Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gimme 5, 7 half-now 10. Come on!

Guest post from Adam

Gimme 5, 7 half-now 10. Come on!
What is that? What the heck does that mean? That my friends is an auctioneer. Well, I can’t do it EXACTLY the same, but if you’ve ever heard one, you get the gist. Auctioneering is a competitive way to sell things, to try to get the highest price for something. Just this last week it was our calves from last year that were being sold. We took them to St Joe Stockyards, in St. Joseph, Missouri. It is one of the oldest and biggest places to sell livestock in our area. It took about 15 minutes to sell them. That’s it. 15 minutes to find out how much we get paid for a whole year of our work, time, sweat, tears, money, satisfaction and an occasional cuss word. I’m gonna take you through that whole year, month by month. 365 days and it all comes down to 15 minutes. Here we go!

Where our calves were sold at on Wednesday.
The auctioneer is under the roof and all of the bidders are sitting across
from him. The cattle are brought in on the right and exit on the left. 
Let's start the day after we sell calves.

January 31st- 
We are doing chores; taking care of the cows that are going to have calves in about a month. The heifers are already calving, as they started about the first of January. We are feeding hay and silage every morning, rolling out hay for cows to lie on and checking for new babies. Melissa wrote a post about all of these activities not too long ago, to read it click here

The heifers are having calves during this time of the year.
Rolling out bales of straw so the calves have a warm place to lie down
during these cold months.
The calves love the straw!
Feeding hay to the calves. 
Once late February gets here, cows are just starting to calve. Also in February we are spreading fertilizer on grass, both on the pastures that the cows will be on in the summer, and on the fields we will mow for hay. In the meantime, we are clipping brush in the pastures; trying to clean them up so there is more grass for the cows to eat. Unfortunetly, this is a process we do ever year. There are always trees to clean up. 

March comes and goes, cows are calving everyday. We are getting fence checked over, getting more mineral ordered for the summer and ordering vaccines to work cattle before we turn them out to grass. 

April 1st we turn bulls in with the yearling heifers. We breed them early to have them calve before the cows, as they take a little more time and attention. By mid April pretty much everything has calved, so we get them all in and vaccinate each one to prevent diseases such as black leg, and we also casterate the bull calves. Then it’s off to grass! We haul everything out to different pastures. They are so happy when they run out of the trailer into knee high green grass. 

The cows out in the green pastures. 

Middle of May we take the bulls out to the pastures with the cows. This will have them start calving in the later part of February. The bulls stay in with the cows for 75 days. In late May we get all the hay equipment out and ready for the hay season. Mower, rake, baler and trailers. 

June and July- 
We are mowing, raking, baling and hauling hay home from the pastures. Hay season usually lasts from the first of June to about the middle of July. To read more about hay season on our farm click here.  In June, July and August of this past year we also experienced a severe drought, so we were hauling water to the the pastures twice a day to make sure the cows and calves had enough water to drink. We are also checking in on the cows at least once a week and taking vitamins and minerals to the pastures at least once a month. 

Checking on the cows and taking them some mineral.

Picking up the hay that has been baled. 

Once all of the hay is stacked on the trailer we haul it to the barn. 

The big round bales being brought home.

Hauling water to the cows in the pasture because the pond has
dried up due to the drought. 
After all the hay is hauled in we get ready to chop silage. This normally takes place between mid August to mid September. This summer after silage was done I built a new corral at our house for the calves, but this is just a one time deal. I haven’t mentioned it, but throughout this whole spring and summer, while all of this is going on, we are checking the cows at least once a week, to make sure they are healthy and don’t have any fly trouble. AND we are farming all of our row-crops. 

The silage chopper getting ready to start another round in the field. 

The truck dumping the silage into the pit. 

My dad using the bulldozer to push the silage in the pit. 

The corn goes through the chopper and is then blown into this truck. 

The tractor smoothes out the pile once all the silage is in the pit.

In August I also started building a new cattle corral.
This is a picture after we had got some of the posts set. 

Setting the posts for the new corral. 
Sawing the tops of the posts off of the hedge posts
so they are all even. 

Welding the clips on the steel pipe. 

After silage is done, we get on with the harvesting of our crops. Sometimes we'll turn cattle out on corn stalks. They will go out and pick and eat some of the corn that fell on the ground from harvest. 

In mid October, we bring everything home and run everything through the chute and vaccinate again to prevent diseases. Also, we preg check the cows to make sure they are bred to have a calf this next winter. 

Two weeks later, the first of November, we wean calves and they're brought to our house to grow. They are fed silage and protein everyday, putting on the pounds! It can be a noisy time at house for the first week the calves are here!

A picture of when the calves were brought to our house after
they were weaned. 
After calves are weaned, we take the cows back out to grass until about the first of the year. This gives them time to flesh back up and get in shape to have a calf in a couple months. If it is cold enough outside and the ponds or creeks are frozen we're out in the cold chopping ice everyday to make sure the cows have water to drink. 

