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Amber Waves of Grain
Tuesday 31st of May 2011 08:23 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

In one way, it was an America the Beautiful kind of day yesterday. It included the very definition of the "amber waves of grain" Katharine Lee Bates wrote about in her hymn, "America the Beautiful."

In those 50- to 60-mph wind gusts, you could practically get seasick looking out across the rippling waves of wheat. Those "waves" were definitely tidal wave strength as they danced across the fields. I need a video camera instead of a still camera to do it justice.

But the blowing dirt was not so beautiful across Central America yesterday. Farmers were hoping for calmer "seas" to help the newly planted spring crops grow. Those newly established fields of corn, soybeans and milo were fighting the battle to hold on for dear life in the face of gale force winds.

Randy got our milo and silage planted last week. We were thankful to get about 0.30 inches of moisture last week, some of which was coming down as I took this photo last Wednesday.

We got another 0.30 inches overnight last night when a quick-moving thunderstorm moved through Central Kansas. Thankfully, we didn't get the hail to go along with it, though I know others weren't as fortunate.

Let's hope for calmer conditions today.

Need more info about milo planting? Check out this earlier post.

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The Victory Cookbook
Monday 30th of May 2011 08:39 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

Memorial Day should be about more than firing up the grill or lounging around the lake. For our family, it always means a trip to cemeteries to place flowers on loved ones' graves. On the Moore side we make the trek from Greenlawn Cemetery in Pratt, to the Iuka Cemetery to Pleasant Plains and then to Macksville.

Our excursion for Randy's family includes stops at the Stafford Cemetery and the Peace Creek Cemetery just north of where we live.

Memorial Day is also a time to remember those who fought in our country's wars and served during peace time to keep our country free and safe.

When we were cleaning out my grandparents' house, I found an old cookbook. It was dated 1942 and was compiled by the Ladies of the W.S.C.S. of the Byers Methodist Church. (Women's Society of Christian Service was the precursor to today's United Methodist Women.) As I looked through the cookbook, I found recipes from both my grandmothers, as well as childhood neighbors.

The cookbook was produced during World War II. Children collected scrap metal. Families did without sugar and other staples. Women in some parts of the country had to go to work in factories and other jobs outside the home to fill the void left by men who were serving overseas.

In Victory Hints, found at the front of the cookbook, it says, in part:
Victory is more than just another word. It is a challenge to the ingenuity of womanhood. Victory means taking care of and making the most of what we have. It means saving time and strength as well as material things.
(I love the divider pages in the cookbook.)

Those are valuable ideas, even today.

A friend shared another cookbook published in 1943, also during World War II. In the preface of
The Connecticut Cookbook, the writer included a section called Cooking in War Time:
Today, when sacrifice is demanded of us, we have learned the true value of each and every comfort. ... Meat and bread, vegetables and fruits, coffee and milk have become symbols. They are no longer merely the sustenance of physical being, but the strength of the will to win. It has been said many times and cannot be said too often, that this is a war to maintain spiritual ideals. It is a war of progress against savagery, of the power of right over the rule of evil.
During World War II, Americans were called upon to sacrifice.
Food used to be an accepted necessity instead of a luxury. We gave little or no thought to our good fortune in having enough to eat, just as we thought not at all of giving thanks for warm blankets on cold nights or enough fuel to keep from freezing.
Makes you think, doesn't it? Today, military personnel and their families are making a sacrifice, but the rest of us go on our merry way. We give little or no thought to our good fortune in having enough to eat, a roof over our heads and gasoline in our cars (albeit more expensive than we'd like!)

Today, take time to say a prayer for our active duty military men and women and a big thank you to the veterans who served us so well.

Happy Memorial Day to you and yours!


Want to make a patriotic treat to celebrate Memorial Day? Try these bar cookie recipes.


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A Picnic Potluck Salad
Friday 27th of May 2011 08:29 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

Memorial Day weekend just isn't the same as it was back when I was a kid. We still do the annual cemetery tour with my parents, putting flowers on loved ones' graves. We also try to meet Randy's sister and family to decorate graves for their family.

But back when I was grade school age, we sometimes had a picnic in Lemon Park in Pratt with Grandma and Grandpa Leonard and often with my Great Aunt Helen and Great Uncle Mike Stauth before we'd make the cemetery rounds.

As a kid, I didn't think about the preparation that went into toting a meal to the picnic shelter. I just looked forward to playing on the playground equipment and the novelty of eating a meal outdoors.

These days, we usually eat at a restaurant. And, as the chief cook around here, that's fine with me.

But if your holiday gatherings include a picnic meal, here's a recipe to try. My sister Lisa brought it to our Easter dinner, and I've made it once since then. Since it doesn't have a mayonnaise-based dressing, there aren't as many potential food safety issues with choosing this salad for an outdoor meal.

