Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

A lot has happened in 2011...

I moved to Nebraska in March where I interned with the Heartland Cattle Company Crew! I had a blast during my 3 month stay and would go back in a heartbeat!

I committed to grad school at Mississippi State in May.

I graduated from Kansas State University in May with a degree in Animal Science.

We lost my Uncle Maynard in May. I will always remember him rooting for me at the county fair livestock shows and supporting me in all my activities!

In July we lost my Papaw. Things will never be the same without him...I will never forget standing in the Wichita airport with him at 6AM and him pulling his pendulum out of his pocket and telling me he had to see if the plane was safe. If it wasn't, he wasn't getting on the plane! The plane was safe. Thankfully.

I moved to Mississippi in August and have been there ever since! I am learning to like chicken and adjusting to being beef deprived. I miss the supply of beef from my parents freezer. Think I could sneak some into my airplane luggage?

I am excited to see what 2012 has to never know what road life will take you down. Hope every one has a happy and blessed New Year!
Upon my arrival in Kansas for Christmas, it was snowing! We had a white Christmas...I was just a little bit excited.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Right now I am cruising the air at above 10,000 feet on my way home for Christmas! This is the first time I have ever felt like I was "going home for Christmas". Usually I have been home for awhile now on break. However, I will get to stay home for two weeks! I am just a little excited! Mom is picking me up at the airport today so wee can do some shopping and then we will drive home tomorrow. I always look forward to having girl time with my Mom... One of my favorite things about Christmas is getting to see family. I will appreciate this even more than usual this year since I have been away from home, or at least a lot further than I usually am! The family gatherings will start tomorrow when we celebrate my cousin, Laiten's, birthday! Saturday we will all get together again for Christmas eve. This year we are having brisket with whiskey cream sauce. The whiskey cream sauce is a recipe from The Pioneer Womanan and it us amazingly delicious! We have tried it with steak before but never brisket so I think it will put a nice, new spin on the dish. We will follow up the meal with a dirty santa gift exchange! Everyone always has a good time guessing who brought what gift and stealing the gifts from others! What are some of your family's Christmas traditions? Have a safe and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Beef is Heart-Healthy

Over the Christmas season many families plan and prepare meals for their families.  A source of meat is usually the centerpiece and highlight of the meal. At my house, we typically have prime rib or brisket for our Christmas Eve meal when my Mom's side of the family gathers at our house.  Beef not only tastes amazing, it's also really good for you! It's the perfect main dish for holidays meals especially after indulging in sweets for most of the day. (I am guilty of this!)

A recent study conducted at Pennsylvania State University proved that meat is heart healthy and can improve cholesterol levels when eaten daily. Patients in the study all had high cholesterol and were assigned to one of four diets. Each diet contained a daily serving of beef ranging in amounts of 0.7 ounces to 5.4 ounces per day.  At the  conclusion of the study (5 week duration), patients receiving diets that included 5.4 ounces or 4 ounces of beef per day reduced their LDL cholesterol by 10%.
Richard Thorpe, Texas medical doctor, father, and beef producer, stated,
"I have proudly and confidently served my family beef and have recommended it to my patients for years. The BOLD study is further proof that Americans should feel good knowing the beef they enjoy eating and serving their loved ones is not only a nutrient-rich, satisfying food that provides 10 essential nutrients in about 150 calories but is good for their heart health as well.”

For the complete article visit

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A good pot of chili!

I received a crock pot for Christmas (dont't you love early presents?) and decided to try it out this week! Believe it or not, I don't have much experience with a crock pot. The first thing I made was chili. It was so nice to put it in the pot before work and come home to chili! Here is the recipe I used...super easy!
2 pounds ground hamburger meat
1 chopped onion
1 can chili beans
1 can black beans
2 cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
1-2 packets Williams chili seasoning

