I’ll write about this fire later. I’m still shell-shocked. Just know we all made it out ok! None of my animals were harmed and both of the main ranch homes survived! Thank you Cal Fire!
Tag Archives: Oroville
I attended Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s town hall meeting in Oroville, California on April 17, 2017. I have a long history with Mr. LaMalfa. I can’t quite remember the when it started, but I have been actively engaging with him via social media for years. However, ever since the local news station came out and interviewed me about that, his engagement with me has dwindled to nothing.
I also attended a rally held at Mr. LaMalfa’s office in Oroville on February 27th. The Congressman knew it was planned, instead of meeting with us, his office was locked, empty and dark. Mr. LaMalfa is not only my congressmen, he is my neighbor and fellow farmer (he farms rice). His slogan for his past campaign has been that he is “one of us”. All of these factors adds to my frustration of not having an audience with him.
I finally took matters into my own hands a year ago and named a boar after the congressman. The boar was a great listener. We solved many local issues together, and it was a great catharsis to be able to give him a belly rub after our discussions. Unfortunately, the boar lived up to his namesake and was unable to perform his job in a satisfactory manner. In the agriculture world, if you don’t do your job, you get culled, so Doug LaMalfa was made into sausage and replaced with a better model.
Mr. LaMalfa has been one of those congressmen that haven’t seemed to be eager to hold town halls in his more liberal urban areas. When this one was announced I was excited, finally my voice will be heard! Or so I thought.
The meeting started on a sour note, the emcee started by telling us, in a not pleasant tone “to quiet down”. That did not go over well. Mr. LaMalfa then tried to make a powerpoint presentation. I noticed he did the same thing when hosting a call in town hall meeting a few weeks back. He wasted a lot of our time re-hashing issues his constituents are well aware of and living everyday.
The crowd was not having it. People wanted to have their concerns and comments heard. It was pretty much downhill from there. Mr. LaMalfa took the stage and was openly condescending, mocking and dismissive. Sweet little old ladies started to lose their stuffing and yell at him. At one point he walked off the stage and lectured us about our behavior in church, as if having an audience with him was the same thing as a religious experience.
It was clear that Mr. LaMalfa was not there to listen. When he was called out on that fact, he blamed the crowd for not being nice. None of his behavior surprised me, his online persona is equally as unpleasant if his ego is not being stroked. The crowd felt the same way. There were many comments out of turn, very loud booing and general chaos. But here is the thing, crowds don’t act like that if the leadership is strong, kind and competent.
Social media and even the real media are now focusing on the behavior of the crowd at this town hall. That is a byproduct of not being listened to. People have been reaching out to Doug for YEARS only to be ignored. As Doug found out last night, it’s frustrating when your concerns are not listened to. Yelling and screaming does not diminish what a crap job Doug has done.
Protestors are not trying to gain your support by following the rules. They are trying to give you a window into feeling their experience. Their helplessness. Their fury. Remember that before you admonish them. Be thankful for the transparency. Remember your privilege. Remember how lucky you are compared to some. Think deeply about that. Then use your power for good, not judgement.
Manners do matter. But so does doing your job. If I don’t feed my hogs they get mighty pissed off at me. Rightfully so. I’m not doing my job. Apparently constituencies feel the same way.
Mr. LaMalfa has been in office since 2010. This is more than enough time to make a significant improvement in his district. He simply has not done that. He does not listen to his constituency. He does not engage well. He is not “one of us”. Simply put, it is time for him to return to his farm to think about how he can improve.
Hunting season, especially dear season is an event for my family. It’s such a big deal, my Dad changed our calving season around to accommodate it better. Most cattle ranchers don’t take vacations – they go hunting.
Since I have a fall birthday, I cannot tell you how many “birthday parties” have been opening day hunting trips on the ranch. And, honestly I like it. I love to see how excited my Dad and Uncle become – they are like little boys on Christmas morning. Getting to share that excitement with their daughters is one of those experiences that makes life worth living for them and me.
One of the huge benefits of owning land is having a private place to hunt. The best places to hunt on the ranches have been passed down through generations, like a deathbed secret. We cherish this knowledge and the fact we are custodians of our land and wildlife. Cattle People love to be self-sufficient and hunting is another skill that let’s us feel that way. Seriously though, if zombie apocalypse happens, you want me on your side!
This is why we get so very upset when our little fairytale of family bonding and environmental stewardship is thwarted. Who, you ask, would do such a thing?
The past couple years, poachers have been a major problem on the ranch I live on. I’ve been harassed, threatened, and shot over. Our deer population has plummeted. Our friends and neighbors that earn the right to hunt here, by donating their labor to us, no longer get to hunt here. We simply don’t want to stress the habitat anymore than it already is. I didn’t even hunt this year.
This ends now. The past two weeks have been the worst I’ve ever seen. This morning we caught two different pairs hunting on this ranch. I was ripped out of a rare, sleep-in morning to deal them. I was not pleased. I’m tired of excuses like ‘we don’t know how to read our map’ or my favorite – ‘we have permission’ (from a family member that died 30 years ago). Either know the rules and boundaries or don’t hunt – it’s that simple and your responsibility as a hunter.
From now on, I will be taking pictures and names to publish on my social media (public shaming is one of my favorite things), calling the California Department of Fish and Game (I have a private cell phone number now!), and the sheriff. Charges will be pressed. In short I am going to be a screaming mimi, pain-in-the-ass, something I excel at.
Here is your notice poachers of D3. I’m waiting for you.
How often do you get a paycheck from your job? Once a month? Every two weeks? Once a year?
For many of us in agriculture it is normal to receive one or two paydays a year. That is it. We must budget those few paydays to last, and with all the unknown variables that are apt to happen in agriculture, that can be a huge challenge. For us, payday is when we sell this year’s crop of animals or harvest. For farmers and ranchers that specialize in one product, like beef cattle, we work all year for this one day.
We sold this year’s calf crop today. As I was sitting at the auction, I realized that not many people outside of beef production, get the chance to experience what I experienced today. I want to show you what a cattle sale looks like.
But first I want to talk about what it took for us to get to this point. This calf crop is the result of almost two years of work. From planning the pregnancies of our Mama cows, to the birth and growth of the calves themselves.
The calves we sold today were almost a year old. My family has spent every day since before their conception with this herd. We selected the bulls we felt would best improve our herd, we watched as the Mama cow’s bellies grew, we helped them give birth, we spent countless hours watching and protecting them. If you want to know more about the process, please look through the Beef archives to the right of this post.
When we watch the sale of these calves a whole range of emotions course through us. Part of you wants to grieve for the loss of these animals that you have spent so much time with, becoming attached happens regardless. Part of you feels pleasure, watching these beautiful animals walk around ring. Then you feel thankfulness because you have successfully brought them to market. Often feeling incredibly proud is yet another emotion, the knowledge that I am helping to feed my country is amazing.
Needless to the blend of emotions causes a lot of stress, anxiety, but eventually relief and in a good year, joy.
Ok, now on to the auction part. If the past we’ve sold our cattle multiple different ways. From video sales in years past to a more traditional way of literally taking them to market.
This is how we sold our cattle today, it is the traditional way of trucking your cattle to market:
This is how we’ve sold our cattle in the past, a video sale:
Each method has it’s pro’s and con’s, but we’ve been very happy with both. Hopefully, this summer I can attend a larger video sale and go more in depth about it for this blog.
Our family is grateful for today to be over. Our emotions have been all over the map and we will talk about nothing else amongst ourselves for the next few days. However, we are thankful that we can continue to do what we love and look forward to many more generations of ranching.