Bathrooms, Perverts and the Humanity Card

Agriculture, at times, has an image problem. I spend a great amount of my time advocating for agriculture to combat this. I share so much of my life in an effort to connect to the public and show farmers and ranchers are human, we want the best for our animals, land and family, just like them. I wanted to use my relationship with the public to educate and influence their thoughts about my way of life.
But I what I didn’t realize, was how much people influenced MY life. They have changed how I feel and perceive many, many social issues. You see, I got to know people who live very different lives from me. People that live in the city, rich people, poor people, people from other countries, religions, orientations, well, you get it. But I learned they are just like me! They have soapboxes too, and sometimes all they want is to have their soapboxes recognized.
There is a big issue making waves in my social media circles. It’s not an agriculture issue, per se, but it is something that I’ve seen many of my agriculture peers talk about. The recent North Carolina bathroom law. Basically, this law requires transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender of their birth certificate, not how they currently identify.

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This law has brought out a lot of ugly. Some people are very concerned about what happens in the privacy of a locked stall. Some people have apparently turned in their humanity cards over it. Ag people have been posting horrible memes, advocating violence and assault to the transgender community. Even a well known agricultural cartoon posted about it. I realize that most of my ag peers have little to no experience with transgender, or other gender identities. They do not know what these labels are or why they are important. They just know it’s different, therefore, scary and wrong.

And this breaks my heart.
You see I believe agriculture is better than that. Since we so proudly and often tout we are a minority and we are often misunderstood by the public, who better than us to stand behind other minorities? We KNOW what’s it like for people to have preconceived ideas about us, and we do not like it.

I see straw man excuses being used – that our women and girls need to be protected from “pervs”. That it’s about the children. It’s a “safety” issue (I actually do agree with the safety argument. We should all safely be able to use a restroom without fear of being attacked or having our genitals mutilated by vigilantes.

Yes, as the agricultural community threaten a minority that already has 1 in 2 assaulted. Aren't we brave?

Yes, as the agricultural community threaten a minority that already has 1 in 2 assaulted. Aren’t we brave?

But guess what? Our transgender friends are not the ones committing the crimes they are accused of. According to actual statistics (which again, agriculture loves to trot out to proves our points):

  • Approximately 4/5 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim
  • The average age of a rapist is 31 years old.
  • 52% are white
  • 22% of imprisoned rapists report that they are married.
  • Juveniles accounted for 16% of forcible rape arrestees in 1995 and 17% of those arrested for other sex offenses.
  • In 1 in 3 sexual assaults, the perpetrator was intoxicated — 30% with alcohol, 4% with drugs
  • In 2001, 11% of rapes involved the use of a weapon — 3% used a gun, 6% used a knife, and 2 % used another form of weapon.
This is our reality. Like it or not.

This is our reality. Like it or not.

HOWEVER:
One in two transgender individuals are sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives.
Instead of blaming and targeting our transgender peers, and preventing them from peeing comfortably in public, let’s talk about the white, intoxicated, married man that is actually a threat to us, shall we?

Men have scared me.

Men have scared me.

I have several points here. First and most importantly:

  • No matter how you feel about people that have different beliefs, lifestyles or orientations, it is NEVER ok to advocate violence or death to them because of how they label themselves. Think about that for a second. Let that sink in. Some of our ag peers are suggesting we hurt, mutilate, attack and kill, actual human beings, that have family, friends, hopes and dreams because of the bathroom that is actually appropriate for them to use.
  • If you are advocating for agriculture on social media, you are in the public’s eye. If you post horrible, hateful meme’s or encourage physical attacks against people that are different you, you are part of agriculture’s image problem. It might be funny to you, and that IS totally your prerogative (Yay, freedom of speech!), but at least have the decency to keep the hate to yourself. Some of us work very hard to build bridges with our consumers, don’t blow that for us.
  • Try having some empathy and sympathy. The saying goes, be kind, everyone is fighting a hard battle…. If you, your kid, your sister or brother or Mom or Dad was in this position, how would you treat them? Would you advocate for them to be attacked?
If you have a handle like cowgirlamerica, you are speaking for a lot of us. Please don't share hateful things. Use your power for good!

If you have a handle like cowgirlamerica, you are speaking for a lot of us. Please don’t share hateful things. Don’t use straw man attacks.  Don’t block your peers when you get called out for posting horrible things. Use your power for good!

For someone who loves agriculture and the people in it, it makes me sad, angry, hurt, scared, worried, fearful and a whole other slew of emotions to see my peers in agriculture sharing a rubber band applicator and inferring it’s ok to harm a fellow human being because of how they gender identify. Think of the bigger picture. We are all human. Keep that humanity card friends.

