Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Home At Last!

Well after galloping around in the beautiful state of California, I have now found my way back home to a nice cold and rainy Canada! But I at this point I want to tell you guys a little bit about my trip!

We left on the 17th at a lovely time of four in the morning! Being travel smart though I did not fall asleep prior to leaving, so every moving piece of machinery with and engine that I rode in that day I slept! It sure made the trip to California go by fast. Right away when we arrived we went to Newport Beach. Sadly it was a bit on the chilly and windy side, but it was still warmer than Canada! So we stripped into our bathing suits and went in the water!

Right after that we made our way to our hotel, quickly changed and headed to a Dodgers Game. The Dodgers were playing Milwaukee. If you ever attend a Dodgers game, I recommend getting a Dodger may be a hot-dog, but its a 100% BEEF hot-dog!

The following morning we went searching for the native animal of that area...whales/dolphins. But all we seen were some big, fat, smelly sea lions laying on a buoy. If anyone is heading down to California in the next year I have a pass to go whale watching for free! The rest of the day was spent in the Hollywood/Beverly Hills area where we were constantly searching for celebs amount the fancy cars and high end stores. We also visited the La Brie Tar Pits, where animals from the past emerge from the tar and they are able to dig up the remainders of the past. It was really interesting to see the size of a Mammoth. That evening we attended the Medieval Times. I got my farm animal intake that night, as there was lots of horses. There were six different knights who were all competing in medieval times activities, such as jousting and sword fighting. We were on the red knights team...he won!!

Finally what we had been waiting for came! We spent the next three days smiling, laughing and screaming at the, "Happiest Place on Earth." The first two days though we had to play a concert in Disneyland one day and then California Adventure another. We all thought that was OK, because if it weren't for my amazing band teacher we would have never been able to go. We played very well both concerts!

The following two days involved a day at Universal Studies and then half a day in Disneyland and then the flight home! Overall I would say my favorite ride was by far the Hollywood Tower of Terror in California Adventures and Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland. What is your favorite ride?

It was a fantastic trip that will make my Grade 12 year even more memorable. I did learn something about the Anaheim/Disneyland area. Before Walt Disney purchased the land where Disneyland sits, it was covered oranges. Oranges are California's main source of agriculture, but now a days as cities are expanding much like here the agricultural land is being destroyed.

Hope your May Long weekend was just as fun as mine!
xoxo Michelle

Monday, 16 May 2011

Selective Breeding

I'm finally able to get my ducks in line and write you all another blog! This past week I worked every single day, I am trying to put in as many hours as possible so I can receive my Health Care Aide ASAP! Also in about 5 hours I will be on my way to California! I am going through school with my band class, this next week will consist of sunburns, Universal Studios, a Dodger Game, and of course tons of Disneyland!!

After receiving a comment, and then later having a conversation with the lady who does my nails about selective breeding and what we look for, I decided to do a blog on it. About a year ago my dad put together an ad for the Canadian Hereford Digest that expands on what our own farm looks for in a breeding bull and cow.

As you can see we have the majority of top things we search for. This includes:
Fertility-You need a bull with good sperm quality and count to impregnate your cows. We are always striving to have an extremely small number of open cows.
Milking Ability-For a cow to raise a good calf, that cow needs to have a good sized bag with plenty of milk. Also having four equally placed and sized teats are desired.
Natural Thickness and Muscling-This is a desired trait because no matter what type and breed of cattle (with the exception of Dairy) you want to see an animal that is thick and processes muscle everywhere.
Carcass Traits-This is a very important thing to my family as we are always trying to build our Marbling and Rib-Eye EPD's. (I will talk about EPD's some other day!) This is important because when you have good carcass traits it results in delicious beef.
Pigmentation and Eye-Set- This is a very important trait that breeders look for in Herefords, this is because it is believed when they is more pigmentation around the eye, the animal will have a less likely chance of getting pink-eye.
Structural Soundness-No matter if it is a bull or cow you want good feet and legs on your cattle. This is so they are able to maneuver around without needing extra care.
Longevity and Productivity-Every breeder wants the most money out of a beef animal as possible. The more calves a cow produces, the more change in your pocket. This is something my family achieves for, the cow displayed in the picture lived to be just about 19 years old.

We are constantly trying to expand and better our herd by introducing all of these traits and others even more. Does your family farm have another major traits they selectively breed? Or do you have any questions about these traits?

In this coming up week I do hope to blog, but the chances may be slim. However I will have my camera ready, taking many pictures of California!!

xoxo Michelle

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Well first I would like to say a very Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's out there! Every single on of you is unique in a specific way, and you teach the younger generation something new everyday!

At my house, not only should we be celebrating my wonderful mother, but also the 450+ cows who since February have been giving birth and now raising and nurturing their young calf. I can personally say that calving time is one of my favorite parts of the year. The main reasons are because the majority of all the cattle are home, with the exception of the young heifers. This doesn't happen very often and its a very nice site! Also I find watching a newly born calf try to stand for the first time and then seeing them out in the field with the other calves running and kicking with joy both extremely cute and gratifying. I find it so gratifying because with the assistance and care by supplying feed and water to the mother cow, you are able to see a new generation of birth that is rewarding to yourself.

Sadly this winter my life was on the crazy side and I hardly got to spend time out by the barns. I regret not being able to find more time to watch the cycle of life continue. Instead I plan on just spending quite a bit of time with the cattle this spring and summer, before I go off to school.

Many people are not really aware of all the involvements, processes, and sadly problems that occur at calving time. This year at Lilybrook Herefords we didn't have the best of luck with our calving. The cows pushing the calves out worked out great! It was the afterwards keeping the calves a live. We had deaths for a variety of reasons, both on the strange side and on the normal side.

