Sunday, July 5, 2015

Warning: Corny Post Ahead!

No, seriously...it's all about corn!
This year, we got to plant about an acre of  Seminis Roundup Ready sweet corn, which was supplied to us by Monsanto (all opinions/photos are my own!). That means the corn can be sprayed with Roundup, which means there will be less weeds in the corn patch! (And if you know me, that means, less fear of seeing a snake! ha)

Of course, I leave the planting to the experts.

This is what the seed looks like going into the planter hopper.
We put four rows of it in our garden, the rest was planted in a small field behind our house.

Here's the corn after two weeks...

After one month...

After two months...

Reed's saying, "look the corn will be ready soon!". No, actually, Reed is saying, "take a picture of me eating this."
At this point, the ears have formed and are filling out on the stalk.  How does that happen, you ask? You were asking that, right?
 
When corn starts forming it's ears (usually one per stalk, sometimes two), it will start forming the cob inside the shuck.

The tassels (in above pic) form at the same time as the ears. This is the male part of the plant.

The pollen off the tassels fall onto the silks of the cob, which pollinates the corn kernels. Each silk has to be pollinated or a kernel won't form. After the kernels are pollinated, the silks go from a yellow color to a brown color. At this time, the corn can be checked to see if it is ready to eat. If this was field corn, it would still need to dry before combining.
 
 
Should be some good eating soon! And for the next decade, considering we planted an entire acre, haha.

Monday, June 22, 2015

"Taste of Blount County"

This past Saturday, the Blount County Farm City Committee, which I happen to be the chairman of, held the first annual "Taste of Blount County."
 
We pre-sold tickets for $20 dollars, with all proceeds going towards the Blount County Young Farmer's Scholarship. Tickets were sold using word of mouth, Facebook, email, and available at local Alfa Insurance offices and Snead Ag.
 




Local farmers donated fresh produce, honey, jelly, etc. The Cattleman's Association donated beef and a local poultry company donated chicken. A menu was created and a local chef prepared the food. We had awesome sponsors and donors for door prizes too.

We couldn't decorate the tables as pretty as we would've liked because of the darn wind, but I think it still looked pretty snazzy.

Everyone registered for a chance to win door prizes.

Then it was time to eat!
We served tea, lemonade, and water. We went through lots of that because boy, it was hot!

For dessert, we served fresh watermelon, cantaloupe, and blackberries. We also had 30 gallons of homemade peach and strawberry ice cream courtesy of Snead Ag!

While we ate, a local band, Southern Pride, entertained us.

We had almost 70 in attendance, which I thought was great for our first ever event like this! I would like to thank everyone who bought tickets, sponsored, donated, and the Blount Farm City Committee who worked hard, especially Brandy who did most of the heavy lifting and running around because this chubby, pregnant lady couldn't! Looking forward to next year!






Saturday, June 6, 2015

Check Us Out!

 
 
 
 
June 02, 2015
 
 
 
Three Outstanding Young Farm Families (OYFF) were chosen as finalists in a statewide contest open to farmers 18-35 years old who stand out as agricultural leaders on their farms and in their
communities.
Finalists are featured in this edition of Neighbors. Judges will tour their farms this summer and select the overall winner. Each family will be honored at the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 43rd annual Commodity Producers Conference in August, when the winner will be announced.
The OYFF will receive a prize package worth more than $60,000, including a new General Motors pickup truck from Alfa Insurance, an 825i John Deere Gator from Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit and use of a John Deere tractor by local John Deere dealers and John Deere. 
The first and second runners-up will each receive $500 courtesy of Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit. All three finalists will receive a YETI cooler from the Federation.
The winning family will represent Alabama in the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award contest next January in Orlando, Florida.
 
 
The Millers
The vantage point from the rich, loamy soil on Sand Mountain combined with the outspoken nature of Lance and Stephanie Miller breathes life into the phrase, “Go tell it on the mountain.”
Miller Farms originated in 1851 in Blount County (as a reward for military service) and has since grown into a 1,100-acre row crop operation with four broiler poultry houses.
This history, plus a love for agriculture, motivated the Millers to become agriculture advocates.
“If we don’t speak up, somebody else is going to do the talking,” Lance said. “Not everybody shares the same perspective we do. We  Do this every day for a living, and when something comes up that affects us and what we do for a living, I take that on a personal level.”
The Millers’ passion helped earn them recognition this year as a finalist for the Alabama Farmers Federation Outstanding Young Farm Family.
Lance farms with his uncle, Jimmy Miller. When Lance came back to the farm in 2006, they needed to grow larger to support two families. So in 2007, they built the chicken houses and, in 2009, began planting peanuts to complement their cotton acreage.
Stephanie, who thought she would never marry a farmer, contributes to the farm in the chicken houses and in the blogosphere.
“I have a blog where I write about life on the farm,” she said. “Due to people discovering us online, we’ve had visitors from as far as Washington and Illinois. I try to explain what we do, why we do it and that we are a family farm.”
The Millers both graduated from Jacksonville State University and have one son, Reed, 3. Stephanie is pregnant with a girl, due in August.
The Millers are active in the Federation, with Lance serving on multiple county commodity committees and as the State Young Farmers vice chairman. Stephanie serves as a county poultry committee member and in multiple capacities on the county Women’s Leadership and Young Farmers committees.
“What I like about being in the Federation are the connections you make,” Lance said. “You get to know one another, and you learn about who grows what and how they grow it. Not only am I getting my voice out to a larger audience with the Federation, but I’m also getting feedback from my friends in farming.”

Friday, June 5, 2015

Homemade Chocolate Fried Pies!

Now, I've had a couple of chocolate fried pie recipes on my blog before. One was an "easy"way, the other slightly more work. Neither one of the recipes was my actual family recipe that no one can seem to remember, lol. But, by George, I think I've got it now!
 
(Terrible picture, but I'm no professional!)
 
Chocolate Fried Pies
 
Crust:
3 cups plain flour
1 cup shortening
1 tsp salt
1 egg (beaten)
1 tsp vinegar
12 tbsp. ice water

Filling:
3 cups sugar
9 tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp salt
Melted Butter
 
Directions:
Combine flour, shortening, and salt with pastry blender. Mix egg, vinegar, and ice water in separate bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix with pastry blender. Finish mixing with hands. Mix sugar, cocoa, and salt in separate bowl, set aside.  Take 2" balls of dough and roll out into 6-7" circles on floured surface. Brush with melted butter. Add 2 tbsp. cocoa powder to center. Fold one side over cocoa and seal edges with fork. Place each pie in freezer paper and onto a baking sheet. Store for a few hours or overnight in freezer. When ready to fry, heat oil in an iron skillet and drop in frozen pie. Fry on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Gettin' busy with it...

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, gettin' busy with it, na, na.....nevermind. I'm not here to channel Will Smith, I'm here to give a farm update!
We've been really busy the past month or so, now that it has finally stopped raining. Now we need some rain! We cleaned the chicken houses out to the ground back in April.

We're still in the process of getting that chicken litter spread everywhere!

Of course, when you clean out, you have to clean up! Lance likes to recruit young help, so he'll only have to pay them in tractor/truck rides.

After you get the houses nice and clean, you have to spread fresh sawdust/shavings for the chicks.

Here's Lance finally paying Reed for all of his help earlier with a spreader truck ride.

We had to move some hay around and everyone wanted to ride.

Then, we finally got to plant something! It was so cool and wet this Spring, we sent our corn seed back and will probably plant those fields in soybeans later.

We did plant a whole acre of sweet corn behind our house and in our garden. Having a 4-row planter sure makes gardening easier, haha.
Peanut seeds are also going in the ground!

It is a very slow go when you have to refill the seed hoppers every few acres.

But don't worry, Wiggley is overseeing all the work to make sure it's getting done.

You have to catch a nap when you can this time of year. Since we plant our peanuts using gps and autosteer, you may see Lance napping in some of our bigger fields ;).

See how dry and dusty it's starting to get out there?

We've also managed to get over 100 acres of cotton planted so far.

Uh oh. Here comes the "boss." Better wrap it up!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Young Farmers in the Big City

Last catch up post!
So, last October, the Blount County Young Farmers won a "County Activity of Excellence" Award from the American Farm Bureau. We won it for having "Farm Safety Day" on our farm. To learn more about it, here's a blog I wrote a couple of years ago about it. Our "prize" was getting to attend the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in San Diego!
Here's a recap of our trip...
 
One must not venture on a trip without matching t shirts. They say "All women were created equal...Then a few become farmers." In case you don't recognize my good side, I'm in the purple shirt lol.

Our hotel was right on the bay...pretty views of the marina in the morning!
Here's our group that could make the trip. The guy in the middle is Bob Stallman, AFBF President, presenting our award. The reason we get to attend the convention is that we have to set up a booth telling about our activity to teach other states/counties how to host it.

What's a convention without a little fun??

See? haha

Look who we ran into at the hotel? Jack Hannah! We met him at the AFBF Convention in Nashville in 2012. He says he remembered us, but you never know, lol.

We had very little down time during our 3 day trip, so the one "touristy" thing we chose to do was tour the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier/museum. It was pretty neat. We tossed Lance and Chris in the brig while we were there.

I'm not sure Lance would fit in the jet if the top was all the way on, haha.

This was on the deck of the ship. I accidentally ran into that guy in the yellow and said "excuse me." He didn't hear me, mainly cause he's a mannequin, hehe. 

This was the view from our hotel room. This part of town was called the "Gaslamp Quarter."

Thurston Howell III would like to tell everyone we had a great trip!