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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blog Suggestion: High Country Cattle Services

Where is all began.

This year I was able to get my mom and dad blogging. I pretty big step I think. It has been a great tool for us to communicate with our customers and those interested in learning more about agriculture. Click here to read their blog.

One of my favorite posts was one my mom wrote about bringing farmers their meals to the field, during harvest. Like her it is one of my favorite memories. My sister and I were often sent with raisin cookies, ginger snaps or chocolate chip cookies and ice tea to the silage pit, for dad. While he spent many hours going back and forth on that big tractor packing the silage. My mom had the great idea of local people adopting harvest crews. It would be a great way for the farmers to get a warm meal, and consumers to learn more about agriculture and where their food comes from. Read more here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blog Suggestion: DC Summer Interns

LOL. JK.

Since I am in Australia right now, I figured you might need some other blog reading in case I am unable to update my own blog as frequently.

This blog may make you wonder about the future leaders on Capitol Hill, but it will give you a laugh. Miss Multi State introduced it to me over the summer, and whenever things aren't going quite right and I need a breather I love to take a quick read.

Check it out here - http://dcinterns.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Showring Aussie Style

Adrenline Rush.

Add caption

The Congress is now over and I have head south and west with my mom and dad, but the show was a great experience. I had the opportunity to work for Tom and Lizzy Baker of Woonalee Simmental Stud. They are a wonderful family and really know their way around the Simmental breed. The show was very similar to Canadian shows, but not as intense as American shows. One difference is instead of a bottle of Rye found in everyone's tax boxes it's a couple of bottles of wine!

The cattle arrived late Monday night, so it was a busy day on Tuesday getting all the cattle settled in and washed. They brought 23 head, all of which were what we would call traditional Simmental cattle, ie. the old red and white ones. The bulls were also scanned for ribeye area, marbling and backfat.

On Wednesday we showed. There were almost 200 head of Simmetnal cattle entered. The majority of them were what I call traditional looking Simmental cattle, with a few reds and black being shown. One the of pregnancies from the black Simmental embryos was also shown, but more on that to come later when I can get some pictures.

The crew was great to work with. We only did basic fitting- toplines and tailheads. In most classes there were 15-18 entries, huge classes compared to what I am used to. The day started off great with the heifer I showed receiving second in her class. That was a relief to know I was doing things close to right! Lizzy and Tom had multiple class winners with their heifers, and went onto have Champion Junior Female. As in Canada the Grand Champion Female is almost always a cow/calf pair. They also don't pick Reserve Grand Champions just Champions for overall in the female and bull show.

In the bull show the bull I lead went on to be Reserve Champion Junior Bull behind the Grand Champion Bull, also out of Woonalee show string. I showed in multiple group classes, and Tom and Lizzy's success allowed them to be named the Premier Exhibitor of the show. It was really exciting to be out in the ring again, especially with the champion titles on a world stage at stake.


Me leading Ernie. Lots of the Aussies showed in cowboy hats (a few could use some shaping.) No one in the Simmental show wore white long coats, but some did in the steer show.


The judge evaluating Ernie. The judge was from the United Kingdom and used phrases like she had a special glint in her eye. And he didn't walk like no lady. That was a good thing.


This was the banner/ribbon for the Reserve Champion Junior Bull. Even for classes the ribbons were in the form of these banners, but not a wide. They were much cooler than the rosette ribbon we get in North America.

My Million Dollar Aussie Ideas

They may become quite popular.


Idea #1

Did you know there is such a thing a possum wool. Yes, that's right. People skin possums and strip their hair off and make it into wool. And shockingly it is of quite high quality. While I was at the giant Merino in Goulburn (see previous post) I learned all this. Often the wool is combined with Merino wool, another extremely high quality wool, and then knitted into good this sweater, scarves, and other clothing items.

Now I always see dead possums on the road in America, this could be a great way to get a little salvage value out of them. I have already run the idea by the boy and he is quite disgusted with the whole concept, but we'll see how it turns out.

Side note: Possums are not native to New Zealand and they are now destroying their rain forests and threatening plants like kiwis. They were brought there by man and have no natural predator. Also, did you know there isn't any rabies in Australia. Interesting.

