Wonderful Wednesday

Spring must be in the air! Moved cows home today and musta shook a few loose. I was able to get home from work with enough daylight to ride through the cows. Found the first 3 calves! Happy dance!

20140305-210438.jpg

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

For My Mom

Mom and Zane

Mom and Zane

102

Mom and her most favorite horse, Newt

At Zane's baptism

At Zane’s baptism

It’s with a heavy heart that I write this. Finding the motivation to write this blog was hard, but I’m ready to do it.

Three short weeks ago, Troy and I were in Nashville at the Cattle Industry Convention. We were having a great time with colleagues and friends. We were home two short hours when I answered the phone call we all dread. It was my brother and he didn’t have good news. Mom was headed to the emergency room via ambulance and things weren’t looking good.

My brother is a former member of the local Fire and Rescue department. When he was a senior in high school, there was a devastating house fire that destroyed a lot of our home, however there was no loss of life. My brother thinks highly of his friends on the squad and all they have done for us over the years. It was comforting knowing Mom was in good hands, but there was very little they could do.

Mom was out feeding her horses on a very cold Wednesday evening and she experienced a suddenly cardiac arrest as she was finishing up her feeding routine. She passed away in the barn she loved so much, with her two favorite mares, Crafty and Jill, not far away.

Our family has no history of heart disease and at her and Dad’s physicals last fall her blood pressure and cholesterol were great. Live life to the fullest because you never know when it’s your turn. Mom did exactly that – she loved life, her family and friends and of course all her many animals.

It’s been three weeks since I talked to her last – about a half hour before she went out to chore. I think about her constantly – rewinding our last few conversations and everything we had to visit about.

I talked to her everyday, sometimes two, three or four times a day. She was always wondering what Zane was doing. She loved her grandson so very, very much.

We had so many plans for the spring and summer, horse shows and family gatherings. Mom loved her family and she shared family news where ever she went.

She loved coming out to visit Troy and I, and she had a great passion for learning as much as she could about the cattle. Since we had Zane, she doted on him and always was bringing him new toys. She wanted to know about the bulls, cows and heifers. She enjoyed naming the bulls because she wasn’t good at remembering freeze brand numbers!

Every summer she supported me at my horse activities. She loved watching me and my friends ride and of course helping with what ever needed done. Mom could talk the ears off all my friends, and other horse show parents. She definitely had the “gift of gab!”

I miss her terribly and I know that it’s something that takes a lot of time to heal. I ache for one more visit with her.

If you are lucky enough to have your Mom, call her and tell her how much you love her. It’s something that sometimes we can take for granted and you never know when God is going to call them home and take that chance away.

I’m going to share some of my favorite pictures of Mom. She loved pictures and sharing them with family and friends and even random people she met in line at the grocery store!

Mom and Zane

Mom and Zane

At a Husker game

At a Husker game

1a

Mom and her mare, Little Red Onion, hooked up to her sleigh

DSC_1414

3

2

She loved riding with me

DSC_0913

Mom and Dad on their wedding day

Mom and Dad on their wedding day

At the Kentucky Derby

At the Kentucky Derby

At the Kentucky Derby

At the Kentucky Derby

At Claiborn Farm in Kentucky

At Claiborn Farm in Kentucky

Secretariat's stall at Claiborne Farm

Secretariat’s stall at Claiborne Farm

10722

Mom and dad and her beloved team of shetland ponies

Mom and dad and her beloved team of shetland ponies

19

River City Roundup in Omaha

29

One of the racehorses they raised, Legal Night

103

Family picture, a golden oldie

31

11036

21

The stable at AkSarBen and her racehorse, Policy Ryder

Always love you Mom, miss you bunches.

Always love you Mom, miss you bunches.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 9 Comments

Are Leaders Born or Made?

20140205-113553.jpg

20140205-113603.jpg

This week, I traveled to the Cattle Industry Convention #CIC14 and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association #NCBA @beefusa in Nashville. There are 7500 cattlemen and women pre-registered for the convention from around the globe, and they estimate another 1000 attend with late registration. This isn’t just a US convention, but folks from across the world come to this. Needless to say, it’s a pretty big deal. The leadership at the convention is enormous. This was my first convention, and whew what an experience it was!

One of the main reasons I attended was being accepted into the prestigious King Ranch Institute of Ranch Management inaugural Beef Scholars program. This program selected 20 young industry leaders with the goal of developing their strong leadership skills into something extraordinary. This is a two year program, and we had our first of many seminars. I am truly humbled to be part of this.

I was lucky enough to have my best friend (the hubby!) along with me during the trip. He isn’t able to get away from the ranch very often, so when I was making flight reservations and he said to get him a ticket, I was thrilled! It was a fun trip but I’m excited to get home and see my little man.

