Tag Archives: committment

Life’s Greatest Blessing…

Tomorrow, Matt and I will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary.  While the day will be our normal organized chaos that between the two of us involves exercising calves, coaching a swim meet, and leading an alfalfa harvesting crew; it will also be special.Anne and Matt0003

I am not sure if I can clearly remember the 21 year old with stars in her eyes who walked down the aisle of Bethesda-By-The-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach, Florida; but I certainly remember the look on Matt’s face when I stepped inside the church.  I am blessed to still get to see that same look today.

I have loved Matt for more than half of my life, and our marriage is based not only on love but also on commitment.  The journey from Hanover, New Hampshire to rural Nebraska has been marked by both challenges and opportunities.  We face them together: holding onto each other for support and remaining committed to living the dream.

Our recipe for sustainability lies in an unwavering desire to endure with joy.DSC05079

Almost two decades later, we are thriving farmers and the parents to three beautiful and talented girls. Matt is not just my husband, he is my biggest fan.  He believes in me when I doubt myself, encourages me when I am challenged, and celebrates my successes with enthusiasm.  His loving support not only guides me, but also teaches our daughters about the respect and devotion that provides the foundation to a successful family.

Husker and Swimming June 17 2012 049Today, I reflect on the fact that a devoted spouse is life’s greatest blessing.

  • Their faith is unwavering.
  • Their support is priceless.
  • Their love is a gift to always be treasured.

While many people look at my path from urban athlete to rural cowgirl as both an unusual journey and an interesting success story, the truth is that most of the credit should go to the quiet man who stands beside me and  has dedicated his life to our partnership.  I can only hope that our daughters will one day also be blessed with someone who both completes them and inspires them to greatness.

Today I salute my favorite farmer.  I look to the past with thankfulness, I look to the present with joy, and I look to the future with excitement knowing that we will greet each day with the knowledge that love and opportunity await us.DSC05507

What is your greatest blessing?


Filed under Family, General, Sustainable Spring

The Drill Sergeant…

My children call me a Drill Sergeant, although a swimming recruiting trip to West Point as a senior in high school is as close as I have ever come to being in the military.  Since I cannot fathom that my 5’3” and 110 pound frame is physically imposing, I suppose it is my confident and no nonsense manner that inspires the nickname.

The Drill Sergeant...

I tell my children that “you have to stand for something or you will fall for anything”.

I had an experience last week at the feed yard that brought this saying (as well as my nick name) to the forefront of my mind…

This animal is ready for harvest...

When my cattle are ready for harvest, I sell them to a packing plant.  While the vast majority of my cattle are marketed through U.S. Premium Beef on a value added and carcass merit (value) basis, I do have a small number of animals that are unable to be Age and Source Verified that I sell as commodity cattle to a different packing plant.  Commodity cattle are animals that do not have anything that makes them unique—they are not value added, and will be marketed as generic cattle/beef.  I sold a pen of commodity cattle last week, and I sold them on a Live Basis.  Those of you that followed my long series of posts tracing Calf #718 from birth to harvest are aware of the way that I market my value added and Age and Source Verified cattle (https://feedyardfoodie.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/calf-718-becomes-beef/).

When I sell a pen of commodity cattle on a live basis, I get paid simply on the pounds of live animal weight at the time of shipment.  In other words, the cattle are weighed when they are loaded onto the semi-trucks and that weight is multiplied by a negotiated price and that is the payment that I receive for the cattle.  When you sell a pen of cattle on a live basis, the packing plant both sets the shipment schedule and arranges the semi-trucks to carry the cattle to harvest.  Although these animals are not sold on a carcass value basis, they still produce safe and healthy beef and their care is of the up-most importance to me.

We start feeding early in the morning so that every one of our animals has "breakfast" delivered by 9:30am.

I began my day last Thursday morning by reading bunks and establishing a feeding schedule for the cattle in the feed yard.  I then exercised a pen of newly arrived cattle just as the sun came up.  After this, my cowboy and I prepared to ship the pen of commodity cattle to harvest.  Unfortunately, what should have been an easy transition of animals onto the semi-truck became a challenging experience for this Boss Lady turned Drill Sergeant.

One of the three truck drivers hired by the packing plant to carry my cattle to harvest did not share my philosophy that animal handlers should be calm and level headed.  He was upset about the circumstances and timing of the shipment and lost his temper… So what did a 5’3” and 110 pound female drill sergeant do with a 6’1” and 250+ pound angry male truck driver when it became obvious that he was not in control of himself?

I told him to leave my property and did not load my animals on his truck.

 Something in my steady and steal-like gaze must have penetrated his anger because he left without further argument.

 He returned to my feed yard an hour later in a much calmer frame of mind.  His boss arrived shortly there after to ensure that professional behavior would prevail, and we loaded the truck.

Here is a semi-truck backed up to my loading chute and ready to receive animals to be transported to harvest...

I believe that calm and rational people make good cattle handlers.  I believe that it is my job as Boss Lady and Humane Caregiver to ensure that my crew and I work with people that share a rational frame of mind.  This was a very challenging situation to deal with, and I was glad for both my drill sergeant nature and my commitment to “stand for what I believe in”.  My safety, the safety of my cowboy, and the safety of my animals relied on my ability to effectively handle the situation.

So, what is the moral of the story?  Be true to your core values, and stand firmly for what you believe in.  Good leadership is marked by confident, rational, and steadfast commitment…No matter what your physical stature is!


Filed under Foodie Work!, General