Monthly Archives: December 2010

Fun Ag Facts I

I’m going to try and start adding my fun ag facts from my facebook page because I can’t remember what I already used.

fun ag fact of the day: Half the fatty acids in lean beef are monounsaturated, the same heart-healthy type found in olive oil.

fun ag fact of the day: Pastures, maintained primarily by cattle ranchers, provide habitat for 75% of America’s wildlife. (For reals, we have all kinds of wildlife on the ranch!)

fun ag fact of the day: There are more than 60 species and 8000 varieties of grapes all over the world. Some common varieties of grapes are blue, black, green, red, golden, blue-black, white and purple.

fun ag fact of the day: The first Christmas tree retail lot in the United States was started in 1851 in New York

Fun fact of the day: Today’s pig farmers keep their barns around 70 degrees in the winter to make sure that their animals stay happy and healthy.

fun ag fact of the day: About 20 per cent of the total crop of oranges is sold as whole fruit; the remainder is used in preparing orange juice, extracts, and preserves.

fun ag fact of the day: It take approximately 345 squirts to get 1 gallon of milk.

fun ag fact of the day: For thousands of years the olive branch has been used as a sign of peace and goodwill. This may be partly due to the fact that in early cultivation of the olive, it took decades to bear fruit for harvest, and, therefore, it was believed that anyone who planted olive groves was expecting a long and peaceful life.

fun ag fact of the day: Egg facts!
The egg shell may have as many as 17,000 tiny pores over its surface. Through them, the egg can absorb flavors and odors. Storing them in their cartons helps keep them fresh!
Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator.

Fun ag fact of the day: Americans enjoy nearly 15 million gallons of eggnog annually. That’s over 180 million eggs, 185,000 gallons of cream and 3.75 million gallons of milk!

fun ag fact of the day: The Chianina cattle were developed in Italy as a dual purpose beef/draft animal. They were especially popular in the 1970’s-80’s when the beef industry wanted extremely tall cattle. Though originally solid white in color, now you will likely only find black individuals in the USA.

fun ag fact of the day: rice can draw nutrients from the water. The same water keeps the weed population under control. Rice is a unique grass species where its leaves and stems have internal air spaces through which air is collected and passed down to the root cells.

fun ag fact of the day: American farmers fully support practices that enable them to reduce pesticide use. They’ve been using IPM (Integrated Pest Management) tactics such as field scouting and even crop rotation for years. IPM is a management practice that uses cultural practices and natural pest enemies to reduce the use of crop protectants. They will continue to expand IPM use whenever possible.

fun ag fact of the day: America’s farmers and ranchers are true professionals. Most farmers and reachers are trained and certified in the use of agricultural chemicals. And farmers test and evaluate the soil before administering fertilizers. Farmers and ranchers don’t spend hard-earned money on costly fertilizers and nutrients unless they absolutely safe to do otherwise doesn’t make good business sense.

fun ag fact of the day: Although rice is produced over vast areas of the world, the physical requirements for growing rice are limited to certain areas. Production typically requires high average temperatures during the growing season, a plentiful supply of water applied in a timely fashion, a smooth land surface for uniform flooding and drainage, and a subsoil hardpan that prevents water loss.

fun ag fact of the day: A horse has two blind spots; one is located directly in front of them while the other is located directly behind.

fun ag fact of the day: Over 95 percent of the California’s rice is grown within 100 miles of the State Capitol. For the rural Sacramento Valley communities of Colusa, Butte, Sutter and Yuba counties, rice is the predominant crop and supports an important part of the business and agricultural foundation by providing jobs and economic prosperity.

fun ag fact of the day: All milk is tested for antibiotics and adulterated substances. If a load tests positive, it is dumped. No milk you purchase in the store has antibiotics. We use antibiotics and medication to treat sick cows. There is a label on each bottle that tells the farmer how long he needs to discard that cows milk after treatment before the milk is safe to sell again. – From Country Roads Vet Service

fun ag fact of the day: Modern domestic cattle belong to either the species Bos taurus, or the species Bos indicus which are humped cattle like the Brahman. Bos indicus are generally used in hot climates because their extra skin releases heat and protects from bugs.