We were invited to the NCBA-PAC (Political Action Committee) VIP Jack Daniels Whiskey tasting reception and live auction while we were there. It was an interesting experience to find out how they still their different whiskeys and also taste them. I’ve been to a wine tasting but never a whiskey tasting. A rather unique evening!

The trade show reception was an awesome time also! Lots of very tasty beef sponsored by Certified Angus Beef (CAB), live music and of course world class networking. Everything that defines the cattle industry all under one roof with the major players right there.

The 2014 convention is held at the Gaylord Opryland resort. I really only have one word to describe it, WOW! An amazing place. The building itself amasses 54 acres, and hosts restaurants, bars, thousands of hotel rooms and the convention center. Even though 8500+ were attending you wouldn’t know it with how enormous the building is. The complex sits on around 130 acres. Truly an amazing experience!

Troy and I were able to play tourists a little bit and experienced the nightlife in downtown Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry House.

As part of the Beef Scholars program, we have two seminars this year at the King Ranch Institute in Kingsville, TX and I look forward to traveling to south Texas to the historic King Ranch.

One of the points during the seminar this week I have thought quite often about is the question, “Are leaders born or made?” Some can argue that certain people have the genetic makeup to become great leaders. But I truly believe leadership in life is what you want to make of it. Instead of dwelling on a weakness, develop your strengths into something extraordinary. And that is exactly what NCBA and the King Ranch Institute are doing by investing in 20 young leaders, preparing for the future of industry leadership.

Below are a few snapshots of the past few days. The first pic is one of my fellow King Ranch Institute classmates, Travis, at the KRIRM booth at the trade show. He is pictured with one of the professors in the KRIRM

20140205-131408.jpg

20140205-113544.jpg

20140205-113503.jpg

20140205-113451.jpg

20140205-113441.jpg

20140205-113431.jpg

20140205-113109.jpg

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Great Distance Derby!

1Im always looking for ways to meet new people. And meeting new “horsey” friends is always a plus. So I started a new adventure for 2014. Im participating in the HorseTrailRiders.com 2014 Distance Derby. It is a virtual competition where riders GPS the miles they log in the saddle and compete with other horse back riders across the country. There are around 130 riders in the competition. I thought it would be fun to see how many miles I log in the saddle during a 12 month period. And what more fun to do it with others that share my same interests! There are a few rules for the competition but the main one is to be sure to set a GPS when you start riding, and record those miles within a few days. There were a few times my GPS didnt record miles and another time I forgot to set it, so no miles those days. The days I get home with a little daylight left are great opportunities to log some miles!

Here are a few pictures from a few rides so far in January!

3

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas!

Red wishes everyone a Merry Christmas!

Red wishes everyone a Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!! What a beautiful day to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior!

Before we could open Christmas morning gifts at our house the cattle and horses needed fed, and ice needed chopped.  Troy is smoking a prime rib roast on the Traeger and I am finishing some side dishes! Cant wait to see my family in a few hours for Christmas supper! Hope everyone has a blessed day.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Faith, Hope and Heifers

“Yesterday is but a dream,
Tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.”

15

I write this blog post heavy with emotion. I have shed alot of tears the past month, but they have been tears of tremendous joy. As many of you know, the Atlas blizzard devastated parts of western South Dakota and northwestern Nebraska. I’m not going to go into details of the storm, but tens of thousands of cattle, horses and sheep perished in the storm. If you want to find out more about the blizzard, the path of destruction and the havoc it wrecked in these areas, please Google the Atlas blizzard. You will find a wealth of information.

I have a very dear friend, Don, who lives in Rapid City, located in the heart of western South Dakotas cattle country, and also a place where they suffered large losses of livestock. I called him about 10 days after the blizzard, mainly because I was curious to know if it was really as bad as what I had read. What Don described to me was so heartbreaking, I had to pull over on the side of the road and gather my thoughts.

14

He told me the story of a young couple, Riley and Jimmie, who also happened to be my age. They had two young daughters. Riley and Jimmie worked very hard to build the numbers of their cows, and were also very proud of the genetics they had acquired over the years. The cows were their life. They built their mama cows with alot of sweat and hard work. Determination and genetic selection. Then in a 24 hour period 90% of their cows and 80% of their calves were gone. Their world came crashing down, because of a freak early season storm. I couldn’t stop thinking about this couple who lost it all, who were my age and loved ranching.

The timing of this storm couldn’t have came at a worse time. The cattle were grazing late summer/early fall pastures, which are usually miles from the ranch headquarters. The temperatures had been warm so the cattle had their slick summer hair coats and weren’t acclimated to the cold weather winter brings to the region. The ranchers hadn’t had performed their fall roundups to bring the cattle home for the winter. They were only a few weeks away from marketing their calves for the year. 

