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Lessons from Halloween
Monday 31st of October 2011 09:02 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

(Photo taken June 26, 2011, at the closing of Byers UMC)

At first glance, it may seem sacrilegious to mention Halloween and church in the same breath. I know some people believe Halloween is devil worship, but at the little country church of my childhood, Halloween meant a time to trick or treat for UNICEF.

We ghosts and goblins at Byers United Methodist Church had small milk cartons decorated with the UNICEF logo. As we collected our sweet treats, people would drop coins for UNICEF through the crudely-cut slots at the top of the milk carton.

Some of us would stay in Byers and go door-to-door. I always wanted to go on the northwesterly route so I could have one of my Grandma Neelly's homemade popcorn balls in my goodie sack.

I learned a lot about myself at Halloween. As a chubby princess, I declared I would never wear high heels again. My Dad proclaimed that he wanted a recording of that bold statement. But as it has turned out, I do prefer flats.

Another year, I learned that a computer made from a large box is tough to cram into the back seat of a car, especially when you're wearing it. I was apparently ahead of my time. I didn't really work on a computer until journalism classes at K-State. But they were evidently in the news, since I decided to craft my own from a cardboard box that year. In hindsight, it would have been a better costume for walking the streets of Byers. But then I wouldn't have had the tale to tell, I suppose.

While trick-or-treating at country homes was a tradition in my childhood community, I soon learned that it's not the norm in the Stafford area. The first year we were married, I had my basket of goodies ready and the porch light on. Not a single trick-or-treater rang the doorbell. It was definitely a "trick" and not a treat for this Halloween-loving farm girl.

So when my own goblins got old enough, we always started our Halloween trek in the country at neighbor's houses and at Grandma and Grandpa Fritzemeier's, where Jill and Brent were tricked along with being treated.

During this past weekend in Manhattan, we saw plenty of little ones who were getting a jump on the holiday by wearing their costumes early. My two definintely enjoyed dressing up and posing for the requisite photo before the trick-or-treat journey.

This year, Jill is ready for trick-or-treat guests in their Topeka neighborhood, and Brent wanted to know if people would knock on the door in his South Carolina apartment complex. They'll be ready and waiting. I will be, too, but I've learned not to get my hopes up.


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Treat not Trick - Homemade Twix Bars
Friday 28th of October 2011 07:47 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

It's nearly Halloween, and the store aisles have been filled with tempting bags of candy, practically since the 4th of July. Since we rarely have trick or treaters visit, I can't justify buying those sweet treats. But I guess I can justify making a facsimile thereof. So I did.

I found these Twix Bars at This Farm Family's Life blog (click on the link if you want step-by-step photos). I thought that Halloween was the perfect time to try them. While I don't think they taste just like Twix Bars, they are a quick and handy treat to stick in lunches for the field or for your next tailgate party. (Eat 'em up! Eat 'em up! K-S-U!)

If you know your trick-or-treaters and they know you, it would be fun to package them in small plastic bags decorated with holiday stickers (and your name). Give them to the ghosts and goblins who stop by. No tricks ... just treats! (I know it doesn't work to give homemade treats most of the time. But when you have a maximum of five trick-or-treaters - and that's a good year - you know the little goblins behind the mask and they know you.)


Twix Bars
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 cup crushed graham crackers
1 1/4 packets club crackers
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Line a greased 9- by 13-inch pan with a layer of club crackers, fit tightly together.

Simmer brown sugar, white sugar, butter and milk for 5 minutes. Add graham crumbs and spread immediately over crackers. Quickly add another layer of crackers.

Melt the remaining ingredients over low heat and spread over the top layer of crackers. Cool and cut into squares.

Note: The crackers didn't fit exactly into the pan. I just did the best I could. We aren't running a factory around here, so I guess every piece didn't need to look uniform!

I stored them in the refrigerator so the chocolate layer would stay firm, but it's not required.


