3 Quarters Today

My Life, my photography, my passions

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Patriotic Horses at the County Fair

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Patriotic Horse Stole My Heart

The social event of the year in many rural communities is the county fair and in Cass County Nebraska this is no exception. Saturday night at the horse arena is the 4-H Horse fun event which includes a costume contest, ribbon ride, egg and spoon, and sit-a-buck. This patriotic horse was my favorite horse of the night and I had to get more of their story.

Patriotic Horse

Meet Willy the Red, White, and Blue patriotic horse

So meet Willy, the Red, White, and Blue horse and his little owner Courtney. This is what 4-H, friends, family, and the fair is all about, fun, smiles and horsing around, literally. According to her Mom, Micki, Courtney couldn’t decide how to decorate Willy for the costume contest, Pegasus was the first idea, but the thought of trying to create wings and attach them to the horse was just too challenging.

Patriotic Horse Costume

A girl and her horse (photo by Mom)

Courtney’s Dad was in the Air Force, and still works at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue Nebraska, so when her Mom saw this idea on line Courtney was very excited. Her friend didn’t have a horse to decorate so they went together as a team, one painted the stars and the other the red and white stripes.

God Bless America

God Bless America

They decided the opposite side should say “God Bless America” and tie red, white, and blue ribbons in WIlly’s mane and tail.  The red leg wraps gave the whole presentation a patriotic “pop” and although they didn’t win, they turned some heads and made more than a few people smile.

These girls have quite a number of years showing ahead and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next year. Fun night is held the last night of the fair after all the “serious” show competitions and events. It’s time to unwind and have some fun.

Thank you Micki for texting me pictures from earlier in the evening. By the time I got to the arena Willy’s paint was starting to rub off from the saddle and reins. Patriotic Horse I love watching the 4-H horse kids. I was a horse crazy when I was a kid and rode my bike into the country just to look at horses. Even though I didn’t own a horse, I joined 4-H and “borrowed” horses from club members, my first was a Quarter horse mare, Wimpy’s Kelly. I entered a few shows, but never really learned to “ride” and get a “seat” until college when a friend and I exercised roping horses at the local stable one summer.

Riding 3-4 horses a day taught you more in one day than a months worth of lessons. We even borrowed a cowboys horses an brought them to school one semester. When I became an adult and bought an acreage buying a horse was the first thing I did, her name was Tomcat Pat and she was a feisty energetic barrel and poles horse that loved to go trail riding. I was lucky enough to have her until she died at age 32, wish she were still around.

Patriotic Horse Costume Ideas and Resources

The Patriotic Horse – Stayton (Oregon) Daily Photo

Patriotic horse is patriotic. Or it’s just a coincidence it’s standing next to an American flag. Or is it? Yes, it is. Or not. This photo was taken along Sublimity Rd. SE, just outside of nearby Sublimity. In other news… Tomorrow is the …
Patriotic Horse Wear | Velvet Rider

Patriotic Horse Wear. July 3, 2014. Bookmark and Share. In honor of Independence Day, I decided to do a post on equestrian gear that celebrates our patriotism. There are options from subtle red, white, and blue to obvious flag references.
Patriotic Plume Browbands, Saddle Blankets and Rein Covers

WishPony.com to order your patriotic horse costume today! If placing custom orders for 4th of July (2011): Order by 5PM PST Wednesday June 15, 2011 for Standard Service Time and delivery by Saturday, July 2, 2011.

 

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Cows are a Fan of the Song Royals by Lorde

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I saw this today and I just had to share. I live in Nebraska, majored in Animal Science and yes, cows are curious, it’s hard to get photos of them at the fence as they will come right up to you. So it’s no doubt they would be an apt audience of the song Royal by Lorde. Heck, I’m a fan of the original and all the covers. But this is the best!!

Agriculture has taken a beating in the media for mistreating their animals. I would say these cows are clearly not mistreated, and in fact, I would say probably a little spoiled.

