Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Another day, another agency, another meeting

Once in awhile I meet these outstanding people who actually want to do good.  Today, I was blessed by being in a meeting with two of these people and DRUMROLL PLEASE- they were from Fish and Wildlife!  Outstanding biologists who understand that we (agencies and agriculture) to continue to do good things.

Some of the snippets of the conversation included-
"I have to get my manager to understand we can't mess with this guy's livlihood. "
"We aren't in the business of raising cows but if we can move towards our own habitat goals while incorporating cows, I am game!"
"There are two ways we are going to get this refuge's habitat changed cows and fire.  We see what happened after fire had its go. AND we know what it was before when we grazed cows.  I think it is time to go back to the cows.  It was better habitat."

It was such a breath of fresh air.  To actually have people want to work with you in achieving a common goal.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Took a chance

I tend to be a cynic.  I am not sure where it came from but maybe working in a government job with government agencies with people that are cynics.  But, I did take a chance... I was at the grocery store in our little rural town which used to thrive on logging and agriculture.  Thanks to the environmental spotted owl bleeding hearts... We now limp along with agriculture.

Anyways, back to my story.  I have decided, I no longer want those awful plastic bags.  They are made out of petroleum.  Oil prices are high enough without taking more petrol out of the production of gas and putting it into making bags, I know that is a simplified version of the process but HEY it works in my little mind.  So, when asked paper or plastic- I said "Paper!"  The young man checking, was taken aback by my enthusiasm for paper.  He is one of those metrosexual, just stepped out of Abercrombie and Fitch, it is trendy to be environmentally savvy types.  He said- Why?

I calmly told him, I want people to cut down more trees so, I choose paper.  I do not want to see our natural resources wasted on rotting.  He was quiet.  Then, "It makes sense, I guess"  I then went into my monologue... About petrol, logging, etc.

I hope he understood a little bit of it.  Or maybe even went and tried to read up on logging or something.  I figure every little bit helps.  Maybe he will figure out rotting forests produce WAY more greenhouse gasses than managed forest?  I don't know but I tried!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

5 Non-profits to leave out of your holiday donations | Celeste Harned

5 Non-profits to leave out of your holiday donations Celeste Harned

This is a great blog on some bad characters who are saying they are doing things but not actually doing them. I have posted it before but will do it again! Give locally if you really want to accomplish something. The overhead and bueracracy will eat up your donantion if you don't.

Monday, December 12, 2011


It is the season for being thankful, so here is a list of things I am thankful for this year!

I am thankful for cattle- in the field, at the end of a rope, or on the grill- you are making life better for someone.

I am thankful for choices- traditionally raised, organic, natural, cage-free, free-range, grass-finished and many more. Well, that is partially true, in California, aren’t we only allowed cage-free eggs? I guess I can still choose whether or not I want organic or natural eggs.

I am thankful for the new Ag Appropriations bill does not contain any language regulatory or otherwise banning the harvesting of horses, putting the issue back to pre-2007.

I am thankful that my children may have a chance to continue working in agriculture unless the Federal Department of Labor gets its way. Then, they will have to be almost adults before they could legal assist in the operations of a farm or ranch. By the way, have you sent your comments in? Comment period ends December 1st.

I am thankful that people are becoming informed about HSUS. The Humane Society of the United States is not your local humane society. It is a lobbying, animal rights organization, which spends less than 1% of its donations on the actual care of animals, even though the commercials may lead you to think something different.

I am thankful for advocates and agricultural activists like Trent Loos. Trent has an inspiring message for many people. One of my favorite quotes from Trent is~ The 2 most important people to our country are the farmer and the soldier...and the general public knows the least about them.

I am thankful that wolves aren’t officially in our county, yet. Though, a wolf has been tracked through Lake and Klamath counties, so that may not be on the list for long.

I am thankful for youth organizations like 4-H and FFA which allow young people an opportunities in leadership and citizenship along with animal agriculture.

I am thankful that the Surprise Valley BLM had a successful feral horse gather and I am hopeful for a solution to the problem.

I am thankful for having a safe, wholesome, cheap food supply and for those who work without holidays, without overtime pay, and in adverse conditions to provide it.

I am thankful for being able to write this column for the last two years!

Here is to another year of being educated, informed and involved.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Humane Society for Shelter Pets

Finally an umbrella group for local humane societies and for educating the public on the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).  The Humane Society for Shelter Pets' motto is to help local shelters with overpopulation etc.  They also educate the public on the FACT that HSUS is giving less than 1% of the donations recieved to local animal shelters, while using cats in dogs in 85% of their propaganda.  Hmmm...  I think there is some tricky marketing going on here.

Anyway back to HSSP.  They are an organization that is educating people to donate locally if they want to help local shelters and humane societies.  It makes sense in many areas of your life.  The larger the organization- the more overhead, the less money spent on actually doing something.  The smaller the organization, the more focused they are on fixing a local problem.

The real kicker on HSSP- that has makes me somewhat reserved is a Co-director Diana Culp.  She WAS the director of education for HSUS.  Yep, she has flipped over to a lighter side.  Still against puppy mills- not exactly sure what that is but, hey it is the word of the day. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Busy Weekend

Here is how I spent my weekend.  We started on Friday, gathering and working the neighbors cows.  They had some escapees who had to rounded up and sorted off their mothers.
Then, we had to move them to their new pastures after being vaccinated and pregnancy checked.  Here is my partener in crime for Saturday and Sunday.  This is Waymore.  He is a doll.  This gentle giant will get with a cow when needed and then bring it back down to kids speed.  He is one of a kind. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Wolves seem to be an ever-growing topic in the western United States.  Since their reintroduction in to Yellowstone Park in 1997, the populations have boomed.  The problem with wolves?  Well, there are several:
1)  They have no natural predators thus humans must manage them.
2)  They tend to not stay in their specified area because they have no natural predators and so the populations boom, and they start to move.
3) They feed on livestock and PETS because they start to move because they have no natural predators and the populations boom.
4)  In addition to feeding on livestock they also feed on the big game populations in the area- elk, deer, etc. but because they have no natural predators and the population has boomed, they are starting to decimate the big game populations, moving out of their intended area and feeding on livestock and PETS.

You can see how this builds into a HUGE problem which all starts with the issue that they have no natural predators and must be managed by humans.  The problem, said humans are usually managed by emotions instead of fact.  These emotions have been tainted by not being close to their food source and Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks.

It is a vicious circle.  Most people do not want wolves extirpated like they were in the 1900s they prefer that they were managed like any game or predator species. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I am the 1%

I can't help myself- I am the 1%.  You know... The one percent that helps feed the other 99%.  I am the 1% which believes I take better care of the land than what regulations and policy can.  I have a town job and still try to raise a healthy wholesome crop of beef cattle. 

I am also part of another 1%.  The ones who are actively trying to advocate and educate others about agriculture and animal production.  I am proud of the others who are also trying to advocate and educate in their own ways.  It is difficult to do.  Especially, if you work hard not to preach to the choir but actually reach out to those who are different than you.

To the other 99% work on getting out of your comfort zone.  Take the time to educate someone today about what you do and why you do it.  You don't need alot of education, the advocates have proven- you can get far with emotion.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I was country, when country wasn't cool

It is kind of funny.  In my family, there is this water and oil emersion.  I have three younger sisters.  Each of us is very different but also very alike.  I have two sisters who live in and around somewhat major metropolitian areas.  They are 10 minutes from Wal-Mart, Target, Victoria Secret etc.  My other sister is stuck in a large town because she is going to school but dreams of becoming a hermit in a line shack or in an outfitters tent.

*M* one of the two sisters who live in town, has come to visit me once.  She was dismayed that we didn't have any shopping within two hours.  She was scared about my lack of cell phone service and completely terrified that I do not have cable or satellite TV.  *J* the other sister who lives in town- is totally metropolitian but loves to come out because there is no cell phone service.  She is facinated by the local "boutiques" and appreciates the fact I will take her son fishing and even touch the fish and worms.

*D* is just D.  She is as rough and tumble as they come.  Spending most of her time outdoors tinkering with something.  Whether it is the garden, a colt, or a piece of machinery she just wants to be away from walls and ceilings.

Then there is me.  I do my thing.  Try to live in my world.  The funny thing is when we all get together it just meshes.  We talk about clothes, colts, and kids.  We laugh about me living in the sticks and having to internet shop.  But this is the life I have chosen.  It was the life I grew up in and come to appreciate more with age.

