Branding went well today, which in general terms, means there were no wrecks, no one got hurt of any consequence, calves are all branded, and the help was all fed!
The day was gorgeous, even a tad on the hot side, and clouds were welcomed in the morning, and it was even overcast after lunch, helping cool off cowboys and calves alike.
My food was all acceptable… roast beast sandwiches au jus, potato salad, orange jello salad, fresh strawberries, green salad, monster cookies, pecan/german chocolate/sour cream raisin/strawberry & rhubarb cream pies. Plenty of ice tea, water, and pop as well. No one seemed to complain, so it must have been filling as well!
I kept an eye out for Half Pint, #826, but I never saw her. Vernon said he saw her yesterday… and she is still tiny… not a good sized calf at all… but I’ll have to keep looking for her…
I am *so* behind on my photos, here’s the first catch-up slide show! Let me explain it a bit.
When we gather in the badlands, we run our cows with other ranches, so we have to go to a “sorting ground”… a flat area usually in a fence corner. This sorting ground actually has two 3 sided pens. That means you can easily sort 5 ways. One way is south along the fence, two and three are the pens, four is send them north *past* the pens, and five is either leave ’em in the bunch or kick them *out* which is also downhill and west! Got it?
We always want them *mothered up* when we cut out ours… a momma cow and her calf. Our cattle are so used to this process, they are pretty good at finding their babies in the big bunch and then leaving the herd. The other day… that statement didn’t hold true.
She is a young cow… not used to the process… but, GoodNightGertrude! She was stupid. Her calf stuck to her like glue, but this cow didn’t want to leave the big mixed bunch! No way. No how.
Usually one rider can go into the bunch and *cut* out the pair and send them on their way. Other riders might help turn back extras… but this cow wasn’t having it. So, after a few tries… the cowboys decided to gang up on her. Three cowboys tried to cut her out. Nope. Four cowboys. Nope. Six cowboys. She’d turn and squirt through a hole or duck and dive and loop around. She wasn’t going north and we couldn’t make her.
Cowboys carry ropes for a reason.
She was unceremoniously roped around the head and drug into the proper pen. There you blanketyblankblankblank!
Except getting a rope off the neck of a cow means you need to rope her heels, lay her down, and get down there and pull the rope off her neck. (the heel rope will fall off once it’s loosened when she stands)
Heeling in a sagebrush covered pen is a bit tricky as you’ll see. It took a few tries. Then Daniel and Brandon rush in to do their job.
Did you know that recalcitrant means “Etymology: Late Latin recalcitrant-, recalcitrans, present participle of recalcitrare to be stubbornly disobedient, from Latin, to kick back, from re- + calcitrare to kick, from calc-, calx heel” ???? I found that to be slightly humorous!
At the end, I also shared a few pics of roping a sick calf and doctoring it as well…
The music is “Cowboy Logic” by Michael Martin Murphey.
Oh, and I was trying to be a little less obvious in my photography… so the pics are crooked and uncentered because I wasn’t looking through it!