Daniel with Squirt at Fair

image

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.

image

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. 

image

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)

image

Reserve champion trophy

image

Rosette

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

image

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!

Advertisements

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!

image

Rusty 2 days old.

image

Running to the fence to get pet.

image

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

image

Hanging out with baby Squirt, April 2011.

image

Baby Squirt hating his bath.

image

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

image

image

image

quirt all grown up.  Approximately 1500 lbs.

Picture day

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

Ugh.

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.

image

wait!  dont walk away.

image

Youre walking away again!

image

This isn’t working!

image

Horrible, busy background.

image

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

image

Who wants to bid on a pig butt?

image

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

image

Ooops, forgot the kids face!

image

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.

image

Mike with Spot.

image

Daniel walking Pepper.

image

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

image

Daniel and Squirt

image

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

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

The hogs need cleaned and fed.

image

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

image

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.

image

Zoey at the campground

And the cat wants attention.

image

Naughty Fluffy scratching the barn

The garden needs watered and zucchini harvested.

image

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.

image

They grow so fast

image

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.

image

Daniel and Squirt May 2012.

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

image

Amanda and mickey May 2011

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

image

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

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.

image

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.

image

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. 

image

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

image

Mike with Buddy. April 2012.

Pete the Piedmontese

Pete is our one non-show steer. 

image

Pete at 400 lbs

He is a piedmontese, an Italian beef breed that is double muscled.  He was purchased to fill our freezer with lean beef. 

But his beefy personality is beginning to show.   Dairy steer are mellow, sweet.  Beef are much more assertive. 

I don’t like the kids to turn their backs on Pete.  I honestly don’t trust him. 

He is quick to lower his head and charge.  If the kids are in the pen then I am too. I carry a show stick and he respects my space.

image

Pete 850 lbs

He makes me appreciate our mellow Dairy steer! I would take a holstein or brown swiss over a beef breed after any day.