Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer Update #1

I’m not really sure where the time goes anymore! I can’t believe we’re looking at the end of July on the calendar already. I figured I would pop in with a summer update since I’m so good about keeping this updated. Does anyone even read this?? Just wondering :)

I feel like this summer has been one of the best in more recent years. The native Minnesohtans can’t stop complaining about how hot it is, but for me it feels like the first real summer since I moved here three years ago! It’s been warm enough to swim in the evening (thanks Austin City Pool for opening extended hours while it’s been so hot!), the river was of comfortable temperature during tubing on the 4th of July, and I haven’t needed a jacket in the morning once! I realize that the heat that I love so much has brought on the worst draught in years. I’m dreading my next trip home to actually see how bad it is there. Until that time, I’m going to continue to live in my “I love summer” haze.

So let’s relive the highlights of Summer O’12 thus far!

Wait....First let’s back up to Spring O’12

VanDeWalle branding took place the first weekend of May. There were so many helpers this year. Ace reached out to a family friend’s son who brought two of his friends. My friends from Austin, Scott and Holly decided to check out what ranching is all about. Ace’s friend Derek brought his muscles as usual, and McKenzie (AKA Mac) did pretty much all of the work. Throw Ida, Tina, Sage, Aubrey, Jake, and The Pruitt Family in, and you have one full house! We branded 80 calves in a little over an hour and a half, which I’m pretty sure is some sort of record.

The couple that brands together, stays together. 

Please note that the boys behind Schroeder are young, strapping 18 year olds and struggling, while Schroeder got this calf (one of the biggest in the bunch) all by himself, and then smiled for the camera.

Next up – I spent a week in Fayetteville, Arkansas in early May. I started my first class in a series of culinary classes for work. These classes are offered to people who work in R&D to teach you to think more like a chef and less like a scientist. I loved it! We cooked and ate all day. I learned how to make soup stock from scratch, sauces such as Hollandaise sauce, and risotto to name a few. I’m pretty much a gourmet cook now :)

This was the scene at lunch everyday. Do you think we went hungry at all?

Memorial weekend I made my usual trek to the great state of Illinois. I traveled to Champaign to see Cory, Petey, and Lock, then to Rachel and David’s in Clinton, and from there we went to Peoria to see Cassie get married. Rachel, Rachel, Lock, and Bethany were reunited for the first time since Rachel’s wedding! It was great to catch up with everyone. Then I traveled home to Chauncey for the rest of the weekend.

My life needs more of these people.

In June, I golfed in our R&D golf outing. I’m proud to report that our team scored the most points, but apparently scoring the most points is not the object of the game. We still won a trophy – The Dudley. I was also on the board (briefly) for longest drive. It was probably the longest, straightest drive of my golf career. However, it didn't take long for one of our interns, who plays golf in college, to absolutely smoke by my drive.  Bummer.

Since the 4th of July was annoyingly on a Wednesday this year, I couldn’t take the time off of work to participate in the mud volleyball tournament in Ericson, Nebraska. To make up for my absence, we planned a tanking trip the weekend before the 4th. Since the river and electronics really don’t mix, I don’t have any pictures of this year’s excursion. So, I've provided a picture of last year's tank and a picture that was taken after watching the James Lee Band perfrom that night. There’s really no explanation as to why Shark is wearing a leopard tank top.

The kickball season is in full swing.  Ace has even been able to come over for a few games.  I had to document the two of us wearing matching shirts, as he vowed that it would never happen! Apparently athletic t-shirts are the only exception to his rule.

Stay tuned for more summer updates!