Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve Musings

I often get reflective on Dec. 31st. It's not necessarily about just the past year but about my thoughts and what I find is just important in my life. I never make New Year's resolutions because I can never keep them.

I find the greatest thing that happened to me personally in the last couple of months was to be named to the Youth Committee of the American Lowline Registry. Here is where I can give of myself to what I believe is the most important single activity I can be involved in. Guiding a child in a direction which allows them to be a wonderful contributing member of society. Combine that with Agriculture and I just love the whole process. Our current discussions of the committee is on the formation of the American Lowline Junior Assoc. and then the next item is the National Junior Show in June.

As I read my email this morning I clicked on Scrapbook Junkie, an LSS near my mother's. If your wondering where the store is, it's on the southwest corner of I-45 and NASA Rd. 1. (Ok, I know they now call it NASA Parkway....but I don't like the change). I had thought about submitting an entry for their design team but decide against it as I wasn't sure I could do the traveling. I love the store and I frequent it when traveling over to my Mom's.

A Scrapbook Junkie

This morning I decided to read the blogs of the design team and the owner, Beth. There on Beth's blog was a picture that bought back a flood of memories. Earlier this month Endeavor flew over the Clear Lake area of Houston, the home to NASA. Endeavor was piggy back aboard it's 747. It is an incredible site to see. I didn't get to see Endeavor but I remember a day way back when.....high school. I was either a senior and Columbia was due to fly over. We rarely had morning announcements. That morning of the fly over our principal would tell us when the shuttle was on it's way in. He would announce it and we were to file out of class as in a fire drill. I don't know about the rest of the school but I was in Drafting and when the announcement started the four classes in the shop wing hit their doors in an all out dash for the door. We had the very best view in the entire school for the fly over. This door emptied into the student parking lot. The entire school started to cheer with arms pointing. To grow up with astronaut families in the seventies was definitely an experience. That was when astronauts where on the same level as movie stars. I remember my Mom having to go outside and tell the press they had to stay off our lawn on Commander Conrad's return from Space Lab. I baby sat for Commander Lovell. Several astronauts who walked on the moon were members of our church. Commander McCandless' daughter and I were good friends. I was devastated with the Challenger and Columbia accidents. The Challenger accident was one of those moments in my life that I can relive the moment as it happened when I found out about the accident. I'd just gotten out of class and had gone to Schlotsky's in College Station for lunch before I went to my afternoon labs. There on the television after sitting down was the news and the story. Right there in the middle of the store I started to cry. I knew Mike Smith and his family, the pilot of Challenger, they lived down the street from my parents. So I reflect this day on my dreams, my friends, my family and the community from which I come.

Oh, then I couldn't resist to visit OLW, see October 17, 2008 post for link. I love the current word, "START." What a great word to start the New Year. I just have to think of a LO to do with the word. When I get it done I'll share it

One last item....I found this really cool little add on from another blog I visited this morning. I decided to ad it as a gadget to my blog. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page. There you will find a "Live Crude Oil" ticker. I loved it since our business is servicing the oilfield. Yes, I suppose I fit the true stereotype of a Texan....cattle, horses, and oil. I'm missing the tumbleweeds.

On this day as in year's past I am reflective.....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2008 California Prop 2

I suppose after much thought I'd look up and see exactly what California Prop 2 was really all about. First I'd thought I'd quote the Proposition 2 as it appeared on the State of California's Voters Guide website.


  • Requires that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.
  • Exceptions made for transportation, rodeos, fairs, 4-H programs, lawful slaughter, research and veterinary purposes.
  • Provides misdemeanor penalties, including a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or imprisonment in jail for up to 180 days.
Then just below on the same page is the economic impact to the State of California.

Summary of Legislative Analyst’s Estimate of Net State and Local Government Fiscal Impact:

  • Potential unknown decrease in state and local tax revenues from farm businesses, possibly in the range of several million dollars annually.
  • Potential minor local and state enforcement and prosecution costs, partly offset by increased fine revenue.

I thought then if you really want to look into as I have I would go to the websites I've added below.

American Veterinary Association

Beef -

I found all three articles basically the same. They presented both sides of the issue. I think the thing that interested me the most was the division that occurred in the California Veterinary Medical Assoc. So divisive was it among the members of the Assoc. there is now two associations in California. The other were veterinarians who opposed Prop 2 they formed the Association of Californian Veterinarians.

So where do I stand. Like most farmers/ranchers we are against this Proposition. We see it as an attack by animal rights activists. The states of Florida, Colorado, Arizona and Oregon have passed similar statutes on veal calves and sows. Most veal producers are moving to a different confinement system then those of the past. As for sows research has been done over and over on different types of confinement systems to insure a higher survival rate of piglets.

I find myself falling into the economic impact of this future law when it comes into effect in 2015. Most individuals do not understand the the potential in agriculture of any shift in the cost of inputs or weather can cause financial collapse of the agriculture operation. It doesn't matter if it is the family farm or corporate farming. Both our egg industry and broiler industry are what called integrated industries. A corporation owns all of the production of the eggs and broilers that we consume. There are only about seven or eight corporations in both industries that produce both products. To require larger cages requires more space. To be honest it would be cheaper to move the operations in California out of the state where it will be cheaper to produce eggs. This will be a large loss to the state of California in revenue. The cost to the consumer will go up because of the cost of transportation of eggs into the state. I'm sure the 64% of voters who passed this bill didn't even think of the cost of their eggs and pork increasing.

As I sit and look at what is happening around me in agriculture since the stock market went in the tank I see as gloomy near future. I've watched fellow cattle producers dump their cows on the market because they can no longer feed through the winter. Pilgrim's Pride has filed for bankruptcy protection. Tyson is also having problems. All as a result of speculators involved in the Futures Market with grain. Producers of Eggs, Broilers, Milk Producers, Beef Feedlots, and Pork Producers all have to buy large amounts of grain to produce the meat, eggs and milk you drink. They use the futures market to guarantee a price on the grain they need. This gives them an exact amount of dollars they will put into a calf that will go to your plate as a ribeye or hamburger. Same with the broiler, the egg, a gallon of milk and the pork loin. Tyson ventured into pork production and other companies have followed so pork like broilers is mostly integrated. Those inflated grain prices have caused a burden on these companies and food prices won't go down until they have run through the grain they purchased earlier this year via the Futures Market. Then it still may not go down even though the transportation costs have gone down. Grocery stores rarely lower prices once the consumer is used to paying a particular price for their product since they run on a very small margin.

