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!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Eng’s Ramble# 1

I figured my first rambling session should be about the day I decided to propose to Stacy. Once I decided that I wanted to take the plunge and ask Stacy to get married, I took my mom to look at rings. Stacy had gone before to look at some so that I could have some sort of an idea as to what she wanted, but after seeing the ones she picked I wasn’t totally happy with any of them. After a long day of searching and deliberation (it was probably only an hour or two TOPS, but for a guy like me shopping for jewellery this is a really long time) I definitely found the one I wanted. Being the stubborn male I am, once I find something I like, or get an idea in my head, it’s usually set for good and this was no different. This whole shopping ordeal was in April and I finally got the ring in July….

Buying the ring was one thing, but now deciding when and how to give it to Stacy was going to be another. Most people thought I was going to ask her when we took a trip to Hawaii in May but that obviously didn’t happen. Even if I had the ring I probably wouldn’t have since everyone thought I was going to and I would like at least a little surprise. After humming and hawing about it for quite a while, I decided I’d do it before the Garth Brooks concert at the Stampede. We met because of Garth’s show in Vegas and we were going to be surrounded by friends and family the whole weekend so I figured it’d be perfect.

Of course, the whole asking thing was just brutal. I text my sister earlier in the week to pitch my final idea to her just to make sure I wasn’t totally out to lunch. She loved the idea and timing so I figured that was the green light. I had no doubt that she would say yes (you can say that sounds cocky but she did buy a house with me so saying no wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense), but just the thought of actually putting a ring on her finger definitely sent things to a whole new level. I was on the deck having a cigar and was on about my third beer when my sister sent a text the night before asking if I was nervous. When dawn broke the next morning, I asked her before we left for Calgary and she said yes!! This was a massive weight off my shoulders and we got to spend the rest of the weekend with friends and family. It was definitely one of the best weekends of my life.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Eng’s Ramble: Intro

I must start by saying that I have never, ever, written a blog before but I will always read Stacy’s blog. Whenever she slacks on her blog I will give her a hard time because I don’t have any reading material during my morning coffee break. Finally, after taking a fair amount of my abuse she decided she’d fire back and tell me that if I wanted blogs all the time I should have to write one once in a while too. So, here I am, writing a blog. Over the next while all you Slycattle followers will be graced with my presence as I, her fiancĂ©, write the odd blog contribution for Stacy. It has been entitled Eng’s Ramble because it will be exactly that… a ramble. I’ll be sure to give opinions, tell the odd story, and provide some insight into my life as a cattle girl’s future husband.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wedding Wednesday

Today's Wedding Wednesday is all about flowers.

I really love flowers, but think that they are such a waste of money. I have been quoted saying that they just die anyway so why bother buying them....

However, no wedding is complete without some flowers, and these are just some that I am loving for wedding inspiration!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jumping Into Opera

With my new job I knew I would be exposed to a lot of opera. When I interviewed for the position they knew that I had never attended an opera, however, growing up we were exposed to a lot of different types of arts. Crystal and I were both in dance classes through school, we were also attended many plays and theatre, and have even seen 2 Broadway plays in NYC.

This week it all changed when I heard my first live opera performances. Now there were by no means a full production, but rather solo performances in an intimate setting. The performances were amazing to say the least. We were able to listen to the lead performers for the upcoming Aida production that the Edmonton Opera is presenting. All I can say is that I have never heard singing that powerful.

Although lots of operas are written in a foreign language, primarily Russian, Italian, and French, there are some operas that are written in English as well. During the actual performance there will be subtitles that translate for the audience, but through the sets, emotions, acting and storytelling the story is actually quite easy to follow.

The Aida performance opens on October 19th and I cannot wait to see it in all of its glory!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Engagement Pictures #4

Another option for pictures at the U of A would be this really cute Jacob dress that I bought a couple of weeks ago.

 Do you have any favorites yet?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Engagement Pictures Option #3

Another one of our stops on the engagement photo tour will be the University of Alberta. Dan has done all of his post secondary schooling there, and is currently finishing up his PhD in Mechanical Engineering. I spent a lot of time there with friends going to school, so we thought it would be a great place to do some pictures. 

The idea for these ones is a little bit city. After all you can't have a great shoe collection and not show them off!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Engagement Picture Outfit for Dan #1

Of course I am not the only one that needs outfit options. Dan was shocked the other day to find out that he was going to actually come up with outfits as well. Since he has been busy with hockey the last month, and I know he will be reading this, here is an option that I thought would be great for him to match either of my first 2 options.

If you haven't noticed either, Dan has become quite the farmer in the last year!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Engagement Pictures Option #2

The second option for the lake would be something a little less western, and a little bit more traditional to my style. Jeans, a great jacket and a cute shirt make this option #2 for the farm.