Friday, November 9, 2012

Back At The Ranch

Well, when Dora the Explorer is resting from driving to trials or driving to work, it doesn't necessarily mean that the dogs and I are resting.  For the bulk of people, every two weeks to a month there is a paycheck from your work, when it comes to ranching, this paycheck is once a year.  First you start with a baby calf in the spring, and 6 months later, after good milk and grass, the gaffer goes off to market. The rancher hopefully goes home with a jiggity jig with a fat check - or at least enough to pay off all the bills - diesel, machinery repairs, feed costs, vet costs (good vets are expensive you see).  October 30th would be the start of our trip to market.  First we had to gather all the cows and calves from their smorgasbord of food for the last 6 months - the Grasslands Park.
We started early in the morning, and the fog was thick as pea soup.  It was like finding animals in Campbell's soup I suppose.
As the sun got up and cooked the soup away, we then could look across to find the bovidae (word of the day).
 Soon we were trekking them back to the homeland.
On that day of moving 300 plus cows, there were three riders and three dogs. One hundred cows a piece to look after - a piece of cake!

There was to be about 10 miles for the cows to go, so slow and steady was the name of the game.

After the first two miles were done, we left the Grasslands Park.  Chris's mom came to help that day.  With the help of Advil, the job got done.
Now onto the highway to home.
The rest of the afternoon would be hazing the girls back home.

Finally they were back to the homeland for a rest.  A nice day of riding - even for those who rode pony-like horses.  This picture is from my vantage point on my horse Toad.  We were in a ditch taking a picture of Chris's steed Dan.  Little Man Dan is what I like to call him.  Not so far to fall off of I guess.
The cows and calves had a rest, and they would be separated in a few days - of course that was a busy day, so I didn't get any pictures of that day.  A video would say it all.  It would say "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"  You see, there is a lot of bawling when cows say goodbye to their calves.  The bulk of the calves were shipped off to the auction mart in Mankota, and some were left behind to be the new girls on the block for next year. 
The next day, the calves found new homes - off to their next adventure in life - which would mean another trip in their future, and eating to their hearts content.  Some may not eat as much as others, and that will mean these calves may be seeing grass next year at some time - others may see the feedbunk for the rest of their lives, but in the end, they all finally will have a resting place on somebody's plate. 
And that is what ranching is all about.

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