Archive for the ‘Life Back Home’ category

Throw Back Thursday!

June 13, 2013

If you’ve gotten into any of the social media sites, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any of the other countless sites out there; you are probably familiar with the common acronym T.B.T or Throw Back Thursday. Today, while scrolling through everyone’s old photos I came across a not so old photo of mine and it got me thinking of where I’ve been, where I am, and where I am headed.


2013 NACTA Sweepstakes Winners

This picture from back in April represents a lot for me. Present is most of the 2012-2013 Livestock Judging Team, 26 amazing individuals I grew to love and respect; our coach, Chris Mullinix; a man who has given me skills to take forward as I move on and whose given us all the chance of a lifetime, Elissa Mullinix, Chris’ wife, who started as just my  teacher, but as for most of us so far away became like a mom; and Marcus Arnold although our first contest with Marcus it gave us a glimpse of the year to come! Although the year came with some challenges, the long distance spread between Washington and Kansas, the realities of meeting a team full of new people on top of beginning new classes, living with roommates rather than family, and the ever so fun Chemistry classes; it was everything I gained and learned from these challenges that made the year absolutely perfect. I’m still not sure I’m ready to say goodbye to all the fun times and the people we will surely miss. Yet, as we say goodbye to a year spent with the Sophomores, we ourselves will take their place and soon we shall meet a handful of new judgers eager to join our family. Even harder it seems is saying not a “farewell”, but merely a “see you later,” to Chris and Elissa our Kansas parents. Chris who has coached at Butler for 16 years gets to start a new adventure at K-State where just like here, where we won’t forget him, neither shall he forget about us. He’ll still be there when we need him, just a phone call away. And with our “farewells” come our “hellos” we’re as excited as ever to start the year off right with our new coaches in tow and stenos in hand, we hope for a great year and to fill the shoes of those who did it before us. We’re grateful for the memories we have and the ones yet to come!


2013 Sophomore Judging Team

Share the Love, Even If Only For a Day!

April 11, 2013

April 10, aka yesterday. Anyone know what makes this day so stinking special?…. If you don’t, shame on you (especially if you have siblings!!) but no worries, that is why I am here. April 10 is known nationally as National Siblings Day. That’s right. For all of you that had no idea you had a day where you were nationally recognized, guess what?!? You have to wait a whole 364 more days to have it again. Those of us who are lucky enough (some days are questionable!) to have siblings would not be the same person we are today without ’em. Think about it…wether you want to admit it or not, there is SOMETHING that you can tell your sibling(s) thank you for.

As I was avoiding studying for a test by scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed yesterday, I began to notice how many people were recognizing their siblings and posting pictures of them together! Of course I joined in on the fun as well. Here is the picture I posted…


The caption: “Happy National Siblings Day! Y’all are the best… Well most of the time anyway!”

While it may seem silly that it takes a “special day” to show siblings love, it really got me to thinking… “Hmmmm… I wonder where I would be today if Flinton, Ethan, and Hannah weren’t there with me..?” While there is no possible way to answer this question, I think back to the time, especially the summers that we have spent together and how even on the days when we didn’t always see eye to eye, we still were able to accomplish tasks around the farm. Want to see a little “day in the life of…?” Of course you do. The American Angus Association, I am Angus did a story on our family! That’s right, we were on TV! Check it out for yourself: McCabe I am Angus

With there being four of us with about a 10 year age range, we each have different areas where we succeed and areas where as much as I don’t want to say this, Hannah might be better than the rest of us. (Just kidding, we love Hannah. But seriously…) Growing up on a family farm makes everyone pull together just a little more especially through the hard times and cold winters. While my dad taught us almost everything we learned growing up (from castrating and feeding pigs to assisting heifers calving and everything in-between) each one of us found the areas that we liked the most. It just so happens to be that it was a little different for each of us.

Flinton has started to become the brains behind McCabe Genetics (feel free to check our website out!). Of course dad is still the man in charge and tells Flinton when his ideas could be better. While Flinton is gone for a couple weeks at a time visiting customers someone has to be at home to help my dad! This is where the cool brother comes in… But first a couple of pictures of Flinton “in action.”

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Looks like a pretty tough job, don’t ya think??? Don’t worry. I have a couple pictures to save the lad. He really does occasionally work believe it or not.

