Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Preview of the Genex Progeny Test calves.

Good morning!
I'm awake, typing this post from my hotel room in Redmond.  Four of us from my office are here this week learning about a new program (ARC/PLC) that we'll implement this fall.  And since we're just sitting in a meeting room going thru PowerPoint slides, I figured I'd share a few pictures from the Genex Progeny Test calves that I took here at the beginning of the month and haven't had a chance to post yet.
Calving is slowing down here as well....over 70% of the cows took to first service AI so the bulk of the calves are on the ground.  Now it's just a matter of calving the second service AI which are calving right now, and the pasture bred cows.
These pictures were taken really early this month when these calves were just a few days old.  This weekend is going to be busy getting ready for the BoBo Sale we're hosting at the sale barn on Wednesday, but maybe I'll have time to get out and get updated pictures of the calves.

Until then, you can enjoy these.  :)

PS - I've hyperlinked the sire information below each picture so you can check out these new & exciting bulls.
This is a Breaking News calf.  I haven't had a lot of time to analyze them, but overall they seem like a good set of calves.  Long bodied and easy calving.

This picture is a Chisum calf - he was our "control" or reference sire in this bunch this year.  Since he's a proven sire, we can gauge the other bull's calves against his and have a control group.  We've used Chisum for a few years here at the ranch and have been very impressed with his calves.  They may not be the prettiest fronted females, but they always weigh like lead.

This Balance calf is stout!  And cute!
All requirements in an AI calf, right?  ;)



This is an Uproar calf....and he wanted nothing to do with me and my camera.  He was busy nursing!
Side note - At first I thought these were ranch bred calves because their tag says UR on the top (Clint writes the sire of the calf on the top part of each tag, the cow number below and then the calf's number is stamped on the tag on the bottom.)  Double M's brand is a UR for "Umatilla Ranch" which is why I thought they were ranch sired calves.  But Clint let me know they were Uproar's.  :)

I thought I'd leave you with this picture of a Breaking News calf that cracks me up - it's little tongue sticking out, searching for more milk to nurse.

So just a few pictures of the calves - but I'll post more this fall.
I hope you all have a great Wednesday!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Moving day!

So it's a big day here at the office - we are moving today!

Actually....the more accurate statement is that we're moving this WEEK.  Because it will take that long to get us moved.

We spent all of last week boxing up files, purging junk, and taking home our personal stuff.  We didn't count the boxes - but we used a lot of them!  The pictures below show our main office, but we also had storage rooms, conference rooms and a break room to box up.


The movers come today to begin hauling all of our boxes up to the new office, and disassembling our work stations and reassembling them in the new space.  It'll probably take them the majority of the week to get our new space set up. 

Half of our office (including myself) is headed to a training in Redmond, so we'll be out of the office but the rest of the staff will come back after the movers have workstations up to begin unpacking their things.

Once we get moved in, I'll post pictures of the new digs.

Have a great week! If the blog is a bit quiet, it's because I'm traveling but I'll be back soon.


Friday, October 17, 2014

To Baker and Back.

We started off today bright & early here at the ranch.
Watching the sunrise come up over the meadows is one of the best ways to start a day.
My plans for errands in town, and deliveries to Boardman got scrapped for a trip to Baker City.
Mike, Patsy and Clint were at the Thomas Angus sale yesterday, and Double M bought 26 pairs of registered Angus females and their calves so we headed over today to pick them up.
My backseat co-pilot was super excited to travel today, lol.
He did get a nice nap in though. :)

It took three trailers to haul the pairs home....Duane & Clint hauled the cows and I hauled two cows and all of the baby calves.  We were behind a semi in the load out line, so we had a bit of time to go through and look at the pairs while they loaded the truck.  I left my camera in the pickup though, so no pictures.
The cows are all LGW cows that Thomas's had purchased, and they were cows we had AI'ed last year so it was neat to see the calves.   I texted Sheri on the way home and told her that it was neat to be bringing a small piece of the LGW legacy home to Double M.

The calves all looked good - and the two cows I hauled cracked me up!  They never unloaded once they were on the trailer, but they were right there at the edge checking out what we were doing to thier baby calves!
We were just trying to load the calves....but as anyone who's loaded month old calves would know - they're not the easiest little buggers to load!  There's a lot of SHUSH SHUSH SHUSHING - and C'MON BABIES, LOAD ON THE BUS! - and HAH HAH HAH! going on as you try to convince them that getting on the trailer is a good idea. :)


It was a beautiful fall day in Baker - but I was glad to be back home this afternoon and get the trailers unloaded.
Hopefully the new cows enjoy their home back here on the Echo & Stanfield Meadows and their calves grow well.   I don't know about the rest of the crew, but I'm excited to have a set of registered Angus cows here at the ranch....even if it's just a few. 
Now to learn the registration software!  But that'll be saved for another day.
Hope you all have a great weekend wherever you are!
Keep on living the dream!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Basic Tips for Videoing Cattle.

