Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Brothers

I looked at a tutorial about using a whole punch to form a title. I was so excited about it I went to punching holes. When done I understood why the tutorial said to use two different sizes of hole punches. Aghh well, another tool to purchase.... with a smile on my face.

My brothers much younger. For my "About Me" album. I've chosen photos of us when we were young because those are always my first thoughts about my brothers. They both are wonderful adults with wonderful families of their own. They been so supportive of our mother since Dad's passing. They have been more like big brothers to me then I could ever hope for in recent years. So hats of to MY BROTHERS! Hey guys, who spit the seeds the furthest that day?

Thank you to Pink Sketches for their wonderful inspiration for this LO with Sketch # 30. The collage is all about what my brothers love.


...on my Journey

I probably have written this before, I love being a mother. Some time back I did a LO of James titled Embrace and wrote a post about it. The picture was a self-portrait of James. Lynn did a self portrait of herself. I knew like with James' LO I would be given a word to describe where my children are as young adults. It is why I so love One Little Word. The inspiration of just one word can send you forward. I also used 52 Sketches...52 Weeks #17 to put the LO together. Thank you to both sites. The other inspiration came from tutorials on technique on both sites. Using paint on your LO's. Since we had so much rain this week I could take the time to paint and let it dry.

Larry and I have always told the children to look and explore the world around them. Both of us would say or do something when they were growing up and then tell them to see if what we were telling them was true. I think my favorite thing I told the kids was about piercings and tattoos. Lynn was allowed to pierce her ears for earrings. Other then that both were told no tattoos or piercings until they were over the age of 18. I told them to look around them. The most successful people in the world who were not in sports or entertainment did not have tattoos or piercings or at lteast they couldn't be seen. As they got older they really did begin to look. Lynn has gotten a tattoo but it is well hidden. She pierced her nose, but I think she's beginning to get tired of it from the way she talks. It's forever getting infected. Kind of why I rarely wear earrings any more. My ears are infected within 36 hours. We also talked openly about drugs and sex with them. We showed them examples in their lives and ours. They now have seen cousins wind up in jail over drugs. They shake their heads and both have said, 'how stupid!'

Lynn was about 8 years old when she decided to set a plan for her life. It started with going to college at Texas A&M. She wanted to be a lawyer for a while. Then there was probably half a dozen other things she wanted to be. Where is she, of course a Senior at Texas A&M majoring in Agriculture Science (what they call Agriculture Education). She was a PAL (Peer Assistance Leadership) in High School. A select organization to be a peer mentor. She found she loved helping others. I just think it is ingrained in my daughter to help others. So many adults helped her down her journey she started to set for herself at age 8. There were teachers, coaches, and friends to guide her through swimming then softball, her rabbitry and on to her pig and cattle. Teachers leading by example to her. I'm grateful to all of those positive experiences Lynn received. She has allowed herself to let her journey to evolve and grow. I so look forward to where her journey will lead her from here. She'll continue as she always has, placing one foot in front of the other to reach her goals. We love you Lynn!


Pork Prices

I had two courses in college where we had $10,000 dollars on paper and had to invest the money (on paper) in the Futures Market in Agriculture Commodities. At the end of the six weeks we had to let the class know how much we made. Both times I made just over $1,000,000. The closest anyone else came was a good friend when we took one of the classes together. He also made over a million but was slightly under me. The next closest student in both classes was $250,000. The friend and I worked together on reading information on the agriculture markets and then made trades based on our discussions together. The one thing I understood was how the speculators entered the market and exited the market. I understood how emotions could drive the market, too. Back then we didn't have instant communication as we do now. We had to do all of our trades based on a one day delay via the Wall Street Journal. I loved this particular exercise in these classes.

Pork prices are down. How is it determined. First the Futures Markets for Agriculture Commodities for the most part are traded on the CBOT and CME. From my classes I stayed clear of Pork Bellies. This was the only way back in the '80's that Pork was traded. Pork Bellies were just too volatile for me. Since then Lean Hogs have been added.

Pork Bellies is the way to trade Bacon. Yeah, funny name to me. Lean Hogs is the other instrument to trade Live Hogs. Late last night I took a look at the prices. Hog producers were already reeling from the high grain prices of last year. The outlook for prices and making money for this year was dismal at best. Now enter the current flu virus. Pork prices have tumbled severely. This is such a blow to the producers. If I had the money late last week when the virus hit the news, I would have sold contracts in one or both of the instruments to market hogs. This morning I would have purchased contracts to exit the market and made a boat load of money.

On April 23, Pork Bellies closed about $83 dollars from the charts I read. Yesterday they closed at 75.875. Lean Hogs on April 24 closed at just under $74 from the charts. Yesterday it closed at 69.17 and currently are trading at 10:50 am at 68.300. Some of this is speculation and institutional driven. But, it is based on the falling purchases by consumers of pork in the grocery store. On a Lean Hogs contract that is a profit of almost $2000 per contract in five days.

If you want to help producers please buy pork. You will not get the flu from eating pork!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

HSUS President & CEO Pacelle on Swine Flu

I have never in my life seen such a blatant outright piece written with half-truths and down right lies in my entire life. Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of HSUS, blog post dated April 27, 2009, A Possible Connection: Swine Flu and Factory Farms, is the source for all of his half-truths and down right lies. This man is blaming everyone involved in animal agriculture production for Swine Flu and other diseases and pathogens. He is responsible for two of the most egregious forms of asking for donations and getting huge amount of dollars only to spend a fraction on what was raised. Katrina, HSUS receives 37 million and only spends 4 million on animal victims of Katrina. The most recent is the Micheal Vic, where they raise money only to say, 'Put the dogs down.'

HSUS as reported by Micheal Johnson of the Charlotte Observer quoted: “The Humane Society of the United States is trying to help out from the top down,” said David Miller, executive director of one of those dog-and-cat shelters, the Humane Society of Charlotte. “That's confusing for people sometimes.” And yet this is what was said by Victoria on the Facebook Group Stop the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) :

'HSUS infuriates me to no end! I am a shelter director and I can tell you for a fact that we get people all the time assuming if the give to HSUS we will be helped. We have never seen ONE RED DIME from them. We are in a county with an 11.5% un-employment rate and I can't even get them to send us a donation to help us continue our spay/neuter certificate program. You would think after all their yapping about that, they would be willing to help shelters continue their programs when they are financially incapable of continuing!!! Tells you that they really don't care about those of us actually working with the pets that they supposedly hold so near and dear to their hearts. HSUS does not operate one single shelter in the US and are nothing more that a massive lobbying organization I will never support them after what they did to horses in this country. We have a small hog business and farm on a small scale and this group will be the end to all of us if we do not stop them now.'

Victoria's post was dated March 11,2009. Obviously they would rather put her small farm out of business then help the shelter she is head of. Pacelle would say she is running a Factory Farm without even knowing her. I guarantee her pigs are treated with the utmost respect and care!

Pacelle uses in the first paragraph the H1N1 influenza virus is what humans are contracting. Further down Dr. Micheal Greger, a senior staff member of HSUS, writes about H1N1 as a swine influenza virus. The influenza virus humans are contacting is not H1N1! It is a combination of swine, avian, and human virus. Time and again research has shown the virus mutates. This is a totally new virus. Pacelle says it has been traced to a major area of pig farms in Mexico. Mexico does not have the built in safety system the U.S. has for their food supply. We have the safest food system in the world. A local restaurant owner in the Clear Lake (NASA) area is a immigrant from Lebanon. In the Middle East if you want chicken for dinner you go to the local market tell the merchant you want 'that chicken.' The chicken is alive when you pick it out, the merchant carries it in back of the shop, harvests the chicken for you and brings it out to you. No USDA inspection like we have here. Where would you like to purchase your chicken? Pacelle refuses to acknowledge the safety systems in our Agriculture products.

Dr. Paconna interviewed on ABC Early Morning National News is quoted as saying, 'You can't get the flu from eating pork.' Don't let Pacelle say you can as he implies in his blog post. I've heard the same statement all day long on every news program I've watched. I've been watching as we received rain all day.

