The calendar may still say it is Spring, but in our books...
Summer is here!
We are spending this weekend taking one last breath, because tomorrow...
Summer is on!
Spring is supposed to be relatively calm for us.
This year... it was NOT!
Somehow we jumped from a winter that wouldn't end straight into Summer weather.
I am not sure what happened...but our heads are still spinning.
Tomorrow, the boys will start washing calves every day.
Since it is only about 3 weeks until they will be leaving for junior nationals, we have some ground to make up, so they are supposed to wash Ribbon, Jewel and Apollo twice a day.
I already know this summer is going to fly by....
But for a moment...
Take a look at our not so chaotic spring (ha! if you only knew that it felt like total mayhem).
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All That You Do...
All that you do
This quote is hanging on our wall and it is one I am always reminding the boys of.
We all often get run down and tired and just want to get it over with, but kids tend to wear down faster and have more difficulty seeing the finish line.
Things We Love...Tank Float Valve
One of the most fought over farm chores around here is whose turn it is fill the water troughs.
It is the easiest job on the farm....but it takes FOREVER.
Especially when there are 4 troughs to fill.
And, it never fails that one particular child gets easily distracted, finds something else to do, forgets to go back and check on the trough...and floods the barn or barnyard.
Winter is finally over, and the threat of frost is past.
It is time to break out the summer watering system.
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Sometimes it takes us a while to catch on to some of those things that others have known for forever.
Last year, we finally discovered the automatic stock tank float valves. I had seen other types of float valves, but they were more expensive, required drilling a hole in the stock tank, and would break when the cows decided to play with them.
Then, I headed to the local farm store and discovered the Little Giant Trough-O-Matic Stock Tank Float Valve.
When the water level goes below the float, the valvue opens and allows the water to refill the trough.
This means that every time the cows drink from the tank, the tank is automatically refilled...which means that we don't have to stand there every night watching the water troughs fill.
All you need is a hose.
Invest in a good one...it will last you for years.
We put a 4 way splitter on our pump head.
This allows us to have float valves on several tanks as well as leaving us a hose that we can use to water the garden and clean the manure off of...anything and everything.
No need to hook and unhook hoses. With a flip of a switch, we can have water to one individual hose or all hoses at once.
The float valvue just slips onto the side of the water trough and is tightened down with screws.
You can see the red float. When the water level is high, the red float is pushed up and keeps the water off. When the water level drops, the red float drops down and allows water to flow through the hose into the trough.
Turn on the water and watch the trough fill.
Walk away...and it's ok.
The water will shut off when the tank is full.
It may take a couple of days for the cows to get used to the new water system.
First of all...there is a strange new thing in their water trough.
The first time they drink from the trough and the valve opens to refill...the cows will go a running.
Don't worry, they will come back.
Once one cow comes back for more water, the rest of the herd will follow.
Within a few days, the cows won't even bat an eye when the valve opens and the water refills.
Actually...they may start to like it. The sun warms the water in the trough all day, but the fresh, clean water coming from the hose is nice and cool because it is fresh from the deep well.
A few reasons why we love the float valves...
You will notice that we use really small water troughs.
These are actually old mineral tubs. We like the smaller size because they are easier to handle and move around if needed. When the algae starts to grow or the water needs changed out, it is much easier to dump the water out of a small trough than the 100 gallon troughs.
Algae doesn't grow as quickly because there is frequent supply of fresh water coming into the trough and the water doesn't get stagnant.
When the water temperature stays cooler (cool water from the deep well) it helps to bring the body temperature of the cows down, decreasing stress levels in the hot summer months.
Since the cows are out on summer pasture and the water doesn't need to be refilled each night, we can spend a few days away from the farm without having to have someone do chores for us each day.
It took we a while to convince Daniel that the automatic float valves would work for us and be worth the money.
Once he saw them in action, he was an immediate convert.
I think he might have almost cried when the temperatures started to drop last fall and we had to take the valves out of the tanks.
He was chomping at the bit this spring to get them back in.
We leased a new farm this summer and just moved cows over there this weekend. Before the cows were even off the trailer, the float valve was installed on the tank. We will check on the cows each night, but we don't have to worry about water, no matter how hot it gets.
I don't know why it took us so long to get on the bandwagon, but we are sure glad we finally did. There is no point in wasting time doing chores that can be done automatically.
Now if I could just figure out a way for my glass of ice cold lemonade to automatically refill...
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The final event of every B.E.S.T. season is the awards banquet.
The banquet is a fun time for everyone to get together, enjoy a good meal, and actually look and smell decent.
To be honest...we don't recognize half the people when they are all cleaned up.
This is a picture of all the B.E.S.T. participants that attended the banquet.
That is a lot of kids...and a lot of the kids weren't there this weekend.
This is the Knox County crew.
I know...we are in Morrow County...but sometimes they put us in with the Knox County crew because we show at the Knox County Fair.
We just go with the flow...
The main event of the evening is the award recognitions.
Not everyone that attends the banquet is eligible for an award.
However, they give away tons of door prizes and all participants that are present at the banquet are entered into a drawing for a one year lease of an Eby trailer.
Those that attended all 15 B.E.S.T. shows this season were presented with a show pass good for a free entry at one of next year's shows.
Isaac received a belt buckle for accumulating the most points for the season in the Miniature division.
Each show, they are given a certain number of points for how they placed in the ring. These points accumulate throughout the season and the top 2 points winners are awarded a belt buckle.
We knew going into the weekend what awards the boys would receive...except for one.
Each year they have a photography contest. You can enter a picture in three different categories and then they are judged by each age division. They also have an adult division that parents can participate in. A first, second, and third place winner are selected from each age division.
The photography winners are presented with a canvas print of their winning picture.
As soon as we walked in, Walker's eyes turned to the photography awards.
There in the back is his picture....
And it is the biggest one...so he knew he won 1st place.
He was so excited!
I think he was more excited about winning the photography contest for the junior division than he has ever been about winning a buckle.
Walker has never had any direction or training in photography.
At the Ohio Beef Expo, he begged and pleaded and whined until I let him use my camera.
I stood right by his side and watched him like a hawk!
Nobody messes with my camera!
I knew he really wanted to submit some photos for the contest, so I indulged him for about 5 minutes.
He took an amazing picture!
That is me on the end!
Yep...I won first place in the adult division.
I had a really hard time getting a picture. The rules state there are not supposed to be any edits or enhancements to the photos. In this digital age of photography, that is a really hard thing to do.
I have a lot of pictures I love, but I have cropped, lightened, sharpened, etc. to get the picture just the way I like it. That meant I couldn't use any of those pictures.
I am probably my toughest critic, so it took a long time for me to take a picture that I was happy with.
I have never won an award for photography, so I was almost as excited as Walker.
The hardest part has been finding the perfect place to hang the pictures in our house.
I am trying to convince everyone to let me take my picture to work to liven up the boring white walls of my office.
This is the picture that Isaac submitted for the contest. He didn't win anything and is pretty disappointed.
He took this with his phone one afternoon as a storm was starting to roll in.
I love this picture so much, I think I am going to have it printed on a canvas for him to hang in his room.
Yesterday afternoon Isaac was busy learning to use his camera (my old camera). He is bound and determined to take better pictures and win the photography contest next year.
We always love attending the B.E.S.T. banquet and this year was no exception. The Ohio Cattlemen's Association has created a wonderful program, and along with their many sponsors and supporters, they have put a lot of smiles on faces.
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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.