A day in the life of Sackmann Cattle Company.

The pictures, stories, and crazy times in our world.

December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Have a blessed day from our family to yours!

May Santa be good to you . . .

May the cows water (& feed) themselves. Or at least with minimal trouble - catch up on some phone calls while you wait!

May you have lots of treats - sampled as they were made of course.
Yes, I let the girls dress themselves!

Gotta' throw in one kid story. Molly was in the Christmas program at church. The director asked her what animal she wanted to be {in the stable}. Molly replied a "pig". The director says "I think we'll have the only stable with a pig in it." But for any of you wondering, we questioned Molly as it if she wanted to show a pig or a calf when she got old enough. "A calf" was her reply. I see my pig barn becoming a show barn & having to give up my "I have pigs in case the kids want to show them". Oh a few years to go.

And may the New Year bring you many beautiful days. This was our morning view on the 23rd.

"Christmas day is a day of joy and charity. May God make you very rich in both."

November 29, 2011

Bring on December!

Since it seems I skipped November!

I promise the last 6 weeks or so we've kept busy -
a few of our tasks accomplished

Red, White & BLACK FRIDAY Sale

from start to finish
Got started on new cattle record keeping system
We did our first sale with a computer program in the office - AWESOME!
SALE - Done
(Thanks to all the buyers, bidders & visitors)

It's always great to see everyone and wish there was more time to visit with people. (I guess that's why we go to other people's sales - when it is them who are busy!). Talking to a neighbor who had gone to one of her first cattle sales and said she didn't really know anyone. When we first moved home I only knew a few people, now Jeff doesn't want to sit with me because I just talk instead of pay attention to the sale - hum!

Thanks to Annie & Julie for taking pictures (saw the first batch last night) at the sale. Something that is hard to do and run between other jobs. They caught both Jeff's with a big smile before the sale. Anyone remember what joke Butch was telling? Poor Quinton is trying to figure out the computer system we threw at him for the first time.

Before the sale there were lots of time spent taking pictures of cattle. The kids helped take pictures of bred heifers on a beautiful fall day.
Notice Lila in her dress dancing and twirling in the corner. Trevor has his catalog (can't leave home without it) and is telling Jeff something about these girls. They all have a new home now.

We've also had 4 more litters of pigs, weaned & re-bred sows. Now I just need to find homes for all the little beggars. Spring born pigs are a hot commodity, unfortunately the litters born on the opposite season can be hard to get rid of - come on its fun keeping animals through the winter!

Fall cows are done calving and we've started synchronizing for fall breeding seasons. Keeping all those schedules in check. Blessed to have lots of crop aftermath thus far this season. Since it didn't freeze until the end of October crops had plenty of time to grow after their last harvest. If the snow stays away we are in good shape to sell more hay & feed less! There was actually haylage put up in Othello the first week of November this year - WOW!

Water's been off for a month and everything is drained (I think!). The guys kept going back to town to get more wire to build hot wire fence to surround all the fields before the ground freezes up hard.

The kids got all dressed up and Jeff carved pumpkins for Halloween. We had a Dorothy (second year running), a pig, and big surprise a cowboy!

Pictures at the Sunny Farms pumpkin batch is pretty much the only semi-staged picture I've managed to get done every year. These kids change so much year to year.

Molly celebrated her 6th birthday (yes, we are in denial). Kindergarten is over 1/3 over. Dang.

Jeff got to attend the American Angus Convention in Louisville. Good experience even though he realized how long it had been since he was there with the WSU judging team.

I think I have most of my Christmas shopping done (helps when everyone gets part of a big present). There are three big boxes of trampoline that need to be put together though.

I found a sign that I had to have:

"The Days are Long. The Years are Short."

So true, so true.

Hope everyone was able to take a minute and reflect on what they are thankful for over Thanksgiving. We have so many blessings to count it seems nearly impossible (what a great thing to be able to say!)

Many blessings as we head into the Christmas Season!

October 10, 2011

. . . Time marches on

Apparently I'm behind again.

In the last month we've finished hay (YAH!), started calving, married off Matt (our hired man), had two litters of pigs, completed another Evergreen Sale, and I don't even know what else. And I seem to have been going through life without my camera (most of these pics were taken with my phone!).

Trevor looks on as a heifer licks her new calf. We headed out - 3 adults, 3 kids and a clanking scales. She took it all in stride. Just the type of disposition we expect around here. I think last count we were at 8 calves and the first due date isn't here yet. Of course one calf had to be born in September. Which just means I can harass Jeff about calving during 3 months!

One of the last hay stacks of the year. The custom stacker was following Jeff around the field as he finished. They had the high schooler that worked for us this summer wash off hay equipment so they wouldn't be tempted to cut more. Unlike last year, we already have tons (literally) of regrowth. Now if we don't get snow before Thanksgiving so the cows can eat it! The seemingly constant rain we've had lately may also keep them from thinking about firing up a swather.

Molly & Lila flying a kite. A sure sign of fall in the basin; the return of wind.

Our little sweeties holding hands on the way to the barn. They are nice to each other MOST of the time. Our house sure is different during the day while Molly is at school.

Jeff and Trev roping a ladder. That boy's going to be trouble - he already wants to go with dad all the time. If you bribe him with a trip with dad he remembers! He likes to remind you of your promise at about 5 AM - but he's so darn happy. Now if he only has so much energy and enthusiasm when he's old enough to accomplish things.
Congratulations to Matt & Kendra! They had a beautiful wedding - complete with a Molly flowergirl. Lila was wearing the same dress as Molly and decided to join her on about half of her walk down the aisle after the ceremony.
Besides calving & farrowing we are working on the fall catalog.
I found a sign I had to have.
"The Days are Long, but the Years are Short"
So, true.
Happy Fall!!

September 13, 2011

Where does time go?

People will ask us if we are keeping busy. After the initial thoughts of have you met us before, I usually think what do I do everyday. Today was one of those days that so explained where all the time goes.

Molly on the bus - on schedule (new concept for us). Headed out with Trev & Lila to do chores and then go for a little walk. Chores done, walk started - at first corner we find Jeff moving pipe. He hurt his back last weekend so we've been trying to give me some help. I leave the kids in the dirt corner to play and help Jeff. Soaked pants and shoes later we continue to move heifers to a new pasture. Kids in toe, Lila missing all of her clothes from the waist down (potty training you know!) get heifers moved. While moving heifers we pass the neighbor's plum trees that are never picked and the last ones are ripe. In the group are two extra smart ones that found a porcupine.

Matt brings the trailer and takes the heifers to the chute. I follow because I've never seen such fun. Dry clothes for Lila & I, guys get the heifers taken care of (hopefully), and the kids and I head to pick (um, steal) plums. They were harvesting the "baby bakers" yesterday and today. I wanted some pictures and to grab some for my grandma. So after plums we went to the spud field. Return a couple phone calls. Wow - its 11:30 and check with Jeff and he would like lunch at the shop. Make, deliver & eat lunch get back home and it is 1:30.

So what I did today: help with water & heifers, steal plums & potatoes, and deliver lunch. (Naps, pick tomatoes, make dinner and put kids to bed after lunch!)

Jeff would LOVE to have plans for every day - I'm better off to not try!

Tomorrow's plan: weaning shots for all the spring calves!

August 23, 2011

County Fair

Pictures first & an outright endorsement of Sunny Farms Produce!! Kids eating their first corn for the season & we've downed many melons, peppers & what ever else we bring home. Great fresh, local produce from even better people! Stop by if you are in Othello or Sequim.

Back in the day I was a regular at three fairs. I remember my first year at WSU and my roommate insisted I was homesick because I went home every weekend for the first month. Well we weren't done with harvest yet and I had three fairs to go to! Things to do honey (she and I were not cut from the same cloth - or insert your own comment). Skip ahead (umm) 15 years and I'm not quite as regular of an attendee. At my class reunion this summer one of the gals was talking about taking her now husband to the Rockford Fair. He said nice park were is the fair. Yep, that's the Rockford Fair - love it!
I'm starting to look at the fair through the eyes of the moms not the showmen. Another one of those life perspective shifts I guess. Jeff took Molly to the Grant County Fair and she had a BLAST. They even rode an elephant. Then Jeff and I headed up to Cusick, WA for the Pend Oreille County Fair. We had been asked to judge the livestock. I signed up and told Jeff if he was available he could come to! Lucky for him we got spring pairs worked and pregged (100% preg rate on the heifers - cool!) the day before and between the two halfs of third cutting.
Jeff judged cattle on Thursday while I was the ring steward - when I wasn't talking in the corner. The first class was pee-wee showman. I 7 year-old, 5 year-old, and 4 year-old all with bottle calves. They were adorable! Jeff worked his way through the cattle and we came back the next day to do hogs and sheep. Everyone was so nice - no one yelled at the judges and lots of people came and thanked us for coming! Innocent by-standers jumped in and held sheep when one showman had multiple entries in a class.
So if you are in the area visit the Pend Oreille County Fair next year. Not at all commercial, wonderful people, cute kids, and a beautiful setting in a valley with mountains surrounding. I could dig one of the summer homes we saw along the river between Cusick & Newport. Maybe we won't visit in the winter though!
At home, Molly got to meet her Kindergarten teacher this evening. Fall bulls are headed to Othello tomorrow and working on planting alfalfa. One project after another.

August 11, 2011

Pride & Passion

WOW! Last weekend was a crazy, busy weekend that snuck up on me. Yet very memorable.

Friday was Grant County Farm Bureau's 2nd Annual tour for the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima. This year we got about 80 first year medical students and a handful of faculty. Our tour idea started out as a unique opportunity to proactively bring future medical professionals to farms in Grant County.

As farmers we sometimes forget how important it is to tell our story; how and why we do what we do. Our society is farther and farther removed from where and how their food is produced. Many other individuals and groups are more than willing to tell the non-farm public their thoughts on how we feed the world so we have to step out of our comfort zones and talk to politicians, moms, and medical students from all over the United States.

This year our tour took us to Friehe Farm's potato & wheat fields, Rathbun's hay and cattle, Avila's Dairy, and Manzana Organic & Conventional Orchards. One of the coolest parts of this project is the support from ag groups from across the state. Darigold donated milk (white & the fave chocolate!), the Cattle Producers of Washington helped purchase (& grill) US beef, Skone & Connors provided potatoes, and a long list of industry groups sent educational brochures & items for the tour attendees to take home.

Our local livestock extension agent, Sarah Smith, was able to join us to help answer questions and lead a discussion on hot topics in animal ag. Sarah commented "makes me proud to live here and work with the individuals I do - Everyone has such passion!" It is nearly impossible (at least for me:)) to express how much passion these farmers have for their land, what they produce, and their "career".

Pascal at Friehe's was so excited to talk about potatoes and wildlife. He explained about how they manage "puddles" differently than they used to and all the frogs they now have. As he's talking about this a little toad hopped through! We teased him it was a trained one! The students caught the little guy and put him back in the field so it wouldn't get stepped on. I'd seen Pascal at the Jr. Angus tour and learned from him 6 weeks ago and again this past weekend.

Pascal also took us into a wheat field that was ready to be harvested and included research plots. Students got to thrash heads of wheat by hand - a new experience for many.

Our other speakers offered just as much pride & passion. Including a self-proclaimed surfer-dude who manages & owns organic & conventional orchards on the Royal Slope. They are willing to do things differently, including raising crops others tell them they can't and picking blocks of apples multiple times to get the fruit that is ripe, not just the fruit that is there.

Multiple students asked "why would a farm group take on this project". A few reasons,

-We want them to see what we do, including a better understanding of our need for ag labor. These future doctors will not only care for us but all of our employees.

