Tag Archives: Dr. Temple Grandin

If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls: Turkeys

Remember when I had a dream come true and I got to not only meet, Dr. Temple Grandin, but have lunch with her AND see her speak? She is my ag idol and hero, and I will never forget that day. Dr. Grandin is continuing with her amazing work by walking us through a turkey slaughter. Just in time for the holidays! (This next thing I’m gonna say is in sarcasm font and meant to be funny, so please don’t take it personally, K?) So when your vegan/vegetarian family member (we all have one) is all snarky about your knowledge of your meat, you will actually know how a commercial turkey arrives on your table. Knowledge is power my friends.

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Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, Field Trip, food, Guest Post, Humor, Media, Ranch life, Rants, Uncategorized

Taylor MacKay: 8th Grade Project

A couple weeks ago, I got an e-mail from a college friend of mine. Her daughter was doing her 8th grade project on Dr. Temple Grandin, and my friend had noticed I talk a lot about Dr. Grandin. My friend, Stacie, asked if it would be ok for her daughter to contact me about doing an interview about my experience with Dr. Grandin.

 Our ag ambassador officer team. Stacie is the blonde with short hair. Also if you ever see John, buy him a beer and give him a hug. He was on the executive committee with me, and I poked him with a stick unmercifully.

Our ag ambassador officer team. Stacie is the blonde with short hair. Also if you ever see John, buy him a beer and give him a hug. He was on the executive committee with me, and I poked him with a stick unmercifully.


Now a little back-story here. Stacie’s daughter, Taylor, is attending the same middle school as I did and doing the same project I had to do. Of course Taylor is brilliant and is doing her project on Dr. Grandin instead of massage therapy, like I did mine on (ok, to be fair they wouldn’t let me do it on cows or horses (they wanted us to be exposed to something new, the nerve!) and my Mom was attending massage therapy school at the time).
Go 4-H!

Go 4-H!


Taylor has some of the same teachers I had at her age (I feel old). She is also a member of one of the 4-H groups I was a member of! And in addition to knowing her Mom since 2000, I know her Dad from when we were little kids! Needless to say I was really excited to help her any way I could! We e-mailed back and forth for a few days, I shared some links with her, and we decided on a time and place to meet for the interview.
Because I am anti-social and cook at home, I had never been to Applebee’s happy hour. It’s my new jam, that pretzel cheese thing was fabulous and the beer was cheap!

Because I am anti-social and cook at home, I had never been to Applebee’s happy hour. It’s my new jam, that pretzel cheese thing was fabulous and the beer was cheap!


We met at Applebee’s in Oroville, during happy hour (a very happy coincidence). I arrived a little early to stake out a good table and buy myself a beer. I get a little nervous when I do adult things like this. It means a lot to me when people seek my opinion out, especially peers.
The future, right here.

The future, right here.


Now I hadn’t actually seen or spoken face to face with Taylor since circa 2004. It was a surprise when she walked over and sat down, she’s all grown up! Before we started the interview I got to chat with Taylor and Stacie. Most of my friends I interact with on a day to day basis are not directly involved with agriculture. It’s always refreshing for me to have a conversation with people that share my lifestyle. Taylor hunts, shoots guns and gets dirty, she is glorious.
Taylor then proceeded to tell me that Dr. Grandin called her! I love everything about that. I love that Dr. Grandin is so supportive and I love that Taylor got to speak to her. When I met Dr. Grandin, she inspired me to keep doing what I am doing. I think Taylor felt that too.
Taylor had a great set of questions to ask me. I found her engaging, funny and very confident. I don’t want to talk too much about what we spoke about because I’m hoping that maybe Taylor would be willing to share some of her project here or on the Tumblr she started after we met (yeah, she started a Tumblr, I’m so proud).
She's a hard working, smart, young lady. And she is going to go far!

She’s a hard working, smart, young lady. And she is going to go far!


Taylor impressed me so much. She is the future of our local agriculture industry and let me tell you folks, the future is bright. She sent me a thank you e-mail before I even had gotten home from our interview.
My new plan is to make myself as available as I can to this next generation of agriculturalist. Then in about 10 years we are going to run Butte County agriculture and it will be transparent, educational and awesome. Who is with me?!

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Filed under Ag, agriculture, food, Humor, photos, Ranch life, Uncategorized

Am I Really the Crazy One?

