Sunday, October 30, 2011

ABHA Annual meeting

This was the first year for our new October meeting that coincided perfectly with our American Royal in Kansas City. Normally we try to couple the annual meeting with our annual sale in February which leads to tired faces, short meetings and long long days.

This was also the unveiling of our new ABHA office located in downtown Kansas City right along side ( well not exactly along side but a lot closer than before) the American Hereford Association and a stones through from the Charolais Association.  This is big time people!!

We had a pretty good turn out and talked over important points involving our breed including how excited we are that we have culled out almost every genetic disease that runs through herds so we are squeaky clean! We raised our standards for what new bloodlines can enter into the ABHA from the Hereford side and cheered about our new marketing plan.

All in all it was a nice quick weekend that resulted in nothing but optimism for the years to come.

Monday, October 24, 2011

In New Orleans, Gluttony is a way of life...

and boy did I embrace that life! Hoag and I went to New Orleans for his 2001 Baseball teams induction into the Tulane Hall of Fame for being the first team in the school's history to go to the College World Series.  Wonderful time to catch up with guys he hasn't seen since college and reminisce about all the good ol days...

... and a great reason for me to have an excuse to eat everything that dreams are made of! We started to trip off right with a trip to Mr. B's with two of our favorite people who taught us the right way to eat BBQ shrimp. Apparently the right way does not involve allowing a shrimp head to explode all over your white sweater... but you live and you learn and you smell like shrimp until  you get back to the hotel.  C'est La Vie :)
The heart beat that flows through NOLA is something so contagious that I find my toes tapping and my pants shrinking with every move we make. There are few things that I love more than an impromptu street band with washboards.

Except for the famous Muffuletta's from Central Grocery... where I also stole my Fava Bean for good luck.  ( There seems to be a lot of superstitions down there! )

A quick trip to the Tulane dugout to watch the youngen's practice while we caught up with Coach Jones and some old roomies made for the perfect Friday afternoon. The weather was impeccable!

And this is where the night turns... well it turns all right.  Anyone who knows New Orleans knows this bar and knows that you don't leave this bar without drinking the tongue changing, mind altering, stuttering inducing hurricanes.  Don't worry, I didn't take any photos except...

of this tile in the upstairs bathroom that I was totally and utterly in love with... at the time. 

Needless to say, room service was in order the next morning but only in New Orleans can you get a poached egg on top of a crab cake, on top of a fried green tomato covered in hollandaise sauce. WITH GRITS! Be still my heart. I had a hard time getting out of bed that morning!!

Amazing Katrina Art

And after a rousing game of Tulane football... ok, not rousing, more like ... we stayed until half time... Hoag and I went to his favorite all time restaurant, Upperline,  where I had fried oysters that melted in my mouth, this lamb shank osso bucco style that was barely hanging on to the bone with pickled greens and grits.  Holy Moly, I felt like I was in heaven.

And what trip is complete without a stop into Mother's? We were supposed to get in their for the legendary Po Boys and the Debris but we had an early flight to catch but rest assured. This famous ham, eggs over easy, grits and biscuit was enough to leave me begging for more. And did I mention the coffee??? The chicory made me feel like I was drinking a mocha and I might of have three cups... ok maybe four. 

It's a place I love. A place I dream of. A place where I don't even dare to try to replicate the flavors because they are the very model of love and tradition shinging through food and something I'll always look forward to.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Straight from the head honchos...

Yet another great article I found on the beef daily blog that is always so informative. This is a very informative read and draws out amazing points as to the pressure cattle ranchers are under to perform to unattainable expectations. 


Feeding Future Generations

“Our 21st century challenge to raise enough food to feed a growing global population is complex—we must increase food production, while decreasing the environmental footprint of agriculture,” writes The Atlantic, a publication that teamed up with the beef checkoff program to sponsor a recent panel discussion of experts that addressed that issue.

“Feeding Future Generations: Supporting Sustainable Global Food Production” was the theme of the Washington, D.C., event that featured Dan Glickman, former USDA Secretary; Tony Hall, executive director for The Alliance To End Hunger; Suzy Friedman, deputy director of the Environmental Defense Fund; and Steve Foglesong, owner of Black Gold Ranch and past president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

Panelists were asked: As the population continues to rapidly expand, how can the food industry, including the beef industry, continue to provide safe, high-quality and nutritious foods in a way that does not strain our natural resources?

