Monday, April 29, 2013

What's that smell

On April Fool's Day the Calgary Stampede played a little trick via their Facebook page.

In our ongoing efforts to create a stronger bond between urban and rural Alberta, the Calgary Stampede will begin our new Rural Scent Program (RSP) this week.
Over the past year, the Stampede has been working with university researchers to perfect a series of 12 authentic fragrances that capture the essence of southern Alberta agriculture operations.
On the first Thursday of each month the Stampede will fog one of the scents from high atop the Grandstand. And Calgarians will be transported to the farm.

Depending on wind and weather conditions we expect residents from Varsity to Lynnwood and Lakeview to Temple to enjoy the tempting scents. On a good day the effect of RSP may reach the airport – creating an authentic western welcome for tourists and those southern Albertans returning home.

At first I thought this sounded pretty cool. Yes, not all smells from the farm are ideal. Manure smells. There is no getting around it. But fresh cut hay, a newly plowed field, silage (a wet grain/hay mixture we feed to cattle), a newly opened bag of mineral are amazing smells. Yes, I can show you through pictures and video what the farm looks and sounds like but it is hard to capture the smell through this blog.

I began to read through the list of smells the Calgary Stampede would be using in their Rural Scent Program. They included damp straw, ripe farm hand, barn manure and turkey farm among others. Wait a minute if I live on a farm and am not entirely found of these smells why would I want to force people living in urban areas to deal with them. Oh wait - April Fools.

Maybe having this scent technology wouldn't be so bad. That way I could share all the wonderful farm smells with you to compensate with those sometimes not too pleasant scents that like to drift in the wind.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Why I Blog

One of the bloggers I follow, Blonde Ambition, decided to have little link up as to Why I blog.

I guess I do it for a variety of reasons. With my family and friends being spread all over the county, and in a second county, it is a way for them to get a little glimpse into our lives. Sometimes during those phone conversations you forget to share the small details of daily life, on my blog you get to see and hear about those events. Even our grandparents get on our blog to read about what we have been up to!

It's funny when you run into people and they ask you about something going on in your life, and you say to yourself, "I didn't think I had told them about that, oh right they probably read it on the blog."

The Boy and I on our way to have supper at his mom and dad's house. I brought Raspberry Yogurt Cake and will have the recipe posted soon!

I also blog because not everyone gets to live on a farm and be involved in raising their own food. I hope you enjoy the pictures of the baby calves, the corn and our daily life on a farm. And I hope you feel comfortable if you have a question about your food or farming that you'll ask.

Wearing my hot pink J.Crew shirt to do a little farm work. 

As proven by pictures like these J.Crew and farming can mix. And just because I love the farm and our cattle doesn't mean that I can't have a love for MAC make-up, heels and fashion.

p.s. this was last summer, and that corn is in some serious need of moisture. I also can't believe how  much longer my hair is right now!

How about you, why do you blog? Or maybe why do you love reading blogs (feel free to share some of your favorite ones with me. I love finding new ones). If you decided to share why you blog today be sure to link up with Blonde Ambition. Thanks for reading and have a great Friday! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Turquoise Thursday: Turquoise Sandals

This spring has been long. Wayyyyy too long. All I want is a little sunshine because people are starting to get a little grouchy.

These are the reasons we need sunshine.
1. We've been getting moisture (which we really do need, it is still very dry) but we need some heat to get this grass growing. Our cows are very tired of eating hay, and it is very expensive for the Boy and I to keep on buying hay to feed our cows.

2. The soil temperature is hovering around 42 degrees, and we need it to be 55 degrees before we can plant corn. According to Farm Journal only 4% of what was expected to be planted at this point is actually in the ground. Sunshine and a warm wind will help that temperature rise, otherwise we'll be planting corn that has mittens on it.

3. Yes, I love my Frye tall boots, but want to wear some sandals. And I refuse to be one of those girls that freezes for fashion. Come out sun so I can show off my toes.

While waiting for the sun to appear I found a few options.

How cute are these leopard and turquoise sandals from Chic Wish. Bad news they are out of stock. That wasn't very nice of me to get you all excited was it. Good news there is a similar pair that comes in a really cute neon yellow

Now here is a really cute pair you can buy, and I did. I ordered these DV by Dolce Vita Archer sandals from the other day, and I was able to use a coupon to knock a few bucks off. They should be arriving next week and I can't wait to get them. 

