Friday, December 2, 2011

Don't Cry About It

I love raising cattle. I love calving season, even though the weather is sometimes not the best. Just seeing those newborn calves running around, tails straight up; it's an awesome feeling. I love checking cows in the summertime when the grass is green and they are out grazing in the big pastures. I love seeing the calves grow throughout the year and seeing that what we are doing is really working. I love picking out heifers to keep and add to our herd. I love selling calves. Really, who wouldn't? It's the paycheck for a whole year of work.

I left out one important part of the cattle process. Weaning. I do NOT love this. It is my least favorite part of having cattle. I guess it's because I'm a softy. Weaning is when we separate the calves from their mothers so they can be put on a feed diet and eventually be sold. The calves go from nursing their mothers to eating a grain based ration that consists of corn, protein, mineral, silage and of course hay. The first week or so after they are weaned can get pretty loud outside. The calves are bawling, or 'crying' if you will, for their mothers. They have never been separated from their mothers for this long. This may seem mean, or inhuman, but it is part of the process. By this time, the calves are weighing 600 to 700 pounds and are nine to ten months old, so they are ready to be on their own. The cows have to be weaned from their calf so they can get in shape to have a new baby in a few months. After a week or so the calves quit 'crying' for their mothers, and the the process of growing them really starts to pick up.

The heifers all lined up at the bunk eating their dinner.

Once we pull the calves off their mothers they are brought to a big pen at our house. This pen has a long row of bunks where they eat. We start out by feeding them square bales of hay and and a certain type of feed that has medication in it to prevent sickness. We feed them square bales in the bunks to get them used to eating in a bunk line. They have never done that before. We then switch to a corn and protein mixture with mineral. At this time we add corn silage. As you have read in previous posts, corn silage is the whole corn plant ground up. This has a very high feed value and is also very high in energy. The calves just love it, especially on those cold mornings. They will remain at our house until it is time to sell. The rewarding part about this stage in the process is that I get to see the calves everyday, and I also get to see that all the hard work we have done throughout the year has really paid off.

Raising cattle takes a lot of time, money, and patience, but you don't have to cry about it.

Thanks for reading,


The calves are fed this pellet ration twice a day until it is
time to switch them to the corn ration.

Remember the making hay while the sun shines post? Well
all of the hay we put in the barn is now being fed to the calves.

Putting a round bale of brome hay into
the hay feeder for the calves to eat.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pharmacy Fact Friday

The bathroom is the worst place to store medication.

Yes, it's true. The room with a "medicine cabinet" is not an ideal place to store medication. In order for drugs to work properly in the body they need to be stored in an environment where they will be chemically stable. The bathroom is a poor place for medication storage because there is increased moisture, increased heat, and an increased level of bacteria. All of these things can contribute to the breakdown of the chemical structure of your medication and reduce the effectiveness and potency of the drug.

Follow these steps from Medline Plus to ensure your medication is stored safely:
  • Keep medication out of children's reach.
  • Always keep the medicine in the original container.
  • Don't leave the cotton plug in the bottle, this can draw moisture into the container.
  • Check the expiration date each time you take a drug. Replace the medications that are out of date.
  • Never use a medication that has changed color, texture, or odor, even if it is not expired. Throw away capsules or tablets that stick together, are harder or softer than normal or are cracked or chipped.
  • Ask your pharmacist about any specific storage instructions.
The kitchen is a good option for storing your medications. When choosing a cabinet in the kitchen you want to pick one that is NOT next to the stove, sink, or dishwasher. Medications should also be stored in a cabinet that cannot be reached by children. It is a good idea to put your medications in a cabinet you open every day. When you open the cabinet to get a bowl or glass you will see the medication and it will serve as a trigger to remind you to take them.

If your medications are currently stored in the bathroom take some time to transfer them to a better location. As you are doing this look over your prescription bottles and over the counter products to ensure the medication is not expired. If you find medications you no longer take or are expired read this post to learn how to properly dispose of them. This post discusses the importance of proper drug disposal and it talks about the prescription take back initiative. This program is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement. The next prescription take back day will be held on October 29th from 10AM-2PM. To find a location near you click here.

That concludes your third Pharmacy Fact Friday! Have a great weekend and good luck cleaning out your medicine cabinets!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Boys of Fall

No I'm not talking about the high school football players in the Kenny Chesney song when referring to the boys of fall.

The boys, or I should say the men, of fall I am talking about are the farmers across this great nation who are spending countless hours harvesting the food that feeds the world. The months of September, October, and November are a very busy time on a farm. It is not uncommon for a farmer to work 14 to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week during this time of year. A lot of time is spent away from home and from their families in order to get the crop in. Adam and I have shared a few meals after 10PM just so I have the chance to see him that day.

