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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

9 Things You Learn While Living in a College Town for 9 Years

As I mentioned last week, we have just moved back to the county where I was born and raised. We are in the final stages of purchasing a small ranch property, which I am absolutely ecstatic about, but until we close we are living with my father [so I won't be sharing pictures or saying it's "our place" because it's not yet and I don't want to jinx it]. I've had lots of people ask me how I'm feeling, and to those folks I say, "thank you." Thanks for caring that my nostalgic heart is letting go of "a spot that I love full well" while moving back to another place that has a significant chunk of my heart.

The move has come with mixed emotions so below I share with you 9 Things You Learn While Living in a College Town for 9 Years.

1. Do NOT go to Wal-Mart, Target, Dillon's, Hyvee etc. the weekend before fall or spring semesters start. There will be a shortage of three-ring binders, frozen pizzas, Sterilite containers, bread, Spaghettios and bean bag chairs. Either go in early August or hold off until early September. You will be forever scarred and bitter if you go grocery shopping in the first two weeks that students are back in town.

2. After you live there post-graduation, you will notice differences between yourself and the students that are enrolled. When this happens, you are immediately known as a "townie." This is not a derogatory term - it implies that you are a resident year-round and have certain rights. Such as the right to complain about road construction that ONLY HAPPENS DURING SUMMER!

Oh look, another road closed. Now there is only one lone
 street on campus that is navigable.
3. Those professors you had during undergrad will gradually become your mentors and if you are supernaturally blessed, they will become your friends. It's pretty cool to become friends with people who have far more life experience, wisdom and insight than you do as a twenty-something. In some instances, you may even end up helping them with some aspect of their life, like babysitting or social media insight.

4. You will discover all the cool cultural haunts and restaurants that the college crowd doesn't frequent that often. In Manhattan, Kansas, it's the Konza Prairie and the Little Grill, among others.
A view of Aggieville in Manhattan, KS
Slow summer in Manhattan, KS.
@brandibuzzard on Instagram
5. When you go out to the bars with your townie friends, you'll reminisce about what the bars used to be like. "When I was in school, that was Next Door and when you walked in on a Thursday, you probably knew everyone, including the bartender, who promptly poured you a Lindsay Special."
Some of my favorite ladies at Rusty's.
That chica on the right is responsible for the always delicious "Lindsay Special"
6. You will eventually think of this college town as home, rather than "where I go to school." For example, if you go to some young professionals mixer and have to introduce yourself and say where you're from, you'll answer with "Manhattan" rather than your hometown.

7. Your place becomes the home base for new memories because when people come to town for weddings, football games, livestock sales etc., your place is where they want to crash. It's like a grown-up slumber party, with wine.

8. You inadvertently become part of the community. It may be becoming a member of a church, joining a civic group, playing on a town softball team or helping coordinate a city-wide event, but you will be woven into the community's activities and have a phenomenal opportunity to meet an even broader group of cool people.

and probably the most true and difficult learning...

9. When you move away, possibly to your hometown, it will be bittersweet. You'll be ecstatic to be living closer to family however, leaving behind the place that shaped who you are, helped you develop into a young professional and fostered some of the best relationships you'll ever have will make even the most stone-cold hardass shed a tear.

Adios, Manhattan.
Don't worry though, you can always plan reunion tailgate parties and cram several awesome memories into two or three days. The best friends remain that way across the miles.

What did you learn while living in your college town?

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Goodbye Little Trailer on the Prairie

Life has been happening at breakneck speed in our little slice of Heaven. As a blogger I have failed you, dear readers, by not updating y'all regarding our life changes, issues updates or even pictures of my adorable dog. I apologize.

So I shall start at the beginning, because where else could I start? Here's what's going down with our family and if you make it through this update there is a 101 in 1001 checklist at the bottom.

The trailer house on the prairie
Bye bye Little Trailer on the Prairie - you've been good to us!
1. We're moving.

