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  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 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.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Day 22 -- Prioritizing my time

I made a mistake today.  Instead of making sure I sent off updates to our website right after lunch, I went upstairs and changed laundry.

But as someone who tends to get sidetracked easily, I changed laundry, saw the large pile of clean laundry needing to be folded, the beds needing to be changed, and spent the next hour cleaning up the upstairs.

Instead of sending updates at 1:00 I sent them after 2:00.  The updates didn't get completed before the end of the day, and now a bunch of videos we have ready to view won't be seen until Monday. (Unless you go to the playlist on the youtube site: which you can do from here!)

Needless to say, my husband is UPSET.  Am I thankful we have these videos to see?  Yes!  Am I thankful someone is creating them for us? Yes!  Am I upset that they aren't able to be viewed the right way, during the weekend before our big open house?  Yes!

Sometimes it makes me tired to think about everything that needs to be done around here, and yes, sometimes I prioritize things incorrectly.  Unfortunately in our house, that could mean the difference between selling a heifer, and having income.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 21 -- Lunch

I make lunch for the guys at the house every day -- including the two days a week I drive to campus.  When I'm home I cook a meal that's complete with some side dishes, and sometimes dessert -- usually on the days I'm at work it's stuff like chili in the crock pot.

I'm not a good cook.  I didn't cook much growing up, and I certainly don't have any natural abilities in terms of knowing how things taste together.  I don't invent my own recipes, etc.

So why in the world do I spend time doing this?  Trust me, on occasion I wonder that myself.  But lunch on the farm is usually the only down time allowed.  It's the only break in the day, and selfishly, I want to hear what's happened and be a part of what these guys are doing for us.  And I hope they consider that it's a bit of a benefit for coming here -- isn't the way to a man's heart through his stomach?

The problem is in the guessing -- I guess every day who's going to be here, but I never know who may show up delivering cattle, coming to look at our sale offering (which you can see videos on our blog as of today (, or just stopping by to visit.

The good news is, there are usually few leftovers in our house.  The bad news is, my freezer gets emptied pretty often.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 20 -- Decisions that have made a difference

After spending time with our cattle family and working with both our crew and customers that want to make the cattle business theirs someday, I got a little reflective.

Alan made some decisions in college and beyond that I think made the difference in who he (and I guess, me and the farm) are today:

-deciding to spend time on livestock judging teams.  I think if I counted them all, he spent four full college semesters of his life traveling with a team on weekends, after classes, and during the spring break, winter break period learning how to evaluate cattle, sheep and pigs.  Not an easy decision for a frat boy, who, because of this involvement, made it to very few social events.  However, that dedication, and decision to spend his time that way allowed him to be selected as a junior show judge at a national show this weekend.

-spending time with breeders who could help him learn the business.  Alan spent his college career working for people who were leaders in the industry -- one of them is someone who now buys cattle from us!  By working for these breeders, going to national shows, meeting people, and being a part of the scene, he learned what he needed to do to become successful in the Angus business as a breeder.  I'm thankful that these people gave him this opportunity when he was younger -- and I hope we are returning the favor to a few who want to do the same thing someday.

-taking on leadership positions in the breed.  I watch the members of the National Junior Angus Board, a group of youth in a leadership board for junior activities for the Angus breed, and I hope they realize what an awesome opportunity that they have been presented.  Alan ran for this board, and was elected to this board, with little experience, no name recognition, and little idea of what it would do for him.  I think now he would say without question that his involvement, and exposure to the people in the breed while a member of the board, not to mention the friendships he made with his peers who were on the board with him (and now are breeders themselves), is a large part of why he was able to start and carry Prairie View Farms to the place it is today -- a nationally recognized breeder of show cattle stock and genetics that breeders are interested in.

So I'm happy then to offer opportunities to younger cattlemen and women who want to also learn the business, and become breeders themselves.  And I want to help those in leadership positions in the breed see what opportunities they are getting to experience while they are on boards, serving as presidents, or just participating.  Without sounding like one of those older people who were always lecturing me when I was a kid.  My reaction was usually:  yeah yeah yeah, this is an experience of a lifetime, whatever.  It's a lot of work right now. . .

I don't want to be that person. . .

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 19. Another day another show

Today is the open show, meaning that the breeders show off their genetics through the calves they show. Alan's showing some of our best heifers, marketing just as the other breeders are. As a breeder, this show is great exposure in front of some of the most influential people in our breed. We want to do well here so PVF looks better. And gets some name recognition.

I think the coolest thing about the exposure we get at NAILE is the fact that the association's annual meeting is held here. People involved in other parts of our breed take some time to watch our part of the industry and I think lends credence to this sector of the livestock industry. Not so next year. The association decided to move this meeting to the week before in another part of the Midwest. I will be interested to see how the importance of this open show changes as a result of them moving away from a show.

For now. We are doing well today. Happy to show off our show string. And enjoying being at this show.Photo: A glimpse into our chaos.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day 17. We won

We are fitting for the supreme champion heifer. This is so exciting!  We had an awesome day. Alan won the angus show.   We showed 11 heifers today, no small feat. Now Alan is judging the chaiana show while our brother in law gets the heifer ready.

It is very exciting and rewarding to win the show but in my opinion it's exciting in general to see our heifers that we've watched and cared for and prepared even participate in the show.

Photo: Extremely pleased of how the last show of the year turned out for us! Grand Champion Angus Heifer 2013 NAILE! Extremely proud of my family and the PVF crew! Thanks to everyone who helped!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 15. Interruptions

We made it to Louisville. Arrived at 10 pm. After a day of interruptions.
Interruptions are something that on a farm are an everyday part of life. On the days I'm home I like it when I respond to an I nterruption. It allows me an opportunity to listen to a friend or help at school or ride out in the field or the pasture.

Today interruptions made it practically impossible for me to walk out the door. I ran and ran to get done all the random things before you leave for a few days.   Interruptions caused me to get the oil changed in a car so clayton had something to drive down here tomorrow.  Interruptions found a repairman who just showed up unannounced 1 hour before I had to leave.  Interruptions caused me to copy a bunch of stuff that I was supposed to leave at work and had to stop at the post office and mail it back.

We are here!!  We made it. Despite interruptions.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Day 14 -- All is calm, all is quiet

I'm nearly halfway through this 30 days blog -- I see Holly Spangler is diligent as ever so I'm determined to be as well.  And for the first time this month I can say that it's quiet here.  All the show cattle have left for the North American International Livestock Exhibition in Louisville, as well as most of the guys working here.  The lights are off in the barns, and strangely, there's no one talking on their cell phone in the house right now.  It's quiet.

When I thought about living in the country before we moved here six years ago I thought a lot about how I would enjoy the quiet of living without neighbors, cars driving by, people walking on the street, emergency vehicles, noises that come with town.  However, I quickly learned living here that the farm is ANYTHING but quiet.  There are tractors driving by; the feed truck pulling through the lane; my father in law coming in to check on us, employees walking in and out of barns, houses, shops; customers' trucks opening and closing and trailers backing; and oh yea, cows mooing.  At all hours of the day and night.

So quiet is again something I can appreciate, because it's a rarity.  And tomorrow we'll head to Louisville, and I'll forget what quiet is like again for awhile.

(While it was quiet I've been working on our website - there are 12 photos up of the cows for our sale!  Check it out!)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Day 13 -- AAAAnd they're off. .

We packed one trailer today to go to Louisville.  A trailer full of nothing but the stuff that our cattle (and the people taking care of the cattle) need to go to a show for a week.  It's a lot of stuff.

I think about what I do to get ready for a cattle show, and it has nothing to do with the care of the actual CATTLE.  Isn't this silly?  It's a day like today when I consider that -- our cattle have been cared for, washed, groomed, fed properly, exercised, clipped (meaning a haircut), made sure they were healthy, their feet were trimmed up, I could go on and on, for over a month, maybe two.  It's  a big job, but when you consider that this is what they are bred for at this time in their lives, that attention to detail is key.  All the minor stuff around that, like making sure there are health papers, registration papers, signs to show their pedigree, and of course a picnic table for my kids to sit at, in the trailer, is really nothing compared to the effort made on the cows themselves.  As it should be!

