Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Something of our own.

I don't know if I have the right words for this post, so I'm just going to write (and not edit a whole lot) and hopefully you can follow along with me....
 
We have a goal of having something of {our own}.
 
At first, we thought maybe it'd be a ranch where we'd live and Clint would get to run cows while I worked in town.  And so we moved to Nebraska and tried to reach that goal.
 
And it didn't work.

Life happens. 
 
Things don't work out the way you thought they would, so you pick up the pieces, find another goal and start over.  And was it frustrating/disheartening/dissapointing at the time?
 
100% yes.
 
But it was also a learning experience, a good life lesson, and looking back now - something I think was good to go through.  It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful, and the whole Nebraska move was a really good example of that.  We learned a lot about ourselves, the strength of our marriage and our personal goals during those 10 months in Nebraska.
 
 
 
Adrienne and I were driving through cows Saturday night, writing down ear tag numbers of cows in standing heat we needed to AI in the morning and she asked how long we'd been at Double M. 
 
Four years, I replied.  
 
 And that's not a long time, but it got me thinking about how it's long enough to know when you've found a good fit.
 
Now our life isn't perfect - far from it.  We still run into bumps and hurdles, and people don't see eye to eye - but in the big grand scene of life - we are blessed.  I have a great job, in a challenging office with employees who hustle and work hard right alongside of me.   Clint gets to work for great people and for the most part - they let him do his job, and let him make decisions as if the cattle were his own.  I find us saying "we" a lot, and it's not because we have any ownership at all in the ranch or the ranch's cattle (we don't), but because Mike & Patsy let Clint manage things as if they were his own.  And that level of trust in an employee is empowering....and makes someone want to work even harder at a job.
 
But our initial goal of having something of {our own} was still pulling at us. 

And so now, instead of desiring to own a ranch, we are working to build an AI business.  It's not something we sat down and discussed, or drew up a business plan and went to the bank and took out a loan for.  It's something we started little by little and have financed ourselves by saving and paying cash for things.  A few breeding projects turned into a few more breeding projects, and suddenly this year we find ourselves looking at the calendar and not seeing a free day for the next two months between work & AI projects.  We bred on projects in every month last year, except for July.

Crazy.

And so what has happened was this dream of having something of our own, has turned into a lifestyle.
 
And one I wouldn't give up for anything right now.

 It's a side business that lets Clint and I spend a majority of our free time together.

It's a dream that we both love working towards.

It's an effort where we get to spend quality time with people we really like.
 
We're picky about the projects we take on and the people we work with, partly because we have the luxury to do so (since it's not our main source of income) but mostly because we want the process to be fun.  We figure if we're going to spend our free time working our tails off - we might as well work with people we like and for ranches & people who respect us and want to work with us.
 
And so we do.










This past weekend was a prime example of three days where we worked hard and our bodies were sore and our tempers may have shown the length of the days, but it was all worth it because at the end of it; you were proud of what you'd accomplished.
 
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the fabulous individuals we got to work with:

- I'm looking at you Morgan, RJ, Adrienne, Tyler, Annie, Trevor and Ty -

We bred all of the Double M replacement heifers, along with all of the first calf heifers (H1's) and the early calving 2 and 3 year olds (R1's).  All of the cattle were bred to bulls in this year's Genex Progeny Test.  (More about that in a future post...)  We put CIDR's in the later calving Double M young cows, bred a set of 50+ replacement heifers in the feedlot that are owned by a local ranch and went to Cecil to breed all of the Krebs' young and mature cows.  We started most days at 5:00 am, and didn't leave the AI barn until it was well past dark-thirty.
 
My feet were past the point of sore as I took off my socks and laid in bed each night - but mentally I had the peace of mind knowing that we were doing exactly what we should be doing. 

Even on Sunday - when the lack of sleep and tiredness was probably evident - at the end of the day when Ty pushed the plunger on the AI gun in the last cow to go thru the barn - we were all still laughing & joking around.
 
What a blessing.
 
 
 
It's important to have goals.
 
And it's ok to re-evaluate dreams.
 
Because dreams and people and circumstances and situations can change.
 
But what shouldn't change is the desire to keep pushing, to keep evaluating and to keep bettering.
 
Ourselves, our marriage, our friendships, and our work.
 
Because success is reason enough.


Monday, April 20, 2015

An AI'ing we will go....