By the time you finish this post you are sure you are going to get influenza and it is all of the pig producers fault in this country. Even the picture he shows is misleading. There is no dirty floor the pigs are standing on. In fact they look pretty happy pigs to me. Pigs are very curious, intelligent and expressive animals. Happy pigs have the kind of face you see on these pigs. The slats of wood are the cover over an automated flush system to remove manure. Pacelle has once again shown a false statement of how our pork producers are concerned with the welfare of their animals to bring a very safe product to market for the consumer.

Again, Pacelle has shown what HSUS is all about. He and the rest of HSUS wants to get rid of Animal Production Agriculture as quoted in his March 30, 2009 blog post. Notice I highlighted Policy of HSUS on wanting to eventually do away with Animal Production Agriculture.

We believe in the Three R'sreducing the consumption of meat and other animal-based foods; refining the diet by eating products only from methods of production, transport, and slaughter that minimize pain and distress; and replacing meat and other animal-based foods in the diet with plant-based foods.

I'm just exposing the man for what he is, head of a deceitful lobbying organization!


Edited on 4/30/09: In an above paragraph I stated H1N1 is not a human virus. Yesterday, even the President uses H1N1 virus as the name of the flu currently infecting humans. So I apologize. Now my question is who is wrong? If swine do have H1N1 virus affect them as a stated in Pacelle's blog and known as swine flu then what is the name of the current virus affecting us. It obviously evolved, mutated, changed, converted, or changed to be able to affect us as proved by the US Center for Disease Control as being of Swine, Avian, and Human origin. My point of HSUS trying to instill fear hasn't changed!

On top of that please understand you can not get the flu from eating pork.

Monday, April 27, 2009

HSUS lobbying in North Carolina

Troy and Stacy had some wonderful comments on various topics today! HSUS in North Carolina really seem to hit home for me. While in college (working on my BS as I have two degrees) I spent my three summers in North Carolina. Two of those summers I worked for the North Carolina State Government Horticulture Crops Research Station. When I went in to see if they had any jobs open the end of May 1980, I was surprised they were excited to have an Agriculture Major requesting a job. They even offered to set me up with Sam Houston State for me to receive an internship. I never pursued it. Essentially, I was an intern though. I couldn't believe there were no NCSU Horticulture majors working at the Station. Only Aggies ever were able to get positions on Texas Research Stations. Their primary crop was and still is blueberries. I did every conceivable thing one can do to a blueberry. No computers to run the statistical analysis and I ran them all by a calculator. Lots of time in the green houses watering the plants and reporting on any problems or fixing the irrigation system when it went down. The list of what I did during those two summers is long. Yet, I learned so much about research and production agriculture. I think the most interesting experiment was a group of Grad Students and two professors had a test plots for new varieties of carrots. They were grown at this research station as the soils were very close to soils in Central Africa. When the carrots were ready for harvest, we spent the morning with the Grad students pulling carrots. Very back breaking work. They had been taking weights, measurements, etc. Just like I would do with the blueberries each week a test plot was picked. I came down a row with a full bucket of carrots from one plot after we had been harvesting for two hours. The Grad Student I set it down by looked at me and said I would get to taste a carrot from that bucket. I asked, 'Your not weighing first?' The reply, 'Nope!' So I walked over to a facet, washed a carrot off turned around and took a big bite, and nearly choked to death. That was the most GOD AWFUL CARROT I had ever tasted! I remember him laughing at me. I'd spit that thing out and ran back to the facet to rinse my mouth. He then told me every plot had been that way. Dejected the team returned to Raleigh to start completely over. There is one thing the research work made me realize, I didn't want to do it for a career. At least for Horticulture it was slow as molasses. By the start of my second summer I knew I was going to stay in school for a Masters and by the end of my summer I was positive I'd rather not do a Thesis. So I have a terminal degree. I can say again, I loved the work though. I really enjoyed the statistical analysis the most. I suppose it is why I have my degrees in Agriculture Economics. Crunching numbers for trends or to find a way to save money on the ranch is intriguing to me.

I have family in North Carolina and Larry's ancestry traces to Pender County. Along with those two things and the two summers meeting so many professors in the Horticulture Department at NCSU drew me to the article Troy found in the Charlotte Observer, Bill stirs battle - over dogs, or meat? I urge you to read the post. I found for the most part the author Mark Johnson attempted to show both sides of the issue. Better then most articles, but he too, fell a little short. I'd point it out but I think I have in other posts on my blog. What I did find out was what seemed to be the HSUS owned sanctuaries. Mr. Johnson used the term "operated" instead of owned. I'd always heard HSUS didn't own any shelters or sanctuaries. The one that disturbed me the most was one in Texas. So I set out to find out who actually owned the ranch. As I began my search I found out some interesting things. The Black Beauty Ranch outside of Athens, Texas was founded by Cleveland Amory a children's author. The Black Beauty Ranch's Partners according to the website is The Fund for Animals and HSUS. The Fund for Animals according to Wikipedia at the link for Cleveland Amory founded The Fund for Animals. In 2005 HSUS formed a "Corporate Combination" with The Fund for Animals. What the heck was that? You'd think I could pull it from the recesses of my mind since I have a minor in General Business. So searched yet again. I found this on the web and I'll let you read it at All Business. So the end result is I'm still not sure who owns Black Beauty Ranch. I do know one thing, I will not go to the ranch and will not give dollars to the ranch and will do everything I can to keep others from giving to the ranch directly.

Now I'm off to email Mark Johnson to correct him on some points in his article. I'm also going to email my aunt and uncle in Greensboro to encourage my aunt and uncle to call their state representative and senator of the North Carolina Legislature.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Out My Window

Living on a ranch there is never a dull day. Just looking around you see a world open before you full of wonder. This morning Larry comes out from his morning shower and asks me to come back to the bedroom. He points out the window to a brown mass in the trees along the fence line. There in the tree is a swarm of bees. He tells me to be careful if I go out to get a picture. I tell him not to worry. I've no desire to disturb this group of one of the most wonderful insects in the world! Kim

Friday, April 24, 2009

Aggie Ring Day & Scrapbook Layouts

I've enjoyed the last two days working on two layouts. I think the biggest reason I enjoyed it so much is because I've been in and out with family things to do. The most fun we had was last weekend in College Station, Texas A&M Univ. Parent's Weekend. We started Friday afternoon with the rain falling walking to the William Clayton Alumni Center for Ring Day. All I can say is, 'WHAT A ZOO'! The seniors were having a ball, celebrations started, pictures being taken everywhere. My favorite is this one to the right. Everyone was damp from the rain. May have dampened the body but certainly not the Aggie

Spirit! The picture at left is Lynn proudly showing off the Gig-'Em Aggie while making sure her coveted Aggie Ring is there for all to see. Now just one more thing to do to the ring. She will wait until Natasha gets hers next semester and then they will Perform a Ring Dunk! Another Aggie Tradition.

When I arrived back at the ranch on Wednesday I started in the evening with the two LO's I needed to accomplish before Saturday. Both were using Sketches from 52 Sketches...52 Weeks. Because of the busy week between the ranch and our home in Angleton I didn't complete Week #15. I decided on a companion page to my "Real" layout I did a while back. Another view of my Tahitian Sunset Rose from a different position. The picture is below.

My entry for this week's 52 Sketches...52 Weeks, Week 16 is a pictures of a Killdee and her nest. I loved working with this sketch for the LO. My favorite was the tag. I had fun working with my Ranger Perfect Pearls. You can't see the shimmer but it is a really fun medium to work with. I used a butterfly stamp. Larry happen to find the nest and came in to tell me about the nest. I've seen several Killdee nests on the coast. I've always found it amazing the color of the eggs is not always the same. The color directly depends on the color surrounding the nest. Somehow when I took the picture the eggs came out darker then what they really were. As I worked I remember my feelings to see this hen's nest. Her nest was along the side of our county road. The chances of the nest surviving would be next to 'nil. All of the other nests I'd seen had two or three eggs. This gal was prolific, she had four. The picture was taken last June. As I finished up the layout I thought how could I attract a Killdee and keep her nest relatively safe. Every nest I've seen has been in gravel. Our road is the wrong place. But our garden is a great place. I just need to get some gravel back there so maybe next year we can attract a pair to build a nest. The pair would help with bugs for the babies.

