2017 Shoppa’s Gift Guide

Christmas is here! It is time to be completely stressed with getting the Christmas decorations up, cookies baked, and all the presents bought, wrapped and placed under the tree. With everything that is happening, here are some tips to help pick out a perfect gift for the farmer or future farmers in your life. Let us relieve a little bit of your shopping stress with our Holiday Gift Guide. 

  1. Hand Tools – It’s bound to have happened within the past year, someone has lost the hammer while building fence, killed the battery in the drill, or bent the blade on the chainsaw. Choose to replace those items as Christmas presents with our Stihl products and hand tools! r2c011008 
  2. Pressure washers – When living in the Texas Gulf Coast, the next rain storm is just moments away. With rain comes muddy tires and tractors; so, gift them with a pressure washer to clean off their John Deere first. 
  3. Calendar  – We all have that one farmer that ask for a new calendar for Christmas. Well look no further than our 2018 Shoppa’s John Deere Calendar. Just don’t tell them it was free! file-19
  4. Riding Mowers  – The new year is just around the corner. Say Merry Christmas with a brand new Z-turn mower, a gift you can use 10 months out of the year. R4E028441_RRD
  5. Gift Certificate – Can’t find that perfect gift for the most difficult person to buy for? Well fret not, our gift certificates are the perfect gift for every farmer.  
  6. Toys – Little boys love to play with their John Deere tractors to haul dirt and farm. Little girls use them to drive their dolls and princesses to the ball. No matter the age, John Deere toys will always bring a smile to kids when they open them up on Christmas morning. Christmas Toys (2 of 14)-2

 

We know that this gift guide doesn’t have the perfect gifts for everyone in the family like your Aunt Jill who has no clue why you live in a small town. This gift guide is a simple and easy way to relieve the stress of finding those meaningful gifts. Stop by any of our 8 stores today to get your shopping done. 

6 Easy Recipes for the Holidays

Who is counting down the days till we are allowed to eat as much as you want, take a nap on the couch and watch football? We are! Thanksgiving can be a fun and lazy holiday until your get nominated to bring a dish to the table. Oh no! Well fret not, whether you got stuck with the appetizer, side dish or dessert, we got you covered. So, throw on that John Deere apron and whip out one of these famous recipes from some of our Shoppa’s employees. 

 Appetizers: 

  • Fruit Salad  – Give Thanksgiving dinner a healthy option with this amazing Fruit Salad! Shoppa's recipe cards_3
  • Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Chips  – Fruit covered in cinnamon and sugar is still healthy right? Whether healthy or not, this dish will be gone in the first few minutes.  Shoppa's recipe cards_6

Side Dish 

  • Twice Baked Potato Casserole – Casseroles are one of the easiest and most tasty dishes in the world. This potato casserole may top everything. Shoppa's recipe cards_1
  • Cornbread Dressing  – Give Granny’s dressing a run for its money with this cornbread dressing recipe. Shoppa's recipe cards_4

Dessert: 

  • Cinderella Cake with Coachman’s Icing  – Your family have a sweet tooth? Well this cake will be gone in minutes. Shoppa's recipe cards_5
  • Strawberry Swirl Cream Cheese Pound Cake – Give them an option other than pumpkin for a fruity dessert this year. Shoppa's recipe cards_2

 

Whether you are an expert cook or a novice or you just want get the cooking done, so you can watch more football; these recipes are simply and easy. Everyone will be talking about your cooking skills, even if they are laying on the couch in a turkey coma. Think you have a recipe better than ours? Share it will us on these awesome recipe cards we made just for you! 

5 Winter Plants that will Plow the Stress Away

A winter garden can the perfect holiday escape. The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year; having to deal with tangled strands of Christmas lights, a tree that will not stand up and the light-up nativity scene that will not light. With all the stress, you may not have a good stress reliever. What about planting a winter garden? It’s great for stress relief and it brings some life to your yard. Here are 5 winter plants that will help plow your stress away. 