Yep - after living in Manhattan for almost a decade we are moving to southeast Kansas to the county where I was born and raised. We are in the final stages of purchasing a small ranch property there and are moving tomorrow. As in, 24 hours from now. Unfortunately, we haven't closed yet on the house so we are living with my dad for a few weeks until the house is ready. Brings back memories of summer breaks from college...

2. The Ninja is almost a PhD. He is wrapping up his doctoral dissertation which he will defend in early September. He has accepted a position with a swine technology and nutrition company and will start shortly after his dissertation. Real world, here he comes!

3. For some time now, this blog has addressed more than just agriculture, K-State and rodeo and it's really weighed on me because I haven't felt like I have been adhering to my rules for blogging or giving my goals any justice. However, I realize that blogging is about life and life is made up of more than advocacy - as it turns out, people like to know what is going on in our personal lives! So, going forward, I will continue to post about marriage, agriculture, rodeo, K-State, running, livestock and other topics I find interesting. In fact, in the next few months I'll even have real life ranch updates. The difference between now and the past is not the content, it's how I feel about my content. I am going to stop being ashamed of talking about the ins and outs of my life that aren't agriculture related. I may even change the blog logo and header, who knows!

And now for the 101 in 1001 update, as promised. These days are just flying by and I am needing to jump on it and get some more things accomplished!

To date, I have completed 30 goals and my challenge ends on October 26, 2016. So not halfway done but I also have a lot of goals that are in progress (21 to be exact) so I am confident I can get that number much higher. A few of the goals I have completed since the last update are below.

- Run 3 - half marathons (yes, you read that correctly) 1 - Glass City Half Marathon 4/27/14; 2 - Sioux Falls Half Marathon 9/7/14 (PR! 1:59:02); 3 - Garmin Wickedly Fast Half Marathon 4/18/15 (2:04:05); 4 - Bill Snyder Highway Half 5/23/15 (2:18:01)
I had no idea that I would complete this goal within a year! But am so glad I did - I feel great!
- Learn basic sewing machine skills
- Make a set of curtains using the sewing machine

I made my dad some curtains so that our dogs can't look in the window and give me sad eyes while we are living at his house.
- Travel internationally - Belize 2015
And we are on track to keep this one going because we are going to spend the month of December abroad!
- Organize and clean office so that it's functional for two people
 Just in time for us to leave, ha!

So there you have it - a mini life update on Buzzard and the Ninja. Anyone have any foolproof packing tips to share with me? I loathe packing, especially kitchen items and things that don't have a specific category!

Oh, and just for good measure, here's a picture of my adorable dog.

Cricket, an adorable border collie
Vicious Cricket
Until next time,~ Buzzard ~

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Chipotle: Where Guac and Hypocrisy Cost You Extra

Maybe it’s the crushing heat we’re experiencing here in Kansas that has me so easily annoyed but upon reading the latest stupidity-driven marketing decision from Chipotle, I felt I needed to bring the blog out of dormancy and share my two dollars (two cents won’t cut it this time).

Chipotle restaurant storefront
Evil-looking, no?
Photo courtesy: Chance Hunley
A lot of my close friends and family will joke with me occasionally and say, "Hey let's go to Chipotle for lunch!" They do this because a) they know Chipotle’s marketing and business practices make my blood boil b) they like to see me get riled up c) they know very few people who despise Chipotle as much as I do and d) they are in agreement that the burrito giant is off its rocker when it comes to marketing and how it sources product.

If you need further reminding of why I despise this restaurant, you can add “hypocrisy runs rampant” to the long list of reasons I haven't eaten there since 2007.

If I were an American pig producer, I’d be ticked – I mean, I’m ticked already and I don’t even have a stake in this game. You may remember way back in January of this year, Chipotle said that carnitas would not be offered in all stores because one of their suppliers wasn’t adhering to the company’s holier-than-thou animal welfare standards. They made it out to be a pork “shortage.”