Here are their responses:

Glickman stated, “In parts of Africa and the developing world, there have been droughts and famines. We have a humanitarian obligation, and it’s our heart and soul in America to worry about and feed other parts of the world, especially those regions that are particularly struggling, such as Africa. In our own country, we have almost 45 million Americans on food stamps right now. This is something Congress is going to have to deal with. How can we make cuts that will hurt traditional farm programs the least?

“The great strength of American agriculture has been on our research, which has helped increase technology to feed the world. Right now, our budget, in real terms, is heading toward the basement. If we look at the long-term future of feeding ourselves and the world, we don’t want to be presiding over a declining research budget on agriculture. There is a lot of good work being done right now, but not necessarily on long-term feeding the world, with less water, less available soil and a growing, hungry world. We have to find ways to produce more on less, and that’s why a research budget is so important.

“We have to recognize that agriculture is somewhat unique because no other industry is so weather-dependent. Prices have gone up a few years rather significantly, but just last week, corn has gone down. We will always need some protection to protect against natural or political disasters. Rather then looking at it as an income transfer from the government to ranchers, subsidy programs should based on risk management and conserving our natural resources. We should not be paying subsidies according to size; it encourages consolidation. We need to readjust our payments to reach and help the average-sized farms.”

Hall responded, “Global hunger kills more people then AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined; 25,000 people will die of hunger and hunger-related diseases today. More than one billion people are malnourished around the world, with half of our population living on less than $2/day. In the U.S. there are almost 50 million people going to bed hungry at night. This is the problem. This is the picture, and it looks bad. But, the good news is that there have been a lot of breakthroughs. We need more development and more agriculture. We must invest in agriculture. It takes leadership and it takes somebody that people believe in. Studies must be done to find real solutions to our problems.”

Friedman added, “We need to look at ways that are sustainable and economical. The planet that could soon be supporting up to 10 billion human beings will look different than when we had 2 million peasants in our past. We need to look at innovative approaches to meet food demands without destroying our resources. What are the different ways to manage inputs while managing climate change impacts? This needs to be economical and logistical. While it’s nice to be nostalgic about how things were 50 years ago, that model isn’t sustainable today. We must look at things realistically. We can’t put unrealistic demands on farmers that make them lose money, or they won’t be around for very long to keep raising us food.”

Foglesong said, “The environment is a top priority to us ranchers. We are the original environmentalists. Our ranch holds 10 different families, and we certainly aren’t going to be doing anything to harm our environment. Ultimately, we can’t go organic and get the job done; we wouldn’t be able to raise enough food. If we are going to raise twice as much food on this planet to feed a growing population, we have to be given the freedom to really get after it. We have to produce at maximum efficiency because we continue to be behind. When you look at the cattle industry, we have decreased our carbon footprint by 40% but are producing more beef to feed the planet. Today’s U.S. cowherd is the smallest it’s been since the 1950s, but we can now raise a larger animal on less feed because of improved genetics, faster growth rates and more efficient use of feed. Our number-one goal is to provide the safest food supply in the world. Today’s cattle are raised on grass and finished on grain. Cattle are still foragers, but they are finished on grain because that’s what our customer demands, and that’s the most efficient way to get the beef to market.”

Feeding future generations in a model that is sustainable and economical is a huge, looming issue, but U.S. food producers are certainly up to the challenge. And, bringing awareness to the topic of food security is an important conversation for producers and consumers to have together in order to find workable solutions.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

3 down, 72 to go...

Today, 3 years ago,  is the day I married my incredible husband.  During our short dating stint ( 6 months and 1 day before he popped the question) we felt like we could conquer the world. That the world was our oyster. That there will always be a pearl in that oyster... that the pearl....   OK.. I think you get the point. 

Our second date went something like this... "Oh your family has a cattle ranch? Oh how romantic! Oh you want me to come learn and live and love that cattle ranch? No problem! Sign me up! "  Here's what I learned in those past three calving seasons, four breeding season, and close to five years of knowing this amazing man. 

Learn to love the life you live in that very day. Long term goals and great but if you're not loving being at the pens with the poop up to your knees in the 30 degree weather how will you ever appreciate when you finally reach that goal  ( apply other crummy day analogies as necessary)

Learn to cook. Man... I'll tell ya.  I know so many beef recipes these days. And this is coming from a girl that used to eat mainly chicken and fish. But knowing how to cook in general is the best way to heal an aching back and tired feet.  You tell Hoag you have a roast in the oven and he becomes superman to get through the rest of the day.

Agree to disagree.  The cattle don't care how they are brought up to the chute and every second you spend critiquing one another is one more chance for a break away.  If the final result is the same when its over then it was a job well done. 

