Friday, December 31, 2010

Thanks Lord for 2010...It Was A Very Good Year

This has been the busiest most blessed year of my life.  I only thought I was busy and blessed when our four kids were at home.  Today the blessings have multiplied.  Four awesome spouses, nine terrific grandkids and a host of wonderful in-laws have found their way nestled right next to my loving, patient, understanding husband; the most awesome set of parents anyone could ask for; a doting 97 year old grandmother that still lights up when I come to visit; and three great communities within a 30 mile radius that I regularly revolve in and out of yet can comfortably call each one "home".   I stay exhausted , exhilerated and extremely grateful for the year God has blessed me with, taking none of the past 365 days for granted.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Biscotti!.. Can You Say Happy Santa?








This Year's Ranch Holiday Gifts Included Platefuls of Delicious Treats Including Lenne's Cranberry Almond Biscotti


It's fairly quick and easy and makes you look really smart!

Ingredients1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup almonds, chopped and toasted
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar at medium speed until creamy. Beat in the butter and almond extract. Pour the egg mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in the dried cranberries and almonds.
Using lightly floured hands, shape the dough into 2 slightly flattened 10-inch logs on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden. Let the logs cool slightly.
Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the logs 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet cut sides up and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the biscotti are lightly browned and crisp. Let cool completely before serving. Using a toothpick drizzle white melted candy coating over the tops. ENJOY with coffee or a steaming cup of hot tea.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Glorious Christmas Chaos

"Apunzel" Escorted by her Grandfather Ralph to Michael Martin Murphy's Christmas Ball


















Oh What Fun It Is To...



Perform 8 hours of holiday house cleaning THEN watch it "kid"destruct in 7 minutes



Watch 9 little faces, mouths watering, wait patiently for "Grandma's Crepes"




Clean up spilled milk, mac and cheese, juice, puppy chow (human and puppy), and Grog



Find an appropriate "potato replacement" for the potato guns Santa dropped off ---w/0 the potatoes. FYI according to five year old boys an onion, an apple or hard provolone works just

fine


Forgo sitting down, visiting with adults, eating at the table, or participating in the adult gift exchange in order to protect my home from the "In-House 9 Demolition Crew"




Forgo sitting down, visiting with adults, eating at the table, or participating in the adult gift exchange in order to savor the antics (good and bad) of the same 9




Savor the flavor of each person's food speciality: Stromboli, Maryland Cream of Crab Soup, Cinnamon Rolls, Russian Tea Cakes, Spiced Tea, Cranberry Gorgonzola Cheese Balls and Grog




Suppress the guilt of consuming it all




Kick yourself when your jeans leave "2 hour button indention's" in your belly




Give rather than receive




Wake up next to a warm little body snuggling next to you





Wake up next to a warm, MOIST little body snuggling next to you




Return the little body to the rightful parents




Question the sanity of your husband-"Every five year old boy needs a pocket knife"




Question my own sanity: PERIOD





Receive...rather than give...just sometimes...especially when the receiving includes homemade Fire Roasted Green Tomato Relish and Cranberry Almond Biscotti and...Grog





Witness the effort put forth by two 4-year old princesses in an attempt to brush their patient aunt's hair to the length of "Apunzel's" (Rapunzel's). After an hour long brushing the exasperating conclusion by one---"You tan dust be Apunzel's mother, otay?"


Watch, listen, soak in, savor, absorb, inhale, video tape, capture in pictures this brief, precious moment in time.







For My Crazy, Chaotic, Glorious Christmas Blessings...and Grog


I Say Thank You Lord!



GROG RECIPE

8 cups cranberry juice

2 cups golden raisins

1/2 cup sugar

4 cinnamon sticks

8 cardamon

12 cloves

This recipe did call for 4 cups of ruby port. It's great without it. Simmer for 15 minutes, strain spices, serve and enjoy!













































































































Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Miracle on Foster Pond


This WAS a miracle. Do you realize how hard it was to get everyone together-smile- not pick their noses- stick out their tongues - scratch a body part? Thanks to our patient saint of a photographer Ashlea Parker from Weatherford, Oklahoma; and help from the Lord, we have a family photo...Hurray!
MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wunda Woman

We have several Super Heroes on the ranch. This is "Wunda Woman" saver of kitties, baby goats, baby brothers, puppies and fallen bird's nest. If you're needing help through the holidays call 1-800 Wunda.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

YUM


Lenne Leah took this pie to the Lenora Church Auction. It is to die for. OH MY!

Nantucket Cranberry Pie

2 cups fresh cranberries, chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 eggs
3/4 cups butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the cranberries, walnuts and 1/2 cup sugar in the bottom of a buttered 9″ or 10″ cake or pie pan. Mix the flour, 1 cup sugar, butter, eggs, and almond extract in a separate bowl to form a batter. Pour the batter over the cranberry mixture and bake for around 40 – 50 minutes. Cool a bit in the pan, and enjoy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another Typical Day

A day in the life...

8:00 a.m. Walk over to our office next door. Linda our secretary is having a root canal so I'm on my own today. Linda has worked for us for over 19 years and is the glue that holds our ranch together, without her I'm convinced we would literally fall apart.

8:15 My dad comes in with a stack of bills- his daily routine. The phone rings several times. My brother brings in a new Mr. Coffee and starts to brew a pot in the kitchen (our office has a kitchen which we use during harvest and working cattle).

8:20 An anonymous (the name has been omitted to protect the embarrassed) person announces their visiting relative, a vet, is neutering the family dog on their dining room table. Astonished? Me? Not much...it's a typical day.

8:25 Three more males make their way into the room and a group discussion begins on the complex maneuvering of cattle, people, and trucks-from one pasture to the other; from grass to wheat; from wheat to grass; from one state to the other.

