Life in the Country

Taking one day at a time with kids, cattle, and farming!


on Saturday, February 28, 2009

Some of the things I blog about are strictly for future reference for myself. I hope I enjoy looking back at these blogs in years to come and remember. Like right now for instance, I love doing chores. Chores, for me, consist of about 1 1/2 hours every night. I am in charge of taking the 3 calves, one by one, into the chute and either rinsing, washing, or just blowing the dirt out of their hair. Depending on how dirty they get while being tied up, means how much work I have to do. Jeff is in charge of feeding and scooping poop. And, the kids are becoming really good at walking their calves in and out of the barn and hosing off the mats that the calves lay on. You can't imagine how much poop we see in one day!! It's funny that this is what I love to do. When I see or talk to people that I know from long ago, they have a hard time believing that I love working with our calves. Thinking back though, I have a hard time believing that I love working with our calves! At the shows, it drives me crazy to see the "show moms" as they call themselves, all dolled up with bedazzled shirts with their fancy family's show cattle logo or a studded out outline of a steer, with their jeweled belts, fancy Fatbaby Lariat boots (that are clean nonetheless), their hair all fancied up with perfect makeup - SITTING or just WALKING around..... just looking pretty! I don't understand why they don't HELP! I bet I am on of a handful of moms that actually do any of the work with the calves. I know people don't like to sit by me at the shows since I am the one with crappy boots on, jeans with manure on them, dirty hands, messy hair, and sometimes a little smear of dirt on my face. But you know what? I don't care. I do this for my kids. By the way, sometimes I wonder if they love it as much as I do. (I know, Cathi..... I know what you are going to say... they don't) But, sadly, this is just about the only thing that all 4 of us enjoy doing together. We've got many, many more years of this, so I just hope I can look back at this very day and enjoy it as much 12 years down the road as I do now. My house may not be clean. There may not be a great supper every night. The laundry may not be done. My vacuum may not move for a few days. But, by golly, I've got clean calves and I LOVE them!!!

Beef Expo Pictures

Here are just a few pictures of last weekend. I wish I could have taken some better ones. Photography is just not my thing.

Illinois Beef Expo

Last weekend was a big weekend for us. We took the kids and their calves to Springfield to the 2009 Illinois Beef Expo. It is held at the state fairgrounds, and it was our first time down there. This is a much bigger show than what we've ever showed at so we were all a little bit nervous.... okay, maybe me more than anyone. Brooke took her heifer, Jewels, and Blake took his steer, Cowboy (previously known as JT). Brooke's steer was dehorned that same week so we left him at home to recuperate for a few days by himself. By the way, I don't think he really liked being home alone!

There ended up being about 800 calves there - coming from all over the state of Illinois and ranging in price from $500 (Blake's steer was probably the cheapest there!) all the way well into the 10's of thousands.... like maybe $20,000 for some! Whoa. I can't imagine having something worth that much money, especially a show calf. But some people really get into it. It was like being in an old town village - brick paved streets, lined with old brick buildings full of calves and their showmen. There was constant action and tons and tons of people. We learned a lot and it was a great experience.

Our days started at 6:00 am and ended at 9:00 pm so it was an exhausted weekend for sure. The kids always found time to hit the pool for a few minutes at a time. I don't think they've fully recuperated yet. At least I haven't!

Brooke showed Saturday night. Jewels looked so great. They had her fitted so nicely and of course I thought she looked the best! Brooke had a major meltdown before entering the ring. She cried and cried and cried and cried. She didn't want to show and was refusing to even go into the ring. There were several nice young ladies that were talking to her, trying to convince her that she would be fine. The problem was that Brooke was the first to enter the ring in her class. There were 9 heifers, and hers was the lightest so that meant she had to lead the pack. That posed a big problem for poor Brooke. It would be like leading an animal into a ring the size of a basketball court with 5,000 people watching - that's 10,000 eyes all on you and your animal. Needless to say, I had to walk away and let everyone else calm her down. I definitely make her more nervous. But... she did it! She walked into that show ring and did her best. Jewels definitely felt Brooke's nerves so she wasn't cooperating too well. There were 2 heifers in her class that got away from their handlers so that made Brooke even more nervous. Brooke placed 8th out of 9. I don't have many good pictures, it was very dark in the arena and I couldn't seem to get a good picture to save my soul.

Blake showed Sunday afternoon. Was he nervous???? NO. Not at all. In fact, he was pretty cocky about the whole thing.... until he walked into the ring. He actually did fine. It was funny to hear the crowd as he walked in. I could hear lots of "Ahhh, look at that little guy" and "Oh my he's so little". They were right. He was the youngest one there showing. In fact, I bet Brooke and Blake were the 2 youngest showmen there. There were a couple young boys, but I'm betting they were at least 11. Everyone in Blake's class were in high school. You can show until you're 21. He ended up letting go of Cowboy once he got spooked by the steer beside him. The steer drug his showmen across the ring and once Cowboy pulled on Blake, he just let go! He placed 4th out of 5.

