Day 25 – Perfect Transformation

I can slightly remember from my first years of showing dad bringing a “feedbox”, feed shovel, and feed scoop so that he could hand mix the feed while we were exhibiting cattle at a show. Luckily, we no longer have to pack those added items and we use the dump and eyeball method. However, I do still see feed scoops around today while at the shows. Most of them now though are pretty bright colors and are made of plastic and would not work for today’s DIY ideas. But, if you are lucky enough to come across some old school or metal feed scoops “scoop” them up to make these really cool lighted wall scones. Perfect for any country themed home. These may be an essential in my future home!

We only have 5 days left of 30 Days of Agriculture and 5 more days of Farm – Related DIY so don’t miss out!

feedscoop2 feedscoop

Day 4 – Milk Cans and MooChews

As promised day 4 of 30 Days of Farm Related DIY is dedicated to all of my dairy farmers out there, although others may have some of these around their farms as well. The first craft revolves around the milk can. Although these are large and sometimes can take up a lot of space they can also make a beautiful focus point in a room. Remove the lid, arrange with sunflowers, lighted branches, and other foliage, tie a ribbon around it and wah-la! If you have issues getting the lid off I have been told google provides some great solutions revolving around WD-40 for removal. If you don’t know what WD-40 is ask you husband or local farm friends!

This is one my mother-in-law made.

This is one my mother-in-law made.

milkcan1milkcan2

 

The other awesome DIY project for today is going to leave a lot of dairy producers wishing they would have thought of this genius idea for up-cycling. Have you ever wondered what to do with old inflations once they are no longer in use? For you non-farmers, inflations are the rubber tubes that attach to cows’ teats when the cow is being milked. Inflations are only used for a short period of time to ensure milk quality and for the safety of the cow. Most likely these are just tossed into the trash once used, but the inventors of MooChews saw the perfect opportunity to up-cycle these old inflations to create the perfect dog toys. Don’t worry the inflations are properly sanitized before the transformation to dog toy happens but according to the creators of MooChews that dairy farm smell makes them even more desirable to dogs. To learn more or to find out about donating your used inflations check out the MooChews website.

One of the MooChew tugs made out of used inflations.

One of the MooChew tugs made out of used inflations.

Be sure to check out others participating in 30 Days of Agriculture Related Blogging Topics.

Till We Meet Again

As I jumped up in the truck on Saturday morning to help my dad do chores, I was a little taken a back when he suddenly said, “Well you can tell your getting older and getting some age on you.” Kinda puzzled by this comment I replied, ” What do you mean dad?”. He said, “Well your show heifers are starting to show some age around here.” As we pulled into the farm that we keep cows that need extra feed before going to market I realized the reasons for his comments. In the pen were two of my show heifers from when I was about 13 years old. It was pretty obvious that their best days were behind them.

One of the heifers in the "pen" is Luella who was featured on the cover of Prairie Farmer when I was 13 and wrote about my experience at the IL State Fair.

One of the heifers in the “pen” is Luella who was featured on the cover of Prairie Farmer when I was 13 and wrote about my experience at the IL State Fair.

No matter how old I get, losing a show heifer or a favorite animal will never get any easier for me. It is just something about that special bond between a person and their livestock that grips my heart strings in a special way. The countless hours in the barn getting ready, standing in the chute and make-up ring, and then the time in ring just makes the bond grow and grow. The heifer develops a trust in you to care for her, and lead her into the right direction. In turn she listen and obeys what you want her to do while in the ring. Now, I am not going to lie there a few heifers I have shown who have tried my patience and their extra personality was by no means appreciated and may have gotten a few come to Jesus meetings, but in the end we had an unbreakable bond between us. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the circle of life and how things work, but it still leaves a little mark on my heart.

Another one of these show heifers was Pearl, who was in all of my senior pictures and is the only cow/calf pair my dad ever allowed me to exhibit as a junior.

Another one of these show heifers was Pearl, who was in all of my senior pictures and is the only cow/calf pair my dad ever allowed me to exhibit as a junior.

Some may say it is just because I am a sissy girl, but it has nothing to do with it. Rather, it is how much we care for our animals. They are a part of our family like a dog or cat might be in yours. We care for them 365 days a year, 24/7 and because of that they become pets. Each one has a different personality. I was just a lucky girl to have over 200 pets at any given time. You will notice my dad didn’t want to out right tell me the unfortunate news about my show heifers because he too hates to see them go. Especially when it is a herd bull that was a past show bull. That’s my daddy’s favorite thing to show is yearling and two year old bulls and the hardest for him to let go.

