Each year we plod along doing what we always do.
Then, one day we look back and realize we learned something.
Life is all about taking one more step and learning one new thing. Each new thing builds on the last thing, and then one day....maybe we will have a few things figured out.
We don't claim to have this cattle thing figured out...but we have learned a few things along the way.
1. Take one more step
Walker struggled with Charity last year. She wanted to lead the charge in the show ring. The showman is supposed to lead and control the cow, but Charity had other ideas. It wasn't until we took the cows into the show arena at Louisville for a final practice that we realized the problem wasn't Charity, but Walker.
Instead of Walker leading the way, Charity had her nose out in front leading the charge. Walker just needed to take one more step. That extra step got him just out in front of her and he was able to slow her walk and guide her around the show ring.
It was hard...and we heard the "I can't", but he could...and he did. We told him that even if he had to take a running step, he had to get in that extra step. No one would notice what he was doing, but would sure notice when Charity was fighting him every step of the way.
That extra step made a world of difference. Too bad it took us until her very last show to figure it out.
However, Walker learned a valuable tool and was able to start Jewel out on the right foot before she learned any bad habits.
2. Mom is not needed
I was sick all of February. I made it to work almost every day, but by the weekends I was done! I hate not being there to watch my kids and be a part of this family show life. Between the cold weather and being sick, I knew I couldn't keep going and it was time to take care of myself.
They were fine with me staying home. To be honest, I think they really enjoyed the all boy weekends.
I was a texting maniac the first weekend I was home, because I wanted to make sure they got to the ring on time and had all their clothes right and everything they needed.
They quickly got sick of me and started ignoring my texts.
Everyone made it to the show ring on time.
They were fine without me.
That is a tough pill to swallow, but it just shows they are growing up.
I did make it back to the shows in March, and I did a lot more sitting in my chair. After all...they don't need me...so why not sit back and relax a little.
3, We don't need the big show box
That show box is big...and heavy!
It is a bear to lug around and maneuver in and out of the trailer. Everything we need is in that show box.
We have a small box on our blower cart, and we just bought an additional blower cart with a small box on it. It turns out, with a little planning, we can put all the essentials in the blower boxes and leave the show box on the trailer.
The show box is still there for that odd ball item and the bottle of ibuprofen, but we can just run back to the trailer if we need to.
Loading and unloading is much easier if we don't have to man-handle the big box.
4. Hat boxes are essential
The boys wore cowboy hats this year in the show ring. I love seeing them in their hats.
However, it is a job keeping a hat nice and clean.
If you have ever seen the back seat of the truck on a show weekend, you might be a little scared. The crock pot goes on the floor and everything under the sun gets piled on top of it. When you open the door, you had better be prepared because everything falls out at you.
It is not a safe place for a cowboy hat!
The boys used a Christmas gift card to buy hat boxes. Turns out it was the best $20 investment ever. The hard shell cases protect the hats from all the barn dirt and from being a casualty of the truck.
5. The Val 6 was worth the money
I cringe just writing that...
It cost a lot of money...but oh it was nice being warm.
It helps us make friends too!
6. This show family isn't just show family
We call these people family. Each show, we all come together, help each other, eat together, have fun together...and we probably know way too much about each other.
But we aren't just a show family...we are a family.
This year a member of our show family had a tragic accident. The show family rallied around her through the emergency and during recovery. Even after recovery, this family is there to lend a helping hand whenever needed.
The last few weeks have been very difficult for our immediate family. We plan our days knowing that a phone call can change all our plans. So many things that were important a month ago, just aren't very important right now.
And with a single phone call, our show family has been there in our joy and in our sorrow.
Cows brought us together, but the family keeps us together.
"Never stop dreaming,
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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.