We AI'ed a lot of cows this weekend at Double M, the feedlot and in Cecil at Krebs Ranches - I'm not exactly sure how many head we did, but I bet it was close to 800.

My feet are sore and my face is dirty, but my heart is full of appreciation for the people who helped us out this weekend, and for the ranches who allowed us to come help them AI their cattle.

I'm going to keep this post short and I'll be back later this week with more pictures, but I just wanted to type out a quick thank you to Morgan, RJ, Adrienne, Tyler, Trevor, Ty and Annie for helping us get cows sorted, heifers to the chute, and cattle bred.

And a special thank you to the Krebs family for hosting us Saturday morning and allowing us to help AI their cows, along with feeding us a delicious lunch afterwards.


We got to live the dream this weekend - and while it was a lot of work, it was work worth doing.

"You can't have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic!"

Happy Monday friends!

Friday, April 17, 2015

5 on Friday.

Most people - myself included - would tell you that I am NOT on the cutting edge of fashion.  I will be the first one to roll out of bed, pull on a t-shirt and whatever pants are clean and head out the door to work cows. 
 
Unfortunately, my Monday thru Friday dress code at the office can't consist of t-shirts and jeans so each spring I like to pick a few items that will freshen up my wardrobe, and help me head into summer feeling good.
 
Because let's face it -

Summer here in Eastern Oregon can be a hot, sweaty mess and the least I can do is look presentable at work.  And if the items transition to looking nice in public when I'm off of work - well, that's a win/win! 

So for this Friday I thought I'd share 5 of my favorite spring wardrobe items.
 
 
1. Why hello Sam Edelman!
 
Long story short, I broke my favorite pair of black wedges last fall walking across a gravel lot at our new office space while it was under construction and I hadn't found a replacement for them.  So last weekend while I was in town picking up feed and a new grease gun (glamorous, I know!) I stopped by Andee's Boutique and Brandi helped me pick out two new pairs of sandals.
 
And maybe a new t-shirt.  ;) 

Hey a girl's got to STICK TO HER BASICS.
 
At least it was a Tee by Tina.
 
I ended up purchasing two pairs of Sam Edelman sandals - the Dayton embellished sandal in a gray/coral and the Eavan gladitator sandal in black/gold.  I'm head over heels in love, and while it might have been a bit of investment at first - I think I'm going to wear every penny out of these suckers this year.



 
If you're local, check out Brandi's shop:
 
243 E. Main Street - Hermiston
 
Shop local and freshen up your spring wardrobe - a win/win for everyone!
 
 
2. Linen pants.
 
Holy batman.
 
I have found the motherload that is the perfect work pant.
 
Elastic waistband - check.
Doesn't need ironing - check.
Washes & dries beautifully - check.
Looks classy for work - check.
Is comfortable as ALL GET OUT - checkity check check CHECK!

 
You need these.

Let's dis-regard my terrible selfie taking skills, shall we?  Muchas gracias.
 
I already own the black & amalgam (above) and I just bought another pair. 
 
In white. 
 
 I know - I don't even know who I am anymore.
 
But I figure for $22 (I got them when the site was 30% off), I can afford to have the white pants I've been dreaming of.  And if I get cow crap on them and can't bleach it out - well, then I'm only out a $20 bill.
 
I ordered the white pants in a petite size - I'm going to see if the shorter length will keep the hems cleaner.  But I order the normal length in the other colors.
 
I've worn these pants both with wedges and with my new flats from Andee's - because of the waistband, you can adjust them to wherever is comfortable on your waist and to a length that works with your shoes.
 
3. Linen tunics.
 
Since I loved the pants so much, I also bought two tunics made from the same material.  The ones I ordered were too big - which is a nice problem to have - so I shipped them back and got my correct size delivered this week.

 
Find the tunics here.
 
I ordered the Lost at Sea Navy (I'm wearing it in the selfie picture above), Blackjack and Red October Neon (pictured here, which is more like a coral).
 
Because when I find something I like, I order it in multiple colors.
 
The material is cool & breezy, but I think it looks nice enough for work and they'll be easy to pair with jeans.  They're super affordable, and the yellow stripe version is only $15 right now!
 
I'll be wearing the heck out of these puppies this spring and summer. 
 
A note about sizing - I ordered the coral & black tunic in the tall size found online - the extra length worked well for me and is perfect for wearing with leggings.  But the navy tunic I'm wearing in the picture above is a regular (they didn't have my size in tall) and I thought it was a good length too!