8:30 A neighbor and his wife stop. They ask if we're missing a water buffalo; they have an extra in their pasture. I call and check. No missing water buffalo...not that we know of. Shocked? Me? Not much...it's a typical day.

8:45 Crawl into the Mack (a truck) and head north with hubby to haul cattle to the sale.

9:20 Arrive 35 miles north to a remote homestead which we've renovated and lease to hunters. The guys start sorting old-dry (they're not expecting) cows from the young ones. I visit with a hunter's son and a friend about their deer hunting and their show calves which they'd hauled with them (they had taken them to a show on Saturday and had them penned in the corral) The show calves looked really out of place-fat and sassy-next to the thin old dry cows we were hauling

9:30 Deer Hunting Season. Need I say more about the actions of some "packing" men...and women? We arrive with the cattle at the destination pasture greeted by a group of individuals displaying some of the unsavory actions which accompany the overzealous hunter. Remember the movie Deliverance? Remember the movie Open Range? Let's just say the encounter we had with the "packing" individuals hung somewhere in between. Uneasy? Me? YES...this ISN'T typical and it's a relief to unload and drive away.

10:45 We head back north to load another group of cattle. After loading we make the 40 mile trip to Woodward where we unload. After unloading we drive north of town to the "wash out" to clean out the rented cattle trailer. This is a giant "car wash" for manure filled truck trailers. These wash outs are rare jewels in the cattle hauling truck world. If this one had been closed we would have been forced to drive to the next closest 60 miles away.

2:30 So much for eating at my favorite Mexican restaurant; we're stuck at the truck wash out and eat at their little cafe. Queasy? Me?...maybe a little but I'm used to the smell plus it is extremely clean and the chicken fry is excellent.

3:30 We're headed back home, but not before making another trip to return the trailer.

5:00 We drop the trailer off east of Fairview where we visit a while with relatives---I swap recipes and Brad swaps stories and ideas.

7:30 p.m. We're finally home. Brad heads to the family room and I head to the frig where I stare mindlessly at its ingredients. After a few minutes I conjure up a new recipe; Corn Meal Crepes with Broccoli Sausage Cheese Soup.
Tired? Me? Yes...it's a typical day---But I wouldn't trade boots with anyone.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Random Thoughts

Do You Know?

What color your face can turn when your dad tells the hospital receptionist that she resembles one of the homliest national public female figures you know then tries to get you to agree with him---which you don't...reassuring the poor lady you see no resemblance?

How wonderful it is to visit with your adult children one on one, all alone, all day long and reconnect?

How great it feels to have your whole family, all 19, arrive at church at the same time?

How important your small town is to the survival of America?

What a challenge it is to stay girly in a guys world?

The gratitude you owe your dad for insisting you attend church every Sunday (a.m and p.m.-no questions asked)?

What it feels like to let your 3 year old granddaughter paint your nails with hot pink Hello Kitty nail polish (which should be sold in the professional spa section because it won't come off) forget you're wearing it, then realize how tacky it looks while fine dining with friends?

What a blessing daughter-in-laws are?

How good it feels to have a family picture taken and everyone shows up, all 19 of them?

What a blessing son-in-laws are?

How much fun your mother can be?

The satisfaction of pulling a loaf of homemade bread from the oven and covering a slice with your own homemade jam?

How important the 2% of our U.S. farmers and ranchers are to the survival of 100% of America and the world?

How much fun your pastor can be?

How good "catching up" feels-on bookwork, housework, church work, yard work etc.?

The fatigue a farmer and rancher feels at sunset..and sunrise?

That farmers and ranchers (and a certain husband I know) are made of "tough stuff, don't sleep much, can get kicked repeatedly by cows,calves and bulls, yet get back in the pen, fix your heater-faucet and leaky roof, abort their dreams and goals for the good of their families and still appear cheery?

What a blessing sons and daughters are...all 4 of them?

What A Super Duper Blessing Grandchildren are...all 9 of them(thanks to the super kids and their super spouses)?

The importance of rural fire departments?

That microphones can literally suck the brains right out of your head?

How strong the bond between a brother and sister can be?

The importance of listening. Listening to stories of the past; our grandparent's, our nation's, our world's, our creator's, for strength and solidity of strong families and nations.

That finding the "perfect handbag" is futile and costly?

The value of the hidden collective wisdom that can be found at your local nursing home, if you would only take the time to seek it?

That laughter is good medicine and if this made you smile read again every four hours as needed :)

Monday, September 20, 2010


Sunday dinner is a big deal around here...I mean literally. When all of us get together there can be upwards of 20+ mouths to feed. Yesterday I served Beef and Beans, Homemade Whole Wheat Bread and for dessert-Oatmeal Cake. I doubled this recipe and had enough to take to friends today. Enjoy!
OATMEAL CAKE
1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1 1/2 cups boiling water
Mix and let set for 10 to 15 minutes
Cream Together:
1/2 shortening or use (1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup oil)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
Add:
2 beaten eggs to oat mixture
Then Add:
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp soda
1/2 salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Bake in greased 9 X 11 inch pan for 30 minutes at 250 degrees
I don't usually top mine but if you want the recipe is below
Topping:
5 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cream
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Spread on cake after done then return to over to toast about 5 minutes or until brown. You can use the broiler, but watch so it doesn't burn.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Movin' On Up


God Bless America


I can see a rainbow at the end of this confusing last two years...
2Ch 7:14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land
Keep Praying America and visit constitutingamerica.com