Who would of thought cattle would be such a fan of pop music? Derek Klingenberg is a farmer in Kansas, has quite the sense of humor and takes videotography to another genre. He’s pretty funny and I think this Angus cow below agrees.

Black Angus Cow

Day 52: Angus Cow

The video has gone viral and is hitting all over social media and even Ellen like the cows being serenaded with the Royals by Lorde and tweeted it. How cool is that, what a way to promote ranching and agriculture. Bet this is driving PETA and the HSUS crazy! (don’t worry I’m not linking to them, but to sites that reveal what those organizations really are)

Ellen tweets Cow love Royals by Lorde

If you like this you can Tweet Derek @KlingenbergFarm, or thank him on Facebook, better yet go to his YouTube page, a lot of  ag related parodies to keep you entertained for hours.

More Fun with the Song Royals by Lorde

Cows Come Running To Hear Farmer Play Lorde’s ‘Royals …

Who knew cows loved trombone music so much? In this clip, Farmer Derek Klingenberg manages to attract an entire herd of cattle by simply playing Lorde’s “Royals” on his trombone. If you’re the impatient type, skip ahead …
Exclusive “Weird Al” Yankovic Music Video: FOIL (Parody of …

Exclusive “Weird Al” Yankovic Music Video: FOIL (Parody of “Royals” by Lorde). CollegeHumor. SubscribeSubscribedUnsubscribe 7,585,217. Subscription preferences. Loading… Loading… Working… 14,844,867. 130,285 …
Watch Cows Come to Hear Farmer’s Moo-ving Rendition of Lorde’s “Royals” on …

Sorry Old MacDonald, but cows these days have no interest in your E-I-E-I-O schtick. Luckily, Derek Klingenberg is a modern farmer and farm-centric musical parody artist who has a YouTube channel and some unique ideas for bringing his cows home for the …

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Free Tahmooressi Rally in Omaha Nebraska

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It is time to free Tahmooressi from Mexico! Enough is Enough!

On Friday August 1st at 6:00 there will be a Freedom Rally in Omaha Nebraska at Memorial Park. Jill Tahmooressi, Mother of Andrew Tahmooressi, is the featured speaker. I listened to her radio interview on KFAB and it convinced me that my initial thoughts about this young man were accurate.

The more I learn about Marine Sgt Andrew Tahmooressi being held in a Mexican jail while thousands of illegals are crossing the Mexican border smuggling drugs, weapons and the the extremes the United States went through to free Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban leaders the more pissed I become.

free tahmooressi

Click to donate to the Free Tahmooressi Fund

I’ve listened and read several accounts of the circumstances behind his wrong turn into Mexico. I’ve read that his story changed between lawyers, also that he had been to Mexico before. But, this is irrelevant in my opinion. Think about the circumstances and really how accurate are the rumors and the information?

There are a lot of irregularities and inconsistent stories, first there is a language barrier, second the Mexican police is known for being corrupt, and the lawyers he’s gotten haven’t exactly served him well either. I read the hard to see sign has been replaced since he was taken into custody, there are pages of documents missing from the initial report and an interpreter was not provided to him at the border.  What truth can truly be disseminated from all this?

The facts remain he does not have a criminal record, he stated he did not want to go into Mexico. He declared his weapons. If you don’t want him in your country, make him do a U-turn and have him go back to where he started. Do not arrest a citizen of your neighboring country and throw him into a prison where he will be abused and mistreated.

free tahmooressi

Click to donate to the Free Tahmooressi Fund

The way I look at it it’s time to free Tahmooressi for these reasons.

1. What crime did he really commit? He was at the gate, not “in country” and while I can understand punishing and imprisoning a criminal, who had robed, raped, or murdered someone in their country, I cannot understand this. Andrew Tahmooressi does not have a criminal background. The border patrol should of just refused him entry, contacted the US Border Patrol and let them investigate the situation?

