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Thursday, December 31, 2009

We don't know how to act upon it...

What is the true power of social media?


There have been lots of these kinds of videos popping up on YouTube and other Internet video sites lately. They contain some really interesting facts. I liked this video because the very last line really made me think - "We don't know how to act upon it." I think that is the problem with agriculture is the tools are out there to tell our story, we just aren't using them. They are proven to be effective, they are easy and it is the quickest way to get our story out there, yet so many of us are still not doing it.

It's plain and simple - we have to embrace these technologies, tell our stories, or else be OK with the fact that we won't be able to farm the same way our parents or even we are today because groups like PETA and HSUS are going to be deciding the rules by which we make our livelihoods. Start your blog, open your Twitter account, update your Facebook status, or talk to someone in your grocery store about agriculture TODAY!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

101 in 1001 update

There is a little more white over there

If you look on the right-hand paper of my blog you will notice a list call 101 in 1001. I am supposed to complete these 101 goals in 1001 days. Well in the past month I have been able to scratch a few more things off my list.

1. I went and saw the musical Peep Show - featuring Holly Madison. I used to love the show Girls Next Door. I thought all the dancing and singing was awesome, R3 wasn't quite as impressed. It is a Vegas style show, so tops of topless girls - this however didn't prevent the crowd from being close to 75% girls! (p.s. Holly can not sing or act to save her life, luckily most of her role was just to stand there and look pretty!)

2. I mailed out Christmas cards! OK I am sorry, not everyone got one, but I still send out some and before Christmas! So I am giving myself an A for effort!

3. I went to my first NHL game and it was awesome. This update is getting its own post so stay tuned for details.

4. I didn't make it to church in November, but got there twice in December. Even my pastor commented, "Two weeks in a row, look at you Crystal!"

5. I now have four of the six seasons of Sex in the City thanks to Mom and Stacy for giving them to me as Christmas presents!

6. And if I keep my bedroom clean for until the end of next week, I am definitely counting that as two weeks, because it was spotless the whole week before I left for Christmas!

If you start a list I would love to know!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas moves from Nell HIll's to our kitchen

Christmas is around the corner - Part II

Well Christmas is almost here, so I thought I had better get my pictures up! Back in October I had the pleasure of visiting Nell Hill's - an amazing home decor store.

I really wanted to add some Christmas/Winter flare to the candelier in our kitchen. And this is how it all turned out...

The tree branches are actually fake. Nell Hill's had all kinds of different greenery to buy!



I love these glass tear drops, and the snowflakes. The whole project cost about $70. I think we'll be able to leave it up well passed Christmas.

I also wanted to let all my readers know that I Believe Tuesday's will be postponed until I get back from my Christmas holidays. I'm back home in Canada right now so the posts might be a little sparse, but I promise to post lots of pictures and stories upon my return. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The story of the Candy Cane Maker

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Today in church a lady pasted this story out, along with a candy cane.

There was a man who loved Jesus so much that he decided to do something special for Jesus' birthday. Since he was a candy maker he decided to use his talents to make a special candy to honor Jesus so he designed the first candy cane. 
If the candy cane is held upright, it is the shape of a Shepherd's staff, which the Shepherd uses as he watches over his sheep. Jesus is our shepherd. If the candy cane is turned upside down, it becomes the letter "J" for Jesus.
The Scriptures tells us that by Jesus' stripes we are healed. Jesus was beaten and stripes were put upon His back when He was crucified in payment for our sins. So the candy cane was made with red and white stripes to represent the Trinity; one God, who had revealed Himself to us in three ways: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
There are a lot of candy canes in stores today made with different colors, but they are not true candy canes unless they are red and white and have one bold stripe and three fine lines.

I liked the story, and thought I would pass it one. Everyone have a very Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Let me eat my meat!

Vegetarians, from the other point of view!

I came across this great video on YouTube, and obviously others think it's not bad either with more than 200,000 views. Really when you think of the arguments that some animal rights activists are using they are rather silly. I love the few lines about pigs in the video, because they are right what else would you use them for? Now go and enjoy a piece of meat as part of your balanced and healthy diet!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Leather, Rhinestones and Studs

A little bracelet action


So I was very close to also buying one of these while doing my shopping at Country Christmas during the NFR. I love this cuffs from Classic Leather Designs. They ranged in price from about $20 to $30, which really isn't that bad. Again, Classic Leather Designs, doesn't have them on their website, but if you call they can hook you up. They also do a lot of customer designs, so maybe you can get something that is uniquely you!

