Saturday, January 30, 2010

More Snow Shots

The sun did come out tomorrow - uh ... today. Well, you know what I mean. Though the photos yesterday were beautiful, too, there's just something about sun-kissed snow and frost that takes beauty to a whole new level. It was totally worth my fingers and toes getting cold to get out on this beautiful morning on the County Line. I am blessed to live here. Hope you enjoy these glimpses of God's creation, too.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow Day

It's a Snow Day here on the County Line! So far, we've had 11 inches of the white stuff. No baby calves have arrived during the winter weather yet. And since Stafford canceled school, I didn't have to drive into town for choir. All is well.

I got outside to take a few photos this morning. But since it was still snowing, the results aren't as pretty as they would be with a little sunlight thrown into the mix. Still, I thought I'd share a few with you. I am definitely not an expert, but I do love the natural beauty of God's creation - something I get to experience every day here on the County Line. My favorite winter shot of all time is the one I have in my blog banner. It was taken following the December 2007 snowstorm. The only good things to come out of that storm were some phenomenal photos. The downside? No electricity for 12 days!

(This was before it got light. I liked the starburst effect of the snow.)

Maybe, as Annie sings in the classic musical, "The sun will come out tomorrow!" If so, I'm ready and waiting with camera in hand!

Now I'm off to the barn to help run in the heifers. Dashing through the snow (actually - more trudging than dashing).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Feeling all warm & fuzzy

What four-letter word can make you feel all warm and fuzzy?? Give up? It's FREE! And is there anything a farmer likes better than free stuff? Randy has quite a rainbow of ball caps crowding the clothestree on the back porch. He's always always coming home with seed company caps, a pen from the co-op annual meeting, a calendar from the insurance agency or an ice cream scoop from the pickup salesman.

Is it really free, you might ask? Doesn't it normally entail a purchase of seed, a big bill at the implement dealership or the price tag on a new pickup? Still, maybe that "free" gift cushions the blow to the bank account.

Hats aren't usually part of my fashion ensemble, so even though he sometimes comes home with two hats, I usually decline. But this week, he brought me a rose-colored fleece vest.

He's always said that I'm pretty in pink. (See, in the midst of that practical farmer whose gifts tend toward long johns and hand warmers, there's a bit of a romantic in there.) So even if the vest was free and I'm advertising the place where we have our land loans, he did think of me. He could have just picked out a navy blue vest for himself and walked away. But he thought of me.

I was feeling really special - until I went to Bible study this morning and another farm wife had the exact same vest. So we felt special together. Nothing says love like a comfy, fleece FREE vest - especially a pink one!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cake ... or Cornbread

When two families unite, there are bound to be some differences in traditions. For the Fritzemeier clan, chili and cornbread usually appear together on winter menus. (It's just an easier version of the chili and cinnamon rolls that those-of-us-of-a-certain-age grew up with in the school cafeteria.)

Our son-in-law Eric was all for the combo. But he isn't sold on our version of cornbread. For years, I've used a cornbread recipe from The Trousdale United Methodist Church's 75th Anniversary Cookbook (1916-1991). Jill got a copy of the recipe in the cookbook I made for her and Eric before they got married in August.

But when Jill served it for the first time, Eric said, "This tastes more like cake!" (You will discover why when you see the recipe). Good husband that he is, he ate it willingly. But Jill has discovered a less cake-like version of cornbread which she'll be using in the future (I guess the honeymoon is over just 5 1/2 months in - just kidding, guys!!)

Randy likes this version just fine. He likes it with his chili. He also will eat it for breakfast with maple syrup or our Stafford United Methodist Women's apple butter.

Tippins Corn Bread
1 pkg. (1 layer) Jiffy corn bread mix
1 pkg (1 layer) Jiffy yellow cake mix (this is the small box)
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
Mix corn bread and cake mixes together. Mix together eggs, milk, water and oil. Add to cake mixes (usually I just dump all this together and mix). Mix well. Pour into 8- by 8-inch prepared baking pan. Bake 5 minutes at 400 degrees then 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees until it tests done.

NOTE: I usually use a regular size cake mix and then double everything else, including 2 Jiffy corn bread mixes. I usually put part in a square pan and the rest in a 13- by 9-inch pan. Then I freeze one to pull out on a busy day.

And, speaking of busy days, yesterday definitely qualified. Crock Pot to the rescue! I had to get my 4-mile walk done before I went to help Randy with cattle for a couple of hours. And by the time we got back to the house, I needed to hop in the shower so I could be ready to go to school to accompany middle school choir. (After wearing the lovely headband and the two hoods from yesterday, my hair was in dire need of a pick-me-up. Middle school kids don't need any excuses to make fun of people. My static-filled hair would definitely have qualified!)

