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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Every Day is Kansas Day for Kansans


Old and new wind energy on the plains
New and old wind energy peppers the plains of beautiful Kansas
Whoopee - it's Kansas Day! And this born and bred native is going to take advantage of the opportunity to brag on my home state.

For those of you who don't live in The Wheat State, we joined the Union on January 29, 1861 as a free state after a lot of violence and chaos with neighboring Missouri. And every year, I get super jacked up to celebrate the birthday of this fantastic state I love. I've actually sort of been celebrating this whole week of Kansas' birthday, because honestly, every day is Kansas day for Kansans. That's just how much we love it here.


The sun and the moon both visible on the plains of Kansas
I think it takes a special kind of person to love and appreciate Kansas. Rolling hills covered in native grasses, wide open skies, roaming buffalo, spastic weather and the completely enthralling feeling of being able to see a vast nothingness for miles are just a few of the exceptional facets Kansas has to offer.  
Hay seasonWindmill during a sunset in Kansas
 
I love everything about this place: the emptiness, the scenery and, most importantly, the cathartic feeling of inhaling two-lungs worth of fresh, wild air that is untouched by the side effects of a metropolis. I love this land so much I have permanently altered my body to reflect my Kansas roots.
Cattle race across the plains before a summer storm in Kansas
 
I know I'm not the only prairie dweller to experience these feelings. I have friends in the Dakotas, Nebraska and Oklahoma who feel the same way about their home states as well. We aren't crazy for preferring the vast emptiness of the plains over the hustle and bustle of the city - we're just a different breed of people. And, as we all know, the world needs all kinds of kinds.
Kansas plains
 
So here's to you ole girl. May your Flint Hills remain inhabited by bison, your winds blow strong and uninhibited by skyscrapers and your heritage continue to be rooted firmly in wheat and beef.
Kansas is the centerpiece on our mantle right now - a gorgeous silver sunflower platter.
Always a Kansan,
~ Buzzard ~

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

FroBuzz Goes to the Yak Show

Who else can say they spent their four year anniversary at a yak show?!
The National Western Stock Show just wrapped a few days ago - it's a great experience for anyone who loves livestock, rodeo, fun times and no humidity. Just be sure to bring your chapstick and your party pants.

I hadn't been to the National Western in five years but was stoked to make the trek this year because the Ninja was judging the International Yak Association (IYAK) show. 

This also happened in conjunction with our wedding anniversary, which I talked about last week. So our anniversary weekend was spent strolling through the stockyards, judging the show (him) and taking pictures of yaks during the pen show and the halter show (me).

Yaks are multipurpose animals - they produce fiber and meat. They originally are from Tibet so many of the breeders will sell or feature Tibetan clothing or accessories made from yak fiber. I got to try yak meat while I was there - yakburgers, yak sticks (similar to a pepperoni stick) and yak jerky. All three were delicious and very lean. Yak burgers are 93/7 meaning they are 93% lean and 7% fat - this is the same lean to fat ratio as 93/7 ground beef so if you are looking for a ground beef alternative, here ya go!

A lot of people have asked how a yak is evaluated and at this show they were judged on their fiber and on their conformation and muscling. The Ninja judged on the latter and there was another judge present to judge the crimp of the fiber; it's very similar to wool judging. I know the Ninja put a lot of emphasis on structure and function, which is similar to what he does with other livestock species in market shows.

Champion Senior Showman

Champion Outfitter

One of the yak champs

Congratulating the Reserve Champion female

A yak escaped but never fear, the Ninja is here!

Evaluating the fuzzy yaks!

No caption does this photo justice - just enjoy!
This whole experience was completely outside the realm of anything I had ever experienced before. Yaks aren't an overly common livestock animal in southeastern Kansas, where I grew up. But I learned a lot about yaks, their fiber and yak meat production. All the producers and ranchers we met were super friendly and willing to go out of their way to accommodate us.

