Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Happy Ag Day!
Help Fund Agriculture using Harvest Funders!

My husband and I proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow ranching and farming families world-wide. After just a few days on the ranch back when we moved here, I quickly realized I had stepped into unfamiliar territory – a whole new (ranching) world. After a few weeks on the ranch, I fell in love with the lifestyle and our passion for the industry was born.

I was amazed at the hard work and commitment that surrounded me on the ranch and throughout rural Colorado. One thing I love about the agriculture community is the friendship that is amoung us all - it's an unspoken bond and many are willing to share their ranching woes with those they know can relate. After becoming part of the Agriculture industry in 2009, we met several ranchers in our local community that were being denied agriculture loans and having a hard time getting funding for improvments for their ranch.

After discussing the need for funding in our industry, we realized this was not just a problem in our community, but a national problem and it was at that time that Harvest Funders, LLC was founded.
Welcome to the NEW funding!
Crowdfunding is the idea of having large amounts of people pledge small amounts of money to an idea or "campaign" of their choice making the idea a reality for the campaign creator.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are examples of crowdfunding and currently dominate the crowdfunding world by offering a great service and platform for individuals to get their idea, business, project, art and many other projects funded.
 

Why not Agriculture?
This is the question my husband asked just over a year ago when his cousin Ryan Hayes (who is one half of Midas Whale) got funding for their first music album using Kickstarter.com. You might have seen and heard (and very likely fell in love with) them on The Voice, too!

Crowdfunding has become very popular and is truly a great option for someone who has a unique idea, or a need for something that is important to their business. Most farmers and ranchers aren’t aware of this platform for funding – it’s a completely untapped resource for the agriculture community!

We all have causes we like to donate toward. Typically, you donate your money toward an organization that has had some sort of impact on your life; something that interests you. If you eat, then you are (or should be) interested in the future of farming. Once projects start going on Harvest Funders I am positive you will find a campaign on the site you want to contribute to,  that is if you aren't already running a project of your own! 

Harvest Funders is born.
Today, after lots of thought, research and surveying, late nights and testing, my husband Jesse has launched Harvest Funders, LLC and the site is now LIVE. This is a crowdfunding site specifically for the agricultural community! Any farmer or rancher can go to www.harvestfunders.com, create a project and begin raising money! The project does need to be related to the agricultural industry, but I know hundreds of farmers and ranchers that can use funds to improve their ranch or farm.

I would love to see my fellow blogger friends use this resource for a project on their operation! Please let me know if you have questions or would like more information.

Here is a quick and easy breakdown of how it all works. It's really as easy as 1-2-3-4.
 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Update and a Gingerbread House

Hi, All!

We've been busy since my last post! Busy = good! Busy = moving forward. :)

We started our new journey with our first holiday gathering in our new home! In year's past, it's been quite busy with ranch responsibilities around this time of year and so, we were never really able to "get into" the holidays.

Our house was full of family, (food) and a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving day.

Our Thanksgiving was followed by a wonderful trip to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Talk about falling in love with the South.

We met our Kentucky friends while on a vacation in Mexico a few years ago. We traveled to Mexico together the next year and were really good about keeping in touch throughout the year and across the miles. They brought a precious baby into the world this year, so they had to pass on our annual Mexico trip, but Jesse and I decided to take Mexico to them! While we didn't greet them with sombreros and maracas, we sure did have a wonderful trip visiting the nearby tourist attractions including the Maker's Mark Distillery. We enjoyed their favorite places to shop; one place was called, Heartstrings and it blew my mind away! We had lunch at Chaney's Diary Barn and had dinner at a new spot named, Fetta Specialty Pizza.
I hope you have friendships in your life that you absolutely thrive on and that inspire you to be better people. I left Kentucky feeling full on life, friendship and energized to craft! My friend, Brit runs the Young Love Decor shop on Etsy and I forced her to let me lend a hand on a few orders.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/YoungLoveDecor
She makes the cutest wreaths; which brings me to my next thought...

The wreath presence in the south is insane. Wreaths on cars, wreaths on doors, wreaths in every window, wreaths on wreaths. I fell in love with these and it's safe to say I have a new obsession; came home and made myself a wreath.

We got back from Kentucky with about two weeks to prepare for our first Annual Holiday Gathering.
Since Jesse and I married I always wanted to have holiday parties and now that we have our beautiful home, I can make this a reality.

Our holiday party was complete with cookies, conversation and games! I probably sound a little biased when I say it was a blast, but really...I think it was!
Kleenex and Oreo Minute-To-Win-It Games were a blast. I also threw in a Christmas Quiz.

We've been keeping busy with friends and enjoying this holiday season and spent Christmas at home. We slept in, made a nice brunch and partook in our family Gingerbread building contest. Jesse and I thought we had the "win" in our pocket until we saw his sister's!  Our's didn't even come close to her's so I'll spare the picture of ours and just share with you, theirs.