We are partners in a set of bred commercial replacement heifers that we are getting ready to sell, so this weekend we headed up to Joseph to video them.

But first the guys had to gather them and bring them to the corral we were using to video in.

Leo was happy to go along!

  I hadn't ever really videoed a set of cattle before, so I thought I'd share what I learned.

These are basic tips....obviously I am not an expert.  But I thought I'd share.  :)

1. Know your camera.

I've used my camera to take plenty of pictures....but I haven't really used it much to video.  Katie Colyer (who videos cattle all of the time professionally) was staying at our house last week, so I asked her to show me a few pointers.  Basically you will want to know how to focus, how to record & stop recording, and basic settings.  Do all of this before you are in the pen with cattle around you.  I promise you won't regret it. :)  
2. Focus first.

Before you start recording, or even let the cattle come towards you: find your focus.  I was shooting against a fenceline, so before Clint let cattle come at me, I focused on the fence.  Other times, he'd let one heifer out and she would stand still and I'd focus on her.  THEN, I'd start recording and Clint would let more cattle come towards me.  I learned this the hard way, and you'll notice in some of my videos that I had to focus mid-shoot.

Don't be like me.  Focus first and leave it alone.
3. Make a T.

I found that the cattle looked best when I was shooting them on the profile.  So if you imagine the fenceline that the cattle are walking along as the top of the T, you want to be situated at the bottom of the T and point the camera at the fence line.  Then allow the cattle to walk between you & the fenceline.
4. Shoot with the sun behind you.

I love myself a backlit photo.  Like LOVE with a capitol L.  But videoing cattle isn't really the best time to take artistic liberties.  Go back to the basics, and position yourself between the cattle and the sun.  So it should be fence, cattle, you, the sun.  That way the cattle are lit up and you'll reduce glare on the video.
5. Be patient.

We gave ourselves ample time to video the cattle, and there were no expectations that the first video taken would be the only one needed.  In fact, I probably shot 10 different videos, and over 15 minutes of footage....of which 4 videos were good enough to use to splice together for a 35 second clip.  If you give yourself time & grace, you'll get the footage.
6. It takes two.

In our marriage, I am the expert in photography and Clint is the expert in cattle handling.  So we play to each other's strengths.  Before we began, I told Clint what I needed (me between the cattle & the sun, and which fence I wanted them to walk along) and Clint brought the cattle to me.  I didn't worry about how they got there....and he didn't worry about the video.

Play to each other's strengths.  It's easier. :)
7. It's ok to be happy with {Good Enough}.

Do I absolutely love all of the footage I took?  No.
Do I have the best camera out there to video.  No way.
Is the footage we got good enough to accurately and fairly portray our cattle?  Yes.

Here's the will analyze your footage way more than the average person looking at it.  So while we all want our cattle to look great, and I'd love to have a video that looks ultra professional what I have to remember is that as long as we are accurately representing what we're selling - it's good enough.
Do you video cattle?
I'd love to know your tips! 
PS - These cattle will sell in the Oct. 23 Superior Select Female Sale - Lot R374

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Words worth living.

Much needed & prayed for rain drops are falling softly outside & we just walked in the house from eating tacos at Last Chance.   I'd planned to post about the heifers in Joseph tonight but they'll wait till later in the week.

We've been boxing up our office at work...the moving trucks arrive next week to help us haul our load into our new building up the hill.

So before they do, I thought I'd share this post that's been waiting patiently in the archives.

Like the rain, it's finally found it's time to bring grace.


Plastered around my office are quotes and thoughts that motivate me or encourage me.  I have some at home too, but it seems like at work is where I choose to use words as art the most. 

Some are handwritten, some are prints and some are just thoughts I love that I've typed out in Word and amateurishly cut and taped to my computer monitor. 

This sign, I bought at Goodwill for $3.99.  It's found a home on top of a file cabinet in the corner of my office, next to the antique cast steel Holstein door stop my dad gave me when I graduated college.  John Wayne is always right, right?

My sister gave me this card the first day I started working in Pendleton - it's one of my favorite quotes.   When I worked for National FFA in college, I was at a facilitator training and Andy Armbruster spoke those words.  They've been an encouragement in times when I feel stale, or lacking....or when I've totally messed up something and have had to be humble and work my way out of it.  It's then that I realize that green and growing (messing up and making it right) is way better than being a {know it all}.