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Wordless Wednesday: Ziggy, My Trusted Steed

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Throwback Thursday: Anabelle and Melvin

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a Throwback Thursday. I got super inspired when I got to go back to the South and see where part of my family came from so promised myself to continue learning about my family. It’s also been windy for the past few days so I’ve had time to go through my big old box of pictures. I’m not posting this on a Thursday, like I’m supposed to, but hey, at least I’m posting again!


Anabelle Hardgrave Dec 13 1946
This Throwback Thursday picture isn’t of my family. But I recognize the last names of other local families, so I hope I can track down one of their descendants to see if they’d like the photo. I believe it is important to know your history, it’s something that is important to me. And hopefully, I’ll get some good karma and someone might share something cool with me!

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Ok about this photo. The beautiful writing on the back says this is Anabelle Hardgrave and Melvin Edgar (sp?), the date was December 13, 1946. I know it was taken in Indian Valley, because I recognize the mountains and it was with other photos that were taken up there. That is all I can glean from this photo.
So dear readers, can you help? Do you remember these people? Know their grandkids? Have any history to share with me?

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Wordless Wednesday: Ranch Went Swimming 

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I Went to the South, Y’all!

You might have noticed I took a little break from blogging life for the past few months. It wasn’t planned, I just got so busy I haven’t had the drive or time to do much for The Beef Jar. I’ve written some freelance articles, participated in an AgChat conference and the coolest thing is I went to the South. Twice!

The menu from Saw's. I weep at the memory.

The menu from Saw’s. I weep at the memory.

I haven’t traveled for a long time. In fact, the last time I took a vacation that was away from the ranch for more than two nights in a row was back in 2007. It was time to leave the ranch. The guy I was dating is from Alabama, so I was able to visit him. I went once in December and since I had such a good time, I went back in January!

Coosa County, Alabama

Coosa County, Alabama

It was a wonderful experience both times. I’ve always been fascinated by southern food and culture so needless to say, I was in heaven. I got ushered around the Southeast by a local, eating amazing food and having the time of my life. I got to see several southern places, including Nashville, Lynchburg, Atlanta, Birmingham, Asheville and Washington County, Tennessee.

My ex-boyfriend’s family has a plantation in Coosa County, Alabama. That was home base during my time down there. It was an amazing farm with totally different agriculture from what I was used to. I got to spend several days on their farm learning about local agriculture, history and again, food.

Conecuh sausages are amazing! Try them!

Conecuh sausages are amazing! Try them!

Until this point in my life, my knowledge of southern things comes from Paula Deen, Jill Conner Browne, Alton Brown, and other various southern authors. Oh and Reese Witherspoon movies. I imagined magnolia trees, dripping with Spanish moss, acres and acres of cotton, tobacco and sweet potatoes and BBQ everywhere. I’m sure it’s like when people think of California and think we are just beaches and movie stars. The South was so much more varied and different than what I expected (I mean, except for the BBQ part, and that was super cool)!

 

The Places

I was amazed at all the pine trees in Alabama. For some reason I had no clue Alabama had so many pine trees! I was expecting it to be far more open farmland and magnolias. I did see a cotton field and lots of cow/calf operations. However, one thing I noticed that really bummed me out was it seemed like there was a lot of abandoned farms. It kinda made me want to buy one and move to the South.

I went white tail buck deer hunting. It was so different from hunting here!

I went white tail buck deer hunting. It was so different from hunting here!

Since I did get to see several different areas of the southeast, that means I also got to see some of the Smoky Mountains. They were beautiful. I’ve seen enough photos and movies about them that I knew what to expect, and they did not disappoint. I want to go back and take pictures and poke around – I might even consider camping there. Maybe.

One of the happiest moments of my life happened in Nashville.  I was in a boot store on the strip. The smell of new leather and BBQ was in the air. I had a slight Pabst beer buzz. I had just seen an amazing country band. I was eating chocolate because, of course, there was an old fashioned candy store next to the band and bar. I actually had to stop and ask if that was real life. The Country Music Hall of Fame was also a major highlight! So many neat costumes, cars and instruments! 

My Nashville boots.

My Nashville boots.

I think my favorite though were the rolling green hills of Tennessee. The farms were all gorgeous, stuff of dreams. I had serious agriculture envy the whole time I was there. I was seriously looking up the farms and ranches I saw for sale, because I really could live there and happy raise pigs and cows.  

I was also shocked at the water. The rivers and lakes seemed to be everywhere and they were huge! Coming from drought stricken Nor Cal, it was almost overwhelming!

The cemeteries were a trip to me. They were everywhere. And the were old. It was a good reminder just how “new” California is. Many families had their “own” graveyard on their family farms. My goal when we were in Washington County was to find my family graveyard. I was so close, but that is for another post.

I was amazed that they could park against traffic, still had cigarette machines, and awesome fire works!

