Tag Archives: Nebraska Sandhills

Sustainability…

Thoughtful Thursday

sandhillssustainability.jpg

Sustainability = Working with Mother Nature to harvest her gifts while using technology and science to help maintain the delicate balance that ensures both the prosperity of Americans and the long term vitality of the land of the free.

The Feed Yard Foodie

 What does this picture make you think of?

 

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The Route Less Traveled…

There is a stretch of road in between Arnold and Dunning Nebraska that is a little slice of heaven.  It is 29 miles of rolling hills, canyons, and grazing animals.  I think of it as truly The Route Less Traveled, but I have to admit that it is a place that brings me great peace.

A special place...

A special place…

The drive is a solitary trip, and rarely do I encounter another human being while traveling along this route.  I have the pleasure of taking this road a half a dozen times a year when I trek north to the Nebraska Sandhills to move cattle off of home ranches and into my feed yard.

A marriage of man-made technology and beautiful prairie land...

A marriage of man-made technology and beautiful prairie land…

Perhaps it is because I love the wide open spaces—Perhaps it is because my cell phone doesn’t work so I have the choice of opening the window and listening to the silence or cranking up the radio and singing to my favorite songs.

The blend of open grassland and canyons makes this a truly unique place...

The blend of open grassland and canyons makes this a truly unique place…

Regardless, I know that I look forward to the drive that seems to soothe my soul.

In addition to cattle and horses, I have seen many deer, ducks, turkeys, pheasant, and grouse along the way.  It is beautiful the way that livestock live in harmony with the wild animals of the prairie.

Mallard ducks enjoying the open water that has not yet frozen with the promise of winter...

Mallard ducks enjoying the open water that has not yet frozen under winter’s spell…

I am often reminded as I head north on this road the importance of environmental stewardship and what a pivotal role ranchers play in maintaining the balance of life in the rural areas of our country.

They play several important roles...

The great converters…

These cattle thrive amongst the natural wildlife of Nebraska while also converting forage into an iron rich protein source that fuels both my family and yours.

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The healthy balance of mankind and nature speaks to me even in the winter months when the grasses turn brown…

The Nebraska Sandhills’ grasslands are a perfect blend of Mother Nature’s gifts and the tender loving care of the cattlemen and women who tend to them amongst the routes less traveled…

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Filed under Environmental Stewardship, General

Making Memories in ‘God’s Country’…

Every summer for the past four years, my favorite cowgirl/chef and I have taken our horses north to the Nebraska Sandhills for a long weekend of riding.  I laugh that those few days allow me to search for peace and quiet amidst the relative chaos of my everyday life…

There exists a quiet beauty in the Nebraska Sandhills that soothes my soul...

There exists a quiet beauty in the Nebraska Sandhills that soothes my soul…

Megan was 8 years old when we visited the first time, and our annual trip has become something that she looks forward to each year.  We travel up to the Lake Calamus area located near Burwell, Nebraska and stay with Sherry Jarvis at Heart In Your Hand Horsemanship.  I met Sherry about six years ago and find her to be a woman of tremendous natural horse savvy.

Sherry has become a great mentor to Megan...

Sherry is a great mentor to Megan…

I would like to share my favorite pictures from our three days in the SandHills.  Hopefully they will provide a visual picture of our great weekend!

My little cowgirl loves her horse--they make great partners!

My little cowgirl loves her horse–they make great partners!

Megan also has a very special friend who (along with her grandma) meets us for our days of riding...

Megan also has a very special friend who (along with her grandma) meets us for our days of riding…

I love to watch her develop great communication and feel with her horse.  This builds confidence and focus that will help her all throughout her life...

I love to watch Meg develop great communication and feel with her horse. This builds confidence and focus that will help her all throughout her life…

The beauty that

The beauty that they find together on those hills teaches her to respect the land and work hard to care for it…

My favorite quarter horse and I cooling off with a swim in the lake...

Cooling off in the lake…I had never ‘swum’ while on horseback before.  Dandy doesn’t quite share my All American Swimmer status but he did a pretty good job…

The wild flowers were just starting to bloom...

The wild flowers were just starting to bloom…

The river was also gorgeous...

The river was also gorgeous…

It's always good to have a cowgirl with just a little bit of attitude :)

It’s always good to have a cowgirl with just a little bit of attitude :), along with—

no apparent need to keep her boots on...

no apparent need to keep her boots on…

I hope that each one of you has something special which soothes your soul and renews your faith. 

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Filed under General, Natural Horsemanship

The Magic of the Nebraska Sandhills…The Land and the People…

I have lived in Nebraska for more than 14 years now, and I am still awed every time that I drive north from Cozad into the Nebraska Sandhills.  The ‘Sandhills’ epitomize “God’s Country” to me, and being there settles my soul.

The Nebraska Sandhills

Part of that is the landscape, part of that is the people.

The land is vast and beautiful.  The people are compassionate, neighborly, honest, and have a work ethic that is second to none.  They are the kind of people that you want your children to spend time with because they will learn great “life lessons” from them.

One of my “jobs” at the feedyard that I enjoy tremendously is working with ranchers to improve the genetics and performance of their calves and the quality of the beef that they produce.  I am my own “cattle buyer” which means that I work directly with ranchers who “birth” the calves so that we can trace our animals from birth to harvest.

 

Al and Sallie and their family

Most calves do not spend their entire lives on one ranch or farm due to both natural resource and financial restraints.  However, partnerships like the one that I have created with Al and Sallie Atkins allow us to be “vertically collaborative” which ensures better animal care, the best use of natural resources, and higher quality beef.

These cattle are “Age and Source Verified” which means that we can trace the calves back to the ranch of birth and their birthdate. In addition to being “Age and Source Verified”, these calves are cared for by people that are Beef Quality Assurance Certified throughout their entire life span.

Both of these things are incredibly important to me because they ensure that my cattle receive high quality care, and produce high quality and “value added” beef.  This also allows me to use the most current technology to ensure that my cattle are as efficient and healthy as possible which both diminishes the “environmental footprint” and increases the quality of my beef.

The first ranch family that I ever worked with was Al and Sallie Atkins of Halsey, Nebraska.  Almost, ten years later, we still make a great team.  We collaborate together to constantly improve both the care that we provide to our animals and the quality of the beef that they produce.

AL Ranch is nestled in the heart of the Nebraska Sandhills were cattle and wildlife thrive amidst a sustainable ecosystem.

Part of the AL Ranch "Cow Herd"

Al and Sallie maintain that, “Our mission here at the A L Ranch is to continually improve the genetics of our cattle, to manage land and water resources to the best of our ability and to leave a legacy for generations to come to be successful in the beef industry and the ranching way of life.”

It truly an honor for me to work with people like Al and Sallie, and we will continue to get to know them better as we trace one of their calves from “birth to harvest”.

 

 

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Filed under Beef Life Cycle--Calf #718