It was sure great to walk in the house and smell that dinner was ready. I just added some baby carrots, sliced red pepper, cheese slices and apple slices and served with the chili and corn bread. It hit the spot!

Your mission, if you choose to accept it

No, it wasn't Mission Impossible. It was cattle sorting day on the County Line. We are selling feeder cattle at Pratt Livestock on Thursday. My job was running the secondary gate. Depending upon whether it was a heifer Randy wanted to keep to add to our herd or a steer that was going to be loaded onto the semi tomorrow, I pulled the gate to the north or south.

Just a side note: This blog stuff is obviously new. I normally wouldn't consent to getting my photo taken in this get-up: a short-sleeved t-shirt, long-sleeved t-shirt, crew neck sweatshirt, hoody sweatshirt and a wind-resistant jacket on top. And note the lovely headband underneath the two hoods. I don't need any help in adding bulk to my frame. But when it's 21 degrees, you do what you've got to do.

Even in my bulky garb, I tried to blend into the fence post so the cattle wouldn't shy away from the wide open gate to the north. You can also note my camouflage gloves, also good for blending.

I know my husband loves me because for Christmas, he gave me hand warmers. Some girls get diamonds. Others get hand warmers. But I ask you: How warm do diamonds keep you on a cold January morning??

Randy is a hopeless (?!) romantic when it comes to keeping me warm. For the Valentine's Day prior to our March 28 wedding in 1981, he didn't shower me with flowers or candy. He gave me long johns. Yes, I know he's lucky I didn't call it off. But he redeemed himself a little when he said it was to "keep you warm when I'm not around." Ah, a practical farmer ... you gotta love him!

All in all, it was a successful morning. For the most part, the cattle did a good job in "follow the leader." Let's hope loading on the semi tomorrow goes just as well!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Oh, Baby!

The maternity ward is officially open on the County Line. Our heifers began calving last week. I think we are up to six new arrivals as of this morning. Randy is thankful the new babies avoided the bitterly cold weather earlier this month (though on my trips to the barn in the last two days, I think it's plenty chilly.)

Like an always-open convenience store, the moms are usually available for sustenance, day or night. But for the little girl pictured at the top, Randy is the "mom." She is a twin, and the mother claimed the other calf. So, since Friday, Randy has been bottle feeding her.

We thought she might have a home with a local 4-Her, but the family is waiting for a bull calf. So, morning and night, Randy adds bottle-feeding to his agenda (Yes, I know if I were a really GOOD farm wife, I'd take over that job.)

Like some human babies, it's taken Randy's little charge some time to figure out this whole eating business. But now, once the bottle arrives, she doesn't need much encouragement.

She is housed at the Fritzemeier Farm Suites, and her accommodations include plenty of fresh hay and a place out of the wind. And a little love from the big guy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hello from My County Line!

My daughter is doing it. My sister is doing it. Yes, my mother TOLD me not to always follow the leader when "everyone else" is doing something. But I guess I need more ways to waste hours on the Internet. And here it is: Kim's County Line!

It's a big deal to think of a name for a blog. I have always been somewhat challenged in committing to big decisions like this. My sister (who has a blog - Bauer Banter at never shared that difficulty. When we were young 4-Hers searching for fabric for our fair sewing projects, Lisa would go into the store, make a quick circuit of her options, then choose. I, on the other hand, would stand paralyzed - afraid to make the "wrong" decision. That's what first-born perfectionism will do for you!

When I was a fifth grader, my family took a trip to California during Christmas vacation. While shopping at Fisherman's Wharf (I think!), my parents let us choose stationery of our very own. I still remember agonizing over two possibilities. I chose "A whim from Kim." Until that stationery was all used up, I kept second-guessing myself thinking I should have chosen Kim's Comments.

But ... I digress! Why Kim's County Line? First of all, I live on the Stafford/Reno County line in Kansas. (Usually, it means that neither county wants to grade our road, but that's another post, I guess!) This blog will certainly have stories from my life on this country road and as a farm wife.

When considering this name, I looked up "line" in the dictionary. And County Line seemed even more appropriate when I looked at the myriad of definitions:

**A horizontal row of written or printed characters;
**A course of conduct, action or thought;
**A field of activity or interest;
**A succession of musical notes, especially considered in melodic phrases (I do love my music!);
**A glib, often persuasive, way of talking (probably not so much);
**The words making up a part in a drama (there ARE some dramatic moments around here on occasion).

You get the idea. (You would really be surprised at how many definitions for LINE there are. I challenge you to pull out your Webster's dictionary!)

ANYWAY, I hope you'll join me on occasion as we travel down the County Line I call home. I hope you'll come along on the journey! (My daughter Jill's journey is fun, too: Check out her blog at