Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Bad Kind of Family

I have been getting a lot of flack from my non-farming friends about missing out on things, not making it to places on time, always smelling, being on the phone etc etc.  I have gotten used to it but lately I have noticed how my family is the bad kind.  We are all the things my non-farming friends and family label us as.  The bad kind of family:

  •  Rarely shows up on time

  I also have a bad habit of during finals helping a lot on the farm so I am usually late to at least one final because I can't leave in the middle of working.  We as a family are late because cows are unpredictable, oh so very unpredictable.  Graduation? they just wanna be fed. church? they just want fresh clean water. final? they hay needs to be baled. 
  • Work clothes double as church clothes --or church clothes double as work clothes

There is nothing a little stain remover and Momma's special concoction can't get rid of.  On the other hand cows don't care if you are on your way out the driveway to a special function dressed all nice!

  • Are closer to God on a tractor than in the pew

I am guilty of sitting in church thinking of all the things I could be doing if I wasn't in church.
  • Work on Sundays 

Just like this Easter we barely made it to church because we lost a cow.  There aren't enough hours in the day to get a days work done so many time we use our Sundays.  But, I don't think God cares because "God made a Farmer" and His animals need to be tended to everyday of the week 24/7

  • Schedule reflects the amount of chores for the day

Many farming families go till 1 am during harvest or hay season or get up multiple times a night during calving season.  We have missed a lot of family functions because 5 pm is a prime time on our family farm.  We schedule (if we can even go) our vacations around the farm and most times someone can't go. 
  • Believe in hard work (child labor!!)

I learned to get up at 5 am at an early age because the cows don't know I stayed up too late they just know they are hungry.  I was a really strong kid because picking (or whatever it took to get them moved) up feed sacks was an everyday thing.  

I would not change my bad family for anything.  We get bad looks when we haven't been to church in month,

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

From Death Comes Life

   I was in the middle of my normal feeding schedule when I noticed something was not as it was supposed to be.  I had actually walked right past it to begin with but something felt off so I turned around and saw a calf sprawled out on its side.  I dropped the full feed bucket, which hindsight was not a good idea, and went over to the preemie calf.  It was breathing and had a strong heartbeat which was a good thing but it was weak.  It was now a 3 day old calf and our black lab was bigger than him.           
    I am the last person to ever give up on a living animal, I ran back and forth from the barn to where it was laying to get a hay bale, a bucket, halters, and its mom, Jana.  I was very much alone but my dad was on speaker phone sitting in the feed bucket!  I was leary the cows would eat my phone and then I would definitely be up a creek but it was all I had in a pinch.  I got the calf onto the hay bale but because it was so small dad said it may be putting pressure on its lungs so I sat on the hay bale and held it.  I sat there all alone praying and hoping Jana would understand to get her udder close to us so he could nurse and regain strength.  I eventually called my mom and grandmother to come help.  Like I said, I am the last one to give up on an animal so when my mom got there and saw it her words devastated me but didn't discourage me.  I sat there holding this tiny calf trying to tell my mom and grandmother what I needed but also seeking advice from the mothers of Volunteer Simmentals. 

 My mom kept telling me there was nothing I could do and my grandmother kept quiet knowing I couldn't handle two people saying it.  We tried and tried and prayed and prayed for an everyday miracle for this preemie calf.  I made my mom feel its heartbeat trying to convince her it was very much alive but when she went down to feel for it...the heartbeat was gone.  I was holding a dead calf.  I didn't put it down until I was positive there was no life left in it.  I eventually put it down.  And like any farmer started thinking of the other animals.  I still had to feed the group I was originally headed to, I had to run the cows out of the hay field, fix fence, and now bury a calf.  

But on a farm, life always comes from death.  I had an idea!!!  We lost a cow Easter morning but she left a calf behind.  A calf come to be known as Henry to us who was being mothered by my grandmother.  I carried the dead calf away so his mom could worry about our new situation.  Operation get Henry onto his new momma!! You read that right.  From death comes life.  We may have lost a cow and a calf but God has a plan and he planned for these two to be a pair, mom and baby.  He did not however give me the talent to dig graves so the calf is buried in a big hole which took my an hour to dig.

