New Year’s is a busy time for this Missouri family
We don’t really consider ourselves ranchers. In this part of the country, most people just consider themselves farmers. Ranchers must be the people who live out west on thousands of acres and work their cattle with horses and live hours from town. At least that’s the idea that pops into our heads.
My husband, Mike, and I are the second of four generations involved in Bastian Cattle Company & Bastian Show Calves; the oldest member being 80 and the youngest will turn 8 months during this journal. Mike grew up in northern Iowa near the Minnesota border. Mike’s parents moved the family to Missouri in 1979 when he was 11 years old. I grew up right here in central Missouri. We both grew up on diversified farms and survived the farm crisis of the 80’s that devastated many farm families. I guess that’s why we tend to be a bit financially conservative.
We live just outside of Mexico, Missouri. We have farms north, east and south of town. The north farm is simply a row crop farm. Our older son, Chris, and Mike’s dad, Paul, farm it on shares. The farm just east of town is our home farm. It’s mostly pasture with just enough row crop ground to grow feed (corn and corn silage) for the cowherd. The farm south of town is a combination piece that also plays host to our feedlot and is where Mike’s parents and our younger son, Jesse, and his family live. Jesse and his wife, Brittany, have our first granddaughter, Avery.
Mike discovered his passion for cattle as a 4-Her. His dad bought him a Chi heifer to start his club calf herd with, not realizing what he was starting. I guess you’d say I discovered my passion for the cattle when he handed me a cow at the first show I ever went to with him. Since then we’ve raised Chianina, Chiangus, Maine Anjou, Mainetainer, Shorthorn, Angus, Simmental and Percentage Simmental cattle along with some crossbred cattle. We have a club calf sale every October for 4-H and FFA kids. We run a cow/calf herd, background them and then retain ownership through the feedlot. We also develop replacement heifers and bulls.
Currently, Mike, Chris and Paul work full-time on the farm. I work at United Country Missouri Land & Home as a real estate agent and marketing specialist. Jesse works at Meyer’s Truck as a diesel mechanic in Mexico and Brittany stays at home with Avery. Our latest farm news is that we’re launching an ag marketing and website development company in 2017. I’m really excited to see how we can grow that part of our business.
12-Day Journal of Melinda Bastian
Friday, December 30
Today when the guys went out to check on the newest calf, they discovered the heifer has mastitis. We can thank the rain that came the week of Christmas for this case. The ground was frozen underneath but the top layers thawed enough to made a nice, muddy mess. We’ll treat her with a course of penicillin to clear it up.
Mike worked with Jerry Lee of Lee Simmental Farms today getting his trailer ready to go to Denver and treating some of Jerry’s calves that were sick. Chris worked around the farm getting our trailer cleaned up and the slats put on in case they run into some nasty weather going to Denver. I was to have a short day at the real estate office, but things changed when one of the agents turned in a listing for a feedlot with an anaerobic digester and a methane collector. When I got home, Chris was choring so he could go to a friend’s for the evening.
Saturday, December 31
One of the young men who grew up in our 4-H club got married this morning. Mike and I went to the wedding after chores. Chris fed hay and checked cows then went to Paul’s house to work on the project truck. After the wedding and reception we made a run to Columbia (about 45 miles southwest of us) to get some last minute Christmas gifts for the Bastian family Christmas tomorrow.
Chris did evening chores before we all headed over to Jesse and Brittany’s for a New Year’s Eve party.
Mike and I headed home about 10 after he put Avery to bed. We needed to finish making a few Christmas gifts for tomorrow and I’ll need the time in the morning to get food ready before we go to church.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
Happy New Year’s Day! We were up and going about 6:30 or so this morning even after being up until nearly 1 a.m. last night. Mike did chores and fed hay before coming in to get ready for church. I spent the morning making food for our Christmas with Mike’s family today. Chris wasn’t moving too fast so he stayed home from church too. We found the service on Facebook Live video stream so we listened in while making fruit salad and some dips.
