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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bacon For A Birthday

I am quite confident in my gift giving abilities. I work really hard to give thoughtful gifts for birthdays, weddings, Christmas etc. Just ask The Ninja, our first Christmas together I gave him a personalized leather padfolio with his initials and a PowerCat on the back. It was an awesome gift and he thought I was an awesome girlfriend (duh). I eventually became the awesome wife. But I digress.

So, I am especially thrilled to have found this next gift for the meat lovers in my life. I just haven't decided who is going to get it yet. Both my stepdad and my father-in-law have birthdays in January and maybe one or both of them are going to get a subscription to Zingerman's Bacon Club. Did you catch that last part.

Bacon. Club.

A membership that provides you a pound of artisan bacon every. single. month. What carnivore wouldn't love that?! I first saw it in the Taste of Home my mom sent me in the mail - the cover was adorned with cookies and sweets so of course I'm going to read it. I was so excited about this club that I Instagrammed the image of bacon in the magazine. Obsessed, folks.


You can order a 3-month or 6-month subscription for yourself or a friend (or a friendly blogger named Buzzard) and the varieties range from Applewood Smoked to Long Pepper. Wowza, my mouth is watering already. Yummo.

This club has been so successful that it has recruited six vegetarians. Six people who have sworn off meat as part of their value system were brought back from the dark side by bacon. Lovely sweet bacon - it must be why they call it the "crossover meat." I love bacon almost as much as I love beef jerky. And this is my favorite brand of beef jerky (my birthday is in April y'all) and it's made in God's country aka southeastern Kansas. Wow - this post has gone from gift giving to beef jerky. Great transformation.

So what do you think? Is a bacon club membership a good gift? What are some of the best gifts you've given (or received)? Was food involved?

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Thursday, December 20, 2012

PETA Targets Kids With Christmas Billboard

Apparently, PETA knows no bounds. They have now taken to targeting children with their venomous lies about animal agriculture and the most recent incident is a billboard that poses the question:  "Kids, if you wouldn't eat your cat, why eat a turkey?"

I can answer that - a cat is a pet. It sleeps on your bed, eats mice (yuck) and coughs up hairballs.

Turkey, on the other hand, is a farm animal that was created by God for consumption. They eat grain in a farm setting and wild turkeys eat acorns, seeds, flower buds, insects etc. I'd much rather eat some grain, acorn or insect fed turkey than a cat that eats rodents. I've eaten bugs before but I would have to be pretty desperate to eat rat.

The video also says that PETA hopes kids will choose tofurkey for Christmas dinner.

Scuse me? You've got to be freakin' kidding me. Most kids will eat what is put on their plate but I don't know a single child who would request tofurkey over real turkey. People be crazy these days.

Check out the video below - what do you think? Has PETA crossed the line....again?



I'm starting to believe that PETA is desperate for people to take them seriously. I think they need some serious PR help.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

ABC News - Defamation of BCI, Lost Jobs and Lawsuits

High profile lawsuit against ABC and newscasters

I'm not talking about the $1.2 billion lawsuit against the news mogul that Beef Products, Inc. (BPI) filed in early September. The lawsuit at hand is one that former senior counsel for BPI, Bruce Smith, has filed and is seeking $70,000 in damages for his lost job.

Smith cites a photo used by ABC, Jim Avila, Diane Sawyer and many other 'journalists' to depict lean, finely textured beef (inappropriately called "pink slime) - you've probably seen the picture in countless stories and blog posts. Here it is again:

The important thing is that the photo above is not a picture of beef. 

Smith is outraged because this photo does not represent what lean, finely textured beef actually is and this product has not ever been produced by BPI. In fact, according to beefisbeef.com, no one really knows what this product is or where it is produced. But it's definitely not a picture of beef.

Smith has also written a book to make known the events of the "pink slime" scandal and how the media behaved less than professionally. He also talks about what transpired at BPI during the almost immediate backlash against the company. The book, appropriately titled, "Pink Slime Ate My Job" is available on Kindle and is supposed to be a paperback eventually (according to Amazon). It's definitely one I'm adding to my reading list.

Best of luck to Smith and all the rest of the BPI employees in their lawsuits. No doubt Christmas will be tough for many of BPI's former employees and the road to redemption is one of long, hard struggle.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bandita Buzzard



Today I'm guest-posting on Agriculture Proud, a phenomenal blog by Ryan Goodman, as one of the AgChat Banditas. So if you've got a spare few minutes click on over there and give his blog some lovin'. You will definitely not regret it!

