A day in the life of Sackmann Cattle Company.

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

October 6, 2012

The faster I go, the behinder I get . . . . . . .

Obviously I am a few months behind!

Now that our pumpkins & tomatoes are dead and there is ice under the sprinklers it must be fall.  I promise summer kept us as crazy as ever.

Hay is all in the stacks.  The wheat is now new seeding alfalfa.  Corn should be harvested shortly; with the hard frost this week it is turning color before our eyes.  Some new circles are headed our way so the fall should bring lots of digging.  The unit we live on is included in the getting a circle for the first time fields.  I am very excited and Jeff should save a lot of time during the irrigation season.

Cow chasing is in full swing!  The fall herd is better than 2/3's done calving.  Jeff bought a group of commercial fall bred cows & pairs.  They will be used as recips starting this coming year.  The cows have a fair amount of color (white faces, simmental, etc.) so there are some very cute babies in that group.  Their calves look good and for the most part they are calmer here than when the guys picked them up.  They aren't even too bothered with Jeff, Trev, Lila and I walking through them.

Our own cows have been moving right along.  Calving on green grass in dry weather makes for some spunky calves that are off to the races from day one.  The first calf heifers were even nice enough to give us a fair amount of heifer calves.

As of yesterday all of the 2012 calves are weaned.  Fall bulls are down at JR Ranch and off to a great start.  The last group of springs are participating in "fence-line weaning" and are already pretty calm.  The spring calves certainly enjoyed our easy winter last year and look really good.

Jeff spent some time in Oklahoma in September and got to see his new nephew (congrats Julie & Jimmy) and bought some cows at the Limestone dispersal.  As expected he selected some nice animals that are now residing in our corral.  With weaning and being in that special time where grass is slowing down and corn stalks aren't ready yet, we have cattle in every possible place (or at least it feels that way).  After some health issues with purchased cattle a few years back, we are very careful to keep new animals separate from our own until we are able to test and vaccinate up to our standards to hopefully prevent the problems we endured previously.

This coming weekend brings the WA Angus Evergreen Sale in Kennewick.  Jeff has put in lots of time and effort for this sale with the change in sale management.  Think I can bake another pie that raises over $800?

The Red, White & Black FRIDAY sale is also on the horizon.  Mark your calendars for November 23rd in Othello.  There will be about 50 bulls, at least 60 bred cows & heifers and show steers offered.  We helped semen test all the bulls for that sale this week and are working on catalog layout.  Always another project awaiting us!   

On the home front still chasing kids although we are back in school mode.

As I type Molly is writing her first set of fair support thank you notes!  Yep, she showed her first pig at the Interstate Fair.  Jeff and I are afraid to count how many more years of showing we will likely participate in - let's just say it is WAY longer than the length of our own "careers".  Being the parent of a first time, 6 year old showman is a whole new type of stress than being the showman yourself.  Molly did great and says she's ready to do it again.

Molly also has finished 6 weeks of first grade and already has a student of the month award to show for it!  Off and running.

This summer she had to eat her corn on the cob off the cob.  Four missing teeth (including both front teeth) made for some very cute smiles.  Looks like they will all be in before Christmas so she'll have to ask for something else from Santa!

Trevor & Lila continue to make us laugh, smile and GROW! Molly holds school for them every afternoon.  They still have their moments of being three-year-olds but tons of fun.  Trev is daddy's shadow.  Most mornings he races to get dressed so dad won't leave with out him.  If Jeff hasn't left yet he usually takes him back to do the chores here.  Lila is our little mother; babies aren't usually too far away.

Besides Julie's little boy we also welcomed two new nieces in September.  Congrats to Chris & Kelly & Tom & Annie!  They grow so fast.  We've all been to see Bryn and we can't quite believe our now big kids were ever that little.

Time for our annual pumpkin patch picture trip to Sunny Farms, about the only picture session I've managed to get done every year!

July 8, 2012

Weather; my random thoughts

Ever meet a farmer or rancher and not know what to say or talk about?

The universal answer; weather!

As I type the guys are in our yard baling 2nd cutting alfalfa, surrounded by lightning.  Not necessarily the pretty kind, rather the all around us, light up the night kind.  And wind, luckily no rain (so far).

Moses Lake broke a record high temperature today.  The kids enjoyed our water trough turned swimming pool.  
We were all quite happy to have A/C and power.

Yes, farmers always talk weather.  Complain, pray, thank god, curse; you name it.  Unfortunately weather good for one farmer generally means trouble for another.  Jeff's aunt & uncle farm (dryland) about 40 miles from us.  Rain on our first cutting = better crop for them.  Beautiful first cutting for us = smaller crop for them.  The running joke is that late May rain (or lack of) determines who buys dinner.  Not sure it has ever happened but fun to comment on - BTW it is not our turn (again).

However, those of us in the Northwest can't complain too much relative to the rest of the United States.  Watching the drought monitor map on "Ag Day" this morning was pretty depressing.  You know the weather is bad when the shriveling crops make the mainstream media's evening news.

Despite some rained on first cutting and delayed cutting of another segment of first cutting we can't complain too much.

Fall heifers are all weaned.  Bulls have had their pre-weaning shots.  jeff thought he'd try to wait out the 100+ days before weaning the boys.  But I am planning on breeding sows next weekend so that usually brings on some tremendous heat!

Pulling bulls from spring cows, irrigation water, 2nd cutting, and summer with the kids are keeping us on the chase.

Molly finished kindergarten; complete with graduation.  Summer has already brought 10 days with her southern cousin (who thought two six-year old girls could squeal so much) including a trip to the indoor water park.  July will be VBS & swim lessons.

Maybe we can "relax" and do the other stuff I wanted to do in August.  Probably shouldn't count on it!!!

We are self-proclaimed meat snobs and I am doing my best to raise our kids to be fruit snobs.  We've already enjoyed awesome strawberries & raspberries from our garden.  The cool season veggies are pretty much done but our first zucchini is nearing harvest (blessing or curse?!?!).  The kids ate so many peas and raspberries the other day I don't know why I bothered to make lunch.

Maybe I'll take the camera with me (or bother to download the pics!) on some of our next adventures.

Thoughts and prayers with everyone who is dealing with fires and droughts around the country.  It is getting late enough in the growing season even the drylanders are happy to send our rain drops your way!

Happy JULY!

March 30, 2012

March Madness . . . .

. . . SCC style.

There's a basketball tournament?!? -
OK I admit to not being a huge basketball fan, but Jeff enjoys watching a good ball game. Somehow we've managed to log about 5 minutes, maybe, total of NCAA tourney b-ball. We've been keeping busy, promise.

I started March off with a trip to the National Pork Forum in Denver. I was one of Washington's delegates to the Pork Board (Pork Check-Off) meetings. As always it is refreshing to be with so many people who have such a passion for feeding the world, pork in this case. Getting away from home and the daily activities is a great reminder of why we do what we do every day. I know I'm a dork, but I found myself getting ch
oked-up listening to the star spangled banner (awesome rendition!) with flag waving overlaid with pictures of pigs, farms, and families from across the country. I told one of my other farm friends about this and she said "I know, and it never used to happen." Apparently becoming moms makes us silly girls more emotional!

Farmers seem to like to eat. As expected we had great food with a focus on pork. Had to try these and sent a picture home for everyone to wonder.

I admit they were not the best thing I'd ever eaten, but fun none-the-less.

Jeff also took a quick trip to Montana to buy a 1/3 of a bull. He's a 77P grandson from Mytty's owned with Camas Prairie Angus Ranch & Crouthamel Cattle Co. I asked Jeff if Bob & Cory knew I thought we should own the middle 1/3. You know the business part and no need to feed or clean up! Jeff tried to ignore me and said they would likely just look at me like I was crazy.

The Red, White & Black catalog went to print right before I left for Denver. So home from Denver meant sale time. We are so completely blessed to be able to sell bulls with JR Ranch & the Schmidt family. With the sale in Othello there are many, many pre-sale details that are handled without our knowledge.

We've added some home-done video to our marketing efforts. Jeff, Jeff, Pam & Jessie took video and we got it edited to make quick footage of our top bulls.

Semen check, clipping, re-tagging, supplement sheets, updating digital records, and boom it's sale day!

We were very pleased with how bulls sold. A huge THANKS to all the buyers & bidders in Othello on St. Patrick's Day!! As always sale day is a great opportunity to see people, but as a consignor - not a good chance to visit! (That's why I go to other people's sales; Jeff goes primarily to see the cattle!)

We haven't finished collecting pictures from sale day, but this was one of my favorites so far. These guys all went to WSU together. Some roommate, judging team, and Cougar Cattle Feeders time logged in good 'ole Pullman. I think the last time all three were together was at our wedding. All three are now directly involved in the cattle business; all with a little different angle but definitely knee deep in it.

Jeff & Ian have 5 kids and over 20 years of life with the same gal between the two of them. (Dang that makes us sound OLD - guess we'll forgive a few gray hairs & wrinkles; just the guys not us, right Lindsay!?!). Congratulations to Cory who is about to join the rank of married guy!

The weekend after the sale Jeff, Molly & I headed to Ojo Caliente, New Mexico for my brother's wedding.

Congratulations to Chris & Kelly.
They had a lovely ceremony complete with absolutely gorgeous weather! Molly and Elsa were so excited to play together for the weekend and spent almost 4 hours in the pool! Good thing a whole herd of adults took turns with them - just not me - I enjoyed the hot springs & a hammock with the kindle app instead.

Thanks to Aunt Teresa who kept Trev & Lila for the weekend. Jeff & Lexi came over to help and get some parent training. Of course, being three year old's the twins provided plenty of comic relief.

After our quick trip to New Mexico there was fall pair working day. Calves got re-tagged, branded, and tattooed. The cows got to meet Dr. Carpenter, or at least her arm. Preg-check went well and Jeff was pleased with his AI & Embryo conception rate. Trev & Lila were great helpers, especially since it wasn't that nice of a day. Coloring in the trailer out of the rain & big wind lasted almost an hour!

