Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Blessings from an American Farm Family

A very merry and blessed Christmas to you

Thanks to a great blogger buddy(thanks Judi Graff), I have a new media gadget to show off, so I have updated the blog to showcase our farm family highlights of 2011!

Does anything say Merry Christmas like a little red tractor with a green wreath on it?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Agra-Diva 101, Perceptions and Choices

A New Day is Beginning (from harvest 2011)

Okay, I lied, this blog will not be about family like I said in last week's penning (although you can read about that on the At Home Page), as a recent event got my “tinsel all in a wad”  …… First let me start out saying that I consider myself as a goodwill ambassador for our farm; farming is our passion and way of life.  And my job is to explain what we do, why we do it and how we live it. Because we do our job, it allows other people to do something else.  Not so long ago, our ancestors had a daily mission - to go out and find food so they could eat that day.  My mom tells me of the times while growing up in rural Montana during the depression how her mom would go out in the early morning hours to fish so they would have some kind of protein to eat for that day. Today, we are fortunate as we do not have to focus on foraging the woods to put food on the table, we as Americans, enjoy the luxury of going to the well stocked grocery stores and purchasing high quality food and not using 50% of our income to sustain ourselves.

(note: if you subscribe to the email feed & are unable to view the slideshow below, please go to the website)

So let me tell you what just happened, as it has been an interesting week for this farm-wife. If you read last week’s blog you will know about the low spot of me losing a loved one and so a bright spot was being asked to write for a food publication newsletter about food, farming and being a farm-wife. The purpose was to connect the consumer with the farmer. The editor and I had spoken a few times and I was to start contributing to her newsletter in January. Although it was not a large publication, she did mention that one of her writers had recently gotten a book deal, so I could see some possibilities here and was excited to start down this new path. When getting down to the nut and bolts of what she wanted from me, content, etc, she mentioned in a P.S. sort of way, about what did I think of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and did our farm use Monsanto® products? Because if we did, it was a deal breaker (her words) as she had a friend who told her all about the evils of this company. Well… I pondered my response, and as the editor has had cookbooks published, I used the following analogy to put this on a personal level for her. Here is what I told her, “imagine you created the most perfect recipe after years of trial & error, copyrighted it, marketed it by selling franchises, so that the franchisees were in a contract with you and enjoying the success from the recipe you created, then one of them decides they no longer want to pay you for the use of your recipe, but still wants to use it in their line of business to make money – well that would be a breach of contract and you would use legal actions to stop them. It is no different than with farmers using Monsanto products as they developed seed and products to help the farmer, and when we use their certified seed, we enter into a contract with them. Plain and simple, you honor the contract rules.” So I told the truth that yes we do use some Monsanto products on our farm, we do not use GMOs, but not because we don’t value the technology to help feed the world, but because it isn’t available in the crops we raise. I further tried to convey that this company spends an untold amount developing a better seed to help farmers feed the world and asked her to please try to see them in a different light. And what was the editor’s thoughts, was she open minded? I was promptly “uninvited” to write for her publication. This is unfortunate as I fear the editor was listening to the half-truths and opinions from the Food, Inc movie and that she was completely fixated on what her friend told her. In fact, if you go to Monsanto’s website, it summarizes what I was trying to say and they did it perfectly, “if there were one word to explain about Monsanto, it would be about farmers. We create the seeds, traits, and crop protection chemicals that help farmers produce more food with less resources.” No I am not a paid Monsanto employee, we are a customer of theirs and are one farm family out of the other 259,000 of us who are charged with task of feeding the next 2 billion people that are predicted to be our neighbors by 2050.

Am I a little disappointed? Yes, but I know there will be other opportunities to write for other publications, and I will continue my blogging and farm advocacy work just as I am doing and “telling the farmer’s side of the story”. This recent setback just reinforces the need for farmers all over the country to be ”real and to be open about what we do” and most of all, be approachable. So with great anticipation for next year and because I am the “boss of me” I choose to persist, be positive, to innovate and be a significant factor for American Agriculture and to tell its story.

