Calving Season 2016, Featured

Twins or Problem Children?

December 4, 2016

Making a difference… There’s no better feeling.

For these two calves, life would not have sustained without human intervention. These twins were born on the ranch about two months ago with what we call “contracted tendons” (I blogged about this topic previously here).

A calf with contacted tendons cannot stand and therefore cannot nurse (problem #1 and #2) which as we all know is vitally important to survival. We brought these two calves and their mother into the corral and began the process of fitting their splints to straighten out their legs. A few adjustments to height and length of the padding and the PVC and these twins were ready to roll.

To ensure that the calves received necessary colostrum, we quietly loaded their mother into the chute and pointed them towards the liquid gold. Below is the whole reason I wrote this blog post. Get ready.

Continue Reading…

Dinner on the Dot 7, Featured

Cow Pie Cake

October 19, 2016

It’s been a while. Things happened. I moved, got married, and no, I’m not pregnant.

Fall has started here in Idaho and we’re headed to a friend’s house for dinner, so I figured crock-pot dessert sounded perfect. This is one of my grandma’s recipes… technically. Ok, maybe she just gave me the cookbook, but it sounds way more cool when I say it’s her recipe. I’ll do you proud g-ma 🙂

Fudge and Cream Pudding Cake, what could go wrong? You’re supposed to smear 2 T of unsalted butter in the bottom and sides of the crock pot, but after about ½ T was gone, I could smear no more so I just put the rest in the bottom. I started to blend my dry ingredients and got goosebumps at the thought I would be eating cake in less than 5 hours (unless we drink too much wine, then it will be tomorrow).

Add your wet ingredients, one of which is ‘light cream’. Crock-pot’s idea of putting me on a diet. Once they’re mixed, the recipe says to ‘pour’ the batter into the crock-pot, it’s more of a ‘dump’. The visual that puts in your head is rather accurate. See below and yes, that’s the butter I ‘smeared’.

Now mix your sauce and add that on top. It looks so much more appetizing now. Put her to sleep on high for 2 hours and open your bottle of wine.

For the record. This turned out to resemble more of a cake than a cow pie.

Xoxo,

Jane

Featured

A Smokin’ Independence Day

July 14, 2016

This post is sponsored by Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in conjunction with the O SAY CAN YOU SEAR giveaway. I received a free sample of the product featured for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.


Independence Day. America’s holiday where people get together, likely around a BBQ, to celebrate. Since Mr. Meet Your Beef and I bought a house in town a couple years ago, it has become a great place to host this holiday. We obviously can’t light fireworks anywhere near the ranches for fear of a grass fire. Plus, that would immediately turn you into the black sheep of the family with jail time to serve! But, in town, we had a smokin’ good time!

This year, thanks to the generous people at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting and Coyote Outdoor Living, we were able to do something a little different than your typical BBQ.

Insert the Coyote Asado Smoker! Is this thing shiny, or what?!

This 4th of July was the maiden voyage for our Asado smoker. I did what any other millennial looking for a good recipe would do… thank you Pinterest! We decided that a three pound Dot Seven (home grown) beef brisket wasn’t enough for about fifteen people so we threw on a whole chicken as well.

I put the chicken in a brine for about 6 hours (this seemed to be enough time although most recipes call for 24 hours), made a rub for both the chicken and the brisket, and a homemade mustard sauce that was dee-lish. While I was doing the inside prep-work, Mr. Meet Your Beef was prepping the smoker. Both recipes called for a temperature of 225 degrees.

Pro Tip: Mess with the smoker and get comfortable with controlling the temperature before you plan to feed 15 people! That will just cut out some unnecessary stress. It takes some time to adjust the heat and the one thing we didn’t have much of was: time!

Before we continue… can we all take a moment to notice that Mr. Meet Your Beef is NOT wearing a long-sleeve work shirt? In no way am I trying to compete with America’s birthday here, but this is a really, really big deal!

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Featured

Border Collies- A Cowdog Named Seven

July 8, 2016

As I sit down to write this post, tears well up in my eyes. I just dropped my beloved border collie, Seven, off at the vet and I’m not sure what else to do other than tell you all what has transpired. Yesterday while in the mountains gathering cows she somehow dislocated her leg. Bad. Mr. Meet Your Beef doesn’t know how or why (they were in a brushy area and he could not see her) only that it needed immediate attention. He brought her down the hill to our veterinarian who took x-rays, told us the news, and to bring her back first thing in the morning so he could put her under general anesthesia and try to place it. He also said that putting this joint back in place on a dog is very difficult. Being around livestock my whole life, I took these words for face value. It’s very possible Seven’s cowdog career is over. We will be lucky if he can put it in place without any further action. Although I chose a career that requires me to be in vet clinics daily, it’s a different feeling when you step through those doors as a client with an emergency.

Many of you have probably heard horse people say “you only get one really, really good one in your lifetime”. I’m not sure if that is also true about dogs but I do know that Seven and I have a special bond. She is the first dog that I consider mine (although I share her with Mr. Meet Your Beef). I had multiple dogs growing up but they were always family dogs and ranch dogs. However, Seven is mine and she knows it. As a puppy, I remember thinking I would NEVER tame this beast! She was aggressive around other dogs and got in trouble virtually daily. Border collies are known for testing patience, being overly energetic, and are certainly not their best selves if they don’t get the ample exercise. I can’t count how many sprinkler heads and drip lines she chewed as a puppy. I’d imagine Mr. Meet Your Beef could probably tell you the exact amount though :). As soon as she was old enough (read big enough) she was trained to work cattle. The herding instinct that this breed of dog is born with is second to none. She picked it up immediately. If I could accurately portray to you in words how much she loves herding cattle, it may possibly cause you to stop and question the passion you have for your own path in life. Oddly enough, after she found this passion, the poor behavior subsided. Since then, she has turned into the most loyal, kind, loving, and eager-to-please dog I have ever been around.

People who own working dogs are often scrutinized for how they treat their animals. Examples of this would be: “Why can’t they come inside? Aren’t you going to put him/her in the cab of your vehicle? Isn’t he/she tired? Why can’t I pet him/her?” Fairly recently there was some local social media buzz going around about how “cruel” it was for working dogs to travel in the back of the truck or in what we call a ‘dog box’. For those that don’t know what a dog box is, here is a picture.

Image used from http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=203123 where these kinds of boxes may be purchased.

Image used from http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=203123 where these boxes may be purchased.

Seven is just over 2 years old and I’m quite confident she has assumed the ‘7 lives’ motto of her not-so-favorite fur friends. Some may choose to demonize how we care for our cowdogs but I can honestly tell you IT SAVED MY DOGS LIFE. Last May Mr. Meet Your Beef was headed to work and crossing a dangerous intersection when a truck pulled out and t-boned (no pun intended) him sending his truck many feet out into a field and flipping it, landing tires up. I thank God that all humans walked away from that wreck with minor bumps, bruises, and soreness. I also thank God that my husband had put Seven in the dog box that morning just like he does every other day. I’m not sure if you can tell in this photo but the dark spot underneath the truck is Seven. And although the truck flipped and landed upside down, the dog box allowed her enough room to not be crushed by the cab but was also small enough to keep her contained so she didn’t slam against the sides. It saved her life. If she was tied in, she would have either been crushed by the cab or sent flying further out into the field. She walked away from this wreck unharmed.

My point in all of this is that just because these kinds of dogs have a serious job, are expected to work and behave, does not mean they aren’t loved just as much as what we would consider a house/family dog. Cowdogs take risks for us humans not because we force them, but because chasing cows is their passion.

There’s a good chance that by the end of today Seven’s working career could be over. And as much as that crushes me, it’s the reality of this situation. I love this dog as a member of our family. And I want it to be clear that most ranchers aren’t abusing their animals at all. In fact, their income and lives depends on the relationship they have with these cowdogs. If you don’t understand something, I’d encourage you to ask a few questions (I’d be happy to answer!).

I will keep you all updated on her progress… as long as I can muster up the courage.

UPDATE: the vet was able to put her leg back into place without surgery although he decided that some pins/screws were needed to keep it there. She gets to come home tonight! We will spend the next few weeks keeping her movement to a minimum and as comfortable as possible. Thank the Lord!

