Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It all starts with a conversation.......

I have this horrible habit of getting the local newspaper out of the mailbox, scanning the front page for anything that looks interesting, and then throwing it away.  Rarely do i move past the front page.  I love the nostalgia of getting the paper in print and cant come to terms with switching to an online subscription.   A couple weeks ago I called my dad to ask him a quick question and at the end of our conversation he quickly threw in "hey be sure to look at the newspaper tonight in the page of opinion section."  My instant response is.......why?  He chuckles and says "oh it will just get your blood boiling."

I went home that evening, grabbed the newspaper, and quickly turned to the public forum section.  Inside was an article from a local lady with a clear passion and concern for food.  With the title of her article being "Avoid GMO's: Choose organic, chemical-free foods."  While I didn't allow myself to get worked up, I more so just felt bad that this lady had been clearly filled with false information.  Many of her claims and concerns were just not the truth.

While I sat there going over my options of rebuttal it quickly dawned on me that writing an article in the paper to clear up her claims wasn't really getting to the root of the issue.  I quickly turned to social media to seek out this lady.  I sometimes forget that not everyone in rural america understands agriculture and all that is entailed.  I sink into the thought of the "city people" are the only ones that don't get it.  But here is a lady that lives out in god's country of rural america.   I went to Facebook first and quickly found her and sent her a message.  It went like this.....

To my excitement she responded!  We set up a time to chat and I waited.....patiently......  While trying to decide my plan of attack I quickly realized I needed to go into this convo with no agenda to shove research at her.  For all she knew, her info was the correct info.  Their is no good ending to a research war.  

As I spoke to the woman that following Saturday I opened the conversation by saying that I grew up in Ag, currently work in the seed industry, and would love to be a local resource for her to ask questions if she had any concerns.  While their was hesitation at first it didn't take long for her to open up and the questions just started flowing.  We discussed everything from gmos's, organic, spraying roundup on wheat, farm subsidies, and health issues.   She was shocked to hear that organic used pesticides and wasn't "chemical free".  She didn't realize that 80% of the farm budget went to food stamps and that every farmer didn't receive over $500,000 in subsidies.  (Wouldn't that be nice though!)  She was also surprised to learn that not all wheat in the US, actually very little, is sprayed with glyphosate pre harvest.

After over an hour of talking we found that we are both very interested in learning more about canning and she gave me tips on dealing with renters (as we now have a rental house) because she currently works in that area.  She even asked me to send her articles on the studies of gmo's because she said she clearly isn't able to find enough credible information.

I was extremely pleased with our conversation and we will be staying in touch and sharing information.  It quickly made me realize how far I have come in my agvocacy journey.  At the beginning I used to get so mad and quickly lash back with research and information instead of listening to the real concerns.  We are all human and sometimes all it takes is finding common interests that builds a little bit of trust and people will open up and actually listen to what you have to say.

Happy National Ag Day friends!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The #Underdog

If you have followed along here for any period of time, you have probably noticed my dislike for mainstream country radio.  All (or most I should say) artists sound the same on the radio these days.  The men of country music or "bro country" as it's called, sure don't do it like Willie, Waylon, or Johnny used to, that's for sure!  It is hard to find a song on the radio that tells a story outside of chicks on a tailgate in shorts drinking beer.  Sad.

That is why many years ago I started listening to Texas Country, (also referred to as red dirt music).  I was instantly hooked!  They all have such a unique voice and most of them write their own music.  That is definitely a rarity in mainstream country music anymore.  One of my favorite artists is the extremely talented Aaron Watson.  He is a man that definitely sticks to his roots and beliefs and you can hear it in his music.  If you follow him for even a short period of time, you can tell instantly that his faith and his family are most important to him.

A couple weeks ago Aaron's latest album The Underdog debuted.  To everyone, except his fans, surprise it quickly rose to the top of the country music charts.  Like the charts that Jason Aldean and that boy band Florida Georgia Line are a part of.  Their is no better way to describe it than how Rolling Stone put it:

 "For the second week in a row, America's top-selling country record isn't a big budget release by Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert or any of the usual suspects. It's Aaron Watson's The Underdog, an independent album released without the help of a traditional record label or a national radio campaign."

