Saturday, May 12, 2018

It's Branding Time!

 May is the traditional month for branding, but we got started earlier this year to avoid the heat that's likely to come. (And by "we" I mean my ranching family, I had nothing to do with it.)

Brandings are fun, because the cowboys and cowgirls like to do it the traditional way, roping the calves. This takes more time and people, but uses traditional cowboy skills. For this branding, cowboys were roping one calf at a time, and bringing them back to a harness type device that kept the calf in place.

The horses are well trained to move just when told and also to stay still while the calf is being processed.

A happy new recruit doing the beginner's job--loading ear tags.

Once the calf is in position, it receives its vaccinations, an ear tag that has pesticide on it to keep the fleas away, ears cut (instead of actual branding with a hot iron), a rubber band around delicate parts if it's a male to keep it from becoming a bull, and a mark on the forehead to indicate that it's done.

Brandings are fun to watch, as there is so much going on all at once, and so much skill on display. It's also fun to get a glimpse back into what life used to be like before all these modern day accoutrements.

Brandings are also an opportunity for family and friends to get together.

Young people learn skills from the more experienced.

And there are beautiful horses!

Have you ever tried roping? Desert Boy got a lasso for a birthday and we've practiced around the yard. We all need a lot more practice! Thinking of lassoing on a moving horse makes me admire the talent these folks have even more.

This calf made me laugh. Her expression makes it look like she's just out for a little ride.

Fortunately the weather was fantastic for this branding.

We couldn't stay too long due to other obligations. But in a later post we'll return to another branding, where the kids got to help out!

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Hey Gretchen, it took me a while to get here but I finally found you on the internet. I love the idea of living off the grid, we own 50 acres off the grid in Arizona and I'd love to just live out my life there. I love the pictures you've posted, I'm a little old to get that involved in ranching but it look fantastic. Most of my property is on the side of a mountain anyhow so it would be hard for an old guy like me to build all the fence. I going to hang on to this blog and keep watching it, You have a good day.

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