2. How often do Mexican illegals smuggle drugs and weapons into the United States? All the time, how many are caught? Very few. Andres didn’t actually smuggle them in, he declared them, if you’re smuggling something into the country you don’t tell someone about your contraband.

3. He called 911 and tried to get help saying he had crossed by accident. Another question is why didn’t the emergency operator try and help him, if his 911 signal still reached and would connect to the American Emergency network why can’t you get help, and WHY isn’t there an American border patrol at one of the busiest international crossings?

4. The United States sends millions of dollars to Mexico, not only from our government, but via their citizens who work (legally and illegally) in our country and send money back to their families. Mexico is supposed to be one of our allies, a friendly country who is in partnership in NAFTA with us and Canada. Why in the world then can they not release this man?

I have read and heard some people state he’s not a Marine, he was a civilian. However, he was on reserve status and actually had a notice to appear to his assigned duty station while he was in the Mexican jail. He had not found a permanent place to live so had all of his possessions in the car.

I will be attending the rally in Omaha, will you?

Information on the Omaha Free Tahmooressi Rally

Additional Information and News

Congress can’t get Obama’s attention to free Tahmooressi, We the People must

When justifying the release of five vicious Taliban terrorists detained at “Gitmo” in exchange for U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, the president said, “We don’t leave our people behind.” He was subsequently accused of violating a law requiring him to
Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi denied freedom by Mexican judge

Meanwhile, social media posters expressed outrage on GretaWire.com, Greta Van Susteren’s blog, on the breaking announcement of Sgt. Tahmooressi’s continued imprisonment. One wrote: “FREE TAHMOORESSI! NOW! Obama … Shame on you! You are a …
Afghan War Veteran Held in Tecate, Mexico: US Marine Sent Back to Prison …

Dozens of people, including some congressmen, have appealed to the U.S. State Department and Mexican officials to free Tahmooressi. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., sent a letter on July 8 asking for just that, according to Fox …

 

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My Infamous Cowboy Candy Recipe

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Sweet Pickled Jalapenos

I’ve talked to many people about my Cowboy Candy recipe on Twitter and I guess it’s about time that I posted it on my blog.

Up until last year I was not a big fan of jalapenos. It was the first time I planted jalapenos, mainly for salsa, but I saw this recipe on Pinterest for Cowboy Candy and was very intrigued. Now, I am addicted to the sweet and tangy taste of the sweet Mexican flavor. I am actually just slightly addicted to the Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno poppers I learned how to make last summer.

Cowboy Candy recipe

Cowboy Candy and Sweet Jalapeno Relish

I still don’t eat raw jalapenos, they are too hot and spicy for me, but when you add vinegar and sugar to the pickled jalapenos you are left with the flavor without the heat, that I can do! Last year I became quite obsessed and my four small pepper plants were NOT enough and I started begging jalapenos from friends and neighbors. This year I have eleven plants so let’s see if this keeps my in stock for the season.

The recipe for Cowboy Candy is very easy, but you will want to remember a few things.

  1. While slicing the jalapenos peppers, DON’T touch your eyes with your fingers, if your hair gets in your face, ask someone else to move it out. Better yet, wear a ponytail.
  2. Better yet, wear rubber gloves when slicing as the juice will stay on your hands for hours (while you still avoid touching your face)
  3. If you like a milder flavor fill your finished bowl with water and let the seeds float to the top, then pour off (my husband like it hot, so one batch I left the seeds)
  4. Slicing takes a lot of time. If you want the same flavor in less the time make relish and use a food processor or salsa maker (got mine at the state fair)
  5. You will have extra syrup left. Do NOT discard. Can it and use for marinade on chicken, pork chops, or ham.