Dairy, Featured

June Dairy Month- An Inside Look at a Livestock Market

June 20, 2016

Dairy cattle not only produce milk but eventually become beef, along with many other byproducts. In the agricultural industry not a thing goes to waste and dairy cattle are no different. In fact, if you have ever enjoyed one of those famous west coast In-n-Out burgers the chances are very high that the beef is from a dairy cow here in California.

I recently went on a field trip, of sorts, to Fresno Livestock Commission where I learned a little bit more about how these dairy cattle are brought to and through a cattle market. I have been to many cattle sales in my life but most of them were beef. I thought I’d share some of my thoughts, pictures, and a few things I learned along the way.

Although the kind folks of Fresno Livestock Commission have been family friends of ours for generations, I had never visited (shame on me!). What a treat it was to see a day in the life for the entire operation; the owners (family owned), the auctioneer, the buyers, the office staff, the ring-man,  all the help in the pens out back (receiving cattle, sorting in and out, and loading out), etc.

The people above are responsible for a very important part of the dairy/beef life cycle and one I think is often taken for granted or just plain overlooked. Markets like these are what move cattle throughout the nation and to the processing plants.

When I arrived, it was apparent that this company takes pride in their business. Everything was freshly painted, pens were clean, and repairs on the fence were being made. Trailer loads of dairy cattle from local dairies were being dropped off, one after another. The cattle came off the trailers slowly and were put into a pen close by.

There was a brand inspector present, employees counting off cattle, paperwork being completed to track the cows and owners information, and animals were inspected for health. Once they were off-loaded, back tags were attached with adhesive to each cow.

Co-owner Cindy Tews says “back tags are an integral part of the ADT (Animal Disease Trace-ability) program. When an animal arrives on site, they are accompanied by a Transportation Slip that clearly identifies the animal offered for sale. It must have the owners name, address, phone number, number of head being consigned, and brands that those have on them for identification. There is a consignment slip filled out by Fresno Livestock personnel that will include color, breed, and class (SL=Slaughter or FE=Feeder). We also include any ear tag numbers. If they have a brand they are drawn in and if there is not a brand that has to be stated. Back tags are placed on the animals and correspond with the animal being described. All back tags are registered and have the livestock markets identify number and then 4 digits that bring up the animal when entered into our computer. Thus as the animal(s) go through the sale ring all pertinent information is available. Upon sale of the animal, the tag follows the animal through either the processing channel or is used to identify origin if it is going on to feeding.  Should the animal go to the processing plant, that tag is kept with any other identifying information. Should there ever be a reason to trace that animal back to it’s origin, it is usually done within 48 hours.”

Once the tagging was completed the cattle were sorted into pens. As you can can imagine, it was cool and comfortable under these shades; the cattle were quiet and calm. Due to the efficiency of the crew pictured above and the people who transport these animals, these cattle spent very little time here in these pens before the sale began.

As I observed, I realized that so much of this operation depends on the people much like other areas of Ag. From cattle handling to working with customers to the exchange of money, you could tell immediately that these people take pride in what they do. It radiated through a quiet yet friendly confidence.

“Working with my family is a blessing” says Tews. “My father and I have been partners for 15 years. We share the same work ethic and communication style. Some of our common interests include: Customer service/relations, hearing how and what the families of our customers are doing, attending fundraisers and other community events, running pasture cattle, and developing new and better ways to execute our sale through the use of proper animal handling and employee management tools. We spend many hours together on a day to day basis. Very few disagreements have been encountered and we strive to view each others perspective before reacting to a situation. It is challenging from the standpoint that we are up against the clock in maintaining a speed of commerce that our buyers expect. Whenever there is the pressure of time, ones demeanor can be tested. I always remind myself that I want to be welcome at Thanksgiving.”

As the clock reached 12pm, the buyers shuffled from the cafe and picnic tables located on the grounds to the ring and took their spot. The sale began and with the hum of the auctioneer, fun memories with my mom and grandfather flooded my mind.

Each animal spent roughly 20 seconds in the ring before they were let out to the other side. As one cow left another would enter. Cattle were moved about the ring so buyers had full view of what they were bidding on.

And just like that the sale was over. The office was buzzing with people, questions, and the transfer of money. Cattle were loaded onto the respective trucks and all the pens were again empty.  Time to clean up and get ready for the next one!

I am so grateful for this opportunity to have learned and broadened my horizons. The Tews Family is a direct representation of the breed (pun intended) of people that represent this industry I work in and advocate for: honest, sincere, hard working. Cindy, thank you for allowing me an inside look at your operation and for all your wonderful contributions to the cattle industry. You are one of a kind!

 

Calving Season 2014, Featured

Home Grown Beef and the Circle of Life

May 9, 2016

In just a few short weeks, the freezer will be overflowing with Dot Seven beef. Beef that was given the highest level of care from birth until death will nourish our bodies for a long time to come. The more I learn and immerse myself into the ranching lifestyle, the more gratitude I have. I’m so proud that my family raises safe, nutritious beef for myself and others to consume. I am proud of the quality of beef we are producing (more on that later). But, perhaps the most rewarding part of this lifestyle is my growing understanding and appreciation for the end of the life cycle. I know that must sound so strange but it’s true. As a kid, I hated the fact that cattle had to die in order for me to enjoy a hamburger or a steak. I preferred to only be a part of caring for the animals while they were alive. We can probably all agree that death is a complicated topic but that it is most definitely the circle of life. If it weren’t for my immersion into the livestock industry, I’m not sure I wouldn’t still be slightly uncomfortable with the subject.

Death sucks. There’s really no getting around that. Although, at the wise old age of 30 (ha!), I now have a different perspective on death as it relates to the beef I eat. Cows are amazing creatures. Yes they can be dirty, smelly, and possibly run you up the side of the fence when they’re trying to protect their baby calf… but in the end they give their life in the most noble way so that we may sustain ours. I truly believe cows were put on this earth to make use of the land where we cannot plant crops. As humans, we spend our lives searching for our purpose here on earth. Cows are born with a purpose. Their life directly corresponds to the quality of ours and for that I am so thankful. Because of this understanding, (that I believe most ranchers have) we at the Dot Seven assume greater responsibility to treat these animals with first-rate care the entirety of their life. We owe it to the animal just as much as the consumer.

The steer calf in the picture above was born on the Dot Seven and was the first calf of the Fall 2014 calving season. He spent the first seven months of life with his mother, was then weaned from her and moved to another field of native grass for the next six months. From there he went to the feedlot to be finished on a ration (diet) that included grains. My family prefers the taste and health benefits of grain-finished beef; the more marbling* the better!

**Warning: The pictures below this line may be graphic to some. If you do not wish to see what a carcass looks like hanging in a meat locker, this would be a good place to stop. But I really hope you don’t :)**

Continue Reading…

Featured

Guest Post from Blue Eyes & Cow Pies: The Customer

April 24, 2016

I met Kiah via social media and through my long lost friend, Jane, who used to run Dinners on the Dot. Kiah comes from a multi-generational ranching family in the heart of California. Her passion is beef and boy does it show for this Kentucky transplant. She recently blogged about a topic that has intrigued me for quite some time: how far does the saying “the customer is always right” go in agriculture? I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Kiah’s posts and following her HILARIOUS videos on Facebook. You can check out more of her stuff at Blue Eyes and Cow Pies. Thank you Kiah for allowing me to re-blog you post!


 

How this popular slogan applies to agriculture… kind of.

If you have ever worked in retail, food service, or really anywhere that has to do with selling or supplying something, odds are your boss has told you at one time, “The customer is always right.” (I truly hope that if you are in the medical field, however, that this does not apply.) This slogan makes customer satisfaction of utmost importance, and satisfied customers = returning customers.

This got me thinking… in the agriculture industry, does this slogan still apply?

Whether selling food at the local farmers market or a contractor to a larger food supplier or distributor, at the end of the day farmers and ranchers have the same customer: the everyday consumer.

Consumers are on one side growing more disconnected from agriculture (the average American being 3 generations removed from a farm) and on the other side consumers are becoming increasingly interested in knowing where their food comes from and how it is produced. In many ways, this is exciting! In other ways, it is difficult.