Texans have fond memories from the '90's about Killdee's. Seems it is the in thing for Candidates running for governor to get out with the press in tow and have a hunting trip. It is always during Upland Game Bird Season. It's the only way to show one of our state's favorite passions before the actual election. Deer Season and Duck/Geese season start on or just after the election. 1994 Election between Ann Richards and George H.W. Bush was a very hot election. It was important for both to be seen as true sportsman or woman as the case may be. Open day of Quail Season Ann & George headed out to the field, separately of course. At the end of the day both reported success and a good day of hunting. Ann Richards had to be the one to hang her head though. She killed a Killdee, a protected species, and was levied a fine. She handled it like the honorable Texan she was. So her day of hunting brought more press coverage then Bush's. I guess it can be said some bad press can be good press.

As for the spelling of the Killdee's name. They are also known as Killdeer and both spellings are correct.

I leave you with one more though: Why can't I use the symbol "&" in the Labels? I tried to write Texas A&M Univ. That is the correct way to write the name of the University. I had to settle for TAMU. Oh well, rules of the blog post.

Keep our elected officials in your prayers. They sure need some good thoughts sent their way.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tea Party - Lake Jackson, Texas

Most of my online scrapbooking friends know I have two homes. We hope by the end of the year it will just be the one in Groesbeck, TX. I had to go home Monday evening to Angleton for a dental appointment on Tuesday. I'm such a wimp when it comes to the dentist it wears my nerves to a frazzle. I always stay an extra night. My bags packed and ready for me to go. I'm about to call Larry and let him know I'm leaving. He calls when I'm within minutes of calling him. Would I go to the Lake Jackson Tea Party with him. I hate to tell Larry no when he asks so nicely. Plus I'm curious about what these are really all about since I don't get news that isn't skewed at least a little to the liberal side. Larry arrives home, and James wants to go. His two best friends are going. He is waiting for a call on when he can go for a job interview. He can't leave until 5:00pm. We decide to wait.

While we wait we all sit in front of TV watching Glen Beck in San Antonio in front of the Alamo at the Tea Party. As Texans we can so relate to the things Glen Beck and his guests relate about Texas History and what the Alamo means to Texans. Larry had told me at least seven days before the Tea Parties he really wish we could have been at the San Antonio Tea Party. We finally get to leave. I would estimate a minimum of 500 people. We saw so many friends and enjoyed saying hello. A past owner-operator who leased his truck with our terminal came up to say hi. And as I look back and I think what Nancy Pelosi said, made me realize this individual who worked under a lease agreement was just disgusted. He'd been unable to find work, as he had sold his truck and lost his job since he left working for us. He was 30 days to being homeless because of foreclosure. I think what Nancy Pelosi said about the Tea Parties being about the wealthy rich paying individuals to attend and I think about the individuals I've seen walking along Texas Highways with backpacks in the last 72 hours. These aren't individuals that look like alcoholics or drug addicts. These are people who have had their world turn upside down by the Recession. It is just horrible the far left wants to put a spin on what occurred on April 15th.

James did the above video of the Lake Jackson Tea Party. I'm proud of him for becoming active in his freedoms! Keep it up James!

Larry had gone to bed and I began to think about all of the posts I'd written about attacks on Agriculture and the hidden agenda of HSUS and PETA.

Here's what I think the Tea Parties were about. As I said we saw many friends there. Some are like me a economic conservative and just left of the middle on social issues. Friends who were die-hard Democrats, friends who were Republicans and those who consider themselves Independents. Why can't the far left can't respect our wishes to make our voices heard. Everything in me from my economics training tells me the way our government has chosen to handle this recession is going to send us into a place none of us wants to go. I can't fathom what will happen if they don't stop spending. It isn't just Bush and Obama. Most of the blame needs to be blamed on Congress. Barney Frank needs a good stiff kick in the back side. Why is he blaming the Republicans when he and the Democrats had control of the House? He was in charge of over site on the Finance Committee. Why didn't he pursue it? Why does he blame everyone else when the buck stops with him? Who knows.

As I dived more deeply into why I went I found it really had to do with my love of Agriculture. As I saw three individuals in the last 72 hours on Texas State Highways. A couple walking south on State Hwy 35. A man not ten years older then me on State Hwy 6 this afternoon. It hurt to the bone. It made me think of the tent cities I've seen in California on the news. It made me think about hunger in this country. Here we are the most blessed nation in the world with not only the land, climate, and soils to grow enough food to feed our nation and a huge portion of the rest of the world we have hunger and homeless due to the recession. We have had both without the recession, but now it is getting worse by the day.

I so believe in the humane treatment of animals. My mother and my brother-in-law are animal control officers. My mom is a member of Second Chance Pets, a rescue organization for dogs and cats. I look at our own cattle. They all have names. Some given names, others their brand numbers but none the less we all know who each individual is. I can tell you from a distance which animal is which. There are just over 80 on the ranch. Calves born receive a herd number, they have to have one so they can be registered with the respected registry. Some are double registered so the numbers have to match the requirements of both registries. They go buy their herd numbers until they receive given names. Some never get a given name, but their name is their number. In our eyes it is a name. I think the one cow who we purchased as a 21 month old heifer has the registered name of Corporran Acres 590. We call her 590. When she had a problem with foot rot, she was up in the pasture with the show cattle so I could care for her. I've grown very fond of her. She loves being a Mom and is a good Mom.

So why does HSUS and PETA keep their agendas hidden? Why won't those who support them listen to the argument I have about the ability to feed our population at an inexpensive cost? Why won't they listen that we don't have the land to grow enough plant food products to replace meat if we did away with it? Why won't they acknowledge we are loosing quality farm land to urban development that could be used for growing plant food products to feed our nation and the rest of the world? Why will they not see that forcing their so called humane ideas on animal housing or what agriculture calls confinement systems is dangerous not only to the animals health but the health of humans? Why most people in this country can be tolerant to those who choose a diet based on partial or total vegetarian diets but in return not respect those who desire to enjoy meat? I'm not saying all of those who enjoy a vegetarian diet are like this.

Next time, you want to blast me for being a "factory farm" remember I'm willing to let your post stand, but you don't let mine stand. Who is the tolerant one.

I just leave you with one you consider humans more important or our friends the animals?

My answer is my fellow citizens of this great country of ours first, then my fellow citizens of the planet we call home, Earth.

Please, think of the hunger in this world....remember a huge portion of the land not suitable to growing crops, vegetables and fruits is used for the production of meat. Please speak to a farmer, attend a livestock or crop symposium, and learn about the intricacies of producing food in the quantity we do in this country. When you do you just might change your mind about how you look at Agriculture.

I enjoy the quality of life in my home state of Texas, part of the greatest country in the World simply due to others like me who raise the grain crops, vegetables, fruits, and meat. Thank you to the Farmers and Ranchers of this country!

The Tea Parties were about our freedoms we enjoy under the Constitution of the United States of America. It's not about right or left, it's about a voice of a people who feel isn't being listened to. I'M PROUD TO SAY I'M ONE OF THOSE! I'm not a right wing terrorist!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rush is supporting the Liberal HSUS!

I'm so stunned by Rush Limbaugh it is unbelievable. I can't understand for the life of me why he would ever be allowed to be snowed by a far left wing group HSUS. This group wants to destroy our Agriculture systems and the ability feed our population and contribute to feed the 6.7 billion residents of a planet we know as Earth.

Now you have listened to one of the two PSA's Rush gave on his April 14, 2009 radio show. All you have to do is read the post during the last month on my Blog to know HSUS primary goal is the destruction of farmers and ranchers in this country. You might say, "Your crazy, not the farmers!" I'm not crazy. I'm telling the truth. Without the ranchers, hog farmers, and chicken farmers the farmers who grow our grains will be placed out of business not to mention all of the support industries that contribute to the growing of food. Please think, it is because the farmers and ranchers you have the safest food system in the world and the cheapest.

I thought I would point you to the blog post from Wayne Pacelle. It is his actual intentions of the HSUS in the last paragraph. He wants to do away with all forms of meat production in our country. Stand up to their tactics!

As food for thought please read the following blog post from Lene Johansen, titled OMFG! Rush has lost it! Thank you, Lene for telling the truth about HSUS!

