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Parakeets on steroids? Hawaii, Home and Heritage

This past January Randy and I flew to Hawaii to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary! We traveled with Agri-Talk host Mike Adams and his sweet wife Patty and 45 other farmers from all over the Midwest. Our fearless guide was Dave Lien, manager at Holiday Vacations and he made sure our trip was a once-in-a lifetime experience!

Our bus driver must have had a momentary memory loss of just who he was transporting from the airport to the seaside resort hidden behind the lush gardens and palms on the island of Kauai. Or maybe he just got caught up in his stories about Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean filmed on the island. (Yep, Captain Jack LIED about that too—the movie was NOT filmed in the Caribbean. At least part of it was filmed in the Pacific and on the island of Kauai.) Anyway, somewhere along a stretch of highway that led from the canyons of Kauai to the seashore, our driver explained why we were seeing Bantam hens, chicks and roosters strutting here and there along the road. (They even strutted by our table while we dined at a lovely plantation restaurant AND right through the pool and patio area of the plush resort where we were staying. A 4:00 a.m. wake-up CROW below the balcony from our room made us feel right at home! (The fowl running free are the result of the survivors from a devastating hurricane that swept through the island in the 1990’s.) The folks watching me photograph Banty roosters would have chuckled if they had known I have a flock of Bantams, Barred Rock and Buff  Orpingtons back in Missouri.

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Back to my story-

Our guide, a friendly entertaining native of Hawaii made an offhand remark that caused every seed and implement cap bearing head to turn from watching for whales in the sparkling sea waters outside our tour bus windows to glare at the innocent bus driver.

“What did he just say?” every farmer leaned toward his spouse cuddled close in the narrow seats.

(Of course, every tractor-driving farmer has experienced some degree of hearing loss.)

“He said, ‘Those GMO seeds that seed companies develop in Hawaii are pumped full of steroids and now we have HUGE parakeets in Hawaii.’”

We never saw ANY parakeets in Hawaii.

There were, however, two smart-aleck parrots at our Maui resort…and a beautiful whale I named “Dolly”.

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I was proud of our farmers. They used the common sense that comes from years of patiently waiting to plant, cultivate, and harvest productive crops despite adverse conditions. These farmers allowed one spokesman for the group to privately correct the misguided driver and give him the true facts about GMO seed.

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GMO SEED IS NOT A NEW INNOVATION! Native Americans were genetically modifying seeds 2000 years ago when they selected the best seed from their crops of maize and held it back as seed for the next year’s crop.

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Fortunately, today’s scientist have developed seeds that produce stronger plants, better able to withstand adverse conditions. The American farmer was able to feed America AND people all over the world despite the severe drought conditions last year across the corn belt because of genetically modified seed (GMO) and better farming practices that include no-till or minimum tillage and soil conservation and improvement and, of course, the blessings of our Creator and Sustainer, our Father in Heaven.

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Researchers and doctors have searched and searched for any adverse effects in humans as a result of GMO seed. None have been found. After 2000 years of using GMO seed there are no health issues or concerns that can be linked factually to this scientific advancement. As always, we encourage you to examine what some doctors and several media outlets try to persuade you of.

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If you have been living in fear of GMO’s,  today is your day to break free of that fear and enjoy these yummy recipes! 

Ryan Edward’s mother makes an amazing Corn Dip that you will love to take on picnics and family reunions.

  • 1 (12 oz.) can Mexican corn
  • 1 (12 oz. ) can Shoe peg corn
  • ½ C mayonnaise
  • ½ C sour cream
  • 2 C shredded cheese
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dash of garlic

Mix together and enjoy with crackers, chips or veggies.

(I used fresh corn and veggies because that is what I had on hand and it tasted great.)

Weightwatchers Greek-Style Cheeseburger

  • 1 lb uncooked lean ground beef
  • ½ tsp crushed dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup minced uncooked onion
  • 5 tsp crumbled feta cheese

I mixed this together, made it into patties and grilled them for our supper. Serve on light hamburger buns topped with fresh baby spinach leaves.

Yum!!

 

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Gluten Free Pizza, Flowers and Clydesdales

What do you like to fix for dinner or eat for dinner on Friday nights?  Often times in our house it’s PIZZA NIGHT on Friday’s! However, my hubby is gluten sensitive so we have to be a little more careful with the ingredients. Since I mentioned it though, if you have any GF tips please share in the comment section! We must stick together!