Today I'm going to touch a bit on a Twisted Gut. I myself would like to learn a bit more on this, because one of my own calves we believe had one after opening him up and examining.

  • A twisted gut happens when there is either a blockage or a calf take a sudden movement, causing one or more loops of the intestine to twist over the other one. 
  • This then leads to the blood supply being cut off, and it can become extremely swollen and painful for the calf.
  • Also the blockage of food travel occurs. This causes the food to just sit there and not digest.
  • There is really no cure for a twisted gut. With the exception of an operation where you remove the affected loops of intestine, stitch the ends together and hope for the best! This is very expensive and the recovery is not guaranteed. 
With looking up at the information above there is evidence of my calf having the twisted gut. I never seen the inside but as my dad described it, his liver and some of his intestine were black-meaning he did not receive any blood because of the twist. And he had large amounts of undigested food just sitting in his stomach. The stench apparently wasn't very pleasant either! 

If you guys have any more questions about calving feel free to ask and I will do a blog post on them! I would also love to hear your calving stories. For those that are still calving, Good Luck!

Friday, 6 May 2011


So I'm sitting at school on my spare at the moment, procrastinating the fact that I have homework for the weekend, so I figured I would take the time and do another post. As I will not have a lot time this weekend, I am going up to Battle Lake (thats where the Alberta 4-H Centre is) for Ambassador Training. This is my 2nd year as an Ambassador, so I am very excited to meet all the new ones and have some good, quality Ambassador fun!

In Math class this morning, we had a bit of down time, a good friend of mine showed a very funny video to me off of YouTube. Here it is:

Not only did this video make me giggle but it made me realize that the beef we raise is feeding more than just humans. Meat is a very important substance in a dogs diet because it stuffed with protein and healthy vitamins. The majority of dog foods contain meat or bone meals. Dogs can also just eat raw meat, but it isn't as healthy for them when it is store bought because the meat is meant to be cooked, so the acceptable bacteria level is rather high. When I grew up I remember there was nothing my border collies liked more than having the bone from a T-Bone steak!

So the next time you feed your dog some of those small kibbles, remember that it is through Agriculture and the cattle industry that your dog is able to obtain his necessary proteins to keep him healthy and running around!

I have just added a poll on the side bar-feel free to answer, What kind of Dogfood do you feed your Dog? It will be very interesting to see the answers! (You can check more than one box!)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

A Program That Changed My Life!

I have finally been able to pull myself away from my crazy life to write another entry. These past couple days I've been has mainly consisted of going to school (only 29 more days of classes!!...not like I'm counting :P) and then going to work. I am working at one of the Extended Care Facilities in Claresholm. At the present time I am working on internship hours to receive my Health Care Aide. Looking and caring after elderly isn't always the most pleasant job, but needless to say I do enjoy interacting with them as they have great pasts and lots of stories to tell. Also there are quite a few who have an extremely good sense of humor!

When I haven't been working this week, I have been trudging along on my 4-H Scholarship form that was due tonight. I am a HUGE procrastinator, so I was quite proud of myself when I wasn't still working on it at 11:59! (It had to be submitted at 12:00). Tonight I also attended and lead my last 4-H meeting EVER! At this moment I'm having mixed feelings about it. 4-H is the program that I can honestly say shaped me to who I am today. When I was nine and started 4-H I was very shy and timid. Its been through 4-H that I have grown such a large amount of confidence, public speaking skills, and overall life skills that I will use forever.

Another thing that I can attribute 4-H to for myself, was 4-H actually got me interested into the Agriculture world. Growing up I was a part of the ranch, but not a very big one. So when i finally reached the age of nine I was forced to start feeding these things called "steers" everyday, and attending all these crazy events! But the more time I spent in 4-H the more I realized that I really enjoyed working around cattle, showing, and becoming knowledgeable about all the different parts of Agriculture. It was from then on that I decided I wanted to be a part of the wonderful world of Agriculture, it holds so many opportunities!  If it weren't for 4-H I would be one of those kids who lived out in the country, called themselves a "farm kid", but really had no idea what went on everyday. Or how enjoyable and satisfying it is to see your hard work feed or supply something to either a human being or an animal.

I guess where I'm going with this post was to just inform you a little bit more about why I think 4-H is such a tool to expanding the knowledge about agriculture to everyone, but also a tool to help each member grow.
Is there a part of 4-H that has especially been a part of making you who you are today or another program? Feel free to share!

xoxo Michelle

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


Well lets get this started! First welcome to my blog and thank you for coming to visit. I will start off by telling you a little about myself. I was born and raised east of Claresholm, AB on a Hereford Ranch with my parents and two siblings (Ruth and Daniel). Our ranch name is Lilybrook Herefords, we raise around 450 Purebred Hereford Cows. Plus the numerous amounts of bull, heifers, and around 50 Commercial Calves, all Hereford!! I am currently in Grade 12, in two months I will be graduating and then wandering to the big city of Calgary. There I will attend Mount Royal University for my Bachelor of Nursing.

I am actively involved in my school and community through 4-H, Grad Society, Student Council, and in 2010 I had the honor of being crowned the 2010 Prom Queen at my school. I am also a very active member of the Alberta Junior Hereford Association and the Canadian Junior Hereford Association. I am very proud of my breed, we have advanced a great amount. Being able to promote Herefords, and being such a big part of the junior program is a great experience and honor.

For my blog I am hoping to talk about my crazy life and how much agriculture is a part of my day to day life, but also about how much it has taught me. Feel free to leave comments, give suggestions on blog posts or just say hello!

Have a great day!

Me showing my 4-H steer from last year!