Sweet Summer Time

School at Missouri State University is almost over, and I am ecstatic. This past week, it has been in the 90’s and summer is quickly approaching. The first thing that comes to my mind when I know the weather is going to be hot that day is my livestock. This gets me thinking about summer and how ready I am for it to arrive.

For my family, summer brings long, hot, busy days. One day during our summer consist of waking up early before it gets too hot and rinsing our cattle and putting them under fans for the day. Then, we start to feed everything and make sure they have water, clean up pens, etc. After my chores are done in the morning at my house, I head over to Murphy Cattle Company, rinse cattle and do whatever tasks that need to be done that day.

While I am gone during the day, my sister takes care of the cattle that we have at home and the show pigs. She makes sure everything stays cool and comfortable, has water, and stays clean for the most part. When I get home, my sister and I usually feed first, depending on how hot it is at the time. After that is complete, we walk our pigs when the sun starts to go down and it starts to cool off, and give them a bath. The daily skin care of our pigs consists of cocoanut conditioner about 2 times a day because it doesn’t have a lot of oils in it which allows our pigs to stay cool.

Once our pigs are walked, bathed, and conditioned, it is cool enough to turn our cattle outside for the night. We walk one time through the barn to make sure everything has water and we then head inside and go to bed ourselves. We wake up the next morning and do it all over again.

Having show livestock requires a lot of hard work and dedication. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love it! It can be exhausting at times, but we just have to keep in mind what we want to accomplish and what we’re doing all of this for. My sister and I have our own way of telling ourselves this.  That is a countdown to the Missouri State Fair on a dry erase board in our tack room. This keeps us motivated to always try our best to get our livestock presented to the best of their ability when it comes show time!

Results of past summers…

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Twice Makes a Tradition

This past weekend we survived our road trip to and from Cuba, Missouri. We have decided to make this one a tradition. Last year on the last weekend in April, we traveled to Owensville, Missouri for the same show. That year we woke up at 3:30 in the morning and decided to drive to the show. This year, we would like to say we gained a year of knowledge and decided to leave Friday evening. This drive was a lot better than it would have been at 4 o’clock in the morning for all of us.

Who would have thought that every hotel in Cuba, Missouri was booked on this weekend? They were hosting a “Spyderfest” with motorcycles and much more I’m certain.  We got a hotel in St. James, which was about 15 minutes from the show and everything worked out just fine.

Saturday morning rolled around and it was time to show cattle! After everything was washed and fed we had some downtime before we had to start getting our cattle ready and fit up. We had two shows this day with two separate rings and two judges. As soon as you had shown in one ring you just went straight to the other.

We had a pretty solid day with Champion Chi in both rings and 3rd overall heifer in both rings. Champion Hereford in both rings and 4th Overall heifer in one ring. Reserve champion crossbred heifer in both rings, champion shorthorn plus steer in both rings with 3rd overall in one ring and 5th overall in the other ring.

Most of you who read this on a weekly basis are the ones who help me to the show ring every time and/or also to where I am today. You help me in every aspect of my life whether it be doing things at home when I can’t be there, school, or just being there for me to talk too.  Whenever I am in need of something, you never hesitate to lend a helping hand and I will never take those things for granted. I thank each and every one of you who make everything possible for me to accomplish anything I set my mind too.

Spring Fever

Spring is approaching in a quick form this year! The weather has been great for the last month and the flowers are starting to bloom. We have already had to mow our grass multiple times. Nothing looks better than a freshly mowed yard.

My mom has a very green thumb and she loves to plant flowers and garden. She has a small garden in her yard in town where she plants cucumbers, tomatoes (which I absolutely hate), peppers, and many other vegetables. My mom always has flower beds around her house filled with blooming flowers. She has hanging baskets and all sorts of ornamental flowers to make her place look extra Springy!

My dad’s house on the other hand, doesn’t have flower beds, a garden, or ornamental flowers everywhere. However, he does like to keep the place looking nice. Some (or most) may say he is not the sensitive kind of guy… or you know the “flowery” type, but he does buy hanging baskets every year and hangs them on the front porch.

My sister and I show a little different way of having “spring fever”. This is most definitely stressed by dreading to go to school. It is so nice outside and we have to sit in a classroom. Luckily, she can go to softball and after that take care of pigs and enjoy them. However, me being three hours away, I can’t exactly do that. The extent of me being outside is walking to class. I am so lost without the country and the freedom of my backyard! Only three more weeks of school and I am home for summer!

Spring brings many feelings to my family and also many “new members to the family”. The thrill and excitement is almost here. Everyone is in Spring fever!

Why Argiculture?

Living on a farm my whole life has made me the person I am today. Without agriculture, technically, I wouldn’t have a major or even a minor right now. I decided my senior year of high school to pursue a career in agriculture. When making my decision, the only thing I could imagine were being involved with farming, animals, and the country.

Through my childhood, I was outside on the farm the majority of my time. I spent almost every minute of my summer with my dad and my winters feeding livestock and riding horses. Growing up this way has taught me responsibility, money management skills, and that there needs to be balance in my life. When I was eight years old, my dad bought me my first gilt that I was going to show that summer. This was the first thing that I was solely responsible for.  It was my job that she had food, water, and clean shavings.  After my first test of responsibility, I must have passed, because I soon had more and more pigs owned to my name each summer and that led to cattle.

