2014 was a very good year for Crystal and I. It was our first full year in our forever home on the farm. It has been a blast taking this place from dreamland to reality. None of this would be possible without our family, friends, customers and god. We could not be more blessed or dream of any better from each of those listed. This year I lost a hero but have felt his presence ever since we lost him, every time I fix anything or build anything I smile knowing that Grandpa Johnson helped me do it.
With the help of my Grandpa Jim, my Dad and Gary Maurer we were able to get all of the horse stalls taken out of the west side of our barn and new cattle pens built. These have been a big help in the efficiency of halter breaking calves and now with calving they are really shining. We also got our new Stronghold corral and tub system installed and I am proud to report that it works great. If you think about something as long and hard as we have thought about the improvements to our barn it gives a great sense of pride to see them come to fruition.
Crystal’s parents we able to make it down to join us at this years State Fair which was Rob’s second trip down for it and Dee’s first. Their help and knowledge are always greatly appreciated. We also cannot wait until they get their first “High Country Hereford”!!! We also got a visit from Crystal’s sister Stacy and her husband Dan this year, it was great to have them here but I fear a “Double R Hereford” is about as probable as Republicans and Democrats working together.
On December 23rd we officially became an Aunt and Uncle when my little sister Jaci had Bode Alan Barber. He weighed in at 9 lbs and was 21 inches long. He is the only baby that I have been able get to stop crying, which is awesome. We are excited to watch him grow and thanks to facetime we will be able to do so with relative ease. Little Bode is the best Christmas gift ever and I have never been more proud of my little sister and brother in law.
This years calf crop has greatly exceeded our expectations and continues to improve. The bull and heifer we are selling at the Iowa Beef Expo are two of our best yet. The heifers and bull that we are retaining in our herd are very exciting as well. The have raised the sail on this ship and now we are just holding on tight to follow the path we are on.
It is going to be an exciting 2015, we are blessed and prepared to tackle whatever waves we climb. JJB no longer simply represents my initials, it is us, these cows, this farm and this dream, which has become so much grander than I could have imagined when it all started in 2007.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Christmas, but it seems to start sooner and sooner every single year. I completely understand why stores put the decor out early, they need to make money and if you go somewhere else for your decorations because theirs weren’t out yet then they are just outta luck. The stores follow our lead, people must be buying it if they are putting it out. I think it is a good idea to get a jump on your Christmas shopping, there is just no reason to set-up the tree right away for them to sit under. All in all I guess I get it, there is more magic associated with Christmas and who doesn’t love that feeling? I just hope we don’t sell the spirit of thanks short by looking straight past Thanksgiving and onto the fat man in the red suit. My goal will remain to leave #ThanksFirst.
This fall was a whirl wind! Easily one of the fastest seasons of my life. There was a lot of time that we got to spend with the cows and even more time in a tractor either pulling a grain cart or one of three tillage tools. This year I was also able to spend more time helping my dad at our grain elevator as the corn was coming in. We revamped our grain handling system this year adding a new bin, new unload pit and a new dryer. As with anything there were some growing pains but we were able to get it done with everyone pitching in.
We started off the fall the same as we did last year with the Perks Ranch Fall Celebration Sale. This year we consigned two lots (one bull one heifer). The bull was a steal, y’all smooth missed one if you need a walking herd sire. We were very happy with the sale of the heifer and even more excited that she went to an Iowa Junior! We can’t wait to see Coryn show Sweet Sassy Molassy and see how she progresses in the care of the Wilson family. Selling cattle is always a lot of fun but when you get to sell with friends it is even better. To witness the success of the Perks, McMillian and Folkman families in this sale has been a great motivator. The work that Tom and Tammy Boatman have done at Perks Ranch is second to none. The amount of growth the sale is truly impressive and becoming a can’t miss event. It is an honor to be included in this sale and we thank Tom & Tammy, Doug & Mary and Wade & Brie for having us back.
I took a few pictures to try and capture the beauty of the fall, hope you enjoy.
The decision to cut this guy loose wasn’t an easy one. He has been a favorite of every visitor to the farm. We fell head over heels in love with 0001’s sister Ramona and had to get those genetics in our herd. 0001 has sired calves that have a moderate birth weight and grow very well from there. His calves have a really nice front with a ton of shape and muscle. As an added bonus for those of you at are into show cattle the hair on these babies is fantastic. Last year was the first year that 0001 got a chance to breed our Black recip cows and boy oh boy did he do a bang up job, if you aren’t on the hybrid vigor bandwagon get on it, these baldy calves are legit. Click here to view 0001’s EPD profile it does not disappoint either.
This is one of the most exciting animals we have offered. If you have any questions about 0001 or our other consignment Sweet Sassy Mollasy do not hesitate to Contact Us.
This year we were very fortunate to have a great group of heifers and we are ready to share our good fortune with you. We have heifers sired by Online, About Time, Shock & Awe as well as our walking herd sires Bailout 0001 and Cillo. The heifers have been weaned and are ready to head to your show barn. If you want to come and take a look or have any questions please call Jon at (319)210-4645.
