Daniel with Squirt at Fair

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Daniel in showmanship. Easy to find Squirt in a sea of black steer!

It was hard to not be disappointed this year.  Squirt looked really good in the few weeks leading to fair.

Even though it was Dans first year with a steer we had high hopes.  We knew Amanda’s steer wouldn’t place very high, despite all of our efforts we couldn’t get the weight on him.  

We had people approaching us in the barn complementing Squirt.  We knew he had a chance of placing very high.

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Daniel walking Squirt in the show ring

Daniel ended up 8th in showmanship.  I would have loved him to get a higher ribbon.  But he was in a tough class with a lot of good showman.  It was the best I had ever seen him  work Squirt, so I was thrilled with him.

After showmanship we had a 5 hr break and then market class.  They judge the animal, not the kids in this class.  This was where my husband had very high hopes.  We thought there were only a few others in the barn that could beat him.

But, fair, like dog shows, all boil down to one man’s opinion.  It all rests with the judge. 

And Squirt ended up 5th.   Still a great showing, but a bit of a let down. 

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Dan stroking Squirts belly with a show stick to keep him calm in the ring.

The week after fair the meat is judged.  Not every one attends this show.  To some it very hard to see their show animal as meat.  But in reality that is what these rural kids are doing.  Raising meat for consumption.

Dan was very pleased with the carcass show, he got second place.  (second place is often referred to reserve champion)

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Reserve champion trophy

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Rosette

So, while Daniel did better with a dead steer then a living one,  it was
Still a very successful fair.

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Fifth place in market class, eighth plass in showmanship, reserve champion in carcass.

And, like every year that we leave fair, we all were saying there is always next year!

Amanda at fair

Amanda had a good fair. It is a joy to watch her grow up.

But with that said, showmanship with her steer was not her shining moment.  Mickey was his typical stubborn self. 

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Mickey giving Amanda a look!

She ended up placing 6th in showmanship.   In market class Mickey placed 7th overall.

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Amanda with the judge asking her basic beef knowledge questions as he watches her set Mickeys feet.

Showing Frosty, her feeder calf, wasn’t a lot better.   She clearly needs to work her cattle MUCH more before next years show.  She placed 9th in showmanship.

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Amanda walking Frosty in the show ring following Daniel

Hog showmanship went well.  She placed 3rd.  The judge told her she was a natural and should have started years earlier.  Funny this was the same judge that didn’t place her at all last year!

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Amanda walking Cinderella in the show ring

Her pig placed 4th in her class.  

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Amanda, in a holding pen, during market class

She was very happy.

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She loves to show pigs. 

Next year’s goal- win showmanship!

All pictures in this  post are thanks to my wonderful mother in law. 

Brown Swiss

This breed of  cattle simply melts my heart.   The calves are heartbreakingly cute.

Rusty, this year’s swiss calf is so sweet.  He will follow you without a halter.  He runs to the pasture fence to get pet when he sees you  coming. 

And his ears.  Those huge ears.  They bounce when he runs. I love them so!

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Rusty 2 days old.

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Running to the fence to get pet.

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Squirt is now 17 months old.  Not quite as sweet anymore, but still very mellow for a steer.

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Hanging out with baby Squirt, April 2011.

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Baby Squirt hating his bath.

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I would have 100 Swiss calves if we had the space!

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quirt all grown up.  Approximately 1500 lbs.

Judging

The kids are required to attend “super livestock judging”

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Amanda identifying cuts of meat

The kids bring their record books.   These books are very time consuming.  There is a basic workbook section with general breed/livestock/animal well being questions.  

The second half is specific to their animals.  They need to have pictures, feed schedules, expense records, immunizations, etc.

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Mike waiting his turn for feed identification

They  have interviews with judges and skill stations.   They have to  identify  types of feed, breeds of animals, parts of animals, cuts of meat, and more animal husbandry.

Long day!   They have top go through this in both beef and swine.

I was very happy with the overall results.

They were judged on one hog and 2 beef projects each with blue ribbons all around.  And 6 of the 9
projects were awarded outstanding ribbons.

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Lots and lots of hard work this summer, always good to see it pay off!

They grow so fast

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Was this really just 12 months ago? Daniel and Squirt May 2011

I am in awe if how much weight a calf can gain in 12 months.  Squirt was a sweet little calf a year ago.  Now he is a huge mellow pushover.

Just a little bigger then before.

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Daniel and Squirt May 2012.

Mickey, was a stubborn little calf last spring.  He would plant his feet and refuse to move.

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Amanda and mickey May 2011

And a year later he its still bull headed, but a but sweeter. At least he will walk now.

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Amanda refusing to look at at the camera, with mickey May 2012

Lunch is delivered

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Rob arrives with the feed grinder on a blustery spring day.

It takes a lot of feed to satisfy 3 steer.

If you have ever questioned the price of beef at the grocery store, then please be assured no one is becoming wealthy by overcharging you.  A steer eats a minimum  of 2% of his body weight in grain every day.  Ours are around 950-1000 lbs, so they each consume almost 20lbs a day!

We use 1700+ lbs a month of feed. And that is just the steer’s grain.  That doesn’t include hay.  So trust me, the $4.99/lb roast at the meat counter is not overpriced!

Typically our youngest son helps grind and deliver the feed, because he wants to do any thing that involves tractors and farming. He was at school, so today I helped Rob.

The kids feed the animals twice a day.  Early in the morning and before supper.  It has become much more time-consuming now that we have added the  bottle fed calves, and in May the hogs will arrive.

Spring Cleaning

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Rob and the kids power washing the hog pen

Since it oddly felt like summer in March, we decided to get the barn ready for this years animals. 

We typically get the hogs Memorial day weekend but the feeder calves arrive in early April.

We  power washed the hog pens. And the kids got excited talking about this years calves.

Amanda and Daniel got the steer out on the new show halters

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Mickey and Amanda

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Daniel and Squirt

Spring steer sure is only weeks away, and they aren’t walking well at all.  yikes!

Lots of walking is needed. Hard to find the time with youth group, baseball, softball, track, 4H and FFA!

The weather has been insane.  77 degrees and sunny in mid-March.  heavenly!

Mud

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The kids tried to get the steer out walking this weekend, but the yard is too soft.  We now have hoof prints through the back yard.

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The pasture has been reduced to a soft muddy mess devoid of grass.

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I truly hate to close off the pasture but we need the grass to grow back.  I am sure the cattle will be fine with a little extra hay. 

Now if someone could just remind the kids to take off the mud caked boots before they come in the house.