So, to the point, when I found this blog- Rural women rock.  I laughed.  What is the definition of rural?  When did we become so cool that people want to blog about us?  But a lady is doing it and flourishing.  Go check out Kasse's blog.  It is an inspiration and a treat.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

State Refuge

Went out to the State Wildlife Refuge yesterday- I will have to post some pictures.  All I can say, is what a waste of resources.  There is grass everywhere that is not being utilized and will probably go up in smoke.  The same grass that could be used to make beef.  Don't get me wrong, this refuge is a bit forward thinking allowing some haying and grazing but not near what is needed.

We are trying to do some grazing studies out on the state ground but have been running into problems.  Oh well, it will happen later rather than sooner.  I do have some possibilities though.  They are spending millions to reconfigure the stream- much like the system I talked about early.  It is a pond and plug type.  Where they take the material from the "ponds" and use it to plug up other areas.  Your tax dollars at work.

Today, I am thankful for TnT- not the nitro kind.  The kid kind.  Tay last night was a frog who roped cows... I am starting to see a pattern here.  Her as a frog lived in a cardboard box barn.  We had alot of fun jumping around ribbiting! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hello Winter

We went from fallish/Indian summer weather straight into winter, now I think it might be fall for a couple more days.  We woke up to three inches of moisture-filled snow Friday morning and it didn't stop until this morning.  Getting an early jump on the snowpack, for next year.

I haven't looked at the almanac but would be interested to see what it had to say.  Anyway, the snow through a wrench in the plans to go help the neighbor finish sorting pairs for shipping.  He sells his cattle on the video and does it by sex.  So, each pair is sorted into a steer or heifer bunch until shipping time. 

The neighbor has a hard time getting help, not because he is hard to work for just because he chooses who he wants to work for him.  The people he chooses tend to have day jobs and are weekend warriors like myself.  Some days, I wish I could "cowboy" full time but this weekend wasn't one of those days.

Since, it is the season for being Thankful- I am going to start listing at the end of each post things I am thankful for- Today, I am thankful for the people who are out there 24-7 providing a safe, wholesome food supply.  I dang sure didn't want the job this weekend. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rush Limbaugh

I was listening to Rush Limbaugh this morning as I was driving to a meeting.  He said something that really rang a bell with me.  He said the way to stimulate the economy is to repeal many of the laws, regulations, and rules that limit business in the United States.

I guess Rush doesn't understand, those laws, regulations, and rules he wants rid of are employing people in government whose job it is to generate paperwork not products.  Jeez, what is he thinking?  I mean, requiring tractors to meet emissions standards requires someone to test the vehicle, someone to write the paperwork, someone to read the paperwork,.... the list goes on.  Not having that rule would allow a farmer $30-60,000 to hire someone to help on the farm, produce food which is harvested and sold, which needs to be processed, sorted, and marketed,  which will be sold in a grocery store to feed people. 

Hmm... I definitely think we need the big government approach. 
Have a great weekend. 


Have you eaten today?  Thank a farmer or rancher!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Daring Greatly

There is a lenghty quote by Teddy Roosevelt about Daring Greatly-
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the stong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arean, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valliantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without erro and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.
Amazing, isn't it.  I have to read this almost on a daily basis.  It is not the person who sits by idly and waits but the person who is in the middle getting knocked down that is daring greatly.  That is part of the reason for this blog.  I am trying to keep my anonymity while inspiring others.

To me I hear again and again- We aren't the population base, no one listens to us anyways etc. BUT we have to remember- you lose every fight you don't enter.  So, keep writing to your congressmen, assembly members, representatives, and other legislators.  Otherwise, we have already lost the battle! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kids say the darndest things...

Spent the weekend with the entire family- which means, I have the only granddaughter. She hold her own quite well with the other four grandsons. I had to laugh though. The oldest two grandsons- both 4 were discussing Transformers. I guess there is one called Bull? Anyway, they were conversing about Bull and how he turns into a car.

Tay got this very perplexed look on her face and says- Bull no car. Bull cow- Mooo! To which the other two started in tandem trying to tell her about Transformers. I was proud. She stuck to her guns. Bull was definitely not a car, it was a cow. Which is technically correct but I was impressed with her logic anyways.

It went on until she told T and C to stop. Bull no car. Bull cow. Rope bull. It was quite the conversation for a group of kids under 5, to say the least.

We were impressed by the beauty of the Midwest. The bounty in which the soil could produce and the colors of fall associated with the hardwoods. On the flip side, we were happy to be back to our air which hadn't been breathed already and didn't have more than 10% humidity.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I am going to be gone for a couple of days. One of the people who started this whole obession with agriculture and politics both is turning 80- My grandfather who owned one of the largest greenhouses in the Midwest.

I am also hoping to see the other portion of my family- the ones who gave me one of my first horses, showed me what hard work really is by owning a dairy. I am excited.

It goes back to the whole nature vs. nurture. Or in this case the combination of nature and nurture. I was born in ag and will probably die in it too (hopefully later rather than sooner) :) I have to bring the next generation up in agriculutre whether the Department of Labor says it is OK or not.

I will try and get on and maybe post something.
Have a great weekend ALL!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Possible good news

For all of you who haven't commented on the Department of Labor's ridiculous proposed rules-- they may extend the deadline.  Many groups have been leaning on the DOL to make sure the public comment period is open for another 60-90 days. 

Just a reminder- the picture you see would be considered illegal under the new laws.  A small child, feeding hay, in a feedlot situation, not on a property owned by her parents!  The thought of such child abuse allowed to continue. 
Of course this one would be illegal also.  Riding on horseback and moving cows.  She wasn't even 16 months let alone the required 16 years.  Shocking isn't it!  Seriously, get your comments in.  Give rural kids the break they need to continue traditions, learn how to care for animals, and continue supplying food to the country.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Corner Post- conundrums

I enjoy writing this blog.  There are times I put out information on laws, rules, regulations etc.  There are times I just want to type about what is going on in my life.  I don't know what people want to read about.  I think my life is exciting.  I mean, with two kids how could it not be?

I laugh because sometimes it is the only thing that keeps me from going crazy.  We now have 8 barn cats, a year ago we had one (Blackjack)!  The neighbor thought she should share one of our offspring (Two) with us.  Then, the nice ladies at one of the county offices found a stray (Boots), "That we just don't know what to do with!"  Then, my husband's boss shows up with five more (Meow, Yowl, Pus, Chavez, and Homer)!  You can guess which ones the two year old named.

The funny part was, I was happy with just Blackjack.  He was a special tomcat.  Not like any other I had been around.  Blackjack didn't tomcat.  The ladies came to him.  We would find him with a female out in the barn, showing her the best "mousing" and how to get the free handout.

The good news about the cats is Tay's chores have gone up exponentially.  She must now feed all the cats and get them water.  Well, at least they will be chores until the Department of Labor makes that illegal too.

Hope you are having a great day.  I am going to get a bag of cat food, some hay twine, and laugh.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More information on posting comments on proposed rules

You may submit comments, identified by RIN 1235-AA06, by either one of the following methods: Electronic comments: through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Mail: Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S- 3502, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210.

Instructions: Please submit one copy of your comments by only one method. All submissions received must include the agency name (Wage and Hour Division) and Regulatory Information Number identified above for this rulemaking (1235-AA06). All comments received will be posted without change to, including any personal information provided. Consequently, prior to including any individual's personal information such as Social Security Number, home address, telephone number, e-mail addresses and medical data in a comment, the Department urges commenters carefully to consider that their submissions are a matter of public record and will be publicly accessible on the Internet. It is the commenter's responsibility to safeguard his or her information. Because we continue to experience delays in receiving mail in the Washington, DC area, commenters are strongly encouraged to transmit their comments electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at or to submit them by mail early. For additional information on submitting comments and the rulemaking process, see the "Public Participation" heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at

Department of Labor Proposed Rule

The government is at it again... Trying to micromanage every part of life.  The newest is 29 CFR parts 570 and 579.  It is a proposed rule to limit the amount of work kids can do on a farm/ranch not soley owned by there parents.  Strictly parents- grandparents don't count.

This rule would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 16 to:

1.  Herd livestock on horseback
2. Sort livestock on horseback
3. Operate equipment 
4.  Operate any vehicle, tractor, feed truck, or ATV
5.  Operate any tool that is not powered by hand- no cordless or corded screwdrivers, no sewing machines operated by foot pedal etc.
6. Move hay bales

And the riduculousness continues.

The implications could be outstanding when looking at 4-H, FFA, Grange or other youth organizations.  Not to mention, it doesn't just apply to paid children but also those who work without pay.  No helping the neighbor, no brandings, no nothing!  No work on the farm or ranch by kids under 16.

I encourage everyone to tell the DOL what they think of their proposed rules:

or Write your comment to:

U.S. Dept. of Labor

200 Constitution Ave.

Washington, DC 20210

1-866-487-2365 (4USADOL)

This needs to be stopped!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Life

Now this is the life for man and beast.  A gorgeous fall day, grass up to your belly, and humble family time.

