As we focus on mothers today, I am reminded of the amazing women who build their lives around agriculture.
Behind ever good man is a good woman...and behind every good farmer is a good farmher who keeps things going.
This spring has been an unusual season for us here in Ohio.
We have had a normal back and forth of temperatures. Shorts weather one day and snow the next. Just this week we watched the spring blossoms break forth on the fruit trees, only to be covered in inches of snow a few days later.
It has been an unusual spring for us in the rainfall totals. Normally, this time of year the cows are belly deep in mud and manure. The winter build-up of muck that gets saturated to the point no tractor would ever make it out of the paddock. But, this year has been perfect cattle working weather. We haven't had much moisture (other than the 4 inches of snow this week that quickly melted) and have had the unusual opportunity to get in the paddocks, pastures and fields for the after winter clean up. I don't ever remember getting all the winter paddocks not only cleaned out but the manure spread on the hay field in the spring.
The warm days have also given the grass an early boost.
Farming is not an easy life. You spend most of your days at the mercy of the weather and have animals that can get sick at any moment. Our jobs are to be problem solvers and if you haven’t learned to be flexible, you are going to have an even rougher time.
It’s no secret that last year was a pretty rough year here on the farm. Just about everything that could break did (see here and here). We were pretty fortunate on the animal front and didn’t have an excessive amount of vet bills, but we always have enough to keep the checkbook on edge.
When we first got into Miniature Herefords, one of the goals was to build our herd to the point that we could sell a few animals each year and pay for our kid’s Christian school education. Every year about this time we file our taxes and ask ourselves why in the world we do this. We would be farther ahead to just pay the tuition and forget the farm.
Last Wednesday, we moved in to the Ohio Beef Expo. There were many moments that we wondered if the show would go on...but it did.
And it was a great success!
The Covid plan modified the schedule from past years, but we are actually really big fans of the new format.
See...sometimes good things come from adversity.
We moved in on Wednesday (a day earlier than usual), but it was a really relaxed day...and it was gorgeous weather.
It's been two years since we have been at the Ohio Beef Expo and we can't wait to be back on the grounds to show our cattle.
We have just passed the one year mark since Ohio was shut down for COVID-19. A year ago, we were grappling with the frustration and disappointment of having one of our favorite shows cancelled the week before the event.
Since that time, cancellations and waiting for cancellations have become a way of life.
The future is looking brighter and the Ohio Cattlemen's Association is working hard to make the Ohio Beef Expo as normal as possible.
We get to show this week!
I have been thinking a lot about all the attention cows have been getting in the media lately. Unfortunately, it hasn't been much positive attention. From cow farts causing global warming to printing 3-D steaks, it feels like cows and those that raise cows are getting a lot of negative attention.
It is also painfully obvious that what is front and center in the news is not always the most accurate information.
There is always more to the story.
I think that one of the big issues is people don't know where to get the other side of the story. From overhearing some of my kids remote learning classes this year, I am all too aware that the top Google search is the information that is presented and believed by many.
As someone who raises cattle, I am obviously slanted toward the side that cows are good for the environment and our health.
It is also my responsibility to help others understand the other side of the story.
We have had more snow this year than we have had in quite a few years. While snow always makes farm life more difficult, it sure adds beauty to a gray winter.
I always love snow pictures...but I never have many because it is just too darn cold to go outside for a photo shoot.
I have braved the cold a few times for some very short photo opportunities...but it only takes a few minutes for my fingers to go numb and then I can't even use my camera.
The farm life is hard. Things rarely go as planned and we are always at the mercy of outside factors...and sometimes our own shortfalls.
To be honest...our jobs are not just about farming...but about being master problem solvers and always adapting to new situations.
Because...nothing ever goes as planned.
Most of you know that on December 27th, we had a late Christmas present of a new little heifer...that we named Christmas.
Everything was going great until her momma stepped on her when she was three days old and fractured her toe.
This started a whole chain of events that we thought we had all under control...until it all went south.
When Christmas was stepped on an ended up with a broken foot, the vet wanted us to give her some medication. We saw signs of stress and we weren't sure if there were any internal injuries, so the vet wanted to take some precautionary measures.
The vet sent us home with a rather large pill that we were supposed to give to the calf twice a day.
Normally, we just use a pill shooter, but Christmas was so small we weren't too thrilled with using the large pill shooter. If you have ever used a pill shooter before, you know the cows aren't always thrilled with it...and especially like to spit the pill right back at you.
So, we found another way to give the calf the pill without causing additional stress...for us or the calf.
Every once in a while, there is a complication and we find the need to bottle feed a calf.
Sometimes the complication is with the momma cow, but sometimes it is with the calf. Either way, the calf needs to eat, so the best option is to bottle feed the calf.
You can buy milk replacer at any farm supply store, but momma's milk is always better. Especially, in the first few days when you want to make sure the calf is getting colostrum.
Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.