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Be happy, spread sunshine

The other day I was shopping for groceries and, as usual, I had to go to several stores to get all the items on my list. The temperature was in the high 90s and I was crabby and hot. Then in the stores I had to wear a mask and I was sick and tired of putting on and taking off my glasses because they kept fogging up.

So finally at the last stop, I was hot, sweaty, tired and grumpy. There were two people in front of me. One was a woman who seemed very nice and was chatty with the cashier who was also upbeat and was happy to have someone to talk to. Yes, it took a while for her to get checked out, but it wasn’t anything that I hadn’t experienced before in a grocery store line.

The man in front of me was furious and you could see it in his movement. He had a basket for his groceries and after he unloaded it, he put it on the floor right in front of me. So, I picked it up and put it in the proper place.

Then he got to the cashier and was asked how his experience was in a pleasant voice. He angrily declared that the cashier was too slow.

The cashier apologized and told the angry man that if he wanted to he could complain to his superiors. The man just grumbled under his breath, gathered his groceries and left.

The cashier was visibly upset and told me he was sorry it was so slow.

I immediately told him that I thought he was very efficient and friendly, and said many customers appreciate being able to chat. I told him that maybe the woman ahead of the grumpy guy lived alone and the only time she got out was going to the grocery story.

He perked up and we talked about the grumpy guy and how you just can’t please everyone. Before I left, I gave him a thumb’s up and said he was the best cashier ever. The smile on his face made my day.

Sometimes in the middle of this pandemic it’s hard to stay upbeat but that’s no excuse to drag others into our dark moods.

Grocery store clerks are on the front lines, risking their lives to make sure that we can get food and other necessary items. They deserve our support just like other essential workers and probably get paid much less than others.

At a time when we all probably have a right to be grouchy, lets not let on to others that we are unhappy. There are many others who have more reason to be grouchy or down than ourselves. So as the song goes, “Spread sunshine all over the place, and put on a happy face.” ❖

Show up for Victoria’s Facebook page

We are not ashamed of running yet another story, an update, on the situation with Ellen Kessler, the animal activist who has been appointed to the Colorado State Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Our efforts to stop this appointment are so important especially as now she has targeted 4-H youth, saying that 4-H clubs, “teach children that animal lives don’t matter.”

I just read a story on AgDaily about Victoria Banks, a member of a 4-H club in Michigan who started a Facebook page to share her 4-H projects and activities with others.

The page is called Victoria’s 4-H Page and recently one of her friends shared a photo of Victoria and her hog Tequila to a group called Vegan Revolution.

As you can imagine Victoria’s page was flooded with negative comments, which Victoria’s mother described as “aggressive, demeaning, vulgar, hateful and disgusting.”

In other words, the animal activists were bullying a 14-year-old at a time when bullying is being blamed for many pre-teen and teen suicides.

Luckily they messed with the wrong person this time.

Although her parents were skeptical, Victoria decided to keep her page pubic because she respects others opinions and is not ashamed about anything that she does and has nothing to hide.

“Everyone has different opinions, and I never said that anyone’s opinion is wrong because it is not like mine. Not allowing people to express them is wrong,” Victoria said in the AgDairy article. “I respect everyone for their opinion but was never rude to those who believe differently than I do.”

So just as all of you supported our #showingup for rural Colorado campaign, let’s share that support for Victoria on her Facebook page Victoria’s 4-H Page.

Let’s let her know that she is not alone and that her courage and convictions in the face of this onslaught from animal activists is appreciated.

In other news, the mail disruption is killing chicks. According to the Portland Press Herald, at least 4,800 dead chicks have been received in Maine. Maybe the animal rights people should turn their attention to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and quit bullying 14 year olds.

P.S. Let’s keep our thoughts and prayers with the firefighters and others working to keep wildfires under control and the people who are impacted by these disasters. Also, there are many people, mostly volunteers, housing and feeding people and animals displaced by the fires. ❖

https://www.facebook.com/victoria4H

Burger King edits controversial video

Well farmers and ranchers, if you thought that your voices are never heard, think again.