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Featured, Personal Posts

The Most Embarrassing Moment of my Life

March 28, 2016

Yes, you read that correctly. Up until this point, I have always been the lame person in an ice-breaking session who says “I really don’t have a most embarrassing moment”. Boy has that changed!

Last week I traveled to and from Denver for a training called Top of the Class with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. I learned more about blogging, social media, photography, telling my story, etc but that’s for another post. Just focus on the fact that that I had to go through security checkpoints in 2 airports.

Background: As I have previously stated, I work for a pharmaceutical company. I sell and distribute vaccines, antibiotics, and supplies to farmers/ranchers.  It is not uncommon for the manufacturers of these products to provide samples of the (non-prescription) items for me to take around as show and tell for my customers.

Here’s where things get good. After surviving the Denver blizzard and cancelled flights, I was finally on my way home. When I reached the security checkpoint at the airport and unloaded all of my belongings onto the belt, I had a strong feeling that the string of bad news wasn’t over quite yet. My bag was stuck in the middle of the belt under the X-ray for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, a younger TSA worker held up my backpack and said “ma’am does this belong to you?” I slowly shook my head yes in pure dread and he replied “please come with me, I need to take a look inside.” Sure Mr. TSA man, go right on ahead. I’m a rule follower so you’re not going to find anything crazy in there! 

The gentleman grabbed his little swab and began testing my bag. Clean! See, I told you! He looked all through the million zippers and found nothing. Made his way to the last zipper, opens it and says “your bag was flagged because the X-ray showed an oversized liquid/gel.”

It was then that I KNEW. I knew that my life would never again be the same. He slowly pulled out a tube that was blue and white and my face began to burn with a fire hotter that the sun. It was in his hands with the label facing down. He rolled it over in such a slow manner I could have sworn I aged at least thirty years. And there it was in all its large-font-glory: OB LUBE. And underneath that it read “For Animal Use Only”. I slowly gazed up towards him but knew I didn’t DARE make eye contact. “Uhhh, umm, uhh, I’m so sorry! It’s a product I sell for work!?!?!”

In everyday life I make a solid effort to not be overly dramatic, but: Omg. Omg. OMG!!! Taking the same backpack that I use for work purposes was the worst decision in the history of all decisions made.

I HATE YOU!

In the Ag world, OB Lube is a very normal product and a subject that does not embarrass me in the least. It has many great uses that assist with the health and well being of the animals. However, in the security line of the Denver airport, I was wishing I had any other career in the world!

Can someone out there please explain to me how the Fresno International Airport missed this on my way to Denver?!

Lastly, PLEASE tell me you all have some most embarrassing moments? I need to hear them. Seriously. For my own sanity. Thank you in advance.

 

Advocating, Featured

Advocating for Agriculture

March 7, 2016

A couple weekends ago I had the distinct honor of speaking at the Chico State Beef Symposium on the topic of social media. Let me first start by giving a major shout out to the students at Chico, their instructors, and my fellow panelists. You all are beef rockstars! The house was packed and the topics ranged from things like consumer perception, to judicious use of antibiotics and there were even BQA (Beef Quality Assurance) certifications taking place.  The people that attended our breakout session on social media were engaged and truly wanted to become better advocates for the beef industry. You can’t ask for much more than that! It was a great day and one that reminded me why I love this industry so much.

Since this talk, I have been thinking a lot about this blog post as I feel some of the topics we discussed apply to a much broader audience. I want to highlight some of the things we discussed in the breakout as well as some lessons I’ve learned along the way that may help you become a better advocate (or Agvocate) for agriculture.  Because let’s face it:

PC: www.one.org via Pinterest

PC: www.one.org via Pinterest

  1. Get involved! I don’t mean to be harsh here but stop watching from the sidelines! I know so many farmers, ranchers, and industry people that have such a compelling story to tell and yet they’re too afraid to get out of their comfort zones. I can’t imagine they’re just being lazy? People in Ag are NOT lazy. It’s time to feel a little uncomfortable folks. We don’t live in a world anymore where we can keep to ourselves and only worry about the dealings on the farm or ranch. We’ve got to defend this industry daily or it will be not be there for future generations. If you have a passion for beef, specifically, I’d recommend you start with the Masters of Beef Advocacy
    The Class of 2015 is growing up so fast!

    The Class of 2015 is growing up so fast!

    program. This is a great first step! And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me. There were so many people that graciously assisted me in the beginning and I’d love nothing more than to return the favor 🙂

  2. Stay humble. Please! This goes without saying but, treat people the way you want to be treated. I get it, we’re passionate people by nature but let’s not bash “the other side” especially from behind a computer screen. Let us never forget to stay humble and remember who we are representing (think BIG picture) regardless of how intense our emotions get. It’s always better to take a breather (12 hours?) before responding to a topic you harshly disagree with. The worst thing we can do as an industry is paint a bad picture of ourselves in the eyes of our consumers and the general public.
  3. If you choose social media as an outlet, pick one or two platforms (FB, IG, Twitter, etc) and master them. None of us have all the time in the world to be on social media, and that is perfectly a-ok. Challenge: attempt to grow a following or reach an audience that isn’t of the same circles you are. For example, if you want to highlight a yummy beef recipe, maybe start following some Instagram accounts whose focus is nutrition. Pro tip: Please don’t hit “share” on the terrible animal rights activist video with your comments above the link. All that accomplishes is marketing for the other side. Feel free to discuss it but DON’T share.
  4. Become an expert or find someone that is! Agriculture is a large, diverse world therefore networking and building relationships outside of your knowledge base is imperative. If you want to share and discuss a topic in Ag, you owe it to the industry to be knowledgeable and proficient on the subject. We don’t have time to waste correcting mistruths.
  5. Use your passion to your advantage! Us in the Ag community have a unique story to tell. A story that often resonates with others, one that has the ability to elicit some warm and fuzzy emotions. Because I love the art of marketing, this video below is one of my all time favorites. If you have a few moments, I’d highly recommend you watch and consider applying this approach to your advocacy efforts. It’s all in the way we market, right? And who can’t learn a little something from Apple?

I’ll leave you with a picture that my friend Janet Golden took while her and her husband were working on the Dot Seven. It’s gorgeous right now with all the wildflowers in bloom. Cheers to Agvocating so future generations can also enjoy this view!

Do you have any tips to add to the list? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

 

 

Featured, Personal Posts

Resolutions: Keep them Simple

January 1, 2016

One of my lifelong friends whom I spent many hours with on the tennis court as a kid is now a very successful sports broadcaster in the Bay Area. In a world dominated mostly by men, she has earned not only the respect she deserves but also has a resume most people in this field only dream of . I’m introducing you to her because she posted something on Instagram last night that really spoke to my heart (amidst the Patron shots and Minute to Win It games which is obviously pretty hard to do!). She said that she had never been one for resolutions but for the last ten years she has chosen one word or one phrase to represent what she hopes to accomplish in the coming 365 days.

Kate said, “As some of you know, I’ve got some pretty crazy professional goals and I knew that I needed to take a giant leap this year if I ever hoped to accomplish them. So, the phrase was a reminder that no excuse was good enough this year and if I wanted to turn my dreams into a reality it was time to stop half-assing it and take it!”

Like Kate, I am not one for resolutions either. We all know how successful those are. I strive to be my best self, always, but I know I slip often and find those excuses that Kate mentioned. We all do, it’s human nature. However I do believe that a simple little reminder like this is a genius idea. Not too much pressure, just a little constant push.

For years I have been dreaming up business ideas. All kinds of business ideas. Ask my dad, he’s heard every last one of them. But you definitely shouldn’t pity him, this entrepreneurial brain of mine is mostly his fault. I recently stumbled upon a business idea, thanks to some of our good friends, that includes everything that is near and dear to my heart. Mr. Meet Your Beef, the ranch, this blog, cattle, sharing the story of how our food is grown, etc. It’s really almost too good to be true. For weeks we’ve been mulling it over, and over, and OVER again. Discussing with loved ones the chances of success or possibilities of failure, calculating costs, thinking of marketing strategies…. just dreaming.

