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!

 

Farm Find- The Old Red Truck

Have you ever done a major clean out of something? Your closet? Or the kitchen? What about your guest room?  Normally it takes FOREVER as you go through every single thing and decide what to do with it.  Sometimes you might donate it, sell it, or secretly put it back until the next time you go through a big purge of “stuff.”  Often times you remember the first time you wore that sweater or the last time those jeans fit.  Regardless of what you’re cleaning out, it usually doesn’t happen without some nostalgic feelings throughout the process.  Now, imagine having a family farm to clean out… One that has been collecting things for the past 60 years!  Let me tell you– it’s a lot of stuff!  And not just old stuff, but cool stuff!

Over the past several months Jace has been working through much of the buildings, the barn and other equipment that has piled its way up at the farm.  One of the main projects he wanted to get started was to see if this old GMC would ever run again. As long as I’ve known Jace, this little gem has been tucked away in one of the tractor sheds, never run and just looking like it wanted to make a comeback. So, on Father’s Day, Jace helped his dad get this old red beast out of the shed and ready to get towed to the shop to see if it’s worth saving.

I hope that it will be worth fixing up.  It is the cutest truck. I love the color, the shape and everything about it.  Not to mention it could be another great hay hauling truck for us!

Remember when I said that cleaning things out likely comes with some memories?  Well, as we celebrated Father’s Day dinner at the farm, Jace filled me in on the memories of the old red GMC.  This was the rig they used to transport some of their cattle between properties when he was a kid.  They were days spent with grandpa Jack, his mom and his dad hauling and moving cattle, doing things they loved.  Believe it or not, it was also what Jace learned to drive a stick shift in on the farm!  Whether this old girl stays around or not, the memories will always be there.  Memories of time spent riding in the cab of this sweet old truck and lots of hard work. FullSizeRender

Times like this remind me that a good days worth of cleaning things out isn’t so bad! Especially if you can dust something off and make good use of it again.  Sometimes the saying “out with the old, in with the new” should be “out with the old, back in with the old.”  Fingers crossed!

Got Pie?

Since it’s Thursday, it’s only fitting that I do a Throwback Thursday…. Way back to this past Monday. Monday was a BIG day. I turned the big 3-0, but more importantly, I discovered all the greatness that is the Willamette Valley Pie Company!  You guys– this place is SO. STINKIN’. CUTE! I’m not sure how I’ve lived in Oregon for over 10 years and am just now discovering it, all thanks to our chapter of Oregon Women for Ag!

If you don’t know what Oregon Women for Ag is (OWA for short), it’s a statewide organization of women from all walks of life who have a common interest– Agriculture. The ladies of OWA help to tell the story of Oregon agriculture.  They educate, promote and rally around all things ag.

Some of the ladies of the Marion Clackamas OWA Chapter

It was almost three years ago when I was approached to join OWA. For a few years I felt unsure about joining. I didn’t grow up in an “ag world” and quite frankly I was worried about looking silly or being a “wannabe” (See what I did there? Hah!).  Finally, about 10 months ago I decided, what the heck, I’m going to join.  I may not have grown up farming or with an ag background, but today, I am a woman of ag.  I married a man who is all things ag, I work in the ag industry and I support the development and continuation of Oregon farms and ranches.  Like all the other ladies in the organization, I believe support of the agricultural industry is a necessity.  Without our farmers and ranchers, what the heck would we do?!

In January, our local chapter had the responsibility of hosting the OWA State Convention.  It went off well thanks to the guidance and leadership of our chapter officers and all those who helped.  Seriously, it’s such a great group of wonderful ladies!  As a “thank you” for everyone’s work the group got together for lunch on Monday at the Willamette Valley Pie Company.

Located in NE Salem, it’s tucked away outside of the city in the middle of some gorgeous farm ground.  Across the street sits a huge, nicely manicured hazelnut orchard.  As you pull into their gravel lot there is a sweet old Farmall tractor that adds to the ambiance.  The outside has a nice sized grass lawn with some picnic tables and play set. It reminds me of a smaller version of the Rogue Brewery in Independence, OR where you can spread out on the lawn and just enjoy the space.

Inside is to die for!  Featuring a cooler full of pies that looks like a barn, tons of locally made product, home decor, fresh cut blooms and a modern farm house look for the seating area this place has Joanna Gaines written all over it!  It is all things Oregon in that building and I love it. There is a small menu to order some quick lunches– hot dogs, chili, soup…..and PIE of course!

We ordered outside and went back in to eat (did I mention it’s mid June and gloomy and cold here in Oregon this week? What the heck?!) with our chapter.  We chatted and got caught up with each other as we ooh’d and aah’d about this place.  Before we left, a friend and I perused their very cute barn like pie coolers. As stuffed as we were, she didn’t have to twist my arm too hard!  I typically don’t resist an offer for a good piece of pie! We settled on their Marionberry Dream Pie. All I have to say is it was so tasty (once it was thawed).  We’ve been nibbling on this pie all week and I don’t feel once ounce of regret, haha! Ok, maybe I do just a little!