Burger King is rethinking its tongue-in-check, inaccurate ad about the amount of methane released by farting and burping cows.

The company is consulting with Frank Mitloehner, University of California air quality Extension specialist in the department of animal science, and other beef industry experts to determine a way forward.

Also, according to Michelle Miller, who many of you may know as the Farm Babe, the creator of the ad and Burger Kings’ chief marketing officer will visit her beef farm in Iowa to learn more about beef production and highlight the work of farmers.

“They (Burger King) said they want to continue cattle-feed-sustainability research but want to run future marketing campaigns past myself and other experts in agriculture before releasing future footage,” Miller wrote.

That’s a huge move for Burger King and I, for one, will be looking forward to their next marketing efforts. With a name like Burger King, you really need to be more careful to not bite the hand that feeds you.

I also hope that other businesses will learn from this debacle.

CHARLIE DANIELS REMEMBERED

To totally change the subject, I want to convey my condolences to the family of Charlie Daniels, who died recently at the age of 83.

I was reading all these great stories about the musician, his patriotism and his non-profit Journey Home Project that has raised more than $1 million for veterans and veteran-related projects. He also opened the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center at Middle Tennessee University.

I remember Charlie Daniels fondly when, in the aftermath of the 1997 flood that nearly destroyed Grand Forks, N.D., and East Grand Forks, Minn., he gave a free concert in the Walmart parking lot.

That’s the kind of a guy he was. Rest in peace Charlie. ❖

‘Anti-Burger King’: Here we go again

What bird-brained, animal activist came up with the latest Burger King (or should I say Anti-Burger King) commercial? Not to mention their use of children to carry their flawed message?

I can just see those ad executives sitting around a table in a boardroom in a high-rise in New York City. At lunchtime they go out to eat at a fancy steakhouse (after all steaks don’t come from cows, do they?). After exiting the building they are met by the noise of scores of cars, trucks, semis and trains on the streets below. The traffic noise doesn’t bother the execs because they have become accustomed to it over several years. They can smell the pollution that is spewed by many of those vehicles but that’s to be expected in the big city. The traffic sounds are joined by the sounds of jackhammers breaking up pavement and cement to fix roads and sidewalks, or to build new and bigger high-rise buildings, streets and sidewalks.

After lunch the execs meet back in the boardroom to create their new commercial for Burger King. One said he recently saw some information that cow’s burps and farts have a negative impact on climate change. Then they find some obscure research about how feeding cows lemongrass cuts methane emissions from cattle by 33 percent. The jury is still deliberating on that so-called research. See more of that in Rachel Gabel’s article starting on page 6.

All of the sudden the room is energized and the execs, many have never seen a cow or a farm in their life, decide they will focus on climate change and change the name of the Impossible Burger to Whopper with Reduced Methane Emissions Beef. And, that the company will only use beef from cattle fed lemongrass, which sounds so idyllic, doesn’t it?

Another executive, who spends too much time on social media, suggests they use the WalMart Yodeler, Mason Ramsey, to carry the message, which will surely resonate with other young people.

After becoming a viral sensation, Ramsey gushed to Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, about how he flew on an airplane to the show and got to ride in a big black limousine to the studio. Hmmm, no greenhouse gas emissions released during that trip, not.

Warning Mason, if you want to be a yodeling, environmental superstar, you might want to practice what you preach.

In the meantime, the ad execs are pretty proud of their creation and they take it to the Burger King bigwigs, again many of who have never seen a cow or a farm, and they excitedly put their stamp on the ad and next thing you know the ad shows up on the internet, and here we are once again trying to forge through myths and misinformation about cattle and methane. ❖

Back in Colorado

I’m back in Colorado and I feel like I’ve been transported into the future. That’s because our internet service here in Greeley, while not the best, is way better than what I was dealing with in North Dakota.

Every morning I would get up and try to find my hot spot on the phone, which would take anywhere from 10 minutes to a half-hour.

