This weekend will mark the final time that Isaac moves animals into the Knox County Fair as a 4-H member.
Not so long ago, he was a nine year old arriving at the county fair for the very first time.
Oh, how things have changed since then.
It has now been two weeks since we started our journey out to Duncan, Oklahoma for the Miniature Hereford Breeders Association and Miniature Hereford Youth Foundation Miniature Hereford Junior Nationals.
We arrived to humid mid-nineties temperatures, but fortunately, the hottest days ended up being the day we unloaded and the day we loaded. The rest of the week was just about the best weather we could have asked for. It was still hot, but a couple of cloudy and rainy days helped to keep the temperatures and humidity bearable. Besides, the show ring and contest areas were all air conditioned, so if the heat got to be too much, we had plenty of places to escape. We did keep an eye on the radar (because we do have a kid terrified of tornadoes), but the few night time storms were fairly mild and most of the red cells stayed just outside our radars.
You know you had a good time when after 10 days no one in the family is ready to go home. Not only were we not ready to go home...but we were all ready to head right back to Oklahoma as soon as we did get home.
We all agreed, this was the best Junior Nationals and best cattle show we have ever been to. It was just plain fun!
Early Saturday morning we loaded the cows on the trailer and set off for Duncan, Oklahoma for the Miniature Hereford Junior Nationals sponsored by the Miniature Hereford Breeders Association and the Miniature Hereford Youth Foundation.
The 2020 Miniature Hereford Junior Nationals was cancelled due to Covid, so it is good to be headed back to the show ring.
It was going to be a long trip...and really hot, so at the last minute, we decided to hang over Saturday night in Buffalo, Missouri.
One of the great things about showing cattle is all the people you meet along the way. Two years ago, when we were in Oklahoma for the Junior Nationals, we met a family from Missouri, and it has been great to meet back up and grow our friendship. They graciously agreed to lend us some pasture space to keep our cattle overnight.
A couple of weeks ago, Isaac graduated from high school.
As parents of our first high school graduate, it has been a little strange walking through the emotions. To be honest, I have done much better than I ever expected. He has helped to prepare us for this transition as much as we have helped him.
Isaac's senior year was not typical of most seniors. He attended a very small private school and this year he ended up being the only senior. A graduation ceremony of one is a little awkward. The school also experienced a tragedy when their administrator passed away unexpectedly a few months ago and they finished the year without their leader. We knew we were going to throw an epic celebration for Isaac, so we asked the school if we could just combine the graduation ceremony and the party all into one at our house since this was such an unusual year. They graciously agreed and it was a perfect celebration of Isaac...and he didn't have to give a valedictorian speech!
May is beef month and what better way to celebrate than by entertaining with beef?
With the attacks on the cattle industry, it is more important than ever to promote our products and who doesn't want to eat a good meal?
Entertaining is a great opportunity to promote beef awareness, support local farmers and ranchers and feed your guests such good tasting beef that they will never even think about trying any of that fake beef.
Beef may be the main course, but the beef can also be the main event.
This weekend we had the privilege of hosting a graduation party. Isaac graduated this weekend, so technically that was the main event...but the beef brisket fresh off the smoker was what everyone was really talking about.
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!
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.