Friday, March 19, 2010


If there is anyone out there who reads or follows this blog, please check me out at my new web address. I have moved to wordpress because it has better behind the scenes features. All the old posts have moved with me.

Thanks for your support.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cattle Auction

Today I met Pat (the real farmer) at Web Livestock Exchange in Benson to see my calves sold.
I own 6 cows that I lease to Pat. He keeps them with his herd, supplies their care and feed and we split the calf sales 30-70.

He rents our family farm from Spring through Fall, so we get to enjoy seeing the calves run around and grow. The cattle go home to his farm for the winter.

Yet, I had no trouble recognizing my calves when I got to the sale barn. Pat brought them in yesterday so they could get settled in. He does not like to sell sweaty, stressed animals as he feels he will get a better price if they look good.

Anyway - I had never been to a cattle auction before, but had no trouble finding the place, and the parking lot full of pickup trucks and cattle trailers was a clear indication that today was the day. There were several door, but I just followed the steady stream of ranchers into the unmarked door in the center of the building. That door led to a small, unlit entrance which led to a concrete floored hallway and the entrance into the arena. - OK, now I know where the auction will be.

The men was following walked around the arena to a small, unmarked door on one side. I followed them through the door and found myself in the barn. There were really little calves inside the barn, while down at the end, people were moving gates around to run cattle down corridors and into different paddocks. One the 3 cows went past, I let myself in through the gate and wandered down the corridor to the outdoor paddocks. I quickly spotted my calves in the first paddock. The steers were closest to me, and the heifers were under the shelter in the paddock behind them. They looked good.

Pat and a lovely young lady approached from the other side, and I was introduced to Janessa - Pat's fiancee. She works there showing cattle on the area floor. That is where they met. Janessa gave me a little tour - including the cattle chute where they were manually testing the heifers & cows to see if they were pregnant.

I had 3 steers and 3 heifers, all to be sold as feeders, meaning that they are to be fed to a heavier weight and eventually butchered for their meat.

Watching the auction with Pat was great, he pointed out various features that buyers were looking for, and what features to avoid.

Pat brought along a Hereford steer so we could sell the steers in pairs. I had 2 black and white steers and one brown and white (Hereford) one. The heifers were all black and white.

My calves got top price! The black steers brought $1.06 per pound, the brown ones brought $1. The heifers brought $.91. Pat was very pleased with how we did. They weighed an average of 466 pounds each.

All in all, it was a very interesting and profitable day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Instant Freeze

This week I did something I have always wanted to try, but never remember to do when the conditions are right.
I took a cup of boiling water outside and threw it into the air. Since it was -14 outside, it instantly turned to ice. The vapors froze and the droplets turned to snow. It was pretty cool!
I tried it again when the temperature was closer to 0 and it still worked, but was not as spectacular. I also tried it with cold and hot-from-the-tap water, but that did not work. It needed to be boiling hot.
I guess Dad was right - hot water does freeze faster.

Friday, October 30, 2009


I have been wondering lately if it will ever stop raining. It has rained almost every day this month. The soybeans can't get harvested when it is this wet. If they don't get harvested soon, many of our neighbors will have a rough time.
Well today it stopped raining - technically. It snowed instead. The heavy, wet snow melted at first, but was persistent enough to eventually cool the ground and now we have about an inch on the ground.
Hopefully we'll have a little nicer weather for Halloween tomorrow night. I have 2 princesses that are looking forward to trick-or-treating.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Leaf Drop

After Friday's killing frost and Saturday morning's snow, I saw something I have never seen before. The walnut tree in our yard dropped 95% if its leaves in about an hour. The leaves were dropping faster than I have ever seen! It was quite a sight. Then, driving around town later, I saw that most of the other walnut and some ash trees had dome the same thing. I would see a tree, nearly bare of leaves surrounded by nearly a foot of fallen leaves in a tight circle under the branches - next to a tree full of green leaves. The walnut leaves had not even changed colors yet. I think the frost and snow just triggered something inside it that said, HURRY UP! IT IS WINTER!

It snowed again on Monday morning. My 2 year old LOVED walking in the snow. It looked so pretty on the green leaves. Snow is predicted again tomorrow. I hope we get a few dry fall days to rake up the leaves. Our maple leaves are barely turning!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Welcome to winter!

We have snow on the ground this morning. This just after yesterday's first killing frost.
The summer had pretty cool temperatures. Most of this year's hot weather came in September. We had several days over 90 degrees. Now winter has come early.
I hope that we will actually have some fall days this year... time will tell.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Weaning cows

I feel sorry for our cows today. They calves have been taken away. Being a mom myself, I understand how uncomfortable the cows are with this new situation.
But, having perused some old farm equipment catalogs, the separation method definitely beats having the calves wear sharp muzzles. They would allow the calves to eat grass, but the sharp points would hurt the cow every time the calf wanted to drink. So the poor cow would have to kick away the calf. But both mother and calf would WANT the calf to drink, and they would try again with the same painful results.

We finally got some rain this week. about 2.5 inches on Tuesday and a little more later in the week. It was just enough to bring out mosquitoes. Amazingly we have not been bothered by bugs all summer. One of the benefits of the dry cool weather.

Kavin Bailey from Heartland Conservation is still working away at our woody invaders out at the prairie. It is really starting to open up out there. YEAH!