Check out some pictures here of this cute space and stop in the next time you’re in the Salem area. You will enjoy this nice little get away from the hustle and bustle of town.

 

Succulent Sunday!

I may be a little bit biased, but Wilco is one of our favorite stores. I mean, where else can you find virtually all that you need for this lifestyle under one roof? Aside from that, once in a while I get inspired to do something I’ve never done before just by walking the aisles. Like the one time I decided I wanted to paint our end tables with chalk paint from the farm store– they came out super cute!  Today was no different…  We went to check out the Bucket Sale going on in store and as I strolled through the garden center I came upon these eye catching succulents.

 

I know some of you probably follow HGTV’s Fixer Upper– the show that basically erected the rustic, chic, farmhouse style to be what it is today.  One of my favorite pieces of advice given by show star Joanna Gaines has been to add some greenery to your room.  While I had already headed her advice a long time ago, I must admit I did something that likely goes against anything Joanna Gains would do… The little succulent plant in the cute wooden tray on our coffee table, while it is green, it is fake! Yes, FAKE! But, not after today’s project!

Today I decided to take the advice of blogger and HGTV DIY’er Melissa Caughey, who is the author of Tilly’s Nest.  I had the opportunity to meet Melissa and tour around with her in St. Louis when she was the key note speaker at a poultry conference I attended at the Purina Research Farm.  She is the queen of backyard chickens and DIY crafts.  I have admired her cute décor ideas that featured succulents and so I decided to try my hand at creating a succulent planter to replace the fake one on our coffee table.

At Wilco, I picked up a couple of cute pots, a handful of succulents and some fast draining Miracle-Gro potting mix.  When I got home, I realized I also had some mason jars and some left over chalk paint.  I thought if painted, those jars could make cute planters too.  I wasn’t sure how the paint would adhere to the glass, but so far so good.  Once I painted those, I moved on to potting the gorgeous succulents into my new pots.

 

A couple of things I learned….  Succulents are so delicate! Don’t worry if a couple of the fingers (that’s what I’m calling them- hah!) fall off.  Also, I wasn’t sure how exposed the potting mix would be on top so I also stopped at the Dollar Store and picked up some pebbles, fine gravel and floral moss just to be safe.  After potting my succulents I chose to use the floral moss on the areas where soil shown through.

And, ta-daaa! In about 20 or 30 minutes I had two beautiful looking succulent planters. One to go in our living room and one to go on our kitchen table.  I don’t normally have a green thumb, but I don’t think it will be too hard to keep these beauties alive. They don’t need much water since they are desert plants and I should be able to give them at least four hours of sun a day. We’ll see how they fare as they get into fall and winter… You know how that goes here in Oregon!  Sun? What’s the sun? Haha!

Until then, I will enjoy the fruits of my labor today with these pretty little things!

 

Bovine What?

Bovine, equine, porcine, caprine, canine, ovine….. WHAT?! Of all of these I know the basics, do you?!….Cattle are bovine, horses are equine, dogs are canine. The others? NOT. A. CLUE.  Today I was enlightened on the topic of bovine and it’s funny how it all came together…

I had to take a break from my desk for a few minutes so I walked out into the cube area where my teammates sit.  I had recently come across this new, hip burger joint in downtown Salem called Bo & Vine and wanted to ask the team if they had tried it out yet.  Check Bo & Vine out here or find them on Instagram.  The reason I was drawn to them was because I thought their logo was SUPER CUTE.  So clean and simple which we also talked about.  Hey, we’re Marketers, that’s what we do!  I thought it was so fitting for their new restaurant.  Aside from their logo, I was also intrigued by their name.  While I knew bovine related to cattle, I had to raise the question to our team– “What technically makes cattle bovine and WHY are they called that?”  

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Bovine = Cattle

After receiving a couple of shoulder shrugs we decided we needed to Google it, of course! I couldn’t believe it, all these years with my Cattle Guy (aka Captain Farm Boss) and I had never, ever asked that question. Of course, I had to text him too, to see what he’d say. Jace texted me back letting me know it was basically a scientific name for cattle.  Well, of course.  But our quick Google search and a more in depth look at home tonight took it a step further.

So, did you know…. A cow is classified as such:

Kingdom– Animalia– meaning Animals

Phylum– Chordata– meaning having a flexible spinal column with a tail

Class– Mammalia– meaning feeds young with milk

Order– Artiodactyla– meaning an even hoofed or even toed animal

Sub Family– Bovinae– meaning a group of medium to large animals that are ungulates

Genus– Bos– meaning wild or domestic cattle

Species– Bos Taurus– meaning domestic cattle from Europe, Asia or Africa

Wow, I know, for some of us that just took us right back to high school biology or something, right? I know it did for me!

During our little pow wow in search of more information on the word bovine We began reading from Wikipedia… “Bovine is apart of the family bovinae. It includes a group of 10 genera of medium to large ungulates like cattle, bison and water buffalo,” it said.  *Try saying the word bovinae or genera in an accent. You will dieeeeeee!! SO FUNNY!*

Genera what? Ungulate who? Sounding like he was speaking another language we kept on reading…. To our surprise we found out that an ungulate is a large animal that is a hoofed animal. There are even-toed ungulates like cattle and odd toed ungulates like horses.

