Making the Decision to Raise Cattle Again

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This year Naomi and I are taking the opportunity to raise cattle again in collaboration with my folks. With about ten years of cattle raising experience under my belt this was not a hard decision for me. The only hurdles to overcome were convincing Naomi and finding facilities. Naomi has not been wholly isolated from the beef business, in our area more than a few farms raise cattle, and she and I first dated whilst I was still finishing (last of the fattening process) my last steers. She was only unsure of putting money towards this when we are still looking for our own accommodations.

Once Naomi and I sat down and discussed it I was able to convince her that we would be making money and not taking away from our housing goals she was in. The only thing left to do was to find facilities, decide on how many, and selling the meat.

Luckily, my parents raise a small number of steers each year and were already planning on expanding their footprint to allow more. They currently have four and were going to be buying another four this year.  Naomi and I will be allowed to board one with theirs as long as I pay feed and hay costs of the steer along with straw costs and do the chores daily as payment for the housing. All in all it’s a pretty good deal for Naomi and I.

The last hurdle with which we will need to overcome is selling the beef by the summer of 2018. My family has, for years, sold direct to consumer by the quarter. This method while a little more foot work for us it ensures a better price since, we aren’t taking what the market is paying, we choose our price and therefore make much more and the customers know right where their meat came from and can be assured it is quality.

As stated earlier I have a number of years experience raising cattle, Naomi has written about my involvement in 4-H which is where I started. After many years of 4-H and two Grand Champion Dairy Steers, when I became too old to show I ceased raising beef for the past four years. Let me tell ya I have missed it something fierce. Honestly, I can say I am extremely happy to be getting cattle once again even if it is only one to ease back in with, it just feels right.

-Avery

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Getting Back into Photography

This past weekend I was able to make the drive up to Grand Rapids to see Naomi, while up there I gave her a crash course on my camera (I suppose hers now to an extent) the D40 by Nikon. The idea behind giving Naomi a beginner DSLR like the 40 is to try and give her more options with her photo taking for the blog. While it may never be the gear that makes the photographer it can help with creating a better image than a phone ( although you can shoot some stunning photos on a camera phone). As we walked around her campus Saturday, I showed her different settings and what to do for different shots. She asked “why have you not been shooting lately?” this stopped me for a minute. At the time I gave a response along the lines of, “oh I’ve just been too busy with work” but now, on later contemplation, I realized that life can’t be an excuse for my lack of shooting. It was my fault, my inability to let life make this impression on me and for me to attempt to capture it in my vision. Now in the days following Naomi’s question I find myself looking… no I have always been looking I am seeing more over the vibrancy with which life has, the small details and the ways light plays across the landscape and features.

When leaving GR it was hard leaving my familiar little black and yellow camera bag with the “I want to drive the zamboni button” on the star there in Naomi’s apartment. I realize that although it is just gear, a 12 year old entry level DSLR, I am still attached to its familiarity. Attached to the way I knew how it would see the world and how to make its images, my images. I know in time I will grow accustomed to my new temporary camera my father was kind enough to allow me borrow (his 16 year old D70), but there will always be a soft spot in my heart for that little D40 even with all its shortcomings. It’s the artist that makes the photo, the camera is merely a tool of the trade, but it still feels like an extension of self.

Thank you for reading I hope this made sense to you. I would love to hear from any of you whom may feel the same.- Avery 
If you’re interested in some of our recent photos check us out on Instagram: homesteadsweethearts