Branding is a yearly thing that has to be done. Around these parts, the community pitches in to help one another - it is like a big circus - moving to ranch to ranch branding calves along the way. It is one of times during the year where we can catch up with the neighbours-the rest of the year is filled with other duties-seeding land, making hay, fixing fence and checking cattle and feeding. Brandings are one of the last of the old fashion things that happen on the ranch, and probably will continue on for years to come since it is a necessity-I am afraid microchips migrate too much. The day starts with looking at the weather forecast-since a wet day will soon cancel the festivities. If a dry day is called for, all the herd is brought in and calves are split from their moms - let the bawling games begin! The branding pots are heated up, and the ropers are warmed up and everyone finds their place for the day. There are many jobs to be done- roping, wrestling, vaccinating, castrating, dehorning and branding are to be completed. When things are on a roll, it takes only a few minutes per calf and all of the jobs are done-a well oiled machine could not keep up with us! There was only one fellow fall off his horse this year, and that was because he was trying to retrieve his hat which blew off. Perhaps a string on his hat will help next year - hell, put on a whistle and he could whistle for help as well! After the branding is done, the crew must be fed and watered. Filtered barley mash is always a prerequisite, as well as rye water. Often the festivities last well until the early morning -and usually depends on how the refreshments hold out. I think our refreshments held out just fine!
3 years ago