I suppose the thing that drives me the nuts the most are the animal rights activists. Disease and injury is a greater risk in these larger systems. When it comes to chickens and pork their control of disease is the greatest issue. In chickens that range in the open or even in covered pens that are moved each day their is a greater risk of disease. In laying house they can control the environment to keep disease at a minimum. This is so true I could not enter a laying house if I wasn't an employee. The same is true in a farrowing operation (swine breeding). So that argument is mute. And as I mentioned above one small thing should go wrong in any agriculture operation it can mean the difference between profit and loss. Should disease hit a laying operation the only thing the egg producer can do is empty the entire facility of hens, which are humanly destroyed. Then totally clean the entire facility and wait for the next available delivery of replacement pullets. This throws the entire process by the corporation in their ability to meet delivery on their normal rotation of replacing older hens with younger hens in all of their laying houses.

The other thing that seems to drive me nuts more then anything is that the great majority of our population has no idea that the most dynamic industry in the US is agriculture. Without the continued research in agriculture we would not enjoy the availablity of food we enjoy today. If I could scream at the top of my lungs I would. You enjoy the lifestyle you have today because of the ability of our country to feed our population. Wake up and realize we have a hunger problem in this country for reasons other then our agriculture systems. Wake up and realize I'm not the dumb rancher. If I have to I can grow food other then our cattle to feed myself. Could you? Your food doesn't come from a grocery store. It comes from people like me. So animal rights activist I doubt greatly that you could do what I do. Trust me if our economy so totally collapsed you would be in a heap of problems trying to get food. Every producer would protect their food for their family first, I'm no different.

Finally, there is an estimated 3500 jobs lost in California as a result of this bill. That is another economic impact that the state doesn't receive tax revenue from those who lost their job. Californian residences will be paying for their loss of jobs. Right now we in our current economic position as a country just don't need more jobs lost.

I can only conclude the voters of California were STUPID!

Just my thoughts.


Friday, October 17, 2008

OLW - Keep

Another word to keep me thinking, KEEP! I read the current challenge on One Little Word, and really had a tough time so off I went to the dictionary. One definition was "livestock keep" meaning one who keeps livestock or an area to house livestock. As a child I remember my grandmother talking about livestock keeps, as in noun. Now I had the perfect pictures for the perfect story in my head.

I had no idea how to use OLW for over a year as I would read through the posts. I'd been wanting to have an album which described me and deep down who I am. Then reading Word #33, FAITH, it dawned on me. Of course I had plans to tell others about my love for God and his son, my savior Jesus. I now had the route and the album to have all of these words to describe who I am. Yet, I found a stumbling block and spent time working on pages about my family for my album. It wasn't until the word "KEEP" which unblocked some of the problems I was still having in describing myself.

I started on the LO the day "KEEP" was posted on One Little Word. I scrolled through the LO's but didn't "read between the lines." With the LO undone I headed to the ranch on Friday. Monday I head to Pencil Lines to see the LO. Whoops, I'd already done "Keep" using Pencil Lines Sketch #105.'s my Pencil Lines Sketch #106 Entry using the OLW Wordup #19 "CREATE."

The journaling on this LO, my entry to Pencil Lines is my first attempt at computer journaling my words.

'What a joy to have a hand in God's Creations. A breeder striving to produce the perfect horse, cow or rabbit. The joy of planting a new rose, Pope John Paul II."

I loved the top picture of my Pope John Paul II as it had been in the ground one week when I took this picture. It shows some of my spring cleaning of our rabbit barn. Rabbit manure. No need to compost since it doesn't burn. It's the love you give a rose when taking care of it that brings such beautiful roses.

The bottom picture taken by Lynn is of Zuby in his pasture. The picture taken before his colic surgery. It's amazing how he looks now then just a year before his surgery. Little did Lynn or I know at the time that a time bomb was ticking inside of him. Something that caused attachment of his small intestine to his abdominal wall. Ibn Zubaydahh (Tammen x Zubaydahh), aka Zuby in my humble opinion was the best horse we ever bred. A champion in halter, a friend, and companion he loves to once again fly accross the pasture. This past weekend at the ranch I watched him run silhouted by the setting sun and it was if I was watching the movie, The Black Stallion all over again. He was just beautiful in his joy of living.

I'm off to print pictures now as I'm down to one picture left to scrap.....

Thank you for the Word Up OLW.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

4H & FFA

Larry and I were both members of FFA. Our kids were both members of FFA. For agriculture these are definitely the two best organizations for kids. I've watched trouble kids become well adjusted adults via both organizations. I've watched the leaders tomorrow not just in agriculture but in all areas of the economy. I've seen young adults involved in both desire and are giving back to those currently involved in the organizations.

I love RFD-TV! It's all about what I love so much, agriculture! I watched the show Virginia Farming the other night. They had a segment about a young man in 4-H who entered the Eat Local Video Contest sponsored by the Virginia Dept of Agriculture. They showed the video on that segment of Virginia Farming then interviewed him about his video. His entire family was involved in the video. I hope you'll enjoy the video, too.

There is a growing movement all across the US on "Grow Local, Eat Local." So how did this movement start. Farmers and ranchers trying to get a decent price for the products they raise. When was the last time you visited the local farmers market. There you will find all sorts of products. Some fall under naturally grown, some organic, some not labeled either. But either way you will find some of the best vegetables and fruits you have eaten. There is no shipping via a truck for thousands of miles. The fruits and vegetables have been picked in the last 12 hours as a general rule. Texas Department of Agriculture has a website which lists local farmers markets. Check you state's agriculture department to see if they have a list. There are many other places to buy your state's agriculture products and support the farmers and ranchers of your state. Even Rhode Island has a small thriving community of farmers and are well supported by their agriculture department.

Texas Farmers Markets

Local Harvest - a website supporting Grow Local, Eat Local.