Edit from October 2013: “if you’re a strong, powerful, smart woman, you tend to end up at some point in a roomful of men trying to prove that your ideas are good.” Elizabeth Moss

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I went to my local county cattlemen’s board meeting tonight. My blog was on the agenda because for the past few months I had been asked to use my social media savvy and create a Facebook page for the group. I’ve posted mainly fun facts and articles about the industry, but I figured since my blog post about California Beef Council dropping the social media ball directly impacted Butte County Cattlemen (since they all pay into the check-off), I’d post a link to my blog on the Butte County Cattlemen’s facebook page.

Ready to talk the Board about my blog, change within the industry and facebook.

Some of the members didn’t like that I did that. I understand that fighting and drama can look bad when done within the industry. But when you read my post about the California Beef Council, I feel like I am not really fighting or attacking. I offered my help, I want to get involved! I did point out that the beef industry has a problem when the group we fund to talk for us, won’t talk to us. So it confused me that these men took issue with my stance. I guess I thought more of them would be upset too.
I found myself being the only woman and the youngest one there trying to explain social media, blogs, my blog, the story behind my blog, and how social media works to a group of men that, I think it is safe to say, don’t fully appreciate this technology, it was like talking to a roomful of my Dads. It got confusing. People interrupted me and told my story for me (although that part was kinda nice – I got to hear more about the drama I caused higher up, but I didn’t know because NO ONE WOULD TALK TO ME ABOUT IT). I got annoyed that I could have been sitting on my couch, with my cat and wine (Wino Wednesday!), instead of being talked at about a thing I know and am pretty good at sometimes.
I went ahead and printed off a couple of my blogs, the ag code that explains the California Beef Council’s job, and Todd Fitchette’s blog about my blog, hoping to give the board members some background into what I have been doing. I don’t think that helped, but I did try and do my due diligence to explain why I thought I was there.

My packet of information about the California Beef Council.

The meeting went on about if Butte County Cattlemen should even have a Facebook page. A side note, I asked how many of these men even had a form of social media and I think 4 out of the group of 10 or so did, one mentioned that he knew how to turn on a computer! I guess I do understand now, why these guys aren’t as upset at the lack of social media in our industry when they don’t understand what it is or how powerful it can be.
I think by now, most of my serious readers realize I love ag, I love anything to do with it, and I spend an enormous amount of my time talking and sharing about it. I was honest and told them it really wouldn’t hurt my feelings if they removed me from their Facebook administrator because I do have my hands in so many different ag related activities. They said that they wanted me but they wanted policies and procedures, more regulation – no drama, no opinions, you know kinda the stuff that makes me such an amusing person. I told them that for a donation to my scholarship they could tell me what to post, and I wouldn’t piss anyone off.
So about that time I burst into tears. Because when I am put on the defensive and not listened to, that is what I do. It was a highly effective tool to communicate with my Dad and since these men all reminded me of my Dad, I went there. I do hate that about myself, it makes me look very unprofessional, but it is also a huge part of who I am. However, want to know how to make a room full of cattlemen really uncomfortable?
So that was my meeting. I think they decided to have a young cattlemen take over the page. I must question though, how many pages about the beef industry do we need that only talk about puff? How effective has that been?
I went home after I started to cry. I’m on my couch with Jack cat, doing what I do best these days, writing about the odd predicaments I get myself into. I don’t feel like my point was gotten across. I feel like I am missing yet another opportunity to help my industry. I feel like I don’t know how to communicate with others in my industry, am I the only one that feel like this? Am I really the crazy one?

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

Outhouse in House?

You can buy this book at amazon

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 herd heading to the Valley in 1939

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.

Sam Brown Jr. and his dog. Notice the chuck wagon behind him?

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!

My new coffee table!

"The Seat"

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Filed under Ag, History, Humor, photos

Farm Bureau 2012 Annual Dinner

Jamie Johansson, Dr. Grandin and myself. Thanks again Jamie!

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 sat next to Dr. Grandin at lunch. It was hard to eat, I was just too excited.

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.

The Program

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.

Dr. Grandin giving the keynote, it was breathtaking.

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.

Dr. Grandin signed a picture of the Ranch for my Dad

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.

He's my hero for getting me a ticket to the dinner.

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!

Louis Venturini got an award!

My new bank sponsored wine glasses. My tablemates let me have theirs. And the centerpiece.

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