While on I also saw these great beaded sandals again from DV by Dolce Vita. They have some great options this year. p.s. I love because they have free shipping and returns. 

Finally, check out these cute sandals that Southern Jewlz just got in. I love the tribal look of them. 

Now for something that it is a little off the topic of turquoise. I have to say that I love everyone who has been sending me pictures of their new Erin Condren Life Planners. Looks like after my blog post lots of you got the itch. If you ordered one and I haven't seen a picture yet get it up on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and  tag @crystalcattle so I can see a picture. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

My #FarmVoice Celebrates Earth Day

There are a bunch of people celebrating Earth Day today. I don't know if this day feels any different than most to me, and I try and respect the land (which in my case includes pasture and farm ground) everyday. That's because I am a farmer. And when you sign up to be a farmer you are also signing up to be responsible for the land and the animals on it.

Farm On has been asking farmers to share their stories using the hashmark #FarmVoices. If you are on Twitter, Instagram or Vine check out the great posts from people around the world.

I've been using the #FarmVoices hashtag for a while now and thought I would share with you a couple videos and photos from our farm.

(To hear sound hover your mouse over the top lefthand corner of the video and a little sound button will appear. Click on that.)

I call this steer Big Ben because 1. he is bigger than all the other steers, and 2. he is really gentle. Our steers are getting close to the end of their lives. Since this fall they have been eating lots of corn and getting really fat. Soon it will be time to harvest them. We feed them corn twice a day. However, during the day they like to stick their heads in the hay ring or lounge around. Below is a picture of them from this weekend.

These same steers and the bull on the other side of the fence were a little restless this week so the Boy and I had some fence fixing to do. It is amazing all the farmgirl things you can do in a hot pink J. Crew shirt.

And finally, I had to go back in time a little bit and show you this video of a brand new baby calf. It is pretty cool to watch these little guys be born. We only have one cow left to calf. All the babies and their moms have been moved out to the big pasture. They are wanting that combination of sun and moisture as much as I am, as they are ready to start eating some green grass!

Happy Earth Day to you all, and remember to thank a farmer for taking care of the land everyday.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Turquoise Thursday: C. Wonder

Thanks to Pinterst I came across an awesome brand called C. Wonder. Has anyone of you heard of them before, and perhaps I am just way behind the times? They have everything from cute clothes to great home accessories. Plus they are having a 30% off sale right now!

It may surprise you, but I have yet to buy a pair of turquoise skinny jeans. It's not that I don't want a pair, but it's getting close to summer and that means I will pretty much be living in company logo shirts, jeans and my boots. Turquoise skinny jeans don't quite fit into the look the company is going for. However, with these skinny jeans being priced at $64.99 and another 30% off, it is going to be hard to pass. They also have a really pretty coral color. 

I love this Enamel Initial Bangle. However, unless your name starts with a K or O you are going to have to settle for another color. I am really tempted to buy the B for Blin as it comes in hot pink. 

Can you see the arm party forming. This Frosted Bling Bracelet is really cute, but I might have to wait for it to go on sale at $48. Again, it comes in a couple other color options. 

I know it isn't turquoise but it is one of my other favorite colors. I love this Round Stone Bling Necklace. I bought a really cute strapless black dress at J.Crew for one of the eight weddings we'll be attending this summer. That's right - attending! That doesn't include the two that we aren't going to make it to. 

Check out these pillows! I think they scream summer. I can see myself hanging out on our porch surrounded by these bright turquoise pillows. In both these designs they have option in pink and orange. 

Ok who is going shopping? I love when I run into readers or when people drop me a line letting them know they did a little shopping from by posts. Happy Turquoise Thursday. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

GMOs are Unnatural

GMOs - now there is a touchy subject. I kind of wonder why it is such a touchy subject. Maybe it is because people feel so strongly that they should have a choice about what they put into their bodies. However, if they feel so strongly about choices shouldn't I have the choice to eat as much GMO food I want? I also feel strongly that if we can feed more people, more efficiently on that land that we have (we can't make more land to grow more) I feel that the usage of biotechnology is smart. I know there is way more too it, but today thanks to an awesome blogger named Meg (The Beef Jar), I found this article called GMOs are Unnatural? And Other Thoughts on Biotech by Fourat Janabi.

The blog is quite long but I would encourage you all to read it. The following three paragraphs by Fourat Janabi really hit home with me.