So tomorrow we'll take these cattle to Louisville.  And the guys who are hauling all of their stuff will have it all in the barn and set up so the cows can waltz out of the trailer into a nice bed.  They live in a lap of luxury right now, and our every effort is made to reduce their stress, so they can relax, and look good down there, so they will make a good impression for the owners, and of course for PVF!

Off we go!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day 12 -- Great Customer Service

My dad is the local pharmacist in the town I grew up in -- a town of just over 1000.  When people needed something, whenever it was, they felt comfortable enough to call him, and no matter what we were doing, he stopped and took care of them.  We held up many a Christmas dinner, Easter bunny hunt, or even just family movie night so dad could run to the store and meet someone to get them medicine.

As a kid I thought going with dad was HIGH adventure.  To go up at night to meet someone who needed help, I thought it felt like we were doing something good for someone else.  And if we missed or delayed our own activities, it was something that in the end was right in my young eyes.

So now, Alan and I are in the customer service business in a different way.  If someone needs something we stop what we're doing to take a phone call, meet someone with a cow, run outside to help someone looking at our calves.  As an adult, this is HIGH adventure.  There is always something going on, people coming in the house, new people to meet and talk to from all over the country, and I think that we are helping others be able to build their own cow herd. 

I guess I never realized until this week when not once, but twice, I have been dealt with as a customer entirely differently than I grew up or expect now as an adult.  The idea of the customer being right, needing something from you the seller, and asking for things that may be out of the ordinary has become not a challenge to a business operator, but a burden.  When I'm told, "Well, if you ordered this item I need proof of that via an email exchange or a printed copy order" instead of "If you said you did it, I'll take care of it", or I hear, "we're going to charge you for that", instead of "we'll take care of this for you", something is wrong with that business's frame of mind and end mission.  And that is what I hear more often than not anymore.

Customer service should not be something that has moved out of vogue because we are trying to preserve our policies, or watch our bottom line.  It's something we just do.  And I just don't think many are doing it anymore.  I hope my kids watch Alan and I and learn what good customer service really is -- taking care of others who are relying on you to provide them with a product, an experience, or a service.  No matter what.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Day 11 -- What I wanted to do. . .

It takes 2 hours to take out the trash on our farm.

I started today with Alan gone fixing the truck (see yesterday's blog for more on this subject), and I thought -- yahoo!  No one with a list for me so I'll just run outside for a bit and get some things done in the yard that I WANT TO DO.

I start by loading our ranger with the garbage in the garage to take to our burn pile.

To go to our burn pile, you drive our ranger to the east side of our farmstead, open two spring gates, close an iron gate to the cow lot, and pray that the cows who are out on pasture don't decide to come in for a drink while you are driving through.

Luckily, there were no cows, so I think, Hey!  I'll just run around and get the rest of the garbage on the farm, and we'll burn all this trash before the rain comes (it turned out to be snow, I may have another blog on snow tomorrow).

There are garbage receptacles in four barns, plus hay netting around the farm, plus silage bags, plus feed bags, plus other junk that I like to throw in the pile before I burn it so my father in law doesn't say "oh, don't throw that away -- it could be used for something someday".

So I spent hours running around grabbing all these things, chasing cows back in between my runs, getting dirty, and all of the sudden, two hours passed by, and I didn't get to what I wanted to do in the first place.

Not sit and read a book, not relax by the fire.  Clean the landscaping up.

Just another day at the farm.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 10 -- My kids

We have two full time employees and I feel like they are as much our kids as our three biological children are.

Clayton has been with us a bit over a year -- and is a part of our family.  Last night, when we sent him on the road with cows in our truck and trailer, I worried about him.  Not because he has our cows, but because he's going out on his own on a big trip, by himself.  And my worries were confirmed when he called saying he was having truck trouble -- we told him to turn around and bring our hobbling truck back home.  Today we gave him a different rig and sent him off again, and he called with the SAME problem, but this time too far away from us to be able to call him back home.

I could start on a tirade about the fact that we ALWAYS have a problem like this right before a big event (remember I said we were one week away from one of our biggest promotions of the year -- we leave Wednesday), or that owning "stuff" associated with a business brings NOTHING but trouble because all of these things need to be maintained, cared for etc. (and believe me, I could go on about this, ask my friends), but really, my main concern was Clayton.  And if he was ok.

