Day 4-The Grass is Greener at the Neighbors

It never fails that when I drive my car through a residential area in the spring, summer, and early fall I get a bit angry with something that I see. Now that I too live in a residential area I am surround by that one thing that angers me. What is the pet peeve of mine that causes so much anger you ask?  The answer is simple…Watering the Lawn.

Before you quit reading or fall of the floor laughing let me explain the reasons this bothers me so much. First and for most I don’t see the point. Who cares if your grass is green or brown? If no one waters there lawns everyone’s is going to look the same. What is your return on investment for pouring that valuable resource out the spicket and wasting it and money for the water? I know, getting to look outside to a green yard. If grass was meant to withstand the heat then God would have made it so. I mean that’s what he did when he created cactus so if that was his intention he would have done the same for grass.

Secondly, I get so aggravated because we as humans waste so much water. Not I am not a environmentalist or trying to save the planet, but come on people. When we run out of water, you should be the last people to get any of the reserves because you used to your reserves on your lawn. Where is that going to get you now? Enjoy that green grass!

However, the biggest reason this bothers me so much (especially this year) is because my family spends so much time trying to locate water for our livestock when resources are limited and here you are dumping it in the ground. We were in an extreme drought this summer and our government had to limit people and make it mandatory they didn’t water their lawns. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Common sense people! When water is limited you do not dump it on the ground for your damn grass! Meanwhile, livestock producers are hauling water in tanks, all over the county, just to be sure their animals can make it through the sweltering heat. I mean maybe I am just crazy, but this doesn’t add up to me.

I can guarantee you one thing as a townie, I will not be watering my lawn. So if you happen to be driving through my neighborhood next summer and you stumble across a crispy, dry, brown yard amongst a bunch of lush, green yards then you will know where I live. And if you live in my neighborhood, he is fair warning that I will give you a death stare when I drive or walk by and you are watering your lawn. Especially, if you are spraying half of it on the sidewalk.

The lawn of a garden taken from a low level.

The lawn of a garden taken from a low level. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You Can’t Be Serious…The Little Black Bags

Shortly after we moved, I decided it was finally time for me to get the puppy I had been begging for since my senior year of high school. About 2 weeks after moving, we found Miss Mallory and took a weekend roadtrip to Iowa to pick her up and bring her home.

Little Miss Mallory

We were so excited upon her arrival and tried to get everything we could imagine to make her feel welcomed at home and stay prepared for all of her needs.

At the time I was so excited about getting the puppy I didn’t realize all the new chores that came with keeping a dog in town over having a dog in the country. Now don’t get me wrong, WE absolutely adore our sweet little mallory and wouldn’t trade her for the world. That being said, I would trade the little black bags we now have to keep around for picking up…you guessed it dog poo.

Now you are probably thinking,” you keep saying how you two are farm kids, you sometimes practically roll around in cattle crap some days and you have an issue with picking up dog poo”. Well here is the thing…it’s just not the same. So once we got our dear sweet Mallory we began the battle of who was to pick up the poo. To keep this story short I drew the short stick and still do most of the time. My family thinks we are crazy and says we should just get a shovel and through it over the fence to fertilizer the farmer’s field (that is obviously a country dwelling person’s mentality). But we are trying to adapt to our new environment and fit in so for now we are not flinging any poo over the fence.

Instead we go through a roll of little black bags a week and the trash man gets a large bag of smelly surprises each week. That being said, since we are doing our part in picking up after our pets, a few others in the neighborhood could take a few pointers, but that is a story for another time. I still always feel awkward when Mal and I are walking around the neighborhood and I am carrying a little black bag in my hand.

But these are things normal city people do and in order to fit in we must as well. So as long as we are here we will be carrying around the wonderful Little Black Bags.

Our Little Family

Day 1: Modern Beverly Hillbillies

When Holly Spangler posted she would be doing a 30 Day Blogging Series on agriculture it inspired me to get back in the saddle and get my blog up and going again. It was also about that time that I thought to myself, what the heck are you going to talk about? And then it hit me…Ladies and Gents welcome to 30 Days of Farm Kids Trapped in the City.

Today’s topic: The Oddball of the Neighborhood.

When the boy and I first set out to look at houses we were hoping to find a nice little place with some acreage for our beloved red, white, roan (oh and black) cows. Those dreams were soon shattered into a million pieces and buried deep down into the ground when our bank accounts made house buying a reality. We soon realized what we had to do (besides go in over our heads in debt)…We were going to have to live IN THE CITY.

To most this may not be a big deal, but when you grow up in a small farming community where your closest neighbor is at least half a mile away this is quite culture shock. But we finally settled for a place where we found a small piece of home right outside our FENCED in yard…a cornfield. Yes, the cornfield was the ticket. This little slice of land helped us make our decision as it brought us a image of “home” that we needed.