The service was so slow I would type in a word and it would take five minutes for the word to show up. Then the internet would just stop and I couldn’t get any work done.

At one point my husband drove the RV to the Walmart parking lot in town so I could get some work done. That didn’t work, either. I guess that story about Walmart offering free internet service was fake news.

Luckily my coworkers were able to help me out when I couldn’t get something done.

We were supposed to spend two weeks in North Dakota, but after a week we were ready to get back to Colorado.

Other than putting together a magazine, I did get the RV cleaned out. My husband had been using it as a traveling toolbox, and every cupboard and drawer was filled with tools. Not anymore.

As I mentioned in my last editor’s note, we were inundated. In some of the areas that received 10 inches of rain, roads were washed out, homes were surrounded by water and I’m pretty sure out neighbor had water in his garage. Even though it is dry in western North Dakota, all of what some people call prairie potholes, are full of water. There are many rural homes that are now lake-front property.

Then there is Colorado, where drought conditions have had devastating effects on farms and ranches. The story that starts on Page 6 in this week’s magazine is about drought conditions in southeast Colorado.

I wish we had a pipeline so we could send water from North Dakota to Colorado. Seems to me if we can ship oil in a pipeline from Alaska to the lower 48, we should be able to move water the same way.

In Devils Lake, N.D., where the lake has no outlet, then-Gov. John Hoeven, who is now a U.S. Senator, built a pipeline from the lake to the Red River on the border of North Dakota and Minnesota.

I was working at Agweek magazine, and every week I had to write stories about Devils Lake and the mess it was causing as it continued to grow. People had to move homes, equipment and animals, and the state had to build new roads and highways to replace those that were underwater.

It took forever to get the pipeline built because the Red River flows north into Canada and eventually into Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. The Canadian government was none too happy about the water from Devils Lake coming into their country, so we had to convince them it was safe — which it was.

After the pipeline was built, I was assigned to write the story about the water starting to flow from the lake to the river. I sat at the pipeline with a photographer and reporters from Canada for days waiting for the water to start flowing. When it did it was just a trickle, which was disappointing, especially for the photographer, who didn’t get much of a photo when all was said and done.

But then we got to go to Gimli, Manitoba, on the shores of Lake Winnipeg for a couple days to talk to residents there about the water coming in from Devils Lake. They were having their own flooding issues and weren’t afraid of the extra trickle of water coming in from Devils Lake.

So let’s build a pipeline. Who’s with me? ❖

The rainmaker

I guess I’m what you call a modern day rainmaker, which is popular in some areas of North Dakota and not so much in others. By that I mean it was welcome in central and western North Dakota but not in the northeastern part of the state where there are still stands of corn and sunflowers from last year when a wet, muddy fall halted harvest.

Needless to say it’s not a good time to be a crop farmer in northeast North Dakota.

We left the fair city of Greeley, Colo., on Sunday, June 28 and ran into a rain/hail storm just outside of Belle Fourche, S.D. late that night. The wind was so strong, I thought it was going to blow the RV off the road. And, the driver’s side where the wind and rain were pummeling started to leak in a few spots. And, my husband, or chauffeur, as I like to call him, won’t pull over for anything so we soldiered through.

We finally reached our destination just south of Grand Forks, near Thompson late Monday night. The hubby spent all of that day mowing the lawn and I set up my computer in the RV and worked. Good thing we have air-conditioning because it was hot.

Tuesday was hot too. But then it started to cloud over and there was a crack of thunder at about 3 p.m. From then on it was constant rain, thunder and lightening. I finally got to sleep but about 1 a.m. I got up to the sound of pournding rain. I got up to check on the RV and, of course it was leaking in the area of my shotgun seat and a couple other places. So I pulled out as many rags as I could find and started to mop it up.

Then I went back to bed because it seemed like it was going to stop raining. It didn’t. It continued to rain, really heavy at times, until after 5 a.m., when I finally fell asleep.

