Tag: Rural Life

Christmas in the Country Gift Reveal

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is excited for the new year ahead! It always brings a sense of renewal and possibilities. A new blog series Jessie introduced Wednesday is a Year’s Worth of Beef, which we’re excited to start sharing with you. We hope you keep checking back each week to read as she’s cooking her way through a freezer of beef.

Before we get too far into the year, I wanted to recap a fun gift exchange I participated in with citc15fellow bloggers and ag enthusiasts called Christmas in the Country. I was invited to join by a new friend I made when I attended a conference last spring, Laurie Link. She and her family raise crops and cattle in Missouri, and she blogs at CountryLinked. (I love her blog name!) #CITC is set up like a Secret Santa where the hosts (who did a ton of behind-the-scenes work to get this going) match people up, participants get to know their matches “secretly,” then send them a gift. This week we’re all “linking up” to share more about our gifts and the new friends we’ve made through the secret exchange.

We were gone during the holidays, so I was excited when we returned to find the cutest red and white package waiting for me! So excited, in fact, I totally forgot to take a photo! Anyway, Heather Maude of South Dakota had my name.

She is a fellow cattle rancher, freelance writer and photographer like me, so I love that we also share that connection. She also happens to be a relative of another ag communicator I’ve known since my college days. Such a small world! Heather blogs her photography and agriculture stories at Double H Photography.

I loved the thoughtful gifts she put together for me.

Christmas in the Country Gift Exchange

As we both share a love of livestock photography, I really appreciated the notecards and calendar with her photographs. I also needed a 2016 calendar so this is my favorite treat she included.

She learned I was a coffee drinker and the travel mug is great for taking a hot cup with me on-the-go!

Heather also included an angel cookie cutter because she thought it was cute, and I couldn’t agree more. My kids love baking and decorating sugar cookies, so this was a fun treat we can all enjoy.

The lip balm and ear warmer are much appreciated to combat the cold, dry air we experience during our Idaho winters.

Another gift was a Jesus Calling devotional. Great minds think alike as a dear friend of mine gave one to me for my birthday a few months ago. It really is a wonderful devotional and I’m going to be able to bless someone else by passing it on to them!

The last treat at the bottom of the box was a bag of Christmas M&M’s. One of my favorite IMG_1853__WEBcookie recipes are these M&M Cookies, so the chocolate candies were put to good use in a sweet treat we also shared with friends. You can find the recipe below.

Thank you Heather for these thoughtful gifts!

I had a lot of fun participating this year, as I put together a gift box for Jamie Rhoades at This Uncharted Rhoade. You can learn more about those on her blog. I’ll also have an upcoming post with more details about the projects I made for her!

I’m so glad I participated this year! It is a fun way to bring some Christmas cheer to someone, as well as learn more about others in our industry. You may want to think about joining in the fun next year! You can check out all the other participants at this LinkUp!

M&M Cookies
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 package M&Ms (I use colors available for each of the holidays)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon flour into measuring cup then level off. Sift together with  other dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add peanut butter, eggs one at a time, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients until combined. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet. (I like to use parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet.) Bake for 8-10 minutes.


Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle

Women in Ag: Small Town Superwoman, Jodie Mink

Jodie Lanting Mink grew up on a family farm and ranch south of Hollister, Idaho, with her parents, brother and sister, as well as aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. She always felt comfortable working cattle and learning from anyone that was willing to share. She participated in 4-H for 10 years, taking steers and heifers to the Twin Falls County Fair, a place where her family is still known for having some of the best stock. Jodie attended the University of Idaho, graduating with an Animal Science/Agribusiness degree, with minors in public relations and communications and began a master’s degree program in Agricultural Economics. Jodie and her husband, Justin, were married shortly thereafter, and in 2005 moved back to his family’s ranch in Cambridge. Together they have three sons, Jayden (15), Jarret (12), and Jace (8).

How are you involved in agriculture and/or beef industry today?  My involvement in the beef industry has many different aspects. I briefly worked as an educational outreach coordinator for the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission before taking a full-time job with the Cambridge School District as the agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor. I see 95 percent of the students enrolled in Cambridge High School in one of my agricultural classes every day! The opportunity to reach these students and educate them about the beef industry and agriculture is an honor. I also assist on my husband’s family ranch, Mink Land and Livestock. My heart is content when my entire family is able to work alongside each other riding, packing salt, putting up drift fence or stacking hay. My role on the ranch is also to provide outside income. My father-in-law Russell Mink once commented that the ranch has success because the wives bring in outside income. My mother-in-law Peggy Mink and I both take comfort in knowing that our jobs outside of the ranch help to keep this multi-generational ranch moving forward. Educating my own kids, as well as my students at school about their role in the use of natural resources, the production of a safe and quality protein source, as well as their responsibility in the conservation and management of the land for sustainability for years to come is my true passion in life.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture and/or beef industry? I remember from early age learning from my parents, Bob and Rhea Lanting, about the importance of animal husbandry, how to make hard decisions, the results of hard work, and ultimately that my life would always include this lifestyle. My parents often laugh about why my sister and I both married into family ranches that often include few vacations and long hours. I guess the answer to that question is best summed up by saying….What other job do you get to see nature in its ultimate beauty, work with hardworking, honest people who have similar visions, as well as work side-by-side with your family daily to provide food for a growing nation? I hope that I also can pass along that inborn love of agriculture to my three boys.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? My FFA students and my own kids inspire me. I have learned that if I provide the tools and resources and create a learning atmosphere that is engaging, there is no limit to the successes that my students will experience. They motivate me every day to be a better Ag teacher. To see my FFA students walk across the state at both the state and national events proves that small agricultural communities are producing the future leaders for our industry. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Jodie credits her students and FFA chapter members, as being one of her life's biggest motivations.

