Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sweet Sunday: 2 Corinthians 5:7

I can't believe I have had my blog for 10 months and failed to post this verse. When I was thinking about an appropriate verse this morning, I came across this and knew it was perfect.

It is the season. The season of change. It's the time of year when everyone gets ready to go back to school, mainly to college. Or maybe you're one of those people, like my brother, who can't make up their mind and wait until the last minute to decide on where to attend college. Potentially, you're like me and are beginning life post-college. Either way, a lot of big changes are coming about.

Looking back on my life, I can honestly say my college experience was ALL about walking by faith and not by sight. I thought I would go to A&M, the Lord lead me to Butler. I thought I would still go to A&M after Butler, I went to Texas Tech. I thought I would attend law school, the Lord sent me to Kansas State graduate school. But first with a quick internship at the State Fair of Texas. Pretty much every plan I have ever had, the Lord smiled and sent me in a totally different direction.

Hint: it was terrifying. I had NO idea I would end up attending two schools in Kansas! Or West Texas, which is basically it's own state. At first, I didn't think I would have the talent or ability or confidence to complete judging on a collegiate level. But the Lord had other plans.

After mulling over my last four years where I trekked along the Lord's path, I can honestly say they were the most rewarding four years. I can't imagine attending school or loving life any more than I did at Butler or Texas Tech. I have left these schools with more than just a degree, but instead with resounding Christ-based friendships and life long memories.

Did I think I would ever end up where I did? Not in a million years. No really. I NEVER wanted to attend Texas Tech. But, I did. And, I loved it.

My point is: following the Lord's plan IS best. He knows the plan for our lives and He knows what is best. So to all those who are starting a new chapter or trying to find your way, lean on the Lord. Then, trust Him.

I need this so much as well! Tomorrow I begin my internship with the State Fair of Texas!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Farm Fact Friday ~ Boy or Girl ~ Cattle

Today's Farm Fact Friday edition is all about the naming system! Of course cattle can be boys or girls and it's important to call them the correct title. So, off we go!

First off, just like a dog would be a "canine", farm animals have scientific names as well.
Cattle are termed: bovine.

Let's start with cattle: a baby is called a "calf".

A baby is either a female: heifer....meaning she has not had her first calf....

....or the baby is a male: bull.

As they grow, their 'titles' will change. A female will no longer be a heifer after she has her first calf, she will then become: a cow.

A male, however, will stay a bull all of his life. Unless he is castrated, meaning he is unable to be used for breeding purposes. If castrated, he will become: a steer.

And, that's pretty much it for cattle! Stay tuned for next week's Farm Fact Friday edition: naming sheep!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Farms: The Abuse of Children

Recently, I was reading some blogs and websites of organizations and individuals that oppose farmers. These websites have "facts" that are outrageous. Luckily, these facts have "sources" attached....that link back to their own website. Anyway, it's humorous to me, and gives me ideas for my blogs. And let me tell you what. I am fired up.

There was a sentence on one of the websites (which no I will not link to their website) that stated:

"Farmers are awful people that often take advantage of underage children, often their own, forcing them into a life of work and learning of inhumane ways."

Let me tell you something. With the exception of the "inhumane ways" addition, that statement is damn true and I am darn proud of it.

Yes, growing up on a farm my parents made me work. The second I could walk I was carrying bottles to baby calves, mending fence before grade school, and could deliver a baby calf before middle school. I was driving a tractor long before I was legal to drive, and no, I've never once been paid money for all my work.

I've stood embarrassed at the edge of the elementary school as my dad pulled up in a farm truck with a trailer load of cattle leaving poop in our school parking lot. I've begged to have a family vacation that was always denied with the reason "we can't leave the farm that long". I've worked cows in the sun so long I've been sunburned an uncountable amount, and have an almost permanent 'farmers tan'.

Yes, my parents made my brother and I work. No questions asked. And know what happened? Character. 

The daunting task of feeding calves EVERY SINGLE night taught me responsibility. 
The unforgiving smell of manure on my tennis shoes in math class taught me humility.
The field full of hay bales that had to be loaded on a trailer then unloaded in a barn taught me work ethic.
The stubbornness of cattle not wanting to move pens taught me the value of team work.
Newborn calves born in the snow who just didn't want to eat taught me gentle patience.
Sorting 2,000 pound bulls before I got into kindergarten taught me courage.
And, at the end of the day, the sunset beaming streams of warmth down on a green field full of cows taught me happiness.

Growing up on a farm, children are able to learn valuable character traits that are becoming a rarity in today's society. Out here not everyone is a winner, not every harsh truth is shielded from our innocent minds, and to earn something you have to first work for it.

Additionally, I would also like to point out that the same websites that claim "underage working abuse" also claim farmers and ranchers are cruel to their animals. Somehow I fail to see the connection considering we were all taking care of animals.

It was the way things were done. We were all needed to take care of our animals and ensure that each animal was well taken care of. Our animals were, and still are, given precedence over our own comfort. Farmers and ranchers love their animals, love their profession, and have a passion for cows, and a passion for passing it on to the next generation. In fact, of the 97% of family-owned farms in America, over half have been in the family for more than three generations. As a fifth-generation farmer, I can attest to the fact that farming is in our blood.

In any light, however, my conclusion is this: yes, as a child I was forced to work on my family's farm. Looking back I wouldn't have it any other way.

And one day I hope to raise my children the exact same way.

Farm Fact Friday ~ Beef or Dairy?

So in response to some questions I've had recently, I will try to up my Farm Fact Friday blog editions! Today's topic: the difference between a beef cow and a dairy cow. How are they the same? How are they different?

First, the similarities. Well, obviously they're both "cows". They have the same body type, meaning they have the same type of stomach and digestive system. As silly as it sounds, most animals actually do have different stomach systems, this is geared towards their diets. So, when you hear "cows eat lots of corn" well, it is because they have a stomach system geared towards breaking down a lot of starch.

Cows actually have 4 chambers to their stomach (in order): rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum. The rumen compartment is a giant fermentation vat, essentially, that breaks down food and transforms something humans can't eat (grass) into a nutritious, delicious product we can eat: beef! I hope you feel a little smarter - definitely a healthy dose of science today!

So, now the differences. As nicely and simply as I can put it: a beef cow is a cow that produces calves that will go into food consumption. The beef cow herself will produce one baby every year. She will live in a pasture and simply be responsible for taking care of her body condition and feeding a growing calf for 6 months. Those calves, mainly the males, will be fed a special, nutritious diet geared for them to grow and produce beef after they are weaned from their mothers.

Beef cows, naturally, have more "beef". They are a stouter kind of cattle that have more muscling. Some popular beef breeds are:





Dairy cows are totally different. Dairy cows produce calves every year, but they don't have the mothering instinct that beef cows do. Dairy cows will typically have a baby then enter the milk production cycle. Naturally they produce a lot of milk and they like to spend their time lounging around and giving milk - dairy cows like a routine! Dairy cows produce milk that will make "dairy" products like milk, cheese, sour cream, and ice cream.

A few popular dairy breeds include:




Brown Swiss

Here's a couple more pictures...can you tell if it is a dairy cow or beef cow? Have a great weekend!