4. A fun pair of earrings.

I get the most compliments on these earrings and they were a WHOPPING $8 American dollars.
 


$8.

That's like two coffees from Starbucks.

It's amazing what a cute pair of fun earrings can do for an outfit.  I also bought these earrings for each of my staff for Easter, and it's so fun to see them wear them as well - they're the perfect little pop of color!


5. Cute sunglasses.

I have been looking for a new pair of sunglasses since the pair I bought last year for $5 at WalMart were scratched all to heck and looked pretty rough.  I have a pair of polarized sunglasses I got at Costco this fall that I wear when I'm helping on the ranch, but they're not the most feminine so I've been keeping my eye out for a pair of "nice" sunglasses.

I really like these and these:


  But then Morgan arrived this week to help breed cows, and he brought a pair of sunglasses Kim had sent with him for me to have and I LOVE them!

Seriously - this was one of those gifts were I was

1.) Totally surprised because I had no idea and

 2.) Didn't know how Kim was reading my mind!  :)

So my hunt for sunglasses is over, at least for now!

-----

I'd love to know -

What are your spring wardrobe essentials?

Happy Friday to you - keep living the dream!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Because you can AI anywhere.

We spent last Sunday morning out in Pilot Rock, helping Jamie & Jennifer AI their heifers and young cows.
 
Clint was Jennifer's ag teacher when he taught at PRHS, and we've kept in touch with her since then.  She and her husband Jamie AI'ed their heifers last year, so we headed back out there this year to AI a new set of heiferes they bought out of the Rollin' Rock sale, along with heifers they'd kept back and some of the 2 year olds we AI'ed last year.
 


I like to use these two as an example of how anyone can AI, anywhere.
 
You don't have to have huge numbers, or the best facilities, or have been in the business forever.
 
What Jamie & Jennifer DO have is a willing attitude, they're hard working and they are willing to make what they do have work for their situation.
 




Jamie had the cattle penned early and we showed up a little after nine to get the breeding box set up in front of their existing alleyway and chute.  With our set up, we can go just about anywhere and get cows AI'ed.
 
The heifers had shown good signs of standing heat, so we brought them down the alleyway and got to work!
 



I thawed out of the pickup, while Leo kept watch. 
 
I had all of the essentials - a 12 volt thaw unit, a new CITO cutter, my gun warmer and Starbucks.
 
It's important to stay caffeinated!  :)
 
Dot was running around too - making friends and keeping an eye on Clint while he bred. 


And that's the beauty of AI.
 
With a little bit (but not a whole lot) of time and effort, Jamie & Jennifer were able to use and afford top notch bulls on their heifers and 2 year old cows.    By 1:00 pm, we had gone through all of the cattle, AI'ed all of the heifers and the cows that were in standing heat to Effective, and had a chance to patch the rest of their young cows.  They'll watch for heat and maybe we'll be back out later to AI the rest or they might turn out bulls depending on response.  Either way - they've made a great effort to get the cattle synched and those that were in heat bred to an AI bull which should result in a higher quality calf next year.
 
For two people under the age of 30 and who are just starting to make their way in the world - I think they're doing a great job.  They're trying to improve what they can, but do it in a way that is economical and makes sense for their scale of operations.
 
And that's a good lesson for us all to learn there...
 
-----
 
Do you AI where you're at?
 
Or utilize synchronization to get your cows cycling and on a similar track?
 
What bulls are you excited about using this year?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

3 things I'm working on.

You know those things that are little things, but make a big difference? 
 
In how you feel or act?
 
I'm working on a few of those right now.....
 
 
1. Posture.
My posture lately has sucked, and my body is feeling the effects. I went to the chiropractor two weeks ago and he said my whole upper body was "scrunched". After he did a bit of pulling and manipulating I felt 110% better. 
 
It was a good wakeup call that I need to sit up straighter, pull in my core, walk taller and not scrunch my head and neck.

Gah - it's hard. 
 
But I find when I DO sit up straight, or I DO make an effort to lay my shoulders back and I DO pull in my core - I feel so much better.

Not to mention taller & thinner....and WHO DOESN'T LOVE THAT?!?
 
 
2. Cooking more meals at home.

Drive thru's are so convenient....but maybe not the healthiest.  And then there was the whole "the burner on my stove won't turn off - even when the button is turned to off - so I've been pulling my range away from the wall and unplugging it when I'm done using it every time I cook" thing.