To see all the other shopping from NFR, search NFR in the google search bar at the top of the blog posts.


25 Ridiculously Healthy Foods

Imagine that Beef made the list


Now to all the farmers and ranchers that have been feeding beef to their families for ages this may come as no surprise, but thankfully others, like the people at Prevention Magazine, are realizing the health benefits of Lean Beef.
"Lean beef is one of the best-absorbed sources of iron there is. (Too-little iron can cause anemia.) Adding as little as 1 ounce of beef per day can make a big difference in the body’s ability to absorb iron from other sources, says Mary J. Kretsch, PhD, a researcher at the USDA-ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, CA. Beef also packs plenty of zinc (even minor deficiencies may impair memory) and B vitamins, which help your body turn food into energy."
Beef is also an excellent source of protein. And we know a diet of high protein and high fiber foods can keep us fuller for longer. Which is important around the holidays when the temptation of grazing through all those appetizers and candy dishes can become strong!

So tonight consider beef as a healthy option. You will want to look for cuts that have the word round  or loin in the name, as they are leaner cuts. (There are actually 29 Cuts of Lean Beef with a total fat content that falls between a skinless chicken breast and skinless chicken thigh) Don't skimp on the marbling, though. Those white flecks of fat within the meat, are the health fat, and what gives beef it's flavor. Check out www.beefswhatsfordinner.com to search their recipe finder based on what you already have in your cabinet.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And the farmers fight back!

Making a statement.

So I actually saw this photo over on another blog Beechy Keen City. The photo definitely evoked my curiosity so I decided to get to the bottom. Back in October, 2,500 farmers from across the EU staged a protest in Brussels, according to Telegraph.co.uk. Their main concern - fluctuation in milk prices due to the fact that the EU is slowly trying to remove production quotas to create more of a free market.

The farmers came in droves with their cattle and tractors wrecking havoc in the city streets. I don't quite agree with what the farmers are protesting about (I'm a free market kind of girl), however it got me thinking - what if next time PETA or HSUS staged one of it's ridiculous stunts or protests we go after them with our cows? I mean really what would one of those crazy activists do if they were sprayed with milk (or the poison, pus, etc., that they like to refer to it as). It was at least be good for a laugh.


An EU farmers sprays a Brussels police officer as he protests the fall in milk prices. Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES.

For a more sensible way to protest (it also includes milk) check out this story from Advocates for Agriculture. And to see what I thought of AA's talk at the Range Beef Cow Symposium click here

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If I had a million dollars - boots

I would buy you a house...

Actually I would just prefer these boots. This pair of Luccheses were by far my favorite pair of boots I saw the entire time we were in Vegas for the NFR. Actually, maybe ever. So why did these lovely cowboys boots not return with me? Only because they were a $1,000, and really that was a deal compared to the pair Robin liked. They were $1,800. I guess we just have expensive taste!

Good bye lovely boots, one day when I win the lottery you will be mine.

I Believe - Part X

I Believe Tuesday's

I Believe -
that you either control your attitude or it controls you.

You know that cliche "attitude is everything." Well I think is has to do with a long of things. On Sunday, I sat in church next to a couple that lost everything in a house fire last week. The only things they have are the clothes that were on their back when they walked out of their house. And yet with nothing much left in their possession they still contributed to the offering plate.

I guess no matter how bad your situation, there are things that we still should be thankful for. And a lot of that has to do with attitude.

(This quote was taken from a Jimmy John's poster, search I Believe in the google bar at the top of my blog to read the rest in the series)


Monday, December 14, 2009

Spreading Christmas Cheer and the Word of... Agriculture!

Another hit single!

Well folks, Will Gilmer over at The Dairyman's Blog has done it again with his new Christmas song. Will has a strong passion for sharing the dairy story, which is important because we know that is comes under attack a lot. I am sure HSUS and PETA are already cooking up ways to convince children that tofu and water would make great substitutes for cookies and milk this Christmas. To hear Will's other hits click here and to read about his Edopt-A-Cow program click here. If you had to write a Christmas song what would it sound like?

Vegas - the real event - and how to survive


And then the big night came!

On Saturday night R3 and I hit the rodeo. We got really lucky and a friend of mine had won tickets, and very graciously gave us his Saturday night seats. And they were really good seats, 50 yards line kind of seats. Of course we were in Vegas so that meant taking things to extremes - dresses and cowboy boots. I am pretty sure this was the first time I have ever matched the two together, but I would say it worked out pretty good because R3 and I made the big screen!



