Monday, April 19, 2010

Did I miss my calling ??

I'm soo sorry I have let my poor followers down, but let me tell ya I've been one busy lady these last couple of weeks, but not to fear I have plenty of good blogging to follow because of it!  Well as most of you know it's been calving season for a little bit here around these parts and I thought I was doing pretty good because I didn't have any "HORROR" stories to tell at the local watering hole.  We hadn't lost a calf and not even pulled one to the day, but there I went and started pattin my own back before the season was over!

 I have this shorthorn cow that I was starting to get a little nervous about because she was as big as a house, couldn't even fit through the dutch door in our barn!  So I decided to palpate her on her due date the saturday before easter, well let me tell ya people it wasn't a normal experience.  My grandmother even laughed about it afterwards because she had never seen me reach a hand in then yell "O, @#$*!".  It felt as if she had the worlds biggest water ballon in her, I couldn't even find a calf there was so much pressure.  So I decided to call ol' trusty doc for his expert opinon.  Well of course he determined the same thing, this cow was in trouble and we needed to induce her right away!  So I stayed by her side til tuesday morning, or as I like to call it the morning when I thought I had seen it all!  Her water broke about 4 am, and when I mean her water broke, I mean the Hoover Dam opened up, litterally that stall had standing water for a day and a half!  I decided to go ahead and throw her in the chute to check her out since all tha water pressure was gone.  Needless to say I could feel a baby and determined to go ahead and pull it out.  At 4:30am arrived my precious Millie all 30lbs of my tiny hairless baby, needless to say I was quite shocked that she was still alive!  I noticed that my cow was still fairly large, so I decided to examine her again and that's when I felt the beast.  I admitly knew it was a PHA calf and didn't quite know what to expect.  I yelled at my grandfather to go call doc while I stayed with the cow and tried to figure out what I was going to do.   Well unfortunately doc was on another call so i was gonna have to deal with this one myself, dear lord help me, was all I could think.  The neighbor boy Harold came over to help me, ( I needed some extra muscle) I was able to get a set of chains on the bugger and thought well if I can just get the head out maybe it'll pop.  Well to get the head and feet out we had to use our jack which let me say I had to dig it out of the mound of dust it had collected since we hadn't had to use it since I was in high school and I'm not gonna tell ya how long ago that was.   We were able to get the shoulders out and it still hadn't quite poped.  That's when I determined it was time to make it pop, I cringed at the thought of cutting this giant white thing hanging out of my cindy lou but I knew to save her I was gonna have to do it :(.  When I punctured it water went flying everywhere!  It was like a water hose!  I caught two 5 gallon buckets of it till it finally drained.  The poor thing still wouldn't budge so I made the horrifying decision to cut the front off and push it back in so we could jack it out by the hind legs.  My poor cow stood in the chute through this whole process when it was all done she walked out of the chute got her a drink of water and went to the hay bale and started eating, she cleaned and is up and happy to this day.  The beast took both of us to carry a piece out of the stall in all he weighed 210lbs!!  My baby girl Millie only weighed 30lbs and is two weeks old tomorow, she lives in the house with the rest of us, gets fed every four hours and just realized how to run!  Let me say she is quite a site!  So now I can say I've had a set of twins with one being a PHA!  I really don't think I'll brag on that one too much :p

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The cows don't care if your sick

I love it how everyone wants to be a farmer!  They think it's sooo awesome seeing pretty babies in the field, going for trail rides, etc....  But those are the rewarding times your a farmer, this past winter, putting up hay, vaccinating, pulling calves, mucking stalls those are the times that people don't realize create the rewarding times.  Farming is a 24/7 job even on so callled vacations your really not at ease because more than likely somethings gone wrong at the ranch ( as it always does when you leave town, it's like they know they can get in trouble or something).  I wish there was a on/off switch, especially these last couple days.  If you follow me on facebook you would see where I've been fighting this bug.  I don't really know what was wrong, all I know is that I was running a fever around 101.5 constantly but the only other symptom I had was that I was REALLY tired.  But that really didn't stop me, which caused me more heart ache because andy was ordering my butt to bed but I had to calve cows, go to the farm and tag calves, we had the bull sale on saturday, yesterday the farrier came and was suppose to put new shoes on everyone, but we only managed to get Pro done because the mares weren't cooperatting that well and I was too sick and agitated to fight with them ( yes I gave up, not really proud of that :( ) we were also out of feed, so had to go to the feed store.  Andy was so mad he was like you can do it another day and all I could come up with was hunny farmers don't get sick days.  The honest truth is we don't, and I don't think that HSUS, PETA, or any other so called animal welfare group really understands what we farmers go through to support this country.  Sometimes I wonder why we do it, when all the thanks we get is someone slammin us down and telling us how so called horrible we are.  But then I get a new baby on the ground and I helping it nurse for the first time, or I'm riding my horse at sunset over the ridge, or it's sunday supper at the farm and the whole family is there eating food we grew right there.  So no we don't get sick days, we don't get high praise and rewards from the public, but the good lord gives us so many more blessings than most would ever realize and that's the reason I still do it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sale day

This past saturday my grandmother and I headed out to the WV Southern Bull and Heifer test sale where we had 2 heifers and one bull entered.  We've been doing this for several years now and honestly I really enjoy it.  My grandmother and I in the truck for 3 hours, talking about new calves, potential show animals, who we're gonna use this spring, upcoming sales... it's just plan good management time with no interuptions ( that would be from our better halves that don't know about good cattle managment :p ).   I won't lie I'm always nervous during this trip on prices, how our animals are gonna sell.  Because we are your non-typical cattle producers, we don't bring a trailer load of bulls to test ( we are heavy on the knife), we raise two breeds( angus and Simmental ), our animals have real names and not just a bunch of numbers, but most important of them all is that it's because we're female.  If you can't tell by now I sorta have a chip on my shoulder on that issue. 
This trip was no different, nervous and excited I knew we had good animals to sell but we weren't part of the boys club of producers our state has.  Which showed it's ugly head in the ring, literally!  It just irretates me to no extent how these producer raise cattle on paper and pay no attention the phenotype or disposition when selecting breeding animals.  I mean some of these cattle came in the ring ready to eat someone up! Pawing, screaming, trying to jump the fence and some farmer pays $3500 for them!  Or the animal has great WDA (weight per Day of Age for you non farmers out there) but structurally are a mess you wonder how the good ol' boy is gonna go out and breed 20 cows this spring? but yet he brings a fortunate because of where he came from and his stats.
Ugh now I'm not saying that these breeders produce nothing but bad cattle, they do raise some really great ones, but seriously people need to get a little heavier on the knife!  But my grandmother and I still did well in the sale because we have a reputation for superior mommas with good dispositions and that got us far on this day so thank you to our buyers!
But the greatest part of the day was coming home to a 1st calf heifer that calved out in the field by herself calf's been up and nursed and the heifer cleaned!  Those are the kind ya like!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Busy Busy .... Busy!

Wow am I behind on blogging, but it's that time of year.  Spring!!   With the winter we just had I was begining to think it was a myth ( Spring that is).  But sure enough it's popped it's beautiful head up out of the snow and melted all the gloom away!  With warmer weather brings lots of duties to catch up with!  First and most importantly they started on our new barn! YAY!!  They finished the site prep work today and let me just say they went over budget :(  But that can be expected with building projects.  Also it's breeding time, I've been working on getting all my promo work for Pro done thanks to Ranch House Designs, we have babies on the ground and I have lots of site visits with work to be done!  So needless to say I'm behind on blogging but I promise to keep up better! 

Thursday, March 18, 2010


When I was growing up on the farm back in the 90's(yikes), we only had Simmental  cattle and they were the traditional yellow and white monsters that are known to spit out a bunch of twins.  Now most farmers cringe at the thought of twins, but babies are babies and we welcome them with open arms ( secretly I know marge gets upset if she doesn't have any twins to brag on in their yearly christmas letter!).  Well in the evolution of the simmental breed twins don't happen as much anymore, at least not as many as we are use too!  I'm serious 5 sets of twins in a year isn't anything new too us.  Up till now we hadn't had any twins and are on the downside of the calving season and honestly had given up any hope.  Until last week when Marge called with that little twinkle in her voice ( I knew something was up!)  She told me " well I guess they're coming in twos now" dumb me I was like what which two COWS calved?  She laughed and said no goofy Sweet Dreams had a set of twins!  I was shocked, of all our cows she really didn't look big enough to have a set of twins, needless to say the little girl weighed 55lbs and the boy 52Lbs.  Both happy and healthy and now marge is tickled to have to fix a bottle for her babes:)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On the road with Marge

