Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Spring in the Air?

When it comes to weather in the Texas Panhandle, only one thing is certain. It'll be hot in the summer. Well, maybe two things are certain; the second being, "Expect the unexpected." 

It isn't abnormal for temperatures to bounce around in the spring (or nearly spring). I expect that much. However, with around 70 heifers to calve on the farm in March through May, I (and every other farmer/rancher across the country) really was hoping for cooperative weather. My hopes were not fulfilled. 

Yesterday, it rained. I love the rain! Rain is a rarity we can't get too much of in the Texas Panhandle so I never want to wish it away. Is it possible to wish for it at a better time though? Because following the rain, we had a cold front push through the region, dropping temperatures well below freezing over the night (read: the perfect time for first-time momma cows to bring their little bundles of joy into the world - not!). This morning I woke up to a frigid windchill and the beginnings of a full-blown blizzard. We didn't get a lot of snow, but it came down sideways, thanks to a hefty northeast wind. 

Have I mentioned how far from ideal this weather is for calving? Well, it is about as far from as ideal as possible. We had three healthy calves last night. The calves and their mommas are up in the barn with plenty of straw to bed down in. We expect at least one more calf this evening, possibly more. Here's to hoping the others hold off until the weather can straighten out a little.

I write this not to complain (because I really do love my first calving season), but to share the struggles we are going through today on our farm. March blizzards are hard on people, but they are so much harder on newborn calves. We do our best to care for them because that's what farming is all about. This is our livelihood, whether rain, sleet, snow or sun (we can hope, right?). These are our animals to tend, and we'll do everything in our power to make sure they are healthy. If you are the praying type, send one up for the ranchers across the U.S. tending their animals in this cold, snowy weather.

This is Grumpy Cow. She was not excited about the snow.

This is a peachy cow (Charolais X Hereford heifer). She's smack-talking about the weather. Actually, she's just chewing her cud.

Snowy heifers

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Monday, March 2, 2015

179 Reasons Texas is the Best State

In celebration of Texas Independence Day (from Mexico 179 years ago), I thought it would only be fitting to provide you a list of 179 reasons Texas is the best state in the United States. Texas truly is a gift to the world, just ask any Texan.

*Note: Order does not dictate importance. Also, this is far from being a complete list of reasons why Texas is the best state in the U.S.