If you want to learn more about yak production in the United States, you can visit their website. Next time you're in Denver, go to the yak show during the second weekend of the National Western.  You won't be disappointed!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Four Years of Fighting

Thrilled to be on this journey of a lifetime with the Ninja.
Photo courtesy: LaBrisa Photography
Two [trailer] houses. A totaled car. Burst pipes. Two weddings. Four Ohio State fairs. Two Masters of Science degrees. A shattered crockpot filled with gravy. Zero babies. Most of a PhD in Animal Science.

Believe it or not, we have shoved all of those amazing experiences into 1,460 wedded-days full of celebrating, accepting, loving, fighting, laughing, compromising, competing, stressing, [blatant] honesty and joy. Today, I reflect on one of the most important items in that list: fighting.

Robert Louis Stevenson once said, "Marriage is one long conversation chequered by disputes."

Accurate, Mr. Stevenson.

It's truth time, peeps. Here are the many ways we fight in marriage.

- With each other

This is the obvious one. For those of you who aren't married, take it from me. The arguments don't stop once you say 'I do.' Little things like taking out the garbage can, under the wrong circumstances, yield just as big of an argument as the decision as when to buy a house. God made us all differently, which means that we all have varying opinions and when thrown into a small space with another human, we inevitably will have disagreements. But how you handle these disagreements will be the true test of your relationship. Can you learn to compromise and move on together? Or will you fail to learn from past experiences and let resentment fester? The choice is, as cliché as it sounds, up to you.

Let's not forget, that arguments are a form of communication. And if you aren't communicating, it's going to be hard to plan your life, make decisions, move forward and grow. So it's ok to get in a heated discussion about when the next chapter of your life will start or how many candles you need in your house or what brand of salsa to buy. But let's just try to keep it civil, people. Above the belt and no snarky comments that can seriously cause damage to your relationship. That whole "sticks and stones may break my bones" shtick is a crock of Crisco. Words can, and do, hurt - so be nice and play fair.

- With ourselves.

You might wonder how I fight with myself in my marriage. And, building upon that, how does winning a fight against myself help my marriage?

I'm a competitive person and I like to have the last word. I especially love to have the last word when I'm right and someone else is wrong. All of these compounded together can make me an especially unpleasant person in the heat of an argument. It's a constant struggle for me to beat back my snarky side when I desire to make a point, and instead let the sweeter voice of reason win, hence allowing peace to come to our humble little trailer.

By fighting with my inner demon, and winning, I am making a conscious effort to be the best version of myself that I can be for the sake of my marriage and my personal wellbeing.

- For each other.

This is the most important fight you will have in your marriage. No I am not talking about throwing punches in honor of your betrothed - although I would not hesitate to do so if provoked. I am talking about a spiritual and emotional fight for each other.

There is a huge enemy to your marriage and his name is Satan. The enemy will fight to plant doubts and fears in your marriage. The enemy will make you think that one disagreement is a sign to end your commitment. The enemy will tempt you and your spouse with other men and women, with ideas of "bigger and better." Ignore that bastard, link arms with your spouse, get down on your knees and work together towards a strong marriage that is rooted in faith and prayer. If you don't fight for each other and put each other first, no one is going to do it for you. It's up to you and your partner to find strength in your faith and make the commitment to work through the crappy days and relish the exciting ones.

As I've mentioned before, marriage is far from easy. It's the most challenging, yet most rewarding, endeavor I've ever undertaken and is equally as frightening as it is enthralling. A loving, gratifying marriage is worth fighting for but both people have to be engaged in the fight. I am a firm believer that a few bad fights are the fee you pay for the most exhilarating experience of your life. Suck it up folks, make some sacrifices in order for a lifetime of happiness with the one you love.

Alright, here's where you come in - do you think I'm completely off-base? What are your thoughts on marriage and making it last?

Until next time
~ Buzzard ~

p.s. I want to stress the "zero babies" part of this blog post. The eggo is not preggo. That is all.

