Here’s to you, Mom

Here’s to the mom that watches her babies grow from dirty children to wild teenagers to level headed, successful adults all because of her patience and strength throughout their lives.

Here’s to the mom who lets her children do what they love, even if that involves a little bit of danger. To the mom that has watched her child get bucked off a bull, race a fast horse or plow a field for the first time alone and after hiding her sigh of relief when it’s over, let’s them do it again tomorrow.

Here’s to the mom that pushes her children to dream bigger and follow their passion, even if it means leaving home and her. To the mom that accepts that some dreams are just too big, but lets her children dream anyways. To the mom that picks you up when you fail and sets you on the right path again.

Here’s to the mom that gives up her Saturday’s and week nights to drive a truck and trailer to the practice pens, rodeos and shows, pays the check and scoops manure; just for the reward of pure excitement on her child’s face.

Here’s to the mom that never gives up. That never lets a calf die without trying every option, will try every parts store to fix the tractor and will make sure the job is done no matter the weather.

Here’s to the mom that will give up her favorite job on the farm, if that’s what her child wants to do. To the mom that will show her love of the land through her actions and pass that onto her children. To the mom that never puts herself before her family or the farm.

Here’s to the mom that works all day and then comes home to work even harder. Fixing fences and field dinners, plowing through farm bills and dirt, she does it all with a determination her children hope they can one day match.

Here’s to the mom that is the heart of the farm, the one that makes sure everyone has clean pants, dry socks, and a hearty breakfast each day. The one that cries with you when the cow doesn’t make it and then helps get the tractor to drag it off. The one that feeds the calves when you forget, keeps track of the truck keys you’ve lost and always makes sure there are snacks on long days.

Here’s to the mom that raises children on the farm that can go from dirty boots to heels and a dress, and feel comfortable in both. To the mom that raises children that can handle their own finances, do a load of laundry and cook a good meal.

Here’s to the mom that gets different ears tags just because the color isn’t right, to the mom that will run from the barn to house time and time again without complaint, to the mom that has the strength to hold back the herd and the patience to deal with the herders. 

And to me, that takes one heck of a woman. 

I don’t know about you, but our farm wouldn’t be the same place without our Mom.

Here’s to you, Mom. We sure do love you.


~Nicole 

 

When You Give a Farmer a Daughter…

My dad will be the first man to stand up and say that his daughters can do everything a son can do. Many times when we have unloaded cattle at the sale barn, loaded feed at the feed store, or picked up tractor parts, he just stands back and lets us do our work with obvious pride. Because when you give a farmer a daughter, his whole life is changed.

Eventually you’ll gain a son ( in-law).

And everyone knows that son-in-law’s work harder than sons.

You’ll end up with more animals than you ever expected.

Dad promised we would never own a horse and now we have two. When I brought home Harley as a puppy, Dad wouldn’t even look at her. Now Dad doesn’t leave the house without Harley on his heels. Next up, goats!

You’ll have the hardest worker and a good lunch too.

Never have I met a son who will build fence, head back to the house when the work is done and have a full meal ready to go for lunch.

You will never be lacking in tears.

Happy tears, sad tears, angry tears. Daughters are bound to break into tears at random times, sometimes just to keep your life interesting.

Small hands come in handy all the time.

Can’t get that nut on in a tight space? Grab a daughter. Dropped a bolt behind the workbench? Daughter to the rescue. If you’re lucky, she will have a set better eyes, too.

You get in touch with your softer side.

Dress up, Barbie’s, saving kittens, and tough decisions like which shoes go better with this dress will be on your daily agenda. Daughters have a funny knack of turning even the toughest farmer into a big ole softy.

You’ll have a name for everything.

Cats named Spot. Heifers named Margo and Lola. Trucks, tractors and even fields will all have names. Will they make sense? Probably not. But man, they sure will make her happy.

You get to keep your intimidation skills sharpened.

We all know those first dates may scare you to death, but you find great joy in shaking the boy’s hand a little too hard and giving him the evil eye as the truck pulls out of the driveway.

Daughters, plain and simple, are better than sons.

Are you ever going to be able to walk your son down the aisle? Watch them grow and change from ladybug mud boots and dance leotards to grown woman with hopes and dreams that surpass everything you had wanted for them? I doubt it.

~Nicole

To my Parents: Happy Anniversary!