We met Mike at his parents’ house after he got done at church. We do lunch and supper for the Bastian Christmas. Mike’s family creates a bit of a crowd when we all get together. Mike slipped home late in the afternoon to do evening chores and then we ended up sticking around and visiting a little later than usual. It was after midnight by the time I fell asleep yet again.
My plans for sleeping in were thwarted when a notification went off on my phone between 5:30 and 6 a.m. I got up and took care of some laundry, dishes and housework. Some friends stopped by and dropped off a bedspread that one of them repaired for us. Mike and Chris got chores done and hay fed before heading over to Jesse’s to get some work done on Mike’s truck before they head to Denver.
I had lunch with a friend who co-leads a life group with me for church to discuss our lesson plans. Once I got home Mike called to say the parts store sold him the wrong wiring harness for the truck. I met up with him and we made the run to Columbia to get the correct harnesses and then picked up some plumbing supplies for Jesse and Brittany’s kitchen. When we got back, the guys fixed the truck while I played with Avery. Jesse and Brittany went out to eat for their anniversary while I stayed with Avery and Mike worked on the kitchen sink and dishwasher.
Today was a day that got overbooked for all of us somehow. Mike made an appointment for the truck inspections at 8:30, vet appointment at 10 a.m. back at home and a chiropractor appointment that just didn’t happen. The vet explained the cow that we thought had mastitis actually didn’t. That quarter of her udder had died off due to an infection – likely last year. After the vet appointment the guys worked at vaccinating another 58 cows. In amongst all that there were chores to be done and hay to be fed.
After that, Mike and Chris went to Jesse’s to replace the water line to their dishwasher. We had 4 embryos in an online sale last night and were quite happy with the results. My parents called to see how prep for Denver was going and if they could do anything to help us. After supper we watched a show on Amazon called “Band of Brothers” about paratroopers in World War II.
Another full day at the real estate office. I had a little downtime this afternoon to work on some logo designs for our new marketing company. Talked to Ryan today about the sale and he’s really excited that three of the heifers will likely show at the Angus Jr. National Show in Des Moines this summer. We got genetic results on some of our Maine Anjou cattle today. We test for PHA (Pulmonary Hypoplasia with Anasarca), a genetic respiratory disorder, and TH, a disorder of multiple congenital defects seen in calves.
Mike helped Jerry Lee get ready for Denver again today. Chris worked around here getting our stuff ready to go. He’ll leave this weekend with our heifers and travel with Will Alexander, another Maine Anjou breeder from Brookfield, MO. Mike will leave early next week with Jerry Lee. When I got home Chris was working at putting new breakers in our generator and mounting a new key start on it.
January 5 –
We awoke to a colder morning with a little bit of snow. Chris and Mike worked at packing the trailer for Denver and fed cows this morning. They also move hay up to the house so that Paul won’t have to haul it up from the hay barn while Mike and Chris are gone. I’ll cover morning chores, Paul will feed hay and Jesse will cover evening chores.
My bosses are willing to work with me on my schedule next week so that I’ll have time to get chores done before heading out. Jesse, Brittany and Avery came for supper and to help finish up the generator. Brittany brought up an amazing pear pie for dessert. Avery showed us the special new trick that Uncle Chris taught her…..spitting. We probably shouldn’t have laughed at her quite so much. I tried to convince Chris to pack his clothes tonight so I know what he needs washed but he told me it’s way too early for that.
A bitter cold morning today made us thankful there were no new calves. The high today only got to 11 degrees with wind chill at or below zero most of the day. Mike helped out Jerry Lee again getting everything set for Denver. Chris fed and packed more for Denver. My parents brought Chris his Christmas gift because he was unsure if he was going to make it to their Christmas celebration on Sunday. Mom made him a basket and box of cookies, cakes and candies and she and Dad gave him a gift card too. Now that’s the kind of gift that a young single man can really enjoy.
