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The Power of Bundt Cake (part 2)

Now that harvest is wrapped up, and traveling is done for awhile, I can catch up on my blogging!

A few weeks after the visit from Joe, Connie, and Jim, we received a package in the mail.  It was a box from Joe and Connie, containing gifts for Jonathan and I…and Pongo, our rat terrier.  They sent Jonathan an Hermes tie, and I received an Hermes scarf.  They also sent a thank-you note with another invitation to visit them in New York.  That really started the wheels turning in Jonathan’s head!

It is tradition in our family that the graduate gets to choose the summer family vacation destination before they head off to college.  Anna chose the Iowa Speedway for the inaugural Nationwide Series race.  (She was hoping to see Joey Logano, her favorite driver. Sadly, he was not there.) Christina wanted to go to Los Angeles or Hollywood, but I was trying to talk her into staying in the Midwest.  Then we received the second invitation to visit New York.  Christina, with Jonathan’s full support, quickly chose New York City as her family vacation destination.  The first week of July we were still trying to find an open week in our schedules.  We narrowed it down to the week of July 10 – 17. That gave us about 3 days to make all of our travel arrangements, and line up help for chores.  Not to mention our town’s celebration, and my very first 5k attempt…

Jonathan contacted Connie, who was thrilled that we would be coming.  She asked what we were planning on seeing while in the City, and gave Jonathan some ideas.  Christina really wanted to see a Broadway show, and walk in Central Park.  The girls all wanted a chance to shop a little, which was no surprise.  Connie asked which Broadway show we wanted to see, which we left up to Christina.  Wicked was sold out, so she chose Mary Poppins, since we all love the movie.

We packed up, loaded the van, and headed east.  We put in a long day on that first day, getting past Chicago.  Lessons learned…take frequent breaks to stretch and get the blood flowing, drink a lot of water, and don’t eat salty snacks.

Next up – our arrival and first day in New York City.

This is me, back home after my very first 5k at Cottonwood Coming Home Days. We left the following day for New York.

The Power of Bundt Cake (part 1)

Last spring, my husband, Jonathan, received a phone call from one of our corn buyers.  This buyer uses some of our organic corn to make vodka for other companies.  They wondered if we would be interested in hosting three people who would be in the area to visit the corn plant and organic vodka bottling plant where their product is processed.  We have had the privilege of hosting Dean Phillips and his marketing team when they rolled out Prairie Grains Organic Vodka.  We love to tell people our farming story, so we thought it would be alright to host another group.   We were given a date, along with their names and the names of their companies.  This is when things got a little interesting, and nerve wracking for me.  Two of our guests were from Chatham Imports of New York City.  I don’t know if you have the same stereotypes that I do, but I instantly felt that I was too redneck to be their host!

The day of their visit, the weather was warm and beautiful. The sky was a gorgeous blue, without a single cloud – a perfect day!

They pulled up in a chauffeured Lincoln Town Car.  Not something you see very often in this part of Minnesota! I had to laugh when the driver was eating his lunch…being watched by two farm cats perched on the roof and hood of his shiny car.

We invited Joe, Connie, and  Jim into the house, and visited over “a little lunch” of Lemon Bundt Cake, coffee, water, and juice.  All three were very interested in the process of a farm becoming certified organic, and asked many questions.  After we finished visiting in the house, we brought them outside for a tour of our farm.  They were pretty intrigued with all of the equipment that we showed them. We explained what the different pieces of tillage equipment do, and whether we use it in the spring, summer, or fall.  They had the opportunity to sit in the combine, and hear how the grain gets harvested.  We tried to answer all of their questions regarding the farm, organic farming, and if I really did make my Bundt cake from scratch.

We found Joe and Connie to be very warm and friendly. The 2.5 hours they spent on our farm really flew by.   They invited us out to New York City to visit them and see their company, which planted an idea in our heads.  But that story will have to wait…

Lemon Bundt Cake


1 package lemon cake mix

1 package lemon pudding (not instant)

¾ cup oil

¾ cup water

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon butter extract

1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling: Mix in small bowl

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ cup chopped pecans

½ cup brown sugar

Put all cake ingredients in mixer bowl and beat for 8 minutes at high speed.  Grease and flour bundt or tube-type pan.  Reserve 1 cup of cake batter; pour remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon filling onto batter, being careful that filling does not touch sides of pan. Pour reserved batter on top. Run knife through batter to swirl filling into batter. Bake in a preheated 350o oven for 45-50 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto platter.

Why I Care

Twenty two years ago, I went from city girl to farm wife.  I moved three hours away from my family and friends to start a new life with my husband, Jonathan.  We were married in a drought year, which meant harvest had started within a few days of our wedding.  We decided to come home a day or two early from our honeymoon to help my father-in-law.

Our house had been “decorated” by Jonathan’s friends, so we had a little clean-up to attend to before we could help move corn wagons.  My in-laws had surprised one of the guys doing the decorating, and suggested we enter the house carefully.  After a little cleaning and unpacking, I learned how to hook up the wagons to the John Deere 4020.  Eventually, I learned how to drive the 4020, and how to unload the corn into the bin.  It was a lot for me to remember and I made many mistakes.  Jonathan and his dad were so patient with me, that I wasn’t afraid to try all the new things.

The patience and caring that I was shown as a new bride in a new atmosphere has had a lasting impact.  I try to live by those same principles, and treat others with respect and care.  Their example has also fueled a passion for agriculture and its importance in our world.

Jonathan and I have three beautiful teenage daughters. We have both become active in our church and community. I am currently serving as president of our county Farm Bureau, and have served on a few State Farm Bureau committees.  I look forward to sharing some of my perspectives with you about the farming industry, and what goes on in our family during the different seasons.

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