April 9, 1988. The day, Dad says his life changed forever. Depending on the day, or how much Dad spent on tractor parts, determines whether Mom refers to their wedding anniversary as the best day of her life or not.

For the past 29 years, my parents have taken on the world together and tested each one of those vows they gave to each other. Sickness, health, deployments, hogs, cows, droughts, fire and of course, two lovely daughters have just strengthened their bond to each other.


Their love story is something out of a story book. They met young, and Mom always knew that Dad was the one for her. But Dad wasn’t ready to settle down so Mom waited, and eventually Dad realized that Mom was the only one for him. They got married, bought a farm and began the journey of a life in agriculture.

Growing up, I never realized how much love they had for each other. I thought it was completely normal to yell at each other while sorting cows and apologize moments later when they were all in the right pen. That it was completely normal that Dad didn’t cook with onions even though he loves them because Mom didn’t like them. That all decisions were made around the kitchen table as a family. I never realized those little things were signs of a big love.

Today, I realize that love isn’t just holding hands in the car, kissing in the rain, and all those other romantic ideas. Love is running from the house to the barn multiple times because Dad always forgets something. Love is reminding Mom to check her oil in her car and changing it for her. Love is always having American Honey on hand because it’s Dad’s favorite drink. Love is long boat ride, sitting on the back deck, riding on the tractor together. My parents are the most wonderful example of seeing love in the little things.

To my parents, love isn’t something that comes and goes. They may be pissed off, tired or even miles away from each other but their love is still strong. And after 29 years and two girls later, that is one heck of an accomplishment.


So here’s to you, Mom and Dad. Happy Anniversary!

~Nicole

I want to quit farming

Last night, I come home and head to the shop to talk to dad. When I walk in, he gives me a look that shows something is wrong. Margo, another one of my pregnant heifers, lost her calf. I cried.

Margo and Lola

I’m ready to quit farming.

These last couple of weeks have been rough. Davy is just getting over being sick and Margo’s calf didn’t even get a chance in this world. To top it all off, I don’t get home until after dark so getting a good look at the cows involves a good flashlight and a lot of patience.

So all the scenarios just keep running through my head. What if I would have checked her this morning before I went to work? What if it was my fault? What could I have done better? Why did I  even buy cows?

Ok, I know. I’m being dramatic. But I don’t care. Farming sucks! I’m ready to quit!

But I won’t.

Tonight, I’ll get on my knees and pray. Pray for a better calving season next year. Pray for Lola, my last pregnant heifer, to have a safe delivery and healthy calf. Pray for Davy’s health to continue to improve.

But most of all, I’ll thank God for the strength. For the  understanding. For the resiliency.

Because that’s what farmers have.

We always have the strength to get  up the next morning and continue on. We have the understanding that when things get tough, we have to get tougher. But most of all, we have the resiliency to continue.

This morning, I got out of bed and headed about my day. Just like every farmer out there, another day of milking, feeding, plowing and growing.


That’s the beauty of farming. Farmers take each day as a new day. Yesterday was full of drought, fire, and overall misfortune. But today, today is a new day. And that’s how I’m going to live it.

I’ll eat my steak, and name it, too

If you’ve been following the Show-Me Sisters on Facebook (which you can here!), you’ll know all about how I’ve been not so patiently waiting on Daisy, my heifer, to calve. What you probably don’t know is that Daisy is part of the first cattle that I have ever bought on my own. Most people my age are buying new cars, building new houses or maybe even working the stock market a bit. That wasn’t for me. Instead, I bought five heifers, (three that were bred) and have entered the journey of a cattle owner.


My journey got a lot more exciting this past week when Daisy finally decided that my herd should get a little bigger. While I was hoping to get a Delilah, a heifer that would return to my herd, I can’t say that I am mad that Davy, a bull calf, came instead.

While Davy is only a little over a week old, his life is already planned out for him. The first couple of months of his life will be graced with the beauty of momma’s milk and the occasional snowfall. He’ll also have to deal with a couple of rounds of preventative vaccines, get an official blue ear tag, and (gasp!) get his nuts clamped. When he’s big enough, he will get weaned from his momma and live the rest of his life on the other side of the fence from her. On the other side of the fence, he gets more green grass than he could ever eat and grain once a day. What a life!

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Here comes the part that most people don’t understand. When Davy reaches around twelve hundred pounds, Davy will go to slaughter.