So shortly after “we struck black gold” packed up our stuff and moved in. Okay, well we didn’t actually get any gold, but it is about this time that the Beverly Hillbillies

What our neighbors see us as

theme song starts playing in my head. I believe the neighbors had a similar tune in their head when we pulled up with our trucks and trailers to unload our prized possessions and they began to breathe in a strange odor from our tires and shows wafting in the air. They may have even put out an All Town Alert to Hide Yo’ Kids…you know the story.

Either way we moved in to what we have since been informed as the “high society” of the area and began coping with the idea of neighbors. Yes, that is plural. I am not talking about just one neighbor, I am talking about neighbors on all sides but one! I have  had a really hard time with dressing “classy” and not just walking out to the mailbox or walking the dog in my boots and shorts, mixed matched outfits, or without make-up on. We have both had a hard time dealing with our new ambience of outdoor sounds. Usually we walk outside to a mixture of cattle grazing and mooing, crickets, sheep baaing, tractors, leafs rustling, grass blowing and the quite country sounds. Now we walk outside to a variety of neighbors conversations, kids playing and laughing, lots of dogs barking, cars, cars, and more cars, the occasional train, and athletic activities at the high school. (yes, we are a block away from a very large high school) We get extra entertainment on the nights the band plays or practices. Yes, life with neighbors has made us “refine” ourselves and mostly my appearances.

We hope to get the tune of “Beverly Hillbillies” out of their minds before the year is over.

Tune In Tomorrow for…”Don’t Fence Me In”

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!

When Life Gets You Down

When life gets you down… How many times a day, a week, or a month do you get to feeling down on life? For me, I always try to find a positive in every situation and look at those moments as challenges or obstacles to pick my self up by my boot straps and go at it again. But sometimes something occurs that leaves what I like to call a scar.

Occasionally something that I have been working for or towards my whole life shatters into a million pieces and falls deep into the hole of no return. It’s at these moments that I find myself letting life get me down. Recently, I went through one of these moments and I am still working on picking myself back up. I have a friend that always says,

Tell God your plans and he will laugh in your face.

My current obstacle isn’t life threatening or the worst thing that could happen so its time to start back over at square one.

With current illnesses and issues taking place in some dear family and friends I am reminded just how precious life is. In an effort to help out some of these individuals I began a small fundraising campaign to generate a little token of faith and strength. To my amazement my little “idea” grew with the love and support of great people. I am still shell shocked at the gratitude people have for someone in a time of crisis. In a world where negativity and wrongdoings seem to make the headlines while honesty and good deeds are thrown under the carpet for lack of reader appeal there still shines a light at the end of the tunnel.

So I guess for me it’s time to get back to the drawing board and start at square one.

20120927-101855.jpg

Did I Get My Nails Done for This?

While my University of Illinois counterparts are migrating towards beaches, tans, water, and warmer places this farm girl is going home for a week and a half of hardwork and fun in 80 degree Illinois. And while I wouldn’t mind being at the beach, my heart is glad I’m right here at home. So what have I been up to you ask?
Yesterday I arrived home about 8 am after unloading my stuff I called dad to let him know I was home, he instantly told me to head to the farm to help wean some early fall calves. So I went to the farm we call the ranch and helped sort out 15 calves to wean. By weaning I mean that the calves had reached an age, usually 5-6months, we they need to be separated off of their mother to begin their “adult” life. The mother needs the time to “dry up” or quit milk production in order to maintain herself back to an appropriate body composition so she can be rebred and have another baby in 9 months. When a cow has a calf it will sacrifice its own health and nutrients to provide for a calf so she needs type to rebuild her nutrient stores.
Once we sorted off the calves we brought them home to process. Process means we run each one through a working chute were we poured them to prevent lice, gave them booster shots to prevent sickness and check tattoo numbers. When then look in our record books to make sure they were recorded and move them to the scale where a weight and hip height is recorded. They were then separated into pens depending on sex and will stay with that group until further notice.
After we finished with the calves I had to run home and do some homework and attend an online class. After lunch I helped dad fix a piece on his field cultivator and took a look inside the fancy new versatile tractor he had brought home. In the afternoon my mom and I had a much need girl pampering session. (yes, I know what your thinking, you just said u were working hard but you went and got pampered, just wait!)

