Life in the Country

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

Babies, Babies, Babies!

on Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Brooke's favorite

Now that Brooke knows that her steer, Beefy, will only work for her, he is her favorite. In fact, she won't even let anyone else touch him, let along walk him. We had to pull him in the barn last night to treat his sore foot and only SHE was going to walk him into the chute. He's come so far in the last couple months..... and so has she! He got 2nd in his class which meant that she was able to take him back in the ring for the Champion Maine Drive. Pretty exciting for just her 2nd year showing at Expo! We were very proud and she was too!

the one that got away....

literally! Blake's heifer got away from him twice in the showring. Once, she took off running across the ring kicking her feet in the air. Dumb thing. Oh well, Blake went right back up and grabbed her both times. She might be stupid, but she's cute - I love her white feet!

Beef Expo - Brooke (Part 1 continued)

I'm having a bit of trouble getting pictures posted. These are pictures of Brooke during the Heifer Show at Expo. She got 8th out of 12 in the commercial heifer class. I don't care what any judge says, we love Sunny and think she's darn cute!!

Beef Expo - Brooke (Part 1 continued)

Beef Expo - Part 1

Brooke's heifer, Sunny, is just a fat little thing. Notice how she has her feed pan and the steer's pan in front of her. At one point, she was laying on her side with her head in her feed pan. Now that's the life!

2010 Illinois Beef Expo

on Tuesday, March 2, 2010

We are all exhausted from being gone all weekend to the Beef Expo. This is a really big show, almost like the State Fair. There were about 1000 head of cattle there this weekend. I was pretty nervous about going this year. Of the 3 calves we took, 2 of them are not too cooperative. Blake's heifer likes to run and kick ...... in the show ring! Brooke's steer won't walk or cooperate for anyone but her. Plus, last year at Expo, Brooke had a major meltdown going into the ring. We just about didn't get her in there! But now...

This year the kids did AWESOME!!!! I could not be any prouder of Brooke! She knows that her steer (Beefy) will only work for her so she really stepped it up at Expo! She walked him all over the fairgrounds - to and from the wash rack, to and from the trailer, and to and from the ring. It's amazing how he acts for her. I'm not sure why either - maybe because he doesn't want to hurt her since she's young or maybe it's just that she is so comfortable and calm with him. He has been shown twice and both times was a real jerk for Emily who was showing him. Not this time - he was absolutely PERFECT for Brooke in the ring! In fact, she got 2ND in class with him! She did such a fantastic job. So much more relaxed and confident in that ring. She received so many compliments. In fact, she finally told me to stop telling her what a good job she did......

In the heifer show, Brooke also did a wonderful job with "Sunny", her commercial heifer who weighs a whopping 883 pounds. That's a lot!! She's as fat as she is tall which didn't work to her advantage. She got 8th out of 11 in her class. She is not out with the brood cows at home - kind of on a "diet". Not too many heifers are put on a diet, but we don't want her belly to start dragging the ground! We'll get her whipped into shape before the next show, which is March 27th in Roseville (WIU Hoof 'n Horn show).

Blake really struggled with his heifer in the ring. She had gotten away from him Friday night when we were practicing in the ring and the halter burnt his hand. Needless to say, he was a little nervous taking her into the show. She got away from him twice during the show. One time she ran across the ring just a runnin' and a kickin'! That didn't earn her any points either! He always went right back and took the lead, but he was pretty frustrated. We were, too. He got last in his class. The problem is - Blake has had Reserve Champion Steer at the Prime Beef Festival for the last two years, so he thinks he should win every class he's in! He has the right attitude I guess!! So "Peanut" is going to get some work this weekend and she will hopefully get out of her running issues! It's really hard to show those calves at night like we do for the Heifer Show. I really wish they would change the time of that. Those calves are ready to eat and lay down, not be standing in a chute getting fitted up for an hour and then drug in to the ring.

I have some pictures to upload later. (right now, I'm posting while my students are taking ISAT tests.....)

Tired Yet????

I'm sure everyone is just about tired of reading about our calves, but I just can't help but talk about them. I never imagined in my whole 36 years of life that I would be so in love with cattle. When I say "in love", I mean it - I'd rather work with the calves than do anything else. My house might not be clean, we might be eating a lot of processed food, but my calves are clean and look really good! I have about 10 more loads of laundry to do after being gone to Illinois Beef Expo this weekend, but it will get done eventually, won't it? That darn laundry fairy should be showing up any day now! Until she arrives, I guess I will just have to do it myself.

We are up to 5 new babies now. We have 2 crossbred bull calves that I'm hoping we can show as steers - Buddy and Oreo. Oreo has incredible coloring and I'm thinking he'd look pretty good in the show ring at about 900 pounds! We also have a Maine Cross heifer and now in the past 2 days, we have 2 Angus heifer calves. Brooke's heifer's baby is named Susie, and one of the Angus heifers is Glory. The other one was born this morning so I'm sure the kids will have her named after school.