Thank you again for stopping by, I read every comment & love ‘em and above all, please email at if you have any questions. I’ll sign off for now as a farm-wife, a mom and agra-diva. All my best, Gayle.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tis the Season, A Celebration of Life

Greetings my friends! All is quiet on the farm front and since I last posted my Thanksgiving blog I've had happy and sad events that have shaped my little world. I was privileged to have been invited to share my farm advocacy story at the 1st Executive Women in Agriculture conference in Chicago last week and met awe inspiring & amazing women from all over the country. It was a great experience and one I will always treasure. But just before I boarded my plane, I received word that my beloved step-dad had passed away from his courageous 6 year battle with bone cancer. So this past Monday, we buried him and were thankful that he was no longer in pain and know that he will be missed by all who knew him. My step-dad loved the holiday season and was so much a part of our lives that even though he is no longer here to celebrate with us, I am finding my family is banding closer to each other more than usual, and it is like a comforting, warm blanket of love. Despite having a hole in our hearts, we recognize the need to get up, brush the dust off of ourselves and live our lives. We are all aware we need to continue making those precious memories, as when the end is near, all you have is family & memories.  With that thought in mind, the next few blogs will be focused more on this farm-wife's family as December is a quiet time on the farm.  But next month I'll start taking you on "field trips".... and I have some interesting things planned.

And as the air is getting crisper, we have had our first snowfall, and the holiday decorations are going up all over our town, it's getting me into the holiday spirit, Tis the Season! Here are a few pictures of how our farm house is decorated for the holiday season.

I've found many of my treasures from yard sales, estate sales and shopping at thrift stores.  The stains on the vintage table cloths would tell me the tale of laughter, drinks and good food during a gathering, so I embrace the stains and holes as well as  dents, chipped paint or whatever from my other treasures, as just knowing that perhaps these items were lovingly used by previous owners make it all the more special to me.

Snacks in mason jars that are in an old milk bottle basket

I love old enamel ware

The table that greets you when you walk through the front door

The sign on the bear says "1 day of coal
364 days of fun, I'll take my chances" 
  For some reason, my one of my daughters said that sign was "so me"..... I think that is a compliment. =)

I had candy canes on the bottom shelf, but
our dog kept eating them, so had to move the goodies
up to another shelf

These are acutal toys that my grand-angels play with when they come over

And yes, I've been baking.... this little goody is a White Chocolate cake.  I am undecided on what flavors mean "Christmas", so I've been driving my husband crazy by baking so many different kinds of cakes. I made a Gingerbread bundt that was okay and a few others that looked good on paper, but the results were disappointing.  This one was good and it is blog worthy for my reader friends. 

White Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Cream cheese frosting
(look for the recipe on the Cake of the Month page - for December )
As for Farmer Joe, well he has been busy attending Ag related meetings in his role as president for the Idaho Grain Producers Association and working in the farm shop.

So for now, I'll sign off, but as always I am SO GLAD you stopped by and feel free to email me at or leave me a comment.  All my best, Gayle

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving From the Anderson Farm to You

Happy Thanksgiving

As we gather to celebrate a bountiful Thanksgiving with family and friends, this farm-wife would like to give you a insight on who the Anderson Farm family is, so as you sit down for your dinner, you might feel a connection to those of us who grew the wheat for your rolls, breads and baked goods.  Plus you might be interested to know that if you are serving hummus for an appetizer, there is a very good chance it came from this area & maybe even our farm, and lastly, if you are spreading mustard on anything, it could have come from our farm too.  We are 1 farm family out of roughly 259,000 more full-time farm families who, just like us, grow the food we all eat.  And as you are saying your prayers, and if you think of it, please include a special blessing for all of these hard working farm families. =)
Me, Farmer Joe & Josie - the spoiled dog
Farming has come a long way from the days of Farmer Joe's grandpa and dad as shown below

to being able to provide more food with less ground and less of a carbon footprint

Below is a short Flickr photo sideshow of our farm family.  Although our girls chose different careers and no longer work on the farm as they once did, none-the-less they are proud to have been raised with an Agriculture background.  So far, the 2 oldest grand-angels have told their grandpa that they want to drive the tractors and combines. Zack, our nephew and son of  Farmer Jay and Lisa is a great worker when he goes out to work on the farm  and he likes to hang out with his dad and uncle Farmer Joe. So who knows, we may have Zack, Brinley and Natalie running the farm in a few years. 

And lastly, as the Thanksgiving holiday is a focus on food, I wanted to know what consumers thought and what questions they would ask a farmer.... so last Sunday afternoon, Farmer Joe and I went out and posed that question to random folks.  We went to several different grocery stores from national chain stores to the local organic food co-op to ask the question, "if you could ask a farmer a question, what would you ask?"..... and here is  what I found out.

Here are the answers to the questions asked:
97% of U.S. farms are run by families, farmer partnerships or co-ops, per Farm Facts.   If a family farm is incorporated (i.e. Corporate Farm) it simply refers to the organizational tax structure of that farm operation.