Continue Reading…

Dinner on the Dot 7, Featured

Cheeseburger Pie, Round 2

December 15, 2015

I’m going to be real honest here. I hate cooking. It’s a weakness. And something I don’t attempt to get better at as often as I’d like to. The usual suspects are my excuses: full time job, lack of time, too tired, and shocker, I would rather go to the gym! Hence why Dinners on the Dot have always been done by my friend Jane. She’s a wonderful cook but sadly has recently moved to Idaho. I know, tear! I’m hoping she will continue to contribute her genius beef, or cookie, recipes to this blog (hint, hint), but for now, I will stumble my way through the process and let you all know if I find anything that is worth mentioning or has been approved by Mr. Meet Your Beef. This one got rave reviews! Phew.

I’m not sure if you remember, but Jane posted a recipe for a delicious Hamburger Pie awhile back. If you are a seasoned veteran in the kitchen, stop right here and click that link. Make that pie instead. However, if you are more like me and on the Junior Varsity squad as it relates to cooking, follow along below. Biggest difference between the two recipes is this one below does not entail making a crust. Score!

With a craving for hamburger pie and a lackluster enthusiasm for spending my entire evening in the kitchen, I turned to the one and only, Pinterest. Who would have thought an old, simple Betty Crocker Recipe would be this great? Apparently, Betty knew what she was doing 😉

Here’s how simple it is…

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9″ glass pie plate with cooking spray. In skillet, cook ground beef and chopped onion over medium heat until beef is browned. Drain. Stir in salt.

Spread the beef and onions evenly into the pie plate and sprinkle with a little cheese. Or a lot 🙂

Continue Reading…

Featured, Personal Posts

Our Western Chic Wedding

December 9, 2015

October 2nd, 2015 was, hands down, the best day of my life. Thanks to the most supportive and loving parents in the world, Mr. Meet Your Beef and I were able to have the wedding of our dreams. As my intro back into the world of blogging, following my wedding-planning hiatus, I figured I’d share some fun aspects of our wedding that reflect who we are and what our heritage looks like all wrapped up into a wedding. The vision for this day was a more formal event that somehow subtly told our story.

Since we both come from multi-generational ranching backgrounds, it was important to incorporate our roots and our dreams. One of the first things we did after getting engaged was discuss what kind of brand we were going to register with the state of CA. We landed on a 7 (representing my grandfather’s brand and where it all began for me) and a connected H (Mr. Meet Your Beef’s last name starts with an H). Because that brand was already taken, we had to add a symbol over the top. The final verdict: reverse lazy S over 7 connected H, as seen below.

Since my tastes don’t represent any kind of easy or generic DIY project, we decided to use the (cattle) brands of our family and friends who attended the wedding as table numbers. This was an especially fun and personal touch. Our guests were excited to see their own brands and recognized those of others present. HUGE thanks to the MOB (mom of the bride) for the hours she spent with the dremmel in her hand making these lovelies out of some barnwood from the ranch.

It seems that the most difficult task I found was determining the wedding favors. I must have searched every corner of google for the perfect favor. Somehow, said google search always lead me to Oriental Trading Co. And that was DEFINITELY not the vibe we were going for. We wanted something that everyone would really enjoy but didn’t break the bank.  It just so happens that working in the animal health industry has some pretty cool perks if you’re a little creative and know the right people. With some major help from my friends at Allflex (I’m looking at you, Scott Holt!) these (cattle) ear tags doubled as luggage tags by having names and addresses printed on them.  We hung them on what was once the original stall barn door off our ranch barn built in the 1930’s. These tags were also a part of our seating chart. On the back of each tag was the brand of the table that the guest was to be seated at.

I’d enter a couple pictures of the tags on the barn door here but I doubt our guests would appreciate their addresses being publicized via this blog post. Here’s a peak when it was  a work in progress.

I guess Mr. MYB and I like to unintentionally make things complicated (it’s probably just me but I’m going to take the liberty of dragging him into this if I’m the one who has to go to social security office AND the DMV in order to change my name). So, we opted out of a wedding cake. Neither of us really enjoy cake. After the local bakery quoted us between $700-800 for a cake large enough to serve our guests, we got an ice cream truck instead! Jay’s Specialty Ice Cream to be exact. We also got to pick eight flavors to serve. Determining these flavors was by far the best wedding “meeting” we had throughout the whole process. Can we do that again, please?

As amazing as the ice cream was, not having a cake presented us with a problem. There was now no cake to cut. Luckily we have genius friends (Brandon & Anna) who also share the same passions on cattle as we do and allowed us to steal their idea of branding a steak.

Remember Mitch Behling in this post? He’s also a master at making branding irons. Not an easy task but he nailed it with this tiny iron! And so, we branded a steak instead of cutting a cake.

The easiest decision we made during the whole process was the menu. Bet you would have never guessed it was a steak dinner?! My mouth waters just thinking about it. We were lucky enough to have Cowboy Flavor cater our wedding. You should see the resume Billy and Sue have. Seriously, check out who they have cooked for on their website. I’m not trying to brag here, they are just that good and Mr. MYB and I are so grateful they were able to cater for us!

After the months of planning, sleepless nights, meetings with vendors, budgeting, tastings, and decision after decision, the most important thing was that I found my soul mate. My best friend. Someone who shares the same passions for agriculture that I do. The one who goes along with all my wild and crazy dreams. And the one who makes me do this stupid, awkward, laugh thing that looks terrible in photographs but makes my heart SO. DAMN. HAPPY.

We would like to give a special mention to the vendors not tagged above who were just as important in making this wedding so special to us. It took an army to pull this event off and these people handled it flawlessly. Please check them out, they come with my highest recommendation!

PhotographyKatie Nisbett Photography

Most of the photos shown in this post were taken by this lovely lady. There were so many wonderful moments she captured. I don’t know where to begin with picking favorites.

Wedding Planning: Jade Magnolia

Natalie has recently moved to Texas but is taking her business with her. To all our Texas friends who need an event coordinator, this is your girl!

Videography: Agape Creative Studios

I have a special bond with this team of people. Ashley, one of our videographers, happens to be the girl behind the building of this website. Web design is also one of her many, many talents.

Flowers: Brown Bunny Flowers

Amy is simply the best. She was SO great to work with and turned my floral dreams into reality.

 

Dinner on the Dot 7, Featured

For the Love of Pumpkin!

November 17, 2015

So… I bought a car.

I know, this isn’t starting out the way you thought it would, just sit tight, I promise it leads to food.

So… I bought a car. Following purchasing the car I was added to one of those annoying newsletters, but I was also added to a more personalized newsletter from the salesmen. (Sidenote: If you need a Dodge or Jeep in the Nampa, ID area, head over to Stampede Dodge and ask for Clem, he is AWESOME). Ahem, moving on. I got one of the newsletters today and this little nugget of a recipe was in it. Pumpkin snickerdoodles.  It’s impossible for them NOT to be AMAZING, right?

You will need all your typical cookie ingredients, plus a few spices and pumpkin (or puNkin’ as my grandmother calls it). Now, this calls for softened unsalted butter, so do what I did: buy it when you’re in town and instead of setting it out on the counter to soften, just accidentally forget it in your car, my bad.

I know, you’re probably jealous of my new canisters, I would be too.

Alrighty, let’s do this…business. Blend your flour, corn startch, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Just look at this beauty.

Cream together your butter and sugars. This is the point of the process where you will go put your socks on, so that you can be in denial of how much sugar you just spilled on the floor. See how fast that is? Impressive isn’t it?

Add the puNkin’, egg yolk and vanilla. Let’s hope the cookies taste better than they look at this stage. Yum! If you’re like me and looking at this picture thinking, ‘If it sticks like that to the beater, it’s going to be like glue on my hips’, just remind yourself that puNkin’ in a vegetable 🙂

Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 45 min to 1 hour. Use this time to vacuum your kitchen floor and pet that adorable dog of yours that is out front playing with a wild hog jaw she found.

Preheat your oven to 350. Pull those babies out of the fridge and use the cookie scoop your sister got you to scoop out the dough. Don’t have one? I recommend you upgrade your sisters.  Roll each in cinnamon sugar and bake for 11 min.