A little background on this pasture...  Five years ago, this was a degrade stream.  The channel itself had been incised (cut down into the ground) and the crossing (not seen) under the road had made fish passage impossible. 

This poor stream was the result of the government coming in and straightening it- NOT IMPROPER GRAZING.  Back in the middle of the 20th century, the army corps of engineers thought streams should be straight without the meanders and curves.  Doing so, increases the amount of power behind large water events, like spring run off.  Thus, they take out large portions of the bank and dig deeper into the soil, reducing the water table.

Putting the stream back on top of the meadow, and increasing the amount of curves in it, reduces the power of the water and rises the water table.  As you can see here, vegetation is abundant.  This pasture actually needs to be grazed much harder than it is.  The grass is starting to mat and the vegetation is getting decadent, reducing its potential for wildlife habitat.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Applied Reproductive Strategies Conference

Headed to Boise last week for a Conference on applied strategies for Reproduction in beef cows.  It was fun.  I got to see how the other side lived.  Those who can run to the grocery store or actually go shopping and are able to try things on.

All and all I learned some stuff- not related to social aspects.  Calves are high, inputs are high.  BUT... we did have an interesting talk by Larry Corah- Certified Angus Beef.

Larry is optimistic about how the cattle market is going to be.  He is optimistic about the changes cattlemen have made in the last 25-30 years and he is optimistic about the changes we can make to continue producing a product that consumers love so much.

Larry discussed how quality grades (amount of marbling) have gone up and how yield grades have gone down (amount of trim), generally speaking.  He was very pleased with the increase in people who have said "I have had a pleasant experience eating this product"  He was also pleased with the grilling market.

So, to cattle producers- I tip my hat.  To beef consumers- keep at it!  It is a wholesome nutritious product that is made locally.  :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Once again I have taken a hiatus. I need to get my act together. Sorry for all those who foolishly, I mean, foolheartedly, I mean follow this blog. It has been a story of whirlwind life. I have been to Montana, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, and California in the last month doing life things. Plus, you throw in two sick kids and UGH! The blog falls behind.

Good news is- calves are branded, calves are shipped, horse are shod, and the neighbors have been helped. We also had time to visit family a little bit in between these escapades.

Bad news is- we have had budget cuts, changes in adminstration, and and more turmoil than this neophyte would like.

I am in the process of reevaluating my position on things. I have been told by my supervisor- you need to find a speciality so people want you to come speak and you get out of the local impacts and start making more regional ones.

When, I started considering this advice, I thought- I have a speciality it is beef cows. Not really what he had in mind. So, I thought, where can I really make a difference in beef cows. Then it hit- PUBLIC PERCEPTION and POLICY!

So, I am going to start up again with my advocacy campaign! Like the presidential race- I hope to continue through 2012!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hello Tuesday

Sorry, missed yesterday due to lack of babysitter. Don't come into internet when I don't have someone to corral small children! :) Sunday was a great day though! The number one childrens program in the area- 4-H! Had thier horse show and I helped at it.

We had about 50 kids showing off their hard summer's worth of work. From Showmanship to Reining it was all there! These kids impress me by how much they grow throughout the year. Whether it is in height, confidence, or ability- They are amazing.

We added a couple new classes last year, so I was on board to help with the cattle. We had a Ranch horse class- down the fence, pen them, and then rope! It was great! Kids were ages 10 to 17 and showed some real promise.

We also offered steer stopping and a working cow horse for the more feint of heart! What an awesome day. Makes me want to work with my horses so my daughter has a chance in about seven years :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I know I haven't been posting as often as I should but dang it has been a busy couple of weeks. We just had our local fair, we are getting ready for a horse show that was cancelled due to the Equine Herpes Virus, and I am roping in another fair next weekend.

My little fashionista just turned two. She, along with her brother, do make us slow down and smell the roses, touch the bugs, and follow the butterflies every now and then. Thank goodness or parts of life would just be passing us by.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rick Perry for President?

Sounds like Rick Perry, Texas' governor is throwing his hat in the ring for President. I guess if a community organizer can do it so can a dryland farmer.

Dryland farmer does have some concepts that may make a good president.

1. When there is no water that means there is no production- No work, no economy, no paycheck.
2. He may understand the need to keep American farmers farming. Instead of importing food, it may be more important to use what we are producing.
3. He understands that you must use the land in order to perserve it for the next generation. Whether it is farming or drilling, we must use our natural resources so it doesn't cause desertfication.
4. Government subsidies are no cure for a bad weather year.

I may be too hopeful but at least we might, I repeat might have someone in our corner.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What are you smoking?

I hope I didn't read correctly but I think I did. Willie Nelson is being inducting into the agriculture hall of fame. He is so anti-ag unless it is for medicinal purposes it isn't even funny. How could such a travesty happen?

Well, the ag hall of fame is operating on the verge of insolvency. Celebrities bring money if it hadn't already been taken by the IRS. There are some who actually believe Willie Nelson is an advocate for ag but... His track record would not show it.

Willie is a huge contributor through Farm Aid. A seeminly harmless group that supports family farms but on the inside this group is against farming. Slogans such as "Say no to genetically engineered crops." Stop factory farms. and SAY no to irradiated meats

They are siphoning off millions of dollars to lobby and place lawsuits against farmers of course through what appear to be very benign animal groups. Such as the Illionois Stewardship Alliance whose purpose is to establish and enforce regulations necessary to protect the health and well-being of rural communities from the negative impacts of livestock production. WTH?

Not cool!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A diva is born

I have decided I am raising a country diva. My soon to be two year old has decided the day is not going to continue unless she has on her PINK boots. She is very adament about the color and that it is boots.

We had a riata roping last weekend in our hometown. My husband and I both partcipated in this event to showcase quiet handling of cattle and horsemanship. My young daughter decided she wanted to ride in the arena, in front of everyone. Not in the nice quiet spot by the trailer. So, she helped me warm up my horse then helped her father warm up his. Who am I to argue with an almost two year old? I would hate to lose, AGAIN.

She would wave and yell at which ever parent didn't have her so everyone would look. However, she is quite camera shy and would turn bashful whenever a lens was in her face.

I think she learned something that weekend... Besides "Mama, me rope cows." I hope she learned that we are not a dying breed but simply altering our lifestyle to achieve the same goals we always had- to take care of animals. And if we have to showcase our abilities and compete, so be it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Pat Parrelli is a supporter of the Humane Society of the United States. He is one of their spokespeople. When broached with the deeds of HSUS, one of Pat's PR People says- You should talk to HSUS... They say cattle are the last thing on their radar. My first thought- That is good!

My next rambling of thoughts... I bet that is what the people who raise puppies thought too until their livelihood was attacked. But, they are still on the radar? What about roping horses? They have their fingers in many pies... I think they are just going to get to the other animals first and then start in after cattle after they have brainwashed most of the United States.

So what do you do? Write Pat? Tell him your thoughts and feelings about HSUS. Send him sites and cites.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Only 5 days until I will be showing off my skills in the Vaquero Fiesta- a fun, family-oriented event rooted in tradition. The Fiesta, at it has become known, tries to emulate the work of vaquero in its roping and cattle handling skills.

The event showcases fancy loops that have usefulness on the range. In addition to, encouraging quiet, calm handling of cattle. It promises to have wonderful, well-trained horses.

Myself, I am entered in the intermediate roping. An event which requires a person to rope two head of cattle using specified loops- sidearm and backwards swing. I am excited about my young partner who is adept at throwing many of these.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


There I times I run out of things to type. Not that I don't do things, it is just what do you put down on the World Wide Web for everyone to see?

Do I talk about the guy who wants to know if I can give technical support for his marajuana operation? That was interesting. He thinks it could be the new cash crop for this area. :(

Do I talk about the agency people who are so wrapped up in regulations and paperwork that they can not manage the lands and are degrading our natural resources because of it. Not to mention what the reduction of public lands grazing has done for the local economy and small rural communities.

Do I write about the conspiracy theories associated with Agenda 21 and Executive Order 13575 (Establishment of the White House Rural Council). Scary!

I think I will tell you a story that warmed my heart. We have a little horse show here with Working Cow Horse classes, cutting, and ranch rodeo type competitions. My daughter who will be two next month, gets out of the car, gets a huge grin on her face, and says "Papa me rope cows!" Now that warms my heart for a future!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ashton Kutcher

I saw on facebook... A friend of mine had a chance to explain the intricacies of ranch rodeos to Ashton Kutcher! Kudos to you Seth... Hope you remember it.

I just think it was awesome that he took the time and inclination to explain his favorite hobby to a celebrity with some pull in today's world. I could only hope he threw in a couple extra tidbits about beef production and federal lands grazing but that might have been saved for another time.

It is these small interactions and chances to be an advocate that may make the difference in the future of agriculture. Hey if Ashton Kutcher thinks its cool... I bet there are a lot of teens and 20-somethings that may follow suit.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Range Ride

Spent two days on the forest with the range ride. I learned ALOT!

1. I am not tolerant of adults who think riding should be a natural ability along the lines of breathing.
2. Some people were not raised with the same etiquette and rules I was.
3. ___ologists are all trained to talk in circles and never give a definitive answer.
4. Just because a place has garden in its name doesn't mean it is lush and green all over.

More than anything I just hope something became of it. About 2/3 of the acreage in the county is under federal ownership. Most of which is juniper infested range land good for producing protien but not much else.

We discussed the issues of NEPA or the National Environmental Protection Act and how it hamstrings many projects. This is especially true when you have certain personalities in specialist positions within federal agencies. Archeology is a problem with many areas of the forest. It isn't that the land users do not want to protect the major sites- burial grounds, major camps, or those of historic interest. It is the interpetation of lithic scatter that is causing slow downs. Lithic scatter is trash to most. It is what is left after the chipped out the arrow heads, spear heads etc.

So, protecting trash rocks has taken precedent over protect a food source and the largest segment of the economy. Sad.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Range Ride

This may be my only post this week... I am off to do a "range ride" with USFS, BLM, and NRCS officials. We are going to talk about managing the range in an efficient way for multiple uses.

Should be interesting. The difficult part of the conversation is going to be not conversing. I need one of those little angels who will keep my mouth shut. Oh Well! Wish me luck and I will update as I can.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Enough with the touchy feely stuff! I wanted to talk about respect. I try really hard to respect people, animals and the environment. I think this is what some people get confused with compassion.

I listened to Trent Loos' Rural Route today as he was talking with two vegans. They complained that Trent did not have compassion for the animals he raised. True, maybe not but you do respect them. You respect the hotheaded mother who just gave birth. You respect the ability of an 1100 lb horse to stick your head in the dirt 7 miles from home. You respect the number of miles your dog saves you when working in not too spectacular conditions.

I also respect the choice of the vegans- good on you. But I don't declare my way is better than yours. I don't critize your meal choices or the way you live. So why do they constantly believe they do it better and have more respect or compassion than someone living with them day in day out?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The reasons I love summer.

I really enjoy summer...

The smell of freshly cut hay- mowing your lawn just isn't the same.
The taste of a nice grilled steak- you can broil them but it just isn't the same.
The feel of the soil in the garden.
The sight of the morning sun coming over the mountains at 5 AM.
The sounds of all the wildlife that has returned.
The peacefulness of sitting on the bank of a pond with good bug spray on and just dropping a bobber in the water.

I got to admit- I don't like the smell of mosquito spray but heck. Its not all bad.

Monday, July 11, 2011

California is Crazy

There are currently two bills in the senate and assembly that are totally and completely asnine.

SB 917 makes it a crime to sell animals on any street, highway, parking lot etc. So, those people giving away or selling puppies and kittens on the street corner could be prosecuted.The second is SB1117 which makes it illegal to own pets for five years after an animal abuse charge. This includes anyone in the household.

There are some provisions in SB 917 allowing for sales at 4-H and FFA events but it won't take long to make that leap.

What a mess.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The things I do

I don't really like to talk about myself. If you notice most of the time, I talk about my husband or someone else. But I have a job that is interesting for the most part. I get to deal with everything from livestock to animals... OOPS I mean 4-H parents.

Lately, I have been dealing alot with federal agencies- specifically the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The people that run these agencies on any level are intelligent beings. Sometimes though, they outsmart their common sense.

Unfortunately, for people to move up through the food chain they have to transfer. In doing so, their is alot of knowledge lost. There is also some out of the box thinking. For example, the range con who collect the information on the last reissuances of forest permits is not usually, the program lead for the next reissuance 10 years later. So, it is almost like starting with a blank slate with only the data to back you up.

I don't know if this is good or bad. It is difficult to deal with a whole new senior staff Ican tell you that. They do not understand why we do it this way. Not necessarily, we have always done it this way but perhaps we have tried it other ways and this works the best.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Land of the Free

In my little town their is a large billboard type sign proudly displaying the patriotism of the area- Land of the free because of the brave. During this "holiday", we need to all remember why we have the freedom of speech, the freedom to bear arms, and the freedom to make choices.

The choice to speak out for or against something, including agriculture. The ability to live in such a great country where we can go to a grocery store and decide if we want organic, grass-fed, natural, or traditionally raised steaks to grill.

Remember the people who died making sure we have those choices and the ability to express our own thoughts and opinions.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I love sharing my lifestyle with other people whether they want it or not. I am not pusy or anything... Maybe a tad assertive but definitely not agressive. Hence, the reason I write a monthly column for a local liberal newspaper. They are not liberal in the sense of San Fransico liberal but for this area they are definitely more liberal than the other two publications.

I write on all types of subjects but they all seem to go back to agriculture. Maybe that is why I have such a problem making small talk. Weather- check. Kids- Check. Then what... Cows, horses, grass. Some people just don't understand.

Back to the subject. The point of this post is if I can do it. Anyone can. Write about what you live and it is much easier.

Monday, June 27, 2011


In our family we have six seasons... The normal four with branding and hunting added on. Branding season marks the "end" of winter and the beginning of summer. Hunting the end of summer and the beginning of winter. We had to schedule our wedding around these dates. Since moving to California hunting season has gone by the wayside but branding is still a family favorite.

It maybe arachiac in the realm of being old-fashioned but so is using the USPS and I still send letters. Branding is essential to permanently prove ownership on cattle. It prevents thefts and adds traceability to the product.

Branding is a way of life here in the west. One I hope my grandkids enjoy with as much fervor as my kids are.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Horse Gather

The Surprise BLM Field Office finally has a solid plan for a horse gather. I am impressed they are using all the tools in the box and outside of the box too. The Enivornmental Assessment is out and can be viewed at

The plan is to gather 1100 plus horses from BLM and private properties in conjunction with gathering the neighboring field office to capture horses that are travelling between the two areas. Horses will be gathered to the low Herd Management Level. Mares that are gathered and released will be treated with fertility drugs. Additionally, they are using sex ratios to decrease herd growth.

This is finally a plan I can support. They are leaving some horses out there but not near the 500% increase over what they should be. Treating them so we are not in the same boat in a couple of years. In addition, the plan is to gather from outside the Herd Management Area on BLM property and private ground so they get ALL the horses!

Comments can be sent to:

I wish you could go to the page and just hit the like button because it is a decent plan.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

More Kids

Getting ready for the Junior Livestock Show. What a tiring and rewarding ordeal. We have kids from all clubs and chapters showing, selling, and running this livestock show. Yep, the kids actually run the entire show.

Each club or chapter, since FFA is involved also, elects two members to represent them on the board. The board then runs the entire show with guidance from FFA and 4-H advisors. These kids do everything from getting sponsorships to judges. Set-up and take down equipment. Clerk for judges. Handout ribbons.

They also are responsible for making decisions about their peers especially those peers who break the rules. They must have a majority to go forth but it is a great learning experience.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Puppy Mill

I think according to one definition we have officially become a puppy mill. All over ours are males though. Not sure how we are going to get puppies without some outside influence. We bred our male Lefty (in the picture guarding the baby) to a neighbors dog. So, we took two male pups out of the litter. Yes, we could have gone to the humane society and helped some poor unfortunate dog but I don't think they would have the breeding to do the job we want. These are companion dogs but that is secondary to their job as cow harassers. Yes, our dogs must work for their supper, and breakfast for that matter.

These dogs save miles and lives. I am not being melodramatic about saving lives either. My husband was walking through a herd of cattle a footback. When, a horned bull took offense to his presence. If, it hadn't been for our two dogs taking on the bull he would have suffered more than heart palpitations. So, a dog without the heart, skill or breeding to move cows is not worth it.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Some call it cruel; others, archaic but branding is a necessary function if you own cattle. Yes, we can put ear tags in but they are not permanent. Ear tags can be cut out, fall out, or be altered, etc. Only branding is a permanent nearly no-fail way to prove ownership. Even in 2007 when there was cases of BSE in the US, they traced the animals back to their home places through brand records within 48 hours.

If the animals had tags would it have been quicker than 48 hours-- Maybe? Producers put in ear tags, feed lots take out ear tags, slaughter houses remove them. So, would the information have been transfered? Brand inspections are currently required by law in most states, thus the paper work tracks brands. Leaving a physical paper trail; not an electronic one.

I have lost a lot more information when my computer went bust than I ever have hard copies of data needed. Just sayin.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Yesterday I was thankful for my town job... Between the snow, hail, and rain, it would have been a miserable day a horseback but my husband was out there doing it. They had to sort off yearling heifers for breeding. About 600 of them.

Yearlings are the worst to sort, they haven't been "trained" to go to the opening. Then, when they do get out they run. They are easier to move somewhere because they go most places quite quickly.

Thirteen hours on a horse and even the most toughened cowboy is tired. So were the dogs, and I was tired too. I might have traded him places for a couple hours in the evening. I was at home with the two kids, the oldest hasn't turned two yet.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Behind every good cowboy...

There are cute signs out there... You know the type. Behind every good rancher is a wife with a town job. Why do so many work off the farm or ranch? Everyone's first assumption is money. In a roundabout way that is true... I would say it is insurance. The cost of insuring your self is too expensive to not have someone work off the place and obtain employer paid insurance.

Many ranches do not offer insurance because the cost is too great. Getting a town job especially, a government job alleviates the problem. I know we are grateful for our insurance and will be more so as the kids get older. Especially, after I came around the corner the other day and saw the almost two year standing up on her rocking horse. No fear.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ag in the Classroom

Headed for Ag in the Classroom this morning. We are expecting over 300 little darlings from around the area. There will be information on all types of agriculture from Beef by-products to goats.

It is exciting to have a new presenter this year. A retired BLM employee is going to do a short demonstration on feral horses and the need for gathers. Hopefully, this will start a new line of thinking in our younger generation. From what I understand, it is a modified game of tag. Some kids are horses, some are food and water. Horses must go and secure food and water, those who cannot are either "gathered" or "die".

Wish me patience. This is alot of Kindergarteners through third graders but well worth the time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I am unofficially back from my hiatus. Sorry all. Had to take some maternity time, which I was planning on typing on my blog from my Blackberry but that didn't happen because I lost my user name and password in the process of taking work home with me.

We have added another little agriculturalist hopeful to the population. Tell joined us four weeks ago, today. Which was also about 16 days past his due date. To be completely honest, I am kinda hoping Tell doesn't want to cowboy... I am tired of giving up my horses. :) I am thinking a mechanic or a rock star would be ok. He could be the celebrity voice for ranchers everywhere- move over Sam and Matt, there is a new kid in town.

We have been slacking on getting Tell introduced to the ways of the family though. We had Taylen a horseback by two weeks old. The weather has just been too windy for him to join us on our adventures. He did help plant the garden and build strawberry beds. So we are getting some dirt around the little guy.

Hope this finds you well!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Proud to be part of the Ag Industry

As I do some last minute internet shopping I was amazed by the amount of giving agriculture does. Wrangler has its patriotic line and its tough enough to wear pink line. Cydectin a wormer for cattle gives money to support troops. The deal in the midwest where they have fed out over 80,000 steaks to troops and their families. Then, you get to looking even more locally. When a lady was bucked off her horse and sustained major head injuries, the little community she belonged to pulled together and held a spaghetti feed to help with medical bills- over 200 people attended, not bad when the entire valley has less than 500 people. The area I live in, the economy is based in agriculture. It used to have a logging component but that went with the spotted owl. Now, the main factor is cow-calf production and hay. The same people get hit up for booster club, 4-H, FFA, Sober Grad, Fair, and a myriad of other organizations. I have yet to hear about a good project being turned down. Go Ag!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NCBA President

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association should be proud to call Montana Rancher Bill Donald their president. I have known Bill and members of his family for many years. The dedication and work ethic associated with running a ranch while still traveling to all parts of the United States should be commended. Of course it helps he has the next two generations there taking up the slack. Montana Stockgrowers put together a video on Bill and his grandson "helping". That is part of the WHY. There are days you want to get things done quickly but where else can you have thousands of acres of playground and classroom for a toddler. Ranching allows for people to take sometime and educate. If we will just do it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Mother Nature is teasing us. Not as bad as the federal government but still. We go from gorgeous 60 degrees and sunshine to six inches of snow. You have to love spring at higher elevations. We have several calves on the ground. The Canadian geese and cranes are pairing up for mating. I am amazed at where these creatures make their nests. The cranes are amongst the cows. The geese are on the periphery of last year's late grazed pastures, utilizing the aftermath and the green feed that is sprouting. The snow geese on the other hand, are causing destruction. The flock by the thousands onto hayfields, making it look like the snow hasn't even melted yet. They feed on the green feed too but the shear numbers are causing fields to need replanting. A late winter hunting season wouldn't hurt, even if it was for a few days just to get them moving around and not camping in one place too long. The co-existence of the livestock and wildlife is especially heartwarming though.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


It seems like farmers and ranchers are always talking about the weather, markets, and other things that are not within their control. What do you do? You can't really stress about it. You can't change it. You might as well make small talk. We recieved 5 inches of heavy snow last night. Good for the grass; bad for the calves. Looks like we are supposed to see a few more inches off and on all week. We did get a taste of spring the end of last week and the first part of this week. Just a teaser though. Not enough to really get anything but cheatgrass to going. My mother offered to help me plant my garden when she comes to visit in the next couple of weeks. I told her... We can plant it in April, then again in May but probably should wait til June if we really want things to grow. Might be in California but it is still 5000 feet elevation, with a chance of frost/snow any day of the year!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Are you sure you should be doing that?

This is my day to complain~ But a little background first. I am within days of having my second child, like 3 days from the due date. I have been working/helping/involved in ranch work my entire life. I am over 21 and way, way, way over 100 lbs at the moment. So, I laugh when people ask me, are you sure you should be riding horses/branding calves/ giving shots/ feeding etc. It is dangerous. My husband would say not allowing me to do these things is more dangerous. :) The life I chose to live is one that is full of danger but isn't any more so than many of my more urban counterparts. It does involve large unpredictable animals but it doesn't involve a large unpredictable human population. There are drugs but with few exceptions, the needles are more dangerous than the actual medicine. Feeding is no more stress if done correctly than sitting at a desk all day long, it might be less if you balance the benefits of strength training in there. The air has some particulate matter but most of it is organic not smog based. So, the dangers are relative if you ask me.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hot Iron Branding

I have been remiss about posting lately. I have been partcipating in an age old tradition of hot iron branding calves. It is just as necessary now as it was 100 years ago. A form of identification, that is permanent. Very much unlike, ear tags, tatoos, and freeze irons, a hot iron brand is difficult to alter. The hot iron brand has been a source of much debate, lately. Many believe it is unnecessary but those people do not make their livlihood off of the livestock that can easily be stolen off of thousands of acres with few people. It is especially pertinent with cattle prices being high and the economy being in the dumps. Just last month I recieved an e-mail about several hundred head of calves being stolen off of private range. The take the young calves before they can be branded and sell them. In addition to the actually branding portion, young animals are given their vaccination and castrated, among other things. It is also a social event, teaching the young the traditions and a gathering after a long winter.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Industrial Beef Producers?

Beef Cow-Calf production in the U.S. - The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) has released a report which states " beef cow-calf production in the United States occurs in every state with about 35% of the 2.2 million farms having a beef cow inventory, in 2007. Most of these were small, part-time operations with about a third of farms that raise beef animal having a beef cow inventory of less than 10 cows, mor than half had fewer than 20 cows, and nearly 80% had fewer than 50 cows.

Many small operations are 'rural residence farms' that specialize in beef cow-calf production with their income from off-farm sources exeeds that from the farm.

Beef cattle production is considered by consumers to be the 2nd largest "factory farming" species/industry. Doesn't sound like there are many of those types of farms and ranches out there.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Farmer's Return

I heard an interesting report~ The farmer gets about 20% for every dollar spent at the grocery store on his/her produce. Who gets the rest? Some is spent on regulations, trucking, store overhead, marketing, and... The list goes on. The really interesting thing is this is down from the 1994 levels where a farmer recieved about 25% of every dollar. High input costs have dramatically decreased the profitability margin of farming. Then you add on to it the increase in regulations, fertilizer costs, land costs and niche marketing issues. Doesn't seem like a very profitable way to go... So where is this big business agriculture that is just in it for the money? I dunno!

