I remember a couple of times during the Challenge where I’d post “new baby” or “we got a baby’ or my favorite, “Out baby is here!”.


That’s because we are not expecting! 🙂 Our babies these last 10 years have been Brown Swiss heifers. They are beautiful animals, so gentle and caring, yet stubborn beyond belief. We’ve had babies show up here two days old with the embilical cord still attached. They were so happy to be able run as we’d turn them loose and when the running would stop, the puppy behavior began!


Oh but they can. Anyone who shows cattle will voucher for the fact that most breeds are like giant puppies. They’ll follow you around, love to scritched under the chin, and would allow their owners to lay down on them. Both daughters were guilty, especially on a cool morning at fair, of cuddled up and taking naps on their heifers.

Then, they get big. Our first experience was a Brown Swiss cow was Tank, and giant 8 year old cow who simply was a tank. Yet, her owner (a former student) would put a halter on her cow, and she could lead that thing anywhere. It was a sight to behold.

Our daughter told us that she would not show this year, her last year that she could show as a junior. In many ways, we were relieved. There are three fairs we’d go to, but last year, we made it to four, three state shows and our county fair. This means, there were TONS of people around, and during a pandemic, not many masks worn. The last fair we went to, the Iowa State Fair, it was fine because it was pretty empty on the huge dairy building, but the other fairs, there were enough people I was a bit nervous.

On the flip side this, we are losing another piece of our little girl. She’s not that excited girl who wants to show, she a young adult, making her own choices. Gone are those days of spending time with those fair friends, checking up on students (both former and future), and the laugher that went with all of it. It’s difficult to imagine what we’ll do this summer WITHOUT a fair or a daughter showing a Brown Swiss. The gentle moo from the pasture, the smell of fresh cut hay in the barn, they are all gone.

So, as your sons or daughters wish away their childhoods wanting to be grown up, don’t join them in that wish. There’s so much happening with your child. Relax and enjoy that smelly, dirty, uncut moments. Before you know it, you’ll be wanting money, but not your attention.

Steal those moments, burn them into your memory, so when they finally decide they are too big for something, you’ll be able to say, “Remember when Ashia pooped in a barn chair,” or “Remember when “Annabelle got away from you at the National Show,” or my favorite, “Did you do you chores?”

They grow up so fast. 🙂