Happy Fall Ya’ll!

It’s definitely feeling like fall around here. The air has been nice and crisp in the mornings with a layer of fog over the grass and the days are getting noticeably shorter. It’s staying darker later in the morning and getting darker earlier in the evening. The leaves are slowly starting to change color and soon the herd will start eating in the barn.  Jace has been busy keeping them out by feeding in the pasture so he can get concrete work done and the barn ready for them to come back to feed inside through the fall and winter. Aside from everything else that indicates the change in the season, everything Pumpkin Spice is back and the fall decor has got me feelin’ all warm and fuzzy inside. Haha!  This weekend I met my sweet friend Veronica and her new baby girl and we took a trip to a vintage fall sale in Creswell. It was DARLING and full of vintage decor. Can you see now that my warm and fuzzy level is almost off the charts?! I wanted to buy up everything and add to my fall decor collection for inside the house. Of course, I refrained though! Instead I settled for a new living room candle I was in need of. I chose a hand crafted, by a local artisan, soy candle in Autumn Pear scent. It smells divine people! Love it!! (Ps… my inside fall decor is not happening this year as we are reconstructing our fireplace wall right now. It’s basically a construction zone in my living room– aahhh!)

Today Jace and I took a trip to (of course) our favorite store, Wilco! I decided I wanted to decorate our front door step to add to the fall season at our house. We picked out some beautiful large mums, some sweet pumpkins and a handful of small gourds. I’m not normally into the corn stalk and Halloween decor (I know, I’m boring, hehe!) so I didn’t go that route.  Of course, I needed my mums to match and I wanted them to feel really fall-ish so I chose yellow and orange ones. Ya’ll, (I’ve caught myself saying that twice now, must be the season!) I’m not kidding when I say they are huge! Super nice, full and fresh. Definitely some of the nicer mums I’ve seen around town.

The only thing missing I’m realizing as I type this is a cute wreath for the front door. Maybe I’ll get creative and make one. I’ll update if I do! Also thinking that putting the mums in tin cans or small wooden barrels could be really cute and dress it up a little too! It would be Joanna Gaines approved for sure!

Anyhow friends, I hope you get some inspiration if you need it on some fall decor from this post.  The few minutes of decorating already has me pumped for the holidays– my favorite time of year! Here are other pages to check out if you need some new fall decor ideas, or check out what I did. Super simple and super easy and hopefully a little warm and inviting for this season.

Good luck and don’t forget to share your fall decor pics!

Dishfunctional Designs:

http://dishfunctionaldesigns.blogspot.com/2013/09/autumn-at-your-doorstep-decorating.html?m=1

Jenna Burger (LOVE the lantern filled gourds!):

http://www.jennaburger.com/2014/09/everything-fall-posts-one-place/?crlt.pid=camp.Ssq1tX9th624

Cute DIY Projects (LOVE the white pumpkins!):

https://cutediyprojects.com/home-decor/best-fall-porch-decor-ideas/

Grace House Interiors (lovely and subtle, chic way to include fall decor inside and out):

http://www.thegracehouseinteriors.com/blog/autumns-in-the-air-fall-home-tour

Until Next Year, Summer…

If you’re new to Diary Of A Wannabe Farm Girl or it’s just your first time meeting me through my words on the interweb, welcome!  And, if you’re a newbie, you probably don’t know that I’m from Hawaii. What does that have to do with this post, you ask?  Well– everything!  You see, I am always a Kona Girl first and an Oregon Girl second. It means that sometimes I get to go home to Hawaii or my sweet parents get to come up to the great Pacific Northwest to visit!  And this post has to do with the latter.

You see,  mom and dad are in town right now for their yearly visit and it has been such a blast having them for the past week. I’m already sad that their trip is half way over and we still have a week more with them! Whenever they come, I love that they want to explore, get out and do things and have a good time.

This past weekend, we ventured out of the valley over to Sun River.  All of us, the WHOLE family– Jace and I, mom and dad, sis and my brother in law and my handsome little nephews.  We spent the past several days there and let me tell you– I needed it!  I didn’t realize it, but I really did!  Completely (sort of) unplugging from all responsibilities and electronics and getting to be with family, no plans in place– just wherever time and our hearts took us provided for some spontaneous times.  It was so relaxing and went by way too fast. But, as always, time flies when you’re having fun, right?!

