30,000 Miles and Counting

It’s been a whirlwind year to say the least! 

When I left Kansas City, I had done only 11,000 miles on my car in a year and a half, which still basically breaks my heart. My gypsy soul had been crushed. That has been solved, and Paula is much happier not sitting at The Ethans. I think on last count, I am over 30,000 driving miles and a few cross country flights have energized my gypsy ways.

The first tourist stop...

The first tourist stop…

Firstly, moving to rural America is difficult, especially in a town consumed by an older population and a small community college. Clint and Darcy so kindly took me in for what we all thought would be a month long stay. One month turned into seven, and I can’t thank them enough for all of their amazing hospitality. Late nights, random weekend trips and a never ending house project lead me to probably earning worst roommate award… If you ever get the chance to be greeted by Darcy laughing first thing in the morning followed by recorded Superior sale commentated by Clint, your day will be made!

My first week at work included Round-Up, which might as well been my own welcoming party. Only kidding, but it was a great excuse to see friends I hadn’t been able to connect in a while. Even the endless cups of Coors Light couldn’t drowned out the fact that that living in Pendleton was still going to be a struggle. So decided to buy a house, which has been a never ending adventure. Lesson #89,836 don’t by a house…ever. Just kidding, just make sure the seller is not a pot smoking, indoor cat owner. Or just install a kegerator, it’s cheaper than bottles, and you’ll need some of the finest brews to make it through a major renovation. Actually, skip the beer and hit the whisky.

Here is it, make an offer, I might part with it. Hugh just may not left me after all the work we have done.

Here is it, make an offer, I might part with it. Hugh just may not left me after all the work we have done.

One of the greatest things about being back in the PNW, is leaving the PNW. No offense, but in Oregon specifically, the speed limits suck, you can’t pump your own gas, and goodness all I want is some fresh green chillies and live music. I have enjoyed doing some cross country travels for the National Hereford Women, helping the Colyer family and see some of the best friends a girl could have. 

The Cowboy Rides Away Tour -- Tacoma.

The Cowboy Rides Away Tour — Tacoma.

The one and only Miles McKee.

"Who is that girl wearing pearls at the derby?"

“Who is that girl wearing pearls at the derby?”

If you know my story, you’ll know how fortunate I have been to draw a family that has given me a passion for good cattle. I haven’t been to the ranch or even my mom’s place as much as I’d like, but it’s comforting knowing I can have supper any night of the week with any member of my crazy extended family. I just might have to drive a 100 plus miles.

Christmas afternoon with the ladies.

Christmas afternoon with the ladies.

My favorite place in the world, somewhere down Chandler Lane.

My favorite place in the world, somewhere down Chandler Lane.

I thought settling into Umatilla county would be no big deal, but let me laugh and realign my mindset. It’s been a bigger deal. The state line might as well follow state highway 11, because growing up a county over seems like a foreign country to most. I have learned to introduce myself more ways than I ever have living in various place throughout the country.

Hi, I am Maddee, I am from Cove…oh you don’t know where that is? It’s about 65 miles from here…known for cherries, Moss Springs trail head and Red’s Horse Ranch?
I just moved to town, pardon me, my name is Maddee. Did you go to Blue Mountain Community College? No, nope sure didn’t, I did my juco time at Linn Benton Community College…Ohhhhhh….
You go to Idaho on the weekends? Yes, it’s closer than Portland. You know people over there? Yes, I grew up showing with a lot of people from there…ohhhhh wow…who are you again….

It is also suprising to most that I had never attended a Round-Up prior to moving to town. Crazy, I know, but the world does keep spinning even. But if you dont have plans the second weekend in September,you better make plans to be in town, it is real fun!

We have hit almost every rodeo -- it's a tough job but someone has to be my date for work events.

We have hit almost every rodeo — it’s a tough job but someone has to be my date for work events.

Mom comes too...

Mom comes too…

The saga I left KC with is still continuing. My insurance company is battling the Kansas City Police Department. So hopefully by the first of September 2015 I have a clean record again… And remember kids, don’t get hit by a KC Police Officer on his way to a domestic dispute with 10 other officers. In the meantime, Paula is racking up the miles and we have been busy learning about “how great state of Idaho” is from probably the proudest member of the state and beyond.