 

Cowboy Candy Recipe

(small batch)
1 lb fresh jalapenos
2/3 cup cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
 

 Instructions:

  1. Slice jalapenos (see above)
  2. Mix cider vinegar, sugar, tumeric, celery and mustard seed, garlic, and cayenne to boil.
  3. Reduce the liquid for 5 minutes to a simmer. 
  4. Add jalapenos to the syrup and simmer for 5 minutes
  5. Remove jalapenos from liquid with a slotted spoon into a bowl
  6. Pack into sterilized jars with jalapenos first using a spoon, or a small spatula to press into the jar.
  7. Add liquid filling the jars leaving a 1/4 headspace. 
  8. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

Makes 2 pints


Did you note this only makes 2 pints, that is TWO small jars. The first time I made this recipe I had a large bowl of sliced jalapenos and was so excited about all the jars they would fill. (I was anticipating Christmas gifts)  Jalapeno pepper rings are ridge when fresh and will fill the bowl, you will think you have plenty, NOT! When boiled in syrup they become soft and the volume is reduced. Packing them into the jars reduces the volume further.

So make sure to have a bushel of peppers, trust me this will become your favorite and you might hoard the small shiny jars like treasure. I took to hiding them in the back of the cabinet. 

There you go, Cowboy Candy, serve on crackers with cream cheese as an appetizer or snack. The sweet Jalapeno relish is excellent on hot dogs or brats, and my husband puts the sliced sweet jalapenos on hamburgers. However you serve them they are delicious. 

Do you have a favorite Cowboy Candy recipe, or another jalapeno dish? 

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Patriotic Video That Gets It Right

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The Best Patriotic Video

Across the internet are scores of videos with patriotic songs, words, and performers that inspire and lift the heart. My plan this Independence Day weekend was to post several of my favorite patriotic videos here, and I had quite the list. But once I saw this ad by Food City centered around the true meaning of the holiday I changed my plans and only posted one. 

Food City Patriotic video

Food City Patriotic video

The respect between these two men is overwhelming, and it’s a trait I see with people who serve in the military to those who have served before them.

As a Marine Mom this has special meaning to me. My two sons are in the United States Marine Corps and their grandfather was a WWII veteran and a paratrooper in the Army Airborne. He died in 1995, but would have been able to fit into his uniform. I could see him doing just this for one of his grandsons as they came home.

I normally don’t cry during patriotic videos, but I can’t help it on this one. The look on the Mothers face as she watches the two salute each other would bring a tear to even the hardest heart. 

“At Food City, we honor those people that serve and protect our country, and we know that without the men and women who watch out for us, we would not have any of the luxuries we do. We are the land of the free because of the brave and we salute you!” Food City

It’s not often a company gets an ad right, but when they do it deserves recognition. I know these are actors, and not everything in the video may be accurate, but it accomplishes what it was meant to do. Remind the public that holidays such as Memorial Day, and Independence Day, often referred to as the 4th of July, are not just about picnics, barbecues and parties. But about recognizing why we celebrate our country’s freedom. It’s because of the brave men and women of our military, who for hundreds of years have fought for freedom so we can have the rights we have today.

If you have a favorite patriotic video please place the link below, I would love to see it and may even create a regular feature on either #MilitaryMonday or #WarriorWednesday

 

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Celebrating Independence Day

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Across the United States millions of Americans are celebrating Independence Day with parades, picnics, barbecues and fireworks. The town of Murdock Nebraska is no different. However, our story is a little unique because you see it is a village of under 400 people. The town is joined by Elmwood Nebraska just six miles south and we form the community of Elmwood-Murdock joined together by our schools and with a total population of around a thousand people.

The day starts off with a 5K Dillon Synovec Memorial Run at 7:30 am and then continues with a parade, lunch hosted by the Lions Club, pie at the church, firemans water fight, tractor pull, softball games, and fireworks at the end of the night.

Patriotic pride on Independence Day

Honor guard during the 4th of July Parade

Honor guard during the 4th of July Parade

However during the 4th of July parade and Independence Day parade we grow to probably close to a thousand people. That is no joke. Our parade is one of the best around and over an hour long. You can see the sidewalks packed with people and this goes on for an amazing three blocks of main street. Well actually people are also sitting in their yards on the parade route also, but the announcers stand is on Main St (3rd Ave). My friends always bring their donkeys and throw candy from the home made barrels on the side. Chris dresses up in his red and white “Husker” coveralls which double for the 4th of July.

