Fourteen years ago we moved from a city apartment to our country home. We arrived here with two horses, lots of energy and big dreams.
When we moved here, I never dreamed that we would be raising or showing cattle. So much has changed.
Daniel wanted to sell the horses, but I resisted. On the surface that doesn't make much sense because I was the one that didn't really like the horses. However, I know my husband. I knew that he would sell the horses and then regret it. I wanted to be really sure that he was ready to give them up.
We all remember 2008 when the "sky was falling." The economy started to tank and everyone started "prepping" for the worst. Companies started laying off workers (mine included). Everyone was on pins and needles.
We realized that if one of us lost our job, we would be in trouble. The horses were costing us money, they weren't bringing any money at the sales and we certainly can't eat them in this country. We talked about selling the horses to buy a cow. At least we would eat when the sky fell.
The next day I rushed home from work to meet our new herd. One, two, three....four cows. Daniel looked at me and said "Merry Christmas!" Just what I wanted.
Isaac joined 4-H and naturally we showed a Miniature Hereford at the fair. He had a great time. Our vet encouraged us to show at the Ohio Beef Expo. We had absolutely no equipment and even less of an idea of what we were doing. We arrived at the 2013 Ohio Beef Expo with 1 heifer and no idea what we were in for. We had no idea what a "good" show cow looked like. Isaac walked out of the ring with Reserve Champion Female and a belt buckle.
We were hooked on the show ring.
Part of the American dream is to have a few beautiful rolling acres, a horse and a pond. Most people don't really realize that this dream is usually short lived. The rolling acres need mowed, the pond has scum on it and the horses become lawn ornaments. Most of our rolling acres is pasture or hay field, so there isn't much mowing. We don't have a pond, so we don't have any scum to worry about. However, we did have the hay burning lawn ornaments.
I hope I don't step on the toes of all the horse lovers...but I am not a horse lover. I thought horses were nice, until my prissy, mud hating horse decided to run down hills at full speed, run into trees and do just about anything I didn't want him to do. I took a nice tumble one day and my nerves never fully recovered. Even after buying a different horse, I just wasn't into it.
Our circumstances changed considerably over the years. Family and neighbors sold off land that we used to ride on and Papa sold his trailer. This left us with our hay field to ride in. Not very exciting. Then we had kids. You can't ride a horse with a toddler and an infant (at least I can't). Life got busy. My horse broke Daniel's back....that's a story for another day. The horses never got worked with, so when we did work them, they were a handful. Sometimes you just have to admit that the American dream just isn't your American dream.
I was searching around on the internet one day and I don't even remember what I was looking for. I ran across a website that was talking about miniature cattle. I perked up and started reading about all the advantages. The big thing that caught my eye was that they were great for small acreage. Bingo!
I called Daniel and he was immediately on board. We looked into both Lowlines and Miniature Herefords. To be honest, the only reason that we landed on the Miniature Hereford is because we like the way the red looks in the field better than the black. Besides, everyone has black and Daniel can't stand to be like everyone else.
Daniel started searching and ended up talking to Roy Largent himself. Roy and his dad started the breed out in Texas, so what better source for cattle than the source. It just so happened that Texas was in the middle of that horrible drought and ranchers were selling off as many cattle as they could. Daniel worked out a deal to buy 3 bred cows from Roy.
Roy was headed north with a load of cattle and agreed to meet Daniel in Missouri. Daniel, a neighbor and 3 year old Walker, borrowed a trailer and headed to Missouri. They backed the trailer up to Roy's trailer in the hotel parking lot and headed home with the start of our Miniature Hereford herd.
We have learned so much in the almost 6 years that we have been in the cattle business. We knew nothing about cows when they arrived here. We certainly don't claim to be experts, but we know what we know today because of a good vet, a lot of research, a lot of questions, doing things the hard way and making a ton of mistakes. We always joke that we are getting a college education one vet bill at a time.
I may not love horses, but horses were the path that led us to what we really love. Miniature Herefords are in our hearts and are here to stay. I can't imagine this farm with out them.
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.