Cleaning House…

The Feed Yard Foodie house…

My family hosted a reporter from Washington DC last Friday.  When he called a few days before arriving to confirm the trip, he said “By the way, a photographer is coming along to take pictures for the story so you have a couple of days to clean house before we get there”.  I instantly rattled off my typical response about the state of my home, “I am not the best housekeeper in the world—my house always seems to look lived in”.

The outside of the Feed Yard Foodie house (this is the side view) is well-kept just like my cattle feed yard. I have not yet devised the miracle that would allow the inside of my house to look this good…I suspect that it has something to do with motivating my three children to pick up their STUFF!

When I got off of the phone, it occurred to me that he really was not talking about the cleanliness of my house, he was talking about the visual aspects of my cattle feed yard and our farm.  The concept of cleaning house as it pertains to a cattle feed yard is an interesting one.  Having a well maintained and clean feed yard is a journey—not a destination.  It is one that we work at every single day and that work is intrinsically tied to Mother Nature.

My feed yard is marked by calm and comfortable cattle. They make safe and healthy beef!

I have an employee whose main priority (other than helping to feed the cattle) is to scrape and maintain the cattle pens.  This not only removes manure in a timely manner (which Matt needs to fertilize his crops), but it also ensures that cattle living conditions remain comfortable.  There are times that Mother Nature challenges us with a big snow storm or a heavy spring/summer rain, but we strive to keep our animals as comfortable as possible despite these challenges.

Here is the tractor and box scraper that we use to keep our pens well-maintained…

Is my cattle feed yard perfect?  No, it is run by a human and, as hard as I try, I am still not perfect.  Did I pray that we would not receive a heavy rain the night before the reporter and his photographer arrived at my farm? Absolutely!

Many times learning first hand about where your food comes from allows for more accurate information…Thank you to all of you that follow Feed Yard Foodie for doing just that!

As I took the reporter and his crew through the feed yard Friday morning, I asked him if the cattle looked comfortable and well cared for.  He answered, “Yes, the cattle look comfortable and they are certainly not living knee deep in their own feces.  Your pens are spacious.  It doesn’t look at all like the way that the movie Food, Inc. portrayed feed yards.”

I am one of many cattlemen who realize that the quality of the care and the caregiver determines the success of the animal…

A well maintained farm takes effort, but having a clean house sets my animals up for success. This allows them to make healthy beef using fewer natural resources because they are comfortable in their home pen.  Healthy animals make healthy beef, so cleaning house is an important job on our farm!

My living room on Mother’s Day–it was laundry day at the Feed Yard Foodie house and the clean clothes needed sorted and put away. I am constantly amazed at how many dirty clothes two farmers and three children make…

Now, if I could only convince my children that keeping the inside of our home clean was important perhaps it would not always look so lived in!


Filed under CAFO, General

22 responses to “Cleaning House…

  1. Dawn

    LOL! I work outside the home during the week, have my own side business as an artist, care for the animals on our small farm, tend an extensive veggie and fruit garden, as well as numerous flower gardens…..I would rather do any of the above than clean house. I always say it is much more satisfying to shovel manure than dust and vacuum……

  2. Stephanie Rush

    I would much rather be outside working, mowing, or “playing” with the kids myself! There will always be time for me to clean house, but the time spent with my kids is quickly coming to an end………

    • That is so true Stephanie. You turn around twice and they are taller than you—then the days are numbered before they are all grown up…Our kids are our greatest blessing!


  3. Isn’t interesting that everything we see on tv and the internet is not true! We know how untruthful the media can be about agriculture and it often makes me wonder how misleading they are in non-ag industries, politics, government, ect. Honestly, I don’t watch much news for this reason.

    • That is an excellent point, Robyn. Reaching straight to the original source for information is many times much more accurate. Hopefully, this website gives consumers a chance to see what a cattle feed yard really looks like. There are many other great sites, like yours, to show the ranching side of beef production!


  4. Ann Bruntz

    Anne, I learned long ago that a cleaning lady twice a month for 2-3 hours is the best way to keep ahead. It is peace of mind for everyone.
    She is worth every dollar!

    • Good advice, Ann. When I got sick after Karyn was born, we started paying a great lady to come in twice a month and do the heavy cleaning. It has been wonderful. I share your thoughts!


  5. I too was like you when on the farm…the outside always looked a lot better than the inside…my favorite sign was at my best friends house who also farmed with her read…I clean house every other day….sorry you missed it!
    Keep up the good work! Your shows start this week at
    Hope you enjoy it.

    • Pam,

      I just listened to the segment. It was great! Thanks so much for sharing my “pontifications” with your listeners 🙂 I look forward to part two next week.


  6. Nebraska Farm Wife

    Way to put you best foot forward just like you always do!!! Would be interested in seeing what the reporter writes about!! We are always more concerned about our animals living room before our own!!!

    • Yes, it will be interesting to see what is reported. I will keep all of you “in the loop” as the article goes to press so that you can take a look at it if you would like.


  7. Carol

    I agree with all of you. I would rather do ANYTHING outside than clean house. I have actually visited Anne’s home a couple of times and found it to be immaculate! Knowing how busy Anne and her family are, I was really impressed and it certainly put me to shame!
    Amen to not believing ANYTHING the media tells you. Our family really appreciates all of the research Anne puts into her blog to make sure the information here is always accurate. The media, on the other hand, purposely only report on whatever they can make to appear controversial. There’s no reporting of “news” any more!

  8. Mary Laura

    Cousin Mary Laura here… Now I know we are related by blood! I have been scraping and painting a garage, porch and shutters, and glazing basement windows. There is an odd phenomenon that the garage grows six feet while I am at work. Even still, when I come home from work and look at my living room, the first thing I do is put on my long underwear and hoodie and head out for more painting. I like a clean bathroom and kitchen, but give me the outdoors anyday for feeling productive!

    • Yes, it is definitely in our genes! I love to be outdoors, and always do those projects before getting to the “inside ones”…

      Good luck with the chores~maybe you can talk Teddy into helping you 🙂

      • Mary Laura

        Ted’s been my “phone a friend” lifeline for the questions. Poor kid. He says I’ll be ready for his painting crew in a week or two. My Dad saw my glazing and said I needed a bit more practice for that! I am always amused to find out my areas of perfectionism – varnish on the boat is one, and apparently so is glazing. I just haven’t mastered opposable thumbs on the glazing. 🙂

  9. I completely understand your feelings here. It’s not just a one-day task to clean up the farm. Actually last Fall I asked several other farmers to share their thoughts on preparing for a non-farm visitor and shared them on my blog – My thoughts were from a day in my life on the feedyard when things didn’t go so perfectly when I had a visitor. Thanks for sharing this post! Looking forward to what the reporter has to say.

    • Thanks for sharing, Ryan. Your post was a great read. We seem to have a pretty steady stream of visitors through the feed yard, so we are mostly used to it—although a reporter from the east coast is certainly not something that we have with any frequency!

      I love to share what I do and look at each visit as an opportunity to teach someone about my life and my feed yard. It takes me back to the days when I thought that I would be a school teacher 🙂


  10. Thanks for giving the camera crew a great impression!
    Oh yeah, it’s the two-legged animals who make the biggest messes–and I’m not talking two-legged as in poultry!
    Try as we might, there’s always laundry around somewhere. Don’t know how my mother-in-law keeps a perferectly clean house, but then she doesn’t have any animals or a barn to keep clean too!

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