Patriotic Spirit celebrating Independence Day

Patriotic Spirit celebrating Independence Day

There wouldn’t be a country Independence Day parade without some antique tractors decked out in 4th of July bunting, and this one is an oldie. 

Tractor in the 4th of July parade

Tractor in the 4th of July parade

The marching band from Elmwood-Murdock high school marches, and because it’s the 4th and not a competition they are allowed to wear shorts and an school T-shirt. My daughter played the drums in school and during her senior year she moved up to the quads which is a coveted position. She felt like a “beast” when she played the quads.

Bass drum and the quads marching during the parade

My daughter on quads marching during the parade

After the parade one of the local 4-H clubs gives out free watermelon. It’s a favorite with the crowds and a good appetizer to the lunch served after the parade put on by the Lions Club.

Watermelon on the 4th of July

Watermelon on the 4th of July

The day continues with a tractor pull and one of my favorite activities the Fireman’s water fight. The local volunteer fire departments from about 8-10 towns in the area compete for bragging rights (and I’m sure a few beers) in water fights. The object of the game is to push the 55 gal barrel down the wire using the force from the water hose. If it’s hot the spray from the fire hoses are a welcome relief to the hot sun. It’s so much fun watching the little kids play in the water. (My daughter is sitting with our dog Leah to the left of the picture)

Celebrating the 4th of July with Fireman water fights

Fire Department Water Fights

For most kids the favorite part of celebrating Independence Day is the fireworks. This year my husbands family took a cross country trip from New York to tour the Western United States. They stopped by our house and the teenagers were so excited to light fireworks. Fireworks aren’t legal for the “regular” person to light in Buffalo.

Celebrating Independence Day with Fireworks

Celebrating Independence Day with Fireworks

However you celebrate Independence Day, have a safe one, hug your families, salute the flag and remember we are celebrating our freedom, the birth of our country and all that we hold dear and take for granted: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, and freedom from tyranny. Our military fought for our freedom from the British in the 1700′s and continues to fight for those who suppress freedom around the world.

How Are You Celebrating Independence Day This Year?

Leave me a note below, I’d love to hear your traditions.

 

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Am I a Professional Photographer?

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I love photography and I always seem to have a camera with me. But what is a professional photographer and can I call myself a professional? The answer is no. Even though I did get paid for two photography jobs in May I can’t call myself a professional. Why? Keep reading and I’ll explain.

Harvest in Nebraska, Combines in the fields

Harvest in Nebraska

What is a Professional Photographer?

To me a a professional photographer is someone who earns their sole income by selling their photography services and prints. They pay taxes, they have insurance, and they rely on photography for their income. Just like any business there are marketing costs for advertising, business cards, and insurance.

There are fewer and fewer true professional photographers in the industry anymore. With the advent of easily accessible digital DSLR Cameras the profession has changed. I’m not here to discuss or debate whether this competition and change is a good or bad thing, just that it has happened.

Often professional photographers have gone to school to learn lighting techniques, studio photography and many cut their teeth during era of film. Even during the age of film photography, photographs were edited in the dark room with burning and dodging techniques. Post production work now is done in Lightroom and Photoshop to achieve the look and feel the photographer felt when viewing the scene in real life.

Professional Photographers edit in Lightroom or Photoshop for the best results

Chicago Night Skies (Before SOOC and After)

This above photo was taken over looking Lake Michigan at midnight. I didn’t have a tripod with me and set the camera on a park bench for a long exposure shot. The result was crooked and due to the cold I didn’t have time to get the proper white balance in camera. In Lightroom I was able to straighten the horizon and adjust the lighting to what my eye remembered. This was a case of “knowing” and planning my edit ahead of time. My goal was a 2:1 panoramic print, so I shot wide to allow myself editing space. I took only two shots like this that night.

Then Who is a Photographer?

