Things happen…

So I can’t say exactly what it was that made me decide to get back in the saddle of blogging – especially considering it’s been over a year since my last post. It might be the fact that I have a job that inspires me. Or that I live in a town filled with people who inspire. Or maybe that I truly miss writing since I graduated, but honestly it’s probably just the fact that I ACTUALLY have time now that I don’t work and go to school full-time. I promised myself (and you) that I wouldn’t set any silly goal that I will just disappoint myself by not accomplishing. So with that said, here it goes.

After work this evening I found myself in quite the predicament – I mistakenly locked myself out of my house. Now you might be thinking well that is why you have a cell phone (as if I didn’t think of that the instant my door wouldn’t open), but my phone was sitting on the counter right next to my keys. So after waiting awhile for my landlord (also my neighbor) to get home for a spare key, I decided to walk to the neighbors and ask if they had my landlords1 number. After standing on their porch with no answer (and feeling like people thought I was casing the place) I decided to retreat to my porch and just wait. Waiting didn’t last long, as I resorted to attempting to break in with no success, which assured me I would be safe in my house from now on. At this point I was pretty sure I was going to die of frostbite and was imagining myself as one of the Pilgrims trekking across the South Dakota prairie. Then I realized my awful imaginations, were only making the situation worse so I looked around to find the neighbors across the street (whom I have yet to meet) were home, so I made my way across the snow covered road (in my Sperry’s might I add) to knock on some strangers door.

Now you might be thinking, “this is becoming a pretty big waste of my time,” but I promise I have a point. I had to explain to you how I found myself sitting in an elderly couples dining room, eating a warm bowl of chilly and discussing the importance of 4-H and everything that it has brought to us in our lifetimes.

If you know me, you know I am not religious (a decision I stand behind), but you know I believe everything happens for a reason. Things happen to teach a lesson. Things happen to teach us resiliency. Things happen to give us a chance to meet new people. Things happen to prove that this “really is the worst.” Things happen to provide opportunity. Things happen… Life gets you down and will make you feel like “this is the end,” but it’s up to you to figure out why life is being such a bastard.

I’m sure my mom will read this and laugh at my “glass half-full” perspective considering I’m usually a pretty dramatic “this is the end” type of person. But I can tell you one thing, had I not been locked out of my house tonight, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet some of the most kind and generous people.

So instead of being me and contemplating how your death will play out when terrible things happen, consider what you will gain from the situation!

❤ LL

Looking on the Bright Side of Things: Bruner Limousin Cattle Make it Home

My heart continues to throb for all the ranchers who have lost any number of their cattle herds. I can’t imagine the heartache and devastation that they are feeling right now. Pictures have been surfacing on different blogs and websites of the aftermath and clean-up attempts – all of which still bring a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. To be completely honest I don’t know how much longer I can stomach all of the chaos.

So for this post I have decided to look on the bright side of things – and in no way shape or form am I attempting to rub salt in the wounds of those effected by the winter storm “Atlas.”

As some of you may know my mom is engaged to John Bruner, owner of Bruner Limousin in Winfred, SD. During the storm, Bruner Limousin had 40 mother cows and 13 calves in Newell, SD; this was basically in the heart of the storm. The cattle were under the great care of Ron Swan and his family.

The irony of the situation is that during the 3 inches of rain the cattle decided to take it upon themselves and find shelter. This lead them to breaking out of the pasture they were in, Ron saddled up his horse and went to gather the cattle during the downpour. The cows were lucky enough that he had to put them in a pasture behind his single car garage until he could get the fence fixed. The cattle weathered the storm behind a single car garage – and truly this was the reason all of them were able to survive.

Bruner Limousin is exceptionally thankful for all the hard work and diligence that Ron has put into taking care of the cattle. The cattle were able to come home on the Thursday following the storm.

I had been doing very well with the whole “not crying” thing until I came home this weekend and my mom told me the story about the cattle getting here. She said she had told John, “I am going to give the trucker a big hug when he gets here and thank him for bringing my cows home safe.” I can only picture my 5 foot-nothing mom giving a big burly truck driver a hug. After giving him a hug she told the trucker, “I’m going to go hug my cows now!”