But enough of my sob story. My girls have lived a long life, and I get by hoping there is show heifer/cow heaven. So here is to my show heifers past and those soon to pass a tribute to each of you. 

 

A Lesson to Carrie Underwood

After reading a post from Beef Magazines, Amanda Radke, my blood got to boiling enough to sit down and write about it myself. When most of you hear the name Carrie Underwood, the first words that come to your mind are blonde, bombshell, country music singer, and maybe even American Idol. However, when I hear the words Carrie Underwood, I grit my teeth and think of the words hypocrite  liar, going against her roots, etc. Why you may ask? Well let me explain…I pause for a moment to tell my family and friends to listen up as their lives depend on it, in a way of speaking.

You see Ms. Underwood is an active supporter of the Humane Society of the United States, otherwise known as HSUS. And contrary to popular belief HSUS in fact is not trying to help save the lives of animals, but in reality is destroying millions of animal shelters each year and is trying to gain power and membership. But that is another story, one that I bet Mrs. Radke would love to talk with you on. Let’s focus on Carrie. Yes,when I talk about Carrie Underwood supporting HSUS and being a vegetarian because she couldn’t possibly hurt animals she loves, I am referring to the same Carrie Underwood who clung to her farm girl, Oklahoma roots during American Idol. Audition video. In the video you see how Carrie portrays herself as just another backwoods farm girl living the dream. Then boom, she gets into fame, changes her look, and its amazing how quickly her story changes. I bet Oklahomans all over are proud of you for trying to ruin the livelihoods of most of the state, where agriculture is a very important industry.

Carrie says no to agriculture, I say no to her.

Carrie says no to agriculture, I say no to her.

So today I would like to give Ms. Underwood “protector of animals” a lesson in beef by-products. Just because you may not be physically eating them doesn’t mean you aren’t contributing to their harvest for other reasons. To start, has anyone ever noticed the amount of leather Ms. Underwood wears? When you search Carrie Underwood leather or wearing leather into Google Images the results are endless. News Flash leather comes from the hide of cattle and other animals. I wonder if Carrie has ever used a band-aid and if so did she realize that sticky part of that band-aid is made from animal fatty acids. And we all know that Underwood uses makeup, shampoo, deodorant, lotions, etc. which all contain animal by-products in them. The list goes on….

I could write for hours about this and rant about Ms. Underwood, but if your taking the time to read this then you have the time to click the links and find out more on your own. I encourage each and everyone of you to join the fight of agvocating and supporting agriculture and join myself and Amanda Radke in shutting Underwood out of our lives. One person can make a change.

On a side note, Carrie will be in Springfield, IL in May for a concert and if anyone happens to have backstage tickets and wants me to help them prepare a line of agriculture to throw into her face and maybe a contract to get her to donate all of her money to 4-H and FFA instead of HSUS I will be glad to help you out.

Forgotten Blessings

Between buying a house, getting a puppy, moving, getting a big kid job, and planning a wedding my life has been like a whirlwind since May (hence why this blog has been neglected). But in that time there has been a few moments when the storm has calmed and I have stopped for a breath and it is those moments that I need to speak about. See in these past few months the only thing that has seemed to catch my attention and make me pause has been at the moment of tragedy or sadness.

Within the past few months, I have had to say goodbye to three young, amazing, smart, hardworking, handsome cattlemen. Each time was a tragedy in itself and a moment of sadness. It seemed like every time I was talking to friends it was to tell them about another loss in our livestock family. However, it was in these moments of sadness and tragedy that I realized a bigger picture and a bigger lesson that we all forget just way to easily.

Just like I categorized my life as being a whirlwind, I think most others would as well, but we need calm the storm and pause at the beauty of life that is around is. I myself need to take more time just cuddling on the couch with my man and my puppy, watching the sunset, talking to my friends just to say hello, spend time at the farm just sitting the pasture, tell my family how much I love them, and spend more time talking to Big Man. I know you have heard it a million times before but each day we have is a blessing in itself and something to be thankful for. I know that I have taken advantage of this very thought until tragedy struck so close to me. My advice is to wear out the words I love you, never go to bed angry at loved ones, and go the extra mile to make yourself and others smile.

A wise person once challenged me to write down three things I am thankful for every day, no matter how big or how small they are. Do you think you could come up with three new things you are thankful for each day for a year? I challenge you, even if you don’t write them down, to take a moment either in the morning or at night to reflect upon your day and find your three Forgotten Blessings.

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
William W. Purkey

In Memory of Justin, Jared, Nate, and the others we have laid to rest this past year.