 

  1. Blueberries – Though blueberries are perennial, if planted now, will give you blueberries every year during the late winter, early spring. They are easy to take care of and cold tolerant. Use blueberries for jam, desserts, pancake and waffle toppings, and so much more. 
  2. Winter Lettuce – What is better to plant for winter than some winter lettuce? This plant loves the cold and looks great in a garden or in flower pots on your front porch. Just use the lettuce to make a healthy salad so you don’t feel bad about eating all that Holiday food. If you are not interested in staying healthy, slap some of that lettuce on a double cheese burger with extra mayo. R4E038256
  3. Carrots – Chop up these cold weather vegetables and toss it that healthy salad for a nice crunch. Carrots are great to start indoors during winter. Once large enough, transplant them outdoors so no one with a bottle of ranch dressing finds them. R4E038251
  4. Greens (mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens) – You need to act quickly and plant some greens! These bitter tasting, leafy plants love cold weather and if planted now, should be ready to pick for a New Year’s Dinner of pork chops, black eye peas, greens, and corn bread. If you need help getting your kids to behave this holiday season, just make them eat their greens before opening presents.  
  5. Herbs – Basil, oregano, thyme and parsley are easy to grow indoors if you don’t want to deal with the cold. Just plant in container near a window for some light and watch it grow. Herbs are great to use in the kitchen to add a fresh kick of flavors to any of your dishes. 

 

So, give yourself something to do this holiday season rather than stress over holiday meals, ugly sweater parties, and crazy family members. Place some seeds into some dirt and cozy up in your favorite fur boots and garden gloves. Happy Gardening! 

5 Fall Decorating Tips that are Simple and Easy

With school events, harvest just wrapping up, and football filling your weekends, life can just get busy. So who has time to truly notice that it is the middle of fall and you have not decorated your home? Or maybe you have noticed, but just don’t have a lot of time to dig out the fall decorations and completely redo your home décor. Whatever the case maybe, decorating for fall does not have to be hard or time consuming. We have 5 simple, easy tricks to give your home a fall vibe.

  1. Pumpkins Though pumpkins may seem like an obvious decorating piece, most people use them as outside decor. Yet, pumpkins can be used anywhere throughout the house such as the dining room, living room or your entry way. Place small pumpkins in bowl for a center piece, or scatter different sizes or colors across your mantle to give it a pop of colors. Don’t want to have bright orange pumpkins around your house. Get some white pumpkins! Leave them white or paint them with patterns to give your mantle or entry way a fall look. 

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    Image by Target
  2. Candles Candles offer a warm, inviting feel as well as making your home smell wonderful. Tip: If you can’t find a good cinnamon scented candle? Place a non-scented candle in a jar and stuff cinnamon sticks all around it. As the jar heats up and the wax melts it allows the cinnamon sticks to release a scent that will fill your entire home! fall decor (1 of 4)
  3. Use your harvest What is more fall like than a yearly harvest! Use cotton, milo and corn stalks to give your home a rustic feel by creating floral arrangements or use loose corn, milo and rice and place them in jars for some fall colors. Does your family like to hunt? Why not put those random antlers found around your property up to a decorative use! Place them with pumpkins and table runner to create unique center piece. fall decor (2 of 4)
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    Image by Tone on Tone

     

  4. Pillows and blanketsJust like candles, pillows and blankets can make living rooms feel warm, cozy and inviting. Make you living room feel like a cozy cabin. Switch out the couch pillows with fall colored ones and add a knitted throw to the arm of a chair. This will ensure your family and any potential guest will feel right at home. fall decor (5 of 5)
  5. Use the Green Needing to decorate the outside of your home too? Incorporate what you have by using your husband or kid’s John Deere Tractors. Place pumpkins, mums and maybe even a friendly scarecrow to give your front lawn a fall vibe.

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Whether you use the inexpensive pumpkins and mums or just decorate with warm and cozy pillows, decorating for fall can be simple. Just light some cinnamon scented candles and your home will feel like fall. Have some other simple and easy fall decorating tips? Let us know in the comments below!

