Nothing says working man to me than a guy with a toolbox. At our house the toolbox is an important piece in many operations. First off, a toolbox is mounted upon almost every tractor on the farm in some way. Whether it holds pins to hook up wagons, has vital wrenches for minor breakdowns or a grease can the toolbox holds the things one might otherwise forget or be in a bind without. Secondly, there is a tool box in our stock show truck. When we are on the road showing cattle all over the United States you never can guess what crazy adventure might come up the requires some tools. No matter is we are ten or 600 miles away from home the tool box accompanies us in the truck. The last place the tool box is vital is in our show box or in the show barn. Instead of a clipper box Big Ron houses his clippers and clipper accessories in two red toolboxes. Although, the toolboxes have changed over the years they are consistently red. If we forget the red clipper boxes someone is in a lot of trouble. So when I think of a toolbox I think of these things. However, when I saw this awesome DIY idea that incorporated a toolbox, I thought it would be a great way to restore Big Ron’s beat up clipper toolbox into something lovely and unique. I think this is on my list of crafts for next spring. Check it out a toolbox that doubles as a flower pot! Nifty, eh!
I realize that the majority of farm related households may not have boxes and boxes of ribbons and banners lying around but if your family has been showing cattle for over 60 years , like mine, it becomes a real problem. As a child I saved every ribbon we ever received from the local level all the way up to the national level. As I got older I was more willing to part with ribbons and only save what I deemed the “important ones”. Nevertheless, my family and I have quit the collection. At one point I wanted to make a quilt/bedspread out of these beautiful ribbons, but have since realized I possess little sewing skills and “ain’t nobody got time for that”, so I have been looking for other creative ways to hold on to these precious memories. So below is a a mod podge of ideas I have found, including one that my crafty little sissy made. **Disclaimer: Some of these require sewing talents way above my knowledge.
As I jumped up in the truck on Saturday morning to help my dad do chores, I was a little taken a back when he suddenly said, “Well you can tell your getting older and getting some age on you.” Kinda puzzled by this comment I replied, ” What do you mean dad?”. He said, “Well your show heifers are starting to show some age around here.” As we pulled into the farm that we keep cows that need extra feed before going to market I realized the reasons for his comments. In the pen were two of my show heifers from when I was about 13 years old. It was pretty obvious that their best days were behind them.
No matter how old I get, losing a show heifer or a favorite animal will never get any easier for me. It is just something about that special bond between a person and their livestock that grips my heart strings in a special way. The countless hours in the barn getting ready, standing in the chute and make-up ring, and then the time in ring just makes the bond grow and grow. The heifer develops a trust in you to care for her, and lead her into the right direction. In turn she listen and obeys what you want her to do while in the ring. Now, I am not going to lie there a few heifers I have shown who have tried my patience and their extra personality was by no means appreciated and may have gotten a few come to Jesus meetings, but in the end we had an unbreakable bond between us. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the circle of life and how things work, but it still leaves a little mark on my heart.
Some may say it is just because I am a sissy girl, but it has nothing to do with it. Rather, it is how much we care for our animals. They are a part of our family like a dog or cat might be in yours. We care for them 365 days a year, 24/7 and because of that they become pets. Each one has a different personality. I was just a lucky girl to have over 200 pets at any given time. You will notice my dad didn’t want to out right tell me the unfortunate news about my show heifers because he too hates to see them go. Especially when it is a herd bull that was a past show bull. That’s my daddy’s favorite thing to show is yearling and two year old bulls and the hardest for him to let go.
But enough of my sob story. My girls have lived a long life, and I get by hoping there is show heifer/cow heaven. So here is to my show heifers past and those soon to pass a tribute to each of you.
Well my summer journey is coming to a close, but before that happens I need to recap my latest journey to the L.E.A.D. conference with the Angus juniors in St. Louis, MO. During the conference the youth got to engage in some exciting opportunities from speakers to tours. My favorite tour was when we got to have an insider look at Busch Stadium!! However, during the conference many speakers talked about the importance of being an advocate for Ag. Since I have been wanting to do a post about this I think now is a perfect time. We as farmers, ranchers and those related to the livestock industry have not fully grasped how IMPORTANT it is to share our story. So many times we feel its not our job and rely on others to do this for us. FOLKS, THAT IS NOT GOING TO CUT IT!
With anti- production agriculture organizations recruiting funds and membership by the thousands daily we too must do the same to save our livelihood and our industries. I feel many people here this speech over and over, but don’t understand HOW to be an advocate. Here are a few simple things one can do.
- Post ag-related facebook status
- Link your facebook to great articles, videos and pictures showing what agriculture is about
- Post videos of yourself or others caring for your animals in a humane way and show how much you love your animals.
- Post pictures of your interacting with your animals and cring for them
- BECOME A MEMBER OF THE MASTERS of BEEF ADVOCACY PROGRAM- There is no reason that every single person who shows or raises cattle is not a member of this. Take the time to take the program so you can stay in touch with what is going on and get helpful talking points and fact sheets to make a difference.
- Invite people out for tours of your farm and let them live a day in the life.
- Tweet and retweet things related to agriculture
- Start a blog and take about what is going on at your farm
- Talk to kids at school, the bus, airplanes, lunch tables.
- Help a consumer make a beef product selection in the grocery store.
- Hand out proper beef product handling and recipesI