Idea #2

OK, so if the first idea doesn't turn out so well this one will be a sure fire bet. While having my first pub experience (all pubs are called bars here) I excused myself to the bathroom, and this is when I found this little machine.

It's a hair straightener that you pay $2 to use for x number of minutes. Can you believe that. Imagine if these were in women's bathrooms in every college town bar. I could make a killing. I know you ladies have all done it. Went into the bathroom to freshen up, but at some point no amount of hairspray or teasing can fix the problem. What you really neat are the serious tools. Flat iron or curling iron.

I think all this new revenue may even pay for my next trip to Australia.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We need to have food choices

Your choice can affect my choices.

I came across this website awhile ago and wanted to share it with you. It is called choose2choose.com

Although, I have always been a strong advocate of having choices in the type and kinds of food that we are able to purchase (organic, natural, conventional raised) their was a quote on this website that really hit home with me.

"I didn't realize I could be taking someone else's food choices away by advocating for on method of farming over another."

Today one farmer can feed 155 people, as compared to 129 in 1960. The reason why we can do this is we are more efficient and we have access to improved technology. Now that doesn't mean that I don't think you should be able to go to a local farmers market to purchase your fruits and vegetables. It just means that I know we can't feed everyone in this country, and all the countries we export food to with that method.

I encourage you to check out the site. There is great information on commonly asked questions like high fructose corn syrup, cage-free eggs, bst, among other topics.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Going Back: Beef is still king

It's likes Mother Nature's multivitamin

Currently, I am in Australia and I am not sure how often I will be able to blog. But I can't wait to tell you all about my trip and the agriculture I see. In the meantime I am going back to some old posts. I know some of my readers haven't been with me since the beginning so I thought this would be a great way to highlight some of my favorite posts.

So, read a little more about beef and me completely my Master's of Beef Advocacy Program here.

p.s. I am hoping to eat some grass fed beef while I am over here. I have been told that it won't compare to the good ole barley and corn fed beef I was raised on, but I am up for trying new things.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Capital city, War Memorial, Olives, and Really Big Sheep

All in a day in Australia

Today was a great day. I had the opportunity to travel around Canberra, Australia's capital city, with the Nixon family. Canberra a really interesting city, it's what they call a planned city, and most everything was planned around the Parliament building. When I can get some pictures off my camera I'll tell you more about it. It's pretty cool. I also toured the National War Memorial which was really great. Probably one of the top five museums that I have been in.

This was one of my favorite parts. It recognizes all the soldiers that fought in wars, and people come place poppies by their names in remembrance.

In the afternoon I met up with Katrina Nixon. She has been at a fruit cake judging at their Royal Agriculture Society. This was a regional or zone competition and the winning cake will now compete in Sydney. Katrina drove the lady that did the judging an hour and half just to select the prized fruit cake. She was great. After the winner was announced the CEO of the Camberra Agricultural Society gave a presentation about other agriculture shows from across the world, one of them being the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth - the Calgary Stampede. It was really interesting to hear someone else's perspective on an event that my family has been so involved in.

I swelled up with pride as he talked about what a wonderful event the Calgary Stampede is. He talked about the strong volunteer force, the lines to see the Dream Home, the excitement of the chuckwagon races and the even compared the Grandstand Show to the opening ceremonies of an Olympic games. Yeah, I was smiling.

Afterwards we headed northwest, stopping to have afternoon tea at an olive farm. I could get very used to afternoon tea and all the desserts that come with it. This time it was an apple turnover and ice cream. Yummy.

This was the olive grove that was in front of the restaurant we had our tea at. I am not sure what the olive growing season is, but currently there was no fruit on the trees.

And there was the stop at the biggest Merino sheep, probably in the world. He only weighs 97 tonnes.

Me and the big sheep. Merino sheep are found all over Australia. They are know for their wool quality.
And of course we needed a rear view picture. haha

Friday, September 17, 2010

Farming in Australia

Today I left the Sydney and traveled by bus to Camberra, Sydney's capital. It was great to see some green space again, and even managed to catch a glimpse of some cattle. Herefords, Charolais, tradition looking Simmentals and black cows made up the majority. You can also tell it is calving season for many farmers, as young calves were present in many of the fields.


