Halter Breaking: The Art of Time & Patience

Morning Everyone! What a weekend… The weather here has been typical PNW weather for this time of year. Rainy, windy and cold!  Things are looking up though…It’s sunny as I write this and predicting to be sunny all week! I love the cold fall mornings when they aren’t wet!

Jace and I spent much of our time at the farm this weekend.  The girls are in the barn which means feeding twice a day and scraping/cleaning up as well.  The fall and winter weather makes for messy times at the farm.  Last year I got out of chores due to my recovering back surgery, but that’s not the case this year!  Seven calves and ten cows makes for a lot of pooper scooping–Haha!  Jace loves it when I come to help clean because I am so particular about it.

Aside from feeding and chores, we found ourselves getting two steers ready for halter breaking.  The two kids that will be using them as project steers will be by in a couple of weeks to pick them up so we needed to get them started.  Jace has really improved his halter breaking skills over the past couple of years. I remember the first time he showed me how to do it…. It didn’t look fun at all!  In fact, it looked scary for this island girl!  These days he really takes his time.  It’s so important because it can actually be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing!  Within one afternoon, about an hour or so, he earned the trust of these little guys and was able to get halters on both of them with ease.  No fighting and bucking around.  So, what’s the secret? Time and patience!

With Jace, he really likes to get the steers to know and trust him.  He pens them together and just spends some time in with them while feeding them grain.  Cattle don’t like to be pet on their face, so he scratches their sides and backs until they settle a bit.  Next, he puts the lead from the rope halter on their back or neck and just lets it lay there for several minutes.  That gets them comfortable with having something on or around them.

Then, when the time is right and moving swiftly he gets the halter on in one quick motion.  He makes it looks so easy.  I haven’t gotten the guts yet to try it, but instead I helped by petting them from right outside the pen.  After the halter is on, we just let it be on them for awhile.  We don’t tie them up or lead them at all.  That will come in the next few days.

One thing that’s important is not to let them step on their lead while they are just getting used to the halter. That teaches them to keep their head down and in the show world, that’s the opposite of what you want.

I can’t wait to get back to the farm in the coming days to work more with these two boys.  They made great progress in one afternoon so I’m excited to start training them and leading them around. The real test will come when we try to start leading them around.  I’m sure they’ll want to stay put.  But, with time and patience, it’ll all come together.  Stay tuned for more pictures of that!





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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

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!

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!

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 🙂

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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.

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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.”