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.