Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why Show Cattle?

Today is show day in at Farmfair in Edmonton. Farmfair is the largest cattle show in Alberta, and because it is so close to the farm it is a great show for us to take out cattle into and market them.

I always get asked lots of questions on why we do this and what makes it so much fun, so here is my attempt as answering some of the most common questions I get asked:

Q: What does the judge look for?
A: Because these are breeding animals rather then animals for meat the judge looks for different things. The main things that these animals would be judged on would be how sound they are (what their feet and legs look like), how much muscle they have, and how long and deep they are.

Q: What do you do with them?
A: Cattle shows are very similar to a dog show. We groom and primp the animals before they go into their class. Once their class is called they are paraded in front of a judge to be placed. The judge will evaluate each animal compared to their ideal and place the class from first to last.

Q: What can you win?
A: While we do not show animals to win prizes, there can be some great benefits to doing well. For the grand champions (best overall) belt buckles, cash, gift certificates to industry business and banners are very common. A few shows still pay out prize money in the classes. The two biggest shows to win would be Farmfair and Agribition. Both shows have a supreme show and if you win those (which is very difficult) the prizes are large! For having Supreme champion at Farmfair you win a brand new Dodge Truck! At Agribition to have Supreme Champion you win $10,000 plus about $10,000 in prizes. So yes there can be some incentives to win!

Our Simmental show is today, and we will be showing 5 animals including these two girls! Stay tuned to see how they made out.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wedding Wednesday

Yesterday Dan and I ventured out to check off another thing on our wedding to do list. This time is was figuring out our wedding cake.

Dan was pretty excited thinking that we would get to do the cake tasting, but that is for another day. Instead we got to do a drawing of what our cake was going to look like, and price it out. Our wedding will not be small in size, but spending the original quote of $1300 on a wedding cake seemed a bit crazy. When we left the store we have worked it down to almost half of that, but I just hope that our guests eat it!

My inspiration came from this photo, lets just hope that it turns out!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wedding Wednesday

While out taking engagement pictures we had to not only take some with our family dog Bud, but my cow Elle was also on the list of must haves.

Not many people have a request like this, but our photographers were all for it. Luckily Elle is a baby, super quiet, loves attention, and would do anything for a scratch. Elle has had her picture taken many times both at our house and down in the USA where she came from. However, I am not sure that she ever seen herself getting pictures like this done.

Elle and Nina because pretty good friends, and lets just say Elle is not camera shy!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Eng's Ramble #2

As many of you folks that read Stacy’s blog know, I’m a born and raised city boy (I’ll have a blog to follow later on talking about us “dreaded city folk”).  Since dating Stacy and spending time out at the farm I have been exposed to many things that are well outside my wheelhouse.  From time to time I’ll pick some of these stories and share them with you.  Being that many of you have lived on the farm your whole life you may forget many of the “first times” and hopefully I can take you back down memory lane and remind you of some long forgotten memories.  I figured it probably makes the most sense to talk about the first time Stacy took me out to the farm.

Since we started dating I continually bugged her to take me out to the farm and put me to work.  Finally, in June some time (we started dating in February to give you an idea) she took me out while her parents were out of town.  I’m fairly confident she waited for a time when her parents were away in case I turned out to be a real tool on the farm causing her parents to question her life choices.  In any case, before we went out I told her that she better be putting me to work because I didn’t want to go out there and just sit around.  She assured me that I would definitely be put to work and she’d make sure to keep me busy.  Some of what we did was expected, but much of it was really not something I saw coming…

We checked pastures and did the usual chores, but then when Stacy let three calves into the barn, put halters on them, tied them up, and then handed me a brush, I really had no clue what the hell was going on.  And then yup, sure enough, we started brushing calves.  Really?  This is what you had in mind when I said “put me to work”?  But that’s what we did.  We worked on calves starting the process of training their hair for showing later that year.  Looking back now it really doesn’t seem too foreign and idea at all, but that’s really the last thing I would have expected to be doing my first trip out to the farm.  Since then I’ve washed cows, brushed their hair, used a massive blow-drier to dry them off, and yes I even wiped crap off their backsides when they went to the washroom on show day.  Getting involved with a farm girl I can’t say that this is what I would have expected to be doing, but I thoroughly enjoy all the experiences I have gone through so far and can’t wait to keep learning.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Best Cookies Ever

I love a good cookie, not the store bought kind, but the ones that come straight out of the oven, are warm and of course eating the cookie dough is also a highlight.

 This weekend I decided to make a batch of cookies for Dan and the hockey boys. I love to bake, but I just hate having to eat it all. That is why I am always shipping off  baking to Dan's lab, friends, or the guys he coaches hockey with. One of them has even offered to bring me all the ingredients and just bake for them!

Back to the best cookies ever. My mom has a family recipe that is amazing. It is easy, quick, and really foolproof. I am not quite as good as her making them, I think her Kitchen Aid mixer has something to do with that though.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 1 Dozen

1/2 Cup Butter
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Cup Chocolate Chips

Cream butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake at 375 F for 8-10 mins.

See I told you it was easy! And when they come out and look this delicious you will have to refrain from making them every week. Just make sure you have some glasses of milk handy to really enjoy them!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Almost 2 weeks ago now I wanted to surprise Dan with a date night. We were going to be in the city all weekend and had not gone out and done anything for a while. After hearing some great reviews, and the show being extended 6 times, I figured Cavalia was the best option for us.

Dan growing up in the city did not have the first hand experiences with horses like I did. I had to refrain myself every 2 minutes in the show to tell him what a move was called, either how difficult or easy it was, the breeds of the horses, all of those fun details. I can say that he definitely learned lots whether he wanted to or not!

The show really is fantastic though. The cast is great, the horses are amazing and the story that they tell is interesting while not taking away from the true talent of the animals. I loved the multiple choice questions at the beginning of the show to both entertain and educate the audience.

It would have been amazing to go into the barns after the show, however, by the time we bought tickets those types were all sold out.

If you have a chance in the next week you really need to go see this production. Not only is it a great family show, but it is just wonderfully entertaining.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wedding Wednesday

A few weeks ago Dan and I headed out for an afternoon of pictures. My friend Jade from the Naked Lip was over that morning doing some make-up, and soon enough we were off and running.

Because our photographers are coming from the USA, it just was not practical to have them come and do engagement photos as well. Dan had a good friend who does photography in Edmonton, and they were the perfect option to do our photos.

3 hours later we had been to the farm, the pasture and the lake to snap some pictures. We just got them all back this week and are having a really hard time narrowing down to just a few to use for the wedding!