Friday, September 6, 2013

In the Books

At home on the range the first vet school exam is in the books!!!! It was a whirlwind of bones, bones, and more bones but it is done! Lately my days have been looking a lot like this:

Who knew there were parts to bones, and so many holes?????

But fortunately, our weekend looked like this:

We even had some rain!!

 After going to the KSU  football game with my parents, we headed down to Colin's parent's for the Labor Day weekend. We had a busy weekend of picking up irrigation pipe, weaning off our calves, and celebrating the long weekend at the Logan Labor Day Fireworks. 

Letting the cows back into the pasture after weaning off the calves. 

Apparently tall sunflowers mean a rough winter is ahead.  

Some fencing adjustments had to be made before the cows got a little overly anxious. 

We even found some time to take some pictures. Late summer on the farm is always a treat, you never know what you are going to find. You may find a Houdini of a calf (he was too elusive...hence why he has no picture below) who can't seem to stay in the lot, you might find a cow who thinks she is quite superior...even to those who feed her, you may find a goofy husband, or you might just find an orange kitten. 

She has a slight sense of entitlement....
He has a slightly larger sense of humor....
And this an orange kitten. He will not let me pick him up. 

Either way, enjoy your weekend from Colin, the kitten, the bossy mama cow, the elusive calf, and myself all at home on the range

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back in the Saddle

At home on the range we are back in the saddle. After a long, long, long blogging hiatus, we are back!!!

First day of vet school orientation
Things are about to get crazy around the Kirchhoff household....the official start of my veterinary school career is less than 24 hours away, weaning time is almost here, and fall harvest is creeping closer and closer. Looks like a lot of late nights and early mornings are in our future and we couldn't be more excited....on second thought, those early morning might be a bit rough for some of us....

My first semester of grad school went off without a hitch. Classes were very interesting and it was nice to delve deeper into different areas of reproductive physiology. Colin enjoyed the spring at River Creek Farms and was able to make it down to Wichita to help celebrate Christian's high school graduation and keep us company through the tornado that sent us all  to the equipment closet halfway through the ceremony.

Congratulations Christian! Good luck at KSU!
We have been so lucky to have had such a wonderful, busy summer. We started off June with our honeymoon trip to Montana. We visited Colin's extended family in Billings, stayed at Earth Reins in Pray, ate our way through various cuts of elk, bison, and beef, toured Yellowstone and Glacier, and stayed in a hotel made famous by Owen Wister's western, The Virginian. We can't wait to go back...even if it takes us 50 years!

Our cabin at Earth Reins in Pray, Mt
Colin in Glacier National Park 
The beautiful lobby of the Occidental Hotel in Buffalo, Wy
Looking out on the streets of Buffalo
Before we headed out to Chico Hot Springs
Ranch house of our dreams at the Grant-Khors Ranch in Deer Lodge, Mt
After our honeymoon wrapped up, we returned to Manhattan to resume with summer classes and work. As Colin stayed busy haying and working around the farm, I continued work on my masters. We took some nice breaks here and there to celebrate the 4th of July with a front porch picnic and the largest firework display in Kansas.

Happy 4th of July!!!! 

Family at the Wamego Fireworks 
As summer wrapped up we took one last weekend trip to Arkansas, with a detour to Southeast KS, to visit some of our friends. We don't get to see them much now that everyone has graduated and moved away from Manhattan so we pack lots into the little time we get to spend with them.

Ty and Colin....such enthusiasm
Dani and should really live closer :(
And of course, it wouldn't be much of a summer without some quality cow time... The last few months of hardly any rain (in a very localized area) have been tough on our girls, and Colin's family too, but they have done well for us. We couldn't be happier with our calf crop! They are some fine looking calves!

They are a lot bigger now, thanks to good grass and late rain!