We started our weekend by mom treating sis and I to manis and pedis.  I may be a “wannabe farm girl,” but I LOVE a good pampering!  Any trip that starts with a girls day like that is welcome in my book!  After that, we headed over the mountain, conquered the grocery store together to shop for our weekend and settled into our cozy little abode for the next few days with tasty burgers and movies.  The next day we went on a three mile walk through Sun River, checked out the Village and later that evening played some put-put golf and bumper cars.  The golfing was a little chincy, but Toby LOVED it!  He was one happy boy!  We also ventured to La Pine State Park and stumbled across a super serene area on the river.  We laughed and caught up and just enjoyed each others company as we talked about crashing a wedding that was going on in the park— of course we were only kidding and didn’t really do that!

The next day sis and my brother in law celebrated their anniversary, so we had the boys.  We took Jace’s advice to go for a drive and ended up in good ole’ Fort Rock.  Have you been to Fort Rock?  It’s a teeny tiny town south east of Bend.  It felt like it was in the middle of nowhere– and it was!  Desert scenery with sage brush stretched for miles as ground squirrels hurried across the road.  I had not idea what to expect, but when we got there it was such a neat area– so remote, so quiet and so simple.  The town was small and the ONE person we encountered was welcoming.  We stumbled upon the Fort Rock Homestead Museum.  My goodness– it was cool!  It made me appreciate all that we have today. All the luxuries of heat (and AC!), a comfy bed, a regular flushing toilet and a washing machine that doesn’t require me to do more then add the clothes and soap.  The boys were so well behaved as we weaved our way through each building. We were literally the last customers before they closed up the museum for the fall and winter seasons.  How’s that for good timing?!  Watching Toby’s eyes look like they were going to pop out of his head when we explained to him how things were back in the “old days” was pretty comical.  I’m not sure he understood completely, but nonetheless, the teacher in me came out to teach him. Once a teacher, always a teacher, right?!

Before we knew it, our trip was coming to an end.  I surely wasn’t ready to head back over the mountain and jump back into reality.  But, nonetheless, we had to. Back to the smokey air we came and back to work I went today.  I wish I could freeze the next week and this past weekend.  Saying goodbye to mom and dad after their trips are always hard but I seem to make it through the “see you next year” each time.  I am already looking forward to their next trip and our next adventure!  We’ll see where it will take us!

Besides that, one of my fondest memories of this past trip is little Parker, my youngest nephew and watching his fun little personality come to life.  That little boy has latched onto me like a little ‘opihi!  Look up what an ‘opihi is if you don’t know!  I must admit, it was hilarious every time he would yell, “Auunnttyyyy Niiikkkiiii” or every time he asked for more blueberries– that boy can eat!  I like to think I am one of his best friends and I’ll hang on to those “Aunty Nikki” cries forever. So sweet and so innocent.  My nephews truly making being an Aunty so fun and I had a blast spending the whole weekend with them too!

I hope you all have gotten to spend time with the ones you love too, made unforgettable memories and lived in the moment as this summer comes to an end. I am so grateful to have gotten more fun in during these last few bits of summer. I know I’ve said it before, but oh my goodness, this has been the best summer in a long time!

Until next time, Friends….. Have a great week!

Chickens, Cattle & State Fair Fun!

And just like that, as quick as the snap of your fingers, summer is on it’s way out.  While it went by way too fast (as always!) and was so much fun and packed full, I have to say I am starting to get the itch for fall.  Cooler weather is on the horizon and Jace’s favorite…. Beaver Football!  A clear sign summer is almost over is when it is Oregon State Fair time, and that’s where we spent much of our weekend.

We kicked off the weekend at the Oregon Ag Link Barn Dance fundraiser.  What a fun filled evening with friends!  There was good music, courtesy of Ben Rue (Silverton’s very own celebrity!), good dancing (although I didn’t really partake this year!) and just overall good people. It was a hot night, but spending time with friends getting to raise funds for great educational causes like the Adopt A Farmer program make bearing the heat all worth it.