Last wednesday I was lucky enough to be asked to speak at the same conference as my grandmother!  I was excited as well as nervous about this, because hell I had to follow the Honorable Marge Burke for goodness sake!  The first and only women majority whip in the WV House of Delegates, let alone the millions of other prestigious titles she had won, along with at the present time being the Committee Chairman for the WV Farm Service Agency.  What was I going to say that was going to be anymore important or interesting to hear then what she said ?!?  So on tuesday during the 2 hour drive to Lewisburg ( and while Grandma was sleeping in the passenger seat) I started kicking around ideas on what I was going to talk about.  I could talk about.... going to college for Agriculture education....... my experience in the American Junior Angus Associtation and my run for Junior Board ( good times weren't they luke! :p) ............... graduating college to turn around and go on the road showing cattle.  All these were ok ideas and I had a hell of a lot of great stories to go along with them ( a lot of them weren't appropriate to talk about though :p) but I really didn't think they defined me and my role as a woman in agriculture.  We got to Lewisburg and I decided to give up for the night and just sleep on it.  Well no matter how many stars I wished on or Robert pattersons I dreamed about :p the idea still had yet to come to me.  We drove on into beautiful Lindside, WV and walked into this wonderful celebration.  As soon as we walked in, it was Hey Marge! all over, random people I couldn't name and lots of good friends and peers I have memories with since I was a child.  She was Ag superstar in our state and no one could top her, everyone wanted a hug and kiss from Marge and her big bouncy voice rang throughout that gymnasium.  That's when the idea hit me, all the ideas I had come up with to speak about they were great ideas in there own right but they weren't who defined my role as a woman in agriculture it was that big beautiful laugh from a little gray haired lady that defined me, this woman is who shaped my life and plowed the way of guidance to all the great things I have done in my life, she was the one who taught me to judge cattle and help me buy my first angus heifer (twistville's power play lady) to show at the 96 eastern regionals which began my wonderful jr. angus career, she was the one that enrolled me in 4 -h and ffa and instilled in me the desire to teach agriculture.  She planted the seed, tended the plant and made it blossom into all the wonderful things I had done in my life, but she was MY grandmother to all these people in the crowd she was a strong-willed, spunky woman that no one wanted to fight with and everyone loved.  I had a unique view on life because of her, I never thought that it was the man's job to farm, I never knew anything but how to work hard in life.  So that's what i talked about I brought my world to them, the same teachings that Marge instilled to me I tried to bring out in that crowd of women both young and old in Monroe County, WV.  When I was done speaking my grandmother was so proud and the whole ride home we talked just about life.  I will never forget the woman I am, nor the woman that made me, my idol and my grandmother Marge Burke.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Where's the FIRE?!?

If you live in Central WV this last few days have really made our namesake of Almost Heaven.  You couldn't ask for prettier days!  Well this past tuesday afternoon I had just gotten out of the shower( I was preparing for a roadtrip for Women in Ag which I'll blog about later!) and heard the doorbell ring.  Who could it be?  So I looked out the window and it was the State Fire Marshall's truck!!  I threw on some clothes and flew downstairs to see what the problem was; was the house on fire? did I not get the right codes for our new barn? were the animals out?  Believe me I was really concerned.  Needless to say I open the door to this nice older gentleman asking me if he could take a picture of our goat and cow!  I guess he drives by our house quite often and tells his wife about this trick cow and goat and she wanted a picture to show her friends!!  Needless to say I was quite humored and told him he could take as many pictures as he wants!  Well as mister Fire Marshall was outside taking pictures guess who came home from work?  That's right Andy and I don't think I've ever seen a vehicle fly into a drive way that fast or someone get out of it that fast!  He had the same idea I did and I don't think I've ever seen color rush back into someone's face as quickly as his did when I showed him what was going on!!  God Bless our trick cow and goat!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Good Ol' Reliable :)

(Look at those EYES! They scream I dare Ya :p )
In most family run farms in America, they know what Good Ol' Reliable is.  It's that one animal on your farm that you can always count on.  On our farm it's a 11 year old Angus cow name Titan Noel.  I bet you guessed why we named her Noel, christmas morning she was the best gift I could ask for :)  When we need to move cows or get them in I know all I need to do is yell for this good old girl and she'll bring them in.  When you farm like we do and it's either your 76 grandmother or myself doing the moving, sorta, etc.. you really appreciate this kind of cooperation.  This was the case yesterday when moving our maternaty ward around I noticed that Noel was limping on her hind leg pretty good.  So I got her in the barn to doctor her when I noticed a problem.  This girl is 9 months preggers and as big as a house!  No way I was getting her in that chute.  Well back in 2000 me and Noel took the blue in showmanship so I figured maybe she'd still be my girl.  I grabbed a rope halter and put it on her free standing in the alley ( she didn't fight one moment! ) then led her straight into the chute.  Now I knew I couldn't get her through it and wasn't even gonna try too but I know if I asked her she would do it.  But with her front end in the chute and her tied off I knew it would keep her from swinging around and trying to fight me cleaning her foot out, but there is one problem in this it keeps her hips and rear end full exposed and "kickin".  You have to remember though this is Good Ol' Reliable :p  I was actually able to pick her foot up like a farrier and clean it out!  She didn't kick or struggle once, I was feeling pretty good right about now, so I decided to go ahead and pill her while I was at it.  This is where I knew I would be pushing my luck :p  Because if you came to my place and saw Noel you wouldn't trust her at ALL!  She has these crazy looking eyes and bellers like a bull, makes you wanna run not put her in a head lock and try to shove 5 boluses down her throat :p My grandmother thought I was crazy but I knew my girl knew I was trying to help her.  So I did with a confident stride slip in the chute with her, wrapped my arm around her neck ( or at least try to she's a big girl ) and tried to pry her mouth open.  She was quite cooperable because all she had to do was fling her head one good time and she would have picked me up and thrown me out of there!!  Believe me for her acting so well I rewarded her just as good :)  Moments like those make me feel really good about what I do, because me and that cow were on the same level, she knew I wasn't purposefully trying to hurt her.  She knew i was trying to make her feel better and in return she helps me out by being cooperatable and keeping everyone one else in the herd on the same page.  She was happy and so was I.  I just wish PETA would have been there to see it, they might have thought twice about there actions against farmers.  Nah that's just wishful thinking on stupidity :p  I added a picture of Noel after all of this too show you how she doesn't look like a friendly cow, and how now she is standing on all fours!! :P

