Saturday, May 30, 2009

Just Another Day on the Ranch...

As I've been getting e-mails from some of my friends and family that are not familiar with ranch life, I thought I'd slow down from my busy day and post a blog about what goes on in a typical day around here! So, for my "city-slickers" ~ this ones for you!

Right now, here at the Cross Four we are in full-swing with branding. The ranch is made up of four ranches combined together into one. The cowboys will start with ranch #4
~ The Porcupine Ranch, on Monday. Branding is a time where the cowboys all ride on horseback thru the big, open pastures gathering the cattle and their babies. They are brought to a set of corrals in the middle of the pasture and the babies are sorted off their mama's. Therefore, as you can just imagine, you end up with a pen full of bawling babies on the inside and a bunch of snorting mama's on the outside ~ waiting for the moment when they can be paired up again! Once the babies have been sorted off their mama's, they are held at the end of the corrals and a few mounted cowboys rope them by the back feet and drag them to the branding pot where a couple of "wrestlers" are waiting for their turn with the calve.
Two guys take down the calve and remove the rope from its hind legs.

At this time, they are branded, vacinated, ear-tagged and casterated if of the male gender (...guess that's why its great to be a girl!)

Once they have made their trip down "branding row" they are released to their mothers!
A Bit of History on Branding:
In 1541, Hernando Cortez from Spain introduced branding to the New World. He brought cattle stamped with his mark of three crosses. There has never been anything to take the place of a visable brand as the permanent definitive mark of ownership and deterrant of theft. Livestock people say, "A brand is something that won't come off in the wash!"

Branding is very important in proving ownership of lost or stolen animals. An unbranded animal is called a "slick" and is almost impossible to legeally identify. Cattlemen have an old but true saying, "Trust your neighbor, but brand your stock."

Brands range from intriquite, detailed brands to simple, easy-to-read brands. The brand here at the ranch is a Cross with a number Four ~ pretty simple!


Okay, so now that you have had your history lesson for the day on cattle branding, let me get back to the goings-on of the ranch life! After a dusty, sun-drenched morning of wrestling with furry bawling masses of beef you end up with a big crew of hungry, dirty cowboys!

The cooks here on the ranch prepare a delicious spread of ranch food fit for a king! (meat, potatoes, a veggie, tossed salad, and of course something to sweeten' them up!) The food is carefully loaded up into coolers and packed tightly with towels to keep it hot and to keep it all in the pot! Once the bed of the truck is loaded, we pile into the truck and head out for our destination in the middle of the pasture. By the way, thank goodness for flat-bed trucks... they make excellent serving tables!

As soon as the branding is finished (or they just decide to break for lunch) the cowboys line up at the back of the truck to wash up in a make-shift sink that consists of a plastic wash pan, some clean, warm water and a bar of soap. Then you better be ready for the stampede... and I ain't talking about the cattle!!! Once the guys get them a plate of warm food they find a place to rest and eat before headin' back to the job at hand.

So, this is how we do it ~ Montana style!

1 comment:

Stacey said...

Hey! We love to read about what is going on with you all! Justin really enjoys seeing all the pictures as well as reading about what is happening. He is about to die to come for a visit! Tristan is so ready to see Miles! When I looked at the pictures of the kids, I just wanted to reach out and give them lots of hugs!!!! It sure was good to talk with you yesterday:)
Love ya,