As many of you know, I work in the ag industry.  Part of my “work” tasks this weekend included helping at the poultry stage at the Oregon State Fair.  We put on a presentation all about raising backyard chickens.  It makes me still want to get some every time we even talk about chickens (It’s the same every time we talk about pigs too!).  When it comes to backyard chickens, I’ve already done my pre-work like making sure I know how many we are allowed to have in our little town (which by the way, there is no limit! Weird, right?!). Maybe this fall, or next spring…. We shall see!

And, of course, the main reason Jace loves to go to the State Fair– the Hereford show!  After my work was done I jetted over to the show ring just in time to catch the end of the heifer show and then the bull show.  It’s a good reminder to be at these shows to see where we need to head in terms of show stock.

After that, we of course indulged in our favorite fair food (that makes 4x’s this summer already– ahhhh!), walked the vendor buildings (to cool off! haha!) and then back to the barns we went.  Jace reviewed with me what qualities are good, what to look for and things that are not desirable in show cattle.  We practiced as we walked the aisles of the barn. It was so fun! So addicting! I wanted to keep giving reasons for every single one we walked past.  Feeling pretty confident, I decided to take my skills to the Limousin show that was going on.  Whispering over to Jace, he confirmed or shook his head “no” when he agreed or disagreed with my comments as we went down the lineup.  It was so fun and while I felt pretty good about myself in that moment (haha!) there’s no way I could be a judge! It’s so hard and I’d need yeaaarrrsss of practice!

As always, it was another jam packed, super fun, hot summer weekend that went by way too fast.  As we move into fall I’m excited about football season (well, tailgating really… If you know me, you know I have never paid attention to an entire football game!),pumpkin spice drinks, the holidays, the cool weather, and everything else that comes with the season. Even through all the stressors of life, summer has been a welcomed distraction and so good to us this year!  Until next time, summer!

For The Love Of Showin’

It’s been a busy summer for sure, one that has included a few concerts, bbq’s, quick trips to here and there, county fairs and livestock auctions.  While they are all so much fun, I have to say one of my favorites are always the county fairs and the junior livestock auctions with those fairs.  Why you ask? Well first– the FOOD! Fair food every once in a while is much needed, obviously.  I mean, when else in the year is it ok to scarf down fried apple slices slathered in caramel, sugar and whipped cream? Yuummm!!

Walking the barns, checking all the animals out.

More than the delicious fair food, I always enjoy walking the barns with my guy. Yes, I know, I’m very much a city girl and whether it’s in my bow tie flats or boots, I really love walking through the barns! Every year I probably ask him the same questions or have him point out to me what makes an animal look more finished than another.  All stuff that you’d think I should know already. But, he doesn’t mind or get embarrassed that I have to ask again. He’s always happy to answer my sometimes silly questions!  We always run into about 20 people that Jace knows and we get to catch up. It really can be like a reunion at the barns and I love it!  Besides that, the biggest reason why we love walking the barns is because we like to see what all the hardworking students have spent the past several months working on.  Each year I learn a little bit more as I watch the steer show or the hog show, whether its a market show or showmanship.  One of these days (hopefully by the time we have kids!) I’ll get it all and it will all click!  I also like walking with my nephews through the barns. This past weekend at Benton Co. Fair Toby told me about wanting to show a steer when he’s old enough.  Thattaaa guuyyyy! Uncle J will be so proud! Haha!

The time that the students spent with their project animals accumulates to countless hours. The blood, sweat, tears and love they put into them is considerable.  Showing an animal, learning all about it, training it and learning to feed properly is not easy.  So, to see them get in a show ring, many of them for the first time, lead their animal around while answering showmanship questions and place accordingly, it brings a feeling of accomplishment for them.  As with anything or like any sport, some are disappointed and know what they need to do to improve for the next year while others are relishing in their big win.  It’s such a great, fulfilling experience for kids to show an animal. The things they learn and the responsibility they have at such a young age is admirable.  I can see why for some it is not easy to sell their animal at the culminating junior livestock auction.  The bond they’ve created comes to an end, but the memories made over the past several months hold strong.  Then, onto the next project animal that will steal their heart once more.