I was amazed that they could park against traffic, still had cigarette machines, and awesome fire works!

Birmingham was awesome. It was there where I had real BBQ for the first time. I got to go to Good People and Avondale Brewing. Just getting to walk down the streets and see some of the amazing old homes was enough to make me really happy.

I almost had a come-apart in Atlanta when I finally saw a real alligator and an albino one at that! One of my major goals while in the South was to see an alligator. I’d been to Florida in September, and was sorely disappointed I didn’t get to see one then. The alligator I did see was at the  Atlanta aquarium. It was amazing, really. It breathtaking. I missed the Coke experience by a few minutes (it closed), but I’d like to see that at some point.

Oh Atlanta.

Oh Atlanta.

Asheville. I understand why the second Sierra Nevada is there. It has a Chico vibe to it. I made the treck to the second Sierra Nevada, like all Chico natives should. It was a glorious building and the food was fabulous. We went out on the town after Sierra Nevada and again I had a ball! It was freezing and snowed while I was there, but the amazing music and people made the cold bearable. I’d love to go back to Asheville and spend a few days, it deserves it.

Sierra Nevada, Asheville

Sierra Nevada, Asheville

 

The Food

Let’s talk about the food now. Southern food is better. There I said it. I can simply never go back to how I was before. I actually ate skin from fried chicken and loved it. Sweet tea is nectar from the gods, and BBQ is mana.

I miss the food.

I miss the food.

I actually tried to experience as much regional food as I could. Blue Bell Ice Cream? Check. Duke’s mayonnaise? Check. Boiled peanuts? So good. White Lily Flour? Took 10 pounds home. 30 pound Country Ham?  It was in my carry-on. Okra, I love it now. Fried pickles? I have a recipe. White BBQ sauce? White yum.  (if you send me Duke’s or Lily White, I’ll send you jam, jelly, pickles or California olive oil).

I did my best to bring as much home as I could.

I did my best to bring as much home as I could.

I’ve experienced SAW’S, Dreamland BBQ and Jim and Nick’s. BBQ is not a joke down there. It changed me. Southern’s do magic with a grill and some smoke. Magic, I tell you. If you haven’t experienced real southern BBQ go ahead and just book yourself a flight and go find some. Do it. I’ve been working very hard on recreating many of the dishes I had while in the South, I’m getting good, but it’s just not the same.

My first time at Waffle House. I was very, very, excited.

My first time at Waffle House. I was very, very, excited.

Waffle House. Oh my Lawd, I did not know.  I mean, I’d heard some great things from Anthony Bourdain. But Waffle House is something you must experience to understand completely. Drunk college kids in California do not know how amazing Waffle House is and what they are missing. I was urged to try and have a drunk Waffle House experience, I did, in Birmingham, and was again one of the more glorious experiences of my life. Drunk southerner’s, amazing waffles and smothered hash browns – it should be a reality show.

I loved it there.

I loved it there.

Cracker Barrel – food, candy, clothes, games, all the things. Cracker Barrel is like the mecca of the South. Go there, rock in a rocking chair, eat some chicken and dumplings, and pay your respects.

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The People

Southerner’s are nice. They are friendly. Pleasantries are exchanged at every opportunity. They buy you a lot of drinks when they hear you are from California. They have manners. Door’s are held open, ‘bless you’ said after a sneezes, polite chat is made.

I loved it. I always embarrassed my friends and family because I will randomly start conversations with people. In the South, it felt like you were rude if you didn’t. I’m pretty sure I belong there.

The homes!!

The homes!!

I never really harbored the idea of ever living anywhere but on the Ranch, here in California (this is God’s country after all) but after seeing the southeast, I daydream about owning a little farm in Tennessee. Or Georgia, or anywhere. Seriously, The South is America’s travel secret.

I just renewed my passport and was starting to plan another trip back to Europe. But I’ve decided I’d rather spend my money and time in the South. Learn more my own history and culture.

So I’ve started planning my trip back this winter. A couple of my girlfriends are looking into going back in December or January. I’m in my early stages of planning but I’m thinking maybe about flying into Nashville, doing a bourbon tour, going up to Bristol, Asheville and leaving out of Atlanta. However, I know I have lots of Southern friends, so I am open to suggestions. Is there something I need to experience? Tell me! Give me advice!

But in the meantime if you an agricultural organization and you need a speaker, panelist or moderator, let me know. I’ll waive my fee, just pay for my flight and a bed and point me to the nearest BBQ joint when we are done.

 

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Wordless Wednesday: See the Coyote? 

  

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Wordless Wednesday: Treats! 

  

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Wordless Wednesday: Sit!


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Wordless Wednesday: Spring Feed 

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Wordless Wednesday: Best Friends Forever 

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