Category Archives: Agvocate

Boondock Living

Ok, so I’m not really out in the boondocks.  But I’m definitely not living in the city.  You drive past a lot of fields and farms to get to my house.  I wake up and have goats, cattle and corn (or wheat depending on the season) to the North, and cattle to the East, West & South of me.  I literally have goats and calves in my front & backyard.  For a while I had a goat in my backyard, too.  It was always my dream to be able to live in a house one day where I could wake up, look out my window and see the sunrise just beyond the corn.  And my dream has come true!  I didn’t really account for all of the flies, spiders & rodents that came with the territory of living in the country…but I do get beautiful sunrises and sunsets every day.

Because of the previously mentioned bugs & rodents, I often take country living for granted.  The view is now my norm and I forget that not everyone has the blessing of living in wide open spaces.  It’s quiet and peaceful out where I live.  And although I have days where I wish that I were closer to civilization (mostly a mall and Starbucks), I do love living out here.

I figured that in today’s blog post I would share a few pictures of some of the things I see when I walk outside my house.  Enjoy a piece of ranch life!

A calf in our front pasture

A calf in our front pasture

A tractor in the field across from our house.  This field was full of corn the day before the picture was taken.

A tractor in the field across from our house. This field was full of corn the day before the picture was taken.

This is a calf bottle...used to feed calves milk, of course.  I discovered that it works as a great teething toy for Thomas!

This is a calf bottle…used to feed calves milk, of course. I discovered that it works as a great teething toy for Thomas!

Sunrise on the calf ranch

Sunrise on the calf ranch

 

These are our goats in our front pasture - they're pretty silly!

These are our goats in our front pasture – they’re pretty silly!

 

There’s Cattle In My Yard

Not everyone has the privileged opportunity to look out the windows of the front of his/her house everyday only to see cattle peacefully grazing on the front lawn.  I never had it either, until just last week.

I grew up in the city, but I always dreamed of living in the country.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of a lot of city things, but the thought of getting to live in such openness, surrounded by farm land, crops and animals always sounded awesome. 

A month and a half ago, Phil and I moved out to the ranch and let’s just say that I love it.  Minus the bugs, of course.  The new fun news is that we added a few steers to our front yard.  There are literally, cattle grazing in my front yard.  It’s pretty cool and I am thankful for the blessed life I live.

As of right now I’m merely acquaintances with the steers, but I’m hoping to get to know them better and move on to the friend stage with them soon.  I’ll keep you posted on how that goes, but for now, enjoy the pictures that I’ve capture of them so far!

cattleohpraisehim

 

Interruptions

I’ve lived on the ranch for about a month and a half now.  The flying cockroaches have seemed to disappear thanks to the hot weather’s arrival.  I am getting settled into the house and I enjoy going on evening bike rides with Phil and our dog, Cooper.  And one of my favorite parts about ranch life is that the sunsets always seem to be ridiculously, mind-blowingly beautiful.

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A lesson that I’ve been learning on the ranch is that there will be interruptions – whether they are interruptions to my sleep or my favorite TV show, there will be interruptions.

A couple of weeks ago, Phil & I got home from a date night and did a quick drive around the ranch to make sure that all looked good with the calves before we went home to bed.  Toward the end of our drive I noticed a group of about 7 calves just standing around outside of their corral.  (That is not normal, in case you are wondering.)  We drove a little bit further and noticed a LOT of calves roaming around the ranch.  Not good.

While you might be thinking that it sounds good for calves to be able to roam around, it is.  However, it is good for them to roam around within the boundaries (corrals) that they are given.  The corrals keep them safe from harm’s way.  It’s like letting a baby crawl everywhere without watching them.  It’s ok for a baby to crawl everywhere – if it is in an area that is “child-proof.” Non child-proof areas require that the child is attended to when crawling about.  Same concept for calves – the corrals are “calf-proof.”  The rest of the ranch is not necessarily calf-proof, especially when there is no one to watch them.