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Tale of Two Messages


HERE'S A MESSAGE...COWBOYS LOVE THEIR ANIMALS
I'm beginning to stay perpetually confused. It started...oh I'd say about 6 months ago. It revolves around Social Media. Last year I was gung ho. I was told to share my ranch/agriculture story via social media in an attempt to educate consumers about where their food comes from, so I started a blog. A little later I was urged to create a personal website (our ranch had one but a more personal one would be better), so created chainranchlady. My blog didn't want to follow me to my website, so I just let it stay there and started writing stories in it. All the while my website continued to grow.
A few months later an increasing, almost frantic, concern that animal activists were destroying our livelihood I started a Facebook page to get that message out. Before long that too was growing. On top of that I threw in Twittering and Tweeting...also an attempt to warn the public about animal activists threats.
Where does the confusion come from...my audiences are all different. I feel like Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde...I'm not sure.
I'm "hacked" when I read and post animal activists and government agendas against agriculture on Facebook. Then it's really, really hard to turn around "slap on a happy face" and tell a positive ag story to the rest of the world.
I'm compelled to tell both of these stories. I must. I have no choice...my family's livelihood depends on it.
I'll sort it out...it's just taking a while. Ag Chat Training has helped, I'm mapping a plan, trying to focus, working on being congenial to the masses---but I was just wondering...does anyone own "The Three Faces of Eve?"

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fair Time


We've entered every year for as long as I can remember. Fairs are the chance for rural Americans to show off. Most of us are pretty humble throughout the year but come August and September watch out, because the gloves come off. Bread making, picture taking, fruit preserving and cattle,chicken,hog,sheep and goat showing become cut throat competition. Our county is known for STIFF competition on just about anything you enter. We have 20 consecutive year bread baking champions, 30 consecutive year canned pickle, peach, pear,green bean champions. Fair warning to other 3-5 year old entrants...these girls mean business.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Next Generation-Seven of What?

To the crew here at home I’m viewed as kind of a “Ranch Office Seven of Nine” When it comes to technology I get asked the questions. They’re not hard questions,non-the-less,I run the technology side of the “Ranch Voyager”. That feeling was lost this past week when I wound up with a group of high tech ag chatting, social media gurus. I left Oklahoma with Dino, my 35 pound laptop, feeling very tech efficient. I boarded a train and headed north to attend the Ag Chat Foundation 2.0 Training at the Dairy Management Institute in Rosemont, IL.
Arriving at the DMI pulling Dino in a rolling carrier the “Seven of Nine” feeling left and a “Wilma Flintstone loading her record player via a bird” feeling set in. One look at the teeny tiny lap tops, Kindles, the quick fingered texting, tweeting and twittering and I was suddenly embarrassed. I left Dino in his sleek, black leather carrier, pulled him around all the first day…and took notes.

In March of last year, Ag Chat Foundation was founded by Michele Payn-Knoper and 7 other individuals, including 26 board members with a mission to encourage the agriculture family to tell their stories, and share their passion. The core message of this diversified ag group; “It doesn’t matter the size of our operations or the commodities raised, agriculture has a common goal- we provide food, fiber and fuel to the world and we must unite and tell our positive stories instead of allowing anti-ag groups to continue to portray us negatively”.
This past week I met with around 50 other social media agriculture individuals from across the nation in a training session designed to empower us to tell our positive ag stories. On the third Tuesday of each month Ag Chat meets online to discuss issues facing our ag industry.
Following is just a glimpse into the presentations by a few of the speakers who urged us to create a road map for agriculture’s success.

California beef/equine producer, Jeff Fowle, reminded us that we all have a story, and we need to use that passion to tell our positive ag stories. He reminded us that we are inundated with technology but what keeps us “special” is humanity. Passion for our industry distinguishes us from the anti animal ag sector. Passion and emotion for our industry can’t be bought; activists can’t take that away from us. He encouraged us to indentify our own talents and utilize social media tools we are most comfortable using. Two questions Jeff told us to ask ourselves;
“What are our objectives?” and “What do we want on our road maps?”

Missouri pork producer, Chris Chin’s message: “Our nation’s food security depends on agriculturists telling our own stories.” This was Chris’ message who also stated that we had gathered this week because of agriculture; we’re not all alike but we share a commonality…Survival of Agriculture. She shared personal stories that had affected her family’s life, including death threats when her family began construction of a more humane, efficient confined hog facility in their community. Thinking that the rural ag community understood agriculture, they chose not to confront negative media coverage which ranged from individuals who said they’d witnessed manure being dumped into local water, witnessed it coming out of their faucets and a local individual’s need to wear a mask when going outside of her home because of the stench… these reports being expressed before any hogs were confined on the property. Chris shared the fact that her family had missed the mark by allowing someone else to tell their version of their story. The public was misinformed and continued circulating negative stories; her family had been scared to tell their story. All of that has changed. Today they use social media, T.V. and local tours to portray the image they want portrayed.
Chris explained another wake up call to tell ag’s story sharing other experiences while sitting in on National EPA meetings. These stories included a vegetarian thinking it was O.K. to eat chicken wings because “they grew back” to conversations with a U.S. Ag liaison to the EPA stating that if Chris really cared about her pigs she would have left them in the care of a spa similar to the one she’d arranged for her dog, After Chris asked the ag representative to explain a “puppy spa”, since their were none in her rural community, the woman explained that the spa included a Safari theme room, personalized menus, phone calls to the owner and choices of shampoos.
Today Chris faces more negative ag issues including her school district’s decision to incorporate “meatless Wednesdays” and addressing issues such as the fact that animal activist’s videos are contributing to young “ tween” (ages 10-12) girl’s decision to become vegetarians.
Below is a small summary from my notes. Each speaker shared abundant knowledge, great ideas and informative messages.