From my corner of the blogosphere to yours - I hope you had the merriest of Christmas days and have a safe and fun new year celebration in store!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hooves on the asphalt. {the final trail.}

The last trail started with a 5am wake-up call (that probably should have been 4:30am, but I needed as much sleep as I could get), shoveling yogurt in my mouth and braiding my hair with my eyes closed. Oh, and how can I forget? The morning also included a 23 degree reading of the outside temperature gauge. These things started my mental list of things I won't miss however, just weeks from this trail that has become the Things I Already Miss List. 

I fussed about which hat to wear, and asked Jesse if I'd be warm enough in just a few layers. Also, of course the last trail is the FIRST trail that I remember to put some extra toilet paper squares in my jean pockets and remembered the bag balm for my lips!

Our wonderfulfantasticsupportiveawesome friends, Lorelyn and Trav came through our front door with smiles of support and excitement right on time and ready to go! Yes, we know how blessed we are to have friends that sacrifice their weekend and wake up at 4:30am to chase sheep 12 miles on foot! I'm telling you...these people are awesome.

We met our sheepherders at camp. They are ready to go and sadly didn't get much sleep with such cold temperatures on the eve of an emotional trail. It took us about 45 minutes to load their sleeping gear, the dogs and other items in the truck and the first sheep hit the road at 7:07am. We were off!

The first few miles Lorelyn and I front flagged together. As usual, I waited for the call on the radio that I was needed in the back. I dread that call, but I also love this call. It reminds me that I am needed and play (or played, rather) an important part in it all. This is when I have to get into marathon/professional sheep trailer mode and channel my inner mountain goat because I will be climbing up and down the sides of mountains chasing sheep and pushing them along.

I flank to the back of the large herd and the sheep just keep coming. There were so many more this year because a local sheep herder's sheep mixed with our herd while they were on the mountain so we were trailing a lot more than usual. As my wooly little friends walk past me, I take a few minutes to just appreciate it all. I took special notice of the sun glistening on their backs, the unique bleating of each and every one of these four-legged animals, I listened to their breathing and my heart smiled at each of the little lambs who managed to stick right next to their moms this far in to the trail.

I took special notice of their hooves on the asphalt and how it sounds like a rainstorm on a metal roof. This will be the last time I ever do this. Ever. After I take it in, I start sheep talking and walking and try to forget the tears welling up in my eyes.
Just before the picture above was taken a sheeptrailing angel (also known as one of our really neatsupercool friends) came to our rescue and offered up some coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. I asked her a few days before this day if she would be interested in taking some pictures of us trailing since it's close to impossible for me to catch any decent ones while running along the trail. She happily agreed and later gave us hundreds of photos to sift through and look back at. We will cherish these photos forever. The coffee, tea, hot chocolate and the use of her bike to help move traffic through the sheep were just added bonuses. Nice to know that we had been doing it all wrong all these years! Shoulda invested in a bike with a bell. Worked like a charm. ;)
 
We have some darn awesome friends, I tell you. Awesome.

When I was going through all the photos we got of this trail I stopped at this one and decided it was my favorite of all. I am so proud of this man and am so glad he'll get to take it a little easier on his body now - ranching is no joke, folks. I'm especially excited for him to be able to sleep in every now and again.

We finally made it to the major intersection of the trail. This is when the rest of the family met up to help. I see my mother in law with the grand-kids, my sister in law at the West side of the light stopping cars and my father in law on the East stopping cars. I stop and hug my mother-in-law (the sweetest, most genuine woman alive) and get a little teary eyed. She enthusiastically reminded me, "It's a good day!" and while I tried really hard to fight the tears a part of me wished this sheep herding thing would have worked out a little differently for our family. I had to remind myself of all the things that lead us to the decision we made and move forward.

I hurry over to my niece and nephew, give them kisses and snap a picture...if they don't remember this day, I'll show them this picture. You were there on the last day of a beautiful family tradition.

Just a few moments later the sheep are crossing through the intersection that we all are anxious to get through safely.
Now, it's the homestretch....
We keep the doggies in the trailer and off the road for their safety. If they don't look happy in this picture, it's because they aren't..they want to be with their sheep.
It wasn't long before we were heading down our county road which is all of our favorite part of the trail. Have I mentioned that we live in such a beautiful area? ;)

Just a mile from the house I picked up my nephew and he helped me trail the sheep to the ranch. The 4 hour and 45 minute trail went by pretty fast although, my knees weren't saying that the next day.
It was a bittersweet moment for all, but it is so exciting to close this wonderful chapter and begin a new one. 

It's been just over a month since this final trail and while there is no doubt in our minds we did the right thing, we are sure missing our furry friends that have enriched our lives over the past years. We will never forget them and I personally owe them so much for teaching me patience, love, loyalty and most of all to enjoy all of the beautiful things this world has to offer, especially God's creatures. 

This story isn't over folks, I feel like it's just the beginning.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Tribute to a fallen farmer.


"It seems to me that farming communities all over the country may still hold the key to what makes this country a shining beacon in a world of trouble."

Read about a beautiful tribute to a fellow farmer and friend here.

Photographs by Matt Rubel