Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!

I have been enjoying having my girls home the last week during their Christmas holidays.

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We have been riding almost everyday, as my husband is trying to keep up the training on our 3 year old horse (picture below).  Doug’s new favourite cartoon taken out of the Canadian Cattlemen’s magazine is:

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Thankfully ‘Cash’ did not do this!

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We moved our cows to our home place the other day.  Our girls are so helpful!  Here our youngest two were moving the herd all by themselves as the rest of us were fetching the last ones that had gone up to the water hole.  Way to go girls!

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When we caught up to them the job was almost complete!

We were feeding the cows hay the last couple weeks but now that they are home, we have cracked open the silage pit.  The feed looks excellent and they seem to be enjoying the silage.  I like it too as feeding silage is a lot less work for me (actually none other than opening gates.)

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Today we sorted the cows, 1st and 2nd time calves from the older girls.  It is easier for the younger cows to be in a group and not compete for feed with the older, bossy cows.

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My husband got me custom made Armita’s for Christmas.  He snapped this photo to send to other Erika’s husband.  They were cracking each other up as Doug texted: “Erika’s ready for a Buckaroo convention!”  Cyle replies, “Boy id say, I think u should just take ur colts to her!”  Then they both giggled at my expense!  Doug and Cyle want to have their own blog called:  “Living With The Erika’s!!”  I think it would be real goood!

Merry Christmas and wishing you all the best in the new year.

~Erika Fossen~

(Picture credit to Great Aunt Joan from England.  Thanks for coming to spend time with us Aunti Joan!!)

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Tried For One More Day

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Yesterday we pushed the cows to the top of the mountain pasture they were in to try and get another few more days of grazing.

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It was kind of like pushing kids to clean their room:  they knew they had to go and it would be better in the end, but was very difficult to get them there!

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When they got to this point and saw other cows grazing they realized the point of it all.

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On the horizon you can just make out the cows where we left them. Unfortunately, with more snow last night, many came back down, so Doug went over and fed some hay this afternoon.  After 219 days of grazing,  I guess the winter feeding has begun…..

~Erika Fossen~

Erikas on the Mooooo…ve

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The Erika’s, along with their husbands, embarked on a road trip!  Destination: ‘Agribition’ held in Regina, Saskatchewan.  Agribition is a very large Farm/Ranch/Cattle Show, which has machinery and cattle trade shows, purebred and commercial cattle shows, rodeo, horse events, shopping, etc.

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I love driving through western Canada and seeing the diverse landscapes.  Starting in southern central British Columbia with the rolling grasslands and forests, then into the Rockie Mountains.  I always enjoy pulling out of the Rockies and seeing the sky open up into the Alberta Foothills.  We toured through a beautiful area in Southwest Saskatchewan near the town of Eastend, which I had never been.

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The pure bred show cattle are immaculately groomed.  I snapped a picture of this bull to try and capture his enormous size (you can just see the cap of the man walking behind him)!  This bull was the Grand Champion Simmental Bull from High Country Cattle Services.  (Thanks Deanne Young for this info!)

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A class of cattle are put together by first being the same sex and breed and then by age.  As a spectator it is good practice to judge the animals, then when the official judge places the class you can compare how you did.  This was a class of Hereford bulls.  On the other side of the ring was the Charolais show.

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The pure bred show cattle are on display in several huge barns, grouped by their bred.  In long alleys, all indoor, the exhibitors display their cattle.  They often have a ‘home away from home’ there (table and chairs, soup in crockpots) as this is  where they live for the week, have information on their farm/ranch, catalogs on cattle, information on their sales, etc.  Every evening after the days’ purebred shows are complete, the cattle are ‘Tied Out’.  This is where all these cattle (this year there were 1864 of them) are each lead outside to a bedded area for the night.  It is healthier for them to be outside for the night in their natural environment.  Also this is done for safety, as the inside displays are not as secure and need full daytime supervision.  Here is a short video I took of the cattle being led outside.  Every breeder and animal has a specific spot they go to.

Commercial cattle are also on display at Agribition.  Ranches bring pens of 5 and 10 commercial heifer calves and bred heifers.  These animals also show against each other in their respective age groups and are judged, then sold the following day.  Also in this barn are ‘Groups of 3 Bulls’.  This is where a breeder puts together a matched set (weight, size, comformation) of 3 yearling bulls.  It is good advertising for the breeder and ranchers may purchase the group as this will translate into an even calf crop.  Below is a picture of a group of heifer calves being judged.

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Each day at Agribition has a certain breed show.  Angus showed on Wednesday and Hereford on Thursday.  The ‘Supreme Show’ is held on Saturday and is when all the champions, regardless of breed, show against each other.  This was something to see as there were something like 48 females and 36 males in the ring at once.  This requires very well behaved cattle and talented show people.  Here is some pictures below.

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We had a great holiday.  We enjoyed visiting with fellow ranchers and people in the cattle and farming industry.  I was stopped out of the blue by a fellow from Manitoba who is a reader of this blog and recognized me.  One is reminded how small the agriculture industry is as somehow there was a connection to many people we talked to.

~Erika Fossen~