Send Rush an email and tell him how much you love the meat the American Farmer and Rancher raises!


Texas House of Representatives HCR 50!

Yesterday, Larry comes home from the office and wants to know how our Governor Rick Perry made the news. So up I went to the computer to search what was happening with Texas' Governor.

First let me explain my feelings about "King" Perry. I don't like him, I didn't vote for him in 2006 and I won't vote for him in the next election. Two reasons I feel this way. He decided by executive order to force parents to have their daughters vaccinated for HPV. It isn't a disease like Small Pox and the other childhood diseases. Am I in favor of vaccination for HPV? Yes, most definitely. Had my daughter been under 18 I would have taken her. At the time she was over 18 and could make that decision for herself. His Executive Decree raised such a wind storm of descent he was forced to back down. The citizens of Texas were also very upset over the Trans Texas Corridor. Two issues existed with the development of the highway, the issue of fair compensation of land placed under imminent domain and the fact both land and income were going to be owned and receive the income by a foreign country. He finally backed down when a company placed his ranch under imminent domain for the building of a railroad right of way. Then the company backed down.

I know the video below is an attempt by the governor to sign on with the Texas House of Representatives as part of his bid to be elected governor in 2010. There is a big BUT here though. He is right in doing so just as Representative Brandon Creighton was standing up and saying our state believes in the 10th amendment under HCR50. Thank you, Governor Perry for standing up for the Great State of Texas!

Ya know that is what the Tea Parties are about today. It's about our Constitutional Rights and upholding the whole concept of the Declaration of Independence. I'm entitled to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. So is everyone else. So do not tell me that Texas is crazy for this Resolution. It is supported by every Texan I've spoken to. I'm standing up to the ongoing tyranny of the federal government. My rights under the Constitution are consistently being chipped away. STOP!

I found the video on a blog titled Cajun Boy in the City. I really feel sorry for him. His statement about the video and our state led me to believe he can't communicate without using a four letter word. Sir, even though I stated in my last post I was proud to be a Yankee, I'm not now! I'm very proud to be a Transplanted Texan and very happy my parents got me to the state as soon as possible. I just want you to know Mexico drug thugs are shooting into the US from the border towns. I have no desire to drive along I-10 in El Paso where you can look across the Rio Grande into Mexico. Why will the federal government not allow us to put the National Guard on our border? Last I checked my state taxes go to them for protecting the citizens of Texas. On top of that I have close friends who have gone to Iraq who are members of the Guard. You pay taxes for that. Are you against the war on terrorism? Are you in favor of Homeland Security calling the Attack of 9/11 a "Man Made Disaster?" Wake up! Read the Resolution and then go read the Constitution.

Just wanted to let this individual know how many of my Cajun friends who currently reside in South Louisiana would agree with what our Legislature has done. Please stay up in The City! They deserve you! Don't even try to say I only have a few friends in Louisiana. I spend a great deal of time with them as we own a business dealing with Oil Field Service. Oh, yes I'm involved not only with feeding the people of the US but in delivering your energy needs. Don't blast me for not knowing what I'm talking about. DO NOT ATTACK, TEXAS! Unlike Louisiana and New York we were the Republic of Texas! We were a nation! We are TEXANS first!

I so wish I could have been at the Alamo today, it would have been so significant to stand where so many died for Texas Independence. What has happened to the Northeast, have they forgotten our roots in what the Tea Party was all about. I'm proud to be a Texan and an American.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Family Agriculture History, Part #1

This is my story about our family's involvement in Agriculture. I have a few questions for you to think of while you read through my posts on our Family's History.

1) Do you keep track of your family's genealogy?
2) Do you know when your family left the farm if they were ever involved in farming?
3) Are there any stories passed down to you about the farm?

Through some very small amounts of research into my family's past, I've come to find this suburbia gal has very close ties to the farm.

I proudly say I was born a Yankee, almost Canadian. Niagara Falls, New York. I always have fun reminding my husband, a fifth generation Texan I am a Yankee. He smiles, 'Nope you aren't, your a Texan.' I always tell folks I got here as soon as Dad transferred here when I was nine.

My love of Agriculture grew from two sources. The first I think was genetically coded in me. Mom, said my second word was horse. She tells about the first model toy horse I received from her father. I never picked up a doll again. I have memories of my mother holding tight to my hand until I was six or seven to keep me away from a horse who was within my eyesight.

From my earliest memories one of my favorite places to go was my Dad's parents summer home, aka "The Cottage" to the family. See my post: The Cottage. The time spent there was incredible to me. My grandfather had a one acre vegetable garden on the five or six acres of the summer place. There were other scattered beds of flowers and the most wonderful raspberry patch. My grandfather loved gardening. By high school I had no idea how much he really loved farming until I took my first agriculture class and was in FFA. So on Dad's side of the family I only have to go back to my grandparents, both grew up on family farms in Ohio as first generation Americans.

I have had to dig a little deeper on my mother's side of the family. I do know on Mom's Dad's side I have to go back to at least my great great-grandparents to the family farm in the Northeast. My grandfather though was very attached to a rural life as my great-grandfather was a Presbyterian circuit rider minister in North Dakota Territory. He even graduated from high school or probably better put school in North Dakota. My great-grandfather was determined my grandfather would go to college. Eventually my grandfather was Dean of NYU's Business School.

On my mother's mother's side of the family I can trace my great-grandfather to Prince Edward's Island in Canada where he and his brothers arrived from Scotland with his parents. During that time period his family were fishermen. I'm sure they also had a family garden due to the late 1800's. He came south to the US and opened a shipping yard building ships. On my great-grandmother's family can be traced back to John & Priscilla Alden who came over on the Mayflower as well as subsequent family members who arrived in as early immigrants before the Revolution. At that time everyone was involved in producing food to eat.

Horses have always been a part of who I am and are deeply embedded in my soul. Yet I remember my first trip to the Houston Livestock Show at the age of ten. I was in heaven. I wanted to show at Houston. I wanted to have a cow and show. I thought the pigs so neat. I didn't know how to communicate that desire to my parents. At eleven my parents finally gave in and purchased my first horse for me. I've not been without a horse since then. Because of my horses I met Patty, and she introduced me to her FFA project for her sophomore year. I was in eighth grade. She had a dairy heifer. I begged Mom to let me be in FFA my freshman year. The answer was a resounding, "NO!"

Finally, as a Junior, I was just rebellious enough to not listen to my parents. I did tell my parents I'd signed up for the agriculture class. My mother said she was going to the school to take me out. I told her I would quit school. I was in my Ag class and FFA. I was in heaven. I came home at the first of my Senior year and told my parents I wanted to raise a steer. Mom said no, and amazingly my father said yes. I purchased my steer, I paid for the feed, and did the work until Mom said to me she'd feed in the morning. She got attached to my steer. At the end of my senior year, she told me she wished she had made me be in FFA. It made me feel so good.

My agriculture teacher so inspired me, I decided I wanted to be an high school ag teacher. I even went to the same college he did, Sam Houston State Univ. I was so ready to party, and going to the then #2 party school in Texas was so great. I planned on partying my way through and get my MRS. Well that didn't happen! I switched my major to Ag. Economics and ended up with a Master of Science and no husband. I did party, but somehow had really inspiring professors my first semester and made the Dean's List. I'd never done that in high school, made Honor Roll. I was hooked at what I achieved with eighteen hours. I look back and I was stupid to take that many hours. I only had one three hour ag course and a one one hour ag course. I went on to make the Dean's List every semester and scheduled myself to also party.

It wasn't long with that first ag course being the core economics class that I was hooked. I changed my major by the end of my second semester. I even became one of the darlings of the Ag. Dept. I ate, lived and breathed my ag courses. I even got permission to take Animal Nutrition instead of the core Dairy Science class. Something that just wasn't done for students.

Back to my paternal grandfather. Grandma & Grandpa moved to Texas the summer between high school and college. My grandfather learned I would be an Agriculture Major. I don't think I ever saw my grandfather that happy. He had always wanted my Dad go to Ohio State or Michigan State and major in ag. He would then buy a farm. My Dad majored in Chemical Engineering. So his dream came true in me, just not the farm. We became so close. He passed away at the end of my first semester as a Sophomore at SHSU. I know he is delighted I have returned to develop the family farm.