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My First Teal Hunt

“Have you ever been on a Teal hunt?” That was a question I got asked last week, and I am pretty sure what came out of my moth was “What is Teal?”. Growing up in Florida, my family hunted hogs, turkey and whitetail, but never duck. So, when Ben Anderson and his wife Ashley invited me to go on a Teal hunt with them, I jumped at the opportunity; even though I didn’t have a TX hunting license. But I did have my camera and that was good enough for me!  

When 4:45 am hit on Saturday, I was up, dressed, and out the door with my camera bag and cup of coffee ready to me the Andersons at 6 am in Lissie, TX. Once I met up with Ben, Ashley and a few of their friends, we were off to one of Ben’s rice fields that he had scoped out the evening before. By the time we got unloaded, drove the Gator to our spot, and got the decoys set up it was just about 7am. Barely able to see with all the fog and the sun just starting to light the sky, I put on my rubber boots, someone’s extra pair of water pants, and sat down in the middle of a road that separated 2 rice fields.  

I think everyone kinda expected to meet our limit of 30 Teal within an hour. Due to the fog, that “hour” quickly turned into 3, only shooting singles and doubles. For those of you who do not know, singles and doubles mean one or two birds flying together, not in a group. The group ended up getting 18 Teal and I had an absolute blast! Now do I get my hunting license or do I buy a pair of waders? Thanks Ben and Ashley for allowing me to tag along! 

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National Farmer’s Market Week

National Farmer’s Market week is August 7-13th. This designated time is to celebrate and bring awareness to farmers, ranchers and businesses related to local agriculture. Why are farmer’s markets so popular when your local grocery stores offer a wide variety of similar products in one place? The attraction of going to a farmer’s markets goes beyond just an offering of produce. Most markets include items like baked goods, fresh eggs, soaps and canned goods such as jams and pickles. Farmer’s markets offer the consumer a wide variety of products that families, farms, ranches, and businesses bring. Farmers markets are a big part of the history of the United States. Your local farmer’s markets offer a glimpse into the past. Demonstrating just how rural commerce was done since trade began between the Puritans and the Indians.  

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So why not try one out? Here are 4 reasons why you should go to your local farmer’s market every chance you get! 

  1. Supports local economy and farming and ranching families: When you shop at farmer’s markets, you are supporting local families, farms, ranches and businesses, in addition to boosting your local economy. Shopping local is a great way to meet area producers who can provide products to your family all year long. 
  2. Fresh and seasonal: Fresh just taste better. So, while walking around a farmer’s market, you can see all the fresh, seasonal possibilities for snacks or dinner. 
  3. An affordable variety: At farmer’s markets, many booths offer the same types of products. If you like to bargain shop this allows you to find comparable fruits and vegetables for the best price.  
  4. Social: Local farmer’s markets can be fun and social. You can make it a fun trip for the family. Make it an educational trip for the kids by talking to the vendors about how they grow or produce their products. Most are happy and excited to share in the process. Once you purchase something, have your kids taste it! You can’t do that at the local store! The kids will remember that experience for a lifetime. 

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Though the reasons to shop at a farmer’s market are convincing, you may wonder where you will be able to find one near you. Here is a list of just a few of the local farmer’s markets.  

Local markets: 

If you live in or very close to the city of Houston, check out these:

 

So, get outside and go to your local farmer’s market this weekend! Not only will you be supporting your local economy, but it will also be fun!

4 Tips to Help Cure the Summer Time Weeds

Its summer time! That means hot days, afternoon showers, and WEEDS! Those darn weeds. They are annoying and a pain in the rear end! Now, almost everyone has their own concoction to gets rid of weeds. Here is the problem though, a majority of the time, weeds come back! So how do you get rid of them?

Alan Jackson has the answer: there ain’t no cure for the summer time weeds! Ok, he may have not sang it exactly that way, but it’s true, there ain’t no cure. You can try your hardest to get rid of them, but they will always win. However, here are some tips and tricks to try to keep them under control!