-We want them to meet us, see us and see first hand how (some) of their food is produced.

-We want them to be able to bring first-hand knowledge to the table when someone from outside of agriculture tries to tell them how it is "down on the farm".

To name a few.

Overall a successful day - appreciated the students willingness to ask tough questions and basic questions alike. I echo Sarah, makes me proud (& blessed) to count my family among these AWESOME people that feed the world!

Saturday brought golf - the 9th Annual Fairway Classic to benefit Washington Farm Bureau's Young Farmer & Rancher Program. Thanks to everyone who golfed & sponsored the event (http://www.wsfb.com/programs/yfr). Below is a picture of part of the Wells Fargo team posing at their hole.

We are of course keeping busy on the farm too. The custom harvest crew is getting ready to cut down our golden wheat while our crew works on third cutting. Next week we'll preg check and give pre-weaning shots to spring calves. Keep rollin'!

Blessed, proud, and excited to be part of American Agriculture!

August 3, 2011

Locavores on a Haycation

Yep, that's us locavores on a haycation!
"Living the dream."
Before you
-head for the dictionary
-wonder how well you know us
-think we've fallen off our rockers (or finished!!)
-quit reading my silliness -
Yes, we are locavores (especially this time of year). We finally got to eat some veggies (other than lettuce) out of our garden paired with meat that we raised. Nummy. I was told I scared some poor southern "boys" last winter at the YF&R Discussion Meet when I admitted to being a locavore & a foodie. OK - the foodie is a bit of a stretch - but I like to try new recipes and foods. As for the locavore, we might as well enjoy the seasonal bounty our region provides. Which reminds me Sunny Farms in Othello is open and I ate cherries out of a Royal Slope orchard today!

As for the "haycation". Yes, I read those women's home & garden type magazines. You know the type and no our house looks NOTHING like all those cool pictures. But I do try recipes (hence the sort-of foodie) and dream of a house with no toys on the floor and matching furniture. Anyway, I read in one recently that a trend for the summer was to go on a "haycation" AKA a farmstay. As we headed out on one of our infamous vacations that either last 10 hours or 30 hours (always the same don't really know why) I told him about the article. Jeff laughed and said "oh yah, living the dream". I told him the article spoke of collecting eggs - an animal we don't have so I guess we aren't completing the dream. Oh well, I don't think we'll add chickens just for the sake of the haycation.

When does Jeff bale alfalfa in the middle of the afternoon? When the entire western sky looks black. He raced the storm (which actually was minor compared to some surrounding areas) and got about 1/3 of the field baled. My favorite part was the neighbor dropping something by, husband in tow headed to go get a baler. Anyway as it started to rain said neighbor's "scowl" matched Jeff's when he got rained out and came in the house a few minutes later. Thanks for the "laugh" Jared.

The kids were helping Jeff check hay in the backyard. Notice Lila in her farming clothes; white eyelet dress. Did I mention I'm not the best laundress?

What to say about this? Mom came one day and asked me if I had cleaned something in the bathtub or if all that dirt could possibly just be from bath time. You guessed it. Nothing clean here except kids - once a day, briefly.

The end of the week brings a tour with the first year medical students from PNWU. Wow, snuck up on me this year. Anyway, this is stollen from a facebook page that I will be sharing on our tour. Thanks for the post Cory.

Finishing 2nd cutting and heading quickly towards third. Fall calves eating away and spring calves hanging out with mamas. Thinking about putting together a fall catalog. Looks like we'll be having 6 litters of pigs this fall. And of course Molly starts school in about 3 weeks. I have a sneaking suspicion she will be graduating before I know it! Time flies when you're having fun.

July 11, 2011

{Belated} Happy Independence Day!