The big highlight of the weekend was Blake getting stuck in a bucket! Zack tried to pick him up and we literally could not get that bucket off of Blake's butt! It was hilarious! I could have cried because of laughing, but I'm glad I didn't - my tears would have frozen!

All in all, we had a lot of fun! And it was a great experience for all of us! I'll post some pictures in a little bit - but it's time do chores! I'll be back.....

A Big Thank You

on Sunday, February 15, 2009

Yesterday Carrie and Larry came up with a surprise for John and Wanda. Larry had made this "Ryner" cedar log for them as a thank you for everything they've done for our family. Wanda went to a lot of work to make quilts for all of us, and they are so good to let Larry and his cronies come up to the pond to fish. One of Larry's buds always says it's the best little fishing pond around! John and Wanda were also very supportive when Mom and Dad passed away. They were friends with Mom and Dad for decades, so all of the Ryner kids grew up with the Flatt kids. I bet they didn't suspect that two of the would ever marry each other! I think they were really surprised about the log. I guess they were just talking about one the other day. It's beautiful and it's going to look really good when Wanda gets some of her beautiful flowers planted around it! Thanks again, John and Wanda. We love you!

Happy Anniversary

on Sunday, February 8, 2009

Today would have been Dad and Mom's 52nd wedding anniversary. I've been thinking of them a lot lately. It's amazing how much you can miss someone. When I don't feel good, Mom is the first person I want to call, and I've found myself wanting to call her so she can tell me to take some tums so I would feel better. The other night when I talked to Cathi, they were getting ready to go to Roseville to eat catfish and I about asked her if Dad was going with them. Some days it seems as if they are still here, and other days it seems like they've been gone for a long time. Wanda made all of us a quilt out of Dad's bibs and some of Mom's old shirts. I need to get a picture of it on here. It is so neat. I've found myself using it a lot lately!

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. I'm sure they are celebrating together in Heaven. I love you.

(Also happy anniversary to Kevin and Kathy yesterday!)


I really haven't posted in a long time. Geesh, I wonder what my problem has been. Gee, could it be that I've been sick since January 20th???? I tell ya, I am so tired of being sick and tired, I could just scream! So a few people (no names mentioned Cathi, Jackie, & Keely) have reminded me to update my blog. I really don't have much to tell, but I will highlight a few things.

1. Not sure this is a highlight, but as I type - Blake is chewing his toenails. I know - GROSS! But, what a talented, flexible young boy. Don't ya think?

2. Jeff had a good time on his snowmobiling trip to Wyoming. They returned home safely. I'm sure he was wishing he could have stayed longer because he returned home to one sick wife. I started getting sick on January 20th.... and I can't say I'm over it yet. I had a double ear infection, sinus infection, and bronchitis. Yuck!

3. Brooke and Blake got straight A's on their report cards a couple weeks ago. Hurray!

4. We had a fun time at the Watsons' Super Bowl Party last weekend. Our family is really taking a liking to Lisa and Kamden (Cody's girlfriend and her daughter). That little Kamden is so cute, and Lisa is sure sweet. We love having them around. We had lots of yummy snacks at the party, too. That's strictly why I go to those types of things - the food.

5. Speaking of #4, Blake went with Uncle Kevin to a farm toy show this morning in Roseville. They bought a Johnny Tractor book for Kamden and Blake read it to her this afternoon.

6. We bought a heifer for Brooke last weekend. She is a beauty! Brooke is going to show her at the Illinois Beef Expo in a couple weeks in Springfield. I, of course, am terribly excited about starting to show so soon! We will be there February 20-22nd. The kids will also be showing the last weekend in March at the WIU Hoof-n-Horn show in Roseville.

7. Yesterday was a beautiful day ------ 60 degrees!! We took advantage of the nice weather for sure. The kids played outside. I washed Brooke's heifer and blew her out to perfection. Then I washed the 2 steers for the first time. They were pretty cooperative.

8. Jeff has been working in the barn all weekend. He built a room in there that will be a "wash room" for me to use to wash the calves in during the cold weather. It will be heated, and if we ever want to put in a cooler, it will be already set up for that.

A Few Other Things -

9. Please keep my brother Kevin in your thoughts and prayers. He is having surgery on the 18th for a torn rotator cuff (spelling not so sure?). He will have several weeks of recovery and therapy. I can't imagine him being a very "patient" patient!

10. Please keep our friend Jackie in your prayers, too. She will be starting a new chemo drug soon.

11. Also keep my friend Carrie in your thoughts as she will become a 1st time Mommy in about 6 weeks!

Sorry no pictures this time. I've been slacking off in that department, too! Till next time....