Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Crystal Cattle is getting hitched

A life changing weekend.

This weekend the Boy once again proved that I am the luckiest girl in the world by proposing. After a year and week long relationship we have move from the dating zone to the engaged zone, and if it wasn't for all the wedding planning and sorting out life details I am pretty sure we would get married tomorrow.
Jon and I at his family's sale last weekend.
We've been fielding questions all weekend about the details of how all it all went down. So I present you with our story.

I have been patiently waiting for a ring for a little while now. Jon (by the way that is the Boy's real name) instructed me last fall to go and look at rings and decide on a style I liked. At the time he thought he might propose when we traveled back for Agribition a cattle show in Canada, it was also going to be the first time my parents and Jon met. However, as our departure date got closer Jon decided it wasn't quite the right time, and he would wait. (I did not know any of these facts until recently).

Christmas went by, a trip to Chicago for New Year's went by, the Denver Stock Show went by, Valentine's went by, my Birthday went by, Easter went by, and no ring. My parents wanted to make a trip to see Jon and I this summer so I had surrendered to the fact that he would wait and ask my dad in person. That summer trip is actually next weekend. In my brain I had constructed a timeline that Jon will wait and ask Dad next weekend, and then if he has a ring it might be then, otherwise it would be sometime in June or July. Little did I know he had other plans.

I arrived in Iowa late Friday night and we decided to go see Hangover 2 (definitely recommend it). Before the movie started I asked Jon what was up, he seemed uneasy and anxious. Jon quickly brushed it off as nerves about my parents coming next weekend. Although, I reassured him that everything was going to go great, I understood his nervousness. (After the proposal he told me that he wasn't at all nervous about my parents coming, but he needed an excuse to cover up his nerves about proposing.)

Fast forward to the next morning. Jon and I headed out to the farm to feed the show cattle. After bucket chores, we hoped on the four-wheeler to go look at the pairs in the pasture. I was excited to look through all the calves at it had been a few weeks since I had seen them, and at this age the calves change so much each week. As the last cow crosses the creek, I asked Jon which cow that was, as she was looking pretty good - in Jon's words this sealed the deal since it was one of his favorite.

Jon said "hey" and I turned around to find him on one knee the grass. And that's when I am pretty sure my heart stop. I was not expecting at all. And then in such a romantic way I say "Are you kidding me" and give him a little push. It was a good are you kidding me, like you completely surprised me, I had no idea that kind of kidding me. The next part is a little blurry, somewhere in there he said will be marry me, I said yes, I said you should probably put it on my finger, I definitely had tears in my eyes. Just like that we were engaged, out in the field with all those Hereford cows - and it was perfect!

We didn't leave the pasture before we started calling friends and family. My side is estastic to have Jon joining our family, and I can't wait to be apart of his. Not too many other details have been discussed, other than we can't wait to start our lives together, and are so happy that we have the support of our friends and family.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

How to Add Pages to Your Blog

Another how to blog post for my #agnerd and blogging friends

A lot of friends have recently asked me how to add tabs or pages to your blog. You can also create a mini website for your company or farm by using pages. So here is a adding pages tutorial for Blogger blogs, and don't forget to check out my How to Blog Guide for more Tutorials.

Step 1. Go to your Dashboard, find you blog and click on Pages. 

You will find this list on the left hand side. 
Step 2. Creating the page. 

You are going to likely want to create a blank page. 

You create your page just like you would create a post. Things to keep in mind.
  1. keep the name of your tab short
  2. the About Me tab/page is one of the most important pages to a blog.
Once you create the page, you will hit publish, just like you publish your blog post. 

Step 3. Make your tab/page go live

Once you have created all the pages you would like you need to hit save arrangement (the orange box in the upper right hand column). 

By holding your mouse over the vertical blue line into from of each tab name you can click and drag the pages into the order you desire. Remember to again click save arrangement after you make your change. 

Step 6. Ideas and creating a website 

My Crystal.Cattle Pages

Page ideas you might have for your blog:

About Me –  This one gets a lot of hits. I also have my complete contact information under here

Recipes – if you post recipes regularly you might want to include them under here

Photos – show off your photography skills

Other Blogs – if you don’t want to list all the blogs that you like in a blog roll on your homepage you can include them here, or other websites you enjoy

For those cattlemen that are using their blog as a website, you may want to set up tabs like For Sale, Sires, Show String, Contact Us, etc.