His album title and the outcome are so fitting.  The Underdog.  It got me thinking a lot about the Ag industry and how their is a crazy correlation between the two.  Many times I feel like Ag is the underdog even though our time and effort is spent trying to feed the millions and billions of people around this world.......irony?  We have so many groups and activists that want to shut us down or end our practices, but we keep trudging along with our heads high because we love what we do and understand the importance.

What do you feel like the underdog in but your passion just won't let you give up?  Aaron Watson is the perfect example of why you should never give up and keep following your goals and dreams.  You have got to check out this album and take a listen.  You won't be disappointed!   

Good Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Breaking up with the Nutritionist

My thyroid doctor thought it would be a good idea to have me sit down with the nutritionist in the office.  She said it was just to get some ideas about what is good for the thyroid and what is bad for the thyroid.  I hesitantly agreed and off to group nutrition class I went.

As we sat down in the group setting, with other people experiencing thyroid issues just as myself, this nutritionist began to tell her story.  In the middle of her "speech" I noticed her quote the book The Wheat Belly.  In my daze of boredom I quickly perked up to catcher telling the group that the wheat we eat has been genetically modified and that is why our bodies do not accept it like it used to......

Hold it right there!  As my face turned red and my heartbeat started going faster and faster I kindly raised my hand and asked her to please share her source for genetically modified wheat.   She looked at me dumbfounded.  I kindly explained to her that there is no genetically modified wheat being sold in the United States.  For some reason she had a hard time believing me until another farm woman spoke up and said "no she is right".  The nutritionist then went on to ask well why doesn't wheat look the same as it did 100 years ago........

Head to desk.  Myself and the other woman explained that with breeding we are able to control height and other features that work with the different environments and equipment being used today.  I asked her to please stop saying that it was genetically modified as she is putting a bad perception into the minds of these people she is talking it is just not the truth.  Her answer: "well I will have to look into it."    Classic.

Next on our list was meat.  Of course she tells us that we should really chose Organic meat as it is a healthier choice to make.  That is when I about walked out and she lost all credibility with me.  How do you sit and tell a group of women that they should choose organic because it is healthier without sourcing your claim.  Also, is that fair to the other women?  If I were a mom on a budget and just couldn't afford organic, that may make me feel as though I am supplying an inferior product to my children.   That is not ok!  Show the choices and leave your fear mongering out of it!!!!!!!

 I left that day angry, confused, and disappointed.  It quickly made me realize how so many people become so misinformed.  These people came to this group meeting to gain information from someone that is looked at as a professional in her field.   This is the kind of information they are walking away with.  Sad.........

We walk into a meeting expecting to hear factual information from someone that many may see as an "expert".  Instead we get very biased and false information.  I would expect professionals to show the choices out there and let the consumer do the choosing instead of fearing them into a choice.  If I wouldn't have known better, there would have been no reason why I wouldn't have taken what she said as the truth and made those lifestyle changes.

It really made me realize the importance of not taking everything at face value.  While we may be seeing experts in a certain profession it is always important to keep asking questions and maybe get a second opinion.

And that my friends is why I broke up with the nutritionist

Good Day!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

From Chris Kyle to Temple Grandin and the controversies in between

Sometimes I like to sit back and just read my facebook and twitter feeds without getting involved, posting, or commenting.  I just sit there and read.  Read what people like, what people share, what people post.  It is very astounding to me at times.  I sometimes worry about the future of america after doing this.  I mean there is a lot of crazy out there.

This week has been quite the week of controversy in the social media outlets.  The hottest subjects scrolling down the media pipelines in my small world have been about Chris Kyle with the movie American Sniper coming out and Temple Grandin receiving the Distinguished Service to Agriculture award from the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Both of these are quite interesting to me in the controversy they are creating.  First of all lets start with Chris Kyle.  A couple hollywood celebs voiced their opinions of the movie American Sniper in a not so favorable fashion.  I don't even know how one begins to slam a veteran and then is able to sleep at night?  I truly feel that if you don't respect those fighting for your freedom oversees then the gates are open for you to kindly leave.  Unless you have actually spent some time in the battle fields you really have no ground to even start to disrespect anyone in the military.  That's just my opinion......