If the agreeing to disagree doesn't work, perfect your "lock it up" look so you dont have to shout and scare the cattle. 

Love the friends who love you even though they only get to see you in the summer or when they make the trek out to your ranch. They'll be the ones that stick around forever.
Marry someone who has in-laws that you can live within a quarter mile of.  This may seem a bit exclusive but family is forever and you need to have a strong one to get through this biz...called life.

Enjoy the time that you have apart from one another, even if its while he's mowing the pasture or taking out the trash... do something that you wouldn't do with him around. As much as I love my husband I always enjoy the evenings when he goes to the other ranch. I cook something new that would be hard to get him to try, watch chick flicks and I Dont wear Mascara!! WHA!??!?!
Be on the same page with everything. Whether its what the feeding schedule is going to be this season or where you expect your ranch to be in 10 years, its important to know your united with your path especially in the face of adversity. 

The fancy lights of the city are nothing compared to the quiet nights in the truck checking on your new babies in the pasture    
Hide a pair of nice jeans for him for dressing up.  Everything becomes work clothes if you're not careful and when it does come time for a fancy night in the city and he has nothing to wear... well you'll thank me

Never forget where you came from. It's easy if you're not of the cattle world to lose yourself in it and become completely consumed.  But always remember to take a step back and remember your past life and try to incorporate a bit of that in your new life.  Sunday dinners, trips to the Northeast, Sinatra blaring through your house at odd hours of the day... those kind of things!
Say thank you.  Say it often and mean it. With life as busy as it is, its easy for things to go unnoticed or unappreciated... do your best to not let that happen.

Laugh, Sing, Kiss and Dance. Rinse and Repeat.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Heavy Veggie Chili

Don't worry!! There's beef in here! Fwew, ok, I thought I'd get that on the table because I wouldn't want you to think I was going all soft on you with two vegetarian meals in a row.  Now that we're all friends again, I'm still working on finding ways to utilize/hide eggplant in all my meals so this was a no brainer.

Peel, chop, S, P, EVOO and roast 1 eggplant and 1 yellow squash ( also over running my garden) in a 350 oven for 40 minutes Brown 1 lb of ground beef. Add your favorite chili seasonings ( mine are cumin, chili powder and paprika)

From here its basically a clean out your fridge recipe.  I added a chopped pepper, 1 small onion, 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, garlic and your roasted veggies.  So good, so good, soooo gooooood.  Saute until everything is nice and soft and happy to be as one.  Toss in your beans. I did 1/2 can drained and 1 can with all the starchy gooey stuff that's in there to help thicken the chili.  1 bottle of dark good beer, 1 can of rotel, Pepper and a pinch of salt.

 That's all folks! Let that cook for a bit uncovered, adjusting the seasonings as needed. Serve topped with cheese, sour cream and a few onions and your good to go!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

HSUS barely squeaks past a failing grade

This article was sent to me from another HSUS watchdog and it'd just interesting to see the reprots from those who really know their charities and what those charities should be doing.  The facts are there people, stand up to those who pretend to have the animal's best interests at heart. 

FoodPolitik: Arm yourself against charity scams

"Food and beverage activists love to ride their high horses as they berate Americans who make different choices. Neo-prohibitionist groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) wag their fingers at moderate alcohol consumers, while animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) believe eating meat is the mark of a cruel diet.
But these “white hats” are earning a black eye among respected charity evaluators.
The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP), which runs the “Charity Watch” website, publishes a report on select charities three times a year, assigning each a letter grade. And too many times, activist groups posing as legitimate charities barely avoid flunking.
Take the HSUS. AIP gives this group a “D” rating, finding that as little as 49 percent of HSUS’s budget is actually spent on charitable programs, while it spends up to 49 cents to raise every dollar.
.... and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which gets a C-plus.
Oddly, some of these same groups might get a good score from other charity evaluators. That’s because some rating services don’t look past accounting tricks that count much of an organization’s fundraising expenses toward “educational” program costs.
But financial responsibility is only one measure of a charity’s worth — or worthlessness. Another important one is whether a charity is spending money in ways people think it is.
If you give money to PETA (and I hope you don’t), you’re probably aware that it’s an animal rights group. PETA makes no bones about that. But you’re probably not aware that PETA kills thousands of adoptable dogs and cats every year at its Norfolk headquarters, according to documents on file with the Commonwealth of Virginia. (You can see them for yourself at
Seventy-one percent of Americans (according to public polling) mistakenly think that HSUS is a pet shelter umbrella group. It actually isn’t affiliated with any humane pet shelters and doesn’t run a pet shelter — anywhere. Less than one percent of its budget is pet-shelter grants, but it invests far more than that in animal-rights lobbying campaigns and its executive pension plans. (See for more.)
A lot of donations to HSUS, in fact, go to a vegan PETA-like agenda — not that you’d be able to tell from HSUS’s commercials, of course, in which 90 percent or more of the animals on your TV screen are cats and dogs....More and more Americans are catching on to the fact that some charities like these aren’t what they seem. (And I may be too kind in calling these ideological fundraising machines “charities.”) But these groups’ marketing plans are powerful, and it’s hard to dispel myths about their reputations, however unfairly earned.
Rick Berman is President of the public affairs firm Berman and Company. He has worked extensively in the food and beverage industries for the past 30 years. To learn more, visit"

