Sure Didn’t See That Coming

Funny story.

I just had 950 words of the dramatic story of a heifer calf’s first days of life, but I somehow deleted it all with the accidental hit of 2 keys. I don’t know what two keys those were. Kind of wish I did. Oh well, I’ll save you all the long saga and get to the bread and butter of the situation.

Daphne had a heifer calf!

And we didn’t know it was coming!

We knew she was bred, and the day before she calved ScubaSteve proclaimed that she would calve sometime in the next month or two. Or, you know, tomorrow. Apparently.

At first Daphne was being a bit of a dead beat momma, but she’s gotten her act together. Plus the best cow in the whole wide world, Delilah, has stepped in to help, and that’s much appreciated by me… and Daphne I’m sure.

Here she is, Miss Sookie St. James Snider, born 4/21/17. Truth be told, there’s a good chance she was born on 4/20, but I don’t want her birthday to be international pot smoking day, so 4/21 it is.

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She’s not spoiled at all.

By the way her name comes from the Gilmore Girls show. One of my other favorite TV shows besides Golden Girls. MyFarmer and I have already decided that Faycee’s future calves will be named after Big Bang Theory characters. And I need another cow for The Office. Then we will have to start watching more TV. Ha!

And for those of you wondering, Laszlo is still doing great. Although he really wasn’t stoked about losing his only child status so quickly. But he has adjusted well and is a lazy little momma’s boy compared to the spunky little heifer calf that has invaded his life.

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When I saw them laying together I melted into a puddle on the barn floor. ❤ 

So there you have it. I have 2 baby calves now. And my life is perfect.

Laney

A Good Rain and a Baby Calf Are Always Welcome

The good news: Delilah finally had her calf!

Little Laszlo Richmond Snider was born yesterday afternoon, which happened to be National Women in Ag Day! I specifically asked the Easter Bunny for a red and white speckled heifer calf…I got the red and white speckled part, but not so much the heifer part. But I am ecstatic because I have a healthy and happy baby and momma. Life is good!

In case you all are new to my life, I name all of Delilah’s calves after characters on the greatest TV show ever made… The Golden Girls. I was going through a character list for the show with MyFarmer and when I said “Laszlo” MyFarmer said, “That’s it!” I don’t ever recall them giving Laszlo’s last name in the show (but if you do happen to know his last name, PLEASE let me know!) so for the middle name I went with the street the Golden Girls live on… Richmond Street. Laszlo Richmond Snider. It has a good ring to it if I do say so myself. Now on to the real reason you all clicked on this link: Baby calf pictures!

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Delilah is such a good momma! 

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If you look closely he has a black dipped tail! I wonder if it will stay like that? 

Fun side note: Delilah was bred to a black Corriente bull last year, and that bull has thrown all solid red calves out of solid black mommas, and now a speckled red calf out of a black and white speckled momma. The first time Delilah was bred to a solid black Corriente bull she threw a solid back calf, but she has been bred to a black Angus twice and threw white and black calves. Last year she was bred to a Hereford (red) and threw a red calf with some white. I know very little about color genetics in cattle, but I do know that black hair coats are usually dominate to red, but if both the cow and the bull are recessive carriers of the red gene they will produce red calves. It appears that the Corriente bull is not a homozygous black… and neither is Delilah. But that’s quite alright, little red calves are pretty adorable. And black or red they will rope just the same.  🙂

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Somehow little Laszlo ended up on the wrong side of the fence this morning. As I was carrying him back to the gate to let him back in the pasture he pooped all over me. My life is so glamorous. 

Now on to the bad news….

Since the calf was not born on or before the 11th of April… I lost the bet with ScubaSteve. The details of the bet can been seen here.  And boy is he proud of himself. I’ll never hear the end of this you all. BUT I did get one little piece of victory on Easter:

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A very rare side hug from a very happy ScubaSteve. I’ll take it.

Have a great week friends! I’ll be getting me real camera out this week for better pictures of Mr. Laszlo to share with you all. 🙂

Laney

Validation

I know that we really shouldn’t look outside of ourselves for any type of validation in life. If we are working hard and doing the right thing in life we should feel good about ourselves, blah blah blah. Sure, my mom tells me she loves me and shes proud of me all the time, but this is also the woman that continues to keep my awful elementary school artwork (and some more recent and equally awful “sip and paint” artwork) proudly around the house, so I’m thinking she might have some bias on the matter.

Last November I had the opportunity to attend the Executive Women in Agriculture conference in Chicago, and to call it life changing for me would be an understatement. I’ve never been around a group of women that were so uplifting and encouraging. Not in a “I am woman here me roar” way, but in an honest to goodness help each other realize that our places in agriculture are not only important, but needed. It was such an eye opening experience for me and it took me about a week to get off my conference high when I got home.