Planning and execution is the difference between someone who is a photographer and a person who just takes pictures.

A photographer is anyone who takes their photography seriously and is always looking at ways to increase their camera skills and techniques. They read books, they read blogs, watch YouTube videos on post production in Lightroom and Photoshop to learn how to get the most out of their camera and their photographs.A professional graduation photo

If you are like me it’s hard to drive down the road without seeing a photographic opportunity. You’re spouse might just be tired of you saying “Stop, go back, I have to get a photo of that barn” (fence, sunset, cloud, cow, lamp post, etc…you get the picture)

A photographer thinks about their shot “before” they take it, taking into consideration composition, lighting, and cropping aspect ratio. A serious photographer takes their camera off Auto and learns to shoot in Aperture Priority or Manual.

If your goal is to improve your photography, if you find yourself reading every photographic technique article that comes across your Facebook news feed, and if you purposely seek out photographic opportunities to share them with a wide audience then you might be able to call yourself a photographer. It may be a just a serious hobby. But you are a budding photographer.

I Am a Semi-Pro Photographer

That would be where I fit in. I am a serious photographer who has a “normal” nine-to-five job and occasionally gets paid for photographic endeavors? Very occasionally. I don’t advertise, but I post my best photos on several sites and on Facebook. I also sell my photographs on FineArt America and recently on InstaProofs. To me, I’m a a hobbyist photographer.  http://3QuartersToday.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/IMG_7242-511.jpg

But, since many people see that I can take decent landscape photos they also assume I can also take portraits. I can’t, or let’s put it this way, I’m uncomfortable photographing people.

Yet in one month I did finally say yes to two people who asked me to photograph events. I shot my first graduation and my first wedding. So now I can officially call myself a semi-pro. Will I give up my day job? No. But I will shoot graduation again, maybe not another wedding, it took the Mother of the Bride two weeks to convince me to do this one.

More about my first job as a wedding photographer later, overall I enjoyed it. They were a fun couple who could NOT of taken a bad picture if they tried, and the camera loved them. I received many compliments and the images turned out better than I expected.  

Do You Take Pictures or are You a Photographer?

If you just love taking pictures of things that are dear to your heart sharing snapshots of time, creating images of friends and family during events and gatherings? Do you take more selfies and Instagram photos with just your phone to post on social media? If so you love to take pictures, and that’s okay. A picture is a snapshot in time that preserves a memory. We should all take pictures, it preserves our history and memories.

How to Photograph Concerts

Huey Lewis and the News

So Where Do you Fit?

Where do you and your camera fit? I’d like to hear your input on the topic and if your goal is to become a professional photographer, a semi-pro, or if you just want to enjoy the hobby for your own benefit. Leave a comment below.

 

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Face to Face with a Charolais Bull

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You don’t see Charolais cattle very often, but when you do, they are impressive. Most beef breeds are crossed with Angus for that desirable black color.

On my recent trip to Western Nebraska a Charolais bull got into my father in laws pasture with some other cows. He obviously thought me and my camera were worth checking out. 

Charolais Bull

Charolais Bull:  ISO 100 f/5.6 1/250 second

Don’t worry, I stayed in my car and it was with the help of my 70-200mm Tamron lens that I was able to get an up close and personal portrait of this great animal. Isn’t he magnificent? He never never left me. I’ve often told people I don’t take pictures of people or animals. Landscapes are more my style. But once in a while I find a subject who is patient and this bovine posed quite nicely in the evening golden hour sun. 

Charolais Bull Posing for the camera

Charolais Bull Posing for the camera

Charolais are a popular breed in Colorado due to their strong legs on open range and the mountains. We saw several cross breeds on our Colorado trip a few years ago and quite a few Charolais bulls out in the pastures.

