September 14, 2017 · 5:00 am
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:
- Make sure that all animals are safe in an appropriate pen.
- 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 🙂
Filed under Animal Welfare, Chronicles of a Retiring Feed Yard Boss Lady, Coaching / Personal Growth, General
Tagged as animal welfare, Cattle, cattle caregiver, daughters, How do beliefs change behavior?, How do I hold my temper?, life lessons, personal improvement
February 9, 2017 · 4:55 am
Tuesday, I put 42 years on the books. My daughters, led by my favorite brunette, gave me a really awesome birthday gift. It warmed my heart and was so perfect that I decided that I needed to share it with each of you.
Image credit: Katie Arndt Photography
I woke up to find a written list entitled: 42 Reasons We Love You…
- You push us to be our best selves.
- You always support us in following our dreams — even when they inconvenience you.
- What you see is what you get.
- You do everything with your whole heart.
- You don’t hide the way that you feel.
- You’re confident in your own skin.
- You can still beat most of the high school boys in a push-up contest.
- You donate so much of your time to your community and those you love.
- You make us sing the wrong words to songs.
- You always have a goal,
- And you work hard to achieve it.
- You always see things through to the end.
- You’re a glass half-full kind of gal.
- Your not afraid to own the room,
- And you command it so well.
- You’re not ostentatious,
- You quietly find a way to show your talents.
- You uphold your values and beliefs in everything that you do.
- You taught us that “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll always fall for anything.”
- You’re a planner,
- But when you don’t have one, you fake it well.
- You treat everyone with respect, no matter their age, gender, beliefs, or intelligence.
- You taught us that God made everyone different, and that’s a good thing.
- You’ve encouraged us to leave home and see the world,
- Plus you’re paying for us to do it!
- You’ve shown that holding a grudge will only wear you down,
- And that forgiveness lightens the heart.
- Because of you, we know that good is the enemy of great.
- We’ve seen your incredible work ethic throughout the years and been inspired by it.
- You are an example of how to live and love life to the fullest.
- You embrace PDA and let us know that true love only grows.
- You’re not afraid to be a little goofy,
- And you put up with Dad being more than a little goofy.
- You tell us to Pack Our FAITH,
- And constantly encourage us to look for God in our lives.
- You appreciate the natural beauty of the world.
- On that note, you allow our house to be in its natural state of lived-in messy.
- You take our fashion advice with little complaint (and sometimes even ask for it!)
- You don’t know what swag, lit, or OG mean, but you still manage to be the coolest person in the world.
- You are an impartial judge of character.
- And a great listener.
- But most of all, you’re our Mom!
My girls are my greatest blessing and I am so proud to be their mom…
August 31, 2014 · 6:00 am
Our favorite farmer celebrates his 43rd birthday today. In honor of his birthday, Ashley Grace and Megan have written their top 5 reasons why Matt loves being surrounded by women…
1. His days are filled with lots of smiling faces and very little attitude…
2. He is surrounded by fashion advice and never has to worry about going out of the house with clothes that do not match — Or be concerned that he won’t be able to find an emergency supply of lip gloss and hair rubber bands in his pickup truck…
3. Dreaming of the boys that will soon permeate his house gives him great incentive to teach us all of his best wrestling moves…
4. It is good for his ego that all of his girls can smoke him in all four strokes in the swimming pool…
5. Fear of no longer being able to beat his girls on the track provides excellent ambition for exercising and staying fit…
Happy Birthday, Dad! We love you 🙂
July 21, 2011 · 6:00 am
This question came from my oldest daughter when she was learning her colors as a young child. I was talking to someone on the phone about a group of cattle that had just arrived at the feed yard, and commenting that the cattle were “pretty green”.
This newly arrived steer at the feed yard can be classified as "green"...
Steer #718 is ready for harvest and no longer classified as "green"...
We all know that cattle are not the color green—so what was I talking about? A “green” steer or heifer is one that is not carrying a lot of flesh. “Green” is a term used by cattlemen to describe an animal that is relatively thin. If I were a bovine, I could be described as “green”…
I've always been 'thin' or 'green'--my husband states that it is directly related to my inability to ever sit still!
When I think back to my daughter’s comment, I think of all of the terms that I now use without thinking but would not have had any idea what they meant before I moved to Nebraska. As we trace calf #718, I am likely to use some of these terms, so I thought it best that I take a few moments and define a few of them for you…
- Calf– any bovine animal that is less than 1 year old.
- Yearling-any bovine animal that is 1-2 years old.
- Branding– the time that a young calf is “worked” for the first time. The calf is vaccinated and branded with a hot iron brand for identification purposes (hence the name “branding”). I live in a “brand area” in Nebraska which means that cattle are branded for identification purposes and the brands on the cattle must be “inspected” by a State Brand Inspector prior to being shipped from one farm to another to verify ownership. This prevents “cattle theft” or “cattle rustling”.
- Working cattle- the act of handling cattle (at the feed yard we use a constraint system called a “working chute” which holds the calf still while he is vaccinated, wormed and ear tagged). When the calf is little (at the ranch level at branding time) the calf is usually roped and constrained by a cowboy or group of cowboys instead of a “working chute”. It is important that the calf stay reasonably still while being “worked” for both safety reasons and the efficacy of the vaccine.
- Preconditioning-the process of revaccinating the calf and preparing him for “weaning” time. Preconditioning can mean many different things, but most often it refers to vaccination which stimulates the immune system and allows the calf to stay healthy and fight off disease. To be most effective, preconditioning vaccinations should occur approximately 3 weeks prior to weaning.
- Bunk Broke- an animal that is “bunk broke” knows how to eat out of a feed bunk, and realizes that his feed is there. (This is as opposed to eating grass or some other feed directly off of the ground—Yes, cattle truly need to be ‘taught’ to eat out of a feedbunk and to drink out of a water tank).
- Weaning– the time when the animal is no longer allowed to nurse his mama’s milk. This time typically occurs at approximately 8-10 months of age.
- Steer– a castrated male bovine.
- Worming– administering an FDA approved product that will kill the internal and external worms that a bovine might have in his system. When cattle are grazing grass, they naturally pick up internal parasites from the grass. These parasites compromise the health of the digestive tract, so we administer “de-worming” products to kill the parasites.
- PCT- Program Compliant Tag-this is an ear tag that tracks the identity of the calf from birth to harvest. It is “iso-compliant” which means that the number is unique to that animal and complies with global standards of identification.
- Age and Source Verified– A calf that is Age and Source Verified can be traced across it’s entire life (from the ranch of origin to harvest) and also back to a birthdate.
- Organic- Organic beef must come from an animal that has only be fed organically grown feed, and can not have received “de-worming” products, antibiotics, or growth promotants.
- Natural– The USDA defines “all natural” as any beef product that has been “minimally processed”. This means that any bovine/calf is “natural”.
I am sure that there are more terms out there that I use without even noticing! Hopefully, you all will remind me when I need to do a better job defining the words that I use!
In the mean-time, I will share with you that my daughter’s favorite color is purple. As a three year old, she wanted to know why I called cattle ‘green’ but never ‘purple’…To this day, she still does not think it is right to call a calf ‘green’—she is a rule follower at heart and sees no logic in the term—perhaps I can persuade her to write a poem about it…
My favorite "poet", wearing green, and ready to "bring down the house" in a community drama production last week...