Category Archives: Thoughts

Choice Hotels

Years ago, i decided to patronize Choice hotels and i’m seldom disappointed based on price -in other words – you get what you pay for. I quickly decided against Rodeway Inns after too many bad experiences, though there were a couple good ones. Econolodge, the same, with the exception of the one in Walnut, IA. Wow, i was impressed. On the upper end of the chain, there have never been any issues.

Downloading their app makes it super easy to search and book whilst on the road. A points program pays for a free night once in a while.

Having been a former travel consultant and being on a few FAMs and site inspects, i automatically have a critical eye to detail, yet i feel i can still give some wiggle room based on the location of the hotel and the price.

The only kicker i have with Choice Hotel properties is the breakfast which is included. They have the same level of quality or lack thereof so it is clear that individual properties have no choices in whether or not to use fresh products from local producers. This would be, in my opinion, a huge selling point for the hotel as well as provide a huge upgrade in tastiness and healthfulness with possible little to no price increase. Can you imagine coming down to a breakfast of eggs from pastured hens?! Or freshly made pastry and biscuits? With real butter, natural yoghurt, and real milk. Okay, most states won’t allow real milk.

Honestly, getting paid to do site inspects and making helpful suggestions might be a really fun thing to do. Maybe i need to see if there is such a job.

A few things i look for:

3) Dust should NOT be present anywhere in the room, including the ledge of the shower stall.

4) Toilet paper should always roll from over the top and have a fold in the end.
For goodness sakes, if you are going to paint, take down the wall hangings first – painting around is very noticeable and indicates a lack of care and consideration to guests.

Now, those are a few things, but others include:

1) an indication that someone sat on a made bed

2) of course a coffee maker, refrigerator, and microwave not cleaned and/or contain leftovers from a previous use. Yuck! Years ago, the boys and i stayed in another brand hotel in Kingsville, Texas and found a huge pastry (we think) in the microwave with half inch thick mold!!! Haven’t forgotten that experience.

None of these cost even a penny! Why not do it right?

I typically overlook wear and tear and focus more on cleanliness, comfort, and good repair unless the wear and tear can keep cleaning from being effective, Wear and tear is more present in smaller communities and less expensive properties where some upgrades simply can’t be afforded.

For the LOVE of Horses

Since i was not much more than a toddler, i’ve loved horses, loved riding them, showing them in local shows, mustering in cattle (that’s my favorite), training, and trail riding. In junior high and high school, i was so crazy about horses that my nickname was ‘horsey’!

This neat article is published in the most recent issue of Rural Missouri. I studied this guy because he is from my home town, Mexico, Missouri.

For the Love of Horses

The extraordinary life of rider and trainer Tom Bass

Rural Missouri Page 40

Rural Missouri Page 42

Peanut Butter

Today, in my miserable state of drugginess, coughing, swollen red itchy eyes, hair hurts, joints hurt, crankiness, can’t sleep, can’t stay awake, stuck inside, except to do a few short chores then come back inside to recover from ragweed allergies, i spent some time trying to find some peanut butter that is made in the USA from peanuts grown and roasted in the USA. I’ve never seen any in the grocery stores, but thought surely there is something out there. Come to find out – not much!

I’ve ordered from Georgia Grinders today and plan to call another producer, Snider Farms Peanut Barn in Hillis, Oklahoma on Monday since i can’t figure out their online ordering situation.

Read the ingredients on peanut butter – you will often be surprised by what is included! I want only peanut butter or peanut butter with a pinch of salt. No corn syrup, no palm oil, no sugar, nothing but peanuts. And now, i’m really cranking down to insist that the peanuts are sourced in the United States and the butter is produced at a small family business.

What kind of peanut butter do you buy? if any. How did you choose the brand you’ve selected?

Shabbat Shalom!

tauna

Gorgeous photo by Harvard Medical School

Lawlessness

In the United States, from what we see on the tv, there is increasing lawlessness – rioting with burning, destroying, murdering, hurting – mostly, it seems in the big cities.  Thankfully, none of that in our part of the world is showing, though, we occasionally get some bad stuff going on.  Always seems to run its course when the perpetrators grow up, get a life, and quit being selfish snowflakes.  (also, the coppers getting in there and ferreting them out!)  But in the meantime, sometimes cattle are let out, combines destroyed, vehicles are stolen, inside of new homes being built are trashed, and multiple fires set to old buildings and piles of hay.