So, calves roaming.  It turned out one of the corrals had been left open.  Phil & I were out until midnight rounding up the calves and putting them back in their play pen (corral.)

My second interruption happened a few nights ago as I was enjoying a lazy evening to myself.  I was in my neon pink yoga pants, doing Pinterest crafts while catching up on this season of The Bachelorette.  (Did that sentence just sound super girly or what?!)  The smell of fresh-baked banana bread wafted through the house and I was pretty pumped to eat some once my episode was over.  Then, as Des was on her last date for the episode, I heard Phil call my name.

Calves were out again.  Phil did give me an option of helping him, but if I didn’t help him, what kind of “Heels To BOOTS” person would I be?  A terrible one.  So, I threw on my boots (with my neon pink yoga pants), jumped in my car, drove to the shop building, and hopped on a mule to help in the search for loose calves.  It took about an hour, but by the end of it, the calves were all safely in their place again.

Interruptions.  Some people tell me this is good preparation for having kids some day and being…interrupted by them.  Others tell me it’s just plain old good character building.  I agree with both, but really to me, it’s just a small glimpse of what other farmers and ranchers around the world deal with.  It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, what show is on, what event is happening, if the animals need to be fed, helped or taken care of, you can bet that a farmer or rancher will drop whatever they are doing to take care of the situation.  And if you don’t believe me, check out my friend Crystal Cattle, who fed cattle with her husband in the middle of a friend’s wedding!

Neon + Boots. I think it's a new trend.

Neon + Boots.
I think it’s a new trend.

Until the next interruption… 😉

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Photobombed by Cows

Okay, so I was photobombed by 2 bulls, not cows.  But what are the chances of someone Google searching the words “photobomb” & “bulls” together?  It’s not the first thing I’d search for, so to my benefit, I mislead you a bit.  I apologize.  BUT, if you’re wondering why bulls are different from cows, check out my Cow Concordance for the answer!

Anyways, yesterday I was taking pictures in the corrals on the ranch for our Facebook page and I was trying to get a picture of some cattle eating.  Well, all of a sudden I felt something brush past my rear end and turned around to find 2 friendly calves smelling me, along with the rest of the herd a few steps behind them.

So I crouched down, flipped my camera around, and started snapping pictures.  The two friendly calves were cracking me up and I ended up getting some fun shots them in it.  One of the perks of working on a calf ranch is that it is possible to be photobombed by 2 bulls!

PhotoBomb

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Stewarding The Land: An Earth Day Post

Today I watched a live streaming of the Food Dialogues (#FoodD) hosted by the US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA).  If you’re not sure what the Food Dialogues are, I’ll debrief you.  Basically, USFRA started #FoodD to answer all of the provocative questions Americans have regarding our food supply.  Some topics include:

  • Animal Welfare & Handling
  • GMO’s & Biotechnology
  • Antibiotics
  • Organic & Conventional
  • Consumer Information

I say provocative, because these topics are ones in which Americans are debating over, instead of having a conversation about.  The Food Dialogues were created so that people from both sides of the topics could come together and have a conversation, so that we as consumers, would have the opportunity to learn more about our food.  I think it’s a great idea, and I always look forward to the Food Dialogues because I learn so much from them!

Now that you’ve got a general idea of what the Food Dialogues are, I wanted to share with you a quote that was said by one of the panelists today that really struck me:

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A Mississippi farmer, Jerry Slocum, said in one of his closing comments, “If anyone is a steward of the land, I’m one of them.” 

And then the part that got me the most was what followed after that.  He went on to explain that he is taking care of the land for the generations that are following him, the generations that the land will be passed down to, just like it was taken care of by the generations before him for him. 

98% of farms are family owned, and those families want to pass their farms down to their children, and their grandchildren, and their great-grandchildren.  If farmers were purposely destroying the land and the earth that we live on, then what do they have to pass on to their families?  Nothing.  Farmers were green before “being green” was even cool.  The earth is their livelihood.

