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#AskARancher

let's talk about food

This is something that has been on my heart for a long time. And this is a long ole post, y’all, I know. In the future, though, I’ll be sharing short and sweet posts on my Instagram and I’ll try and keep the novels to a minimum.

All around us, in this age of the Internet, we are surrounded by information about everything. Which, you know, is really stinkin’ cool in a lot of ways. We’re so connected, and that’s something that I love because it helps me feel less isolated out here. But, there are a lot of things I, like a lot of people, don’t love about the Internet, and the at the top of my list is the misinformation spread by people who pretend that they know what they’re talking about.

Spoiler: they don’t always know. Not so much. I mean, come on, people are eating Tide Pods. It’s a crazy world out there, folks.

Unlike eating Tide Pods, eating food is important. It’s *literally* what keeps us alive. So, I understand the heated debates and the emotions that surround food and how it’s grown and made. But, it breaks my heart to see people being scared about the safety and quality of their food or how it was raised based upon information they found online, put there by someone who either a) has no idea what they’re talking about, b) might know what they’re talking about but has an agenda or is sponsored by a specific product or company, or c) is also just freaked out and is acting accordingly and sharing anecdotal evidence like it’s verifiable, evidence-based science.

And listen, I know there are lots of people online who are totally, 100% qualified to talk to you about your food, and I’m so glad. But to me, it feels like for every one of those, there are ten more who are the modern-day equivalent of medicine show guys with their bottles full of sugar and heroine. It seems like the very, very passionate voices on either end are drowning out the reasonable, voices in the middle, and that’s no good.

 

Please, I implore you, if you have a question about beef production, ask a (real) cattle rancher or farmer. If you have a question about fruits, vegetables, or other foods that grow out of the ground, ask a (real) farmer. If you have a question about the nutritional content of anything, ask a (licensed, non-biased, professional) nutritionist. If you are concerned that your diet is incomplete or that you are unhealthy, ask a (board-certified) doctor or consult a (registered, accredited) dietician. Use your best judgment to choose players for your team who are going to give you the best, most inclusive information. Do not turn to people sitting behind screens who harp upon the dangers or benefits of things they don’t know about, or who are peddling products or a lifestyle that doesn’t suit you. When you read articles, look for the science. Look for the proof. Look for the citations, and where they’re from. Learn about who’s doing the writing, and why. And if they are evangelizing their food choices to others to scare them, belittle them, or make them feel poorly about their own choices, I would choose to be wary of the information they are offering up.

However, wariness aside, I am absolutely not here to attack others. I am not here to tell you that you should eat beef, or what kind of beef you should eat. I’m here to show you that the people who raise your food are just like you. We are wives and husbands and parents and business owners and sports fans and Netflix enthusiasts and environmentalists and democrats and republications. We love our communities, and our people, and want to meet you and know you and welcome you into what we do, because you have a share in this, too. We love our jobs, and our ranches, and our farms, and our animals. And we want you to trust us, because this is our life’s work, and where our hearts live. It’s not a hobby, it’s not something we are merely passionate about. Growing food for you is what consumes our days, in one way or another.

I know we’re not usually the loudest voices on the internet. Part of this might be due to the work-intensive nature of agriculture, or our lack of reliable cell signal or internet.  Part of this might be due to the huge amounts of dollars some of the louder voices have behind them. And it’s scary to put ourselves out there because the internet can be a mean place, where people forget that we are all people deserving of dignity and respect. And sometimes it feels like we have a whole lot more to lose because this isn’t just a job, it’s our whole life. We don’t sit behind laptops in an office to further our agendas and then go home to our house that isn’t connected to our business. We live where we work, and the agriculture industry is already risky enough; it’s scary to open up and add more risk. I’ve had people that I know tell me, unequivocally, that I’m personally killing the planet and should be ashamed (I’m not and you cannot make me feel shame for my life, ps). I’ve had strangers tell me that I’m a bad mother for raising my children where and how I do. I’ve heard offensive and unspeakable things said to people that I respect and heard comparisons about what we do to what we do to the Holocaust (I’m not kidding, people are that classless and crass.) So it’s scary. But, you know, telling the truth is necessary, so we keep sharing, in the hopes that someone will listen to us instead of someone on Facebook sharing photoshopped pictures of animal abuse.