• The crops grown by the farmers are based on what can be grown in their particular area as well as what is profitable to grow. For instance, we grow garbanzo beans vs peas as the market price is much better for garbanzos than dried peas.

• The use of herbicides or pesticide on crops is only used when needed and the products we use are highly regulated and tested by the Food & Drug Administration. The rules that govern what can be used are far more stringent in the U.S. than in foreign countries. When we use products on our crops, it could be compared to when a person gets sick and goes to the doctor for medicine to help them get healthy; it’s the same for plants- we are trying to keep the plants healthy for optimum yield results. We eat the same foods we produce as the consumer eats and as a practice, I try to only buy products grown in the U.S.A.

• We have not noticed an increase in conventional farmers converting to organic methods, but a few farms may do small organic sections as a speciality. We feel the consumer should have a choice of conventional vs organic. Typically organic is more expensive, for example one grocery store had a dozen eggs for $1.39 produced in a conventional way vs the $4.59 for organic, free range eggs.  It simply depends on what the consumer wants to pay for their food. Americans spend just 9.5% of their income on food- less than any other country, plus it is the safest as well, per Farm Facts.

• As for the question about baby animals from dairies, it depends on the sex of the animal and the operation of that dairy. As we have friends in the dairy business, the females may be kept and added to the herd for milk production, and as for the males, they may stay for breeding or get sold.
 • And lastly the women who talks about Ireland’s practice of telling you who raised that product… well it goes back to what I am trying to do, connect the consumer to the farmer. Let them see the regular American Farm Family who raises the food that they eat.

And I can't let you go until I share my latest cake find located on the Cake of the Month page...

Pumpkin Poundcake
Are you drooling yet? 

Again, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Please make sure to check the At Home on the Farm as I'll be posting more on what a farm engagement party looks like. We have invited our family and farm friends to meet Kaitlyn's financee, Andrew on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, so quality time in the kitchen is definately in store for me. As always, thanks for stopping by and let me know if you have any quesitons by either posting a comment or emailing me at All my best, Gayle

Friday, November 11, 2011

When Nature Gives You A Break, You've Gotta Take It

Today is Veteran's Day and we give our eternal and heartfelt thanks to all who have served to make our country safe.

In our part of the country, any nice day after October 20 is a bonus as the weather can turn cold, rainy or snowy and we can count on being out of the field until Spring.  After last week's light dusting of snow, Mother Nature has granted us a few more spectacular warm Fall days here on the "Palouse". Farmer Joe and Farmer Jay took the opportunity to get a few more things done on the farm as the weather forecast is calling for rain and snow this afternoon as well as the rest of the week.

Here is a video from the seat of the tractor cab to give you a peek at what it looks like driving down our country back-roads.

Next are two videos Farmer Joe shot of us planting some grasses and plants along the ditch as part of our on-going wildlife conservation efforts.  Farmers take our environmental conservation efforts seriously as well as do our part in promoting wildlife habitat.  The first video shows the tractor planting the grasses and the second video shows you what it looks like from the seat of the tractor.

And of course, I wanted to share my newest and perfect Fall  yummy, "Apple Butterscotch Squares" on the OMG Dessert page.

Tomorrow this farmwife will be heading 100 miles away to see the newly engaged daughter try on wedding dresses and where her older sister, Jen will also be trying on bridesmaids dresses.  So my part, as well as my mom's, will be doing the appropriate "ooohs and aaawwes" as the girls try on all sorts of dresses. =) More on that will be on the At Home on the Farm page.

As always, many thanks for stopping by, I hope you will try some of my favorite recipes and settle in for cozy moment with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy your baking efforts.  Please feel free to email me at or leave comments, as I love to read them and appreciate the time that you have put aside to read the blog. All my best, Gayle

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The wheat has been seeded all comfy in their beds, with visions of harvest still in our heads…. okay so maybe I won’t quit my day job to write off-beat versions of that favorite Christmas poem, but  I am a serious holiday junkie and now that harvest is over and our "fall working season" is on the down-hill slide we are rolling into a quiet time on the farm and straight into the holiday season!  I love this time of year and am seriously thinking of starting my holiday movie watching tradition a bit early as we just had our first dusting of snow….. But first, here on the farm, Farmer Joe kindly taped a short video to show you what we are doing on the farm before it goes to sleep for the winter.

