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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Turquoise Junk Gypsy Style

Gorgeous Turquoise Jewelry

If you haven't experience Junk Gypsy it is about time you do. These girls have style unlike anyone else, and I love that they include a little bit of turquoise. So let's start browsing this week's Turquoise Thursday.

This turquoise necklace from Junk Gypsy is gorgeous! I think it would fit in very well with what I call the uniform. Black shirt, blue jeans and turquoise jewelry. 

I love these cuff bracelets. My favorite one is the horseshoe bracelet that says "Lucky in Life." I love lime green mixed in with turquoise. 

Check out this cross turquoise pendent. Their jewelry always makes a statement.

I mean who wouldn't take style advice from the girls that helped style Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert's wedding. And yes they have pictures on the Junk Gypsy Blog so check them out! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Farmers from around the world

The world is helping feed the world.

Alison from Australia
For the second year now I have received the opportunity to be involved in the Five Nations Beef Alliance Young Ranchers program. This group is made up of cattlemen organizations from Canada, U.S., Australia, Brazil and Argentina. Young farmers and ranchers face a lot of challenges, but when I have traveled and as I listen to these participants stories I find we all have a lot of similarities.

The Young Ranchers group want as many consumers as possible to see this so they can learn a little more about how and where our food is being raised. So that means send it to your banker, your city cousin, or children's school teachers. Keep on telling agriculture's story.



For more information about the Five Nations Beef Alliance visit www.fivenationsbeefalliance.com 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blogs Worth Reading

Today I want to highlight a couple of my fellow bloggers:

The Great Arizona Bale-Out 

In my Life Isn't Very Fair When You Are a Farmer post I didn't mention one of the other natural disasters that has been effecting agriculture this year - wildfires. In Arizona there are some massive wildfire fires that have burnt up thousand of acres of grasslands leaving little feed for cattle and livestock. Anna on Life Be Delicious takes about how you can support their Arizona ranchers and farmers.


Am I Eating Dirty Foods

Do you question which tomatoes you should buy when at the grocery store - the regular ones, the organic ones, or should you leave the grocery store and visit a Farmer's Market. There is an article from Men's Health magazine circulating, and I don't agree with it very much. Amanda Hill has done a great job of commenting on the Dirty Foods article, I would have said the same thing, so check it out. 


Social Media Lemonade Stand

Are you needing help with your blogging? Then talk to me about redesigning your blog or helping you generate a larger social media presence. If you want those cool new blog features, feel like you need a new template, or want to get that facebook page started then visit my About tab and shoot me an email and we'll talk about some ideas and strategies. Also, one of my blogger friends does some nice design work, and is raising some funds to go to an agriculture social media conference. Brooke Clay will help you redesign your blog header for a small fee, and then will use the funds to fund her trip. Hopefully, she'll write a post about what she learns when she gets back. 


What are some of your favorite blogs or posts out there right now. I am always looking for good reading. 

And the winner is!

Thank you so much to everyone that entered our giveaway, and keep coming back because I have something else up my sleeve. Now to the good part...

The winner is City Life to Ranching Wife! Congrats. Please send me an email. My contact information is under my About tab, and we'll get your bag in the mail.

Also, to my readers City Life to Ranching Wife is a great blog that I happen to already follow. She talks about being raised in the city and now living in the country and raising sheep.


Hope you all have a fantastic day! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Meat Loaf - Hunk of Meat Mondays

A quick and easy beef recipe. 


I wanted to share this awesome meat loaf recipe with you as part of the Hunk of Meat Mondays community, because we know at that a Hunk of Meat is way better than Meatless Mondays. I love this recipe because it is easy, the leftovers freeze really well and it uses lean ground beef - an awesome way to load up on protein, iron and zinc while staying healthy.


