Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What does corn in Iowa look like?

Corn Report V

Ok, folks it is time for another Crystal Cattle unofficial Corn Report. I say unofficial because there are a thousand (probably more) people out there than know a lot more about corn than I do, but I love learning about it. So what did I learn this week? Well first let's compare how much it has grown.

This was the cornfield (the same one we camped in our tent by) on August 2, 2011.

And this is what that same field looked like on August 27, 2011. It keeps getting taller, however here's the cooler stuff. 

The is the Boy's forearm. The corn cobs are huge. This particular cob was 18 kernels around. That's good I am told. 

Now to some this corn may look ready to harvest, but the Boy showed me a few more things that we have to look at to help determine when the corn should be harvested. 

click on photo to enlarge
You can see that some of the kernels are dented and some are not. All the kernels must be dented before the corn is ready for harvest. 

The moisture in the cob is also too high right now. If you look closely you can see the change of color in the kernel, this is called the milk line. This line needs to move all the way to the bottom of the kernel before the crop can be harvested. 

Have you ever seen this happen to an ear of corn? I learned that is due to heat stress. These top kernels did not get pollinated resulting in what you see. And that's all for this week's Corn Report. Don't forgot to thank a farmer. 

Don't forget about the giveaway that is also going on right now. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Canvas Print Giveaway from Canvas Stock

In the giving spirit.

It's time to reveal the secret. The Farmer's Trophy Wife and I are teaming up with  Canvas Stock for an awesome giveaway. Up for grabs is a 20x30 canvas print of one of my photography images.

As The Farmer's Trophy Wife says "That way all you darlings that are in the city, but have true country hearts, can bring a little farm/western into your home! And those of us who are lucky enough to live in the country have a little piece to bring inside and enjoy!"

The winner will be able to select from these five images.

We have a ton of ways to enter, but you have to follow the instructions carefully as all the entering needs to be done on The Farmer's Trophy Wife's blog.

1. Head on over to Canvas Stock and check out their new website. Then head over to Farmer's Trophy Wife's blog and leave a comment what feature of their website you like best. 

2. Follow my blog and leave a on the Farmer's Trophy Wife's blog saying you do 

3. Follow the Farmer's Trophy Wife's blog and leave a comment on her blog saying you do

4. Follow Crystal Cattle or the Farmer's Trophy Wife's on Facebook and leave a comment on her blog saying you do

5. Tweet, facebook or blog about this giveaway and eave a on the Farmer's Trophy Wife's blog saying you did

The contest will end Friday, September 2, 2011 at midnight, and we'll announce the winner on Monday. And don't worry there is something for those that don't take home the big prize. On Monday we'll have a 30% off coupon code to purchase your own print for Canvas Stock.

Happy Tuesday! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Camping by the cornfield - 101 update

That list keeps on staring at me.

I always get lot of questions about my 101 list on the side of my blog. It actually wasn't my original idea to do a 101 in 1001 list, there is a whole website dedicated to the idea. When I started 1001 days seemed like lots of time to complete the list, but as I am getting closer there are some things that need to be knocked out.  And the Boy helped me do just that this weekend.

When I arrived at our future home in Iowa the Boy said he had to burn some cardboard. Great a mini campfire sounds fun. It was very dark out by this point, with only a little bit of light coming from the yard light, and cardboard was not lighting very efficiently. As my eyes adjusted to the low light I saw something behind the house, but I couldn't quite tell what it was. I asked the Boy, "What is that over there." There have been painters at the farm all week working on some of the silos, and the Boy responded, "It must be something of the paint crews."

I thought his answer was a little odd, I mean why would the painters put something behind the house. The cardboard caught fire and there was the real answer. The Boy had bought a tent and it was all set up right beside the cornfield!

Our new tent, right beside the cornfield. 

The boy gets major props for doing this. He is not a big fan of camping or tenting as I like to call it, and sure enough he didn't have the best sleep in the world. The next morning went like this. 

Me: How did you sleep

Him: Not good. It was too noisy.

Me: Oh I like the sound of the crickets, and wind moving through the corn

Him cutting me off: and the AIR CONDITIONER! 

I guess next time we'll have to move the tent a little further away from the house! I still had a blast. Stay tuned because tomorrow I'm announcing an awesome giveaway and on Wednesday I will have one of the best corn reports yet. 

The giveaways keep rolling in

And the winner is...

Congrats Robyn! Be sure to look under the About tab for my email address and send me a message. Also, check out Robyn's blog at The Ranch Wife Chronicles. I can see why Robyn wants to select the "sheep" shirt. Robyn's family has started a new sheep adventure and will be showing some Southdown Sheep at the Nebraska State Fair. 