As for life on the farm..... well we have some big news, and invite you to read about it on the At Home on the Farm page

And if you love desserts, check out the Pumpkin Chocolate cake with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting and a chocolate ganache glaze ...... yummmmm on the Cake of the Month page.

As  the quiet winter season on the farm is settling upon us, I will be taking you on "field trips" such as getting to see barges being  loaded with wheat that will make their way down the river system to get shipped overseas and whatever else I can think of.  Plus  if YOU have any requests, let me know and I'll see what I can do to make it happen.  As always, thanks for stopping by. Well my friends, take care and feel free to email me at or leave me a post.  All my best, Gayle

Friday, October 21, 2011

An American Farm Family Telling Our Story

Hooray! With great pleasure I have added the video from our 3rd annual “Dinner on the Farm” that Farmer Joe and I host during two week-ends in September. This is a free event and our way of connecting the farmer to the consumer. My friend and former co-worker, Camille Rigby taped & edited this magnificent footage from one of our dinners held last month. The images she captured show the true quintessence of what I try to say in every blog: that we love farming, we are an American farm family who makes our living providing food for the consumer, and we want to tell you our story as well as answer your questions and concerns about American agriculture.

I’ve been blogging about our farm for the last 2 or so years and this blog has taken on a life of its own. It shapes the way I think and view things around the farm. Farmer Joe and our hired-man, Cody have joined with me in giving you a “hands on insight” of what we do, day in and day out.

One of my goals with this blog is to be able to have a broader audience and give the consumer that connection to where their food is grown and who grows it. I also hope to someday garner the interest from one of the major women’s magazines and have a regular column that answers questions from the consumer about where their food comes from. So far Better Homes & Gardens, Country Living and a few others have repeatedly turned me down or just ignored my suggestion and offer to write for them. So I will keep doing what I am doing and am thankful for each and everyone one my blog readers. =)

In December, I will be in Chicago to be on a forum for Top Producer’s Executive Women in Agriculture to talk about being an “Advocate for Ag”, and if you have something you would like me to share about what you like most from this blog, please post a comment or email me at . Thanks and as always, appreciate you stopping by. All my best, Gayle

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Seeding Wheat the "No Till" Way, Fall Work 2011

On our farm, we are no till farmers, which basically means we seed our crops directly into the soil with minimal disruption of the ground. This is a soil saving process as well as a cost saving one for us and we feel, a better carbon footprint for the environment.  It takes special equipment (which is expensive) and, while we, and many other farmers in the area utilize this practice, not all farmers buy into the "no till" way of doing things.  It basically comes down to what is best for your own farm.

Here is a short video of Cody (our hired man) in the tractor pulling a shredder that breaks up the wheat stubble into little pieces.  It is sort of like composting and it helps the crops and the soil by helping keep weeds down, keeping moisture in the ground, preventing erosion of the soil and making it a better condition for the tiny wheat seed to grow.

Hot off the press from Farmer Joe..... a look at seeding wheat. 

Thanks for stopping by, email me if you have quesitons at or feel free to post a comment.  All my best, Gayle

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall Seeding

Just as the weather has seasons, so does farming.  Well besides the inside farm joke that "the only seasons we  know are before harvest, harvest and after harvest",  we actually do have 3 distinct farm seasons and we call them "spring work, harvest, and fall work".   And our life, both personal and business, revolves around those farm seasons.  In fact I can still remember (27 years ago) being  newly engaged to the farmer and finding out the that the only months that would not interfere with farming were November - February..... so we had a beautiful  winter wedding.   So when I say our personal lives revolve around farming, I am serious. =)

As I look out my kitchen window, all of the fields have now been harvested, the weather has turned from summer into fall and our new focus  is on getting 1/3 of our farm planted into winter wheat.   What does a typical day in the life of a farmer look like in Fall Work?  Well come along and I'll show you.

But first, here is a picture of Cody washing up Farmer Joe's combine before it gets put away for the year.

The combine is put away without it's header
Farmer Jay doing maintenance  on the seeding drill which puts down fertilizer & seed

Anhydrous ammonia truck filling the tanks on the tractor
And Farmer Joe explains......

A still shot of the "nurse truck" being filled

Each year, to aid the University of Idaho, we set aside some acreage for the wheat lab to do test plots in actual  field conditions.  Here are two staff members plotting out the areas for different wheat varieties they want to grow down at the Tammany farm.
Test plots being staked out

And finally (yea) it rained. The ground has been rock hard, so the rain was very welcome and it will make the process of seeding go much easier.

