November and December require the cowboys to start getting ready for winter. It involves a lot of work in the feedlot, on the range and in the fields. We are having an unusually warm, dry winter so far.
The vet comes out and preg checks all of our cows and our first year heifers. This is many days of running the cows through the chute. After the vet checks to confirm pregnancy, they are then given vaccinations and dewormed.
The cowboys have also been working hard in the feedlot vaccinating the calves. They are given vaccinations when we brand, at weaning and then again a few months later as a booster. We vaccinate the calves to prevent disease. This is no different than you would do for your pet or your children. It is good herd management.
Different herds are made up to go to the winter desert range. The cows are brought into the coral and then sorted through, and separated according to breed. The different herds will get certain bulls put with them in the spring.
Some of the herds have been taken out to their winter range. Others are still in the fields and will be taken out as the feed in the fields gets eaten down.
Our cowboys haven't needed my help much so far. But I should be back on the range soon taking more photos. Stay tuned.
I've been playing with some filters lately. The black and whites have turned out kind of cool.
Dust makes for good pictures, not so fun to work in though.
Ryan out East.
The caring cowboy.
Young cowboy in action.
Yesterday we headed to the winter range with the Gonder herd. It's a 20+ mile cattle drive. For some reason these cows feel the need to run up the bench, over the mountain pass, down and across the other side. I feel like they are running a marathon. Of course we discourage this behavior. It's too hard on the cows to run that far.
The poor old girls ran up the bench and were already getting tired. We stopped them for a breather before heading over the pass.
I may have been parked in the wrong place, and Clay may or may not have gotten annoyed with me.
We recently hired a new cowboy. Welcome to our team Orrin.
Notice the white patches on the cows. This is a paint mark we made when we preg-checked them. Dave is hoping to be able to spot them from the plane.
Clay stopped the herd at the top, we gave them a rest and had some lunch. The next stop was my turn. I waited for them at the gate.
You can see how hard the cowboys are working.
Coming down the bench. Yep, I'm waiting at the gate. I did a lot of truck chasing.
Clay counted them through the gate. He counted 160. Little did we know we should have had 163. Kind of a big oops on our part for not knowing this information before we left. We were out 3 cows. The cows must have taken a wrong turn somewhere in the trees and will turn up at some point.
Headed across the hardpan.
Tired cows, but they are on the home stretch.
The water is through this gate. They made it.
This cow's name is David, yes named after Dave. She had a hard day. She developed a hitch in her get-a-long. She will be glad to just rest and graze. I promise there is feed beyond the hard pan.
The cowboys made it too. They even took advantage of this soft ground to do a little training.
Both boys were riding young horses. It was a good day for some training.
The three of us did pretty well. I really wish we hadn't lost three cows though.
We all keep learning.
It's time to head out to separate the mommas from their babies. It's bitter sweet. The moms know it is time, but are sad to see the babies go, at least for about three days until their milk starts to dry up. Then it's on to grazing and loving life.
The days have been starting early because it's so hot. We get up way before daylight, feed the horses breakfast, feed ourselves breakfast and head out to saddle.
Oh it is a beautiful time of day though.
It's always dusty going into the corals where we separate.
These pictures were on several different days, in different places. Not any specific order. Just gathering cows and calves from the meadows and taking them to holding areas where we separate them.
I took advantage of the morning light to get some nice pictures.
A sea of cattle.
Sorting cows from calves in Baker feedlot.
This day we actually got some rain and it made the alley quite muddy.
Sorting at the Gonder coral.
Gathering the Gonder herd.
Loading calves onto the trucks.
Sunrise on Burbank Meadows.
We took the calves home. After a few days we ran them through the shoot and gave them their vaccinations.
Sometimes you about need to be a gymnast to get the job done.
The calves are starting to calm down and eat.
Sometimes getting the job done can get a little tricky. We had an old water trough at a spring on the mountain that had gotten demolished, probably by the elk. So we had to figure out a way to haul a new trough up to the spring.
We packed the tools and post pounder up on Clay's horse, Miah. She was a trouper. It was a heavy load.
After several attempts to figure out how to load the trough on the horse, we decided putting a rope around it and dragging it up the mountain was our best option.