I cooked the hamburger meat the night before with the onion to make things simpler in the morning. In the morning I put the hamburger meat in the crock pot along with the seasoning and mixed it well. Then added the beans and tomatoes, stirred everything together and left on low all day! I did add a few cups of water. It just depends how thick you like your chili. It was delicious!
This recipe will serve 6-8 people.
If anyone had any great crock pot recipes to share please comment or e-mail them to I would love to give them a try!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Hello everyone! Finals are over and life is good! Now it's all about Christmas luncheons (which is always good when you are a college kid because it means a free and good meal!) and hanging out with friends until it's time to head home for Christmas. I am sure there will be some work thrown in the mix but the relief of having classes out of the way makes it so much better!
Tonight Katie and I made one of my favorite holiday desserts, Rum Cake, for the luncheon on Monday! I don't know if it will taste as good as Mom's but I do know I will have a hard time looking at it until Monday. It's so tempting to taste a little slice!
What are some of your favorite recipes to make over the holidays?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday home tour in Starkville

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go on a Holiday Home Tour in Starkville with a friend from church! This past week has been busy with heifers so this was a nice break. We stopped at four homes and my favorite was the President's home. (the president of Mississippi State University). It was gorgeous! I wanted to take pictures there so bad but I was afraid to! My favorite two rooms were the dining room with Christmas red walls and a huge crystal chandelier and the kitchen, you could have cooked for the masses in there!
The home that you see below was my second favorite! I loved the entrance and their use of greens inside for decorations. 
The beautiful entrance...

Love this arrangement that was out front on the window... 
especially the large pine cones.

 I want this large class jar!

The peacock feathers made this really cool...a great
idea to put a new spin on Christmas decorations.

Hope everyone has a great week! 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Heifer International Project

During the Christmas season it is tradition for some families to give a gift a gift to someone in need whether it be through Angel Tree, Operation Christmas Child, or an organization like Heifer International. When I was younger, I remember mom loading up my brother and I and we would take a trip to the store to fill a shoe box for a little boy or girl in a different country. It was really neat knowing that my shoe box I filled would make a difference. For the recipient of the box, it may be their only Christmas present. We would also enclose a hand written note for the child.  I am sure many of you have similar stories and memories.
Heifer International is a project I stumbled upon a few years ago and I think it's really cool! When you give a monetary gift though heifer international you have the opportunity to supply a family with livestock so they are able to have food. Through this project, countries that were once in poverty are now able to grow their own vegetables, raise their own meat and milk, gather eggs... How cool is that? 

All you do is go to and view the gift catalog. You can purchase a heifer for $500 (share $50), a flock of geese ($20), honeybees ($30), and the list goes on! I particularly love this project because it's a way for the whole family to get involved. With gifts as low as $10, kids can collect coins over the course of a couple weeks, months, or the entire year; or even do chores for money that goes towards this project (hint, hint moms). I would have thought this was really neat when I was a kid because I would have known how much I enjoyed the luxury of having livestock and would have wanted to share it with others. My mom taught us to count by gathering the eggs, it went like this - "Okay Lyndi, we gathered 6 eggs but Beau (brother) dropped 2 eggs on the way to the house. Now how many eggs do we have?" I am being serious. We had a blast! 

If your family decides to give to this project or has in the past, I would love to hear your stories! 

Pictures of a mug that mom found for me. 
She bought it at a West Elm store in California.
The proceeds from the mug to towards Heifer International. 
Pretty cool! :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A day to be thankful...

Good morning everyone and Happy Thanksgiving! Today is a day for all of us to remember the things we are thankful for. I am in NE Kansas spending Thanksgiving with my grandparents an family. Here are some if the things I am thankful for:

- The free country we live in and the men and women who fight for our freedom everyday.
- My family and how they are always there for me and supportive, even when I am 15 hours away.
- My friends who help me get by day to day and those who I know would do anything for me even though I don't see them everyday.
- The boy and how he puts up with me
and even my "junk". He may never understand my love for the simple things in life like cheap antique mason jars. I guess that's okay!
- I am thankful for the farmers and ranchers that work 24/7 all year long to put food on America's table.

My family will be having turkey and ham along with lots of other yummy food for dinner today. We will spend the day playing games, watching football, and enjoying the time we have together! There is this new game called is too much fun! If you haven't heard of it I would highly suggest running to walmart and picking it up. Tons of fun and everyone can play!

What things are you thankful for today? What traditions do you and your family have? Will you eat beef, poultry, or pork for your Thanksgiving meal? I would love to hear from each of you so please comment!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

An update on my crazy, wonderful life!

