Eat More Chicken

Have you ever had an experience happen that was totally unexpected, but way better than anticipated? Like, your brain has already played out what will happen, and then what actually happens are two completely different things. Don't get me wrong, I love photographing families and animals. But there was something about this experience that went way better than I could have imagined. If there's a teachable moment involved, I'm ecstatic to share that with my daughter, Scout. A couple weeks ago, I went out to Ridgeview Farm to take pictures of their family, as well as the animals they have. I've been dying to head out, and get the skinny on everything they do to share with you all. But what that night had in store for us was something that I wasn't expecting in the least.

Scout is a total farm girl at heart. She loves her animals! I don't think there is a single one that she will shy away from. I surprised her that night, and asked if she wanted to tag along with me to go take pictures of cows and chickens. Her answer was almost instant, with a big, fat, "YES!". We were greeted by Jami, who had told us that calving season had officially begun. They had a baby cow born just a short while before we arrived. She walked us out to the barn to see the sweet calf, and to our surprise, another one was in the process of being born. To everyone's surprise though, the calf was coming breech. Now, to my understanding that night it can mean two things... twins, or trouble. The Goble family took action immediately. Scout and I stood outside the pen, and watched as the birth took place.

In this situation, a calf jack was used. A calf jack is a mechanical device that helps pull the calf when the mama isn't progressing on her own. Or in this case, when the calf is breech. Their middle son Grant was helping guide the calf jack, while Jami's husband Bob was cranking (literally) the calf out. I was somewhere between being tied up in Scout's reaction, while also quite intrigued at the birthing process. I grew up in rural Illinois, but I've never seen anything like this. An animal being born is something completely new to not only Scout, but myself.

The calf made it out alive, which was something that was sitting in the back of Bob and Jami's minds, given the way it was being born. As I said before, I took away that night that a breech calf can mean twins or trouble. To everyone's surprise, the calf hit the ground running (quite literally). Scout and I both stood there with amazement on our face as we had just witnessed an actual miracle of life. As we were walking back to their house, I had told Jami, "You know, this didn't go as planned. But I think it went even better!"

That night before we left, Bob told Scout that since she got to see it be born, she got to name it. On the spot, Scout had quite the blank face. I mean, to name a cow, you have to think about that! That's a big task at hand for a 4 year old. A rather important one for a girl!

As we're driving home, Scout yells from the backseat, "Mom! I have the best name for the baby cow. I think we should name him Steak."

I was somewhere between "My child is a savage" and "My child.... Oh dear Lord. My child."

Thus, Steak was born.

I seriously couldn't have pictured that night to be any better. As I didn't get any pictures, there was something nice about completely living in the moment with Scout. While there was a level of uncertainty and concern lingering between the seasoned (get it....) experts, I knew everything would be okay. We somehow attract the most abnormal experiences, and bring the unknown with us. Be it weather anytime we've moved, or now a breech birth.

Stay tuned for the actual Ridgeview Farm interview and experience! In the meantime, I've linked their page below. If you're in the market for the best meat in town, you can go to their store (or soon, find it stocked at Caledonia Farmers Elevator!) which is located at 11554 100th St SE, Alto, MI 49302.

Stay blessed, and remember to go with the flow. Sometimes, you'll find beauty in the unknown.