As always, thanks for stopping in, and now you get to see what a fall seeding day looks like. If you want to see what the farmwife does while the farmer is working, check out At Home on the Farm page.

Feel free to email me at or leave a comment.  All my best, Gayle

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Day in American Agriculture

Okay..... I couldn't help myself and had to show off the pictures & videos that Cody, our hired man took on the last day of the Anderson Farm garbanzo harvest  so one more last look at garbanzo harvest of 2011.  

 Plus today is designated  "A Day in American Agriculture" 

As it is important to connect with the consumer and share what we do,  I had to post more pic/videos as Cody has some great footage.  Plus take a look at what the old days of farming looked like back when Farmer Joe's grandpa, uncle and his dad farmed.  I was excited to come across some great family photos.  

Farming then and now... 

Old combines in wheat harvest, Joe's dad "Andy" is
driving the 2nd combine. 
 Notice the "open air" combines.... that meant lots of dust and chaff for the driver.  I love the little old truck that was used to haul in the grain to the warehouse (big change from the semi used now!)

L to R, The Anderson's, Joseph (Farmer Joe grandpa), JD ( uncle) &
Andy (Farmer Joe's dad)
Back in the old days it took more man power to get harvest completed, smaller trucks and combines. 

Farmers Joe & Jay in their big red combines

Our guys like the "Red" brand of combines

Harvesting garbs in tandem
Today we are taking the trucks down to the Tammany Farm so we can begin preparations to the fields to begin our Fall seeding of winter wheat; we are taking our land rent checks to our landlords. 

Pictured below is a small stubble fire that started when a bearing went out on a piece of equipment that breaks up the wheat stubble (by breaking up the stubble, it helps it decompose better).  Good thing Cody is a volunteer fireman, as he and neighbors had to put out the fire.  It only burned about 10 acres and thankfully no one was hurt or no equipment was burned up.
Stubble fire
As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to contact me at or leave me a comment.  Also, I received an email telling me my blog was selected as one of the 50 Best Farm Blogs!  Now that is a really huge compliment and I am so flattered!  The "badge" is listed at the top of my farm blog next to my other Farming award.  (Yup, I'm thinking today is pretty special and it's good to be me today)  =)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Garbanzo Beans from our Local Farms to Your Table

As I've mentioned before, our crops are our paycheck and everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief when the crops are cut and in the warehouse.  So last last Saturday, when Farmer friends Ron Hermann and his son, Ryan called to ask if we would help them get their final field of garbanzo beans cut before the rain came, we didn't hesitate a bit.  Here's a final look at a garbanzo harvest.
Most farmers in our area have semi trucks to haul their crops to the warehouse

Ryan talking on his cell phone while waiting for his
semi to get filled with the beans

A close up view of what a garbanzo plant looks like in the field

The pods contain a garbanzo bean

The short video below is when I arrived out in the field and filmed Farmer Jay's combine close to the road and was waiting for Farmer Joe to come so I could hitch a ride. =)    (it was breezy out so pardon the noisy video background noise)

Farmer Joe says:

Filling up one of the semi trucks

Very dusty 
Here is a video of what it looks and sounds like when the dried garbs are coming into the bulk tank of the combine.  Sort of sounds like marbles hitting the glass.

A view of the hilly kind of  fields that are common in N. Idaho
To give you a view of how steep some of the hillside are..... I can tell you, driving a combine or a tractor on a steep hillside is scary, so good thing our farmers are brave.

One more video of the auger loading the semi trucks

Just one more view of the plants going into the reel on the header on the video below.  Legume crops are not tall plants, so the header on the combine is really close to the ground.   Sometimes the header will pick up a rock from the field and that is not a good thing as it can (usually) breaks something.  Although this was not the case in the Hermann's field, but we are always on the look out for foreign objects that the farmer doesn't want to come across (It is dusty out there and sometimes it is unavoidable).   In one or two of our fields, we have "rock patches"  and each spring the farm crew will go out into the field and "pick rocks" so come harvest, the header doesn't come across a rock or two.

And here my friends, is what dried, newly harvested garbanzo beans look like.

And lastly, as an added bonus, our friends at the Pea & Lentil Council sent me a short video of a combine harvesting lentils to share with you as well,  .

So now the Anderson combines have had their oil changed, the dust has been blown off of them, they have been washed and put away for the season.  I hope you have enjoyed seeing what harvest time looks like for an American Farmer on the "Palouse" as our region is known as.   In the next week we will be getting the fields ready for Fall planting of the winter wheat.  So more to come.