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Now back to the cool brother, Ethan. Ethan is more behind the scenes when it comes to daily work. He can do anything if you ask him nice enough. This includes changing brake pads when he pretends he sometimes can’t even air a tire at home. Bless his heart. He loves to travel with a couple families and go to cattle shows to help them “fit” their cattle. Don’t know what that means, check this out!: Fitting Show Cattle. Want to see him in action? (I couldn’t find any pictures of him sitting around by the way!)

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Except for one time, but I have to give him credit. He did some creative thinking to be able to operate the hydraulic chute without ever having to move.


Like I said, bless his heart.

My sister Hannah is the shortest sibling we have. Even though she pretends to be helpless from time to time (but come on, who doesn’t right?) but she is the hardest working girl I know. She does things that no one ever thinks about doing around the farm but need to be done to make everything run properly. On sale day at our farm, she operates the computer system that tells who bought which lot. She is the best sister anyone could ask for!

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It takes every person in a family to make what they do a success and ours is not any different. Even though sometimes the road gets a little rocky and you may not always like your siblings, I bet your parents have the same thoughts as my dad. He has said time and time again, “I am the happiest when all my kids are getting along.” Dad doesn’t always have the same image of his kids getting along as we do. Not sure what I mean? Check out these two links. Don’t have time? Seriously, take a peak at them! They will make your day so much better with a laugh!!

Flinton and Hannah (Do keep in mind, she was willing to let him do this and laughing!!)

Ethan and Flinton

Here is a couple of pictures to show my families National Siblings Day love!


Even Ethan gets scared sometimes! Good thing Hannah is there to keep him safe.


God’s gift

March 7, 2013

It’s been a while since I have been on here so I thought I would blog before I went home. Tomorrow I am flying home, to lay to rest one of the greatest guys I know. Justin (Skinny) Hinen is one of the biggest livestock advocate that I know. He showed at a very young age and loves show steers and pigs. His brother Jeremy and sister Jennifer also showed and that is how I met the Hinen family. Justin though, I am really close too. You see he was the kind of kid that was always about getting work done… while still having the most fun doing it. For instance at the state fair this past year Jennifer exhibited in the grand champion drive with her steer Coz. I was hanging around when it was time to get Coz ready so naturally I helped. Now usually things are pretty intense when the big show at the Pepsi Coliseum is about to take place, but with Skinny around it didn’t matter. He would rush around, but would always stop and point out the crazy kid beside us, or the weird lady walking by that was wearing sandals into the beef barn. With him time was endless and there was no care in the world other than to have fun.

Whenever we were getting ready to head to a show Justin would always give orders of things to do and he said he would be back in 10 minutes. If you spend at least one day around him, you already know that 10 minutes means an hour. He always had people to see and places to be. As I sit here and think about him tears flood my eyes knowing I lost a really good friend.

I used to get frustrated because he was always late, but now I know I would spend all day waiting for him if it meant he would come back to us here on earth. The lord above has received a beautiful angel, and I am so thankful he is where he needs to be. I know that God has the best show steer waiting for him to work on and even a pig or too that he can show off.

Because of Skinny, I am confident and know that I have no one to impress but myself. I know what it takes to win, and I know how a smile can fix any bad day. The last memory I have of him is one that I will keep to myself, but I am so thankful we left on a good note. My plan was to go home next Thursday for spring break and go see him Friday morning, however now I will see him this Sunday with his friends and family all gathering around, crying for the great young man that we lost.

Justin I know you’re there and I can feel you wrapped around me. This baby heifer was out of your favorite cow at my place and was born only 3 hours after you passed. In your honor I named her Justin. Although I never told you, please know that I love you ❤

Hangin’ Tree: The Old West or a Cattle Dog?

February 25, 2013

As time tells, we no longer have many trees around for this use even though they are a major part of our history. During the slave days, they were a common sight to see. Now days however, the term “Hangin’ Tree” has a whole new meaning (thank goodness!)

Many ranches today use Heelers, Collies, Shepards, etc to move cattle from one location to the next. While all these dogs have their strengths, they also have their weaknesses which made it difficult to see them as the “perfect” dog. A guy by the name of Gary Ericsson (with a little help from his son Choc) one day decided to develop the PERFECT cattle dog. You might be wondering… “what is the recipe for this dog?” Brace yourself!

