Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Opportunities Begin

I am beginning to feel like I am having the time of my life if the old age saying "Time flys when your having fun".  It seems like just days ago that we were preparing for the 2011 show and sale season and now we are just a couple of weeks away from heading out on the road of 2012.

 Farm and ranch people seem to define their lives by events, the drought of 2006, the cold spring of 2010, the record breaking bull sale year of 2012.  That or the year that they attended an event.  Farmfair 2009 or  the 20th Agribition that we attended.
With each new season that approaches we are all filled with optimism and high expectations.  There have been so many decisions that have gone into getting you to where your farming operation is, hoping to take you to the next level.  Your hopes may be a greater acceptance in the market place, a championship banner, making the highlights of a sale report, going home with a list of potential buyers for your bull sale, connecting with past customers and hearing their successes with the breeding stock that they purchased from you.  The list is ling.

One of the first events for us on the circuit this fall is Farmfair International., in Edmonton, AB. This show has a long history but through thick and thin it has treated us well and been a great place to market our cattle.  With the addition of the Ranch Rodeo, another sector of potential customers are stopping by to view our program. 
Our string is a bit smaller this year, but has some unique individuals in it. 
  • The first daughter of McIntosh Sweet Talker will sell at the Headliner sale on November 9th in Edmonton.
McIntosh Sweet Talker 32X
  • We will be exhibiting a Fullblood Simmental for the first time in 21 years.
Stop by the stall to see what Fullbloods in 2012 look like.
  • We will be caring for cattle of Lyle Peterson's of Bar L7 from Calgary.
Stop by the stall for a visit and if you are looking for a really nice black baldy Simmental heifer for a youth project. RJY Sweet Dreams 44Z may be worth a look.  Hope to see you in Edmonton in a couple of weeks.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blonde's and Cows

Now I'm sure that you are thinking there are no way that these two things go together, but in our house they really do.  For those of you that don't know our daughters they have been toe heads from the day that they were born.  The delivery nurse we had with Crystal, took her into the nursery and announced to all the "little boy baby's" to have a good look at her "because this was the first and last true blonde they would ever see".
Crystal - age 2 months
Over the years Rob loved spending time with his girls working on cattle in the barn.  They had their 4H projects and then their junior Simmental projects.  Our weekends and summers were consumed with packing in as many shows as possible.  It was great quality time spent together as a family.

Stacy on a weekend visit.
Now that our girls are out on their own, his time is limited to the weekends and shows that Stacy can fit into her schedule, visits to see Crystal, or when she can come home to the farm.  We are so fortunate that Stacy gets out to the farm a couple of weekends each month and takes some of her vacation time to join us at the shows. 

Rob flew down to the Iowa State Fair this past summer to help Crystal and Jon with their Herefords.

For the past few years Rob has been watching another "blonde" that loves her cows.  She is such a hard worker and very good at what she does.  She is also very humble and quite, but don't be fooled she is also a fierce competitor.  Rob and Katherine can often be found at a show looking at cattle......mostly in the prospect steer barn.  They have tried a few times to be partners but it has never worked out. 

Katherine family owns and operated JT Livestock.  They hold a steer and heifer sale each fall.  We live about 2 1/2 hours from them.  I visited with the Dollivers this summer when Rob was in Iowa.  I thought their was a few steers their that he might like.  On Sunday we went through the steers and Rob mentioned to Katherine that if she needed a partner he would be interested.  When the sale was done that night, they had become partners on these two little guys.

Whiskey Son
Monopoly Son

I know that over the next 9 months we will be visiting with Katheryn lots and once again spending weekends at the junior shows.  Rob will once again get to hangout in the show barn with one of his new favorite blonde's.

Friday, October 5, 2012


First thank you for reading this blog.  I have been very unfocused at writing on the blog this summer and fall.  I think that it had something to do with all of the wonderful weather that we had.  It was a great summer full of sunshine and heat and rainstorms at night.  Then we were blessed with a wonderful September.  The leaves stayed until last week and were full of color.

With this weekend being Thanksgiving here is Canada, I wanted  to take a moment to think about all of the things that we are Thankful for.  Of course FAMILY are on the list, but not everyone gets to say that they have a wonderful family.   Many are not close in distance or relationships with their family members. 
We get to enjoy the company of both sides of our family.  Stacy and Dan are close by and we get to see them often.  Not so much with Crystal and Jon.
 As I make my pumpkin pies and rolls this weekend I will be thinking of them.

Next on my list would be FARMING.......sometimes I wonder why we do what we do, but most days it is comforting to be able to live in this great province, look out our window at the stock that we have invested nearly 30 years of sweat, blood and tears into to make a better genetic BEEF product for the world to enjoy.  This past two weeks has been challenging to listen to every news report and the ecoli mess that has been created.  We want people to choose our product, we do everything that is asked of us to make sure when it leaves our property that it is safe, nutritious and been humanly raised.  Then it is out of our hands.  Unfortunately the people that situations like this cost the most to are the producers and we have no control....except to go out and tell our story more.  To be even better advocates as to how we do business.  Let's not let the media and others be heard the most.