Things have been crazy and time has been flying by! In 6 days I will be going home to Kansas for thanksgiving and I am very excited. I have been busy with classes (my least favorite part of grad school), helping Katie with her heifer projects (the fun part), and having a little fun. This afternoon I had the privilege of taking some engagement pictures for a fellow grad student and his fiancee. I am excited with how they turned out.

This week I will be helping Katie heat detect and collect blood samples for her project, work on developing a plan of attack for my project, and then I will be an exam, paper, and a presentation away from Kansas!

My brother has been traveling to Louisville, KY for the NAILE collegiate livestock judging contest. His team left Kansas last Thursday and they are slowly making their way southeast stopping at different ranches and farms along the way! I am VERY JEALOUS! I am sure I will get to hear all about his trip over Thanksgiving. 

Have a great week!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A train powered by cows??

I receive e-mails from the American Society of Animal Science and this story was under their animal headlines- I thought it was pretty cool, especially since it had to do with beef!

For the past year passengers riding on the Amtrak Heartland Flyer from Oklahoma to Texas have been fueled by a mix of beef tallow (fat) and diesel fuel. Beef tallow is also used in making soaps. During the year of testing officials discovered that the fuel blend met industry standards, engine wear was less than usually expected and emissions were below federal limits.

You can read the full article here

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What do lambs and babies have in common?

What do baby lambs 

have to do with

human babies??

It turns out, a whole lot! Researchers are studying Fetal Asphyxia, which is a lack of oxygen during birth that can cause suffocation and lead to severe brain damage and still birth. They are using sheep (ewes (the mamas) and lambs (the babies)) as a model to learn more about Fetal Asphyxia in human babies. The reason they are using sheep is human and sheep placentas are very similar.
Oxygen availability depends on oxygen transfer from the mothers blood supply through the placenta and umbilical cord. Researchers studied fetal bodyweight, birth order and duration of birth and concluded that the longer the birth, the greater the risk for asphyxia. They have discovered that the data in sheep is similar to that of human twins. This is why many times in human multiple births the babies are delivered by c-section and also why all babies are monitored for heart rate during birth. 
Now since they have linked multiple births and birth duration to asphyxia they want to study the factors that cause suffocation in ewes and lambs. This information would be beneficial to sheep producers as well as human medical doctors. 

I thought this article was a neat example to show the link between animal science research and it's impact on humans!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The better things in life...

This afternoon, I went out to the beef unit to see all the new babies. Let me tell you, they are too cute! There is no better study break than going out and looking at cows!
One of the babies... They were enjoying the sunshine and nice weather.  This evening, they were all out playing and running around. 

Mama and baby...

Dinner Time!!


Monday, October 24, 2011

My favorite ground beef recipe...

Being a college student, I am always trying to find quick and easy recipes, that take only a few ingredients and are healthy. My Nanni introduced me to this recipe and it is all of the above! I like it because I can make it on a Sunday evening and it will last me the entire week.

Dinner In A Dish:
1 pound of ground hamburger meat (I buy the leaner hamburger meat from Walmart - 97/3)
1 potato
1 sweet potato
1 can of green beans (drained)
1 can of corn (drained)
Baby carrots
1 can of diced tomatoes (un-drained)
Onion, coarsely chopped
Worcestershire sauce

Layer in 9x13 glass baking dish in the order given, with the ground hamburger on bottom. Sprinkle desired amount or Worcestershire sauce on top and sprinkle with pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 69-90 mins or until potatoes and carrots are tender.
I like to eat this dish with cornbread.

I mentioned earlier in this post that this dish was healthy. Not only does it combine an abundance of vegetables but the lean ground beef also has some nutritional benefits. Beef supplies a whole bundle of nutrients like protein, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, iron and niacin in a calorie conscious package. A 3 oz. serving of lean beef (95% or less fat) contributes less than 10% of the calories in a 2,000-calorie diet while providing more than 10% of the daily value for these nutrients. There are 29 lean cuts of beef that can be found in your grocery store. For more information about Beef go to BEEF It's what's for dinner. You can also find a wallet size list of the 29 lean cuts of beef  HERE to assist you in the grocery store.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday... (a.k.a. the post with fewer words)

It's calving time at the beef unit! Katie (labmate) and I saw these cuties while we were working on a project the other morning. In the top photo you can see the ear tags that are used for identification purposes. The top number on the ear tag is the sire (the father), the middle is the calf's unique ID, and the bottom number is the dam (the mother). Each calf's ear tag is unique and there are no two that are alike.