Enjoy your day!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

OLW - "Create"

wow...this word can be so large in how you really search within yourself to wonder how you put a LO together to tell others about a deeper meaning within you.

I've completed my first word with OLW today using Pink Sketches #9 Sketch. This word was "keep." Since Pencil Lines and OLW have teamed up this week I need another word thus I've decided to use "Create." I had the choice of 36 other words to choose from to work with and I loved this one.

I first thought of my scrapbooking when it came to "create." But as I read the Blog "little gi" on what "keep" (this week's OLW word) meant to Gigi, I realized just what create meant to me. We have the ability to "create" so many things. Yet "create" to me means a couple of things. I've always wanted to be creative, I'm not & I never will be to my liking. It is why I took drafting in high school, back when you did the drawing instead of using a computer. I especially loved Architecture, it allows for artistic expression. I love clean lines, my scraping reflects that.... Yet when I sit and really think about becomes an expression of who I am when it comes to Agriculture. There is nothing more thrilling then a bale of hay coming out of a baler that you and God's hand had a part in getting to that point. Or a foal or calf born which you have agonized over who to breed the dam to. That calf is your creation. Plant a rose take care of it, nuture it and watch as God gives you the most breathtaking flower in the world. Or at least the rose is my favorite flower.

I've also come to realize I've made the next step in my scrapbooking. For one who isn't creative I'm getting there one baby step at a time. Oh, how I wish I was like so many others who are so very creative! I've made the step to working on my own sketches, I've done two. Now I'll look at the challenge blogs I frequent and sometimes never look at the sketch a second time. Six months ago it would have driven me nuts to have a LO not look like the sketch. Now I'm slowly moving towards what a sketch is, a guideline to inspire. baby step at a time where my LO's become my creation...

So stay tuned to see my OLW "Create" in a few days.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Scrapping the Past Ten Days --- So Relaxing

I've just had to forget the frustrations of the aftermath of Ike. As of today still no adjuster to take a look at the house or office. We could have had it so much worse. I'm just glad we didn't. Mom on the other hand is having to deal with FEMA, the house has been partially gutted. She is taking it so well. Then comes the economics and the election... oh I'm so tired of it all I stay away from the news.

I must say that "Saturday Night Live" is doing the best job on the election spoofs since the days of "The Not Ready for Prime Time Players." Just too funny!

Scrapping has kept me relaxed and focused on what I love, my family and keeping our family history.

I have four sketch or inspiration blogs for scrapping. You'll see links to them on my blog. I hope you'll find inspiration as I have. I decided I'd share my favorite LO's I've done over the past 10 days. This was for week #39 of 52 Sketches...52 Weeks Sketch Challenge Blog.

I loved visiting Rocky Springs United Methodist Church all over again as I scrapped the photos Lynn took. I loved the smell and history of the church. The smell was of a very old building, not musty just old wood. Then to walk through the cemetery was like walking into the past. Lynn and I took the route to Jackson, MS so we could go up the Natchez Trace. Lynn didn't remember any of the Trace from when we took the kids to Dee-Dee's when they were 6 and 5. The only remains of the town of Rocky Springs is a few metal items, markers with the history of the town and the church.

The next LO is for last week for Pink Sketches. This is a wonderful inspiring blog. I've followed the blog since it began, but this past week was the first time I've been able to submit a LO and complete four of the sketches I was behind on. This is my favorite of the four I've done. Week #7 Sketch submission:

A very special relationship with a wonderful classy lady, Edith Buffum Ramsey Collins Merrill, aka "The Lady in the Red Hat." But to her grand-daughter she was lovingly known as my Dee-Dee. Some day I'll just write to my hearts content on Dee-Dee. This LO will be placed in my "About Me" scrapbook. So my descendants will know me as well as my family. Dee-Dee loved to cook and here she is deep in Mom's set of Gourmet by Earle R. Macausland. She loved this set of cookbooks and I'm so thankful I have her set along with all of her notes on her favorite recipes.

This is Week #8 of Pink Sketches and the first LO I've actually been able to submit. I really like how this LO turned out. My girls Que and Paige having some fun with a box. Both keep me company all day while I'm at home. Que will choose to be with James if he would just leave the door to his room open. He is her favorite human. She is also awful finicky as a black cat should be. Paige is always within arms reach and is so tuned in to my moods. She's now been with me almost 18 months and we are always together. The best lap dog in the world.

This LO so appealed to me because of the geometric elements of the Sketch. I had so much fun working on this LO.

It's getting late and I so need sleep.

I leave you with this verse from The Bible:

Psalm 119:2 (New International Version)

Blessed are they who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart.

May He bless you!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike

I'm sure there are plenty of bloggers who are writing today who are in the Houston area about the coming storm. So I'll join the group.

An hour ago I made the decision to leave because of my mother's decision to leave her house. If the expected storm surge reaches what is expected she will have a minimum of 4 feet of water in the house. So off to the ranch she goes with horses in tow. Our horse now makes the ranch her permanent residence so all I have to haul out today is the rabbits. There are about 35 to take with me.

So far no Rita type evacuation. That's good! Yet I've provided my Mom and myself with a really good map that shows not just back roads but county roads, too. This should make leaving easier.

I hope we have a home to come home to. We did from Rita, we'll see with this storm. I'm glad Larry decided to leave, he has a host of computers to take with him from our business, since that is how we run our business.

The ranch won't just house our family over the weekend, but will house one to two more families. No enough beds....oh, well.

I've got a lot of work to get done today, I should have a lot of pictures of the house when through if it hits on the current track.

One last item, if you have not said a prayer today, please do for our country, our leaders and the Survivors of the World Trade Center.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

First Ever Star 5 Calf

We waited and what seemed a day that would never arrive at the ranch. It finally did. Our first Lowline Angus and Santa Gertrudis Star 5 calf, she's a heifer and red. What makes this calf unique is she is the very first ever in the US Star 5 calf of this cross. We are very excited to welcome this heifer unnamed as of yet to the ranch. Her sire is Murrumbong LGL Bluey, the first Fullblood Lowline Bull to be exported to the US from Australia and first Fullblood to be registered with the American Lowline Registry. She is out of Bieri 667. We so look forward to great things from this heifer. She will be recorded with SGBI as a Star 5 and registered with ALR as a Half-blood Lowline.