Yes, I name my calves and eat them, too.

How can I do this? How can I be such a cruel human being? How can I eat something that I have watched grow day by day?

Because Davy isn’t my pet. Davy is my livestock. As a cattle owner, it is my duty to take care of my animals. Whatever the weather, hail, snow, rain, those cattle are fed. I may be tired, sick or just feeling lazy, but those cattle are still placed before my own needs. It is my duty to make sure that they grow healthy and content. I provide for them so in turn, they provide for me.

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Saying that sounds cruel. But it’s a fact of life.

If cattle weren’t slaughtered, many would lose their lives that are filled with green pastures and deep ponds and gain lives of starvation and disease. And that’s not the life I choose for Davy.

Davy will live his life as a happy and content steer. Davy will then be slaughtered in a way that is quick and painless. I will give Davy the best life I can provide and he, in turn, will provide for me. Davy will provide another heifer added to my herd; a down payment on my own farm; maybe even buy my wedding dress.

And you know what? When those calves leave on a trailer to the butcher, I feel it. I feel each ounce of joy that I had watching them play in the pasture. I feel the happiness of finding them alive and healthy, nursing from their momma for the first time. I feel the sadness of letting them go.

It’s unavoidable.

But it’s also a part of my life. The life I chose and the life that I have a passion for.

So one day, when my children walk through the pastures with me, I’ll point each cow out by name.  I’ll explain to them that caring for our animals means that we provide for them and they provide for us. And that by eating our steak and naming it, too, our beef just has a little more love.

~Nicole

A Superhero Type of Day

When you say the word superhero, I think about the movies I watched as a kid or the comic strips you see in the newspaper. But really after the events of this past Saturday unfolded, I realize that superheroes are just normal people with amazing powers and abilities.

I would like to think the Mom, Nicole, and I are superheroes in our own right. Looking at the three of us on Saturday we looked like your normal mom and daughter combo. When Nicole got off work, she met us in town and we all went shopping and had a grand ole time.


However, if you look a little deeper you see so much more of our superhero ability. Nicole went to work, much like she does every Saturday; to be there for the farmers who are hauling in corn and soybeans which will be sold and made into livestock feed or other products that we use everyday such as pet food, toothpaste, and even glue!


I fixed my husband lunch and wished him luck as he headed to the corn fields with the semi and the grain trailer, and then I headed into town myself to run errands and meet up with Mom.

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It is great that we helped support the harvest currently going on, but we also had to use more of our superhero powers to complete the list Dad left us since he had to work this weekend. Our cows are currently calving, if you have not checked out the adorable photos that should be on the top of your must do list. Sometimes those cows aren’t always with the rest of the herd. Dad wanted Nicole, Mom, and I to make sure all the cows and current calves were in one field and close the gate to the other field. Then we could move and sort the steers and heifers around into different fields and groups. Now this may seem like a very simple task but let me tell you, I was sure glad that I wasn’t doing it alone! Mom stayed at the house to feed the steers and heifers, and Nicole and I headed out with our trusty pups to start counting cows and calves.

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Well, as soon as we moved into the first field we morphed from our normal selves into farmer superheroes. We found three cows and calves in a separate field and headed out to find the remaining cow and calf that Dad had found the day before.

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We searched the whole field for her. This isn’t just any open field either. Living in central Missouri, it was a field of hills, rocks, cedar trees, grass, and then more trees. As we determined they weren’t in that field, we went back to our first set of mama cows and calves and they had calmly made their way to the rest of the herd. Great! Now to counting the cows to see how many we had…. we were three short and still missing a calf. So once again,Nicole and I set out to find the rest. We were deep in searching and we found the missing calf, it was just on the wrong side of the fence from its Mom and the rest of the herd. With a lot pure genius on Nicole’s part and some nice and easy talking to the mama cow, Nicole managed to get a hoodie wrapped around the calf and shove it back through the fence. Needless to say, that would have been a cute and perfect picture moment but both of our hands were slightly busy at that point in time. One set found, two more cows to go! Giving up wasn’t an option. As superheroes, you must always complete the task given to you; and Dad said that we must find all the cows and move them. So that is exactly what we did. Hopping on the four-wheeler we went out searching again and we were rewarded with two more healthy babies and happy mama cows! Driving back to the house Mom was using her own superhero abilities and almost had all the steers and heifers sorted and moved when we got back!