I would also have to add FREEDOM, and HEALTH to the list.  Being able to live in a county where we have choices.  Where we can become most anything we want to, and do what makes us happy.  As for health, I know that our health care system is not perfect, but when we see those that we care about receiving good care and that their is HOPE when they do experience illness, then I am thankful for that.
 What ever your plans are for this holiday weekend.  Take the time for just a moment to reflect on all of the good in your life and the things that you are truly thankful for.  If your list is short, then hopefully you will choose to make changes and next year be full of Thankfulness.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Helping Hand

On Sunday Rob and I decided to drive out to Bashaw to watch the AYCS Junior Simmental Show.  This is a trip that we used to take frequently when the girls were home and showing cattle in the junior shows.  It was usually the highlight of our summer.  To see kids and cattle having the time of their lives together.  We formed many life long friendships through these shows.  As we were driving out we realized that it was 20 year ago that we took the girls to their first YCS ( Young Canadian Simmental Show).  Wow where did the time go.  The show was on the smaller size this year, but many new families participating and the quality was very good.  We had the opportunity to visit with some of the kids, their families and enjoyed a great afternoon. 

As we were leaving Bashaw I mentioned we should drive by our friends Dawn & Lee Wilson's farm - Miller Wilson Angus and see if they were home for a quick visit. 

As we drove into their beautiful farm, we seen this, a truck and stock trailer with a flat tire.
 Here was Jill Wildman of Towaw Cattle Co. trying to get the tire off herself.  Jill weighs about 90 lbs soaking wet, but she was doing a really good job. 

Some of the lug nuts were stuck and Kirk forgot to put the tire iron and jack in Jill's truck.  Rob was able to find the needed items to get the flat off and replace it with the spare. 

Jill's phone had also gone dead, so she made calls on ours to the family that were expecting her home by then to let them know of her delay.  She had been picking up a herd bull they share with Ter-Ron Farms to display at the Canadian Red Angus Promotion Society's Annual Tour this weekend.

We didn't get our visit in with any of the Wilson's as they were all out in the hay field, but had a great visit with Jill.  It gives us comfort knowing that know matter where we may be traveling or our daughters that if they needed a helping hand they could call on a cattle breeder, or farmer and they would get the help they needed.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth

Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the Calgary Stampede.  To many this may not be important as many cities have an annual fair that they celebrate.  But although this great event is hosted by the city of Calgary it belongs to all of Alberta and Canada. 

Steer Show 1985
The Alberta Beef Booth is
alway a popular spot.
My family has had a long standing association with the Calgary Stampede.  My dad along with my aunt, and cousins have been members on several agriculture committees. Dad for over 40 years.

My family have been exhibitors there in the livestock show, steer show, junior show and stock dog trials.
Showmanship Champion 2006
Our daughters were recipients several times of scholarships.
Scholorship winners
 I was a part of the grandstand show one year, along with other 4H members leading calves across the stage, showing the audiences all the different breeds of cattle.

My cousin is a driver in the world famous chuck wagon races.
Driver - Troy Flad
 Crystal worked in the Agriculture department for two summers on an internship.  She was also the youngest person to be a member of the judging panel for the supreme championships.

The first Friday in July marks the best 10 days of the summer.  Now that we don't live right by Calgary we only get there for a few days each year, but it is always something that is a part of our summer plans.
When we are traveling if we mention that we are from Alberta we are often asked if we have ever been to the Stampede.  We are envied when they find out that we go each year.  It's kinda like living next to Disneyland.

Here are a few fun facts about the Stampede:

  • We offer the largest purse in outdoor rodeo of over $2 million.
  • The Agriculture component has been a backbone of the of the Calgary Exhibition & Stampede since its formation in 1886 as the Calgary Agricultural Society.
  • The purse for GMC Rangeland Derby chuckwagon race is over $1 million
  • Over a million people attend the 10-day Stampede each July
  • 70 per cent of Stampede patrons are local and 30 per cent are tourists
  • The Stampede Parade route is 4.5 kilometres
  • Over two million mini doughnuts are sold each year
  • Over 200,000 pancakes are served at community breakfasts each year
  • Stampede Park is comprised of 193 acres
  • Approximately 3.6 million people visit Stampede Park year-round annually.
  • Over 30,000 flowers are planted on Park each year
  • The Calgary Stampede is a not-for-profit organization and the Calgary Stampede Foundation is a   non-profit registered charitable organization.
  • The Stampede has over 2,000 year-round volunteers and over 1,200 year-round employees
  • The Calgary Stampede has a huge economic impact on Calgary's economy, contributing $127.2 million and also to Alberta's economy, contributing $166.3 million

  • I salute the Volunteers and those that have fought to keep the Stampede alive and growing over the last 100 years.  This is the one celebration that we have that keeps urban and rural people connected.  I can't wait to get there on Thursday.