A few days after returning from the conference MyFarmer and I were chatting as I was making dinner. In passing, I just kind of threw the idea out about me perusing ag journalism/writing, half expecting a “Yeah, that would be cool I guess. How’s the mac and cheese coming along?” But what I got was a resounding, “Yes! Why haven’t we thought of this before?! That would be perfect for you!”

Knowing I had MyFarmer’s support meant a lot, but, like my mom I have to think he’s a little bit biased. I mean the guy married me, so I must have a couple redeeming qualities in his eyes.

After that I spent a couple months mulling it over. Ag journalism was honestly not something I had ever considered prior to the conference and it was (and is) something that I know very little about. All I know about writing is what I throw out in this silly little blog of mine. Long story short, I finally got the guts up to send an e-mail to a woman that I met at the conference who has done basically everything in the ag journalism world and is super awesome. She’s an extremely busy lady so I was FLOORED when I got an e-mail back within 15 minutes telling me that she loved my blog and to keep it going. And that was the confidence boost that I needed to take this little idea of mine seriously.

As fate would have it, my BFF DanaDoodle saw a Facebook status that said a roping website was looking for some freelance blog writers. I got in contact with the girl that put up the status and sent her a couple trial blog posts. She e-mailed me back within the hour and said that I was hired! Holy Moly is this real life?!

I’ve now had a couple of my roping blog posts published and it’s so wild seeing the number of people that are reading and (hopefully) enjoying what I write. 300 “likes” is a pretty awesome little piece of validation. I’m absolutely loving getting to write about roping and it’s giving me another way to stay involved in the sport while I’m not competing. It’s one more thing for me to juggle, but sitting down to write is oddly fun for me, so I’m happy to add another bowling pin to the circus routine that is my life.

So, friends, if you are interested in checking out what I’ve been writing outside of here, or if you are just a fan of roping, check out ROPING.COM. Myself and an awesome group of other writers have a fun mix of educational, informative, and hilarious blog posts ready for you there!

Laney

 

 

Barley: From Our Farm to Your Beer

I posted an adorable picture of my dog AreenaJo in a barley field early this morning and it has put me on a “learn about barley” kick today. So I figured if I’m going to learn, we might as well learn together! It works out nicely that as I write this my resident barley expert, MyFarmer, is in the next room building a fishing pole so I can ask him as many questions as I want to and he can’t run away from me.

We are really lucky in southern Kentucky that we can “double crop” our fields, which means exactly what it sounds like… we can harvest 2 crops a year off of a piece of ground. To do this, we harvest the crop in the fall (corn) and plant the winter wheat or barley right behind it. We harvest the winter crop in late spring, then plant our “double crop” soybeans. (We always plant soybeans after wheat or barley.) The soybeans will grow all summer and will be harvested later in the fall. We don’t do this on all of our fields every year, but we do utilize this practice on fields that we want to prevent erosion of topsoil throughout the winter months.

We are one of the few farms in our little county that raise barley and we only raise on average 60-100 acres every year. Wheat is much more commonly grown in our area and we usually raise about 350 acres of it as well, but ScubaSteve is a humongous fan of barley. Why? Well it’s not because the price is better than wheat… that’s for sure. BUT it does tend to have a higher yield than wheat and most importantly the beans that are planted behind barley are higher yielding than the soybeans planted behind wheat. It’s enough of a yield boost to offset the difference in cash price between the wheat and barley and it helps our farm spread more risk out through crop diversification. Plus ScubaSteve loves barley… so we plant barley.

Barley is raised on every continent in the world that crops are grown and it is thought to be one of the first grains to be domesticated by humans. The top 4 countries for barley production are Russia, Germany, France and Canada. There are 2 types of barley grown around the world, feed grade barley and malting/food grade barley. Malting barley has a much higher starch content so it is preferred for making alcohol. About 60% of the barley produced across the world goes into animal feed, and the other 40% of the crop goes directly into human consumption via 2 main routes. 1) Milled/polished/dehulled barley or the barley is ground to make flours that can be used in a number of different breads/crackers/etc. 2) Beer. The majority of all barley that is used for human consumption actually goes into making beer! The types of barley used for beer are two-rowed barley and six-rowed barley. Different parts of the world prefer two or six-rowed for the purpose of making beer. The United States prefers six-rowed, but many other countries around the world prefer two.