My men of fall include my husband, father-in-law, grandfather-in-law, my dad, brother, uncle, and Adam's uncles and cousins. I am very proud of all of these men and the work they are doing during this time of year. The next time you see a farmer be sure to thank them for all of their hard work and commitment to providing you with a safe food product.

A few pictures of harvest on the Navinskey farm.

The guys getting ready to move to the next field.

The golden stream of corn being unloaded from the grain
cart into the semi.

Farm efficiency 101: This tractor is hooked up to a grain cart. It is a temporary storage bin with an auger (the arm sticking out). The combine unloads the crop into this cart as it is moving in the field. When the grain cart is full the driver takes it over to the truck and unloads it. This system allows the combine to continue cutting the crop without much downtime spent driving back and forth to the truck to unload.

Working in tandem to get things done.

The view from the back of the comine.

Farmers never really retire. At 78
Adam's grandpa is still driving trucks and
helping out on the farm.

A good shot of Poppa Ed that I snapped
before he jumped in the truck.

Two of the semis waiting to be loaded.

Getting ready to unload into the grain trailer.

The soybeans will be taken from the field and unloaded
into a grain bin.

Harvest Sunset

When the soybeans are cut the seeds are stored in the
hopper of the combine (black part on top). The rest of the plant
is shredded and thrown out of the back of the combine.
The crop residue will be worked into the soil this fall to provide
nutrients for next year's crop.

Things can get pretty dusty.

The Friday night lights of farming.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pharmacy Fact Friday

Did you know a pharmacist can help you save money on your prescriptions?

Times are tough right now, and unfortunately patients are electing to cut costs by postponing medical care. Dr. Jack Fincham, my health economics professor, was recently on Fox 4 News discussing the ways a pharmacist can help a patient reduce their monthly prescription costs during these difficult economic times.

The news report stated patients are putting off medical care because they lack the money to pay for medical bills and prescriptions.

Here are the statistics:
  • 21% of people are putting off doctors' visits.
  • 17% of people are delaying medical procedures.
  • 16% of people don't fill prescriptions.
  • 13% of people are taking expired medications.
Postponing care can have long-term consequences that will inevitably be more expensive to the patient in the long run. It is in the best interest of the patient to take care of the minor things now, before they become major problems.

Watch the video to understand why these statistics are a problem and learn about the ways a pharmacist can help reduce your prescription drug costs.

If you are struggling to make ends meet during these tough economic times please DO NOT stop taking your medication to save money. This can affect your overall health and be more costly in the long-term. Pharmacists want to see good outcomes in their patients. This cannot be achieved if the medication is not being taken and patients are not visiting their physicians. If times are difficult for you right now, please take some time to speak with your pharmacist to determine if your prescription costs can be reduced.

That concludes the second pharmacy fact Friday. What are your thoughts? Did it surprise you to learn so many people are putting off medical care?

Monday, October 10, 2011

White Coat Ceremony

On September 23rd the UMKC School of Pharmacy held their white coat ceremony for the third-year students. This ceremony is viewed as a transition for the pharmacy student. My classmates and I are leaving behind our preclinical coursework and entering the years of clinical studies. We will have more interaction with patients in our future education requirements and are now officially viewed as a professional student.

You may be wondering why the white coat?
The white coat symbolizes the Pharm.D. student's pledge to the community that they are willing to uphold the commitment and responsibility of being a leader and health care provider. The student pledges their professionalism and agrees to develop as leaders who are committed to making a difference in the lives of their patients.

The ceremony lasted a little over an hour and included a guest speaker, Donald E. Letendre, who is the Dean and Professor at The University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. After his speech the students lined up and received their white coats, which had the UMKC School of Pharmacy patch and a gold pin attached to it. At the closing of the ceremony my classmates and I recited the oath of a pharmacist. The oath is a follows:

I promise to devote myself to a lifetime of service to others through the profession of pharmacy. In fulfilling this vow:

I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering my primary concerns.

I will apply my knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my ability to assure optimal outcomes for my patients.

I will respect and protect all personal and health information entrusted to me.

I will accept the lifelong obligation to improve my professional knowledge and competence.

I will hold myself and my colleagues to the highest principles of our profession's moral, ethical, and legal conduct.

I will embrace and advocate changes that improve patient care.

I will utilize my knowledge, skills, experiences, and values to prepare the next generation of pharmacists.

I take these vows voluntarily with the full realization of the responsibility with which I am entrusted by the public.

It was an awesome feeling to walk across the stage and put on the coat for the first time. The reality of becoming a pharmacist set in a little more as I recited the oath and let the words sink in. The ceremony gave my classmates and I a boost to our overall moral. The third year of school has left us feeling bogged down with classes and coursework. The ceremony provided us with a sense of accomplishment and achievement and allowed us to say, "We've made it this far, we can make it the rest of the way!"