It’s been crazy, I miss my KC pals, but it is sure good to be home for the time being! And if you ever get a wild hair, let me know your travels lead to Pendleton!

Correction: And as Tiah said I have been blessed with several news friends! 

Wordless Wednesday: Catch the Sun

Smokey sunrise coming up over the Blue Mountains highlighting the wheat stubble of the 2014 harvest.

Smokey sunrise coming up over the Blue Mountains highlighting the wheat stubble of the 2014 harvest.

Peering on to the bounty of Umatilla county, the peaks of the Cascade range can be seen.

Peering on to the bounty of Umatilla county, the peaks of the Cascade range can be seen.

Western Wildfire Season

Wildfires in the west are part of the normal summer activities.

Hazy days are closed by smokey sunsets. We are taught from a young age to be cautious. Smokey Bear is a part of everyday life as much as a childhood teddy bear. Sights and sounds of US Forest Service, BLM, state and private contractors fire trucks and rigs are normal. The repercussions of these fires devastates the land, animals, lives and the families that make a living from the land.

The impacts, the stories and discussions that one could have about the impact of fire could host conversations for days. Some are positive, and others are negative. Understanding that fire impacts peoples live is one of the hardest for many to grasp. As hard as it was for people to understand why farmers and ranchers could not act quick enough in the fall of 2013 during the Storm Atlas in southwestern region of South Dakota.

A friend who is an ag teacher, ranchers wife and now fire volunteer on the Buzzard Complex had this to say about what we she was witnessing.

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The fire as of Sunday was larger in land area than Multnomah County, which is home the largest population in the state. 

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There are dozens of other large fires burning in the west. National media outlets are picking up the stories, but they are focused on the million dollar homes in a resort town, rather than the stories of those who make a living from the land.

Stay safe out there and enjoy your summer. Thank you to all of the volunteers, contractors and fire fighters working to control this rapidly moving summer of flames.

Picture from a look out point in the Grand Ronde Valley I took this weekend when we were riding. You can see the smoke socking in the valley and moving through the region.

Picture from a look out point in the Grand Ronde Valley I took this weekend when my Mom and I were riding. You can see the smoke socking in the valley and moving through the region.

How Long is Long-Term? Are We in Danger of Sacrificing Food Security to Satisfy GMO Paranoia?

Maddee:

Food is an emotional issue, but why is it so different than any other advancement?

Originally posted on Bovidiva:

FrankenfoodsMy Twitter feed is being taken over by two things: 1) arguments and 2) comments that are going to cause arguments. Almost every tweet appears to draw a contrary comment – I’m tempted to post “Elephants have four legs and one trunk” just to see how many people reply “No, there’s an elephant in South Africa called Minnie who only has three legs but has two trunks…”

The latest discussions (debates? arguments? long drawn-out 140-character battles?) have related to the safety of GMOs. Without exception, the argument from the nay-sayers comes down to “We don’t know what the long-term effects are, so we should ban them until we can conclude that they’re safe.”

In other words, we’re trying to prove a negative – show me that there’s no adverse effects whatsoever and I’ll believe it’s ok. Utterly impossible. Can you be absolutely sure that the screen you’re reading this on isn’t causing…

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Shameless Self Promotion Tour — Fails.

A tweet from Ag Careers last week reminded me of my unfortunate luck, focused on job interviews. But, I am known for getting myself into some interesting predicaments more often than not. Today’s post will be focused on adventures of my Shameless Self Promotion Tours.

Episode 1: The Internship Interview

Interviewing had always been my cup of tea. I got to talk to people about events in my life that defined what I had learned and me. Between judging and never seeming to know a stranger, interviewing was a seemingly easy exercise. The morning I was getting ready to interview with Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA) in Lubbock I was a little nervous, I will admit. It was November, and I was starting grad school without an assistantship in January. I needed a job badly to get through grad school along with real life communications experience.