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Being a farmer isn't just a name....

Like many of you already know the state of West Virginia has been hit extremely hard this winter with record breaking snow falls.  In my life I can't ever remember a winter with this much snow.  This past friday right before this lastest storm hit ( well actually it was the begining of the storm) was our Ag Days at the Captiol.  It's a chance for wv agriculture to shine and show our representatives exactly how important we are to the state and this great nation.  I got a chance to talk to several farmers about the winter and how they were getting along with it, and let me say the talk wasn't pleasant.   It was the same sad story over and over again, lots of dead calves because of the snow, farmers not even being able to get to their cattle because of the weather, a lot of farmers running out of feed because the amount of calories these cattle are burning and because of poor cattle prices this last fall can't afford to buy anymore hay.  The buzz was also going on about had this weather had finally broke a lot of farmers, that the cattle markets would be flooded this spring with people selling out, not a good sign for high prices this spring either.  All this talk made me extremely sad and anger at the same time.  This lifestyle is the only thing most people know around here, it's our heart and soul.  I don't think a lot of America understands what we as farmers go through especially with all these negative ads from PETA and other organizations that are too dumb to actually grasp the concept of animal welfare.  I know that I take more pride and respect in my animals then I do most people and I put my heart and soul on the line for them everyday.  Just to be kicked in the gut by one farmer they found in millions that didn't take care of his.  I also know that if it weren't for myself and other farmers like me, our nation wouldn't have a leg to stand on, because we built this great nation and we are the American dream.  So next time you have a great meal or put warm clothes on your back take a moment to say a Prayer, a thank you for the american farmer because sometimes we don't think you care.


Blizzard of 2010!

As promised I've added some of our pictures of the Blizzard.....  As you look at these and gasp, think about the animals and farmers who are out in these elements.. take a minute and thank a farmer!!

Yeap that's a snow plow digging the way!!This is the actual depth of the snow!
These are full grown trees!!  Look at the monster snow drift behind them it's was like 30 feet tall!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Blizzard farming :(

Unfortunately I haven't been able to keep up with my blog as much as I would like over the week.  I was gone from sunday to thursday hosting a Ag Safety Days in the eastern panhandle.  I came home thursday night to a Blizzard, I'm not joking I'm not making this up over 3 days we got about 30 inches of snow!!  Fortunately I have the new truck which has made my traveling adventures much more easier.  Friday night my grandmother called me in the middle of it all saying she was having babies!  Now if it was anyone else I would tell them just call if you get into any problems, but with my grandmother it's another story.  I love this woman to death she's my idle but unfortunately she doesn't realize her own age anymore, or that she doesn't heal quite as quickly as she use to!!  Now we cull heavily for bad temperments for these reasons exactly, but even with the pets you just never know because they are experiencing a million different things and life is a little crazy at the moment.  So Andy and I packed up in the pickup and went to the farm!  We ended up having four babies in the blizzard and everyone was great and got up and ate on their own!  Driving home I enjoyed telling andy some of our old horrior stories of calving back in the day with the normal 120lb simmy calves!  I've attached a candid moment from one of those pulls!  Marge was lying on the bottom of the chute pulling while I was pulling so hard above her I had one foot on each hip of the cow pullin myself straightly horizontal over marge when the calf finally popped i was able to jump back missing marge but she got to cushion the big boys fall!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Animals are a personal heaven

