Mike with his market hog


Mike did excellent in showmanship.

He, unfortunately had a tough group of 18 kids. In showmanship the child is being judged, not the pig. He had a good group of strong handlers but earned a 5th place ribbon.


Mike walking spot


Outstanding for interview, 5th place showmanship

Very proud of you Mike!


Chevy at home


Hiding behind the feeder hours after coming home

Chevy was weaned yesterday and brought from his farm to our house.   He had never had any direct  contact with people.

We had tried, but he never let us get close in the pasture.

24hrs in our little pasture resulted in an amazing difference!

First he let Rob pet him.


And within ten more minutes he tolerated a halter!


Finally Mike gets to pat him.   Good thing he is sweet  we only have about 45 days until fair!


Baling Straw

This is what hot looks like.


One load down, three to go.

We helped bale straw today.  My husband ran the baler while the boys and I helped my father in law unload the wagon.

It was 95 degrees today. 


The sweat was pouring off everyone.  

Lots of water breaks and we got most of the wheat straw stacked.


Mike in the skid steer cleaning up the broken bales

I offered to take mike home after the first 2 loads, but he chose to stay and help hay.   Crazy kid.

4H still projects keeping the kids busy over summer.

The kids have a love hate relationship with “still projects”  I ask then to do at least one non-animal project a year.   Just keeps them busy during the summer.

Amanda is doing just a yeast bread book.  Last year she did “Pathways to Culinary Success” and a cookie project.  The pathways book was very time consuming, geared at kids who want a career in food.  It was a good project but made her hesitant to attempt 2 projects this year!

Daniel is “Gun Safety”.  He is enjoying it but would tell you he dislikes all the paperwork.


Daniel target shooting in the yard

Last year he did a fishing project.  Again, liked the fishing, hated the paperwork.

Mike has 3 still projects this year.

“Fun with Flight” is a beginners guide to flight and model airplanes. 


Running with a glider to test wing shape.

He is also doing “Grill Master”  he enjoys grilling and it is giving him confidence that he can cook.


Mike grilling chicken and corn for tonight dinner

His final project is year three of a series of tractor projects. 

This years focus is safe operation of farm equipment.


Mike and his beloved tractors

Busy kids are happy kids!

The wild one

The kids show dairy calves because of their calm personalities. 

But this year Mike was given the chance to show a neighbors beef calf.

This is a  whole new ball game.

We get dairy calves at 24hrs old.  We bottle feed.  No mother cows to deal with. 

Now he has to get the trust of a  month old beef steer calf still nursing on mom in 10 acre pasture.


Mike headed into the pasture with a bucket of sweet feed

He still hadn’t managed to touch Chevy.  (the name Chevy reflects what he is saving his fair money for!)

The closest he has gotten  is about 10yrds before Chevy gets nervous and runs off.


Chevy snuggling next to mom

Mommy cow, thankfully, is mellow and wonderfully indifferent.  She calmly stands still and waits for Mike to dump out a bit of sweet feed for her.


Chevy getting nervous. He is ready to run. mike just stands still, hoping that this time will be different.


And he is off again!

No magical ending this time either.  But tomorrow is another day. 


Chevy stops and watches from a safe distance.

And we have lots more buckets of sweet feed to hopefully entice him close enough.

He has a very sweet face, I hope we earn his trust soon.


Chevy with his black tipped ears. Flies were bad yesterday as it was dry and HOT.


Still in a good mood, after all he its spending the day on his favorite spot on earth, the farm

September fair is only 3 months away!

Any tips? 

They grow so fast


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.


Daniel and Squirt May 2012.

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


Amanda and mickey May 2011

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


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

The pigs have arrived!


The piglets arrive, being ear tagged by breeder

The pigs just arrived.  We now have 6 pigs, 2 per kid.

Each kid picked a primary (most show pig potential) and a back up.

Hogs are such a short project (june though september) but time consuming. 


Mike trying to get close to scared pigs

The pigs are timid, the kids sit with them for hours to get them friendly.


Well, amanda is actually just siting on the feeder texting instead of paying attention to the pigs. What can I say? She is 15

It is guessing game to figure out which pig will turn out to be show quality. 


Daniel sitting with the piglets

Taming the wild beasts

Teaching a calf to walk on a halter is not easy.  Imagine leash training a  puppy that had no desire to please you. 

Dogs want to be a part of the pack, and look to you as the leader.  Calves dont feel the same!  They want to be with the herd, not you.

The kids have been struggling with the calves.


Amanda trying to sweet talk Frosty into a walk.

Mike’s calf has been the most agreeable, but even he objects to a nice controlled stroll around the yard.


Buddy trying to loose the halter.

And worst of all, has been the sweet little Brown Swiss, Rusty.




The kids know to hold the halter close to the calves head, but they clearly werent listening tonight.

Even though the calves are frustrating, they are still well loved. 


Buddy being mellow for a moment.

The Tolerant Neighbor

We live less then a mile from from our youngest’s favorite place on earth. 

He simply refers to it as “The farm”.  And on the farm lives the very tolerant neighbor.  He allows Mike to hang out for hours claiming he is helpful and not in the way.

My husband is good friends with the farmer  and helps with planting/harvest seasons.  Mike  and I ran supplies up to field this week while the men were planting


Mike sprinting back to the car with exciting news, once again the very tolerant neighbor will allow him to help with planting soybeans.

He was very happy to once again “help” out on the farm.


Filling the planter with beans

And then I didn’t see him until long after dark. He blissfully rode away.


Riding away to plant beans

Thank God for nice neighbors!

Meet Buddy

This is Buddy.  He is Mikes new feeder calf.

After Mike buried his previous calf he bleached down the pen.  Then went back to the dairy farm to replace Hugo.


Unexpected cold rain meant Buddy got to ride home in the cab of the truck!

Buddy is a mainly white Holstein, a month old.  He is very active.  Most importantly, no diarrhea.


Buddy settling into his new home and halter walking.

Honestly, I was disappointed.  Hugo was a very sturdy appearing calf.  I thought he was going to grow into nice show steer. 


Buddy not enjoying his first walk on a halter, calves fight it just like puppies. Sweet talk and patience helps here.

Buddy is slight.  And has an under bite. And so white. ( I dread keeping him clean at the fair!)

But Mike is happy. And that is the one person that needs to be happy after burying his last calf


Mike with Buddy. April 2012.