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About the Blog

Tara is a wife, mother and rancHER, who along with her Other Half is busy raising kids, raising cattle and living life on a beef cattle ranch in southwest Saskatchewan. Her family is proud to be a part of the beef industry beef industry and want to share with readers a little bit about beef production, and why Canada is home to some of the highest quality cattle, and safest sustainable beef, in the world! Come along and read about the western way of… the good, the bad and the ugly!

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Working Hard or Hardly Working?

We are in the throes of winter. The wind may be howling, the snow might be flying, and it could be forty below outside, but in my house, particularly in my basement, the conditions are just right for baling.

My basement is currently home to many tiny toy tractors, panels, implements, trucks and trailers, all different species of livestock, a small barn, and of course, a baler and numerous bales. The floor is a veritable minefield of equipment and infrastructure that is required to make one’s farm run just right, all at 1/32 of the original size. If our wee farmers don’t have exactly what is needed to get their important work done, they do what regular farm folk do — they improvise. Although their creative inventions usually involve pieces of cardboard, bread ties, old spaghetti boxes and things that are better placed in a trash bin.

Our three small fry spend hours organizing their farms, sometimes working in collaboration, and sometimes working very much alone. Art indeed imitates life, and their pint-sized farming activities tend to be similar to what we are doing in real life. When we are busy picking bales, they too are carefully loading and hauling their wooden blocks and plastic bales out of their fields where they are scattered in a uniform layer. When we are installing a cattle guard, their Lego pieces are working overtime, modified and set up to replicate fences and a crossing with just the proper slope on it. At this time of year, as we put our efforts towards our bull sale, the kids too set up a ring and an auction block and sell the bulls one at a time. I’ve even come across a small farm dog riding in the back of the old farm truck, parked by their tiny corral.

Our real ranch is home to a beloved old feed truck we call ‘Bernadette’ and interestingly enough, the children’s outfit also has a feed truck, one that they have named ‘Vernadette.’ I’m curious to see if ‘Vernadette’ burns as much oil as her real life example, but I’m kind of scared to ask. And I definitely don’t want to invite any trouble by having them consider how they could top up the fluids in their miniature machinery.

It has been very entertaining to watch their farm work/play evolve. Early on, the kids received a farm set that featured a rather mournful looking little bull with horns. Within a day or two, one of the boys performed his due diligence and snapped the horns off, thereby dehorning him before he accepted this new critter into his herd. It didn’t do much to improve the bull’s looks, but at least he wouldn’t be responsible for discounted carcasses due to bruising. A recent toy addition, a roping steer, sustained an unplanned horn (and ear) injury. Ironically, the kids wanted me to glue the horn back on.

The children’s work has grown to include pre-planning stages, and they now draft corral plans on paper before setting them up downstairs. A month ago, I had a huge stack of such drawings and everyone who dropped by our house received a complimentary set of corral blueprints whether they wanted them or not. The kids are quick to remember the PR and marketing aspects of their farms as well, and they now draw small signs to set up at the entrance to their ranches and bits of paper they tape to their trailers.

The kids are able to modify their miniature corrals on a whim, adding and subtracting pens as they need them, and moving Lego stock water-bowls here and there. I wish it were that easy in real life. It’s a good thing that their set-ups are as flexible as they are though, because every so often a tornado that is Little Sister touches down and causes destruction on their carefully organized enterprises.

There’s the saying “if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.” No matter what path they choose as individuals in life, I hope they enjoy their work as much as they do right now.