I had planned the perfect outfit, Lynette, my contact for the position had told me earlier in the week, “don’t kill yourself getting dressed.” WHAT – who says that – later this would make a lot more sense. Either way I was dressed: black slacks, black boots, a tweed black and white blazer with a white shirt and pearls, simple but professional. That morning, I was running throughout the quaint, but not fancy trailer house that my boyfriend at the time was living in. He was kind enough to put up with my gypsy life between Lubbock and Dallas while I was interning for the State Fair of Texas. He had an extra closet, and I had packed it full of clothing I thought I might need to access to for interviews.

I hate being late. Hate it. And for an interview, I wouldn’t allow for it. So I planned to leave almost an hour early, as PCCA was located on the other side of the loop. I am also certain this was the last day is rained in Lubbock in 2010. I wouldn’t even call it rain; it had misted the ground enough for the rickety steps of the trailer to be slick. I usually take my extreme incoordination as a comic relief, but that day I did not have time to laugh at myself, I hit the first step and crashed into the following two steps. I broke all three of the steps, and my black slacks had gained a tinge of mud. So I climb back up on to the porch, stressing…I was going to be late surely. I cleaned myself up and jumped off the porch and made it to the interview.

The interview went fine, but I didn’t have the skills at that time for what they needed. The two ladies, dressed in jeans had to have seen the mud that was still left on my slacks, or I was hoping they had missed it. Lunch following my interview the boyfriend and I were walking out of the restaurant and he pointed out that I was still covered in mud. He could not believe I wore those slacks into my interview, again no back up plan.

didn’t get the internship on the first go, but later in 2011, I was welcomed into the PCCA family, and there was no mention of my muddy first appearance. And Lynette, really meant about not killing myself to get dressed comment – we make denim as a value added product for our members, so jeans are always fine.

Episode 2: The College Campus

And yes, this is another story of wardrobe malfunction, and no I did not learn from my pervious episode and I did not have a back up plan.

Looking for job opportunities in rural America is always a challenge, and so I made a list of the largest employers in the region of the country I wanted to be in and started looking. With that, I stumbled upon a job with Eastern Oregon University. (EOU). The campus is small, but beautiful, and the end of April with the trees in bloom and the grass lush couldn’t have been a better time to be at EOU.

Thoughtful outfit preparation went into my interview wear. My treasured cuffed Banana Republic slacks, black blazer and coral tank top, pearls, along with my favorite pumps instead of boots. Dressed for success is what I thought, but my dear friend Danielle questioned my ability to walk in the attire. I assured here I wore this outfit all the time when I interned, which was not a lie, but all the time meant once a month on board day. Board day was the only day that we didn’t wear jeans at PCCA it seemed like.

Trotting through campus again not to be late, I had noticed that I almost tripped myself on the cuff of my pants, so I slowed down in hopes of not falling. Up the stairs to the second floor, the seven-hour interview was about to begin. Seated in the largest board room I have ever been in, sat three ladies, all asked questions, the first hour wrapped up and the campus tour started. Being back in eastern Oregon had some perks; such as I had played high school sports with the perky college senior who was serving as my tour guide. She was talking about Physical Therapy school and how excited she was to move to Arizona. I was thrilled for her, and hoped she didn’t see me concentrating on my heels occasionally catching my cuff. Disclaimer, I walk like a seal in heels. I am conscientious of this structure flaw, so I most likely over correct this issue and make myself appear more mini-giraffe like in heels instead.

Through McKenzie Theater, the details looked so familiar and I was not worried about my ability to finish the tour or the day. Down the five shallow steps through the remainder of campus, and then five more hours…

Crash. I went rolling down the five steps. As a family friend said later, I went “ass over teakettle” down the stairs. Thankfully only a handful of people saw the act, and several rushed to help me. I brushed myself off; my hands and the top of my left foot were slightly scuffed, minor. The major issue was I torn my pants severely. A hole above my left knee that was the size of a gold ball, and the left cuff was shredded…and I had no back up plan, and the interview was not nearly done. Another panel interview, foundation board presentation and dinner with the Vice President of the university were still a head. Needless to say, I had an easy opening to talk about how the day had gone; it was always up from there…

Later than evening I discovered how badly my knee was scratched, and it has since served as a constant reminder of that day.