Ingredients
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups Crispix cereal, crushed (a great way to do this is stick in a plastic bag and go over it with a rolling pin or beat with you fist.)
  • 3 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean is what you want.)
Directions

In a large bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Remove 1/2 cup for topping - set aside. (If you really like the ketchup topping you might consider making a little extra.) 

Add the eggs, Worcestershire sauce, cereal and seasonings to remaining ketchup mixture. Let stand for 5 minutes. Crumble beef over cereal mixture and mix well. I find that using you hands works the best to get it all mixed up. Be careful though not to over work the ground beef, otherwise it doesn't stay stuck together as it cooks.


Press meat mixture into 18 muffin cups - a 1/3 of a cup is the prefect amount. I experimented this time and did some with muffin liners and some without. Definitely recommend the muffin liners and it makes clean up much easier.


Bake at 375° for 20-30 minutes, or until the meat is no longer pink. The perfect way to tell this is by using your meat thermometer. Hamburger needs to be cooked to a minimum of a 160 degrees. A second option is to bake for 18-20 minutes then spoon some of the topping on and bake again for another 10 minutes. Again make sure your meat thermometer reads 160 degrees to know that they are done. 

All done! 

Your meal is served. I couldn't believe how moist these mini meat loaves were Throw the leftovers in the freezer and pullout for a quick supper idea or easy lunch to take to work.  

For more Hunk of Meat Mondays recipes from other blogs check out the Beyer Beware Blog
This one from Life's a Beach... Wish I Was on One - Tex-Mex Chiaco Burger 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Life isn't very fair when you are a farmer

Weather will make or break you 

Now before I start this post I admit farmers are notorious for complaining about the weather. It is always too hot, too dry, too windy, too rainy, too cold. Sure we are looking for perfection. Perfection means that our cattle or livestock will be comfortable, chores will be easier, and crops will grow to their maximum potential. Weather affects our livelihoods probably more than any other profession.

This year the weather seems to be even more abnormal than normal (but who really knows what normal is anymore).

In Texas and along the southern border of the U.S. farmers and ranchers are experiencing extreme drought. Currently 11.8% of the country in a D4 drought. That is the most serve form of drought possible. In Kansas (closer to me) 25 counties have been named disaster areas because of the drought. Kansas is the number one wheat producer in the nation.

It was this post read from Hallie at Ride Of Hallie's Life about the current situation in Texas, that really  got me thinking about the weather. Many of the farmers in Hallie's area use irrigation pivots (a giant sprinkler system) to water their cotton. "The irrigation is meant to be a supplement to the 20 inches of rain they USUALLY get. It takes the pivot sprinkler 7 days to complete one round, and it is only taking 2 days for the water to evaporate entirely." I think my draw dropped when I read that line.


Hallie also said that not only are this year's crops is a loss, but since there is no major rain being called for until July 2013 - yes 2013, next years crops are looking bleak as well. I really encourage you to read her story.

click here to view the U.S. Drought Monitor national and state maps

But that isn't the whole story. Every night I go home and listen to the news to hear about the severe flood the Missouri River is causing, and there was the flooding in Southeast Missouri early this year that one farmer expects will cost him a million and half dollars - he is just one of 200 in that area. Through the Dakotas and Nebraska cattle and machinery had to be moved, and crops were lost due to flooding, along with homes and buildings. The Arkansas Farm Bureau reported that more than a million acres of cropland was under water in May, and the damage to crops and forage is expected to exceed $500 Million.

It just doesn't seem fair some farms are standing under water and others can't be seen because of the dust blowing so hard. But I guess none of us signed up for farming and ranching because it was easy. We do this because farming is in your blood, it is in your soul and it is a part of who you are. 

For the consumer you might see higher food prices, but many of you won't even think about what the farmers went through this year to get food on your table. If you know a farmer or see a farmer say thanks, it won't bring this year's crop or livestock back, but at least they will know you are thinking of them. 