Now for those none winners, The Farmer's Trophy Wife and I have something up our sleeve. We'll make the announcement tomorrow, but visit her blog today for a clue of what we are giving away.

I have a ton to tell you about my fabulous weekend with the Boy in Iowa. Stay tuned this week for lots of photos and posts. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Farm girls and the winery

Drink up. 

The wine glasses we made before
heading out on our tour.
The other weekend I jumped in a limo with a dozen other girls and headed towards wine country. Ok, it was actually only Missouri's wine country, which means North of Kansas City in the Weston/Platte City area of the state. We were off to celebrate a good K-State friend's upcoming wedding.

I am a wine lover, but this was my first time actually going to a winery and doing a wine tasting. Our first stop was the Jowler Creek Vineyard and Winery. Jason along with his wife started making wine out of their home's basement and it has now grown into a successful business.

As Jason started pouring the first glass of wine the questions started pouring out. How many acres, how long were the grapes planted before you could use them for wine, do you buy grapes from other growers? I am sure he was surprised by our questions, but as farm girls these are the things we contemplate while enjoying a glass of wine.

The Chambourin was my
favorite wine.
As Jason poured the next wine sample he told us about how sustainability was important to him and his wife. They use a small sheep breed to help keep weeds down as part of their sustainability plan. These sheep are small enough that they can't reach the vines, but will everything at the base of the plant. Smart idea.

I automatically asked what breed? I think this is when Jason knew something was up. It was quickly explained that he had a table full of K-State College of Agriculture girls. The breed is Babydoll sheep and they are all white. Knowing that we were interesting in farm Jason also talked to use about some trails they were doing with chickens to keep the bugs down and reduce pesticides.

Jason then said something that made me really like him. He said that he loves technology and isn't against it in any way but is willing to explore other avenues that can help his farm be more profitable. Yeah, I bought wine from Jason, and next time I see Jowler Creek Wine on the shelf I'll probably buy another bottle. Technology is awesome and should not be judged, and neither should more traditional ways of farming. Thanks Jason for a great afternoon!

And don't forget to get signed up for the giveaway

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Headed to the beach Turquoise Thursday

Sun and sand

I am a sucker for finding the perfect gift. This quite often this means blowing my budget, but what is more fun than putting a huge smile on someone's face. Last weekend it was the future sister-in-law's bachelorette party. I couldn't make it due to a friend flying in and another bachelorette party, but I made sure I sent a great gift.

So what is in this perfect turquoise package?
(Wrapping paper from Target)

A honeymoon survival kit for the beach. 

One of my favorite beauty products ever. It is a tinted oil-free daily face protector with SPF 40. Love this stuff. 

Two lip balms, also with SPF in them, because if Jaci is anything like me I will have lost one before the plane even leaves the airport. 

Waterproof mascara for all that time she'll have in the pool. Another little hint of turquoise. 

Tarte Bronzer to help work on that "tan."

This is another favorite of my. I grew up on Body Shop products, as they are a Canadian company. This body butter not only smells amazing, but it is super-hydrating and has help smooth a few sunburns before. 

What are your favorite beauty products for the beach or the ones that you'll be using this fall?
And don't forget to sign up for my giveaway.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Company - New Giveaway

Middle of the Week 

Well, it's Wednesday and that means we need something to get us through the last few days before the weekend hits. I am headed to Iowa this weekend. Picking up a bridesmaid dress, checking out a Hereford bull and looking at a new (new to us) stock trailer, and spending some time with the Boy's family are in the weekend plans. 

But first, let's do another giveaway. This time from Hot Iron Branded, a new western clothing company that specializes in shirts for "haulers" - barrel racers, cutters and livestock competitors. 

Up for grabs is their "Queen of the Ring" shirt that comes in a show hog, steer or lamb version. 

To enter:
1. Be a followers of the Crystal Cattle blog - and leave a comment on this blog saying you are
2. Follow Hot Iron on Facebook - and leave a comment on this blog saying you are

Be sure to also tell me what shirt you would pick! 
The contest will close Saturday, August 27 at noon central. Good luck!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The pastor becomes a vegetarian

Say what, not say amen

via William Widmer, New York Times
Earlier this week I was reading an article in the New York Times about changing the health of those in the Mississippi Delta. An area know for its "smorgasbord of things fried, salted and boiled with pork" and where better to find these things than church. 

Since church and food is such a important part of the Delta culture Rev. Michael I. Minor has decided to lead the change of healthier lifestyles throughout the National Baptist Convention. Amen I say. Church kitchens are now declaring no fry zone, the ladies are proving to their congregation that sugar-free apple pie is pretty good - awesome I say. And Rec. Kevin Wiley, of the Seek Well Baptist Church, is even thinking about becoming a vegetarian. Woah, back the truck up. 

