Monday, September 23, 2013

The Best Photo I Ever Took

Being behind the camera is exciting. The tension is palpable. And sometimes, you just know when you got a good shot! But I always do my best to seem calm, cool and collected for my clients. Obviously.
Sometimes, it's not so easy.

Recently I was at Hayden Farms in Lowell, Ind. to picture a few calves.

I even got to snap this picture at Maine & Chi Jr. Nationals of the Hayden crew.
I even got to snap this picture at Maine & Chi Jr. Nationals of the Hayden crew.
The Haydens are this great, big, loving family. They travel in groups wherever they go, and I typically see them at cattle shows. [A great place to meet up with friends!] But, because we live so close, I run into them elsewhere as well.

Mike & Doug Hayden sold Joe and me no less than 5 calves throughout our 4-H careers. They taught us a lot about feeding and fitting and clipping. We might not have said it then, but I'll say it now - THANK YOU!

I've always looked up to them and admired them, because their cattle always look good and always do well. Oh, and they're nice people.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I snapped this picture at their place -


Then, before we could even get him posted on their website, somebody bought him. [Good for them! But minimizes my excitement level as no one got to see this picture...]

I'm headed back to Hayden's in the near future, and I can't wait to share more pictures and videos from their place either here or on the Focus blog.

If you're interested in getting livestock photos or videos taken, please don't hesitate to contact me via phone 219.306.0323 or email

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Roast

I haven't gone on a rant in a while. But that's it, I've had it.

It seems in agriculture, we tend to love to defend our profession. This is a good problem to have. But people, we're wearing. it. out.

I have seen no less than 25 different blog posts come across my Facebook news feed in the past week (not including repeats or shared posts) totally dogging on Chipotle for their "disgusting misrepresentation of modern agriculture" in the YouTube sensation "The Scarecrow." [Which I might add, now has nearly 6 million views ... a good number of which, I'll just bet are from disgruntled agriculturalists.]

I'm going to go on a limb here. Say what you want, but Chipotle makes a damn good burrito.

Burritos the size of my head. I'll eat every last bite.
Burritos the size of my head. I'll eat every last bite.

While I might disagree with their views on food production, I congratulate them for filling a niche and totally capitalizing on the growing phenomenon which is all-natural, locally sourced food.

Because I am such a fan of their food, I'm not going to stop eating there. [I'm not as strong as the rest of you apparently.]

But, with this rant comes a call to action. I dare you to reach out to someone other than your ag friends. Tell them why you don't support Chipotle (or Panera or whoever we're hating on this week.) All the hatred I see toward this one burrito store could be used so much more effectively if it were promoting positive agriculture. Sharing stories of what we do on our farms and ranches and how we are feeding the world. Instead of "blahblahblah" you suck, Chipotle.

We, as farmers and ranchers, are only 2% of the US population. So let's get real, are we going to be the ones to change Chipotle's views?

A friend of mine said this about the ad - "Looks like Chipotle went to the Adolf Hitler School for Propaganda." And you know what, she's right. But what about the ad agency that created "The Scarecrow"? Why is no one pissed off at them? Why is no one trying to change their minds?

I'm not calling anyone out or telling someone how to go about their business, but instead I'll say this.

You're preaching to the choir. You're beating a dead horse. WHATEVER. But stop pushing your negative views and bad words about delicious burritos to the ag crowd.

An angry fan of modern agriculture and tasty Mexican food

Thursday, September 12, 2013

How to Write a Thank You Note

You've heard me talk about thank you notes again and again. You may remember this post back in May.

Recently on Pinterest, I came across a list of "how to write a fool-proof thank you note"
Photo courtesy of WeddingsaBeautiful
Photo courtesy of WeddingsaBeautiful

While I think it's a great starting point, you should probably ask yourself few more questions while writing your note.

Is the card nice and appropriate? You don't want to use "wedding" stationary if you're thanking someone for allowing you stay in their home. So if you're not getting married, you might want to avoid white and silver bells on the front of the card. Oh! And if you're not an animal lover, stay away from cute kitties and puppies. Boys - they do make "masculine" thank you notes as well ... just dig a little deeper in the card aisle.
This is a fine example from The Stationary Studio
This is a fine example from The Stationary Studio
Is it personal? Generic is bad when it comes to thank you notes. "Thank you for the gift. It looks really nice" just sucks when you're on the receiving end of the card. Tell me how you're going to use it, and what your favorite part of the event was where we saw each other.

Did you spell everything correctly? They make this thing called whiteout and I use it a lot. Poor grammar and spelling will be caught if you send me a letter. I won't say anything, but I might silently judge you.

Finally, how does the envelope look? Appearance matters. If you spill coffee on the envelope or smudge the ink while writing the address, find a new envelope or at least put a label over it. I understand that mailboxes or USPS carriers cars and bags aren't the cleanest ... but that's unavoidable. Pull your letters together like you would yourself before leaving your house. No mascara running down your face or toothpaste stains right?

Just a few friendly tips from a letter writing fiend!

What other advice do you have?

Until next time,

Saturday, September 7, 2013

3 Reasons

I have been neglecting my blog. It's no secret.

I can't say I'm sorry enough.

But, I have some really good reasons.

1. I've been taking pictures like this in Iowa at Herum Show Cattle, Putz Cattle and Loecke & Holtz.

This guy is Tag 13 at the Spring Branch Round-Up Pasture Bid-Off Sale in Manchester, IA.
This guy is Tag 13 at the Spring Branch Round-Up Pasture Bid-Off Sale in Manchester, IA.

2. Not only have I been taking pictures, I've also been editing videos. LOTS OF VIDEOS. Check out these females at Waukaru in Rensselaer, Ind.

3. I got really, really sunburnt doing all of the above. Thus making me sleepy.

But, I hope to get back to my normal posting schedule.

Thanks for still loving me.

What have I missed since I've been gone?