That’s why this blog is here. And guess what? This isn’t the only blog like this. There are piles of blog and Instagram accounts and YouTubers who share the real story of ag, and most of them don’t have an agenda. They just want to share, and to invite you into their lives and communities, and know that the more good, reasonable, smart, forward-thinking, kind voices we have in this community, the better.

You’ll find that most of these folks are like me: raising a family, raising beef, and proud to help feed the world. Here are just a few of the highly qualified folks that you can turn to about your beef, and food in general.

Buzzard’s Beat: Brandi is a wife, mama, rodeo-er, and all-around #girlboss who also happens to have a Master’s in Animal Science. She’s one of my favorite sources for no-nonsense insights into beef, even the hard stuff.

Girl Carnivore: Do you like meat? Do you want to know how to fix it and make it so delicious? Then head over to Kita’s site and get your fill of meaty goodness and gorgeous photography. This girl can grill. 

Cowgirl Boots and Running Shoes: Michaela is an ultrasound technologist-turned-fitness coach (among about ten other things) and she and her husband are raising their three children on her husband’s family farm and ranch in Nebraska. She’s my go-to for beef from a perspective of nutrition and fitness, and is so motivating!

Agriculture At Its Best: Mike has decades in so many aspects of the beef industry from livestock production and sales to 4H and the Extension Service. And, surprise, another Master’s!

Faith Family & Beef: Terryn and her family live in the Sandhills of Nebraska where they raise cattle and have an amazing pack of ranch dogs. She has a background in feeding cattle and shares what everyday life is like on a ranch in the Sandhills with three kids, and also has a ton of great recipes.

Meet Your Beef: Brooke is a fourth-generation rancher, and is also an animal health company territory manager and runs an amazing boutique (do you see the #girlboss theme here?).

Johnny Prime Steaks: Steakhouse reviews, killer photography, irreverent humor, and now a butcher shop. If you like steak–or food–at all, he’s your guy.

Arizona Beef Blog: This is the blog of the Arizona Beef Council. It showcases families and ranches from around the state to show how Arizona does beef. It’s run by Tiffany, who found a love a cattle through her love of horses.

The Circle L Ranch Blog: Naomi and her family raise cattle and horses, and also runs several businesses including a feed store and a rodeo production company. Another #girlboss who talks about everything from cooking to rodeo to parenting to ranch life, and features other dynamite women in agriculture.

Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom: Nicole and her family run a farm where they raise crops like wheat and soybeans as well as cattle. She shares recipes, stories, and what it’s like to run a diversified farm operation while being a mama.

Kellie For Ag: Kellie is another diversified farmer who raises crops and beef cattle in Iowa. She grew up in a farming family and has always wanted to be a farmer, and her passion and knowledge of the industry is plain!

Blessed by Beef: Tierra has an amazing story, and raises Angus cattle and bulls on her family’s ranch in Oregon. She’s also a photographer, and has a background in livestock marking.

Blue Eyes and Cow Pies: Kiah is a seventh-generation California cattle rancher (yes, seventh) who now lives and works in Kentucky. She knows her stuff, y’all.

Wag’n Tales: Val is a mama of four boys who farms crops and cows in North Dakota. She writes about everything under the sun, including what it’s like to be a farm mama to a little one with a serious medical condition.

Scott Stebner Agricultural Photography: Do you want to see some absolutely gorgeous photos? You do. You really, really do. His portraits move me to my soul. Head over to his site, you won’t be sorry.

Ag on the Forefront: Kelsey, her husband, and her son raise Red Angus cattle in Eastern Colorado. She’s another sharp-as-a-tack gal with a Master’s and has some amazing posts. I especially love her posts on animal welfare, and antibiotics.

The Truth About Ag: Michelle talks about some really hard things, and tackles head-on some of the most controversial aspects of ag. Her posts are well-researched and are a resource I often turn to, myself!

