Thursday, March 28, 2013

Working cows.

We helped the Francis family work their cows last weekend, and as usual - it was a good time.
The morning started by the group bringing in the pairs horseback.  Cidney had just gotten her new horse "Chief" and so the girls didn't have to share Ivan.  After a few trips around the pasture, the pairs were in the corral and the work began.

It was a beautiful morning spent outside with friends!

Monday, March 25, 2013

How a life can change.

Twelve years ago this morning, my life changed.

 I had spent it in La Salles auditorium at the OSU campus waiting for 208 delegates to decide what my next year would look like.  The slate had been revealed, all of the candidate speeches had been given, and then we just had to wait.  Wait for ballots to be cast & counted, run-off's & results to be announced. 

At the end of the morning, I'd wind up on stage with 5 other people who I'd spend the next year with.  Some I already knew - Jo and & I had met four years earlier on the same stage as we competed in the FFA Creed contest.  Others, we'd just met during the "nom com" process that week.

Wes, Brian, Mike, Jo, Gina & Myself
The next year would not be without it's bumps, hurdles & a "Coming to Jesus" or two. 

Running for an Oregon FFA State Office was a big deal.  It's still a big deal.  My year, I think there were about 30 people who ran.  Only 6 of us were elected.  Our state office year was wonderful.  It was challenging, fun, rewarding, exciting, filled with growth, a few tears, and a lot of coaching and memories that lasted a life time. 

One year. 
12 months. 
365 days to make a difference.

To the 6 elected this morning....

Congratulations.  Welcome to the club. It only gets better from here.

Your state officer year has the potential to be amazing.  Let it be that way. 

Whatever happens over the course of this next year, I hope that in 12 years you can look back too and be grateful for the experiences & friendships that resulted because of it.

12 years later - Myself, Wes & Jo
Brian would arrive to convention later, but I was already back on the road for home...
  And for those who weren't chosen this morning.....

Yes, it stinks. And I'm sorry.  I imagine that this was something you've had your heart set on, a goal you've been working towards and a dream that won't become a reality.  You've probably heard that "everything happens for a reason".  And while it probably is not the easiest thing to hear right now - and having not experienced what you're going through - I hope that it's true. 

I hope that there really is something else (perhaps grander?!?) in store for you.  I hope that you experience things you wouldn't get to experience otherwise, and grow as an individual.  I hope you get to go to college and have the most amazing freshman year.  Or maybe you'll meet a lifelong best friend and make a connection with someone who later becomes your spouse.  I hope you take chances, risk boldly & live. 

You will get to do all of these things, in part because your courdoroy jacket is neatly tucked away in a memory box at home.  While you may take the jacket off at the end of convention today, you'll still have the memories, the personal growth, the friendships & the leadership skills that it brought to you as you've worn it these past four years.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The power of BEEF

I love to eat beef.

The funny thing is, I didn't grow up around beef cattle, and I didn't even really eat that much beef growing up.  We were more of a chicken, pork, top ramen because teenagers can make it themself, kind of family.  My mom did occasionally cook with ground beef and my parents made a great marinated tri-tip with their secret spice rub. 

So when I met and later married Clint - my beef recipe repetoire wasn't exactly the most extensive.  Since then, I've really come to like beef, and I use it in most of my recipes.

Not only do we like to eat beef, but it's a part of how we make our livelihood.  So when the chance comes up to promote beef, we're there! 

Every year, the Umatilla County Cattlemen's Association (UCCA) marinates & grills tri-tip at the PGG Spring Spectacular, and then gives samples away to the public who is attending.  The majority of people who attend are not "ag" people, so we really get to spread the good word about beef and show how easy & convenient it can be to prepare at home.  Not to mention how great it tastes.  This year, over 1,000 samples were given out in about 4 hours! 

Randy Mills, our OSU Beef Extension Agent marinates the beef ahead of time, and has it ready for grilling when we get to the Convention Center.  It never fails that every year he gets asked repeatedly for his recipe and he never minds sharing. 

Randy's Marinade:
Combine equal parts garlic salt, coarse ground pepper & parsley flakes. Lightly coat a tri-tip, or steak, in olive or canola oil, and season with mixture.  Marinate in refrigerator overnightd, then grill on medium heat to desired doneness.  Serve and enjoy!

Doesn't that make you want to go grill a steak today? 

And if you're trying to watch what you're eating, beef can still have a place in your diet.  There are over 19 cuts of lean beef, and tri-tip is one of them.  So not only is it healthy, but it's affordable, easy to prepare and a quick dinner solution that tastes great.  Sounds like a win-win to me!  Beef - it's what's for dinner at our house most nights, and hopefully yours too.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

National Ag Day

Did you eat today?
Thank a farmer or rancher.

Do you have cans in your pantry, meat in your freezer and produce in your refrigerator?
Thank a farmer or rancher.