And there have been three litters of pigs, sick days home from school, taxes sent in, some bulls delivered, MOPS, market hogs shipped, announcement of LOTS of family babies to come, Dr. appointments, a stack of Box Tops & Labels for Education to be counted, and I don't even remember what else in our own little version of March Madness.

Oh and did I mention the ditch outside our house is full of water!

Bring on spring & farming season.

February 24, 2012

Off to the printers!

February means time to get back to work! The spring calving herd is about 1/2 done. Everyone is getting some supplemental hay and we've started to move cows off of hay fields because they are trying to grow!

This week we had some good 'ole Basin wind and neighbors are "turning dirt". Must be spring in the Basin.

These poor cows "I'm not fat - I'm pregnant!" The first group of spring cows calved at our house. Many times I'd catch the poor cows heavy in calf obviously unable to get comfortable and looking like they swallowed a barrel. We love our cows with lots of rib shape and volume. But wow with a belly full of calf and water they sure do waddle.

Then the little ones join the world and are cute as can be. Not much better than watching a group of baby calves running around; tails in the air enjoying some early spring sun.

Our other February project - which is officially done - is the Red, White & Black Bull & Female Sale Catalog.

We are so blessed to be able to participate in JR Ranch's sales! The Schmidt family and crew are a pleasure to work with. We ultrasounded spring bulls last weekend; got our work done with few issues (I caused the worst one), plenty of laughs, and good memories.

We have learned SO much about picturing cattle, writing footnotes, catalog layout and the list goes on since participating in production sales. A fellow cattlemen commented on the fun, stress, and general craziness of trying to picture bulls for a catalog. Taking pictures & putting together a catalog is something that you just don't have an appreciation for until you are directly involved! But when the final copy is done and off to the printers it gives a great sense of accomplishment. Now when the phone calls start to come as people find their catalogs in their mailboxes the first stress of the production sale process lessens.

You can view the complete catalog at www.sackmanncattle.com under the "For Sale" tab.

This weekend will also likely bring our first litter of pigs for the year!


February 6, 2012


Now that February is here it looks like spring!?!

OK everything is still brown - but

I saw equipment ready to roll in the neighbors field this afternoon & the cheat grass on the ditch bank is turning green.

we have 3 calves on the ground. First due date is today and ours are normally late. This little bull was less than 15 minutes old and looking for its first meal! That's how we like 'em.

spring flowers are starting to poke through the ground! Are we going to have an early spring or are they sadly mistaken? I'm ready for the colors of spring and to remember how many tulips & daffodils we have.

mud - no we don't get nearly as muddy as everyone blessed with clay soil. But we certainly have enough to make a now 3 year old boy happy! I think I swept the kitchen floor at least five times today. The mud just has a way of making it in.

Besides pretending it is spring we are in sale catalog mode. Jeff's been with the crew at JR Ranch clipping and picturing bulls. There are some awesome bulls down in Othello that they have managed to picture pretty well. Our favorite pictures are featured on our website (www.sackmanncattle.com). I'll get more posted as the crew gets through the different pens of bulls.

Happy February!

January 25, 2012

2012 . . .off to the races!

It's a new year and we are still on the chase!

2012 greeted us very quietly but it hasn't seemed to be quiet since. Jeff finished AI'ing fall cows on January 2nd. On January 4th the entire family headed for Hawaii for a little warm R&R. My parents had rented a house on Oahu corresponding to the AFBF Convention.

We enjoyed the warm weather, water, sun, pineapple, views, lazy days, snorkeling, flowers, sand, and many, many other things. The kids did pretty good with the long flight and other than some mosquito bites enjoyed the time in paradise. Some of us made it to convention to cheer on our Washington YF&R contestants. (hum outside in Hawaii or conferences - we probably weren't the only skippers).

Molly put in a three day week when we returned, followed by a planned 4 day MLK weekend. Enter winter!

We can't complain too much - last year we were feeding cows continually starting in November. This year we didn't really feed anything until the middle of January! We'll happily sell rather than feed hay - especially this year.

Molly got to experience her first snow day (they managed to put in 1 1/2 days in a week) and got a three day weekend. Considering schools all over the entire state missed more than we did I guess we'll take just one day missed.

Besides looking at snow (which is now melting pretty well) we are quickly getting into bull sale mode. Jeff & I took some pictures early to get some advertising done. The crew at JR clipped some of the fall bulls earlier this week. The pen of falls are pretty impressive down in Othello. It will be interesting to see what bulls bring this spring as sale season gets in full swing very soon.

The STACK of semen catalogs that have graced our mailbox of late say it must be about time to start spring calving & the process of choosing bulls (round two for us dual season calvers!).

At least the first half of the spring herd is going to calve at our house - which the kids are excited about. It is always fun to see the new babies.

On the home front we are getting ready for a double party. Trev & Lila will be 3 in two days. They just aren't babies any more. Jeff & I were reminiscing about a few days prior to welcoming them into the world. I watched Jeff play basketball, went to the grocery store & one other stop. For some reason I kept getting comments like "please don't go into labor in my line". I guess I was kinda big. What do you expect with nearly full term twins.
Can't imagine life without any of them!

Bring on February!