I’ll share the recipe at the end of today’s post. In the meantime though, I would love to share with you what Mom and Dad did for Ryan for his birthday (which is in a week!).  Ryan E. loves to garden and watch plants come to life!  When we lived in Louisville he redid the landscaping around our apartments and created a beautiful curb side view. In Branson he bought me rose bushes for our one year anniversary and had to dig up and haul 5 five-gallon buckets full of rocks away just to be able to plant the bushes! It was truly a labor a love!

Knowing all of this, Mom and Dad drove us down to Vintage Hill Farm near Franklin, Mo. It is BEAUTIFUL!  They have more flowers than you can imagine and so many unique breeds!

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Vintage Hill

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April 2013 060The parrots actually talked to us! They said “Hi” and mimicked our laughter! The flowers were gorgeous and the weather was perfect. We couldn’t have asked for a better day!

Mom and Dad had another surprise for us! They continued driving us south after leaving the nursery and turned left down a beautiful road which curved around well cared for farms, homes and land. I was slowly beginning to catch on to the destination based upon a recent description when these amazing creatures appeared…

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The Budweiser Clydesdales! We had arrived at Warm Springs Ranch! They were booked that day for tours, however, we could still see many Clydesdales from the road and some young colts as well!

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Yesterday we found out through Facebook that a new colt had been born Sunday night! It might have happened while we were there!

(Photo courtesy of Warm Springs Ranch)

Warm Springs Ranch

We are hoping to book a tour someday and see these magnificent animals up close and personal!

In the meantime, it will soon be Friday night again and possibly some more GF Pizza will be on the menu! Here’s what I like to use to make it…

GF Pizza

  • Bisquick GF Baking Mix (Wal-Mart and most grocers carry this handy-dandy mix)
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder with Parsley (No MSG)
  • 1 small can Tomato Sauce (no additives, including flour)
  • 1 lb Britt Farms Natural Ground Beef (no added hormones, no antibiotics)
  • 1 C Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 C Mozzarella Cheese
  • Pepperoni (not pictured above)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 T Italian Seasoning (I like to use seasonings from the Amish/Mennonite/Dutch stores, there is really nice one over toward Brookfield, MO!)

1. Follow the directions for the Pizza Crust on the side of the Bisquick Box.

2. Brown hamburger while dough is baking.

3. Once dough has baked, spread sauce evenly and sprinkle with brown sugar.

4. Sprinkle cheddar cheese evenly on top of sauce.

5. Add browned hamburger.

6. Top with pepperoni slices (as many as you prefer).

7. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

8. Sprinkle with garlic powder.

9. Bake for the extra 15 minutes.

10. Slice and devour! (Within moderation)

* We enjoy our pizza dipped in applesauce! My nephew enjoys his dipped in ranch!

GF Pizza

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Photos, Recipes

 

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Difference between a Heifer and a Cow…and other fun facts!

Where has time gone!?! Rest assured we are still here and we have been working hard! Just not on the computer….  (oops!)

We have moved little sister (me) and her husband in as they are now farming with Britt Farms! Of course that meant lots of unpacking, painting, cleaning and training her husband on the daily operations of the farm. He is doing great and loving every minute of it! We were a little nervous that the harsh conditions of winter while feeding cattle would scare him off, but he has adapted well and is really getting a feel for the well being of the livestock. This winter we calved 60 new heifers!  Randy took the 11 PM shift, Ryan B had the dreaded 2 AM and Ryan E woke up before the rooster at 5 AM. If a heifer was having any trouble calving then they would call for backup so often times that meant little to no sleep and then a full days work as soon as the sun came up! Needless to say we ALL celebrated when that last heifer calved!  Praise God though we were blessed with a 95% birthing success with these new mommas! (Reminder: A heifer has not calved before. A cow has at least calved once.)

Here’s a picture of a new, proud momma with her baby!

Heifer with calf

Even with spring still at bay here in North Central MO, we are thankful for all of the new signs of life! Calving can be a hard, stressful, exhausting season. However, the rewards of seeing that new life take it’s first breath, discover it’s mother and watch a new mom work and work at cleaning off her baby, warming it up with each lick and protecting it from the wind by gently nudging it to the best position and standing between it and the bitter gusts is simply amazing. Those are precious moments to witness in creation.

Here’s another favorite pic from our farm this week….you can almost hear the calf thinking, “Geesh, Mom! My friends are watching!”…

Cow licking calf

As we mentioned earlier, the youngest of the tribe with her husband moved back from Louisville, KY in December. Here’s her (my) handsome husband! He has learned how to help care for the cattle daily by feeding hay, filling mineral tubs, checking (and sometimes fixing) the watering systems and fences, tagging new calves, banding steer calves and evaluating the overall condition of the animals.