As the research has shown Half-blood Lowlines have a birth weight of 59 lbs. This girl weighed in at 55 lbs. Lowlines are excellent for first calving heifers. It's so very tough for a heifer to deliver those huge 70+ pound calves. We don't worry about our Santa Gertrudis Heifers delivering this size calf. All of our first calf heifers are bred for Lowline calves unless they are in our show string.

Look for more information on this wonderful addition to our herd on our website.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I love to garden, roses and vegetables are my favorites. I have the front of my house in a rose garden along with a couple of day lilies and a hibiscus. In the backyard I have two citrus trees in raised beds which I planted last year and since they are so young and the beds get full sun I have vegetables growing around them. I have a few more projects to complete yet for the spring. I've always had problems with the corner of the garage and house with drainage. Finally decided to not try any longer to get something to grow there. I'm going to pull the soil out and put pavers in there to have a potting area and keep the drainage in check.

Of all the plants Roses are my passion. I will probably move to the ranch this fall, we'll start on the house there next spring. In the mean time living in the mobile home and sell the house in Angleton. I really want to have a beautiful English style rose garden taking up my front yard. pretty that would be!

I also keep a scrapbook of my gardening habit. I just thought I'd share a page I've completed.

This is a picture of an African Daisy. I used to have this bed in annuals, but I found the annuals were not something I wanted to keep up with. They have to be planted three times a year where we live. I now have three miniature roses and two day lillies in the bed.

Then a picture of my first Tahitian Sunset this year. I love the varied colors this rose puts out. Just gorgeous!

This shows the bed before I put the mulch down for this year. I took this picture just after finishing up putting down the yearly one to two inches of rabbit manure. I love using this as a mulch, too. I can take it straight from the rabbit barn and put it in all of my beds. By the end of the year it will be gone. My soil in all of my beds is just unbelievable great. Lots of earth worms, and perfect for holding water which keeps the roots cooler in our hot summers.

Gardening is a gentle passion that quenches me physically, spiritually, and emotionally. On my knees I drink up the smell of the fertile ground as I dig holes and plant seeds alive with potential. I am a partner with God/Godess as I nuture my adopted plants and I feel quietly satisfied at the end of my day's work. Christine Albert.... Texas singer, songwriter, performer

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Scrapbooking Sketches & Inspiration

I just couldn't resist today, I'm so very excited. Each Sunday is like Christmas morning as I go to my Favorite Scrapbook Challenge Blog. I get so very motivated. I just love Julie's sketches. I feel as if I've graduated to the next level of scrapbooking. I use to try design my own pages with no help. Wrong for a non-creative person. I so wanted to move on and make my pages like those in the magazines Scrapbooks, etc and Creating Keepsakes. So I started to work from the pages I liked the best. I'd look at sketches a this point in my scrapbooking and for the life of me I could not accomplish a LO from a sketch in any shape or form. Then on my favorite forums, Scrapbooks, etc. website, The Scrappin' V mentioned Julie's Bonner's Challenge Blog and how she was participating. I went and looked and for whatever reason I started the next journey in my scrapping. Like I said, it's now like Christmas morning for me. I don't care if I ever win the weekly drawing. It's the CHALLENGE I love. I had finished my LO for the challenge this week and I really liked how it turned out. I was on a roll and moved to my next LO. This past week for the first time I found a LO I loved, and I had a page I wanted to convey my great-niece's fun loving personality. I want the picture to be loud....something so totally outside my box. I didn't see the LO as a total unit. I saw the picture placement, the paper placement, and the embellishment placement. I saw the LO as a sketch. Off I went and the end result to me was so awesome.

The LO I used for inspiration is from Scrapbooks, etc magazine (Aug/Sept '07, page 76) issue.

Then some love to know what one uses on a page to complete it so here's the list:

Paper: P.etc. Flowers Word/Circle, Flowers Plaid/Flowers, CM Green Paradise Photo Mounting Mat; Grommets: We R Memory Keepers; Love Tab: P.etc. I-Kan-dee Market Tags: Chipboard, Brads, Ribbon, Flower: American Crafts; Stickers: Jolee's; Butterflies: Wonderous Scraps; Monogram Alpha Cardstock Stickers: Making Memories; Buttons: Dill Buttons; Quote: CM Expressions of Family & Friends Vellum Quotes.

Then I want to include the links to the blogs or website which so inspire me:

Scrapbooks, etc.
52 Sketches...52 Weeks
Sisterhood of Scrap
Pencil Lines

I'm off to do my LO for Julie's sketch this week.

Enjoy the sites!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Musings on the Cattle

I've not posted in a while. After Dixie Nationals in Jackson, AL I was concentrating on Houston Livestock Show. I'm glad the winter show season is over. I needed to take a break. I'm looking forward to the spring sales just to go and see the cattle. Then it's on to thinking about a busy time for the first of June.

I like the idea of blogging. I'm somewhat of a sap at times. Especially when it comes to the animals. I have my favorites, I get attached to them. All of a sudden I'm acting like a mother watching her kids go off to college. Already did that with my human children. But tomorrow or the next day I'm sending Peyton and Dill off to the ranch. We have purchased two show quality Lowlines over the past three weeks. When EZ 61T arrives next week she's just a tad to young to breed to Peyton. She will need halter breaking anyway, and another new friend to make. The other is EZ Tillie 78T. She'll be lonely for a while, but being alone will really make her dependent on me and draw her closer to me. It's still tough to send the boys to the ranch. I'll really miss them both. At least tomorrow I'll make Peyton a really happy boy, a bath as the temperture hits 80 degrees and then blow him dry. What he will really like is he then get's a shave, all of his hair. Taking off the rest of his winter coat, so he'll be happier as the tempertures begin to climb and get his new coat in for the summer show season if we decide to hit the road north. It's next year when I really look forward to the winter show season when we might have some of our own Lowlines to show.

