Courtesy: John Dvorak
It’s September, which means it’s that time of year when Mother Nature can’t decide if she wants to switch to fall or stay in summer mode a bit longer. It also means harvest is getting started. This last week is one of the last chances in which farmers could get out of the field for a few days. Where do they go? Grand Island for Husker Harvest Days, the largest working farm show in the nation.
I had been to Husker Harvest Days in the past to collect and cover news stories, but this year was the first time I “worked” the event. At the Nebraska Farm Bureau booth we met with show-goers. Talked about member benefits, encouraged them to sign a petition for our “Ditch the Rule” campaign and gave away a lot of free items. (Our Nebraska Farm Bureau gloves were a hugely popular item. Members come back year after year just to get a pair.) I must say the farmers and ranchers I met this week were some of the nicest people I’ve met all year. You know, most farmers are typically nice and polite people who can carry one a conversation with anyone.
Unfortunately it rained the entire three days of Husker Harvest Days. The show was actually cancelled for one day. Something I’m told never happens. Since it poured the first day of the event, the parking lot turned in a massive mud puddle. (It’s Husker Harvest Days. They don’t have a paved parking lot. We were parking in a field.) To keep everyone safe from being stranded, officials had to close down the show. But Thursday rolled around and farmers were pouring into the show! Nothing was going to stop a few folks from coming out to this once a year event!
During a quick break, I was able to make it around to a few booths. I hit the Pioneer tent. The Producers Hybrid building. Saw the newest Case IH and John Deere tractors and the latest technology in irrigation systems. It definitely took me back to the farm. I couldn’t resist picking up a few free hats .
I even managed to find one my husband was dying to own. It’s a hat you just can’t buy at the mall. You have to go to an agribusiness dealer or Husker Harvest Days. And that it why this show is so popular. It brings all these business together in one location to farmers and ranchers have a chance to gather every bit of information to make their business and farm flourish, and they can do it in one day. During harvest, one day may be all the spare time they have.
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
2-1/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
6-1/4 to 6-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.
2. Add the sugar, salt, oil and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
3. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.
4. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
5. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough in half. Shape each into a loaf. Place in two greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.
6. Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Glaze top with butter.
A couple weekends ago my husband and I undertook what I call our first “renovation.” We painted our kitchen countertops with the Rustoleum Countertop Transformation kit. We had been talking about it all summer and now the time had come. Besides the usual party games, this was the first time we would really work together, as a team in a timely fashion, and hopefully not end up with a disaster.
From the time the paint roller first touched the counter tops, we had 20 minutes to get the area covered with a base coat and topped with decorative chips. (This is where the timely teamwork came in.) Communication was key. It was amazing to focus in the job at hand and execute the process.
After an overnight drying, we sanded the tops smooth and applied the top coat. It wasn’t perfect. We each had a spot where we smudged the paint or sanded a little too much, but all in all, it looked pretty good. Although the instructions said we could lightly use the surface after 48 hours, paranoid to mess it up further, we waited a week.
Completing the project as a couple gave us a sense of achievement and satisfaction. I think coming from the farm has instilled us with a strong work ethic and really makes me appreciate the work we did in our kitchen, even though it wasn’t perfect. I actually look at the tiny, kitty paw print, forever impressed in my countertop, with fondness. (Hopefully, no one else notices it when they come over!) The whole experience will definitely be a wonderful memory to look back upon.
The values of family, productivity and wholesomeness are something all Nebraska Farm Bureau members possess, whether they come from a farm or the biggest city. You don’t have to be a farmer to possess these values, you just have to be willing to get your hands dirty and pour on the elbow grease if that means an improved quality of life.