My question to you is: how do consumers – and those unknowing to the cattle industry – even think that we don’t care about our animals? This storm has honestly been the center of my families conversation. I have given the cows an extra big hug just for reassurance this visit because you never know what could happen to them.

Raising cattle isn’t a way of profit – it’s a way of life. A love, a passion, and an undying ability to love something so much you would do anything for it. Just as Bruner Limousin’s good friend Mr. Swan did.

So to those who question the intent of the rancher; I ask you – I beg of you – please come spend a day with me and my family taking care of the cattle. You will soon realize there is so much more to this way of life.

Once again, my best regards to those suffering from this tragedy! You are in mine, and the Bruner families, thoughts and prayers!

Enjoy!

❤ LL

I Feel Angry: The Repercussions of Storm “Atlas”

Photo courtesy of Erick in the Woods

Photo courtesy of Erick in the Woods

After the recent tragedy in “West River” South Dakota, I have spent the last couple of days contemplating this post. It hasn’t been a matter of whether or not I care, but more a matter of how exactly do I feel about the whole situation.

For those of you who aren’t aware of the disaster, a record breaking storm – “Atlas” – recently hit western South Dakota, that not only shut down that side of the state, but took the agricultural community by “storm.” For those of you reading this from back on the west coast, we all have summer pastures for our cattle. Well here in South Dakota the summer pasture is in West River. Ranchers essentially weren’t prepared for this storm to come. No one had their cattle off of the summer pastures, because storms of this intensity at this early in the year are very rare. Not only were the ranchers not prepared, but the cattle weren’t either; none of them had the winter hair coats that they usually have during storms of this caliber.

Now, how do I really feel about the situation? Honestly? I feel angry. The kind of five year old angry, that I want to flop myself on the ground and just stomp my feet and scream.

I feel angry…that mother-nature has to be such a b*tch. As if it wasn’t bad enough through out Texas and Oklahoma recently getting hit by a drought that impacted cattle operations, now mother-nature has swept through the Midwest killing what is predicted as tens of thousands of head of cattle. When are we going to get a break?

I feel angry…that the national news is just now picking up on this tragedy. I realize that this isn’t directly effecting humans, such as a tornado hitting Wayne, NE or a Hurricane hitting the east coast, but it effects animals. How is it that something so superficial as a “fluffy cow” caught the attention of the nation, and yet something so devastating as thousands of animals dying from a natural disaster can’t make the headlines? Should Perez Hilton be contacted?

I feel angry…about the people that simply don’t care. Is it not our job to be shepherds of the land? At least that is what people tell me that are strong believers in god. So if we are supposed to be shepherds of the land, shouldn’t we be caring about the animals that provide us with nearly everything we use and consume in a day. Whether people want to admit it or not we DEPEND on cattle. To the cooperate CEO who overlooks his contribution to the cattle industry, you drive a high end car with leather interior. Is that not made from cattle? To the person who doesn’t believe in the slaughter of animals, you drive on roads or perhaps you wear make-up or take birth control. Are those things not from cattle? It is time that people who see themselves as too good for the agricultural community, start seeing themselves as dependent upon us.

I feel angry…that the government had to shut down at such an inconvenient time. Just when the ranching community needs the government the most they aren’t here for us. They have left us high and dry by not passing the farm bill – something that could have assisted farmers in this time of need – and now they have left us even more sunk by shutting down. Ranchers don’t ask for a lot. Most of the time we all just mind our own business and tend to our duties, but it would be nice to have support when we most need it.

I feel angry…that anti-agriculture groups can only find the bad in our industry. Groups such as PETA and HSUS only have their eyes on us when they want to find everything that we do wrong, yet they turn their heads when ranchers are turning out to be the good guys. Some of the personal accounts from the ranchers having to dig their cattle out of snow banks is the most gut wrenching and tear jerking thing possible. It simply goes to show that ranchers LOVE their animals. We wouldn’t do anything to harm them, it isn’t our nature.