The Santa Gertrudis girls did very well the rest of the winter season. The lowest Jillian placed was a 6th. Angelica would make the ribbons half of the time. They'll be put on the bull next month. We also started having calves. Angelica's dame Wendt 7855 gave us her third calf and third heifer. Lynn is thrilled. But what she is really thrilled about is Jillian's half brother. Angelica's father Double TT 31 delivered a beautiful jaw dropping bull calf. Lynn and I are holding our breath in hopes he continues to improve. Now almost two months old he has continued to improve....lets just hold our breath until weaning. If he is as good as we think he is, he'll be shown next winter. I love his attitude, he just knows he's something else. Good ones always do.

Then back to Peyton. I thought I'd post his picture of his win at Brazoria County Fair last year, Reserve Champion English and Exotic Bull. It is a layout I scrapped for our ranch scrapbook. Peyton was Champion Senior Lowline Bull Calf at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. When we get that picture I'll post it. My boy!

Until next time, Kim

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo

Hmm, morning after, very tired!! The San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo started this past weekend and will run through the Feb. 17th. The whole city is geared to their celebration of Texas' Agriculture Industry. This was our fourth or fifth time to have entries at San Antonio and I must admit one show we will remember for a long time.

First, I have to thank our fitters Darrell and Shana Pitchford for a job well done. Our assoication with a wonderful couple I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

Once again we showed the two heifers, Jillian and Angelica. The depth of their class was amazing once again. My knees gave me fits over the weekend and Angelica although calmer then Nationals was still not the animal I need to be on the lead with. So I showed Jillian and Lynn was on Angelica's lead. I suppose I have no confidence in our animals and how good they really are. I suppose too, I keep my expectations low so I'm thrilled when they prove to me how good they really are. In my eyes I think Angelica is better. Now two judges think Jillian is better. That's ok, just the difference in opinion. I think, at least for me it is what draws me to showing. It is the opinions of the different judges that helps reaffirm we are headed in the right direction with our breeding program.

As a mother and really prefering to be a "Show Mom" I was so thrilled for Lynn. Jillian was pulled first for her class and Angelica pulled fourth. Now for the Division Championship Class for Heifer Calves I could be the "Show Mom." I held my breath. Lynn took her calf to Reserve Champion Heifer Calf. Wow!!!! As I said I keep my expectations low, so I was so thrilled for my daughter. Even Larry was excited when we talked to him on the phone. He was unable to attend because he had Jury Duty. We caught him during a break in what he described to be a very dull day.

Gee, I wish one of us had taken a camera. Well at least we have her Divison Reserve Championship Picture if it came out. In the middle of the Grand Championship Class, Jillian had had it. She decided she was done for the day! She became fidgetty and refused to stand still for me. Lynn was on the lead of a calf for a cow/calf pair in the Grand Championship Class so I had Jillian's lead. So that is why the picture may come out.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Our Website & Santa Gertrudis National Show

Our website is a constant work in progress. We are currently separating our rabbits, German Shorthair Pointers and Family stuff into a separate site. We are patiently waiting for spring to arrive to take this year's pictures. Winter and Summer in Texas is not a good time to take pictures. I like early to mid April pictures where we can catch the cattle lush grass and maybe some Bluebonnets to add to the picture. You can visit our website at:

Flying J&L Ranch

Santa Gertrudis Nationals was held at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo over the weekend of January 12th & 13th. On the evening of the 12th we attended the "Cowtown Elite", a Sale of Elite Santa Gertrudis Cattle. The sale was held at the renowned Fort Worth Zoo in the Portraits of the Wild Gallery. This Gallery is closed to the public and only special events are held there. We had a wonderful Texas barbeque dinner to start the evening. This was the nicest collection of cattle I've seen in a Santa Gertrudis cattle sale. It was a Video Sale. The cattle were shown via video on a large screen. For some lots the bidding was fast and furious. The high selling lot was Lot 21 for $20,000. Jewel 6/98 has some incredible EPD's with her TMAT score of 22 in the top 1% of the breed. She and 4 of her embryos were auctioned. The bidding was very furious until she reached $15,000. Then it slowed. An incredible amount for a 10 year old cow. Lynn picked out a very nice heifer she wanted. We were fortunate to be the winning bidder. She is an excellent choice for our herd. She went as Lot 30 and is from Corporron Acres. Her genetics are Wendt on top and D-J on the bottom. Lynn was thrilled! When we picked her up, we were even more impressed. She is better in real life. If your interested in seeing the sale catalog go to:

Cowtown Elite

Sunday the 13th was the show. Both our heifers Flying J&L Angelica JL03 and Flying J&L Jillian JL02 are in the same class so I got to show one. We were in Class 2. The class was absolutely loaded with 21 top quality heifers from top to bottom. The judge had a huge difficult job choosing his placings. The total time in the ring for this one class was an hour. The longest I'd personally been in a class. I showed Jillian and Lynn showed Angelica. I was honored to place 6th. Angelica placed at the top of the bottom 3rd of the class. Lynn was delighted as she too, was amazed at the superior quality of the class. It was just a great weekend for us. Pictured above is Jillian last year during Memorial Weekend. She just looks so pretty and alert.

Sunday we leave for the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo to once again enjoy a couple of days with good friends and great competition in the show ring.

Until next time, Kim

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Family Memories Preservation - Scrapbooking

I love my family. I love the heritage of my family. Some of our family tree has been completed some has not. One line of my side of the family extends back to John and Priscilla Alden who came to America aboard the Mayflower. The Family Database is held by the Alden Kindred.

Alden Kindred

I've yet to qualify my genealogical line with the Alden Kindred. There are five generations of birth certificates I have to get copies of in order to place us in the Alden database. I really need to start on it. So far the Alden Kindred has identified 54,191 descendants and spouses. Several years ago I read on the website that the organization estimate approximately as many as one million descendants could exist. With the population in our country of approximately 300 million that means I'm potentially related to one in every three hundred people. In fact I am a distant cousin to my sister-in-law. We descend from John and Priscilla through two different children.

On my husband's side of the family we are descended to Leven Watkins who was a prominent land owner in Brunswick County, North Carolina at the turn of the 19th century. He spent part of his life serving in the North Carolina Legislature.

