Monday, May 31, 2010

Public perception of HSUS ad campaigns

Not as effective as you may think. 

Today I came across an interesting link on Twitter that lead me to this blog post. Greta from Fox and Friends is curious to know what people's reactions are to the ads that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) on television. I hate those ads. I hate to see animals being abused or harmed. However, I also hate the fact that HSUS is a lobbyist group that wants to end animal agriculture and even pet ownership. They spend less than half of one percent of all those donations received on local animal shelters, and do not run an animal shelter themselves.

You can still vote on this poll by clicking on the link above. How would you vote? What's your opinion of those ads?

The graphic is a snapshot of the poll when I voted.

I am just going to declare the start of Summer.

Unofficially it starts now.

I know the "real" official start to summer isn't until June 21, but with 90+ degree temperatures and a great long weekend I am just going to go ahead declare it Summer. Plus, I just heard this song, and I think it screams summer. Now I am warning you the video is not that interesting. So just sit back, close your eyes and listen, because the song is amazing.

Here's to a summer of being Wild and Young.

You can connected with these guys here.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Off for the weekend, maybe I will meet Wayne Newton again.

Actually off on a work trip. 

I hope everyone has some exciting plans for their Memorial Day weekend. I am southbound to Hobart, Oklahoma, with a few stops along the way. This weekend I will be working with Power Plus Genetics on gathering video and photos to help further market their cattle and their brand beef program, Premium Natural Beef. The Duff family participates in their towns Memorial Day celebrates, and it's quite the event.

Last year, I met Wayne Newton. I even got a kiss on the cheek from him, and he told me I was a doll. I like to think I am cool like that ;). You can read all about it here, and the other celeb sightings in Hobart, Oklahoma.

Have a great weekend, what will you be up to? And for my Canadian friends, how did you spend your long weekend, last weekend?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Crystal goes to New York City

Watch out here I come. 

So remember last year when my sister, and our two other partners in crime went to Vegas last year? (If you miss it click just search Vegas on my blog.) Well, we planned another trip this year to New York City. That's right, way exciting. However, there was one little hiccup, I couldn't go in May and told my sister to look at her calendar and find another day. Super. Then my sister calls back the next week and says, "Um yeah, we are going without you." Thanks sister.

Luckily, they felt I needed to be included and this is what that looked liked.

That would be me (the Barbie Doll) hanging out in Central Park.

I love New York Cab drivers. 

Can't forget about work. Promoting Certified Angus Beef.

Supposedly, I loved the New York pizza. 

So that was my trip. If you want a few more details you can jump over to my sister's blog and check things out. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A really good find - Stella and Dot

It's time to add a few items to the jewelry box.

Awhile ago I discovered Stella and Dot jewelry. They have some fantastic items. Turquoise, pearl, silver and gold, and many more items. I am currently having an online show, for a friend of mine that sells it. These are just a few of my favorite items. Always adding to the wish list.

If you are interesting in purchasing an item shoot me an email ( and I'll get you hooked up to the online party, but you only have until Monday to order.

This kind of animal abuse is not the norm, it needs to STOP


I started to write this post early this morning, and I really didn't know what to say. I know shocking. For those of you that haven't heard yet, an awful video of animal abuse on a dairy farm in Ohio was release by Mercy for Animals (another one of those shock and awe animal rights group). The video was awful. I mean really, really bad, I couldn't even watch all of it.

I can't believe there are people in this world that could treat animals with so little disrespect. This criminal (he's in custody) that committed these awful acts is the one bad apple that has ruined the whole apple cart. He in my mind doesn't deserve to be called a farmer, he is some lunatic of an employee that doesn't have a heart or soul. Farmers and ranchers are people that put their animals care above their own. That is why my parents taught me, and I am the norm in agriculture.

If you have friends, family, coworkers or community members that are taking about this event, I would encourage you to keep the lines of communication open. Encourage them not to judge our industries based on abnormal instances, instead encourage them to talk to farmers and ranchers, or visit their farms to learn more about how their food is produced.

Here are a couple good articles that communicate exactly what I am thinking.

Advocates for Agriculture - click here 

Texas Agriculture Talks - click here

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Top Five Ways to Be a Real Cowgirl

Welcome to the blog carnival.

One of the my new Twitter/Blog friends The Cowgirl Life is hosting a blog carnival this week, and asked me to join. She asked my what does it take to be a real cowgirl, so here is my top five list.