4H flyer

Making Friends with the “Ine’s”

All of a sudden, I felt a little bit smarter.  All this talk about bovines and I coincidentally had a meeting shortly after where I came across this 4-H flyer.  Notice the title? Hah! What timing, right?!

In case you were wondering…. Porcine relates to pigs (an even toed ungulate), ovine relates to sheep (also an even toed ungulate) and caprine relates to goats. Who would’ve thunk, right?!  If you’re a reader and want know more about cattle and different cattle breeds, check out this article from the Oregon State University Beef Cattle Library.

P.S…. Side  note, regarding cattle, did you know one of the biggest misconceptions about them is that they have four stomachs? Wrong! They have one stomach, which has four compartments. They are the rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum.

P.S.S…. I can’t wait to head to Bo & Vine for a date night with Jace. I’ll let ya’ll know how it is when we try it, so stay tuned for a full review!

After reading this, I hope you learned a little bit like I did!  That’s it for now…..

Captain Cattle Queen for the day, signing off 🙂

cowstomach

Cows have one stomach, which has four compartments.

 

 

Back to The Beginning

Well, I figured I’d give it another go! Thanks to everyone for the texts, comments, shares and follows after my first post last week. It’s so great to know there are people out there who support me on this new endeavor…You guys are the best! Ready for #2? Here goes…

In order to fully understand why we have cows or how we even got to the small herd we have today, I’m reallllyyy going to have to take you back…And not just six years this time!

Everything with the farm and pretty much the two people responsible for Jace having a passion as deep as he does for cattle all stems back to his parents.  His grandpa, Jack, purchased the home place, what we know today as “The Farm” back in the 1960’s which is where Jace grew up.  Jack had a love for the red and white and operated a commercial and registered herd of Herefords, a breed known for it’s docile mannerisms and excellent beef quality.

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Baby Jace feeding baby Hereford ❤

He ran the farm with Jace’s parents until he decided to exit, taking a back seat to the cattle business.  My mother in law grew up with the cattle and my father in law studied livestock nutrition so it was a natural fit for them to continue managing the herd.  Jace loved being apart of this and couldn’t help but be bummed when he went off to college and the herd was then sold off. Understandably so, when he’d been used to waking up and walking outside to these gentle giants for his entire life.

When the herd was sold and he went off to college, Jace knew that he wanted to continue raising cattle. It was something he was born into, something that ran deep in his blood. Heck, he even took his first steps as a kid at a cattle show at the Oregon State Fair- hah! Whatever he did, he just could not shake the idea of not having them in his life.  It was then that he decided to build his own herd starting with the matriarch who we lovingly refer to as Marie, a purebred Hereford.  Marie was Jace’s official first heifer purchase his senior year of high school.

Jace

Jace showing Marie at Marion Co. Fair. Circa 2005.

For the next decade, Jace continued to pour his heart into the farm and Marie.  One by one he has grown the heard each year, reviewing and experimenting with what bulls to breed to next all while making improvements to the farm, taking risks and keeping up with the cattle industry.

Fast forward to 2017 and we’ve been blessed with a current herd of 10 cows– all thanks to Jace’s hard work. It may not sound like much, but it’s about all that we can handle with Jace being the primary person responsible for these “Ladies” while working full time.  I know it sounds crazy, but there has been a time or two when I have raised the idea of selling the herd off due to some other crazy idea I came up with or because I could only imagine what we could do with all the time we’d have if we didn’t have the responsibility.  Each time I’ve been faced with a big, huge, fat “NO” and I quickly get over it.

It’s not that I don’t love the cows– because I do!  I see the joy they bring and the feeling of accomplishment, the satisfaction of hard work.  The only way I can explain it is, it’s the same way when Jace comes home to Hawaii with me. He will never fully understand why we do what we do, why we say what we say, the way we speak, live, operate.  You know what I mean? It’s the same thing here on the farm– there are cultural differences if you will. I “get it,” but I will never truly, truly understand the emotional connection to the cattle the way he does.

Jace Work Cattle

Tagging and weighing cattle at the Marion Co. Fair Beef Weigh Ins.

But, each time, I think back to the two people who planted the seed for Jace and the cows and I can’t help but be thankful. Thankful for the skills, qualities, dedication and passion that have been drilled deep into him. As a wife it is something I am truly proud of.  Like any good husband, Jace has learned to roll with it (more like roll his eyes– haha!) when I’ve suggested such crazy ideas and keeps trudging along.  Thank goodness for that because I can’t imagine Jace without some sort of livestock following behind him, a 6:30 am call to re-breed one of them or coming home extra late during calving season.

One day when we are lucky to be blessed with a little one of our own, I can only hope that he or she will find the joy in these creatures as Jace has.  Until then, I’ll continue as I have for the past seven years joining him on the farm, rolling with the punches and taking it all in– understanding more and more each day about raising cattle and this thing called “Farm Life.”