Yesterday we lost our precious goat Oreo.  I'm actually out of town right now working which doesn't make this any easier.  Poor girl had been sick for about 3 weeks now and we had made the decision that if she was still in the same condition when I came home we'd put her down.
I'll be honest I cried for a good while yesterday, too some people she was just a goat but too me she was my child, my goat child.  I had picked her and sunday up from the stockyards as tiny baby goats not quite a year ago.  We bottle fed them both and they even lived in the house for a short period of time when it got really cold outside.  Oh but they loved the showbarn, they loved to play with the calves and run and jump.  She even thought she was a dog at sometimes I do believe.  She would try to herd the cattle up and out when it was time.  I can't help but sit here and cry as I write this. 
I am very lucky that I still have precious sunday but I'm very sad for her too as she's lost her best friend and sister.  Now we already have plans on getting another goat as soon as I get home as a buddy for miss sunday but I know it will never replace our oreo.
Now to the non animal person this would just sound plain crazy talking about an animal as if it was your own child.  But when you tend to god's creatures they do become your childern.  I believe in god full heartly and I know he is waiting for me in heaven along with many loved ones I've lost both in animal and human form.  If you don't know me personally I've attended my fair share of funerals these past couple of years and I would gladly be happy to retire the black attire, but I know that god has a reason for death as he does life it's all in his master plan, including my poor oreo.  Some people say that animals don't go to heaven they have no soul that it's only a people heaven.  I don't believe them at all, god created us all equal and I believe that in animal form as well as human form, you can't look an animal in the eyes and tell me it doesn't have a soul.  So when it's my time I won't be sad I'll be happy because I know my oreo and all my loved ones will be there welcoming me with open arms, paws and hooves :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

2010 Dodge Ram 1500

New Truck :)

As promised here is pictures of my new purchase.  If your thinking of purchasing a new truck I highly recommend the new dodges.  I absolutely love this truck!  It's a 2010 1500 Big Horn, I was in no way planning on buying a 2010 but I actually found this one USED!!  Got a great deal and now feel way more productive and in my own skin driving this bad boy compared to the hybrid!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bye Bye Camry you will be missed!

After being pulled out of the ditch for the umptenth time this week with all this snow we've been getting, I decided to trade in my camry hybrid for a truck!  I mean I've been fighting the decision for a while now and this was the decision maker.  Now your wondering why a good ol' american farm girl is drivin a camry? Let alone a hybrid??  Well when I bought the thing new in the fall of 07 I was traveling full time with my job and at the time they just remburst me mileage.  About 4 months after I traded for the camry the state got me my own vehicle a jeep grand cherokee, but I was determined to keep the hybrid because heck here at the farm we have 2 rangers and a dually so if I need a truck I could just go borrow one from the main farm.  As you know in Nov. we bought our new little farm here in camden Andy and I did.  My poor camry was in hauling overload then, poor thing was stuffed constinitly with feed, equipment, animals, etc.  Well when this snow finally hit the poor camry finally bit the dust.  Oh I will definitly miss the camry and the 50 miles to a gallon I got.  But o did I get a beautiful truck to replace it!  I will post pictures of the new vehicle later!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sleeping with the goats

On our farm we advertise that we raise cattle and performance horses, but from my last blog as you can see we have two nanny goats named oreo and sunday.   They are my babies I picked them up at the stockyards last spring as complete new borns in fact their dried umblical cords were still on!  As you can guess with some help from the family we bottle fed them and raised them with the cattle.  They are a complete joy!  You never know what these crazy girls will do.  Well when andy and I moved to our little farm here in camden we brought the goats too.  Of course they've settled right in by now and entertain the roadtravelers with their tricks ( I found random pics of sunday on bella's back on facebook from people I didn't know!)  But unfortunately we noticed about 3 days ago that oreo was a little "off" so we called the vet adn they said she had a type of worm so we doctored her for that, she still wasn't any better then wednesday night I noticed that the right side of her face was completely paralyzed poor girl can't move her lips or even blink her eyes now because of that, that particular eye has dried out and extremely inflamed :(  The final diagnoses was yesterday when she began circling!  She has circling diease so at least I was able to get her treated for the right thing, but we have her and her buddy Sunday moved into the house.  Doc said it'd take a couple of days before we could tell if she was gonna make it:(  So last night I cuddled up too poor oreo in the basement and rubbed her back until she fell asleep (cried a little in there too).  She made it through the night and seems to have slight improvement but idk if that's me with wishful thinking.  So please keep my baby oreo in your prayers.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bella the cow and her trick partner Sunday the goat!

