Keeping Our Cool…

I had an unwritten protocol at the feed yard for myself and the rest of my crew in the event that someone lost their temper:

  1. Make sure that all animals are safe in an appropriate pen.
  2. Walk away until you are once again calm.

The flip side of losing your temper is keeping your cool. Spending 20 years caring for cattle taught me the importance of rationally assessing a situation while simultaneously controlling my temper. For years, my girls claimed that I had twice as much patience with my cattle as I did with them. In all fairness, this was likely true as my steadfast mantra as feed yard boss lady was:

The cattle come first. They do not understand your brain but can sense and cue off of your emotions. Calm cattle caregivers lead to calm and well comfortable cattle.

ALWAYS KEEP YOUR COOL!

Over the years, I periodically lost my temper with myself, my crew, and the occasional truck driver that serviced us at the feed yard; but I tried to recover quickly to ensure that my cattle did not feel my frustration. I think this was one of the keys to my success as a cowgirl. Sometimes, you just have to take a moment to collect yourself before continuing the journey. That is what I call being a responsible caregiver.

A month ago, my favorite brunette bet me that I could not go a week without losing my temper. She spent a good part of her childhood comparing me to Old Faithful, laughingly explaining to anyone who would listen that her mom displayed frequent and predictable displays of emotion 😉  It is 100% true that for years I placed a higher priority on keeping my cool with my animals than I did with the people in my life. The moment that she wagered the bet, I made the decision to strengthen this personal weakness.

I am proud to say that Old Faithful remains calm and has not erupted in more than 30 days. I’ve learned a few important things along the way.

  • Conveying your passion in a respectful way provides an effective way to inspire others to do the same.
  • The key (for me) to warding off anger is to take on a perspective of thankfulness. I’ve found that it is difficult to become angry when I focus thankfully on my blessings.
  • Patience and encouragement combined with a steadfast persistence helps to bring about positive change – both in yourself and in others.

At the bottom of the Feed Yard Foodie home page is a quote by quarterback Drew Brees from his book Coming Back Stronger. The book is a favorite of mine and it makes an important observation:

“Believing—there are several layers to it. There’s the surface-level type of believing, where you acknowledge that something is true. Then there is a deeper kind of belief–the type that gets inside of you and actually changes you. It’s the kind of belief that changes your behavior, your attitude, and your outlook on life, and the people around you can’t help but notice.”

I need to give credit to my favorite brunette for inspiring me to enable my beliefs to permeate to a deeper level in order to create an important behavioral change. I may occasionally revert back to bad habits; but I am confident that Old Faithful has been put to rest. I have become a believer in keeping my cool 🙂

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The Best Part Of Me…

Tracking Hurricane Irma as it headed toward my home state of Florida provided for interesting introspection this week. Not only was the original path of the hurricane set to hit the Southeast Coast where I spent my formative years (and much of my family stills calls home), but the name chosen for the large storm was “Irma” which was my beloved Grannie’s name. I am not certain how the National Hurricane Service chooses storm names, but Hurricane Irma shares little in common with my quiet and compassionate grandmother.

My beloved Grannie lived a few blocks south of us and I spent many of my early years bouncing back and forth between our houses. I remember how proud I was when my mom decided that I was old enough to walk to Grannie’s all by myself, and I cherish the memories of the times that we spent together. My grandparents spent more than 70 years together – weathering a variety of storms – and positively touching the lives of many.

I wrote this blog post shortly after my Grannie past away in 2014. I re-blog it today as a tribute to the wonderful lady who taught me to give endlessly and selflessly in this journey that we call life. She will always be the picture of “Irma” that I hold in my heart.

Feed Yard Foodie

Anne Sally and Grannie picture Three generations: June 1996…

I tell my daughters that they come from a long line of strong women. 

There are many types of strength, but I think that a quiet and compassionate strength is likely the most beautiful.  It is this type of strength that allows for universal greatness. A person of quiet and compassionate strength spends her life as a people builder — inspiring others to greatness.

I was blessed to grow up down the street from my grandparents.  I learned so much from each of them individually, as well as from watching them as a couple.  My beloved Grannie was the quiet strength that held the family together.  Her unconditional devotion to both her husband of 70+ years as well as to her children and grandchildren defined her as a truly remarkable woman.

