About Me

Kentucky, United States
Fourth generation beef producer, wife, mother, 4-H & FFA supporter, agriculture advocate, Christian, WKU alum, love livestock shows, basketball, college football, Dallas Cowboys. All things agriculture.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I love my crazy life on the farm!

     This morning I want to tell you a little about my hectic but most wonderful  life on a Kentucky beef cattle farm. I am very fortunate to have been raised on a farm by typical hard-working Christians in South Central Kentucky. My Daddy worked off the farm but still managed a small herd of Horned Herefords and we raised tobacco. I still believe that I had the best childhood anyone could have with the family working together in the tobacco patch, baling hay, or working cattle. I'm thankful for being taught to work hard and enjoy the rewards of my labors even if it was only the satisfaction of a job well done at the end of the day.
      Today, I'm happily married to a man who shares many of my dreams and so many of my interests in agriculture, livestock, and the blessed country life. He's a vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, and I spend my days managing a college bookstore. We have two children, one in graduate school in Texas and another in middle school, both blessed with a passion for agriculture, primarily livestock, and enjoying the life of agriculture.

One of the few photographs I have of our family because I'm usually taking the pictures. This is our son's Champion Market Hog  and Kentucky State Fair Board member Bill Tolle presenting the banner. From left to right, Ashley, Tim, Wanda, Bill Tolle, and Blake.

      A normal day for us begins between 4:30 and 5:00 am with feeding the livestock. We usually have beef show calves to get into the barn, halter, feed, and brush. When time, weather, and temperature allow, these show animals will be rinsed before taken into the barn. Just part of the normal routine for anyone exhibiting beef cattle. Our oldest child can no longer participate in the youth livestock shows due to her age, but our youngest is taking up the slack where she left off. Both kids have shown beef heifers, market goats, market lambs, and market hogs. This takes a lot of time feeding the animals their individual rations, so the work would not be completed if the kids didn't do the work because my husband and I just don't have the time. My husband and I will always feed if the kids have a conflict but that's as far as the help goes...the extra work is up to them, and I'm proud to say that they work hard and have been rewarded a few times in the show ring for their extra efforts. In the middle of the summer and livestock show season when the show barn is full, it can sometimes take 1 1/2 hours each morning and night, just to get everything fed, stalls cleaned, and animals groomed.

Some of our cows enjoying the shade this summer.

     After the morning chores are complete it's time to get ready for school and work. That's when we spend the day much like our non-farming friends, but as soon as we get back home, the remainder of the day's farm work begins. This includes checking on all the cows and calves in the pastures, filling calf feeders and mineral feeders, and taking out hay when needed in the winter months.  We have a herd of Chiangus, Chiamaine, and Angus cows along with a small commercial herd. We have cows calving in both Spring and Fall so we stay busy with both synchronizing and catching cows in natural estrus and planning which bulls to use and ordering bull semen. We also have a very small herd of Boer goats, so there's the management of them with their hooves, vaccinations, breeding, and kidding. Rinsing the show cattle at night before turning them out is a daily routine, especially during the warmer months.
      Working on a farm and taking care of the daily chores is not for everyone. You must have a passion and love for the industry and the wonderful way of life including the knowledge of the hard work and tough times that accompany farm life. It's not all beautiful sunrises, crops in a perfect non-weedy row, and animals born alive and well. It takes a lot of daily work and dedication to see any crop from planting to harvest, with many moments of worry over uncontrollable weather, temperature, and rainfall. Most animals enter this world with no help but there are those that may need our assistance or even encouragement to live and be persistent in getting that first milk, or the rescue from a rainy, snowy, or icy pasture on that first day or two in this world.

Our beef stalls at the 2011 Kentucky State Fair
     We spend much of our time at livestock shows across Kentucky and we travel each year to a few shows outside our state. We are very fortunate to have an outstanding facility like the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, which hosts our Kentucky State Fair and the prestigious North American International Livestock Exposition. We have a very successful Shows and Fairs division with our Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the program is excellent for encouraging our youth to remain active in the livestock and agriculture industry.
      I'm a very typical Mom and housewife in that I do most of the cooking and housework and I'm my kids biggest cheerleader. I may be a little different when it comes to the barn work and helping with the chores and care of our livestock, but I am a product of the agriculture industry. I love the work, the animals, and the people in this business. I would rather spend my spare time at the barn than cleaning house, much to the dismay and probably disappointment of my dear late grandmother, but I am who I am.
     My goal is to include more of our daily life as I work hard to include this in my daily routine. I have failed miserably of late for I had planned to publish a post at least once a week but would rather publish three per week. My job as manager of a college bookstore required longer hours during the first weeks of December, and with the added activities of  our son's basketball games and Christmas programs, I just didn't have the time to write.
     My wish is for all to have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful happy new year! I have several friends dealing with serious illnesses in their families and I pray for their speedy recovery and for their life to return to a more normal pace for all. God has blessed me with the most wonderful family and friends and I'm proud to be a part of the agriculture community in the USA.

No comments: