Thursday, April 25, 2013

No Words Wednesday

I am going to start a "No Words Wednesday".  It will just consist of pictures due to the fact I think pictures speak words I sometimes can not express.  I hope you will join along. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring County Show 2013!

Monday, the 15th, was our county show!  We pulled in and the butterflies started overcoming my stomach!  Our county show is pretty simple: skill-a-thon, food, showmanship, and then the show!  We did our skill-a-thon in the public high school then we came out for burgers and drinks. Then I got NERVOUS! Showmanship time!  Where it's all about you and how you handle your animal! It went pretty smooth, the judge said we were so good so she made us switch calves!  Scary!  I got the lead calf and the one I thought was crazy!  Needless to say I was wrong!  I ended up winning showmanship.  When she came and shook my hand I could finally breathe!  Then was the commercial show with Friendly, she won Reserve behind the calf that I got switched to in Showmanship.  And finally the show!  Let's skip all the classes, I won the Simmental show. Then Supreme...the Judge Sarah Orr said it was a tough call but she picked my heifer Batman formally known as 'Danni'.
Commercial Champion Line-Up
Grand is the guy in the back and Reserve is me in the middle with Friendly

All my Simmental's in the ring at once, it's a great feeling! Plus I get to let my BEEF friends help! That's what they are there for, right!

My side of the Supreme Line-up there was another heifer not pictured

My BEEF friends, the judge, and the Supreme Heifer 'Batman'

A little chat with the judge and her "moral support"!

We had a great day!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Suppport is beautiful

A friend of mine, a BEEF friend, read something I put on Facebook and decided she loved it, so she wrote a blog which can be read here:  Mal The Beef Gal. The things I love about my BEEF friends are that no matter how far we live from each other we share so much and we are always there for one another. Whether it be moral support or knowledge about the industry, or simply life, you can always count on them!  Malorie and I have only met twice. The first was at the National Beef Ambassadors in California and she was "in charge".  At the contest she was in charge of the Junior contestant room.  She calmed us down before our consumer demos and interviews and gave us simple pointers. She was our mentor during the whole contest and she helped me more than she realizes! The second time I saw Malorie was at the NCBA (National Cattlemen's Beef Association) Convention in Tampa, Florida in front of the bathrooms.  We chatted about shrinky dink cattle jewelry and cattle of course!  Malorie is an important and busy person and I am truly thankful that I have gotten to know her!   She is just one example of  the many great BEEF friends whom I have met.  Many live across the country!  Malorie lives all the way in California! I have met most of these wonderful friends through the wonderful Beef Ambassador Program.  There are so many things I can say about the cattle industry!  I can talk about how awesome farmers are and how much they care about their animals and the environment.  I can talk about how valuable living on a farm has been to my life.   But this one thing sticks out in my mind--- This industry brings people together.  We are all a cohesive unit working towards common goals, supporting each other in any way we can in the process!  
Thank you Malorie!

Good Friends and First Places

This weekend was the Cherokee Beef Clinic and Show in Athens, TN.  The Clinic consisted of tips on grooming, feeding and knowledge of your heifer or steer.  After the clinic the show began! It started with senior level 2 showmanship, 11th and 12th grade, and concluded with the junior's, 4th and 5th grade. After showmanship, was the steer(castrated male), commercial(No papers stating lineage) and registered (Papers, registered with breed association) show.  My commercial heifer, Friendly,  finished her FIRST show with a first place in her class! Simmental Cattle, the breed I show, was the last division of the day.  I just love ABC order, always putting my breed last! I brought three Simmental heifers down: Dreamy, Danni (Batman), and Savy. My heifers did wonderful and we walked out with Grand Champion Simmental Heifer. When  I was not in the ring I was talking and catching up with my BEEF friends.

Country Kids having fun at the show!


Friday, April 5, 2013

What a day!!!!!! I love it!!!

  Hey ya'll, Just wanted to tell you about my morning.  I just carried a calf from the barn to its momma, which I couldn't find at first. First I had to catch the durn thing, then I rolled under fences (tore my pants), got lit on fire by the electric fence, slipped and busted my face, stood on the hill yelling "whose calf is this" "Twin Momma", and there she came walking up with her other calf! Ah, I think I shall call it a day. Oh wait, I can't I live on a farm!