I've only found Scrapbooking over the last year and I'm addicted to it. I love the stories one can tell on a page. It's so much better then looking through a photo album. A picture doesn't tell the story unless you have someone who knows the story behind the picture. I wish I could spend more time scrapping. I get 5-6 hours a week into it. I could spend all day.

Above is a page I did on my son, James. James is a sophomore at Brazosport College. He is currently working on his IT Certificate and plans to transfer to either my Alma Mater, Sam Houston State Univ. or University of Houston. I need no journaling to tell a story on this page. At the bottom of the page you'll find a simple rub-on which says friend. James is a very good friend to both animals and his human friends. He is an extremely loyal friend. I'm truly blessed as a mother to have a fine upstanding son.

If you have not found the world of Scrapbooking, then your really need to give it a try.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Different Types of Beef

Don't you just love slogans! I love one: "Beef, It's What's for Dinner!" I love eating beef, it's actually third on the list after Maine Red Lobster and Shrimp in that order. Our family consumes a minimum of 7lbs of beef a week. At least four evening meals a week are beef. I tried a new recipe last night for ground beef. Both my husband and son just thought it was wonderful. So I thought I'd share it with you.

Florentine-Stuffed Tomatoes

1 lb lean ground beef
2 Tbsp. first cold press olive oil, plus additional
2 large cloves garlic
1 small yellow onion, minced
6 large fresh tomatoes
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (substitute fresh if desired)
1 Tblsp. fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup ground fresh almonds

Preheat oven to 400 F. Brown meat in a skillet with olive oil; add garlic and onion; saute until tender. While meat is cooking cut tops off tomatoes; remove pulp. Chop pulp; place in small bowl and reserve. Heat oil in another skillet. Add drained spinach, tomato pulp, and basil. Stir until spinach and tomato are well coated with seasonings; remove from heat. Add to meat mixture Place tomatoes in a greased baking dish; fill with meat mixture. Top with almonds. Bake 15-20 minutes.

I served this dish with steamed broccoli and a salad. Yummy! Except for coring the tomatoes the dish is extremely quick to fix. Total prep and cooking was just under an hour. I adjusted the number of tomatoes to three and just placed the remaining beef mixture around the tomatoes. We are on a modified diabetic diet. Neither one of us has diabetes, but both of us have parents and grandparents that had adult onset diabetes. We limit our intake of sugars to natural sugars such as honey. When I bake bread I love to add soy flour and use honey. As a result of limiting our complex carbohydrates Larry has less stomach problems and stays full longer. I have a stomach of iron. We have less problems with weight control. We also have eliminated preservatives in our diet. The amount of energy we have is a marked difference from the pass. It takes adjustment to switch to a diet like this, but once on it you really don't want to go back. We even are careful when going out to eat, choosing restaurants that will adjust an order for us. When we eat grains we choose whole grains and stick mostly to oats and rice. Potatoes are a treat for the family and we limit them to once a month.

So when I titled this post I wanted to talk about choices in buying your beef. Beef types aren't cuts. It's the kind of beef which is available to you. There is grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef, veal and baby beef. Any of the beef listed can fall under Natural or Organic labels. Grain fed beef is the majority of beef in this country. The calf is fed for a specified period with the diet being mostly grain then processed for market. Veal is from a calf that only has received mother's milk and no grain or forage. Grass-fed beef is becoming the up and coming beef produced in this country. Especially for those who are searching for organic meat. Most grass-fed beef is purchased directly from the producer. Baby beef is one that most individuals know nothing about. It is a calf that is slaughter directly upon weaning. This calf has only had mother's milk and usually forage. Each of these types of beef have very different flavors as what the animal eats is directly related to the taste of the beef.

Our family chooses to eat baby beef at home. We raise two to three calves a year that are slaughtered at weaning. The beef is then distributed through our extended family. The calves are weaned slightly later then our other calves. Our choice of calves are those that will not fit into our breeding program and are not good enough to go into another seed stock program. Usually bull calves. These calves we do not stress by steering and give no vaccines or antibiotics. They are 100% organic beef. We get approximately 400 lbs of meat and soup bones per calf. The meat from one calf will fit in a small chest freezer and the top freezer compartment of a refrigerator. I personally like the hind leg shank bones to use for the beef broth I make and I use no other bones. The meat from one calf will last us a year. The meat is incredibly lean and has a very different flavor then grain-fed grocery store beef. One must adjust your thinking on cooking times for this beef to keep the wonderful tender qualities of the beef. The steaks from this beef when rare does not have the beautiful red color inside. The color is almost white. It took me awhile to adjust to both taste and cooking times. Now I prefer the taste to grain fed beef. I still like a good steak at my favorite steak houses though.

Organic and Natural beef as I stated above is available for the most part directly from the producer (farmer/rancher). The reason you don't see organic or grass-fed beef in the grocery store is because the process is very slow to get the beef to processing. I thought I would show you the economics of buying directly from the producer. One can find producers that have both grain-fed beef and grass-fed beef. Some producers will sell by the cut, some the whole animal, some by the quarter or side, and some a combination. If you think about what you spend for beef in the grocery store or butcher shop then you can have a huge savings on cost of your beef if you purchase directly from the producer. I'm using my local store's ad for this past week. Sirloin is a loss leader at $2.99/lb and Certified Angus beef at 4.99lb. Other beef on sale is Round Steak Value Pack at $2.99/lb, Beef Cube Steak Value Pack at $2.99/lb, Nolan Ryan's Tender Aged Beef T-Bone Steak at $6.99/lb and Certified Beef Angus Patties Frozen in Box (32 count) at $5.99 per box (approximate weight would be 8 lbs.). So what would a whole calf cost me if I want Grass-fed beef, approximately $3.00-$4.00/lb slaughtered plus the cost of slaughter which at the slaughter house we use is $0.59/lb. packaged. You would have 800 to 1000 lbs of beef. Too much? Split the cost with another family. You would have 400-500 lbs of meat at a cost of $1436-$1795 for the meat at $3.59/lb. This includes all of the steak, roasts, round, hamburger, skirt steak, liver, kidney, soup bones. If you were to buy all of your meat via the grocery store or butcher you would pay far more for the meat and it isn't natural or organic. Quarters and sides of beef will cost more per lb.