The next day I went outside and there was standing water everywhere. Reports were coming in of anywhere from 3-10 inches of rain and flooded fields and rural homesteads.

I’m pretty sure we got about 6 to 7 inches by the looks of it. There were areas west of us that had the really heavy stuff, but all that water has to pass by us to get to the Red River so the water ebbed and flowed all day.

So I got out to take some photos and to feed the growing mosquito population.

I’ll stop here to save a little room for a few photos. ❖

Blowing in the wind

Wow, the weather has been wild around here. There were windstorms in parts of Colorado that pulled full-grown trees right out of the ground. Here in Greeley we haven’t had any problems other than a lot of leaves being blown around.

The other day my husband and I were out and about when the sky darkened and the wind started to blow. We rushed home and parked the truck in the garage in case of hail and covered all of our plants. Of course, because we were ready for the hail, it didn’t come.

I didn’t realize until I moved to Colorado, just how much hail we get here. I’ve never lived anywhere where almost every time it rains it hails.

I am however, familiar with high winds. In North Dakota straight line winds can be devastating, especially in the summer. I remember one storm in northeastern North Dakota where many empty grain bins were damaged by high winds.

One time I was driving home from work and a storm hit. It was so windy and raining so hard that I had to pull over. The wind was blowing so hard that my truck was shaking. Then suddenly something hit the truck and flew across the top of the vehicle. Once the storm passed by and I was able to assess what had happened, I found that a big water tank had hit the truck and made a huge dent in it. This was one of those agricultural water tanks that farmers use when they need to add water to crop protection products. Try explaining that one to your husband, not to mention the insurance company. So I took pictures of my truck and the water tank that had blown onto the porch of a nearby home.

Luckily the insurance company believed my story probably because they had encountered similar incidents in the past in North Dakota. It’s always good to have an insurance company that understands the weather and the hazards in the place where you live.

I guess that’s my bit of wisdom for the week. Let’s hope for calm, hail-free weather for the rest of the summer. ❖

Bet you didn’t hear this news

You probably haven’t heard about this from the mainstream media, but one police officer was killed and another injured in Grand Forks, N.D., on May 27.

Twenty-nine-year-old Cody Holte of the Grand Forks Police Department was killed and Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Cpl. Ron Nord was injured.

There was no rioting or looting following the shooting so it didn’t get the same attention as the death of a man in Minneapolis, caused by a police officer.

There was a peaceful demonstration by the police and the public and the city lit one of the bridges and City Hall in blue to honor Holte, who was also a First Lieutenant in the North Dakota Army National Guard and left behind a wife and young son.

The officers were shot in the line of duty delivering an eviction notice, something that they do frequently. A woman in the house was also killed.

The outpouring of support has been coming in from all over the state and region, and the Grand Forks Police Department has started a memorial fund for Holte’s family.

My heart goes out to Holte’s family and peace officers everywhere who risk their lives to protect and serve us.

I didn’t know what happened in the incident in Minneapolis where a police officer killed a black man because the mainstream media only reported on what happened and not why it happened. I didn’t know why they stopped the man or if he resisted arrest because the reporting did not explain this.

So I went on the internet and looked up the Minneapolis Police Department this is what I found, “On Monday evening, shortly after 8:00 pm, officers from the Minneapolis Police Department responded to the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South on a report of a forgery in progress. Officers were advised that the suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence. Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.”

For some reason, the mainstream media leaves out the “resisting arrest” part of the story and are concentrating more on race relations, which I think is making the situation worse.

I don’t condone police brutality but I think everyone needs to step back and give authorities the chance to examine what happened and, if needed, take appropriate action.

Well this is my rant for the week. I had to write about this because I’ve been bombarded by video of the looting going on in Minneapolis and I am totally disgusted by the images and the one-sided reporting.

You can find more information on the incident in Grand Forks at #grandforksstrong. #gfso. #gfpd and #Holtestrong. ❖

Hey from North Dakota

This week I’m working out of a recreational vehicle near Thompson, N.D., and to say this week was tough is an understatement. We parked the RV at our 4½-acre place about two miles from town.