Monday, March 28, 2011


The environmental protection agency (EPA) was questioned about lawsuits last week. It seems in the last decade or so more regulations have been made because of mitigation of lawsuits from so called environmental groups than through legislation. It is unfortunate this has been the case without the scientific background and research to back up said regulations. Sen. Cordoza from California questioned the head of EPA~ Suggesting that EPA has been actually soliciting for lawsuits so they may place more restrictions on American farmers and ranchers. The head of EPA stated that would be unprofessional~ not confirming or denying the claim. Senator Cordoza went on to suggest maybe mitigating lawsuits was not the way to go if we were going to continue having a viable farming industry. Maybe the EPA should take the time and resources to look into the actual reasoning behind litigation before giving in. An interesting tactic from a Democratic Senator, suggesting maybe science should lead regulations not emotion?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ceasar Chavez Day

Tomorrow is Ceasar Chavez Day in California. He is either hailed or hated by many people. Ceasar Chavez was against the mechanization of agriculture because it put many migrant workers out. It was an interesting time in history with tomatoe picking by machine at the forefront.

It is amazing to look how far we have come in many aspects of agriculture in just the last 50 years. In cattle production, carcass fat has decreased from 35% to 27% and beef production per head has increased 80%.

I don't know if it is for the better. We now have subdivisions, ranchettes, and labels. You can go to the grocery store and decide if you want free-range, organic, natural, or traditional eggs. The choices are immense but so is the impact.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Local Farm Bureau

The local Farm Bureau put on a luncheon for government employees- federal, state, and local. The menu consisted of tri-tip, cheesy potatoes, homemade bread, salad, and dessert. It was wonderful. The interesting part was the income off of this meal to the actual farmers. $2.05 The cost of this meal if it were bought in a restaurant- between $15 and $18.

What a stark comparison! It is amazing how little people are paid for how much work and effort goes into raising food. Guess those money grubbing farmers and ranchers better get better at business because they are not getting what people are paying.

Thanks to FB for putting on such an eye-opening meal.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


As I watched the first day of spring be engulfed by snow "showers" I am amazed at the circle of life. There are daffidols trying to push through the snow and baby calves bucking all over the place. Snow is good this time of year for ranchers, as long as it is not followed by wind. Rain is bad because it equates to mud. Mud doesn't have the insulative properties that snow does.

While I wish for warmer weather, it would be dire for ranchers in this area. The snow would melt, causing issues in the valley along with receding the snow pack which represents next winter forage. That mountain snow pack is the life blood for many ranchers that have to feed stockpiled forage to sustain througout the winter.

I wish we could graze year round but due to weather conditions that is improbable on most years. So, fossil fuels must be used to create winter feedstuffs.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Moisture and I have a love-hate relationship. It is the same relationship I have with my contacts, dog, and tractors. I know rain and snow mean grass but on the flip side, I hate mud, I hate snow drifts, and I really hate being limited in what I can do outside.

I was driving the feed pickup and trailer this weekend. I got stuck~ following my husband's directions of try and stay as close to the fence as possible. He then proceeded to tell me he didn't mean it literally and couldn't I see the mud hole. Well, yeah but you said... So, then he used the tractor to push me out with explicit instructions on going to the third bale from the end before returning to the road.

Oh the woes of communication. The differences between men and women in conversation and moisture. Oh yeah, then he cussed my dog for being in the way on the feed pickup. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tenderness Verfied

A new marketing technique or is science helping us out? Harris, a Eastern grocery store, is using tenderness verified beef. One of the biggest complaints about many cuts is the lack of consistency and tenderness. This may well be a chance to verifiy the tenderness of individual steaks and market them accordingly.

I worry, this will lead to more consumer distrust. You can take the most tender steak but if it is cooked to well done it loses many of those properties~ hence the reason for ordering steaks medium rare. Most meat will be tender and flavorful is cooked properly. It is getting the word out on how to cook cuts in the most appetizing manner that is difficult. Especially, when consumers today spend less than 30 minutes cooking most suppers.

I am as guilty as the next person of rushing through supper. There are chores to do, horses to ride, and SUPPER. Thank goodness for a crock pot!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Dang it! The state of Nevada is in trouble again. Between Harry Reid spouting off about the Cowboy Poetry Gathering and the basic demolish of the extension service, Nevada is on the naughty list this week.

Last year about this time, University of Nevada-Reno gutted their College of Ag. Now, they are gutting the extension service. All the while, they are giving the football coach a raise over the half a million mark. Sad... Athletics above education.

The extension service, whose budget last year was about $7 million from the state, is scheduled to be reduced to $2.2 million. This will effectively cut out most specialist positions, remove travel monies for those left, and complete the disconnect of the rural/urban interface. Most of the Nevada legislature is from Las Vegas and doesn't have the connection. The other 90% of the land mass of the state is left helpless.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wednesday March 9th

Wear green for ag day is Wednesday March 9th. Show your support for agriculture, the week before St. Patty's Day. This is the second annual awareness of Agricultural day using this tactic. Don't forget to speak about why you are doing it. Why ag matters to you!

This is a great idea to raise awareness during budget discussion. Agriculture needs to be in the forefront of everyone's mind. There is a reason why we have not had to go hungry in this nation. It is because of the Agricultural Industry and what it provides.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The article came out.

Awhile back I wrote about talking to a reporter. The article came out~ guess what? She didn't use anything in our interview only a quick question from a meeting I was running. GRRR... She portrayed me as a horse hater. All I asked was if the water was privately owned on the allottments which horses were present is the BLM capable of zeroing out that area and moving the horses. She got the part about zeroing out the herd. That was it. I wish I had some reprecussions but the good news is~ I have been biding my time and the public is speaking out against the reporter and her whimsical articles.

I don't think the editor is going to stop printing her articles because they sell papers. On another note, there has not been one letter to the editor supporting the reporters stories. Guess, it shows what a little emotion and some science can do. Hopefully, we have convinced some people on the fence that horses need to be managed like other livestock.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Smith-Lever Funding on the Table

Were you a 4-H member? How about part of the Master Gardener program? Ever called your local extension agent? Or searched the internet on basic animal questions? Well, the federal funding for these programs is on the table. The Smith-Lever funding is the federal match to state and local funding sources for Extension Service.

It is sad that Congress would even consider cutting such a valuable program that helps take research and scientific data back to producers, consumers, and kids alike. This funding has been in effect since, 1914. The original act was to "aid in diffusing among the people practical and useful information on agriculture and home economics alike." This has since been amended to "to enable people to improve their lives and communities alike through learning parternerships and put knowledge to work".

It is a big mission statement but extension educators all across the country to try to improve peoples' lives and communities through their knowledge and disseminating practical research. If you agree that exentsion is a viable part of the community~ send a letter to your Congressmen and women.

Monday, February 28, 2011


This picture is not from SATURDAY.

On Saturday as I was getting my long underwear, jeans, wool socks, sweater, sweatshirt, and the complete carhartt outer garment layer on, I thought to myself- WHY am I doing this? It was a measly 8 below zero, my kitchen water was frozen, and I was getting ready to go chop ice for the horses and cows. The house water could wait, I had made coffee the night before.

Off we went to feed cows and horses, on the way the car broke down~ Some bearing on the alternator went out. UGH! Talk about timing. So, once again~ WHY am I doing this? I could have stayed home, worked on the house water and made myself comfortable in front of the stove but... No, I was out feeding cows in a pick-up which only the defroster works, you have to roll down the window to open the door, and the passenger side door has no handle. Did I mention, all of this is with an 18 month old?

I could give you all the scientific reasons cows and horses need fed but it wouldn't make much difference would it. I do it because I love seeing baby calves bucking around in the snow once they get warmed up. I do it because I know, I can go to a neighbor to get water but the animals have to/should stay in the pasture they are in for their water. I do it because I love livestock. Even knowing the circle of life~ I feed you now, you feed me later.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cynical? Maybe.

Currently, there seems to be an upward trend of Ag people getting actively involved in legislation, advocacy, and technology. I hope a few minor victories will not let us feel like we can sit on our laurels. We need to keep submerged in issues that affect our livelihoods, traditions, and way of life.

Oregon SB613 is currently being laid to rest but legislators have until April 23 to make a final decision on the fate of the ill-written bill. People in Missouri are currently fighting their proposition dealing with dogs and breeding with increasing support. But I haven't heard much on from Washington State on the "egg legislation" nor has their been much about Nebraska lately.

Keep fighting the good fight. Educating legislators and the general masses alike about raising food and being stewards of the land!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Holiday Weekend

An old guy I used to work with always said "a change is as good as a vacation." I change "jobs" every Thursday night. I go from animal scientist to "cow dietcian and disturber". Not a huge change but it involves less indoor meetings and more physical labor. Something that suits me quite well. I had my normal feeding crew. One border collie to keep cattle from eating directly off the pick-up and one toddler to holler at cows, "drive" and entertain.
With the toddler, it has gotten to the point where I put on a hat, she is hollering about finding her shoes. She will hardly let me out the door to start a rig. She also knows about her own chores at home. It is her job to feed the cat- one painstaking handful at a time.