In Camberra, I was able to meet with representatives from the Cattle Council of Australia, Meat and Sheep and the National Farmers Union. During Denver last year I met Heidi Dennis, who handles the communications and PR for the Cattle Council. You might recognize her as the Australian spokesperson from the 5 Nations Beef Alliance video. Although, Heidi was on an ag tour she was generous enough to still line up this informal meeting for me.

The National Farmers Federation is interesting and there probably isn't anything similar to it in the United States, and I don't know if all agriculture groups could every be cohesive enough to create a similar organization.

They are comprised of both commodity and regional agriculture groups and focus on lobbying for or against issues that effect farmers and ranchers on a national level. Environmental issues, an aging farming population, infrastructure and free trade are just a few of the issues they work on, so that the smaller more specialized organizations can focus on issues that just pertain to them - like the Beef Councils trying to increase beef consumption or the Corn Board working on high fructose corn syrup issues.

What I found most interesting as I talked to these staff members is that even though I traveled miles and miles across land and water to get here we have many of the same concerns. Probably won't hurt us to learn a little from other organizations in other countries and explore how they are handling some of their issues and whether they are succeeding or not.

I knew Aussies and Canadians had kinder hearts

Major discovery.

I forgot to mention on my grocery store trip I was shocked to find two items - Areo bars and Smarties! Now my American friends are probably wondering what in the world I am talking about because Nestle chocolate is holding out on you. Areo bars and Smarties are two of my favorite chocolate treats, and you can't find them in the United States, but you can in Australia. Who would have thunk it.

Areo bars are milk chocolate, but the chocolate looks like the bubbles you create when you blow through a straw into a glass of chocolate milk. Smarties are similar to M&M's but I like the chocolate better and they are flatter. I know in American Smarties are those chalky candies that you get at Halloween, but in Canada those are called Rockets. Oh the confusion.

The Smarties. Would have taken a picture of the Areo bars, but I devoured them too fast.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Turquoise Thursday - Farmer's Trophy Wife

Switching it up.

Currently, I am somewhere in Australia. If I stick to my itinerary hopefully in Sydney. I have prewritten this post, in case I get stranded in land of somewhere Down Under and can't keep my readers updated. So if you see an Australia update before this post I have probably told you what a great time I am having, and if you haven't received an update get don't assume I am dead. I am probably having a fantastic time, just haven't found Internet.

OK back to the subject on hand. I will be trying my hardest to find some turquoise in Australia, but in the mean time I want to you to check out the Farmer's Trophy Wife blog. She is my blog friend and I get lots of inspiration from her for my post. Copper is one of her favorite colors. So check out her blog or visit her on facebook, and tell her I say hello while you are there.

I have landed down under.

Good day mate.

Yes, they really say that. I have now spent two full days in Sydney. And the quick recap goes something like this.

The flight wasn't too bad. 15 hours, and I was able to sleep for most of it, but my butt really did hurt by the end. I was jealous of the business class people that had the seats that folded down into a bed. Airplane food, really not that bad.

A friend of the family's picked me up from the airport. First thing I did was go to the "passenger" side to get in. Yeah, in Australia the "passenger" side is the drivers side. I also, kept on thinking we were going to get hit. By day two I think I am much more of a pro. They even have look right or look left at the crosswalks to help you tell which way the traffic is coming. Obviously, foreigners aren't the only ones that have a problem with this backwards system.

Sydney reminds me a lot of Edmonton (Alberta's capital, the biggest city to me growing up). There is a huge Asian population and it's very multicultural.

Today, I felt like I was in an episode of the Amazing Race. Checking out busing, train and flight options to try and get me to my next destinations. The only thing is that it was my own money and no prize at the end. Otherwise I am pretty sure I would have won.

The food is pretty good. I had some amazing Thai food last night (thanks Asian influence), that included my first experience with duck. It was great. All the menus crack me up. Everything has pesto, sundried tomatoes, organic goat cheese, etc, etc. Nothing is plain ole meat, cheese, and condiments. Also, if they ask you if you want salad on your burger or sandwich that means lettuce, tomatoes, etc. I did go to a grocery store, and will have a meat blog up once I can download some photos. Oh, and I have found it quite hard to find beef on menus.

Today, I also took in an AC/DC exhibit at the Powerhouse museum. They are amazing. I really don't know how else to describe them.