Dairy Carrie: Carrie and her family are dairy farmers in Wisconsin and I love her blog because she unflinchingly and very directly tackles some of the misinformation out there. I don’t know a ton about dairy (we raise beef cattle), but what I do know I’ve learned from reading her blog. It’s made me smarter!

Mom at the Meat Counter: Janeal (or Dr. Janeal as I refer to her in my head) is a bonafide meat scientist at the University of Arkansas. If you want to learn more about meat, she’s your gal, and a really excellent teacher and resource.

The Cow Docs: Jake and Carolyn are (mostly large animal) vets who also raise cattle. They blog about cow things, industry things, life things, food things…lots of things! But seriously. Two vets. With a blog. Check em out!

So, when in doubt, #AskARancher. #AskAFarmer.

Home · Personal

Ode to My Dishwasher

 

DSC_0110

Dishwasher, we haven’t known each other long
But my love for you runs deep and strong
For awhile, you weren’t here, and I was blue.
But now, every night, it’s just me and you.

You wash, you soak, you scrub, you dry.
I don’t lift a finger or bat an eye.
No more nasty hands for this gal, sis,
You take care of every dish.

My glasses sparkle, my plates shine;
I no longer deny that the bowls are mine.
No more gritty forks or knives,
No more soggy food that gives me hives.

I’m not the toughest, but I’m tougher than some
But darn it if I don’t hate washing every one
Of those dishes that stack up in my sink
It’s enough to push me to the brink.

So dishwasher, though you’ve been here but a day
I hope you’ll never, ever go away
You’re saving me from a dreaded chore
And making my evening not a bore

I now have time to relax and unwind
While you do your thing, I hope you don’t mind.
I assume you don’t, since you don’t haw or hem.
Sweet dishwasher, you really are such a gem.

My dishwasher arrived a few days ago and I am deliriously, inappropriately, over-the-moon happy about it. I don’t mind telling you that washing dishes takes years off my life and makes me want to die and turns my already-gross hands into an even grosser swamp creature and also makes me kind of mean because you should see the dishes we seem to generate and also tiny toddler and baby things suck to wash.

Everyone’s got their favorite appliances. I love me some goooood dishwashing…that I don’t have to do. I told Bert last night that there are not many kitchen appliances I would sub in for my dishwasher, save the oven, refrigerator, and running water. I would gladly mix things by hand, toast things over an open flame, make rice in a pot, slow-cook things in an oven, and use a griddle pan for everything else than not have a dishwasher forever.

And if you are one of those people that “enjoys washing dishes,” mazel tov, truly! It takes all kinds of kind, although your kind of kind is bizarre to me but I think we can still be friends provided you don’t also enjoy de-clogging shower drains and scrubbing kitchen cabinets because then I might be worried you’re actually a Westworld droid. Actually, if you love those things a lot, or are a (non-homicidal) Westworld droid, come on over and do mine?

(Yes, I recognize I was without a dishwasher for like, 2.5 months. That was 2.4 months too long #noshame.)

(Also, did you know it’s hard to take a pretty picture of a dishwasher in a not-so-pretty corner of the kitchen? It is.)

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites: Things I Actually Own and Love Edition

Happy Friday! We’ve had a busy week round these parts but I’m glad to say we don’t have much planned for the weekend aside from looking at baby calves and working on the house and our side projects. We’re getting closer and closer to having things “done” enough that I’ll quit fussing about them for awhile and shift my “house” focus on things I really ought to be doing like scrubbing every single kitchen cabinet. #priorities.

This Friday Favorites is inspired by things that I have that I love and actually own! I love reviews: reading them, writing them, comparing them, so here is my offering to the reviews universe.