After the first of the year, we are watching the cattle markets and our feed supply, trying to figure out when the best time will be to sell calves. Also in January, as I said earlier, our heifers are starting to have calves. Remember when we turned the bulls in the pasture around the first of April? Once we figure out when we are going to sell, we get the calves consigned through St. Joe Stockyards and before you know it, it's time to haul them up to the sale barn. I took some pictures of the day we hauled them to town and they show us loading them in the trailers. The new corral worked awesome! 

The calves waiting in the holding pens before they are loaded on
the semi trailer. 

The trailers to haul the calves were lined up in the driveway.

Loading the calves on the trailer. 

And just like that the calves are loaded up and hitting the road to the

Now we’re back to where we started. That’s it folks. That whole year we just talked about, and it's over in Gimme 5, 7 half-now 10……SOLD!

Don't forget about the giveaway Melissa has going on! You only have a few days left to enter the drawing for a $25 gift card from Dally Designs. Good luck!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday to the Blog!

Today marks the second anniversary since my first blog post. I've come a long way since that first post. I remember the anxiety I felt with hitting the publish button.  I've relaxed a little since then and I hope it has come across that way in my posts. When I set out to create this blog I had fears about no one wanting to read it. Now I'm humbled by the fact that I get readers and comments from all over the world! I've made connections with people from all over and other bloggers have even asked me to be a feature on their blog. How humbling is that! 

It's my hope that the blog will continue to succeed and I'm excited to see where the next year will take us and the connections Adam and I will make!

Some things I've learned along the way include:
1. Don't obsess over grammar. Yes, it's important, but no one is going to call you out for missing a comma in your post. (I probably have poor comma placement in just this sentence alone!)

2. Write from the heart. The posts that come from the heart and are filled with emotion are the ones I love writing the most. These posts are usually the ones your readers enjoy the most too. 

3. If you're thinking about starting a blog, just do it! I can honesty say I have no regrets about creating this blog. 

4. Don't worry if you can't write a post regularly. People get busy, readers understand this and they are reading your blog for a reason, so they'll be there when you do post something. 

5. If you're feeling lost and overwhelmed seek out advice from other experienced bloggers.  They are more than willing to share their experiences and help you get started. 
I've received great advice from Crystal Young of Crystal Cattle, Brandi Buzzard of Buzzard's Beat, and Judi Graff of FARMnWIFE.

Now for the stats since the inauguration of Born to Pharm. 

Adam and I have published 63 posts since we began the blog. It's been fun to come up with titles for posts and documenting what's taking place on the farm and in pharmacy school. 

The top five posts for the blog have been: 

Where are the Born to Pharm readers coming from? 
Top ten countries: 
1. United States 
2. Canada
3. United Kingdom
4. Russia
5. Australia
6. Germany
7. India
8. France
9. Ireland
10. Spain

Thank you to everyone who has provided Adam and I with encouragement on this journey of starting and sticking with a blog. We've enjoyed meeting new people through the blogosphere and connecting with other farmers, ranchers, farm wives, pharmacy students, and pharmacists along the way. 

Now for the best part of a cream cake!! Even though that is the best part of a birthday celebration it would be logistically impossible to give all of you ice cream cake. Bummer!

Instead of ice cream cake I'll settle for the next best thing about a birthday and that's presents!  In honor of the blog's birthday I've decided to do a giveaway. I've partnered with Lindsay Seichepine from Dally Designs for this giveaway. Lindsay is amazingly talented at creating rustic, country-themed home decor and all of her merchandise can be found on her Facebook page, Dally Designs. She specializes in making bowls, vases, baskets, trivets, and customized wall decor out of used team roping ropes.

Check out the pictures below to see some of Lindsay's works of art! 

Beautiful pieces with the prices listed. I really have to exhibit some
self control when I go in Lindsay's store, I want them all!
Some of Lindsay's customized pieces. 
I'm hoping to have a wreath like this on my front door for next fall!
A rope vase I have in my house from Dally Designs.

I'm using Rafflecopter for the giveaway.   You can be entered in the drawing for each item you complete by following the instructions below. The winner will be announced on February 4th!

Good luck and thank you for your loyal readership! Ready, Set, Go!! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The First Day of my LAST Semester of Classes

My obligatory first day of school photo. 
Yes, it's true, contrary to what my mom will tell you, this is my LAST semester of classes! She will tell you that I was meant to be a full-time student for the rest of my life because I love learning so much. My kindergarten teacher tells the story that on the first day of class I raised my hand and asked her when she was going to teach us how to read.  I probably wouldn't mind being a full-time student as a career, but for now, this will be my last semester of classes.  Eighteen semesters is a LONG time to be in school and I'm ready to start the next phase in my life.