You might be wondering why the heck we put those tags on is the answer: The ear tag is important for record keeping to keep track of the health of each calf, their birthweight, sex, and any other vital information! They also help cattleman keep track of each calf by displaying the dam ID on the tag. This would be useful if the cow and her calf got separated for some reason, they could easily be matched back up. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cupcake batter for Breakfast-great start to the day!

Some people like to eat dessert first. I am most definitely one of those people! So I will tell you now, I didn't actually eat only cupcake batter for breakfast. I did however enjoy licking the beaters!
Tomorrow is one of my friends birthday so with my hectic schedule this week, it was necessary to make cupcakes first thing morning. It was a great start to my day! Tonight when I get home I will frost them and then we will have cupcakes for breakfast in the morning.
Here is the secret to cupcakes:
Use a box mix of white or yellow cake mix.
Substitute the water for milk.
Add approximately 1 teaspoon of almond extract to the batter.
That is all you need to know!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Update on grad school - ultrasounding ovaries!

Since arriving in Mississippi things have been crazy - in a good way! I have stayed plenty busy, hence the lack of blogging!
My lab mate, Katie, and I have been learning how to ultrasound cattle. Did you know cows can be ultrasounded just like humans? There are several reasons why producers ultrasound there cattle.
1. To evaluate carcass characteristics like rib eye area and back fat.
2. To evaluate heifers to see if they have reached puberty and have began cycling.
3. To evaluate the pregnancy status of females. This can be done as early as 28 days after breeding! You can see the fetus' heart beating, just like you can on human ultrasound images - pretty cool!

Katie and I have been ultrasounding ovaries in heifers to see if they are cycling and ready for breeding.
When looking at an ultrasound screen, there are several key things to know.
1. Black is fluid.
2. White is bone.
3. Grey is tissue.
Ovaries are shaped like almonds or ovals. There are follicles present on the ovaries and when timing is right, they ovulate and an egg is released. The follicles look like black circles inside the ovary on the ultrasound machine.
Here are some images of ovaries from the ultrasound and pictures of me ultrasounding!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ree's Fresh Sweet Corn Casserole

Most of you know by now that I am a HUGE Pioneer Woman fan! When I need to make a side dish, dessert, whatever it may be for an occasion, her cookbook is my go-to source for great recipes.  This morning I caught her episode on the Food Network and I was just as impressed as I usually am! By the way, if you ever need her recipes from the show you can find them here. Tonight me and some girls were having dinner together to watch the Wisconsin vs. Nebraska game. This morning I got out my handy dandy cookbook while watching her show and decided on her corn dish! Its simple, quick, and delicious! Crystal Cattle's Corn Reports also inspired me to make this dish. I thought it was appropriate for Fall since the 2011 corn harvest is underway! Here's how you do it: (This will be my modified version of her recipe...)

What you need:
1 bag of Pictsweet sweet corn kernels from the frozen section (18 oz.), thawed
1 red pepper, I used orange since they looked better
2 jalapenos
1 cup half & half
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter, softened
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook for 45 mins.

Dice the pepper 

I used gloves when cutting the jalapenos. I am a baby when it comes to those things! 

I like the color the peppers and jalapenos add!

Add the milk and half and half. I stirred in the softened stick of butter prior to adding the milk and half and half. Then, add the salt and pepper. I used them liberally! Don't be afraid.

