Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rock or Horse Turd?

I'm getting a new show barn!  There are 8 pens but we are only going to use 4....for now!

There was a lot and more old wood that needs to come out

we put a hay rake and grain elevator up in the loft which is FULL of old hay! (Next project) 

My great-grandfather used this for his milking parlor but I'll use it as a feed room!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Today We Got Stuff Done

We packed over a ton of feed

Tried to get our collection of generators running

Bent a lot of nails

Fixed fence

I mended this baby! But we came back later and nailed new boards in! We have cows I will be AI'ing in it and they kept getting out, every time I turned my back! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Savvy had a calf last night!  Pop called me this morning to tell me I had a calf to tag, at the time I didn't know it was my beloved Savvy! Savvy is a past show heifer.  I love watching a heifer be shown and then lay down and have a calf! I am definitely a proud grandmother!!
Savvy, in the back, with her new baldy heifer calf! 

Savvy in the show ring, she is the one in the front

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I Hate to Watch Her Go

  Yesterday we took calves to the sale barn. We also took my first show heifer, Madeline.  Watching Madeline come onto the scales was emotional.  I had to get through my thick skull she was old and wasn't in the best condition, she would either die on our farm (and I would have to bury her) or let her delicious meat be eaten.  I might have chosen to let her die her on the family farm but when she weighed 1022lbs and brought $1.06/pound I reconsidered things!  With that money we can go buy new young cows or I can get a new show heifer, both of which I will have to send to the sale barn one day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Am I seeing Double, Again?

This post actually happened a couple of weeks ago!    I am just getting around to writing about it!

So today was interesting, as usual!
  Satan's Spawn had a calf.  She isn't just any cow as you can tell by her name.  She is the Devil.  She is one of the most protective cows you have ever seen until her calf is around 3 months old.  This is really a good thing, considering she doesn't ever need any help raising her calves.  It becomes a problem when we aren't able to get near the calf to band or tag it.  This year, however, we thought it would be different.  Satan's Spawn was in another field getting a drink and eating grass, so three of us got together to tried to get to the calf while she wasn't around.  We had a solid plan:   One person would be the lookout, the other was a calf holder, and the third person did the would band and tag.  We went out to the field to find the calf and she started leisurely walking towards us.   It was almost too good to be true.  I started to feel uneasy and I definitely didn't trust the lookout because he was unaware why I named the cow Satan's Spawn.  My grandfather attempted to do the work (banding and tagging) and I watched the cow with one eye and Pop (my grandfather) with the other eye.  He couldn't get both testicles to drop and as he was working with his head down Satan's Spawn walked passed us. I was shocked, and thought she was going to turn around any second and charge.  I kept telling Pop, "I will abandon ship if she comes any closer!"  Most of the cows belong to my Pop and I know they wouldn't hurt him, but she would probably kill me.  Once we got the calf banded and tagged, we realized that she didn't know we had the calf.  After we were done, we took the calf to her and realized that she had twins.  That is when we also realized why she didn't care that we were handling the other twin.  Satan's Spawn was on her millionth set of twins.  We average two sets of twins on our farm each year.  People often comment that we need to have our water tested.  I had a feeling she had twins again.  It wasn't like her to NOT try to kill us when we were banding the calf, but once we approached the other calf (the twin she claimed) we saw her true colors.   I tried all my methods of getting her to take the banded calf but none of them worked.  She was only interested in the calf by her side.  The calf we had banded kept trying to nurse, but Satan kept kicking it and eventually started butting it and being really aggressive towards the little guy.    That was when I had had ENOUGH.  I was so mad, I was seeing red.  The worst part of watching this was that the calf kept trying again to nurse and each time Satan's Spawn hurt it worse.  I stepped in,  almost in tears, and we took the banded calf to the barn.  Before we headed to the barn we let the calf nurse on another cow that had just lost a calf.   This Cow that had just lost her baby was a show cow from 2003 so she led with a halter very nicely. This sweet cow would be the new momma to the banded calf we call GROVER!!!!

Success with a calf is a great feeling!

I thought I looked pretty funny and a little stereotypical redneck

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The First Hurdle: Regional Livestock Judging

  I am in Denver right now for the National Beef Ambassador Contest 2015 but before I could board my five pm flight I had a full day of livestock judging and reasons.  I had told my 4-H agent I was leaving at four o'clock for the airport even if I wasn't finished judging.  The contest started at one, and the optimistic gal I am, thought it wouldn't be any trouble...  We finished judging classes at around three and then started reasons twenty minutes after that.  I had my phone on me, to keep time, it was nearing 3:40.   My aunt, who was kindly taking me to the airport, texted me to say she was waiting and I needed to busta move to get to the airport.  I did two sets of reasons (cattle and hogs)  in under fifteen minutes.  Once we left the contest, and raced to the the airport I was freaking just a bit!!  It was 4:30 when I my bag checked.  Security was awful.  There line seemed like it went on and on for miles. I asked some people near the front with tears streaming down my face if I could hop in front of them because I was due to leave at five.  We got to talking about life, where we were going, and from.  We eventually gained another guy on my same flight and another woman who were all running late.  After all the tears, calming words from my aunt and the stranger I met, running to the gate with socks on my feet and jacket in my hand, I MADE IT.  Once I got to Denver, I called my teammate and asked how we did...
    I got ninth individual, another girl got fifth, and our team got third.  That means we get to state!  The meats team, which I am also on is going to state too, so I am a happy girl.
These are two of my teammates: Megan and Aaron
And some girls I know through showing.

Friday, August 8, 2014

We're All Going to be Sore in the Morning

A 100lb calf was born recently.  When a calf is that big sometimes their legs can't hold them up right away, so we knew we needed to take him and his mother to the barn so we could make sure he stood  up and got the colostrum.  I figured out real quick that the cow was one of my Pop's (meaning ONLY Pop could handle her), so I went and sat on the other side of the fence and watched the pair until my dad got home.  As some of you may know, Pop is getting old.   He does the supervising now and dad and I do the work.   My dad is tough as nails and not many cows get the best of him, but this cow was the meanest of the mean. In fact, she was meaner than nails.  While I got the gates ready he went up and got the cow and calf driven to me.  When he got the cow into the lane and all heck broke loose. She turned on Dad and he tucked tail and ran simply because he didn't have anything to defend himself with.  We tried till the last second to make her go calmly but when a 1,700lb momma cow is coming at you because she THINKS you are going to harm her calf you have to fight back or get hurt.  We got her into the barn by acting tough.  I was trembling in my boots and swinging a stick. 
  When we got into the barn, it got worse. She ran at dad, butted the gate at me and wound up with a bloody nose all the while she running circles around her calf!  Dad, the brave man he is, used himself as bait.  He would tease her so she would come at him because she couldn't be moved like a cow without a calf.  He finally got her out into the working area and she backed dad back into the barn.  I then got the nerve to pick up the calf and brought him to the front of the chute thinking the cow would follow me and the calf and get in the chute.  I was very thankful it worked.   Once she was in the chute we checked her ear for a tattoo, drained her udder into a bottle to feed the calf and dewormed her!  The next morning we were all sore and all I could think about was having to go back in the barn with her.

           It will not let me upload the many pictures I took, I even tried the best picture but no!  I will post this for now and keep trying to get the pictures, they make reading it so much better!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Pride Go Before The Fall

 We have always taken pride, as many farmers and ranchers do, that our cows can have and raise a calf unassisted!  Unfortunately, pride go before the fall!  We had the CUTEST calf born a week ago out of an veteran cow.  I don't know if a calf is born knowing how to nurse or a cow just nudges until they do, but this calf wasn't taking the bait!
 I got a phone a couple days ago from Pop telling me to come give it a bottle.  I was hoping that the calf would nurse on it's own, but it didn't and Maggie Mae's bag  (the cow) was getting full and tight from not feeding her new calf.  We intervened and brought the cow (from the other side of the farm) and calf (on the Kubota) to the barn the next day so they could be together and I could work with getting a teat in its mouth! Now, that is manual labor!
Bae rode in the Kubota floor while looking for her momma, Maggie Mae
But, first lemme take a #Felfie
Bae got her first bottle after being slung over my shoulder and taken to the farmhouse porch, it was really very southern!

Looking for Momma, the first time!

I hope everyone has a great week!  I am busy getting ready for a cattle show in a week or so, so I have been staying busy washing my show heifers everyday!  What kind of farm adventures have you been getting into?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sorting, Sweating, and Some Sunbathing

Summer brings  a lot of hard work on the farm.  Everything has to happen when it is supposed to or it messes up the next season.  Throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall we are always getting ready for winter. Some of the things we do to get ready for winter are making hay and canning hundreds or jars of vegetables.  It is a stressful time on the cows because of the flies , constant heat, and new babies.  Everyone is trying to get everything done before the cold sets in again!  We've already sold our fall born calves, rolled 115 rolls and are getting ready to turn the bull back to pasture with the cows!  We have had 3 heifers and 5 bulls born so far and are awaiting more!  I will post on the Madison's Farm Adventures Facebook more during the summer months because I can post from fields but will try to blog our stories from the farm!! I know there are some great ones coming!  It's never a dull moment here, which brings me to another hard thing about summer.  Everything stinks!!!!  Because the temperature is hot and sweat pours all day long, we all go through clothes at a rapid rate.  I hate doing laundry!  We don't have a dryer so we hang all our laundry out on the line.  That is nice most days, but if there are consecutive days of rain it can become a problem.  My dirty clothes pile up quickly.  My sister, Ashton, pointed out that I regularly have a dirt line on my legs where my socks meet my skin.  My feet are trapped in hot shoes all day and sometimes when I can't do my laundry I have to wear the same jeans for a few days.  I stay dirty a lot of the time.  I usually have some combination of dust, sweat and various cow smells on me.  My truck smells like cows too!  Some people think about summer in terms of beach vacations, bathing suit tans, and pina coladas.  I think of summer in terms of sweat, farmers tans, new baby calves, the sound of machinery, and the pop of the lids after canning has finished, and a cold drink from the water hose.  I wouldn't have it any other way!!!!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Day Two: American National Cattlewomen Region II meeting

Day two consisted of fun and regional elections, but mostly fun!  We began our day high up in the hills with a delicious breakfast and some speakers! Social Media is a wonderful tool that the BEEF community is using to tell  the 80 million millennials about beef.   Many of America's farmers and ranchers are aging and they don't quite understand the whole Facebook, Twitter, Instagram thing,  so Katelyn Brockus came to the ladies rescue! She was a fabulous speaker and had everyone excited about social media.  Up next was Crystal Matthews on cross-generational leadership! She was fun! She had activities that were split up by generation.  We had FIVE generations present....the builders, baby boomers, gen Y, gen X, and the iGeneration.   Each group figured out what they wanted the other generations to know about them.  After we had a good list, we got into diversified groups and came up with BEEF promotional ideas! I loved the group I was in because the ladies were very interested in my generation and how we think.   Right after the speakers, we loaded the party bus and headed to Wolf Mountain Vineyards for lunch and a wine tasting.  Of course, I hounded everyone for pictures for my blog!  Sometimes I wonder if I seem nuts.  My mom always taught me to put the electronics away when in the company of others.  I totally agree we should all be present in the moment and not be glued to our phones.  On the other hand we need to document and promote our fabulous community so that the world will see it as it really is.  There are so many misconceptions about the Beef Community, so in the name of sharing the truth, I feel it is important to take take photos and tweet tidbits of information while at these events.  Anyway, back to the day.......   Once we had consumed all the food and drink we could handle (I only smelled the wine since I am under age!!),  we hiked down the hill and headed to downtown Dahlonega for "Bear On The Square". "Bear on the Square" is a yearly celebration of Southern Appalachian Culture.  Link to Bear on the Square page . Lena and I spent our time antique shopping and rounded out the day with some fudge and ice cream! After our fun time on the town, we headed back to the resort for a quick nap.  Have I ever mentioned I love naps?  Well now you know, I do! Later we had  regional elections, and dinner!! 
    This weekend, with my gals from TN and Cattlewomen from all over, was close to the best weekend I've ever had!  I cannot express my love for CattleWomen and what they are doing to promote our wholesome way of life. As I have gotten older, I have had to learn to balance my time and drop things from my schedule that don't feed my soul or that I have outgrown. The direction I want to take my life becomes clearer and clearer everyday.   My heart and soul is in the Beef Community.  The way of life, the beef, and the people make me happy!!!!    

Our morning HIKE!

ANCW's President-Elect, Melanie Fowle, is on her SoMe (social media) game!!

My Golden Girl from Alabama.  

Ahh, the view from the winery!

TN Cattlewomen! Beth, Lena, and Me

Wolf Mountain Vineyards was a blast even though I was too young to participate!

This dog at the winery reminded me of Duke on "Sweet Home Alabama" 

Melanie Fowle,  she is the most caring, sweetest, kindest woman I know!  She is a real woman and rancher.   

Jennifer Houston wrote my first letter of recommendation.  Her and her husband are long time supporters of the BEEF project.  

THE woman that got me started.  Marcia Calloway has done so much for the BEEF community and me.  I am forever grateful.  

Region 2 ladies discussing cross-generational marketing

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Fridge is Stocked and The Hot Tub is ON

  That title says a lot!  This weekend I am attending the region two American National Cattle Women meeting.  The great state of Georgia is hosting us at a beautiful resort in the North Georgia Mountains.  I am looking forward to a fun filled weekend full of bonding and learning.   I decided to hitch a ride with two of the other awesome cattle women from Tennessee.  Beth Burns, from Pikeville, works for an ag insurance agency and Lena Freeman,  from Maryville, sells semen.   It sure made for a fun ride!  Once we got to the lodge we met up with all the other cattle women that were attending and soon found the food! Girls have gotta eat!  Then it was onto the goodie bags and the fabulous speakers! We closed the night out with R & R in the hot tub so we would be prepared for the next day's walk at 7am!
Jennifer Houston (cattle woman from Tennessee)  giving us ladies a run down of what My Beef Check Off does, she is with The Federation of State Beef Councils!

Michelle Boyles from NC ( I met her at the NCBA Convention) she is the ANCW  Region 2 director

The TN ladies already got put in the slammer! L-Beth, R-Lena

The ladies relaxing in the living room with a straight shot to the fridge

Friday, April 25, 2014

Young Farmer Madison

I was thinking recently about how I always relate big farmer events to what I was doing the day they happened.  It seems like I am never at home when things go wrong.  It is usually one of those unusual days that I decide to venture away from the farm. It doesn't happen often, but when it does something goes wrong.  Here are some examples:
     The last day Dollywood was open for the winter was when our calving season began! The first calf was a preemie heifer, and boy was she small.  Dad brought her to a newly bedded pen for the night and when I got home I wrapped her up!  It was a cold night! She was Lucky number One and she was lucky Dad found her.  She was also the first calf that will be registered under my name, exciting.
     I was recording a recent birth in my calf watch book.  However, the birth had happened over a week before I got around to recording it. I couldn't remember the exact date, but I knew it was born the day the movie "Divergent" came out!    Usually we don't see movies the day they come out so it was a memorable day.   I whipped out my smart phone to see that I had seen the movie on March 21, 2014!  
    The night the movie "Eclipse" came out I was at a cattle show and almost broke my jaw from being butted by a heifer in the ring. I still went on to win Grand Champion Percentage heifer.  Instead of riding home with the cattle I rode to the ER with my mom!! The Doc told me I was lucky that the jaw is the strongest bone or I would have broken it!
    I work at our local stock yard and the day I worked my first preconditioned sale I logged 14 hours.  I was excited because that meant money, but also exhausted when I came home at almost midnight to find out a calf was in trouble.  My dad informed that an old show heifer was calving and he just went ahead and brought her to the barn.    I had to check on her throughout the night and I was soooo tired.  After my  first check, I knew I  needed to get the calf out.  The head and ONE foot were out.  Its supposed to be TWO feet and a head on top.   Once I figured out what was wrong, I took off my jewelry and cardigan and went for it!!  I got it all situated but Dad and I weren't strong enough.  The calf died and then the following Saturday she had another calf, dead too.  In the end I am glad they were both born dead because she couldn't have raised two.
    Working on the farm is my life and no matter what else is going on it takes priority.  I haven't been to a prom yet (I might not go at all since there is no man yet) but if I do, I like to think about what kind of adventures I might have dressed in a fancy dress.  Hopefully those adventures won't involve pulling calves.