Fun ag fact of the day: there are 8 nanograms of estrogen found in an unimplanted beef steer; there are 11 nanograms in an implanted steer. To put this in perspective for you:
500 grams of peas contain 2,000 nanograms of estrogen, 3 ounces of soybean oil contain 168,000 nanograms of estrogen, and one birth control pill (34,000 nanogram…s) has the same amount of estrogen as 125,000 lbs. of beef from an implanted steer.

fun ag fact of the day: Wild turkeys can fly for short distances at up to 55 miles per hour. Wild turkeys are also fast on the ground, running at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.

fun ag fact of the day: Did you know all turkeys raised today contain no added hormones? It was banned in the 1950’s. But remember ALL living beings contain natural hormones, so if someone is trying to sell you something that has no hormones, they are a moron.

fun ag fact of the day: Did you know two antibiotics are approved for use in fruit production? They are oxytetracycline and streptomycin.

fun ag fact of the day: The life expectancy of geese is about 25 years.

fun ag fact of the day: A male turkey is called a tom or a gobbler, a female turkey a hen, and a baby turkey a poult or chick. A young male turkey is called a jake and a young female is called a jenny. A group of turkeys is called a flock.

fun ag fact of the day: the proper name for a group of goats is a trip.

fun ag fact of the day: Pecans are the only tree nuts native to North America, and they are particularly plentiful in the Southern states. Many varieties of pecan are named for Native American Indian Tribes, including Cheyenne, Mohawk, Sioux, Choctaw and Shawnee. The name “pecan” comes from the Algonquin word meaning “a tough nut to crack”.

fun ag fact of the day: turkeys have heart attacks. The United States Air Force was doing test runs and breaking the sound barrier. Nearby turkeys dropped dead with heart attacks.

fun ag fact of the day: All U.S. eggs are antibiotic-free. Via Iowa Farm Bureau.

fun ag fact of the day: President Abraham Lincoln established the U.S. Dept of Agriculture USDA in 1862

fun ag fact of the day: The Santa Gertrudis breed was developed on the legendary King Ranch. The King Ranch is located in Texas and spans 825,000 acres (larger than the state of Rhode Island). The Santa Gertrudis was developed from a cross between Shorthorn and Brahman cattle. The Santa Gertrudis is credited as being the first breed developed in the USA.

fun ag fact of the day: the salivary glands of cattle, located beneath the tongue, produce 15-20 gallons of saliva per day.

fun ag fact of the day: a little green on orange surface of an orange is chiefly the result of ‘Re-greening’ (a process where ripe oranges turn from orange to green left on the trees for long). However, this does not affect either the taste or nutrition of the fruit.

fun ag fact of the day: the pumpkin is one of only a few foods we still eat today that is native to North America.

fun ag fact of the day: A cow that weighs 1000 pounds (alive) will make a carcass weighing about 615 pounds. The carcass makes about 432 pounds of meat. The non-meat part of the carcass makes wonderful by-products like: candies, marshmallows, ice cream, photographic film, glue, glass, fertilizers, soaps, cosmetics, candles, shortenings, medicine, chewing gum, plywood and paneling etc.

fun ag fact of the day: another name for cranberries is “bounceberries” because they bounce when ripe.

fun ag fact of the day: the first milk a mother mammal makes is called colostrum. It is very rich in nutrients for the baby. We used to buy colostrum from local dairies to give to our bottle cavles so they would be happy and healthy.

fun ag fact of the day: Okra is a species of the Hibiscus genus and a member of the mallow family. The Mallow family of plants includes hollyhock, the cotton plant, okra, marsh mallow and the Rose of Sharon. The roots of the marsh mallow were the source for the original marshmallow candy, made by boiling the soft inner pulp from the roots with sugar until very thick.

fun ag fact of the day: a snood is the flap of skin that hangs over the turkey’s beak. Turns bright red when the turkey is upset or during courtship.

fun ag fact of the day: There are about 800 kernels in 16 rows on each ear of corn. The corncob (ear) is actually part of the corn plant’s flower. A pound of corn consists of approximately 1,300 kernels.

fun ag fact of the day: every pomegranate is composed of exactly 840 seeds, each surrounded by a sac of sweet-tart juice contained by a thin skin. The seeds are compacted in a layer resembling honeycomb around the core. The layers of seeds are separated by paper-thin white membranes which are bitter to the tongue.

