Christian. BoyMom. Farmer's Wife. Marathon Runner. Ag Professional. Bourbon Lover.
Advocate for all things agriculture and rural.
Advocate for all things agriculture and rural.
Tunis Sheep Hampshires heed
6/29/2015 5 Comments
An open letter to my Dad
Today you celebrate sixty years of being alive! I know before I came you were so many things to so many people. A son to parents who are proud of you, a friend to friends who could never replace you, a husband to a woman who adores you.
In a world that always had expectations about what little girls should wear, about what things teenage girls should do, and about where women in the workplace belong- you were the rock by my side that always said, "you're perfect just the way you are".
You taught me to fish when other girls were at ballet. You were driving sheep across the country, taking me to national sales when other girls were at prom. When I decided to pursue a male dominated career, in a male dominated industry, you didn't bat an eye.
When I succeed, you nod your head in approval, and quietly smile- giving me the impression you never doubted it.
When I fail, you open your arms in comfort, and the turn me back in the right direction to try again.
From the time I took my first steps, to the day I walked into my first office, to the night you walked me down the aisle you've been a constant source of comfort and support.
And now I have gotten to watch you become something even greater than Daddy-- you've become Papa Jim. And nothing has brought me more joy than watching you with my boys.
I see the way your eyes sparkle when we talk about Maddie, your first Grand daughter who will be here in September. And my heart fills with pure happiness when I think of my brother getting to see you with his little girl, the same way I see you with my boys.
Happy birthday Daddy, I love you!
6/26/2015 2 Comments
A "few" good chickens
We are officially in the chicken business at Uptown Farms! It's funny I am excited about it, because I have an irrational fear of poultry. It's something about the way the run aimlessly around pecking at things I think.
I had mentioned to Matt that it would be fun for the boys to get a few chickens to gather eggs from once we got moved in to the new house.
Around the same time we found out a family in a nearby Amish community will process meat birds at a very reasonable price, so we decided it might be fun (and tasty) to raise some of our own meat birds as well.
So we ended to conversation in agreement we would get a few chickens. A "few".
Two weeks ago, I was in Denver for work and my phone beeped. I looked down to an email confirmation and shipping notification of the above mentioned chickens.
Is what I had failed to do with Matt was clearly define what a "few" meant. I arrived home to the chickens (who were delivered to us courtesy of the USPS just a few days after hatching in Ohio).
Matt's definition of a "few": 120 meat birds and 40 laying hens!! Say what?!
Yes you read that right. We now have have over 150 chickens and one lonely (and soon to be busy) rooster.
Our laying hens are a mixture of Rhode Island Reds and New Hampshire Reds.
Our rooster is a New Hampshire Red, although we won't even know which one he is until they are quite a bit bigger!
For now they are living in large water tanks inside our shop, so we can regulate their temperature better. Soon they will move outside!
I will keep you posted on their progress and what we learn along the way! If you are looking for chicken or eggs you now know who to call!
6/23/2015 6 Comments
26 Thoughts from my 26.2
1. One mile in, only 25 to go!
2. My socks are really wet, I’ve never run in soaking wet socks before.
3. The lake is beautiful; this run is going to be awesome!
4. I have to pee.
5. Men should really not do the short shorts thing, especially that guy.
6. A blind marathon runner?! That is amazing. And inspiring!
7. OH! Porta potty! Uhhh…. Never-mind.
8. I might have a blister starting on my ankle.
9. Spandex. They really are NOT for everyone.
10. There is ANOTHER man peeing on the side of the road….Actually, I wish I could just pee like that.
11. Here comes the sun… Wait. I think I remember something about quarter size biting flies up here.
12. Look, that guy is handing out coffee! I am hungry. For pancakes.
13. Half way already! This race is awesome!
14. Six more miles and then an easy 10K to the finish line!
15. Ok, I probably should not have skipped the last drink stop.
16. Well, I don't have to pee anymore. My body probably absorbed it for energy and my kidneys are probably shutting down. If that happens that would be a reasonable excuse to quit this, right?
17. That is definitely a blister. And my knee hurts. And my back. My socks are still soaking wet. WHERE is that next water stop?!
18. Why did I think this was a good idea, AGAIN?
19. Dear Jesus, I swear I will never skip church again if you can just brew up a storm bad enough they have to cancel this race.
20. Ok mile 20… Holy &%$* I still have a 10K.
21. There is a bus. I could just walk over there and have them take me back to the hotel. This is dumb anyway. Not just dumb. Ridiculous. The dumbest and most ridiculous thing I have ever done.
22. That’s a pretty steep drop off the road bank to the lake. You know, I could just ease over there and accidentally fall. I might be able to break something bad enough I would never have to run again…
23. You know what, maybe I will just walk in. It’s 3 miles. I could walk that in an hour and who cares about my time anyway. Maybe I won’t even walk in. Maybe I will just sit down….
