Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Calving Season

March is almost here and that means we are one step closer to spring. I do not know about you but I am counting down the days. Farmers with cows know that springtime means calving season! The groundhog did predict an early spring and he was right as we already had our first calf. It was born on February 14th, my birthday. I was super excited to name it Kesley. However, with a little further investigation, we realized the newborn calf was actually a Wesley, not a Kesley. My older brothers who own the cows were gone to Louisville to the National Farm Machinery Show and Tractor Pulls when their calf was born. So, I still think they should gift this stout little steer to me since I was the one actually here to tag, band, and give booster shots on my birthday while they were off having fun celebrating for me!

With calving season near or even underway it’s time to check up on things. It’s always better to be prepared because otherwise when one is calving you are then running around looking for things. First off make sure you know where you put your ear tags or make sure to go out to the store and get some. Also if you have cameras, be sure to check them and you might have to set them back up and clean them off. You don’t want to be looking through a dusty dirty calf cam all season. Make sure to have medicine on hand ready to go. When we had our first calf of the season we didn’t have our calving medicine stocked. I was lucky enough to go on the medicine run on my birthday, which is a fun way to spend it! To avoid your daughters having to do the same, be sure to check your supplies and stock up.

To all the farmers that are in the spring calving season, I wish you the best of luck and that you have a great season. There is nothing cuter than a healthy little Wesley running around the yard greeting me every time I check the cows! 

- Kesley Holdgrafer


I don’t know about you but March 9th just became one of my new favorite days. March 9th is National Napping Day! This day was created on the day after the return of Daylight Savings Time and it is supposed to give people an opportunity to catch up on the hour of sleep they lost. I honestly wish this day was everyday because I love myself a good nap. I can sleep just about anywhere; you can even find me passed out in the super uncomfortable buddy seat of a tractor riding along with a brother or my dad. And I know I am not the only one who loves naps. Farmers love them too.

Most farmers are up bright and early working and often up late at night still doing chores, so they love to get in a good nap whenever they can especially now before crazy spring hours begin. Sometimes farmers get in a quick nap after their daily morning chores. They come in to get warmed up saying they will go back out in five minutes, but soon they are passed out on the couch snoring away. Before they know it they have been asleep for over an hour past the time they wanted to go back out. They can even catch a quick nap while sitting at the kitchen table reading the paper. We think he is reading until his snore gives him away. I am more of a recliner or couch napper, preferably with a cozy blanket to snuggle with. My Dad designed our house specifically for warm winter naps as the sun shines in our large living room windows to the south and west. When Dad is soaking up the warm sunshine rays just like a newborn calf tucked up tight in the sun on the southside of the barn.

As we all spring forward next week, I hope you also get a chance to celebrate National Napping Day on March 9th. Just remember to brush your bedhead and wipe the slobber from your chin before heading back out to work!

~ Kesley Holdgrafer

National FFA Week

February is known around the world as the month of love. It only makes sense to celebrate National FFA Week during the month of love because I love this organization! National FFA Week will take place STARTING TOMORROW from February 22nd to the 29th. Every year, the National FFA Organization celebrates FFA Week during the week of George Washington’s birthday, February 22, in recognition of his legacy as an agriculturalist. FFA members organize activities that raise awareness not only about the National FFA Organization, but also the role agriculture plays in student’s lives.

Members across the country are preparing for this epic week. There are 700,170 FFA members, aged 12-21, in 8,612 chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. During the week, FFA members are able to educate and show surrounding

community members, family, and friends about their success through activities. Some chapters will bring in pies and sweets for teachers and staff to show their appreciation for always letting them out for FFA activities. Also dress up days are a must and you can catch all FFA kids wearing FFA shirts, flannels, and official dress throughout the week. One huge fan favorite though is drive your tractor to school. All year you can hear FFA members talk about which tractor they are going to drive to school while the kids with cabless tractors pray it doesn’t snow.

FFA is an amazing organization that helps students develop premier leadership, personal growth, and career success. This week helps people recognize this organization and the amazing people in it. So if you see an FFA member driving their tractor to school this week, just be patient and give them a smile and a farmer wave.

- Kesley Holdgrafer

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Valentine's Day

My favorite holiday is approaching and I couldn’t be more excited! As most of you know Valentine's Day is on February 14th and it is also known as my birthday. For most people, this Hallmark holiday is dreadful and expensive. You can see people buying a lot of things for their loved ones from chocolates and flowers to even huge overly stuffed bears. In the United States, the total spending for the holiday is expected to top $18.2 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. That's an average of $136.57 per person. That honestly just sounds crazy to me! I know for a fact that my dad and many other frugal farmers are not spending that much on flowers and chocolates for their loved ones, and definitely not on a piece of jewelry either! They also probably for the most part do not even know when Valentine’s Day is.

However, you can find farmers outside showing their love to their animals, not just on Valentine's Day but all year round. Seriously nothing can truly compare to the love a farmer has for the animals he raises. They would rather be out in the yard taking care of those animals then on a beach for vacation. No matter whether it’s snowing, freezing rain, or even hot and humid, you can find a farmer outside caregiving to his animals on any given day. It’s that passion and love for their occupation that is simply humbling to watch.

I think I might have mentioned last year that my mom once received a new manure spreader for Valentine’s Day as Dad said he was spreading the love all year long with it. Mom was happy if dad was happy, and of course the cattle were happy with clean yards. Mom also says her best Valentine’s gift was me, finally a gift Dad couldn’t pick out! Enjoy your Valentine’s Day whether it includes some sweet chocolate, a night out for dinner, or some silly shiny new manure spreader. I look forward to my year 17 as the best is yet to come! 

~ Kesley Holdgrafer

Monday, February 3, 2020

Send a Card

It’s 2020 and the latest technology surrounds the world we live in today. As the newest technology continues to improve daily, in a blink of an eye everything has changed. However, try to think back to the last time you got an actual card with a letter in the mail. Not the type of letter from a holiday greeting or a card from a Hallmark Holiday but a real letter that actually asks how you are and what you are up to? In today’s world, we can do almost everything through technology. Why send a card when we can call, text, send emails, or FaceTime to get replies much quicker than snail mail. However, a card or a letter simply out of the blue can make someone feel extra special and they are more memorable and personable than a text. February 7th is National Send a Card to your Friend Day and I hope you will join me in celebrating it.

A small gesture that we may not think makes any difference could actually make our friends day. It only takes a small amount of time to send a fun card with a short personal message. It doesn’t need to be a store-bought card, it can be a handmade one. Even simply sending a postcard to a friend is more fun than receiving junk mail, political advertisements, or bills. It’s small, simple and to the point, but still a sweet gesture.

With all of the latest technology in the world, the art of penmanship and letter writing has begun to fade, all it takes is a cute little card with a nice personal message in it to put a smile on someone’s face. Everyone loves a handwritten note, but if you can’t do that, send them an e-card or even an email. No one will judge you as long as they hear from you.

Whatever you do, don’t miss out on celebrating your friendships on this special day. If possible, set aside a few minutes to write a personal greeting to a friend, preferably in your own handwriting. Celebrate National Send a Card to your Friend Day on Feb. 7th. I’ve already got my stamps bought! 
- Kesley Holdgrafer

Banquet Season

Snow and ice are covering the ground keeping farmers busy. While some town people might be snowed in that doesn’t give farmers the day off, it usually just gives them even more jobs. You can find them outside in the freezing cold pushing snow, scooping bunks, spreading lime around the icy yards and unfreezing waters. However, when all the work is caught up you can find them enjoying various commodity banquets this time of year. January is the beginning of banquet season to celebrate many great things accomplished in the previous year and it also includes an amazing free meal and great free door prizes with your annual dues paid up to date so of course you find many farmers in attendance.

The local banquets are the social event of the week and a great way to catch up with many friends and neighbors. We all know farmers, and I personally have first-hand experience that they can talk farm talk about anything for hours. Farmers may not admit it but they actually love going to these events. They love to help raise money for each organization as they excitedly bid on live auction items. I am always amazed at the amount of money raised at these events in a very short time with a quick auction following the meeting. I am always impressed with the neat auction items made and donated to the cause. Most proceeds go towards scholarships for area seniors or simply supporting the local commodity industry. Some farmers, like my dad, might even get so excited about attending the banquet that they forget to grab their checkbook off the counter before leaving home. However, they don’t realize that they don’t have a check with them until after they bought their new prize possession from the banquet auction. Luckily enough their teenage daughter still had her bright neon softball checkbook in the car so she got to write the bright flashy check to donate to the organization. I am the proud new owner of 15 ton of rock from the quarry purchased at the Clinton County Cattlemen’s Banquet last weekend.

All in all, banquets are a fun way to get a great meal, possibly donate to your county organizations and catch up with old friends. They are the social event of the year and don’t forget to bring your checkbook if you plan on buying something. I hope you all stay warm as January comes to an end. 

-Kesley Holdgrafer