So where does the barley from our farm go? Well… we don’t know. Some farmers actually contract their grain out to a specific company. There are a lot of farmers east of us that sell their corn directly to bourbon makers (this is Kentucky after all!) so they know that their corn is going to be made into bourbon. So the next time you drink bourbon pat yourself on the back for supporting a Kentucky farmer! 😉 I’m sure some farmers that grow barley near a beer making company take their barley directly to the source as well. We don’t have a local beer maker, so we take our barley to a local elevator where they load it on train carts and it can go anywhere in the US or world from there. (Fun fact about our little town.. until a couple years ago we were still a “dry county.” We had to go across the state line to Tennessee to buy any alcohol.) The type of barley that we raise is primarily used for animal feed, not beer, so sorry about kind of lying to you with the title. But I thought that sounded a whole lot better than “Barley: From Our Farm to a Cow’s Stomach to a Steak on Your Plate.” Please forgive me.

I’m not sure what your area of the world has been experiencing weather-wise, but it has been extremely unseasonably warm this winter for us. I think we have only had a few days where the ground was even frozen in the morning. Yesterday (February 24) was almost 80 degrees. That’s just unheard of. While the warm temperatures are great for walks with the dogs, it is a major concern for us on the wheat and barley front. We plant our wheat and barley after the fall crop has been harvested out of the field, so usually around October. This gives the barley and wheat about a month or so to come up and establish itself then it will go dormant for the rest of the winter. The problem with the extremely warm temperatures the last few weeks is that our barley and wheat have come out of dormancy and are growing like crazy. It looks great so that’s cool, but we are playing Russian roulette with the entire crop now. If the weather stays warm we should be fine and we will have a good crop come harvest time in June. The major BUT of this situation is this: If we have a cold snap come though it could really damage our wheat and barley and possibly kill it off. Seeing that we are just now in the end of February, a cold snap could very easily happen. Like MyFarmer says, “We will control the controllable’s and that’s all we can do.” Mother nature is most certainly not a controllable, so we will roll with the punches and see what she brings us this year.

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Well friends, I hope you have learned a little bit more about barley with me today. I also hope that you have a great weekend and that in the spirit of supporting farmers you have a beer or bourbon… if you’re into that sort of thing.

Laney

Ag Day 365 Week 3

The third week of January was unseasonably warm with a couple of days reaching the 70 degree mark. I’m not going to complain about these warm temperatures, but being from Ohio I’m a pretty big fan of snow. This time last year we had about 2 feet of snow on the ground. This year I’m bathing horses in a t-shirt. Weather is a funny thing.

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MyFarmer and I were chosen for the Agricultural Business Leader award given by the Franklin-Simpson Chamber of Commerce. It was such an honor to be chosen for this award, but even more of an honor to be recognized with the other award recipients that evening who are phenomenal at their respective business and professions. THANK YOU so much to the Franklin-Simpson Chamber of Commerce! 
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We raise barley and wheat as cover crops on some of our farm ground. We aren’t sure exactly where our barley goes after it is harvested, but we do know in the past it went to Blue Moon to be made into beer! 
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Delilah is very pregnant, and very fat. I don’t know why she’s so fat! 
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Well, okay… Maybe I have an idea. But the good news is we don’t waste any leftover pumpkins or indian corn! (Or pancakes…)
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Since it was 70 degrees, the boys got a bath. They weren’t at all happy with the situation, but they needed it! All of these warm temperatures and rain mean MUD. Lots of MUD. 
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Daphne is really coming along with her selfie skills. 
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I met a baby pig while shopping. And I died a little inside. I’m 100% terrified of full grown pigs, but widdle precious babes need cuddling… and I’m happy to do my part.  

I hope everyone is off to a great week!

Laney

Stampede Sales

If there is one thing that I have learned from living on a farm for 4 and a half years it’s that you need to have a sense of humor to survive. But when you put your blood, sweat, and tears into something and all the sudden the manure is hitting the fan, it can be extremely disheartening. As farmers we can’t make it rain, we can’t make the sun shine, we can’t make the grain markets go up, and most importantly, we sure as hell can’t control the minds of our cows.

I learned very quickly when Delilah the cow came into my life that poly wire fencing I had for the horses was NOT going to work for her. Even if I tried to keep it electrified one touch of the horn and homegirl was headed to the neighbors. This year I decided to replace the easy-to-escape poly wire with high tensile wire. When talking my plan over with ScubaSteve he was ADAMANT that barbed wire was the way to go. “It’s so much easier to put up!” he says. “Trust me, I’ve been doing this for 60 years!” he says.

Y’all, barbed wire SUCKS to deal with. Especially when you are a horse girl from the suburbs that has no clue what she’s doing. I have scars. I thought I gave myself tetanus. It was a horrific experience.

But eventually I got the fence done. Boy was I proud of myself. 3 strands of hot barbed wire. Get out of that you stupid cows!