This winter has been unusally long and hard with lots of snow and my least favorite MUD!  Our goats have been taking it the worst of any of the animals as they hate to get dirty, they tip toe around the mud and run around it as much as possible.  We have our one donor  Bella here at our house along with our replacements, unfortunately Bella doesn't produce naturally and just flushes for us, so we keep her around with the replacements so she isn't in heat around the heavy preggers.  Well as you can imagine she is rather large since she doesn't raise a calf.  I don't know if Bella is jealious of the other cows and their calves or what but I do believe she has decided to adopt our goat sunday as her own!  I started noticing sunday and oreo crawling up on Bella's back and sleeping or playing a round of king of the hill on Bella!  As you can imagine this is quite a hillarious site!  Well now they have taken the cake!  Bella now escorts miss sunday around the pasture on her back!!  We live on the main road and you wouldn't believe the cars slowing down to see our little circus act!!  But now poor Sunday no longer has to trudge around in the mud!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Marriage counseling farmer style!

My fiance Andy was not born on a farm, in fact he grew up in town!!  So needless to say our relationship has been a eye opening experince.  Obviously he loves the tractors and all the sunny weather summer work.  Now last winter we lived in a apartment on Main Street in Weston.  This fall we purchased our small piece of heaven here in Camden, half way between weston and the main farm in Sand Fork.  Right now we have 5 replacments, 2 broodmares, 2 goats,and 1 stallion!  That's just the outside critters, inside we have my cowdog (blue heeler) belle who just had 6 puppies and our three cats!!  Needless to say I'm a big time animal lover and can't stand to see one suffer.
Well this evening before my Valentine was planning to take me out to dinner.  I went out to feed the critters and notice our goat Oreo didn't show her normal bouncy self.  As I went to look for her I found her in the run-in shed not being her normal cheerful self :(  I'm the first to admit I'm not a goat expert so I was able to get ahold of my neighbors who are.  They gave Andy and I a shopping list of meds and we were off to Tractor Supply since it is sunday.  After spending a buck or two we made it back home just before dark.  Poor Oreo wouldn't even stand up for me to give her shots.  After to pouting to Andy about 3 minutes about how cold and miserable it would be out here tonight and we don't have a barn for them he let me bring the two goats into the basement :) 
I don't know if I told you or not but we have a really old farmhouse and in the back of the basement we have a old cellar room that is empty but has a door and a shoot vent.  I believe this would be the best place to put them and go grab a bad of shavings to put down and some food and water.
Needless to say the goats are a little confused and scared.
We are now sitting in our living room watching tv with puppies running around and goats yelling at us from underneath!  So this is the test of time, this is the test of a marriage is if my city boy can hang in our animal house with this old farm girl!!

Friday, February 12, 2010


Disappointments...... theres a lot to be said about them.  I've had several in my life and they all really stink, I mean you get disappointed about a lot of things in life.  You have disappointments with government ( thought we were gonna end the war??), you have disappointments with your job ( I was sure they were gonna buy that heifer), but I believe the worst disappointments you get in life are with your friends and family, the ones you really care about, those are the ones that sting.  My whole life I've been set up with these kind of disappointments, I'm one of those types of people for some reason or another I put a lot of trust and faith in people for no reason at all.  I think it's my human nature that if I just met you and you told me you were gonna do something I would trust you to do it no matter how long I've known you.  Obviously I get burned a lot with this problem but no matter what I still believe in people and that it should be our human nature to be honest.  As you can probably guess right now my girls weekend got cancelled and no i'm not a spoil little girl that is pouting because she didn't get to go shopping all weekend.  I'm just upset, it's not like it was a spur of the moment decision or an idea that just popped up in my head.  We had planned this trip for quite a while, but yet people who are suppose to be my friends ended up cancelling last minute on me.  I guess I see it as a bigger deal then they do.  I started to wonder though if this was a sign for my upcoming wedding.   Was it going to be another disappointment in the long list of relationship failures I have had in my life??  I think this is why I'm such an animal lover, because to no extent they give me unconditional love and never disappoint me.  For those of you with animals I think you understand where I'm coming from.  I can be in the most horrible mood in the world yet I can walk over to the barn and sit and watch my cows for hours and it's the best medicine in the world for me.  I could probably pay a therapist thousands and thousands of dollars and they couldn't do for me what my cows do in about 10 minutes.  So even though my valentines day weekend has turned to bust and I really am starting to question some decisions I've made in my life.  I'm grateful for my animals because they never disappoint me.

Girls weekend!!