Am I going to be this much of a basket case when my kids start to drive, leave on their own from my home?  Am I already?  This is an employee, right?  NO.  When these guys are at our house as much as they are, eating meals with us, playing basketball with us, spending ALL of their waking hours with us, they are my kids too.  And I have to worry.  Now I know what my mother felt like when I took off by myself. . .I'm waiting for her to say I told you so.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day 9 - 54 kids later. . .

Today, we hosted 54 (I counted them) college students at the farm for a livestock judging team workout.  This is a yearly activity.  We put our new 2013 calves in groups of 4 (Alan puts them in groups to make a best, second best, third best and worst) for the teams to evaluate them.  They walk around and study each calf phenotypically (meaning how they look), and pick the best, 2, 3, 4 etc. for each one.  Then they have to back up what they say with oral "reasons", or a small speech about why they did what they did.

Alan was a member of a county livestock judging team, a state 4-H livestock judging team, and the University of Illinois livestock judging team.  He coached the state 4-H team after college, which won a national championship.  He really understands how important it is for these teams to have a great set of calves to evaluate.  The teams every weekend and two-three times a week go to a farm like ours and evaluate different types of animals, all to get ready for a series of competitions that they participate in during a one-year period.  It's highly competitive, excellent for public speaking and analytic skills, and, in Alan's case, made him into someone who professionally evaluates cattle regularly.  

I liken judging to any type of team activity -- it's individual for some portion in terms of doing your best, but they work together as a team to improve.  It's awesome, and I think one of the best extracurricular activities for a kid from a livestock farm to truly understand what makes their animals the best they can be.  

From our side, I enjoy having all these kids running around our farm.  They are some of the best livestock kids in the country and they are looking at our calves!    That's great promotion for our program at PVF!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Day 8 -- Part Time Help

We have two full time employees on the farm, and three or four part time high school or college students that come when they can to help us with show heifers.  These students become an integral part of our operation, even though they come in between classes, when they can, in between other obligations.  Why is this?

To be quite honest, to live on a farm can be trying -- it's always there.  There is always something to do, more to work on, another project to start, work on or finish.  Bringing in fresh blood every once in awhile is like getting a breath of clean air in the middle of the day when you're feeling mid-afternoon sluggishness.  They're fun, they are just starting, they have energy because they've been doing other things during the day that didn't involve their first love.  Then they show up at the farm and are raring to go!

I'm thankful for these workers -- thankful for their enthusiasm, their love of Angus Cattle, and the fact that they want to come spend their extra time with US, on OUR FARM!

By the way, more advertising was churning today -- check out our webpage of all our sale animals at!

30 Days Blogs --

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day 7 -- Using those college classes on the farm.

We created a postcard for our sale this week.

Making a postcard involves all skills I used in the past three jobs I've had as a marketing/communications manager.  Hiring skilled labor, managing information and placement, and getting things done on time, with the business owner who is very picky about how his farm and business look (justifiably so).

I get to the point in these, because I'm managing a part time job, kids, a household, and being the communications manager for PVF, that I simply want them to be done.  However, when I listen to my husband and really spend time with the piece, I'm glad I paid attention to detail.   Because seriously, I think this looks great, because we got them just how we wanted them.

It's going in tomorrow's mail. . .

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Day 5-- Professional Development

Alan just returned from a trip to Toronto this weekend.  He called part of his trip a good opportunity for professional development.

Professional development?  For a cattle farmer?  I'd never really thought about it, but in reality, professional development for someone who works for himself isn't the easiest thing in the world to find, let alone take the time for.  Then there's paying for it, and making sure it's relevant to the "job" you are doing.

For Alan, someone who worked for someone else for 15 years, professional development is something that was ingrained as important by his former employer.  In my job off the farm, I advise students in farm management.  Am I urging students to consider professional development as something that needs to be integrated in what they as a farmer or rancher considers a part of their yearly plans?  It's as important as planting, harvesting, weaning, calving, or having a cattle sale is.  It's important, it helps us to become better at what we do, and learn from others.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day 3 -- Getting Ready to Show

We have about a week until one of our biggest cattle shows of the year -- the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) in Louisville Kentucky.  This show is an opportunity for our farm to exhibit some of our best livestock of the year, an excellent marketing opportunity, especially in advance of our online sale at the end of the month.