Today, there are very few people willing to sacrifice personal accolades in order to…

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Finding Honor In Our Lives…

My favorite farmer celebrates 46 years of awesomeness this week. With the last twenty of those years spent working on the farm, I find myself thinking that perhaps we aren’t as young as we used to be! Matt and I tend to draw very few boundaries in our lives, so it would be impossible to evaluate the last two decades of our lives without including the farm.

A couple of weeks ago, the sermon at church centered on finding honor in our work. The topic resonated deeply with me as honor is something that I personally value. It was a great reminder for me that work is part of God’s plan for humanity and we honor our faith when we honestly and fully engage in our jobs. For Matt and I, finding honor in our work is closely akin to finding honor in our lives as there is very little separation.

I think that one of the hardest things about being a farmer is finding and maintaining balance. You learn quickly to control the controllable in order to protect your livelihood from those things that threaten it. From Mother Nature –  to volatile markets-  to debilitating regulations: the list of things that keeps you up at night can grow lengthy. Maintaining a perspective that focuses on honor instead of fear/frustration provides the encouragement that refuels your cup and grants you a healthy outlook on life.

Cattle are masterful at sensing their caregiver’s attitude 🙂

The last twelve months have inspired me to reflect on this topic. The following are 5 personal habits that I have worked to establish in order to help me always focus on finding honor in my life:

  1. Let my faith be stronger than my fear.
  2. Look for gaps and be cognizant of the needs of others – Approach each day with the question: “How can I help?”
  3. Bring a constant element of thankfulness to my daily perspective. Thankfulness wards off frustration and anger, and increases the ability to live a life filled with joy.
  4. Create a personal focus on giving intentional encouragement so that my words and actions positively inspire others.
  5. Recognize that it is okay to take time for personal reflection and growth. While I am very much an “action” person, taking time each day to talk to God and develop a plan grants meaning to my actions in addition to helping me to refill my cup.

I find each day that I am still a work in progress – achieving differing levels of success with the above 5 habits.  But, I am confident that I am on the right track. Good habits bring about good daily choices.

And, making good choices enables us to find honor in our lives.

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Eclipse Totality Video…

Learning to make and do “videos” provided a significant challenge for me over the summer months. While I still have much to learn and improve upon, I am confident enough that I am starting to actually enjoy doing them 🙂

Monday, after the Facebook Live broadcast via Innovative Livestock Services, I remained in the pen with my cattle to experience the Eclipse Totality. The following video footage comes from that time — hopefully woven together in an orderly story to give you all a glimpse into what we experienced on cattle farms all across Nebraska.

I hope that you and your families were able to enjoy the awesomeness of Mother Nature last Monday!

What is your favorite eclipse story?

 

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Eclipse Fun…

I hope that everyone had as awesome a day watching the eclipse as I did! The Facebook Live stream that I did with Brandon Sorensen at Roberts Cattle Company with our fall calves was a lot of fun. I am really enjoying building this new skill 🙂  You can see the livestream broadcast here:

We did the live broadcast during the partial eclipse leading up to the period of totality (when the plains of Nebraska briefly said goodbye to the sun). Watching the beginning partial stages of the eclipse reminded me of Cookie Monster taking bites out of his favorite cookie — it was fascinating to watch the “bites” get bigger and bigger until the sun was completely covered.

The live broadcast ended about 12:20pm which was 36 minutes prior to eclipse totality. I allowed my “cattle nerdiness” take over at the time and spent those next 45 minutes hanging out with the cattle. I loved being able to take the time to just stand in the middle of the herd — watching and interacting with them during this awesome event. It made me smile when “Freckles” the calf ambled over to stand next to me just prior to the decent of darkness and during the totality.

I was pleased to see my animals remain calm during the eclipse. By understanding the cattle and intuitively providing for all of their needs, the crew at Roberts set them up for success. It was a stress-free experience for the cattle which kept them comfortable and enabled them to thrive on a day filled with uncertainty. Cattle are creatures of habit so the occurrence of darkness in the middle of the day certainly provided a strange event for them. A big “thank you” to Greg, Brandon and all of the guys at Roberts who play such an important role taking care of my animals. You all are awesome!

I took some video and a few still pictures during the minutes leading up to the totality and during the short time of darkness. I am planning to put together a video of it for all of you that were not able to spend the eclipse surrounded by farm animals. Look for that later this week 🙂

Happy Eclipse Day!

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What happens each day at a cattle feedlot?

This has been a week of tremendous learning and growing for me. I did my first Facebook Live broadcast and increased my tech savvy by leaps and bounds. For those of you that do not participate in Facebook, I was able to save the Live Broadcast and upload it to YouTube. This enables me to share it here!

