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Today is a very exciting day! My sister Savannah came to visit us in South Dakota. But, this time the lure wasn’t to have some sister time or share a holiday.

Savannah came to visit us because there is a Tedx Talk – today – just 45 minutes from our house, in Brookings, SD. TED talks are focused on technology, entertainment or design – and within that range – anything goes. From talks on ruminant animals to a study of Disney movie characters. Savannah is a Ted Talk nerd, they are posted on YouTube and she enjoys watching them. She tells me she’s up to 50+ videos. She says she watches them while she cleans her dorm. But, most of the time, they are so good…she gets sucked in!

Perhaps this video & mission statement will explain better.

The Tedx Mission:

“In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x=independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.”

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I’m looking very forward to a day full of speakers and ideas! The topics for today’s talks will focus on the theme: reinventing rural.

Cows meet the Excel Spreadsheet

While on the topic of technology & ideas, we are trying something new this year with our cows. We are moving the record keeping from the yellow ledger pads, small notebooks, and scraps of paper into an Excel spreadsheet. Yikes!

A writer & a farmer using Excel – sounds scary to me! It leads to my desk looking a bit frightening. DSCN8353

Our goal is to figure out our Cow Carrying Cost per Year. This number represents how much it $$costs$$ to keep a cow for one full year. Keeping track of this number over time will help us make better management decisions.

The spreadsheet below is from Colorado State University. It is a pre-made template to help us get started. We aren’t finished calculating our numbers from 2013, but from what I’ve read the number will be in the $600 – $900 range, with about 50-75% of those costs being feed. This sheet has example numbers (not ours).

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We are very excited to finish our bookkeeping & this plays well into the Word of the Year. Management2

Thankfully, I get a break from the number crunching today & I’ll get to enjoy the TEDx talks with Savannah.

Thanks for reading!



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Hey, I’m Sierra Shea! I am so glad you are here. 

Where do I start with writing to introduce this blog? At the beginning, I suppose: I’ve been writing on various platforms online since 2013. I started blogging shortly after moving to South Dakota.

I am a mother and a maker at heart. I’m so grateful to be married to John and mother of three: Joslyn, J.D. and Jesse.

I am a self-taught decorator and designer. I am a brand new shepherdess and a Spiritual Director.

I love living in South Dakota, even though the winters & the wind can be a near-daily struggle.

Blogging is a grounding force in my life and it helps get me out of my head, unstuck and moving in the directions I always hoped I’d be going!