The day was saved once again by farming superheroes! We may love to go shopping, dress cute, and see an occasional play; but our heart and soul is on the farm where we can normally get dirty, solve problems, and help feed America; and have fun doing it!

-Bethany

 

I Want a Livestock Kind of Love

If you haven’t figured it out by now, one of us is married and the other is rocking the single life. 


That’s right, I’m rocking it. 

Know why? Because I know what I’m waiting for. I’m waiting for a livestock kind of love. 

I’m waiting for a man who looks at me like my dog does, eyes full of love and pure excitement that I am me. 


I’m waiting for a man who has the gentle strength to pull a calf and then the patience to wait for that calf to stumble to its feet and begin to suck. 

I’m waiting for a man who will race me on horseback, fueled by adrenaline and the power of a fast horse.


I’m waiting for a man who will work until he is exhausted and then work a little more, all because the job has to be done and he wants to do it well.

I’m waiting for a man who will fight for a cow’s life with all of his power but when the fight is lost, take off his hat and pray.

I’m waiting for a man who will stand beside me through droughts, floods, and fire, who, with our together strength, won’t buckle under lost crops and cows.

I’m waiting for a man who will teach our chidren the values that only come from owning livestock and raising crops, and turn around and teach them how to pee in the woods. 

I’m waiting for a man that will throw shit (literally, I mean manure) back when I throw it at him, who will hold me when I cry over the dead barn cat, and who will stack big bales back on the trailer after my bad driving knocked them off while gently reminding me about ‘the stump’.


I’m waiting for a man whose love and passion can’t be confined to one person, who has a passion and love for cows and crops, and who uses that love and passion to feed the world.

I want a livestock kind of love. And I’m going to wait for it.

I know it’s out there. I grew up within a livestock love, watching and learning from my parents. I watch Bethany’s marriage grow because of a livestock love. To those you out there that have your own livestock love, I couldn’t be happier for you! To those that are waiting, PATIENCE. We can wait for a love like that.


I’ve dated some who have come pretty close to a livestock kind of love. But I’m still waiting. One day, my boots will stumble over his and I’ll find my own livestock kind of love.

~Nicole

Sensational Strawberries

I love summer! Not only because of the longer days, warmer weather, and of course the water activities, but also because of the garden. I will be honest with you. Once I got married I had this image in my head of the picture perfect garden, and how I would be the perfect wife that would have tons of garden produce and can ALL of the extra. Well, that image is still there, but I am being a little more realistic about the time I have during the summer. When strawberry production was in full swing, so was planting season. So, I didn’t really have a ton of time to make all the homemade jam that I envisioned. Therefore, I cleaned my strawberries and FROZE THEM! Now, I have the time to make all the jam I want! If you have ever been nervous to make jam don’t be! It is super simple! Lets start with this question. What is the difference between jelly and jam? Jelly is made from the juice of the berries and jam uses the entire berry. I am using the entire strawberry to make jam!

First you need to buy any Fruit Pectin product used to make jam or jelly. I used Sure-Jell, which can be found at most grocery stores. It comes with very simple and easy to use directions!

Prepare your berries by following the directions. For strawberry jam, I place them in my blender to get the consistency I want for the jam.

Next, you place the correct amount of berries and the fruit pectin into a large pot and bring it to a rolling boil. A rolling boiling, as explained by my Grandma, is one that you can keep stirring and the boil keeps going. Once you have that rolling boil, you add the correct amount of sugar and bring to another boil. The recipe that comes with the fruit pectin will tell you are long you need to boil your mixture for corresponding to the type of jam or jelly you are making.Strawberry jam even changes colors after you add the sugar and boil it!

 


Take it off the stove, let cool, and start filling your jars!

 


I use this handy funnel I bought at Walmart in the canning aisle to help keep the very hot jam from burning me! I also fill the jars while they are sitting on old newspaper, because that is some hot and sticky stuff! Some people use a hot water bath to preserve their jelly however, I just place my jars in the freezer and get one out whenever I am ready to use it. You can choose whichever method works for you! The recipes and instructions for both come with the fruit pectin.

Now you are a jam expert!

-Bethany

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The Future of Agriculture isn’t dead. 

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about how agriculture is an aging profession with most farmers past the age of retirement. With more and more sons and daughters leaving the farm to pursue careers off the farm, people tell me all the time that the future of agriculture is a dying breed. 

