My favorite blondes and I visited the Lazy YN Ranch yearling steers this week at Roberts Cattle Company. The steers are living it up in Pen 73 and doing an amazing job of getting bigger! Hats off to the feed yard crew as the guys are doing an awesome job taking care of the cattle 🙂
Megan and Karyn were glad to see that the steers remembered us, and I am very thankful that my girls can continue to watch the calves through their entire life cycle as it serves as a great reminder of both where their food comes from and the dedicated people that it takes to raise beef with integrity.
We also moved the fall calves off of grass and into the feed yard this week as our grass supply is depleted. The fall calves have taken up residence at Roberts Cattle Company a couple of pens down from the yearling steers…
Megan celebrated moving the cattle with her first semi-truck ride 🙂
Since closing the feed yard, I have a new habit of exercising during the dawn hour. As part of my training for the half marathon that I will run in the end of October, on a daily basis I trade off swimming and running. I do this for two reasons:
- I love dawn and have a 20 year habit of being outside to watch the birth of the new day.
- I love to exercise and am using it to “fill the gap” now that I am not reading bunks every morning at the feed yard.
Sunday morning, I ran round trip from my driveway to the old feed yard facility — high 5’ing the stop sign at the half way point — and meeting a training goal of a 9 mile run. As I saddled up my horse early the next morning to go down to the pasture to move cattle, I questioned my intelligence as my stiff legs caused me to look trepidatiously at my favorite black quarter horse who stands over 16 hands tall.
I am glad to report that my legs cooperated as I consciously filled my head with youthful thoughts while gaining the saddle. We had a beautiful morning to move the cattle as the animals began their return journey to the main corral to ultimately ship to Roberts Cattle Co. in a couple of weeks. Maximizing our grass resources while ensuring good animal care provides the steadfast goal for our family.
As we drove home after moving the cattle, Megan, Karyn and I had a good conversation about always respecting the land. I have a Wendall Berry quote hanging in the hallway of my house that reads:
Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children!
As farmers, Matt and I respect the land by using the resources that Mother Nature bestows upon us while also carefully making sure that we tend to it. We recognize that increasing the quality of the land enables it to sustain into the future. There is pride to be found in being a good caretaker and we want to make sure that we pass along that lesson to our girls 🙂
It’s been six months since we shipped the last of our cattle to the packing plant and I shut down the feed yard. I remember someone saying to me last winter, “Anne, it’s going to be so depressing to look at an empty feed yard and think about what it used to be.”
I am a person that always looks forward — reaching toward what will be rather than looking back on what used to be. As a result of that, as soon as the cattle left the feed yard we began to build a plan for what Will Feed would be in the future. That meant tearing out the home pens to convert the facility into a combination crop farm and cattle receiving area to serve as our grass pasture headquarters.
Above: An aerial view of the feed yard. Below: the same land a few days before Matt planted the cover crop…
I am pleased to report that we have been very successful in this effort. My foreman and my cowboy worked all winter to make this conversion possible.
- Feed bunks and water tanks were sold to neighbors to be used for other local cattle operations.
- All of the left over concrete was recycled to be used to help maintain local irrigation canals.
- Fences were reconstructed to fit the needs of our grass cattle operation.
- Manure was hauled out by my favorite farmer to be used as fertilizer to maintain soil health on his crop fields.
On the 1st of July, my favorite farmer planted a cover crop where the home pens of the feed yard used to be. My original plan was to have this completed by the first of June, but we were slowed down by the weather and the final dirt work on the project. Matt has a solid plan for building soil health over the next several years and we are excited about the farm transition.
Photo credits to Katie Arndt Photography
I have learned many lessons in the past two decades living on a farm; but I think perhaps the most important one is the critical importance of having resilience. Change can be difficult, but packing your FAITH (fortitude, attitude, integrity, trust, and hope) allows for a successful journey.
I saw a t-shirt last weekend that read “Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.” I think that this provides good food for thought as we make our way into a new week 🙂
I have a half written blog post sitting on my computer and a half made video on my iPhone that I was supposed to get up on Feed Yard Foodie this week.
While a goal without a plan is just a wish, sometimes the plan has to be readjusted to fit life.
It is Championship week for the Cozad Swim Team, and I have more than 50 swimmers who qualified and will represent us as competitors tomorrow. The past eight weeks have been filled with the joys of coaching and all of the responsibilities that go along with it.
I thank each of you for being patient with the blog as I know that I have allowed things to slip a bit. My coaching holds a very special place in my heart and I appreciate you all being willing to grant me the ability to fulfill this calling to the best of my abilities.
In lieu of a regular post, I will share an article up today announcing that I received the inaugural Advocate of the Year award for the beef industry. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association mid-year convention is currently going on in Denver, CO. While I am in Nebraska (on the pool deck), instead of out in Denver — I very much appreciate this honor.
Most of all, I appreciate each and every one of you. You bless me each week with your time and bring smiles to my face with your comments. There is a piece of each one of you in this journey that we take together. Please know how much you bless my life — Together we are stronger!
Click here to read the article.
Last week the Feed Yard Foodie family (actually Matt, our foreman Doug, and I) took care of the yearly accumulating of our prairie hay bales. We bale extra prairie hay during the summer in order to have for horse and cattle feed in the winter months.
Matt and I prefer to engage our *free labor* in the form of our daughters to help with the manual labor associated with throwing small square hay bales, but this year all three girls were gone. It’s a good thing that Matt and I remain fit and strong…
The weekly video up on YouTube from Feed Yard Foodie comes in the form of “How do farmers feed their animals?” and recaps our afternoon building muscle to ensure that our animals have winter feed 🙂
Happy Summer from our farm to your family!
The Feed Yard Foodie family is one short this week as my favorite brunette is competing in an Extemporaneous Speaking competition at the National Forensics League finals in Alabama; but my favorite farmer and I headed down to the pasture with our blondes yesterday morning to do a few chores.
My favorite 12 year old did an awesome job taking video and pictures that I was able to use to make the below video 🙂
Happy Father’s Day!
It’s hay season and my favorite farmer and his crew are one third of the way through the first cutting of alfalfa. Matt and his guys will harvest 4 cuttings from May to the end of October. Weather permitting, they run 24 hours a day for 7 days a week during the summer months as 3300 acres of alfalfa keeps them plenty busy. We are blessed to have an awesome set of guys to help us out!
In honor of my favorite farmer, this week’s video is entitled “Makin’ Hay” and describes the alfalfa portion of our farm 🙂 Enjoy!
We took our second set of cattle to pasture last week before heading to the Nebraska State Track Championships. We’ve received plentiful rain this spring so the grass is lush and ready for cattle! I took the opportunity to create a new video and continue to develop my skills.
With school out and two different sets of cattle down at the grass pasture, my favorite blonde cowgirl has plenty of ranch chores. She is currently doing some fence work in addition to checking cattle. Between work, swim team, basketball practice and pole vault camp she should stay plenty busy during the month of June 🙂
I am looking for ideas to continue to building my video making skills, so if you have topics that you would like to see covered please leave them in the comment section. Thank you!