1. Dedication, passion and hard work. Although, much more of my time is spent behind a desk than in a pasture or on a horse, the lessons I learned growing up in agriculture will never leave me. I also, know that even though I might not be the one calving cows or vaccinating calves now, I can share my knowledge with others, to ensure that agriculture's story is being told.

2. A good pair of cowboys boots. If you haven't noticed I kind of have an obsession with cowboy boots. I don't own that many pairs, but I love to window shop. Just search boots at the top of my blog to see all my old posts. You won't be disappointed.

3. A working knowledge of Red Dirt music. All this new country is just not for me. Give me the lyrics of Randy Rogers, Miranda Lambert, Wade Bowen or Gary Allan. They sing about long songs and revenge. This girl also likes to dance so you better know how to two-step.

4. A trip to the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. You really haven't lived until you have been to the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth." The rodeo, chuckwagons, Ag-tivity in the City, and amazing western art show are the highlights for me. My cousin is a chuckwagon driver and will be racing at the Stampede this year. You can follow his journey up and down the road on facebook.

5. Know how to cook a steak or hamburger. You are going to need some fuel for the fire, so I suggest a serving of lean protein. I really can't stand chicken anymore and would much prefer a beef any day. I love that's it's summer and that means the grill is getting lots of use.

For those of you that are visiting my blog for the first time thank-you. It is a combination of my love for agriculture, the western lifestyle and the fun I have along the way. Be sure to check out This Cowgirl Life to see the other blogs that have been written for the Cowgirl Carnival.

Monday, May 24, 2010

PETA and leather purses

Come armed with facts. 

Last week I wrote about PETA and their attempt to advertise with Southwest. My post generated a response from one of my followers, Mandy Harfield. (I always love when I get emails from my readers, HINT, HINT.) Back to the point, Mandy said my post hit right on target because she had her own PETA experience a few days before.
I work in downtown Dallas at an oil company and the Dallas Museum of Art is right across the street from us. Yesterday, one of the local bbq places was holding an event at the museum. Somehow PETA found out and sent a few people over there to protest with a bunch of protesting signs. They were protesting tail docking. Itreally got under my skin.
They were really into it though. One of their guys had a computer monitor strapped to his chest and they were showing a video about tail docking and how cruel it was and how we should all be vegans. I was standing in our lobby just fuming watching them try to influence people. I was amongst a few other people and I was griping about how the girl out there that seemed to be in charge was holding a big leather hand bag and hadon shoes that I’m sure were made of leather.
One of the guys that works here, who is also an agriculture advocate, went over there and starting asking them questions and they refused to answer him. They just ignored him when he started asking them what they thought their handbags were made of and all sorts of other questions. Needless to say, the left a few minutes after he came back inside.  
It kind of shocked me that they didnt blow up in his face with all of these so called facts they have about animal cruelty.
That's the thing, a lot of these PETA protesters don't have the facts. They just know that emotion and sex sells and that is what they use. They like to draw attention to themselves and use shock-and-awe tactics very effectively. I am glad that their was an "agriculture advocate" that went over there and spoke with them. Sometimes this situations can be difficult, but we need to stand up and make sure our voice is heard. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Nike is a genius.

I think I might love football now. 

Amazing video work and I have had these exact same feelings as I watch sports games too. Good work Nike, and Happy Sunday to everyone else.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A little dirt does the body good.

Farm kids can relate. 

I recently came across an article in the Wall Street Journal called "Can Dirt Do a Little Good?" The article discussed the recently released movie "Babies," which documents the life of four babies from across the planet growing up in vastly different living conditions.

In a nomadic family in Namibia, Ponijao drinks from muddy streams, chews on dry bones and uses her many siblings' body parts as toys.
On a small family farm in Mongolia, a rooster struts around little Bayar's bed, a goat drinks from his bathwater and livestock serve as babysitters. 

By contrast, Mari, growing up in high-rise, high-tech Tokyo, and Hattie, whose doting parents live a "green" lifestyle in San Francisco, both have modern conveniences and sanitation.
As farm kids my sister and I were always playing outside and in the dirt. A little cow poop didn't hurt anyone. Bathing was still a regular habit, but we were definitely exposed to the elements. This was also long before the time of over protective mother's who went through a bottle of hand sanitizer a day.

The article states that although children in the developed countries have a higher survival rate, we have traded this for other problems such as allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases like Type 1 diabetes.

Also, according to Clinical & Experimental Immunology:

  • Children who grow up on farms have low rates of allergies and asthma.
  • Having one of more older siblings also protects against hay fever, asthma, multiple sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes.
  • Infants who attend day care during the first six months of life have a lower incidence of eczema and asthma.