The thing about agriculture is it’s not just a hobby; it is a way of life. It’s a way to bring up your children, learn life lessons, and make your life enjoyable. Every day in the world of agriculture is a challenge and an obstacle within itself. You never know what tomorrow will bring you and that is the most exhilarating thing about agriculture. This is one business that will never be forgotten.

New Members of the Family

For the past couple months we have been caught up with our cattle. As spring sneaks upon us, it starts to become warmer and we start thinking about pigs. Every year at the same time, my sister and I get this feeling. This feeling may be of exhaustion or wanting something new to do. We haven’t messed with show pigs for seven months, and for us that seems like a long time. It’s not that we are tired of showing cattle but we really want something new and exciting to do.

A couples days this past weekend, we spent our time getting ready for our show pigs to enter the barn. On Sunday after our Easter dinner, I had to head back to school. Knowing that my pigs were coming Monday night, I really wanted to stay just to get another peek at them. In other words, Monday night rolled around and our pigs had arrived at the Loges show barn. I stressed to my sister that she must send me pictures. I got picture after picture and now I have to wait until Friday to see them.

For the time being, while it is still chilly at night, we put up plywood around our pigs to keep them warm. As spring moves forward, and it becomes summer, our jobs will be to try and keep our pigs cool during the summer.

Not only am I going home this weekend to see my new pigs, but we have another cattle show on Sunday in Boonville, Mo. This is our first weekend of a preview of what our summer will consist of with showing cattle and having pigs at home or vice versa.

My favorite part of getting new pigs are taming them down, getting them spoiled, and exercising. A couple of things that we do to get our pigs use to us in the beginning is we give them vanilla wafers or marshmallows. They also like to be rubbed on the belly and behind their ears. Once we get them spoiled enough, we then start walking them in the yard. Some people pick up their dog’s poop in their front yard, while at my house; we pick up pig poop…

From now on until September, cattle and pig season overlap. One week we may be on cattle duty getting ready for a show and the next week it may be pigs!

Every Other Memory

We all survived our eighteen hour voyage on Saturday with tired bodies and content hearts. We did pretty well for ourselves at a small show. We came home with the Reserve Champion Chi heifer, the Champion Hereford heifer, and the 4th overall steer on the back of our trailer.

Saturday morning came quite early. We left the house at 4:30 AM. We made it to Nevada around 7 o’clock and started setting up camp. For a while there, it seemed like we were all running around like chickens with our heads cut off. Once we got everything organized, cattle washed, fed and laid down; we had some down time before the show started. Once the show had started, we weren’t as busy as we’ve been in previous shows due to this being a smaller show.

Our cattle were content and hadn’t gotten too hot yet. We’ve trained them well enough to calm down and actually lay down at the show. However, now our next goal is to teach them to NOT lie on their show sides.

There is always something you can do to improve yourself at a cattle show. This may be something as small as clipping something a little tighter, loining your calf at a certain time while you’re in the ring, or moving your calf up a half a step to better present them to the judge. If we all did it perfect every time, what would be the point of going to another cattle show if you already had it mastered. The most important thing to remember when showing livestock is that it’s just one person’s opinion on one certain day. Whether you lose or win, it shouldn’t keep you from trucking along and going to the next one. I think in my head after every show of something I can improve to better the way I present an animal to the judge or even something as small as maybe my heifer needed one more flake of hay to look just a tick fuller.

As I have mentioned before, showing livestock is about the connections and memories you make and the fun you have while doing so. This past weekend was enjoyable and fun with friends and family, and we are all ready for the next one!

My Idea of a Spring Break

Where do I begin… This week I spent all of my time working at home. While most college students spent their spring break on a beach, I spent my moving cows and working with my show cattle. Of course, I would much rather do that than do the same thing for 5 days. Sure one day would be great, but I am perfectly fine where I am!

It also rained A LOT this week. Everything that was dirt and easy to walk on, soon became knee deep mud and we had numerous puddles.

This week was pretty laid back, however in a way, it was busy and it really flew by. My sister, who is a freshman in high school this year, was scheduled to have 4 softball games this week and they all got rained out except for 4 innings on Monday. So I booked my evenings with other things. We started our pig adventure on Thursday. We went to Thompson, Mo and picked out a couple potential show prospects. We all became pretty excited for pig showing season!

Saturday was our big day of working cows. I wish I had some pictures to show you, but I left my phone in the truck. I figured this was a wise decision considering I was on my horse, getting cows up, and messing around in the mud. I also lost my boot a couple of times in the mud, but I recovered. We rallied up cow calf pairs and moved them closer to make it more convenient. This is so the cows can be artificially inseminated this spring so they can have another calf crop.

This coming weekend, we are kind of switching gears from the mud to a cattle show. This is not quite as “messy”. Or however you may take it. We are traveling to Nevada, Mo and it should be an exciting time as always!

I wouldn’t change my spring break for anything. I had fun spending time with my friends and family, working in the mud, and riding my horse! Maybe some time in the next three years I will travel to the beach on a spring break, but until then I will continue to live the farm life.