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. 


Mickey giving Amanda a look!

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


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.


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!


Amanda walking Cinderella in the show ring

Her pig placed 4th in her class.  


Amanda, in a holding pen, during market class

She was very happy.


She loves to show pigs. 

Next year’s goal- win showmanship!

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




Just some of this years ribbons from showing animals. We haven’t cleaned out the beef barn yet, so there are still several hanging in there. Too bad there were no blue or purple grand champion banners. There is always next year!

Picture day

Ever try to take a good picture of a pig?  Or a steer?  AND a kid?


Very frustrating.

The kids are raising the animals to ultimately sell at auction at the end of fair.  Local businesses buy the animals as community service / advertising.  I am always wowed by the support the  town gives 4h kids.

The kids write letters asking for bidders.   We include a picture so the bidders (hopefully) recognize them in the auction ring.

The animals get washed.   The kids get ready.  But you cant make a pig smile for camera!

We spent an hour chasing pigs around the yard trying to get 3 suitable pictures. We tried all the tricks, put out bowls of feed, a hose, piles of apple, etc.

So frustrating.


wait!  dont walk away.


Youre walking away again!


This isn’t working!


Horrible, busy background.


Not only will Cinderella not stop at the food bowls, she knocks them over.


Who wants to bid on a pig butt?


How did I not notice how short her shorts were?  I can NOT mail this one out! 


Ooops, forgot the kids face!


Runaway pig.

I posted these because any one who photographs kids and animals understands!

We did end up with 5 pictures.  3 hogs, 2 steer.  They weren’t great.  But they will do.


Mike with Spot.


Daniel walking Pepper.


Amanda with Cinderella eating the hose.  (I will photoshop jeans on her!)


Daniel and Squirt


Amanda with Mickey.  (again, jeans will be added!)

Summer evenings

Picture perfect summer evenings this week

Lots of time just spent in the pasture.


Mike with Buddy

Weather has been warm, humidity low. 


Rob giving squirt a back scratch

Animals are in great moods with the pleasant weather.


Amanda hanging out with Mickey, he us almost taller then Mike

And the wild one, Mikes beef feeder calf was weaned today and came to live in our barn.

He is hesitant.  But Mike has managed to pat him several times today.  He is turning black as I was told he would.


Chevy home.

I am hoping he mellows soon.


Mike laughing as Buddy wants pet and Rusty is eating his shirt

I love summer.

We are in full swing for fair

Summer is sadly dwindling down.

Honestly it will feel over on Monday.

Daily football practices start.  Matching band the following week.

Judging for still projects is next Sunday.  This means, although they haven’t procrastinated much this summer,  they are all scrambling to finish project books.


Amanda is busy baking her last loaves of bread for “Yeast Breads”.


Kneading dough

Mike has three projects (his choice) so he overwhelmed.  He is done with “Fun with Flight”.  Almost done with Grill Master”.  But he still has activities for “Tractor 3”

Daily haltering of calves and steer is very time consuming.  At least an hour in the barn every evening.


Walking feeder calves


Every now and then you just get a great picture. Amanda with Frosty.

Livestock interview judging is in 2 weeks.  Kids need to get busy studying.

While I love fair, this nonstop chaos is exhausting!

Peek into a busy morning of chores

We are camping this week, so everyone has to get up early, stumble, yawning to the car and drive home for chores.


Asleep and not wanting to get up.

The drive is quick, only 20 minutes.

The calves and steer all need to be haltered for grain and supplements.  We halter them so they are used to being tied at fair.


All lined up in the barn

They don’t mind being haltered.  They usually just lay down and sleep.   They stay tied for about 45 minutes.


Amandas steer just isn't filling out like we wanted despite our efforts so he gets extra corn.

The hogs need cleaned and fed.


These girls can get quite messy overnight, jeter they are getting brushed.


See the wagon at the gate? The dreaded manure wagon that gets emptied twice a day in the hay field behind the house.

Of course the dog wants fed.


Zoey at the campground

And the cat wants attention.


Naughty Fluffy scratching the barn

The garden needs watered and zucchini harvested.


Mike in the garden in June

Finally, untie the steer and drive back to the park.  But at least there is a  river and a pool awaiting  hard working kids.


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

Thoughts from an former vegetarian

Amanda with 2010 fair piglets

I didn’t eat meat for 4 years while in high school. I thought it was cruel. I slowly added meat back into my life while in the Navy and having limited choices.


But I have always struggled with the concept of eating meat.

Amanda with piglet at 250 lbs. Sept 2010

I wasn’t sure I could raise an adorable 40lb piglet into a 300lb hog and then eat him. It was a somewhat horrifying proposition.

But, honestly, it has all seemed very wholesome and natural. We raise these adorable piglets and calves into adults. They were well cared for. We know what they ate. The living conditions were wonderful for a farm animal.

And at 300 lbs they aren’t so cute. They are strong. And stubborn. And tasty.

I wondered how the kids would react.  I wanted them to understand what they ate and where food comes from. If any decided to given up meat, as several of my nieces have, it would come from an informed decision. They would know that pork chops don’t grow on grocery store shelves in plastic.


The kids, of course, responded better than me.  They were saddened at auction, but had no trouble eating the meat.  It was delicious.  They all wanted to raise another piglet the next year.


Mike with Speck, 2011

As we look forward to our third year rasing fair animals, it becomes routine. Simply provide comfortable living conditions, healthy food, clean water, and a clean shelter.  Treat them kindly.


I never take for granted what we eat. I try very hard to cook everything and not waste.  Just seems respectful to the animals

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.