Farm Kids In the City

To all of my beloved followers and fans out there..thanks for sticking with me. Life has been crazy (I mean seriously when isn’t it) and every time I sit down to type a blog post I never finish it.
But raise the roof in excitement as I have been re-inspired by my dear friend Holly Spangler to saddle back up near my Mac and refriend myself with my blog. So starting Nov. 1 (which seems like it should not be here yet) I will be joining Holly and company on a 30 day blogging journey. My topic?…
Farm Kids Stuck in the City… Or more specifically this country girl trying to fit in to the high society since my fiancé says I’m unrefined. So get excited as I am sure there will be lots of laughs either at my neighbors, myself, or yeah mostly directed at me. Hope you are ready to hear about my life!

Why Agvocacy?

Well my summer journey is coming to a close, but before that happens I need to recap my latest journey to the L.E.A.D. conference with the Angus juniors in St. Louis, MO. During the conference the youth got to engage in some exciting opportunities from speakers to tours. My favorite tour was when we got to have an insider look at Busch Stadium!! However, during the conference many speakers talked about the importance of being an advocate for Ag. Since I have been wanting to do a post about this I think now is a perfect time. We as farmers, ranchers and those related to the livestock industry have not fully grasped how IMPORTANT it is to share our story. So many times we feel its not our job and rely on others to do this for us. FOLKS, THAT IS NOT GOING TO CUT IT!

With anti- production agriculture organizations recruiting funds and membership by the thousands daily we too must do the same to save our livelihood and our industries. I feel many people here this speech over and over, but don’t understand HOW to be an advocate. Here are a few simple things one can do.

  • Post ag-related facebook status
  • Link your facebook to great articles, videos and pictures showing what agriculture is about
  • Post videos of yourself or others caring for your animals in a humane way and show how much you love your animals. 
  • Post pictures of your interacting with your animals and cring for them
  • BECOME A MEMBER OF THE MASTERS of BEEF ADVOCACY PROGRAM- There is no reason that every single person who shows or raises cattle is not a member of this. Take the time to take the program so you can stay in touch with what is going on and get helpful talking points and fact sheets to make a difference.
  • Invite people out for tours of your farm and let them live a day in the life.
  • Tweet and retweet things related to agriculture
  • Start a blog and take about what is going on at your farm
  • Talk to kids at school, the bus, airplanes, lunch tables.
  • Help a consumer make a beef product selection in the grocery store. 
  • Hand out proper beef product handling and recipesI
It is really not that hard… we spend many of hours on social media everyday, just take a few seconds of that to dedicate a little time to an industry that has provided each and everyone of us with opportunities and a positive experience. It is only fair to the animals and the people that we love and care for.
Also Check Out Masters of Beef Advocacy Homepage: http://www.beef.org/mastersofbeefadvocacy.aspx
Check out the Drive Magazine for more tips about Advocacy! August 2011 Issue: http://www.drivebyev.com/magazine/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=61&Itemid=59

Heat Advisory…I SAID IT’s TOO HOT!

For many of you it may be nothing, but a sign that you won’t be mowing your yard tonight and the kids will be playing inside as you head to your office job where you can soak in the a/c all day. This summer I haved joined that crew as I finish my summer internship, but to livestock producers across the country the words HEAT ADVISORY, RECORD HIGHs and anything else involving hot weather means one thing….LOTS OF SWEATING! For my grandpa, dad and uncle it means that our cattle need to be checked on more than once and a sure bet that some calves are probably going to need doctored.

My family raises purebred Shorthorn cattle, its our livelihood, and to make it such our number one priority has to be the health and well-being of our animals. In reality our animals get better treatment than our own bodies do at times. When battling the heat, my family works twice as hard at keeping everything cool by being sure the have shade, water, and the proper diets to keep them healthy. Extreme heat most likely will result in doctoring several calves that develop breathing problems and treating for external parasites that will most likely flock all of the herd. trust me its not fun.

On top of that during this EXTREME HEAT, we are smack dab in the middle of show season, so my sister is getting up early to put our show calves under fans and rinse them to help cool them off and keep the hair she has worked so hard to grow. Along with that she is getting up early to drive the truck and trailer to the next show so they are done traveling before it gets too hot! She will unload the cattle and quickly set up the stalls so she can get the cattle under fans, provide them with water and get them a bath before they bake from the heat. All the while she will sit with them all day long to clean up after them and be sure the don’t become overheated.

So for any of you sitting in your office job in the A/C who think that farmers and livestock producers don’t properly care for their animals, go sit outside for awhile and for every drop of sweat you feel triple that for the sweat coming from my dad and sister while caring for our animals in conditions where everyone is warned to “stay inside”!

Going to sweat my @$$ off at state fair!!

