Mama’s Journal – Making the Grade

Its been 13 years since I last interviewed for a job. Thirteen years. Saying that out loud really hits home.

It was the spring of 2003 and a nonprofit was looking for an Executive Director. I was encouraged by several, including my husband, to apply for the job. I remember thinking that I was probably not going to get the job, but felt I had most of the attributes that they were looking for. I was then prepared a few days later when I got the call that they were going to go with someone else.

Sure, okay, no big deal. I was pregnant at the time and was happy working at the school as a Para. A few days after that, I received another call that their first choice decided not to take the job and they would like to offer it to me. Really?! So with that second phone call I was fully employed outside of the home for three years. That my friends was my last interview, last paycheck and last time I had to account for my time to someone else.

This morning I began thinking again about jobs, employment and making the grade. I guess in one way or another we all have our jobs that we do or are really good at. I could list the countless jobs that I do daily, weekly, monthly and seasonally. Some I am much better at than others; like being a mama. I think I have a pretty good handle on that job. Splitting fire wood, not so much. I have the strength, but a terrible aim. (We had to get a new axe handle because of me.)

What about employment? Are we destined to be employed and answer to “The Man”. I guess at the end of the day we want to be appreciated, receive a fair wage and feel confident that what we are doing is good for our family and our country. I just want to know that who ever is my “boss” for the day, that I have the necessary clothing, food and fuel to do the job that they want me to do. Take a day last week when I had to go to town and then rush home because I forgot to wash a certain basketball uniform that was needed by 5:30 that evening. (Don’t worry, I got it washed in time for him to play his game.)

How about making the grade? We are weaning calves this weekend and they have to make the grade or they will be sold at the sale barn. Now that does not mean that they are not good calves and will not produce a quality product. It just means that they did not have everything that we are looking for when we consider who will be replacement heifers and who will be bulls. So we weed through them by looking at their appearance, checking their personality/disposition, looking at their genetics and watching them walk. (The walk is very important.) We are looking to see if they will pass and make the grade for the job we are needing them to do.

In life are we really doing the jobs that we are to do? Are we showing up and being held accountable by someone, either ourselves or an employer? Do we make the grade not just once but every single day?

Those are questions we each have to answer for our selves. When we do, will we like the answers?

Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Link


Mama’s Journal – Mud

Today the sun is shinning, the birds are singing, the trees are budding, the grass is greening up and we are in the season of mud. Yes, there is a mud season in Missouri. We don’t just have Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, we also have Mud.

Now mud can mean many different things. It can mean that the gravel road you live on will not dry out so you have to pad your departure time and plan your attire on wither or not you can show up with mud on your hem. It can be the time of year where political campaigns slinging “mud” back and forth so much that you can’t tell which way is up or who to cast your vote for on Primary Day. Kids love mud season because that is when they can splash in the mud puddles and get their cloths and each other muddy. Mud is also the season when farmers start itching to get in the fields because mud means that the ground temperature is just about right to start putting seed in the ground.

Above all else, mud means that we will be working calves and weaning them from their mama’s. Weaning happens about the same time every year, give or take a few days, and we are always in mud season. This year will be no different.

Now the lots where we bring the cattle into to sort the calves from the cows are not necessarily muddy, but when you have 60 animals in one space and the ground is soft, it becomes muddy, fast. Add in the organic matter that also usually ends up somewhere on me and you have a “slick” situation.

Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country


Mama’s Journal – Bull crap…

Here on our farm we only have mature working bulls for a few months. They are “cleanup” bulls that we lease to use after the cows are artificially inseminated. (A.I.) If you A.I. your cattle, you are going to need cleanup bulls. For more on this see my post, “Romance is Gone”.

Crap is here on the farm ALL OF THE TIME. As this is a full disclosure type of post, I am telling you that if you step on this farm, you might indeed just step in it. Literally.