Availability is an issue in the grass-fed beef. It is usually available only during a very short period once a year. As I stated grass-fed beef tastes entirely different then grain-fed beef. It takes time to adjust the taste to your pallet, many do not adjust to the taste. Grain-fed beef may cost a little more. Organic & Natural producers will grow the calves out on grass until the last 45 days and then put them on feed to appeal to the taste of the majority of consumers in this country. How do I find producers? The first place to start is American Grassfed Association

Their website has a page to find producers by breed or by state. An excellent place to start your search. As more and more people look for ways to save with their food dollars more beef will be in demand directly from the producer.

Why not visit the National Cattlemen's Beef Assoc. site "Beef, It's What's for Dinner." They have some great recipes for your beef dinner tonight.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Hillary for President - NOT

This morning as I was about to sign in, a blog scrolled by on the Blogger Home Page. I thought for sure it would be a Blog against Hillary by it's title. I am reminded not to make assumptions. The title of the blog is Little-Known Facts About Hillary Clinton. I'm so impressed with this blog. Nance is well written, passionate and a loyal supporter of Hillary. For the first time I can really appreciate why an individual can so support a candidate. Nance is real, knowledgeable, and likable as a person. She presents her passion for a candidate in a way I wish I could. Nance reminds me we really are a great nation, we can speak openly and honestly about our opinions. There is no other nation in the world that can do so. I hope you will read her blog no matter your opinion on Hillary or any other candidate. I hope you will derive the passion for a candidate in this election that she has. I haven't yet, I hope I do after the Conventions. I truly look forward to continuing to visit her blog.

Little-know Facts About Hillary Clinton

As I said, I've not been passionate about a presidential candidate. I see individuals wanting to get elected. I don't see change coming about. I do know one thing, I do not want Hillary for President. In fact I am passionate about that. Why? I find Hillary dangerous. She is too power hungry. If there is one thing women do not like is another woman who is power hungry. Gentlemen, women are far more competitive then men, they are devious, and vicious. Maybe these qualities are directly related to the research which proves a woman is more likely to survive in a crisis situation then a man. I am reminded by a friend (a female) who worked for TDCJ in the '80's who said men are clean, women are sadistic when they attack each other. I've had other friends, to many to count, who worked for TDCJ say the same thing. I don't believe Hillary is sadistic, she will do whatever it takes to be President. If it means destroying an individual along the way, she will.

I dislike Hillary for other reasons. She is never consistent on any issue, she blows the way the wind blows. She has yet to learn we do not want socialized medicine. What needs to be fixed when it comes to rising costs of medicine is the insurance industry. Just look at Canada, they pay $1200 per citizen in Quebec a year in tax for socialized medicine. Employers in Quebec pay 3.22% to the government for socialized care. Then they wait and wait and wait for health care. You say it's cheaper then what I pay now, think again. I'm an Employer, I raise my prices to cover the 3.22%. Then look at how badly Medicare is managed, so you really want the bureaucracy. I'm from Texas, I don't like Hillary's stand on illegal aliens. I'm befuddled as to how individuals just skew the definition of illegal in Webster's Dictionary. I'm really afraid of Hillary's views on foreign policy. In fact all of the Dem's and Republicans view on foreign policy. Have we become afraid of the tyrants of this world. I personally think so. Hillary's recent New Hampshire crying incident has left her vulnerable in the eyes of world leaders. Her husband already proved how vulnerable he made the US over 9/11.

The subject of 9/11 weighs heavily on my mind. I freely admit to being a security Mom. I'm not ashamed of being a security Mom. My daughter was in 8th grade my son in 7th grade. Both were extremely traumatize by 9/11. It is forever etched in their minds. I find them still thinking, "Could it happen again." As young adults they haven't forgotten. I completely understand now how my grandparents viewed Pearl Harbor. They were fortunate to not see the images on live TV. I personally think everyone should read Dereliction of Duty: The Eyewitness Account of How President Bill Clinton Endangered America's Long-Term National Security by Col. Robert Patterson. From 1996 to 1998, Lt. Col. Robert "Buzz" Patterson was the Senior Military Aide to President Bill Clinton. During that time he was responsible for the President’s Emergency Satchel, otherwise known as the “Nuclear Football. He points out in the book about the President's disregard for the Nuclear Codes, a sexual incident with a Air Force 1 Steward that if it had been any other man would have been tried for a crime, and Hillary's ravings. Most importantly he pointed out Bill Clinton's disregard for giving the order to kill Osama Bin Laden because the PGA tournament he was attending was more important to him then our National Security. It was very clear after reading the book that we had co-presidents, not a President. I do not wish that to happen again. I blame our 9/11 and our current state of foreign policy directly on President Clinton. I really don't want them back in the White House.

So where am I on my political views. At this point if the election were held today I would hope it would be between Huckabee and Edwards. There would be a real possibility I would vote a Democrat for President for the first time. I did vote for independent in 1992 for Ross Perot. Social issues are not a first criteria for me in an election. I want to know that the individual I'm voting for is a fiscal conservative. Funny thing, I don't see a single candidate a fiscal conservative. I routinely voted in the 80's for both Republicans and Democrats based on their fiscal beliefs. I find the Democratic party polarized by the far left. I find the Republicans polarized by the far right. What happened to moderates? Believe it or not this Pro Life Born Again Evangelical Christian does NOT want to see Roe vs. Wade overturned. The decision on this case is not 100% about abortion but about the rights guaranteed by the 14th amendment. I believe what the Constitution says what it says and don't read anything into it. The 14th amendment guarantees my right to privacy and my right of choice within the law. Thus Row vs. Wade has to remain in effect.



Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cattle Industry - As I see It

Today started out clear and very cold for this part of Texas. The low was around 24 this morning. So far this winter we have not had to feed the cattle much. They have been getting about 150 lbs a week of range cubes and protein tubes. With only a .01 inch of rain this past week we will probably need to feed some hay by the first of February. I'm hoping the late winter and early spring will bring the rain. Our ranch needs three good years of rain and good growth of grass to put much needed organic material back into the soil. For twenty years before we purchased our land it was so abused by over grazing. Commercial producers must realize that they are in the business of producing forage (grasses) and not the production of cattle. Cattle are just one way of marketing the forage one produces. If one is to switch from cattle production to forage production, then the actual stocking rate of cattle can increase. This is very important with the increase cost of fuels. The list of inputs is amazing of how much fuel is put into one steer fed out in a feed lot. I'm sure I'll miss some of the inputs that are used: fertilizer for forage, fertilizer for grain, fuel for production and transportation of grain, transportation of cattle, electricity, production of vaccines and other pharmaceuticals, production of cattle related equipment, fuel for tractors, and the list I'm sure expands.