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While we don’t have our own kids that are participating in showing an animal at county fair or a jackpot show, we did have a few students showing some of the animals we bred this year.  As much as it can be nerve wracking for the students, it can also be nerve wracking for us!   As someone who has bred an animal, you want the student who’s showing them to learn, do the best they can and to do well.

With us being so new to working with 4H and FFA Students on project animals it was a good learning year for us.  While we had three students show animals we (Jace) bred, there is so much to learn, tweak and change for the coming years. I just had a nice talk with a brilliant gal who is well versed in show cattle today who reminded me that doing well in anything, even raising cattle takes practice. It takes figuring your program out, trying new things and deciding what’s best for your herd.  Such a great thing to take away from this county fair season as we look to the future on how to make improvements.  Just like the students who know what they need to do to prepare for next year, so do we.  Jace and I hope to build what we have going into something bigger than what we have now. And with that will come frustration, excitement, lots of work and taking some risks.  The students work so hard for that end goal and so will we.  But most importantly, we want to be there to help the students. Jace has always been passionate about spreading his love of livestock and this is one avenue where we will be able to help them and give back to ag youth.

Like those students who do this for the love of showin’, we will do this for the love of livestock, giving back and helping to guide those kids.  We hope to see you at fair next year!

The Meal Prep Train

Let’s be honest… the past couple of years I have totally sucked at cooking dinner every night or meal prepping my lunches for work. I’ve fallen off the meal prep train and gone down hill with planning what’s for dinner each night. I mean, my entire day at work revolves around planning and executing, why would I want to do that every single night after a long day of work? Jk, I’m a planner by nature, I just have been lazy at home to say the least. But, the bad habits of eating out or not eating at all have finally gotten to me. This weekend I said, ‘Enough is enough!’ With things always being so busy plus add a tired girl after work on top of that, I knew that if I didn’t take a few hours on the weekend to plan then I’d continue to fail.

So, here’s what I did. First I decided I wanted to prep just my lunches. Then something inside of me said, ‘Psshhh. Why not just prep the entire day for a week!’ Yes, breakfast, lunch AND dinner. So off I went turning to Pinterest of course for meal prep ideas. Before you know it, I was headed to the grocery store and then back home to start cooking and filling my little Tupperware containers.

Here’s what I settled on:

Breakfast- I saw this blog about a lady who wanted to meal prep a hearty breakfast that reminded her of her time growing up on their ranch. It consisted of scrambled eggs and roasted red potatoes with peppers. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure about the scrambled eggs, but I figured since it worked for her I’d give it a try. Plus we already had a bag of baby red potatoes so it was a win! I had my first taste of my meal prepped breakfast this morning and it tasted just fine! And I’m still full from it! Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try!  I added a couple sausage links to mine.



Lunch- I made a knock off Starbucks protein box. It has: cucumber slices, a hard boiled egg, a couple pieces of cheese, some grapes and celery sticks with a little peanut butter and raisins. Super easy!


Dinner- This is where we always fail. Jace hates cooking and if I fail to plan ahead on dinner then it’s really easy to cave (and unhealthy) and get takeout. Knowing that Jace likely wouldn’t want to eat chicken every night, I compromised and made up a huge meatloaf. Half the nights we’ll have meatloaf, rice and steamed broccoli. For the other nights, I grilled up some awesome tasting chicken breast to go over a bed of greens for salad. We had this last night and it was so good! Here’s the simple chicken recipe if you want to try it!



So, for this week, I am feeing like super woman. Three hours of being in the kitchen over the weekend will make my life so much easier this week and will keep us on track and eating at home!

What meal prep recipes do you guys love? Share them here!

Roll Call

Today was a productive day… at home! I relished in every moment of it! See the blog tomorrow for the low down on what I finally got back into today! I’m pretty proud of myself!