Summarization of Tips & FYI
• PCRM is the Health and Awareness arm of PETA (A chart exists showing the connection of all animal activists, their names and acronyms)
• We must throw ourselves on stage, someone has to do it (tell ag’s story) no one else will do it for us.
• We need to express ourselves individually with a unified consistent message.
• Before we can tell our story, we must have a message they can trust, consumers must trust the messenger.
• Ways we can increase trust in mainstream Americans: (1) Education (show them we care) (2) Communicate honesty (3) Show transparency- Be Yourself.
• Show consumers that we’re striving to provide safe, affordable food for not only our families but theirs as well.(this isn’t extreme, we’re already doing it)
• We are actually speaking to Middle America; we aren’t going to change the extremist, so we must educate those Americans. Most Americans want to feel good about the food they’re purchasing for their families. We need to work hard on making it O.K. to purchase conventional food that isn’t cage free, grass fed, organic etc. These foods have their place, but we cannot sustain the world on them.
• Once we educate consumers about us, they will not only understand agriculture but they will probably appreciate what we do for them; today they’re just misinformed.
• We must not think of our conversations with them as arguments but as chances for discussions to explain what we do. We want to have conversations not a fight.
• An interesting study has shown consumers weren’t so concerned about feeding the world as they were about feeding the U.S.
• In creating messages that work, positive value based communication works best: Be positive (know what drives your passion), Be genuine.
• In Social Media- listen to understand where the person is coming from, then use a value based commonality to engage with them instead of using an “educating” attempt to get your message across. Ask yourself what do we both “share” in common?
• Build a foundation of Goodwill. Be proactive instead of reactive.
• It’s important to “read’ your audience, talk about your strengths, and measure your response with what they actually know about the subject you are discussing. Listen 80%, talk 20%.
• It’s important to “Connect Ag’s Good” inject it in conversations every chance you get. (example: “I know John Brown and they’re good stewards of their animals.”) Look for opportunities to “Give Ag a Boost.” And don’t throw your neighbor under the bus!
• Use pictures to tell your story. Studies showed consumers loved pictures with family on the farm vs feedlot pictures. In picture taking and in hosting public events make sure your farm, ranch, cars, people, animals are at their “best.”
• Interesting research showed that consumers thought farmers were men, they thought they were nurturing and they thought they were caring.
• They had images that we work hard; they want to trust us and thought we protect our families.
• There’s been a gap in consumer’s perception of what we do, and anti-ag has been filling the gap with how they want to portray us. We must bridge that gap with our positive image of agriculture.

This is just a glimpse of what I learned at the Ag Chat Foundation 2.0 Seminar. I can’t begin to explain it all.. Please tune into Social Media’s Ag Chat on the third Tuesday of each month and engage. You’ll love meeting these great Ag Advocates. Relationships will be made and strong bonds created to move agriculture through these difficult times. I’m back at the ranch, my “Seven” hat’s back on, I’ve penciled my roadmap for social media and my old friend, Dino, is back on my lap.
.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Out of Step

This morning two verses wrestled their way out of my cluttered confused thoughts: "Our God is not a God of confusion" and "The steps of a Godly man are ordered by the Lord".
Confusion pretty much sums up our country's state of affairs. It's seeping into my daily life at a rapid pace, as it is every American.
This week it seemed enhanced...bold...CONFUSION. For instance our beef industry's checkoff dollar is overseen by Government Controlled USDA. For many years this collection of a 1.00 a head on each animal sold has been utilized wisely for promoting our product. As with any large organization there have been disagreements in the past, discrepancies have been corrected quietly and this strong organization always moved forward. The past year or so our industry has witnessed confusion and anger with distrust spilling over into our once "mostly harmonious", healthy organization. Monstrous government rules and regulations (the USDA's oversite manual is seven or eight inches thick) and a "certain few" are now causing not only confusion but deterioration of this once "mostly harmonious" body. A body which over the years has increased beef demand, secured export markets and created a safer product for consumers. Today all of that is being threatened by Governmental Confusion.

Yesterday I attended a seminar laying out the new health care reform stipulations employers must follow to implement the new program. Confusing doesn't describe what is coming. After a 40 page power-point the presenter was still unable to convey exactly what lie ahead as new regulations were being added every ten days. It will be impossible to follow these Government Imposed regulations

These examples hit me personally. I'm sure most American's have been impacted at some level by Government Confusion in the last 18 months. Like never before.

I'm just wondering if the confusion that is reigning across our nation has anything to do with our president's Muslim leanings. The Bible says that a Godly man's steps are ordered by the Lord. In his book Audacity of Hope our president says he will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.
That is just one of his numerous references to Muslim sympathizing. There have been many more since taking office.

This administration is dismantling our nation. They are systematically attacking its core structure. They are destroying businesses, organizations and homes. They are taking over public lands and creating monuments in place of cattle grazing, they are creating regulations too numerous and to complicated for anyone to absorb. They are killing jobs. They are creating a socialists nation.

Christians, we better stand up and find a Godly leader to lead America. A leader whose steps are ordered by the Lord. A leader who's faith reflects our founding father's faith. A leader who's God Is Not a God of Confusion.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Visit With Lincoln

Just returned from Lubbock where several ranchers from six of the largest beef producing states in the U.S. were able to speak with Senator Blanche Lincoln, D-Arkansas Senate Ag Committee Chairman. Even though our political views are different she IS a friend of Ag and is extremely well informed on all the issues facing our industry. Our goal was to create rapport with those in Congress and extend an invitation to visit our ranches and witness our lifestyles. We also extended a hand on any issue that may need clarification that relates to our industries when up for a vote. She was extremely gracious for having her come visit and vowed to stick behind us. She said the best way to get congress to listen to us is to "TELL OUR STORIES" She said "numbers and statistics" just swirl around Washington but if you have a "good story" they'll remember you. We invited her to our ranches and extended the invitation to all others. I want to thank Terry Stuart Forst for allowing me this opportunity. It was a great experience for an old country bumpkin from Oklahoma :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Say What?