The NFR does a real good job of entertaining the crowd. One of my favorite parts was when all the cowboys (and cowgirls!) got to ride in with their respective states - Canada was grouped together and trust me the Canada fans were sure proud! The Texas group was huge, but you all know what they say about Texas ;). Those horses all sidestepped until they were side by side and created this huge rectangle.


Tips for going to NFR:
1. go early - there is lots to do, see, eat and drink before the rodeo
2. bring a sign, R3 and I decided we could double the chance of getting on the big screen by having a sign.
3. If your from Canada bring a Canadian something - flag, maple left, etc.!
4. Either leave before the bull riding to get a cab or bum a ride - we bummed a ride! You won't believe how long the cab ling was.
5. Bring a Vegas survival kits, which looks something like this....


Something to drink on the way to your destination (see upper left-hand corner), cups, snacks to get your energy back up after all that late night dancing, water for the morning, and a little headache medicine!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ugly Sweater Christmas Party

Things got a little festive at the Lucky Shamrock Ranch

This weekend my roommates and I decided to host an ugly sweater Christmas party. And I would have to say we are quite the hostesses. The preparation started on Wednesday, when we had our snow day. R3 broke out her Grandma's sugar cookie recipe and we got to work. We also had to make a gingerbread house as R3 or Miss South Dakota had never made one!


Everyone participated and got all dressed up, including R3 who was our Christmas Elf! Yes, my sweater has elk making a heart, and their antlers have jingle bells. Sad thing is I bought this at Target!







These are Miss South Dakota's Oreo balls. And for a cute Christmas idea, take name placeholders and use them to let your guests know what they are eating!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Copper is in

And it was everywhere...

While at NFR R3 and I went through two different trade shows - Cowboy Christmas and Country Christmas and they were both phenomenal! As I had mentioned before leaving, I was really in search of a belt, and a cowhide belt would have been ideal. We search and search and I was hoping to find one to fit my taste at Classic Leather Designs, but no luck. I guess I am just picky! However, I did not walk away empty handed.

This year there seemed to been copper necklaces everywhere, and rustic cutouts to match. Remember all the ones I saw at American Royal. Although, I wear lots of black I figured I would find a way to incorporate a little copper into my wardrobe. First, you buy this ball-and-chain necklace for $10. Then add as many charms as you wish - turquoise nuggets were $2 I think, small charms $3 and large charms $5. Although, Classic Leather Designs does not have these available on their website however Sandy said give her a call and she could send items out. So I made sure I took a picture of everything available!


To go on my necklace I also got the cow charm on the bottom and...


this cross, which I really like.

Happy shopping! And don't worry there are still many more NFR shopping posts, including the boots I fell in love with!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tigers, Lions, Bear and Mistresses oh my!

Tiger, Tiger, Tiger, I say shaking my head. What will we do with you?
So I really do like Tiger Woods. I think he is one of the most amazing athletics across the sports board, but his decisions in his personal life haven't impressed me so much lately.

 I am one of those people that actually likes to watch golf. I think I got this from my dad. During the summers or on weekends, we would wake up early get heifers in, work hair, clip, etc., or do general stuff on the farm, come inside for lunch - eat grilled cheese sandwiches and soup (a staple in my diet), and then watch golf for awhile until it was cooler outside.

It amazes me how people think that they can get away with things in relationships. Like somehow, it'll be ok because the other person won't find out. This weekend I even heard this girl (that is in a serious relationship mind you) say, "well it's just kissing, that doesn't really count." Uh ya it does. My friend Tiffany wrote a good post about this the other day, Stop Helping the Jerk Gene.



After my NFR trip to Vegas, everyone asked us how the cowboys looked - they looked real good. Just one problem, most of them had wives or girlfriends, but that didn't seem to bother them. Can you really find a significant other out there these days that will be faithful and committed? I am a positive person, and have faith, so I am going to believe that you can. In the mean time I leave you of this image that my sister actually took of me this summer when we were in Vegas. It seems pretty fitting now!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

City Folks and the Boot Jack

A sad realization

In the past six weeks I have been on 12 flights. Yup, me and my suitcases are getting to know each other very well. Quite a few of those flights have been through the Denver airport. I have mentioned before that when I travel I usually where my belt and cowboy boots. 1. The weigh a little bit and it saves extra room in my suitcase, 2. they are great conversation starters, and a good way for me to talk about agriculture with people, and 3. cowboy boots are so easy to slip on and off in an airport while going through the security line.