So, take a few minutes — grab a cup of coffee — and watch my favorite blonde cowgirls and I interact with the Lazy YN Fall Calves.

I believe that the Live broadcast was a solid first effort. I have many things still to learn and work on; but I enjoyed the experience. To date, the live video has reached more than 15,500 people — with more than 6300 of them choosing to watch it. It is a raw, from the heart, unedited look at our cattle at the feed yard. I am very thankful that Megan and Karyn were able to help me out — it created a fun experience for the three of us to cap off the summer vacation.

Having gotten my feet wet this week with Live broadcasting, I am going to take the plunge on Monday to do a second broadcast via Innovative Livestock Services. As many of you know, we live within the Path of Totality for the #SolarEclipse2017. The partial eclipse will begin about 11:30am central time, with the short period of total darkness occurring just before 1:00pm.

Brandon and I with the fall calves…

The live broadcast will occur at 12:00pm central time during the partial eclipse. I am going with a “Tail Gate” theme and will be joined by Brandon Sorensen who is the Assistant Manager at Roberts Cattle Company. We are going to hang out with some of our Lazy YN calves and talk about Mother Nature, the eclipse, and how we care for our cattle in the feed yard.

I think that 12 months ago if anyone told me that I would be doing live social media video broadcasts from a feed yard, I would have looked at them like they were crazy. But, life is an interesting journey full of twists and turns.

While live broadcasts are a little bit scary and the end result (at least for an amateur like me) is not professionally polished, I think that they create a necessary level of transparency between farmers and our urban neighbors. Unedited creates a level of truth and trust that is hard to otherwise obtain. For that reason, I am taking the plunge.

I hope that you all will be able to join in and ask questions during the broadcast 🙂

Click here to access the Innovative Livestock Services facebook page.

In order to view the facebook live broadcast, you need to “like” or “follow” the page. Then click the “following” button just below the cover photo and make sure that you click “see first” and turn your notifications “on”.

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Facebook Live!

Despite their remarks that summer has gone too fast, my girls head back to school on Wednesday. They’ve been on vacation for three months, but I have to admit that it seems like last week when we transitioned from school to the swim team season.

The warm summer months were filled with:

  • Fitness training for both swimming and Cross Country
  • Shooting thousands of baskets to prepare for basketball
  • Taking care of our grass cattle and pasture ground
  • And doing other farm chores….
  • And welcoming a new puppy into our family!

 

I’m not sure exactly what the girls had in mind for their last day of summer, but their Mama decided to finish out the vacation with a Facebook Live broadcast from Roberts Cattle Company to visit our cattle at the feed yard.

I tell my girls that the road to excellence isn’t comfortable, so it seems appropriate to finish up the summer pushing my comfortable limits and forging into new territory. I’ve never done a Facebook Live broadcast, but I think that it is a great way to increase transparency and allow folks to have insight into life at a cattle feed yard.

I would ask that you all support me in this new endeavor by both sharing the news of the broadcast and getting online to participate in it. It will be at 7:30am central time tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. Just hop onto Facebook to the FeedYard Foodie page to watch. I plan for the broadcast to go approximately 10 minutes, so you can hang out with Karyn, Megan and I (along with our bovines) as you enjoy your morning coffee!

Please feel free to ask questions during the broadcast, or you can leave them here in the comment section of this blog prior to tomorrow morning.

  • Have you ever wondered about the story of where your beef comes from?
  • Do you want to know about life in a Nebraska feedlot?
  • Are you looking for a way to start your day with a smile?

Join us tomorrow morning at 7:30am via Facebook Live 😊

See you then!

 

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Visiting the Lazy YN Ranch Yearling Steers.

My favorite blondes and I visited the Lazy YN Ranch yearling steers this week at Roberts Cattle Company. The steers are living it up in Pen 73 and doing an amazing job of getting bigger! Hats off to the feed yard crew as the guys are doing an awesome job taking care of the cattle 🙂

Megan and Karyn were glad to see that the steers remembered us, and I am very thankful that my girls can continue to watch the calves through their entire life cycle as it serves as a great reminder of both where their food comes from and the dedicated people that it takes to raise beef with integrity.

We also moved the fall calves off of grass and into the feed yard this week as our grass supply is depleted. The fall calves have taken up residence at Roberts Cattle Company a couple of pens down from the yearling steers…

Megan celebrated moving the cattle with her first semi-truck ride 🙂

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