Dirt Road Charm

Motherhood, Agriculture, and everything in between

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Let's try to keep an open mind.....

I love reading articles that Ryan Goodman writes for CNN's Eatocracy Series.  He is very honest and has a sincere desire to advocate the agriculture industry and he does an amazing job at it as well.  His recent post was Farmer In the Know.....  As I read this article and got to the comments I started to get infuriated!!

Not going to lie.....growing up I was very critical of vegans and vegetarians.  Any time someone said they were such I wasted no time voicing my opinion and not understanding how anyone could ever not eat meat!!!  Well as you mature you definitely gain a stronger sense of open mindedness and responsibility.

To give a little recap of the article; he wrote about what consumers can do to help us be better animal caretakers.  It shows what consumer can do to get involved and know where their food is coming from.  Such as go take a tour, or call your supermarket and find out where their meat is raised that they sell.  These were great points.   As I started reading the comments it is very apparent that people are just out to "throw knives" and not even taking the context of the article in the appropriate manner.

The whole conversation within the comments ended being a debate over it being ethical to kill or not to kill animals.  This is so frustrating to me.......Here are my thoughts.  Every one in America has a choice and we are lucky enough to live in a country where we have a choice.  Whether you are vegan, a vegetarian, or a meat eater you should be open minded and respectful of other peoples choices.  There is no reason to start bashing the choices that people make.  It would be nice to see people act like adults and read the articles for what they are.

People are so negative and the comments get totally off the subject at hand and take away from people that actually get the article or have legit questions.  For example someone posted that if they went to their local COSTCO they would have no idea where their beef comes from.   Not true.....they purchase their meat from a buyer and that buyer knows where they are getting their meat from.  Meat just doesn't show up magically.  Their is a trail of paperwork at each level.

I hate reading false information......if you are going to post something please have your facts before you post and don't just say things if they aren't true....another example.  One of the comments was that local farmers may not have a problem showing you their facility but in no way would you be able to step foot on a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) or "factory farm".  Well first of all both of those are also considered your local farmers.  As a saleswoman I step foot on CAFO's and "factory farms" everyday.  Many times without an appointment and search the facility for a herdsman or owner.  Never have I been kicked off a farm for this.  If you are respectful of the facility the owners will be happy to show you around. 

One of the things people need to realize is that bio security is a huge deal in the livestock world.  Most producers don't appreciate people just showing up and walking around on their own but like I stated before if you are respectful and ask you will more than likely be showed around.  If you have never even tried to visit a farm don't sit and say you will not be welcome. 

Another comment that really stuck out to me was a man that said he was a vegetarian and grows his own food.  He said he has nothing against people that eat meat it is just his choice and he gets frustrated when all he gets is hostility back.  This really hit me hard because he had a very good point. 

We need to have an open mind and start to listen to the other side of things.  Starting a conversation is where is begins and we won't get anywhere by shoving our side down the opposing sides throat.  If we keep to the facts and stay true to what we know we will get farther than just tying to argue.

That's my thoughts......enjoy!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

While it's 100 degrees outside why wouldn't you think of FALL?

I always find it entertaining when you walk into stores during July and they are already putting fall clothing and decor out......really?  Summer just started and you can't find a bathing suit anywhere but.....you can find some Halloween decorations!!!!   I feel we tend to slightly get ahead of ourselves these days.

While scanning on facebook this exact thing happened.  Fall attire was being posted on store pages.  While I was in shock I was also very intrigued!  Fall fashion is gonna be fabulous!!  It almost made me ready for fall!  One of my favorite websites and the perfect place to find your favorite Old Gringo and Lane boots would be Cowgirl Kim. 

Here are the next purchases I will be putting on my must have list!!

Lane and Double D got together and have created this amazing boot that I can't wait to own!!

Who doesn't need a rust orange fall coat?

These are beyond amazing!!

Go check out her website and have your wallet close by because it will be hard to leave without making a purchase....trust me!!  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

She Just May Try Meat Again!!!!!

As I had stated in my previous post from Napa I had a lovely encounter with a vegetarian which turned into a great conversation and her actually admitting to considering to try meat again.....here's how it all went down

Now just for the record I have nothing against vegetarianism.  I think that everyone has a choice and that is the great thing about America is that we get that choice.  Now I myself am a meat lover and could eat a steak everyday of my life it is so good.....and bacon.   Can't forget bacon....it's like candy for adults!  However I am always curious when people say they are vegetarians what reason they have for choosing to be vegetarians.  Some people just don't like the taste of meat or have that texture issue where it just is not attempting do to texture.  While others don't for humane reasons or culture reasons, what ever it may be.

So our day started on a group wine tour that was with about 10 other people and they provided a picnic lunch.  As we were all getting in line to dive into this home made delicious lunch provided, the young girl in front of me said she forgot to inform them she was vegetarian.....this sparked my interest!  As luck would have it she ended up sitting right across from me at a picnic table.  I couldn't help myself but ask her why she chose to be vegetarian.  She said that she just knew too much about how animals are treated and killed.......and it was game on. 

I asked her how she knew first hand?  Did she perhaps visit a slaughter house?  Had a bad run in with a tour of some sort?  Her reply was, well all the stuff you see on the Internet and you tube.......at this point i was like really?  I thought back to my mother always saying...."do you believe everything you see on TV?"  I started talking with her about how perhaps propaganda and media may just PERHAPS make things edited to not exactly the correct info or full story.  I then asked her why when the stock market gets corrupt why don't people pull all their stocks out?  Or perhaps your favorite baseball team was caught using steroids or the coach was lying.....people don't just stop liking that team.   So why is it that the media shows one bad seed that made a wrong choice in agriculture and we all go to extremes with it?  For every bad producer there are ,542,342,432 more producers that do things correctly and humanely. 

