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!

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.

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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.”

 

Taking The Plunge

DISCLAIMER: This is a long one! They won’t all be long. In fact they’ll be short. Just bare with me as I set the mood for DOAWFG- Haha! Enjoy!

Hey Friend! It’s me, Nicole.  And this… This my friends is what I’m calling “Diary of A Wannabe Farm Girl.”  You may be wondering what the heck I’m talking about or what I’ve gotten myself into now, so allow me to explain.

Let me take you back oh, let’s say six years….. Way back to the dating days of Jace and I.  As most of us know, Jace and I could not be more different from one another.  In the way that we were raised, our interests and even some of our beliefs– we were (and still are!) different.  He was “country” to me and found enjoyment in scoopin’ poop, working cattle and fixin’ fence.  Growing up, he was the kid who hung out at the barn. I on the other hand could have cared less about that. I was more concerned with shopping and meeting up with friends or going to the beach.  Of course I knew nothing about raising livestock or farm life.  He’d tested me a little bit to see if could truly live up to his rural lifestyle and let me tell you, he must’ve really liked me because I’m pretty sure I failed most of the “tests”– Hah!

I’ll never forget the day when he took me by the farm and I was helping him to clean out the jugs. He gave me one “chore”– clean out the poop and put new bedding down.  So, me being not so familiar with the difference between hay and straw decided to grab the really nice green stuff to put down.  “Honey, do you realize you just put down hay as bedding?” said Jace.  “Ummmm, nope! Was that wrong?” I said, completely oblivious to the silly amateur mistake I had just made.  The next thing I know Jace is busting up laughing.  He was chuckling so hard trying to get his words out to explain to me the difference between hay and straw, how I could tell based on the color and what not. It was then at that moment when this blog came in to my mind.  I knew I was in for the long haul and that I had a lot of learning to do if I was going to make it with this guy of mine. As embarrassing as it was, I had to learn one way or another and I thought how fun would it be to share this silly story with friends and family?

But something held me back…. For six years people! SIX years! Isn’t that crazy? As I thought about bringing this blog to life recently I couldn’t help but think why it took me so long and I instantly knew why. To me, it was weird. I didn’t know if I had the ability or the passion to do it. I mean, what would people think about me? God forbid I make myself look stupid!

It wasn’t until recent events in my life unfolded, reconfirming nothing in life is guaranteed that I started to think about this crazy blog idea again.  Then the question crossed my mind– If nothing in life is guaranteed then why wait? Why continue to feel awkward about putting my silly quirks out there? Why not share what I have to say NOW instead of waiting a minute (or six more years) longer? I have so much to talk about (or so I think- haha!). And, no, not all of it is funny and not all of it is serious. Our life, our sweet (and sometimes naughty!) little Tucker and our herd (aka The Ladies). Not to mention the blood, sweat and tears that Jace pours in to our farm and so much more.

With that, I’m willing to make the scary jump into Diary of A Wannabe Farm Girl. If I can bring a smile to your face, encourage you to do something, educate you about farm life or just keep you up to date on what we’re up to over at Anderson Land & Cattle, then I’ve succeeded.  Join me friends, as I show you how six years later this Flyin’ Hawaiian is continuing to learn, love and live this farm life.

 

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