So maybe us farm kids are just a faster stronger breed. We got the added advantages of dirt under our finger nails and meat and potatoes for supper every night. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Farmer's Creed

The days have flown by 

Yes, I am still alive, and yes, I have turned into a bad blogger. I feel like May is flying by, and catching up just isn't happening. Last week was staff meetings, followed by a wedding in Pennsylvania, and then a trip home because my Grandpa passed away. It was his time, and it was good that it happened sooner than later as he suffered a stroke in March and wasn't recovering.

At his funeral this poem was read. It sums up the agriculture way of life.

A Farmer's Creed
I believe a man's greatest possession in his dignity and that no calling bestows this more abundantly than farming. 
I believe hard work and honest sweat are the building blocks of a person's character. 
I believe that farming, despite its hardships and disappointments, is the most honest and honorable way a man can spend his days on this Earth. 
I believe farming nurtures the close family ties that makes life rich in ways money can't buy.
I believe my children are learning values that will last a lifetime and can be learned no other way. 
I believe farming provides education for life and that no other occupation teaches so much about birth, growth and maturity in such a variety of ways. 
I believe many of the best things in life are indeed free: the splendor of a sunrise, the rapture of wide open spaces, the exhilarating sight of your and greening each sprint. 
I believe that true happiness comes from watching your crops ripen in the field, your children grow tall in the sun, your whole family feel the pride that springs from their shared experience.
I believe that by my toil I am giving more to the world than I am taking from it, an honor that does not come to all men.
I believe my life will be measured ultimately by what I have done for my fellow man, and by this standard I fear no judgement. I believe when a man grows old and sums up his days, he should be able to stand tall and feel pride in the life he's lives. 
I believe in farming because it makes this all possible. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Five Years ago it didn't even exist - Welcome YouTube

Technology keep on moving forward.

My morning routine goes check facebook, check email, check YouTube, update Twitter.

In 2008 I created an YouTube account for a division of the American Angus Association, so we could post videos from the National Junior Angus Show. I had watched a few videos on there before, but it was a little bit foreign to me. I mean I knew that there were all kinds of people watching cats dance on their hind legs and kids doing tricks on their skateboards, but I wasn't really sure if people wanted to watch agriculture content. By the end of  the week eight videos had been posted, and they had a combined viewership of more than 3,000 people. I knew I was onto something.

Today, our YouTube channel has grown to almost 200 videos and is rapidly approaching 200,000 views, and we aren't the only ag folks telling our story via YouTube.

This month YouTube turns 5 years old. Who knew that it would explore in the collection of information and entertainment that it is today. Here's a little video on the timeline of YouTube.

Last week, and over the weekend things were a little busy, and things aren't going to change this week, but I hope to fill you all in soon. Happy Monday.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chipotle I am sorry, but it's official. We're over.

Good bye steak burrito. 

Chipotle and I have been in a rocky relationship for quite sometime. For you that don't know what Chipotle is they are fast food restaurant, that serves the most delicious burritos. They have this white rice with cilantro in it that's fabulous, however I have had a bone to pick with them for awhile, and when I found out that they and HSUS have crawled into bed together well that put the final nail in the coffin.

Maybe one of my College of Ag friends can remind me of the year, but back when I was at K-State Chipotle was running at ad campaign, that as I farmer I took major offense to.

The also has another ad that read something along the lines of. "I'll get my drugs from the pharm, not the farm."

Both these ads were in response to Chipotle using antibiotic free meat, and the second ad appeared in our school newspaper. Now let me say this loud and clear - I do not care what type of meat you choose to eat - organic, antibiotic free, conventional raised, etc., however I do not appreciate others discrediting one method to make their product look superior. My family chooses to use antibiotics because we know that they can help our sick animals get better.

K-State College of Ag students responded to the advertisements with letters and comments, Chipotle responded by trying to give coupons out to the students, which we refused to accept.

Chipotle now has a new ad campaign, but they have been major supporters of Micheal Pollan and Food Inc. Again, feel free to criticize our modern farming techniques, but it's important to offer solutions and please don't promote half truths.

And now Chipotle you have really done it this time. Chipolte, and it's 100 locations in Ohio have aligned themselves with HSUS. Chipotle is now listed as business endorsing Ohioans for  Humane Farms, HSUS's attempted to stop the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. So although, I haven't enjoyed one of your burritos in almost three years, I will be making sure that my friends and industry members know what you have been up to.