Getting ready for this show has been underway for several weeks already -- we have been feeding the show heifers for the show -- wanting them plump, but not too fat, so they are filled out and look their best.  We have been washing them regularly and working with their hair so that it's clipped just right to highlight their features, and directed in a way that makes them look long, feminine, and overall just pretty.

Then there's the other part of the show -- getting ready all the other "stuff" that goes along with exhibiting at a national show.  We will bring a television with videos of our sale cattle, produce a banner with photos of the sale animals, and get all the feed, fitting equipment, and other paperwork ready for the show.

I call this similar to packing for a trade show on the road.  It's important to look professional, put our best foot forward, and make a good impression so we will market our cattle as one that a customer wants to find out more about.

So we move on from one activity to the next -- something that makes the cattle business definitely an exciting one.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day 2 -- The Joy on His Face

Today, one of our 14 year old customers came to pick up the heifer he purchased.  It could not have been more satisfying to watch him go into the barn, halter his heifer, and lead her on to his trailer.  Then he wrote a check HIMSELF for her.

The business that we have allows us to be around what I consider to be some of the best youth in the country -- these kids have earned money to buy a project to start their own livestock herd.  They are making their own investments in our cattle, and making decisions to care and prepare their projects for show themselves.  I am in awe of how mature they are.

There are many more animals that will be picked up in a similar fashion over the next couple of months -- I hope I get to witness again the pride and joy on the face of all of them when they choose, and take home their heifer.  This is what makes livestock projects great.

(to see others on a November blog see Holly's 30 days blogs)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Day 1 -- A month before the sale

I've never blogged before and now I'm going to attempt to blog for 30 days (Thanks to my friend Holly Spangler - and her 30 days blog).

I live on an purebred Angus farm with my husband and three children.  Prairie View Farms, PVF Angus, is my husband's childhood dream come true.  He grew up showing cattle, got incredibly involved, and turned this desire into what I think is a very successful purebred Angus farm.  We now have more than 200 cows here and hold two annual sales marketing these cattle for donor cows and show heifers around the country.

So, we're living the dream, with the ups, downs and all arounds associated with owning your own business, living with livestock, working with employees and customers, and trying to raise a family in the midst of it all.  At the end of this month I'm turning 40, which frankly has me in its grip, and is perhaps why I foolishly decided to share all these things on a blog, something I don't usually write or really read others.  I hope I'm doing this right.

I'm going to blog a narrative of the month -- the month before we hold a sale on our farm.  A month of the happenings, the visitors, the things that happen in front of and behind the scenes on a cattle farm as we attempt to make our business a go again this year.

To begin our tale, my husband is going to have traveled to three states and 2 different countries before the weekend will be over.  He has flown, taken a train, and driven a truck and livestock trailer, all in order to get there.  All to look at or show a cow.  Why might you ask?  In my opinion the best part of the purebred livestock industry is the people that we have known through it.  Our customers, friends, people we spend time with at events, become close friends.  They all have marketing events, and because we enjoy being around them, we want to go and support them when they are having a sale themselves.  Alan has been to Tennessee and Iowa yesterday and today to do just that.  Tomorrow he'll fly to Toronto to show a bull, (I aptly named "Outtasight") that we sold to a group of Canadian cattlemen.  They are exhibiting him at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (I LOVE the name of this show) and want to have Alan there for support.  And we want to go do that.

In the mean time, Alan's sister and her husband, Brandon Jones, are holding a steer bid off at their farm in Gridley.  Because I enjoy cattle people as much as Alan does, I'm going to help tomorrow.  I am looking forward to seeing old friends, and having a good time (oh yeah, and help her serve chili and pretend to be helpful).  This isn't just a way for us to make a living, it is our WAY of living.  And even though I wasn't raised around it, I can't imagine living another way.

I'd better stop -- I have 29 more days of prose to write.