 ZNT Cattle have used the Blogger format to create a website for their family's cattle farm. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Toddlers and Beef

Beef - it runs in the family. 

My cousin Kim posted this on my Crystal Cattle facebook wall, and I had to share.

Funny Eat Beef Story Crystal... After a late night getting in, Tim went to the fridge to find some supper. I always take out some sort of meat in the morning for the evening meal. If Tim is late, he is usually left to fend for himself, so he pulled out the new york steak that was set aside for supper and started the inside BBQ. He was tired so was doing as little preparation as possible, what usually means steak on the bbq nothing else. As he was getting the steak unwrapped, Logan ( 25 months old) goes to the pantry and pulls out the kosher salt and brown sugar and takes it to Tim (this is what i use when i cook steak). I'm not sure if i should be proud that he can season a piece of beef BEFORE he can pee in a potty!

When I get teeth feed me beef. 

I love this bib from the Texas Southwest Cattle Raisers Association

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Toes in the Sand - Turquoise Thursday

Turquoise Sandals

Summer is definitely getting closer, and although my go to shoes most days are a pair of cowboys, sometimes a pair of shorts and sandals are needed for a little fun. The Canadian long weekend was last weekend, we celebrated Victoria Day, and the American long weekend is this weekend, we will celebrate Memorial Day. So how about a little turquoise to add to your long weekend wardrobe!

I am waiting for these turquoise sandals to go on sale at Banana Republic so they can go home with me!

A little more casual, but just as cute. 

Really thinking these would be a good addition too. 

And is turquoise isn't quite your color, then why not pink. Love these wedges from Banana Republic - can you see a trend. I really like that store. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How to Change Your Blog Widths in Blogger

#Agnerds and fellow bloggers unite

I have been working with some of the Summer Synergy participants on their agvocacy blogs, and one thing I have noticed is that by changing the widths of the columns within their blog, they could quickly improve the eye appeal of their blog.

So how do you change the width of your blog in Blogger?

Step 1. Click on the Design tab on the Dashboard Page

Step 2. Next click on the Template Designer

This is the same place you click to change the color and font of your blog.
Step 3. Look in the upper left hand corner and click on Adjust widths

Click on Adjust widths
Step 4. You will now find these bars in front of you.

These are the widths of my blog, but remember you can choose to set up your however you like. 
By dragging the bottom two bars back and forth you will change the width of the outside sidebars to your blog. The smaller the left and right sidebars are the bigger your middle section will be. You also may choose to only have a two column blog, leaving one of the sidebars bars at 0 px.

The maximum entire width of your blog on Blogger can by 1000 px, but remember if you make you blog this big the entire blog might not fit on everyone's computer screens and they will have to scroll over.

This how to tutorial improves you blog! If you have any questions or would like to know how to improve other aspects of you blog let me know. Don't forget my How to Blog Guide that the top of my Blog as well.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Watermelon Stars

Last week I decided to tap into my crafty side.

Watermelon Stars

These watermelon stars will definitely get people ooh and ahhing. 

Step 1. 
Choose and buy watermelon. You know pick it up tap it to see if it is hollow. I have no idea if this works, but it looks like you know what you're doing. 

Step 2.
Cut watermelon into slices. You'll want to make sure your slices are at a maximum the width of your cookie cutter, a little thinner is better. 

Step 3. 
Using a cookie cutter, cut shapes out of the watermelon. I love how the stars turned out. I tried a few hearts, but they didn't look as good. 

Step 4. 
As you are cutting out the shape consume excess watermelon, or at least have a container for the not as pretty parts because there will be a lot of extra. p.s. the watermelon still tastes as good if it is not in the shape of a star. 

Farm facts:
  • Did you know that from 1998-2000 the farm value of watermelon production averaged $262 million
  • Watermelons are more than 90% water

  • It takes a watermelon 80-95 days to become full-grown
  • Watermelons are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamins B6 and B1

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's Sale Time - Star Lake Cattle Ranch

Going once, going twice, sold. 

One of the cows that sold
There is always something exciting about a cattle sale. Maybe it's the thrill of making a new purchase, or waiting to see what market value the bidders are going to put on your animals. There is also the fact that you get to catch up with old friends and the opportunity to make new friends.