So I'm super pumped about this weekend!  My mother, one of my best friends Jennifer and I are going dress shopping for my wedding here in May!!  We are having a beach wedding in the Florida Keys and there are no simple beach type dresses here in WV so we are off to North Carolina for a Valetine's Day road trip!!  So excited!!  Thankful my wonderful fiance has agreed to take care of the animals for me and it looks like no new babies will show up!  I will post pictures of the trip!!  I do farm and have a full time job but don't forget, Girls just wanna have fun!!  Don't forget to sign in as a follower!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Barn

Im extremely pumped!  I got the plans finalized for my new showbarn!!  This will be at our new house in Camden.  It's 50 x 30 x 10 with a 10ft lean too!  I know this is quite small for some people but It'll be just perfect for me!!  Inside I plan on having four horse stalls with a insulated wash bay in the middle all going down the left side.  The two horse stalls will have a removable wall between the two if I need to make a larger 10 x 20 stall.  On the right side I will have a feed/tack room and then cattle pens that can go out to the lean too if need be.  The whole building will be insulated along with having water and electricity!  If you can't tell I'm really excited and will be posting pictures as the project progresses!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Temple Grandin

So I have to tip my hat to HBO on this one.  I was so pumped for this movie, I had watched the trailers and thought this is awesome.  Let me tell you I wasn't even close!  Temple Grandin is this amazing woman that if I've accomplished a fourth of what she has in my life i will be truely blessed.   Thanks to her most of our modern day livestock practices exist and life is made so much easier.  The funny part is that we had no idea what a struggle it was for her to make these visions a reality.  Watching the movie I really could relate to her and some of her struggles especially at the feedlots.  I even have my own moment of acceptance I can remember working on a farm in Ohio.  We were there to get sale cattle ready, but at the moment we were working in the calving barn and they were having trouble with getting a calf out.  None of the men there could get it in position (the feet were back) I finally convinced them to let me try.  Not only was I able to get it in position ( My arms are a lot smaller then most mens so I can work them around in there a lot easier) me and my friend pulled it out.  I remember laying on the bottom of the chute with this monster of a calf laying on top of me as he popped out.  I remember looking up and all those men that were questioning me as a woman working there looking down at awe at what I was able to do!  I was talking to one of those men just a week or so ago as we stayed good friends and he recalled that moment and says he'll never forget it as long as he lives.  It's funny I do not think I'm any Temple Grandin but moments like those and others remind us that we are just as good as men and deserve their respect.  One of Temple's greatest feets is not only being a woman in the beef industry but over coming autism in spite of it all as well!  It's sad to think of what we did to people we didn't understand all those years ago.  It's scary to think that if Temple's mother had not been as forceful in her upbringing what might of happened or where we might be in todays industry.  So thank you from the bottom of my heart Mrs. Grandin for your strength.  Also thank you Temple for the inspiration you are and will always be!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Superbowl Babies

     About 1:30 yesterday I decided to sit down and write my daily blog.  At that time we had, had a very successful day, that morning we had a first calf heifer have a 75lb heifer calf by herself and it was up and nursing in 10 minutes, those are the type we like!  As normal I went over and cleaned the pen, let the cow out for some water, weighed the calf, you know the normal things you do.  As I was wrapping it up I decided to go out and opening the back porch of the barn so the cows that haven't calved could get back in out of the weather when I noticed one of our heavy springers was missing.  As i search the lot and field looking for her I found her up in the woods.  Ok, now if your a farmer you would understand what this is a tell-tale sign for.  But for the non-farmers out there I'll explain; when you have a cow that is heavily sprung to calve you watch for any signs of early labor.  These signs include pacing, tail swinging, kicking themselves, if you know the cow real well she'll even get that far off look in her eye, but the winner for this cow was, we're in the middle of a winter storm it's 20 degrees outside the rest of the cows are headed for cover and this old gal is headed out on her own to the woods ( not normal cow behavior).  So I trudge out thru the snow after her praying that she'll cooperate because there is nothing worse then chasing a scared cow in bad weather.  Sure enough she was a good girl as soon as she saw me coming she knew I would put her back in the warm barn in her own stall.  I didn't even have to go all the way up in the woods after her ( I love my girls)!  I knew it'd be a couple of hours so I headed back to the house to make some lunch and blog about my wonderful morning.  This is the part where I love my CAMERAS!!!   I sat down and was watching a good western movie with my grandfather and above that screen was the screen for our barn cameras.  I could tell the cow was uncomfortable but no obvious labor signals quite yet.  So I came in the office and sat down at the computer to start typing, about 15 mins into the blog my grandfather runs in and says her water broke!  I went into the living room and sat down to watch her progress  Her water broke at 1:45, at about 2 the feet were out but she was still in the sack filled with fluid so at this point I decide to head on over to make sure I get the bag off it's face.  Needless to say she was born at 2:15 and it was a good thing I was there because yes she was still in the bag!  I pulled it off and picked her up by her hind legs to make sure any fluid in her lungs would drain out.  Momma was good as always cleaned her up and she got to nursing.  Quite a successful day for me!  Now I can go home and watch the Superbowl in Peace!!  I have such considerate cows :p!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow, Snow, Snow and More SNOW!!