The storm started out as rain, alot of rain, 3-4 inches fell in many areas. It soaked the cattle, and without their winter haircoats, it offered very little protection from the weather. Then the snow began to fall, 36 inches of heavy, wet snow. The winds picked up to 75-80mph, hurricane force winds in the northern plains of Americas heartland. The cows began to drift looking for windbreaks and relief from the storm, but because they were miles and miles from ranch headquarters, very few could find what they were looking for.

Farmers and ranchers do everything they can to provide for the livestock who depend on them. This was the perfect storm that brewed up, and wasn’t forecasted to be anything like what it turned out to be. When the sun came up and the winds settled down, the aftermath was unimaginable.

For several weeks I couldn’t get this couple who I had never met or talked to out of my mind.

Everett Benoit, of Benoit Angus Ranch, Esbon, KS, and the two heifers he donated

Everett Benoit, of Benoit Angus Ranch, Esbon, KS and the two heifers he donated.

3

Troy and Zane!

One morning while I was at work Troy called me with a question – what did I think about donating two heifers to somebody in South Dakota that was affected by the blizzard. To give them hope. A new start. I told him, as I choked back tears, I knew exactly who these heifers needed to go to.

A few days later I tracked down Riley, via my friend Don.

Cherri and Wayne, who donated 2 young cows, and Troy and I, the afternoon before I left

Getting the cows ready for travel

With the help of some very generous farmers and ranchers in our area, we were able to put together a group of 7 young cows and heifers to donate to Riley and Jimmie. These animals will help them begin the process of building their herd back.

When I first met them, we all shed many tears, and I knew I had two new lifelong friends, who were very grateful for what we had brought them.

Riley, Jimmie and I after unloading their heifers and cows

Riley, Jimmie and I after unloading their heifers and cows

11

10

7

This is December and Christmas will be here soon. A time of hope, faith and love. We celebrate the reason for the season with close friends and family. This Christmas time I encourage you to reflect on what you truly would like to get out of this season.  Your answer may surprise you. For me, my Christmas gift came early. It came in the form of shedding tears with a couple who were separated from me by 500 miles worth of fenceposts. It came in the form of delivering 7 young cows and heifers, their angels of hope, to help begin to build back their beloved herd of mama cows. Hope that it in time will happen.

I am blessed with two new friends for life, who two months ago were complete strangers to me. I am overwhelmed with joy that these determined young ranchers have a chance to begin to rebuild what was lost.

I have been asked several times, Meghan why did you do this? Starting at an early age my parents taught me to make a difference in someones life.  Do this when life gives you an opportunity. Sure, this donation gives me the biggest warm fuzzy a person can feel. But the real reason? I made a difference in the life of a young couple. Hope that they can rebuild their cowherd. It gives them a chance to continue doing what we love. Ranching.  

13

12

9

8

“Because happiness sometimes isnt what you get, but what you give.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving

20131128-104749.jpg

20131128-104815.jpg

20131128-104614.jpg

Moving heifers on a chilly, windy November morning.

Ah Thanksgiving. A time to be thankful. A time to gather round the table with family and friends and eat turkey (eh BEEF). A time for Facebook and Twitter feeds to be crowded with the November 30 days of thankfulness.

I give thanks year round. Sunday mornings in Church remind me of giving thanks when sometimes I get busy and forget throughout the year.

There are many things I’m thankful for, especially this time of year, is time spent with family and friends. Time to reflect on what the year blessed us with.

A few of the things I give thanks for this year-

*My families health. I was blessed with a healthy baby boy this past January. Can’t believe he’s almost a year old!

*Agriculture. My life revolves around Ag. It’s not something we have to do, but something we get to do. It’s a lifestyle that doesn’t give us vacation and sick days, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. After I come home from work, I help Troy with the cows. This time of year I don’t see them other than weekends, but the long summer days allow me to help out a bunch.

*My employer. Ok not the cows, but the one that gives me my day job of visiting Nebraska and northern Kansas’s farmers and ranchers helping them with nutrition and management decisions.

*My horses. I’m blessed with some fabulous horseflesh. From their breeding and ability, to my knowledge and riding skills, it all comes together. I’m always learning when it comes to them, and enjoy riding with my friends.

*My family and friends. You know who you are. Love you all.

*And of course Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

There are many more things I’m thankful for, and could go on and on, but have some things to get done on this Thanksgiving morning. Yes the Macys Parade is one of them!!

I leave you with some quick shots of a livestock sale barn. If you’ve never been to a cattle sale, it’s a pretty neat place to be on sale day. Yesterday we sold our bred heifers. The crowd was huge and standing room only. It got pretty wild and was neat to witness. I am very thankful for a hot market and the ability to market cattle in central Nebraska!

20131128-105728.jpg

20131128-105738.jpg

20131128-105751.jpg

20131128-105803.jpg

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment