A day in the life of Sackmann Cattle Company.

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

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.