24. Two miles. Two miles. Two miles.
25. There’s a clock, finally a clock! OMG – I am going to break my record! RUN! I am not only going to break, I am GOING TO KILL IT!
26. THANK YOU GOD! THANK YOU GOD I FINISHED THIS THING!!!!!! Sign me up for Omaha!
6/18/2015 0 Comments
#UptownUploads Bulls Out!
We woke up to this guy in our driveway this morning!! He is registered Red Angus bull, who is supposed to be in with the cows!
Our cattle are on pasture year-round, but we typically prefer them to stay INSIDE their fences!
The bulls (males) are in with the cows (females) right now for breeding. One bull will be used per 25-50 cows and cows will calve about 9 months after breeding!
Cows have one calf per year (except in the rare instances of twins but more on that later when Izzy calves...)
Our calves, like most cattle in the country, will be born on pasture, typically with no assistance from us. They stay with their mothers until weaning time. It's good to know that a majority of cattle in the US spend a majority of their lives on pasture!!
I am in Denver this week, surrounded by some of the leading minds in agriculture real estate. I have had some amazing conversations and learned much, some of which I'll try to share!
A fellow appraiser and family farmer in Washinton explained to me how many of the organics are grown in her region of Washinton (state).
You can see on my drawing above that farmers grow conventional plants in an outer area with the organics contained within the middle.
This setup allows for a "barrier" from pests. The conventional products can be treated for pests with highly regulated and tested (and safe) pesticides. The organics in the center then benefit by being surrounded by the treated area.
How would it effect yields and quality of production if growers didn't have such barriers? What would happen to cost?
Are organic farmers often portrayed as more caring? More careful? Does it alter your perception when you realize many of the organics on the market are produced by the same families who are also growing much of the conventional food?
Jackson County, Oregon has passed, and the courts have upheld, a county wide ban on growing GMO’s.
The Farmer’s Daughter does a great job giving an overview of the decision that was upheld on Monday in Oregon.
This is not a ban on the consumption, sale or processing of GMOs. It is only a ban on growing them. It’s obvious why conventional farmers would lose sleep over such a decision, but here are some other people who should be just as angry.
1. Consumers: County by county ban on production practices will negatively impact food choice and food price.
If this single county sets a precedence and farming management decisions are being made in courtrooms by judges, instead of at kitchen tables by farm families, food selection will go down and price will go up.
Consumers, preferably with reliable and fact based information, should have the right to choose which type of farming practices and products they want to support with their purchases. Farmers should then have the right to respond to consumer demand with farming practices that make the most sustainable and economic sense for their farms.
2. Small Business Owners: Any small business owner should be enraged at the government making management decisions for us.
An important and often overlooked fact is that each family farm in your community is a small business. They employ part time and full time workers, they buy and sell thousands of dollars of goods within the local community, they pay taxes, and they donate time and money to local causes.
The Government, without the support of fact or science, determined some farm families to be of more worth than others. They have handed a death sentence to conventional family farms in their county.
3. Supporters of Young Farmers: Young farmers could be wiped out if the government limits their ability to use the latest technology.
Young and beginning farmers face unique challenges compared to their more established counterparts. Our margins are even thinner than our neighbors that have been operating longer. Our debt is greater, our equity is less. We make farming decisions based on long term projections and rely on the ability to use all resources available to us.
If the government removes our ability to farm using the most advanced seed technology available, it would very well bankrupt us. On good years there may not be measurable difference in yield (income). But on bad years? We could suffer a major loss without the assistance of insect protection, drought protection, and more that GMO technology provides.
Go here for an in depth analysis of the cost and income differences of GM and non GM crops.
4. Science Community: In a single ruling, a judge rejected the lifetime work and opinions of scientists who have devoted their careers to studying GMO technology.
There is no more thoroughly tested food on the market today than GMO variety food crops. As explained by Genetic Literacy Project, 89% of scientists believe GMO foods are safe! This judge threw science, fact and reason out the window and instead used emotionally changed anecdotes to make a ruling.
5. And everyone else. It has become cliché to call someone un-American, or un-patriotic when they don’t agree with your principles. But there is something terrifying to me about a group of voters willing to strip away the ability of farm families to make their own management decisions.
It’s even more terrifying the government would make such broad based laws with no science, fact or reason.
Remember, this decision has nothing to do with the actual consumption of GMO's products. This ban only limits the ability of families to chose which production practices are best for their family on their farm.
(Note - there is no safety or nutritional difference in organic and conventional raw products. The difference in organic and conventionally grown products is ONLY in production practices.) Read here for a great analysis on the two.
Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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