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Hail to Pay 

So the HK Bar had a major hail storm hit about 1 pm today. Golf ball size hail, high winds, and a torrential downpour. 


I posted a video I took during the very beginning of it all. The hail was only about quarter sized at this point but coming down fast. 



My brand new Yukon, my Dodge, and my husbands Dodge truck are all battered….. 


The siding on our house has holes all over in it……


The three photos above are pictures taken four hours after the hail…still piles of it everywhere…

I immediately phoned all of our insurance companies on the house and vehicles. I asked husband to call in our crops damage (alfalfa total worth about 10k)…..for him to look stricken and tell me he had not yet insured for the year. *sigh* 

Such the life of a rancher.. BUT here on the HK we try to keep our eyes on the 🌈 rainbow…. so we are praying God provides us deductible 💰 money…. And saying thank you that all our livestock is accounted for, safe and sound. 

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Pray for strength, pray for recovery, pray for patience and goodwill. 

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Culling The Herd

On the farm tough decisions are often made. One of them is culling animals. I hate this job. And it always seems to fall to me. My husband works long hours at two and sometimes three jobs, so its only fair I pick up the slack and cover this area. And besides, if it were up to my soft hearted husband we would never cull anything and my breeding program would be a mess…OK not that things are great right now but still.

My little Angus herd is a sad affair right now. I have two mature cows I raised from bottle babies seven years ago, and then one weanling heifer born to one of said mature cows this past spring. Yep, that’s it, that’s the herd. I sold off ten black Angus last year to cover bills and unexpected expenses. 2014 was a trying financial year for the HK Bar, and 2015 is proving no better. So I’m slowly rebuilding my herd.

In that I’ve recently decided to cull one of my beloved cows, Ebony. The past four years she has only produced one live calf. She will catch, but no calf ever appears. Every season she didn’t calve I have said to my husband, “I hate to say it, but I think it’s time. We can’t afford to feed something if she doesn’t have a job.” And every time he would say let’s give her another go, and because I had blood, sweat and tears in this cow, I’d agree.

Everyone that knows my husband and I well would think I am the soft heart and that my husband is the cold hearted one when it comes to animals. But its the exact opposite really. Of course I love my animals deeply, and many of them become dear friends to me. But with cows, chickens, and the hogs it is me who is cold hearted. Unlike my husband who would let Ebony live out her days on the HK even when she was a financial drain and provided no income, I am the one to make the decision to cull her and sell her.

The HK Bar saying has always been, “We don’t do fancy, we do real.”

And culling is the very real NOT fancy part of the HK Bar. The time has come. I’ll be loading Ebony in a few short days and taking her to market. A part of me will be sad to see her go, and know that I am the one ultimately sealing her fate. We all know what happens to cows that won’t calve. It’s not a story book ending. And then that other part of my will make my heart go ice cold, because I know that this is the way things work on a farm. No matter how hard, I have to make decisions that make sense financially, not because it will break my heart.

I always pray for my cows I cull. It’s usually short and to the point, but I thank God for the chance to have cared for these animals, and to have benefited from them both financially and nutritionally. These animals are what make the HK Bar what it is. And to them I am thankful.

Maybe the emotional toll I go through culling is the price I pay for all the gains that they have blessed me with.

From The HK Bar to the world what needs culled in your life? Culling is a necessary, sometimes painful process, yet an absolutely necessary one to make the herd stronger.

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Ebony (far left) Fortune Cookie (center) Ellie (Far Right)

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Pigs

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(Left to right) Romeo and Katelyn

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(Left to right) Twilight, Celeste, Louise, Grace, Easter

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Jo

We have reached that time of fall that I absolutely despise. Where everything is muddy and all the horses look so unkempt unless they are stalled in the barn. And baby Flash and her babysitter, mini horse mare, Rose are in the barn now.

Oh next year things will be different! My horse barn will be able to be renovated, and I can bring in most of the horses during this period of sloppy weather.

All the horses have loafing sheds that are great shelter, but of course aren’t as dry as the barn and paddocks.

So for now I will have to be content with my pigs……errr….I mean my horses until mother nature gets her prozac figured out.

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Progress

Today Jo and I continued our training on barrels. For the past several workouts I feel like she has been working off her front end as opposed to her rear like I want her too. So we worked on roll backs, lead changes, and up an incline at a slow pace.

She was very relaxed today and was happy to walk and even trot at a slow pace the whole pattern. No fighting to slow down and listen. Slow and steady we are building a foundation.

Jo has resigned to trust and listen to me, and it felt so good to feel like we were working together instead of fighting each other. I guess we are starting to speak the same language.

Slowly slowly slowly, but surely we ate gaining. Until our next ride. ❤

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Good News/Bad News; Jo’s Journey

It seems in every situation there is good news and bad news. So for the bad news first. Many of you have been following the progress of HK Bar farms mare Shakira J Lo and her breeding to retired thoroughbred racehorse Major Duomo. At her last sonogram the vet said she was ready to go back to the stud barn  and try another round as she was open after a last breeding. So she went back to the stud barn and has not been receptive or accepted him at all. Not due to any lack of trying from Major Duomo’s owners!

Major Duomo’s owners have been absolutely fantastic to work with. I would recommend anyone to their services, and can’t think of a single negative thing to say about their breeding program. They have done everything in their power to make this union a success.

From sonograms and time references Jo ovulates early in her cycle, and the weather has been rainy and overcast. So both factors have been against us. The vet recommended waiting till next breeding season and breeding through a stud that offers artificial insemination. More bad news is Major Duomo does not offer a.I. at this time.

So among all the bad news, there is still  some good.  I now know we will have to start much earlier in the year next year. I have learned so much about breeding cycles and practices. And I have been able to work with Major Duomo and his owner. And the best news of all? Jo is coming home.

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No News; Jo Update

I went to take Jo more hay, grain, and shavings Saturday morning. She still doesn’t show any interest in Major Duomo. We dropped her off on April 11th, and here we are exactly a month later.

Jo has gained a considerable amount of weight, but she looks great. I think she is enjoying her time off from working at the HK. She seemed happy to see me, and was content with a few head scratches and a good blow of air up her nostrils.

As the wait continues I can’t help but worry about Jos fertility. From everything I’ve been told and read it sometimes takes a few more months for a mare over nine years old to come in. Jo just turned ten, so we could possibly be rowing this boat.

Thank you for all the well wishes for our Jo. And also thankful for some dear friend that are actually praying for her fertility. Haha! They are some great friends for sure!

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Experiencing Freedom

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I have always believed a picture is worth a thousand words. This is a picture of my two year old daughter,Owl, and one of our three year old miniature horses, Grace.

We spend long hours with our horses grooming, feeding, riding, and training. All three of my daughters have a natural love for horses. I guess they do have a drop of my blood in them after all.

Today just moments before this picture was taken Owl stretched her arms out wide and said ,
“Mama, I’m free! Look at me! Grace and me….freeeee!!!!”

The wind gently blew and I watched my beautiful Owl and our beautiful Grace share a moment of freedom. I’ve felt this freedom before, and almost always in the company of horses. There’s nothing in the world quite like it. You just exist in the moment, feeling the sun on your face and the wind on your back, knowing true freedom.

Horses give my daughters so many things…..work ethic….love….endurance…compassion…..and of course…..FREEDOM.

From the HK Bar to the world, what gives you your freedom?