What kind of farm events do remember because they coincided with other important dates?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2014 TN Beef Agribition

This week, my spring break, I am going to do some serious catching up!  My mind is consumed with blog ideas but my schedule is packed.  So get ready to read!!
  Agribition was the second weekend in March.  It was exactly three weeks after the Dixie National.
Pop and I made the three hour drive to Lebanon with four heifers in tote. Our friend Caleb was coming from Clarksville with two other heifers.  We had six heifers between three people.  Friday and Saturday we stayed in the Junior Barn.  The first two days were "hair days" because all we had to do was wash, dry, and work the hair. While the heifers were eating Saturday morning I went to the TN Cattlewomens' meeting where we did housekeeping and elected officers!
The Start of Something Great! The beginning of Tennessee CattleWOMEN!
 When I got back to the barn Caleb's heifers were tied up but neither Caleb nor David were to be found.  I did "hair day" mostly by myself!  I found out later Caleb and David were looking for a new heifer for me, so they are excused. Once the Hereford and Simmental sales were over, we moved into the main barn.  Later,  I attended the Beef Ambassador dinner but I couldn't stay the whole time because and Stock Show U was using Claire for a fitting demo and we had to be back to the barns by five.  Stock Show U is a clinic to help youth learn to fit and prepare their animals for show.

Janna Sullivan Tennessee Beef Industry Council and Charles Hord Tennessee Cattlemens' Association
Taylor Green, Me, and Samantha Reese at the Beef Ambassador dinner

Fitters who helped with Stock Show U

Stock Show U

When we got to the barn Sunday morning.  It was absolutely freezing. I didn't think I could put enough clothing on.

I rinsed all six so David and Caleb dried!
  We were on an outside isle so we got all the wind.  We worked ten times harder to keep the blood flowing to stay warm and to get the work done.  Once the work was done, I was walking to the truck to get more clothing and felt a warm spot...it was the generator exhaust.  I found a chair and sat in front of it in between coffee runs! Probably not the smartest thing, but I was freezing.

I warmed up quickly during the day because I was running between the rings to show! I had a Hereford and an Angus in one ring. In the other ring I had an All Other Breed, two Percentage Simmentals, and s Chi Influence heifer.  This is a lot of animals to juggle with one showman.  My job was to show, Dad's job was to hold heifers in the make-up area and get them to and from the ring, and Caleb and David's job was to fit.  It got real confusing when we had a class winner or a second place!  All of the animals I took with the exception of the hereford got 1st or 2nd. (Seconds go back in if the first from their class wins Grand.)  I had a pretty good day!  Peggy walked off with Reserve Chi Heifer and I got a surprise from the TN State Fair....a belt buckle!  It was Christmas in March!

Doug Satree-  Judge-  He was the Judge at the Tennessee
State fair last year when I won Junior Champion of Champions.  He was
also one of the judges at this years TN Beef Agribition.

Oppy- Percentage Simmental-- I love this heifer!