fun ag fact of the day: it takes 10 pounds of milk to make 1 pound of cheese.

fun ag fact of the day: the yarn from one sheep fleece can make 46 baseballs!

fun ag fact of the day: a cow chews her cud (regurgitated, partially digested food) for up to 8 hours each day.

fun ag fact of the day: California grows about 80 percent of all the asparagus grown in the United States. Asparagus is a member of the lily family and is related to onions, leeks, and garlic.

fun ag fact of the day: white asparagus is not a variety. It is simply asparagus spears grown in the absence of sunlight so that chlorophyll does not develop. White asparagus does have a slightly sweeter taste and has less fiber than green asparagus. In parts of Europe, this is the primary way that asparagus is grown and consumed. Outside of Europe it is regarded more as a curiosity or gourmet item

ag fact of the day: Asparagus begins as a tiny black seed. A year after planting the seed has developed long, tubular roots and is then called a “crown”. The crowns are transplanted to fields where they are covered with a foot of soil. It takes 2 years before the plant is ready to be harvested for the first time. The fields are harvested every year and will continue to produce for 15 to 20 years!

fun ag fact of the day: One acre (43,560 square feet) of soybeans can produce 82,368 crayons.

fun ag fact of the day: A castrated male chicken is called a capon. (Yes, you can castrate a rooster)

fun ag fact of the day: the average gestation period for a cow is about 285 days or 9 months.

fun ag fact of the day: pigs have a corkscrew shaped penis.

fun ag fact of the day: The dye used to stamp the grade on meat is made from grape skins and is edible.

fun ag fact of the day: Coffee beans aren’t beans – they’re fruit pits.

Did you know that in the United States, a pound of potato chips costs two hundred times more than a pound of potatoes?

fun ag fact of the day: Wisconsin cranberry growers annually harvest enough cranberries to supply every man, woman and child in the world with 26 cranberries.

fun ag fact of the day: navel oranges are named that because of the belly-button formation opposite the stem end. The bigger the navel in an orange, the sweeter it will be.

fun ag fact of the day: the oldest cultivated grapevine in the country grows in North Carolina. The Mothervine in Manteo, Roanoke Island is a 400 year old Scuppernong vine. The Scuppernong or Muscadine grape is also the North Carolina state fruit.

fun ag fact of the day: the Pistachio nut is a member of the Cashew family, which also includes sumac, mango and poison ivy.

fun ag fact of the day: The science of apple growing is called pomology. Apples are fat, sodium, and cholesterol free.

fun ag fact of the day: despite a physical similarity and a frequent confusion with their names, yams and sweet potatoes are not even distantly related. They are in two different botanical families. Yams are actually related to grasses and lilies. Yams can grow up to 100 pounds and are rarely available in American supermarkets

fun ag fact of the day: After planting, it takes pumpkin approximately 90 to 120 days to mature. There is only one day during the entire growing season, in which the pumpkin flower can be pollinated. If the growing season is a dry one, pumpkins will typically be 20% – 30% smaller, in size.

fun ag fact of the day: if a rooster is not present in a flock of hens, a hen will often take the role, stop laying, and begin to crow.

Fun ag fact of the day: peacocks are omnivores. Their diet may consist mostly of grain, grass, plants, insects and other small creatures although peacocks will eat just about anything.

fun ag fact of the day: corn is actually a grass (botanically speaking grasses are members of the family Poaceae).

fun ag fact of the day: Almonds are actually stone fruits related to cherries, plums and peaches.

fun ag fact of the day: the hide from one cow can make 144 baseballs, 20 footballs or 12 basketballs.

fun ag fact of the day: the difference between raspberries and blackberries is that raspberries have a hollow core in the middle while blackberries do not.

fun ag fact of the day: the average chicken can run up to 9 miles per hour!

fun ag fact of the day: It takes 8 pounds of honey for a bee to produce 1 pound of wax.

fun ag fact of the day: While the United States has less than 10 percent of the world’s cattle inventory, it produces nearly 25 percent of the world’s beef supply.

fun ag fact of the day: Did you know that 25% of an apple is air? That why they float!

fun ag fact of the day: Pineapples do not grow on trees, they are the fruit of a bromeliad, rising from the center on a single spike surrounded by sword-like leaves. The pineapple plant is the only bromeliad to produce edible fruit. Commercial pineapple plants are only harvested two to three years, because the fruit begins to get smaller with each year of plant life.

