Monday, March 09, 2009

workin cattle

Kev and I ran out to the Ranch yesterday to get a trailer load of manure. That's one thing that Ranch's have, a lot of manure. This manure has been "country composted" for a while. That means that it was scraped out of the working pens and piled up in the pasture. Since the pens are only cleaned out when the manure is knee high, it's good stuff. This stuff has been aging in the pasture quite a while too. Grass was growing on it, so it won't be to hot for our garden.

When we arrived, Dad was horseback, bringing up a couple of calves to the pens. They were sick, so he was bringing them up to keep them separate from the herd, and by being at the pens, he can keep a better eye on them, doctoring them as needed.

Life just feels right and perfect when I'm in a pasture watching my Dad on horseback. There are some people who are natural on the back of a horse. Dad is one of them. It's almost zen-like, as he becomes one with the horse. I guess that's natural since the man has been riding horses for over sixty years now. I like watching him and his horse work the calves. Moving together, anticipating the calves, nudging them just enough to keep them moving steadily to the pens. Calm, slow and steady movement (you don't want to rush or stress sick calves.) Manm horse, and cattle working together.

He brought these calves in and had 4 others already up here that needed to be run through the chute and doctored. Since Kev and I were there, we helped.

I have to digress here and say that I was the truly prepared cowgirl yesterday...see, I was wearing the latest in "cattle-doctorin' apparel." I was wearing those corral and manure-friendly Crocs. They are the most practical footwear to have when you are around 500 lb. calves and you're walking around in manure. Next time you see a cowgirl, check out to see if she's wearing the latest Crocs. We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.

With Kev and I being there, Dad was able to get these calves doctored just a little faster. We helped herd them into the chute. I helped push them through and then Kev and I put them back into their pen after Dad shot them up with Penicillin and other drugs. A couple looked really bad, one little Angus heifer was pretty lethargic. Dad's not sure she'll make it, since he's been doctoring and watching her for a week now. Another little Charlois was extremely wheezy, but she was also pretty feisty. Dad thought she'd pull through.

After we finished "workin' cattle," Kev and Dad loaded up the trailer with the manure. While they worked, I visited the mare and her colt. The colt hasn't been cut yet, and he hasn't been halter broke, so he has very bad manners. But he's a pretty horse. His mother has much better manners and she and I had a nice visit. (The mare and colt belong to one of Dad's co-workers. If they were Dad's horses...well, that colt would have much better manners!)

Then, it was time to say bye to Dad and to the ranch and Kev and I drove home with our trailer full of black gold. I always like going to the ranch, but today was like revisiting my youth...I got to watch my Dad work on horseback. I got to run cattle through the chute. I got to nuzzle and pet some horses. It was wonderful!

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