Yesterday was one of those long days. We got up early to do the chores. Laramie hopped on a horse bareback to run the saddle horses in while I finished up doctoring two horses on the sick list. We have two of them now which have cuts which have to be washed, bandaged, or otherwise treated each day. Joe and I rode out to gather the practice cattle while Laramie ate breakfast.
Laramie entered a rodeo this weekend and accidently got entered as a “heeler” instead of a “header”. He and Joe took a quick 30 minutes to run some roping cattle though and practice team roping in the arena.
After switching saddles to some younger horses, we left to meet up with Shane and gather several pastures. We gathered a 1,200 acre pasture with 95 heifers in it. After a quick lunch in a nearby town, we drove to another ranch and gathered 42 heifers. When Joe unloaded his horse, it was evident he wouldn’t be riding her. She was definitely lame and wouldn’t be able to ridden the rest of the day. It looked like our day would come to a quick close since it would take all four of us to gather the next two pastures. Joe made a few phone calls was able to borrow a horse from a nearby rancher, so we continued on and gathered 50 head of cows and calves and moved them closer to the corrals where we will be weaning their calves within a week.
The next set to gather was 63 head of cows and calves off the far back pasture. When we rode on top of the hill to scope things out, we could see it wasn’t going to be simple. The cows were scattered all over the pasture and several bunches were way at the far end.
We managed to get everything done quite easily, even though there was some hard riding involved in most of the day. On the 35 mile drive back to the ranch, Shane commented he thought we had ridden close to 20 miles since morning. We all calculated and agreed that 20 miles was a close estimate and our bodies concurred with that estimate as well!
We have had over 16 inches of rain in the last month. The rain gauge ran over once or twice, so we aren’t really sure how much rain we got. It is a muddy paradise here. I think I can safely say the drought is over!
The ponds are full, the creeks have run over and all the water gaps are out. The days have been very cool and weeds are growing great everywhere. There will be a lot of fence repair from the swollen creeks, a few more mosquitoes, muddy roads, dirty trucks and fat happy cows.
Branding is now complete. Since early April, we have helped neighbors brand several hundred head of calves. Our cows are late to calve, so they were the last ones to be worked and branded. The next order of business is to drive them 12 miles east to summer pasture on the 4th of July. Maybe I will fly the stars and stripes on the chuckwagon.
Laramie and Joe have extra help this year with the younger horses. We have an intern here this summer helping with everything from feeding the bottle calves to training horses. In between helping neighbors brand their calves and calving out the longhorn cows, Alex, Laramie and Joe have been making lots of headway this summer.
Alex has been doing some ground work with the three-year-olds and some of the two-year-old colts after Joe has roped a back leg and gotten a halter on them.
This little gelding was a hand full. He decided it was easier to sit down on the job rather than to give into Joe. It looks like he might be our challenge for the summer.
This was the view from our front porch last week. We have waited a long time for moisture. Finally we had a snow which was full of moisture to cover all the pastures.
We weren’t able to get out of the ranch that day. All of the longhorn cattle and all the cattle Joe looks after in the winter-time were 30-40 miles away. The next day all three of us took a truck, loaded a skid-steer loader on a trailer and began digging our way out. When the first truck got stuck, we would pull it out and then Joe would dig out the road with the skid-steer.
Each of us had a truck to haul bales with. The county roads were completely blocked, but we made it to our cattle by going through pastures and fields and letting fences down. In the above photo I had made it as far as I could. I waited til Joe took my two bales and slowly delivered them to the heifers and bulls.
To reach two pastures of cattle and the bull pasture with four bales took 1 1/2 hours.
The entire day was time consuming. On this road, Shane got stuck and then Laramie got stuck.
We all made it to another hay stack, just to find it was drifted in too deep to get any hay for the cows.
Pat was there with his Steiger tractor and blade to push all the snow out of the way. This is how the whole day progressed. Pat pushed the snow out of the way and the rest of us followed behind to feed hay, break ice and check cattle. We made it to every pasture of cattle that day and made it home after the sun was down to do evening chores at the ranch.
Since then it has been nice and muddy and Joe has been stuck numerous times in the snow or mud. What a joy! Hopefully this is a great sign that the drought is on its