As usual, summer goes way too fast. Isaac and Walker are both back in school and we are starting to adjust to a more normal routine.
Because...nothing is routine around here in the summer...except for routine chaos.
I always think summer is busy...but I have no idea what happened to this summer.
Walker was the main farm hand this summer because everyone else was working full-time jobs off the farm.
To be quite honest... there hasn't been a whole lot going on with the herd this summer.
Which is how we want it to be.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I want a Miniature Hereford for Christmas
Only a Miniature Hereford will do
Don't want an Angus, no Scottish Highlander
I want a Mini Hereford to play with and enjoy
I want a Miniature Hereford for Christmas
I don't think Santa Claus will mind, do you?
He won't have to walk through our dirty mud room
Just bring him through the barn door
That's the easy thing to do
The holidays will look different for a lot of people this year.
This week, I will be having my company Christmas party via Zoom. I know...weird...but it is what it is.
Daniel may be having a company Christmas party...but maybe not.
The boys are now back to virtual school, so there won't be any Christmas parties or programs.
So why will our Christmas be so much different this year?
As our boys get older and closer to graduation, thoughts frequently turn to what they want to do with their lives after high school.
Isaac is a senior and is pretty close to pinning down a college and course of study. Isaac has always been adamant that he wants to be a farmer, but as he gets closer and closer to starting his future, he is realizing that it is virtually impossible to be a farmer without another occupation. So, his sights have turned to what he can do in life that he enjoys, but also earns enough to support his dream of farming.
Walker, on the other hand, hasn't always been too focused on a career. He wants to farm, but just hasn't settled on that dream.
Until one day...out of the blue...he said he wants to be a helicopter pilot.
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.