I also wish my maternal grandfather had lived long enough to see is only grand-daughter in the economics end of agriculture. He too, would have been thrilled beyond belief!

That's my is my husband's family history of farming.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Planting

This morning I found Larry doing what he loves more then anything else in the world, tinkering with some piece of new equipment. Well not new, he purchased a host of equipment to use with his 1949 Ford 8N Tractor. It's not a Parade Ready 60 year old tractor. It is though nice looking, has had the transmission rebuilt, the motor cleaned, and now runs like a top. Even I love driving it with the rack on the back for me to haul protein tubs, grain and hay. I can't wait to be turned loose to mow with it. The equipment Larry bought was to garden with. He fenced in a one acre plot near one of the stock tanks to use as for a food plot to attract deer or for a garden. The first garden is going in. It is black land near the tank and will take a good five or six years to amend the soil to get it where we want it to be. We've spent most of our marriage gardening in raised beds. He sent me off to the feed store for seed. They had just one variety of sweet corn and I just had to have Silver Queen so off I went to Walmart. I was disappointed not to find any Roma Tomatoes for me to make Tomato Sauce (rather a Vegetable Sauce) that I love to freeze and use throughout the year. My family is so spoiled they grump when we run out.

The soil so needs amending. I've been begging him to get the blade from our Angleton home up here, pull the manure and hay out of the pens. From there I load it into the mule and carry it up to the garden to compost beside it. I love building a compost pile. During the winter Larry plants a mix of browse for the deer. Then turn it under in the early early spring to be used as a green manure crop. Then I'll come in a month later with rabbit manure from the rabbit barn and the compost and he'll turn it under. I think in another four or five years our one acre garden will be a joy to work in the soil.

It's all part of the wonderful cycle of living on a ranch. The seasons, spring is always a time to find renewal.

May each of you find your true blessings this Easter!


Barn Raising

My entry this week into 52 Sketches...52 Weeks Sketch Challenge. I'm always reminding you to visit Julie's site. Truly the work there is incredible!

Barns, I love barns! They smell wonderful to me, especially one where horses live. I love big barns, small barns.....oh did I say I love barns!!!

I've always wanted a barn this big! Filled to the brim with horses. Whoops, we are a cattle ranch and this barn doesn't have stalls it has pens. And it is not for our production cattle. It is for our show cattle. By the time a bull or heifer reaches three years of age they are relegated to the pasture for their lives as production cattle. Some of the show cattle still love their scratches on their terms, some don't. The only thing the barn and stock pens are used for are to care for cows or bulls who need to be looked at from the medical standpoint to include but not limited to a cold or injury. It's also where they are worked through the chutes to receive their vaccines, palpation for pregnancy, and genetic testing if required or needed. This is done twice a year. Any calves are weaned during this time. Weights on the calves are taken at birth, at six months and again at a year for statistical evaluations to determine if their growth pattern is meeting the genetic standards we set for both breeds. If not they are sold at six months or at a year as non registered cattle. We also decide if the bull calves will remain bulls at six months or are steered and grown out for our customers who buy beef right off the farm.

So where do the horses live. Cold rainy nights (winter only) they are in a pen in the barn. Otherwise like the cattle they love being out doing what they do best, being Arabian horses.

Genetic testing you say! No, it's not some bio-engineering thing. We pull blood for DNA typing of parentage to be able to register our fullblood Lowline Angus. The Registry must determine the Fullbloods are from the parents they say they are from. Some of the other genetic testing is for production traits of meat. We collect hair samples from the cattle and they are sent off to determine if they have any of the genetic markers for tenderness, marbling and feed efficiency. These tests along with their performance tests based on weights help determine whether this animal is able to be registered or not. That's the short cut simplified version. And then we still aren't always right in keeping an animal in the herd. We will be culling four cows three of them first calf heifers based on their performance with their first calves. Two couldn't give milk to their calves and keep their weight up. One never got pregnant. The fourth has developed some leg problems with her third calf and as good a cow as she is structurally she also can't keep her weight up with or without a calf. If they pass all those criteria then they either stay here to be used as breeding animals or are sold as breeding animals to other individuals for the same thing we do. Breed cattle for beef or are used to provide beef producers improved genetics within their herds.

The barn is still unfinished. A shed off the right side in the lower picture is a shed over a portion of the working pens and the squeeze chute was built last fall. The inside of the barn has temporary pens. Plans in the near future is to build to shed's off the side, from where the tin is on the sides. Then the permanent pens will be finished. A wash rack and blow drying rack will be put in near the lab to be able to clean the show cattle every day and blow died. They get a soap bath once a week and a shower the other six days. The lab serves as a storage area for all of the different supplies we need to take care of the cattle, from medicine, wormer, to a calf puller, show sticks, rakes, electronic reader for the scale, etc. It is also a place where we can get our certified AI tech and embryologist shelter to work with their equipment. Both the back and front remain open to allow for air flow. It helps to keep the show cattle comfortable and healthy with the air movement. It is after all Texas and our winters are mild and summers hot. We rarely have a freeze last more then 24 hours. Cattle like cold weather or at least they are most comfortable in 50-65 degrees. I sometimes laugh at their funny looks when they start to run, jump and play and I won't join them.

The only thing I wish is I could bring one of those great big Amish barns down here. This barn won't hold a candle to the beauty of the big barns in the northeast!


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

OLW: Word Up #49; NO

I so love this Scrapbook (Paper Crafting) site for the inspiration of using a single word as the focus. The current Word Up is "NO." Ronda gave such a poignant description of how this word has affected her life. I can say the same word has made such a difference in my life, too. A true must read! OLW: Word Up #49; NO. I so love working from sketches and I loved the sketch for Pencil Lines #129 this week. So be sure to check this sketch out and their awesome DT works of art! I also want to thank Kat, an online scrapping friend who just recently paid tribute to her parents. You can see her as a follower of my blog. Her post are much better written then this one. Your inspiration led to this layout, too!

For me NO does include the courage to say Yes to things we need to do.

I'm a parent. At times it hurt to say "No" to my children. At a time when we couldn't afford some of the things James and Lynn wanted, and deserved to have saying 'no' to them truly hurt me! I always believed in telling them why I said 'no.' I hated it when I asked why to my parents, I would get a response, 'Because I said so!' Both Lynn and James came back to me as young adults telling me they were glad they were told 'no.' They've learned that sometimes one just has to tell themselves 'no' to things.

I love my parents very much. The picture is one of the few taken without my brothers in the picture along with our parents. Actually it was taken in March of 1974 at Disney World. No Epcot, or the other parks existed back then. Just Disney World. I love this picture as my Dad passed away in 2005 and he was really having fun with us on this day. In so many ways I found out at my Dad's Memorial Service just what my Dad meant to my brothers in a way I'd never known. His good friends also let me know how wonderful a friend my father was. How supportive and how fair he was in all of his dealings with others at work or at play. My mother is still there for us, as she was when we were growing up. A SAHM who guided us and loved us. She still does the same today. What little time she had from house work, to being a soccer Mom for three kids all with different activities she gave of herself a volunteer paramedic to Clear Lake Emergency Medical Corp. She also gave of her time as a Girl Scout Leader, a Cub Scout Leader, Treasurer for ten years to Arabian Riders & Breeders Society, and 4-H Leader. At the age of 74 she is still Volunteering and in 2007 was named Volunteer Employee of the Year for Taylor Lake Village (the city in which she lives). She serves as TLV's Animal Control Officer. She is absolutely wonderful to the animals she has to pick up, finding the owners or if the animal was dumped she gets the animal enrolled in Second Chance Pets. Oh and I forgot she volunteers for them and is a foster home to at least one or two pets at all times. She was a great wife to my father, is a great mother to my brothers and I and wonderful friend.

