Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fashion Friday on a Tuesday !

So I couldnt wait until Friday to post my new favorite thing - the Canvas Tote that looks like a real Birken bag!  Its the All Together Bag !  It comes in red, blue and camel and the greatest news ----------------- it is only $35.00

It is lined and has lots of room to use as a reusable shopping tote, a gym bag or just as a carry all for everything you need!

Just too cute not to post asap!  I couldn't wait until Fashion Friday.

They are unfortunately on back order but place your order ad they ship sometime in March. Check them out here.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Does it Hurt?........................ Sure for a Bit

I recently had a conversation with someone in my office just this week asking if I felt bad doing all those unnecessary things to my calves.  Wouldn’t you rather market them as humane he said?  I saw that at Whole Foods,he said and thought of you. Funny how I looked at him and did not feel the hairs stand up on the back of my neck or felt anger swell in my tummy- for me it was a valid question from someone not familiar with cattle ranching asking a question and I had an answer – the best answer I knew.  For me it was quite simple. 

He asked why I branded, castrated and vaccinated my cattle- he inquired why I did these things and he was sure it hurt them.  My answer was simple – sure it hurts …………………. For a bit, no different than when we ride a bike as a child barreling down a hill and then face plant ourselves on the blacktop – haven’t we all done this ? Sure, did it hurt? Sure but it went away!

At our branding this year I took the time to see how long we actually had the calves on the table.  For you see my family processes all of our calves on a branding table.  The calves are put through a chute and then once secured the chute is tipped on its side, I like to think of it as an operating table, once on its side the calves are branded, vaccinated and castrated if necessary.  The table is then flipped back upright and the calves released.  Many times running to their mommas and grabbing a quick drink of milk.  They are on the table for approximately 6-7 minutes.  Within an hour of my observation, calves were laying down chewing their cuds.  For those that don’t know cattle chewing their cuds are a sign they are content.  I am sure at the time it hurt them but by the time we were done with the group of calves they were ready to head back out into the foothills and resume their life.

Why do we brand our calves? This is a clear identification system.  If our cattle ever got out onto a public road or misplaced by walking through a fence and onto another’s property or even my goodness stolen from our property, authorities would know where they came from and work would be done to get them back home.    Why do we vaccinate? To prevent- plain and simple. No different than a childs booster shots or flu shots we as adults receive. Our vaccinations prevent our calves from all sorts of disease and shield them from future harm. Do we add hormones?  Not on our operation, our calves are considered natural; we do not inject them with any growth stimulants.   And finally why castrate? We do not raise our male calves for bulls. We are not in the business of marketing bull calves, we market steers.  Steers are easier to handle, docile and finish out sooner due to fat deposition than bulls.  We also do not want our bulls mating with our heifers; they roam on our range together until the time they are weaned from their mamas.  Our calves are marketed as steers; they will grow and finish out and then harvested and sold in grocery stores or end up in restaurants.

After processing is done calves are watched daily to make sure all goes well – I am not going to say that problems don’t arise for I would be fibbing to you however in all the years I have been on our family ranch it is rare for us to lose a calf or have a problem occur after processing them, I feel confident in saying very rare does a problem occur.

My cattle are cared for 365 days a year, always are fed before my family is fed and always tended to when they do become sick. I have had baby calves in my back porch and on the floor of my truck more times than I can count to warm them up and get them back on their feet. Baby calf bottles seem to be on the counter of my kitchen more than not during calving time and colostrums milk seems to always take up space in the fridge.  We now use paddles when moving calves around rather than whips that used to be the tool of choice.  I have a plastic paddle with beads in on the end that make a noise, similar to a childs rattle, by rattling the paddle on the side or in front or back of a calf will push him along where he needs to go whether thru a chute or down an alley.  My paddle is of course Pink!  Would you think anything other for a couture cowgirl?  Think not.

So when people ask me – doesn’t it hurt the calves? I am not going to lie and say nah it doesn’t hurt I am going to say sure it does for a short period of time , no different than giving our own children their yearly shots or circumcision a young boy or perhaps touching an open flame on the stove before our moms smacked our hands.