When I embarked on this journey of pharmacy school I remember sitting in the first class and thinking, "I have four more years of this! I'm never going to make it." I would look up to the fourth year students with envious eyes because they were almost done with school. Now I'm a fourth year and here I am starting my last semester of classes!  The time has flown by!  I've learned a lot, but still have a long way to go before I'm out on my own.

I'm a year and a half from graduation and from being a practicing pharmacist. This fact is extremely exciting and also scares the hell out of me because I don't think I've learned enough to be out on my own yet. I know a lot of the knowledge and experience will come during the 5th year with rotations. An immense amount of knowledge will be gained during that last year, and I hope I will feel a little more comfortable with my skill set once next year rolls around.

I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to all of the people who have been there to support me on this crazy journey of pharmacy school. It hasn't been easy, but the people in my life have given me the strength I needed to make it through. I have the best husband, family, and friends a girl could ask for and I wouldn't be where I am today without their love and support.  I have a year and a half left, and you better believe we're going to celebrate once I walk across the stage at graduation!

Best of luck to all of my classmates this semester and anyone else who is still in school!

*Disclaimer* Now that school has started you'll probably see a drop in the number of posts. Please be patient with me, I'm going to try to do a better job this semester of keeping you updated and posting more frequently. I can't make any promises though.  Once the stress of the semester hits it may be spring break before I have a chance or any free time to write something. Thank you for your patience, it is greatly appreciated!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Amazing Meat Loaf

They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and with this meat loaf recipe you'll definitely win over your man's heart. Guaranteed! 

This recipe is a staple in our house. I make it quite frequently and it never gets old. The flavor in this meat loaf is unbelievable and Better Homes and Gardens got it right with this recipe! 

Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 70 minutes 
Makes: 8 servings

2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs or 2 cups soft bread crumbs (2 1/2 slices) 
(I typically use the soft bread crumbs)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf sage, basil, or oregano, crushed. 
(I usually end up putting all of these spices in, no need to skimp on adding flavor to the meatloaf) 
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef, ground lamb, or ground pork
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
(if you don't have dry mustard, don't fret. I've used regular yellow mustard before and it's still delicious!)

1. In a medium bowl combine eggs and milk; stir in bread crumbs, onion, parsley, salt, sage, and pepper.  Add ground meat; mix well. Lightly pat mixture into a 8x4x2-inch loaf pan. 

2. Bake in a 350F oven for 1 to 11/4 hours or until internal temperature registers 160F on an instant-read thermometer.  Spoon off fat. In a small bowl combine ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard; spread over meat. Bake for 10 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into eight slices. 

Nutritional Information: 
Per slice: 225 calories, 10g total fat (4g saturated fat), 108mg cholesterol, 676 mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 19g protein 

Daily value: 5% vitamin A, 5% vitamin C, 6% calcium, 13% iron
Percent daily values are based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. 

Getting all of the ingredients ready to go. 
Mix the eggs and milk. Then stir in the bread crumbs, onion, parsley,
salt and sage (and any other spices you choose to add).

Add the thawed lean ground beef to this mixture, and mix well.
Put the mixture into a loaf pan and pat lightly to even it out. 

Bake at 350F for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Spoon of the fat on top of the loaf. 

After baking for 60-70 minutes at 350F. 

Mix the ingredients for the sauce and pour this mixture over the loaf.
Bake another 10 minutes and enjoy! 

There you have it, a delicious and balanced homestyle meal! 

If you have a chance to make this recipe let me know your thoughts and any changes or additions you made to it.

Happy cooking! Don't forget to check back next Monday for another quick, easy, and delicious beef recipe! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Our Evening in Pictures

Today was a beautiful day, a little windy, but overall a beautiful day!

Adam and I were able to feed hay to the calves, then he filled the silage wagon while I went and took pictures of the baby calves, then we came back home and fed the calves at our house.  I'll let you take a look at the pictures from our evening on the farm.

I love cows!

All the calves came up to see me!

Probably one of my favorite photos from the night.
Not because it's a selfie, but because my attempt at being
creative and artistic somewhat succeeded.  I titled this one
"Reflections from the Farm"

I was hanging out with the calves until
Adam got home so we could feed hay. 

Adam working on filling the silage wagon.

Jack, the farm cat, is on the lookout for any
mice that may be in here. 

The conveyor loading the silage into the wagon. 

The new born calves with their mommas. 

"Mom! Come on! Not in front of the camera!"

Baby calves are one of cutest animals on the planet. 

He's my favorite! 

"Mom! Quit moving so I can get some milk!"

These girls are in the maternity ward of the cattle pens.
They're getting really close to having their calves so they're kept in
this pen. This wayAdam and his dad can keep a closer eye on them. 
Feeding the calves.

The steers (castrated male cows) are getting so big!
They are probably weighing around 800-900 pounds. 

Some scenery shots from tonight. 
Kansas Sunset

The sunset tonight made it look like the trees were on fire. 

We hope you had a great Friday too! Enjoy the weekend and take some time to relax and enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer!

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