Yeah.
 
That didn't exactly make cooking at home super tempting for awhile.
 
And I would normally just see if we could get a new stove, except for Mike & Patsy are spending a ton of money on the whole "we're remodeling a third of our house" kind of a thing, so I finally took the top of the stove panel off, disconnected the wires to the burner that wouldn't shut off, re-screwed on the panel and went on my merry way last Saturday.

Take that non-working burner!
 
;)
 
And now I am hoping to cook a few additional meals at home this week.

Except for Taco Tuesday last night at Last Chance.  Because no one needs to be cooking when you could be eating delicious $1 tacos and drinking cold beer while you visit with all of your friends who also have the good sense to come eat tacos too.
 
 
3. Capturing the moment.
 
There are times when I don't want to lug around my camera, and I just want to enjoy the moment or help get work done.   But then I always kick myself because I didn't "capture the memories".  So a month or so ago when I got a new cell phone the only thing I told the store was that I wanted one with a good camera.
 
They delivered and last weekend when we were helping Terry & Anna work their cows and calves, I kept the camera in the pickup and let my cell phone do the work. 
 
The pictures below aren't professional, or edited, or polished or anything fancy.
 
But what they DO do, is capture the moment and the memories of a fun afternoon spent with friends.
 

Not sure what I was thinking here, lol.

Larry was the Corriente Whisperer....looks like he's had a bit of practice pushing them to the chute.  :)


All lined up and ready for vaccinations!

These two ladies are great friends and we love to laugh!



The {cattle bringing} crew right here...

 
So I'm going to keep working on capturing the fun.
 
And working on my posture.
 
And working on cooking more and driving thru less.
 
Because I'm a {Funhaver} and not a {Funhater}.
 
I'll let you know how things turn out....but if you know me, I'll keep working to bring the fun.
 
:-)
 
 
What are you working on right now in life?
 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Patching.

We call it {patching}.
 
 
Armed with Estrotect patches, 3M spray adhesive and Estrumate, we headed to the feedlot Saturday morning to help patch the Murdock & Lorenzen heifers.
 

Estrotect patches come with an adhesive already applied to them, but even when they're warm (we heat them on the dashboard heater of the pickup) we find that we prefer to add a little "staying" power with some extra glue.  Long winter hair that has a fine layer of dust & dirt settled in from being in the feedlot seems to create a situation where the patches need some help.  We used to use backtag glue, but last year Stan Locke told us about 3M spray adhesive and we haven't looked back. 

It is the bomb.dot.com.

And it doesn't leave your hands covered in a tacky-gluery-stringy-doesn't-wash-off-mess like backtag glue does.

We buy the adhesive at Walmart.  I know - FANCY.  Find it in the hardware section near the duct tape & super glue.  It's around $10 and you want to buy the bigger, more expensive can - the other stuff isn't as strong.
 
So the cattle come into the alley and are sprayed first.  The spray adhesive needs a minute or so to get tacky, so by the time the cattle come to the chute the glue's had a bit of time to cure and is ready for the Estrotech patch. The spray adhesive is WAY less stringy than backtag glue and we haven't had a single patch come off.  In fact, sometimes we have the opposite happen - and we need a pair of pliers to pry the patch off.
 
The Murdock/Lorenzen heifers had been on MGA, so all we had to do was give shots and apply patches.  If they'd had a CIDR, we'd have pulled them then as well but since they'd been in the feedlot for awhile they were able to go on MGA for a savings of about $6 to the guys.
 
 




Tyler brought the heifers, Trevor barred them and applied the spray adhesive, Mason poured and pushed them towards the chute, I applied the patches, Clint ran the chute and gave shots, and Ian took records and applied fly tags.
 
The wind was just starting to pick up the pace Saturday, but it couldn't match ours.  ;)
 



 
 
With Starbucks in hand we hustled and got the group done by 9 am.
 
Some were more willing to pose for the camera....even though I'd brought coffee, lol. 
 
That's right Tyler - I'm looking at you.  :-)
 
Even though you won't look at me - ha!
 



Patching went well, and soon enough the cattle were back in their pen and we were off to tackle the rest of the day!
 
But not before a quickie selfie with two of my favorite people!
 
 

Clint looks thrilled, huh?
 
I think everyone was ready to get out of the wind.  :)