Maybe you’re thinking… ‘Productive day at home?? What about the farm??’  Even though the cows and farm life take a ton of time, I am not the one that is there Every. Single. Day.  But, Jace is! Like many of you, I work a normal day job, keep up around our house and also like to have somewhat of a social life (even if it’s just a small sliver sized social life!) which is why I am not at the farm everyday. However, any chance I get, I’m there and I love helping Jace (unless it’s scooping out poop all day from the barns, like in the winter, yuuucckk!).

While it was a productive day at home, that didn’t stop us from checkin’ cows over at the farm. Although they’re out to pasture and we don’t need to feed them in the barn, we still need to check on them. You know, count ’em, make sure no one escaped and keep an eye on them for anything that could potentially pop up.

Here is a short video I threw together of our time with the boys and girls tonight!

Enjoy!

Happy Cows, Happy Husband

It was a gorgeous morning to work with the cows!

Have you ever had to do a job with someone where it gets tense? Everyone’s walking around on edge, partially dreading the task at hand and you just know there might be a “bleepty, bleep, bleep” every other sentence while trying to get the job done?  Now that I’ve painted that picture, can you guess the two times that seem to fit this description at the farm?  You guessed it! Puttin’ up hay and workin’ cows! I’m not sure why these two jobs always seem to be so stressful when starting out, but for some reason they are. Probably because if anything goes wrong it could be a very big deal.  This weekend we worked cattle and I got to be the assistant.  I filled syringes, loaded the ear tagger and helped sort.  We only had a couple of minor incidents– including the one where a couple of the ornery girls scratched their backs on a gate and completely pulled it up off the hinge and knocked it over.  What the ??? Seriously, girls, get it together!

Working cattle meant pushing all of them through the chute– mother cows, heifers and the calves.  One by one they each got a shot of Vira Shield and Clostridium.  Both are common vaccines to aid in prevention of diseases and illnesses in healthy cows.  My job was to prepare an alcohol drenched cotton ball and the syringes each time for Jace, who would then inject them subcutaneously in their neck.  That just means they were injected under the skin.  Did you like my doctor lingo there? Just call me “Dr. Anderson”– haha!

tagging

Fly tag going in

Once finished I quickly handed over the ear tagger to my father in law who inserted a Dominator fly tag into each ear.  This is an insecticide tag that is used to help control flies.  As the animal moves it’s head backward to scratch, it spreads the insecticide onto it’s back.  Now, this is much later than usual to get a fly control program going, but the main thing is we got it done before the flies got too bad.

It’s so important to have a fly control program in place to help with limiting the spread of pink eye.  While in the chute being tagged, we checked their eyes.  We looked to make sure they weren’t droopy, cloudy or irritated– all signs of pink eye.  This year we are in good shape!  Flies can travel very far distances and can spread pink eye from herd to herd and multiple animals in a short amount of time resulting in swelling around their eyes to the point they cannot see.  If left untreated there are other more severe effects too.  The goal is to get a fly program in place just before the warm season starts. Of course with warmer temperatures comes more flies.

The last thing we did was to spread a fly powder over the back of the animal and it’s face.  We rubbed the powder down with a brush to help it get further down into the hair as added protection.  In addition to the fly tags and powder, we also have fly bags hanging out in the pasture that the cows can rub up against which releases powder onto them.  As you can see there are a few things we do to help combat against flies.  For the most part, it seems to work until cooler weather comes and they are all much more comfortable again.

After a couple pairs were moved through the chute (a pair is a mama and her calf), we sorted out a few more. One by one they went through until we were all finished, leaping out of the chute as happy as ever to be done.  It was so nice to have a few of us working them. Things moved quickly and efficiently– aside from the sorting part. In case you’re wondering, that’s probably the hardest part along with getting them into the chute which is really what makes things tense.  It’s so important to try to remain calm, though.  Animals can pick up on that stuff and it only makes it harder to work them.  When you’re working with an animal this large you definitely want to make sure they’re calm that’s for sure!

Going back to the pasture

You could tell they were all ready to get back to the pasture we brought them off of to be worked.  They balled like little babies begging to go back and eat.  We moved them up and over the driveway back to the pasture and they were all happy cows again!  The next time we’ll move them through the chute is in the fall when the calves have to be worked again. Until then… the ladies and gents are settled back into their favorite pasture for the time being and Jace is very happy we were able to safely and quickly move them all through.