The Ninja did not contribute to this blog post but he did review and edit so anything embarrassing has been approved.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: My Favorite Rodeo Pictures

There's a picture challenge going around on Facebook to share your five favorite horse/rodeo pics. My boo Michelle tagged me to do it but I ended up sharing seven because it was too hard to narrow it down and if I only did five then barrel racing and goat tying were going to be left out! I posted it on Facebook so I'll post it here too!


Goat tying at Hays, KS
Tying goats at the Hays college rodeo on Michelle's awesome steed, Stitch. Muddy as all get-out.
Barrel racing at Ottawa, KS high school rodeo
The horse that helped me make my comeback into rodeo after a 5 year hiatus - Ace
Breakaway roping at Colby, KS
My first college rodeo as a Wildcat - made the short round at Colby and broke the barrier (surprise).
Breakaway roping at Alva, OK
NWOSU college rodeo in Alva, OK.
I worked my ass off for two years at Fort Scott Community College - practicing six days a week, shredding straw bales and running thousands of miles down the road - so I could step up my game and be competitive with the great ropers in the Central Plains region. Under the guidance and coaching of Chad Cross and Larry Irish, it worked! I was a FSCC Greyhound before I was a Wildcat and I am forever grateful to my coaches for all they did for me and Doc!
Breakaway roping at Pratt, KS
Good Lord, he was an amazing horse. Doc is a pasture pet now, until we have kids.
Breakaway roping at Pratt, KS
Short-round at Pratt Community College rodeo. Won the long round and finished third in the average (broke the barrier again - surprise).
Breakaway roping at Hays, KS
Hays College Rodeo - probably my favorite picture of Doc and I. This one hangs in my office and he hangs out in the barn
 
What are some of your favorite rodeo and horse memories? Have you shared something similar on your Facebook page or blog? Leave the link in the comments below!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

photo credits from top to bottom: Dale Hirschman, Kent Kerschner, JJJ Photo, Dale Hirschman (4x)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Real Resolutions for 2015

Real women don't wait
That's right, ladies
I rarely make New Year's Resolutions - mostly because there is a strong propensity to go really hard at something for two weeks and then drop off, thereby failing at something in the first month of the year. I prefer to make goals that require steps and progress and have concrete accomplishments, hence my 101 in 1001 list (which I'm making quite a bit of progress on, actually).

But I came across this article on Huffington Post this morning and thought it would be a nice read for Friday and since my brain is still not quite functioning from being on vacation (I was in Belize for a week and it was beautiful), this is an easy but thoughtful post to fill your weekend reading.

The article discusses not making the normal resolutions of "lose weight" or "fall in love" which are all fine resolutions but we should always be striving for self-improvement; not just at the beginning of the year because it's customary.

Which is why I have tangible resolutions for 2015 - I have gone through my 101 in 1001 list and picked out a few specific goals that are steps to leading a better overall quality of life - I've also added some goals that aren't on my 101 list but contribute to the overarching theme.

Approaching my health as a whole, not just my physical health
   - This includes working out 3x/week to stay fit but also realizing when I need a break to recuperate
   - Sticking to my "read one book per month" goal. Reading keeps me sane, relaxes me, sharpens my intellect and gives me great ideas of my own for writing.
   - Don't eat dessert every day. Drink less than five sodas per week. Know when to say "no."

Improving the FroBuzz marriage*
   - Say "I love you" every day. Mean it.
   - Praying with my husband
   - Slow down. Talk about one non-work related topic every day.
*This does not mean I have a bad marriage; it means I want to keep strengthening it every day)

Get 'er done*
   - Write three book chapters in 2015
   - Join a civic club in Manhattan
   - Pay off credit card
   - Take piano lessons
*Yes, I went there.

So? What do you think? Would love your thoughts, ideas and input.

I think 2015 will be the best year yet - don't you?!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Monday, December 22, 2014

Hunk of Meat Monday: Beef Roast Times Two!