We came out to North Dakota to attend a graveside ceremony in Cooperstown for my mother-in-law, who lived to be 97 years old. She was a wonderful woman who raised four great children.

Working out in the RV was not ideal, especially as our internet service was not up to par. Most of the time I could get only one or two bars on my cell phone so it was very slow going using my cell as a hot spot.

The locals told me the cell phone tower is on the top of the grain elevator in town.

The best internet service I got was at the graveyard in Cooperstown, but my husband and grandson didn’t want to spend all day there as I worked.

Makes me wonder what North Dakota did with all that money they got from the federal government for broadband service.

Unlike many places in Colorado, North Dakota is wet. We saw many, many fields that have not been planted, or have last year’s corn and sunflowers still on them. Any low area is full of water. We even had to watch our step in the graveyard so we wouldn’t walk into a puddle of water.

I feel for the farmers, there will be a lot of prevented plant acres in the state.

The weird thing is that I didn’t see a single mosquito. In a wet spring they would typically be swarming everywhere. I’m thinking the May snowstorm must have killed them all. Unfortunately, the snow did not kill the wood ticks. I found two on me, and my grandson found three. The only thing I hate worse that spiders is wood ticks.

We did get the lawn mowed, the garage cleaned out and sprayed the dandelions and somehow I managed to get this week’s magazine out.

For those Coloradans hankering to get outside and watch a Memorial Day parade, Dan Carlson, vice president of the Northern Colorado Model A’s, sent me an email that they are going to form a parade of Model A Fords and other classic cars.

The parade will be held Sunday, May 24, starting at 10:15 to 10:30 a.m. at Hwy. 14 and Sunchase.

The parade go through four adjacent neighborhoods in the area of I-25 and Hwy 14. “We will start in the Sunflower Retirement Community at Hwy 14 and Sunchase,” Carlson said. “Then on to Clydesdale Community just to the east. After a trip around Baker Lake to the north, we will cruise into Cloverleaf Mobile Home Community just north of Hwy 14 and I-25. We will finish with lunch at McDonalds at Hwy 14 and I-25.” ❖

We demand transparency from fake food makers

I read in The Hagstrom Report that the Plant Based Foods Association has released voluntary standards recommending plant-based yogurt producers use the words “plant-based,” “dairy-free” and “non-dairy” in a prominent position on the product labels.

“As consumers increasingly seek out plant-based yogurt options, the Plant Based Foods Association is leading the way by promoting a labeling standard that suggests clear labeling terms that consumers understand,” said Michele Simon, PBFA’s executive director.

So, have they finally realized that consumers want to know what they are buying?

I don’t know the motivation but it’s the right thing to do, although they shouldn’t be using the word yogurt on their labels.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, yogurt is “a fermented slightly acid often flavored semisolid made of milk and milk solids to which cultures of two bacteria… have been added.”

Doesn’t say anything about plants in the definition. That being said, they still have some work to do on their labels.

I also read that plant-based sales of meat are up. I don’t know if I believe that or not. I know when I go to the grocery store in Greeley I look in the meat section and the only thing left in the meat cases is fake beef and sausage. The same goes for the frozen meats. I’m heading to North Dakota soon (just in time for wood tick season) and I bet I’ll find the same is true there.

I think the only reason that demand is higher for fake meat is because shoppers can’t find the real deal in their grocery stores.

Luckily my husband has been a meat hoarder long before the coronavirus pandemic so our freezer is full. We also have venison and walleye stores.

Well have no fear meat producers, I will never even try plant-based meat.

In the meantime though we need to remain vigilant and make sure the Food and Drug Administration does its part to promote clarity in the fake foods industry.

I’m curious as to why we can see how much energy and greenhouse gases are released from a cow, from the time it is born until it is slaughtered, but nowhere can we find the same information about fake foods. That’s something to think about as you slice into a thick, juicy steak.

Consumers need to demand this information from all sources of food. ❖