Since 1961, we’ve increased yield by 300% using only 12% more land. How? We used technology to make drastically increase yield and avert the predicted disaster of Ehrlich and many others. Said differently, if we kept farming organically, mass famine would have ensued. Without such yield increases thanks to plant science, we would have had to use two Latin America’s of arable land to compensate, or, more likely, the predicted mass starvation would have occurred. If in the 1960s when the world population was less than 3 billion people, the propagation of organic farming as the sole agricultural method would have resulted in disaster, how it will help us now when we are 7 billion people and on the way to 9-10 billion people? The majority of that increase in yield has come from plain ol’ conventional agriculture, but now our yields are coming up against a glass wall for that type of plant science, and GE foods are the next process to take us forward to surmount the coming set of problems. And, while we still have a starving billion today, it is not because we can’t create the food, but we can’t get it to them. The solution to world hunger is for those most afflicted by it to be able to grow their own food, instead of relying on food aid and handouts as band aids applied to a broken bone. Organic farming will not suffice for Sub-Saharan Africa; they need heat-tolerant and drought-resistant strains. (They already don’t have any biotechnology or conventional agriculture, ergo, organic farming, which is what remains, has failed them.)

We need to stop pretending that only Big Ag and Monsanto lobbies, undercuts, and undermines democracy; the organic movement spends $2.5 billion a year on advocacy. We need to stop thinking that Monsanto is after world domination: the global GM seed market in 2012 was $14 billion (world GDP is $70 trillion–world domination with 0.0002% of the purchasing power of the planet), while organic food sales are $60 billion worldwide. (The total value of those GM crops when harvested was around $65 billion.) We need to know that all farms strive to use the least amount of pesticides required, as it is their biggest expense, and that synthetic chemicals are nota priori worse than organic chemicals, in fact, quite the opposite. In other words, we need to get real, and deal with the facts as they are, not as we want them to be.

Whatever is the case, we need to realize that feeding 7 billion, let alone 9 to 10 billion people in the near future, isn’t going to be easy. If it fits on a Facebook photo as a caption, you can rest assured it will solve nothing. This post is 4,600 words long and is barely scratching the surface. Some silly shared photo on Facebook demonizing Monsanto or chemical use not only shows you things out of context, they detract from the conversations we should be having. 

 This probably isn't going to solve anything. 

Like I said I really hope you will read the entire article and perhaps share with it others. I firmly believe that whether you want GMOs in your family's home or not they are important part of our food system. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Picture of Health

Since January I am have been going to a Yoga/Pilates class. The class is offered three times a week, I set my goals at twice a week, however I did make it three times once, and often I don't make it there at all (especially when I am traveling). I definitely feel stronger and I think a few pounds have maybe come off. Ideally I would like my arms to be stronger, middle tighter and legs not to jiggle so much but I think I am doing OK. Especially, when you consider I ate the breakfast of champions on our way to judge showmanship at a cattle show in Minnesota this weekend.

This is what I call breakfast of champions. This is not a daily thing, or even weekly, but if we are headed to cattle show bright and early, and we make a stop at a gas station, this is what I'm getting. 

Today in class we were working with the balance balls. I'm not sure if that is the correct name for them, but they are big balls that you can balance on and do a variety of moves with. One of the most challenging moves is when we have to knee on the ball, feet off the floor and sit up tall, and put your hands out. It's taken me since January but I've mastered it. There is also an older gentlemen in our class. He's got to be 70. He wears jeans, a long sleeve button up, and tennis shoes to every class and can't understand why most of us would want to go barefoot. I love watching him or more listening. He grunts and groans and is not nearly as flexible as he probably once was, but he shows up to class. Today he also mastered the kneeling thing on the ball. I would say he is the picture of health. Not as slim as could be and the muscle definition might not be there but he's mastered one of the toughest moves in the class. I hope to be like him when I am that age. 

One last note. Today in class I wore my God Made a Farmer/Stockshow Kid shirt that I received from Stockshow Confidential.  One of the ladies behind me commented on how much she loved reading the back of my shirt in class. It made me smile. A good workout, people loving farmers and sunshine - that is a pretty good way to start off a Monday! I hope you have a fantastic week. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Erin Condren Instagram Planner

I used to be a huge planner gal. In college without my planner I wouldn't have remembered to each lunch. OK maybe that is a stretch, I never seem to have a problem with skipping meals. However, post college I stopped using one and I figured I could just keep everything organized on my phone. Nope, I tried. I needed a planner.

