Monday, October 5, 2015

Work lately.

I think I've traveled more for work these past two months, than I have in the past four years.

But every trip was worthwhile and totally worth the time spent out of the office.

The last week of July, I flew to Minneapolis for a week long leadership training, and it was so good.  With my work at FFA, I've been to my fair share of leadership trainings and this one was one of the best.  The picture below shows the group I was with for the week, and it was neat to visit with people all across the country who all work for the same FSA, but still have different roles, job titles and responsibilities.

My group included an AO, DD's, Farm Chiefs, FLM's and CED's.  I didn't know anyone going into the training, but after leaving, I felt like I could have emailed any of them a question.

The entire day was spent in our conference room, bettering our skills but in the evenings we headed out to see the town and relax a bit.

Our hotel was RIGHT next to the Mall of America, so we usually hopped on the free hotel shuttle and went down there for dinner and some fun time!  Nickelodeon has an amusement park inside the mall, and we made sure to ride a few of the rides!

I had to include this last picture from our, because it cracks me up and two, it's so true.
One of the exercises that we participated in was the trainers posted four flip charts with various traits - "The Battler", "The Friendly Helper", "The Avoider" and one other which I can't remember but it was something along the lines of "I'm a Meet in the Middle Kind of Person".  We were asked to quickly look at the charts and go to the one that we thought best represented us.
When the three of us above - myself, Curtis from KY and Kathy from TX - found ourselves at the "Battler" chart....and everyone else was in the "meet in the middle" kind of charts, we had to chuckle.  The rest of the room may have been chuckling with us....we had only known each other for three days, but by that point it was pretty obvious that the three of us had pretty strong personality types.

Then in September I went to Bend for a week long management training with Oregon FSA managers, and then Kyle and I headed to Denver the next week for CRP training.  FSA is a small world, because I'd actually end up seeing Tim from NC at the CRP training, and we met in MSP at my leadership training!

Eating sushi with the crew one night in Bend....Josh, Wes & Trent shared "The Love Boat" which we all thought was hilarious!

Kyle and I found this aptly named pub near our hotel in Denver.  :)

On the home stretch....and with a full can of Seltzer...thank you Alaska Air! 

It's the little a full can of pop on a flight these days to make things easier.

There's not any travel in the future lined up for work....which is good since my doctor says I shouldn't fly after 36 weeks....and now it's just time spent in the office catching up.

I feel fortunate though for the opportunities to get to do what I do at my job - and am thankful that I landed in my role here at FSA.  :)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday at the ranch.

One of the best benefits of my job, is that I have every other Friday off.  Today happens to be one of those days, and I'm spending most of it at home working on projects and taking care of a few things that have been sidelined.  We've been CRAZY busy at my office these past two weeks with a big deadline and our fiscal year end, and I spent every night this past week at the office until well past dark.  On top of being out of town for work the two weeks prior to that, my house - and my husband - have been ready to have me focused at home for a few days.

So it was so nice to have my Friday off, land on this weekend.  I got to sleep in until 7:30 (what a luxury!) before heading into Starbucks to pick up breakfast for Clint and I.  That's one of our weekend treats, and I love being able to take him a coffee and breakfast sandwich in the morning.

My standard text to him after getting home from town is usually "Where can I bring breakfast?".  This morning it was to the White Corrals, where the weaned spring heifers are being fed.  Clint was horseback bringing another set of heifers in from down the road for the BMCC livestock judging kids to come work out on, so I spent a few minutes prior to him arriving taking pictures.

It's been a while since I've just taken pictures of whatever I've wanted.....and it felt good to be back in the saddle.  ;)

Before long, RJ was headed down the road with the feed truck....heifers following....and Clint and the dogs bringing up the rear. 

Breakfast was delivered, a quick conversation about the plans for the day, and he was off.  I was off too....back home, to finish a few things (and write this post) before I go back out to join him and help with some projects.

Happy Friday friends!  I hope that wherever you're living the dream!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Oh September.

You were the best month.

But you were a crazy, busy, life is full, kind of month.

The best part of you?

Well....we got to watch my sister marry her best friend. 

So many congratulations to the new Mr. & Mrs. Heiser. 
We love you both so much, and can't wait to watch your story continue to unfold.

While I may not have blogged much this certainly wasn't because we weren't {living} the month.  Branding with the Francis family, fall calving at the ranch, two work trips, and the annual Gohr sale....

September, you were good to us.

Here's hoping that next September is just as sweet.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Feeding on the butte.

Because of the drought here this summer, Double M weaned the fall calves early and took the cows up to the butte.  There, they were fed hay each day - since there wasn't a lot of spare grass to put them on.
Last year the ranch bought a Fodder Flaker hay feeder.  It's mounted on a flatbed trailer, and has a gas generator mounted on the front that provides the power to the chains to roll bales back towards the rollers where they're flaked off in chunks.  The trailer can be pulled by anything - a tractor, pickup, etc. since it doesn't rely on any attached hydraulics to flake the hay. 
Probably my favorite thing about this feeder is that it's a one-man job.  A remote control allows the driver of the pickup or truck to run the flaker from inside the cab.  Which is also nice when it's poor weather outside - besides cutting the strings and starting the generator, the rest of the job can be done from the comfort of a cab. 
The day I took these pictures, our nephew Jace was here though - so it was a two-man job.  :)
And if I'm being totally honest - the batteries had died on the remote, so it was a three person job when I showed up to deliver two extra AA batteries.  :)

The guys had just pulled into the field, and Clint hopped up on the deck of the flatbed to start the generator.  You can see he's holding a small box in his hand - that's the remote that runs the flaker.
Now that it had fresh batteries, they were ready to go!

Clint doesn't like to feed huge chunks of hay and likes to provide plenty of space around them (due to waste), so it's nice he can control the amount of hay that's flaked off each time and where it lands.  One or two flakes is ideal for him, but if someone desired, the remote could tell the flaker to run a line of hay in a continuous stream.

Around the field he went, until he'd fed the desired amount.  The cows are funny - they trail behind, thinking that the next flake to come off will probably be better than the one they've just been munching on.

During a drought;
Hay = Happy Cows
It's not the ideal way to feed cows in the summer, since we'd rather see them turned out to grass, but when drought forces your hand it's at least nice to have good equipment that helps getting feeding done efficiently.  :)

Monday, September 7, 2015

The big sexy ninja strikes again.

There's a running joke for the last few years, that we call Clint the "Big Sexy Ninja" during brandings.
And well, to be honest...other times too.  But he usually gets the chance to show off his ninja moves at brandings, and so that's why the nickname gets used most then.
Last Sunday was no different - one of the first calves roped was a bit squirrely, but Clint showed it who was boss.

He was in control of the calf the entire time....just one of the reasons I love that  big sexy ninja man.  :)

More pictures from the Francis Branding coming later this week.....