Fast-forward a little bit late:  Henry is nursing Jana and all is well!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My Muddy Jeans

   I saw Nordstrom's new jeans advertisment this morning when I woke up for my animal science class.  Later, as I walked into my class, I couldn't help but notice that many of my peers were wearing muddy jeans.  They got up early to feed animals and take care of the farm before rushing to school. These jeans and these people are a familar sight to me and only after I saw that someone would pay over $400 for a fake pair of muddy jeans, did I start to think about all the worn out, stained with mud jeans in my own closet.  I realized that the clothes we wear tell stories about our lives.  The muddy jeans that farmers and ranchers wear are a testament to the hardworking nature of the life. If you have that much money burning a hole in your pocket I have the direct link, attached to the trendiest jeans on the market, at the bottom of this post.

A few stories behind my muddy jeans:

These muddy jeans took a dip in our pond when a calf fell in and I was the one willing to go for a swim! I see these jeans in my closet and remember the calf who I saved, who I worked day and night get healthy again.  These jeans have seen their fair share of life and death.  They are stained with manure, blood, mud, and still smell like that farm pond on the back forty of my family farm.  
These pants say so much!! This was my graduation.  As you can see my dad showed up with mere minutes to spare to give me my diploma.  His jeans speak about a father who works endless hours to provide for his family.  He gives his all every waking hour of the day to give his girls what they need and want!  At first, I was mad at him for showing up wearing those clothes, but I wouldn't trade my dad for anything.  He is the hardest working father and farmer a girl could ask for.  You may see this and see me being embarrassed but my family in working clothes even at special events is nothing new!
This is another degree of muddy jeans. These jeans got dirty from helping an enthusiastic showman get her heifer ready for the regional cattle show.  These jeans represent a family making memories in the show ring.  
You can't purchase any of these jeans for $425.  They are priceless. If you want your own personal, priceless, irreplaceable jeans come to my family farm and make your own with memories that will last a lifetime.  But if you are just interested in the hottest trend click here!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Suprise

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter.

  Our Easter started out like any other Easter, we were rushed to get everyone ready but dad was still at the barn.  He drove up in the Kubota to get breakfast with the news that would put our whole day out of whack.  He told us there was a cow down in the pond.  My first thought was how deep was she, like backhoe arm stretched way out, with us swimming to put ropes around her or just on the side with a foot stuck.  There are many hazards with having ponds and this wont be the first animal I have pulled out of one, but this cow has a special place in my heart.  Little Bit, never lost her class and was one of Pop's oldest cows.  She was an '02 model.  She was also one of the best cows, and we had a bright future planned for her after she calved.  Then she calved and all went down hill from there; she stopped eating, she got mastitis and had something else wrong in her gut.  Once we got her standing and walked out of the pond we all diapered to help get the rest of the chores done which included feeding hay. Well, about five minutes later we heard a big thud...she fell over, straight on her side.  I ran to her side and tried to hold the tears back.  This cow had been around my entire life and seeing her like this broke me into pieces.  I even had a hasgtag named after her #thisismyLEGGACY.  Once I made it over to her, I consoled her and made sure she was comfortable.  My mom was standing close by and having seen people die said (the cow) was having the death gurgles.  She had given up, but we had failed her too.  She withered around like she wanted to get up so I mustered up all my strengeth and with the help of David and Mom got her sitting up.  We thought all was well so everyone walked off.  I was left holding her up with my leg...and not long after I was left holding a dead cow.  Her baby was standing behind me.  Once we got her took off to be buried I went into her calf to pet it, I am not one to say cows have feelings but I do and it made me feel better seeing the cute fluff she left behind.  Leggacy may be dead but she lives on in the many wet heads I got from taking backdrop photos standing under her mouth and the ribbons that hang in our office.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Transitional Planning