The cattle industry is driven by a number of factors. The greatest is consumer demand. It impossible for one producer to drive consumer demand for beef. Yet one breed organization has been able to be a driving force in consumer demand, The American Angus Association (AAA). In 1978 the Certified Angus Beef Program (CAB) was formed by the AAA to specifically promote Angus Beef in this country. Their mission: To increase the demand for registered Angus cattle through a specification-based, branded-beef program to identify consistent, high quality beef with superior taste. I personally find the CAB somewhat misleading to the consumer as on their website:

I quote from the website: 'To receive the brand cattle must first be at least 51% black-hided or AngusSource ®...' You can read the rest. Essentially the beef you buy in the store that is certified is black cow. There are other requirements but when one considers the AAA registered only 350,000 animals in 2006 then not all of the beef sold under Certified Angus Beef is purebred Angus. The total beef production in 2004 was 24.5 billion pounds. One can certainly do the math. My hats off to the AAA for the greatest marketing program to influence consumers in the US.

I discussed forage production and the CAB program because we have Lowline Angus. I also briefly touched on stocking rates. The beef breeding in this country is totally driven on the CAB program. AAA last year asked producers to reduce the size of a carcass to 1000 lbs. In order to do so the size of individual animals must be reduced. Smaller size of the breeding herd in the US is of paramount importance when one considers the shrinking size of available agriculture land and the increase in the cost of grain products. Enter the Lowline Angus. The Lowline Angus is the next revolution in the beef industry of the US. There are approximately 850 to 1000 full blood Lowline Angus in the US. They are an Australian breed of Angus derived from orignal Aberdeen Angus genetics and are 70% the size of Aberdeen Angus. Over the last fifty years the cattle industry has assumed that bigger is better in the US. We have lost some of the reproductive efficiencies of our cattle breeds. The Lowline Angus can bring a smaller framed cow to commercial breeders when they carry 50% Lowline Angus genetics, increase stocking rates, and wean a 650 lb calf when bred to a 25% Composite Lowline Angus Bull. These cattle will qualify for the CAB program based on being 51% black hided. The increase stocking rates allows the producer to produce more pounds of beef per acre then is currently being produced by commercial breeders. Furthermore, the Lowline Angus have very high feed efficiencies as proven by Bovigen's GeneStar Testing for Feed Effieciency. This breed is capable of finishing on grass which becomes even more desirable to feedlots, as most cattle would only need 30-45 instead of days to finish in a feedlot for the desired taste consumers demand. Percentage Lowline Angus Steers finish in an average of 85-110 days compared to the normal of 150-200 days that are required. A very interesting article was put out by North Dakota State University on Lowline Angus in Feedlots (click on link):

NDSU Beeftalk Column

Angus have always been my favorite breed, especially the Aberdeen Angus type. The Angus in this country today is very different then the Aberdeen Angus. There are Aberdeen herds scattered throughout the US, but no longer the norm. Thus my immediate fascination and love for the Lowline Angus breed. The Lowline looks just like the Aberdeens just a little smaller. We are breeding both Fullbloods and Star 5 animals. Star 5 animals are Santa Gertrudis and Lowline Angus. We are breeding both black and red Star 5 animals. We will be reducing size, increasing calving ease, maintaining maternal EPD's and reproductive longevity. We invite you to come see this brand new Star 5 cross, the first in the in the Cattle Industry.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Flying J & L Ranch

Named after our children and our love of hunting upland game birds, Flying J&L Ranch specializes in Santa Gertrudis, Lowline Angus, and Star 5 Composite Cross. Our goal is to reduce the size of cattle in the Star 5 cross without losing any of the performance of the cattle in their reproductive longevity and feed efficiency conversions. Currently with the increase in cost of feed products, the need to have more feed efficient cattle is of paramount importance. We are involved in all of the reproductive technologies for seed stock producers from flushing our donor cows and implanting the embryos, to selling the embryos. We collect, freeze and sell the semen from our bulls. We utilize artificial insemination each breeding season to bring in only the very best genetics outside our herd. We utilize gain testing, ultrasound and Bovigen GeneStar Testing on our animals. We are a young ranch but combined agriculture experience in the family is well over fifty years.

My roll in the ranch is from the economic side of the ranch. I keep track of all the record keeping, advertising, and trends in the beef industry. Larry specializes in the marketing end of our operation and works with our daughter Lynn on choosing matings and purchasing animals. Lynn is currently a junior at Texas A&M majoring in Agriculture Science and plans on teaching at the High School level when she graduates. She also is the one who shows our cattle at shows.

The picture above is of Mr. Double T 31. 31 is shown as a very young two year old bull in early 2007. He is a Santa Gertrudis purchased from Double T Ranch in Rossier, Texas. His oldest heifer is a member of our 2008 show string. We are very pleased with the arrival of his first calf crop last year. We are looking forward to the arrival of his calves starting in February.

Until next time. Kim

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Just for Today

I'm entering the world of an online journal. Thoughts about me and the things I love. I have another blog on a website that I visit daily. I don't enter into political views there but sure plan to here. My thoughts about our upcoming elections.

I love to write but have no grammatical skills. I was lost from the beginning when it comes to grammar. Give me a math problem instead. I'm sure you'll discover my grammar stinks.

I'm a transplant Texan, wish I was a native. I love the simple life of the ranch and all it has to offer. I love the seasons as our lifestyle is so connected to the seasons. I hope you'll come to know me and the cattle we raise. Maybe at some point I'll connect you to the country lifestyle. Maybe even get you to thinking that the food you buy in the grocery store came from a farmer or rancher. Without me you do not eat. Novel concept for the urban dweller.