Emily

Check out this link to a great article about heat and showing livestock: http://www.gosanangelo.com/news/2011/jul/23/livestock-relies-on-humans-during-heat/

My Life Be Like…One Big Roadtrip

NJAS 2011

Hey everyone,

I am writing to you to assure you that I am still alive, I have been trapped in a tornado of traveling recently and just now have firmly planted my feet on the groud for more than 3 days. I have traveled to seven different states starting from the last week in June until yesterday.

We arrived safely to Pennsylvania where I attended my first National Junior Angus Show. It was a stressful week, but lots of memories were created and new friends were made. I was able to keep it all together and didn’t get shot in the ghetto when my stubborn male counterpart decided to run out of disel. It was a sigh of relief when I was sitting at the banquet (because at this point all the awards were being passed out which meant all of the contest were over and went smoothly) as that was my homestretch. It was wonderful to watch as a close friend and wonderful family won the owned heifer show and two of my closest friends made the top 4 for showmanship. After wearning my Shorthorn jacket through the barn I was quickly furnished with an Angus one..haha I appreciate that Pennsylvania Angus Association for all their help!

http://youtu.be/qnj-0k3kupY  Watch Kyle get picked on this video!!!

And Lauren and Ty on this link http://youtu.be/n9is1clY8k0

After 14 days of fun, Robin and I returned home just long enough for me to do laundry and pack again before heading out. On Thursday I headed to Ames, Iowa for Knowledge Empowers Youth (KEY) with the AJSA. It was a wonderful time and full of fun. We luckily had are largest number of kids yet and I even got to see my little sister; who by the way has been kicking butt on the show road this summer with both cattle and sheep. I am very proud of her. I finally have my feet on the ground for about a week and a half before I head to LEAD, which will be my last Angus event of the summer. I can’t believe that my time with the NJAA is almost complete as well as the summer. What a great time I have had!! When I get myself caught back up I will write some post on some insights I had while on the road.

Need to catch up on sleep….

Emily

Special Delivery

Man, oh man, has it been crazy!!! Last week I received box after box of contest entries!!! On Friday, they had to make TWO trips just to bring all of my mail to me! I was really excited that all the entries had finally came as I LOVE opening mail however once it was all open it was a bit overwhelming. The pictures below will put it in a better perspective. This year the PR department is trying something new using “Flat Andy” as a way to get kids excited about Junior Nationals and to connect everyone from all over the world into one place. The story behind Flat Andy is that each exhibitor will get one in their packets and are encouraged to take pictures with Andy in their preparation and journey to the NJAS in Harrisburg, PA. I hope that they get some good pictures. To get the juniors in the spirit and show them how the pictures are supposed to be, Flat Andy has been helping me process entries.

I suppose I should probably explain what “entries” I have been processing. First of all the photo contest entries have been sent in. Almost each contest has a Junior, Intermediate and Senior division. For the photo contest each of these age divisions has four categories: Angus Cattle, Landscape, People and Around the Farm or Ranch. I go through each entry and make sure that participants are in the right age group, are paid members of the association and process all the information into excel. Then I have 12 cardboard boxes that I sort the photos into.  The photos will be judged before the show in Harrisburg. I am also collecting entries for the Graphic Design contest, which is about making an ad for your family farm. Creative Writing contest entries require some tedious work checking that entries have the proper word count and everything that goes along with that. I also have to make copies of these to send out to the judges as both this and graphic design will be judge for the contest.

Other contest entries that are due June 10 are the Prepared Speech and the Career Development Contest– I appreciate those individuals who have sent this entries in early.  Another job that I have been working on is write-ups for the Angus Agenda on the 2011 NJAA Board of Directors candidates! Angus juniors should be excited about the amazing and highly qualified individuals that are running for the board this year. (Look at my earlier post on tips for running for a junior board for advice!!) 

This weekend my sister had Reserve Champion Female at our first show! I am so happy for her, but was a little sad to be missing out. This week I will be heading to the Wisconsin Junior Angus Preview Show representing the AAA all by myself!! I am a little nervous as this will be the first time I have rented a car and done all the grown up stuff. Luckily, I have a great group of friends in Wisconsin and I hope they will take good care of me! Should be a great time–look for Flat Andy pictures!! This weekend is also the Illinois State Preview show of which I am the president of the IJSA, I hope I have everything prepared as the fate of Illinois being prepared for the NJSS lays with Karl!! Well this is getting entirely toooo long!! So much still lies ahead—-xoxo

Photo Boxes... only a few of them

Flat Andy in the dumb waiter....

Buried in MAIL!!!

Small mail day