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.
Our Expo consignments really mean a lot to us this year. This is the story of Parker.
To get to Parker you have to start where many great men start… With his mother, Teardrop. The life of Teardrop started in Oklahoma and her mother is Ginger Gal who won the 2005 JNHE in Milwaukee. I had the privileged of holding the halter when she won and this daughter is simply one of her best. Teardrop is sired by the only two-time Supreme Champion Hereford at the NWSS, Shock & Awe. We think that Teardrop is the best combination of both individuals. After Teardrop calved Parker she had a beautiful udder and remained in phenomenal condition throughout the summer while raising him. We flushed Teardrop to Right Track this summer and are expecting an ET heifer and a natural calf sired by BR Currency. You might also remember Teardrops full sister that was our Expo consignment last year. These cattle have the look to fit in the showring and as Teardrop proved this summer, the goods to raise a very impressive calf. The fastest way to propagate this cow in our herd is through the use of Parker and that is precisely what we intend to do. We are in expansion mode after buying the farm this summer. With Parker leading the pack in our AI sire battery and Teardrop contributing multiple calves each year we are in good hands.
The night that Parker was born Crystal and I were camped out in the office at the farm as we still lived across town and didn’t want to miss something. Looking down in the pen that Teardrop was in every 20 minutes Teardrop was obviously getting sick of us. Finally some time after midnight and well after Crystal asked if we could go home, Teardrop finally had her calf. The calf that we had expected to see would not have testicles as she had been bred with female sexed semen… Well we were in for a surprise. Little Parker was tougher or sneakier from well before conception as he made it past detection and into the soon to be frozen straw of semen. Once he was thawed out and put into his mother he was able to out race all of his sisters and make it into the egg first. You see what I mean, the boy just gets after it. After we realized what an overachiever he had been it is easy to say that we were not impressed. We expected a heifer, we would be selling his moms full sister in about a month based on the fact that we would have a heifer. But Parker made it up to us.
As Parker began to grow we fell hard and fast for the little guy. His attitude was the first thing to grab our attention. Much to his mothers discouragement he really wanted to be your friend. Then we started to see that the boy was good, really good. I have spent more then too much time looking at this calf. He has and continues to exceed our expectations. When Parker was born he weighed in at 90 lbs. he weaned off at 700 lbs. and when he was recently weighed on his birthday his yearling weight was 1,335 lbs. His big top, butt and nuts are reason enough to use him but his soundness seals the deal. Add his awesome momma to the mix and for us it becomes a no brainer, just as easy as breathing. With our 1/4 in-herd semen share we will heavily anticipate the arrival of his calves next year. If you have any questions about Parker who sells as Lot 30 at the Iowa Beef Expo on February the 13th, please utilize the Contact Us page and get a hold of us either on the phone or via e-mail.
Today we were finally able to get the videos of our Iowa Hereford Select Sale lots shot and edited. Mother Nature has been tough on us this year but we are very happy with the cattle that we will be selling on the 13th of February. You will be hard pressed to find the quality of cattle that you will find at the Iowa Beef Expo and we feel we are bringing some of our best yet. Click Here to view the sale catalog. If you have any questions please feel free to call or e-mail, our contact info can be found on our Contact Us page.
Swore I’d never step foot in Hilton Coliseum growing up an avid Hawkeye fan. Then I married a KSU alum and now I’ve been to Hilton and Jack Trice more then Carver and Kinnick as of late. Now my long awaited review of my experience of Hilton Coliseum and “Hilton Magic”-
The first calf of the year has arrived at JJB Cattle Co.! She is an embryo calf out of the Ramona cow (owned by Perks & Langfords) and sired by Shock & Awe. She is a flashy little one weighing in at 85 lbs. There are two more siblings to this heifer due today and I think if they hold on like their mommas look like they are going to they will be bulls, which is just fine with us.
We hope that you all have had a very successful start to the year and that it continues to be so. You are the only one that can make or break your day/month/year, do what it takes to make it great, you’re worth it.
Reg #P43376695 ~ Birth: Mar. 19, 2013
Honey Love brings us full circle, she is out of the foundation of the herd “Lucky” who was the first cow I ever purchased. There have been brothers and sisters to this heifer that have went to work in herds all over the country and this one can do the same. Honey Love has all the look you could want for the showring. EPD’s, look and lineage, Honey Love has it all! More info on this showstopper as we near the sale date.