Ben and "The Crew" Liam, Marshall and Zane
Alli eating Angel food Cake and Strawberries
Ben, showing off
Ben, showing off
So, it's been a little quiet lately from this corner of the blog-o-sphere, so I thought I'd give you a little insight in to what we've been up to. We are in the midst of harvesting, and we've been at it for about a month. We started combining peas and lentils, and then moved on to winter wheat. We have started on the spring wheat, but the weather hasn't exactly been cooperating. With any luck we'll finish sometime tomorrow, but it has to warm up and the wind has to blow. Normally, I'd say that I LOVE THE WEATHER. It's been cool and damp the whole month of August, which, as most of you know is usually hot and dry.
Anyway, while Scott and the crew are out in the field, I've been in the house, planning and preparing the evening meal, which I then pack up in coolers, tubs, and boxes and take out to the field. Truthfully, this year has been a little easier than past years, because on the days when the guys are starting late due to the damp grain, I have been given a reprieve. Eating is important, but at this stage in the game, getting the wheat in the bin is the MOST important.
Usually the routine goes something like this: First thing in the morning, get the jug of sun tea ready and set it on the deck. Then, I look through my list of probable meals and decide what I'm in the mood to cook. I usually try to get most of the baking done in the morning. This year I've made chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, creamy lemon raspberry bars, chocolate- peanut-butter gooey butter cake, peach crisp, peach coffee cake, blueberry coffee cake, angel food cake with strawberries, no-bake cherry cheese cake, and a few others that I can't remember.
Then I try to do a few household chores like laundry and dishes.... some things like mopping and dusting are an exercise in futility due to the dusty dirty boys (big and little) that come in at the end of the day. (I guess I'll have to have a full-out house cleaning week when we finally get done!)
Usually the kiddos and I have something kind of simple for lunch, like pbj sandwiches or corn dogs, and then while they nap, I get the rest of the meal ready. Some years, we have a two pan crew, but this year, it was about a 1.5 pan crew, so I've just been making a little bit extra and putting it in a bigger dish. I used to get a little crazy, but recently I've decided to maintain a little sanity and stick to things like sloppy joes, shredded beef, stuff like that. I also like a few stand-by casseroles: Mexican lasagna, spaghetti pizza, lasagna, wild rice and chicken, etc. When they were cutting really close to the house I BBQed burgers and they came to the house and ate on the deck. EASY CLEAN-UP! I also make some kind of a salad almost every day. Most of the time it is just a green salad with cukes and tomatoes and whatever I can find in the cupboard.... bacon bits, seeds or nuts, or pita bread chips.... Ranch dressing goes like it's on it's last breath, so I usually take about a quart of that along too. Sometimes I take fruit, which is always a big hit, but I don't always get to the store to get the fresh stuff, so fruit salad only makes a showing about twice/week. I always have to make a pistachio/pineapple/cool-whip salad, because that's a favorite too. I also usually have some kind of bread or buns. They really like garlic bread I'm finding.
Then, about 4:30, I start the loading process. I keep whatever is cooking in the oven until the last minute, to keep it hot and work on making lemonade and putting it and the sun tea into insulated beverage dispensers. I count cups, plates and cutlery to make sure I have enough, bring the ice up from the freezer and pack the cube cooler with all the cold stuff: butter, salad dressings, salads, etc. Then I wrap the hot stuff in tin-foil, put it in the pyrex "to-go" insulated carriers, and then load the whole mess into the back of the Suburban. Then I grab the two kids, and head for the field. Sometimes it's a 15 minute trip, sometimes it's a 45 minute trip depending on the location and how many trucks have been on the road that day!
My M-I-L (short for mother-in-law) has filled in a couple of times when I've been doctoring in Billings, doing Bible study in town, or running off to my brother's wedding. That's great because it gives me a little bit of a break. I really enjoy cooking, especially for an appreciative crowd, which our crew always is. They always are free with the compliments and thank-yous, and when it's been a really long day of cutting, I know they appreciate the opportunity to get out of their machine or truck, stretch, and listen to somebody besides Rush, KATL or Sirius radio.
The pictures are just to show you a little of the atmosphere of the feed in the field. Thank goodness we can see the end of this year's harvest!