Thursday, May 8, 2008

Making Your Mark

Everyone on this earth makes a mark. Some people deliberately strive to make a mark on the world; others go about it quietly.

I have found that farmers and ranchers tend to belong to the latter group. While the media flashes daily headlines about the rising costs of food, the farmers and ranchers go about the day to day tasks of growing it.

One of those tasks is branding, which we completed on a recent afternoon.

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After watching storm after storm pass us by in the last few months, we began branding the calves as the skies opened up and rained.

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We were able to put the calves in the barn until it stopped. Unfortunately, the clouds broke up and the sun emerged rather quickly. We were hoping for a nice soaking rain to revive the grass and crops, but the tenth of an inch that we received was still a welcome change from the dry wind.

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We were all eager to finish up the job at hand.

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Under the mothers' watchful eyes, our crew worked each calf through the chute and administered vaccines and brands.

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Most people in this part of the country use the old-fashioned method of roping and wrestling the calves for branding. Since we don't have any hired help and were reliant on a couple of neighbor boys and my father-in-law to do the job, we used a calf table instead.

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The table also comes in handy when a calf must be doctored. This is the calf that left its mark on me last week. Bless his little heart.

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What we do out here is sometimes not that romantic. It's definitely not glamorous.

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We try to be good stewards of the land and livestock that is entrusted to us.

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So I guess, in a way, we're making our mark.

9 comments:

Pony Girl said...

Nice post, great pictures, simply put. As always!

Andrea said...

How much fun! It is my dream to go to a ranch and help out with the branding! I am so weird, I know! I would come for free! For our honeymoon I wanted to go to a dude ranch so we could ride horses and brand cattle, but my husband wanted to go to a beach somewhere and relax! Men!! :) I love that cloud picture, awesome!!!

Brother in Christ said...

Once again......poor Skip didn't get to drag calves to the fire:( Neglected pony!!

Spencer Peterson says hi!!

Cowboys, Kids, and Sunsets said...

It may not be "glamorous" But the photos are always the best! There is just something about a working ranch. It is a honest way of living,hard and tiring but at the end of the day rewarding! When we brand we do the "old fashioned" rope, everyone grab a leg, careful don't get kicked method! I usually take the pictures! Well someone has to document the hard work going on! Great photos! Hope you get some rain, We know all about praying for rain. Kim

The Pastoral Princess said...

The photos are beautiful! Your cattle operation makes ours look like a petting zoo! We only have about 30 head here. (more are scattered on other pieces of land-100 total) I can't imagine what it takes to do all of that! Yikes!

Julia in Sweden said...

As a thank you for putting I believe I can fly into my head I've got some questions for your Q&A: 1. Does the branding hurt the cows? (I live in a city, I have absolutely no idea, sorry if it's a stupid question). 2. How far is it to your kid's school, how do they get there or are they home schooled? 3. Your little one's beautiful blue hat, is it home made? And if it is, could I get the pattern? If not, where is it bought?
There, I think I've done my part :D By the way, here's a classic stick-on-your-mind-song, at least in our house: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wyW7uaXV8E
Take care!

Jenny said...

We brand the more modern way, too. I think it would be fun to learn to rope from a horse, but my hubby says why when we can just use the chute? LOL!

Chookyblue...... said...

hey we have a calf cradle also......I don't know any people who rope and catch them to mark and brand.........different people different ways...I will be back

Anonymous said...

Erin, well said and so true!

Sandy

 
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