Come back tomorrow for more regular Buzzard-esque content. And I just jumped on the Facebook page bandwagon so feel free to head on over there and check it out!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

P.S. it's supposed to snow here on Wednesday and then again on Christmas! Whoo to the hoo!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Beef, Food Safety and Smart Choices

This post is brought to you by a personal experience that I remembered because I was wide awake way too late at night due to Fort Riley dropping bombs on my doorstep. That didn't sound right but it was loud and I was awake.

On to the story - the date is February 15, 2011 and DH and I are getting ready to leave for our honeymoon (to where you ask? I didn't know at the time). We still needed some last minute things before leaving for the airport so I made a quick trip to Wal-Mart to get some more luggage locks, a travel pillow and some mini-shampoo. While in town I decided to be the perfect wife I was (we'd only been married 3 weeks at the time, bear with me) and pick up some lunch. I got The Ninja one of his faves, Rally's, and I stopped by my favorite grease pit, Long John Silver's. We ate, caught our flight, had a layover in LAX and while preparing to get on the plane I got the "uh-oh, things aren't going so well" feeling in my stomach. Sure enough, not more than 10 minutes after we took off from LAX, I was hugging the porcelain plastic toilet-bowl of the airplane facilities. Not my finest moment. I had food poisoning. On my honeymoon. And it lasted for almost two days. This was most definitely not how I had expected this trip to go (we were in Fiji, by the way). Thanks a lot Long John's, for your undercooked chicken. Yes, I get chicken at LJS. Sue me.

I told you that story to drive home a point - me getting sick wasn't caused by the farmer who produced the chicken. It had nothing to do with the rate of gain, the feed given to the chicken, how the chicken was raised etc. It had everything to do with the chicken not being cooked thoroughly and killing some mean little bacteria. I have since remedied that problem by asking for my chicken to be cooked longer at Long John's (and every other fast-food chicken place) and when I make fried chicken at home, I ALWAYS make sure that I cook it to the proper temperature so that it's safe for myself and my dinner guests to eat.

The moral of those stories is that lots of food borne illness problems can be fixed via proper food safety handling and techniques. If we get sick at home from a hamburger that we only cooked to medium-rare, whose fault is that? It's not the farmer's fault and it's not the packer's fault. It clearly says on ground beef, purchased from the grocery store, to cook the product to 160F. See?

I took this picture last night at Dillon's on a package of 85/15 lean ground beef. Look in the bottom right-hand corner, right next to the 'Peel' sign - it says "Cook to 160F". Plain as day.

Ok, enough stories for now. There is a lot going on in the news lately about beef and food safety. I want to address some food safety measures you can take to make sure you're consuming wholesome American meat products and staying safe all at the same time. Double whammy, right?

1. Cook meat to the recommended temperatures - employ a meat thermometer. I've highlighted proper cooking temps before but I will summarize them here too. You can also easily find this information on the packaging from the grocery store (see above).

Ground beef and pork - 160°F
Ground poultry - 165°F

Steaks and lamb - 145°F/155°F/165°F/170°F  medium rare/medium/medium-well/well-done

 Poultry - 180 °F/170 °F  whole chicken and turkey, thighs wings and legs/breast meat
**Salmonella is killed at 165 °F but I usually go to 180 anyway

Pork:  145 °F/160 °F/170 °F  medium rare/medium/well-done
 **Many people worry about trichinosis and tend to overcook pork. However, trich is killed at 140 °F.

2. WASH YOUR HANDS. I know this seems like a no-brainer but if you want the grocery store employees to have their hands clean when they package your meat, you should have equally clean hands when you're preparing it. I'll resist going into poo-related comparisons of livestock and people but for goodness sakes, lather up those paws.

3. Don't cross contaminate surfaces. Don't slice sirloin strips and then turn around and chop tomatoes with the same stinkin' knife. Use separate cutting boards and employ Lysol wipes. Check out these sweet cutting boards from Bed, Bath n Beyond - this should help your food safety tactics.




 See? A separate board for beef (red meat in general), fish, poultry and veggies. If you have room/desire for four cutting boards, these should be right up your alley (and if anyone is wondering, I DO have room for these and Christmas is in 12 days, so ya know, get on it).

 4. When in doubt, cook it to well-done. I hate to encourage anyone to eat charred, black and burned meat but if you are truly scared of ingesting bacteria of some sort and getting sick, then just cook it to the well-done temperatures I listed above.

5. If it's expired product -don't use it. I feel like this is a no-brainer. Don't try to be cheap. Buying fresh meat is way cheaper than a doctor's visit so if it's green and slimy, just toss it.

I think that's about it for my food safety suggestions. These are all really simple rules to follow and if you do so, you're ensuring a safe and nutritious meal  packed with protein for your family.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Won an Award!


