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!
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
Mint Chocolate ice cream
The smell of hay
School (most of the time)
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
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)
Chocolate covered strawberries
Having all of the clean clothes put away
A clean car (that doesn't happen very often either)
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
The smell of corn being picked
Burberry Brit perfume
Taking a nap
Happy Valentine's Day!
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!
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!