Whether it’s date night at the theater or a cozy family night on the couch, movies have a way of bringing us together. When it’s warm in South Dakota, it can be fun to take the movie magic outdoors and gather under the stars. Here are our tips for planning a night that’s sure to please family and friends.
A projector, audio speakers and computer are essential technology. A free projector might be tough to track down, but they are available at most rental companies and easy to purchase. Need a portable screen? No worries. Just hang a white sheet or painter’s drop cloth. You could also skip it and project onto the side of a building if it’s clean and light colored. Don’t forget extension cords.
Pay attention to sunset and plan your festivities accordingly. You want to start the movie when it’s dark, so this could be 9 p.m. or 7:30 p.m., depending on the time of year. Starting later gives you time to host dinner and play yard games. Starting early may mean you can squeeze in two movies; family-friendly first for the kiddos and then one for the adults after they go to bed.
Comfy and Cozy
Keep your audience comfy by providing blankets and pillows for lounging or ask them to bring their own. Hang bistro lights to set the mood, segment food from the theater seating and make sure your guests can see where they’re going. Set out mosquito repellent spray and fire up citronella candles to protect your guests against bugs and other pests.
The best part of any movie night is the food. Snack stylishly by creating a buffet table out of pallets or cement blocks and plywood. Cover with a cute tablecloth and add a flower centerpiece for a touch of greenery.
When it comes to the menu, keep it simple. Finger foods like kabobs or meats and cheeses paired with crackers work well for flexible dining. A popcorn bar with butter and assorted toppings transforms the traditional snack into a bold, salty or tangy mix. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, a selection of classic movie candies or toasty s’mores are two of our favorites. In fact, we have the perfect recipe for campfire ice cream s’mores.
No matter what’s on the menu, South Dakota soybean farmers have you covered. Pigs, cows, chickens and turkeys love to eat protein-packed soybeans as part of a balanced diet. Healthy animals mean you’re serving up quality milk, eggs, cheese and meats for your guests.
Select your movie based on your guest list. The classics or a comedy are always a great bet. Depending on who’s there, it might be “Grease,” “8 Seconds” or “The Goonies.” When it comes to kids, you can’t go wrong with anything Pixar or Disney. “Jurassic Park” or “Jaws” might be fun if you’re feeling adventurous, but watch out. Your backyard may never feel the same again.
Now that you have the basics for hosting an outdoor movie night, it’s time to get the invites out and start planning the menu. Here’s a recipe for Green Chicken Souvlaki Kabobs that’s sure to please. See our recipes for more ideas.
Soybeans are one of the biggest crops in South Dakota, accounting for about 30 percent of the crops grown in the state. Those soybeans are used in food products, animal feed, oils, plastics and much more. Ever wonder how they get from seeds in the ground to harvested crops?
Earlier this spring, you probably saw tractors riding across empty fields, planting crops for the year. Soybeans are typically planted in May. At this time of year (early August), almost all soybeans in the field have bloomed. You likely can’t see it from the road, but up close you’ll see each soybean plant has little purple flowers on them to aid in reproduction. After flowers have bloomed, the plants will set pods, fill them with seeds and develop to maturity. They will be harvested in October and processed into anything from sports turf to tofu, animal feed to biodiesel.
How do you use soybeans in your everyday life? Leave a comment to let us know. Learn more about soybeans and their many uses here.
Driving by a farm this time of year, chances are you’ll see a combine moving through the field harvesting crops. Most people know that fall is harvest time, and spring is time for planting, but do you know what farmers are up to the rest of the year? Hint: It’s not lounging on a tropical beach. Check out this helpful visual to learn more, along with some fun facts about agriculture. Feel free to share this on your social network.
Packing your cooler for a long weekend can sometimes seem like a daunting task, but with these helpful tips and a little bit of prep, you’ll be ready to head out for a fun-filled weekend in no time.
1. Take the time to wash out your coolers before packing up. You want to ensure you’re starting out with the cleanest environment for storing your food.
2. There’s no need to bring a huge cooler for your snacks. A full cooler will keep everything cold much longer than a half-empty one. If you’ve got room left over once you’re packed up, add some ice to fill it up and keep things cold longer.
3. Make sure your foods are stored in watertight containers that won’t let melting ice into your lunch.
4. Keep raw meats separate from your drinks and other foods. Use a separate, smaller cooler that won’t need to be opened as frequently. Make sure these and other perishable items are stored directly on ice.
5. You may love crushed ice in your drinks, but it’s not the best choice for putting in your cooler. Bigger blocks of ice will keep your food and drinks chilled much longer.
6. Bring along an appliance thermometer so you can be sure your food is safely stored at the proper temperature.
7. If you don’t want to lug around more than one cooler, try packing in layers. Place those items that you need to keep coldest at the bottom and cover with ice. Alternate with layers of food and ice until you get close to the top. Top off the cooler with those drinks you’ll be reaching for first.
8. Don’t pack warm or room temperature items. Place everything right from your fridge or freezer into the cooler.
Follow these tips and enjoy your worry-free weekend of fun and food!
On hot summer days, we all need to find ways to cool down. Like us, animals also need to avoid the heat. Luckily, farmers are there to help them out.
Meet Marc: He’s a South Dakota farmer who raises beef cattle, pigs from wean to finish and has a cow-calf operation. In this guest blog, Marc shares his perspectives on caring for animals in warm weather and why things like electrolytes and cooling misters are so important when the mercury soars.
In the summer, we make changes to how we care for our animals. The warm weather affects them just like it affects us. With cattle, one of the most important things we do is make sure they have shade and access to good, fresh drinking water. We want to make sure their feed is balanced, stays fresh and doesn’t sit out in the warm sun for too long. If we have a large group of animals coming in, we will make sure to put electrolytes in the water. Providing them with plenty of fluids, vitamins and minerals to get through the stress of the heat is necessary.
Our hog barns are mechanically ventilated. As it warms up during the day, we increase ventilation. When it gets above 80 to 85 degrees, we run misters that will kick in on a timer to give the hogs enough water to cool down.
We always make sure to check on our animals throughout the day. If we have to move the animals, we’ll check the forecast and move them on a day that’s a little bit cooler. If we have a situation where we have to haul those animals on livestock trailers or trucks, we make sure we do it early in the morning when it’s cool outside. Especially when it comes to hogs, we’ll put sprinklers on them and provide plenty of ventilation.
I have been farming my entire life, and I have seen farming make huge strides with improving the efficiency, sustainability and safety of what we do. The biggest changes I’ve seen are housing and technology. All of our barns are controlled by computers and software, which is technology that’s getting better and helps us fine-tune what we do. It gives us that ability to manage our animals’ health and comfort level better than we used to so we can precisely meet our animals’ needs.
Though the summer presents different challenges for raising our animals, I am proud to say that their comfort and safety is always our No. 1 priority.tech