I didn’t get the job, which was just fine…My wardrobe couldn’t handle a full-time job on that campus.

The aftermath.

The aftermath.

 

Episode 3: Time Zones

Time Zones should not be a struggle for me, but let’s face it most things are. Living between Pacific Standard Time, and as the locals call it “Boise Time” or Mountain Standard Time for most of my life should have made me a pro at determining time zones.

On the final interview of my “Shameless Self Promotion Campaign,” the communications lead me to believe that we had scheduled an early afternoon interview. To be exact, I “penciled” in 1 p.m. into my phone…1 p.m. Central Standard Time. That really meant 11 a.m. Pacific, with an 11:30 a.m. start time for this interview.

When my phone reminder tone went off I thought it was a mistake, there was no way. I double checked it and thought to myself, did I really just screw this up too? I made a call to an understanding HR director who laughed at me, and told me to be in Pendleton by 1:30 p.m., PST. I had flown into Boise less than 12 hours before…it was an honest mistake… We had planned for my Mom to go to Pendleton with me, but before we were leaving we had to work cows and turn out at the ranch in Baker. The ranch is an hour one way from the house, and she was thankfully on her way back from the last load when I called to tell her I had screwed up…again. She said ok, I’ll drive a little faster. She left the pickup and trailer in the driveway, and scampered into the house to get ready before we jumped back into the car to drive the hour over the pass to Pendleton. We arrived with plenty of time to spare, but I was sweating like I had ran the 65 miles from Cove.

Lesson learned: Make sure you check the time zone setting in your phone…always. And I got the job!

Thanks AgCareers for the reminder of the lessons learned, and the skills of always being able to laugh at myself, thinking on my feet and an ability to adapt.

 

Everyday is a Reason to Celebrate

 

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 Everyday is a Reason to Celebrate American and World Agriculture.

This morning commute to work was not from the west, but from the east. Running late as usual, it didn’t matter, the hour drive in front of me could wait for a shot like this. The dramatic sky surrounding the fields of this years crops in the Grand Ronde Valley was amazing this morning. The timing if this sunrise couldn’t have come at any better of a time than today as it is National AG Day.

Remember, that we have been officially celebrating National AG Day since 1973, while every aspect of our lives involves a form of agriculture each and everyday. From the toothpaste that you brush your teeth with every morning to the pillow you lay your head on all are made possible from hardworking, dedicated, responsible farmers and ranchers.

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What Really is a Scarecrow?

What really is a scarecrow? 

By definition a scarecrow is an object, usually made to resemble a human figure, set up to scare birds away from a field where crops are growing. Or the informal definition is a person who is very badly dressed, odd-looking, or thin. The archaic definition is an object of baseless fear.

So why would Chipotle use such strong imagery of a coward for their latest fall ad campaign attacking animal agriculture? I have no idea, other than they were out to describe what the organization is out to do, create “baseless fear” into the American food supply. Even Mashable agrees with my opinion of this latest marketing gimmick by Chipotle.

While I do give kudos to the new Chipotle advertising campaign — it’s gorgeous. The art, the music and the campaign are well done. But what does it do, increase hysteria about the safest food supply and animal husbandry practices in the world? Below are are few additional links about the Chipotle ad that you may find interesting.

Following my late to the conversation blog post about the ad, is the latest commercial from Cheerios that I saw as I opened a browser to my favorite Texas Country radio station last week made me revisit my blog. Instantly, I thought either the Red Dirt Rebel is now supporting Chipotle, which is fine for them, but not me… I settled back into my chair and watched the whole commercial without jumping to any more conclusions. I was surprised to discover that Cheerios was using the same type of animation imagery to describe the “goodness” of their multi-grain breakfast product.

What are you thoughts on this type of imagery to market food products? What is Cheerios trying to accomplish through this ad, are they targeting a specific demographic of consumers or is their something else in the works?

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