Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cowgirl Mantra

I kept telling myself - I am smarter than these cows and three young bulls! It was almost like a mantra. We were moving more cows & calves to be weaned - I was told - you work the area between that gully and the fence line. I politely asked, "If any of them cross the gully am I still responsible for them?" I was told, "N0, just don't leave any behind." Since I once got reprimanded for leaving an ornery bull behind I knew he meant business. Seemed to me like the gully was pretty close to the fence line - I'm thinking this is going to be a piece of cake! Wrong.

My cows did not seem the least bit interested in moving south towards the gate we were pushing them thru. The gully began running further and further from the fence line. One cow insisted on running over to some other bellowing momma cows in the next pasture which was in the wrong direction. I worked Dudley back and forth and back forth from the gully to the fence line trying to get the cows to move. Now, it really didn't help that I had three young bulls in one group - leaderless bulls I must add. They would move about 25 feet and stop. I kept repeating my mantra - I am smarter than these cows and three young bulls..it felt like I was trying to move a mountain....What I did learn was I should of pushed the cows 100 to 200 yards towards the gate and then gone back for the bulls instead of trying to get them all gathered same time. But when my three young bulls crossed the gully and I handed them off to the ranch manager I grinned from ear to ear!! Later as we were riding together I told him my mantra - he laughed and said, "I've been doing this for over forty years and cows still do things that amaze me." He had also seen me struggling with the bulls.

Weaning Calves

We started early moving the cows and calves from the trap - into the pens (those dot in the top picture are cow and calves)- it was early, the air was crisp and the wind was beginning to blow...
After we gathered them into the pens, Dale started sorting off the calves. I stayed out of the way and tied Dudley inside a pen that wasn't being used. Then, I was asked to help!! The task at hand was to put 10 calves in the alley from one pen and push them onto the scale. The trick was to make sure we had only ten in the alley to push onto the scale -that way the scale didn't have to be reconfigured each time. I'm kind of short so counting calves from the ground accurately isn't one of my greatest talents! As we were getting our 10 calves in the alley the gate operators were allowing more calves into the alley as Dale was sorting them. So we had to move quickly either pushing the correct number of calves from the pen or using the ones Dale was pushing into the alley or a combination of both. It was fun and fast though around cows you need to move quietly as not to get them excited. The wind blew all day and I actually had wind burn on my face. Once we had all the calves weaned they were shipped to another area to graze for 45 days. What a fun day!