Friday, October 1, 2010

Where Am I?

For those of you coming here and wondering where I went, I want to reassure you that gravity is still at work, and I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.
I've been busy with school and more importantly, some family issues.

I shall return soon, with lots of fun stuff.
On October 15, I'm joining up with the Gen-O tour on the East coast. I'm really excited for this opportunity, and I can't wait to discuss what I've learned.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Can We Grill It?

If you haven't already heard about it, I'll tell you. Lady Gaga was recently spotted sporting a very... juicy/raw dress at the 2010 VMA (Video Music Awards, for those of you who are busy trying to do SEO, etc).
In an article by Sharon Clott, the dress, created by Franc Fernandez, was made of matambre. This cut of meat comes from the under belly of a cow, and may be also known as a flank steak. When asked if the meat was smelly, Fernandez replied, "No, not at all. It's actually very clean meat, very sturdy and strong and doesn't run at all. It's the meat you use to make a roast, where you roll it in a tortilla and put it in the oven. Hence, the shoes — that's why they were wrapped in butcher twine." ( Lady Gaga's Meat Dress )

Of course, the grotesque nature of this dress is upsetting the non-ag world.  Taken from PETA's blog, "Lately, Lady Gaga has been having a hard time keeping her act "over the top." Wearing a dress made out of cuts of dead cows is offensive enough to bring comment, but someone should whisper in her ear that there are more people who are upset by butchery than who are impressed by it—and that means a lot of young people will not be buying her records if she keeps this stuff up." ( PETA's take )

Are you kidding?! Kids are eating this stuff up, and Gaga herself said that she's not trying to offend anyone. In fact, I believe she was trying to make a point about how girls are often treated like they are a piece of meat, although she herself was quoted, "Well, it is certainly no disrespect to anyone that is vegan or vegetarian. As you know, I am the most judgment-free human being on the earth," said Gaga. "However, it has many interpretations but for me this evening. If we don't stand up for what we believe in and if we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones. And, I am not a piece of meat." ( USA Today - Raw Meat Dress )

That being said, I think we should all try some of this fabulous matambre! Thank you, Gaga, for bringing this rarely mentioned meat back into the limelight.

Enjoy a recipe from Emeril Lagasse, featuring some yummy meat (Note: Do not use meat that's been adorning your body. Ever.) Matambre (Rolled Stuffed Flank Steaks)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cluck Cluck

Feather Site

So if you've read my past posts, you know that I really like cows, especially dairy cows, and specificially showing dairy cows.
However, I am actually more obsessed with chickens. It's true! You can throw eggs, because I realize that's about as odd as being obsessed with children's clothes (oops! Got me there too! Throw some Gymboree coupons at me! LOL)
I've always enjoyed walking through the poultry barns and checking out the various types of chickens. Growing up, we always had a few running around and we enjoyed finding their eggs, either in their brooding boxes, or when they got out, wherever they felt like laying on the farm! Well, one year I decided I would take a Fancy Poultry project because, you know, nothing about me isn't fancy.  My dad purchased me some chickens, I entered them into the fair and they did really well. They were great New Hampshire Reds, and laid delicious eggs! They did die a few years later, due to old age, but they were beloved at the time.

Plymouth Barred Rock
My sister is actually crocheting a clutch for me, affectionately known as a "cluck clutch" I cannot wait for this little baby! I'll wear a beautiful, little black dress and use my chicken purse to hold my lip gloss and cell phone. Perfect!
Mine will look much like the picture shown, but I'm going to pay her to make one to resemble my most favorite breed, the Plymouth Barred Rock. Can.Not.Wait.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tales of the Fair

I'd first like to say that I have a follower, and I'm so, so, so excited! My very first. I hope I don't scare her away.

Now for this entry, I hope to find some pictures someday to add. I think they add a certain, something.

As you may recall, I used to show dairy heifers at the fair. I loved doing it. We would bring our animals in on a Friday and the next day would be show day. This meant we woke up very early in the morning, scrambled to get our whites ready for show, and then finally taking off. We would arrive at the fair before the sun had fully risen in the sky, so many times there was still a gentle fog on the ground.

Going in the barns where are heifers were kept, the scent of fresh sawdust and soap would hit my nose. I loved that smell-and I still do! Before doing anything else, I would say hi to my ladies and take them for a bit of water. Then I'd clean up under them, making sure no stray clump of poop was left behind.  After this, it was out to the wash stand to clean up, most of the time this resulted in an extra shower for me, but it always meant a squeaky clean Holstein as well.  I would then put a blanket on the freshly washed bovine and bring her back to her clean stall. There she would eat all she wanted and drink whenever she felt necessary. I would brush her and make her look just perfect for the judges.

