There have been so many changes to the dynamics of our family over the last two years. Chelse moved to Billings in the fall of 2011 to attend Rocky Mountain College. This fall, her sister Mackenzie moved to Los Angeles to attend college, and our youngest son’s oldest daughter moved away to attend Washington State University.
Our granddaughter Mackenzie has been the captain of a local Relay for Life team for the past several years, and has been the inspiration behind Trinity Farms donating a heifer to the Relay for Life cancer drive each year through our Generations of Excellence sale. When she was younger, she had a 5 year goal to raise $50,000.00 for this worthy cause. At the end of that 5 years, her team had raised over $52,000.00 A huge thank you goes out to our customers for helping her accomplish her goal! Lot 1 in our 2013 sale will be donated to another worthy cause. This open heifer is a homozygous black, homozygous polled half blood Simangus female sired by RC Club King, out of a Mytty In Focus dam and was born on 1/21/12.
Now Robb and Debbie just have two beautiful athletic high school football players living at home. While I miss our granddaughters, it’s sure fun to go to those cool evening football games and root for our team. Chance is the quarterback and Colton, just being a freshman has had quite a few opportunities to play not only on the JV team, but varsity as well. It was the first year in quite a few that our team was first in their league, and got to go on to the first round of playoffs. Our family was hoarse after yelling at that game!
I am the second vice president for the Washington State Cattlewomen. In May, the Northwest and Southwest regions had their annual conference at the Mauna Lani resort on the Kohala coast, on the island of Hawaii. We were able to tour the three largest cattle ranches and learned how they raise, ship and market their calves. I have to admit, going on this tour was the main reason I went to the convention. I would have liked to have seen more cattle and working facilities, but I think the ranches are more geared to hosting general tour groups more so that cattlemen.
Another change for Mike and I is the summer addition of a new puppy. I swore last year I would never have another dog after ours was attacked by a cougar…but the hole in my heart was not healing and we were able to find an adorable Sheltie female in July. OMG!! Don’t ever ask for a SMART Sheltie! Loving and cuddly is fine… but smart??? She is constantly looking for things to entertain herself with…including but not limited to everything on my desk! Being smart does make for fast learners though. She is a great companion but does not displace the place in our hearts our 16 year old friend will have forever.
We do a lot of testing our calves for homozygous traits as well as carcass traits and we continue to seek out the best bulls that compliment our cow herd when making spring breeding decisions. This bull, TFS Baldy Maker 2629Z is homozygous black and homozygous polled. He is Lot No. 124.
Each year it seems as though we don’t even have the current calf crop weaned, when we are once again eagerly anticipating the next year’s arrivals! We will have 99 heifers in our March 2nd 2013 sale.
June found us once again hosting the first portion of the Washington Beef Pasture to Plate tour. We love having folks come to our ranch and help them learn from the ground up what all goes into getting our cattle from the breeding stage up to being either breeding stock or steers that go into a feedlot cycle. This year on our hayride tour, we drove through our cow calf pairs and let people hand feed some hay to the pairs that came right up to the trailer to visit. Some people rode horses for the first time in their lives. Agricultural sustainability was discussed at length and how we incorporate it into all that we do on our ranch, including our composting… We have been spreading compost on our hayfields and pastures for the past 3 years, and this summer, began spreading on a custom basis for others.
Mark Hurd brought one of his rehabilitated golden eagles for people to see. He tours all over in hopes of educating people on the project he is involved with and the recovery successes he has had.
This summer was quite a challenge for many ranchers in our valley. We had a huge wildfire in July that was sparked by a cutting torch on a construction project about 15 miles from our town. 45 homes and several outbuildings were lost as a result of that fire. Not long after that, several fires were started by lightning in the hills between Ellensburg and Wenatchee. That fire expanded to over 90 miles before it was fully contained. Neither fire reached the valley floor where all the green pastures and hay fields are, but plenty of spring range land and national forests were severely burnt. There were fires in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. What a scary summer! There were many days we couldn’t even see the hills surrounding our valley due to the smoke. The air quality was extremely poor, especially for those who had breathing problems. You can see from the photo on the far right that the sun is obscured by the smoke. This also posed a problem for getting second cutting hay to dry. It took at least twice as long this year as ever before, for all of us that were cutting hay during this fire to get it cured.
In October, Mike and I went to the coast to help the Beef Commission hand out steak samples at the Seattle “Foodportunity” event. We did a “blind” taste test for a large group of culinary experts. They were served grain finished, grass finished, and natural marketed steak, and asked to pick which steak they liked best. There was no right or wrong answer, just preference.
Thanks go out to our customers who attended our 2012 Generations sale. People have a great time at our Friday preview and the sale is always well attended. We are truly blessed when we hear customers tell us how improvements are being made in their herds through the use of our genetics. That’s what this is all about…creating the best genetics we possibly can for our customers. We try to emphasize that we aren’t just selling bulls…we are selling a program! Andy Schmidt has been using Trinity bulls for several years, and his % choice has now grown to over 90%.
Now the calves are all weaned, females back out on pasture and we eagerly await next year’s calves. Our bull calves are on their yearly gaintest, and scheduled to be ultrasounded soon after New Year’s.
Before our bull sale this past spring, we purchased 60 acres surrounding Robb and Debbie’s house. We have rented the ground for pasture for several years, and the owner finally decided to sell. It took a lot of time and effort to get the fields into hay production, but now, the sudan grass we planted has been sold, and a new crop of timothy is sprouting up.
This week, we purchased another 150 acres that we have been farming for many years. Second cutting on this field is always a severe challenge due to the large herd of Elk that seems to think it is their private game preserve! These photos were taken in October and we drove right out in the middle of the field to get the shots. The elk weren’t a bit concerned with us being there. TALL fences may be in order in the near future!