     All week they've been telling us about a big storm this weekend, this has been the same story pretty much since the first of December.  Now they have been right, and it has snowed pretty much every weekend but at most about 6 inches nothing to major ( except the two feet we got there right before christmas).  I thought this was gonna be another one of those predictions because when it was suppose to be snowing yesterday it was raining and high 30's.  Yet last night about 9 pm it turned to ice then snow :(   So all that rain we got froze and now we have about 10 inches of snow piled up on top of the ice.  Now if you are sitting at home in your nice warm house bored to death because your snowed in, so you decided to fix some chili or a meatloff appreciate it; because to get that beef in your meal a farmer ( beef farmer to be exact) isn't bored to death.  We were up all night worried about calves or at least I was, because if you didn't know it this is the WORST type of weather for cattle.  Now you would think that the -10 degrees last weekend would have been worse but nope your wrong.  See the difference between then and now is that last weekend they were dry but it rained all day yesterday before the snow so not only are the cattle cold they are also very wet, which makes the situation 10 times worse.
     Now my grandmother informed me last week that she would be out of town this weekend for a conference in DC ( which by the way is shut down with 30 inches of snow).  What is complicated about this situation is that we are expecting a snow storm and my grandmother leaves town but the tricky part is that we have a group of cattle synced to calve on the 12th.  So here I am two different farms to feed at, a snow storm on the horizon, and cows calving.  I immediately made up my mind to spend the weekend at my grandparents farm, Andy being the caring individual that he is told me he could handle the replacement heifers at our place ( I was greatly relieved because trying to travel on these mountain roads in bad weather isn't easy).
     When the sun rose this morning it was a complete white out.   I made a cup of coffee layered on the clothes and headed to the barn.  Now we are lucky compared to some farms because we have a calving barn monitored by video cameras so we can watch the girls in the house and they calve in the clean warm barn instead of outside.  Downside is you muck stalls every morning.  But no calves last night and I fed and checked everyone out.  Calves had shelter and seemed to be doing good and so were the cows.  I have one first calf heifer due here on the 12th and she was pretty wet and shivering so I put her in the barn.  I also had a donor in standing heat so I'll be breeding her this evening ( I'm think breeding her to SAV Brillance).  But besides that, nothing to exciting.  But it's only 1:30 and I'm headed back out to switch out groups to the hay barn so there is still plenty of possiblities left in the day!  But if your home by the fire with your loved ones I hope you appreciate the service and dedication others do in this weather so that you have food on your table.  Thank a farmer

Friday, February 5, 2010

So I created a Blog

So here I am a blogger, for those who know me that's a pretty funny statement, for those who don't you'll laugh later. So why the title "The Cattlewoman WV style" ? I ask why not? For those who know me they know that my family farm is your non-typical family farm. Three generations of women have been behind our cattle herd since the early 60's, no we aren't players for the other side and yes our husbands help out:) When it comes to the breeding selection, calving, herd health, purchasing, sales and show cattle that is one hundred percent female "hear us roar!" The men like to play on their tractors and shoot guns ( but we love them dearly :)).
Now your wondering why write a blog about it?? Well about a month ago I was attending a Educational Dinner the extension service puts on for the farmers in our state. The theme for that nights dinner was Crossbreeding and it's role in the future of the Beef Industry. Now I thought this would be pretty good considering we raise Angus and Simmental cattle and all the hype that the SimAngus are causing, but the speaker didn't see it that way. He was on the other end of the spectrum and how that the way to go was Angus x Hereford cross then use a shorthorn bull for the terminal calves. Yeah I had that same look on my face that your having right now :p Don't even get me started on that subject that's for a whole other day! But at the end of the night when asked for any questions, my grandmother spoke up asking about a statement the speaker had made about BW EPD's and their relevance. She asked why that most breeders looked directly at the Bull and took no consideration on the cow when deciding matings. The speaker light heartily laughed " Now Marge you know that a "female" has no business in beef production". A lot of people laughed including my grandmother because we know the speaker quite well and known he's thought this way for years, and I think he honestly meant it as a joke. He quickly apologized and responded that it was a joke and answered her question. But I sort of took it personally. Because we as women in the cattle industry do get laughed at a lot and not taken seriously. You wouldn't believe the amount of people who find our cattle, see them as huge performers on test, and want to buy them (not knowing us personally) and call us or come see us and find out we're females and aren't interested anymore. This really irritates me to no extent. There are several other instances I could name but I do need to feed at some point :) So that's why I decided to write this blog, no not to be all feminist and manhater, but to write about what I actually do and how we are committed just as any man would be. Maybe hopefully someone will read the blog and maybe just maybe it will change their opinion about "females" in beef production.