Do you know what those standards actually say? Let me tell you. Chipotle wanted a farmer, who had been raising pigs for 30 years, to cut a hole in the side of his barn so that the pigs inside could go outside in the snow and single digit temperatures. There are several reasons that pigs are raised indoors, which I’ve discussed before. They don’t have fur coats, they aren’t very hardy – they will get sick and die, or get eaten by a coyote. Raising pigs inside is safer and better for their wellbeing. Additionally, Chipotle has a “never-ever” policy on antibiotic use which gives a farmer two options, essentially. If a pig is sick the farmer can give the animal antibiotics and wait for the proper withdrawal time before sending the animal to slaughter, which ensures that no antibiotics enter the food supply (thousands upon thousands of responsible pig farmers do this to ensure safe pork products every day). In doing so and raising their animals humanely by providing health care, they are removing their animals from Chipotle’s supply chain. However, they can choose not to treat the animal and sell a sick pig (if it lives through the disease) to Chipotle for a supposed premium. You don’t need an advanced degree in animal science to realize that it’s whacko to deny health treatment to a sick animal. I wouldn’t do that to my dog or horses and I damn sure wouldn’t do it to an animal that I hope to be selling or would be using to feed my family.
A weanling piglet raised indoors
This pig, like so many others, is raised indoors to protect it from the elements and predators.
The thing with antibiotics is that they are a necessary tool that farmers need to help their animals in fighting off nasty bacteria. There are many times throughout a pig’s life that they are more susceptible to disease such as when a few groups of pigs that have never been around each other start buddying up. Think of it as kindergarten for piglets – all those little piggies hanging out on the monkey bars, sharing each other’s boogers and coughing on their hooves. Another example is if the weather turns nasty or chilly and some pigs get the swine equivalent of a sinus infection. These ailments call for treatment and it’s downright cruel to deny treatment to a sick animal.

Chipotle doesn’t care. Use antibiotics and those pigs can’t be marketed through their supply chain. To hell with animal welfare, they have to keep those $10/1000 calorie burritos pumping out the door.

So now that you have an idea of the bizarre thought process behind Chipotle’s animal welfare standards, let me get back to the hypocrite part.

Because there was a “shortage” of pork here in the U.S. (Lie. No shortage of responsibly raised pork or beef in the U.S.) good ole Chip jumped the pond and started sourcing pork from Karro Food, a U.K. based company. And guess what?

Karro Food is allowed to use antibiotics in the event of illness in the swine herd.

When asked why the restaurant tyrant decided to let Karro Food, a foreign company, use antibiotics on sick animals but refused to extend that same standard to American producers, this is what Chipotle replied with:

“Our decision to source pork from this new supplier does not mean that Chipotle’s animal welfare protocols are changing at this time. While we prefer to buy pork raised entirely without antibiotics, we are proud to be serving pork from Karro because the responsible way Karro uses antibiotics is consistent with their extremely high animal welfare standards.”
Chipotle also did a nice job of explaining how antibiotics are used responsibly by farmers, but apparently only on U.K. pork farms. Too bad they couldn’t just allow all farmers this necessary technology instead of continually weaving a web of consumer misinformation. They stated:

“This does not mean that antibiotics are present in the meat. All animals treated with antibiotics (both in Europe and the U.S.) must undergo a withdrawal period before they are slaughtered, which means that meat from a pig treated with antibiotics will not contain antibiotic residue, just like meat from an animal that was never given antibiotics.”
This befuddles me. I have no idea why they would actually move to use reasonable science messages to defend antibiotics use in one country but not in another, when both are comparable in their animal welfare protocols. Hey Chipotle, here’s a #TruthBomb, pull your nose down out of the air long enough to take a look around fly-over country and you’ll find that American farmers use antibiotics responsibly too.

I honestly don’t even know how to explain how I feel about this. Even more so, I cannot fathom what it must be like to be so unabashedly hypocritical. My best guess is that Chipotle needs a large supplier and Karro can accommodate their needs; however, Karro isn’t willing to back down from responsible antibiotic use because they have a good handle on common sense.

