Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Green Briar Farms

From our family to yours, have a safe and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Building the Lot

For those of you who have been following my posts, you know that we are a start-up farm. We have considered ourselves a farm for about two years now, and because of this, there are a lot of things we are still learning. One of those things is that we definitely need a lot to work our cows. I grew up with cows and we never had a lot, but there is a difference between having cows as a hobby and trying to build an actual business. The cows need doctoring and vaccinations that we have learned cannot be done without a lot and a squeeze chute.

Coming up with the actual shape and style of the lot was left all to Cam. I had no idea, and frankly, I didn’t care. It took him a few months to come up with a design style that he liked and thought would work for our number of cows. So, when he had a chance, he got out there and laid everything out the way he wanted it. We knew we needed posts but lumber right now is expensive.

Cam started watching videos of DIY projects. He really likes the old-style-looking posts. In the past, people would use post oaks for the posts of their fences. That is actually how the post oaks got their name. So our next step was going into the woods and finding the right trees and then skinning them for a longer life for the post.

I have to say that he did most of this by himself, but today he was ready to set the posts in cement and I decided we (the kids and I) were going to help him. Have you ever tried to set anything in cement with four kids, the oldest being only six? It was quite the adventure to be sure.

As you can see, he still did most of the work but I did help carry the 80-pound bags of cement. My only excuse is that I was injured when helping him carry one of the twelve-foot-long posts. We won’t go into that story here but I can tell you my jaw and neck still hurts where the log hit me. He did have a little extra help though when Amelia decided to come around.

That little girl is definitely a tomboy. She will not keep her hair in a ponytail or clips. I want to give her bangs so she can see but Cam keeps telling me no. Anyway, it took us a couple of hours to get done, and the lot still isn’t 100%, but we are a lot closer to having a working lot than we were at the beginning of the day.

The kids had a lot of fun out ranchin’ with Daddy and Mama. They may have hindered more than help but it was a fun and fulfilling afternoon. These kids are future farmers for sure.

Easy 5 Ingredient Meatloaf

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Meatloaf. You either love it or hate it. Ever since I was a kid I hated it. I dreaded coming home from school and finding meatloaf on our table. They would tell me my tastes would mature with age and I would grow to like it. In a sense they were right, but I am still picky when it comes to meatloaf. This recipe I am sharing with you is my favorite. Even my children love to eat this with my homemade mashed potatoes, and it is so simple.

The first step is to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then take a half-pound of sausage and a pound of hamburger meat and smash them together. I like using a potato masher to get it good and mixed.

Next, add a cup of restaurant-style salsa and a half a cup of ketchup, and a dash of salt and pepper.

Crumble a sleeve of crackers into the mixture to help absorb the moisture when it cooks. Don’t worry, the meatloaf will still be juicy and delicious.

Press into a loaf pan and coat with ketchup.

Bake for an hour or until it temps out at 165 degrees.

Serve with homemade mashed potatoes. They go really good with my recipe for my Sinfully Scrumptious Mashed Potatoes.

Wordless Wednesday – Introducing Pumpkin

We were so happy the other day when we woke up to this little beauty. She was an unexpected surprise that was born on Halloween night. Pumpkin is our first calf born of our very own bull. It’s always nice to know the animal you put so much money and faith into proves to be a great asset to the farm.

The New Oklahoma Food Freedom Act of 2021

As far as cottage food laws go by state, it is widely known that Oklahoma ranked as one of the worst states. The restrictions were numerous and it made making profit difficult with all the rules and regulations. The new Food Freedom Act of 2021 that was unanimously approved has changed all that, making Oklahoma’s cottage law one of the best in the country.

Before, the Oklahoma Home Bakery Act of 2013 allowed home bakers to sell only from their homes. They could only make $20,000 a year and they were only allowed to sell baked goods, no jams, jellies, and other goodies allowed. This was known as one of the strictest cottage food laws in America.

After trying to pass amendments in both 2014 and 2015, the state finally succeeded in 2017. With the new amended Home Bakery Act, the home bakers found a little more freedom of how to sell their goods, but again this act was very strict. The 2017 amendment allowed bakers to sell at home, at farmer’s markets (with appropriate sales tax permit), food cooperatives, by phone or internet (delivery only allowed in Oklahoma), or in member-based buying clubs such as desserts of the month clubs.

One thing that stayed the same with the Amendment was the amount allowed to make remained the same $20,000. This did open more doors for the home bakers, but compared to other states it was not considered a good cottage food law.

Now Oklahoma has passed a bill that opens many avenues for the home baker. November 1st, 2021, marks the day this bill goes into effect. Many things have changed from the previous bill. Where before the home baker could only make $20,000 a year it is now $75,000. They have also changed the items that can be sold. Before it could only be baked goods. Jams, jellies, salsas, and other canned goods could not be sold, but with this new bill, the limits only include no meat, poultry, seafood, or cannabis.

Another marked improvement is the avenue of sales. Before the home baker could only sell from their home or farmers’ markets. Now the home baker can have their items available in stores, as well as selling at events and festivals. This gives the home baker ample opportunity to make the most out of their product.

Oklahoma has hit the mark on this one. I wish all my fellow home bakers good luck and many, many sales.

Sinfully Scrumptious Mashed Potatoes

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Our family is really big meat and potatoes. We have to have one form or another with every dinner. You might think that it would get boring after a while having the same things night after night. Wait, who said we had the same thing? A couple of nights ago we have steak with fried potatoes (or as we like to say in Oklahoma, “fried taters”) and onions. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Last night I made an easy meal, my yummy meatloaf with homemade mashed potatoes.

Now you’re probably thinking mashed potatoes are boring. You just boil them in water, mash them, add salt and pepper, and a little milk and there ya go. Not my mashed potatoes though. I will take the time right now to tell you why these mashed potatoes are sinful. They are far from being a diet food. I feed these to my nineteen year old daughter because I think she needs to gain a few pounds.

So now that you’ve been warned it’s time to make the potatoes. I promise this is so easy a child could do it. My four little ones love to help mash the potatoes. The hard part is getting them to take turns and to stop eating them before its ready.

STEP ONE: Wash, peel, and cut into one inch size chunks a 5 pound bag of potatoes. You may be thinking to yourself that 5 pounds is a lot. No sir or ma’am it’s not. You want leftovers for the next day. Just saying, lol.

FUN FACTS ABOUT POTATOES

  • In October 1995, the potato became the first vegetable to be grown in space.
  • The french fry was introduced to America by Thomas Jefferson at a White House dinner.
  • The potato is 80% water and 20% solid.
  • The white potato comes from the family of tomatoes, chile peppers, and tobacco. The sweet potato comes from the family of morning glories.

STEP TWO: Boil the potatoes until tender. Then strain and mash. I use a hand mixer to take all the lumps out. Now comes the best part. Add 1 stick of butter, 4 ounces of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of milk (more or less depending how thick and creamy you want your mashed potatoes to be.), and salt and pepper to taste.

STEP THREE: Put it on your plate and enjoy the rich, buttery goodness of the mashed potatoes.

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