I think healthy lifestyles are fantastic. And if the church can change people's mind and encourage that we should all take a little bit better care of our bodies then that is awesome. However, don't tell me that vegetarianism is the answer to an epidemic of fried foods and poor eating habits. 

My meal plan this week consists of at least one serving of lean beef with every meal, along with a plate full of vegetables. I am pretty sure these food choices will not lead to me packing on the pounds and no longer being able to fit into the future sister in-laws wedding dress at the beginning on September. 
Click on the photo to enlarge.
Beef is Mother Nature's multivitamin. Plus, don't forget there are 29 lean cuts of meat. Look for cuts with loin or round in the name to identify them. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Please send steak

Tweet, tweet

Recently I wrote an article about Twitter for the cowboy, I'll share details with you once it is published. A lot of people are a little leery of Twitter. They aren't sure if they really need one more social medium to learn or if listening to people post every element of their life in 140 characters is really that interesting (p.s. I don't follow those people.)

How has Twitter benefitted me?

1. I have created a whole new network of friends. I can draw on these people for information, advice or support. I even am getting together with one of my Twitter friends Katie Lukens Pinke (@katpinke) for supper next week. She is also a farm blogger.

2. It is how I get my news in the morning. If I see an article is being ReTweeted (remessaged) repeatedly by the people I follow I usually read it. If it is important to my peers than it is important to me.

However, for some people it also means getting a steak delivered to them. PR Daily posted the story of Peter Shankman, a PR pro and founder of Help a Reporter Out, sending a tweet out to Morton Steakhouse asking for a steak.

And he received it! You think Sullivan's (my favorite steakhouse) could deliver me one? Guess I'll have to get to tweeting. 

To follow me on Twitter look for @crystalcattle 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Turquoise Arm Party (Bracelets)

Oh, ah

I hope everyone has had a fantastic week. I've been playing a little bit of catch up since returning home from the Iowa State Fair, but it will get done. Plus, I am looking forward to a weekend full of friends, wine tours and a bachelorette party. Let the good times roll.

This week I threw out the term arm party. It's the "technical" term used by many to describe stacks of bracelets. Remember my own arm party creation? Well now it is time to venture out and Gypsy land seems like the perfect spot for an arm party.

Junk Gypsy once again does not fail. These three turquoise bracelets come as a set and are only $45.00 - booyah! 

I have been eyeing this arm party for awhile. The turquoise peace bracelet is $12 - steal, the woven turquoise bangle - $18 - it is also available in a cream, and the rhinestone peace cuff is $18. 

Or maybe you just want one big statement piece. I think this turquoise cuff will do the trick! 

I would love to feature some of you arm parties on my blog. Email pictures to

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Green ribbons

Iowa State Fair

Well, the Iowa State Fair Hereford Show has come and gone for the Boy and I. Although, I am not quite caught up on sleep, we had an awesome time working together. It can always be hard when a new person enters the farm (that would be me). Jon (we are going to call the boy by his first name today) has been working hard on his same herd of Herefords for many years now. Luckily, Jon and I both bring different skills to the table, and together we can take JJB Cattle Co. to another level.

When I got to the  show I decided to take before and after pictures of the stall. I was really please with how the stall looked all week. Not only is it important to have a bed pack (what the heifer lay on) that is comfortable for the cattle, but is also important to have a clean and well presented stall. Jon did all the graphics for the banners and stall cards and they turned out great. I even cooked while at the show, more details to come on that later.

Randy, Jon's dad also came and was in charge of washing the cattle. Each day Randy came back soaked, but those heifers were sparking clean! 

As for the heifers we brought three yearling (year old) heifers. Dana picture below is my favorite. 

We didn't bring any blue or red ribbons home. The heifers weren't quite what the judge was looking for this time, but it was fun for me to be back out there in the showring. It is hard when you put that much work into your livestock to not have as much success in the showring as you would like. Yet, for me it was a reminder that that even those I want success, I also do this because of the people and I love being a part of agriculture. Throughout the week I got to catch up with old friends and make many new ones. Jon and will be back at the Iowa State Fair again, and one day we'll have those champion banners hanging in the stall. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

There is an #armparty going on

And a winner is chosen

Last week, in my giveaway I threw out the term #armparty. I have been seeing all kinds of pictures of girls stacking their bracelets and calling them arm party. I decided I like to party.

This was my #armparty on Saturday of the Iowa State Fair. I woke up early (4:00 a.m. early) so I could get on the road to Des Moines. I met the Boy there and we began setting up our stall in the Hereford barn. More Iowa State Fair photos to come later in the week. This #armparty consists of the Iowa State Fair stamp, a turquoise multi-strand bracelet from American Eagle and a Indian pearl bracelet. 

