Well, my cowgirl friends – Lois Shanks, Leslie Hooks, and Judy Cook – arrived last night and we spent the afternoon settling their horses and trapping cattle. Before we work our cows, we try to pull them up into smaller pastures – closer to the pens – before we work. This lowers the stress of bringing them in. We still work our cows with horses. There are two cowboys – Brandon Richburg and Carl Murphy – that have been with me at least 15 years.And they are the real deal. We round up the cattle in the pastures – drive them to the pens.
Now sometimes that goes smoothly and sometimes NOT. But cowboys have true staying power. Every bull – cow – calf is accounted for before we start to move them out. If anything is missing – riders stay to hold the herd – a cowboy goes in search of what is missing. This is the “no cow is left behind” program!!! Today – all are accounted for – driven to the pen. No hooping and hollering – the cows are moved out quietly. I call my cows – “the girls” – and they are treated with dignity and respect.
Cows are moved into the pens – calves are sorted off their mothers. Sorting is separating the calves from the cows. In the Spring the cows are wormed and a fly repellent is applied to their backs. Spring work for the calves is a round of vaccines that are approved for our herd by our vet. Now this is no different than the vaccines required by your local school district before your kids go off to school – it is not an antibiotic – it is preventive vaccines to keep the calf healthy as it graduates from mother’s milk to grass.
Lois and Leslie worked the alley – driving the cows into the working chute. Carl and Brandon administer the vaccine. Today I have to keep the records on all the calves so I can later market these calves.
Gary prepared all our meals. And when you are working cows – the meals better be hearty!! Gary is a great cook. (More about that later).
So today started at 5:00 am – everybody up – coffee and breakfast for those that want it – to the barn to feed your horses – saddle up – trailer your horses – move to the pasture – round up the cows – work – break for lunch – more penning – back to the barn around 7:00 pm – wash down our horses – feed them – put all our tack away – leave the barn around 8:30 – dinner – to bed.
MORE SPRING WORK
April 14th – Saturday
Our work today is like yesterday. Only today in one pasture we were missing 3 cows. We rode fences until we found the spot where a tree had gone down and pressed the top two wires. You know the old adage – “grass is always greener”. Judy went to tell my neighbor who allowed us to go in and look for them on his ranch. We found them. All our cattle are branded. My cows are also tagged with numbers and the ranch name and phone numbers to reach us. My cows had joined the neighbors herd. We circled the herd – Brandon and Carl went in and cut my cows out – and we drove my three back to my herd. Good cowboys can make things appear real easy. Today we finished about noon. Today we got to relax a little at lunch – that’s when the stories flow – and we laugh at our mistakes and talk about how some cow up-staged our ridin’!!
As you ride with us – I am going to introduce you to a whole new vocabulary – words of the cowboy!! Today’s word – Snorty. That’s when as you are driving the cows in – the cow thinks you got too close to her baby and she turns around on you – stands her ground and blows hard through her nostrils to intimidate you and your horse. Never works on the true cow horse or cowboy. It’s a bluff – hold your ground pardner!!!