A quick look back


Here we are in 2014!  How on earth did that happen?  Before we get too far into in this New Year I wanted to take a quick look back at a couple of things.

It was a busy year.  There were knees to repair, fundraisers, cattle to move, a fire, time spent at the beach, rodeos, birthdays to celebrate and a whole bunch of other stuff.  But right now I want to update you on my top two blog posts from last year.

Questioning Cattle Deaths in South Dakota – There was a terrible blizzard on Oct 4, 2013.  Tens of thousands of cattle, horses and sheep were killed.  There were a lot of misconceptions out there regarding how this happened.  In my post I tried to speak to some of those, as did a lot of other bloggers and Ag folks.  You can check out those resources on my Ranching links page.

I learned a lot writing that post.  The biggest thing I learned was that while there are misconceptions out there regarding ranching and agriculture in general, the vast majority of people are really interested in learning more and talking more with actual farmers and ranchers.  And farmers and ranchers even have some of their own misconceptions about city folks.  I have spent time on both sides of the fence and the truth is, we are all a lot more alike than we know, we just need to sit down and visit a little more often.

A lot of people stepped up to help after the blizzard.  The surrounding community set up the Ranchers Relief Fund and over 5,000 individuals and businesses from all over the country contributed.  There were auctions, dinners and other fundraisers that raised $3.1 million dollars.


In addition to that, ranchers throughout the west donated cattle to those who had lost so much through the Heifers for South Dakota program.


And then there’s the Christmas Angel from Lusk WY, named Donna.  She had an idea to try to make Christmas a little brighter for those families affected by the blizzard.  Pillow cases were sewn and stuffed with gifts of all kinds, donated and delivered by Donna’s helpers who, once she put the idea out there, showed up from all over the surrounding area.  There are so many great people out there!


A few of the homemade angels that went with the gifts

And this next one is pretty near and dear to my heart.  Saddle Up with Tom.  My friend Tom is a cowboy, rancher, husband and dad to two adorable little girls.  In February of 2013 he was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma.  It’s been a tough year but he’s a strong guy surrounded by a strong, supportive family and whole lot of friends.  I know if you read his story you’ll want to know how to help.  Here’s a few ideas.


  1. Go to the Saddle Up the Cardwells Facebook page and leave Tom and his family some encouraging words.  Say a prayer and send some positive thoughts their way.  It seems like a little thing but it means a lot and they feel every one.
  2. Consider donating to help fund Cancer research.  We need to find a cure for this disease.  No one should have to ever go through what Tom and his family have had to go through this past year.  It’s great to “like” the Fight Cancer posts on Facebook but maybe we can go a step further and put a few real dollars behind that sentiment.  Here are two possibilities – KidneyCancer.org and CancerResearch.org.  Both of these organizations received 4 stars from Charity Navigator. If you wish, you can also donate to help Tom’s family with medical expenses here.
  3. If you are healthy and those you love most are healthy, Be Thankful.  Don’t take your health for granted, even for a moment.

There were a lot of great moments in 2013 and also a lot of challenges.  I have a feeling 2014 will be pretty much the same.  Because isn’t that just the way life goes, joy and laughter, heartache and sorrow all rolled up into one.  In the midst of a terrible blizzard, in the midst of a heartbreaking cancer diagnosis people showed up and gave of their time, talents and treasure.  It didn’t change the facts.  It didn’t bring the cattle back.  It didn’t change the diagnosis.  You still have to walk the path in front of you, no matter how rough it becomes.  But it sure does help do know that you’re not walking it alone.  Knowing that other people care and want to help carry the load in some small way, does make a difference.

Who knows what 2014 has in store for us.  It’s exciting and scary all at the same time.  Who knows where our paths will lead this year.  But at least we can walk it together!

Best Wishes to everyone for 2014!

“Never believe that a few caring people cannot change the world. For, indeed, that is all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead

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10 Responses to A quick look back

  1. Will says:

    Jody, Will here, up in Powell River Canada. Lady, you are one fantastic Writer! Thank you for your inspirational words and work ethic. As a one-time Ranch kid, free lance Writer, and now semi-retired Farrier, your repetitively updated gifts of insight and vicarious reminders of the Life I lived and loved are truly precious gems to savour. May those in your circle show you the appreciatiion you so greatly deserve, that those of us on the outside cannot provide. Thank you and may 2014 be a safe, happy, healthy year. Well done, and beyond “Pretty Work”. With sincere respect, Will Sturgeon.

    • prettywork says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I don’t know that I really deserve such high praise but I certainly do appreciate it! Best wishes to you too, and all our Canadian friends, for a safe, happy and healthy 2014! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I look forward to keeping in touch.
      Best Wishes,

  2. Sandy says:

    You rock, Girl! Thanks for enlightening people on both sides of the ag fence. As an IA farmer, we feel for the SD folks and are humbled by the outpouring of support for them as well as Tom C. May you and yours find happy trails in ’14.

  3. Tom Thom says:

    Like you, I have had the “opportunity” to live on both sides of the town and country divide and can see the misconceptions of each side and perhaps understand the misunderstandings. My family farmed and ranched on the Carolina coastal plains for 95 years but succumbed to a 10 year string of weather disasters and government meddling in the 70s and 80s. Thank you for the great job you do of providing a place where the sides can meet and share their alikeness.
    I hope you have a great 2014.
    I’ll be listening

  4. Sharon says:

    You indeed have a true perspective of the whole picture. Thanks for putting into words the rest of us could only wish to say. Much happiness & good health you & your family for 2014. Looking forward to many more prettywork blogs.

  5. Jerry Stoll says:

    Jody: Since I found your blog I wait every month for an update, all the stories and photos bring back some real good memories for when I was out at the ranch. Keep up the good work you can tell people how it is in the real world of agriculture.. Mari says to tell you hi, looking forward to next month…

    • prettywork says:

      Hi Jerry!
      Great to hear from you! I hope you, Mari and the kids are all doing well. You guys will have to come out for dinner next time I am home, it would be great to catch up. Talk to you soon.

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