Their support against agriculture is not appreciate.

A year has gone by.

The biggest update of them all. 

A year ago today I started my 101 in 1001 list. The goal is to have 101 goals (you'll see them down the side of my blog) completed in 1001 days. the ones highlighted in white are completed. Only 636 days left, eek! Actually, the reason why I like this idea is you have 2+ years to complete everything, which seems a lot more manageable and up my alley than the typical this year I will.....

So how are things coming? Here's the numbers.

23 Goals completely. Wahoo. 

17 Goals are partially completed. Good.

61 Things aren't started. Ugh. 

Areas that I need to improve on. Financial area. Yup that's not going so hot. I started to take the Dave Rasmey course after I made my list so that's not on there, but other areas need a little attention.

Keeping you updated on how my progress is going. For example I made another new recipe this week, and I donated food through the Postal Office Food Bank drive. Need to post my progress more often.

Also, the Creative Area could use some work. I have been looking through all my old college photos, putting together a slideshow for Emilie's upcoming wedding, and I really need to get these in a scrapbook.

I also have to get better at mailing out birthday cards on time. My sister's (which her bday was on May 3rd) is still sitting on my dresser waiting to be sent. Bad CY!

There are a few things like make a name for myself, say I am sorry, make a wish, find a new friend that I am all getting closer to. However, I don't think I will scratch them off the list until my last day.

So friends - make you own list, or try and keep me accountable! For inspiration you can visit the blog of the creator of 101 in 1001.

Thank-you mushroom and spinach farmers, and cattle ranchers

It's grilling season.

R3 and I pretty much use the grill non-top during the summer. Also, with all those veggies and lean protein (aka BEEF) its a great way to stay healthy. Luckily, R3 and I have a cupboard full of cookbooks to help us come up with our creations, including the Healthy Beef Cookbook. And that's were I found this fantastic recipe.

First - make burgers. Everyone has their own method so I'll let you take the lead here. Just remember that burgers should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. If you don't have one yet, get a meat thermometer like the one pictured. It allows you to check doneness without cutting into your meat, thus allow all those juices and flavor to stay on the inside.

FYI - 95% lean ground beef is one of 29 lean cuts of beef. Many having less than fat than a chicken breast. Just look for cuts that continue the word chuck or round.

And now onto the amazing second half of the recipe.

Spinach and Portobello Topping

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 cups packed fresh spinach, stemmed, coarsely chopped (I used the frozen stuff thawed and it worked just fine)
2 cups chopped portobello mushrooms
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add garlic; cook and stir 30 seconds. Add spinach; toss to coat. Add mushrooms, lemon peel, and red pepper; cook and stir 2 minutes or until spinach wilts and mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat. Add cheese and salt; mix well.

2. Serve as a topping for Lean Beef Burgers.

Enjoy the deliciousness.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Smiling... It's my favorite thing to do.

The great road tip of 2010.

Mission: Get to Stillwater, Okla., as fast you can. Upon arrival have as much fun as you can. Don't forget to make Oklahoma shaped pancakes.

Team members: Doc will be picked up from the K.C. airport, and travel southbound with you. Other team members will congregate in the Trailer Park, before moving to the Weed and then the Penny.

Completion Date: May 2, 2010

Well it is time to give you an update on my Calf Fry 2010 roadtrip. And today seems like a great day to do it because it is gloomy, ugly and rainy outside, but all the CF10 memories put a smile on my face.

Day One: We arrived the first night, and truly got to experience Oklahoma red dirt. Not only was Randy Rogers playing on stage, but the wind was sending all kinds of red dirt through the air.

Day Two: We recovered by heading to Eskimo Joes for some bacon, cheese fries. They are pretty much amazing. We also got to experience a drive through Beer Store. Yes, the great things you will find in Oklahoma.

That night we had a cook out, where we learned that the Trailer Park Goddess is much better at cold food items than warm food. Crab pasta salad = excellent, burgers that turned in sliders = average. That night we listened to the Bellamy Brothers, and tried to think about marketing technique for a new business venture.

Day two also meant me whipping up an entire loaf of my Oklahoma shaped French toast. Who knew Canadian were so talented. It was a late night as we debated worldly topics like the conditions in South Africa and the procedures that take place before you can hunt a Big Horned sheep.

Day Three: Recovery took longer, however we made sure we were ready in time for the Derby. Since there wasn't a clear winner there was a lot of jumping ship before people looked in their final vote. I was glad that ole Calvin, that toothless cajun, won again. As my dad says it's all about the jockey.

