Wednesday, April 27, 2016

An Ordinarily Unordinary Day of Branding

Some days I get really worried that what I have to share on here will be old news.  I will have already shared it, blogged it, posted it, or photographed it.  And then you will be bored of me and kick me out...  When ranching can be so routine I fear that you will get tired of the same stuff happening year after year.

But then I go on an ordinary branding day and it turns into an unordinary (I know I made that word up...  Its ok, I already know I'm crazy...) day.

Its the little things that add color to a dusty dull branding day.  Things like hearing about your neighbor's horse dumping him on his head just as he headed out and needing to be chased down to finally get to the cows (the horse got chased down, not the cowboy, although that would be a good story too).  Unfortunately I didn't get to see it, but when a story gets passed around and around all day, you know it must have been a good one.  Some day I will develop a sense of when these things are going to happen because I KNOW that would make for some exciting pictures.

Its the little things like how the girls did better at holding the calves that the boys.  OK, it was a tie, they both did good but I love seeing a little girl power out on the range.  And I really love when they are proud of themselves for rockin' it out there.  Remember, it wasn't very long ago that girls were told to let the men handle the ranching.  I loved it when one of the guys told me that his daughter is the hardest working boy he's got and that is why he leaves his three other boys at home.

Its the little things like being so proud of myself for eating all of my lunch.  Usually that isn't a feat, but this day it was.  And it wasn't because the cooking was bad.  The branding fire is always down wind (Can you imagine if it was the other way?  We would be eating our bellies full of dirt!) and the tantalizing smell of lunch reached us LONG before the dinner bell was rung!  Knowing that our wonderful range cook has WIDE variety of entries, I told The Rancher that we weren't going to talk about what we were eating until I was done.  Like how sometimes husbands do, he didn't listen and shared to me that we were eating buffalo tongue!  What?!  It wasn't really on my bucket list but now I can officially say that I have eaten a buffalo tongue.  And it wasn't too bad.  I had to remind myself that the tongue is just another muscle and then I was fine.  But I'm pretty sure I won't be picking one up from the market and fixing it for dinner.

Or its the little things like counting how many fellows can keep on roping and branding and such with as much beer is flowing without anybody getting hurt.  We work with a good crew, a REALLY good crew, but it still surprises me how they can work and drink at the same time.  I'm crazy enough that I don't need any of that stuff to make the day exciting... but they always bring a little extra zing to the day.

Before I could find any more unordinary things to spice up the day, the cows decided to be a little unordinary themselves and tromp the fence down and call it quits.  But maybe cows getting out is pretty ordinary... Its happened before.  It will probably happen again.  Here's to an ordinarily unordinary day!


  1. Explain what is going on with the ears. I am in the Midwest so have no clue what you are doing by shaping the ear. Is this away to mark ownership in a mixed herd? Won't the brand do that? Just curious looks like calf gets marked the same way their mother is marked.

    1. It is another way to mark our calves with so many different herds running together. You are right, it does seem a little redundant to brand and mark, but the markings are easier to see from a distance and usually can be seen no matter what side of the calf you are looking at (vs a brand where you have to be on the same side as the brand).