Sunday, May 29, 2011

A New Day

I always say that you never know what the day will bring you.  This past weekend was a perfect example.  Saturday morning Rob and I were enjoying our coffee and discussing our plans for the day.  He had some field work to do and I thought I should probably go to the greenhouse to get my flowers before everything was sold out.  Seems like I am a bit behind with yard work this spring.  We were going over to a neighbors after lunch to help some 4H members with the finishing touches on their steers before their achievement day.  Stacy was also scheduled to come out for the weekend.

A few minutes later the phone rang 8:10 am.  I could tell when Rob answered it that it was our daughter Crystal.  He told me to pick up the other phone.  Seconds later our family as we had known it changed........Crystal and Jon had just gotten engaged!

 Everyone seemed to be talking at once, but we finally did learn about the proposal and were able to welcome Jon to the family.  We were sworn not to tell anyone until they had made more phone calls to immediate family and close friends.

We had planned a trip back in January to go and visit Crystal and Jon and on Friday we will get to see Jon's farm and meet his family.  It will be a great time to celebrate with them.

Crystal is marrying into a wonderful family. 

Hereford cattle are a big part of their life. 

So we have kinda come full circle as Hereford cattle are a part of Rob's heritage.  I was the one that converted him to a Simmental breeder.  Some how I think Crystal might have a bit more of a difficult time convincing the Blin family to raise Simmentals.  Maybe they will let her keep a few in the back 40.

All in all is has been a wonderful weekend.  Thank you to everyone that has sent their congratulations.  We are very much looking forward to this next chapter for our family.  Crystal and Jon we wish you all the best!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bovine Divots

It seems like no matter how well made your fences and corrals are, if you have livestock they will escape.  For those of you that haven't had the opportunity to visit High Country Cattle, our corrals are very close to our house and lawn.

This can be a good thing.  In the winter during calving it is a shorter walk to the barn to check cows.  A very good thing when the temperature is -30C.  The water supply for washing show and sale cattle is handy.  Just connect a garden hose to the house and your ready to go.

Where things get a bit interesting is when a gate gets left open or the cows find a way to escape.  Their point of entry is our front lawn.  A 1500lb cow can leave some big divots on the lawn.  This happened late last fall. The ground was soft and it didn't take long for the damage to be done.  So last night was repair time.

It kinda looks like we have had a family of moles move in.  Once we finished filling the holes with compost from the corrals and added a little grass seed, Rob thought that he should harrow it in.  The only problem was that the tractor and harrows would leave more ruts then we started with.  So redneck farmer Rob made his own.

Yes that would be a corral panel attached to the lawn mower. Oh well it worked and now the next divots we can deal with can be ones on the golf course.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

There At The Post

The first Saturday in May can mean many things.  For our Urban friends it might mean the first day on the golf course or the opening of the soccer fields.  But for me no matter what else we are doing ( ranch work, house work,) it means the running of the most wonderful horse race, The Kentucky Derby.

One of my most favorite horse is Secretariat.

The fastest time ever run at the Kentucky Derby’s current distance was turned in by Secretariat in 1973 when he completed the mile and a quarter in 1 minute 59 2/5 seconds. Further demonstrating the greatness of ‘Big Red’ was his astounding fractional times – every quarter mile of the race was faster than the one before it, which is virtually unheard of. The only other sub two minute times in the Kentucky Derby were run by Secretariat’s arch rival Sham, who finished 2/5 of a second behind the winner. In 2001, Monarchos turned in the only other sub two minute Derby run winning the race in 1:59:97.

Now I am not a dedicated follower of horse racing, but growing up one of my best friends dad was a trainer and jockey.  I was often invited along to the races in Calgary.  We got to go every where from being in the barns, the grandstand and even once in the winners circle for the post race winning picture.  Our family has always had a love for horses.  Rob and the girls are very good riders.  In his younger days Rob had the opportunity to be a jockey but his first love was the cows.

On our recent visit to Australia we were at the Melbourne Museum and were able to see the famous Phar Lap.  One of the greats for that country.

Recently we watched a documentary on the Kentucky Derby.  It got us to thinking that this really isn't any different than what we are doing in the purebred cattle business.  We are trying to line up generations of genetics to produce a superior animal.  We put all of our hopes and dreams on a particular mating and sometimes are disappointed at the moment of birth because the calf isn't the sex that we thought would be the most optimal. 

With both cattle and horses there is a history, not only in the breeding lines, but in the families and farms that for generation have made it their life and their priority to breed the best possible genetics they can.  Derby day in Kentucky is like our Agribition in Regina or Toronto Royal for Canadian cattle show or the National Westerner in Denver or North American in Louisville.

It's a dream to go to the Derby one day and to stand in the winners circle in Denver and Regina. 
Let's hope one of this year's matings takes us there.