The white coat ceremony was definitely a highlight in my pharmacy school career thus far, and I am truly blessed to have so many people who have supported me along the way. I had 19 people attend the ceremony and it was a great achievement to share with them.

After the ceremony there was a reception and I was able to get some photos with my family and classmates.

With the proud grandmas.

Adam and I with his mom and dad.

My family- minus my sister, she wasn't able get out of work.

Bit, Becky, and I showing off our white coats!

Posing for a picture with my mom, grandma and aunt.

My brother and I with our grandma.

The whole group that was there to watch me get my
white coat. I'm truly blessed to have so many supportive
friends and family!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pharmacy Fact Friday

Did you know a pharmacist is the most accessible health care professional?

Picture from

In honor of October being American Pharmacists Month I am starting a new series on the blog titled, Pharmacy Fact Friday. The goal of this series will be to share tidbits of information about the pharmacy profession and provide you with the resources necessary to navigate your healthcare decisions.

Now let's discuss today's pharmacy fact. Are you aware that a pharmacist is the most accessible healthcare professional? Take a minute to think about this and ask yourself these questions.
  • Can you go into a doctor's office without an appointment, ask to speak to the doctor, and he or she comes out within five minutes to answer your questions?
  • Can you dial the number to the doctor's office and speak to a physician directly without waiting a long time?
  • Are you able to walk into a physician's office and have someone assist you with managing your medications?
The answer to these questions is most likely no, unless you have a really good relationship with your physician.

Now think about your last trip to the pharmacy.
  • Did you need an appointment to get your prescription filled?
  • When you called the pharmacy were you able to speak with the pharmacist about your medication related questions?
  • When you picked up your medication was the pharmacist able to answer the questions you had about your medication or illness?

The answers to these questions are no, yes and yes. A pharmacist is so accessible at some pharmacies you don't even have to get out of your car to speak to one! The next time you have questions related to your health don't overlook the value of a pharmacist. They can work with you to manage your medications, find ways to lower your prescription costs, provide educational information about ways to improve your health and help you set goals to possibly reach a point where you no longer need the medication you are taking.

This podcast: Pharmacist's Role in Diabetes Care Podcast from the Center for Disease Control discusses how the accessibility of a pharmacist is critically important in diabetes management for a patient.

Well that wraps up your first Pharmacy Fact Friday! I hope you enjoyed it and found it to be informative.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Calm After the Storm

In an earlier post Adam talked about planting the crop and how it is always a gamble once it is in the ground. A farmer does not have any control over the weather and that is one of the risks you take in this business. He compared planting season to Goin' Gamblin' and we have certainly done that this summer. We have experienced severe weather in May, flooding in June, and oppressive heat in July. Mother Nature just continues to punch us in the stomach and her last blow in the early morning hours on August 20th, hit us pretty hard.

A furious storm blew through NE Kansas, bringing with it high winds and hail. Our buildings and home survived with minimal damage, but our yard and corn crop looked like a war zone. I had tears in my eyes as I drove home on our dirt road. There were limbs blocking the road, and one neighbor had an entire tree on top of their house. I got closer to our driveway and saw the corn, some spots were leveled by the wind and the beautiful green leaves the plants had the day before were now stripped from the stalk. My heart just sank.

I called Adam to see how he was doing after seeing all of this, and he answered the phone like nothing had happened at all. He had a happy tone in his voice and asked me how I was doing. I said, "What is the matter with you? Have you not seen the damage from last night's storm?" He replied, "Yes, but there is nothing I can do about it, we're going to be fine."

This response is another reason I love my husband so much. He always sees the positive in things and doesn't fret over things he can't change. Yes, it sucks our corn, and trees were damaged, but we were okay and our house was okay. It could have been a lot worse, and we are grateful we still have a crop to harvest, because other farmers in the area were not as lucky. Ten miles to the north of us the hail was so destructive all that was left of the crops was a six inch stalk sticking out of the ground.

Needless to say Adam and I are thrilled to death about the fact harvest is finally here. We have reached the endpoint in the growing season and can (hopefully, fingers and toes crossed) breath a sigh of relief as the crop from each field is trucked to town and put into the safe haven of a storage facility.

The weather this summer has taken farmers and ranchers on a tumultuous ride this year. We can only hope next summer will be less eventful and Mother Nature will be more cooperative!

The backside of the tree that was brought down
by the wind.

In this picture you can see the brown mark
in the grass. This is where the silage wagon was
sitting before the storm. The wind moved it a good
eight feet, and it is a heavy wagon!

A large branch from one of our trees completely destroyed
the young maple tree we planted.

A large tree branch ripped from the trunk of the tree.