Just a few tweets about my friends and what kind of condition they are in:











And some guys have all the luck! www.twitter.com/Tyler_Heil

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Turquoise Baby Gifts

These gifts are for my friends. 

Remember a little bit ago the turquoise nursery I featured on my blog? Well Jill and Cole welcomed a little baby girl named Tinley into the world. Love the name by the way. I knew that Purple Banner Designs would be just the place to get Tinley something from.

These bibs are reservable. Purple Banner Designs also did one with the Harvie cattle brand on it.

And burp rags. Baby Tinley will be styling now.

And you have to check out these stuffed teddy bear cows that Purple Banner Designs are creating. I think I want one for myself!

Of course I picked this guy because of his turquoise ear tag, but what is even cooler is that this stuffed cow was a custom design based on the show steer below. 

I think they did a fantastic job! 

Be sure to check out the Purple Banner Designs. They do much more than just cows, and all of their work is custom. Keep up the great work Bethany!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hereford Cattle Show

Iowa Hereford Preview Show

I mentioned that last Sunday the Boy and I attended the Iowa Hereford Preview Show. The Boy and I both grew up showing cattle, him Herefords and me Simmentals. The shows weren't just about bringing home champion ribbons, but our junior breed associations also focused on leadership, stockmanship, and life skills.

I snapped a few pictures to walk you through walk show day looks like. Max Cherry is a good friend of the Boy's. There family's have worked together for many years so it was fun to watch and help Max.

Here Max is working on preparing his heifer for the showring. The metal thing she is standing in is called a blocking chute. This prevents the animal from moving back and forth, and keeps the people around her safe as well. Show cattle are given baths, their hair is blow dried and clipped (just like a hair cut) and we use products similar to hairspray to hold the hair in place. All of this grooming is called fitting.

These are just a few of the tools of the trade used for preparing cattle for the showring. 

Max giving his heifer at last minute drink of water before they head on up to the showring. It is unbelievable how fast a heifer can suck down a bucket of water!

Last minute preparations going on. On the left is Jon (aka the Boy) and the girl in the yellow is Max's sister Jenna. For most people showing cattle is a family project.

Jon gives her one last brush with the comb and it is time to enter the showring. I am not sure who was more nervous Max or Jon. 

Max showing his heifer in the showring. During this time the judge is evaluating each animal. Since this is a heifer and her purpose is for breeding the judge is looking for things like structural soundness (can she walk properly), femininity (does she look like a girl) and body type (we want long bodied cattle, that are deep sided, and have lots of muscle expression).

Max had an awesome day. He ended up winning the whole show. Max will next travel to Kansas City with his heifer to show her at the Junior National Hereford Expo the middle of July. 

Jon also had a great day with some of his JJB Cattle Co. genetics. A heifer that he sold a couple years ago was shown as a cow/calf pair and they won Champion Cow/Calf Pair and that cow's bull calf was Bull Calf Champion. Also, there was a daughter out of another heifer Jon had sold and she won her class. To see a few more of my pictures from the weekend check out my facebook page.

And don't forget to enter my giveaway. Just click here

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Feed Sack Bag Give-a-way

What is up for grabs?

Remember the very popular Feed Sack Bag post that featured both cloth and plastic feed sack bags, along with a tutorial? Well that tutorial came from my blogging friend the House That Ag Built. Sarah turns lots of her Feed Bags into reusable grocery bags and bags that are great for the beach. The best news - she wants to give one away to a Crystal Cattle reader.

The Bag that is up for grabs. Perfect beach or travel bag for the summer.

I love all the colors on this bag. Who knew a feed sack could be so pretty.

Now here's how to enter.
1. Follow Crystal Cattle

For additional entries 
4. Tweet about the contest out over twitter (make sure you tag me)
5. Blog about this contest 
Please leave a comment on this blog post how you have entered. I really encourage you to check out the House That Ag Built blog. Sarah is a teacher and has worked really hard to teach her students about agriculture and where their food comes from. I will draw a winner Sunday, June 26 at 6:00 p.m. CST.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A cotton wedding

Bring agriculture to the wedding 

This past weekend the boy and I worked on a little more wedding planning. Location, guest list, etc. We also attended the Iowa Junior Hereford Preview Show - pictures to come.