I just found this quote on a blog this summer.  It's actually a modified version of a posted prayer - and a new mantra for me. 

Be a woman among women.  Be classy and humble.  Have a servant's heart.
Know the Lord deeply and profoundly.
Be a good woman in a storm.
Love yourself and be confident in who you are.

I love it.  And I want to be {that} woman.

 The black, square signs I've had since I worked in Heppner. They've lived on the walls of my office in Heppner, Kearney and Pendleton and while they're a bit scratched, I love them anyway.

Lindsay gave me the red metal sign - we each have one, and the Max Lucado quote is actually a greeting card that I've just hung up. 

There are things only you can do,
and you are alive to do them.
In the great orchestra we call life,
you have an instrument and a song,
and you owe it to God to play them both sublimely.

Play on.

It reminds me that we're all unique....that we all have God given talents...and that it's our job to make the most of them.

 My sister Linday gave me this print when we lived in Heppner, and I had it framed when we were back in Nebraska.  Many producers that come into my office ask about it's meaning, since it's what they look at when they're sitting at my desk.  I tell them to me, it means that even when you feel buried or overwhelmed - there's a gate out there.  A light at the end of the tunnel.  And that you'll get just have to keep riding and working towards that gate.

I especially love it on my walls in my office - for those who or who've worked for FSA, I think you can understand why.

Dan Steiner works for our grain co-op in town and writes a daily email for the local farmers.  Sometimes he includes quotes at the end of his emails, and this one spoke to me.  Our office is large and complex, and it's a daily reminder that while we try not to, it's ok to have problems....but to make sure that we don't have emergencies.  This quote lives, taped on the top of my computer screen, so that I see and read it daily.

An old photograph from the Pendleton Round Up my mom gave me a few years ago sits behind's a good reminder than women can find their place in a male dominated world.

So that's a little mini-tour with cell phone pictures of my {now} office and a look at the encouragement I try to keep around me.  Nothing super fancy, but all of these quotes encourage me.  Maybe not all at once, or all on the same day, but they are a part of my journey.  They're words that I think are worth living.

As we move up the hill into our new digs next week, and I move into a brand new, freshly painted office....these old words of wisdom will still remain.  And as silly as it sounds - I'm thankful for the encouragement they've provided me in this little space at 200 SE Hailey Street.

What words worth living do you have in your home or office?

Please share in the comments, or link to a blog post - I'd love to see or read them!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up

Happy Columbus Day!
Also known in our office as "the mother's holiday", because we're off of work but school is still in session.  But since we don't have kids, I prefer to think of it as "Darcy has a lot of things to do for the FFA auction at Hermiston HS in November and is super thankful that the school IS open" kind of a holiday.
Can you tell I'm on my fourth Diet Pepsi of the day?
Oh you can?  Well, super.....let's just keep that our little secret, ok?
So this weekend - well, it was a weekend!
I ran up to Milton Freewater and took pictures of our good friends the Duff's.  It was blowing a gazillion miles an hour, and trying to rain every five minutes, but this family.....they are TROOPERS!  It didn't faze them a bit.  We'd run outside, snap a few pictures, feel the rain coming on, run back inside, wait a few minutes....and repeat.
But can I just tell you this?
Aaron & Katie ROCK as parents.  They are super chill (yet firm) and just don't let stuff get under their skin.  I thought this picture totally sums them are doing their thing, and they are just smiling away.
That's a pretty good way to live life, I think.  :)
While we were waiting out the rain, Quinn & Tanner were showing me the cool things they'd won at the school carnival the night before.  (Aaron is the principal at the local elementary school.)  And I got to see their neat goldfish they had won too....Katie and I were trying to convince Quinn that it needed to live in his goat's water tank.  But I don't think was going to be convinced, lol.

After I got home from taking pictures, we loaded up and headed to Joseph to video a set of bred heifers we have for sale. 
SHAMELESS PLUG - If you're looking for a quality set of bred commercial heifers - call the Clinton!   541-609-0167 
They were AI'ed to KG Solution in April, and pasture exposed afterwards.  Heifers have Angus, Sim-Angus and Hereford influenced genetics.  (About 20% of them are baldies or brockle faced.)  They're a nice set of heifers and have a great disposition.
After videoing them and working on some other things up there, we headed home and got in late last night, just in time to do chores and check calving cows.
So with that - I'm off to fix lunch (split pea soup) and work on our taxes that are due this Wednesday.
Yes, I realize it's Monday. 
We love our accountant.  Really - Kristi is the BEST!  I just hope she still loves me after this week.
Something tells me I need to bring lots of Diet Pepsi and chocolate to her office when I drop off our stuff.
Have the best week!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Favorites.

