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Guess what, Joaquin?  I don’t know a single thing about acting, how to pursue an acting career, or what it takes to win an Oscar and I don’t pretend to know about anything about it either. 

I have seen several movies you have starred in and a personal favorite is when you played Johnny Cash in "Walk the Line."  Speaking of Johnny, he sings one of my favorite songs that really isn't just a song to me, it’s more of a personal anthem to many things in my life including standing up to people like you, Joaquin, that try to share a story that you know nothing about.  That would be like me using my platform to talk about my thoughts and beliefs on the truths of being an actor.  That favorite song of mine is titled, “I Won’t Back Down.” Here are the lyrics in case you aren’t familiar with it:

I won't back down

Well, I won't back down, no, I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down

Gonna stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won't back down

Hey, baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey, I will stand my ground and I won't back down

Well, I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I stand my ground and I won't back down

Hey, baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey, I will stand my ground and I won't back down
No, I won't back down

What do I know?

What do I know?   I know about caring for animals. I know about waking up at all hours of the night to check on a heifer that is close to calving.  I know about the sacrifice that my family, my parents, and the generations before us have made to feed the people who CHOOSE to eat products that we produce.  I know that I would never speak about a profession or way of life that I have never experienced. And I know that I WON’T BACK DOWN. 

I will not back down

I will not back down from the scare tactics that you use on your platform to outweigh our real-life stories that I share on my platform.   I will not be pushed around by actors or activists that have never walked a day in my shoes and that are not even interested in learning about it. I will continue to stand my ground and beliefs about a way of life that feeds and cloths the world for those that choose to partake.

So, Joaquin, in closing I want to thank you for fueling my burning ring of fire to continue sharing the stories of our Iowa life, the stories of other farmers and ranchers and the true stories of what occurs in our barns and on our land.

Sincerely,

A proud artificial inseminating livestock producer, woman, and lover of the land.

One of the most treasured items that I have from my childhood is my grandma Patty’s pasta maker.  I was feeling very sentimental during the holiday season and really missing the traditions of my younger years and spent quite a bit of time thinking about memories made with my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.  All of the reminiscings made me think about that old pasta maker.  So I dug it out and announced to the girls that we were going to have some Christmas Eve fun!

When we gathered at our family Christmases when I was a kid we would traditionally have chicken noodle soup or chili.  I decided we would continue this tradition in our home, but that we would make our own noodles.  We had chicken leftover from a whole chicken that we had roasted and homemade noodles would be the perfect addition to our homegrown chicken for a Christmas dinner of homemade chicken noodle soup.

The girls were excited to get to use the pasta maker and I enjoyed showing them Grandma’s signature on the bottom and telling them how I used to run slices of bread through it just for fun.  I have seen grandma’s signature on it several times, but this time it made me wonder why she had it labeled.  Did she take it to a large gathering where they made lots of noodles? Maybe a church or family gathering?  Not sure, but it did make me wonder.

The girls quickly got in the groove of kneading together our ingredients. My job was to roll the sheets of dough out and then they took turns running the dough through the machine and then laying the noodles on the table to dry.  I won’t deny that there were a few arguments over whose turn it was to run the crank on the machine and a bossy older sister telling a younger sister that she wasn’t laying the noodles out correctly, but even with that we still had lots of fun and made some memories. 

I have included the recipe that we used for our homemade egg noodles here.  We decided to make a double batch so we would have some extras for beef and noodles sometime this winter. Do you have any special meal traditions around the holidays?  Have you ever ran a pasta maker?

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