Now bull crap on the other hand, or in the case of yesterday actually on my hand, is a bit rare. The bulls come to us in December, do their work, and then head back to their home in March. As a term of this lease, we needed to take them to the veterinarian and have them retested and DNA taken before they could be picked back up. That was my job today. Hauling the bulls to and from the vet’s. Oh, and their crap.

Why am I mentioning this? Again this is a full disclosure post and I am letting you know that bulls have a lot of crap. Literally. It was all over the inside of the trailer, on the outside and because they were in the trailer together, it was on them. It was especially on their tails and that is where the DNA sample comes from. And who’s job was it to pull tail hairs? (Two guesses and the first does not count.)

Really, this is no big deal and I have actually pulled lots of tail hairs. Each year when the calves are of age and have made the “list”, I pull tail hairs and put tattoos in their ears before they can be sold. (I just realized I need to add tattoo artist and DNA collection specialist to my list of abilities! I will give you a complete list one of these days.)

If it is no big deal then why mention bull crap in the first place? Do to the fact that it was not only on the inside of the trailer, the outside of the trailer and on them, but also all over me. I was trying really hard to be careful! I really was because of where I was needing to stop after the bulls were done being tested. What to take a guess as to where I was going next?

Did you guess the Bank? You could of guessed Wal-Mart and the bank happens to be right next to one, but I have a feeling no one would of really given me a second look there. So, yes, I was needing to stop at the very bank that we were at on Saturday morning getting things lined out for this crop year. I was needing to meet with the very banker I gladly shook hands with on Saturday when we arrived and left, and today neither one of us extended our hands in this customary greeting.

It could of just been me, but I have a feeling it had to do with the bull crap.

Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Link




Mama’s Journal – Mama Cows

It is not very often that I am woken up in the middle of the night. I tend to get my 7-8 hours of sleep every night and have for years. So when I am woken up in the middle of the night by sounds coming from outside my window, it tends to set one back a bit.

Let me start by taking you back further in time. When my husband and I were dating, I brought him home to the parents one weekend and showed him a piece of land and said, “I will build a house here some day and live”. Fast forward to 2009 and the breaking ground of our house in about the exact spot I said I would have a home one day. The importance of this is that before there was a house here for me to live in…..the cows had the run of the place. Really. There was about 50 acres for them roam across and rotational paddocks to keep them in certain areas at certain times, but in all, they had the run of the place. Then we came along and changed things. Really changed things for the mama cows.

They still have lots of area to roam around in and they still have their paddocks, though this time of year the calves tend to ignore the electric fence and go where they please, but now there is a fence. A fence that separates them from our yard. A fence that is only 20 yards behind our house. A fence that all 30 of the mama’s collected at last night and had a very loud group meeting. A VERY LOUD gathering of the cows. Now, I know what you are thinking, “was there something wrong?”, or “was someone lost or had a calf gotten out?”. Let me assure you that they were all fine. Can you take a guess as to which mama was not? One guess.

Being that we live right in the middle of what used to be part of their pasture, I get it. They have their spots. Just a bit further to the north of where they were last night is where they have the calf nursery. The spot where when the calves are very little they will bring them too, make them stay, and then the mama’s will go out to pasture to eat. The behavior of the baby calves from birth to about 3 months is AMAZING! They are the BEST behaved children you will ever see. They listen to their mama’s and if they don’t, mama comes running! So I get it. Right outside our bedroom window is the spot. The meeting spot. The VERY LOUD meeting spot.

Now I can only guess that there may of been a coyote in the neighborhood and it had them worked up a bit. The dog was outside and I heard him barking as well. I appreciate that fact with these mama cows. They came together, right outside my window, but they came together and let others know that something was going on. VERY LOUDLY they discussed what was going on.

With this slight interruption in sleep last night, I was up early this morning getting the kids off to school, starting the laundry, putting away clean dishes and getting in my 30 minutes of writing. Who am I to hold a few minutes of lost sleep against a group of cows? I would not hear of it! Now it it happens again tonight…….

Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Link