Driving with my 10 year old granddaughter, the radio broadcasting AM, my favorite station comes on with the news and the announcer is commenting on the G8 summit and the G10 and blah blah blah and that our president was urging the other countries in attendance to "spend more to help these nations out of economic disaster." Olivia looks at me with her nose wrinkled and asked, "Did they just say you have to spend more money to get out of debt?" Then she asked, "What are they thinking?" That pretty much sums it up...remember I said she was 10.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Enjoying The Little Things

Summer is here. A typical summer day at the ranch goes like this: rise and shine around 6:30 a.m. usually with a "sleep over" or two. We're haying; swathing alfalfa, baling and raking, swathing canola and preparing for wheat harvest. This year I've lost my raking position to the grandsons. I walk over to the office and work on renewing Indian leases which makes me want to pull my hair out. I listen to my dad recount his night; lightening struck his house and knocked him out of bed. Four grandkids circulate through the office as I try to make our church bank deposit. Our oldest son was in the emergency room last night with a 103.4 temp, he calls to recount his night. Between phone calls I try to do an inventory on our cattle herd. Our health insurance has increased 17% so try to figure out what to do there. Around 10:30 I slip out of the office back to the house with the four little ones trailing me...they're hungry...again (I am blessed with Linda, our great secretary, otherwise I couldn't make these routine escapes.) Before I whip up lunch, the crew wants to show me their "new fort" the one in the horse pasture. We all climb aboard the golf cart for the grand tour. Through the eyes of a child (which I see 20/20)it's perfect---complete with rusty springs,old chairs, buckets, rasps- anything of value that could be drug easily from the ranch dump. Then back to the house. A mother coon bore her young behind our fireplace insert, and a mother swallow has hatched her young on my back porch. We can't get to the coons, and I don't have the heart to knock the swallow's nest down, plus watching the 6 homely smiling faces peaking over their nest gives my little guys something to oooh and aaahh over before entering the house. I slip in several links to my ExPOSE HSUS site, download some pictures from our Pilot Party for Brad (he got his pilots license last week and we celebrated Sunday evening with all the family coming over for Mexican Fiesta. By 5:00 p.m. it's time to take a three and four year old to their tee ball game in their hometown twenty miles away. At the game I watch an outfield brawl, the three year old sister tackles her four year old brother in an attempt to recover the ball. High shrill screams pierce the evening air as brother comes up with the ball...they're on the same team. It was a perfect end to a perfect summer day

Monday, May 17, 2010

Deja Vue

Deja Vue; I had it tonight. A birthday party for our grandson was held at his home- the one I grew up in. After blowing out candles and eating cake and ice cream, kids went on to play and grown ups sat around and talked about the fate of our country. One relative, a banker, made comments on the direction of the banking system. Everyone threw in their 2 cents and the fate of our country was soon doomed. As the discussion drew on some little ones had filtered back in and were eavesdropping on the adults. Just like I had done 48 years ago...
The area of concern then--the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember that evening as if it were yesterday. My Grandmother Hazel sliced the Neopolatin ice cream "just so" making sure each plate had a perfect vanilla, strawberry, chocolate trio, Grandma Grace added slices of her homemade Angel food cake to each. I ate with ears "wide open" listening and absorbing what I could. I didn't understand what was going on but I knew we were in trouble. I don't remember the outcome of that discussion. Perhaps as months passed the focus shifted to President Kennedy: his life and death. But I never heard the problem the adults were discussing on that cool autumn evening mentioned again.
Tonight I thought about that. The fact that the problem that caused such sober faces and somber talk 48 years ago was taken care of.
I say a prayer that those little ones that overhead the sober talk and witnessed the somber faces tonight will be able to say the same thing years from now..."I don't remember the outcome of that discussion."

Friday, May 14, 2010

LIVING WITH HSUS: FACTS YOU MUST KNOW

Animal Welfare vs. Animal Rights
• “Animal rights” means that animals have rights- and aren’t ours to own or use for food, entertainment, or companionship.
• “Animal welfare” means providing proper care to animals- something that farmers and ranchers work hard to achieve everyday!
About Animal Activists
• They have been in the business of creating conflict between animal agriculture and the consumer for more than 30 years.
• The end goal? Cause animal protein products to become so expensive that the average American can’t afford them, putting farmers and ranchers out of business.
• These are not people who want to make a deal; this is a movement, an ideology, dogma, religion… this is a long-term battle.
• They are targeting youth, schools, colleges, and rock concerts by using “hyper emotionalism,” a false display of cruelty to get their message out.
Who is the Humane Society of the United States?
• The Humane Society of the United States preys on emotion to fundraise- even though, according to IRS documents, less than one-half of one percent (.5%) of HSUS’ $100 million budget goes towards hands-on animal care.
• But- according to a 2010 survey, 83 percent of Americans think that HSUS supports local animal shelters. 71 percent think it is an “umbrella group” for local shelters.
• Where does the money go? $2.5 million went to HSUS employee pension plans- five times as much as the money used by the organization to promote animal welfare.
• HSUS takes on expensive ballot initiative campaigns, advertising, and lobbying to restrict livestock production practices.
• According to David Martosko of Humanewatch.org, PETA and HSUS are very much alike; they just differ in how they market their brands. PETA is a “pickpocket” and goes for shock value. HSUS is a “con man,” manipulating the public to gain support.
Recent Activist Campaigns
• California’s activist-funded 2008 Proposition 2 campaign outlawed common agriculture practices and set a precedent for other states.
• Lobbied to strip funding from USDA horse slaughter inspection, shutting down all domestic horse slaughter in 2007.
• HSUS infiltrated the 4-H program in 2010, presenting a session at the National 4-H Convention to youth leaders entitled: “Animal Instincts: Service Learning and Animal Welfare.”