  • Walk your flower beds every other week – Hand pulling weeds every other week is the best way to find and get rid of weeds at a young age. R2C005321
  • Herbicides –  Herbicides are an option but many individuals have issues with chemicals, as kids and pets could get into them. However, herbicides like Roundup are the only way to control weeds without physically pulling weeds. Sure, there are more holistic, less abrasive herbicides. The negative of these holistic herbicides is that they don’t kill weeds for an extended period of time, like herbicides.
  • Mulch your beds – Mulching your beds is a great way to reduce the amount of weeds popping up in your flower beds. However, only use bark based mulches. Any mulches with color are a wood based mulch. Once wood fiber mulches degrade, they suck up all the nitrogen from the soil, which is necessary for plants. r2c005471_edited_RRD
  • Don’t use fabric – Gardening fabric is not the best thing for your flower beds. After laying weed fabric, a plant’s roots will not grow down through the fabric as intended, where weeds do the complete opposite. So if you are considering fabrics, just don’t do it!

I know these tips don’t cure your garden and flowerbeds of weeds, but they can limit your summer time blues!

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Stay Safe During Harvest

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As the pace of harvest season starts to pick up, farmers may start to get in a rush. Whether it is because of rain, limited amount of combines or too many fields ready all at once, harvest is fast pace and long hours. However, rushing through harvest can be dangerous. There are multiple types of hazards that could cause injury including:

  • Being entangled in with the leveling or discharge augers.
  • Falling from the combine
  • Hitting low powerlines, bridges, and other hazards
  • Being run over
  • Coming into contact with the knife, reel or stripper rotor
  • Coming into contact with the straw chopper or spreader
  • Being trapped under the header/injured by the header falling from its transport trailer
  • Being injured by driving mechanisms
  • Dust
  • Fires
  • Noise

The list goes on and on. With the number of hazards for potential injuries, you still have to get those crops harvested. So here are some of our tips to keep you safe during harvest.

  • Set aside time to properly prepare the combine for harvest. – Checking your combine before harvest can save you time and money. Check and repair anything that could be a hazard to you and others, including loose latter platforms, handrails, steps, missing safety covers and access panels. Don’t have time or the proper equipment to check your combine? Have Shoppa’s service do it for you!
  • Always clean and do a safety check of the combine before using.  – Check and see if tires need air, handrails and steps are secured properly and that safety covers are on.
  • Use hand signals when communicating to the driver of the combine. –  Using hand signals can let the driver of the combine know what is happening on the ground. If you are on the ground, keep your distance from combine when moving because the driver may not see you.
  • Wear clothes that fits snugly – Wearing fitted clothing can reduce the risk of your clothes catching in moving parts.
  • Try not to move your combines at night from field to field.  – Though there may be less traffic, it may cause potential hazards. If you have to move your combine at night, make sure that all your lights, flashers, and rotary beacon is on and working properly. That way other vehicle can see you and drive carefully near you.
  • Be careful when applying brakes – A combine may tip forward due to the header’s weight if the brakes are applied to quickly.
  • Watch for low objects – low power lines, bridges, buildings and any other obstacles can run the risk of the combine hitting them. Also, examine the field for hazards such as washouts and other potential surprises.

Though accidents happen, we want to make sure that you, your family and your employees are safety this harvest season. That is why we highly suggest proper instruction on safety for individuals who will be around during harvest. Not only having your employees, but your family being safe during harvest could prevent future injuries. Though these are just a few tips, we highly suggest checking out these resources for more safety tips.

Have a happy and safe harvest season!

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5 Reasons to Shop at Shoppa’s

Ok we will be honest; you are probably tired of seeing these “why you should shop with us” blogs and marketing taglines; it’s cliché. But sometimes though, they can be super beneficial for someone who is new to the area, new to a life-style or is in the need for a specific product. That is why we are giving you 5 great reasons to “shop at Shoppa’s”.