As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to email me at or leave me a post, I love comments.  Thanks and all my best, Gayle

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Feeding America, Days 26-28 of Harvest 2011

Greetings from the garbanzo fields in Idaho!  Many farmers like us are in the midst of harvesting their garbanzo bean crop and thankfully we have been having unseasonably warm sunny days - which are perfect harvest conditions.  The garb plants are dried and crispy, but the plant stock will get "ropey" due to ground dew in the mornings and evenings and when that happens, it makes it hard to harvest.  So generally we don't get out into the field until late morning or early afternoon to begin cutting the plants and the crunchier and crisper the plant is, the better it goes through the combine. 

In the early morning hours, farmers will usually start getting the fields prepped for the fall wheat crop to be seeded.  The video clip below, Farmer Joe explains that he is spraying out weeds that have started growing in the harvested wheat stubble.

Farmer Jay finished the garbanzo bean harvest down at the Tammany farm and moved his combine up to the Genesee farm.  The header on the combines need to be removed for highway travel.

Farmer Jay's pick-up pulling the header 
The picture below is what a combine looks like without it's header. 
Farmer Jay climbing up into the combine to re-attach the header


With two big combines in the field, we can go through about 100 acres of garbanzo's per day per combine.  

A loaded semi truck full of garbanzo beans

Well that's all for today, Farmer Joe says our hired man, Cody has some good shots of today's harvest (Thursday) so come on back to see what I'm posting tomorrow!  All my  best, Gayle  Don't forget you can contact me at or leave me a comment. =)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dinner on the Farm Series for 2011

There is a hunger out there, not just to fill your stomach with food, but also for knowledge about  agriculture, the farmer and our values. It seems that people want to have a connection to THE AMERICAN FARM and to those who raise the food they eat. And that is the reason why Farmer Joe and I host our (free) Dinner on the Farm series each year.  Is a lot of work? Yup, and we love every minute of it.   Connecting with people and sharing what we do has lasting effects, at least for us and ( hopefully) for our guests.   We set the stage for the event and the guests write the script for the evening.  It is like that  Lowe's TV commerical, you have questions, we have answers. 

A vintage farm book says it all
  Name tags are printed and ready..... not only for us, but our guests as well.

As no one knows each other, name tage are helpful
 Our daughter, Jen helped take photos of the first dinner and my sister-in-law, Denise helped take photos of the second dinner.  The first dinner was also video taped by friend and former news reporter, Camille.(I'll post that once she finishes it) We were really excited to have Camille's expertise to document this.
The menu
The menu is the first thing the guests see, I like to have a variety of entrees and try to focus the food on what is grown locally around this area.  I love to make desserts so I have 4 different kinds as well.

Table decorations that include wheat kernels
The table is set and ready for the guests.  Special special attention is paid to details as a nice ambiance helps set the stage for a perfect evening filled with good food and  great conversation.

The outdoor setting of our farmhouse is decorated as well.

Me and Sheila, our farm host wife for the dinner on September 10

Facing the camera is farm hosts, Eric and Sheila visiting with guests
Eric, our Farm Host shares a laugh  guest, Pat
A good glass of wine poured before dinner.
We like to feature local wineries for our dinners and our guests loved getting to sample some great wines.

Each dinner is different and sometimes there is a group conversation that includes the entire table or several conversations at once.  The latter was the case for this dinner. 

Guests getting to know one another
Below is a picture of Ray & Cathy, our farm hosts for the second dinner, along with myself and Farmer Joe.  This year both of our farm hosts were both farmers and ranchers, a bonus for our guests as many had questons about animal agriculture.
Ray, Cathy, me (holding a bowl of freshly harvested garbs) and Joe

Farmer  Joe explaining about the combine
 The guests were good sports as the weather for this dinner had turned cool and windy, but we all still went out into the field to see the equipment.
A question and answer session
Below is a Flickr photostream on more pictures.  If you are unable to view it via the email subscription, please go directly to the blog site at  Thanks.


Well, there you have it, a view of our Dinner on the Farm series.   As in the past our local Pacific Northwest Farmers Co-op furnished cookbooks and 2 pound bags of lentils for the guests.  The Pea & Lentil Commission furnished a baggie of garbanzo beans, magnetic recipe cards and a magnetic clippie and I also added homemade lentil brownies to the guest packs as well. 

All my best, Gayle.  I can be contacted at or leave a comment.  I will be posting the recipes (soon) on my recipe pages.