Day three continued into the night, as we prepared for our annual pub crawl where I was once again reacquainted with my favorite summertime beverage (you'll have to email me for more details). We were unable to find anyone to play us Sweet Caroline, but we did find a few characters along the way. The annual Dirty Girls picture was once again taken, minus a few key members, but I expect them to return next year.

Day Four: The mission was complete, although I don't think anyone really wanted it to end. Too many good things happened, to make new friendships formed. I highly recommend you all adding Calf fry ot your 2011 calendar. I know I'll be there.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

It's a game of tag, but we're not on the playground.

Questions and Answers. 

So today I was tagged by Air, and as requested I will follow through. 

And I have tagged Robin, Christin, The Cowgirl Lawyer, Professional in Pink, and Good Gals Inc.

Where were you five years ago?

~ I was graduating from Butler, and getting excited for K-State
~ Was headed home for my internship with the Calgary Stampede
~ Was going to show Signature, my last show heifer
~ Didn't have Facebook (gasp)
~ Still hadn't met some of my best friends

Where would you like to be five years from now?

~ Own a piece of land that I could run cows on
~ Have continued to advancement in my career
~ Have a guy, that can be my partner in crime
~ Be planning a trip back to Australia or maybe South America
~ Healthy, fit, happy

What was on your to-do list today? (or is!)

~ finish Emilie's wedding slide show
~ go to the driving range
~ get my suitcases from Calf fry unpacked
~ call a couple friends
~ buy some gifts

What snacks do you enjoy?

~ tortilla chips and guacamole
~ spinach dip
~ Babybel cheese
~ apples and peanut butter

What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?

~ travel
~ buy K-State football season tickets for a lifetime
~ start a scholarship
~ buy more land and cows
~ take care of my family 

Friday, May 7, 2010

This is good stuff

You can quote me on this. 

Today a little bulb went off. And this is how it went. Don't stop reading, because the light bulb isn't until the end. And if you don't have cattle or are in ag then just read the last few lines. This still applies to you.

Me: I am looking though a sale catalog we just found, from J.C. Penny's 1953 bull sale. With prices in it.

Friend: Dang... Don't see that everyday.

Me: It's really cool.

Friend: What did they bring?

Me: The highest one I have found was just over $8,000, and lots in the high twos. That's a lot of money for back then.

Friend: Yeah it was but when you think that a bu. of corn is as close to the same price today as it was then it makes ag prices a little different compared to other things... but I could be wrong

Me: Yeah. But the productivity won't be the same. It's interesting to think a lot of guys would be happy with having a bull sale like that today.

Friend: I sure wouldn't hate it for myself, but I think my dad might be sad.

Me: Haha. I think I would be sad too. When you are OK with average you get average. That's the problem with a lot of people.

When you are OK with average you get average.

That line sums up a lot of things. I had never put it into words, but I think I hit the nail on the head. I don't live an average life, because I want to be more than average. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's the first Thursday in May...

And your point is...

It means either you are suffering from a headache do to your Cinco de mayo fun last night, or you recognize that it is the National Day of Prayer.

I don't want to talk about all the controversy that surrounds this day. I just want to say that prayer is an important part of my life, and when I let God take the lead things seem to go in a better direction. They are actually going in a really great direction right now. So think about it.

What I also want to draw your attention to is this guy called Rev Run. I used to love his MTV reality show, Run's House. He's a cool guy. I now follow him on Twitter (@RevRunWisdom), and this is what he says.

And my favorite one. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What about the pie?

I'll try and not ramble.

On Tuesday, I spoke at the Livestock Publication Council Midwest Regional Workshop on video and social media. It went great. The fellow that spoke after me was quite the character, Chuck's his name. He's a journalism that has actually recognizes that most people don't read newspapers in their hands anymore. He understands that times are changing and you better find multiple was to communicate with your audience. Excellent point. Don't stop learning. Evolve.

However, that's not the point of this post. In my presentation I brought up sale lot videos. Chuck asked me during his presentation what were these things, he had never heard of them - were they like online sales? I responded that you can have an online sale, but the videos I was referring to were individual videos of animals to help in promotion.

"Really, online sales?" he responded again, "What about the pie?" For anyone that has been to auction market or a sale you know how good the pie is. You usually won't find a better burger or piece of strawberry pie in town. It's probably one of agriculture's great traditions that nobody ever thinks about. Chuck's solution was that if people were going to sit a home and buy cattle online, that you should at least send them a picture of how good that pie looked so you don't miss out on everything.
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