Farm Life · Farmtastic Stories

A Love Letter to Northern Farmgirls (and Boys)

Farm Photo - Snow covered porch
Not quite primetime for porch sitting, but so pretty before it’s covered in paw prints.

Texans are tough, and boy are we a proud bunch, but I have to give it up to my Northern farmgirls (and boys). How do you do it all winter long through snow and ice and wind?

As predicted, February pulled old man winter from its bag of tricks this week and sent us plunging to below freezing temperatures. (Yes, from all Texans we are deeply sorry for all of our tweets, Facebook posts, and other musings about how it is 70 degrees this winter and we are sitting on the porch while you are bundled from head to toe.)

Before I was a farmgirl, the cold was just an irritant, but thanks to the modern invention of central heat and air, totally doable. However, while heat is a requirement on the farm, it’s not enough to just sit inside and drink hot chocolate. Those critters need fed.

One of my hearty Midwest friends asked me, “Do you even have clothes for this?” Kind of. Layers of flannel pajamas, jeans, hoodies, coats, scarves, and gloves are all piled on until we wobble out to the great white winter to do chores. Hey, we weeble, we wobble, but we sure hope we don’t fall down. (You kids from the ‘70s and ‘80s know what I mean, and if not, here’s a refresher.) I’m sure we are a site.

Horse Photo - Ranger in the snow
Ranger was stirring up trouble today. He loves the cold and chasing his fellow buds. (But look at that mane!! If you look closely, you can even see his mustang brand.)

Even more exciting, our critters become like toddlers in the snow. They love it. We’ve got horses chasing each other through the pasture, and dogs (a.k.a Maybelle) running crazy laps around the yard. It’s all fun and games for 15 minutes at a time, because this farm mamma starts to shiver after that. Pathetic, I know.

On top of it, if you are a Northerner and you watch any of our local TV channels you will probably truly find yourself rolling on the floor laughing (or crying, it’s that silly). We’ve got reporters bundled like the Michelin Man out on freeways and parking lots scrapping up a half an inch of ice and labeling it delightful things like “icemageddon.” Seriously, people?

If you must know the truth, even us locals cringe a little when we watch the media spectacle, especially when the national news comes on and we see folks in Boston. Holy cats – that is some serious snow and winter. And with that realization, we will say thank you for our little touch of winter. Our two days where we are homebound and schools are closed. The knowledge that we’ll be above freezing before the week’s end, and likely by next week we’ll be back out on the porch.

So to my Northern farmgirls (and boys), my hats off to you. I see you digging out, resilient and determined to push forward. You are feeding, watering, and mucking your herds with valor. Making it work for good no matter what. I’ve seen horse rescues and folks going out of their way to make sure all critters great and small are taken care of. You guys are tough! From our farmtastic life to yours, we raise a glass of sweet tea and say you go, girl (and guy). You are amazing. We pray your spring flowers will be there soon, and you too can sit a spell on your porches.

P.S. – Just one request. You might be sending this letter back to me in August when it’s sweltering.  We are Texan tough when it comes to summertime.

Farmtastic Recipes

Farmtastic Recipe – Sunday Banana Bread

Around the farm on the weekends, we usually have some extra time away from our chores to relax and do the little things that we enjoy.  For me, I love to cook and to bake.  While I often try to bake the things that Cowboy loves most, sometimes I just have to indulge in a just-for-me recipe, and one of my favorite comfort foods is banana bread.

Cowboy is not a lover of bananas.  Not sure if he had some pre-school trauma, but the man cannot stand the smell of them.  However, I buy bananas almost weekly and without fail have a couple that have seen their best days as cereal toppers and snacks.  So I have two options – freeze them for a smoothie or bake them into something scrumptious.

And since it is Sunday, I thought I’d pull out my go-to recipe from a church cookbook.  (P.S. – If you are a lover of comfort food, look no further than a good church cookbook.  They are full of family favorites and are sure to please. I always pick them up at garage sales for just pennies and add them to my cookbook collection.)  

I think the cinnamon and cloves make this banana bread extra special.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

The Recipe: Sunday Banana Bread

The Source: Harvest Gifts  church cookbook from Saint Ann Catholic Parish in Coppell, Texas (NOTE: The original was called cinnamon-banana bread.) 


Recipe Photo - Banana Bread Ingredients
Collecting the ingredients to put together this scrumptious treat.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups bananas, smashed


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a loaf pan and dust with flour.  Set aside.
  2. Cream together sugar and shortening.  Add eggs.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ground cloves.  Add to wet mixture and mix until well incorporated.

    Recipe Photo - Banana Bread batter coming together
    Adding in my dry ingredients. Truth be told, my KitchenAid mixer makes baking oodles easier. (This one is pistachio green, and I also use vintage pyrex bowls for mixing.)
  4. Add in vanilla and bananas.  Mix until incorporated.  Add in walnuts.
  5. Pour into prepared and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until golden brown and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool slightly.  Turn out of pan and slice.  Serve immediately or store in airtight container.

Farmtastic Notes:

  • When baking, I always make sure to crack my eggs into a glass and then add them to the mixture. I learned my lesson the hard way when I dropped shells into a mixer in motion.  Not fun, not fun at all.
  • Cloves are a strong flavor. I often do a little less than 1/4 tsp.  Now if it is full on fall and I’m in the mood, then I’ll add the whole 1/4 tsp.

I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe, so give it a try and share your thoughts.