One of Tanner's bosses has a ton of land outside of town and a ton of cattle. Last week he told Tanner that they were going to be branding their calves on Saturday and invited us to come up to watch. We headed up about 10 am. Harvey took a little cat nap on the way which was good. We got up there and they were well into the business of roping the calves and moving them into the other corral. Harv got SO excited as soon as we got over by the cows and was making mooing sounds all day. The process went like this. 3 horses were in one corral with a few mamma cows and all the baby calves, which were born in April. The riders would try to rope the calves and as soon as they "caught" one, they dragged it into the other corral where there were about 7-8 people. 2 people would wrestle them down, one near the back side and one on the head. They called out if it was a heffer or a bull and then someone would give the vaccination in the neck. If it was a heffer, someone came with the branding irons and branded the back side. If it was a bull, a guy came over and castrated the poor thing while it was also getting branded. He used a tool that cut the ball sack really fast and then he'd pull down each testicle and the cord attached and cut them off. It happened so fast. It was crazy. The whole process only took a minute I bet. Then they'd release them and guide them into another corral.
Steve got Tanner into the pen pretty quickly to help and I got to taking pictures. Steve's parents had driven from Minot to help with the day. (Apparently they do this once a year and it's a big production). His dad was sitting next to a truck keeping track of how many bulls and hefers they were getting. Then his mom came and sat next to him to watch. He asked if Harv would stay with him so I could go in and get closer to the action. I sat Harv on his lap and he stayed there for probably 30-45 minutes. He just kept pointing at the cows and everything and any time there was some extra loud mooing he would laugh and laugh. Oh my gosh it was so cute. There were some really cute pictures with them and him. Them laughing at him and him showing them stuff. His dad let him put on one of his work gloves and he thought that was hilarious. Then after he got bored of sitting Steve's mom started walking around with him. He would stand up against the fence and shake it and put his foot up on it and watch and smile and moo. He was in heaven, for real.
Meanwhile, us in the corral with the calves. I just got close so I could take pictures. :( It was pretty exciting actually. Sometimes the calves wouldn't go out the right way and would kind of run around the corral everyone was in and Tanner would help try and grab them. I had the best picture of him holding onto one of their tails. Awesome. I got close and got some good video and pictures of the castrating. And the branding - most of the time there would be some flames with it and always lots of smoke. Tanner really liked it when he was on the butt end and the wind blew all the burned flesh smell right in his face ;) Side note - I know I eat meat and actually really enjoy eating meat, but the whole castrating thing and branding did make me a little sad. Poor little cute baby cows being pinned down and crying when it all happened. But it was really quick and I imagine it would stop hurting pretty quick and then all is well. Just all part of the process.
So ya. We were in the corral for awhile. At one point Lynae got to go in and ride a horse and the ropes caught the calves themselves and wrapped their legs in the rope and then handed the rope to Lynae so she could drag it into the other area. She had been the vaccine lady and so when she went in, she juts handed me the injector and told me to give the shots. So I got to vaccinate about 10 calves. It was pretty exciting. Well, at least for us city slickers. Let's see, what else happened around this time? They kept all the testicles in a bucket. I guess they fry them up special and have a good feast later on. I got a great picture of a bucket of big ol' balls from the yearlings that they castrated a little later. They were in a bigger barn with a big metal cage thing that held them in because they were a lot bigger and would have been impossible to wrestle. Even some of the small ones if you didn't hold em good would kick. Tanner took a couple good kicks to his legs. But the bigger ones bled a lot more and as they were released from their "cage", a lot of them had a lot of blood running down their legs. Also a little sad.
Anyway, after all the little babies were done, we went out of the corral and walked around with Harvey. I took a couple great pictures of him up against the fence watching a guy ride a horse ride around. Imagine him gazing in the corral with hands on the wire fence, perfect blue sky, tall grass and a horse behind the fence. Just the way the fence was angled and the lighting. It was really really cute and cool. Dang it. Anyway, Tanner got to ride a horse and so we watched and photographed him going around and around. It was another co-worker's of his horse and a really well behaved one. After that they asked if I wanted to ride - of course. So I went in while Tanner chatted and watched Harvey. It was pretty fun. I'm terribly allergic to horses but I really LOVE riding them. Then after a bit they stuck Harvey on the horse with me and we took a few pictures, which is almost what I'm most sad about. Oh man he was so excited. We sat there for a minute and he petted the mane and held onto the saddle. And then he said I could ride around with him. We did a bunch of laps and went to let Harv get off and he was NOT okay with that. Haha. So funny. So we took a few more laps until the real cowboy needed his horse back. We got a great video of Harv and his first horseback ride that I hope stays in my mind forever. It made me SO happy how excited he was about being outside and around animals.
We hung around for a little while after. Chatting with people and then eating a big lunch that Lynae prepares every year for everyone that helps. Harv ran around the yard, chased chickens, played with their 3 golden doodles, socialed with all the people there. He loved it and Tannerloved feeling like th Man From Snowy River. Gosh, I think it would be great fun to have a little farm and raise kids on a farm. Maybe someday :) We all had so much fun. It was so nice of them to invite us up and we are already hoping to be invited again next year. Might even be a little bit more help! Wish we had pictures to show for it but we definitely made some great, lasting memories! Althought I have since heard that the gal that took the pictures will be making a CD and giving us one, so I'll be able to add a few here soon. Check back ;)
And then Harvey PASSED out on the way home. Oh man. He was SO pooped. And you all know how cute he sleeps, so just imagine that.
OK! We got some pictures :) Here ya go!
|Don't mind the crack shot. I'm giving shots.|