HSUS Corporate Supporters
• Steak and Shake
• Jack In The Box
• Sonic Corp
• Oreck Vacuums
• Chipotle
• Bank of America
• Microsoft
• Xerox
• PetsMart
• Land Rover
• Harland Clark- they probably print your checks
What YOU Can Do

• Spread the word of HSUS’ deception through grassroots efforts;
• Sign up for NCBA’S MBA (Master’s of Beef Advocacy) Program;
• Join groups such as HumaneWatch.org, Animal Agriculture Alliance, and Advocates For Agriculture;
• Utilize social media, Facebook, Twitter and blog platforms to share your story;
Bottom Line
• Either you believe in farming and ranching, or you don’t.
• Either you are willing to defend it, or you aren’t.
• Agriculturists MUST tell their stories in order to push back the opposition and preserve our ability to feed the world!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Knowledge of Ag: Haves vs Have Nots

I know you’re getting sick of hearing about “the train”, but I just have to share one more story.
When traveling by train dining is community seating so you’re always eating with people you don’t know. All the way out and coming back there were only 3 or 4 people I met during those meals that knew much about agriculture. Several knew about “factory farming” and lumped all of us into that category. This seemed like a good little representation of American folks…young, old, married, single, liberal, conservative, east coast, west coast, middle class, and I was amazed at the ag ignorance that prevailed.
When I arrived in D.C my cab driver who was from Africa asked what I was doing in town. I told him about HSUS and their attacks on animal agriculture and the Animal Ag Alliance Summit I was attending. He had heard of HSUS. At one point he asked, “What’s wrong with Americans, I love agriculture, that’s how we survive?” “We’re spoiled rotten.” I told him. He agreed. I just keep thinking about the vast chasm of a realization of the origin of food production that exists between the spoiled and the unspoiled.

Normalcy, What's That?

After attending the Animal Ag Alliance in Arlington, VA my train pulled back into Hutchinson, Kansas at 4:00 a.m. Sunday. I headed south for the three hour trip home but only made it down the road a ways before having to stop for a power nap. At 9:45 a.m. I walked into our small church back in northwest Oklahoma. Later that afternoon our church hosted an area wide youth rally for about 60 kids.

Monday morning I hopped in with a "stranger" aka "hubby" and traveled to Eastern Oklahoma to put bulls out. We caught up on each others week then unloaded those bulls, turned around and traveled back to Kansas – to the exact vicinity I’d been the morning before. We picked up more bulls there and brought them back to Oklahoma.

During our OK-KS-OK trip we discussed our daughter-in-law’s trip to NYC. She works with autistic children at our public school and was in NYC attending an autism convention (I was secretly jealous, Temple Grandin was one of the speakers) We were worried about the bomb scare. My oldest son, the one who’s hated large cities and crowds since he was a baby –called to express his anxiety about his wife’s safety.

Tuesday morning I left for the state History Day competition in OKC. Our oldest grandson and his partner made the finals and qualified to go onto D.C. with their presentation, “Taming The Terrible Twister- A Look At The Origin of Doppler Radar.”

After the competition I drove 2 hours home…but not before attending a poetry reading with youngest daughter. Giving her a big hug I left and headed home. Around 4:00 am we got a call, she was having emergency surgery; an ectopic pregnancy. The long trip back to OKC was spent praying for her recovery.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were spent with her and her wonderful in-laws. We all took turns being nurse to her and babysitter for their three.

On Wednesday I received a Facebook message asking about the State 4-H Proficiency Wildlife Shoot. Were we hosting it at our ranch on Saturday? I called home but no one seemed to know much about it. The only facts we had about it came from our local newspapers, and yes we were hosting it…?

On Thursday 50 elementary age kids were scheduled to visit our ranch. Games and a meal were planned. On Wednesday I called the school and told them our situation. Arrangements were made to skip the games and meal, but keep the plan to visit. I thank the Lord for family-my dad and son hosted the kids…all 50+ of them.

On Friday our oldest son calls to let us know there’s been another scare in NYC. He shares his plight to get his wife and the other 2 women a flight out of the city ASAP (we later find out that it wasn’t a bomb but an ice chest filled with water)


Today is Saturday. I’m contemplating the week’s activities, mishaps, and problems. Hubby made another run to Eastern Oklahoma to work cattle. Our youngest daughter is on the mend but I have questions about socialized health care. Like what will the “level of surgery severity requirements" be to be considered for an overnight stay in an actual room for recovery? At present it seems around 90 minutes appeases the insurance companies for the removal of an ovary and fallopian tube. I can’t imagine that time being cut much shorter as her speedy dismissal required another trip to the ER on Friday night.
The State 4-H Proficiency Wildlife Shoot did take place here. Miscommunication or maybe none…? I’m still not sure about that one.
I go outside for some peace and quiet. Not so fast. In my fenced backyard I find two men, both looking a little too rugged for wear, one holding a strange round radar looking thing pointing it towards me and my house. I approach them and ask what they’re doing. They tell me it’s a GPS system and they’ve been here working all week…surveying. At this point I don’t really care--I don’t have the energy. Shoot me, survey me, vaporize me, ah heck just surprise me… I’m pooped.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Social Media Agriculture's Survival Tool

This week I was preparing a short speech promoting social media for an ag meeting. I ended up not having to speak, which was a relief. But I want to share the thoughts that I'd penned..

