And Then There Were None…

Yesterday morning we shipped the final pens of cattle from the feed yard to Tyson.  A calm wind with temperatures in the mid-20’s provided an easy ship out environment.  Mother Nature also rewarded us with a beautiful sunrise toward the end of the process.

As I watched the last cattle truck pull away from the load-out chute, my emotions threatened to get the best of me.  I took a moment to remember back to the first of the lasts as I experienced the last of the lasts. This particular shipment marked the end of our feed yard era, and the finality of the moment left me drained.

I wasn’t quite sure how to feel with the knowledge that, for the first time in twenty years, I had no cattle directly depending on me for care.  An internal struggle waged as the uplifting element of freedom fought with the deep rooted desire to be needed.

Recognizing the necessity and wisdom in change is sometimes easier than living it out. Watching the cattle truck pull away forced me to face the reality in a way that I had not yet done. I took a brief moment to feel sorry for myself before I packed my FAITH and went back to work.


In that transition moment from self-pity to resolve, I made the decision to be happy. 

While that decision does not preclude me from experiencing difficult moments tinged with sadness, it focuses my attitude on the positive and grants me the strength to make the most of the future.  LIFE is a verb, and I recognize that my ability to achieve happiness is directly related to how I chose to live it.

  • Staying true to my core values
  • Trusting both myself and God on the journey
  • Recognizing that there is so very much more left to do on the journey…

All of these things give my life purpose, and I am looking forward to cowgirling up to make the most of it.


Filed under Chronicles of a Retiring Feed Yard Boss Lady, General

24 responses to “And Then There Were None…

  1. Best wishes. Your strength and humility inspire me. Thank you for being you.

  2. Dawn

    When the kids were here, the farm bustled with activity and animals. Steers, pigs, sheep, horses, chickens… I loved every minute. It was a family effort and everyone pitched in. The boys are grown and on their own. While two of them still raise cattle, it is somewhere else. (though I can always visit and play; and they send pictures of newborn calves and call me for advice) Sometimes, I get a little down and nostalgic. I look out the window to the barn and miss seeing the animals in the field. I miss birthing out lambs and pigs and calves. I miss the smells and sounds and sights, nights in the barn, mornings in the barn. But I am 30 years older now than when we started this farming journey and while I think ….maybe just one…. every now and then, I check the thought with…do you really want to do it all without the boys? So, I have my hens for eggs and a pair of pet goats and it has become enough. I have a neighbor’s daughter who keeps her 4H projects here, so in the summer I have a lamb and a pig here to play with. I even raised out a handful of turkeys and meat birds, just because. And it was enough; sort of. Blessings in your next adventure Anne and hoping it will be enough.

    • Thank you, Dawn. I’ve still got my horses out my back window, and the girls have their chicken project — but, yes, it will be different. My new job allows me to play a role at 5 feed yards in Nebraska so that will help me with my “cattle fix”. The girls and I are also planning to run a couple hundred head of cattle on grass in the spring/summer. I think that it will provide me with enough, but you bring up a great point.

      There are positives and negatives to each decision that we make. I think that the important thing is to continue to look forward with vision and with hope. When I look at my empty feed yard right now, I try to see how it will look when it is growing forage in the summers to come. That helps me to stay focused. There are many things about the feed yard that I will miss, but there are also many things about it that I will not miss. Life brings change — how we deal with it is a personal choice — like you, I have many blessings to be thankful for!

      I appreciate the note,

  3. Joanne

    I could feel the heaviness of that last load in your words. Very touching. I look forward to hearing about your new beginnings. May God continue to give you peace and strength.

    • Thank you, Joanne. I very much appreciate your kind words. Thank you for taking the time to write the note — Thank you for your understanding — And thank you for your prayers.


  4. No doubt that was very bittersweet. Cheers to the next chapter.

  5. Marsha

    Well done good and faithful servant! In to the next charge!

  6. Ann Smith

    Those “lasts”in life are your achievements. We look forward to your continued journey. Glad agriculture is where you landed.

    • Thank you, Ann. I, too, am glad that I landed in agriculture. I love our community and am blessed to be able to call it home! I am sure that the next chapter will keep me busy 🙂


  7. Lisa Jones

    Empathy from city girl. I am an Extension agent in an urban area. I came to Extension because my former career that I loved and spent 30 years building was taken away from me by a change in leadership at the organization I served. I was torn from work I loved and people I loved. I spent 2 years wandering in the midlife, career desert wondering and candidly worrying. (sounds like that Christmas song – “I Wonder as I Wander”)

    I found this role about 18 months ago and it has been a good fit. After a year it felt “normal”.

    For some time I did some training work with health coaches and a part of our instruction was understanding “ambivalence”. Anyone experiencing a change in their life – whether by choice or by consequence – is likely to experience this.

    Ambivalence is both “yes and no” at the same time. The image I used in the module was a closeup of feet standing on a high dive above a pool. In this experience you encounter yes to the thrill and challenge, and no to the fear of the unknown.

    I love your voice and your story – keep sharing. We are encouraged and we wish you the best in your new venture. It’s ok to be ambivalent.

    • Love your words, Lisa — thank you! Yes, ambivalence is both “yes” and “no”. Excitement and fear all wrapped up into one. My days are filled with swinging emotions, and I am working hard to stay focused on continuing the dream. I have a new team now, but it is a great one and I am blessed to be able to continue in the beef industry.

      I am glad to hear that you landed in a good place. We need awesome advocates like you to focus on education and lead us toward continuous improvement.

      All the best to you. Thank you for your message — it is a good one.

  8. Jennifer

    It still seems really strange to look out at the empty feedlot at work and the empty dairy barn at home. Change is inevitable, but your FAITH makes all the difference!

    • Yes, Jennifer, FAITH ensures that we greet each day ready to do something special. We are tearing our feed yard out, so this summer I will have the sight of green life rather than the skeleton of what used to be. That vision and the knowledge that I play a new important role on a different team keeps me going.

      Thank you for your kind note.

  9. Roger E Hunt

    I was there with you in spirit. You are an amazing person Anne with a tremendous future ahead of you. I know this because you always pack the right stuff!!!

    • Thank you, Roger! I enjoyed meeting you last week. Thank you for all of your kind words and encouragement! We hope to get to give you a farm tour sometime soon 🙂


  10. William Wiebking

    If that photo is recent, you look better. There is more color in you. The yoke is cast down. I’d call that a win. Good luck, Anne!

  11. I’m sure it was a difficult day with lots of emotions. Best of luck in your new adventure and may the wind be always at your back!

    • Thank you, Bryan. I appreciate your kind words and encouragement. This time of year, I try to make sure that I keep that cold north wind to my back 😉

      I am looking forward to the next chapter in the journey. All the best to you and your family.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s