Tikki Masala beef curry on naan bread
Tikki Masala Curry - easy and delicious
P.s. my food photog skills are improving a wee bit!
I'm all about easy recipes - I do not have the time nor the willingness to spend 3+ hours over a stove making a completely homemade, handcrafted meal. I often will try to fancy up a main dish or try a new entrée recipe and then resort to frozen veggies and rice as our sides. One out of three ain't too bad, if you ask me.

Which is why I love being able to whip up something new from something old. It's like a makeover. That's what I did with a beef roast last week - the leftover turned into a brand new dish that we've never tried and it was DELICIOUS [all caps intentional]. My timid journey into foods from different cultures continued with this beef curry roast. Both the Ninja and my eyes went wide when we had our first bite of this stuff - and it takes A LOT to get that kind of reaction from him!

Without further ado...

Beef Tikki Masala Curry
1 lb shredded beef
1 jar Tikki Masala curry (we used Patak's)
Naan bread (or appropriate substitute)

That's it - three ingredients.

First, I made a beef roast last Monday night. Nothing too fancy or special - you can use this recipe if you're looking for one. I cooked it to 145 F - please for the sake of all that is good and amazing in the world, do not overcook the meat! We ate half of the beef roast and the other half I shredded using two forks and put in the fridge.

A few nights later, I heated up about 4-5 tbsp. of vegetable oil in a skillet and put the leftover roast in the pan. This is to heat it up and get some of that crisp on the end (you can't get that great crisp in the microwave, people!).

Heating up leftover roast beef in a skillet
Getting its crisp on. Like my spatula? It came from South Africa!
When I could see the edges were starting to get crispy (not burnt - let me stress this NOT BURNT) I poured in about half of the jar of tikki masala curry sauce. I stirred it around and made sure all the meat was coated thoroughly then I let the whole meal heat up until it was piping hot.

Add in your tikki masala sauce
Let the saucy goodness overtake the beef
Serve with naan bread, veggies and rice. Or, if you're like me and couldn't find naan bread at the Dillon's, you can use Kroger sandwich thins which are just as tasty and fit the function well.

Tikki masala beef curry - fast, easy and delicious
So much delicious on the Ninja's plate
That's it - the whole meal took less than 30 minutes. Boiling the rice was the longest activity by a long shot!

I got this recipe tip from the culinary experts at NCBA. Every time I visit our headquarters they are whipping up something tasty and fun - this was no different! Can't wait to see what they develop next!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Friday, December 19, 2014

HSUS Contributions Declining

 
Rooster and Cricket have a good home and are spoiled rotten - but lots of other pets aren't as fortunate.
If you want to help puppies and kittens, please donate to your local shelter!
Yep, you read that right.

The genius' over at HumaneWatch were combing through tax records and financial statements for our favorite animal rights organization, the Humane Society of the United States (H$U$). What they found is a little bittersweet. So let's do the sweet part first:

- In 2013, contributions to H$U$ totaled $104.5 million - that's not the sweet part. The sweet part is that in 2012, that number was a lot higher. In fact, contributions were $16.6 million less in 2013 in 2012. Win!!!

- The bitter part is that bequests, or people leaving the organization money in their will, increased by $8.6 million. So that sort of knocks the whole overall number down a bit but still:
 
H$U$ experienced a decline in income by $8 million in one year!

I hope this means that folks are seeing the light, doing their research and realizing that they can help puppies and kittens more by donating to their local shelter, rather than sending money to a lobbyist organization.
"I hear those H$U$ folks don't donate very many bones to local shelters.
Donate to your local shelter today!"
Unfortunately, to no one's surprise, H$U$ is still only donating 1% of it's budget to local groups to help dogs and cats that needs homes. But again, no surprise there. If you or your family want to help save pets, please donate your time or dollars to your local shelter. Share this message on your social media outlets - please continue to spread the word that H$U$ is a lobbyist organization, not a rescue organization.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

p.s. - Two posts in one week - look at me go! Wahoo!
 
The thoughts and opinions of this blog post strictly represent that of Brandi Buzzard Frobose and are NOT representative of any other entity or organization.