Ryan uses the spikes to pick up the bales in one location, drive them out to the pasture and unroll them for the cattle. The spikes are motorized and Ryan can control them from inside the truck.

Feeding Hay with Truck

He cuts off the plastic wrap which had kept the bale rolled tight since last summer and prepares the bale to be unrolled! Sometimes he has to gently push the cattle away as he does! They literally breath down his neck trying to get to the yummy hay!

So handsome….

Ryan feeding hay

After the hay is fed he periodically checks the mineral feeders and refills them as needed. Mineral provides extra nutrients and vitamins to the cattle to keep them healthy in the pasture. As a reminder, we do not use hormones or steroids on our cattle. We are happy to provide healthy, corn/grass-fed, natural beef.

Here’s Ryan filling a mineral tub.

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These specific tubs were created and designed by Ryan Britt (my brother). The cattle can lift the rubber flap with their noses (as pictured below) and lick out the mineral. Since we do rotational-grazing, we needed to be able to move the tubs easily from one paddock to another. Ryan B included a place to hook on a chain so the tub could easily be drug across the pasture by a four-wheeler or ranger. With the bottom piece being a strong rubber tire, we don’t have to worry about the mineral tub falling apart or busting open as it is pulled over any rough terrain.

#113 says, “YUM!”….or she’s just making a goofy face for the camera….

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Once again, we hope you found this post to be informational and helpful in understanding the daily activities of modern farming!  Keep an eye out for a new, beefy recipe this weekend! We have had some fun in the kitchen this winter!

Thanks for supporting agriculture and Happy Ag Day!

Blessings, from Britt Farms

Barn

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Beef Facts, Life on the Farm, Photos

 

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Pinterest Favorites and a Snowed In New Year! It’s time to rest!

Happy New Year’s Eve! It’s a beautiful day here at the farm and we have decided that being snowed-in is not all bad! Once the men are finished feeding cattle and servicing trucks we are ready to settle in with some hot chocolate and rest.  Our Christmas parties were fun and time with family is priceless, but now we are ready to enjoy the peaceful snow and relax. For this last blog post of 2012 we want to share with you our favorite holiday Pinterest pins and also a glimpse into an average snow day on the farm!

You can pin this entire post as a resource for next year!

“Brown paper packages tied up with string”…and we attached a favorite photo of the gift recipient!

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On Pinterest they refer to this as “Christmas Crack”…but we prefer to call it “Christmas Crunch”…it is ooey-gooey and addictive! Click HERE for the recipe! *We added Christmas M&M’s for color and a little almond flavoring.

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The last Pinterest Pin we tried this year was the Peppermint Hot Chocolate Stirrer idea…did anyone else make these?  They were a lot of fun to make and they really add a lot to your hot chocolate! *You can find stirring sticks in the plastic-ware section of Walmart.  For the instructions click HERE.

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We are thankful for the time with family and for the opportunity to celebrate the birth of our Savior! We are excitedly awaiting the New Year and all that will come with it. We are trusting that whatever joys and whatever sorrows may come we believe in the One who will carry us through and never leave us or forsake us.

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On a snow day like today, our men feed extra hay to the cattle and double check their watering tanks so that they do not go without food or water for a day. The men work extra hard in the windy cold to keep the cattle healthy and ensure their well-being. Often times the cold front will cause an expectant cow to go into labor so the men keep a watchful eye out for newborn calves or cows having any trouble delivering their calves.

Here are some more snowy shots from today!

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In the next picture, the cattle are lined up eating their hay. The men use a flat bed truck with “spikey arms” to load up each round bale of hay and then they release it to unroll as they drive along through the pasture. The cattle are excited to see the truck and bales of hay!

December 2012 142The calves are the only real concern in cold weather. Healthy, well-fed cattle like ours can withstand snow and ice with temperatures all the way down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit. Their hides are very thick and they develop a winter coat that serves as an insulator for their body heat. They stay together as a herd and usually duck down out of the wind if needed. Cattle are well suited for this weather!

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Have Happy New Year and please stay safe on the roads! We look forward to sharing more with you in 2013!

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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Beef Facts, Life on the Farm, Photos, Recipes

 

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So Thankful, So Grateful!

We met the above pictured turkeys at a friend’s farm recently they said they would be oh so grateful if you would eat more beef!

Although…we understand that at this time of year, it’s hard to beat the classic Thanksgiving turkey. Here’s a picture of the feature dish from our last Thanksgiving dinner. We used the Oven Bag as instructed by a dear friend and we were very pleased with the results!