But, i hope that we never get to the point that others will attack and kill you for a coat they fancy, or a nice piece of jewelry or a sweet camera.  Yes, there are some countries in which this happens in broad daylight.  Tourists need to take care as to what they are wearing and displaying to avoid being accosted.

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This lovely hand made necklace is a gift from my daughter which she purchased from a crafts lady in DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 2013 when she traveled with and as a guest of our dear friends Clement and her new husband Patrick.  They live in Kinshasa, but Jessica was able to spend time on Clement’s mom’s farm outside of the city.  

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Hand crafted necklace and matching bracelet.  No real monetary value, but a treasured gift from our friends’ home land.  Nevertheless, i wouldn’t wear this in a public and dangerous place – especially as a tourist.

Already Dead

Already Dead –

By Kit Pharo

Henry Ford once said, “The man who is too set to change is dead already.   The funeral is a mere detail.”   I had to read that quote a couple of times before I fully understood how powerful it is – and how appropriate it is to the current beef industry.   You may have to do the same thing.

I want you to think back to the drastic changes that were taking place when Henry Ford made this bold statement.   The horse and buggy were being replaced by automobiles.   Draft horses were being replaced by tractors.   For many people, these changes were beyond comprehension.   If you and I lived during that time period, there is an excellent chance we would have been extremely reluctant to accept those changes.

People hate change!   Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the cow-calf sector of the beef industry.   It often takes two or three decades for cow-calf producers to make simple changes – even though they know the change will be for their own good.   Some changes are not possible until one generation gives way to the next.   As stated in the leadoff article of our Summer 2020 Newsletter, many family businesses advance one funeral at a time.   If you don’t think this is true, you are living in la-la land.

Cow-calf producers who think they can continue to do things the way they have always done them need to WAKE UP and smell the coffee.   As Henry Ford said, “Those who are too set to change are already dead.   The funeral is a mere detail.”   Are you already dead?   I hope not.   It’s not too late to make the necessary changes in your program and genetics – but time is of the essence.   Nothing stays the same.   It’s Time to Change Horses!

Jim Gerrish puts it all together!

Here is a podcast Jim did with Charlie Arnott when he and Dawn were in Australia earlier in the year. Charlie is a biodynamic farmer/grazier located in New South Wales who also produces podcasts related to regenerative ag, human health, and an array of other current topics.

This serious yet lighthearted conversation covers a lot of ground. We hope you choose to listen & enjoy it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orRLYqSQQEM

 

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In this episode Charlie chats to the American grazier and educator Jim Gerrish. Jim takes us on his regenerative journey and recalls the moment, when he realised that the aroma of freshly turned/ ploughed ground he had always liked growing up was in fact the smell of the earth dying…this proved to be the turning point in his life. Jim’s journey is a captivating one which touches on human health & diet, food definitions, changing farm practices and a whole lot more. To start a dialogue and converse more about topics raised in this podcast, please visit The Regenerative Journey podcast Facebook group. Episode Takeaways We don’t need feedlots. We just need people who have grazing management skills to take a pasture and turn it into delightful beef | In research we don’t call it a cow pie/cow pat, it’s a SEE…a Single Excretory Event! | We don’t need new knowledge, we need to be applying what we already know | The whole idea that beef cattle are destroying the environment is only tied to feedlot phase of it | The methane thing is a real red herring with grazing cattle, feedlots it’s a problem. It’s the production model not the ruminant animals that are the problem | Grass feeds the grass, grass feeds the soil, then grass can feed the livestock| Human health is intrinsically linked to soil health. Links Jim Gerrish – American Grazing Lands LLC Maia Grazing – Grazing management tool Dr. James Anderson – Scottish agriculturist in 1700’s Diana Rodgers – Sustainable Dish Sacred Cow – Film project led by Diana Rodgersint

Start Somewhere

Paul Marchant hits it out of the park with great story telling to address the current issues from a ranching perspective.  Rural United States and perhaps rural worldwide is more concerned with carrying on, building, and improving lives vs destroying lives.