I know I've made it seem like showing is a fairy tale, but it's not. One family always made this very, very clear. There were three sisters and a brother in my 4-H club who always had their string of show cattle just across the aisle from me. Whenever I would finish with my chores, I would sit on my tack box and just watch them. It was pure entertainment. The oldest would yell at her sisters and then all three would yell at the brother for everything from "she's using my straightener" to "YOU LET MY HEIFER SIT IN SHIT!" (which is a VERY bad thing to do!) They acted as though the show they were preparing for was the end of the world and if their cows weren't perfect, they would have to answer to the big man Upstairs.

I don't believe most shows are this high strung. However, what's done is done, and that was one experience I'll never forget.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Correction

I must issue a correction
My mother informed me today that she fed me my first McDonald's burger when I was 9 months old and that my doctor said it was perfectly OK.
I suppose this is something I can let go.

Actually, this is all tongue-in-cheek. Yes, my mother did feed me a burger at a young age from McDonald's. Yes, I survived. No, I am not overtly obese. It was just a joke, intended to make people laugh. And yes, it really did happen. I suppose though, a burger is much better than a soda or **shudders** straight whiskey! (Yes, I've heard of this happening... I don't want to know!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tractors Aren't Biased

As I gear up for the #agchat conference at the end of August (I have 3 sponsors so far!) I have been reading more and more into things that I've been finding.  I've read both sides of the argument that big seed companies should not help promote such events.  As a relative newcomer to this issue and to the conference itself, I think it's crucial to point out first that I may have missed something and that second, I could be wrong. I'm not perfect, but my opinions still count, right?
I do not believe big seed companies should sponsor the event I'm going to attend. I think they cater to a specific group of people, and not all farmers in general.  On the same note however, I do not believe little seed companies should be sponsors either.  Heck, I don't think companies who produce any sort of food item should be sponsors (although if they want to sponsor individuals, that is entirely different and I in no way can or will oppose that).
Now, this is an issue that could be discussed until everyone is blue in the face.  Instead of doing that, why not consider alternative options, ones everyone can agree upon.  Take tractors for instance.  They are not biased!  There are small tractors for small gardens, medium tractors for small farms, big tractors for big farms, and SUPER HUGE TRACTORS for the SUPER HUGE FARMS.  Why not invite tractor companies to sponsor this event? Get Massey-Ferguson, John Deere, maybe New Idea, Ford, International, and all of those other companies to take part.  In reality, they have just as much stake in the issue of farming in the United States as the seed companies, if not more! (Because let's face it, a bag of seeds is much less expensive than general repairs to a planter!)
If you disagree, that's fine. Throw seeds, hoes, rakes, shovels, small poultry animals, whatever... I need some of those things anyway.

Stringles for My Baby

This morning I packed my daughter's lunch for daycare and I found myself thinking about her food. When I was a baby, I have no idea what I ate, although my mom once informed me that she had given me pieces of a Mcdonald's burger well before I was six months old.  I grew up being the oldest of five and had a pretty good idea of what my siblings ate (because I fed them sometimes) and even some of my cousins. But, what about the world outside Mercer County, Ohio?
I'm currently am reading an amazing book by Novella Carpenter, Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer. In the book, Carpenter describes her first ten years or so of farming a vacant lot behind her urban apartment, in the "ghetto" of Oakland, California.  In one of the chapters, she describes how far away she has to go (about 30 minutes out of the city) in order to find a real grocery store. In her neighborhood, there are only small convenience stores, selling candy and sodas.  What do babies eat? Surely their parents don't feed them soda and candy, right?  And, not just in Carpenter's neighborhood alone, but those similar all over the world.
Keeping in mind the countries growing obesity epidemic, my honest answer will have to be that perhaps they do (or did) give their offspring this, not because they were too lazy to get to the store and pick up either a jar of pre-made baby food or a simple to eat banana, but because they either didn't know any better or didn't have the means of transporation.  Both issues are huge.
How can the urban population, or even those not near stores, be reached by the fresh food (even healthy food) community? It is my belief that it is the responsiblity of the farmer to do this. In the past, it would have been the marketing, but now that times have changed, I don't believe the current marketing strategies work. Going by Carpenter's example, if people in urban settings have a visual representation of a farm, perhaps their curiosity might lead to learning and learning might lead to healthier choices.  This is something that must be done, proactivity may be this country's last chance.
So, what did I pack for my daughter's lunch? I cut up some mozzerella string cheese (she can't quite handle the "string" part of it) from Organic Valley, sliced some purple grapes, and added some fresh blueberries. I wish the fruits came from my house, but it did not. However, they are locally grown.  Other than having a healthy, happy baby girl, my hope is that maybe, just maybe, the idea of using fresh fruits and veggies (or heck, anything OTHER than candy and soda) might turn on a light in another parent's head, and they will start doing the same.  I know I can't solve the problem, but perhaps I can help.