fun ag fact of the day: Although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into itself. The seeds are drupes, or the real fruit. Figs are the only fruit to fully ripen and semi-dry on the tree.

fun ag fact of the day: One acre of potatoes will produce 52,000 servings of French Fries.

fun ag fact of the day: avocado is a fruit. This fruit ripens only after it is plucked from the tree. Mature fruits can be left unplucked in the trees for as much as 6 months and it will not get spoilt. But, once you pluck the fruit from the tree, it will ripen in a few days. CA boasts 7,000 avocado groves. San Diego County produces 60% of CA avocados. Florida is the second main producer in the United States.

fun ag fact of the day: Can’t remember if an egg is fresh or hard boiled? Just spin the egg. If it wobbles, it’s raw. If it spins easily, it’s hard boiled. A fresh egg will sink in water, a stale one will float. If it floats don’t eat it.

fun ag fact of the day: California is foremost in peach production in the United States, which provides about half of the world’s entire supply of fresh peaches. Although Georgia is known as the “Peach State,” it really ranks third in production behind California and South Carolina. Imports of fresh peaches from Chile, New Zealand and Mexico help make it a year-round commodity.

Fun ag fact of the day: Salmonella affects chicken of every quality, and there is no valid scientific evidence that shows that poultry products that are “Kosher,” “free-range,” “organic,” or “natural” have more or less of the bacteria, according to FSIS.

fun ag fact of the day: pecans are the only commercial tree nut native to North America. They are also an alternate bearing (also called biennial or uneven bearing) crop. This means the tree will produce a heavy crop one year (called “on-crop”) followed by a light crop or no crop the following “off-crop” year.

Ag fact of the day: According to a study conducted by Jude Capper, Washington State Univ, each pound of beef produced in modern systems vs. 60 years ago uses 10% less feed energy, 20% less feedstuffs, 30% less land, 14% less water and 9% less fossil fuel energy, with an 18% decrease in total carbon emissions. Thank a beef farmer or rancher today for providing a safe, wholesome product AND improving the environment!

fun ag fact of the day: the pregnancy of a sow (female pig) lasts 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. Pigs are one of the few animals that suffer from sunburn, that is why they love to wallow in the mud, to protect themselves from buring. In 4-H we were taught to use sunscreen to keep our pigs happy and healthy.

fun ag fact of the day: We use 40% of the average beef animal for meat; the remaining beef animal is used for beef by-products including: pharmaceuticals, chemicals, textiles and even asphalt!

fun ag fact of the day: cattle graze on land that can’t be used for anything else because the terrain is too steep or hilly for building houses or too rocky or dry for growing food crops.
The hooves of cattle aerate the soil when they walk on it, allowing more oxygen to enter the soil and helping grasses and plants grow better. Grazing… cattle also press grass seed into the soil and fertilize it with their manure.

fun ag fact of the day: The pupil in a goat’s eye is rectangular in shape instead of being round like those of other animals.

fun ag fact of the day: To absorb the same amount of iron found in a 3-ounce serving of beef, you have to eat nearly 2 3/4 cups of spinach.

fun ag fact of the day: About 8% of the US population works for government (including post office and military). Unemployment is 9.5%, 3.2% are in prison, jail, parole or probation; 2% are farmers that feed ALL of us. There’s 4 times as many government workers than there are farmers. Thank a farmer. Support a farmer.

fun ag fact of the day: One bushel of wheat contains approximately one million individual kernels.

fun ag fact of the day: Did you know Watermelon is considered a vegetable? It is related to cucumbers, pumpkins & squash. (Some people say it is both a fruit and vegetable, but according to our Government it’s a veggie)

fun ag fact of the day: Sheep have no upper front teeth, this permits sheep to eat vegetation close to the ground and prevents them from pulling up plant roots. They have a split in their upper lip, with this they are able to pick the preferred leaves off the plant

fun ag fact of the day: It takes the pancreases from 26 cows to provide enough insulin to keep one diabetic person alive for a year.

Fun ag fact of the day: The average American works just 40 days to earn enough disposable income to pay for food for an entire year… but works an average of 100 days to earn enough to pay for annual federal, state, and local taxes.