This weekend I was in Oklahoma at the Boy's family's sale. People came from all over the United States and Canada to evaluate Star Lake Cattle Ranch's cattle and genetics. Purebred cattle sales are different than the sales that usually happen at an auction market. 1. These cattle are being sold for seedstock breeding purposes, 2. Not only do live cattle sell, but also frozen embryos and semen were sold, 3. On some of the lots you were only buying an interest in the cattle - half or a quarter.

At a auction market mostly market cattle are sold (those that are going for consumption) or commercial breeding cattle (those females that will go on to raise market animals.)

Here are a few of the pictures I took this weekend.

Everyone checking out the sale lots.

One of the older Hereford bulls selling in the sale.

Fun fact: The wind blows in Oklahoma all the time.

The brand found on all the Star Lake Cattle.
To see a few more pictures from the sale check out the Crystal Cattle facebook page

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How to package beef

Clever marketing, clever design

I love this unique packing from Swiss food retailer Migros. Made me smile, hope you smile too.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Young Farmers and Ranchers Blogs Part III

Time to feature some more of the Summer Synergy #agblogs

Starting a blog can be a little intimidating, but I have been very impressed by the way these young people are jumped right into the advocacy waters on this project. Here are a couple more blogs for you to check out. And to learn more about the program or starting your own blog check out my tabs above.

Emily Puch - Life of a Farm Girl 
I really liked Emily's most recent posts, about the signs of spring in Alberta. Sometimes I forget that Canada is just getting into Spring, since there has been green grass in the Midwest for such a long time already. Plus, how can you resist new kittens...

From Life of a Farm Girl

I really like this post of Katie's that talks about both her 4-H and dancing careers coming to an end. I took was really active in both of these activities, and it reminded me of myself. Yes, there are pictures somewhere of me feeding my show cattle with pink curlers in my hair because after chores we had to rush off to a dance competition. 

Katie in her dance attire

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lady Gaga is farming

Little Monsters are farming, and you have never seen these crops before.

Yes, Lady Gaga has entered the world of farming. She's shaking things up on the popular game FarmVille brought to you by the gaming giant Zynga.  GagaVille will be a neighboring farm to Farmville - unicorns, sheep on motorcycles and crystals will be present. Not only will players get to till the soil, but they will also get access to three never-been-heard before songs off of Lady Gaga's "Born this Way album."

Even if you don't plan on playing this video is definitely worth watching. I am pretty sure none of you have ever seen a tractor like this before.

Disclaimer: Growing food on Farmville is nothing like real farming. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Moving Home the Farmer Way

Hitch up the trailer.

This past weekend I was in Manhattan, and I have lots to tell you ie. me filming side by side the Food Network! But first, this past weekend was graduation weekend in Manhattan, and thousands of students will be moving home or headed out to summer jobs and internships.

So where does a livestock trailer fit in?

Stock Trailer in Apartment Complex parking lot.
When you are in a town that has such a strong agriculture background it is common to see agriculture mixed in with urban. However, the purpose of the trailer in this situation is likely not for moving livestock, but instead belongs. Livestock trailers are the next best thing to a U-Haul!

Each August everyone jokes that you would think a livestock show was going on, with the number of bumper hitches and gooseneck trailers that descent on the Little Apple, and May isn't much different. I guess you can take the girl out of the country, but can't take the country out of the girl. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Boys and Cows

A year later

The Boy and I have officially been dating a year. I've been thinking about the fact that when you date a farm boy you also date the farm. This became quite clear when last night I made the comment that I have more pictures of the Boy's cows than of us together.

Catching a nap at a cattle
show in Canada
I applaud anyone who is not from an agriculture background that can make an agriculture relationship. Some of my friends questioned why I drove to Iowa all winter to see him, instead of him making the trip to see me. However, when cows are calving, there are cattle to prepare for sales, cows to be fed, it makes prefect sense that I travel to see him. The cattle have to come first because they depend on us, and I get that. I actually love it, because there is almost nothing I enjoy more than being on farms and around cattle.

You also have to be prepared to attend activities dateless, have plans change, and know that there is no sense of packing too many cute outfits because you'll be spending most the time in the barn.

My Valentine's Day Flowers in the Show Barn
Despite all the little bumps in the road cattle can cause, I am also grateful for the cattle because they are what brought the Boy and I together. We had always knew of each other through the cattle business, but then official met at a cattle show through a cattle friend.

I guess I can sum things up by saying there is nothing I would change about the last year, and I can't wait for many more years to come. I love him and his Hereford cows (that is saying a lot I raise another breed called Simmentals.)