I am a sixth generation farmer/rancher. Thanks to my great grandfather whose dream to start a farm on the 160 acres I call home over 117 years ago, my family has been able to enjoy a wonderful exciting life in agriculture. We are a cow/calf operation with our primary focus being retained ownership. We feed out almost every animal raised and have done this for over 70 years. We also raise wheat, corn, milo and alfalfa.
How would you like to pull into Sonic, ready to order- your mouth watering for that favorite bacon cheeseburger only to find the item’s price had tripled or was taken off the menu altogether and replaced with a tofu vegetarian alternative. Sound absurd? Well it’s not. . The Humane Society of the U.S., a deceptive anti-animal ag organization is now purchasing shares in fast food chains across the U.S. 38 to date, so it can legally propose anti- animal agriculture internal changes within these companies, and Oklahoma based Sonic Corp is among them. By purchasing controlling stock in these food chains HSUS can now control how their food suppliers handle their animals demanding ongoing audits from livestock and poultry handlers.
In 2008 HSUS’ operating budget consisted of nearly $100 million of which only ½ of 1 percent was actually going to help animals in need. The remainder of those funds were being used to lobby against animal ag, for administrative costs, and pension plans for employees. For the past year my focus has been to create awareness and educate friends and other producers about this well armed enemy of ag. Last year I realized many producers were unaware of HSUS’ main objective -to put an end to all animal agriculture altogether.
I began my confusing journey into the social media world almost a year ago. I was one of the first to complete the Masters of Beef Advocacy program offered by NCBA which helps educate producers on how to tell their story. Being concerned about the direction our country was headed I also attend some political activists training sessions which my husband refers to as my "riot enhancement" training...lol, but at those meetings I learned the steps I needed to take to use social media as a tool for campaigning. And in a sense that was what I was doing…campaigning against the destruction of animal ag. I had also attended several Women In Ag seminars and met great contacts from those meetings. By pooling what I’d learned from those three groups I started blogging. After blogging I then designed a website to tell our ranching story. Today I am using Facebook and Twitter as other avenues of getting the message out. This past month I designed a “become a fan of ExPOSE HSUS” page on Facebook and to date have over a thousand members. Across the nation individuals are using social media as a tool to circulate the message of HSUS’ deception and destruction. This endeavor is working. We saw the success of it when several large corporations stopped their funding for HSUS when confronted by the agriculture community through social media. Perhaps you’ve heard of about Yellow Tail, Pilot Travel Centers, Mary Kaye. Each one of these companies were quick to make amends with ag by vowing not to support HSUS in the future.

Animal agriculture birthed civilization. Without the body of agriculture, society would not exists. The heart of ag’s body is the producer; the producers of swine, sheep, beef, horses and chickens. The lifeblood-animal agriculture businesses and associations keep life pulsing throughout the entire body whether it be through the arteries of animal packing plants, food services, restaurants and grocery stores, or the veins and capillaries of vet supply companies and animal ag associations. HSUS has driven stakes into the hearts of several of our ag industries. These fatal attacks cut capillaries and punctured veins and arteries. If not stopped HSUS will fulfill its intention of destroying this body of animal ag.

My great grandfather had a dream. I’m going to fight to make sure that dream stays alive for future generations. Our family, just as thousands of other hard working farming and ranching families, has for centuries worked too hard to let a group who knows nothing about our industries come in and destroy them. Through social media I believe agriculture can survive. Please take the time to educate yourselves and use this wonderful tool to keep the blood flowing and a pulse in our animal agriculture industry.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Wonderful Day

Today was a wonderful day. It began by waking up beside one of my grandsons...the one that rolls his little body up in a tiny ball and sticks his butt in your stomach...
For breakfast we made crepes and buckwheat pancakes and ate them to Sponge Bob. By noon the majority of his cousins arrived; the one that dismantles everything within her tiny arms length, the nine year old contemplative "wise old man", the one who talks as fast as he thinks...and moves, the one that mourns his leaving each time he visits, the one who is a collector of "many things" and the new one that watches and observes all the rest. Today two were missing... the "Idea Master" and his sister, "Tiny Dancer".
We ate noodle soup and bubble bread and shivered as a bear attacked "Ole Yellar", we wound the family cuckcoo clock as we waited patiently for the appearance of the tiny bird who lives there. Water color master pieces were created, knees were scraped, heads were bumped and kisses were given.
Today was a wonderful day...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tradin Six Shooters For Key Boards

I apologize for not blogging. I've been sidetracked. If you've been reading my blog and website for the past nine months you're probably recognizing that I do have a method behind my madness...well, sort of. I'm on a mission...to help save my country and to help save our animal agriculture industry.
This past month has been arm to arm combat...not with a gun but a keyboard. Not with bullets, but "social media" and some things called Facebook and Twitter. The choice of ammo --my "become a fan of page" ExPOSE HSUS.
If you're familiar with HSUS you know they are not who they claim to be, but instead a slick organization with a mission to eliminate meat, dairy and eggs from the American diet while simultaneously driving farmers and ranchers out of business. Raising funds to do this deceitfully.
A large group of us have waged war against them with Social Media tactics...and we're making progress.
A little over a month ago Yellow Tail Wine producers donated $100,000.00 to HSUS. Within hours news spread across the world via Facebook and Twitter. Ag producers across the country poured their Yellow Tail out and boycotted the company. That company responded by vowing not to fund HSUS ever again.
A few days later news was out that Pilot Travel Centers were a source of funding for HSUS. Again the Agriculture Web Community got their keyboards out and within a short time Pilot Travel Centers also vowed to cut HSUS's donations.
Then news of Mary Kaye Corporation being an HSUS supporter surfaced. You guessed it...another Animal Ag Attack. This story ended with the Mary Kaye Corporation finding out that the support had been done unintentionally. They too terminated any ties with HSUS.
In each case the Agriculture Community quickly commended the companies for terminating their ties with HSUS just as quickly as they had attacked.
Social Media is a phenomenal tool. A tool to save our industry. If you're not using it please don't be intimidated by it. You can do it. If I can, you can. It just takes a little time and perseverance. It's going to take all of us telling our stories, getting our positive messages out, correcting misinformation and being actively engaged before animal ag can declare victory.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Blood Runs Deep