A couple weeks ago when I was returning from the Range Beef Cow Symposium I was standing in the security line when this couple behind me said "what is that?" The husband reply "well I am not really sure." I looked behind me to see the couple pointing at a boot jack. It floored me that they didn't know what a boot jack was. It seemed like when I was younger everyone had one, whether it was going to grandma and grandpa's house or the neighbors for coffee.

I explained to the couple that it was a boot jack to help people take off their cowboy boots (I thought it was pretty cool that the people of Denver Airport were thoughtful enough to have one!). The couple explained that they were from the East and had never seen such a thing. We talked a little more about how I grew up on a farm and raised cattle.

You keep on hearing the statistic that people are two or three generations removed from the farm now. Well I believe it! People just aren't familiar with the west anymore, they really have no idea what goes on in agriculture, and it is going to take a commitment from everyone of us to help educate them. Work on that elevator speech! All you have to tell them is who you are, where your from, what you do and how it relates to them. Trust me they'll have questions, and I would rather us answer the questions than another New York Times article!

(the boot jack is from the Lou Talbert store in Casper, Wyoming)

2 Bar West Purses

One day I will have one of these...



I love 2 Bar West purses, and they had a huge booth in the Cowboy Christmas trade show. The quality of leather they use is amazing and they always have really unique designs. From what I have been able to find out, they don't have a website, but lots of western stores carry the brand's purses. And good news, if you really want a purse in the past they have been at the trade show at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. This laptop bag was definitely one of my favorites!


The top bag was really pretty. I love the studs that they use in their designs.

One of 2 Bar West's classic looks is just a basic black or brown bag, and then you can buy these different straps to add to the bag. One purse, mutliple looks, that is my kind of bag.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Vegas NFR style, buckles and singing

Don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys...

On Friday night we hit the ground running. R3 and I left straight from the office and headed to the airport, and thanks to Southwest and those handy little drink tickets we were able to enjoy a little relaxation. The plane was full with a combination of rodeo goers, marathon runners - there was a huge race in Vegas on Saturday, and a bunch of K-State vet students and equine enthusiasts that were attending the National Equine Practitioners meetings in Vegas. Why can't my meetings be in Vegas?

Once we arrived in Vegas, we checked into the Planet Hollywood hotel - and yes we somehow managed to get a suite. I would highly recommend this hotel, very nice, good location on the strip, great places to eat, and the a mall attached to it. This would be R3 demonstration the size of our tub. We also each had our own vanities. Very important!

Later that night we headed over to South Point to watch the NFR buckle presentations. It's neat to watch the contestants talk about their ride or run, they bring the stock contractors up there with them, family, etc. Everyone is pretty excited. While you are at South Point you can also take in the Calgary Stampede party. Us northerners like to surround ourselves with other northerners ;). In this picture Kaycee Field is getting his buckle from Round 2 in the saddle bronc riding. p.s. it is very strange to see rodeo clown Flint Rasmussen without his clown get-up on.

That night we headed over to Mirage, where all the contests all go. It was neat to be standing there and get to mix and mingle with all the guys you see down in the arena or on the big screen. Every night at the Mirage they also have a line up of country music singers. The first night we saw Jason Meadows, who was the second-place finalist on the third season of Nashville Star. And yes, he gave me one of his band's drumsticks. He was pretty decent, worth looking into. However, the second night we got to see Michael Scott, and he was really good. A little more rocker to him. I like this song of his if you want to listen.

Next time we'll talk about the importance of shopping and plastic guitars!

Viva Las Vegas - NFR

We are going to rock this town tonight!


My roommate, R3 and I are on the road a lot, and it isn't very often that we get to take a true vacation. So, when the opportunity presented itself we jumped at the chance to take a Las Vegas vacation - NFR style.

Over the next few days I will have updates on -

  • The importance of a Vegas survival kit
  • The return on the green guitar
  • Some awesome shopping
  • Of course our night at the rodeo - where we also became famous
  • Me getting to see one of my most favorite celebrities
  • Some new country artists you need to check out

I Believe - Part IX

Common on down - It's another I Believe Tuesday!

I Believe-
that you shouldn't be eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.


Why are we so adamant about finding out every single detail. Isn't there something to be said for a little mystery. Or maybe the big guy has a reason why we shouldn't know.

The I Believes are off of a poster I found in Jimmy John's. I read all of the I Believe posts search "I Believe" in the google search box at the top of my blog. 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Farmville

If only farming was that easy. 

