Perception is Everything

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The line of bales looks like the perfect end to a perfect day; and in a lot of ways it is the end of a perfect day. We are able to feed our animals a nutritious food source that will keep them healthy and happy throughout the winter.

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And we were able to do it all together as a family, on our family farm….. but sometimes we don’t always talk about the struggles in agriculture or farming. This day came with it’s fair share of trials and tribulations. From a broken baler, hay that was to dry, and time slipping away; it seemed like the day was going to be a total waste. The little things just kept piling up and somehow it seemed like those cuss words just kept slipping out, which sometime happens when farming isn’t going your way.

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With everything that kept happening lunch was pushed back more and more into the afternoon as we were racing against the clock and the sun to get done before dusk. All at once it seemed like everything worked together and it all started to fall into place.

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The bales were all hauled quickly and efficiently to the wrapper, the wrapper worked out great, and all the equipment found its home in a shed.

As that last bale went through the wrapper, and we beat the sunset by minutes we stood around and admired what we had accomplished.

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Yea it was hard, yea it was rough, and yes it seemed like we were trying to accomplish the impossible and all forces were working against us… but that is farming and life. Working together we can take on the world. As we checking the cows and the new baby calves were playing together with the sunset and that perfect row of hale bales in the background it was was instantly clear that I can’t imagine life any other way. The struggles and challenges make the successes and a job well done so much sweeter and rewarding. Life on the farm is hard but life with family is worth every second.


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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

 

A Working Controversy 

Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year. Of course, I love all the typical fall things, bonfires, sweaters and the leaves changing colors. But what makes it even better is the fact that deer season is coming, Thanksgiving is almost here and we get to do one of my favorite farm activities: working cows.

The cows headed for the lot lead by Dad and a bag of range cubes.

Most people call me crazy or at least give me weird looks when I say that I love working cows. But I just love the fact that we get to bring all the cows up, check for health issues and give them their shots, and then let them all go again. My inner cowgirl also likes to play ranch hand for a day!

All the cows are caught, lets take selfie!

Of course, whenever I say giving cows shots, I enter straight into the latest controversy, this time involving Subway.

Each year, we feed out the steers from our herd and sell that beef directly to consumers. We get a lot of questions, but none of these questions have ever stemmed from antibiotics. Mainly the questions we  are what do you feed them, do they get grass, and how do you cook brisket?

One of our butchering steers.

But when giving antibiotics, we, like most cattlemen, give the recommended dosage to keep cow and calf.

Making notes on what vaccines to give to each cow, calf and heifer.

We use syringes that can be set to give a specific amount. But when working cows, we give vaccines, not actual antibiotics. Vaccines help prevent sickness from happening, while antibiotics help stop it once it has already happened.

Bethany ready to go!

Generally, it’s Bethany’s job to know what shots are giving to each cow and how much. She will then hand that shot to our neighbor, Rex, who will either give it subcutaneous (under the skin) or intramuscular (in the muscle).

The only picture of me in the lot, of course with no cows.

Dad and I work the cows through the lot to the shoot. Most of our cows have been on our farm long enough that they know if they get through the shoot, there’s usually grain on the other side. But then you have the speedy little calves.

A cow patiently waits for her turn so she can get back to her range cubes.

Working cows in the fall also involves cutting the calves, so once one bull calf goes through the others need a little more convincing.

I get to hold the tail while our neighbor cuts the bull calves.

When it all said and done, each cows is ready to beat any problems that may come this winter, and we are dog tired!

Did I answer all your questions? If not, ask them! I would love to clarify!

~Nicole