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.
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.
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.
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.”