I made a run to Tractor Supply on my lunch hour to get pelleted pine bedding for the heifers then stopped off for some groceries on my way home. Mike knew I was going to be late so he and Chris grilled pork steaks, fried some potatoes and made baked beans for supper. It was mighty nice to walk in to a hot and tasty meal after being gone for 12 hours.
January 7 –
Saturdays, I’ve been told, are for sleeping in. That must’ve been told to me by someone who is a row crop farmer or a town person. I was awake at 6 a.m. with no alarm but a list running through my head of what needed to be done today. Mike and Chris washed the heifers today. The air was cold enough that we had to sprinkle some stock salt on the concrete to keep the heifers from slipping when they came out of the chute from being blow-dried.
The guys packed the trailer with feed and hay this afternoon in anticipation of Chris leaving tomorrow afternoon. I worked on Christmas gifts and cut the lettering for the stall signs. It was another COLD day here.
January 8 –
Today we celebrated Christmas with my family at noon. In order to have time with them, we missed worship service at our church. The guys did chores, fed hay and got fuel for the generator this morning so that we wouldn’t have to come home quite so early this afternoon. I caught the church service online on Facebook Live. I made rolls, corn and pumpkin bars for lunch with the family. We had most of the family make it.
Mom and Dad gave us a print of the picture we had taken at my youngest niece’s wedding this September. I think it’s the first picture of my brother, two sisters, parents and myself we’ve had taken in years. Avery had a blast playing with all the kids and being the center of attention for much of the day.
We got home about 5 and quickly packed Chris’s stuff into the truck. We went to load the heifers and one decided she didn’t want to go on the trailer. After 10 or 15 minutes of trying to convince her to step up onto the trailer, we finally decided to take her over to the loading dock and allow her to walk right on. We then discovered an issue with the pigtail wiring for the lights on the trailer. We finally got it working right and Chris headed out. He spent the night at the Alexander’s place. Mike and I did chores then ran to town for supplies to change the oil in my car. Mike spent the rest of the night packing.
January 9 –
We were up early to get chores done before I dropped Mike off at the Lee’s farm at 7:30 am. Lee’s farm is actually on my way to work so it worked out well. I got a call from Chris mid-morning saying he was about half way through Kansas already. He was expecting to be at the yards in Denver around 2:30. Mike sent me a text about 2 saying they were in Salina, KS. We had to work on end of the year sales figures for the real estate company as we’ll have an in office awards ceremony tomorrow.
I got home and quickly changed to go out and water the cows and calves in pens around the barn without automatic waterers. I also scooped out the grain for the barn chores. Jesse came up and fed silage and the grain I had ready for him.
I worked at packing away some cattle and farm magazines tonight. Our local FFA will use some of them for references and others will be shared with 4-Hers. Educating the next generation of young cattlemen and women is extremely important to us. I also got a lot of Christmas decorations put away. Thursday will be hosting our small group from church here at the house and need to get the house organized again. I spent some time working on pictures for this journal and a bit of time on our website for Bastian Creative, our new marketing company.
January 10 –
Today’s the last day of our journal and the launch of our marketing company, Bastian Creative. I was up at 5 to get chores done before I headed to work. I was back in the house and showered by 6 a.m. I hustled around and got a few things done around the house before I headed off to the town job. We had our monthly agent meeting so it was a rather hectic day.
I got home and watered everything, checked the cows in the maternity pen and then helped Jesse feed. I then came in to work on the website for Bastian Creative only to discover our internet service was down. A phone call to the company and 30 minutes later and we work working a bit.
Mike called to say the pen for our bred heifers was in a really good spot and Chris and Will Alexander did a great job setting up our display. Mike helped Lee’s get everything set up and visited with some people he grew up with in Northern Iowa. Paul came and fed hay today for us. The temperatures today got up into the 60s today. Everything’s melting and getting slick on top. We’re expecting a cold front and ice storm this weekend so we’ll soon be back to normal.
It’s been a pleasure keeping this journal for our working ranch in Missouri. If you’re ever in central Missouri, give us a should and stop by to see us in person. In the meantime you can check us out at BastianCalves.com or BastianCreative.com.