 

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

3 ¼ c flour                                                            3 ½ t corn starch

1 t cream of tartar                                            1 t baking soda

½ t baking powder                                           ½ + 1/8 t salt

¾ t ground cinnamon                                     ½ t ground ginger

¼ t nutmeg                                                         ¼ t allspice

1 c sugar                                                               ¾ c light brown sugar

1 c unsalted butter, softened                     1 large egg yolk

¾ c canned pureed pumpkin                       1 ½ t vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, corn starch, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar. Mix in the pumpkin puree, egg yolk and vanilla extract. With mixer on low, slowly add in dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill 45 minutes to an hour. Preheat oven to 350. Scoop out cookie dough in 2 teaspoon increments and roll into the cinnamon sugar. Bake for 11 minutes or until slightly golden on the top.

Featured

June is Dairy Month!

June 29, 2015

You guys thought this blog was just about beef, didn’t you?! Since June is dairy month, I figured I’d switch things up a little bit and throw some love to our dairy friends. After all, dairy cows become beef too (hellooo, In-N-Out!).

I started my career in animal health sales about 7 years ago and in the latter 1/3 of that time I landed at MWI Veterinary Supply, the company I fondly refer to as “home”. Throughout these seven years, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with a large percentage of the dairy farms in the Western United States. If there’s one thing I have learned it’s that dairying is not an easy job. With some of the toughest regulations in the country right here in the Golden State, it takes a special type to be successful.

In response to these regulations, dairymen have adapted over the years and become far more resilient. The use of technology has become a significant driver in their success. Some of the current tools available include: EID ear tags, used mostly for identification but also work in conjunction with things like daily milk weights and activity monitoring. There are feed management technologies such as: FeedWatch, Easy Feed, and Read-N-Feed plus numerous smartphone apps for tracking cows, heat activity and even robotic milking (Lely, DeLaval)! Like most other industries, technology optimizes efficiency, streamlines manual processes, and in most cases, adds dollars to the bottom line.  I have found some of the most prosperous dairies to be those that are not afraid to research and employ new technologies.

Lucky for me, I work for a company that believes in the power of technology and added value. One of my responsibilities at MWI includes sales and support of our Cubex Wireless Inventory Management System a product offered through one of MWI’s co brands; Micro Technologies. This has quickly become a favorite part of my job. Mostly because it isn’t a product, rather a piece of technology that when used properly just flat out makes life more simple.

Here’s a visual of how the system works:

Anytime an employee enters the room, they will sign in to the computer via fingerprint recognition. They will then go to the item on the shelf that they need, press the green “take” button on the Qbud and exit the medicine room. That event is time stamped and dated with the employees name attached and that product is removed from inventory.

Below are some shots I took during a recent installation. First the computer system was installed, then the antibiotics, vaccines, and supplies were organized in the room and lastly Qbuds were placed in front of each item.

The Qbuds even go into the refrigerator to track usage of vaccine and antibiotics that need to be kept cold.

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Each rooms that is installed is temperature controlled and locked with a code/fingerprint door lock to help with theft.

The goals of the Cubex System include increasing efficiency, tracking product usage, automating re-ordering, reducing on-hand inventory (and therefore $$ sitting on the shelves), tightening lost or stolen inventory, and overall giving management greater control with less time spent on this area of the dairy.

As regulations tighten, like SB 27 (Hill) (more information below), it is imperative that producers keep accurate records and a strong working relationship with their veterinarians. This piece of technology does just that all-the-while reducing human error.

To some, technology can be overwhelming but to dairymen it’s a necessary tool that keeps them in business. For more information on the technologies used on dairies, feel free to shoot me a message on the “contact me” tab.

Now, time for a glass of milk, better yet, some ice cream,

BB


A few bullet points pertaining to SB 27 include:

• Prohibits the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in livestock and poultry unless prescribed by a veterinarian.
• Bans the use of antibiotics to promote growth or increase feed efficiency.
• Requires CDFA to develop antibiotic stewardship guidelines.
• Mandates CDFA to create a program to track the use of medically important antibiotics and track antibiotic-resistant bacteria and patterns of emerging resistance.

 

 

 

Dinner on the Dot 7, Featured

All About that Parm!

June 9, 2015

We haven’t had a dinner in a few weeks, so at the Tripod Board Meeting we decided we needed to pull it together. Dinner on the Dot Seven ensues…

I like fundraisers. I like the cocktails they serve. I like the auctions (after the cocktails). Because EVERYONE needs a 24 pack of filet mignon when they live by themselves. Yes, I purchased them.

Obviously I will not be the one grilling them, last time I caught the side of my house on fire (my bad). That’s where Reed comes in.

Golden Parmesan Potatoes- what three words could be more beautiful? And they pair perfectly with filet? BRILLIANT! Not sure how our family originally came by this recipe, but it’s in each of our family recipe boxes. Also, it clearly has a ‘10’!

For those of you that don’t believe cooking is an art form, just check out this little guy.

Side note: In the event that you weren’t all jealous of where I live ALREADY, here you go. While it is still beautiful now, it’s amazing to see how quickly the grass turned this year.

Back to business! Most important part of the recipe: when you add the parmesan to the flour in the bag, make sure it’s going in the ‘bag’, not your flour jar… my bad.

Make your “lil’ mix” (yes, it’s a technical term) in the bag, then toss the potatoes in it. At that moment, you will realize that the bag has a hole in it and “lil’ mix” is everywhere. You will want to open a bottle of wine but you agreed with yourself that you wouldn’t until some sort of company arrived. Well, isn’t that convenient.

Now, if you’ve ever eaten steaks with us, they are BOMB. Why? Because I have nothing to do with them! Let me introduce you to my secret ingredient. Reed.

Time to eat! Here is the family photo. And yep, that’s candle light. Full. Time. Fancy.

You’re probably noticing a new character at the table. Let me introduce you to Carol.

Which of the following about Carol are true?

  1. She is Reed’s sister
  2. She is dating Brooke’s (Reed’s fiancé) brother
  3. She is responsible for the red drinks…and the hangovers following
  4. If you go to a new gym class with her she will announce that you are both new and provide the entire class with ammo, by telling them your name. Thanks Carol.

ALL OF THE ABOVE

You’re probably wondering, where is the after pic of the potatoes? I blame the red drink.

Speaking of the red drink, Brooke gets very loving on red drink. Something Pip enjoyed very much.

Golden Parmesan Potatoes (6 to 8 servings)

6 large potatoes

¼ c sifted flour

¼ c grated parmesan cheese

¾ t salt

1/8 t pepper

1/3 c butter

Chopped parsley

Melt butter in a 13×9 baking pan. Place potatoes in a single layer in pan. Bake at 375°F for about 1 hour. Turning once during baking. When golden brown, sprinkle with parsley.

Featured

Mitch Behling- A Millennial in the Beef Industry

April 29, 2015

I can’t tell you guys how excited I am about this interview! Mitch has been a part of my family before he could walk or even talk. I consider him and his brother cousins although they are of no blood relation. Back story: my grandfather’s mother died when he was just 13 years old. Shortly there after he went to work for Bud & June Sample who would be Mitch’s great grandparents. These people not only gave my grandfather a job but took him in and treated him as a son and brother. Although that was three generations ago, Mitch’s family and my family still celebrate the holidays together. Better yet, Mitch and I are usually on the same team during family games… and by no chance at all, we are usually the winners! 😉 Sorry Brett!

Without any further ado, here he is!

1. Give some background info on your ranch. Family history, how many generations, specific location, sector of the industry (cow/calf) and the type of cattle you raise.

I am the fifth generation in my family to ranch in the Central Valley. The current ranch in which my family owns and operates was founded in the early 1900’s. It is located northeast of Clovis, California at the base of the foothills. We run a commercial cow/calf herd of Angus cattle.

2. What is your role on the ranch? And does having another sibling help in the sharing of responsibility?

My role on the ranch is helping my dad. The tasks can range from cattle work, to welding projects, building fence, putting in water lines, or various other improvements to the ranch. I have an older brother who helps however he is now attending school in Idaho.

Continue Reading…

Dinner on the Dot 7, Featured

Cowboy Crack Cookies

April 28, 2015

People, People, People

Let me start off this little nugget by saying I’m still not quite sure how honest I am supposed to be with this blogging thing. So, if you’re reading this after the first few hours it’s been posted, Brooke may have gotten to it already and it may not be the ‘original’.

