Joan Ruskamp
Joan Ruskamp

By Joan Ruskamp, CommonGround volunteer

We recently got hit by the fourth snow event in two weeks and I just had to take advantage of the wet snow by building a snowman. I don’t remember the last time I made a snowman because when it snows here my time is spent moving the snow out of the way. My husband is especially sensitive to songs like “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”  and “Let it snow” because snow means more work. Do you want to build a snowman? Game Day Chili recipe.

When we get a snow event there are several jobs that have to be done. First the roads must be cleared so that the feedtruck and vehicles can get around. The next job is getting the bunks clean. We have a very nice piece of equipment that makes this job much easier than when we had to scoop them all with a shovel. The bunk blower works well unless you get really wet snow. Really wet snow usually melts or it has to be scooped. Do you want to build a snowman? Game Day Chili recipe.

After the cattle are fed and cared for we get to work removing the snow or piling the snow that is in their pens. The snow eventually gets hauled out so that the pens can stay dry. When we get wet snow we keep the cement areas cleaned off and put some type of bedding material down so they have a dry place to lie down.Do you want to build a snowman? Game Day Chili recipe.

I have always been amazed at how quickly cattle adjust to weather changes. They seem to adjust the quickest to cold weather. Cattle are often seen running around in the snow, kicking up their heels and playing like children. My favorite sight to see is when they are laying down soaking up the warm sun on a cold day.Do you want to build a snowman? Game Day Chili recipe.

One of our favorite meals to enjoy on a cold day is chili soup. I have a recipe that has gone over very well with our family and when used at large gatherings. Here is my recipe: 

Game Day Chili

2-pounds ground beef
1-46 ounce can tomato juice
1-27 ounce can Bush’s Chili Beans
1-tablespoon chili powder
1-tablespoon onion flakes

Brown the ground beef with onion flakes. Turn crock pot on high and pour in tomato juice and beans. Drain hamburger and add to crock pot. Sprinkle chili powder on top and stir mixture. Leave on high for 1 hour or low for several hours. Toppings that go well are shredded cheddar cheese with crackers or corn chips. It is a tradition in our community to serve cinnamon rolls with chili soup. 

Do you want to build a snowman? Game Day Chili recipe.


CommonGround is a national movement of farm women who want to share information about farming and the food we grow. Consumers in the cities and suburbs are more disconnected from farm life than ever before, and that disconnect has led to misconceptions about modern farming and the people behind it. We’re a group of Nebraska farm women working to help dispel myths and built trust in farm families again. We want to answer questions and share facts as well as our personal stories of farm life. Please join us in finding our CommonGround.

Kelsey Pope

I’m an ag gal born & raised in agriculture in Colorado, ag-educated at Kansas State, worked for agriculture in Nebraska, and am now back on the family cattle ranch. I'm also a mama to a ball-of-fire little boy who allows me to work from home and play with everyday. I’m an advocate for livestock and food production, married to a wonderful beef guy, enjoy runs with my cow dog, Hank, and love crafts, quilting, writing, decaf coffee, traveling and time with my family. I blog about agriculture and life on the ranch at and blog about life, being a mama and one of my favorite stress relievers - quilting & sewing! at