Many shingles from the roof ended up in the yard.

Wind and hail damaged corn.

Close up of the damage.

One of our large trees was completely knocked out.

After all of the storms this summer we are grateful to experience the calm after the storm. The weather has been absolutely amazing this fall and has allowed farmers to get in the field to harvest the crop.

Hallelujah!! The combine is in field!

What a wonderful site!

The grain cart hauling corn to the semi trailer.

Monday, October 3, 2011

American Pharmacists Month

Know your MEDICINE know your PHARMACIST

Fall is here, and more importantly my favorite month is here! I might have some personal bias for October being my favorite month due to the fact it contains my birthday, but October is also great for many other reasons. The leaves are changing color, the cooler weather has arrived, harvest is in full swing, Halloween is only a few weeks away, and it is American Pharmacists Month!

A whole month dedicated to pharmacists, just one more reason to love October! The campaign for this year's American Pharmacists Month is, Know your MEDICINE know your PHARMACIST. This core message will serve to educate others about what pharmacists do and how they can help patients with their healthcare decisions.

The objectives for this month can be found on the American Pharmacists Association's website and include:

  • To recognize the vital contributions made by pharmacists to health care in the United States.
  • To enhance the image of pharmacists as the medication experts and an integral part of the health care team, not just as dispensers of medications.
  • To educate the public, policy makers, pharmacists, and other health care professionals about the key role played by pharmacists in reducing overall health care costs by improved medication use and advanced patient care.
  • To stress the importance of Knowing Your Medicine and Knowing Your Pharmacist to ensure drug therapy is as safe and effective as possible.
I encourage you to get to know your medicine and your pharmacist this month. Take a few minutes to review your medications, if any questions arise a pharmacist is only a phone call away. The next time you are in the pharmacy try to work toward developing a relationship with your pharmacist. They can be your most valuable and accessible resource when it comes to answering your healthcare questions.

To learn more about some of the things a pharmacist does and why a relationship with your pharmacist is important watch the video You and Your Pharmacist: A Winning Team.

After watching the video did you learn anything about what a pharmacist does? Did anything surprise you? What are some things you will do this month to take an active role in your healthcare? How are you going to get to know your medicine and your pharmacist this month?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Flooding Update II

This picture was taken by Adam's sister, Abby. The teal and white building is
where equipment is usually stored, it was cleaned out before the flood waters
encroached on this area.

In June I talked about being waterlogged, and gave you a flooding update a few weeks later. I intended to post another flooding update back in late June, but as I sat down to write this post at that time it was just too depressing to put into words. We were not fortunate enough to escape the fury of the Mighty Mo and the river won the battle with the levee. The ground we farm in Missouri, a total of 480 acres, was submerged by the flood waters around June 28th.

As of today, the waters have receded some, but not enough to warrant a clean up effort. The Corps of Engineers is predicting it will be the end of October before the flood waters have completely receded. It is unlikely the ground will have dried out enough to be worked this fall to prepare for the spring crop.

We are not the only ones with acres under water and crops left unharvested. The flooding took its toll all along the Missouri River. On labor day weekend I drove up to North Dakota to attend a friend's wedding and the flooding along the Missouri River was still prominent throughout the entire route. I-29 was closed in two places, Rockport Missouri, and north of Omaha. The flooding in Missouri and Nebraska was devastating. Fields looked like lakes, huge sand bags lined both sides of the highway, and when I was in North Dakota the highway was being raised to prevent future flooding of the road.

Farming is a gamble every year as Adam explained in Goin' Gamblin'. There is always the threat of Mother Nature taking her toll on the crops we put in the ground each spring. In this case we were not lucky enough to be spared from this natural disaster. However, we do count our blessings because we were fortunate enough to still have a crop on the Kansas side, and a home to live in. Many farmers along the Missouri River will be sitting idle this fall due to a majority of their ground being underwater, and many families are still displaced because their homes are still underwater. Our hearts go out to the farmers, their families, and those who have lost their homes.

Even though Mother Nature has thrown this huge curve ball at our family and other Midwest farmers, one thing is certain: we will persevere. This is what a farmer does best. They look at a bad situation and say, "Well, there is always next year." They don't quit, or give up just because things get tough. There is always the hope that next year will be better. Then as we reach a time in the future when times are tough I can see Adam and I looking back on this summer and saying, "This will be a cakewalk compared to the summer of 2011."

The dirt road Adam and his dad travel down to get to their
fields in Missouri.

One of our corn fields.

One of the soybean fields submerged by the flood waters.

The flood waters at Atchison. The water has almost reached
the bottom of the railroad bridge.

Riverfront Park was completely submerged.

The flood waters on the Missouri side.

An elevated view of the river.

The Missouri River at Atchison on June 30th.
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