Happy first day of class at Kansas State University from Colin and I at home on the range! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tools of the Trade

At home on the range we welcomed in spring with snow and seedlings. Around these parts, mother nature has been just kind enough to allow for enough sunshine (and some help of the artificial kind - thank you Thomas Edison) to turn this:

Into this:

We thought we had killed them for a while...then one day they germinated!! Now they are growing like weeds...actually more like tomatoes, peppers, mint, and sage. It's Colin and my first attempt at gardening. So far, so good.  

Just as we were getting comfortable with the sun, Kansas had to remind us once more that we live in such a wonderful and forgiving place. The vernal equinox was ushered in by some very large fluffy flakes that although did not stick around for long, provided Colin and I just enough moisture to muck up our front hall. 

Hopefully the last snow of the year...
On a different note, I mentioned last week that I had just returned home from an animal science conference in Des Moines. Along with attending various meetings, I also helped with the Animal Science Academic Quadrathlon. It's an event where various colleges across the Midwest compete in animal science related events. Our team won!! Go KSU!!! While our team was busy getting all the right answers, I ran the beef station where I presented the students with "tools of the trade" to identify. These were some of the items that made an appearance.

Got any guesses? Don't feel bad...they didn't either. Although they look a little funny out of their element, we uses these three items fairly frequently at home on the range. 

#1) Steam Flaked Corn - we don't use this so much at our place, but this is corn that has been steam treated and made flat. Because the corn is not longer in "corn form," it is a little easier for the cow to digest. If you ever find yourself around a feedlot and see this stuff coming out of the flaker early in the morning...try a little. With a bit of sugar and cream it tastes a lot like corn flakes! 

#2) Ear Tagger - This is the tool we use to insert an identification tag into each cow and calf. We talk a lot about taggers during calving time because we use this to match the cow and her calf with an identical tag. It makes it a lot easier come sorting time to figure out who belongs to who. 

#3) Bolus Gun - This is a tough one. A bolus gun allows us to give the cows medicine in bolus, or pill form. Just like your dog, getting a cow to swallow a big pill is one tough job. A bolus gun allows you to give her medication without getting your fingers pinched in the process. It looks like a big scary syringe, but actually they don't seem to mind them much at all. could we forget....It's National Agriculture Week! To celebrate, enjoy "So God Made a Farmer."

Happy Ag Week, Happy Spring, Happy Wednesday from those of us at home on the range

Friday, March 15, 2013

An Update and a Plan for the Future

At home on the range we have had yet another incredibly busy few weeks. Colin and I both pictured the months after our wedding as quiet, lazy weeks where we did the dishes right after supper, kept up on laundry, filed the mail right away, and had plenty of time in between. Without the planning for the wedding and classwork, we thought we would have a considerable amount of spare time. We were wrong. Who knew changing a last name could be so challenging and time consuming?!? Judging by the piles (although relatively small and not shockingly disgusting) things haven't quite been as leisurely as we planned. Big surprise.

The that was a real surprise. Typical to Kansas, the weather has been anything but typical. Manhattan, Wichita, and Phillipsburg all experienced quite the dumping of fluffy white moisture. Lucky for us it will help the crops, cows, and ponds. Unlucky for us it buried everything!

A short week later, the snow still remained. (Fortunately as I am writing this the only snow that remains is the big pile in the park....thank heavens for 60 degree weather!) Colin's family got a bit more snow than Manhattan did and a bit less than what Wichita got, but this was what was left after a balmy 50 degree day. We can't really complain.

In between dumpings of snow, the Kirchhoff and Stites family welcomed this bundle of joy! We are so blessed to have a second niece and a new member of the family!

She has one very proud uncle and aunt. I have a feeling she'll get her fair share of cow noises from the fellow below. We have a thing with authentic animal noises around here....

Speaking of cow noises, winter weather and the end of February welcomed many, many calves. Unlike typical years, most of our calves (Colin's parent's included) were born in a span of just a few weeks. This makes things pretty hectic. Between checking cows throughout the day and then tagging, weighing, and checking on newborn calves, Colin's family has been extremely busy. Now for the onslaught of calf pictures. Judging by the size of my latest photo file...we could probably provide you a calf picture a day for the rest of our lives, but here are just a few of the highlights. 

