Going to the Blogs
A recent after-branding conversation touched on blogs. Not dogs, although there was a stray at the corral earlier in the day. Blogs.
“Blog,” short for weblog, was coined in 1999. Think online diary – a running account of the author’s personal life or viewpoint – written for public consumption and accessed via the computer. Beyond posting short essays, some bloggers share breaking news, opinions, gossip, recipes and poetry. Others use the format as a marketing tool. Most allow readers to write a comment or respond to a question within a forum or chat room. Some offer contests. The more ingenious the author, the more varied the features.
Annika Nelson, a staff assistant with North Dakota Horizons and contributing member of the blogosphere, triggered the discussion as we visited after supper at the Box O. She likes to embellish her posts of seasonal North Dakota happenings with photos: http://horizontal-lines.typepad.com/. Unfortunately, her camera battery ran low that day, so she went home with only a few images. That’s too bad. Had handing her camera to someone been an option, she could have been photographed doing duty as half of an all-important calf wrestling team.
As a blogger, Annika likes to stay on top of what’s happening in the genre. She mentioned her favorite, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, touting the author’s engaging writing and incredible photography. I wanted to know more and discovered that Annika has excellent taste in blogs.
Confessions took honors for best-designed weblog, best photography, and best weblog of the year at the 2009 Bloggies, which recognizes the best in blogging. City-girl-turned-ranchwife/blogger, Ree Drummond, married a cattle rancher. They live in rural Oklahoma where she home schools their four children. “Black Heels to Tractor Wheels” is the continuing saga of their courtship and marriage. But wait, there’s more! Ree also dishes on topics such as home schooling, cooking, and home & garden. It’s easy to see why fans voted it tops: http://thepioneerwoman.com.
Here are several other ag-related blogs I hope you’ll enjoy:
Western South Dakota rancher and saddle maker Robert Dennis has been blogging from Red Owl since September 2006. His Dennis Ranch Blog, http://dennisranch.wordpress.com/ showcases a refreshingly simple snapshot of work and family life on a northern Great Plains cattle operation. It’s a horse-and-saddle outfit. No four-wheelers here. Robert’s photos add a great deal to the ongoing dialogue. His “After the Blow” is exceptional, portraying winter in the bucolic setting: http://dennisranch.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/after-the-blow/p3310012/.
Sharon O’Toole started her weblog in 2006 as well. She and husband, Pat, ranch in the Little Snake River Valley on the Wyoming-Colorado border. Her blog traces the activities and life on their six-generation family ranch, “from the mundane to the fabulous.” Sharon is one of the most disciplined bloggers whom I follow, faithfully chronicling what’s happening with the sheep, cattle, dogs, horses and family. As with Annika and Robert, Sharon’s photos add depth to the narrative. Be sure to check out the entry for May 23, 2009, entitled “Shearing, shearing, shearing, lambing”: http://www.westernfolklife.org/weblogs/artists/sharono/.
College student and South Dakota cattle producer Amanda Nolz launched her BEEF Daily Blog in the fall of 2008. The subject of her first installment was Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling. On May 11, 2009, Amanda posted a photo and caption taken on the occasion of her graduation from South Dakota State University. She has since returned home to work with her parents on the family ranch. I like Amanda’s Quick BEEF Daily Fact at the end of each post: http://blog.beefmagazine.com/beef_daily/.
Raised on a corn and bean farm in Ohio, Alex Tiller runs a national farm management company based in Denver, CO. As such, he visits a variety of farms in different areas of the country, and around the world, that grow all kinds of crops. He shares his experiences and news about commercial farming, family farms, organic food production, sustainable agriculture, the local food movement, alternative renewable energy, hydroponics, agribusiness, farm entrepreneurship, farm economics, and farm policy in his blog on agriculture and farming: http://blog.alextiller.com/.
Washington State’s MaryJanesFarm includes not one but two farmgirl blogs on the website devoted to organic gardening, life skills, and community. Rural Farmgirl Blog is hosted by Rene Groom at http://www.maryjanesfarm.org/RFBlog/. City Farmgirl Blog, penned by Rebekah Teal, is at http://www.maryjanesfarm.org/MJFBlog/. (Learn more about MaryJanesFarm magazine at http://www.maryjanesfarm.org/)