So there you go – another slap to the American farmer’s face from an unhealthy burrito kingpin. The good news is that people are starting to wake up to the vicious scheming of Chipotle. If you have spare time, read a few of these recent links.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to be a loyal patron of Qdoba. It’s more fun to pronounce and the food isn’t soured with the taste of guilt and farmer’s tears.

Until next time,

**Point of clarification: This post is not me saying that organic or natural pork production is wrong, cruel or unnecessary. This post is about Chipotle's BLATANT hypocrisy regarding their double standards for pork production between U.S. and U.K. producers. Agriculture needs all kinds of people and all kinds of production; there is room for everyone. I have mentioned in comments below that instead of convention aland organic getting up in arms against each other, we need to link arms and fight against these animal rights extremists and anti-technology advocates. If you have further comments regarding organic/natural and conventional, feel free to contact me (email is on About Me page). As always, civil discourse is appropriate and I appreciate your comments and feedback.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Protein Challenge - Let Me Eat Steak...and Pork and Chicken

The past few weeks of the Protein Challenge have sort of gone by in a blur. Actually, April in general went by in a flash! How is tomorrow the first day of May?!

So over the past two weeks, I've really tried to step up my protein game. Here are some of the awesome protein-rich meals I've had in the past 1-2 weeks.

Medium rare steak with gravy
Medium rare top sirloin at Medium Rare in Washington DC
Did you know that 3 oz of lean beef has an average of 154 calories? I have been able to eat 6-8 oz of beef at many meals and not have to worry about going over my caloric max for the day. I have eaten a lot of pork and chicken as well, but the photos in my kitchen don't look near as great as the plated restaurant meals!

Breakfast sandwich full of protein
Bacon, egg and cheese on whole wheat English muffin
 In addition to these delicious meals, I had a lot of string cheese, eggs and yogurt for breakfast and utilized beef jerky as my snack for the afternoon. For dinner, I focused on subbing out a dinner roll and instead eating cottage cheese as a side.

Sirloin steak with green beans and rice
8 oz sirloin for my birthday - medium rare of course!
The results of this challenge have been phenomenal for me - I have noticed a significant decline in my desire for afternoon snacks, I have increased energy (not as tired at night) and I my average mile time improved by 4-8 seconds overall.
I will most definitely keep the increased protein intake going in my life - I have no reason to go back! Why would I stop a dietary pattern that has given me more energy, improved quality of life while helping me stay fit? I would be insane to stop!
All the more reason to keep chowing down on pork chops, steaks and chicken wings!
So now I hope with all my heart that you will sign up for the Protein Challenge yourself and start down the path to a healthier, more energetic lifestyle. You have absolutely nothing to lose (except a few pounds if you do it right)!
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Thursday, April 23, 2015

HSUS Whistleblower Sheds Light on Shady Tactics

It's no secret that I'm not a HSUS super-fan. For evidence, look no further. Their gross interpretation of animal welfare and the haughty assumption that all farmers and ranchers are animal abusers is enough to make me gag.

Photo credit: National Hog Farmer
Well, apparently I'm not the only person who is tired of HSUS' bullcrap tactics - a former undercover videographer for the animal rights group is coming forward to speak the truth and share what really happens at HSUS.

According to an interview with HumaneWatch, directors at HSUS were guilty of lying, encouraging undercover videographers to ignore animal welfare and even accusing all farmers/ranchers of being animal abusers.

Here is an excerpt of the interview, courtesy of Drovers CattleNetwork:
  • Guilty of something: “Day one of training, I was basically told every single farm is doing something illegal.”
  • Twisting words, splitting hairs and downright lying: “Let’s say that I went to a livestock auction and there’s a small calf running around. And let’s say this calf falls over.  If I’m filming this and send this in a report, I would say, “Calf fell over due to its own momentum.”  Mary Beth [Sweetland, HSUS Director of Investigations,] would correct that and say, “Could be malnourished or kept in hobbles the whole time.” I wouldn’t be allowed to draw something that I could see plain as day in context.”
  • Recording more important than reporting: “I was never told to contact law enforcement. If you see a crime, stop that crime. Don’t wait. How many other animals must be abused down the line to accomplish this? That seems like basic, common sense.”
I'm not really surprised by any of this - are you?!