I have been using Pinterest to help collect and gather wedding ideas. And although Cotton won't be apart of our wedding day decorations I still had to share this with you.

via GreenWeddingShoes.com 
The bride and groom used raw cotton throughout their ceremony and reception. I remember seeing Cotton for the first time on a leadership conference in Alabama. At that stage the crop was flowering, and I thought it was one of the most pretty things I had even seen.

via GreenWeddingShoes.com 
I love the boutonnieres for the guys. Did you know that Texas, California, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and Arizona are the top cotton-producing state - kidsarus.org

via GreenWeddingShoes.com 

The cotton chains are probably my favorite part. How many of the guests do you think wore cotton that day? They would have fit right in. It actually takes 10 oz. of cotton to make one men's shirt, and 350 ladies knit & woven dresses can be made from a bale of cotton - a bale of cotton lint typically weights 500 lbs. - cottonsjourney.com

And did you know that there are wedding dress designers that focus solely on cotton wedding dresses

via thecottonbride.com
For more general information about cotton check out jplovescotton. She is an awesome blogger that has worked in the cotton industry for a long time. Her Cotton 101 series has loves of really great information about this crop.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Corn on the Cob Cupcakes

Farming Treats

When I saw these cupcakes on Mabel's Label blog I knew I had to share. Now she doesn't give a tutorial on them, but I figured I came up with a shopping list to make these fun treats. They would be perfect for a farm or barnyard birthday.

Corn on the cob cupcakes

Necessary supplies:

Cupcakes - A white or yellow cake mix 
Cupcake liners - yellow
Kernels - Jelly Belly jelly beans would be my favorite (they are also more slender than regular jelly beans, probably not going to keep you figure slender)
Butter - yellow Starburst candies 
Corn Holder - just use the real thing


You can't forget about the cow cupcakes. These are much easier than you look. You bake the cupakes, and the purchase the fondant cow topper from TwoSugarBabies on Etsy. I wonder if they would make brown cows or little baldy cows. Those are the solid colored cows with just a little bit of white on their faces.

Blogger Diary of Dave's Wife threw a really cure Barn Yard Birthday for her son. Check out her blog for lots of ideas.


I love the menu that they served. 

This weekend I am headed to the Boy's farm in Iowa. Saturday is wedding planning day, and Sunday we'll spend at a cattle show. And don't worry when I get back I'll have another Corn Report. Any guesses on how tall the corn is now?

p.s. Don't forget to refollow (or follow for the first time) my blog since I made a change in url. The old blog will be gone soon. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Turquoise Earrings

Pretty little things

Lately, I have been wearing the hoop earrings found in this picture a lot, and all my friends have been asking wear did you get those. I bought them at Banana Republic (one of my favorite stores) a few years ago. So since you likely won't find them there anymore, here are a few other options for you.

Also, don't forget that if you don't want to wait each week to see my Turquoise Thursday selects I have two Pinterest Boards you can check out during the week - Turquoise and Turquoise Rooms. If you aren't on Pinterest yet and want to sign up comment below with your email address and I'll send you an invite - it takes much less time that way than requesting an invite
I think these are really cute turquoise hoops, and you can't beat the price.

A different shape than mine, but I love these. Fair warning - they are also the most expense earrings on this page. The Crow's Nest Trading Company has beautiful accessories, home items and clothing they are just a little more on the pricer side.


Maybe turquoise isn't your things or you want something more versatile. These silver pearl wrapped hoops from Sundance would be great. p.s. You need to check their store out. Gorgeous jewelry.


And sometimes you just have to go with slabs of turquoise. These are also from Sundance.
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