We are lucky to have good mothers who know just what to do. Even in bad weather, they make sure to keep their calf dry and warm. This girl had just calved when we made out. Already her calf was up, walking, and ready to nurse. 

Every once in a while we run into some trouble. This calf's mother didn't have any milk. Only a few days old, he had already figured out that his two legged friends bring food. I didn't have a bottle along with me, but he certainly wasn't going to pass up some affection. 

And then we have this gal. She will be a great new mama in a few weeks, but now she is more interested in what may or may not be in the back of the mule. Once her calf is on the ground, I have a feeling she will be less interested in the pitch fork and more interested in heading up the hill to meet her fellow herd mates in the calf lot. 

What a cute little man. Looks like trouble. 

We can hardly keep up with all these calves. Normally the calf lot is not quite this populated this early. We are so blessed to have so many healthy babies. 

Such a serious young thing. While the cows are eating, they "place" their calves somewhere in the lot. The calves know not to wander away until their mother comes to find them. 

Calves and all, we have had one hectic month. Not only have we been spending time taking care of our herd, but we have been continuing to further our beef education. This past weekend I attended an animal science conference in Des Moines with my major professor and learned many new and exciting things about the industry. Colin and I are excited to put these new ideas to work...part of these ideas deal with telling our story. What better way than to share it here. No more month hiatuses... here's to progress at home on the range!

Monday, February 11, 2013

We got married!!!

At home on the range. It's been a long time since we've posted! And so much has happened since then! 
First off, Colin and I got married!!!! It was such a wonderful day filled with family and friends. Colin and I couldn't have been (or be) happier! We are so blessed with all the wonderful people in our lives. 

Photo taken by Delicate Dots...see the rest of the pics here
It was a day filled with lots of love and laughter. We couldn't be more excited to spend the rest of our lives together. 

Photo taken by Delicate Dots...see the rest of the pics here

As apparent by the lack of blogging, our first few weeks of marriage have been pretty busy! Colin is getting used to being a full time employee. So far he hasn't wanted to return to life as a student (I'd have been begging to sit inside a classroom again once the temperature dropped below freezing) so he must truly enjoy his work. I also have had some adjusting to do. I am figuring the ins and outs of the Animal Science graduate curriculum. So far so good for both of us. 

We've also been busy setting up house and trying our hands at new recipes. We have a very well stocked kitchen and it has been a blast trying new things! More to come on our adventures on the farm and in the kitchen later this week. I promise pictures and everything! Until then enjoy your own home on the range

Monday, January 7, 2013

Old Pictures

At home on the range. Lately bulls have been on the brain. We got the bull buyer's guide in the mail on Wednesday. I worked the purebred barn's bulls on Friday for another round of blood tests, weights, and measurements. And for the last few days Colin's been preparing bulls for the upcoming sale at work. So with all this bull talk going on, it got me thinking about our bull buying experience last year. With all the chaos that went along with finding our bull, I seemed to have forgotten how beautiful the weekend was when we drove up to get him. I recently found these pictures of the morning before we left for Colorado, and they are more than worthy of sharing.

It was one of those weekends that was a little on the chilly side but you could just tell that summer was right around the corner. The girls were slicking up and they were more than happy to be reunited with their cube bearing humans. 

The calves still had their reddish color and the grass was lush and plentiful. They were finally getting used to our picture taking and walking among them. 

Everything was still and quiet. The cows were curious and hung around a bit longer than normal. 

How could I have forgotten how nice it was?!?

Good luck to all those bull buyers out there in the coming months. We'll see you at the sales. Take time and enjoy the days among the chaos at home on your range. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy 2013!

At home on the range.
Happy New Year and kiss a cow. From Colin and I at home on the range.