We began our 4th of July celebrations by weaning fall bull calves. The heifers were already weaned. We've been using "fenceline" weaning which requires us to wean smaller groups at one time due to facilities - but much happier calves that show much fewer signs of stress and get back to eating. Fall calves looked good and weights are all recorded. The day ended with a BBQ at the neighbors complete with homemade ice cream. Another good reason to hang out with dairy farmers on a holiday in the summer - thanks Katie, Jared & kids! Jeff and I watched the fireworks that lined the skies all around us while the kids slept off an afternoon of fun.

The guys started 2nd cutting this week. The plan is to get 4 cuttings on most of the alfalfa and 3 on the rest and all the grass. I saw some beautiful green hay around Othello this afternoon. Keep those tires rolling!

Trevor is hiding in the alfalfa in our yard. The field at our house still has wheel & handlines and Jeff starts each day with pants wet up to almost his waist. The laundry line tells the rest of the story.

We joke that you'll know we have a group of teenagers when we start to turn circle ground back into wheel & handlines! Train 'em early.

Ah - good reason to eat dinner outside. No need to cry over spilt milk here.

My little & BIG shavers. Trevor's helping dad make his face match his new haircut. And a cut for the little man, too!

June 24, 2011

Heading for the end of June. . .

First cutting - check

Kinder Camp - check

Regional Jr. Angus Tour - check (THANK YOU Agri-Beef/El Oro & Friehe Farms)

Dirty kids EVERY day (at least once) - check

Summer must be here (as I type the girls think I should get out the wading pool - its not even 70)

Some pictures from the last 2+ weeks.

He had to play by himself! Trev didn't care.

Somehow "Dorothy" escaped most of the dirt throwing.

Lila didn't!

Friehe Farms came and planted our field of "baby bakers". We got caught watching the stream of cool equipment go by like it was a parade.

Hopefully bred, {bred} heifers graze on as bales appear near them. They may well eat this bale this winter. The guys made a couple of rows of big bales along the edge of our grass/alfalfa field. Keeps the little bales cleaner and we get some great hay for the winter.

Fall heifer pairs happily graze.
3 balers make ALOT of bales. With balers logging the hours all over the area, our custom stacker quickly had the work piling up.

Not the scene we want to see when we still had hay down, but a double rainbow can make you smile any day. I should have taken my camera when I went to do chores that night. We have 1 pair here as part of our special care group. I missed a cool picture of her nursing her calf with the more vibrant rainbow behind her.
1st cutting hay finished up on Thursday. Now there is water on everywhere. The guys are talking about how many cuttings they are going to shoot for with our cool spring - wheat looks really good. Wheat definetely likes the cool weather better than alfalfa.
Molly finished Kinder Camp this week. Jeff & I went in for her parent teacher conference today and are realizing she's really going to school! More camps scheduled for the summer and off to school the end of August. My, oh my!

June 5, 2011

HAY! down

No doubt those of us lucky enough to live in the Pacific Northwest shouldn't be complaining about the weather too much - given what the rest of the USA has been through.

But, we are farmers. Our house is now officially in pray for dry mode. Yes, I grew up a dry-lander and switching to wanting dry weather in parts of {May}, June, July & September was a new concept to me. (August is harvest where I'm from.) But I am all on board now.

Trevor went to bed last night with "you can go with daddy if you go to sleep". Guess what the first thing he was ready to do this morning? How come they remember all that stuff but forget about "pleases and thank yous".

I saw at least two (maybe three) crop dusters in the air this afternoon. No wind and with the cold lots of acres planted days apart on now pretty much at the same maturity. Those pilots are pretty amazing.

Besides hay, we gave pre-weaning shots to all the fall calves. Jeff was excited to be the calf pusher; get kicked and get the complete view of all the calves. Weighing & looking pretty good. Bulls are still out with the spring pairs & as usual around here this time of year everyone has TONS of grass to eat. (I mean that literally!)

With the recent rain we've had came some great sunsets. We've also had great views of the still snow covered mountains west of us.

Last week the kids and I gave a little tour of our "neighborhood" to some other YF&R folks from Illinois. It's fun to drive around and actually look at the crops and think about how blessed we are to have water, be able to grow so many diverse crops & feed so many people & cows!