I think that Jerry Slocum’s statement struck an emotion within me because I can relate to it in a way.  Although I wasn’t born and raised on a farm, I am a part of a family whose living is made from being involved in agriculture.  I never planned on working at the family ranch, but here I am!  And I’ve watched as the ranch started out with just my Grandpa, and then my uncle joined him, followed by my other uncle, and my mom, and myself, and my husband, and my brothers…do you see?  We’re more than people raising calves – we’re a family, who loves each other and loves this legacy and business that was started by my grandpa.

My main points in all of this, I guess are 1)  Farmers really are the original stewards of the land.  2)  I love my family!  And I realize that has nothing to do with Earth Day, but the story of Slocum preserving the land that he loved for the generations following behind him had so much truth and emotion in it.  And being a part of the family ranch now, I could feel the passion that he spoke with.  I hope you can, too.

(Sorry I got slightly long-winded.  My High School English teacher would tell me that I “funneled” my story – used too many unnecessary words for the point I was trying to make.  Oh well.)

Happy Earth Day!

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#TargetDoesItAgain

As I mentioned in a recent blog post, I love Target.  They have groceries, they have my favorite brand of nail polish, cute clothes for great prices and their home decor selection never disappoints.

Recently I wandered into Target and found the most awesome Retro BBQ dish stuff.  There’s really cool looking mustard & ketchup bottles, and serving platters and plates with outlines of pork & beef, and inside is drawn on all of the cuts of meat from those animals.  I already know that I’m doing a terrible job of explaining this so I’ll just show you a picture!

targetThat’s totally not what you were envisioning based on my description, was it?

I’m quite obsessed with this Retro BBQ Line and I’m just throwing it out there that there’s a strong possibility one of these items might just end up jumping off of the shelf and into my cart while I’m shopping.  (That happens to me quite often – things jumping into my cart at Target.)

The thing that makes me so happy about this BBQ line is that not only is it a stylish way to serve food when you’re hosting people for a meal or gathering, but it’s also a fun way for people to become a bit more aware about agriculture.

Case-in-point, Target is the bomb-dot-com.

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“Hey Girl”

Ryan Gosling is a bit dreamy.  Not as dreamy as my husband, Phil, but he’s dreamy nonetheless.  Some obsessive girl out there, or some smart man who caught on to our Ryan Gosling craze in America created these memes that are now referred to as “Hey Girl” pictures.  They’re hilarious.  I’ve seen them numerous times, but never taken the time to sit down and look at some of them.  Until the other day.

The other day I jumped on Instagram and someone had posted this meme:

heygirl1I laughed so stinking hard.  Mostly because I’ve been questioned (more than once) by Phil on how we manage to spend so much money at Target every month.  To which I give an honest answer of, we need groceries!  Like food, and toilet paper and laundry detergent and Mossimo tee-shirts in every color and Essie nail polish and home decor….  Ok, perhaps that’s my problem.  At Target, clothes and nail polish always seem to just…jump into my shopping cart!  And how can I say “no” to jumping nail polish and clothes?  Exactly.

So, now that you know my relationship with Target, you can probably appreciate why this meme is so funny to me.  I sent this picture to Phil and when he opened the text, he immediately started laughing.  I also sent it to my sister-in-law because she and I have sympathized with each other’s Target spending habits more than once.  She loved it  as well and proceeded to send me more “Hey Girl” memes.

And they made me laugh just as hard.  It’s like the people creating the memes know my life…  Actually, that’s why these memes are so funny.  I know I’m not the only Target-obsessed person.  And I also know that I’m not the only person obsessed with Downton Abbey & Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, am I right?!

heygirl2memeAnd although I don’t agree with Ryan Gosling’s recent link up with PETA (Read about it at my friend, Dairy Carrie‘s blog), I like him as an actor and the memes just make me laugh.  So I can’t help but have a small soft spot for the actor.  Ever so small, though.

What are your favorite “Hey Girl” memes?

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