Saturday was the day of one of my favorite events of the year (after Christmas, Easter, birthdays, and the 4th of July). Saturday was the day my folks and my brother who farms there with them held their branding. Emmet and I were the only ones from our family who made it to help. Matt got held up in Kansas doing our chores and helping a neighbor there. And you’ll remember from the last post, Kaydee was busy with prom and still sad she had to miss branding. Oh, but no worries…she had a great time!
Here they are bringing in the cows and calves to get sorted. The cows were all given shots and dewormed earlier in the week.
This is only half the herd. The other half is at a different place (where my grandparents lived) and the crew had them done already. We had somewhere between 15 and 20 people to work the nearly 90 head of calves at this pasture. My folks and brother like to do this “the old fashioned way.” Which means, the calves are roped around a hind leg and pulled to the handlers. The handlers restrain the calf while others give shots, brand, and castrate the bulls. The entire process takes less than 2 minutes per calf. This process, when done correctly, causes very little stress on the calf and is safe for the people doing the work.
It is important to vaccinate the calves so they don’t get sick. I can’t imagine not having my kids immunized. This is no different – the calves are immunized against respiratory diseases.
We had just a little mud to work in, and everyone ended up with a wet tushie, but it was great to not have dust flying!
Here is what the brand looks like.
Here is a poem about branding that I loved and have framed in our house:
Wearin’ The Brand
by Georgann Sheets
“Did it hurt much?” asked his buddy.
“Naw, it just stung a little bit.
It’s over in a matter of seconds,
Before you know it, they’ve done quit.
It was nothing compared to other times,
When I thought I’d nearly die.
Like when my mama had me,
On that cold and stormy night.
I came a little early,
And laid in the wind and snow.
I just knew I’d freeze to death,
I was shivering from the cold.
But right away the cowboy found me.
You know, the one that feeds us every day?
He picked me up so gently,
And put me inside in warm, dry hay.
He brought my mama, too.
And made sure I was alright.
I never was so thankful,
To see a cowboy than on that night!
Of course there was that time in spring,
When we started eating sweet, green grass.
My ears were drooping low,
And I sure got sick real fast.
That cowboy came a ridin’,
On a big, long-legged beast.
He saw that I was feelin’ bad,
And rode over to doctor me.
Of course, he had to rope me.
Which my mama didn’t like too much.
But I started feelin’ better,
After he gave me those pills and stuff.
And do you remember a couple of weeks ago.
When they moved us a real, long way?
We all got sort of jumbled up,
As we walked along that day.
I lost track of my dear mama.
Boy was I one scared pup!
But that cowboy helped me find her,
And made sure we were all paired up.
So you can see, I’ve had many trials,
In my first few months of life.
But that cowboy’s always been there,
To help me in my strife.
I feel I’ve earned this on my side,
Given to me by a special man.
And I am darned sure proud to wear,
This cowboy’s mark he calls a brand!”
After the work is all done, my Mom serves an amazing meal! I offered to bring something, but she really takes pride in “feeding the crew.” We had steak sandwiches, salads, roasted potatoes, baked beans, fresh fruit, and of course, dessert. And, plenty of beverages!
A great time was had by all, and I’m sure the whole crew will be at someone else’s place doing the same thing in the next week or two, and then the next place, and then the next place, until everyone has their spring cattle work done.
Well, ’til tomorrow…..here are a couple of really great cowboy pics I got:
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