Clay's horse, Montana, didn't mind a bit, but the mountain was steep and it was hard work for the horse, so we had to trade off.
Josie is already thinking we are all nuts.
I had a video of Josie's reaction. She was not pleased at first. Then she settled down and pulled with no problem. This is Goucho's turn. He also handled the job like a pro.
We arrived at the spring. The horses were happy to have a break.
This was the old trough. It was a lot bigger. I am glad we didn't have to drag it up there.
Assessing the situation.
Very tired pup. Cato
Clearly I was working hard.
The cowboys have been starting very early this summer in order to beat the heat. I managed to tag along with them the other morning. Wow, it was early. I got up to feed horses at 3:45 so they would have a good chance to eat before we saddled at about 4:45.
Once you're up and out, it is the most spectacular time of day.
This is looking back on the pond above Clay's house.
Father and son team. Kyle and Riggin.
We were probably more than half way up the hill by the time it was full day light.
There was even a rainbow.
Yes it's been a while since I've posted. Spring was crazy busy, so I thought I would catch up more this summer. Thinking I have extra time in the summer I decided to get a second job. I'm not sure that was the best idea I've ever had. haha
Yesterday, however, I did help out the cowboys some. We started really early. It has to be the prettiest time of day.
This time of year we pull the bulls out of the cow herds. The cowboys needed a couple extra hands for the big herds today.
The bulls can get a little ornery. Luckily today though, they behaved pretty well. I just let this one get his frustrations out on the ditch bank before I bothered him.
Cowgirl Baylee was also able to help today.. Boy, were those cowboys lucky to have such great help.
We each had a rig to haul bulls home in. Mine is the rusty one in back..
I hope you all haven't given up on my blog. Fall is coming and I will be on the horse more often.
Whoo! What a month it's been. I know I have posted branding pictures, but that is just a part of all the cattle work we do in the month of May. We also bring all the cattle in off the winter ranges, AI (artificially inseminate) the heifers for next year and move them onto summer pasture. So on and so on. Here are some catch up pictures. There will still be several branding posts to follow.
Long days were spent on the desert bringing the cows home.
Hannah on one of her mustangs she is training.
After we AI , (artificially Inseminate) ,the heifers we take them to the Roland Ranch pasture for a month or two.
The trail was hot and the heifers were tired. Notice the purple tag. This year will be identified by that color tag.
Another job we do in May is put bulls out with the cows. Here is Hannah cutting one bull out of the pen.
Hours and hours spent on the range meant for great horse training.
This is Lady Bug. Clay has been training her for someone else. This is her 5th ride out. She did great.
We lost Dave's dad in May. He was a great man and we have felt the loss heavily. He will be missed.
Dave and his dad sorting and sizing calves.
That is a very brief idea of what May has been like for us. I have not kept up with it all. We have been busy. I hope to post more May branding pictures soon.
So things got a little windy today and wow, so dusty. The camera doesn't really capture the wind.
Yep, we all looked like this.
What a crew. It always amazes me that no matter what the conditions are, or how hard the day turns out to be, these people just keep on working, and they come back for more. They are the best. THANK YOU
We even recruited some new help today. We'll see if he returns next time.. haha
I know it looks brutal, but the calves really are ok.
The ground crew is awesome.
This little guy is saying, "what just happened?"
I'm thinking we could do a Tide commercial.
And she's smiling.....
Ha, someone must have grabbed my camera again. I'm always sporting the latest cowgirl fashion. haha, Not.
Don't mess with our cowgirls.
Gettin' 'er done.
I liked these colorful chaps.
Today was not for the weak. This is a high school rodeo queen.. Now she deserves the crown. She's the real deal.
The cowboys line up on one side while a couple other cowboys are in the herd trying to head a calf or two, then these cowboys will go heal the calves. If one cowboy misses another is right in line, loop ready, to try to catch. Things are less chaotic and safer for all when there is a little organization and cooperation.
How the cowboys keep their hats on always amazes me.
One more branding wrapped up. We still have several ahead of us.
The weather wasn't good, but the help was great and somehow it turned out to be a fun day.
Thank you everyone. You are truly amazing.