I feel like I talk about this a lot but here's another blog post about my grandfathers passing.  This is a different kind of post however.  I am at the American National CattleWomen convention held in conjunction with the National Cattlemens Beef Association in Nashville.  This post is about transitional planning.  I had the privilege of hearing from Kelli and Donell Brown for R.A Brown Ranch out of Texas.  They say "Keep the ranch in the family and the family in the ranch."  They have been and are successful in keeping true to that saying.  Their history of transition planning dates back all the way to the 1800s or so, anyways, they have been so successful Donell has become a speaker and brought Kelli along this time to Nashville.
     They gave us so many tips that I can relate to because after losing the Man that built our farm we often look back and wish we had done these things.  They said one more thing that stuck with me because my grandfather wouldn't  let us run things before he died.  They told us we didn't have to change but we would have to compete with those that did.  We did not do any transitional planning so my grandmother, the #BossBabe of our farm is running things.  This takes me to another point how men don't look to a woman as a boss. I have one thing to tell you MY GRANDMOTHER RUNS VOLUNTEER SIMMENTAL.  Although, we did not do transition planning we are behind with our program because we are still trying to get our ducks in a row.  We are competing with the farms and ranches who planned for change.  I know now to follow the sound advice of the Brown's transition planning.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I Would Do It ANYday

Word to my readers: this post is a little late!

  It was Christmas Eve Eve and my boyfriend had just left my house.  He called about 10 minutes later telling me "he almost hit a cow."  By this time it was around 10 pm, so it was already dark.  He told me he was at Gene's place so the cow was more than likely black.  I told my parents what happened and texted a man who rents land from him....he was out of town. That left me to go offer my help to this 80-something year old man.  If his age gives you any insight in why I said offer it should be this, he thought women should be in the kitchen.  A long time ago I knocked on his door to see if I could help him around his farm and he looked back into his house and said something along the lines of "I don't see anything you could do."  I eventually got him talked into letting me weedeat his fence rows.  Back to my story....I called him and got no answer so I pulled on my boots over my pjs and left the house.  I drove extremely slow with my flashers on, but have you ever tried looking for a black cow in the dark and I also forgot my big mag light.  I knocked on his door and like many other times he brushed me off.  God had another thing coming for this man because my neighbor, a man, happened to come in and ask him the same thing I just did but he didn't brush him off.  He invited him in while he put his boots on.  When they finally emerged from the house, he got in his brand new car and told us to follow.  We drove up and down the road, walked the 100 acre field and then he took his car up into it.  By around midnight, we had canvased the place as best as we could so we called it a night.  I stopped in after Christmas dinner and he said they were in the lot at daylight!
     During the search, Jerry, the neighbor who rented from Mr. Carson was texting me and he said something that made me write this and gave me a whole new meaning to everything I do.  "You just earned a crown in Heaven for helping him."  I would do it any day for any farmer, Christmas Eve or the night before a final that counts 60% of my final grade.  I love these old men, I love the American Farmer.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Farming Isn't (Always) Fun

J-Loppy in the back and a new bull calf in the front---one is dying and the other is thriving 

    I was finishing up sowing wheat in the field when dad called me about a new heifer.  I had worked for many years to get this heifer on the ground.  She was bred with old "throwback" genetics.
 I came across this bull many times.  I first saw him on my cows pedigrees and then again in our semen tank.  I eventually looked him up, boy was he ugly and word on the street was his daughters had attitudes. This didn't stop me from falling in love with PVF Black Joker.  Fast-forward many years to a couple days ago, dad had called me about a heifer calf.  She was black, spunky, and a looker!  I was excited.  Two days went by and she came up to the barn while I was feeding.  She was hunched over, like she was cold but that didn't register to me.  She got worse as the day went by so we fed her some extra energy (colostrum.)  The next morning I was leaving the barn but I thought twice about it because her mom wouldn't stop bawling and good thing I had. J-Loppy, we had already named her, was laying in the back of the pen we put her and her mother in.  I immediately called Dad and he called the vet.  This calf was only a week old but she was so much more than a calf.  We got the vet and she did all she could do.  She had merely walked away and J-Loppy twitched, jerked, and spasmed out.  I had never seen anything like this and I still won't admit to myself I saw her die.  We couldn't accept it and even left the heat lamps her for 12 or so hours.  Farming isn't fun and this was just another insistence when it wasn't