Surprisingly she admitted that media probably doesn't portray the correct truth and blows things up bigger than they are.  I then assured her that we live in a country with probably some of the most strict regulations when it comes to food safety and animal welfare and lets not forget these are production animals used to feed the world not your pet dog.  I suggested that maybe she should visit a slaughter facility and see how things are done and visit farms/ranches and get a first hand look at the life of a production animal. 

I get the pleasure of working with cattle on a daily basis and most of these animals have better lives that we do.  We ended the conversation with her saying thank you for your information and that I had inspired her to think about trying meat again......I couldn't have been happier.   Even if she never does at least she took the time to listen and showed some interest and didn't just shut me down and refuse discussion.  Connecting producers with consumers is key!

Have a great up coming week!!  EAT BEEF!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The final leg of my California vacation

For some reason we thought it was a good idea to take a 6am flight home from California.  With the early flight we decided to head out of Napa early and spend a day in San Francisco.  With a cousin that used to live there she gave us some pointers on where to visit and spend our time.  A couple of the top attractions would be Alcatraz and Golden Gate Park.  We started with Alcatraz but evidently that is a hot attraction because the next available tour was August 10....that canceled that out real quick.  We then headed to Golden Gate Park. 

It is like a hidden treasure in the middle of San Francisco.  Many people compared it to Central Park in New York but way better.  Well let me confirm that it is pretty amazing!  There was a huge stage where live music was being played and an art fair with some amazing paintings and sculptures.  Within the park is strawberry hill.  This is a hill that you can actually hike up and has great scenery.  It was quite foggy the day we were there but still got some great photos.

It was a little foggy on our drive back into San Francisco....

Strawberry Hill

And you can't visit San Francisco without a visit to the Pacific Ocean!!

And that's a wrap.....hope you enjoyed a little insider view to my Great California Vacation!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Full Report: Napa Valley Vacation!

I finally made it home from Napa and it was one of the greatest vacations I've had....besides my honeymoon of course :).  For any of you out there that think that Napa is way too expensive of a vacation spot think again!  I was very surprised at how affordable the trip was so don't count it out as your next vacation spot!

I come from small town rural America where we have some local wineries that are pretty delicious.....shout out to Satek Winery and Stoney Ridge Winery!  However I really only had a taste for sweet wines such as your moscato and flavored wines like Satek raspberry and blackberry.  I was told that I wouldn't find those out in Napa so I was kind of concerned that I wouldn't like any of the wines and Napa would be a complete bust!

I couldn't have been more wrong!  On our first day out there we started off at Robert Mondavi winery and here are a few pics from the tour and this is kind of a staple if you go to Napa that is a good one to start at and they give a great tour and a lot of history.

Robert Mondavi Winery:

Here is a fun fact...Did you know that they stain the center of the barrels with the skins of the grapes so that when they are testing and taking samples you don't see the drips and runs from the wine....genius!!

The next winery we went to was...Hall Wineries-Kathryn Hall:

The view from the balcony.  We had the opportunity to visit the Kathryn Hall winery which is a smaller winery up on the mountain by the owners home.  The big winery is actually down on the main road to Napa so this was a great experience.

The owners of this winery are really into art and they had neat pieces throughout the winery which makes it very unique and great eye appeal.  It is also great marketing because you will definitely remember this winery not only for the wine but the cool art.

This is the chandelier in the cellar of their tasting room.  By far the coolest thing I have ever seen!  Those are real crystals hanging from that tree root!!
The next day we had the hot air balloon ride which I blogged about earlier and then had a group wine tour with Platypus Tours.  If you are going out to Napa and have never been I definitely suggest taking one of these tours!  It was an awesome experience and they take you to the hidden smaller local wineries that don't mass produce a ton of wine so it is really neat to try wines that you can't find anywhere but at the winery.  They pick you up around 10:30am and take you to 4-5 different wineries provide a picnic lunch and return you around 4:30-5.  It was great!!!!

Here is me and my cousin Lauren at the picnic lunch while on the tour

The scenery is just amazing out here and it was actually pretty dry just like much of the country but the grapes made the scenery very green and lush.  I hope you enjoy the review and plan yourselves a trip to Napa because you won't regret it!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Killing time during layover...napa update

While we were flying out to Napa we sat next to an older couple that were from Colorado Springs. As we started talking the lady started sharing about how they had to evacuate their home because of all the fires. Listening to her tell us how having to choose what valuables to keep and what ones to leave was heartbreaking. The younger generation is a little more fortunate to have all the technology that saves things on disk and on computers. Our grandparents and even parents only have hard copies and negatives of pictures and wedding photos so it definitely adds to more packing and saving.

As we landed in San Francisco the couple were actually waiting to hear if their house was still standing. We sadly never ran into them in napa to hear how things turned out but my heart went out to them. Last we heard the Colorado wildfires were only 5% contained.

I encourage you all to keep these people in your thoughts and prayers. I could not even begin to imagine what they are going through. And PRAY FOR RAIN!!!! Most all of us across the country need it badly!!

And this is what we do while waiting in the airport.....charge electronics and catch up on celebrity gossip!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Napa Valley Vacation

I have had the opportunity to come out to Napa and experience Wine Country!!! While our schedule has been packed and so busy I wanted to share some amazing views I got to see yesterday on our hot air balloon ride over the valley!!!!

So here are a few shots and stay tuned this week for a recap of the trip including a talk with a family from co springs dealing with the fires and a great talk and slight conversion with a vegetarian!! Have a great week!!