Friday, February 18, 2011

More on Idaho Bill

This bill from Idaho on animal cruelty, nope, animal welfare is crazy. It defines equines not used in food or fiber production as companion animals but stock dogs as livestock? It seems HSUS is at it again. Pushing really hard on defining horses as companion animals. I guess it is a backhanded way of ensuring slaughter plants are not re-opened anytime soon, or at all.

We need to fight this type of legislation. It is just one step closer to threatening the livelihoods of many ranchers and farmers alike. I hope the governor of Idaho is as strong as many people credit him with. If not, this could be disasterous.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lookout Idaho

House bill 149 in Idaho is once again Disneyfying horses. They are taking the majestic livestock to the lowly staus of companion animal. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. Horses are livestock and should be treated, legislated, and managed as such.

They do not sell ponies in a pet store for a reason. They are big, they can be dangerous, and they require special care. They can not be placed in a backyard or cage and left. Quit trying to make them a dog. They do not do well with a walk a day. They require space, hay, and water along with their love.

Please write to these people and let them know. Even if you are not from the state. I think it is degrading to horses.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Eating Well- Post had a great article this morning about 5 foods you should eat that have gotten a bad reputation! Guess what! Beef, eggs, chocolate, potatoes, and peanut butter are the list. Finally someone in the mass media recognizes the benefits of these fine foods. It also sounds like a great meal to me. Steak, eggs, and hashbrowns followed by peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips! I would be in heaven.

I am glad research is finally disproving what agriculture has been saying for years. All things in moderation. Exercise more. Get outside. Mission of good health accomplished. Think of all the money spent on health foods, gym memberships, and exercise equipment.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Oregon Senate bill 613

Oregon Senate bill 613:

Senators in Oregon are trying to outlaw horse roping. Once again, people are legislating on something they do not understand with misinformation from the HSUS. This is getting to be enough! Please e-mail the above senators. They do not understand that roping horses is a part of heritage, training, and not an animal welfare issue!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Public Lands

BLM, Forest Service, Refuges, and State ground are all part of the Public Lands system that is rampant in the Western United States. I am as guilty as the next person of blaming the local office for the management of these lands in the area. But, when you really get to thinking about it, they are doing only what they have been directed to do by voters.

Voters? Yep, the ones who elect the officials who make decisions on appropriations, directives, and legislation. I harp on people to quit taking their frustrations out on the local level and go to where it counts. Send letters to legislators praising the programs that are necessary for the land to be sustainable and the small communities viable.

We really need to get out of our shells and educate John Q. Public about why such practices are necessary. Why timber needs to be harvested. Why cattle are beneficial. Why feral horses need to be managed. The big one- How all these effect the land, resources, and economy of areas with a public lands component.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I was reading bits and pieces of the Micheal Vick drama and pit bull rescues etc. It is heart wrenching to think of the way people used and abused these dogs. One blogger commented on the scars, missing teeth, and limp ears. Called these dogs weapons and soldiers taught to fight not pets.

That got me to thinking about my own dogs. They have scars, missing teeth, one has a split tongue, and all the other various maladies and limps that come with being a tool, pet, and part of the family at our house.
So what is the difference? Someone could look at Pancho and be upset, but they would probably be more disturbed at his howls when it is not his day to work. We rotate our dogs so they all get used and have time off through out the week. But they hate their days off and live to work cows. Pancho has this stupid, goofy look on his face when he puts one back in the herd. You know " I did good huh, I showed that beast who is boss." Weapon? Maybe not. Tool? Definitely!
They are also part of our family.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Some People

We had a 4-H function this weekend. We were tagging steers when one escaped into our small town. It went through the high school lawn, across main street and was head out of town. As the tagging team hit main street they didn't know where the calf had went. A lady told them " the big dog headed that way."

The big dog? It was daylight, we live in an area where beef production is the number one economy. Ummm... and you don't know the difference. Wake up and smell the manure people.

Oh well, the calf was caught and returned to its rightful place. No harm, no foul. But a big dog? Could you imgaine the bite he could have taken out of someone?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Facebook Viral

BREAKING NEWS: No farms or ranches are closed due to the fridgid temperatures. Each and every rancher will be out in the blistery, cold, blowing wind tending to their livestock. They will be praying for machinery to work and non-frozen water pipes. If you know or love a rancher or farmer, say a prayer for him or her and repost so the prayer line may grow for our ranchers and farmers to be safe.

I have seen this message on the posts of many of my facebook friends. It is nice to see something supporting the ag industry going viral.

What a great way to get the message out to many people about what exactly is entailed in producing food. There are no snow days when animals are involved.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February is Beef Month

A great opportunity to tell about the benefits of beef! February is beef month. Steaks for valentine's day are always a bonus at our house. What are you going to do to celebrate a lean source of protein?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Annoyed with Oprah

Not only is Oprah an annoying sensationalist who has made billions of dollars off of people but she seems determined to undermine the livestock industry. Today, Oprah will air a show entitled- Oprah and 378 Staffers Go Vegan- The One Week Challenge

The show will have special guest Micheal Pollan author of "The Ominvores Dilemna" and Kathy Freston a vegan author and spiritual advisor. Both of these will share their thoughts about what you should eat and what you should know about the foods you eat. Wow! Really? I am sure they have each taken a science class in high school and thus are able to tell how to eat. Or maybe they stayed at a Holiday Inn Express?

In addition, Lisa Ling, Oprah's investigative reporter, is taking a look inside a beef processing facility.

The comments are flying in. Maybe they should have Angelina Jolie on their to counter balance?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Goodbye January!

How are your new year's resolutions coming along? I was able to fufill part of mine this past week. As I was getting a pop at the gas station this past week, I had the attendant comment on how he likes my column in the local newspaper. I could have just said "Thank you" and hurried out the door like I probably would have prior. But, I seize the opportunity and the poor guy was wishing I would have just said "Thank you" and walked out the door.

I told him about growing up on ranches and taking care of cattle. He said he didn't believe I had actually had some of the experience I talked about. I laughed and explained to him I had a young start.

He asked about factory farming and recieved an earful about why I hate those words and believe they should be stricken from the vocabulary.

I guess my point is- I stepped out of my comfort zone and hopefully he will pass on some tidbit of information to someone else. Even if it is "That columnist speaks of life and is passionate about raising cattle."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Funny how things can change

I was listening to the radio this morning as some regular contributor was ecstatic about a couple leaving their ranch to the state as a wildlife refuge. The commentor was quoting how exciting this was and the habitat that ranchers are able to provide for wildlife.

The unfortunate part, it didn't mention if this place would still be managed as a ranch, as in still have grazing and haying- you know, the reason it is good habitat in the first place. In the past, these ranches have been stripped of livestock. This leads to infestation of weeds, wolfy growth of plants, and degradation of habitat.

I hope they remember why this made such good habitat in the first place and keep cattle on the land.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Preaching to the Choir

Along with all my other sources of information I also Facebook. It is a great social media tool in which I can keep in touch with friends, family, and spread the word. I am "friends" with Trent Loos on the site. Trent is a very vocal advocate for agriculture in general speaking at all types of functions. Whether you agree with Trent or not, I saw an interesting comment posted on his page. "Too bad you can't get this information out to more Ag people."

This got me thinking- what the heck is the point of talking to more ag people. They know what they are doing, that they do it well and how much effort goes into caring for animals that you know the end point is an early death. We really need people that garner as much attention as Trent to speak to people at University of Oregon in Eugene or at Berkely. It doesn't help to keep preaching to the choir.

It is time for the choir to start preaching to another congregation!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I just recieved a phone call from a reporter in the local newspaper. They wanted my opinion on the wild horses in the area. I really I hope I got my point acrossed without sticking my foot in my mouth. This women has been know to write stories akin to "Spirit". Except it was about Blade the poor mustang that was disposed of because he had a confirmation problem in his front end that she attributed to gathering as a foal.

I tried to make the point- Horses are good if managed. Horses are bad if left to reproduce willy nilly. They do not belong in long-term holding. Herds need to be sustainable- large enough to be genetically viable but small enough to not trash riparian areas, be a detriment to wildlife, cause havoc on range conditions and animals sorted be adoptable.

I also attempted to explain, herd management area populations are fluid. Horses are able to roam for 200 miles without encountering a fence. Thus, making concrete population estimates difficult to determine. In this area, herds intermingle and may not have the issues of genetic diversity associated with more isolated populations.

I will let you know how the article goes.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Trying to stay positive

Washington is the next on the list of states to be hit with HSUS legislation. The cage free vs cage laying systems are being put up for emotional sabotage. The media reports are dim, the egg farmers are trying to speak up. Is it too late? I hope not.

In other news, In the next couple of weeks, HSUS is heading to South Dakota. I hope they give Wayne and his followers the same welcome that Nebraska did. Thank you and don't come again.

