Branded

Finally, it is here and gone again.
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Friends have arrived to help and enjoy the “fun” of branding day.
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Old cedar fenceposts reappear sawed to length and split for the fires.  Boy, if you could only smell it… go stick your head in your grandmother’s keepsake trunk, and that’s the smell of these cedar sticks as well!  Yum!
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Fires are built in the old barrels and the irons are laid in… absorbing heat and history.
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Vaccine is administered.
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Hot iron is applied.
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Daughter Victoria tells her sad story of missed calves and errant loops.
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Son Daniel’s big Red Rooster horse works up a sweat.  Ain’t he a purty horse??
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All for this.  A nice calf… branded, vaccinated, ready for a summer at his momma’s side in the wild western wind blown land of Wyoming.

Preparation

windchime
Preparations for branding tomorrow have hit their full stride.
The shop is cleaned and ready for weary, hungry workers.
The firewood is chopped ready for the branding fire.
The pop is chilled and water jugs filled for thirsty cowboys.
All vaccinations, paint sticks, sorting sticks, brands, needles, syringes, LA200, sulfa pills, lost eartag replacements, camera batteries, and various miscellany are prepared.
The guys are out gathering the pasture and placing the 100+ pairs next to the corral for an early start tomorrow morning.  We make sure they stay there and laugh… one year we were going to gather the pasture in the morning, and brand in the afternoon.  Everyone showed up to help, but the cows had escaped the pasture and headed to our higher mesa pasture.  Greets held a branding and no cows showed up…
It wasn’t funny at the time… they sure didn’t want to go back down as they’d just gone up and it was a fight and everyone was pretty cranky by the time it was all over… so keep your fingers crossed they are still there tomorrow!
While the guys are cowboying… I’m cooking.
I LOVE  to cook.
I’m another Pioneer Woman.
Watch cooking shows all day long.
Choke.
Gag.
OK.
I cannot tell a lie.
I HATE cooking.
yecch.
But it is my role, so I do it.
The brownies are done.
Potato salad is being made (before I took a break to do this!)
Peach cobbler smells terrific.
Strawberry rhubarb cobbler is in the oven.
Roasts were cooked days ago.
Salads are left.  I’ll start them when I quit this.
Organization is left… until tonight when I get most of it loaded in my Durango.
I cook for 30 people… 20 or so might show… our next branding is the bigger one…
but that’s 2 weeks away and I don’t want to think about it right now.
Please.

Oh, So Close to a Perfect Picture!

I was this close…  [   ] note the size…
*this* close to taking the perfect picture yesterday.
Well, maybe not technically or artistically for some people… I’m no Ansel Adams!  But when it comes to *MY* category of “working cow dog photos”, this was was almost there!
Taking photos of working dogs is HARD!
There’s sagebrush in your way.  (This IS Wyoming)
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The angle is wrong… (I’ve TONS of butt shots… not photogenic usually!)
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They turn out blurry.  (Fast dogs and fast cattle!) (And where is Elsa going??? there’s another steer out of the shot she was going for…)
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They are too far away.  (I forget how far away the action is!)  (Squint and you can see Elsa and Dally on the trail at the bottom of Willow Creek… that’s as far as I could send them.. they’d get that far and come back to me… little turds… so I had to hike up to the halfway point and *then* they’d go kick the cows out further… we need to work on that!!)
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There’s too much sun/glare on the lens.  (I have no glare guards for my little camera, and they make my big camera *that* much bigger to pack!) (See the butt shot above)
Of course, if I had a bigger camera/lens/whatever I know my pictures would be so cool… I drool over other people’s huge lenses… I took this pic OOPE style at the Cody Horse Sale… the camera lens was scraping the ground in this shot, of course, you can’t see it because her leg is in the way, but I’d *LOVE* to have a lens like that!
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anyway…
My photo from yesterday that is *almost* perfect…
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Just a smidge out of focus.  But look at Dally’s ears as she jumps over the sagebrush.  You can read our brand (A bar A).  I didn’t even cut off the steer’s nose or anything.  There is no cropping or editing here… ah, just SO close.  Well, I think I need to go back out and take my good camera this time and see what I can do… just tell Vernon I *REALLY* am just kicking cows off the creek, not working my dogs or playing photographer!  It’ll be our secret!
For a heading shot… this one wasn’t perfect either!

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Wordless Wednesday – “Heaven’s Above!”

Heaven’s Above!
old-house

All Day Long

rockgarden
If I thought the garden would get planted,
the lawn mowed,
the house cleaned,
the dishes done,
the laundry folded,
the food cooked,
this blog written…
I would do this ALL DAY LONG.
Follow these precious pups around and photograph them.
I mean… a *bad* photographer with a *rotten* *cheap* camera could take good photos of these pups!
Could someone *please* make this into a legitimate well-paying job for me??
Ramsey
LOOK AT HER!!!!
Molly
OR HER!
rubba
even this guy isn’t too bad…
Well, I could do this as long as my battery held out!