I feel angry…that no amount of money can ever fix the emptiness and helplessness of the ranchers. They have worked years, possibly generations, to build their cattle herds. Raising cattle isn’t just a matter of sticking a bull and cow in the same pen and hoping for the best. It’s a matter of endless trials and tribulations trying to find the perfect bull with the perfect EPD’s to breed to the perfect cow. It’s also a matter of waking up at 2 a.m. to A.I. cows and sleepless nights doing calving checks. A lot of blood and sweat goes into operating a cattle ranch, something that no one will understand until they are in the shoes of the ranchers who have lost everything.

Now…I find myself feeling angry because I can’t help the industry that has built me, when they need me most. I don’t have the kind of money to donate to those that will need help rebuilding their operations. I don’t have cattle I can donate to help rebuild herds. I don’t have a truck and trailer to help haul cattle.

What I do have…is the ability to write and spread the word. I have always told myself that I want to be a writer for the agriculture industry because farmers and ranchers are the most silent group of people in the country. Here is my chance to use my voice to address their concern and complete need for assistance.

I realize that being angry won’t fix anything. That is why I have decided to take action by posting this. Please, feel free to share the word. Our ranchers need us, the least we could do is give them support.

Below, is ways that you can help to assist those in need. Every contribution you could make would be greatly appreciated. Like I said early, farmers and ranchers don’t ask for a lot, but at this point in time I am asking for them. They need our help!

Heifers for South Dakota has created a Facebook page that people can visit in order to pledge livestock to those that have nothing left.

Atlas Blizzard Ranch Relief and Aid is also another Facebook group that has committed themselves to raising awareness and funds for those in need.

To donate monetary funds The South Dakota Ranchers Relief Fund has been established. Please click here for more information.

If you are a rancher needing assistance finding lost livestock there is also the South Dakota Cattle Locator Facebook page.

Just remember that being angry will not get us anywhere, but taking action could help the community that needs us most.

With best regards!

❤ LL

5 years of college and countless lessons learned

Hi all,

This week I have been saying “holy crap” to myself, because I think it’s finally setting in that this is my last year in college. Then it’s time to join the real world – but honestly I don’t know what is more real than working 40 hours a week on top of taking 14 to 15 credits. I have decided that the “real world” is going to be a breathe of fresh air from the “hustle and bustle” life I’m living now.

It feels like just yesterday I was bawling my eyes out as I was saying goodbye to my mom and the reality started setting in that I was starting my adventure in a state where I knew no one. I feel like I have come a long ways since those days. I mean I can live on my own and seem to always have enough panties and I don’t catch my place on fire when I cook – those two things are great accomplishments for college students. Oh and did I mention that I rarely eat Ramen noodles? 🙂

So in honor of me finishing up my college career I decided to collaborate a list of things I have learned. Please note that I received assistance from my lovely friend Ainsley Harper – I in fact have never shot beer out of my nose…oh wait I take that back. There was that one time! 🙂

What five years in college will teach you:

  • Drinking is most certainly the reason most college students gain the freshman 15…or 20…or 30.
  • If they don’t drink, they are guaranteed to gain weight from the insanely delicious, yet exceptionally unhealthy union food.
  • Karma is a bitch. Don’t laugh at people who fall on the ice, because you are next!
  • When siting sources for AP always put the credits at the end of the quote…if not you just lost an easy 15 points.
  • Having a friend who dated…and then married…the floor CA will allow for countless nights of celebration.
  • Falling asleep in class will only warrant your professor a reason to make you do a lap around the building.
  • Being a poor college student is not a joke – it’s reality.
  • Eating Mexican food for your birthday supper…not the best idea.
  • When taking a test and the question is “how many compartments are their to a cows stomach” you will almost always forget one of them even though you could repeat them in your sleep…backwards.
  • If you are shot-gunning a beer, don’t laugh because it will come out your nose…and it will burn.
  • Not wearing sweats to class makes you a minority.
  • Attending a school that has a “dry campus” policy doesn’t mean there will be no alcohol…it will just mean that kids will come up with creative ways to sneak it.
  • “Pink slime” is in fact called lean finely textured beef (LFTB) and it is an additive to meat in order to cut the cost.
  • When analyzing an article or a book…you will most likely be wrong in your analysis unless you came up with the most off the wall analysis possible.
  • When being an orientation leader parents and students, will most definitely laugh when you point out the Dyke house during a tour…they will also then ask what it stands for…and you will have no answers. (can you say awkward?)
  • There are seven different C’s to the Social Change Model; collaboration, common purpose, controversy with civility, citizenship, consciousness of self, congruence and commitment.

