Have Your Dessert and Eat It, Too

Jon and Lesley Braun.

Colder temperatures and snow fall bring new challenges to the Midwest, but this South Dakota family says the changing of the seasons makes farming all the more interesting.

“We really enjoy farming because it offers interesting challenges each and every day,” says Jon Braun, who farms with his wife, Lesley, and his brother, Tim, just west of Aberdeen, SD.  Their family farming operation consists of corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa plus 300 head of stock cows.

Farm duties are shared, with each family member focusing on a particular area.  Jon is responsible for making the crop decisions while Tim focuses on the livestock.  Lesley manages a feeder pig unit plus takes care of the horses, goats, chickens and dogs.  Their children help wherever it’s needed and are especially involved during planting and harvest or when the cattle need to be corralled.

“It’s a rewarding career.  Plus, farming offers a level of flexibility that a normal 9 to 5 job wouldn’t,” adds Lesley.  “This flexibility has allowed us the opportunity to see our children participate in sports and other activities.”

Cody Braun, Latham ASM

Lesley is often in the barn by 4 a.m. and home by 12:30 or 1:00 p.m., which has allowed her to attend school and community activities.  Since Jon and Lesley have three very active children, there have been many schedules to coordinate.  Cody Braun, 25, is an area sales manager with Latham Hi-Tech Seeds in Aberdeen.  He is engaged to Samantha Shannon, a service coordinator with Birth to Three, a state-run program that assists children with special needs.  Kyle Braun, 23, is a senior at Dakota State University in Madison, SD, where he’s majoring in physical education / coaching and playing baseball for DSU.  Kaylee Braun, 13, is an eighth grader at Ipswich High School where she’s involved in volleyball, basketball, softball, and track.  She serves as secretary for her local 4-H club and is a member of the 4-H expansion committee.  In her free time, Kaylee enjoys training horses and competing in barrels and poles in rodeos.

“Raising our children on a farm has taught them a lot about responsibility and hard work,” says Lesley.  “It also gives them a chance to experience a variety of activities.”

This holiday season, after the livestock is fed, the Brauns will look forward to celebrating with family, friends – and food, of course!  Their celebration just wouldn’t be the same without Leslie’s signature Cookie Salad.  Today she’s sharing it on TheFieldPosition.com.

P.S.  Set tradition aside and treat Santa to some Cookie Salad this year!  It sounds like something even the elves would enjoy.  😉

Cookie Salad



  • 1 large can of fruit cocktail
  • 1 can of pineapple tidbits
  • 1 can of mandarin oranges
  • 4 boxes of French vanilla pudding (instant)
  • 1 large container of Cool Whip
  • 1 package Fudge-Striped Cookies, crushed



  1. Drain juice from fruit cocktail and pineapple into large mixing bowl.
  2. Add pudding mix to bowl and use mixer to mix thoroughly.
  3. Add large container of Cool Whip to pudding mixture.
  4. Fold in fruit cocktail and pineapple tidbits.
  5. Drain juice from oranges and rinse before adding them to the mixture.
  6. Crush cookies and mix into salad.
  7. Chill and serve