Fun ag fact of the day: Today’s dairy farms use just 10% of the land, 23% of the feed, and 35% of the water that was required to produce the same amount of milk in 1944.

fun ag fact of the day: There are over 200 varieties of peaches. Cling or clingstone peaches have a pit to which the flesh ‘clings’; freestone peaches have a pit from which the flesh is easily pulled away.

fun ag fact of the day: The peach is a member of the rose family and will have a sweet fragrance when ripe. The United States provides about one-fourth (25%) of the world’s total supply of fresh peaches.

fun ag fact of the day: In 1940, one farmer produced enough food for 19 people. Currently, one farmer produces enough food for 155 people.

fun ag fact of the day: the bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man.

Fun ag fact of the day (and why it is so important for us to save our farm ground): California grows more than half of the nation’s fruits, vegetables and nuts from less than four percent of the nation’s farmland.

Fun ag fact of the day: In 2008, California continued to lead the nation with floriculture
crops valued at $1.02 BILLION wholesale. Florida, the next largest producer, had $922 million in wholesale value.

fun ag fact of the day: Roosters cannot crow if they cannot fully extend their necks.

fun ag fact of the day: It is possible to lead a cow upstairs but not downstairs, because a cow’s knees cannot bend properly in order to walk down

fun ag fact of the day: Occasionally, a hen will produce double-yolked eggs throughout her egg-laying career. It is rare, but not unusual, for a young hen to produce an egg with no yolk at all.

fun ag fact of the day: There are approximately 7,500 varieties of apples around the world. Only about 100 are grown commercially in the US, and the top 10 varieties account for 90 percent of the crop.

fun ag fact of the day: a sunflower’s flowering heads track the sun’s movement, a phenomenon known as heliotropism.

fun ag fact of the day: When it is first made, cheese has little flavor. It takes three months to make mild cheese and at least a year to make sharp cheese. All cheese is naturally white. Yellow cheeses are yellow because color is added to them.

Fun ag fact of the day: Both male and female cattle can be born with horns (except polled breeds -polled means no horns).

fun ag fact of the day: Chickens that lay brown eggs have red ear lobes. There is a genetic link between the two.

fun ag fact of the day: U.S. consumers spend roughly 9 percent of their income on food compared with 11 percent in the United Kingdom, 17 percent in Japan, 27 percent in South Africa and 53 percent in India.

Fun ag fact of the day: the peanut is not a nut, but a legume related to beans and lentils. The average American consumes more than 6 pounds of peanuts and peanut butter products each year.

Fun ag fact of the day: In an average day, a dairy cow will produce 5-6 gallons of milk – enough for 90 people to enjoy one 8-ounce glass of milk!

fun ag fact of the day: 1 acre of corn removes 8 tons of harmful greenhouse gas, more than produced by your car. -EPA

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Filed under Ag, Beef, food, Ranch life, Scholarship, Uncategorized