My parents were parents first. They saw loving us meant raising us to be contributing members to society. We were taught "no" didn't mean yes. There were a host of things they would say no to as I have with my two children. At times like me I knew it hurt them terribly. But, I also know in my heart it was out of their undying and unconditional love for us. They were always fair in their dealings with us. I came to realize as the only girl, what held for me wasn't necessarily what held for my brothers. It wouldn't be until I was in college as a first semester freshman that I really understood why I was kept track of closer then my brothers. I even one night remember chastising James for leaving the movies in Lake Jackson and not waiting on his sister as they met there in separate vehicles. 'Don't you ever leave a young lady, never mind your sister and not make sure she gets home, ok!' I know I said some more things I could not repeat here to drive it home to my 20 year old son. I ended it with, 'You won't understand until you have a daughter of your own. Don't dare do it again!' Then when Lynn walked in the door, she got Mom's wrath, too! 'Don't you dare let a young man leave you to your own devices after dark, he is to escort you home even if it is in separate vehicles, do you understand!' Another dumbfounded look from my 21 year old. And on went the with James. I am profoundly grateful for the things my parents said "no" to, I'm much more grateful when I look back at all of the now wonderful "no's" my parents said to me.

For seven years I worked for TDCJ as a Livestock Supervisor. Part of what my responsibilities were was to oversee inmates in the performance of their job assignments. And yes I worked in a male penitentiary. I once had a new employee ask me, "What's the best piece of advice you can give me?" My answer, "NO!" I added nothing more and received a look of, 'How could you!' Trust me it was a little more expressive then that! I then explained.

"I told you that way to make you understand saying "NO" is the one word you should say that makes it seem like it's the only word you can utter from your mouth. Say it and say it often! Do not get into the crap these inmates will try.

If your a female running around alone on 17,000 acres with anywhere from 1-50 inmates, you need to say that word and say it often. I even laughed one day when an inmate who worked for me for those seven years, told me I could say 'NO' more often then any boss on the farm. Boss is the terminology the inmates use for employee.

When I get done with the layout I'll put it up on this post. In the meantime think about what you want to say "NO" to, it can be a very positive word! Well the LO went up on the 10th, and I can think of another 10-15 no's I could describe that were really very positive ones.

Thank you OLW, Pencil Lines and Kat for the great inspiration you give to the followers of your blog!


In Support of Animal Abuse? Not Me!!!

Can My Pet Be a Vegan Like Me?

In a country bred on burgers and bacon, it's hard enough for vegans to defend their meat-free diets. Imagine the scrutiny they face when they decide that their pets should go veg-only, too.

Should animals be denied meat, fish, dairy and poultry?

For the longest time, Ari Moore, 28, and her partner, wrestled with the idea of adopting cats. Committed vegans, the couple wasn't sure they could adequately square their ethical beliefs with a cat's nutritional needs.

But after research and conversations with other vegan cat owners, about four years ago, the pair decided to make the leap and adopted two homeless cats in Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood. Read More

I was so horrified by what I saw on Television I literally broke down in tears. It is the most egregious form of Animal Abuse I've ever seen and justified on National Television News. How could ABC do this? There was even a vet who agreed with a vegan diet provided certain provisions were done to protect the animals health. How could this vet do this? He is going against his oath! As an Agriculture Economics major I was also very interested in livestock and my pets. I took both courses, a total of six hours of Animal Nutrition. The very same courses the Vet Students at Texas A&M are required to take to become Vets. This was in 1986. Vet students are still required the same courses. It is just beyond me any Vet would even agree with changing a diet on our household pets.

The comment next to mine on the article from a vet was so sad. She treated a ferret who's vegetarian owner didn't understand her ferret was a carnivore. She stated the ferret was literally orange from the cantaloupe he was forced to eat.

I encourage you to read the entire article as it explains some of the problems associated with forcing a vegetarian diet onto our pets.

The greatest single argument I have is I can choose what diet I wish to eat. I choose a balanced diet including meat. I support the right of choice of vegans to choose the diet they wish to eat. A pet doesn't have that right of choice, we make it for them. This is wrong and abusive if you force them onto a diet that is not what nature intended for them to have. It's the most bigoted, abusive idea I've seen anyone espouse.

I've spent a great deal of time studying raw meat diets for dogs. These diets include plant foods for the dogs, too. I think it is a great way to feed your dogs.

I also would like you to read this post on Advocates for Agriculture. It is the true hidden agenda of HSUS: The Goals of HSUS. If you live in Ohio your the next state to go under the guns of HSUS in 2010.

Finally, I do not support other citizens of my country telling me and attacking me on the bases of my right to choose to be happy. Remember I have the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I give this right to you. Return the favor.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Barn Raising

I'm a product of a urban (suburbia) up bringing. I remember how crowded it seemed when we lived up north in Niagara Falls and Wilmington. Houses seemed crammed together. In the Clear Lake area from the age of 9 through high school there were wide open areas. Lots of room for kids to investigate. If you went to the other side of Clear Lake into Galveston County the space was even larger. Somehow, I didn't always feel like I was living in a suburb of Houston. As a teenager my friends and I rode our horses where there is now houses, chemical plants, and shopping centers. We loved to ride to Galveston Bay, tie the horses and go swimming. By the time I was in Clear Creek High FFA I loved being down at the school farm. My closest friends were in school at Clear Creek, they always told me I wasn't stuck up like most of the Clear Lake High students. My friends were right. I went to Clear Lake, but if you want to take an Ag course you were at both high schools in our district. There were still gravel roads in the League City area.

I go home now and it is like being in a real city. I am always thankful I don't have to stay. I love the open spaces of where Lynn and James grew up in Angleton. The feel was like League City 30 years ago. Once again, though, I'm watching the urban sprawl move south towards Angleton, just as I watched it grow south towards the Clear Lake area and then engulf it. I'm so happy our business has allowed Larry and I to "return to the farm."

As a child I loved the drive from Wilmington, Delaware, to Geneva,Ohio to see my grandparents. It meant we drove through Amish Country in Pennsylvania. I loved the big barns. I wanted so badly to climb to the top floor. I've always loved the smell of a barn. Especially, if horses resided there. I've often thought about the age of those barns. The barn raising being a social affair for the community.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Our own barn raising and still a year later it is not quite complete. Our barn is 40'x80'. That's big to me. Now we are using the barn, it's small. There have been a host of considerations for a cattle barn vs. one to house horses. I think one of the most interesting things we had to consider was taking into account our hoof trimmer and his chute to trim one of the cows who has never been halter broke. Terry was amazed as I asked if what we were planning would work to get cattle in his chute. He had never been asked a question like that. I want everything set up right so we can care for the cattle in a fashion that is in their best interest of their health and welfare.

I'm excited about the wings which will go on the long side of the barn. It will provide more protection from the north wind in the winter for an animal who may be in the barn because they need attention to a health issue. The wings will allow me to have the show cattle out of the sun during the day so their coats will be healthier. It does mean fans will have to be mounted to during the summer. Consideration must be made for a tractor to be able to get into the pens to scrap the floor to remove manure. We also need the wings because we plan on having a yearly field day at the ranch. A chance to give back to the local agriculture community involved in beef cattle production especially the youth.

I hope you have learned a little more about my story and my love of my cattle, horses, and the rural life. I get to wake every morning to watch the heifers in the front pasture, in the distance the show cattle and horses sharing a pasture eating side by side on a round bale of hay when it's needed. And beyond them the bulls. Eating in the early morning sun. In the afternoon the bulls are lounging in the shade. I love the spring.

The scrapbook layout of the pictures I took of the barn was entered into 52 Sketches...52 Weeks for Week #14 Sketch. I guess making my own nuts(hex nuts) as an embellishment worked because I've found a lot of comments on the LO. To those who visit my blog because of the community at 52 Sketches...52 Weeks, I am very thankful to you for your wonderful support and love. To Julie, thank you for the wonderful work you do to make your site a wonderful community of supportive women.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Casing a Blog - Creating a Layout

Challenge for Mothers and Daughters last week was to create a LO by Casing the Design Team Member's Blogs. Great idea!

After my casing I chose Laurie's Blog, {Lovin My Life}. I love her simple straight forward approach to scrapbooking so she has very elegant layouts. Thank you Laurie!

I picked her layout for 3/19 of this year. I loved the beautiful papers and butterflies! I chose a picture of the first blooms from a newly planted Miniature Rose, Renny. This is an incredible little rose. The photo of my layout I took just doesn't do the photo justice or the rose. It's a much deeper pink, but not a bling type pink. Thank you Laurie for the inspiration.