Even in the hardest of times, we have learned the importance of looking for the hidden nuggets and to be grateful for our daily blessings. Some days and some years are easier than others, but Psalm 100 always encourages our family and helps to guide our hearts toward gratitude…

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

Serve the Lord with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Many blessings to you and yours and a very Happy Thanksgiving!

With love, The Britt Family

 

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Photos, Recipes

 

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Red, White and Who?

As I type this, Ryan and I are eagerly awaiting the results of the 2012 Presidential Election. The election that could impact our future children. The election that has been arguably the closest race in history. The election that has divided Facebook friends and Twitter followers and has consumed journalism and lunch dates.  The election that is unfolding before our very eyes and ears.

What will happen? I can’t say what the outcome will be nor will I tell you who our family has voted for, but I can tell you this… Lord willing I will wake up tomorrow and enjoy the freedoms of this country that I daily take for granted. I’m a woman and I voted. I’m a Christian and I get to post about my faith on a public blog. I’m Caucasian and sold some furniture today to an Asian woman who hugged me and I shared a blog post with an African American friend on Facebook who has dined at my table.  We are blessed indeed. Blood was shed for these freedoms in more ways than one or even two.

(Beautiful rose Ryan brought home to me!)

Tonight we celebrate these freedoms even if we don’t celebrate the outcome of the election.

I served my favorite meal in celebration. As I was preparing it I was thinking, “Red sauce, white potatoes, and blue…?”  I didn’t have any jello…. so green beans would have to do!

 

Red Sauce over Steak: (Use this version if you have a busy day planned!)

  • Two round steaks in Crock Pot.
  • Pour Hunt’s All-Natural (gluten free) tomato sauce over top.
  • Season with Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and onions
  • Cook on Low for 4-5 hours.

Serve with mashed potatoes (I leave peelings on for vitamins) and green beans!

For dessert, we are enjoying Chocolate Cake (not gluten free, just a box)  w/ RW&B Sprinkles and Buttercream Icing!

 

Natalie, our Pastor’s wife here in Louisville, makes the most amazing Buttercream Icing! I tried to replicate it tonight the best I could.

She uses the Wilton Recipe, and has these great tips!

  • Unless you need white icing, don’t bother with buying clear vanilla.
  • If you want the icing to be less perishable, use water instead of milk.
  • That recipe makes about the same as a tub and a half of store-bought icing.. I usually just double the recipe to make sure I have enough to cover the cake and decorate it.
  • If you’re going to color the icing, you’ll want to keep some extra powdered sugar on hand… you wouldn’t think so, but the smallest amount of extra gel color can really thin the icing out.
  • If you have a stand mixer, like a Kitchen-aid, USE IT! If all you have is a hand mixer, use it until the icing is getting a little thick, then finish by hand.

I’m going to finish with this beautiful quote by my all time favorite President…

 

Happy Election Day, friends! Trusting our nation to the hands of God and rejoicing over roses.  Love, Kara

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in Photos, Recipes

 

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The Sun, the Rain and the Appleseed!

“How did God produce apples like this without rain???”

The answer, of course, is that ONLY GOD could produce apples without rain!!!

Our grandchildren helped us pick the apples over Labor Day weekend. At first 21 month-old Luke thought the tree was full of pretty balls to throw in the basket, but Grace and Lydea soon set him straight!

…at least while they were watching!

The girls stayed focused…

And we’ve enjoyed applesauce, apple crisp, apple pie and apples with caramel dip!

In fact, we like to sing the Appleseed Song as our prayer before meals:

“Oh, the Lord’s been good to me

And so I thank the Lord,

For giving me the things I need;

The sun, and the rain and the appleseed!

The Lord is good to me!! Amen!!!!

Easy Apple Crisp

  • 5-6 C peeled, sliced cooking apples
  • 1/3 C butter
  • ½ C flour
  • ½ C rolled oats
  • ¾ C packed brown sugar
  • ½ – 1 tsp. cinnamon

Spread apples in 9 X 9” baking pan. Cut butter into remaining ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apples. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 -35 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden. Serve warm. Makes 6-8 servings. (Macon Christian Church Cookbook)

My cousin, Bill Davis, makes a yummy apple pie.

He shared his recipe:

  • Double-crust pie crust (ready-made or your favorite recipe)
  • Peel and slice 5 or 6 apples

Mix together:

  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 Tbl. Flour
  • 1 Tsp. cinnamon

Layer apples and sugar mixture over pie crust. Add top crust. Dot with butter and sprinkle sugar on top or use an egg-wash. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes and then lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake 30 – 45 minutes longer.

Enjoy!!

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2012 in Life on the Farm, Photos, Recipes

 

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