They are at the point now where they run through the lots 100 miles per hour in a little group with their tails sticking straight out. Sure are a lot of fun to watch! I'm wanting to get out there with my camera this weekend and get some pictures. Hopefully I'll put some on here at the end of the weekend!


on Sunday, February 14, 2010

In December we bought 10 bred cows in hopes of building a small cattle herd someday! Well, we're already at 11!! The first cow, Black Betty, had a little bull calf on Feb. 9th. His name is 'Buddy'! He is way cute! Betty didn't have enough milk during the first couple days so we gave him a few bottles to help him get started. The kids loved feeding him. It's funny how much more they like helping with chores when they know they can go out and see him. He is very friendly and his mama doesn't care that the kids are absolutely all over him! Jeff has asked several times why we weren't interested in calves when he was having 200-250 cow/calf pairs every year. I sure wish we were into them back then. We would have been a lot more help to him. He is quick to remind me that he didn't need my help then! I don't think he appreciates all the help he has now! We are learning so much. If someone would have told me 3 years ago that I would love cattle as much as I do, I would have laughed! I have tried to convince Jeff to let me quit teaching to raise cattle, but he hasn't bought in to that idea yet! My father in law, John, and I just love it! We make quite a team! My girlfriends just can't believe that I love cattle as much as I do. I know my family and friends get pretty tired of me talking about them all the time. But I DO LOVE THEM!!!


Jeff and I decided that we needed a donkey! They are really good for breaking calves and keeping your cattle in a close group. I found an ad about some for sale in southern Illinois so I sent Jeff on an ass trip! Literally! He brought home Annie, who is 2 years old, and Pondi, who is 7 months old. She is soooo cute! They are all ears for sure! Very friendly and the kids just love them. Whenever we pull in the drive, we roll the window down to hear Pondi braying at us! Don't know if I'll like that on early mornings when the windows are open in the house though! We've already used Annie twice and she's done a nice job of breaking a couple steers. They sure are fun to have around and have been a great addition to our little farm family!


Brooke and Blake went skiing this winter. It was Brooke's first time and Blake's second. We met the Ryner cousins there and Rachel went with us, too. They had so much fun! Blake was quite good, but Brooke was a bit more cautious. She preferred to go down the hill when NO one else was on it! That didn't happen too often. Blake was going over jumps before the day was over. He has no fear! What he lacks in fear, Brooke makes up for with her cautiousness! Definitely something we will be doing again!

Daddy-Daughter Dance

Jeff and Brooke went to the annual Daddy-Daughter Dance last weekend. I couldn't believe how grown up Brooke looked! Even Jeff said she looked about 15! They had a good time -- yes, even Jeff said he had fun. She looked so pretty.... and so tall! They met Roger and Rachel at Pizza Hut for supper before the dance. She was so excited to wear her high heel leather boots! I need to put a brick on her head or she's going to be taller than me in no time at all!

We've spent our whole winter at basketball practices, basketball games, and Kuk Sool Won. Brooke played on a 5th grade travelling basketball team. Blake played at school on the Rec League. Blake is really enjoying Kuk Sool Won. He's learning lots, getting stronger, and is one stripe away from getting his yellow belt!


It's Valentine's Day. I stole this idea from a couple other blogs that I read. In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm going to list just a few things that I LOVE...

Jeff, Brooke, & Blake
My Sisters, In-Laws, Nephews, Nieces, and oh, my brother too!
Pepper and Sophie
That my family is healthy
Diet Coke
Mint Chocolate ice cream
The smell of hay
School (most of the time)
My girlfriends
The smell of Blake after he uses his McGraw soap in the shower
The smell of Brooke after she's spruced up for the day
Mountain Dew
Frozen snickers
Buying new kinds of food/snacks that I see at the store
New household items (like my Purex laundry sheets)
Tanning beds (I just don't get to use them very often, like never)
Showing cattle
Baby calves
Chocolate covered strawberries
Having all of the clean clothes put away
A clean car (that doesn't happen very often either)
My bed
Talking on the phone
Watching the kids play sports
When the kids do something around the house without being asked
Sitting by the pool when the kids are swimming
Fire pits
The smell of corn being picked
Fresh flowers
Burberry Brit perfume
Taking a nap

Happy Valentine's Day!

We take just as many pictures of the calves as we do the kids.... they are part of the family, too!

Just messing around one day.... they were actually getting along - that doesn't happen too often!

This was the lonnnnngggeeeessssttttt harvest ever! Jeff finally got done with corn the week AFTER Thanksgiving! Yikes! It was such a wet fall that they had a terrible time getting the crops out. Yields were good, corn was wet (really wet), and days that they were in the field were very long! We teased them early on that we'd have to fix turkey legs for Thanksgiving so they could eat while they were picking. Little did we know, it just about turned out that way! In fact, there are still fields with standing corn.... I'm just thankful it's not ours!

Halloween 09

Brooke, age 11, a hippie. Blake, age 8, a Skeleton Biker.

The Badger Kickoff

We started our show season the first weekend of December in Milwaukee, WI, at the University of Wisconsin Badger Kickoff Classic. We had a great time, and the kids did awesome! Blake got 2nd in his showmanship class, Brooke got 5th in hers. Blake got 6th in class with his heifer, Peanut. This is a picture of Brooke with her heifer, Sunny, who got 3rd in her class -out of 15!! Brooke's steer was also Reserve Champion Maine Steer! We had such a great time and are anxious to start showing again - which we do, in 2 weeks in Illinois Beef Expo. The kids have 4 calves this year which is lots of work! Every Sunday is set aside for washing and blowing and walking calves. Each year, the kids are more and more help to us. Brooke is such good help this year, she is just growing up! Blake is good help for short increments of time! We have our work cut out for us for sure!