If you want to see the full video click here. You can also read more of the interview where this whistleblower explains how his eyes were truly opened to HSUS' tactics and motives and how he has changed his mind on gestation stalls.

No bones about it folks, HSUS doesn't care about animal welfare. The massive lobbyist organization cares about $$ and abolishing animal agriculture.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Friday, April 17, 2015

PETA Uses Kids as Pawns

I think we can all agree that exploiting children to get ahead is pretty low-down and dirty. I figure only the most conniving, manipulative organizations would be willing to target children with propaganda in an effort to create a whole generation of like-minded individuals. 

Would you be surprised to find out that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been targeting children with animal rights propaganda for more than a decade? I didn't think so.

A graphic image usedby PETA to target children
PETA is targeting their kids and they don't care if you like it or not
Source: Center for Consumer Freedom
The second edition of the Center for Consumer Freedom's (CCF) report, "Your Kids, PETA's Pawns," explores the tactics that extreme animal rights groups use to indoctrinate children using violent and sexualized animal-rights propaganda and protests outside of elementary schools.

Additionally, and this is probably the most sickening, is the blatant use of children as props for their shocking campaigns. The runny icing on this burnt cake is that psychologists and school officials have denounced PETA's actions as "despicable," "traumatizing," "beyond insensitive," and "an absolute atrocity." Does that stop PETA from exploiting children? Not at all. You may recall, I have blogged about their atrocious actions in the past and they appear to have no remorse.

Picture this - you're an average height adult viewing an ad on the side of a bus. All appears normal until your five-year old starts crying saying that the images on the bus are scary. You can't imagine why your child is upset, until you lean down to his/her point of view and find that the imaging on the bus at a child's height level is violent, graphic images of animal abuse. Not cool, PETA. Not freaking cool.

I'm not a parent and I'm furious that PETA is doing this to kids. I can't imagine how parents of children who have encountered this propaganda may feel.

If you want to read the whole report, feel free to check it out here. Thanks to the Center for Consumer Freedom for investigating the shady dealings of manipulative animal rights organizations.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Friday, April 10, 2015

Protein Challenge: Week 1 Update

Flank steak
There's a lot more of this in my future. #eatbeef
So for the past 7+ days I have been journaling my food intake to keep track of how much protein I consume on a daily basis. I thought as a meatatarian, I would have absolutely no problem eating 30 grams of protein at every meal, for a total of 90 grams daily.

Boy, was I wrong.

Turns out, breakfast is difficult. Like, really difficult. Even on a protein-heavy day I may only be getting about 20 grams at breakfast, another 15-20 at lunch and then I am trying to amp it up at dinner to meet the 90 (and I'm falling short, often). But I have come to some cool conclusions, thus far:

1 - I am not craving snacks in the middle of the afternoon like I used to before starting the #proteinchallenge. I chalk this up to my increased protein keeping me feeling fuller, longer.
2 - I have gone running seven times since I started the challenge and I can honestly say that I'm running faster than normal. To be clear, I'm not cutting 30 seconds off of my average mile pace but I am noticing that my usual average of 8:45 per mile is now a lot closer to 8:37. I know, you're saying "whoopty do - 8 seconds/mile no big deal." But if you stretch that 8 seconds out over 13 miles it comes out to almost two minutes off of a half marathon! And I even ran at that faster pace while I was in Denver this week, where it was MUCH hillier and the air is a lot thinner (i.e. less oxygen) than in Kansas.
3 - We are running out of yogurt, string cheese and eggs a LOT more quickly than normal.

So, I'm really looking forward to the next 20 days of the challenge and I hope to be able to keep this lifestyle and diet change going long after the challenge is over.

If you want to sign up, you can EASILY do so by clicking here. The challenge is 30 days, starting from the day you sign up. So you could start today, next Thursday or even in mid-May and it would run for the following 30 days.

Who out there is also doing the Protein Challenge? How are you feeling?

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~