Of late, most of my weekends consist of hanging out with family, visiting the boyfriend, Fightin’ Texas Aggie football and church. Not a bad schedule at all. But sometimes, I get lucky and my weekends work out to be that same schedule but with a cherry on top! This past weekend that cherry, so to speak, was working cows. Well heifers to be more precise.
Sunday marked the official beginning of yet another 4-H season with heifer validation outside of Hondo. My youngest two sisters and two cousins, each participate in the 4-H Commercial Heifer Project. Being seniors and having several years of experience in this event, Maycee and Taylor ought to have one exciting year. **Don’t worry, none of the girls had to drive Sunday! Dad got to play “cowboy chauffeur” for the day, hauling the 16 heifers to validations. I wish I would have thought to get a picture of him with a truckload of girls and a trailer-full of heifers!
Months ago, Uncle Anthony purchased heifers from the auction barn and through private treaty. With some luck in a strong market, he was able to put together 4 strong and unique pens of heifers. As a whole the pens averaged 2,724 pounds putting each heifer on average at a weight of 681. One of the project criteria is that the heifers gain a pound per day. There are approximately 120 days between validation and the sale. Given that these heifers gain at least 120 lbs., they will be at an appropriate size for breeding. This project goes far beyond the simple weight requirement. Their projects are graded in three parts: heifers, record book and interview. Based on the results of each of those sections determines placing. At this time, no matter how you place, your pen will sell. Buyers come in from Medina County and other surrounding counties. I’ll be posting pictures and sale information in January in case you may want to come out and buy something :)
As we loaded up the heifers Sunday, I couldn’t help but get excited. What is it about wearing blue jeans and boots, sweating my butt off under the hot, Texas-sun, with a cattle prod in my hands, moving cattle that makes me so happy?
Being back in the cattle pens behind Grandpa and Grandma’s has almost always brought a smile to my face. Without sounding too dramatic, all else in my world could be going wrong but for those hours out there working the cows with my family, nothing seems to weigh too heavily on my mind. Each day when I drive past their house, I am tempted to stop by and see what’s happening. And it absolutely tears me apart when I have to decline at the opportunity to help. Shoot if at all possible I will rearrange my schedule just so I could help.
As much as I love helping the girls with their projects, I get even more out of watching them get things done. To hear them use what they have learned in conversation with each other, immediately brings a smile to my face. I will surely have tons of wrinkles one day because they’ve made me smile and laugh so much!
Part of that pride and joy comes from knowing how proud they not only make me and their parents, but our grandparents as well. Grandma and Grandpa have always been so supportive of us in all of our various activities, but after raising cattle for all of these years, I know this has to be a little more special. At least it is for me.
It was too good of a day not to share with you all!
I’m proud of you girls!