Happy Friday friends!
We made it!!! 
Haha.  I have totally felt like {that} today....and all this week, I just kept saying to myself "Just keep it together - Friday will be easier."  And it has been!
I hope you've had a great week.  Today, I thought I'd post a quick, light hearted post (with cell phone pics no less - that's how simple this post is) showing you a few of my favorite things and link up to Andrea, Narci & Erika!
1. My favorite snacks.

I knew this week that I wasn't going to have any free time to go to the gym, so I tried to watch what I ate.  Have you seen the "Biggest Loser" celery at Wal-Mart?  It's the only place I can buy it in town, but it's already cleaned and sliced, and you only get nice green stalks (no leaves, or light yellow inside stalks).  It's always delicious and super easy to take to work as a snack.  And it's not any more expensive than a regular stalk of celery so that is a win-win!
I also love little cherry tomatoes...and since it's October and these benefit breast cancer research I was more than happy to put a few packages in my cart!
Easy - and healthy - snacking!
2. My favorite {FALL} candle.

I'm not a huge candle girl....I think because it requires me to consciously light one, and then remember to put it out.  So for the majority of the year, I just use a Scentsy.  But two years ago, I won a Tyler Candle from a Bunco night at my friend Brandi's and I fell in love with it.
She gave another one away this month at her Bunco (I didn't win it, darn it) but it reminded me how much I loved my first one.  So I stopped by Brandi's boutique last week - it's amazing, check it out here! - and picked up a candle for myself in the "Mulled Cider" scent.
Oh My Gosh. 
 It smells delicious and is TOTALLY worth the effort to light it and remember that it is lit.  #Lotsgoingon  #Firstworldproblems 
So if you love a good candle, and want to make your home smell delicious - you need to try one of these candles! 
3. My favorite restaurant with some fun friends!
There are no pictures for this one - but probably one of the best parts of this week was that Sarah & Katie stayed with me at the house last night after they videoed the Double R sale bulls.  After they were done and I had chores done at the barn we went and ate at the Wheat & Barley Pub in Echo which is one of my favorite places to eat here locally.  They have the best steaks - which happen to be Double R beef (the same ranch as the bulls that were being videoed at the feedlot) and their food has so much flavor.  I feel like I want to make everything I eat there, but don't know how to because the flavor is so developed in all of their dishes and I like that in a restaurant. 
Clint was in Medford for a wolf delisting meeting, so he missed out on the fun.
So there's my Friday Favorites!
Any good weekend plans?
I'm taking pictures of one of my favorite families, and then we're headed to Joseph to video a set of bred heifers we own this weekend.  The heifers (most of which are AI bred to KG Solution) will be on the Superior Livestock Select Female Auction on October 23, 2014.  We've never sold anything on the video so that's exciting (and maybe a little bit nerve-wracking) but we have complete trust in our Superior Rep - shout out to Dennis! - and hope the heifers sell well.
#Nopressureonthevideographer  ;)
Then Monday is a federal holiday (wooo hooo!) and I will be working on Hermiston FFA Alumni Auction stuff.
PS - Do you have plans for November 8?  Why not treat yourself to a great BBQ tri-tip dinner and benefit auction at Hermiston High School! 
Happy Friday Friends -
Keep living the dream!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The full moon.

I heard at work yesterday morning that something cool happened with the moon the other night.
I haven't really studied how the moon affects livestock, but after this week I'd probably be willing to jump on the bandwagon of "a full moon makes cows do funny things".
And you probably won't find me in the camp of "We want to wake up at an unheard of hour to watch the lunar eclipse of the blood harvest moon that won't ever happen again in our lifetime."

Or something like that.  ;)
If I sound's because I'm tired.  Without complaining, life is just flat out busy right now.  Performance reviews at work, a COC meeting today and two producer meetings have left me flat out drained at the end of the day.  Then there's FFA alumni stuff, normal housework and then there's that dang moon & it's antics in the cows.
A set of twins, a cow that retained her placenta, a calf that was dehydrated & listless.
Electrolytes that were on the other side of the freeway, pairs that needed to be loaded in a field without loading facilities and guys who were searching for a break.  A calf who ONLY wanted to nurse on one side of the stifled cow and another calf who needed to be tubed.


So here's the positive side -
The calf was tubed.  Not ideal, but sometimes that's the way to hydrate a calf.
The extra twin calf nursed the dehydrated calf's mother - and the cow didn't kick.
Chores got done.  Hay was fed.  Water buckets were filled.
Dinner was late, but it was eaten.  I was thankful for the frozen pizzas in the freezer.
Rest was found.
This life is a good one, but there are times when I just am ready for a day to be done.
And sometimes that rest is found under the light of a full moon.