Branding

The day started out early and a bit cooler than usual.  We were thankful for that as we rode out to gather the cows.

 We had plenty of help gathering the cows and calves through the knee deep, green grass.

The fun began!  The cowboys AND COWGIRLS took turns roping the calves.

We even allowed Will to rope some even though he apparently lost his cowboy hat.  Even without a cowboy hat, he did remarkable well for his first time dragging calves.

We had a crew of youngsters and a few who felt like oldsters to mug the calves (hold them on the ground) as they were marked, vaccinated,

and branded.

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An April Week

We had a great week with Rob and Liz from England this week.  We had just finished moving 180 pairs from a cornstalk field to rye pasture when they arrived on Friday.

The next day, Liz and I rode out to check the new calves.

We found quite a few of them scattered over the pasture and even one that had just been born.

Rob and Joe were putting out salt and mineral for the cows when Rob snapped this photo of us galloping off the hill in the walnut pasture.

We had one day of a little rain and dug out the slickers for a misty, rainy, windy day. We had left 3 young pairs on the cornstalk pasture that were too young to move earlier. We gathered them to the corrals and hauled them to rye pasture, checked two other pastures, moved a set of cows to a new paddock and checked a bigger pasture of cows we had bought the week before.

Liz brought the steer wrestling and roping steers out of the pen to be sorted so the guys could train them for the next few rodeos.

We have nearly 25 lambs now. This little guy meets us every night for a little extra milk and loving. Liz and Rob left yesterday. It was a little bit lonely bottle feeding the lamb and the calf, feeding the cattle and the saddle horses, riding out to check the new calves, and paint branding the new lambs, but there were other things that popped up to keep us busy today. Heifers were out of the pasture near Mullinville, a few patches of weeds needed to be mowed, electric fence needed to be fixed for the mares. Not to worry. The day still has three and a half hours of daylight left for more surprises.

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Eltimate February Day

A good February day is a 70 degree, February Day. A great February day is  being horseback on a 70 degree, February day.  The ultimate February day is being horseback on that 70 degree day and sharing it with good friends, the Brack family.

We all met at the white barn.  You can see it in the background.  If you think the color of the barn in the background is red, your eyes are not deceiving you.  A year ago it was re-painted red.  However, it is still referred to as the “white barn”.  If you come to help out at the ranch you might be told to: “meet us at the white barn”, “feed the cattle at the white barn”, “rope a calf at the white barn”, or today you would have been directed to “meet up with us at the white barn”.  There is no confusion. Everyone knows this red barn really is the “white barn”.

This is Shawn Brack, one of the finest horsemen and best hands we know.  It may look like he is enjoying a nice easy afternoon ride; but this was after his young horse, Gus, gave him a  hard ride and gave us a good show as he bucked over and around the sand hills.

We moved the first set of cows about seven or eight miles.

James and Wyatt waited patiently for a short time while we waited for the trailer to take us to the next pasture.

This is what two boys do when they are done waiting patiently for the trailer to show up.

After moving the second set of cows, we ended up a couple of miles from the Brack’s home.  It was a short ride to the house to unsaddle and call it a successful February day.

 

 

 

 

 

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What Snow Means to Me

We woke up to a few inches of snow this morning and some very nice Christmas music referring to “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” and “the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh o’re white and drifted snow”.  Seasonal lyrics can be very romantic.  Snow can mean so many things to everyone.  To my friend, Josh Habiger, it means he might get a snow day and not have to go to school.  To many of my friends it means a beautiful landscape and a change of pace that the season affords.  I think it is time I share with the world what snow means to a cowgirl on the ranch. First of all, snow means moisture.  Our first concern is always how much moisture the snow has in it.  A wet snow means lots of moisture and green grass in the spring.  A dry snow with a little Kansas wind behind it means lots of drifts and little moisture being deposited where it is needed to make green grass in the spring. Today’s snow was very wet.  We only got a few inches, but I was sure it was wet and heavy when I tried to open the shop door and this was all the further it would open.  There was enough weight on the roof, the door would not roll up; which meant my trusty scoop shovel and I ascended the ladder to scoop the snow off the roof before we could load the feed for the horses and the calves. Have I ever mentioned that I am not a fan of heights? Snow means that the hens will not venture outside today to forage for their own breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I will need to haul it to them in buckets.  This little red hen is headed back in the chicken house as fast as she can go. All of the frosty stuff has be scooped out of the feed bunks before the calves or horses can be fed. It rained and sleeted before it began to snow, so all the netwrap and twine on the bales were frozen to the top of the bales.  Snow signifies it  will take twice as long to just take the netwrap off of the round bales.  Snow may mean getting an axe, shovel, hammer or other handy object to break the layer of ice off the bale.  It may mean after feeding bale 7, I will quietly consider using my pocket knife to cut around the frozen netwrap and leave that portion on the bale.  Maybe no one will notice until later. A nice wet snow means lots of moisture, lots of muddy pens, green grass in the spring and,

I don’t need a membership at a gym or a treadmill for exercise.  This shovel and I get all the workout we need when snow arrives.

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One Busy Month

It has been one busy month.  If anyone wanted to drive cattle, work cattle or drive more cattle again, it was the month to be at the Moore Ranch.  Jenny G. and her family were here.  Even though they couldn’t go on the regular Fall Cattle Drive,

they did get in on moving a set of cows about seven miles.  It had just begun to rain as we started gathering about 85 head of cows.  By the time we got them gathered and out the gate, the rain was over.

They also got in on moving some of the longhorns to another pasture.

Their week wasn’t complete without getting in on vaccinating some cattle that had just been shipped in.

All of September we weaned calves, vaccinated calves that arrived at the ranch, moved cows and bunched them up for the winter and then later drove them twelve or more miles northward on to winter pasture.

The first week of October the Longhorn cows left the ranch and were driven to winter pasture about 35 miles northeast.

Our last night we spread our bedrolls out in an old farm building.  It ended up being a good plan when the rain came down in sheets all night long.  Then next day it was a bit chilly and the Rattlesnake Creek had gone from absolutely dry to a river.  The cows had to be pushed across as they swam to the other side.

There were a few slow days in the month. Joe and I took time to check up on the two-year old colts one day as we were out riding pastures. All of them are curious. Hopefully they will be easy to halter-break this winter. That is “when things slow down”. I have never experienced that on our ranch. I have decided that being busy and slowing down must all be a state of mind and attitude. Slow or busy, I wouldn’t have life any other way than with my family on the ranch.

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Working Cowboys, Working Friends

After the September Cattle Drive, Christine and Thomas from Germany were great help.  We spent the week moving cattle, weaning calves and shipping the calves.

Thomas was sitting on the fence waiting for the semi trucks to arrive.  We had gathered the cows and calves off of 2,000 acres and had all the calves separated and waiting in the alley to be loaded.

Several hours and two pastures later Thomas moved the loading chute to the next location and the ceremony began again:  unload saddle horses from trailer, gather pasture, sort calves off in corral, wait for semi, load  calves on truck, let cows out in pasture, load saddle horses in trailer….

By evening we had accomplished it all.  Four Hundred twenty-five calves had been weaned and shipped.  Horses were unsaddled and we were all ready for a nice supper, shower and a bed.  Thomas and Christine said they would be back next year for more of the same.  It will be a treat for us.  They have become good hands and great friends.

 

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