So whether you're having a picnic at a park or are heating up the grill at home, this recipe would add a tasty side dish to your celebration ... or just an everyday meal.

And don't let Memorial Day be simply about a three-day weekend or a time to party. Remember your loved ones. And remember the military men and women who sacrificed to provide protection for you and me.

Marinated Vegetable Salad
2 cans French-cut green beans, drained
1 can LeSeuer peas, drained
1 can shoepeg corn, drained
1 cup celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped (I used green onion instead)
1 green pepper, chopped (I used a combination of tri-color peppers)
1 small jar pimento
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup oil

Combine all vegetables and set aside. Bring salt, sugar and vinegar to a boil. Add oil. Pour over vegetables and marinate about 18 hours before serving.

Enjoy your weekend!

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The Good Stuff? I Beg to Differ
Thursday 26th of May 2011 12:23 PM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

Every day, I feel blessed to live where I can see God's creation evolving with the shifting seasons. Too often, people see Kansas as a flat, uninteresting place that just provides miles to go before you get to the mountains of Colorado or the lakes of Missouri.

I'm all for tourism in Kansas and helping others see the beauty and complexity of the beautiful place we call home.

But I just can't understand one popular form of tourism in Kansas these days. I suppose that storm chasing brings an infusion of some cash to gas stations, restaurants and motels in the Central Plains. But, to me, storm chasing just capitalizes on the pain and tragedy of others.

I don't want some adventure-seeking tourist hoping for that big storm that will give him a thrill for a few minutes.

Those storms take people's lives and property. I was heartbroken to learn that Tuesday night's storms took the lives of two members of a fellow Stafford County 4-H family and seriously injured another. Linda Gleason and her son, Jeffrey, were killed when a cottonwood tree, 4 feet in diameter, was toppled onto their vehicle by a tornado. The St. John family had pulled into a driveway to try to weather the storm. Kristin, who just graduated from K-State, was seriously hurt. I keep praying for her and for her dad, Jim, who now have to pick up the pieces of their lives.

The Stafford County Fair just won't be the same. The Gleasons and I had a contest for whose face could get the hottest and reddest first in the unairconditioned confines of the fair's 4-H building. They were superintendents of the 4-H arts and crafts department. I am across the way in the foods department.

Jeff (just like his sister Kristin before him) was a consummate baker and always had multiple entries in the 4-H foods division. With a mom who was a former county extension agent, they were always meticulously prepared. Jeff also had a gorgeous voice. The judge at the Stafford County 4-H Club Days this spring told him that he could do anything he wanted with that voice. I guess he's using it to sing with heaven's angels today.

I realize that some of the storm chasers are meteorologists collecting data to try and keep us safer. That's different than the people who are leading tours and charging folks anywhere from $2,000 to $6,500 to catch a glimpse of a tornado.

I know that the tourists aren't to blame for the storms. But it still infuriates me to read things like this on an msnbc.com website:

"Well, it's a rush," explains tornado tourist Mark Reese, from England, who was interviewed in Pratt. "In the UK, we don't get the big storms or the severe weather you get over here. This was the place to come to get the good stuff."
The good stuff, huh? I beg to differ. Let's ask Jim & Kristin Gleason ... or the residents of Joplin, Mo. ... or the people of Reading, Kansas ... or people still rebuilding their lives in Greensburg ... or the people of Chapman ... Unfortunately, the list goes on and on and continues to grow this spring.

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Dinner in 30 Minutes or Less
Wednesday 25th of May 2011 01:44 PM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

This is what you get for reading the back of the rice box ... dinner in about 30 minutes.

Don't you remember reading the back of the cereal box as you sat at the breakfast table as a kid? Given the opportunity and a few minutes, I'll find something to read. I'd prefer a book, but a box will do in a pinch.

In this case, it lead to a tasty meal.

Southwest Beef & Bell Pepper Skillet
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 can (14.5 oz.) beef broth
1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
1 large red or green pepper, thinly sliced then halved
1 large yellow pepper, thinly sliced then halved
2 cups instant brown rice, uncooked
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese

Brown meat in large ovenproof skillet; drain fat. Stir in broth and tomatoes. Bring to boil.

Add peppers and rice; stir. Cover; simmer on low heat 5 minutes or until rice is tender. (When I checked it at 5 minutes, it wasn't tender yet.)

Top with cheese. Broil, uncovered, 2 to 3 minutes or until melted. Makes 6, 1 1/3 cup servings.

Serve with a green salad.

Nutrition information per serving: 350 calories, 13 g total fat, 7 g saturated fat, 650 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrate, 25 g protein.

Recipe Notes:

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