"Rain is a Good Thing"

Luke Bryan says "Rain is a good thing"! I am starting to question that! We have been having a LOT of rain here lately.  My mud boots are getting a lot of use; the ground has taken in all the water it can! The ponds are running over and the cow’s feet are muddy! They stay in the barn and eat all day! Although, I am not loving this rain I do realize the benefits of this downpour! The first is our ponds and water reserves are filling up so if we do have a dry summer then we won’t have to haul water like my grandfather did a couple years ago! The second is our grass is growing! During summer we cut hay and put it up for the cows to eat during the winter or on a rainy day like today. If we were to have a lack of rain right when our grass and crops needed it we could have a shortage which in turn would make us either buy from other more fortunate farmers or use up all emergency resources.  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Almost time for a new season of Cattle Shows

I have shown cattle for as long as I can remember!! My dad used to show and so did my grandfather.  I pretty much show almost year round now, but earlier on I primarily showed at county shows and fairs.   As soon as the weather starts warming up I start getting the feeling!! WHAT FEELING you might ask?   The excitement of showing your new animals, seeing old friends, and helping younger showman learn the art. 

Friends and my little sister- County group of 5 winners
Knoxville, TN Cattle Expo

I love to help the younger children learn to show!


I love to wash my animals everyday!!


I also love to see a hard days work turn into a good rest!!!  lol




Learning-- Sometimes the hard way!

I love to learn!   I try to learn something new everyday.  Sometimes I have to learn things that scare me or make me wonder if I can even do them.  For instance, the times I had to learn to drive a bobcat, backhoe, and tractor.   Even though I was nervous about learning to drive those machines, once I had learned I was empowered and felt a huge sense of accomplishment.  You see, you really can learn anything once you put your mind to it.  I think growing up on a farm has really fostered my desire to learn as much as I can.   Everyday I am presented with challenges that I have to figure out on my own.  For instance, right now I have over 200 chickens.  What once was a small 4-H project has turned into a major job for me.   A few years ago we decided to let our chickens free range and one fateful day we turned them all loose from the run.   It was exciting.  They couldn't move quick enough to get out and find new bugs and worms to eat.   Since then, they have layed thousands of eggs and been very entertaining to watch roam around the farm. One downside to free range chickens is that eventually some of them will decided they want to become broody and have baby chickens.  Those Chicks will find the weirdest places to lay their eggs.   NO.. not in my nice nesting boxes, but rather in a hay bale high up in the barn or an abandoned shed.   This leads to year round easter egg hunts for us and many, many baby chicks roaming around the farm.    Right now, I am trying to find ways to get this under control.  One of our ongoing solutions is to process the chickens for meat.   We love having processing parties where we all get together and take on different parts of the job.    My mom makes the best chicken broth and we enjoy eating or utilizing all parts of the chickens in our food. Nevertheless,  I still need another solution..... I have toyed with idea of clipping their wings, but that is an awful lot of chickens to catch!   One idea that has fascinated me is chicken tractors.   I don't make a ton of money with egg sales, so I have been trying to be innovative with my funding in coming up with my own chicken tractor design.   I have also been studying the Polyface farms chicken practices.  I would like to build a chicken house that rolls around the farm to different pasture where they can then come out of and stay enclosed in portable electric fencing.  This seems like the perfect solution...... I will be put my learning to the test over the next few weeks as I try to implement my plans. I will keep you posted!!!!





AI Training

 I've been waiting for this day for a VERY long time! The Select Sires truck had 3 things for me! Two bull's semen and an AI kit! I recently got AI certified. I am so excited to be able to do this on my farm and I am very thankful that my pop bought me all the supplies I need. 
AI stands for Artificial Insemination. On my farm, I am going to AI first time heifers (heifers that haven't been bred or calved before). I will do this for many reasons. The main reason I will AI first time heifers is so the cow has a calf with a low birth weight. If a first time heifer gives birth to a calf that is too big one of three things can happen: if not caught it could stay in her and kill her, we would perform a C-Section, or we would pull the calf using leg chains hooked onto the baby. None of  these are good things!  So I will use AI to lessen those happening.
The second reason I will use Artificial Insemination would be if I had a phenonmal cow/heifer on the farm and found a bull that lived across the country that I wanted to pair together. By using AI, I could make this happen. Having a technician that actually lives on the farm makes it even better.  Before I got AI certified,  we would have to call our neighbor to come over and breed our cows/heifers.  During my AI class I met fellow farmers around the area.  I also got to take the class with some of my close BEEF friends. From left to right: Me, Abby Tipton, Emily Ivey, and Nate Long, all of which are very involved in Agriculture and the BEEF Industry.
Those pink things on our arms in the picture are the gloves that ensure that we don't get covered in cow manure. The white suits are to protect your clothes, but Emily and I braved it in our OLD clothes!
Select Sires-- AI Training... Youth are the future!!!