Next, I am headed to Canberra, to visit with the people of the National Farmers Federation and the Sheep and Meat Council. I have enjoyed Sydney, but I am really ready to be around some ag people again. Guess you just can't take the farm girl out of me.

Until next time.

Oh p.s. the light switches are backwards too. Down means power on, and up is power off. Odd.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Headed Down Under

Australia here I come. 

Well, the day has finally arrived. I am headed to Australia. I have been waiting for this day for years - literally. When Canada hosted the World Simmental Congress in 2006 it opened a lot of doors for my family. We exported a group of embryos from these three donors, click here, here and here, to Australia during that following year. When I found out that Australia would be hosting the the World Simmental Congress in 2010 I knew there was no way I  was going to miss it.

So, I am off on a month long journey - Sydney to Melbourne, to Adelaide, to Brisbane and back down the Gold Coast. Goals for the trip include seeing a kangaroo and koala bear, having a better appreciation for Australian agriculture, getting my feet wet in the ocean, and having a little fun. Oh and answering the one question that I keep on receiving from all my friends. Does the toliet water really flow the opposite direction?

I am hoping to keep you all updated via my blog. I Ccn't wait to share the stories.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tailgate goodness

Stuff your face.

The recipe for a great tailgate is good friends, good food and beverage and hopegully a W up on the score board. This weekend I am headed to Manhattan, Kansas, for my first tailgate of the year. And to make it better the boy will be attending as well. It's a big weekend for football. His team Iowa (I am learning to like them only because they aren't in our conference) will be playing Iowa State, in Iowa City. Huge rivals. Huge game. And he is going to give up this game for a little Wildcat fun. It is kind of like giving up Christmas.

However, the football Gods have aligned and we'll watch the Iowa game in Aggieville during the afternoon and attend the K-State game that night. Perfect.

Now back to one of the other key ingredients the food. The boys mom gave me this awesome recipe for Jalapeno Popper Spread that will make a great addition to our tailgate.

Ingredients

2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 (4 oz.) can chopped chiles, drained
1 (2 oz.) canned diced jalapenos peppers, drained
1 cup Parmesan cheese


Directions

1. Stir cream cheese and mayo together in large, microwave safe bowl until smooth.



2. Mix in chiles and jalapenos. What I love about this recipe is that all the cheese balances out the heat from the chiles and jalapenos. It has just enough kick.


3. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. And then microwave on High until hot. Approximately three minutes.

4. Try not to eat the whole bowl in one setting.

Go State!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thursday Turquoise Rawhide Style

Take a seat

One day when I have my own house and I fill it with nice things I wouldn't mind have one or two, OK maybe all of these items in my house.


Combining my love for turquoise and cowhide. Perfection. And thanks to The Farmer's Trophy Wife for leading me to this find. p.s. Don't look at the prices. It will just make you sad. 


I also really like alligator. Maybe I should start an alligator farm. I like it fried and then could make lots of boots and chairs. 


I literally think my hear stopped when I saw this chair. Can you hear the angels singing? Pure glory on Earth. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wide Open Spaces - Texas Long Weekend Part 1

Driving, driving, driving.

Last weekend I got to head south with the boy to a friends wedding. Now first let me explain we call these holiday weekends, long weekends in Canada. No one seemed to have a clue what I was talking about when I kept on referring to the Labor Day weekend as the long weekend.

Back to the topic. We fly into Fort Worth on Thursday and stayed with the boy's sister and her fiance. The next day they treated us to a quick tour of the Superior Livestock Auction building where the fiance works, and then some amazing BBQ at Coopers, all down in the Stockyards. The Brisket and the blackberry cobbler were amazing, and trust me Texans know how to do both of these the best.

Then it was off to San Angelo, just a mere four hour drive south. ugh. However prime opportunity for me to take pictures, and maybe complain a little that we couldn't stop at every western decor home store we saw. Texas I will return.

We did drive through Dublin, home of Dr. Pepper. I always get excited about tourist things like this. This is what it looks like on the drive by.










And although, we we greeted by a beautiful sunset as we entered San Angelo. It was time to wear some engergy off.


And so as is tradition, if you are going to sing karaoke, you better sing Sweet Caroline.

The boy's sister and I were very excited to be on stage.