Gary and Choc’s recipe:

– 3/8 Border Collie

  • for their intense herding instinct and intelligence


(This is Maggie, my best friends Collie who just happens to love cows!)

– 1/8 Catahoula

  • for the ability to trail and find cattle, also for their toughness and slick hair coat


(Catahoula dogs can come in various patterns!)

– 1/4 Kelpie

  • for endurance and also herding instinct and short hair


(Kelpie’s can be a range of colors)

– 1/4 Australian Shepherd

  • (only a dog named Hangin’ Tree Black Bear went into this breed. Bear was a super dog with courage and ability to handle any kind of cattle)


(This is the actual Hangin’ Tree Black Bear who was used in the breed development)

*These dogs are registered with the Hangin’ Tree Cowdog Association Inc.

With a recipe like that, it seems the end product could turn out many different ways, right? And it does! The puppies born can be solid black all the way to spotted blue and EVERYTHING in between! The great thing about this breed? They have the desire to work cattle. (There are many slang terms used in production agriculture that I will try and explain the best I can when I use them in my blogs! Work cattle– move from one location to the next, a broad term used when you will be doing something with them that requires effort (tagging, vaccination, many other things)) These dogs are “fearless” and have the endurance to work all day long rain, snow, or shine.

I know, now you are probably thinking, “How does she know all this?” “She just looked up the breed on the internet, did a little research, and now is trying to pretend she knows everything and is an expert on the breed.” (Or something along those lines!) I actually did have to look up the breed and do a little research on the history of it but back home in Elk City, KS we currently have two of these dogs! My inspiration for the blog? This past weekend, I spent Friday afternoon with Jim and all day Saturday with Top!

Jim and Top are our second and third Hangin’ Tree dogs. They are even half brothers to make it better! Our first was Rooster. (A dog named Rooster? He came to us named, don’t worry, we aren’t that crazy!)


(This is Rooster. He was a great dog even though he had a short life. He was hit by a truck near our house 😦  )

Jim is my brother Flinton’s dog. He is much calmer than Top as well as stouter.


Aren’t they cute? He absolutely LOVES Flinton.

On Friday, we used him to gather bulls so we could work them. There are several commands that these dogs learn when they are being trained. Here are the ones that we commonly use:

Come By– send the dog clockwise from you to bring cattle

Away To Me– sends the dog counterclockwise from you

Down– lie down (the dogs can get a little excited and it is used a lot around our place to stop and “reset” the dog to listen again)

Get Back and Bring ‘Em– sends the dog to the back of the group and brings the cattle to you or the rest of the group

There– used to tell the dog that is where he needs to be (can be used along with Come By and Away To Me), also to turn cattle

Get Ahead– exactly what you would think it means, go ahead of the group to turn them which ever way is needed

Look Back– means to literally look back behind at one that was missed or one that is starting to go the wrong direction

That Will Do– we are finished with that, good job

Go To Water– find water and get a drink

When we gather big groups, we use both the dogs together and it is amazing how they can work together, feed off each other, and get the job done much more efficient than with just people working. They can actually replace people and one person can go out and gather the group with a dog and not have trouble. We have learned that if it can’t be done with a person and a dog, more people won’t be able to do it either.

Here is a couple of pictures of Jim working on Friday.

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Top… Top is a whole different story. He is very energetic and needs lots of reminding to slow down and just be calm. He is my other brother, Ethan’s dog.


They love each other. While Top doesn’t really like to listen to Flinton, he thinks Ethan walks on water and will do almost anything Ethan wants (with reminding every now and then!). They came most of the way trained to us for working in a pasture setting. Ethan has other ideas though… He wants to be able to have a dog help around the chute and move cattle through the system.

Quick Vocab!

Chute– a device used to cradle, hold, and keep the cattle as well as us safe while working them

The System– at our place, we refer the the lane and the chute as the system

Lane– ours goes from outside to inside the barn and the cattle walk through it to reach the final destination of the chute

Here is a couple of videos so you can see exactly how helpful Top is around the system! (Click on the link to view, please excuse poor quality, I took it on my phone!)


Even when he is not able to help, Top watches and keeps an eye on Ethan to make sure nothing happens to him!

Since we have pasture gathering and working the system down, Top has a new idea of what he wants to learn…Any guesses…?