Sort of - Katlyn over at Midwest Farm Girl nominated/awarded me with a Leibster award which is a way to help bloggers interact and increase their networks, readership and just have fun. The point of the Leibster Award is to encourage fellow bloggers and build a larger social community. It is awarded to bloggers by bloggers with a following of fewer than 200 people. With that said, I have to tell you 11 random facts you may not know about me, answer Katlyn’s 11 questions and create 11 questions for the 11 bloggers I intend to nominate. I will link to each of my nominees’ blogs as well.

Ok - so here goes the 11 random facts (my middle name is random, this should be easy)

1. I'm claustrophobic - extremely. Most of the time. Certain pieces of clothing make it unbearable and I have to put on a bigger t-shirt. Scuba diving is excruciatingly terrifying and exciting at the same time. #thrillseeker.
2. If food has a weird texture, I am not eating it.
3. I'm very superstitious - don't close a knife you didn't open, don't wear yellow in the arena and NEVER put your hat on the bed.
4. I am ALWAYS wearing a piece of cross jewelry; might be a ring, necklace, bracelet but it's always on.
5. I really love riding Harleys.
6. I say Merry Christmas, I decorate a Christmas tree and I attend Christmas parties. I am not, nor will I ever be, PC when it comes to my religion. You don't have to like it but hopefully you can respect it. I don't even know why this is such a big issue.
7. I'm oh-so-indecisive and I know it bothers the bejeezus out of people but I really am unable to get it under control.
8. I am a sucker for snail mail.
9. I would much rather email, text or gchat than talk on the phone. I get too easily distracted on the phone and have a hard time paying attention.
10. I adore alliterations.
11. I can spend days on end watching Law & Order: SVU.

Now on to Katlyn's questions.

1 - What type of things inspire you?
Awesome barrel horses. K-State victories and athletes. Victoria's Secret models (skinny jerks). Underdogs

2 - If you could be on any television show, which one would it be and why?
I think they need a reality show about rural life. Not some dramatized thing but what real ag folks do all day - feeding livestock/horses, fighting off predatory skunks, riding cantankerous mares, frying chicken and all sorts of odds n' ends. It probably wouldn't be the highest rated show but it would be real-life. We could call it Inside the Trailerhood. I'd fit right in.

3 - What is your most embarrassing moment?
I'm pretty athletic and coordinated, meaning I don't fall or trip much, but I slipped and fell flat on my jackass while bowling in front of the K-State livestock coaching staff (Scott Schaake, Chris Mullinix, Randell VK and the Ninja) and about 75 high school judging camp participants. I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe when I got up - then I bowed. and bowled a strike on my next turn.

4 - What is your favorite food?
That's a tie between fried chicken and a ribeye (medium rare). Oh, and bacon.

5 - What are your hobbies?
Rodeo, watching college sports, rooting for the KC Chiefs, baking, musical things and helping with the cattle either at home in SEK or at the Ninja's parent's place in NWO.

6 - If you could be an animal, what would you be?
If I could transform into a blue whale in the blink of an eye, you would never hear from me again.

7 - What is your favorite movie?
I'm a cowgirl. Lonesome Dove. duh

8 - What is your favorite Holiday and why?
Christmas - no contest. The music, smells, time with family, food, fellowship - all of it.

9 - If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you do?
Buy 1500 acres of Flint Hills rangeland and build a farm house, corrals and arena.

10 - If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
As long as I'm west of the Mississippi (in the U.S.), it doesn't matter. I wouldn't mind another sabbatical in Australia or maybe Europe, though.

11) If you could have one super power, what would it be?
 I have always been jealous of people who could function on 4 hrs of sleep. I would like to be able to do that day in and day out.

Now, here comes the fun part. The questions for my 11 victims nominees:

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your life?
3. What is the geekiest thing you have ever done?
4. Who is your role model/idol?
5. Do you have any pet peeves? If so, do you  mind sharing one?
6. Have you ever been rendered speechless? Do tell!
7. Do you prefer the blue Tweetdeck or the yellow Tweetdeck?
8. Dream vacation spot?
9. What is your good luck charm?
10. What is your favorite Christmas song?
11. Do you have a celebrity doppelganger?

I think I've actually been nominated for this Leibster dealio once before but didn't do a very good job following through. My apologies to whoever nominated me previously, head in the clouds over here.

Anyway, these are the amazing bloggers who I will be nominating and hoping they answer my questions (I may have fudged the rules a bit on blogs with less than 200 followers. I basically linked to whoever I wanted. Some of these bloggers may have already been nominated and that's ok, multiple nominations is an honor, right?)