You can get a lil idea of the comments made here.  Some other celebs quickly took to social media to defend those one of my favorite country music stars mostly for his lack of a filter

 Next up in the ole interwebs controversy is Temple Grandin.  I've always been inspired by her work in the cattle industry and was fortunate enough to listen to her speak a couple of times.  I think that she is a very honest lady that brings tough issues to the forefront and isn't afraid to speak her mind. She is well known for her cattle handling systems and designing slaughter house facilities.  It was mentioned by some in the Ag industry that she is our own worst enemy and doesn't use scientific evidence to support some of her claims but uses emotion instead.

One of those claims being that in "dairy cattle we are breeding for production and compromising feet and legs and animals are getting too big.  Too many lame cows entering slaughter houses."  First I don't think this is just a dairy issue.  I think all species are bred for production....right?   I also don't think production breeding is 100% correlated to feet and leg problems.  I think that is also a management issue.  You need to evaluate the animal as a whole and while your emphasis may be on production, you need to correct feet and leg issues as well.  Obviously if you want a cow to milk it needs to make it to the parlor.  You can have high production cows that have great feet and legs.  The question is how do you get all producers to equally focus on feet and legs as well as production?

Not to stir up a big debate here but I think a lot of issues come from the show ring.  For dairy they want huge open ribbed cows.  That is not economical for a production facility.  Look at the club calf industry.....Who Made Who....hello?  That bull had the worst feet and legs but was used because 1 out of 25 calves was kickass.  I see so many steers come out of the club calf program post legged and hardly able to walk.  You don't see many people breeding for good females out of club calf bulls do you?  These animals will not survive in a production environment.

One of the important things I think we need to remember is that she is well respected by the large slaughter and packer facilities and the USDA. While some claim not all of her statements are scientific base but emotion based is this really hurting the industry?  With a society that is very emotionally based when it comes to food choices, isn't this something we should embrace instead of attack?  I mean if you can't connect with people on a scientific level but you have someone in the industry that can connect on an emotional level are we really that bad off?  Livestock don't lead their lives by what is scientifically correct.....they do what is comfortable.   I mean lets be real....a woman that can rock those awesome outfits can't be so bad in my book. :)

What are your thoughts on these matters?  I would love to hear!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Christmas Beauty Swap

I don't know about you but I feel the week of Christmas through the New Year is pretty much a marathon.  You split your time between your 10 family gatherings all while trying to not gain 15 pounds.  I mean you have to at least eat something at every gathering right? I tend to always end up at the desert

In all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays I totally forgot to share my post of one of my favorite parties in the social media world.  Crystal Cattle has a beauty swap multiple times a year and they are pretty much the greatest thing ever.   You get to meet new ladies and try out new makeup.  What really could be better than that?  Nothing!

This time I was paired up with the lovely Jill Harvie.  She is an awesome cattle woman from Canada.

Jill sent me an item that was tried and true, one she just started using, and one she was going to try new with me also!  Such a great idea!

1.  Her tried and true: Maybelline Colorsensation Lip Liner Clear  For you women out there that wear bright lipsticks this is your saving grace!  It keeps your color form smearing all over your face.  You know what I'm talking about!

2. Her recently started: Loreal Linear Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner  I love liquid eye liners and have used the one from MAC for many years.  This one has great reviews and I can't wait to give it a try!

3. New to us both: Covergirl Blastflipstick Lipstick in Smooch  This color is amazing.  It has a dark and light to give and ombre effect.  If you put the lighter in the middle and darker on the sides it makes your lips look fuller.

Follow the links to get these great items for yourself.  You won't be disappointed!

I hope you all had a great holiday and your new year is starting off with a bang!!


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Christmas in The Country Reveal

While I realize that it is a touch past Christmas, and when I say a touch I realize it's clearly well past, but nonetheless while it is a current blizzard outside with temps of -10 degrees their is no other time than the present to catch up on a lil blogging!