So I don't know how many of you are addicted to Facebook's Farmville. It is a great little game, but I only let is consume my computer time during the winter, do to the fact that my corn kept dying and I was getting way too many trees on my land, while I am running around the country, not paying attention to my virtual farm.

For any of you in college or just looking for a good resource I like the College Aggies Online website, developed by the Animal Agriculture Alliance and the American National Cattlewomen's Association. Today I stumbled across this video. Don't forget to thank your favorite farmer!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Still got a little Canadian in me

It isn't that cold outside. 

When I went home for Agribition people gave me a little bit of a hard time that I was becoming Americanized. When you think about it though, I have been down in the state for more than six years now. And although I never had much of a Canadian accent, I don't say I will "phone" you as much as I use to.

However, I am hear to prove the I still have some Canadian left in me. While I was in Casper for the Range Beef Cow Symposium a nice little snow storm came through town.


That would be my rental car. 

Everyone kept on complaining how cold it was. I really didn't think it was that bad. Yes, I had on my Northface and little black gloves, and I was only going from my car to the conference center and back. But, it wasn't like you had to rush inside or wait for your car to warm up. I thought the snow, sunshine and mountains made for a lovely day. I love day like that. Getting all bundled up to go to chores or be with the cattle.


However, despite the sunshine, the weatherman on the radio informed me that actually it was 9 degrees F so, about -13 C. So I guess for my American friends it was maybe a little chilly, but I still love winter days like the one above!

Now let's hope it doesn't snow in Vegas. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Little Store Called Lou Talbert

And a lesson on in self-restraint.

While in Casper, WY, I had the chance to stop by the famous Lou Talbert Ranch Outfitters western store. This location, or the one in Billings, MT, used to be a common stop for me when I would drive from Kansas to Alberta, back in my college days.

With over 80 years of experience, and three floors worth of goods, that stretched across three store fronts you are bound to find something to tickle your fancy. (Or at least I did.) The thing is - I am headed to Vegas tomorrow, and have been saving my pennies for Cowboy Christmas. So instead I just snapped pictures to share with you!


I really liked these hand tooled Corral boots. And recently I have seen squared toed Corral boots. Definitely going to be looking for some of those at Cowboy Christmas.



More jewelry than you can image. I would really like to get my hands on one of those sterling silver ball necklaces, like the one in the top right-hand corner or the one on the bottom. Two strands would do me just fine with my small neck, but the $450 price tag isn't so fine, and that is why they are still in the store and not my suitcase!


And if you like a little bling on your belt this is the place for you. They had some of the most unique designs I had ever seen. I'll still be keeping my eye out for a hair on belt in Vegas!

I have much more to come, including some great home decor so stay tuned!





Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The power of O

Marketing at it's finest. 

I am always intrigued by marketing concepts. Perhaps because there is only so much the written word can say. An image can become extremely powerful. And images only gain strength the more the are used and the more they are recognized. This week at the Range Beef Cow Symposium we have been giving away all kinds of Certified Angus Beef items - gloves, literature, toothpicks - tonight at supper our waiter came out in CAB aprons. That black yellow and red logo becomes distinctive. It gives our product and ideas a common look.

Today, I came across this video. There are definitely some thought provoking marketing concepts there.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advocates for Agriculture

Range Beef Cow Symposium

This week I have been in Casper, WY, for the Range Beef Symposium. Despite major transportation delays on the trip here, I have been really impressed with the conference and speakers so far.

This morning I got to listen to two sets of excellent advocates for agriculture and the beef industry. Troy and Stacy Hadrick, are creators of the Advocates for Agriculture blog. If you are looking for a daily snapshot of what people are saying about our industry, I highly recommend following their blog.

Their speech today talked about how we are more influential than you realize. Today they threw out the figure that "One American in ten will tell the other nine how to vote, where to eat and what to buy. And the biggest commonality among this group is that the fact that more than 75% of them attend three or more meetings per year, as opposed to only 15% of the general population." They asked the audience why does this matter? Well because knowledge is power. When you attend a meeting, and go home people ask you what did you learn. You then have the opportunity to educate others, and present the information in the context you choose. You have the power. Definitely an interesting concept.

So now that we hold the power, we need to educate. The consumer wants to know. So answer their questions.

More on the other speaker tomorrow.

I Believe - Part VIII

It's still Tuesday!

I Believe -
that no matter how bad your heart is broken that the world doesn't stop for your grief.


I think this is really good advice.

p.s. I don't have that many more to share with you.
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