  1. Family Owned – The Shoppa family opened their first store in Bay City in 1982. Thirty –five years later, Shoppa’s Farm Supply has grown to 8 stores locations while still being family owned and operated (our employees are family too!).
  2. We are local – Local employees in a local business supplying superior products to our local communities and customers. What more could you want?
  3. We are here for you – Shoppa’s is always there for you, our customer. Whether it is our friendly parts and service departments or our on-sight services, we want you get back to doing what you love, driving a John Deere. Parts counter
  4. We support you and the community – Since we are local and always there for you, why shouldn’t we support our communities? Shoppa’s sponsors all types of events from the Houston Livestock Stock Show and Rodeo, the Crosby Fair and Rodeo, the Danny Dietz Memorial event and many others. But, it’s not just the community we support; it’s the kids as well. Buying  4-H and FFA projects at local county fairs to our 10K for FFA, a fundraising event for all FFA chapters in our areas; Shoppa’s wants to support our kids because they are the future.Officers  file-1
  5. We sell only the highest quality equipment and products – For 180 years, John Deere has been committed to producing the highest quality products for the agriculture industry. Whether you are a small ag business, large ag or an individual who just loves to take of their lawn, we want you to have only the best, American made products with a lifestyle all its own.Track in front of Beaumont sign

We have given you only 5 reasons why you should shop at Shoppa’s. There are so many more. Wait, you already shop at Shoppa’s? Tell us why you shop with us with a Google or Facebook review.  We appreciate all our customers and would enjoy reading your stories on how you put the best equipment in the world, John Deere, to work on your property.

Preparing for the Storm

June is the start of the six month hurricane season, and though the Texas Gulf Coast has not seen a major storm in nine years (Hurricane Ike), you never know when the next storm will hit. Here at Shoppa’s Farm Supply, we want you to be safe this season. I have gathered some tips that will help prepare you for a future storm.

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When your area comes under a storm watch defined as storm conditions possible within the next 48 hours, or a storm warning defined as storm conditions are expected within 36 hours, making sure your family is safe and ready for the storm is your number one priority! Be prepared with:

  • Disaster Supply Kit – including:
    • Flashlights
    • Batteries
    • Cash
    • First aid kits
    • Two weeks’ worth of non-perishable food and water, in case you are flooded in or power lines are down.
    • Copies of critical information such as birth certificates, social security cards, bank information, proof of insurance, etc. all in case of an evacuation.
  • Alert System – Be sure your family has some type of method to receive alerts on the storm such as text, email or radio. Check your county’s website to see if they have an email or text alert system.
  • Communications plan – Having walkie-talkies or cell phones allow for easy communications between family members, and to let them know where you are at.
  • Generator – A portable generator, like the John Deere AC-G3010H Small Frame Generator, can allow you to supply electricity to keep smaller electronic devices powered through the storm.

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Once your family is safe, prepare your property and livestock. Keep in mind:

  • Trees – Dead limbs or trees can fall down and cause property damage if not removed. Prepare yourself by keeping trees trimmed and removing any dead trees from the property, no matter the size. Trimming could also reduce your chances of down power lines that were a result of falling branches.
  • Water damage – Clear out ditches and rain gutters. If clogged, water could rise and flood fields, cause water damage to barns and homes along with road damage.
  • Down fences – Check fences for down wire, rotten post, etc. Down fences increase the risk of livestock getting tangled in fence lines and getting out onto roads.
  • Don’t put your animals in the barn – keeping your animals in barns increases their risk of injury or death. Structure damage or destruction is always a concern during a storm. Putting them a pasture or fenced area allows them to move away from debris.
  • Animal Feed – Keep a two week supply of feed in an elevated, dry area to reduce any chance of getting water damage. This allows you to keep you animals fed and happy.
  • Water – Install a handle pump at select wells to supply your livestock with fresh water. Livestock can die of dehydration due to limited supply of fresh water.

When the storm passes, you are safe to go back or come out of your home. Though safe from the storm; debris, down power lines and flood waters are dangerous and should be avoided when checking property. Take pictures of any property damage and safely cover areas to prevent any further damage. If you have any questions or would like more information on preparing for the storm, checkout these resources:

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