*Side note- I don’t recommend trying to take pictures while working cows especially if you have a job in the process… Haha…

Trying Bo & Vine

Holy smokes you guys!  It has been nearly two weeks since I’ve sat down and focused on writing a new post.  I’m not joking when I say it has literally been driving me CRAY-CRAY!  You see, when I started Diary of A Wannabe Farm Girl I had all these plans. Plans of what I thought I wanted to write about and plans of how often I thought I should post (which was twice a week!).  Well, guess what?  Some of those plans have gone out the door.  Sometimes LIFE happens and gets in the way of your plans.  And that’s just what’s been going on over here on the home front. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy to finally have a summer back where I can be out and about doing all the summer things we like to do– going to the lake, catching a few summer concerts, county fairs, helping at the livestock auctions and just spending time outside with friends.  BUT, I’m so thankful I have a morning off to just stay home, clean the house and put laundry away. I’ll spare you the description of how high my “laundry put away pile” was on the guest bed as I’m sure you can all relate somewhat, right?!?! In the midst of all the crazy busy-ness these past two weeks, Jace and I finally made it into that new restaurant that I fell completely in love with because of their logo, Bo & Vine.  If you missed out on the Bovine post, check it out here.  As I sit here and share with you my official review of Bo & Vine I’m also going to enjoy this super sweet cup of 100% Hawaiian Kona Coffee from my new favorite spot at home in Kona, Kona Coffee & Tea Company.  Check them out! Their coffee is AMAZING and if you ever get over to Kona, be sure to stop in because their shop is beautiful!  Now, onto Bo & Vine… Here goes….

I went into Bo & Vine with really high expectations.  I’ve loved following their posts on IG.  The pictures make me want to jump into my computer screen, rip the food out and gobble it down.  Ok, not really, but seriously, that’s how good they look!  I was surprised when we walked in to find that it was not a sit down and order type of restaurant.  They have nice signage right when you enter directing you to order on one end or pick up take out orders on the other.  We proceeded to the menus to see what we wanted to order.  Instantly I could tell it was not the type of place Jace would appreciate.  His wrinkled nose said it loud and clear- haha!

The first thing I noticed was how busy it was!  There were literally only a couple of stools at one of their window bars open. Even their outside tables were taken.  It was clearly a hopping place.  We looked over the menu and I was impressed. Lots of options!  I was even more impressed and excited to try a few of their sauces.  Jace placed our order for us while I saved us a couple of seats.  We both decided to go with the traditional Bo & Vine– the basic burger which included their Bo & Vine sauce (their take on the traditional Thousand Island).  We weren’t feeling like being too risky so we stuck with the “you can’t go wrong with this” burger.

Aside from the food, they had a nice assortment of local craft beers and wines.  We ordered a couple of Mamba’s from one of our local favorites, Gilgamesh.  We were surprised to see that it wasn’t on tap and instead poured out of a can.  It didn’t come out as cold, but it still worked.

We waited only about 10 minutes for our food and it quickly came out for us to pick up at the counter.  The sauces we opted to try were the Bo & Vine, Steak, Sweet Buffalo and Mustard.  They were all tasty, the sweet buffalo being a wee bit spicy. But overall, good tasting!

We didn’t waste any time getting into our burgers.  They were huge! I was definitely impressed with their size.  Now, when it comes to burgers for me, I absolutely hate when the bread falls apart. It gets messy and everything just goes down hill from there. It literally makes me not want to keep eating and messing with it.  Well, of course, with my luck, the bread fell apart.  It didn’t for Jace though, so I’m guessing mine was just a fluke– or maybe it was just me?!?!  Will it stop me from going back? Probably not.  The burgers actually were not anything over the top impressive, which was shocking to me.  However, they were still good. Maybe it was because we ordered the “Plain Jane” burger? Not sure…

Better than the burger was the fries. Oh. My. God. YOU GUYS!! The fries were heavenly! You could choose from hand cut fries or tater tots.  Obviously we went with the fries. I’m a crispy french fry kind of girl with just the right amount of salt– not too much and not too little.  And, I’m happy to report that Bo & Vine’s fries fulfilled my taste buds for sure.  When my burger went south on me I went straight to the fries dipping them in all the sauces and what not.

