Monthly Archives: February 2012
Her name was Sally Pig. She was my first 4-H project. I was 10 years old and I picked her out, fed her, walked her, watered her, bathed her, and played with her all by myself. I took my responsibilities very seriously, I knew if I didn’t take care of her no one else would, because it was MY job. I also knew I was saving for something called “college” and this would help me do that.
Sally Pig was my launching pad. She’s the reason I am here right now. My first successful project led to almost a decade of 4-H and FFA memberships and projects. Those led to college educations, collegiate memberships, travel, experience, jobs, friendships, outreach, and advocacy. Sally was turning point in my life – it was the point where I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt agriculture would always be a major part of who I am.
What makes this story so much sweeter is my Grandfather, Fletcher, bought Sally. A little background on my Grandfather, he was not one to go the fair, register to be a buyer, and buy one of his grandkid’s 4-H project. He was not warm, fuzzy or involved with the day to day lives of his many grandchildren, except for me. It was huge he bought my first 4-H project, a fact that was not lost on a ten year old me. Year’s later, after Grandfather had passed away, and we were cleaning out his personal effects, we found the thank you note and buyer’s award. He had saved them. And Sally was the first and only 4-H project he’d ever purchased.
I’ve always liked to think he took an interest in me because he knew I would be the one grandchild most likely to continue the family’s cattle ranching legacy. The fact that my Grandfather was so eager to support my agricultural passion, makes me want to support others.
I was lucky enough to be asked to speak at a local FFA Chapter last night in honor of FFA week. I haven’t been to a FFA meeting in over 10 years, I’ll admit, I got a whisper misty eyed when the members were performing their opening ceremonies.
Mr. Jim Holt, was also a speaker. When I attended CSU Chico, Mr. Holt was “THE Meat Guy”. I worked for him in the meats lab my Junior and Senior year. I was the offical jerky girl, which was pretty awesome. The best part about it was after a long day of making jerky and being a college kid, my friends and I would meet up for some cold, refreshing adult beverages at the local water hole. Let me tell you what, being a cute, blonde girl that smells like jerky in a bar full of drunk college boys is the perfect recipe for free drinks. Not that I would know.
Mr. Holt stressed that the meat industry needs good people. That there are jobs available to people that want to work hard. If he would have gone on much longer, I would have applied to CSU for a masters in meat science.
Colleen Cecil spoke about the Farm Bureau and how wonderful it is, and all the opportunities available to its members – regardless if you farm or ranch for a living or not. Seriously non-aggie people, think about joining your local Farm Bureau, it is a great group, I have lot of fun and learn a lot through this organization.
This is a slide from my PowerPoint. I basically told them FFA gives them life skills that will enable them to do anything. It’s the truth, I know my time in FFA prepared me for almost anything!
When my talk was over with, the President presented me with a hand-written thank you card and gift. Very classy, I was very impressed.
I had a ball getting to talk to these kids! It was fun to speak in public again, I miss it. I have a feeling this is a start of a new hobby for me!
The 30 days are up. My McExperiment is over. You want to know what happened, huh?
Ok, I’ll post the pictures, but first we have to learn something.
We have this little gem (thanks to Anastasia Bodnar for giving me this link). Major props to Serious Eats for going all Mythbusters on this topic! Read this, or at least peruse it, ok? http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/11/the-burger-lab-revisiting-the-myth-of-the-12-year-old-burger-testing-results.html
Just in case you didn’t get through it, I’ll summarize the key point for you.
Yes, we know that most likely, a McDonald’s burger will not mold.
Why is that?
There are several factors that determine why some foods do not mold, including air, moisture, temperature and spores.
The McDonald burger is small with a large surface area (it dehydrates quickly, not giving mold much time to make a home), cooked over a high temperature (killing mold spores), so it is fairly dry to begin with.
Here is FeedStuff’s take on it:
Serious Eats really did a great job of doing this experiment. They even compared home-made burgers to McDonald’s and had pretty much the same result. I simply stuck a Happy Meal on a plate, protected it from the animals on the Ranch (even after 30 days, my Dogs really wanted to eat this). After the 30 days the food wasn’t moldly, but it was gross. The bread was solid, the pickles were petrified, the fries were little weapons and the apple slices, well, I wouldn’t touch those.