He thinks it is time to learn how to drive… I will let you know how that one turns out!

A Little Water, Lime, and Straw…anddd Wah-lah!

February 20, 2013

This last weekend when I went home, I got the pleasure of getting to help make “Hydrated Lime Straw!” I know your first thought, “what in the world is that?!?” Don’t worry, that was my first question when my dad told me about it! Seems simple enough… just a little water, some lime (I mean who doesn’t love a good limeade), and a straw! Dad informed me that it wasn’t quite that simple or tasty (to me anyway!) …shucks.


Let’s get down to the basics of what this “not so simple summer drink is.” Hydrated Lime, maybe more commonly known as Calcium hydroxide, is a white powder that is similar to “quick lime” but much less dangerous and less likely to start a fire! (Amen to that! I don’t think dad would be impressed if it all went up in flames.)


Now what about this “straw?” I am talking about the kind that you get after wheat is harvested! It is the leftover part of the plant that doesn’t have the seed on it. This is sometimes known as wheat stubble. Straw has many different uses. It can be used to bed livestock (give them a warm place to lay), be mixed in with other feeds to be consumed, and even used to make brooms! While straw is not the only roughage that you can use to do this (cornstalks and many other low quality roughages can be used) it is what we used when I went home.

What is the recipe to make this tasty meal? I’ll tell you!

Ground roughage of some kind! (straw, cornstalks, etc)


You will need to have your roughage tested for the moisture content. Our straw had 5% moisture so our combination is 7% lime, 50% water, and 50% straw.

You maybe do they get more than 100%? Keep reading!

For the feed truck we were using this day, we added two (2) fifty pound bags of lime to the truck with enough straw to fill it to the 50% point.


The next stop is the “watering hole.” Here we use the yellow hose you can see on the side of the truck to add water.


(I know, the water looks gross! Don’t worry, our drinking water is NOT that color. This is pond water that comes from a pond just over the hill!)

Now the truck does the mixing while you drive.

There are several different ways to store this but we choose to pile it on the ground uncovered because it gets used as quickly as we can make it!

Now that we have arrived at the spot to unload it, we will add it to the other piles that we have mixed today.


Once we finish for the day, we will push it all into one big pile where it will remain untouched for at least seven days. Why? The chemical reaction that happens between the water and Calcium hydroxide will begin to break down the cellulose, lignin, and hemi-celluose (all found in the straw) so it will be more digestible for the cattle to eat.(The pH level is also very important but we won’t get into that 🙂 ) They will be able to gain more nutrients from this compared to just mixing straw into their feed and this is a great way to replace corn silage, sorghum silage, etc.


And the best part… they love it! 🙂

Hey everyone, I’m Esther McCabe

February 11, 2013

Hi everyone! I’m Esther McCabe and am a new blogger for the Butler Ag Ambassadors! Just to give you a little history about myself, lets go back to the beginning! On a cold January evening, my parents (Randy and Varee) totted me to Elk City, Kansas where I have called home for the last 19 years. My siblings (Flinton now 27, Ethan 23, and Hannah 21) were all very excited to have me as the baby of the family!


My family! (My daddy, Hannah, Ethan, myself, Flinton, and my momma!)

I am a third generation Angus enthusiast and I love it! We have about 2,400 head of cattle between momma cows, bulls and commercial females. We also do a little farming of corn, sorghum silage, soybeans, wheat, as well as haying!


Here is a picture of my familys annual bull sale! For more information go to

I am currently a Froshmore (yes you read that right!) at Butler Community College in El Dorado, KS! This is my first year here but I came to college with enough credits from high school that they consider me a sophomore but that sounds a little too old so we will go with froshmore. My major is Food Science with a minor in Animal Science. This fall I will transfer to K-State to continue my education on into pharmacy school down the road.

On a side note, I am not a livestock judger like a lot of the other bloggers this year! However, I do live with two of them. This past November though I was crowned the 2013 Miss American Angus!! So look forward to blogs about my experiences with that portion of my life in the near future.


My sister and I after I was Crowned Miss American Angus 🙂

I hope y’all enjoy my blogs and learn a little about the day in the life of a 19-year-old agriculturist!

Family and Food

December 24, 2012

The best part about Christmas is not the presents, but the time spent with family. Oh, and let’s not forget about all the wonderful food we stuff ourselves with! Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas from Indiana!