I couldn’t disagree more. 

The future of agriculture isn’t dead. We’re just busy! 

We’re busy starting farms, families and careers inside the agriculture industry. 

We’re busy from dusk until dawn feeding, milking, planting, and spraying. 


We’re busy managing feed mills and selling seeds and chemicals. 

We’re busy pinching pennies to get by on low commodity prices. 

We’re busy helping friends and neighbors with their fields after all our own work is done. 


Why are we so busy? 

For years, we followed in our parents and grandparent footsteps, watching what they did, helping where we could. Now, we walk beside them. We have grown from the quiet listener to a voice in the conversation.


We went from toy trucks to semi trucks, rolling in the dirt to plowing dirt, toy cows to owning cows, all before we graduated high school. 

At young ages, we have taken over more responsibility and less acres to fulfill it on. Land went up and crops went down.

But we are still here.

We are the first generation to grow up with the technology that can drive a tractor, milk a cow and feed a whole building of pigs all with the touch of a button. 

We can track crop yields by the acre and milk production by the cow. We can feed a specific amount of feed to a particular cow all with technology. 

While we are still here, there are less of us. But that doesn’t mean our passion is weak. Talk to a farmer and you will see a passion that will amaze you, a passion that has grown through droughts, fires, floods and bugs. A passion that holds a family together through late nights and early mornings, long weekends and field dinners. 

If you look around, you’ll see us: the future of agriculture. 

We’re in the church pews on Sunday’s, praying for good yields, dry ground and more rain. 

We’re parked on the side of the road, checking crops and cussing weeds. 

We’re pulling trailers down the road, filled with pigs, cattle, hopes and dreams. 

We’re in small town bars on Saturday night, watching the weather and the baseball game. 

We’re in the fields by the interstate, pulling planters and driving combines. 


We’re at the bank, stretching loans to cover more equipment, land and animals.

We’re at the kitchen table at midnight, eating supper after a long, hot day.

We’re at the country fair, with our children, nieces, and nephews, encouraging the next generation to pursue our passion.

We’re at the office early morning, cup of coffee in hand and ready to see a new dawn.

We’re here and we’re definitely not dead. And as the future of American agriculture, we’re here to stay. 

~Nicole

Did you miss it?

Don’t worry I did too! I missed National Ice Cream Day! It is always the third Sunday in July. But don’t worry, you can still celebrate National Ice Cream Month; which takes place during the month of July! Ten percent of all milk produced in the United States is used to make ice cream! How awesome is that? National Ice Cream Day and National Ice Cream Month were created in 1984, by President Ronald Reagan, as way to recognize a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by over 90% of the nation.

You can learn more about the history of ice cream, common trends, and tips on storing and handling it at the  International Dairy Foods Association Website

Before you check out the website, you can make this delicious ice cream cake to celebrate! The best part about this cake is it is EASY and can be made to feed a few people or a large crowd!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

1 Gallon of your favorite ice cream- We used chocolate!

1 package Oreo Cookies

1 package Reese, cut into pieces

1 package mini M&M’s

1 bottle of Magic Shell

Chocolate Syrup, Carmel Syrup, or any other candy toppings you might like.

Now the fun part begins!

  1. Crush up the Oreo cookies and place in the bottom of a glass pan or very deep container with a lid. We use a 9 x 13 glass pan. If you use the entire gallon of ice cream it will fill two 9 x 13 glass pans!
  2. It works best if your ice cream is slightly soft, but not melted! I would let it sit out for maybe 10 minutes depending on how frozen it is. Using a large metal or wooden spoon, scoop out layers of ice cream and place them on top of the Oreo cookies. You want the ice cream layers to fill the 9 x 13 pan about halfway full.
  3. On top of the layer of ice cream, place the cut up Reese’s, some mini M&M’s, Magic Shell, and any other syrups or toppings! You can put as much, or as little of the toppings as you wish!
  4. Then place another layer of ice cream to almost completely fill the pan on top of the layer of toppings you just put down. You want to leave enough room to sprinkle more toppings on top of the cake.
  5. Place another layer of toppings on the top of your most recent ice cream!
  6. Put the cake in the freezer, let it harden, and enjoy

The best part of this recipe is it can be adapted to fit the needs of your family or event! It is up to you!

Enjoy!

-Bethany

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