What’s the point of showing at the county fair?

What’s the point of having Amanda show a calf?

Doesn’t she want to be a doctor?

Why do you want a barn and smelly farm animals in your yard?

I hear these questions from my surburian friends. I have a wonderful 15 yr old daughter who wishes to persue a career in medicine.  But her favorite hobby is 4H. And I wholeheartedly support it.  She is learning life skills that will serve her well as an anesthesiologist.  Hard Work.  Dealing with disapointment.  Determination. Grace under pressure. Sportsmanship.

She worked hard with her calf all summer. Out of the 3 kids she spent the most time working with her animals.

She tried hard to bond with him.  Feding him treats


Walking him sometimes twice a day.


She sat with him when he was ill


She went into the show ring with high hopes of placing well.  She had definitely done the work. Easily twice as much as her brothers.  But then her calf decided to have his own mind on show day.  He planted his feet and refused to walk.  The judge had to push her around the ring.  She was mortified. She placed dead last.


It was her attitude that made me love her even more. She would work harder next year and do better. She doesn’t have a quitting bone in her.

So, while she attends a medical school program for ambitious high schoolers, I think the rural life is preparing her well to deal with medical school.

Sometimes, even with hard work, you don’t win.  And that is ok.


Quick yogurt


Making yogurt is a simple way to feed the kids healthy inexpensively.   No additives or preservatives.

All you need is a gallon of milk and half a cup of plain yogurt.

Bring the milk to 180 degrees, then remove from heat and allow the heat  drop to 110.   Stir in 1/2c plain yogurt.  Pour mixture into 4 mason jars.  Place in a large picnic cooler.  Use the hottest tap water you have to fill up to the neck of the jars, close the lid overnight.  In the morning you have a gallon of plain yogurt for less then $4.

Sweeten to taste, I usually add wild black  raspberries that we picked and froze last summer.


For detailed instructions please see a wonderful blog site, I attended her cheese making class.  She is quite an inspiration!


Winter Freeze

The kids have discovered that raising animals is not nearly as much fun in 6″of snow. They have to daily break the ice on the water trough.We had planned on trenching water and electric to the barn this fall for automatic waterers, but funds ran short.


So nightly they run steaming buckets of warm water to the steer from the house.  In the morning, before school, they break the ice with a shovel.

Mike breaking Ice

The steer are growing. They were weighed in for fair last week (our fair is mid Sept). Amanda’s steer weighed 695# and Dan’s was 755#  They have grown  very wooly winter coat and seem content grazing in very cold weather.

The barn kittens are growing and appear to be doing thier job.  I haven’t seen any evidence of mice in several weeks.  Only one of the two is friendly, the fluffier.  She runs to greet us at feeding time.

Mikewith Fluffy, Jan 2012

The kids need to get busy walking the steer, the spring show is in April. But so hard to find the motivation in this weather!