The 2011 year was relatively benign compared to the two years
before. No major accidents and no major snow storms. Larry fully
recovered from his fall from the ladder in 2010, and has managed
to keep from further calamities involving putting one foot above
another. The kidding season yielded many beautiful babies from our
herd, and we sent many of them off to new homes, both by airplane
and by local pickup. I did, however, keep eight babies myself, an
unusually large number from an unusually fine crop of babies. I
know I will have to reduce the number of dry yearlings this year,
but at this point I am unable to decide who will make the cut.
We ceased our cheese making operation this year. We were
approached by another cheese maker with an offer to buy our
milk. After fifteen years of our own successful cheese sales
business, we were happy to accept the offer. Accordingly, we
sold our pasteurizer, cooler and boiler, and no longer make
cheese. It is comforting to know that every drop of milk we
produce is still used.
We only went to three shows in 2011. We went to a show in
Pennsylvania, the National Show in Springfield, Massachusetts,
and the local Virginia State Fair. Each show was successful in
its own right, but the National Show was especially
gratifying, as much for the success of others as for our own
success. I was especially delighted to hear the unexpected
announcement that Iron Rod ET Sheriff, owned by the Kunkle
family, was named Premier Alpine Sire at the show. I was given
many congratulations. It is always a pleasure to sell a
beautiful animal to a home where it is not only well cared
for, but promoted and helped to achieve its greatest
potential. I congratulate and thank the Kunkles for that. A
number of other animals with Iron Road lineage also placed
well in the show. At this point in the evolvement of our herd
and the whole showing experience, such events are as
satisfying as our own wins.
Our own family has similarly evolved. We had our first ever
Sidwell family reunion this year in Colorado Springs,
Colorado, the home of the Air Force Academy, my husbandís alma
mater. All of our children and their families came, and it was
truly a special experience.
After an unusually mild winter I am enjoying an exciting kidding
season and especially looking forward to a happy show season.
I have not been so excited about the quality of the animals in
my show string for a long time, and I know I must be careful.
Each time I might get a little too prideful, I am brought back
to humility in short order. At the shows I shall miss my
friend Diane Kirsch, a dedicated and successful
breeder/showman, and a sweet, gentle person.
Leslie & Larry Sidwell
Iron Rod Farm
2955 Earlysville Road
Earlysville, Virginia 22936