Upon returning home from this dad told me I needed to go get Sarah’s old show heifer and take down to end pen in show barn as she was getting close to calving. Lucky for mom and I she was in the farthest corner of the corn stalk field. A two mile plus walk later her pregnant self was in the barn where I proceeded to put a halter on her and lead her down to the other barn.
Just when we thought our walking was done we had to go to another field to check on a cow dad thought was calving. Little did we realize how many different areas this group of 43 cows and 6 babies could cover. We finally found all the cows and babies however a cow different from what we were looking for was acting funny and most definitely in labor. I called sad and he came home and him and I set back out into the field. Mind you at this point it was starting to storm. Dad decided there was an issue and so I proceeded to walk this past show heifer up to the barn so we could get a better idea. Once dad was able to get a “hand on things” he realized the calf was upside down. After several minutes of working he got the calf flipped, my uncle brought the pulling equipment and the three of us assisted in a beautiful heifer calf.
Today is the second day of spring break and it has started off with morning chores, feeding of the cows, double checking the new born baby, doctoring to sick babies, and now on to the wonderful task of building fence. Who knows what else might happen…So back to an earlier statement… Yes, yes I did get my nails done for this!

20120316-101942.jpg

20120316-102043.jpg

20120316-102019.jpg

20120316-102029.jpg

20120316-102005.jpg

The Time is Now!

I have held my tongue long enough but that time has come for me to once again speak out and continue speaking until my face is blue. Since my last post so much has happened to threaten the livelihood of my family and friends.

To start off this threat was a post by an uneducated and uninformed journalist for yahoo that chose to write the some of agriculture’s leading industries were the worst areas to major in.

This was followed by other small threats that lead up to the most recent volcanos eruption. As myself and millions of other people watched the Grammy’s the other night, it wasn’t anything about the awards show that left a lasting impression on me, or the fact the Whitney Houston has passed, it was a commercial that aired during the show that has me out of my wits. As I sat there and this commercial started to unfold I thought who is behind this, what are the portraying and what is going on and why is Willie Nelson singing. And then it hit me as the logo of Chipotle flashed across the screen. If you haven’t seen this commercial I encourage you to watch it, not because what they are depicting is right, but because you need to see what those not related to agriculture believe is right. This commercial has left thousands of Americans thinking that the farmer has shoved all of his animals in a barn, pumped them full of strange chemicals, and shipped them off all over the place while polluting the Earth. If you don’t know that all of these things are wrong then please send me a comment or email and I will explain to you the truth behind these pictures. Instead of Americans be appalled they are PRAISING Chipotle for taking a stand against the American Farmers and their cruelty towards animals. Check out these two blogs that show what is wrong with the commercial: Crystal Cattle, Beltway Beef

Folks related to agriculture, if this doesn’t get your blood boiling then what will. When will you finally find the need to act? When your farm is being taken away from you and everything you have known is now against the law? I just really dont understand why those related to agriculture are so reluctant to take part in advocating the truth. Every single one of you should be sharing how your family takes care of your animals and the environment to everyone who will listen. Whether it is having farm tour at your house, talking to someone on the street, posting a picture on social media, or blogging you should be sharing your story. Instead the vast majority of those related to agriculture sit around think, oh, NCBA and other organizations will handle it, I don’t need to worry about it. WRONG!!!! Do those who support PETA sit back and let someone else handle it? NO.

If you are not a member of all the local and national organizations that you can be a part of that support agriculture shame on you. If you are a beef producer or consumer and have not joined the Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) Program, shame on you. These should be effortless things that you should be doing without every thinking twice. The time to sit back and let is pass over is gone. Those organizations against us are way to powerful and have big agendas and a vast amount of supporters. We to have to join our forces and rally together to support all aspects of agriculture.

I hope that any of my friends or family that have any questions about agriculture or have heard something they would like verified would come talk to myself or my family before forming an opinion. The people out there to take us down aren’t even basing there information on factual information anymore. I honestly. don’t know what else to say to motivate someone to want to take action.

If you learn nothing else from this post I hope you will join me in boycotting this celebrities, stores, etc. that are trying to ruin the American Agriculture that we know of:

PETA, HSUS, Carrie Underwood, Willie Nelson, Chipotle, Rick Santorum, and a wide variety of other celebrities. Take a Stand and don’t support them either!

 

Check out this video by the Ohio Bacon Producers that shows how pork is grown from pasture to plate.

Accepting Imperfections

image

image

This post comes as a result of a certain heifer in our shoestring this summer, known by my family as “red rose”, but for an outsider there is one thing they can’t get past when they look at her. It is her imperfection. See red rose got a stick stuck in her ear as a baby and as a result has a crinkled ear on her show side. Every single person livestock person that looks at my heifer instantly ask what happened to her ear. After having this question asked to me about 200 times I realized how much our society really cannot accept anything below perfect. I just want to point out that nothing but the man who walked on water and healed the blind to see is perfect. We all have a flaw(s) whether big and small. We need to look beyond the one flaw and find everything that is good in an individual. We need to reminded of the saying don’t judge a book by its cover.
As far as my heifer is concerned her ear is a long way from her heart and she will be a wonderful donor cow for my herd.

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/