  1. The Alamo
  2. The Lone Star Flag, the only state flag that can be flown at the same height as the U.S. flag
  3. Shiner Bock beer
  4. George Strait
  5. The American Rodeo
  6. The State Fair of Texas
  7. Blue Bell Ice Cream
  8. Tex-Mex Food
  9. Chili
  10. Palo Duro Canyon
  11. Texas Country Music
  12. The only state that was a nation first
  13. Larry Joe Taylor Fest
  14. The American Quarter Horse Association
  15. The Fort Worth Stockyards
  16. Townes Van Zandt
  17. The Dallas Cowboys
  18. Caddo Lake
  19. Recognizable state shape
  20. The San Antonio Riverwalk
  21. The Blackland Prairies
  22. Pat Green
  23. Astronauts
  24. Janis Joplin
  25. Big Bend National Park
  26. High School Football
  27. Floating the Guadalupe River
  28. San Jacinto Monument - it's taller than the Washington Monument by 12.31 feet
  29. Geographical diversity - you can see any kind of geography worth seeing in just one state
  30. Texas Sunsets
  31. Kris Kristofferson
  32. Enchanted Rock
  33. Oil
  34. The Marfa Lights
  35. Border Towns - minus the cartels
  36. President George W. Bush
  37. Bluebonnets
  38. The King Ranch
  39. Friendly folks
  40. The Texas Rangers - the law enforcement agency
  41. The Texas Rangers - the baseball team
  42. Wildlife - black bears to big horns
  43. NASA
  44. "Texas in 1880" by Radney Foster
  45. Kolaches in West, Texas
  46. Buddy Holly
  47. Gruene Hall
  48. Beef
  49. The lightning whelk, official state shell
  50. Six flags have flown over Texas.
  51. Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys
  52. Y'all
  53. Everything's bigger in Texas.
  54. The Astrodome
  55. Dr Pepper, no period needed after Dr
  56. Cadillac Ranch
  57. Six Flags Over Texas
  58. Guadalupe Bass
  59. Lyle Lovett and His Large Band
  60. 75 mph state highway speed limits
  61. 85 mph speed limit on I-10
  62. Charles Goodnight
  63. The Texas Panhandle
  64. "Texas Love Song" by Slaid Cleaves
  65. The first suspension bridge
  66. Wiley Post
  67. BBQ
  68. Austin City Limits Festival
  69. Armadillos, official state mammal
  70. The XIT Ranch
  71. Pecans
  72. Llano Estacado
  73. Texas summers
  74. Nolan Ryan
  75. The Gulf Coast
  76. President Lyndon B. Johnson
  77. Suds and Sounds in Nazareth
  78. Lone Star Beer
  79. 7.4% of the U.S. land is in Texas.
  80. Port Lavaca, world's longest fishing pier
  81. Whooping cranes
  82. James Bowie
  83. Jalapeño Jelly
  84. World's largest helium well
  85. Don Williams
  86. World's largest rose garden
  87. Only state to enter the U.S. by treaty instead of territorial annexation 
  88. Desert
  89. Matthew McConaughey 
  90. More farmland in Texas than any other state
  91. Davy Crockett
  92. Longhorns, like the cattle - not the mascot
  93. "Don't mess with Texas."
  94. Willie Nelson
  95. 6666 Ranch
  96. Natural gas
  97. Friday Night Lights
  98. Tommy Lee Jones
  99. If Texas was its own nation, it would rank 12th worldwide in GDP.
  100. Beyoncé
  101. The Hill Country
  102. Whataburger
  103. Walker, Texas Ranger
  104. No state income tax
  105. Padre Island
  106. Texas peaches
  107. Dazed and Confused
  108. Fort Davis
  109. James McMurtry
  110. USS Battleship Texas
  111. Barton Springs
  112. Breakfast tacos
  113. Lucas Gusher, Spindletop Oil Field
  114. Rebecca Creek Whiskey
  115. Dan Rather
  116. Homer's Backyard Ball
  117. Palo Alto Battlefield
  118. Hereford, TX - Beef capital of the World
  119. Llano Wine
  120. Edgar Mitchell
  121. Texas State Capitol, one of six state's capitols that are taller than the U.S. capitol
  122. ZZ Top
  123. Robert Earl Keen
  124. Lonesome Dove
  125. Wind Energy
  126. Cory Morrow
  127. Oysters from the Gulf
  128. Dallas, the TV show
  129. Dublin Dr Pepper
  130. Big Tex
  131. Billy Bob's Texas
  132. Driving friendly, the Texas way
  133. Everyone in the world knows where Texas is at on the map.
  134. Free 72 oz Steaks!
  135. Art Museums
  136. President George H. W. Bush
  137. Texas sunrises
  138. "Waltz Across Texas" by Ernest Tubb
  139. The Piney Woods
  140. Texas Horned Frogs, or toads, or lizards
  141. Wind.
  142. SXSW
  143. Most miles of highway = road tripper's paradise.
  144. USS Lexington
  145. Ruby Red Grapefruit
  146. Shiner Ruby Redbird beer
  147. Tito's Vodka
  148. The Frio River
  149. Tascosa Gunfight
  150. Texas Toast
  151. Austin City Limits, the show
  152. George Jones
  153. Starry nights are bigger and better in Texas.
  154. Farrah Fawcett 
  155. Chicken Fried Steak
  156. Cowboys
  157. "Amarillo by Morning"
  158. Iced Tea
  159. Ocelots, those adorable wild cats
  160. Dell computers
  161. Stock shows - Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth
  162. The Houston Rodeo
  163. Round Rock
  164. The Yellow Rose of Texas
  165. William B. Travis
  166. The Dallas Mavericks
  167. Our own power grid
  168. Texas Hold 'Em
  169. The Rio Grande
  170. Bats, the mammals
  171. All of George Strait's exes live here.
  172. The J A Ranch
  173. Schlitterbahn 
  174. Eva Longoria 
  175. Texas Blues musicians like Blind Lemon Jefferson
  176. Hank The Cowdog
  177. Homecoming Mums
  178. "That's Right (You're Not From Texas)" by Lyle Lovett - But Texas wants you anyway.
  179. Last, but definitely not least, that unmistakable Texan Pride 

*A special thank you to Justin Parker and Royce O'Neal for helping with this list. Y'all are some seriously proud Texans and great examples for me to look up to for Texas knowledge.