Stories, opinions, facts, convictions, and lessons learned from a small town farm girl.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Barbed Wire Scars Will Fade

I recently saw this quote on a website that I frequent. I often try to put into words the way I feel or the passion that I possess, but I can't help but feel sometimes that I've fallen short and haven't really portrayed the message that I want to get across. However, this man could have said it no better way... And everytime I read this, I can't help but get a lump in my throat.

An old rancher on why he is proud to be a cattleman:
"I have never ranched for the money; it pays more grit than dollars. It is more for the feeling of a rain after a year-long drought, standing in the mud where the pasture was, laughing so loud and hard they could hear me in town. More for the pride of saving a newborn calf's life that even the vet said would not suckle. More for the huge knot that ties in my stomach when walking up to the seller's window at an auction barn. The knowing that the barbed wire scars will fade,
but my cattle blood line could run forever."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Home is Where Your Heart is...

"We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it."

Most of you who read this know me pretty well, and if you know me pretty well, you know any sort of "metropolis" or highly populated area can send me straight into an anxiety attack. Heck, where I grew up we didn't have to look both ways to cross the street - we didn't even have a street! We had roads, and if we were lucky, there might be yellow lines on them. So, you can imagine my anxiety when my boyfriend and I began house-hunting in Fayetteville, Arkansas - where the University of Arkansas is located. Here in Oklahoma is the first time I've ever lived in a "town"... even in undergrad I lived on a farm! We knew going into this house hunt that it wasn't going to be easy trying to find a place within our price range and out of city limits.

Last weekend we began the long trek around Fayetteville - made a few appointments, stopped at some houses, and merely glanced at while driving past a few. We found an ad for a house in Prairie Grove, Arkansas and as we were just driving out to it, I knew this would be it. We were driving down beautiful roads with dairy and beef farms lining the shoulders. We pulled up to the house and not only did it have a front porch, but a herd of black cows were grazing in the field right down from it - our everyday view from our own home.

So after we found the place I shortly thereafter began to panic again - What if the landlord did not want to rent to us? But, thankfully Ben got a phone call the other day saying the place was ours if we wanted it! Hallelujah! One other thing to cross off on my to-do list.

I spent the morning breeding cows again - once again, it was one of the best days I've had with my internship here at The Noble Foundation. I tell ya what, there is absolutely nothing in this world better than working outside. I thank God everyday that He blessed me with my heart and the passion for agriculture. I truly want nothing more in this life than to spend it doing what I love the most - working with cattle.

Monday, May 17, 2010

BEEF Magazine

I recently had a very exciting occurence - I found out that an article that I helped to write has been featured on I know that for some this would be no big deal, but imagine my surprise - as an avid reader of BEEF Magazine and a subscriber to BEEF Daily - when I was rummaging through the website one morning and I saw my article featured! A very small step towards where I want to be, but nonetheless, a step indeed! To read the article, link here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

For Everything There is a Season

"For everything there is a season,
and a time for every purpose under heaven."
Ecclesiastes 3:1

The past week has been a good one for me... My parents came to Oklahoma to visit me from Maryland and see what my "new life" is all about. I think they've really enjoyed their time here and I know I have certainly enjoyed their company!

Last Saturday we went to Fort Worth, a town I am becoming ever increasingly fond of every time I go there, to go to the Fronteir Fort Days. It was amazing and I think my dad enjoyed seeing the old stockyards. We went to Oklahoma City yesterday to the Oklahoma National Stockyards - the world's largest feeder calf market - and then to the National Softball Hall of Fame.

As many of you know, softball used to be my life. My biggest goal was to play Division I softball... and after I found the team that I loved, I shortly had the game taken from me. I tore my ACL twice before my sophomore season and was unable to play anymore. Softball is still a ghost I face everyday of my life, even though it has been nearly two years since I have last played. The Oklahoma City field is a place that every young girl that has a deep passion for the game dreams of playing - including me. I would be lying to say I didn't have a lump in my throat the entire time we were there yesterday, but it's also something I am so grateful I got to see...

I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. While it is still a hard thing to swallow, I know that perhaps God used softball as a way to get me where He needed me to be. If I had not had the gift of softball, I would not have gone to the school I chose to play. I would never had been given the opportunities that I had in college at any other school, and I know that I wouldn't be here if it weren't for those opportunities. And if I had it all to do over again, I would want to end up right where I am... Right here.

Sometimes it's so hard to remember all of our blessings when we have to face what we've lost. But sometimes we have to face what we've lost so we can more clearly see what all we've been blessed with...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Breedin' Some Cows...

I had the most wonderful day today - one that I'm fairly confident only I would think was marvelous.

It is that time of year again - breeding season. However, this year I will have a slightly different one than the past that I am used to. On our research farms at the Foundation we A.I. (Artificially inseminate) all the cows. Today was the first day for A.I. and thank God I got my certification years ago because I got to breed some! [I know, only I would get excited over that...but at home we use natural service (herd bulls) so cattle is something that is a very very rare activity for me] It has been my dream to have our herd at home go to 100% A.I., but time and labor restraints make that nearly impossible... So in a way I guess I got to make-believe today. Haha...

And it is absolutely gorgeous outside - about as beautiful as south central Oklahoma can be anyway, with winds whipping up to 40 mph on a "still" day... (Something I'm still having trouble getting used to) And this day will only get better - my parents flew in from Maryland to Dallas today and they are on their way to see me and spend a few days here! I am so absolutely blessed and at this moment, I couldn't imagine how life could get any better...

"Whatever you do, do it with all of your heart..."
Colossians 3:23

Monday, May 3, 2010

Going Home Again

"Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and
you're a thousand miles from a corn field."
-Dwight D. Eisenhower
About a week or so ago, I had the opportunity of spending the afternoon with a feedlot consultant from Australia. He grew up there and began his secondary education there as well, but to earn his Ph.D. he came to the states and attended a school in west Texas. Just hearing his story and listening to what he had to say got my brain running in overdrive...
Can we ever really go home again?

West Texas offers countless opportunities for feedlot consultation... After all, it's the heart of the feedlot industry in America. And although he could've stayed in the states and pursued his career in the beef industry, he went home.

It's been a lifelong battle for me - to stay or to go. I absolutely love where I grew up and if I could, I would move back tomorrow. But unfortunately where I grew up in the country, while hundreds of small farms and animal agriculture is prevalent, not many make their living in agriculture. I have always wanted to move back home, but I just don't know if that will be possible while in the line of work that I want to do...

It's a shame that this is an issue faced by young agriculturalists everyday. Stay on the family farm or leave. Simple as that. Tough as that. And while we know that it is up to our generation to preserve the heritage of American agriculture, it is next to impossible to make a living on a small family farm...

I guess until I get my life together and I find which road my heart wants to take in life, I'll continue to vacation in the small western Maryland town I call my home, on that beautiful mountain farm I call my life.