It was Dutch’s first trip down to CA to meet the hooligans. Said hooligans figured they’d really let him get a taste of our crew. Jokes were told, sarcasm dripped throughout conversations, voices were hoarse from laughing and, well, libations were had… lots and lots of libations.

Dutch left early Sunday morning and I headed to town in response to a (dying) request for Taco Bell and cookies. We won’t get too far into it, but by the sounds of their voices, I knew this was serious.

We all know more than we should about Taco Bell, therefore, we will move onto the cookies. The recipe we settled on was one that was originally drafted by Laura Bush (let’s just take a side note here and say that it’s sad I even had to hyperlink her name… but due to the direction this world is going, I better be safe than sorry). We made a few edits to the recipe, mostly because if the neighbors didn’t have it, we simply didn’t have the gumption to go to the store.

Because of these edits, we decided we had the right to rename these tasty little treats. Believe you me, these babies are aptly named. Seriously, look at the ingredients, you just CAN’T fail.

We mixed our flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Continue Reading…

Dinner on the Dot 7, Featured

Luck O’ the Irish

March 29, 2015

People, People, People (yes, we are back to McClintock).

Let’s talk St. Patrick’s Day. Now, I don’t know much about what the rest of the world does for this holiday, but around here, no matter your heritage, you darn well better celebrate. Lucky for you little fellas, Cochrane is an Irish name, and boy do I have a treat for you.

Let’s get started. In order to do St. Pat’s right, one must start first thing in the morning.

Whoa whoa whoa… not what you’re thinking. Cochrane Corned Beef cooks in a crockpot…ALL…DAY…LONG.

Cochrane Corned Beef you ask? Yes, let’s chat about that. The best way to invent a family recipe is to call your friend who works at Harris Ranch Beef Company. You see, they have pre-seasoned corned beef. That my friends, is how we roll. Now, write this down (it’s important), make sure you request LESS THAN 10 lbs. If you don’t you will have to resort to two crock pots.

We covered each 5 lb. piece in water, then added a beer (using the one for you, one for me approach).

Continue Reading…

Dinner on the Dot 7, Featured

Beef with a Buzz

March 13, 2015

People…People…People…. (If you don’t know the significance behind this, firstly, I pity you, secondly, you need to watch McClintock )

We’re going to start this party with one of my favorite childhood recipes. Let me tell you about a tyke…me. Here I am (on the right). We have always rolled hard, however, I feel we were rolling ESPECIALLY hard this day. Also, this is the perfect time to introduce you to the clown on the left, Kate from Salinas, and the Director of Operations in the middle, Sarge.

The three of us received this cookbook when we were little, some of these recipes still find their way onto our tables monthly. Today we are making ‘Q is for Quick Cheeseburger Pie’ (yes, I’m serious….put your gavel away and quit judging).

Just like with any project, preparation is key. So, I opened a bottle of wine for Brooke and myself, Reed opted for a beer.

Now: food. This recipe has it’s own recipe for Pat-in-Pan Pastry. While I am completely on board with patting it in, mostly because I am bad enough with a rolling pin sober, I prefer a different recipe. Pioneer Woman’s (we will call her P Dub–>credit to Rachel Aja) recipe for pie crust has a little more flavor. So get to pattin’ like nobodys’ business. Put that little number in the oven at 425 for 15 min.

Continue Reading…

Dinner on the Dot 7, Featured

INTRODUCING: Dinners on the Dot Seven

March 12, 2015

You guys, I’ve got some really exciting news for you all! So I have this friend, Jane Cochrane, who I met in college. Back then, she was my “CRAZY” friend and still to this day that hasn’t changed a bit (you will understand this very soon).

About six months ago my family started to talk about renting out the house at the ranch. Jane was looking to move at the time, when the light bulb went on! A month later she had moved into the house at the dot seven and we haven’t looked back since. She’s been the perfect fit. Not only does she understand livestock and put the dang horse away when he unties himself, but it’s allowed her and I to become great friends. And I am so thankful for that!

Recently Jane and I were discussing ways to share beef recipes on the blog. Between the two of us, she is the much better cook, so I gave her the reins. YIKES! If you know Jane, you know I am taking a bit of a risk here. There are two things I’m confident in: her sense of humor and her cooking. If she curses or makes a fool of herself, take that up with her, I’m not responsible! But I will tell you she’s going to bring a party to this blog and I hope you all love it as much as I love her!

Featured, Interview Series

Gabriella DeSimone- A Millennial in the Beef Industry

March 1, 2015

Not all that long ago I was asked to give a short talk to the Young Cattlemen & Cattlewomen of California. It was there that I met Gabriella. Since then her and I have become friends and shared our stories. She is the perfect person to start this series. She is bright, talented, and above all else, driven. The fact that she made the time to do this interview only shows her dedication to this industry. It has been such a pleasure to get to know her and I hope you guys enjoy the interview!

1. Give us some background on your ranch. Family history, how many generations, location, and type of cattle you raise. 

See my previous post here and check out the video that Gabriella put together. It explains a ton of her multi-generational ranching history.

IMG_0486

2. What is your role on the ranch? Has this role changed as you’ve gotten older or had more experience? Does being female have anything to do with what your role is on the ranch?

From my experience, I have not seen any distinction between my role and that of the men due to gender. Simply because I am not there full-time is the main reason we differentiate. That has always been something I admire about my Gramp and his two brothers. If an individual has an interest, a personality that is good to be around, and is willing to learn, they will take the time to teach and show them genuine respect regardless if they are male or female. 

3. What are you studying in school and where at? How does your degree apply to the ranch?

Continue Reading…

Featured, Meet Your Beef

The Next Generation: A Series Featuring Millennials on the Ranch

February 18, 2015

For years now we’ve seen statistic after statistic that shows how the dynamics of the family ranch/farm are changing. The size of these operations are changing, the average age of the people in control are only getting older, and some farms and ranches are just flat out disappearing.

Not too long ago I was given an opportunity to speak to some young cattlemen and women that represented the state of California (pictured above). It was an experience I won’t forget; one that has changed my view on all the statistics and given me more than hope for the next generation.

Over the next month or so, I plan to spotlight some of these motivated individuals to show you all what it is that I learned. I hope that you will join me on this journey and I promise you won’t regret it if you do 🙂

For now I will leave you with this inspiring video from a young cattlewoman. You can take it as a hint for the first gal I will be featuring in this series. Great work, Gabriella. Your industry is so dang proud of you!

Featured

Stockmanship 101 from Curt Pate

January 26, 2015

Cattle handling plays a crucial role towards the bottom line of a ranch. The way in which a rancher works their cattle can directly correspond to their profitability. Just like humans, when cattle are stressed their immune systems can be compromised. An animal that isn’t healthy isn’t marketable and therefore not beneficial to the rancher. In todays day and age, we know that consumers want to see their food grown and handled in a responsible way. And we as ranchers have to maximize efficiencies in order to make a living. Luckily when we handle cattle in the proper way, both the consumer and the rancher mutually benefit.

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This weekend, I was able to watch and learn from a professional in the industry and a man I have a great respect for, Mr. Curt Pate. Mr. Pate did a live demonstration on the subject of Stockmanship.  He describes Stockmanship as “the knowledgeable and skillful handling of livestock in a safe, efficient, effective, and low stress manner with the intent of enhancing ranch profitability and improving animal welfare.” I love that definition. It proves that what the consumer AND the rancher want are indeed the exact same thing!

Continue Reading…

Featured, Personal Posts

A Christmas for the Books

January 2, 2015

As some of you may know, Christmas morning was extra special for me. My boyfriend Reed asked me to marry him and I said YES!  Actually, the real story is quite the opposite.  I might have muttered the word yes before he even opened his mouth. Oopsie. Regardless, he’s now my fiancé (and that word is really fun to say)!

Because I plan to take Reed’s last name, I think it’s only fair that I get to refer to him here as Mr. Meet Your Beef. That is fair, right? Good, glad we’re all on the same page 🙂

IMG_1804

One of my goals for 2015 is to post on this blog much more regularly. I still plan to do that. With a little help from my friends, these magazines, and some luck I may just be able to keep up the blogging AND plan a wedding at the same time. One thing is for sure, I’ve got enough bride magazines to last me until next New Years Day.

