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Farmin’ Friday: Schyler’s feeder calves, grazing in Missouri

FarmingFridayEvery Friday, I share a few of the activities that took place during the week on our farm in eastern South Dakota. We raise corn, soybeans, wheat and beef cattle. Farm life is based on seasons, the weather and the needs of our livestock – so each week is often unpredictable!

This week…

Farmin’ Friday this week is going to take place in Missouri & South Dakota, because I was in both places during the week! I drove back from Missouri on Tuesday, so Missouri gets to go first.

My sister Schyler has a few calves as a summer project between her and my Dad. The calves are in two pastures at my Dad’s house. This house has a few acres with it (less than 20) so we fenced off what we could for our horse named Horse (clever, we know!) and occasional small groups of “stocker” cattle like these.

The two small pastures each have their own gates.DSCN4685During the beginning of spring, Schyler and Dad had the calves grazing in the right or west pasture. After a few months of the calves eating grass the pasture does not have much grass left! DSCN4679The cattle have eaten everything they wanted to, but I see they left one prickly weed. It looks sort of like a rose bush. Schyler will need to pull that out or chop it down in order to keep the pasture in good condition.

DSCN4688When Schyler and Dad notice that the calves have eaten most of the grass, it is time to move the calves to the pasture on the left or east. They did this while I was home. This pasture has not had any cattle in it all spring. Since it is the first week of June now, the grass has had plenty of time to grow. It is tall! Lots to eat for the calves! Every region of the US has different grasses. In Missouri, we have LOTS of a grass called fescue. “Grass Management” is an important part of what cattle people (like little Schyler) do in Missouri, because it is important to keep the pastures with fescue from growing too tall and putting seed on at the top of the stems. Here are two reason why:

  1. Cattle don’t like the fescue as much when it seeds out. It gets sort of tough/yucky.
  2. The overly-mature fescue can also be bad for the cattle causing them to become sick. This sickness, called fescue toxicity, can easily be avoided by having the cattle graze the pastures early & keeping a close eye on the grass. DSCN4687When I took my photos, it was about mid-day. In Missouri, it gets pretty hot in the summer time. We always try to build our fences so that our cattle will have some shade. The cattle are enjoying the cool shade, later in the evening they will go out and graze again.


In a few weeks, Schyler and Dad will have to move her cattle to a farm with more grass. At that point, they will probably put these few stocker calves into a larger group that are Dad’s. This is a wonderful time of year back home. I love to watch the cattle grazing & seeing the green grass everywhere I go. That’s all on the farming front in Missouri for this week.

Except, I want to share the pretty flowers, too! Another beautiful part of June peonies. Savannah, another sister of mine, has quite a green thumb. These are her flowers and they are my ABSOLUTE favorite flower. It is important to enjoy them while they last, because they only bloom about three weeks of the whole year! Just another reason for me to love June. It’s definitely my favorite month of the year, partly because of these beautiful peonies!

DSCN4692 DSCN4694DSCN4699Peonies have one of those weird “symbiotic” relationship with ants. I have no idea how one species benefits the other, but I do know there are about a zillion ants in Savannah’s flower beds. I even caught a few on camera!DSCN4696These are different varieties of Savannah’s currently blooming flowers.DSCN4703 DSCN4704DSCN4702

The last Missouri photo I have is of Riley and Moda’s long lost brother. I was very excited to see him, but he was not feeling the love. He ran away. Rude!DSCN4709

Now for South Dakota! I got back on Tuesday and everything was in FULL FARMING SWING. John was busy planting the beans. DSCN4789It had finally dried out enough for he and his Dad to do field work and then plant.

DSCN4773On Monday, John and Ron finished moving the rest of the cows to pasture. Now there are only a few late pairs left. These calves were born too late in the year to be moved out just yet. Isn’t that green grass gorgeous?

DSCN4817 It is a sight for sore eyes after a long winter of this:DSCN3631Anyway – back to spring! Monday, John got up at 5 am. Then, when they were done moving cows, he started planting. He planted until about 1:30 in the morning. Then, he did not go to bed! He borrowed a piece of equipment from another farmer and then “rolled” the beans until the next morning. Then, he got back in the planter and planted until about 9:30 pm. I thought this was insane! Of course, I told him to be careful operating the equipment while he was sleep deprived.

So, why would he work for over 40 hours straight? Why miss my cousin’s lovely wedding?944597_10152907785620383_1058881930_n 947190_10152895607930383_200332495_n 8494_10152909385105383_1247240603_n

(Props to d-Squared Designs for lovely photos, I just HAD to share these lovely photos of the handsome couple! I think they are in honeymooning in Mexico right now.)

Well, these things – planting, rolling and the getting the cows to pasture – all needed to get done ASAP & good old Mother Nature was cooperating. The rain was holding off so he kept working while he could. If it’s not raining during planting season, you keep planting!

I will admit that I still feel like a farm-wife-in-training this planting season. I grew up with only cattle & sale barns. This spring has been overwhelming for me. Fun, but overwhelming. At this time of year, I am used to rotating stocker calves & building fence with sisters and my Dad – not planting!

For planting season, there are lots of long hours & when it it time to work, nothing else can take precedence. Not a remodeling project. Not a wedding. Not even supper or a date. Of course, fencing has long hours too – but – it is just not the same. I’ll get used to it! They will be done by next week if all goes well with the weather! Then, it will be time to fence and I’ll be feeling more “in-my-element.”

On a less-intense note, when I got back from Missouri I decided it was time for Riley & Moda to move to the farm! They adjusted just fine. I think they love their new home. At first they were in a cardboard box.DSCN4749Then, they were upgraded to a deluxe home. Thanks to Ron for finding this dog crate!DSCN4822When they arrived at the farm, the first thing the did was start climbing on my planter. I came outside and found that the naughty kitties had climbed to the tip-top. They made the sign crooked! So, I had to move the planter and straighten out the sign.

DSCN4743They seem to be right at home now! I have GOT to train them to stay out of my flowers though!DSCN4735 DSCN4715 DSCN4726 DSCN4719

Thanks for reading & happy Friday!


PS: Here’s a few other farmin’ fridays from past weeks:

Farming Friday: Moving Cows to Pasture

Farming Friday: New Kittens


  1. Laurel Wilson

    Your posts make me homesick for Howard’s folks’ farm in northern Montana. They farmed 2,500 acres of winter wheat, but about half was in fallow because of the lack of moisture in that area–only 11″ of moisture per year.

    Missouri is particularly pretty this time of year.

    • Sierra Shea

      Awww! That sounds beautiful. I’d love to visit Montana someday. 11” is not much rain, I think some parts of Iowa have gotten that much in the last two weeks!

  2. Sally Thomas

    Your kitties look like they are doing great!!


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Hey, I’m Sierra Shea! I am so glad you are here. 

Where do I start with writing to introduce this blog? At the beginning, I suppose: I’ve been writing on various platforms online since 2013. I started blogging shortly after moving to South Dakota.

I am a mother and a maker at heart. I’m so grateful to be married to John and mother of three: Joslyn, J.D. and Jesse.

I am a self-taught decorator and designer. I am a brand new shepherdess and a Spiritual Director.

I love living in South Dakota, even though the winters & the wind can be a near-daily struggle.

Blogging is a grounding force in my life and it helps get me out of my head, unstuck and moving in the directions I always hoped I’d be going!