Vegetable Lasagna

So it’s Valentine’s Day Eve, do you have your flowers, candy and stuffed animals ordered yet? Did you know that agriculture might have a direct tie to Valentine’s Day according to ancient history and it’s not just the horticulture companies who grow the flowers and all the milk that goes into those milk chocolates? Valentine’s Day was placed in February in an attempt to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia  according to history legend. Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman God of agriculture. That’s right, Valentine’s Day could be a celebration of the Roman God of agriculture. 

The ironic thing, most of us in agriculture are usually not that romantic type in the traditional way. Don’t get me wrong, we celebrate Valentine’s Day but not with a dozen long stem roses and cute stuffed bears. 

The first Valentine’s Day Erica and I spent together was while we were attending Oklahoma State University. I had an entire night planned; a romantic dinner at Red Lobster (that was the nicest place in Stillwater at the time), ice cream at Braums, a movie and then a romantic evening back at the trailer…That’s right, I’m a product of Valley Acres mobile home park. Heck, it was the closest to “The Weed” or Tumbleweeds for those of you not familiar with Stillwater.

I showed up ready to go. Erica, on the other hand was not. She explained that she had a huge test coming up and needed to stay home and study. She put a lasagna in the oven and I began to quiz her. We ate dinner, watched a little television and then went to bed. She asked me how dinner was and I responded with terrible. She learned right then that I never lie and don’t sugar coat things. She agreed that the lasagna was a little off. I pulled the box out the trash to check the expiration date and realized that she had cooked a vegetable lasagna. Yep, vegetable lasagna!! We laughed. So keeping with tradition, we have vegetable lasagna almost every year for Valentine’s Day. The kids hate it, I hate it, she hates it but it makes for a great story. We usually have a nice steak in the following days though. 

So what about gifts? Erica and I will exchange a few gifts during Valentine’s day but they are usually something more practical to show our love and appreciation. Some of my favorites are, how about a detail on the old feed truck so she’ll possibly ride along to go open gates more often? Maybe a new pair of leather gloves, especially since I used the old ones to wipe the scum off my pants before heading in. New Muck boots are like a diamond ring. Especially now with all the rain we’ve been receiving here in Oklahoma. When I really need some brownie points, I go for the platinum level manicure & pedicure. I might throw in a 60 minute massage as well for good measure. It was probably my fault anyway that she’s so tense and broke a nail.

I’ve learned over the years that you walk a fine line on just how practical the gift should be. A huge no, no is a new vacuum cleaner! It might be a needed item but Valentine’s Day is the wrong time for this. Save that for a birthday gift. Also, stay away from kitchen utensils or cookbooks. For some reason it gives off the wrong message I guess.

Here at the ranch, Valentine’s Day will be celebrated with me attending the annual FFA countywide ag olympics this year. I will then return home to go check the calving pasture. Stop by the nursery barn to check on the newborn calves and then make sure all the cattle are fed and have plenty of hay. It will be well after dark, she’ll be tired and I will be cold & muddy. Waiting for me on a plate in the microwave will be a single serving of vegetable lasagna though. Sounds like a romantic evening, doesn’t it? 

I wouldn’t want it any other way though. I get to celebrate with somebody that works side by side with me. Somebody who I can disagree with, even argue with once in a while. You might even hear a few cuss words slip out while standing at the working chute but we walk into the house when all the work is done and leave it all outside. We laugh, we cry, we love and we watch baseball together. She’s a mother, coworker, nurse and soldier but more importantly, she my friend.

So no matter what you do tomorrow, enjoy the moments and make memories. Remember, you are celebrating the God of agriculture so I recommend a nice juicy steak and some chocolate but most importantly, tell someone I love you today! Erica Boyer, I love you!! Until next week.  MB

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