Meet Your Beef

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.

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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?

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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, 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.

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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.

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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 🙂

 

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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