This morning I lost a hero. This was not due to disappointment in a sports star or some other false idol, this was the death of a Grandparent. I have always thought of my grandparents as heroes and have been lucky enough to be blessed with 6 of the best in the world. Today I lost my first.
My Grandpa Johnson has always been larger than life, in both size and personality. He was the size of a mountain as a child with bib-overalls that could fit on a rhino, shoes that Frankenstein would have wiggle room in and hands the size of frying pans. The only thing that could match his stature was his laugh and his smile. As a kid I can remember doing anything it took to get a laugh out of him and see him flash a smile, I guess that really never changed throughout my life.
When I was growing up my dad was away a lot on business to provide the awesome life and opportunities that I have today. My Grandpa Johnson played a very large roll as a male figure in my life while dad was at work. He never tried to parent me but would always lend guidance. I would tell him about my day or week and he would ask “well what do you think about that?” never saying if I was wrong or right but always listening and helping me figure out the answer and meaning.
Grandpa J worked for the gas company and was a meter reader so he literally knew EVERYONE. Running errands with him was like hanging out with a rockstar, we would stop and talk with everyone. I was always amazed at his memory and how he knew every ones name, I really wish I could have picked that up from him.
Some of the stories of my Grandpa’s glory days are among the funniest shenanigans I have ever heard. If you sat down to get the stories from some of his buddies you could write a book (although I’m not sure they’d ever tell you the whole story). My own shenanigans were always something he got a kick out of, this is one thing I guess I did pick up from him.
On weekends that I couldn’t be in the plastics plant with my dad the next best thing was making the rounds with Grandpa. This included stops at Great Grandma O’Brien’s, Uncle Loyd and Aunt Marilyn’s and the stops that I wasn’t suppose to talk too much about, the local watering holes. At Great Grandma’s she would poke fun at Grandpa with her quick wit and we would all get a good laugh. There was always more of the same stopping to see his brother Loyd, quick jabs back and forth with no hurt feelings felt. And at the local watering holes we were greeted with a chorus of people hollering “Big D” I’d belly up to bar, order a Shirley Temple and wish I’d brought boots because it got deep in a hurry if you know what I mean.
I could literally go on for days. I love you Grandpa, thank you for all you have taught me, I hope I don’t let you down. Today I lost a hero in his physical form but I gained a legend that will continue to help guide me and will live on forever.
I have been trying to think of ways to get more posts on here as things around the farm tend to get a little repetitive and it’s hard to write about the same thing over and over. So naturally as soon as I expressed this difficulty with my brilliant bride she suggested writing about things I like and what we use around the farm and the house. This is the first in what will hopefully be a series of posts.
My favorite tool around the house is my Traeger Grill. I had never used a wood pellet grill but kept hearing very good things. Last year for my birthday one showed up in my garage thanks to my parents. I started out just grilling and have now started to smoke stuff just about as much as I grill. We prefer to use the Hickory pellets but they have just about every wood that you could want available.
This grill has allowed me to do more cooking for my family than I could imagine and is both nerve wrecking and exciting. I started out the big meals by cooking a turkey for Canadian Thanksgiving as Crystal’s parents were visiting and we got to have two Thanksgivings this year. The next was American Thanksgiving and this time I brined and smoked the turkey and it was awesome! It was the most tender and flavorful turkey that I have had. My dad made a traditional turkey just in case mine didn’t turn out and that thankfully wasn’t necessary. That Saturday we got a prime rib from our local Fareway meat counter. I followed the recipe from the Traeger website and it turned out perfectly. If you ever have any questions about how to grill or smoke something the Traeger people have most likely perfected it and have the recipe online. If they have not there are tons of message boards and those folks are really good as well. I almost forgot to mention the Jerky, but I think that will be getting a post of it’s own!
All-in-all this grill is easily my favorite and most rewarding was to prepare food. You can check them out at the Traeger website.
We only have two cows left to calve here at JJB Cattle Company and I am finally confident enough to say that this faze of the cattle raising process has been a success. We started out with three heifers out of the Perks/Langford owned Ramona cow sired by Shock & Awe. There will be one or two of those heifers in our string at this years Iowa State Fair. We then moved onto some AI calves with an Online heifer, a Right Track bull and a BR Currency bull calf being born. All three are really nice and have a shot to make the string as well. The bull that we bought from Whispering Pines to breed heifers did a great job delivering small calves with a lot of vigor. We will have no problems trusting him with the 7 heifers that we retained out of our 2013 calf crop. Our herd sire from Perks Ranch who is a full sib to the aforementioned Ramona cow has a really cool heifer out of a Battle Ground daughter that goes back to the Nanna cow; she could make some noise. We rounded out the calves that have been born as of yet with a maternal sister to Parker that is sired by Right Track and an About Time heifer out of the Bright Lula cow now owned by the Cook family in Arkansas. All in all a very successful calving season and we can’t wait to show you these babies, our deepest set yet.
We are very excited to see what all of the other breeders have had this year as well. The bar keeps getting raised higher and higher every year. The Hereford train keeps chugging down the tracks and there is still room on the bandwagon. If you are on the outside looking in don’t be scared, just jump on in, the waters fine.
jjbcattleco Just Like A Pill by Pink is a good song. Prolly cuz she says the b word.