We are doing nothing wrong , we are providing a healthy, safe product, a product that when is born on our ranch we care for it just like one of our own kids and I have no problems telling anyone what we do .  For me it is simple, ask me a question about what we do and hopefully I can engage with you in a conversation or dialogue to explain it all – will you change your mind?  Hmmmmmmm not sure but you can bet that I will provide you with a truthful, honest answer.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Family First

This past week was one I had been looking forward to for a long time- I had the opportunity to attend the World Ag Expo in Tulare – I would have the chance to hook up with old friends and meet friends I had only conversed with on facebook.  I had the opportunity to speak to the local junior college about my journeys and experiences in agriculture .  I awaited this week with anticipation and made a game plan of who I needed to connect with, what booths I would stop by, and check out who had the best free pen giveaways !  ( I love pens) hahaahahah – I was so eager to be an agvocate for the week , collecting all sorts of wonderful information and experiencing new things for future blogs and talks and creating a new friend network.

However all my plans suddenly changed  when I needed to stay home due to family obligations.  My mom had back surgery and needed me – because without her I would not be here, would not have grown up to appreciate agriculture, our family farm and all the wonderful things associated with it .  My mom is the cornerstone of who I am – she has helped create the person I have become, she is my number one supporter and biggest fan !  My mom needed me and so we stayed home to go through the surgery and get her on the road to recovery
My mom and Niece Paige after baking cut out cookies - stopping for a brief photo op before frosting began

Was I sad I missed my agvocating opportunities ?  You bet I was but I came to realize that I don’t have to be at a big event to tell my ag story. I don’t have to be a speaker for the day in front of young people  I found myself telling my story to hospital staff, doctors, and those sitting in the waiting room.  You see I love to talk and I love to talk about agriculture and so I enjoy spreading the word to all who listen!  There is never a right or wrong place to tell your story- just do it .  Many asked my mother- what do you do?  They were trying to figure out her abilities before the surgery and that is where I began in assisting mom with sharing all we do on the farm.  This intrigued our new circle of  friends and they asked lots of questions about farming, pesticides on produce, cows, you name it !!  They now had a face to the farmer!

When family falls ill it makes you take a step back and realize life and why you are here , what is my purpose?  I believe I am meant to share the word of agriculture but without the backbone of my family and the experiences I have had with them then really I have no story to tell at all .  For it is the experiences that I have created over the years that help me form my thoughts and share my agriculture journey.

I am blessed by a wonderful family and friends who are like family- for that I am ever grateful.  Because of them I am the person I have become.  A person who loves this industry and the people in it .  I am eager to share my thoughts, but sometimes we need to tweak and twist and maybe share them in a different way.

Oh and by the way ……………………… Don’t forget your loved ones on Monday-  I love you Mom and wish you a quick recovery!!!!  Thank You for making Me :)
Happy Valentines Day !!!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

What Do Your Legs Say About Your Personality~

Has a week already gone by?  Sheeeeeesh I really wanted to get a agriculture adventure blog out this past week, or share my thoughts on cows or the Oprah staff going vegan but time got away from me and that means we are back to ………………………………………..Fashion Friday!

So what shall we visit about today?  How about TIGHTS?  Ok tights it is.

I love tights maybe as much as I love wraps and I have them in about as many colors.  I believe tights have really made a comeback.  Many, many years ago while attending catholic school tights were part of my daily uniform- I hated them. They were gray and thick and ugly.  But many, many years later I have come to embrace “whats old is new again.”  So what are your legs saying about you?  I tend to like tights because they are thicker than some other nylon type leg coverings.  When you are a bit more generous in the leg area like I am tights provide extra coverage while giving better support.

Tights can be party like, sensible, business or sexy.  Recently in the Wall Street Journal Style section it does a smashing job of listing all the different kinds some of which I will list here:
  • Fishnet (guys tend to love this – I don’t) – go figure
  • Distressed
  • Lace
  • Leopard or animal print
  • Back seam
  • Jewel solid tone  (my absolute favorite- I have red, turquoise, orange, yellow, gold, hot pink and purple )
  • Florals and stripes
  • Sweater knit
  • Neon
  • Nude (personally think a bit boring)
  • Black opaque (a true staple)- and you can get them with a hint of a pattern in them that make them look oh so classy!

Get out there and buy yourself a pair – prices range from very inexpensive to pretty pricey – ( thinking $5 to as much as $50 ) but you want to get a nice quality so they don’t rip and you can wash them in a gentle detergent in the sink and hang to dry- they are a must!  A pop of fun color or print is all you need to make an outfit something special.  So wear your personality on your legs ~ I guarantee fun !