Then I saw the one of my Instagram friends post a really cool picture of this thing called the Erin Condren Life Planner. Sounded perfect. I ordered it, and told people about my fancy new discovery. Turns out I was behind the times Erin Condren Life Planners are all the rage!

I went with the collage design because you can upload your Instagram pictures. Now one matter is I am working at home or on the road I'll have my favorite things with me.

There is lots of room for all the stuff that happens during the week. 

And the month calendar has a ton of space too. 

Plus, it comes with stickers! The are two pages of the rectangular sticker already included with the planner, and then you can add the round Instagram stickers for an extra charge. 

Do you have a planner you love? I used to be a big Franklin Covery gal. From a having enough room to get everything wrote down I think both planners are comparable, but I like the design aspects of Erin Condren a lot better. If you are thinking about ordering a planner follow this link and you'll get $10 off of your order! -

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Wedding: A year later

Can you believe that a year has flown by? Today the Boy and I are celebrating our one year wedding anniversary. I really couldn't be married to a better guy. There is no way I would be who I am, where I am, or as happy as I am without him (awwww). A lot of my friends are getting married right now and I have to say the best thing about getting married is that you know you will always have someone to back you up, support you and be there for you no matter or trying or glorious a situation it is.

I wanted to share a few more pictures from our big day. If you are looking for a wedding photographer you have to check out La Brisa Photography. We were so lucky to have Chris and B be apart of our day. Recently B moved to Hawaii and is branching out with her own business Just B. Both will travel no matter where you ask them to, and by the time the day is over you'll feel like they are lifelong friends of yours.

It was a little rainy the day of our wedding, but thankfully we had our barn for pictures.

My best ladies.

His best men.

Sealed the deal. 

A pretty sharp looking group.

We had no idea where this pretty umbrella came from until months after the wedding. It was one of my bridesmaids!

First dance, with one of our little wedding guests looking on.

Still this happy today. 

To read more about the details of our wedding just out the Wedding Style tab. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Where in the world is Crystal Cattle

Did you think I fell off the face of the Earth? Shipped back to Canada? Swallowed by one of the mud holes in our pasture? Nope, I just disappeared from the blog a little because things have been busy!

A made a little 13 day trip to Oklahoma City for the World's Largest Youth Livestock Show. More than 14,000 of lambs, pigs, goats and cows were there being showing by 4-H and FFA members. And no I did not wear these shoes to the barn. However, in-between all that fun at the livestock show I did do go shopping! I can't wait to show you all my finds including these Jessica Simpson Snake-Print Heels. My fashionista friend, Catie and I had to build a whole outfit around these heels! 

While in Oklahoma I also celebrated my 28th birthday. I have some amazing girls friends in Oklahoma that treated me to a birthday night of fun. However, when I got back the boy surprised me and we headed to Dubuque, Iowa, for an overnight trip at Hotel Julien. It was fantastic. I mean when they give you a little banana bread to go after supper I say winning! But that wasn't the end of all the fun. The Boy also had a complete spa morning book for me at Potosa Spa. Best facial I have ever had.

My mom and dad sent this awesome bulb garden from as an Easter/early anniversary gift. I have always wanted to plant some tulips, and this is getting me off the the right start. When the planter arrived the sprouts were just above the dirt. They are now huge, and trust me my thumb is not that green. 

Things have also been busy on the farm. This straw used to contain frozen bull semen, before it was used to artificially inseminate (A.I.) one of our cows named Teardrop (mother of Parker). We are super ovulating the cow to produce multiple eggs. Then the eggs are fertilized by A.I., and on Monday we will flush those eggs out of her ovaries. This is all done by a veterinarian. Those eggs can then be frozen and implanted into other cows. Very similar to when a women who can't get pregnant has some one else carry her baby. Except in our case we are doing these to propagate more desirable genetics from the donor cow. Clear as mud?

Finally, I snuck away last night when the boy was at bowling to buy some fabric for a secret project. I'll show you the finished results later on. I did learn a couple things. 1. I love fabric! 2. It is expensive. I can only image how much is cost to make a quilt. 

I hope you are all doing fantastic. Even though I haven't been blogging I have still been trying to read some of your posts and keep my Facebook and Instagram feeds going. 

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