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Farmin’ Friday: Preparing for Christmas & workin’ the heifers


If there is one thing that stinks about having mouths to feed (aka, cattle)…it is trying to go on a trip. My mom always said that by the time she got home from a vacation she needed another vacation to catch up from her vacation.

That is so true! I think everyone feels this way, regardless of cattle chores!

John & I are hoping to go to Missouri for Christmas. Which means: someone has to feed our cattle while we are gone. Ron is going to take care of the feeder cattle & black cows and a neighbor is going to feed the Red Angus heifers. We are very thankful to have the chance to go. The weather forecast is looking somewhat cooperative.

Hungry….coming for feed….

DSCN8026Closer…DSCN8031We’re here…feed us! DSCN8042

Workin’ Cows

On Monday, John and I worked the heifers. First, we poured them. This means we dripped a liquid onto their backs. This liquid called, Ivermax, this helps control internal and external parasites. For example, the Ivermax will prevent lice from residing in the heifers’ hair. All of these things are important to the heifers’ overall health. The process is quite similar to worming a cat or dog. The dosage of the pour-on is based on weight. We don’t just go crazy-willy-nilly dumping the Ivermax on the heifers! It is a specific amount.

Next, we gave each heifer a vaccination. The vaccination prevents scours in the baby calves. Scours is best described as a stinky, awful yellow-ish case of diarrhea. Scours can cause the calves to experience:

  • Dehydration
  • Depression (don’t have energy to nurse)
  • Death

Of course, we want our new calves to be healthy! The most common age for scours is 0-7 and up to 21 days of age. Newborn calves are vulnerable to Scours because their immune systems are not developed.

In the industry, the vaccination is called Scour Bos. The scientific name of the vaccine is actually “Bovine Rotavirus-Coronavirs Vaccine.”

The vaccination is a “killed virus” which means it is not an antibiotic. (Hard to remember back to those high school chemistry days! Remember learning about Louis Pasteur?) By giving the cows a shot, we are actually giving her a tiny case of Scours. Her immune system develops a response, and that is passed onto the calf through her milk.

Pretty amazing, huh?

Working Ranch Magazine

Speaking of working cattle, we are in Working Ranch Magazine this month! In each edition of the magazine, they publish a 12-day journal of a ranch family. Anyone can keep their 12-day journal & send in photos. Over the years, I’ve read journals from families raising cattle in Kansas, Ohio, Illinois and more.

I wrote our journal way back in January. It is already fun to look back on those 12 days. During this time, I experienced my first South Dakota blizzard! 1528633_10201301133952766_1626072_n

If you travel to a Tractor Supply, Orschlen’s Farm & Home, or Runnings I think you might be able to find a copy!



Why Farmin’ Friday? Recent statistics show that just 1% of the U.S. population considers farming their primary occupation. Since John & I fall into that 1% group, I believe it is important to share about our work in food production. Since 100% of American’s eat, every Friday I write to those who may wonder: Where does my steak come from? What does a farm look like? Who are the farmers and ranchers? What do they do? Read more posts here.


  1. Kelly @ old blue silo

    Thank you for sharing!! I enjoyed the pictures. I hope you guys have a wonderful little vacation and a very Merry Christmas!! 🙂

  2. Laurel Wilson

    Congratulations about your article!


  3. Kelly Jones

    Love your blog Sierra! It’s icy here today…hope you made your way south safely! Merry Christmas.

    • Sierra Shea

      Merry Christmas Kelly! Thank you!

  4. Aunt Jackie

    Congratulations on the article! I’m looking forward to seeing you guys at Christmas. Drive carefully.


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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!