Irons in the fire: Start somewhere

Paul Marchant for Progressive Cattle Published on 24 June 2020

Way back when I was in grade school, one of the biggest events of the year was the science fair for the fifth- and sixth-graders.

Every kid in the school walked through and watched and listened to the presentations one afternoon during a designated school day, and parents and the public attended that evening. From the time I was in kindergarten and walked through my first science fair, I knew what subject I wanted when I got my turn in what seemed to be the far-off future.

Beef cows were always my passion, so when I got my chance as an eager and geekishly charming sixth-grader, I put my whole heart into the project. I had my script memorized and my presentation technique as polished as a northern Arizona turquoise necklace. (If only I’d had such zeal as a less-than-stellar college student.)

It was back in the day when Herfies still ruled the world. I could tell you all about Warren Gammon and how he developed the Polled Hereford breed. I loved the story of the King Ranch Gerts and how they laid claim to the title of first true American breed. Continental cattle were just starting to make some real noise, and I was enthralled with the novelty and the variety they offered. But perhaps the philosophy which most intrigued me was that of Tom Lasater as he worked to develop the Beefmaster breed, with his “six essential” traits and the proclamation that hide color doesn’t matter when the T-bone is on the platter.

To this day, I still haven’t been around a lot of Beefmaster cattle, but we did have one Beefmaster cow that came with a load of cows we bought out of southern Utah 25 or so years ago. Coincidentally, one of her calves was the first 4-H show steer of my oldest son, the first of somewhere around 100 4-H and FFA steer projects we went through. (I haven’t done all the math, but the first part of the equation is five kids.) He was a moderate, stout, square-made chunk whose solid color and lack of any extra sheath, ear or brisket belied his bottom-side pedigree and thus spared him any prejudice which he may have otherwise been subjected to in the show ring. That particular steer ended up fourth place overall in a big, competitive county fair show, and he was at the top end when he hung on the rail, as well.

I always figured the relative success of that little black steer kind of validated old Tom Lasater’s philosophies. But frankly, with the way the world’s spinning these days, I think I’m just confused. Who would have guessed a simple ranch-raised calf out of an average old Beefmaster cow and by a nondescript Limousin bull would admirably compete in the beauty contest and still hang a high-Choice, Yield Grade 2 carcass? If that little steer had shown a little more of his mama’s heritage in his hair color, his ear or his dewlap, in all likelihood he would not have stood at the top end of his class. Would that have diminished his value, regardless of what was under his hide?

It’s a tricky question, one you’re probably a little leery of answering, especially if you’re unsure of who may be listening. It can be answered in more than one way. Sure, his value is diminished to the exhibitor if he’s buried at the bottom of the class, gets a red ribbon and sells at the end of the sale order. But wait, there’s more. To the floor buyer who gets that calf at a dollar or two below market and sees the premiums add up because of a superior carcass, he’s worth a lot more than the winner of class 3 that turned out to be a Select dark cutter.

Now, kids, ladies and gents, there’s much to be learned here. For starters, if you want to learn how to handle disappointment, jump into the world of youth livestock shows on any level. It’s more frustrating than golfing with a stick. The good ones can win and the good ones can lose. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. It’s fun to win and it’s good to know you can survive losing.

I wanted this to be about more than a cute story about my grade school science fair or my kid’s first steer. I wanted it to be more than a quaint life lesson about winning and losing and handling disappointment. I wanted to sum up human sociology and race relations and what’s right and what’s wrong with the world in a neat little 900-word package by simply telling you it’s what’s inside that really matters, you can’t judge a book by its cover, and we can overcome what ails us.

But I can’t. I couldn’t do it in 900 pages or 900 volumes of 900-page books. I, like you I suppose, am angry and confused and tired and overwhelmingly sad over so many things and so many people. Such times can make us prone to despair. But please don’t give in to despair. I can’t fix Chicago or Minneapolis, but I can fix the gate in the north 40, and I can be decent to my family and my friends and those in my corner of the world. I can start somewhere. So can you. end mark

Paul Marchant is a cowboy and part-time freelance writer based in southern Idaho. Follow him on Twitter, or email Paul Marchant.

Paul Marchant