a tractor, trail riding, picking green beans in the summer, and making apple sauce in the fall, were foreign to so many. I was being drawn back into the agricultural world.

Fast forward a few years and here I am back in small-town Illinois, living on the home farm, dating a farmer (which I also said I’d never do — funny how that works), and loving every minute of it.

When not blogging or working on the family farm, I thrive on CrossFit, shopping for new boots (hey a girl can never have too many cowgirl boots), ABC’s The Bachelor (I’m a shameless addict), and of course cattle shows. There’s just something about being surrounded by so many beautiful cattle 😉

And if you’re lucky, you may get to virtually meet some of the other masterminds I get to work with on a daily basis. Because of it wasn’t for them Daily Dirt wouldn’t be near as juicy.

Until next time, happy trails!