Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Sale is Complete

We finished the sale tonight -- a great event with a great finish, and over 236,000 in sales.  WOW.

When the sale is over, I feel a rush of exhaustion afterwards.  All the excitement, gearing up, adrenaline, and putting yourself out there for the last month or so has ended, and the end of it makes that excitement just run right out of you like water out of a cooler.

I'm so proud of Alan, I'm so excited that people believed enough in our program to actually bid on these heifers using their money.  I'm happy that we have found homes for these calves that we have birthed, broke, fed, and loved on for the last few months.  That's what we raised them for.

And they are going all over the country, and out of the country.  People from California, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Ontario, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri all now own our heifers.

Now, on to the next project.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Day 28 -- or Day 1

Today was the first day of our open house -- the day one that starts today and ends Tuesday when we end our online sale (see www.pvfangus.com).  We had people here from Springfield and Peoria. And then there were people from North Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana and even south of interstate 70!  This weekend is one of the busiest for purebred cattle producers and this area of Illinois tends to be a hotbed of activity.
Things I like about having a open house:  we can offer hospitality to people that come to see our calves. Most times when people come they just wander through our pastures then leave.  We will do this again tomorrow with more food and more cow washing.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Day 27 -- Ready we are

The food is made, the shop is cleaned out, the website is updated, the calves are all clipped up, washed, fed, and ready to be viewed.  We are ready for the open house this weekend.

We've been watching our website traffic like a hawk, which calves are getting the most views of their video, where are people looking at first.  We've been fielding calls (Alan's on one right now) asking about different calves.  It's nerve wracking, exciting, and panic creating all at the same time.

Having a sale makes you put everything out there -- for everyone to see.  Our success or failure will be able to be viewed by all -- this makes me very nervous about doing it.  But here we are, we're 5 days from the sale, and we'll know what happens Tuesday night.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day 26 -- Missing Holidays

I'm not really thinking of Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, or what we are getting people for Christmas, or how we are going to celebrate the holidays as a family.

When we have an open house right after Thanksgiving, leave for Denver right after Christmas, and have a sale right around Easter, sometimes I feel like we slight our children because the holidays are considered in my mind "something to get through while we're getting ready for ____".

I've been reading some other women's blogs, who are talking about slowing down holidays, removing the hype from the holiday, getting rid of Santa, of turkey, of all that's commercial about the holidays.  I can't say that I completely agree with that -- we enjoy the fun of the holidays, try to remember the reason for the holiday, and move along with life in general.  If there's no fun, then there's not much to look forward to, especially when I'm pretty sure I treat the holidays are something else to check off the list.

I need to figure out a way to reflect on the purpose of the holiday we're in the middle of, while we're in the middle of it, and try to slow down, and try to help the kids understand it too.  Maybe in some way piling all this other "stuff" on top of a holiday is God's way of helping me not make too much of a deal about them in the first place, although about this time before any holiday, I'm wondering what in the world He got us in the first place.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day 24 -- Sink or Swim Time

So it's now 1 week until our sale.  Food has been purchased/made, the cows are all clipped and ready to be shown.  Now is the time where we sit and worry about whether or not anyone will come to look at and/or buy them.

I compare this line of thinking to when you are about to take a test, and you pull out the review sheet one more time, then realize that whatever you're going to look at for the next 30 seconds isn't going to make up for the last three days you've been studying it.  It's sink or swim time.  You need to just take it and see how much you know.

That's what we did today -- send out a bunch of emails this week to make sure people know about the sale (as if this one email will make 300,000 people suddenly look at this flier and decide to buy a heifer).  But really, the work we've been doing for the past several months is going to be the difference whether we pass the test (i.e. sell the calves at a respectable amount) or fail.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day 24 -- Sunday Sunday Sunday

Another typical Sunday -- cows who needed to be bred, people here to pick up bulls, look at calves, etc.  Sundays can be anything on the farm, from a lazy day watching football, to a crazy day catching ourselves coming and going.  Today was a coming and going kind of day, and it needed to be -- it's a week before the sale!  If we didn't have a bunch of people here I'd be more worried.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Day 23 -- I am (I am?) married to my boss.

I have spent a good part of today making sure that if people want to see videos of EVERY heifer we have on our sale, that they can do it.  (see https://www.facebook.com/theresaboian for a video of every heifer we don't have on our website yet).

One day, Holly Spangler (see her 30 days blog) posted about how her father advised her to look not only at love when choosing your mate but whether or not you could work together.  He advised this the first time she brought her now husband John home to meet her parents.

Wow -- what insight! Especially as I reflect on the workload on our farm right before our sale.  Working together on a farm is definitely not an easy task, especially when you're married to the person you're working with.

I've been reading book reports from my students yesterday and today.  I ask the students in my U of I class to read a book during the semester -- something that I hope they would be able to talk about in a job interview.  As ag economics students, naturally many of them read a book on things like leadership in the workplace, communication and organizational strategies in a corporation, how to deal with high conflict people (I may pick that one up tonight on amazon).

These books are full of tidbits of advice when you are in a workplace setting, an office.  Strategies like "over communicate", or "provide clarity again and again", or "lead with the lid on" are great when you have a setting that can provide structure around these strategies.

A farm is not one of those places.  Neither is a household, a bedroom, a breakfast table, the shower.

It's communication that will allow us to save our marriage during these high conflict times, it's clarity that will help us to know who is managing which piece when there are 50 of them flying around and needing to be done, and it's leadership that will help me to understand where I can best help in this stressful time.

My workplace here at home is full of other needs that aren't going away -- and I'm not sure I'm doing a good job of separating the household/family from the business right now.  But in this place, I'm not sure how I can.

Today a family from Alabama picked up a heifer they purchased from us -- they were intrigued by our snow flurries on the farm and VERY cold -- so cold that most stayed in the house while Alan showed heifers to them.  And I don't think it's that cold yet.