I really got very frustrated with taking a picture. The pattern paper I used to form the frame is a very pale pink pattern paper. It matches the pink on on the brown/pink pattern paper on top. I tried all sorts of card stock underneath this 7x7 layout to bring the pink out. I so dislike my point and shoot camera. Two things are on our list of must haves: a 12x12 Epson Scanner and a Cannon Rebel. Then a new point and shoot camera!


Keep scrapin'

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Justine's Comment to my post on Prop 2

I start with thanking Justine for a very constructive 2nd comment that didn't feel like an attack. We are trying as two individuals to come to the meeting of two minds. That is a good thing.

This is Justine's second comment to me:

'Well Kim, if I had a blog, you would be most welcome to post on it. You are also welcome to come with me on a tour of a factory farm followed by a tour of a farm animal sanctuary. I think you will see the difference. Yes roosters fight naturally to establish a pecking order. When there's room to move around, it's easier for them to create a natural hierarchy to follow and for the non-dominant males to stay safely away from the dominant ones.

When you say liberalism, why don't you say what you really mean? Extremism. You think people who care about animal rights are extremists. At the opposite end of the spectrum, you are also an extremist. You don't believe that animals should have the slightest bit of comfort before they die.

I'm not asking you today to give up beef or to close your farm. That is too much to ask and I don't want to take away your livelihood. I'm asking that you consider that there is both a humane and sustainable way to farm. Even if you don't believe that animals have a right to live and not be eaten, I hope that you will realize that animals do not need to suffer prior to their death. They don't need to be forced into small cages, they don't need to have their beaks docked, they don't need to live their lives in pain and fear. There's a middle ground.

Take care!'

Justine it is with pleasure I hope with this post you understand more about my family and most importantly me. Our family believes in sustainable ranching. We chose the Lowline Angus specifically because they can sustain themselves on grass. Crossing with very highly efficient Santa Gertrudis gives us the ability to educate local cattle producers an alternative to having to feed a large amount of harvest products to sustain the cattle through the winter months. With price of fuel and grain going through the roof last year, feed and fuel is no longer cheap. The American Consumer of Beef loves grain fed beef. There is a segment of the population who is discovering organic or natural grain fed beef and organic or natural grass-fed beef. The two taste very different. The Lowline Angus is perfect for all types of operations in the beef industry. For years with cheap feed, fertilizer, and fuel we were told bigger is better with cattle. Research out of Dickinson Research Center of North Dakota State University has found cows in the 1000-1200 lb range are much more efficient producers of the grass they eat and as a percentage of their body weight can wean a calf that weighs half of what they do. This allows producers to stock more cattle and raise more pounds of beef per acre. Their nutrition requirements are less then a cow weighing 1600-1800 lbs. If I can stock three cows in the smaller range for every two of the larger cows and still have adequate grass then I'm selling more pounds of beef. I'll have three calves weighing 1500 lbs vs two calves weighing 1200lbs. My income rises. The other upside to this is allowing more land to be used to raise crops. I really consider myself a grass farmer growing native grasses having far more nutrients then improved grasses. I utilize the sun and rain to produce a crop of grass. I market the grass in the form of cattle. I also am very aware of improving my wildlife population. If I improved the habitat for my wildlife I provide a better habitat for my cattle.

Our family finds inhumane treatment of any animal as wrong. I have been to and worked on what you call a factory farm as well as spent time at horse sanctuaries. I've always had a deep abiding love for animals especially horses. I've been around horses for 41 years, owned them for 39 years. They are a part of my sole. I'm lost without a horse. I do find animal rights activists as extremist. I'm not, I dislike organizations like PETA and HSUS that loves to use shock value to force their extremist concepts on people. I often think of my Puritan ancestors who spoke of tolerance in their beliefs, but in reality were no more tolerant then anyone else of the time period. Because of their desire for tolerance for their beliefs, I fully believe we should all be tolerant of others beliefs. I had a close friend from Virginia who came down and showed me a picture of PETA members arriving at a Hunter/Jumper show throwing tomatoes at the participants in the ring riding their horses. She was the Show Secretary for the show. That was inhumane to the horses never mind endangering the riders. There was no tolerance that day for anyone at the show. 95,000 animals under PETA's care last year were euthanized last year. I'm sure they would say they were all terminal. I had my vet tell me one time a Greyhound I found on the side of a county road wasn't going to make it. She was seven years old and lived to 13 years old. HSUS is currently calling for broiler chickens to die from carbon monoxide gassing but actively lobbies against dogs and cats to go through the same thing. I find this concept bigoted. I voice my opinion, there is a place in our country for all beliefs on a range of subjects. I respect your desire to be a vegan and I think it is wonderful you are. Your comment to me shows me you respect me for having cattle and I think, too, for enjoying meat in my diet. Our garden is grown organically. We try very hard to only eat a whole food diet. I bake all of our bread to avoid the preservatives. I admit we slide on occasion, mostly my husband and son. Like you when possible I buy local or directly from a farmer. We really aren't that far apart.

In relation from this post to the last you were much more kind and I appreciate it. It's ok if what I write makes you think I'm an extremist. I know I'm not. I'm much more a realist. The real facts are so very apparent about food and the production of food. We are a rich nation in both culture and technology. We are the richest nation in the world because our country has the very best environment and soils to produce a huge amount of food. The world is still growing with a projected growth of 80 million people from 7/08 to 7/09. There is an approximately 6.7 billion people in the world. They all need to eat. 30 years ago as I started my college education we could feed our nation and the world. There were half the people. We have lost 100 million acres of farm & ranch land to urban development. Not feeding the world could have all kinds of consequences. Look at Africa to realize what happens when a country can't feed it's citizens. That bothers me greatly! It bothered me to hear of individuals in the richest nation (not in $ value) were selling family heirlooms to eat, pay their house note, and keep the electricity on in the last year. People had to make the choice between eating and paying the house note.

I call it liberalism because of the individuals in PETA and HSUS get the liberal politicians to listen to their shock value ideology. If the conservative side listened they'd vote conservative. The politicians are only interested in getting re-elected.

I agree there is a middle ground, but when someone posts 15 lbs of grain to produce a pound of gain in cattle, they are nuts. I invite that person to please read the following information available by South Dakota State Univ. Research has been done in all of the areas discussed in this article. There is even the reason behind why those who say cattle eat 16lbs of grain per lb of gain to get to slaughter weight. It's just easier to read it then me get on my soap box.

Beef by Richard Goodrich & W. Ray Stricklin

You really need to believe that all livestock producers want what is best for their animals. They feel that way because a healthy happy animal grows or produces well.

I'll give you an example of just such a thing happening to us as a family. Our daughter Lynn asked to raise and then show a market hog her sophomore year in FFA. We purchased a show pig for $200.00 and at the particular time I borrowed the money because we didn't have it. We purchased the pig at the last possible moment and the chances were very great the pig wouldn't make it to minimum weight to be shown. We were told to buy a "non show pig" so she would eat better. We couldn't afford to feed two. We didn't buy the other pig. Their stomachs are like ours and you can't push them hard. When Lynn's pig arrived at the county fair the gentleman that help Lynn's Ag teacher pick up the pig and deliver her to us was amazed this pig not only made weight but would be in the Heavy Weight Class. On top of that she never had to be held so she wouldn't go over weight. Lynn wasn't around and her Ag Teacher asked how she did it. I smiled, 'Traylor you won't believe it when I tell you, it's as simple as "Happy Pig." Lynn's best friend for five months was her pig. They raced around the barn together with her pig always winning by two laps, rolled in the mud, had a bath, worked together practicing for walking in the show ring every evening it wasn't raining. In fact where we lived at the time the neighbors around us would sit out on their porches to laugh and enjoy the interaction Lynn and her pig had. Her gilt would grunt the funniest noise every time she would lap Lynn. And the racing was the pig's idea not Lynn's.

I actually think if you start researching "factory farm" practices you'll find we aren't cruel to animals, including laying hens.

Then here is another food for thought. We lost $12,000 dollars from the loss of three calves to coyotes on our ranch in August and early September last year. What would you have done? The number one stress on our ranch for the cattle is coyotes and not the humans. We need the coyotes to control the rabbit, mice, rat and feral cat and hog populations. It's about balancing our wildlife.


