Sunday, December 28, 2014

Have Plans???? We Think Not!

On Friday, December 26, 2014, we had plans to do several things on the farm and have friends over to see the baby calves that night.  Well.......the cows had other ideas.  Alan was driving by the other farm and saw a calf in the middle of the field.  There are not suppose to be any calves over there.  We try to bring them home to calve so they are closer in case they need assistance and so we can care for the calf.  We all got in vehicles and the four wheeler to go retrieve the pair.  Mom was a show heifer so she got haltered.  The calf had to be tied and put in the back of the truck because it kept running off.  It took two of us to hold him in the truck on the way home.  Ok, one probably could have done it but two was a better option to keep him from getting hurt.  I was following the truck with momma.  She was following it so well, I thought I could let go of halter and she would stay there.  BIG MISTAKE!!  She took off back through the field to where she last saw the baby.  Alan and I caught her again and this time tied her to the back of the four wheeler and took her home.  We were going at her walking space so that she was not uncomfortable.  We got her home and put in stall with the calf then went back to field where everyone else was to check the other cows and feed hay.

While Mike, Jeff, and Dad were waiting on us, they found another cow that they were sure had calved.  When Alan and I got there, him and dad fed hay and I joined the search for a newborn.  If you have been around cattle much at all, you know this is like finding a needle in a hay stack.  After feeding hay, Alan and Dad joined back in the search.  We looked until dark (about four hours) and then the neighbor was flashing a light at us.  I had told him earlier that we were looking for a newborn.  He was walking along the fence and spooked it up and it took off.  There was some level of relief because we knew that there was a calf and that it was up and about,  Our concern was leaving it over there for the night.  Since we could not find the
'phantom calf'' even after she had been spotted we were left with no choice but to resume in the morning.  I was done when I crossed paths with a skunk.  Fortunately even though it was dark and all I saw at first was movement, I was able to back away and let him pass without incident.

We went back early on Saturday morning and the Phantom was standing with mom!  We then got them to the house without much difficulty.  Now, to do all of the things that didn't get done Friday and Saturday with a major cold front bearing down on us.  Oh the joys of farming.  Though there are times that are frustrating and sometimes infuriating, I would not change it for the world.

Until next time, remember.......Beef, It's What's for Dinner!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Calving Season 2014-2015 has Begun

This is my favorite time of the year.  Seeing life begin anew.  I love to see the baby calves running, playing and enjoying life.  It reminds me to take time and enjoy it myself.  What our lives are so hectic, we need something to remind us to slow down.  When we are doing chores, we are usually hurrying trying to get everything done quickly for one reason or another.  During some of these times, we have to stop and watch as the calves are running and jumping.  We all have smiles on our faces and some of us are even laughing at them.  These creatures of God, bring joy to our lives.  Yes, they sometimes frustrate and anger us.  We stop ourselves and remind ourselves that God has trusted us to take care of these creatures and keep them healthy and safe.  This is no easy task and takes lots of time and energy.  This December has brought us many cloudy, gloomy days and very limited sunshine.  The National Weather Service said,last week, that since December 3 we have had a possibility of 169 hours of sunshine, we have only had nineteen.  Needless to say, we are getting a little grouchy and this calf made a bright spot for us yesterday.  

This calf is a gift from God.  He gave me the skills and will to learn to artificially inseminate our cows.  This is a heifer calf out of a bull, JDB Turn Key, that we owned years ago and have few of his descendants left in the herd.  This line has always been good milkers.  These are just a few of the reasons that she is a Blessing to us.  I am also thankful that I feel like I am giving back to my parents for all that they did for me and continue to do for me.

May you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  PLEASE take time to slow down and truly enjoy your family and all of the beauty around you.  Remember the reason for the season.

Until next time, remember.......Beef, It's What's for Dinner!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Family Affair

The above picture are of myself (orange shirt) and Daughter (pink shirt) at the Missouri State Fair.  For the first time in at least ten years, I was entering the show ring and my daughter was in the same class.  We had a lot of fun teasing each other about whom was going to win.  I must have taught her well, because she beat me!  I do however still say the judge was not really looking at the animals.  The bull she was showing only had one testicle and my bull had two.  So why did she win?  It was that judges opinion on that day.

This year has brought many interesting times in the show ring.  We had one of the best animals we have ever raised in the shoe ring.  One judge said that she was too 'cowy'. Now my thought is how can they be too cowy?  Isn't that we want is heifers that will be good cows?  At another show our three heifers were in the same class and placed in the bottom three holes.  The judge later commented that he would take the bottom three home to his pasture before the top three in the same class.  Wait a minute, if that is the case shouldn't these have placed first if you would take them home?

We have learned through the years to shrug these things off and go on with our lives.  We are in the business of raising cows and if we win in the show ring it is an added bonus for us.  We refuse to get our heifers fat for the show ring because they tend not to bred and/or milk if they get too fat.  We would rather have a calf on the ground next spring.  Most of the animals we show are farm raised so there is another level of pride when they can compete with the bigger breeders animals.

Where am I going with this?  Well, while showing myself, our children and now grandchildren have learned many life lessons.  One is responsibility.  You are responsible for the care and training of your animal(s).  If you do a good job of this care and training, they will perform better in the ring.  Humility is another lesson learned sometimes the hard way.  You must learn to win graciously and loose with dignity.  Life is not fair is another important lesson learned.  There are times that you are placed below animals that you should not be placed below, but that is that judges opinion on that day.  Dreaming big and going for the blue is an important place to start, but one must do the work for this and accept it when they don't win big.

As a parent and grandparent, I would much rather have a blue ribbon child whom has learned this lessons as well as made life long friends than a blue ribbon animal that these children never touched or learned from the experience.  Yes, not winning sometimes really hurts, but it is better for them to learn that in the show ring where the consequences of not winning are minimal than in real life situations where the consequences may be much more dire.

We win some, we lose more, but we do it as a family and spend quality time together.  We have fabulous friends that we have met through this activity and I find that they are generally the ones that are the first to offer support when we need it even though we are miles apart.  Don't misunderstand me, we have many friends that we gained through other parts of our lives that are also quick to lend support.

Thank you to my parents for allowing me to show cattle and for keeping the farm going so that their grandchildren and great-grandchildren may also participate in this activity and learn form it.  Thank you to all that we call friends for all that you do for us.  We are truly Blessed by having all of you in our lives.

Until next time, remember.......Beef, It's What's for Dinner!