    Grated Coconut -
    One of the greatest Stampede horses

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    The Beginning

    The blog for High Country Cattle was created over the Christmas holidays of 2009. Crystal thought we should start one as with our smaller herd of cattle, we don't update our website weekly and this was a good way to keep in touch with customers, consumers and those intersted in Agriculture life and Simmental Cattle. Great idea.....but what would we blog about. Well one of the very first blogs presented it's self the first week of January, Comfort for the Cattle Boss or the cattle?

    The blog was about how we were needing (at least in my mind) a new bathroom.
    A very dated vanity
    that was falling apart.
    Behind that curtin was a tub with
    taps operated by vice grips.

    I arrived  home to find that the budget had been spent on a new calf shelter rather than the renovation. 
    Everything was gutted
    Fast forward to June 2012.  Who new that all you needed was a weeks time and a few thousand dollars and you could make the cowboss happy.
    Nice and new.

    Walk in shower
    Inspired from our trip to Australia
    It may not be the spa like ones in the previous blog, due to the space we had to work with, but it is new and wonderful.  The only bad part is that now I want to do another room.          Any suggestions?

    Friday, June 8, 2012

    Farmers Day

    Foar more great pictures like this go to www.bellaspur.com
    Happy Farmers Day.  Back when we were kids this meant that we had a day off of school and often it would also be the local 4H Achievement day.  Now it is hardly recognised.  No parades, no special recognition to the one sector that makes sure that we have food to put on our tables each day.  Canadians should be thankful for the relatively inexpensive , high quality food that they have access to.
    Statistics Canada figures show that, in 1969, food ate up 18.7 per cent of spending in the average household. By 2009, that number had fallen to 10.2 per cent.
    That 18.7 per cent level in 1969 put food at the top of the household spending list, ahead of shelter, personal taxes, clothing and transportation. Fast forward four decades — a period of time that also saw an increase in Canadians' average incomes — and the percentage of household spending devoted to food has fallen to near the bottom of that.

    Although 10% of your household income is a lot of money, don`t think for a minute that all of that is going to the farmer. According to the Canadian Wheat Board, a loaf of bread that might cost $2 or $3 in the grocery store generates about 13 cents for the wheat grower.

    In 1933, Americans spent 21.9 percent of their income on their food at home. Today, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, they spend just 5.7 percent on food eaten at home.
    Compared that to the rest of the world: The United Kingdom 8.6 percent, Canada 9.2 percent, Australia 10.7 percent, Germany 11.4 percent, Hong Kong 12.2 percent, France 13.5 percent, Japan 14.2 percent, Israel 17.7 percent, South Africa 19.8 percent, Chile 23.3 percent, Mexico 24.0 percent, Brazil 24.7 percent, Russia 28.0 percent, China 32.9 percent, India 35.4 percent, Philippines 36.7 percent, Egypt 38.1 percent, Morocco 40.4 percent, Indonesia 43.0 percent, Kenya 44.9 percent, and Pakistan 45.5 percent.

    So today if you know someone that produces food, why not take them for lunch or at least say THANK YOU.  For those of you that are the producers, take a moment to reflect on the impact that you have on families, locally and around the world. 

    Tonight they may be eating beef that was raised from your genetics , along with potatoes and vegetable that were grown by your neighbors. 

    Saturday, May 26, 2012

    Diamond in the Rough

    A diamond is usually recognised as the symbol for a 75th Anniversary.  2012 marks the year of the Diamond Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth.  Today May 26 also marks the 75th birthday for my dad - Chuck Groeneveld.  We think he is a diamond in the rough.
    Now he may not look quite as young as he did a few years back, but with all the of the things that he is active in, most probably would not think of him as being 75.  Last week he started his summer project of attending over 20 parades though out Alberta with the Alberta Beef float.  In between the parades he will also take the Alberta Simmental Booth and the Alberta Beef booth to many functions including the 100th Anniversary of the Calgary Stampede.  Dad has been a volunteer at the Calgary Stampede for over 40 years.
    His interests over the years haven't changed much.  These are the things that he loves:
    • Family
    • Beef
    • Kids
    • Cats and dogs
    • Talking about beef, his grand kids and his cats and dogs
    • Volunteering
    • Alberta Beef Producers
    • Calgary Stampede
    • and thinking up his next project.

    He certainly is one of a kind.  A true diamond in the rough. Growing older is a privilege, growing up is optional.  We hope that he keeps being Chuck, Uncle Chuck, that Beef guy or how ever you know him and we hope he never grows up.  Happy 75th Birthday Dad and wishing you many, many more.