I’m sure you are saying to yourself, “This girl just payed $50,000 dollars to learn how to drink.” That is the farthest thing from the truth. I have truly learned how to be a proficient and detail oriented writer. I went into college not knowing the difference between a comma and a semi-colon and now I am walking out with the ability to read a newspaper and catch almost every mistake in it. Maybe, editing is where I should be someday, who knows.

What I do know is that college has shaped me into the person I am today. I know what I want out of life and I won’t settle for anything less than that. It has taught me how to do something that I love, writing. It has showed me the true definition of a best friend. It has also taught me how to fail miserably and then how to give a 110 percent the next day.

College doesn’t only teach people science, math and English; it helps them build self character. College truly shapes people into the person they wish to be.

Do you dare to share some of your lessons learned during college? I would love to hear some, whether they are drinking stories or a mathematical equation! 🙂

Enjoy!

❤ LL

Blog etiquette

Hi all,

Just wanted to address a few things before I got to writing more in-depth and opinionated posts.

I have two promises that I would like to be made – we can call this a terms of agreement. 🙂

I promise to you, the reader, that I will try my hardest not to offend any race, religious belief, culture or political party. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have opinions and that I won’t be sharing them, but I won’t slander others in order to get my point across.

I hope that you, the reader, can make a promise to me to do the same. I realize that you won’t agree with everything I say and I am completely open to your opinion. That is what will make this a discussion, not just me blubbering on. I also hope that we can have discussions in a mature and professional manner. If comments do get out of hand (ex. racism, swear words, slander etc.) I will refer you back to this very post! 🙂

I also plan on posting a lot of things about agriculture and the livestock industries and I realize those are two industries that have been getting a lot of heat. If you ever have any questions about why things are done, or want me to clear up some things that you may have heard, I will do my best. If I can’t answer something, I will refer you to someone who I know that can.

I am truly using this as a way to improve my writing skills, give future employers a place to see my work and also to connect with not only the people of the agricultural industry, but also the consumer.

“There exist limitless opportunities in every industry. Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.” – Charles Kettering

Enjoy!

❤ LL

L.ove Livestock Welcomes You

Hi all,

I just wanted to give everyone an introductory post now that my blog has changed locations.

As most of you know my name is Hilary Risner, and if you didn’t know that now you do. I am originally from Oregon and California. My parents are in fact divorced and I was able to gain an exceptional amount of knowledge from both of them. I spent most of my younger years living in Oregon with my mom and visiting my dad on the weekends in California. My mom has always been highly passionate about horses. I most certainly gained my creativity and attention to detail from her. My dad raised cattle and put up hay in California. I have had the best of both worlds.

I started showing cattle in third grade, when my mom took me to the Josephine county fair, in Grants Pass, Oregon, to watch a friend show. From there my passion grew from a girl who led a slicked out heifer in the show ring, because that is what we did with horses, to a girl who loves the show cattle industry dearly.

One of my steers, Maximillian (he was Italian), for the fair.

One of my steers, Maximillian (he was Italian), for the fair. hehe

In 2009 I made the big move to South Dakota in order to attend college at SDSU. I am pursuing a degree in Ag. Communications. This will be my last year.

My friend Tiffany and I at our first SDSU football game! #gojacks

My friend Tiffany and I at our first SDSU football game! #gojacks

Everyone asks what I want to do once I graduate. I really hope to be able to start doing freelance work for different livestock publications, along with some travel and culture magazines. I would love to be a livestock events coordinator, but those dreams seem pretty far-fetched at this point.