Google Educated

“Google educated”. It’s my new favorite term, and unfortunately, a very ugly truth. In fact this is part of the reason I started “agvocating”, the other reason was because of an ex of an ex, but that is a whole other blog post. I’ve lost count of how many times people who have never stepped foot on a farm, feedlot, or processing plant tell me how bad my industry is. They learned everything they need to know about beef production from youtube, google and twitter and there is no way in hell they can learn anything more about agriculture, especially from an actual rancher!
In college I would go from a beef production class where we were learning how innovative and technologically advanced our industry was (from a teacher that was both a PhD and a cattle producer) to a general education class, where they tried to teach me beef production was the same it was in the 1970’s (it’s not), from a teacher who saw a farm once from the road.
I understand there is a major disconnect between farm and fork. This disconnect has left the majority of our population vulnerable to misinformation about agriculture. The repercussions of this disconnect has resulted in movies like “Food Inc” and books like “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, these books and movies are often one-sided and skewed versions of what their creators consider modern agriculture.
Until I went to college and earned my degree in agriculture I held many of the same beliefs as people not in agriculture. I believed natural beef was better the environment, I thought organic was the only answer and Monsanto was the devil. It’s easy to understand why I believed that. Movies, books and articles written by those who have little to no understanding of modern agriculture often vilify what they don’t understand. It’s human nature to fear what we don’t know. Agriculture is not as simple or easy as it is made to look. I think all industries are like that, but for some reason many people think agriculture is the cowboy in the white cowboy hat versus the cowboy in the black cowboy hat or the small family farmer versus the giant corporate farmers, or good versus evil. It wasn’t until I went to college and learned the why’s, what’s, how’s and when’s of agriculture, that I was able to take a step back and say “gee, I really didn’t know shit about the big picture of ag just because I grew up on a ranch”.
I needed to be exposed to other points of view; I needed to learn WHY we do things. It was amazing to be educated from people who actually knew what they were talking about. I got a wonderful, hands on education that incorporated organics, GMO’s, “conventional” agriculture. I learned that many of these production methods can overlap each other; I learned how we can use the advanced technology and production methods available to make ag better!
So it really annoys me is when ranchers and farmers start fighting with each other over different production methods. For example, grass fed is better than grain fed (follow http://meatgeek.org/, I’ve learned so much), or organic is better than conventional. Or even worse when a farmer fear mongers, a neighbor of mine has a sign at their farmer’s market booth that reads “are there GMO’s in your food?” like it is going to kill you. RIGHT NOW. (Do a whisper of research at http://www.biofortified.org/)
I hate to say this, and it will probably get me in trouble with certain people, but I’m going to say it anyway. It seems like the “farmers” that are doing the attacking and fear mongering are the ones with limited agricultural experience and education. They are the ones that never got a formal agricultural education, they read some Michael Pollan, Joel Salatin and Google and suddenly they know everything about agriculture and the only acceptable kind is organic, raw, sustainable, repurposed, heirloom, (insert more buzz words here).
Unfortunately these “Google farmers”, with their PhD’s from University of  the Internet are often the ones with the loudest voices. They are the ones selling at the Farmer’s Markets, telling the consumer how they know everything because they agree with Mr. Pollan and Mr. Salatin, and commercial farmers are bad and are only out to make money and posion their land. They seem to only go to organic workshops, they often don’t belong to Cattlemen’s or Farm Bureau, they have no desire to learn more about “conventional”. It’s their way or no way. I am very resentful and bitter at these people. I’ll admit it. It’s hard for me to go to Farmer’s Markets and hear attacks on my way of life from people that only have half of the story. Yet another side of me understands why they think this way, I once did too.
It’s time for us all to educate each other and stop the fear mongering and shit talking. Google farmers you need to have an open mind. You need to learn WHY we do things and just because a particular faming method doesn’t work for you doesn’t make it evil. If you are going to “educate” the public about agriculture don’t you think you should know the full story? Scaring people about “conventional” agriculture isn’t doing anyone any favors. Passing more laws and regulations for farmers to follow only makes it harder for us grow your food, and makes our food more expensive.  A good place to start would be to enforce the laws we already have. “Conventional” farmers you need to be more vocal! I know, it’s hard and you are busy, but we need to be transparent, we need to show our consumers that we are not out to kill them, that we do treat our animals humanely, we do use pesticides responsibly, that “Food Inc” is NOT the norm.
And consumers (farmers are consumers too, people forget that), you need turn Google off and get your hands dirty. Come on out to farms, read some Temple Grandin, if something upsets you or you don’t understand why farmers do something ask! Ask several farmers, make sure you are talking to farmers or ranchers that aren’t fear mongering and shit talking. I assure you that once you start learning about ag from ag it isn’t nearly as scary or evil as it seems.

The term “Google educated” is brought to you by http://edibleintelligence.blogspot.com/. He’s a food scientist, he knows shit, learn from him.

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Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, Beef, food, meat, Ranch life, Rants

Ribbon Wreath

I’m a dork, and you already know this if you’ve been reading my blog. However I am crafty dork, well, crafty enough to steal other ideas and put them on my blog! Ha ha, j/k (sorta). This is a super easy and cathartic wreath to make. I tend to like things where I can sit and do the same thing over and over, so I can wipe the drool off my chin and not think about life for a while. The hours it will take you to cut all the ribbon and place all the ribbon loops will appease this need. So get your PJ’s on, put a chick flick on TV, get a snack and get comfortable.

First off get some ribbon. Different colors, textures and sizes will look super cool in this wreath, so knock yourself out. You are then going to cut your ribbon into 4 ½ inch sections, you’ll need about 360 pieces (give or take depending on your ribbon width and whatnot).