We were so hungry we scarfed our food down as if we hadn’t eaten in days and then took a minute or two to take in the actual restaurant.  A super cute mural incorporating different mountains and landmarks for Oregon and Salem line one entire wall. Subway tile covers the back of their ordering area and all the wood tables and mix of wood/industrial decor was super fitting. It’s definitely a cute, hip place. And, a space that is taking in the new rustic/chic/industrial decor theme that is highly popular right now.

For me, it wasn’t a terrible experience by any means, but it also didn’t live up to the expectations I had walking in.  It was still delightful and good and we would definitely try it out again if we are in the downtown area and in the mood for a burger and….. of course, those FRIES! Haha!

I’m interested to see what you guys think! Check it out and leave a comment here and share what you thought!

We’re off to the Linn Co. Junior Livestock Auction today, one that Jace has enjoyed helping at as a ring man for the past several years.  Hope ya’ll are doing something fun today too!

Enjoy!

One Bale At A Time

As the weekend comes to a close I am reminded again (for the millionth time) how hard farming or having livestock is, but also how rewarding it can be. This weekend we spent the entire weekend putting in hay. We’re not finished yet, but should be tomorrow. Every year about this time, we put up around 1,400 bales to feed the herd through the winter. One by one, every bale is plucked from the field, stacked on the truck, taken up the road to the farm, unloaded at the bottom of the barn and put on a conveyor. Each bale makes the trip up to the loft to be handled one more time and stacked to perfection inside (stacked by Mr. Captain Farm Boss of course!)

 

 

Every bale weighs about 50 to 60 lbs. Add to that, the heat and the dustyness of the fresh cut grass and you can see why it’s not one of my favorite things to do. But when it’s all done and in the barn, it really is a great feeling.

Co-Pilot, Tucker

However, when it comes to hay I really can’t complain…. This time last year I was recovering from back surgery. Long story short, I got out of doing hay last year– obviously for good reason! This year, not a chance of that. There was no way I could milk that excuse again, haha! But… My help with hay is not what I described above and the real reason why I cannot complain. While Jace and our hay crew are out slinging bales and sweating like the hard working men that they are, I have the luxury of being the driver. I get to sit in the pick up with the windows up, air on full blast keeping me cool and my co-pilot by my side to keep me company– isn’t he so cute?!

My job is to drive the truck from stack to stack so the guys don’t have to do it and keep things moving right along. It is definitely the more glamorous part of the job and someone’s got to do it, so why not me? JK. As far as I can remember, I’ve always been the driver and left the heavy lifting and stacking to the pros.  Except this one time…

It was about five years ago… We had gotten a bunch of bales up to the barn that still needed to be put up inside. One of our friends, TJ, was on his way to help Jace put them in. While he waited for him, Mother Nature started gettin’ all sassy, acting like she wasn’t on our side. The clouds rolled in and looked like they were going to start dumping on the hay. Like anyone else who might stress out about this, Jace was clearly getting anxious. If it had rained, our hay would have gotten ruined and all he could see were dollar signs and hard work before his eyes going up in flames.

I had just gotten off the treadmill at the house and ran down to the barn to see what was up. I noticed Jace’s worry coming through (it was kind of easy by the choice words coming out of his mouth! Haha!) and decided I would help him until TJ arrived. Mind you, I just got done with a run so I was wearing shorts and running shoes– not quite the right attire for the task. ‘Whatever,’ I said. Anything to help my guy out, right?!?! I found a pair of his Muck Boots at the barn and put them on to help cover my legs a little more. They were HUGE. And it was hot. Ankle socks in huge, hot Muck Boots…. Gross. And, not the greatest feeling. Ugh. I know, I’m from Hawaii I should be used to the heat, right? Wrong! I’ve become quite the heat sissy since living in Oregon- hah! Anyhow, one by one I start slinging these bales onto the conveyor up to Jace. You guys– it was a shit show, seriously! First off, if you don’t get the bale on the conveyor right it will slide back down, make the chain rattle and cause Jace to yell down to you. “Flip it over!!” Imagine that happening for just about every other bale. Secondly, my outfit was a joke and totally inappropriate for the job.