Fast forward to the first day of early goose season this year. Ring, ring, I hear my phone going off at 4:41 in the morning. MyFarmer is on the other end of the line close to melt down status.

MyFarmer: “Your cow is out!!”

Me: “Wait, what? Oh, *words I won’t put in writing*, which one?”

MyFarmer: “The little one!”

Me: “*words I won’t put in writing*, I’ll be down in a second.”

Luckily for me, Faycee is about as laid back as they come. She walked back into the barn and through the gate without a fuss. Whatever, cows get out sometimes, it’s a fact of life, I need some coffee.

Fast forward about 4 hours, MyFarmer comes stomping into the house.

“Your cow has completely destroyed the mum pad!”

Oh Lawd.

I go down to the mum pad and the apparent carnage was far worse than the actual carnage. There was probably about 15 mums knocked over and scattered about, but only about 6 out of the 800 were actually damaged. Shew! That could have been so much worse.

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This is what my pristine, non-trampled mum pad usually looks like…
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Bad Cow. 
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Bad BAD Cow. 
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“Did I do that!?” 

Being the pun-loving person that I am, I had a “Stampede Sale” on Facebook and got those trampled/ate mums sold first thing the next day. Everyone got a kick out of it, no harm, no fowl. (Get it? Goose season?? I crack myself up!)

Life was grand for a couple of days until I noticed that Miss Faycee was spending more time OUTSIDE of the pasture than in. She was just going in and out as she pleased. At this point it was obvious that the fence was NOT hot, so I set out troubleshooting the issue. (If you’ve ever had electric fence you know the multitude of tiny things that can be wrong that will cause your fence to not work.)

Of course the fence tester I had was broken, so first things first, take the solar charger to TSC, have them test it, and pick up a new tester. Well, the poor guy electrified the crap out of himself attempting to test the charger, so we know that it is working properly. (I still feel bad that my first reaction was to laugh, not to show some kind of concern.) So home I go with my new tester and a working solar charger. With minimal effort we get the middle strand of the fence working. ScubaSteve and I decided as long as Faycee got zapped by one strand she would stay put. We get everything back together and ScubaSteve yells, “She’s getting ready to put her head through! Quick turn it on!” I run to the corner and flip the switch. “YES! Got her!” laughs Scuba.

With great pride we walk away from the fence thinking we have tamed the escaping heifer beast.

Our victory was short lived. 45 minutes later we look over and Faycee is out in the soybean field on the other side of the pasture.

We herd Faycee back into the pasture and commence to getting the bottom strand working as well. Right about dark we got it working. And *knock on wood* I haven’t SEEN the heifer hanging out on the wrong side of the fence since. Guaranteed she will be out today when I get home from work. Because that’s how life works.

I post most of my ridiculous tales on social media, because, well, I like laughing at myself and I figure the rest of the world should laugh at me too. But the truth is, if I didn’t laugh I would have drowned in my own tears by now.

This life I live is a hot mess y’all. But it’s my hot mess. And I love it.

Laney Hotmess Snider

 

Pumpkins and Pups

The weekend before last we had our first “Pumpkins and Pups” event at Ruby Branch Farms and my goodness it was even more fun than I could have imagined! We had all kinds of pups come to the farm and over $400.00 was raised in one day for Abbi’s Barkery! Abigail is a local girl who has been diagnosed with epilepsy and has started selling homemade dog treats to raise money for a dog that will detect her seizures. She and her family are absolutely precious and we were so excited to do something that would help her cause! When Abbi has raised enough money for her dog she is going to keep the business going and help other families get dogs and other detection devices. If you are not local to the Franklin, KY area check out her website at  www.abbisbarkery.com and have them delivered straight to your pooch! My dogs LOVE the treats and I promise yours will too!

My awesome mother in law offered up her photography expertise for free, and all of the pictures were taken just for a donation to Abbi’s Barkery. Here are a few pictures from our fun day!

All photo’s by B. Snider Photography.

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I was super impressed with everyone’s well-behaved dogs (and cats!). We didn’t have to break up any fights and my recurring nightmare of a giant Doberman Pinscher running through the mum pad with reckless abandon didn’t come to fruition. If I were to take our 4 dogs to something like this it would have caused pandamonium. Ha!

This weekend (Oct. 1st and 2nd) we are kicking off Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Ruby Branch Farms with our first annual “Mums For Moms” event.  We have pink mums, pumpkins, t-shirts, totes and other goodies! A portion of all sales will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to help find a cure for a disease that takes WAYYY to many moms (and dads) away from us every year.

In other news, I could weep with joy just looking at the weather forecast this week. It’s September 26th and this is the first day of the year that it actually feels like fall. Tonights low is 46 degrees. It’s hoodie weather, y’all!

Have a great week!

Laney