Favorite “Farm” Decor: Plaid Pillow Cover. I bought two of these for our living room and I love them. Nice and thick, and they seem decently made, especially for the price. I’m trying to figure out how to style our living room and so I didn’t want to invest a whole lot, but I’m really pleased with these! They seem to be smaller than they say, I have them on 22×22 pillows, just fyi.buffalo check pillow
Favorite Repeat Recipe: Pioneer Woman’s Chicken and Noodles. I make this for dinner once or twice a month with homemade stock made after I roast a chicken (I use Ina Garten’s recipe, and then just omit PW’s stock-making steps in this recipe) and it’s one of our favorite meals. I think the turmeric is what does it!

chicken and noodles
Favorite Recent Read: The Glass Castle. Generally, I’m not a memoir person, because I find that many of the ones I’ve read (or tried to read) are a bit dry (I think I am reading the wrong ones), or have subject matter that make me not want to read them (I’ve gotten sort of sensitive, I guess, which is why we only watch the first disc of Lonesome Dove or at least fast-forward through the part where Deets dies in the second one) but this one was so, so good.  SO GOOD. Just go read it.

the glass castle

Favorite hair product: Unite Argan Oil. I have really thick hair that tends to err on the side of dry and frizzy, but this stuff really does the trick for me, which I knew it would since my hair expert (Cameron at Blondie’s in Denver–if you’re in the area, go see them. If you’re not, like me, make appointments months out and go see them anyway). It’s expensive, but it lasts a really long time, and works so much better than any other Argan oil that I’ve tried since it’s more concentrated.

Unite Argan Oil
Favorite Cookies: A Bountiful Kitchen Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies. I’ve posted about these before, but they’ve been on repeat at our house this winter since all the boys love them and Wacey really enjoys helping me make them! My changes: I use half regular milk chocolate chips and half mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. I use a smaller cookie scoop and bake for nine to nine and a half minutes. They are theeee best chocolate chip cookies. Seriously. Multiple non-paid, non-related-to-me, non-threatened people have said so.
cookies
Favorite shirt: Heifer Please. I have been getting more into graphic tees lately because they’re so fun to throw on with jeans and a sweater, and this one cracks me up, plus it’s very soft, the color is great, and fits well. I get asked where it’s from wherever I go! I like to support small shops too. And wear shirts that say things like “Heifer Please” that slightly embarrass my husband.
heifer please
Favorite I Know This is a Kid Thing But Can I Get One Too?: Star Lamp. Wacey’s almost-three-year-old sound machine with a ceiling projector finally died and since it had been dying a long, slow death for two years, I didn’t replace it. Instead, we got a more low-profile sound machine (he’s a “rain” setting kid, in case you’re wondering) without lights or a projector, but we noticed that he seemed to have trouble going back to sleep if he woke up in the night. He sleeps with a star projector at my in-laws, so I knew he was suuuuper hip to that jive. I bought this from Amazon (in blue) after seeing it on another blog, and we’re hooked. It’s magical. I love to lay in bed with Wace after we read books and sing songs and just look at the stars. Magical, I tell you. If Bert could stand it, I’d have one in our room. I’m not kidding. And, spoiler: no more night-time wakeups for Wace, which is wonderful both for him and for us.
night light
Favorite Floor Thing: Gray Rug. You guys. You guys! This rug is amazing. Amazing! So amazing it makes me speak in duplicate see? Duplicate! I bought it on Amazon with part of some Christmas giftcards earmarked for home stuff, and I’m so glad. It’s in Buster’s room, where we really needed a rug to tie things together (and hide some stubborn stains on the current carpet #ranchhouses) and this is perfect. Now, it’s $45 rug, so it’s not Turkish and it’s not super thick and squishy. But I didn’t want mega thick and squishy since it’s on top of carpet, and it doesn’t feel cheap at all. It’s big and soft, the pattern is subtle, and it seems well-made. I’m considering buying another I like it so well!

rug
Favorite Pretty: Johnny Was Yasi Tunic. This was my annual Johnny Was birthday purchase (now sold out but I bought it from my favorite boutique, the Rollin’ J. Look ’em up!) and gosh it’s so pretty. I mean, obviously, because it’s JW. It’s soft, and the colors are beautiful. I wear it with skinnys and a cardigan and tall boots or ankle boots and feel lovely the entire time with minimal effort. Oh and it’s machine washable, darling, that’s a new feature.
johnny was yasi