Again I’m not urging you to eat fast food. If anything, I would rather you to buy beef from me, and cook at home. But I’ve had enough of the less than stellar information going around the social media sites, it’s one thing if you don’t like a business, but it’s another when you fear-monger against them.
This is a blog about our cattle ranch, so it’s time to do another beef giveaway. Unfortunately I can’t ship my beef so this giveaway is for locals only, sorry! This is for one pound of our grass finished, fall slaughtered, dry aged, 5 step animal welfare certified, no added hormones, no antibiotics, black-angus, processed by Chico Locker and Sausage and Co, ground beef. Perfect for meatloaf, hamburgers or casseroles! Yum!
All you have to do is leave a comment below and I will deliver! I will select a winner using random.org, next Tuesday, February 28, 2012. Good luck!
In honor of Dr. Grandin’s visit, my Parent’s are installing our third set of humane handling corrals. I got to share with Dr. Grandin how much her designs have helped us and our cattle. I think she liked hearing that. My Dad has been on his backhoe this week, tearing down our old wooden corrals so we can install the new sweep and solid panels. In addition to tearing down the old corrals, my Parents have been cleaning up some old barns and buildings that are slowly falling apart.
The neat thing about having old buildings and barns is the cool stuff that my family stored there generations ago. For example, we found the old port-a-potty that my Great Grandpa used on the week long cattle drives we used to have. It was made so you could set it on two stumps or rocks, have a nice seat to do your business, yet it was small enough to be portable so they could carry it on the chuck wagon. According to legend, they also had a “deluxe” model, with two holes, so the kids wouldn’t fall in. Isn’t that ingenious? They never covered that on the Oregon Trail game we played in elementary school. I know my least favorite parts of cattle drives was pooping in the forest. In fact, I attribute my early woods pooping experiences to why I loathe camping now. Scarred for life.
This port-a-potty is so neat, and has such a wonderful history, I want to make it into my new coffee table. Yes, I am aware generations of my family pooped through it, but that just adds to the charm, in my opinion. I could even put a chips and salsa bowl in the hole when I have parties! I have several talented friends that I am talking to right now about this project. Hopefully I can blog the whole process and share with my readers! Check back often!
Yesterday was a major life event for me. Not only did I get to see my agricultural hero speak in person. Twice. I also got to have lunch with her (I took her left over quesadilla home!). As if that wasn’t enough, in the sold out Bell Memorial Union full of local Farmers and Ranchers, she made me stand up, while she spoke about this blog. I’m still not convinced yesterday wasn’t a dream.
I owe the Butte County Farm Bureau for this opportunity. Specifically Jamie Johansson, Irv Leen, Colleen Cecil, Holly Foster, and Louis Venturini. These people all played a part in getting me and Dr. Grandin together, and I will be forever grateful for this experience. Big thank you to Louis for getting me a ticket to the sold out Farm Bureau 2012 Annual Dinner. And to Irv, you know what you did.
Dr. Grandin and I spoke and about the Ranch, how her books have changed how we run our Ranch and treat our cattle, things that the Ranch can improve upon, and about my blog. All I can say is it was amazing. She encouraged me to keep showing the Ranch, and not just the pretty parts. She said people don’t want PR fluff, they want to know what actually happens. She went on to say that the general public does not know the good we are doing in Ag. As Farmers and Ranchers it is now part of our job to open our barn doors and tell our stories.
The point was made that when Ag gets bashed, we tend to shut our doors, when in actuality, we should do the exact opposite. She also stressed that all ag is in this together, that Big Ag needs to stop bashing Little Ag. These are all messages I agree with and am trying to promote and live up to.
I learned so much yesterday. I can’t wait to implement what I learned on the Ranch. The most exciting advice I got from Dr. Grandin was that our cattle should be used to people on foot, people on a horse and people on an 4-wheeler. That way when they make the transition to the feedlot, it won’t be as stressful when they encounter all these things. The Ranch has pretty much stopped using horses around the cattle. They were slowly phased out for a variety of reasons. Over the past couple of years I’ve realized how much I miss riding behind the cattle. I’m bringing it back.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around what happened yesterday. Once I have an opportunity to digest my day, I’m sure there will be plenty of new posts. I just feel so good! So validated! Like I really am doing something to help my industry! Go Team Ag!