*I took the liberty of removing some information in this article about MADD since I have no beef with them, for the full article, click on the title*

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Roasted Eggplant Soup

If nothing else, my eggplant crop has been booming and even this Italian girl ran out of recipes.  So, I turned a cookbook I borrowed from a friend and fell in love. This Intercourses book seems like it'd be a little weird but the recipe's are undeniably delicious and surprisingly healthy.   Don't be intimidate by the name and go out and buy this book.  You'll thank me later.

Anyhoo, I took one of my larger eggplants, peeled, diced S, P, and EVOO and roasted in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 -50 minutes until it was nice and brown.  A trick with eggplant, *if you're going to saute, pan fry or do anything with it on the stove top you HAVE to drain it by salting it and letting it sweat for 10-20 minutes.  If you're going to grill or roast it you can skip this step*

While you're waiting for the eggy-p to roast up, saute a chopped onion and 2 crushed garlic cloves until nice and soft ( don't be too particular about your chop, were going to throw all this in the food processor) Add your roasted melanzana (when you have as many eggplant as I do you learn all sorts of things about them... like their Italian translation) and a can of whole plum tomatoes that you chopped. * I don't seed them because I think a lot of flavor lives in those little guts*  Toss in some fresh woody herbs, oregano or rosemary is yummy and about 1 1/2 cup of chicken stock and a pinch of cayenne to keep it interesting.  Simmer partially covered for about 30 minutes.

The best part about this soup is the mixture of goat cheese and basil that goes on top. Use your blender and mix half a small log and a whole cup of packed basil leaves until it looks oober delish.  Put into a small bowl and set aside.

Take your simmered aubergine soup ( Viva la France) and CAREFULLY pour it into your blender.  Mix until all the large pieces are nice and small. Add more stock if you'd like your soup thinner. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  And of course a little dab of butter never hurt anyone!!

Serve with a big dollop of your basil goat cheese and enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rock Bottom

Remember this place? It's been a land of many faces over the months but we're now facing a new batch of issues.  With the receding water we were left with plenty of rock over the 260 acres along with an assortment of balls, toys and too many branches along with some pretty wicked ditches and a new and improved view of the river!

So the guys have spent the last couple days getting the bottoms cleaned up. First we went through with this big rock bucket to get all the big daddy rocks out of the way.

Secondly the skid loader got all the huge branches into a nice little pile.

 Thirdly we had a bonfire down by the river and celebrated with a cold beer.  Clean bottoms call for a celebration right? Clean river bottoms that is, get your mind out of the river.

This year we're trying our hand in Rye which we'll harvest in the spring before the floods inevitably come once again!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What I love about KC

**** This just in! Maximum Loin took 2nd place in the Pork, 8th place in chicken and 4th OVERALL!! WAY TO GO BOYS!!!****

There really is no end to this list of the things I love about our city. The people, the BBQ, the history, the BBQ, the spirit and I should remember to mention the BBQ.

The first week of October is the kickoff of the American Royal that hosts everything from Sheep shows to Rodeo's to the Grand Prix for hunter jumpers.  And what better way to get this KC Tradition under way then with a 3 day Barbecue festival.

KC Loft Central, (my city job) always hosts a team called Maximum Loin who have made quite a name for themselves.  The actual competition is on Saturday so Friday night is always a bit of a party night for the city.

Hundreds of tents are set up all around Kemper Arena; bands, beads,  beer and bbq.  Hmm, sounds a bit like heaven.. and maybe it is.  

 All I know is its a great time to get together with friends, eat copious amounts of meat, drink a tinge too much beer and still feel ok in the morning because, Hey, Its the American Royal, how can you not feel awesome!?