Bake for 45 mins! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The extent of drought conditions in Texas and surrounding states

Hello everyone! I wanted to share some photos that I found on the Beef Magazine website this week. We all hear on the news of the extreme drought occurring in Texas but it's hard to fathom the extent of the devastation. Being from Southwest Kansas, we are most generally dry or very dry. It's a rarity when we receive rain. In fact, we get excited over a sprinkle! Farmers in our area had to divert water this year on their crops. This means that if they had a well that was running irrigation (sprinklers) on three circles of corn, they had to divert the water over to only 25-50% of the crop. This way they could ensure that a portion of the crop would produce a successful product in spite of the drought.
When I came across these pictures (at the conclusion of this post!) it was an eye-opener. It made our conditions seem mild compared to what the people in south Texes around Wichita Falls and Boling are experiencing.  Last night, I attended the Mississippi State University Collegiate Cattleman's meeting. Mrs. LeAnne Peters, Director of Communications from the Mississippi Cattleman's Association, was there to speak to us about the Check Off program and  fill us in on what they are currently working on in the cattle industry across the state and nationally.  She said that her office had talked to cattle producers in Texas that had been buying water to haul to their cattle for the past 3 weeks. They have also talked to farmers and ranchers from Mississippi that want to donate hay to the Texas ranchers and need to know how to get in contact with them. That is why I lover our industry. People are always willing to lend a hand to others in need from across the states. Please remember to keep the farmers and ranchers in these areas in your thoughts and prayers.
If you have ways you would like to help, contact the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. Click here to visit their website. You can find links for the hay hotline as well as drought and wildfire resources.
When I came across these pictures it was an eye-opener. It made our conditions seem mild compared to what the people in south Texes around Wichita Falls and Boling are experiencing.

This crack in the soil is nearly 27 inches deep.

And measures nearly 10 inches wide.

Cracks along a fence line. You can see here how dry it is, the pasture is almost bare dirt. 

This photo is of a farmer near Wichita Falls who had to put up a solar panel in order to pump water for his cows. 

Here is the a map of the drought conditions across the US and is current as of September 1, 2011. You can click on the map to go to a larger picture that will be easier to read!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Today's Youth = Tomorrow's Producers

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to a livestock show with a friend in Cullman Co., Alabama! While I was there, I met up with an old buddy of mine that I livestock judged with in junior college. It had been about a year and a half since I had seen Ethan so I it was past due time to catch up! He showed me around the fair and I saw everything from gigantic watermelons to cattle and local kids taking in the exhibits.  I noticed that there were many local kids roaming around looking at the gigantic watermelon and pumpkin display and even petting the cattle. The county fair is a great place for kids who aren't familiar with agriculture to learn about crops and livestock.  I always enjoy seeing this and think that it's critical we keep programs like 4-H and FFA up and going.

 Ethan with the giant pumpkin display...I made him take a picture for the blog!

Growing up I was very involved in 4-H. Starting at the age of 5, I began showing sheep and entering cakes in the open class foods contest.  The first year I brought a cake to the fair, I entered my Granny's chocolate cake recipe.  In open class, all the age groups compete against each other. I won grand champion with Granny's cake and I was SO excited...the older ladies weren't very impressed that they got beat by a five year old! Boy was I proud though.  As I got older, I learned how to sew and started showing calves.  At the time it seemed like I worked and worked and when I would get frustrated I didn't understand what I was gaining. Looking back, all those experiences are priceless.  Through  all those experiences, trials, and successes, I learned valuable skills like responsibility, leadership and developed a good work ethic. I also increased my knowledge about agriculture and became eager to share my story with those who may not be in touch with agriculture.

Once I arrived at KSU, I found the Collegiate CattleWomen club. This opened up a whole new world of opportunity. I was able to network with producers from across the country, broadening my horizons about agriculture and for the first time fully understanding how incredibly critical connecting with consumers is. The future of our industry lies in the consumers hands and I firmly believe as producers, it is our responsibility to help educate others by sharing out stories.

Now that I have rambled for a few paragraphs, what does all this have to do with visiting the Cullman Co. Fair? Those youngsters in the show ring are the next generation that will be responsible for telling their story. It's important that we set a good example and do our part bridging the gap between production agriculture and the consumer.  How do we do this? We can do this through mentoring those young 4-H and FFA members.  Encourage them to give presentations about their experiences to groups, write guest blog posts for producers, share what they are doing with their classrooms at school.
It made me really happy to see the kids walking around the fair that were maybe petting a calf, seeing a giant watermelon, or a soybean plant for the first time. This is a good start!

Some local kiddos taking in the watermelons...




Peppers! My favorite....I love all the bright colors!