Lastly, I am flagging. I keep trying to stay positive but seems like everything is piling up. If I get too negative make sure you call me out! :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011 discussion


For what started as a customer annoyed by HSUS's commercials, this little thread has been diverted to tangential discussions on grass finished vs. grain finished, horse slaughter, and other topics of interest to agriculture. I am amazed at the amount of hypocrisy and mistruths that is spewed by trolls. It is quite interesting.

Many HSUS supporters only use HSUS information, websites, and directives as gospel truth. No science involved. Only the emotions used to get votes.

One of my favorites is the continual use of "factory farms". When are we ever going to get that term out of vocabularies? It was first used in a book in the 60's and has plauged the livestock industry since. The rebirth of this derogatory term needs to be stopped.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why is everyone trying to save us?

I don't understand why everyone is trying to save us from ourselves. In San Fransico, there is a lawsuit aimed at stopping McDonald's use of toys to market directly to young children. This is spear headed by The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). In November, the San Fransico Board of Supervisors voted to ban McDonald's and all fast-food restaurants from giving away free toys in kids' meals.

The CSPI stated "The use of toys undercuts parental authority and exploits young children's developmental immaturity. Regardless of the nutritional quality of what's being sold, the practice of tempting kids with toys is deceptive."

My parents said NO thousands if not millions of times during our growing up. We respected their authority, for the most part. If parents cannot make healthful decisions for the kids with or without toys who is CSPI to come in and ban them?

Though, the interesting part is when you get to delving into CSPI's true mission. On CSPI's Form 990 its program is described as "improving both human health and the environment by promoting the consumption of a more PLANT-based diet and reducing the consumption of meat, milk fat and other products that have been linked to cancer, heart disease, and other health problem."

So, the vegetarian agenda strikes again in the form of a deceptive lawsuit and bullying activist group trying to impose its thoughts on the American people. So, who is exploiting who now?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Our weekend and holiday.

Nothing like a brisk foggy morning to get you going. Here is our little helper, helping finish off the last of the load. The heifers were sure glad to see us. They are getting trained up fairly well and come running to a whistle now, or maybe the sound of the pickup.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why we need to educate the public!

Wow! This article is worth a read. It is titled "Does your fast food hamburger come from steroid-pumped, caged cattle, knee-deep in urine soaked manure?"

The authors go on to expound on the issues of "factory farming". I think the main point is they are mad at Monsanto and GMO corn but they use many lies, mistruths, and unsubstantiated claims to get there.

Things I learned from this article:
1. GMO crops cause BSE. Bet you had no clue.
2. Cattle can pass on cancer to humans like a cold. Just through contact.
3. Cattle in feedlots are force-fed corn. They have to be locked in a small pen with corn only to eat for them to eat it. I could see if it was brussel sprouts but corn?
4. Cattle do not have the genetic ability to digest corn. It is fermented in one of the four stomachs.
5. Micheal Pollan and Paul Schossler (sp) are leading scientists on cattle feeding.

Amazing what you can learn on the internet. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Feral Horses... GRRR!

Sorry for the repeat for many of my cyber friends but I am still a bit agitated. I was in a public meeting today about county business- board of supervisors. The agenda item was on a letter of support for a feral horse gather to take place. A lady in the audience, stated that horse gathers were cruel and they should use alternative means of controlling populations. I am not against using alternative means. It was her suggested way of doing it that was asnine. She wanted to geld all the stallions.

I calmly, tried to explain that gelding all the stallions would require 50% of the herd to be handled. To which she replied- Anyone with commonsense would know that there is only one stallion per herd! I couldn't help it- I became emotional. I told her anyone with commonsense would know that a foal crop is 50/50 male and female. Making half the herd in the area males. That is when the chairmen stopped the conversation.

I was dissappointed because I didn't even get to delve into the science of reproduction. How actually, when they do sex ratios to decrease the amount of reproduction it is the females they put out in lower numbers. I didn't get a chance to explain that it is only the females who bear young. I also didn't get a chance to explain one stallion can breed 25-50 mares per year but a mare can only have one colt... Along with other things. :)

Oh well, hindsight is 20/20. Hopefully, she will do some research and find out how WRONG her basic assumptions are.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Next Generation

I should have taken pictures but I was so overjoyed, I forgot. My daughter who is about 17 months helped my husband and I feed on Saturday. This her helping last spring. She was up at 5 AM, as usual, but when asked if she wanted to go feed cows. She went into a little tornado. She gathered up her hat, coat, mittens, and shoes. She was ready to go.

The next morning she was awake at 5 again and was trying to take off her sleeper and put on shoes, at the same time. She was on the back of the pickup, grabbing handfuls of hay and throwing it off. She also kicked off the leftovers. All with a huge smile on her face.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Summit of the Horse

The Summit of the Horse in Las Vegas, NV has been going on all week. It is a group of ranchers, animal activists, and others discussing the need or not of horse slaughter in the United States. It has even recieved recognition from the Wall Street Journal.

In 2007, before horse slaughter was made illegal about 100,000 unwanted, untrainable, or otherwise useless horses were harvested, in the US and about 7,000 went to Mexico. Most of the meat was exported overseas for human consumption. By-products were used in the US for pet foods and zoos.

When the ban was enacted, about 54,000 horses with the number still rising, have been sent to Mexico. Unfortunately, our neighbor to the South does not have the same laws and regulations about humane slaughter as we do. Videos from Mexican facilities are unnerving to say the least and down right sickening in many senses.

The timing of the ban has created issues for many people. In 2007, was the start of the recession and many horse owners were and are unable to care for their animals adequately. Incidences of malnutrition and neglect have significantly increased since the ban. In addition to, horses being turned out on public and tribal lands to fend for themselves when owners are unable to properly care for them.

It is time to reenact horse slaughter in the US. It gives owners a humane, legal, outlet for unwanted animals. It allows for an exported product to help the economy. It also gives the horses a death with a purpose.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Is corn the root of all evil?

Think about it... Is corn the root of all evil in the modern world? We have obesity that is blamed on high fructose corn syrup, easy access to fast foods which use corn as a filler, and fat beef many of which have been fed diets containing corn. I am not going to even mention- corn whiskey, ethanol, and other uses. Or is it just our consumption and lack of activity?

I am as guilty as the next person about eating foods in excess. This is especially true this time of year. It is cold and I crave chocolate and caramel and well, really anything with a high carbohydrate component. Not exactly what a dietician would reccommend but it is winter and sweaters are a godsend. Most of these foods contain some form of corn in them. If you look at the label of almost all candy- HFCS is in the top 5 ingredients.

So why are people attacking the beef industry about their use of corn? It doesn't take away from other human uses. It adds to the CHEAP food supply. You know the one where we only spend about 10% of disposable income on food.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How time flies!

I have been working on my New Year's Resolution for several years now- to be more outspoken about Agriculture. So, this month I am celebrating my one year anniversary as a columnist in the local liberal rag. I write articles about misnomers in Ag. I have written on horse slaughter, feral horses, myths about red meat, "factory farms" and cutting of junipers. It started out very hard. What am I going to write about every month? Do I have enough information and time to keep up a column and a newsletter and now a blog? Seems I do. If you don't mind my erratic blogging, some grammar issues and a few nonsensical sentences.

In my column, I tend to incorporate some of our everyday life into it. For me, I think it helps bring to life the trials and tribulations of trying to raise livestock in an everchanging and increasing more regulated and scrutinzed world. It also reminds me that I didn't always have a job that included a computer. I used to spend hours in the pasture doing what I enjoy most. Now, I enjoy that time even more because I don't get the opportunity day in day out. I mean, I have a confession, I haven't been on a horse in over a month. Something a few years ago would have been a depressing sad day.

Back to the topic. Happy anniversary to the printed Corner Post. May the word continue.

Monday, January 3, 2011


I was sent an article by my sister. The link seems to be taken down now to the article but it was written from the perspective of a "ranch" wife. The grammar was poor, the punctuation was atrocious, and the story line was filled with false information and generally poor practices.

This "ranch" wife was attacked by a 35 lb rooster that had 5 inch spurs!? She discusses overflowing the water tank to the point it flows through the corrals into the creek. A bronc ride where she subdues her horse by whip and spur is included and finally, she ropes a cow and ties it to a tree until they can return with pickup and trailer.

Obviously this person, took all the wild stories she had heard and combined them into her own little fantasy. Not great! But for an industry trade magazine to publish it on the INTERNET. Shame on them.

This was obviously an opinion piece. They could have decided whether or not to publish it. But one look would show you, it was not true and could do harm to the industry. From the tailwater in the creek, to the animal welfare issues- what a mess.
Shame shame.