-  MJ from Born to Pharm - she and her husband farm and she is in pharmacy school. Get it? She wins every award ever given for blog name creation. Smoooooooth.
-  Kelly from City Lights, Country NIghts and Journey In-Between/(kellymrivard.com)
-  Sheridan from Stitches Without Riches - this girl should be a stylist. She's legit.
-  Lindy at Here's the Skinny - one of the toughest women I know. Met her in high school. Still love her.
-  Debbie from Life on a Kansas Cattle Ranch - she is the ultimate advocate
-  Phil from Phil's Thrills - One of my closest friends and over the top funny
-  Sharita from 7 Days Time - Shamiqua will inspire you in your faith and help you down the path.
-  Judi from FARMnWIFE - not only a great advocate but a tremendous resource for blogging and social media
-  Mike from It Goes Without Saying...But Bears Repeating - man, this dude can flat-out write.
-  Jamie from Cows, Corn and Country Girls - smart, funny and creative
-  Jessie from Ranching with Rhinestones - she is epic-ly smart,insightful and awesome at the same time.

So there ya go - one big long post about networking within social media! Hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about me and I encourage you to check out my 11 blogger friends, they're the shiz.

Until next time,
 ~ Buzzard ~

UPDATE: Here are links to some of the nominated blogger replies - enjoy!
Mike from It Goes Without Saying...But Bears Repeating
Judi from FarmNWife

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kings of the Farm

Great - now I have this song stuck in my head. Substitute 'farm' for 'road'. Capice?

If you don't already know, this week is NFR week. National Finals Rodeo. The Big Show. Super Bowl of rodeo.  You get the point. The NFR is shown exclusively on Great American Country (thank God, I was so tired of waiting up till midnight for it to start when ESPN had the rights to it) and on Saturday night, the guest hosts were two boys from the show Farm Kings.

Basically, the show follows a family (The Kings, get it?) as they do their daily farm chores. The Kings own and operate Freedom Farms where they strive to provide Pittsburgh with the freshest produce around. There are TEN KIDS and the mom who do all the work - I haven't seen an episode but I would be willing to bet that Mom is one tough cookie (seriously, ten kids).

I only found out about the series because I upped my DIRECTV subscription for 10 days so I could watch the NFR. After December 15th, it's sayonara GAC and Farm Kings, too. I'll have to DVR a few episodes so I can get the lo-down. For those of you who, like me, are cheap and have the bare bones cable package, here is a clip of Farm Kings you can watch. Maybe it will entice you to upgrade!



Has anyone out there seen a whole episode? What did you think?

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

p.s. My rodeo man crush, Trevor, is pursuing his 10th all-around title. For more info on his awesomeness, check out previous posts. I'm also a big fan of first time NFR qualifier Jared Keylon. Jared was my boyfriend's roommate when we were at Fort Scott Community College and lived next door. You'll never meet a more hard working, determined bareback rider than Jared. He's making a solid showing at this year's NFR and you can bet he'll be back for more in future years.

Other faves I am loving right now:
Cory Solomon - calf roping
Kelli Tolbert - barrel racing (that horse can eat up a third barrel)
Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith - team roping
Chad Masters and Clay O'Brien Cooper - team roping
Tuf Cooper - calf roping 





Thursday, December 6, 2012

Winter is nearing

and even though the temperatures have cooled down significantly from the 100+ days during the summer there is a key element of fall/winter missing....

MOISTURE.

The last time it rained in Manhattan, KS was about a month ago. Normally in the eastern part of Kansas, it rains quite often in the fall. We've seen nary a drop for several weeks and the forecast doesn't look good. We also haven't seen any snow or sleet, which would both be welcome at this time.

You may be asking why I am pointing out this obvious dilemma but for some it may not be so clear. Even though it's not hot, winter wheat still needs moisture so that cattle can graze during this mild weather. Livestock still need to drink during cold months. For those who aren't part of agriculture, let me assure you that water is an essential need on every single agricultural operation. And the longer we go without rain/sleet/snow, the longer producers carry the stress of the drought on their shoulders.

So when you say your prayers at night, please send up an extra two or three for moisture for our ag producers.

Or you could do a rain dance. If you need help coming up with moves, this guy might be able to help.



Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Working Farmer Style!

and do the horse dance while you hum that song in your head.

They are at it again! The Peterson Farm Brothers, who became wildly famous overnight for their parody I'm Farming and I Grow It have recently released their new song Farmer Style, a play on the popular hit Gangnam Style.

Check it out - K-State is very proud to claim these boys. They are wonderful agriculture representatives and have helped put farm life on the front page.




I think my favorite part is the "haaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, for my cattle." I'll have that stuck in my head all day!

What do you think of the video - do you like it better than Farming and I Grow It? What song do you think they should do next? This parody already has 107,000 views on YouTube!

You can check out the Peterson Farm Brothers and their videos on their YouTube page and you can follow Greg on Twitter (@gregpeterson33).

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~