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Innate or Learned?
Monday 28th of February 2011 06:41 AM

 By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

 Is motherly love innate or learned?

For some, it seems as natural as breathing. This calf was born yesterday afternoon. The mom immediately began cleaning it off and welcoming it to the world.

For others, a little encouragement is needed. Randy carried a baby that had been born earlier in the day to the barn. He noticed that the mom wasn't all that interested in her baby. The calf was even nursing off a different mom.

Two other heifers were more concerned about Randy carting off the baby calf than the biological mother. They raced up to the corral to make sure the baby didn't come to harm.

But then we rounded up the real mom and left the duo in the barn together overnight. That first-time mom needed a little encouragement to get the hang of this motherhood thing. I suppose there are some human parallels for that, too. You just have to hope that innate kicks in.

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Chockful of Chocolate
Friday 25th of February 2011 08:06 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

When I was looking for a recipe to make chocolate cupcakes for PEO, I rediscovered a recipe for Icewater Chocolate Cake. It was a state fair blue ribbon winner in the 1980s.

If you don't have cake flour, you can make a substitute:

1. Place two tablespoons of cornstarch in a 1-cup measure.

2. Fill the rest of the cup with all-purpose flour.

3. Use in place of the cake flour in any recipe. One cup of substitute is equal to one cup of cake flour.


Icewater Chocolate Cake
1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups ice water
3 cups cake flour, sifted
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla; cream until fluffy. Add eggs and beat thoroughly. Sift together cake flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add alternately with ice water.

Put batter in three greased and wax-paper-lined 8-inch cake pans OR fill about 24 cupcake liners. For layers, bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. For cupcakes, bake 18-22 minutes or until the cake tests done.

If making a layer cake, let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning out to cool completely. Frost as desired.

I wanted to try a chocolate ganache because that's what I thought the Cupcake shop used. I found a recipe for ganache and it even had photos.

My plan was to pipe it like I'd done the cream cheese frosting on the red velvet cupcakes. But I guess I let it set up too long. It was pretty firm by the time I pulled it from the refrigerator. When I went back and re-read the recipe and comments, it said not to let it get too firm or it would be like "clay." I concur.

So, to "fix" it, I added butter, powdered sugar and some additional milk to make the frosting. Even though it wasn't exactly the plan, it tasted and looked good.

So maybe you'll have more success with the original recipe (click on the word "ganache" above) or here's the version I ended up with:

Chocolate Ganache Frosting
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (good quality)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups powdered sugar
2 - 3 tbsp. milk (if needed for consistency)

Place chocolate in a large bowl. Heat heavy cream on medium high until it comes to a boil (I did this in the microwave.) Remove from heat and immediately pour cream over chocolate; stir until completely mixed and glossy. Allow ganache to cool and set up. Add melted butter, powdered sugar and milk until it's a consistency conducive to piping.

I decorated each frosted cupcake with mini chocolate chips.

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O Pioneer!
Thursday 24th of February 2011 07:44 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

The weatherman said a dirty word.


I prefer to delete that word from my vocabulary. And while we're at it, let's skip "freezing rain," too. And unless we're talking about tea, I could do without "ice."

Time will tell which of these will fall from the skies during this round of winter weather. The frozen precipitation is hard on new baby calves. It can be hard on farm wives, too ... especially if it means no electricity.

I would not have made a good pioneer woman. I like my modern conveniences way too much.

I certainly don't want a repeat of the December 2007 ice storm. We were without electric power for 12 days. Electric lines and poles toppled under the weight of the ice.

Crews have been working in the area replacing power poles and electric lines. With some sporadic outages as they switch equipment, I've been reminded about how dependent we are on electricity. Like most rural folks, we also don't have water when the electricity is out.

As long as I get a little advance warning, I can handle it. It's just those unexpected four-hour stretches when I have to channel my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I must admit: I like reading about The Little House on the Prairie more than I like experiencing it.

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Everyday Miracles
Wednesday 23rd of February 2011 07:36 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

Each day is a different one. Each day brings a miracle of its own. It's just a matter of paying attention to the miracle.

Paulo Coelho

At this time of year, miracles are all around us here on the County Line. When circumstances are difficult, maybe it's a little tougher to see the miracles. And, admittedly, Randy worked hard for those miracles during two winter storms, battling snow and sub-zero temperatures to help mama cows care for their new babies.

We lost a few babies during those frigidly cold and snowy days, just like many ranchers across the Midwest.

The weatherman this morning says the next few days will include sun, rain, sleet and snow. I don't think hail is on the agenda, but who knows in Kansas?

There's nothing like adversity to make you appreciate the times of "sunshine," both literally and figuratively. All but six of the heifers have calved. We are more than halfway through the calving season for the older cows. We have 61 new baby calves on the ground.

It's a pleasure to watch the baby calves play in the pasture and enjoy the sun ...

Seeing the miracle of new life never gets old.

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Response 1
Wednesday 23rd of February 2011 12:42:05 PM
Submitted by: Rex
God bless you.

By George!
Tuesday 22nd of February 2011 08:00 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

When George Washington was a teenager, he discovered a booklet of 110 maxims describing how a well-mannered person should behave. The 14-year-old George Washington spent hours filling the pages of a notebook with copies of these rules. He entitled his writings, the Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation.

George's first maxim was:

Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.

By George! Washington's notion of civility may seem quaint and old-fashioned. But should manners and etiquette go completely out of style? I don't think so.

Bad behavior is all around us. We are bombarded with tactless, nasty and cruel remarks on the internet, daytime talk shows, dating games, courtroom shows and reality programming. We've become immune to it. It's become the norm.

If we care about the world we're making for our children and our children's children, we need to be less tolerant of mean-spirited, discourteous and impolite remarks.

It's up to us to do a better job of teaching and modeling civility.

We celebrated President's Day yesterday. But today - February 22 - is truly George Washington's birthday. My Grandma Leonard shared this birthday with the Father of our Country. If she were still living, she would have been 100 years old today.

I grew up with parents and grandparents who taught me right from wrong and did their best to guide me on a path to become a good person and good citizen.

So, on this birthday shared by Washington and my Grandma, may I remember those lessons ... and model them, too.

As Washington said in his 110th maxim:

Labour to keep alive in your Breast that little Spark of Celestial fire Called Conscience.
Not that everything on the internet is bad. As I was writing this yesterday, a friend posted this video on Facebook. It's a timely reminder.


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