Friday, May 13, 2011

The end of an era

Adding more alumni to the world

Today and tomorrow hundreds of students will graduate from my alma mater, Kansas State University. However, there is one graduate that I am especially excited to congratulate. Tawnya is one of my last close college friends to graduate - she's leaving K-State with a Master's in Food Science, specializing in Meat Science aka she's super smart and going to make sure that the food we each is safe.

With Tawnya being one of the few left at college her couch became a designated sleeping spot after football games, weddings, concerts, random nights in Manhattan.

She has always offered me the most honest advice. We share the love of traveling. K-State is a priority. When I have been traveling too much and haven't stayed up on my K-State sports, she is the first on I call to get me up to speed. And may or may not have sang karaoke to Caroline, once or twice. 

Thanks for all the memories Tbaugh. Here's to the next chapter. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Turquoise Brahmin Handbags

Just in case I haven't broke your bank account yet. 

No I am not talked about Brahman cattle I am talked about Brahmin Handbags. I have also loved alligator that these bags are constructed of. The fact that they have came out with a turquoise collection doesn't hurt. 

Oh yes this turquoise hobo bag is quite pretty. 

Or if you like something a little more structured this bag comes from the Ashby Totes Collection.

Then again a little wristlet might be more your style. 

And I quickly discovered why I love this color so much. They call it Aqua Melbourne. Yes, I like Australia a lot. 

I would say that is a pretty good grand finale! 

Young Farmers and Ranchers Blogs Part II

Tell your story.

There are lots of areas of agriculture, and although beef cattle are my favorite, I try to learn and be knowledge about all aspects. This month I am going to be featuring some brand new blogs from young agriculture agvocates.

Maryellen Gibson - Farm Kid Forever
Maryellen isn't a cowgirl, and doesn't own a pair of cowboy boots. She's a Shepard. I've been enjoying reading her blog and perspective on sheep and other areas of agriculture. I really enjoyed learning a lot about the sheep industry on my trip last year to Australia.

Farm Girl Forever

Dakota Wilson - Beef Undressed

I love one of Dakota's first posts about Artificial Insemination. Yes, this is a technology that we use in the cattle industry. She explains more about how it is done, and why on her blog Beef Undressed.  

A picture of Dakota's dad A.I.ing one of their Angus cows.

Rosie Templeton - Absolutely Agriculture
A passionate advocate Rosie blogs on a variety of topics. She has exposed me to some new way to connect with consumers, and how consumers could connect with me, like the Meet Your Farmer program.

One of the newborn Hereford calves on Rosie's farm.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Feed Sacks Bags

Who knew feed sacks were so fashionable.

I have been seeing feed these pop up quite a bit lately in a variety of forms, but now farmers and ranchers have one more way to be environmentalists - by doing a little repurposing of feed sack and feed bags.

I love this travel bag made of burlap feed sack. Be sure to check out Lost Property of London they have a bunch of really cool feed sack bags of all shapes and sizes. I kind of have this things for burlap.

Source: etsy.com via Crystal on Pinterest

This is another really cool vintage feed sack bag that I found through my Pinterest account. 

I have seen lots of these plastic feed sack bags at the cattle events I attend. I think you could make these pretty easy. Check out this Etsy store to see lots of different feed sacks that have been turned into bags.

And here is an awesome tutorial on how to make feed sack bags from my friend at the House that Built Ag. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Vegetarians in the Workplace

Agriculture’s Story in the Workplace

A friend of mine send me a frantic e-mail on Thursday. Each week her office presents a fun fact at their Friday staff meetings. Pretty cool idea. The Fact is emailed out and then there is the opportunity to discuss it at the end of the meeting. 
One of our cows - Dreamdate

The week’s Fun Fact was May 1-7 is Be Kind to Animal Week. I like weeks like that, I hate animal abuse. I treat both my pets and our cattle with respect and ensure that their needs are being met.

The email went onto say... “According to the Humane Society: There are about 77.5 million owned dogs in the US and 39% of US households own at least 1 dog (*Fact* Black dogs are the last to be adopted in a shelter). There are about 93.6 million owned cats in the US and 33% of households own at least 1 cat. Some things you can to do are: Volunteer to walk a dog at your local animal shelter or humane society, adopt a shelter or rescue animal…”

Great ideas. I think it is really unfortunate when animals end up in shelter because people don’t want them anymore. The Boy adopted his dog Skye from a shelter when he was in college and she is an awesome dog. All good so far.