This Christmas I participated in the wonderful gift swap that is held by the lovely Lauri Link of countryLINKED and Jamie Rhoades of This Uncharted Rhoade. This is such a fun swap because it focuses on local handmade gifts.  I always enjoy going out and getting goodies for the person I am partnered up with because it reminds you about all the cool local stuff that is made so close to home! 

I was given the name of a fabulous farm gal from Canada.  I instantly went to town to get some gifts!  She is a cattlewoman that loves to snow shoe.  I guess when you are in Canada that is a pretty good hobby to have!  Here is a sneak peak of what I sent which you can find on her blog Buttons Thoughts 

Photo from Buttons Thoughts (I forgot to take one :/ )

I in turn received a gift from a lovely blogger from Missouri.  She blogs at Penn to Paper.  She did such a great job of gift selection.  We give a description of our likes and hobbies to give them an idea.  Well she nailed it.  

I received this adorable cow chalkboard with nails at the bottom to hang items from.  This fits my color decor in my kitchen perfectly!!  I also love this pillow which is a great reminder whenever you read it.  And last but not least the thirty one bag.  I can always use a lil organization in my life so this was perfect to do just that!

This is such a great way to meet new people and you all should plan on participating next year!  You will love it! In the meantime, stay warm out there!  Winter has finally hit here in Ohio.  I hope it is much warmer where you are at! 


Monday, January 5, 2015

Reflections from 2014

As the new year has started many people begin to look back on 2014 and decide if it was worthwhile or a bust.  As I think back to last year I remember distinctly some of my goals.  My first one was to lose weight.  Classic I know, but this has been an ongoing struggle.  Thankfully this past year the mystery had been solved.  After 2 years of constant working out and trying different diets to see if anything would kick start my weight loss I finally had my blood drawn and was diagnosed with borderline Hoshimoto Thyroiditis.  Cool.......not really.  However I guess the upside is that we have found the problem and now we can get on the right track to fix it.

Now with that right track comes some slightly annoying lifestyle changes.  I have to take a hormone replacement every morning an hour before I eat.  That's all great and dandy except I normally forget until my stomach is screaming at me to pound the leftover pizza in the fridge from the night before.  So I'm working on that.

It also means I need to limit my gluten.....damn you gluten.  So with hoshimoto thyroiditis pretty much what is happening is my thyroid antibodies see my thyroid as bad and attack it.  Fail antibodies.  Gluten increases your thyroid antibodies so it makes sense to limit or eliminate it from your diet so it doesn't continue to attack my thyroid.  They also said to limit dairy but that ain't happening so I will do my best with the gluten.  Give and take right?

You don't realize how much gluten you eat until you aren't supposed to anymore.  I have found some great alternatives but sometimes you just want that bacon cheeseburger on a pretzel bun from Wendy's.......ya know what I mean.

My second goal was to pay it forward more.  I feel I did a decent job at this.  I always try to remember that we don't know what is going on in someones life so if they are cranky with you at the checkout line maybe all they need is someone to smile at them and tell them to have a great day.  My favorite pay it forward of the year was when I was pumping gas and this nice older man came up to me and said "ma'am this is really embarrassing but i left my wallet at home and I just need a couple bucks to be able to get home.  Can you help me out?"  Well I rarely carry cash so I told him I would swipe my card and he could fill up as much as he would like.  He began to cry and said "no no no I'm not asking for anymore than I need.  You are too kind.  I didn't even think you would help".  My first thought was well what's that supposed to mean?  Do I not seem friendly?

I swiped my card, told the man to have a lovely day, and drove off.  It wasn't until later that day I was checking my bank acct to see if a check posted and noticed that the man in fact only took what he needed.  $3.67 worth of gas.  Sometimes you just have to have a lil faith in humanity and that man restored mine.

My last goal was to travel and challenge my mind and thinking.  That I pretty much nailed.  This past year I traveled to Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, Nevada, Colorado, and Illinois.  I attended many conferences and heard from inspiring speakers that left me yearning for more and wanting to take on the world.

This is my year to take on the world and help make some positive changes. Oh and I'm going to attempt to do better at this gluten free thing.  Against my every desire for yummy pasta and domino's pizza.   What are your goals for 2015?