Facts about Charolais Cattle (source Oklahoma State Breeds website)

  • Originated in southern France and legend has it white cattle were noticed in the region as early as 878 AD
  • Were used for milk, meat and draft animals.
  • Know for large bone and power with a superior mothering and milking ability. 
  • Introduced into the United States after the First World War by Jean Pugibet. 
  • First bulls imported through Mexico to the King Ranch. Their names were Neptune and Ortolan.
  • Influenced the American cattle industry by introducing size and a larger frame than the typical British breeds of the time (Herefords)
  • Charolais are white or creamy white in color and bulls weigh from 2,000 lbs to over 2,500 lbs with cows weighing between 1,200-2,000 lbs.

 

 

 

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Western Nebraska Sky Country

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Who needs mountains and oceans when the skies of Western Nebraska can give you all the scenery  and glorious vistas you could want. So many people drive down I-80 through Iowa and Nebraska and say they don’t see anything except cornfields and flat land.  I say slow down, take a detour on a country road where and actually look at the world around you. The open skies of the Midwest give a 360 panorama of blue sky combined with the action of the clouds. 

Western Nebraska

Western Nebraska

This is the view from the back of my in-laws farm house outside of Palisade Nebraska. Every night the pheasants fly overhead and you can hear the male roosters crowing in the CRP grass surrounding the house.

Nebraska wheat field

Nebraska wheat field

In June the wheat fields of Nebraska start to ripen and turn green. Rain is critical at this point, it helps fill out the berries and increases the yields. The farmers in Nebraska have been luckier in 2014 than the wheat farmers of Texas and Oklahoma. It seems the drought has broken. Southwestern Nebraska had 3 inches of rain one day, it was the most rain they have received at one time in over five years. To say my father in law was happy and smiling was an understatement. IMG_8266-307You can even see road tracks in the dirt road. I’ve been visiting my in laws for many years during the summer and have never gotten mud on the car. We drove around through the canyons and it was very apparent the wildlife enjoyed the moisture as well. We spotted over 30 deer, a coyote, turkeys, and TWO jack rabbits. My husbands hasn’t seen jack rabbits out there in many years.  IMG_8363-313 Here is just one of the mule deer we saw that night. Notice the deer path on the ridge. This is a sight you never see driving 75 mph down the interstate. So next time you take a cross country trip. Take the road less traveled, slow down and enjoy the sights. The countryside has a lot to offer if you just want to look.  Bring your camera, don’t be shy. Most people in the area are proud to show off their lovely state and are friendly as can be, as long as you smile and say “I didn’t realize Nebraska was so beautiful!”  

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Deployed Dad Writes his Daughter a Song

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This deployed dad1 knows how hard being away from is on his family, especially his little girl, and he wanted to make her feel better. Most military children understand that Mommy or Daddy is doing a very important job for the country and the other parent takes on not only the double task of parenting but also comforting, reassuring and keeping the connection strong. But it doesn’t make it any less painful or lonely.

Today is Friday and many people use this day to remind others that our military is still deployed overseas in countries far away from their family.

In this day of technology, cell phones, iPads, internet, Facebook overseas communication is much easier and faster than years ago when you waited for a letter in the mail or the rare phone call. Facetime, Snapchat, and Skype are sometimes nightly rituals with servicemen and women to stay in contact with their families. They might use it to help their children with homework, watch a birthday party, or even the birth of a new baby.

He is currently a Fort Drum soldier on deployment in Afghanistan and enlisted the help of his fellow soldiers to sing a song to his daughter who is missing him back in Watertown, NY. Sgt. First Class  Jamie McIntyre is on his fifth deployment to Afghanistan and says his 5-year-old daughter Jessie, was missing her dad and having a tough time dealing with him being away from home.

To cheer her up, McIntyre asked some fellow soldiers to help him write and sing a song to Jessie using Facetime. In the video, McIntyre – who is of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team with the 10th Mountain Division – is the soldier positioned third from the left.

Thank you to all the deployed Dads and Moms and everyone in the military who serve our great country. You sacrifice your lives, and have found ways to endure, carry on and keep the bonds strong at home.

Red Friday remember Everyone Deployed

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