Hometown: Mountainburg, Ark. 

Family: Granddaughter Ryllie

In Town: “I drive a bus for the Mountainburg School District and have done so for 30 years. I have driven the same route since day one with the students ranging from pre-K to 12th grade. It’s a great part-time job that takes a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the afternoon. One of the things I like best is having a good working relationship with parents. If one calls and wants me to drop their child at a different place, I have the flexibility to do so. On the other hand, if a small difficulty with the child arises, I can just call the parents and the problem is almost always completely resolved.”

In the Country: “I have had the most wonderful life. Though my husband passed away three years ago, I learned so much from him that I now can do everything I need to, except perhaps pull a calf. God knew I would need all kinds of skills and gave me the opportunity to learn them. Fortunately, I have always been mechanically inclined and can run, maintain and repair the equipment. My farm is a medium-sized farm with 100 head of commercial cattle. The cows are mainly black though my granddaughter Rylli, who lives with me and has done so since she was 9, was given a Charolais calf. She keeps all the heifers so the group is somewhat mixed. I keep three bulls: a Beefmaster, an Angus and a black white-faced Hereford. The Beefmaster and Angus bulls produce good commercial calves with the black white-faced Hereford producing the black baldies that people want. My bulls stay with the cows though most calves are born in the spring with a few whenever they come. The cattle are all hay and grass fed with salt and mineral blocks always available, though during a tough winter I will supplement protein as needed. When I’m ready to pull the calves off their mommas for selling, I have help. Riley, her boyfriend Robert, as well as my niece Tammi, nephew Jody, along with a good neighbor really chip in. I sell the calves at approximately 500 pounds, 10 or 15 at a time and always at I-40 Livestock Auction because they’re good people, haul my calves for me and I get a fair price. An important part of what makes this operation work is putting up 500 bales of my own hay, as well as custom haying for others and keeping two-thirds of what I bale.”

Future:“If I reach a point where I can’t put up hay anymore, I may switch to feeding calves or perhaps Rylii will be interested and want to take over. I don’t try to control the future or worry about it. I just try to make good decisions when they need to be made.”


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