Welcome June!

May 22, 2011


Hum, with a title like that where or where could I be going-

Kids are too young for such things, thank god.

Molly got to hang out with great girls ~ 16 years older for a while this weekend. I'd say Molly found her soulmate! If anyone brought their teen aged'ish son to our bull sale Jeff says - I'm sure they saw her! The girls parted with a "see you Girlfriend".

We're boring old married people. Although I must admit I think I'm getting "to the age" that I think/worry about our single friends. Mostly because I wish they could know there's someone at home that is happy to see them, no matter how long or crazy the day. Not that I would ever actually follow through on any such thoughts. Anyway, I digress . . .

Girlfriends, all our bulls are delivered! The last trip took us to Oak Harbor, Washington. Below are some pictures taken from 3 Sisters Beef. I'd take eating belly deep green grass, watching the sailboats, and hanging out with 200 girlfriends. Dang life is hard!

Anyway, check out http://www.3sistersbeef.com/! Awesome family who've been farming on Whidbey Island for over 100 years. They've moved from dairy farmers to a beef cattle operation. They specialize in grass fed beef that they direct market. We delivered our fourth group of Sackmann bulls. Jeff enjoyed seeing cows from our bulls raising calves from our bulls.

On a long list of cool things we saw at 3 Sisters Beef - one of Jeff's favorite was their self-serve system. They sell eggs and some meat on the farm on the honor system. Stop take a carton of eggs and some hot dogs and leave the money in the box. Not only is 3 Sisters trusting enough of their neighbors and customers to try this but people give them the same courtesy. Great lesson in the goodness of people that has worked for a number of years.

We also got to spend some time with my Aunt Teresa & "Lexi's Jeff" (that would be my cousin's husband). We enjoyed her great place complete with views of the sound and lots of stairs for the kids to play on. Blessings to Teresa as she heads off for missionary work soon.

On the OMG parent side - Molly has a very loose tooth! I'm in denial about registering for Kindergarten too by the way!

May 17, 2011

Hooray for 70!

Yes, finally some warm days! The garden is partially planted & flowers are blooming.

My strawberries & raspberries lived through the winter (unlike some of my bushes) and I'm so excited to have berries in our garden.

Baby corn - yes the neighbors but still up in perfect rows ('gotta love GPS!).

Now we're just waiting for the hay to grow so we can cut it! Right now looks like projected cut date is 2 weeks behind "normal". And if all this rain stays away when the hay is on the ground all will be well.

On the cow front, spring cows have been AI'd, implanted (with embryos) and turned out with bulls. We're planning on working fall calves before the hay hits the ground. Time flies - it doesn't seem like that long ago that they were born!

All our weaner pigs are at their new homes & we'll be breeding some sows next week. Going from 50 pigs to 6 within a week or so seems crazy.

And of course, pics of the kids we chase on a daily basis, because they are cute (at least we think they are!) and I bet you can pick out our lead fashion diva.

Colored bubbles from Great-Grandma for Easter. "Don't worry mom the ad says they come out". Sure enough they do. Way to go Crayola.

Our little farmer - wants to go with "Daddy Jeffy" every morning. We took Molly to a Wizard of Oz play while Trev & Lila stayed with a babysitter. Upon our return Shannon reported she and Trevor had a problem. It seems the brown cows she drew (very recognizable by the way - unlike mom's) were not right. Appartently Trevor "me not like brown cows". Only black cows will do. Oh, the brainwashing has begun!

Lila helping change water. The little ones need hip waders to maybe stay dry in an already grazed (certainly not hard) pasture.

"Dorothy" and Trevor are more interested in the rooster that's moved in at the neighbors than helping change water. Before the rooster was spotted Molly & I could almost keep up with Jeff, umm on second thought he would have been faster by himself, moving pipes. But I guess you've got to start somewhere. And Trev is the end plug carrier. He just follows on along happy as can be.

Spring marches on and we seem to be keeping busy!