After a week of doing a locum at Nanton, Alberta, it was time to head back home...but wait, there was a few things that had to be done first. First of all, I went to Chris's sister Marie's wedding - her new husband is Pedro. It was a nice garden wedding.
Then I made a quick trip to the Tchetter Colony and met up with Leanne, where I had to meet the new and upcoming that would be coming to her place in few weeks.
Tip would be bringing along his sister for her to become a McCordian.
Now, I know you all have a crink in your neck looking at this picture - not planned at all. It appears that I did not have an option to rotate the picture (after trying an hour to make it fit). We are planning to call her Nan - and you may ask, is not the other pup you got the week before called Nan?
Yes, this one is Nan as well (you have a crink in your neck again, don't you?) She is an aunt to the other Nan. Cripes, Chris can have two nephews called Chris, we are just carrying on a tradition. That way birthday cards can be reused.
As Leanne played with her phone (I thank her for taking the pup pictures)...
..... Jake worked some of the dogs he had.
This lovely Suffolk was a cranky old bat. There was a time I wish I had a bat.
After all the training was done, then I headed back to McCord. A quick work week was done, whereby a lot of crap was dealt with...really, it came from the backend of bulls. One particular day, I went to do fourteen bulls, and like a fool I thought, "This is going well!" Immediately, a bull was let out of the chute as I was about to fondle, I mean examine his testicles, when the back gate fell on top of my head. Could this have been the way Newton felt with the apple? He probably didn't get an egg shaped lump on his head like I did. Then shortly after that, a bull was let out with my probe still in his butt, which did not bode well for the probe. And then the shit hit the fan - no I guess it hit my face when the bull had a slight temper tantrum. A quick trip back to the clinic (one hour round trip) was done to get a new machine, all the while noticing large muddy dog prints in the front seat of Dora - guess the rancher's dog wanted a trip to town.
Now I would have thought that was enough excitement for one week - but in a few days would be the yearly branding - after work the next day I went to get groceries (3 hour round trip) expecting a large crew for the weekend. I had it all planned, which was changed at the grocery store when they didn't have the coleslaw that I wanted. So many bags of lettuce were bought, as well as macaroni (for yet more sald) and beans, for the planned chili - Branding 2012 was going to take place in a mere 8 hours-I had to sleep really fast.
The next day, we travelled to the south ranch to brand the calves. I would have to say it was the smoothest branding ever - we didn't even have to be there - in fact we weren't. I started making the dinner, and found out we had no water (it would have even made Martha Stewart say a few choice words) and Chris did some running around to get the water going. The water was put back on, and my second in command in the kitchen came (my sister Sandy and her husband Ken). When all was well on the kitchen front, I finally made it to my own branding.
The momma cows waited patiently for their calves.
For those neophites to brandings, here is the step by step procedure.
1. Rope the calf - preferably by two hind legs
2. Ensure that the portable gate works well in keeping the other calves from escaping.
3. Drag the calf to the crew.
4. The calf will have vaccinations, a brand, dehorning, castration and implanting done by the experts.
5. The use of the Northfork is optional (this is contraption which holds the head of the calf while the roper holds the heels).
6. If no Northfork is available, then get your arse dirty and do some wrestling.
7. It is required that the young folk study -one day soon they will be part of the crew.
8. Cowboy attire is optional.
9. A good branding pot is essential. Pot bellies are also optional (Hi Kelsey and Daryl!)
10. When the job is done, it is necessary to wet the whistle with a cool beverage.
So after we were done the first group (250 calves in 2 1/2 hours - you do the math), we picked up to go to another field to do a few more calves.
"You've been cowboying long?"
My cooking was not done - the prairie oysters had to be prepared. Martha Stewart, call me anytime and I will give you my recipe (which didn't include beer as in the picture, that was for purpose of soothing a dry throat).
When the job was done, the steeds stood around.
My fear of not having enough food was unfounded. Everyone had a belly full. I do believe I could have had 50 extra people around and there would have been still food left over. At the moment, we are on a lettuce diet. Next year I will buy only one package...not six.
Branding 2012 was done - all that was left was to pack things up and head back home.
This is a road less travelled - but on June 23rd, it turned out to be a major road in cow country.