Thursday, September 21, 2017

Date Ride and Cows to the Valley

It felt like a dream.  Summer was hard-parched and the one day Mike and I had to ride for a few stray cows it rained. Not only was it a gentle cool rain, we also found the cows right away and had an easy time getting them back in.

Coat and gloves! Rain clouds not smoke! 

Of course, we had to figure out where the cows got out and as soon as we found a big Ponderosa keeled over on the fenceline we had our work cut out for us. Luckily we were able to get the fence back up without needing a chainsaw.

Mike sorting out fence mess.

Even with all the fence work, the rain made for a nice date ride for the two of us. It felt like the clouds were toasting us, like we were celebrating our anniversary or something. 

The thirsty ground soaked up the moisture and all the animals and plants seemed to be as grateful for the rain as we were. We knew the change in weather was short-lived, which made it all the more precious.

Slicker weather! 

About a week later, we took some more salt out and Mike collected fecal samples for nutritional analysis as part of our monitoring program.  It was hotter then heck and dry as ever.  

Collecting fecal samples

The ponds still had good water, but we knew it was time to move the herd to new pastures. And this year, that meant hauling them to the valley.

Dawson's cow, Betsy

Mike and I set to work going around the fence at the valley pasture so we could bring the cattle in. We spent two days plugging holes and putting up fence that the spruce trees had smashed down. 

End of a day fencing valley pasture, tired and hot

A flurry of phone calls lined up friends and family to help haul cattle over Labor Day weekend. Dave and Mike rode and brought the cattle into McClaran corrals, where we loaded six trucks and trailers. We were able to haul everything to the valley in one trip. 

A sweet sight - lots of good help

When I thanked our crew I told them it was the smoothest day of cattle hauling we'd ever had; one them asked why. "Because we had enough help," was my reply. Often after the first trip in, Mike and I are making several more runs to bring in the tail-end and haul the horses home, which makes for a very long tiring day. 

Tyson, Mike, Dennis and Mark after loading

I can't say enough about friends who are experienced, have the right equipment and are willing to share the work that makes a small family ranch possible. Many hands make light work and less stress! 

Callie and I goofed off and visited! 

When we let the cattle out of the trailers at the valley pasture, they bawled for about twenty seconds while mothering up with their calves. Then they looked around at the fresh flowing water, green grass and shady timber.  "Now this is nice!" they seemed to say as they meandered off and began to graze. 

Happy cows on new pasture

And we were soon headed home, with plenty of daylight left for us to work on other chores. Or not.... 

Our good crew

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef.