Sunday, January 17, 2016

Shipping Calves... But Wait! Where are the Calves? Where are the Trucks?

Shipping day started off pretty typical, just what every rancher hopes for.  Regardless that it was a chilly morning to be out, our good neighbors were out to help get the calves in and start weighing in.  There calves were rounded up without a hitch and the scales were treating us pretty good.  And to be honest, we were a little nervous on how the calves would weigh up, especially the heifers.  They had been pretty well on track or maybe even a little heavy, but as life would have it, things got crazy just days before shipping.

We had stayed up too late partying (and helping The Rancher's Sidekick get his pumpkin ready for school the next day...) with The Cowpoke and The Montana girl just a few days before Halloween.  They finally decided to call it a night and as they headed home, they didn't make it far before they flipped a quick U-ee.  As surprised as we were to see them back, we were even more surprised when they told us we had calves running down the road into Holbrook! 

We quick jumped in the truck and headed down the road to stop the calves while The Cowpoke rounded up Rancher Sr. for more help.  Saying that they were running down the road was no exaggeration but it didn't take too long to get them stopped and turned around.  But instead of heading for home, they penned themselves in our neighbors corrals... and we decided to just shut the gate on them and call it a win for the night.

With it being so dark and having black calves, we figured we had pretty close to all the calves in, but thought we would drive up and down the road to double check and we happily found nothing.  The Cowpoke headed out again, saying he would look for any more strays but he was sure this was his final goodbye for the night.  But..  just as we were pulling back in, we get a call from the cowboy that was supposed to be heading home.  He had run into at lease 45 more calves just getting to Holbrook!  We took off down the road getting to an available field just before the calves did and got all but a few back in.  But those few blew right past us and it was my unfortunate opportunity to take off down the road after them.  And when I say take off down the road, I mean run down the road.  My chubby baby belly and I bounced down the road and, with a little skill and a lot of luck, managed to push the calves through the fence (not the method I was aiming for, but the outcome was spot on!).  I'm really glad it was dark and nobody was around to see my little jaunt because I am sure it was less than pretty...

After getting the last group in, we did an even more extensive search to make sure that calves hadn't wandered any farther and again came up empty.  The Cowpoke even managed to make it home without seeing any, so we settled in and finally went to bed, two hours later than our already late bedtime.  But that still wasn't the end of it...  That next morning The Cattlewoman ran into about 30 calves on her way into work.  We aren't sure where they spent the night, but they managed to hide out pretty good!  But in our defense, it is stinking hard to look for black calves on a black night..  Just saying!

So you can see how we were a little nervous on how things would turn up on the scale!  You will be happy to know that everything turned out fine and we made weight (even a little over!).

The calves were weighed and we sighed our annual collective sigh of relief that we had made it another year, the calves were sold and headed out.  That was until we heard that only half of the trucks had made it!  After searching for lost semis (because people struggle to find us out in the middle of nowhere... although you would think it would be easy with so few people around...) and many phone calls we found the culprit of the snafu-ee.  It seemed that only half of the semis had been dispatched and that they weren't coming!  Murphy's Law, right?

Things did turn out all right, don't you worry.  We sent off the loaded semis that we did have and had another group show up early EARLY the next morning (they threw a kink in the bus driver's route but she got over it).  Life is never dull around here, even when we think we have things are ready and under control.  Lucky for us we have learned to work through the hiccups that come our way and we find the humor where ever we can.  But still, lets hope next year goes a little more smoothly!

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