The next day I decided to pull out my David Yurman bracelet (a Christmas present from the Boy), again the Indian pearl bracelet, and this turquoise and gold bracelet I brought in a boutique in Oklahoma City. My friend Catie brought the same one that day, so I think of her when I wear it. I think together these bracelets make a pretty good #armparty. It is important that both your cattle and you look good at the cattle show.

And let's not forget about the giveaway winner. 

Selected at random congrats to Angie! Angie shoot me an email at and we'll get you your prize. 

Thanks to everyone that entered, and Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication for providing the bracelet. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

America Needs Farmers

American Needs Farmers, there probably isn't a truer statement. I've been familiar with the the ANF phrase for awhile. Curiosity got me a few years ago when I had seen ANF on the Iowa Football team's helmets. ANF originated in 1985. Head Coach Hayden Frye and the Iowa Hawkeyes were on a seven game win streak, yet farmers and ranchers were in a tough situation. Crippling economic times were forcing farmers to sell land and livestock that had been apart of the family farm for generations. Nearly 20,000 farms went under in Iowa, 235,000 farms nationwide.

Hayden decided that he wanted to sent a message of support to those farmers, and the ANF logo was placed on the teams helmets. With the Hawkeyes having one of their best seasons ever ANF was given national spotlight.

the Hawkeyes helmet
Today the American Needs Farmers saying is just as relevant. The Boy and I are really lucky. Our families have had a relatively good year. Cattle prices are high and so are corn prices. However, on the other hand inputs (gas, fertilizer, hay, grain, seed) are also sky rocketing in price. It is taking more money to make money, and we are lucky ones. To the south ranchers are being forced to sell thousands of head of cattle because the drought has turned fields of grass into dirt. There is no feed for the cattle so they must be sold. To the north massive flooding as put some farmer's crops under 30 feet of water. They say much of the Missouri River flood waters won't recede until Christmas time.

Add on top of that the pressures by groups like HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) and PETA who's goals are to end animal agriculture. Each day they use their multi-million dollar budgets to try and change policy that will make it harder for farms to stay in business. (p.s. HSUS doesn't own a single animal shelter and only spends less than half of one percent of its budget on animal shelters.)

The Iowa Farm Bureau has teamed up with Iowa to bring back ANF. I was excited when I saw their display at the Iowa State Fair, and I will definitely be purchasing an American Needs Farmers T-shirt for my first Iowa vs. Iowa State game this fall. Don't worry my heart still bleeds purple for my Wildcats.

In the coming weeks I'll be sharing some more information with you on the American Needs Farmers campaign. I mean combining college football and farming doesn't really get much better. And stay tuned for more Iowa State Fair posts, the Boy and I are showing his Hereford heifers this morning. Finally, don't forget today is the last day to enter my bracelet giveaway. Hope you all had a great weekend.

The Iowa Farm Bureau America Needs Farmers banners.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fried Butter On-A-Stick Iowa State Fair


Yes, you read that right. To commemorate the 100th year of the Butter Cow you will now be able to purchase some Fried Butter On-A-Stick at the Iowa State Fair. You can read all about the new foods that will be debuting at the Iowa State Fair here or you can watch the video.

I'm actually on my way to the State Fair right now. The Boy has got three Hereford Heifers on the stock trailer. So, if you are wandering around the grounds and make your way over to the Hereford Barns look for JJB Cattle Co and come say hello. Check back next week to hear the results and see pictures from the show. In the meantime you can read what I had to say about my first Iowa State Fair experience last year.

Dana (yes I named her after one of my friends) is one of the heifers that we'll be showing. Wish her luck!

And don't forget to enter my giveaway that is currently going on here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Turquoise Thursday - A Sophisticated Giveaway

Who wants a bracelet?

Alysson over at Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication is my new Instagram friend. I love her fashion sense, and she makes these great bracelets.

I think they are a cute mix between the bracelets you and your best friends made at summer camp and lady like elegance. Plus, I love her turquoise option!

Currently, her bracelets range in price from $20-$36, and she takes her orders off of her facebook page while she is working on getting her etsy store up.

Aren't they cute. I really like that electric green one too. 

She is the ultimate pro at stacking jewelry. I think the new term is #armparty

Aren't these turquoise cross bracelets awesome.

Alysson has graciously offered one of her bracelets in a Crystal Cattle giveaway. Here's the plan. You must follow my blog and leave a comment below for each entry. 

For additional entries follow Crystal Cattle on facebook - and leave a comment here saying you are
Follow Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication on facebook and leave a comment here saying you are
Follow Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication's blog and leave a comment here saying you are
Tweet or post about this contest and leave a comment here saying that you have

It is easiest if you leave a comment for each thing you have done. Good luck. Entries will close Monday, August 15 at midnight, and I'll announce the winner Tuesday.

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