I was thinking I’d help Jace for about a half hour or so and sneak out before our friend arrived. Talk about things not going as I had hoped… About 30 bales in and here comes TJ strolling in before I could sneak away and not expose how much of a dweeb I was to anyone else besides Jace. Of course, he was laughing at the scene he pulled up to (and probably thinking WTF Flyin’ Hawaiian?!?!).

You guys– my legs were alllll cut up! The next day they were seriously on fire from all the tiny little grass cuts because my crazy self decided it would be fine to put hay up in shorts.  Jace and TJ still bring that story up and I’m sure they will never forget it. It was a total ‘Wannabe Farm Girl’ situation.  Thinking back, it was funny (and painful). I’ve never worn shorts to put hay up ever again and definitely learned my lesson. There are other ways for me to be helpful on the farm or during hay season. It’s one of those things that is just easier if I don’t try to get too involved with, and I’m ok with that. I’m definitely ok with just being the driver.

For next year, you know where to find me during hay season. Come ride shotgun with me!

Sunday Scorcher

Oh man! The past week and a half has been a whirlwind of a time! So much to do and so little time.  Tonight I decided I need a break and I have found a few minutes to tell you all about this past Sunday…

TuckerLast weekend was a scorcher here in the valley.  It was going to be so hot that Jace and I both decided we needed to beat the heat on Sunday morning.  So we got up really early to get some things done at the farm before I headed out of town for work later in the day.

Being apart of the livestock world and a family farm means there is ALWAYS work to be done– whether its breeding, working cattle or facility maintenance.  Jace had the herd bred back in May and early June.  Unfortunately, we found that one of our girls, Miss Jana, was still open after her initial breeding.  If you’re wondering, yes, they’re all named– Miss Jana is named after a dear friend! And, for you newbies out there, being “open” means the female was not successfully impregnated.  

We were positive she was not pregnant because Jace had her blood tested to be sure.  He had been waiting for her to come back into heat, but was not able to catch it in action.  So, our first job on Sunday was to help jumpstart Miss Jana’s cycle by giving her a shot that would help that happen.  To do this, we had to get her into the chute. Did I tell you that I don’t run the chute? Well, not yet anyway. If you’re not good at it you could injure yourself or the animal, which I definitely don’t want to do and haven’t found the confidence to want to give it a try just yet. Second, if you let them get through and miss them, the joke is that you have to buy a 6-pack for every one missed.  With my luck, I’d be buying a 6-pack for every single one. Soooo, I just leave that to the pros and take on the assistant role by helping with the supplies- haha!

With my father in law working the head catch, Jace was able to get right in there and give the shot of Lutalyse. I helped with the Estrotect patches. These are patches he applied to Jana’s tail head that are basically heat detectors.  By applying the patches, he would easily be able to tell if Jana was in heat over the next couple of days. I will spare you the details, but I think you can guess what happens when in heat…

And just like that, our first task of the day was finished. Onto the next…

It seems like there is always a gazillion sections of fence that needs fixin’ at any one point in time.  It’s one of those ongoing things at the farm that with age needs repair and with just Jace working on it, it seems like its never ending.

Fence 1

Off we went to get a couple more sections of wood fence panels put up in one area of the corral.  Each board painted one by one were finally going up, making that section that much more useable.  We got it done quickly– teamwork makes the dream work, people! And just like that we were finished.

By 10 am it was over 80 degrees already.  We decided to call it a day when finished with the fence and thank goodness because the mercury was only going up from there.  It was a short day, but a productive one. I’m always happy when I can help Jace on a project at the farm. I feel like I’ve contributed just a little bit more each and every time.  And for a someone who this was completely foreign to a few years back, it makes me feel more and more like a farm girl at heart.

This weekend we’ll be putting in hay and the work will continue as to be expected.  Stay tuned to see how that goes and maybe I’ll throw in a funny story that involves me in shorts, Jace’s Muck Boots and whole-lotta hay!  It’s one of my fondest memories of learning the ropes of the farm- haha!