How were the holidays for you guys? Anything special happen?  I want to hear about it in the comments!

Featured, Meet Your Beef

A Beef Lovers Christmas List

December 7, 2014

So I’ve jumped into the Christmas spirit head first and thought I’d provide you all with some Christmas ideas for the beef lovers in your life!  There is something on this list for everyone. The OCD in me is having a hard time with the fact that I couldn’t narrow it down to just 10 items.  There just wasn’t one item I could part with! Feel free to leave your favorite beef loving product in the comments below!

1. I Heart Beef Apron – because we all get a little messy when we BBQ!

2. Meat Thermometer – because food safety is super important!

3. Extra Long Stainless Steel Grilling Tongs – because no one likes to burn their hands or their beef!

4. Steel Cow Canvas Print – if anyone wants to get me Betsy for Christmas I would gladly accept!! My momma’s name is Betsy so that previous sentence is a little strange 🙂

5. Make Mine Beef Bumper Sticker – you gotta support an industry you love.

Continue Reading…

Branding, Featured

Scenes from the Branding Pen

November 16, 2014

It’s that time of year again… Branding time! This year we had an addition to the crew. Nick has been around our family for years, but it was his first time branding with us and I have to say he did a fantastic job. After some of the initial castrating shock wore off, he settled into his job like a professional. Kudos to him because he had my least favorite job (if you’re not careful you can lose a few teeth): catching and securing the legs of the bull calves in order for my brother to castrate. Nick took advice and learned quickly. And he didn’t get kicked once!

My job was to catch heads and vaccinate.

My job was to catch heads and vaccinate.

Continue Reading…

Calving Season 2014, Featured

Calving Season- It’s Not Always Sunny

September 20, 2014

As I have said before, calving season is most definitely my favorite time of the year on our cow/calf operation. It’s not only new life but hope for the future and reinforcement that we did things correctly the year prior. It gives me chills to watch a mother cow and her calf interact in the first few minutes after a calving. The instincts that the mother cow has to lick off the calf, eat her afterbirth (don’t want the predators to know there is a new calf), and protect that new baby is something you’d have to see to really understand.  The same thing goes for the calves. Within 10 minutes they are attempting to stand. It’s very shakey and unsuccessful in the beginning but usually within 30 minutes to an hour they are up and then following their own instincts to nurse. How long does it take us humans to walk? And if we had to figure out how to feed ourselves within the first few hours… forget it!

Continue Reading…

Meet Your Beef

Cowboy Brett off on a New Adventure

September 13, 2014

Forgive me for not posting in awhile!  It’s been a crazy past couple months around the .7 Ranch. Calving season, traveling for work, house warming parties, birthday parties, and going away parties are amongst a few of the happenings.  Possibly one of the more notable events of the last month has been the departure of my brother Brett, or as I liked to call him when I was little, “Wilde Brettsky”.  He recently received an opportunity to move to Orland, CA to train horses.  Brett has spent his entire post-grad life apprenticing under a wonderful reining trainer here in the valley.  He has put in the long hours and now has the opportunity to start his own business and make a name for himself on a fancy horse facility in Orland. I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be tough not having him around the ranch as much but I know his passion in life is horses and he’s living out his dreams.  Proud sister here! Brett has a talent with horses that is rare and I am really excited to see where this new adventure in life will take him.  I’m also excited to go visit soon. So, for now, I’ll say happy trails Cowboy Brett and I’ll be seeing you soon 🙂

 

Calving Season 2014

Top 5 Important Tools Used During Calving Season

July 27, 2014

It’s almost that time of year again (my favorite), calving season! In preparation for it, I thought I would share the 5 most valued tools/products we use on the .7 Ranch.  We are about 3-4 weeks away and preparation is key!

  1. Quad or Quiet Saddle Horse- We check our cattle on a quad. We gather our cattle horseback. Our cattle are very used to the quad and they are comfortable with it. During calving season we check each cow very well every day. If there is a problem we will saddle up and bring the cow to the corral.
  1. A good dog. Cows hide their calves to save them from predators. Sometimes they hide them well enough that even we can’t find them. If we are having a hard time finding a calf we will let the dogs off the quad to run around and it will typically make the cow just protective enough to where she will walk out in the direction of her calf and show us where he/she is.
Bubba (Left) & Gus (Right)

Bubba (Left) & Gus (Right)

Continue Reading…

2014 Drought

California Drought on a Central Valley Ranch

July 17, 2014

My friend and fellow blogger, Megan Brown, over at The Beef Jar recently uncovered some rather hurtful words that her local Butte Environmental Council shared on their Facebook page.  After I saw what’s pictured below, I decided that maybe I should continue to share how real the drought in the Central Valley is and how it has hurt my family’s business as well as multiple farmers and ranchers in the area.  Just to be clear: my intent in writing these posts is to share our business, foster agricultural education, and develop conversation pieces that may lead to a better understanding for the greater good.  I hope it comes off that way.

Here is what Butte Environmental Council put on their Facebook page that inspired this post:

Cry me a River??

Cry me a River??

My mom is the 3rd generation cattle rancher and she runs the ranch my grandparent’s fought hard to preserve all their life.  As most everyone knows by now, over the last 4-5 years we have had a heck of a time with the drought.  2014 has been the worst.  The ranch we raise our beef on solely relies on annual rainfall to grow the native grass to feed our cattle.  There is no irrigation on this land.  Average annual rainfall for us is somewhere around 12-13″ a year.  This year, there was no rain in December and most of January (typically wet months for us).  Our grand total was a whopping 4.89″ of rainfall.  That was also accompanied by record high temperatures.

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Remembering by Carrying on the Tradition

May 15, 2014

It’s been a tough couple weeks for my family. On April 18th my Grandma was diagnosed with stage 4 abdominal cancer and a week later she had passed away. My Grandma was tough, never the one to admit pain or voice a need to go to the doctor.  This news was shocking.  And something we are still all processing and getting through.

My Grandma spent much of her adult life working for Bank of America and backing my Grandfather on the ranch with the skills she learned at the bank. She always took diligent care of the books.  As our good friend Jim Estill put it during the service, “every CEO needs a great CFO”.  And that she was.

My Grandma recording weights at the scale.

My Grandma recording weights at the scale.

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Calving Season 2013

And Just Like That, The Calves are Off!

March 28, 2014

Well, the 2013 calf crop has been sold and the calves are off to the next stage of their life somewhere near Exeter, CA.

imageI have to say, sitting in that sale barn watching our calves run through the ring pulls a bit on the heart strings.  Proud would be the most prominent emotion.  I think we produced a heck of a product this year considering the drought.  Our calves looked good and gained more weight than we really expected.  There was also also a hint of sadness yesterday.  It’s kinda hard to say goodbye to something my family has worked so hard to produce.  And then of course there was the nervousness!  As the auctioneer called out “these are those quality Robinson calves” and the bidding started it was all I could do to keep my heart from racing right out of my chest! And this isn’t my first trip to the sale barn, I promise.  When your fate lies in the hands of whomever showed up to buy that day, it can be a tad stressful. It’s probably only me though because my mom looked pretty cool and collected. Luckily this year there were record cattle prices so that will relieve a bit of the hit we took buying additional hay this winter.

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Meet Your Beef

Celebrating the New Look with a Giveaway!

March 8, 2014

It’s been a little over a month since I have updated or written a post because the site has been undergoing a massive makeover! It is now fully integrated with social media (check out the lower corner… your face might be there!), has a fresh new look, and quite honestly is much easier for this website-challenged gal to maneuver.  YAY! So, in celebration we are going to run a giveaway here on Meet Your Beef!

Over Christmas I was gifted this amazing barn wood picture frame that was personalized with my brand.  Not only was the personal touch special, the history behind the wood and the barbed wire were also special.   Our burn pile at at .7 Ranch just so happened to have a few boards that my mom had pulled off the barn and replaced.  I couldn’t let her light them up so I took them to the same very talented, Danta Call in Sanger, CA (find her on Facebook for custom orders!), and asked her to create some frames for me.  Check these things out!  Thank you Danta, your work is amazing and so very special.

My Frame

My frame

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Meet Your Beef

Praying for Rain

December 30, 2013

So much of a rancher’s revenue depends on how well Mother Nature decides to cooperate. This year she is playing hard to get with the water.  Typically at this point, ranchers in the area have stopped feeding hay and are relying on the rain to grow the grass and give the cattle their proper nutrition.  If you’ve payed any attention to the news lately, most of the western US is dry and unusually warm.  Because we haven’t had much rain, most managers need to start making some big and unfortunate decisions.  The list of options is pretty short.  1) Buy more hay (if you can find it and afford it) or 2) sell some cattle to relieve the pressure on land. Continue Reading…

Meet Your Beef

Blessings

November 28, 2013

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In the spirit of the Thanksgiving Holiday, I asked my mom and brother to tell me what they are thankful for and the following was their response.

“I am thankful I was born into a ranching family.  I am thankful my dad instilled and ingrained in me the value of the land and that you must always be a steward of that land.  I am thankful his legacy of quality genetics is still present in every cow that carries the .7 brand on her left hip.  But, perhaps, I am most thankful that I know this ranch is safe and secure for the future as my children also know the value and they carry the same passion for ranching that I have and that their grandfather built into each of us.” – Betsy Behlen Continue Reading…

Meet Your Beef

The Beginning of the .7 Ranch

November 19, 2013

The history of my family raising cattle begins with my grandfather, Jay Robinson.  If you’ve been following, I have mentioned him a time or two.

Jay was born into a family with four other siblings and before the age of 13 his mother had passed away.  As a young boy his family didn’t have much in the form of money.  It was expected that he contribute to the family so he spent a lot of his early years at the pack station in Shaver Lake, CA that his dad, my great grandfather, owned.  At 14 he went to work for a large rancher in the Clovis area named Bud Sample.  It was Bud who taught him much about being a man and running a cattle ranch and it was his wife June who gave him a place he could call his second home.

Soon after Jay met my grandma, Betty, they bought a 40 acre parcel in Clovis and started a very humble dairy.  For those in the area, the dairy was only a stones throw from Neighbors Bar.  It was there that my grandfather slowly began to build a small business.  He milked about 40 head of cows by hand for roughly ten years.  My aunt and my mom were both born on that dairy.

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Meet Your Beef

Chipper the Cow, Not the Baseball Player

October 20, 2013

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If you know my brother you can probably tell it’s been quite a few years since this picture has been taken and believe it or not, this cow still resides on the .7 Ranch. Better yet, she is still producing calves!  The average beef cow lives to be between about 9-11 years.  We’ll just say this cow is definitely above that average.

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Meet Your Beef

My Mom: A Woman in Ag

October 6, 2013

Have you ever heard the saying that goes something like: Behind every rancher is his wife who works in town? Ya, well, it’s backwards in my family.

From the time she was born, my mom had ranching in her blood. You see, my grandfather was old school in a lot of ways but with two daughters and no son, it was going to be a woman who helped him on the ranch whether he liked it or not. My mom fit that bill perfectly. She grew up doing chores with my grandpa before she got on the bus for school, chores in the evening when she got home, and working cattle on the weekends. But to her, they weren’t chores (for the most part) and it wasn’t work (for the most part). She loved the cattle, horses, dogs, goats, ducks, chickens, I think there were even a few pigs, but most of all she loved spending time with my grandfather… just like the rest of us.

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Calving Season 2013, Meet Your Beef

Update! It worked!

September 25, 2013

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Hey guys, guess what?! Momma cow and graft calf love each other and are doing great (insert goofy celebratory dance here)! On Saturday I was at the ranch to grab my horse and go help a friend. When I brought the horse back, this mother cow was making typical protective noises cows make when they have a calf and you could tell the calf had nursed on her own (she had dried milk slobbers on her nose). My mom moved them to a bigger pen since they didn’t need any more assistance and they are off and running. Within a day or two this new pair will go back out into the pasture with the rest of the pairs. Phew!

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Meet Your Beef

Perseverance, Some Strong Rope, and Serious Luck

September 20, 2013

Over the last weekend we had another set of twins (remember how I said twins were a pain in the butt? That’s definitely still true). We also had a different cow that sadly lost her calf last week due to unknown reasons. Losing a calf is horrible and far from ideal but, the fact of the matter is, when you deal with animals you deal with nature and nature is sometimes a force to be reckoned with. These circumstances left us with yet another opportunity to graft a calf (taking one of the twins and giving her a new mother). The video above shows her happily (you can tell this just by looking at how fast her little tail is goin’) having supper with her new mother for the first time.

Getting these two to accept each other is somewhat of an art and will be a VERY long process for us on the .7 Ranch. You may remember from the last post how we grafted that calf by taking the hide from the calf who died and attaching it to the twin just like a little jacket. We got lucky with that situation as the timing was perfect and that method is virtually foolproof. This cow had lost her calf 5 days before the twins were born and therefore we did not have the hide to use.

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Calving Season 2013, Meet Your Beef

Wasn’t broke but needed fixin’

September 9, 2013
Cuteness overload!

Cuteness overload!

Can we talk about how cute this calf is?  Just for a second though because we’ve got to get down to business here.  But first, make sure you notice she’s got white eyelashes!

Besides her eyelashes, you may also notice some duct tape around the lower half of her front leg.  Let’s discuss that.  This little heifer was born with what you call “contracted tendons”.  The result of this is the calf being unable to properly extend its leg(s).

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Calving Season 2013, Meet Your Beef

Turning a Negative into a Positive

September 4, 2013

It’s been an interesting Labor Day weekend on the .7 (dot seven) Ranch.  Let’s just say the title of this holiday is quite fitting!  While my brother and I we’re celebrating my birthday a littler early in the mountains, my mom was checking all the cows.  Saturday we had a set of twins.  One heifer and one bull calf, both healthy.  Twin calves are often a bit of a predicament.  Because our cattle are pretty close to the corrals, we bring the twins and their mother in so we can make sure that the calves are nursing and getting along just as they should.  So that is just what my mom did.  Sidenote: Generally a cow has a hard time raising twins.  Sometimes she may not even accept the second calf.  It takes a heck of a cow to raise a set of twins, one that is in great condition and has a really good udder.  For this reason twins are not the optimal situation.  Twin calves that are left on their mother tend to be quite a bit smaller than average.  Since raising these animals is how we make a living, we want one mother cow to one calf so she can raise one big stout calf instead of two mediocre calves.

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Calving Season 2013, Meet Your Beef

Calving Season 2013

August 27, 2013

Well, it’s here!  The best time of year (besides maybe payday and my personal favorite, Christmas).

Calving season means a lot of things for us on the .7 ranch.  It means having all hands on deck 24/7 watching the cows by checking on them multiple times a day.  It means new life and sometimes harsh realities of life but it also means the beginnings to a paycheck.

This last Sunday my mom had spent the morning checking all the cows and bringing up the first calf heifers* who were getting close to calving.  She had let my brother and I know that there was a heifer that she thought was starting to calve and to check on her first thing when we arrived.  When I got there that afternoon, said heifer was certainly in labor. A crick in her tail and some mucus coming out her back end.  About 10 minutes later there were three of us there watching her every move.  Below are the chain of events in pictures.  I apologize for the vulgarity of the first picture but I warned ya it was my intention to show exactly how this ranching thing works 🙂

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*Clarification: first calf heifers are the females who have yet to have a calf. We pull them out of the herd (always with a buddy) and put them close to the barn so we can monitor them more closely in case there are any complications.  Because these animals are rookies to being a mother we take extra precautions to ensure live and healthy calves.

Getting Started, Meet Your Beef

Game Plan

August 25, 2013

Alright, so here’s the plan.  I have had this crazy idea to start a blog about my family’s cattle ranch for over two years now and after about 16 hours of self-taught blog development, here I am! I am a rookie in the blogging world and I’m sure it will show but I hope to improve with some time.

On this blog you will find the day in and day out activities of a conventional beef ranch that is located in the eastern foothills of the San Joaquin Valley here in California.  I hope to share the love I have for this ranch, these cattle, and the people that make it all work with the general public in an effort to be transparent in how we care for and raise our animals.

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