I started my website for one reason- to share my story.
A little over a year ago I realized America was in trouble. I didn’t agree with the direction the government was guiding our country so I started emailing my thoughts at a frantic pace. When the results of the election ushered in a tide of liberalism and socialism I decided to attend an activist training (Brad referred to it as my “riot enhancement” training). At those meetings an explanation of how we could maximize our opinions with a website, Twitter, and Facebook was suggested. I was a good student and did what I was told.
Then there was the incentive to tell my ranch story. For several years, as a beef producer I’d been witnessing attacks on our industry along with other animal agriculture groups. Through our beef industry’s training program; Master of Beef Advocacy, cattle ranchers are trained to positively explain our beef industry to the public. I was told to get on the web, use Twitter and Facebook to tell my story. Again, being a good student, I did as I was told.
At first I thought, “What story? I don’t have a story.” My story is just like…Joe’s… well, maybe not, his family sold out and moved to town. Well, my story is just like Ruby's grandparents…but maybe not, after they passed away their kids all moved to town and they sold the farm. Well, maybe my story is just like Mary Jean and Bill's they used to farm, well, no it’s not like theirs either because they moved to the city and now lease all their ground out.
I guess I do have a story and it goes like this:
Once upon a time there was a man who had a dream. He had perseverance, he had tenacity and he wanted to own a parcel of ground.
He left home at the tender age of 17 and made his way into a land he knew nothing about. He didn’t drive a car, didn’t take a bus, didn’t fly. He rode his horse the 180 mile trip.
There were no McDonalds, no Wendy’s no Arby’s.
There were no laundry mats, motels, Quick Trips or roadside stops. No electrical outlets to plug a microwave, electric skillet, or frig. He didn’t have an ice chest or thermos- no bag of ice. No peanut butter crackers, chips, Pepsi or Coke. No Dial, no shower, no towel. When he reached his destination on the eve of the land run, he didn’t pull his Xbox out to entertain himself into the night. And what was a television? Or a radio?
No he didn’t have much. Just a great big dream and tenacity.
Today I’m trying to protect that dream. The dream that for the past 116 years has been perpetuated by Oscar’s child, his child’s children, their children, and theirs. A dream that wasn’t mine, or my brother’s, or my husband’s or my childrens. Non the less a dream perpetuated; a dream turned legacy.
Emotion. Passion. Here lately I’ve been accused of possessing an abundance of both.
I plead guilty. The passion and emotion I have for my country- for my ranch is overwhelming.
It’s not an option for me to sit idle as our president and his cabinet turn our country upside down-drag our constitution through the dirt- and silence and ignore the voices of America. My founding fathers wouldn’t like that.
It’s not an option for me to sit idle as groups such as the Humane Society of the United States gather funds to be used for deceitful intentions. Funds raised by playing on the emotions of television viewers. Funds which ultimately are used to place anti-animal agriculture lobbyist in each state of the nation. Funds which will ultimately be used to legislate animal agriculture out of business. No, I can’t sit idly by while that happens. My granddad Os probably wouldn’t like that. I'm thinking maybe some training in tenacity and perseverance? Nah, I've had a good teacher-one I never knew...but blood runs deep and I'm a good student.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Why Shut My Mouth, Suitcase,Toothpaste & Purse

I don’t shut anything. My purse is always open, I leave suitcases unlatched, my perfume and lotion bottles don’t have lids, the toothpaste always has a slight ooze since the cap is no where to be found. I don’t know why I don’t shut and close things. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m lazy and I think “why shut it, close it or latch it, I’m going to be opening it again in a little while anyway.” I don’t like to iron and make beds either. To me it’s a total waste of time.

Brad gets so frustrated with me when I leave suitcases open. He loves to shut them. He loves to pack them neat and tidy and in order. Then he loves to make sure they are packed in the car in the right order. Not me, as long as I know the vicinity in which I threw it, I can dig for it when I get where I’m going. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a slob, I’m actually pretty organized, my house is pretty tidy, and my closets and drawers are beyond organized. I can give Brad the location of the little slip of paper that he wrote cattle weights on, where the mate to his sock is located and any email or telephone contact he might need.
A lot of times I get into trouble for leaving things open. Like last week when it would have been so simple to shut the lid on my good lotion. No, I left it open and one of my grandkids knocked it over spilling the contents all over the floor.
Sometimes I don’t shut my mouth either and I get into trouble when things spill out that I wished hadn’t.
Like his suit case shutting and car packing, Brad is also good at keeping his mouth shut. He’s contemplative and organizes his thoughts just like he packs the car. Before opening his mouth you can bet the words that come out have been carefully selected. Like my suitcases, my purse, my toothpaste and perfume bottles I have good intentions on shutting them. But it never fails, just like my mouth I just can’t seem to keep them closed, shut or latched. Maybe it’s just a guy/girl thing. Whatever causes it I continually work to overcome it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Don't Wait

As the New Year begins, out of habit, I make resolutions. The older I get the more lax I get at making them. By now if I’ve not disciplined myself enough to conquer the intentions, I’m betting they probably don’t have a chance.
What I want to share with you was not a resolution, but an intention. An intention left undone. Today I carry a handwritten list in my bill fold as a reminder. A reminder to "do it now".
I had good intentions to have Danny over. Danny was Brad’s younger brother. He was fun loving, had a heart of gold and would do anything for you. He had gone through some rough times and was living alone. I had good intentions. I would ask him over for supper,sometime soon. But I got busy.
He's on that list that I now carry in my purse. The list where I had noted to wash the car, take back the coat, buy batteries, look at new fencing, check on tractor tires, call the bank, have my hair colored. Those busy activities were checked off. “Have Danny over for supper” was not. I never got around to it. I never had Danny over. He died a short while after listing my good intention.
I will carry that note with me forever. And with it the regret of not taking the time to check him off my list.

Identifying Bad Actors

This past Saturday night a few Oklahoma cattlemen gathered to listen to R CALF USA's Bill Bullard speak on Making America's Beef In...