I am a feisty red-head, who has a passion for good fashion and an undying desire to travel. I love the agricultural industry with all my heart and I hope that I can share that love through the words that I write with my readers. Turquoise is most certainly my favorite color. I’m currently in love with peacock feathers and their color scheme. I love great food and I’m willing to try anything once.

My family means the world to me. Which leads me to explain how I came about the name for my blog. As some know my mom’s name is Lisa and her last name is Ove. If you put her first initial “L” and her last name “Ove” together you get “L.ove.” Everything that I do is branded with that name “L.ove Livestock” so it should be easy to find me.

My mom and fiancé, John Bruner at his annual bull sale.

My mom and fiancé, John Bruner at his annual bull sale.

I have a border collie named, Wyatt. He was a payment from some people who I did some clipping on cattle for. The payment was far better than money itself; we have been attached ever since.

Wyatt and I, puppy love!

Wyatt and I, puppy love!

I can’t think of anything else that you would be dying to know at this point, but if you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Enjoy!

❤ LL

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and Fond Memories

Hey all,

On Sunday I had decided I wanted to make something yummy for everyone to enjoy, my mom suggested a pineapple upside-down cake because she had everything for it. It turned out great – they guys even approved – even though I wasn’t quite sure what dissolving brown sugar looked like.

Here are some pictures of the process, followed by the recipe that I used:

Getting the ingredients together.

Getting the ingredients together.

Placing the pineapples and cherries into the syrup.

Placing the pineapples and cherries into the syrup.

Mixing

Mixing

Bon Appetite!

Bon Appetite!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake – The Fannie Farmer Cookbook
14 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups dark-brown sugar
1/4 c + 2 Tbs pineapple juice
7 whole pineapple rings
7 whole maraschino cherries
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the over to 400 degrees F. Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter in an ovenproof skillet or an 8- or 9-inch cake pan. Stir in the brown sugar and continue to stir over low heat until it dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the pineapple juice. Arrange the pineapple rings and maraschino cherries in one layer in the pan; set aside. Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons butter in a small pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk and egg, beating well. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and granulated sugar in a bowl, then add the milk-egg mixture and beat until smooth. Pour over the pineapple slices and bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate, fruit side up. Serve with whipped cream, if you wish.

*My mom and I discussed we liked our cake to have more of the syrup, to make it moist, so some of the amounts of the ingredients have been changed from the original recipe.

As I was making the cake I got to giggling because there is a running joke in my family about me making a pineapple upside down cake with my grandma. I was very young, and of course I thought I knew how to do everything, and my grandma told me to drizzle the butter. Me being “Miss Sass” I just dumped the butter right out of the bowl. My grandma whips around after realizing what I had done and screeches “Hilary don’t you know what drizzling the butter means?”

I can honestly say that this was the first time my grandma had ever so much as raised her voice at me. At the time I was horrified and promised myself that I either would never do anything that required drizzling again or I needed to take a class on this strange technique. I never made another pineapple upside down cake until today and yes I was successful at drizzling the butter today.

I am sure my grandma thinks that she scarred me for life, which is the farthest from true. Reminiscing, I can say that some of my greatest moments were with my family in the kitchen. Whether it was just my mom and I rocking out to the Dixie Chicks, or when my mom and grandma – with my supervision of course – would make homemade raviolis. The kitchen is where I have my fondest memories, may it be learning how to drizzle the butter or me singing into a spoon with my mom on air guitar.

So you tell me, where is one place that holds the best memories for you?

Enjoy!

❤ LL

Change of location

Hi all,

I decided to move my blog from it’s original location at tumblr. I recently read an article about the bad reputation tumblr is getting from different inappropriate posts such as; porn, online dating, etc. I read a blog by Megan Brown, located here (which you all should check out), and enjoyed the layout of WordPress better. I am hoping to start blogging more regularly and hope that you all keep up with my posts.

Enjoy!

❤ LL