A Internet Friend Reminds Me of My Memories & Space

Kat RN, as I know my Internet friend from Scrapbooks, Etc. Website. I so love her blogs. I've found her blog on the web via her blog on SBEtc just as I have one there. Kat recently paid tribute to her memories of both her parents. Wow, I had tears welling in my eyes.

Her mother trained as a machinist in Technical School. WWII ended as she Kat's post I could not in anyway pay a greater tribute in words then Kat did. Her father loved flying. I can so relate. I love flying, too! Yet I love animals more. I have two brothers who are pilots. Her father loved the Space Program. Throughout my young life the Space Program was forever apart of it.

My dearest memories of NASA.

On the day of the first Moon Walk from the Eagle my Dad & Mom were so excited. The whole country was excited. We were a people that were going to have something no other country could claim. And we'll do it again in my lifetime! We were living in Wilmington, Delaware. I remember Dad having us stay up to watch "History." I was trying so hard to keep my eyes open, it must have been close to 10pm. I was eight years old. I did keep them open, I saw the FIRST STEP! I heard the words....I was proud I was an American!

Late that same year Daddy started leaving on business trips a lot for Houston. Around April I asked at the dinner table one evening, 'Are we moving?' I'd remembered four years before the same thing happened just before we moved from Niagara Falls to Wilmington. Daddy said yes, this summer. In June, we stayed with friends as Mom met Daddy in Houston to look for a new house. They came home together. They had found a house.

For those in Kat's and my age group you can remember back in the '60's and '70's the astronauts were on the same level as Hollywood Stars. Sometimes I think bigger. My parents told me were moving into a house that was across the street from the Conrads and the Lovells lived in the same neighborhood. Oh my Gosh, real astronauts! I became a sudden celebrity at school.

We arrived in the Clear Lake Area on July 21st, 1970. I saw the Conrad Home for the first time the next day. I also saw John Glenn's home. It had just sold and was one of the houses my parents looked at. We were devastated they didn't buy a house that used to belong to an ASTRONAUT! Mom looked at Doug and I and said, 'It's on the canal and you two can't swim.' One week later we both could, but that's another story!

I remember meeting Chris Conrad the first time. At nine I thought he was so cute. And he lived across the street. Chris and I were the two youngest in our grade at Bay Elem. in Seabrook. He had three older brothers Peter, Thomas, and Andy.

It didn't take long to get over the star struck thing. I remember babysitting for the Lovells, going on skeet shooting trips in a local pasture with Peter or Thomas overseeing the younger kids. I remember swimming in the Conrad's pool. They were just like us. My father worked as a Chemical Engineer and the others had astronauts for fathers. I could name a list a mile long of the astronauts I know and were friends with their children. They are people just like I am.

There was a different feeling back then in the Clear Lake Area. Pride in NASA, pride in being an American. Everyone was touched some way or the other by the space program. Here's some other memories.

Production of the television movie starring Gary Collins, 'Houston We've Got a Problem' holds fond memories. Jack King who headed up Mission Control at the time was very involved in the production. Jack and his wife were close friends of my parents. I remember one afternoon after school the house suddenly filled with about 10 people and were given a tour. When they left Mom said they chose the painting of the Delaware River near Shawnee, Pa., to be in the movie. It was a painting my grandfather commission from his home there. Wow, we were excited. The whole family was invited down to watch one of the scenes being taped at the King's house. Sure enough there was "OUR" painting above the mantel of their fireplace. Their house had been transformed into a set. Cables were everywhere, their family room furniture was piled in their formal living room. Other furniture was selected for the scenes shot in the King's house.

I remember how excited Clear Lake was as we were headed back to space with the Space Station. The whole place was all a buzz. I remember the station moored in Clear Lake just across NASA 1 from JSC. New stickers were being added to cars for that flight. It was a badge to be a NASA employee back then and proudly display the flight crest stickers. If you displayed all of the flights you sat at the top of the heap! I remember Chris really missing his Dad. Then the day he returned home. Chris and I rode the bus home from school. It was the first flight Mr. Conrad had since we moved in. His other flights came before we moved to Texas. It was a zoo out in front of the house. Then it happened.....the door to the bus remained closed. Chris was at the front of the line. Six of us got off the bus at that end of our street. Bright lights shined in the bus, Mrs. Conrad was angry and fussing at the reporters. I look back on it and know our bus driver had dealt with it before. Chris disgusted said, it happens every time to me standing right behind him. I remember hitting the ground running for my house. I wanted nothing to do with the press. All of us kids in the neighborhood stayed in the house that afternoon. I found Mom disgusted, too. Our front lawn looked like a trash pit. Needless to say it took until after the 10pm news for them to leave. My mother went out too many times to count and told them to get off the lawn. The next morning my brothers and I went out to pick up the trash they left behind. Chris and his brothers doing the same. Thus my distaste for media cameras as an adult.

I think the neatest thing that during Mr. Conrad's stay aboard Space Lab, Mr. King took all of the kids to Mission Control over at JSC. Not all at one time, there were probably 300 kids or more in the neighborhood. I went with my brothers and Ellen who lived across the street, too. We lived on the corner. It was so cool to sit quietly and listen to all that was going on. What a treat.

Then the first flight of Columbia. Mr. Young and Mr. Crippen. I knew Mr. Crippen well. His daughter and I kept our horses at the same boarding stable and were good friends. Mom and Mrs. Crippen very close friends. Another new first for our nation, but the rest of the nation no longer put astronauts on the level of Hollywood Stars. I remember before the flight, Columbia was on it's way to KSC aboard it's 747. They were going to do a fly over of the Clear Lake Area. I was now in High School. I was a junior or senior, can't really remember. I remember our principal telling us during morning announcements we would get a five minute heads up and we would be released as in a fire drill to watch the fly over. When the fire drill bell rang the shop wing didn't walk, we flooded the hall and ran to the student parking lot. There were only four classes. I was taking drafting. The roar that went up from the students of Clear Lake High School could be heard for miles I'm sure. It sounded from around the entire school. WE WERE PROUD!

Then came a moment of devastation. When I was little I asked about the plaque at the front honoring Commander See and Commander Grisham. Astronauts that died. Commander See on a training mission in an F4 and Comander Grisham of course in Apollo 1. All before we moved to Texas. This was a cold rainy morning in Jan. of 1986. I was in my first semester at Texas A&M as a Graduate Student. I finished my morning classes and went to grab lunch. I didn't know any of my fellow students yet. I was commuting from my job in East Texas twice a week. I went to a local restaurant to grab a bite before labs. I sat down, looked up at the TV and saw a clip of the Challenger rising. I knew there was a flight, I'd not paid much attention to it, and in fact the media never paid much attention. I was surprised, the sound turned down but the scrolling of what was being said was being played. I wasn't reading. To my horror I watched Challenger explode. Right there in the middle of the restaurant I started to sob. Someone came over to me, asked if I was ok. NO, I have to call home, I have to know if I knew any of the astronauts. I ran from the store to find, yes a pay phone. A collect call to my mother, crying, "Mom tell me I don't know anyone aboard the Challenger?" Micheal Smith the pilot, and I slumped to the floor! Until your life is surrounded by a program such as NASA and your pride in your country is created in a program of heroes both who fly and are on the ground helping our men and women in Space you become a part of a huge community that is pulled together. That is NASA! I was able to return home that weekend. Headlights throughout Texas were on, driving down NASA 1 past JSC was 20 miles an hour out of respect. People were still crying as they drove past NASA. We hurt as a community. It was the same when Columbia was lost on re-entry. Yet, I didn't know any of the astronauts on that flight. I still fell apart when I heard the news.

I am a product of NASA even though my father didn't work there. I eat live and breathe the space program. I love the space program. I lived history day in and day out. Funny thing, I've never asked a single astronaut what it was like to walk on the moon or be in space. I had the privilege of taking my great-nephew to Johnson Space Center last summer. I'll pull the pictures off and put them up on this post later today or tomorrow. I had fun showing Blake the Astronauts I knew in the pictures from the '60's and '70's. I'm also going to spell check it later, it's 2:30am. Good night!