It’s been a bit.
Our lives have changed a little since I was last on here.
Life can be really hard and we have been through a lot of those hard times and making some hard decisions, but we have seen first hand how God’s plan and timing is perfect.
The internet rarely shows all the struggles, and I’m not going to share all of our struggles today, because I want to focus on where God has brought us this year. He has been teaching and preparing us for many years, but we can see how God has used those times to prepare us for where we are today.
When I last left you, we were focusing on diversifying the farm and Isaac has just started buying goats. Those two Christmas goats quickly turned into 30 goats. He bought some bred does and of course they all kidded the week of the Ohio Beef Expo.
We can now say that we have been initiated, but man do they multiply quickly!
The jury is still out as to whether we actually like the goats. The kids are adorable and so much fun to watch…but I don’t know that any of us anticipated the amount of time we would need to invest.
You’ll understand in a bit.
The Ohio Beef Expo went very well for us this year. Once again, we were overly ambitious and kept signing up more and more cows until we ended up taking five of our own and two for another farm that we were working and showing.
Seven head is just stupid. And once again…we said “we will never do that again”.
Don’t hold us to that…because I’m sure we will probably do that again.
All the work paid off as we took home Reserve Grand Champion Female with 4 Wiley Jade, Walker was on the end of the halter with the Grand Champion Female and 4 Wiley Colt won Reserve Grand Champion Bull.
But, the highlight of the Expo was when Colt went through the ring and tied for the highest selling bull of all breeds represented at the Expo sales. It was an awesome experience to sit in the stands and hear the bids keep rolling in.
I try so hard not to show my emotions around the ring, but I couldn’t control myself that day. When you have a kid that is worried about how he is going to pay for college and you keep telling him to work hard and trust that God will provide…and then God provides in a big way in a matter of minutes…you can’t help but be overcome with emotion.
Walker knew that he was going to sell Colt from the time he was born. He spent a year and a half working that bull just about every day. He had a great show career and Walker walked away with several buckles. That in and of itself was what dreams are made of, but to see it come full circle in that sale ring was an experience of a lifetime.
In May, Walker graduated from high school. We were so busy, that his graduation and party didn’t capture our devoted attention quite like Isaac’s did, but we were on round two so we pretty much knew what to do. I was fairly emotional and sentimental with Isaac’s graduation, but surprisingly, I wasn’t with Walker's…until he walked down that aisle and I realized that my baby had just graduated.
While Isaac and Walker’s graduation parties were almost identical, Walker’s was made epic by the fireworks and fireball. It’s nice to have friends with special talents.
As soon as the graduation party was over, we turned our attention to Junior Nationals. We were leaving in three short weeks and the cows were nowhere near ready.
But first…we changed our world.
We had known for some time that a friend of ours was going to be selling their herd. We had told them months before that we were very interested in buying a few of their cows.
Now that Isaac is home and helping to grow the farm, there have been lots of “discussions” about how we go about that growth. If you know anything about us, you know that Daniel and I have very different philosophies than Isaac does. We have always built this farm with cash and always plan to continue that way. Isaac is more about making investments with credit to build faster. Which is when a not so calm “discussion” commenced. We were leaning more towards the one cow and Isaac was thinking ten…but the cows weren’t officially for sale and we didn’t even know for sure if they were going to be sold.
Fast forward about three days and we saw the Facebook post that the herd had been listed for sale. It was a couple of days before Daniel connected with the seller. I was in the middle of a Zoom meeting with my boss where I was prepared to quit my job if a situation was not resolved. My phone pinged and I saw a text from Daniel that he bought the whole herd.
I should have been mad. I should have been nervous. I should have been scared to death. But I wasn’t. It was a complete “O.K.” moment.
Looking back it was because it was a God moment, and in those three short days He had changed our hearts. We never once doubted the decision to move forward.
Isaac spent the next two weeks on the phone. Not only did he have to get a loan, but we had to figure out a way to get thirty head of cattle from Colorado to Ohio in the next two weeks. We had one open weekend to get them back to Ohio. Calves would be hitting the ground in less than a month and we felt it was a safer risk to transport very pregnant cows that it was to transport week old calves.
If you have ever helped a fresh from college kid establish credit and get a loan…you know what a mountain we had to climb. But, he learned a whole heck of a lot in those two weeks.
Trucking turned into an even bigger issue than the loan. The trip from Colorado to Ohio is 24 hours. In the heat of the summer, there is no option but to keep moving the entire time. This meant that we needed at least two drivers for every truck. We thought the best thing would be to line up three trucks and trailers, but finding six people that were available on that short of notice proved to be impossible.
Isaac kept moving forward with the loan, and the day that the loan was approved, he finally secured trucking. After hitting dead ends and pretty much out of options, someone told him about a farmer about ten minutes from our house that had a semi. They raise cattle themselves and went prepared to help calve on the trailer if necessary. Thankfully, we didn’t have anyone calve on the trip home.
It was a very stressful couple of weeks, but through each step we could clearly see God’s hand in it. We never once doubted the decision and just knew that God was going to work out every tiny detail…and He did!
That semi load doubled the size of our herd.
Five days later we loaded back up and headed back out to Kansas for the Miniature Hereford Junior Nationals. Oh…and if you didn’t think there was enough stress in June…Daniel was the show superintendent for Junior Nationals, so we just kept up the pace of running around like chickens with our heads cut off.
The short version of Junior Nationals was that Walker won Reserve Grand Champion Female with 4 Wiley Cherry on Top…another one of his born, bred and raised cows out of Candy Cane and half sib to Colt.
And of course, our lives wouldn’t be completed without some extra drama. The night before the open show, the judge called Daniel to let him know he was stuck in an airport and wasn’t going to be able to make his connecting flight. Commence the panic and friends from all over the country trying to find us a judge…and God cleared the way for and awesome judge that was more than happy to postpone his plans to build fence the next day.
Three days after we returned from Junior Nationals, the new cows started calving. See…God’s timing is perfect!
This is getting a bit long, so I will do the quick version for the rest of the summer.
Walker showed a steer at the county fair for the last time. He also showed a goat for the first time.
We moved from the Knox County Fair right into the Ohio State Fair.
I quit my job.
I started a new job. I haven’t cried in a month!
We moved Walker into college. He is now working on a farm near campus washing and caring for cattle, and they are getting ready for a big sale. He is loving college life and we are struggling to get him to come home to see Mom and Dad on the weekends.
This weekend we are taking a deep breath. Well…not really…this is us after all. Let’s just say we are not working on the farm.
There is lots to do on the farm and we are realizing how much time the larger herd takes. Next up is fall vaccinations, separating the herd and putting the bulls out with them, weaning calves and starting to break the show calves, and then quickly pivoting to fall/winter show season.
Oh…and we have an emergency building project that will hopefully be starting soon. Nothing like trying to beat winter.
The moral of the story…God’s timing is perfect.
We know this…we really do…but this year, we have seen it.
There is nothing better than when one of your kids tells you they are glad the thing they wanted so badly didn’t work out, because if it had happened, they wouldn’t have been able to do the bigger and better thing God had planned.
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.