But then the email said this…

“…or become a vegetarian for the day (Gasp!)! J Whatever you do, show some love to our furry friends!”

Wait a minute becoming a vegetarian is not the answer to Be Kind to Animals Week.  I mean I am pretty sure the dogs in those shelters are not going to be treated any better or worse because you tried vegetarianism.

And yes a lot of vegetarians are going to say that killing animals is cruelty. However, the cattle on my family’s farm and farms across the country, are there for meat purposes. I am going to make sure that our cattle are taken care of to the best of our ability in the meantime.

So what do you do when situations like this arise? Well first realize that everyone is welcome to decide what they will and will not eat. Being a vegetarian is a person choice, just like me eating meat is a personal choice.

Next, realize that this is an excellent opportunity to share personal stories of your family’s own farm or ranch experiences. This was my friend's response:
As a beef cattle producer it has been my families occupation for over 6 generations to properly care for our livestock so that we can provide a healthy and safe product to the consumer. We care that our cattle are raised humanely and treated kindly because that is what our vocation requires of us in order to make a livelihood. Growing up in the cold winters of Montana it was not uncommon that  our houses entry-way would be the evening home for a newborn calf so they could stay warm. It is also the rule that the cattle get breakfast before we do, regardless of how much snow was on the ground…or if it was my Sweet 16th Birthday!  Simply put, our cows and calves depend on us, and farmers and ranchers do whatever it takes to make sure they receive the best care possible.
Supporting local animal shelters like the Stillwater Animal Shelter is a great way to help with the pet population! If you’re interested in making contributions that will directly impact the animals in a shelter, your dollar will go furthest at a local shelter. While the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has heart wrenching commercials on TV., it only spends less than one-half of 1% of its annual budget to assist animal shelters.

The reaction she received. The people in her office said that they agreed with her, and that they even learned something. Have you ever been in a situation like this?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Young Farmers and Ranchers telling their story

The new advocates

You may have seen the new Summer Synergy tab on my blog. Summer Synergy is a program for youth in agriculture that are involved in showing livestock. This year I am assisting with the marketing contest. The Senior members have been challenged with creating blogs that tell agriculture's story. During the next few months I'll be featuring some of their blogs, and I hope you take the chance to check them out.

Sarah Nixdorff - http://www.downonthefarmnixdorff.blogspot.com/
Sarah family raises Hereford and commercial cattle. She recently wrote a neat post about bringing some of her city friends out to the Ranch, something that my sister and I did often when we were growing up.

Stacey is a college student, who grew up on Purebred Angus cattle farm. She talks about her experiences on the farm and has some great recipes on her blog.

Also, if you are participating in Summer Synergy tell me about your blog. And if you are needing some help with installing Google Analytics let me know, and we'll get it sorted it out.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Miranda Lambert Hell on Heels

Miranda Lambert our beef loving cowgirl.

Since Miranda was such a hot topic on my blog this week, I figured why not end it with her. I love this song that she sang with her new band Pistol Annie. You go Miranda, and thanks for talking a little bit about agriculture.

I hope you all have an awesome weekend! I'm off to South Carolina, a state I have yet to been to. Should be exciting.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pinterest Turquoise

Wonderful new website

So I finally started using Pinterest. What is this foreign thing I talk about? Well according to Pinterest.com...

Think of Pinterest as a virtual pinboard — a place where you can create collections of things you love and "follow" collections created by people with great taste.
People use Pinterest to collect and share all sorts of things -- wedding inspiration, favorite T-shirts, DJ equipment. You name it, people are pinning it.
You really have to try it out to see the full effect, but basically you pin things (from their website or stuff you find on the web) to boards. It is a great way to gather thoughts and ideas.

Of course I had to make a Turquoise Board (I also have a Turquoise Rooms board too)!

This is just part of my board. Check out my entire Turquoise Pinterest Board
Once you are at my board you can click on individual items and learn where they came from. 

My Dream Home Board is quickly being filled with lots of goodies. Can you tell that I like barn wood and barn doors just a little. 

And my Recipe Board is slowing growing, but I can't wait to try some of these out. Fried mashed potatoes sound awesome. 

Do you use Pinintest? If so let me know so I can follow you. Any suggestions on what I should add to my boards?
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