I have learned over the years if you want a successful field day, community meeting or book launch, serve good food. Even if the particular message you went to hear bombs, at least people aren’t hungry.
So when my wife and I were greeted at the door of the Home Quarter Mercantile in Cochrane, Alta. for a recent book launch with tasty beef sliders, meat balls and refreshments — before we could even take our coats off — I knew this was going to be a good event. And then they brought out the pastry trays and it didn’t matter to me if we had come to see a crayon drawing on a napkin I would have liked the new publication. As a bonus the new coffee-table book didn’t disappoint either.
We were attending the launch of the The Life is Art — A Photographic Journey of Ranching in Western Alberta. It is a beautiful coffee table book by photographer JoAnne Meeker, capturing the every day art of life on a working cattle ranch, the Diamond 7 Ranch, west of Calgary. You can read more about it on my blog at www.grainews.ca .
Meeker, who has displayed photographs at the Calgary Stampede for many years, spent a good part of a year at the ranch capturing some great photos of the people, the animals, the equipment, and the scenery that are all part of life on a commercial cattle ranch. Not every ranch in Western Canada has the beautiful backdrop of the Rocky Mountains or grizzly bears roaming the pastures, but aside from those specific images, the book is all about horses, and cowboys and girls, red and black cattle, good cow dogs, barns and saddles all involved in everyday ranch work.
Meeker has done a nice job of the photos and then it is all put together in a beautiful 100-page, glossy, hardbound 11 x 14 book. As a special feature it was designed with 10 specially finished photos on perforated pages that can be removed and framed. If you like western art for your home, need some corporate gifts, or a door prize for an upcoming community event, The Life is Art would be a great choice. The book can be ordered online at the Diamond-7 Ranch website . And if you want to learn more about the photographer visit her website at www.jmeeker.com
Now back to the food… the Diamond 7 has done a good job of marketing, all natural, grass-raised, grain-finished beef. They supply meat to some of the finer restaurants in Calgary, which I haven’t been too, but if the sliders (mini-hamburgers) are any indication I wouldn’t hesitate to order their steak anytime. The sliders were moist, tender and flavourful.
Along with the ranch producing nice beef, credit also has to go Joan Longeway and her crew at the Home Quarter Mercantile. They put all the food together for the event, and produced a great selection of pastries to cap off the main course.
The Home Quarter Mercantile, right on Cochrane main street has been around for years. The Longeways owned it for many years, then it was under different management for a while, and now the Longeways are back running the business. About two-thirds of the store is a western clothing and art gift shop and one-third is pie shop that serves breakfasts, lunches and of course, pies.
A great book and great food — this was definitely a win/win event.
From the Country Guide website: Nourishing new farmers
UFA CATTLE COLLEGE
UFA, the farm and ranch supply and services company has launched its Cattle College series for 2013-14.
UFA Cattle College, which got underway in December and continues in various locations in January, brings together a selection of speakers, including leaders and experts to discuss topics of interest in the cattle industry. Each event will feature guest speakers, presentations and discussion periods. Local beef producers are invited to take part in an event in their area and to RSVP to their local UFA Farm & Ranch Supply store prior to the event so adequate seating and food can be provided.
Although the schedule may change depending on location, topics for discussion may include:
- Live Cattle Handling Demonstration with Curt Pate — known for his work in the Robert Redford film The Horse Whisperer.
- Cattle market outlook.
- Local veterinarian presentation featuring the popular cow-calf simulator, Lucy & Lou.
- Cattle nutrition
Financing options for your farm and ranch
The Cattle Colleges will be held in Spruce Grove, Jan. 14; Aridrie, Jan. 15; Hanna, Jan. 16; Lethbridge, Jan. 21; Medicine Hat, Jan. 23; Grande Prairie Jan. 28 and LeCrete, Jan. 30. For more information visit the UFA website at: UFA.com/CattleColleges. †
Lee Hart is the Cattleman’s Corner editor for Grainews.