Also, a note to those that like to sing karaoke. It helps if you turn the microphone on. We didn't realize it was off until half way through the song. Which, actually may have been a good thing.

Stay tuned. Part II to be reveled later in the week. And there may or may not be more karaoke and a picture of the boy.




Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How are you helping rural America?

Get involved in your communities. 

97% of the U.S. is considered rural. In these rural areas you will find thousands of ranchers and farmers raising the food we all eat.

I recently came across this video asking the question what could $2,500 do for a rural community? I was amazed at some of the ideas, and furthermore what an impact on the quality of life they could make on communities.

Thousands of seeds to start a community garden. If we want people to understand more about agriculture, then let's get them involved in growing their food. Let them see that food comes from seeds in the ground not grocery stores. Let them learn the lessons of ownership and responsibility that we learned on the farm. And let them see bugs and pests eat all their tomatoes, so they understand that farming isn't as easy as it looks!


8 new computers for your communities libraries. Just think if people had better access to the world what they would be able to accomplish. I am lucky, my roommate and I both have computers at our house, plus the other one I use a work. Not everyone is so fortunate, and I think some people have stories to share they just need a channel.

Enough meals for 850 seniors. My mom has a really neat job. She gets to provide all kinds of support to members of the community I grew up in and the surrounding area. One of these programs is Meals on Wheels. There are more people out there than you realize that can't provide for themselves. Maybe they don't have the funds, maybe they just don't have the means to get to the grocery store to buy food to make meals. Maybe there is a disability involved, and no family close enough to step in.

2500 Ways to Grow a Community - brought to you by Monsanto

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Boys of Fall

Gives you chills

It is finally here. Football season. I haven't always been crazy about football. Back home in Canada there weren't Friday night football games. However, that all changed once I got to college. I remember my first college football game was with my friend Emilie. We played OSU, had the day off of judging and did we ever have fun.

I learned the K-State fight song, the Pledge of Alligence and my hate for KU at football games, and now ever fall I wait in anticipation for the games to start again.

This weekend is our first football game, and I am missing it. I am headed to Texas with the boy for a wedding. The scarfices we make. I shouldn't give him too hard of a time, I am making him miss the Iowa vs. Iowa State game. Which I have been told is close to some sort of religious event in Iowa.

So as a I am watching the score updates on my blackberry this week, take a look at this video. It gives me goosebumps and reminds what the fall is all about.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Turquoise cows and pigs

Turning heads in the barn

I have featured Purple Banner Designs before on the blog. They were one of my first giveaways. They have recently posted lots of new items to their blog so I wanted to give you an update, and why not do it turquoise style. I would encourage to visit their blog, as they have all kinds of fabrics and do lots of custom pieces for people.


I love hoodies. I wear them all year long. Yes even in the heat we have had this summer. 


These note cards are great. I really need to order some for myself. 



How about some pigs in a blanket. 


She has lots of items for the little guys. 

Be sure to say hello to Bethany on her blog for me when you check out the rest of her great designs. 


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

College Football vs College of Ag

It's that time of year

I have got football on the brain. I can't believe the first game of the season is almost here. There is something about going to football games in Manhattan, Kansas, that I love. I am pretty sure it is the only college football game that you will see advertisements for Five Rivers Feeders or Nuflor up on the jumbotron during the game. Cowboy boots and cowboy hats can be seen in every direction. And every large-animal pharmaceutical company is throwing a tailgate.

Our athletics program is pretty decent, but I would always take some more wins. One day I will probably send some money in their direction. I am planning on having pretty good football seats and it is the only way to get there. However, right now I know that the dollars I send to the College of Ag probably have a greater impact. I would rather support scholarships that with put the youth who will feed the world through college, than sending dollars to athletics so we can buy a bigger jumbtron.

However, in Nebraska it seems like things are a little different. On August 20, Tom Osborne, Nebraska's Athletics Director, announced the Cornhusker Co-op. The program allows managers at elevators, from across the state, to authorize portions of farmer's grain yield as a donation to the Athletic Department.

Too bad these designated funds couldn't go towards their College of Ag.

Maybe we can get Kansas State on board for a program similar to this. I can see the headline now, "Kansas wheat farms donate portion of yields to ag scholarships, livestock judging teams, and international agriculture trips."
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