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Where the Wild Things Are in Ag Research

May 8, 2012 1 comment

Kinda funny how things go sometimes. Twitter tells me that a favourite author has passed on and a few tweets later in my feed, I’m sitting here going “huh”.

Another blogger wrote a beautiful piece on Sendak and the importance of reading to some of us. And I may not have had summers reading beside Grandma or any official diagnosis of ADD (although many would tell you otherwise), but the experience is similar. I spent days pouring over the scholastic book catalog for the upcoming fair, calculating out just how much money I could spend and what would be the best buy relative to what I could get at the library or what I just had to have. With a few more years behind me now, I still hold reading as my simple pleasure. My little decadent dessert is to get away from the world, like Max, and sneak off into a corner to devour a book in a reading rumpus.

Thankfully I get to do that with my job as a researcher. My reading for work may be considered by some to be a little different, a little less fun and more constrained. The way I see it, I get to dive into a world of words and ideas and theories about our world and how things work. I get to dream up new ways of looking at things and different ways of interpreting things. I get to figure out how to communicate this all to the people who use the discoveries by tying

Wild Things lurk in some secret corner of my office

together the literary world of words, interpretations and fun with the science of exploring our world.

You may say, “but WHAT, crazy lady, does this have to do with agriculture?’. Well, I

have applied this literary-influenced approach to exploring cattle welfare, nutrition, health, management and so many more areas. To figuring out how to improve the lives of cattle and the lives of those who raise them. As I said before, I’m no innovator, but I believe that looking at things in new ways helps not only to be innovative in production methods but also how people connect, understand and are happy with their food.

So HUZZAH to Sendak for having lived. I might not know the guy. I really know very little about the man. But I do know that those 8 sentences are so important to me. They connect me to so many wild things. The wild things even hide in a corner of my office, ready for whenever the scientific rumpus begins!

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Categories: love

Reverse thinking on Earth Day & Generation Lost

April 22, 2012 Leave a comment

HAPPY PLANT-WE-INHABIT DAY! (a.k.a. earth day)

So, let’s celebrate where we are. Both in time and space; on earth, right now. Let’s celebrate with some reverse thinking.

There’s lots of events around today to gorge on the good and damn the damaging. I was asked if I was going to post about the wonders of certain aspects of the cattle production system in Canada and how it’s integral to maintaining the environment, rather than the destructive effect that the media loves to pin on it. Quite literally, every day really is earth day for many farmers and ranchers. And I’m working on a video for that, but I’ve got something more important to say.

I thought of posting to illuminate some of the less thought of effects of our love for new technology. How it would be a totally ironic post because I would be writing using technology and you would be reading using technology, and all it all contributes to destructive effects on our earth. So the green tech revolution ain’t so green. No duh really, I mean stuff doesn’t just disappear because we throw it out and the rate of tech innovation means higher rate of tech replacement, ergo disposal. The initial title was even “Is E for Environment or Waste?”. But no, there’s something more important than tech satire.

I opened my e-mail this morning to a note from a dear and loving friend, subject “Inspiring“. He knows I love rhetoric, literature and media. We’re quite the pair when we get into discussions, let me tell you! And even though we’re miles apart, he has awed me again.

This is the video he linked me to. So amid all the Earth Day events keep this in mind fellow young ‘uns.

In Honour of all those calving right now

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

’tis the season of new life in the cattle industry. Babies everywhere! My chats with the ranch-man always start of with “how’s calving?”, but usually I don’t even have to prompt to get told about the 24 new calves this morning. Followed by a run about mishaps, hilarity, frustrations and weather updates. Some days it is a call from being huddled under a sleeping bag to warm up a bit, others its from cooking a steak on the back porch (gotta love Alberta spring weather!). None the less, there is always the resolve to go back out, no matter how tired/cold/hungry, to check that calf and make sure all the moms are ok.

I’m so proud of the commitment and drive to give these calves and their mommas the best life possible. I was inspired to create a little graphic for his (and many others) resolve. And thankfully there is a website for that! The wording still doesn’t seem quite right to me, but  TA DA!

 

Categories: beef, cattle industry, love, media
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