2019 C&I Photo Contest

Every year I look forward to reading the Cowboys & Indians “Visions of the West” Issue. There are always so many beautiful photography submissions to look through. This year when the deadline for the annual photo contest was approaching, I decided it was time to submit a few photos of my own. That was in November, and since I hadn’t heard anything back I assumed my photo was just among those submitted that didn’t make the cut. Much to my surprise an issue arrived in the mail on January 15th and one of my photos had made the issue. I was thrilled to have one of my images be featured among so many beautiful shots! Below is the image that was featured in the Farm and Ranch Life category. The category is described as: Shots incorporating trusty farm animals and beloved family pets.

HELLO WORLD

Calving 2018 Highlights

Moments like these make me so proud of my husband and our lifestyle. I grew up loving row crops, and have always been passionate about agriculture. Being more exposed to the livestock side of production has only increased my affection for agriculture. The hard work that farm families are doing to feed the world is something that often goes unnoticed and underappreciated. There are long days with late nights and early mornings… and having livestock means you often have to drop everything you are doing to ensure your herd is healthy, happy and safe. Thanks to all the farmers and ranchers out there for putting in long hours to feed a world that is far removed from the lifestyle we live. And to those of you who don’t know a lot about where your food comes from, just ask!

Calving started extra early when little “Gisele” our Superbowl Sunday Calf arrived a few weeks early, very unexpectedly. Fortunately, Jordan and I were driving by the field where our cows were on cover crops for the winter and saw this little one’s mama isolated from the group. Jordan hopped on the four-wheeler driving through the 6-degree temperatures in his church clothes to see what was happening. He hauled the cold calf back to the safety of a warm shop and we did our best to warm her up and get her a bottle while we coordinated moving her and her mama into the barn. It took a few weeks of bottle feeding her to ensure she had healthy weight gain. She did come away with a little frostbite damage, but Gisele has grown into a very healthy, happy calf. *we did not get to watch the first half of the Super Bowl

This is a video of Jordan doing a late-night bottle feeding to our calf Gisele

Bottle Feeding Calf Gisele February 7, 2018 from Kelli on Vimeo.

Lick tubs like this one from Purina, helps provide our mamas with all the minerals and nutrients they need in their last-trimester.

Summer (our dog) is very nosy during calving season. The cows are rotated around to provide them the best places to eat in each season. During the Summer they are at our house to graze on the pastures, during late fall and early winter they are out on the cover crops (turnip/radish mix) in a field and then they come back to our house so we can keep a close eye on them during calving. Summer is always curious when the cows return to our house after being gone for 4-5 months.

Laying down bedding for the cows to ensure they have a dry place to rest.

Finally more calves started to arrive.


Any new babies that are born get moved into the protection of a barn with their mama, it’s still pretty cold out. But that means extra work, hauling water and food to each pen to make sure everybody has what they need each day.

Every time a cow starts showing signs of labor it’s important to keep an eye on her and make sure she safely delivers the calf in a timely manner. It’s always a relief when a calf is born and is able to stand up and eat on it’s own.

The calf in the picture above, and below was born with contracted tendons in his front legs. It means his legs would “knuckle over” so he couldn’t stand up straight or walk quite right. So we fed him a bottle because he was unable to reach the udders and needed to get colostrum quickly. Fortunately “Forrest” was able to eventually walk all on his own, and the condition repaired itself after going in and gently stretching out his legs each day. *thank you internet for helping provide a network to research conditions such as this in a timely manner

Each calf gets a close check up and is given an ear tag to help identify who is who after it’s born.

Most calves are skittish around people, but this one loved getting special attention.


Happy helpers doing chores after an Easter celebration! If you want to be the most fun Aunt and Uncle, buy some livestock so your nieces and nephews can come do chores. 🙂

Overall this calving season was very challenging, but we were fortunate that the majority of cows were able to calve with no issues. Our herd is now happy to be grazing out in the pasture.

The First Calf

This year we have the cows at our place and get to experience calving for the first time (last year we had somebody custom calve for us). Jordan and I both have a little, as in very little experience with calving so you could call us nervous mothers this year. Reading and second guessing our every move. So when the first calf came around and I received a snapchat from Jordan saying “look what I found” I ran – sprinted first to grab my camera second to grab my boots. It was the muddiest, ugliest day of Spring and this little guy decided to come into the world. We’re a little late in the calving game, still working to get our ducks in a row and timing right for our mamas – so my guess is the rest of the calves will arrive when planting begins. But for now here’s one little guy to keep me company on the farm.

Don’t worry both mama and baby got moved into the comfort of the barn and away from the rain.