Are you wearing jeans?  Did you put on a pair of leather shoes before you walked out the door this morning?
Thank a farmer or rancher.


Today is National Ag Day.

A day where we celebrate the bounty that farmers & ranchers provide, and all that they do. 

Here's to you.
To the one who is not often celebrated, the one who comes into the house after the sun goes down, and leaves again before the sun rises.
To the one who cares for, nutures, plans, pencils, risks.

Thank you.

Thank you for providing us food & fiber.
Thank you for working a job that is not 8-5.
Thank you for taking risks and being a backbone to our economy.
Thank you for the job you do.

- PS -
The cows here at the ranch where we live thank you too.
Thank you for feeding them, even when the wind is blowing 30 mph.
Thank you for watching over them, and making sure calving goes well.
Thank you for hooking up a trailer, saddling a horse, and bringing one to the barn when a calf is sick, or a cow needs to go to the vet.
Thank you for making sure their needs are met.

Every day. 
Without exception.
Thank you.

“Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: "Love. They must do it for love." Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.”
Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wisdom vs. AI

When I was a senior in college at OSU, my mom made an appointment for me to have my wisdom teeth taken out when I was home during Spring Break.

Turns out....that was the same weekend that 5 of us girls from the Young Cattlemen's Club were going to go to AI School in Hermiston.  I had my mom cancel the appointment, and I headed over to the East side for some inseminating fun!

The five of us piled into a room with two double beds at the Oxford, and got up early to make sure we could all make it thru the shower with hot water before we went to go practice breeding cows.  We called ourselves "The Inseminators" and made t-shirts that said so, along with pictures of AI guns.

Ooohh, the college days. 

And can I just tell you - we had a total blast.

Except....I never re-scheduled my appointment to get my wisdom teeth removed.  Until last month.  Turns out, for me at least - 30 isn't exactly the best age to have your wisdom teeth removed.  23 probably would have been better.

That being said, this last week has not been the greatest, and while I had grand plans last week for getting a lot of things done while I was at home "resting"....

All I did was sleep. 

And if I'm being honest, even though I was able to go back to work this week, it has been super painful and not exactly the greatest experience. 

But....after 10 days I think I am on the uphill slide.  


Did I jinx myself by just writing that?

So my advice to you today is....if you have to have your wisdom teeth taken out, don't delay.

Unless you need to go to AI school....then just make sure you re-schedule it for as soon as you get home.  :D

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Last week at a branding, Cidney & Cameron were sharing a horse....

So whenever one was on the horse, the other had camera duty. 

They {captured} the day with hundreds pictures.

So many good ones too!

As I was going through them afterwards, I realized a lot of them were up close & personal shots of our faces.


 Our faces show our feelings, our emotions, our determination.

At this branding, they showed delight in riding, determination to rope a calf, and focus to get a job done.






Anna & Terry


A lot of faces.
A lot of friends.
And a lot of calves branded.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Hide & seek.

Tucked under logs, hidden behind tall grass, out of the wind, protected from weather, or nestled along a fence line.

New momma's & their calves are pretty good at Hide & Seek.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Cadillac of Feed Trucks.

Once we get close, and into, calving season Clint feeds the cows he's responsible for at Double M in the evenings.  This prompts most of them to have their calves during the day, since once they get fed in the evening their brain stops saying "Let's have a baby!" and starts saying "Let's go eat!".

I can totally relate to the "Let's go eat!". 

One of the side benefits of feeding in the late afternoon and evening, is that Jack & Duane are done feeding their cows, and the {Cadillac} feed truck is available for use. 

While the red feed truck (the one Clint uses earlier in the season) gets the job done, the blue feed truck is pretty swank.

And no....Cadillac did not start making feed trucks all of a sudden; this is a Ford that has some name the guys call it all of the time that I can never I just call it the Cadillac.

It has -

Air ride seats.
Lots of handles to pull yourself up on the bed.  - No looking like a beached whale here!
Smooooooth brakes.
Easy going acceleration.

And while it might have a couple of miles on it's odometer, it still starts up and runs like a champ!

I tell 'ya - it's the small things in life that really make a big difference.

Oh - and Jack always leaves a pair of ski goggles in the Cadillac.

Which I may or may not use.  Every time we feed.  Ahem.

Sorry Jack.

It's just that they are quite handy when it is blowing 30 mph and hay is flying EVERYWHERE. 

Including in my eyes.

I may look like an idiot when I help Clint feed cows.

But I don't care.

The pain of not looking beautiful is WAY better than the pain of alfalfa leaves in your eyes!

While there's hopefully just a few more weeks of feeding left, and we've had a pretty easy winter - we have many blessings to be thankful for.

A nice feed truck to feed with is just one of them.

Borrowed ski goggles are another.  :D