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When Morning Gilds the Skies
Thursday 27th of October 2011 07:40 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

There was never a night or a problem

that could defeat sunrise or hope.
- Bern Williams

My daily devotional yesterday said:

We don't need more to be thankful for,
we need to be more thankful.
- Source Unknown

Enough said.


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Rome Wasn't Built in a Day, But ...
Wednesday 26th of October 2011 07:47 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

Rome wasn't built in a day. But our milo harvest was. Well, it actually took a little longer than that, but not much.

Milo harvest never has the urgency of wheat harvest around here, since wheat is our primary crop and the majority of our farm's acres are planted to it. Still, there's usually a kind of positive energy surrounding a harvest season. It's the culmination of a journey that began with seeds planted at the end of May. Harvest is usually Randy's favorite time of the year.

But it's a little different with the Drought of 2011 (Yes, I meant to put Drought in capital letters.) Randy's attitude was more, "Let's get this over with."

We had 270 acres planted to milo. He cut 85 acres of it in an hour. Typically, it would take 8-10 hours to harvest a field that size. However, that field yielded a whopping 1/2 bushel per acre. The overall yield average for our 2011 crop was 6.74 bushels per acre.

One 17-acre field brought in 21 bushels an acre. That was like a jackpot when compared to the day before. But an average yield for milo would be in the neighborhood of 65 bushels per acre. (That can have your emotions dipping back down like a roller coaster.)

Thankfully, we have insurance to partially cover the poor harvest. But we still had to invest some time and some diesel to harvest the milo that was in the fields.

Milo harvest required only one meal to the field. That's another indicator of a less-than-ideal harvest from this farm wife's perspective.

So we continue to pray for rain. Heck, I'd even take a wet snow right about now.

(The photo at the top of the post was taken in the field that made 21 bushels/acre yield. I'm pretty confident there won't be any piles of unbinned milo sitting around the co-op this year. What a difference a year makes!)

October 2010

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Response 1
Wednesday 26th of October 2011 06:37:45 PM
Submitted by: Bob
Response 2
Thursday 27th of October 2011 07:38:41 AM
Submitted by: Kim
Yes, ouch! I know we aren't alone, but I'm not sure misery loves company in this case. However, it's a typical farmer response around here: It will be better next year! (It's good to live with an optimist!)

I'm a Fan of Planned Overs
Tuesday 25th of October 2011 07:00 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

I'm a fan of "planned overs." It's leftovers with a purpose.

If I'm getting a skillet dirty by browning hamburger, I usually brown more than I need for one meal. I then stick it in the refrigerator, where it can become something entirely different the next day.

But I recently had taco meat leftover from a PEO luncheon. We made taco salads for the ladies luncheon, and then I made them for Randy & myself the next day. But with some of the remaining taco meat, I tried a new recipe, Taco Burgers from Food.com.

They will definitely be on the menu again for supper or for a hot meal to take to the field.

Taco Burgers
1 lb. hamburger
1 medium onion, minced
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 large tomato
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Taco sauce (not picante, but the smooth sauce)
6 hamburger buns

Brown hamburger and onions in a skillet on medium high heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain well. Add taco seasoning (don't add water to the mix). Toss with the meat to coat, cooking for about 5 minutes longer.

Lightly butter the inside of the buns and toast in skillet or under broiler until nicely browned. (I also sprinkled grated cheese on the buttered buns before broiling.) Top each hamburger bun with taco meat, shredded lettuce and tomato and drizzle with taco sauce.

A recipe note: I already had my taco meat prepared from earlier. I usually get taco seasoning from Glenn's Bulk Food store near Hutchinson, but any packaged mix will do or you can make your own taco seasoning with spices in your cabinet.

If you're looking for another way to use leftover/planned over taco meat, try Taco Pizza. It's another favorite around here.

Or use planned-over taco meat in this Chuckwagon Tortilla Stack. It's a recipe from our daughter's kitchen.



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