You will also need a foam wreath form (available at most craft or floral stores, I think mine is 12 inches), and floral pins.

Then fold the ribbon into a loop and pin it into the wreath form.

(Picture to come)

Keep doing that, placing the ribbon loops randomly around the form, facing different directions. Keep doing this until your wreath appears full and you can’t see any of the foam form.

That is pretty much it. It should look like this when you are done.

I gave the purple one to my Mom and the Christmas one to my Grandma and was, briefly, the favorite grandchild, for about a minute.

You can get fancy and add bows or other embellishments, but I’m lazy and didn’t.

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Pissing Contests

How much money do you earn a year? How old are you? What is in your 401K? What is your mother’s maiden name? How much is your house worth? What is your social security number? Whoa. Personal questions!

And none of my business, right? How many of you would answer these questions on your social media site? Probably not many of you. Something that I have encountered on twitter is people asking very personal questions about the ranch. When did it become ok to ask someone how much money they have or make? I was taught by my parents and in my agricultural classes that asking a farmer or rancher how many head they run, how many acres they own or how much money they made was off limits. In fact I was taught that it is pretty much never ok to ask that, ranch or no ranch. It’s in the same don’t ask category as say, asking an overweight woman if she is pregnant – just a bad idea.

It’s one thing for an urbanite, who doesn’t understand that asking how many cows you have is basically like asking how much money you have in the bank, to ask. But it often surprises me when other farmers or ranchers who are on social media ask me that personal question. I understand that some ranchers do feel comfortable sharing this type of information, and that is fine. They may have a more diversified operation, where cattle are not the only thing they raise, therefore it’s not such a personal question. Or maybe they have an off the farm job, so their ranch income isn’t their sole income. But for many cattle ranchers, including my family, cattle is all we do. If I say we have 50 head of Mama cows you can pretty much calculate the exact amount of money I made for that year. Same with my land, if I say we have 100 acres and our neighbor just sold his ranch, that is almost like mine, for $100,000, you pretty much know my net worth. That is just not something most people feel comfortable sharing.

When I am asked for this information I say that I do not feel comfortable sharing such private information. I should start asking why people want to know this information in the first place. I don’t ask, nor do I care or want to know, how much money you make, or how big your house is. How many cattle I run or how many acres I own has NOTHING to do with the quality of my product, how I treat my animals or how I care for my land. Inferring that I am “big ag” or a “factory farm” because I don’t share private financial information with you, just makes you look like an un-educated asshole and puts me on the defensive. I have no problem sharing my genetics, vaccination program, the why’s of what I do (hell, come on over and check it out for yourself), but I see no reason why I should share my spreadsheets with anyone other than my banker or the IRS.

I realize that social media creates a disconnect, when you aren’t face to face with someone it is hard to understand their tone, nuances and mannerisms. But there is no excuse for bad manners. If you want to know more about the beef industry, cattle, or my ranch, ask! I love to talk about it, but please, treat me with the same respect as you would like to be treated with.

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My “Factory Farm”

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Our summer ranch. The oats I planted and farmed with no sprays, and a damn good dog.

The view of the summer ranch from the house.

Deer that live on the summer ranch.

My Dad making meadow hay with the same tractor as his Dad, on the summer ranch.

Winter ranch.

Wild turkeys on the winter ranch.

View of the winter ranch from above the tracks.

The cattle truck we use to move the cattle in between the two ranches. The cattle spend the summer in the mountains and the winter in the valley. That way they get two springs, avoid the valley summer heat and the mountain winter snow. And our ground gets break from the cattle – it’s empty 6 months out of the year.

Hoot dog moving the cows on the winter range.

The Sutter Buttes from the winter ranch.

Fire bellied newt on the winter ranch.

Poppies! Winter ranch.

Winter ranch.

View from my front door.

Factory farmed  babies on the winter ranch.

The boys.

Home.

The view from most of my childhood.

Bottle calf meeting the horses.

Behind the winter ranch. The view from the waterfall.

The summer ranch.

The winter ranch.

The snake that lives in my yard.

The winter ranch, see the bald eagle in the tree?

Winter ranch.

Winter Ranch, spring time. The field that was an airport during WWII.

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