Jodie credits her students and FFA chapter members, as being one of her life’s biggest motivations.

I have two mentors that I currently use to “check” my ideas, and realign my focus. Julie Kerner and Pam Schwenkfelder are two women that I so admire. Their love and relentless time spent working toward the betterment of our beef industry is admirable. I often look to them for leadership, help with balancing family and ranch responsibilities, as well as the importance of being a productive member in the community. They might not know that I am watching their actions, but I find both of them to be strong leaders in our industry, thus I try to emulate these qualities in my daily life.

How do you provide encouragement to others?  I hope to provide encouragement for others by providing enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is contagious. If I am able to simply provide the initial excitement, others buy-in quickly. About eight years ago, I was contacted about starting a Progressive Agricultural Farm Safety Day for youth in our area. At first it was difficult to get the key community members on board. But with some persistence, our Cambridge Ag Safety day is a highlight in our community. This year we topped almost 100 participants and 60 volunteers. Because of that awesome turnout, I actually did very little for this huge event. Everyone in the community is now vested in this wonderful program and comes together to provide the education and resources for it. That all started with an idea and a little enthusiasm.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? We need to share the stories of family ranches. People that are purchasing our product need to make those connections to our Idaho beef families, the role we play in caring for the land, and the mission we have as key components in communities around Idaho is essential.

During last week's Idaho Vandal football game, the Mink family was named CHS Farm Family of the Year!

During last week’s Idaho Vandal football game, the Mink family was named CHS Farm Family of the Year!   Photo credit: Autumn Lynn Photography

What are you most thankful for? I am most thankful for my family, my friends, my students, and the agricultural community I live in. In August of this year a spiteful mosquito gave me the West Nile virus, which led to viral meningitis. My inability to teach school or even take care of my family’s needs has truly opened my eyes to the importance of relationships. The Cambridge and Midvale communities have helped me and my family extensively. Small agricultural communities are the true heartbeat of our nation. Relying on neighbors and assisting others when needed is ultimately the reason Justin and I have chosen to raise our children in this community. I am thankful for a wonderful rural school that allows individual growth with an enormous amount of agricultural-influenced curriculum. I am looking forward to getting back to school in January, and assisting my husband on the ranch. As much as this illness has frustrated me, I am thankful for the life lessons in humility, patience and setting priorities.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? I love my Crock-pot and my Traeger grill. Nothing beats a tender roast with potatoes and carrots after a long day. My kids love hamburger pizzas on the grill. Using a simple pizza dough recipe, I grill individual sized rounds on the grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. I then allow the kids to individualize their pizza. Favorite toppings include hamburger, olives, tomatoes, artichokes, spinach, and mushrooms. After topping with cheese, they go back on the grill for another 3-4 minutes to melt everything to perfection! They are an absolute favorite.

What is the first thing you do when you walk into a grocery store? The first thing I do when I walk into the grocery store is to make sure that my kids and husband are not with me! I am a very organized person and attack the grocery store with a plan. I only shop in a larger grocery store every 2-3 months, so it’s also essential that my large white cooler is loaded in the car! My local community grocery store provides all the weekly needs!

The Mink family celebrates the success of their kids, after a local fair.

The Mink family celebrates the success of their kids, after a local fair.

What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies? I LOVE sports! I enjoy all aspects of sports, especially watching my kids participate in football, basketball and baseball. I am a little bit competitive and often get excited at games, so my husband often selects a seat away from me! I also enjoy taking pictures and entertaining family and friends in our home.

What are three little known facts about you? 1) I am a Vandal through and through. I used to have duct tape in my classroom that I would use to cover up logos and names of that “other” university on students’ shirts and sweatshirts. 2) I really don’t like chocolate, but I do love salt water taffy. 3) I love to write little notes to everyone. My kids and students might find them stuck in their book, slid into their locker, or handed to them before an important contest or game. Many of my FFA students keep these notes of encouragement in their FFA jackets. One student told me that when she is having a bad day, she pulls out all her notes and finds new inspiration.

Be sure to keep up with Jodie, by following her on Facebook, or by following the Weiser River Cattle Association!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch Life