Friday, November 22, 2013

Working Cattle on a lovely fall day

Working Cattle, those two words are enough to make entire families leave home. It involves running all the cattle through a chute where they get shots, implants and poured for parasites. It's a good time to look for any problems because it's a lot easier to treat them when they are confined. Otherwise they get a little cranky.

 The cows aren't that crazy about it either, this blurry photo is one mama hauling butt back to the pasture.

I must preface this with an excuse for my photos, I'm taking an online camera course. It's high time I learned to take my camera off auto and I had progressed to manual mode. All these photos are taken on manual and until I download my camera on the computer and can see something bigger than a 2 x 3 inch screen, I don't realize how they are coming out. My apologies in advance.
Working around cattle is messy, their whole world is a toilet. Add the stress of working the cattle and manure is flying everywhere. That's why everyone has coveralls over their clothes, except me because I was the official photographer and lunch provider. But while trying to get a photo of the fleeing cows, I inadvertently stepped in a fresh cow pie with my tennis shoes on, note to self, "Next time wear the boots!!"
We had a good crew, Mark, our vet....
The last time you saw him was when he was escorting his lovely daughter, Britt, down the aisle at her Hilltop wedding. Mark had two great helpers, so he stood back and mostly managed the operation.
Brian was running the headgate, that takes a quick reflex as a lot of cattle try to shoot the gap between going in one end of the chute and seeing daylight at the other.
"Here, calfy, calfy, calfy, come to Papa!"

Brian is ambidextrous, wielding a filled syringe in one hand and an implanter in the other.
Kyle was new to us, he has joined the vet crew and was holding down the other side of the chute, He was in charge of watching ear tags, pouring the cattle and learning the fine art of tattooing the future cows.
"Hello #20, our future cow."
Bruce's buddies', Roger.....
.....and Freddy Boy are the wranglers. Their jobs are to sort out 4 or 5 critters and send them up the alleyway to the chute.

A slightly blurry photo of my honey, the hard working farmer/cattleman trying to make sure things were running smoothly.

He gets plenty of exercise climbing over fences....
...retrieving stubborn calves who refuse to go up the alley.

The red panel is to protect him from little sharp fast flying hooves, farmers don't wear cups. He is now wearing gloves, after a calf showed it's displeasure by pooping a load of loose wet manure all over the top of the panel that he was holding with bare hands.
Mark is safely on the other side of the fence, encouraging the calf on to the head gate.

Back after another calf, only 6 more to go, Bruce!
After chasing calves, prodding cows, stepping in poo piles, vaccinating, pouring, tagging an endless line of bovines, the reward. Fresh baked caramel rolls and the soda of their choice served in style amid the chaos cluttering up the garage that I cleaned and organized a mere year ago.
There was nary a roll in sight when they left, every cook likes to see their efforts appreciated. We will repeat this in about 6 months with a new crop of calves, Lord willing we will all be here.


  1. 'their whole world is a toilet'......'farmers don't wear cups'..........facts of life from a farmer's wife, Julie!! love your musings as usual!!! good grief, what a lot of work! And a nice reward for a good day of it!! I wonder if the vets fight over who gets to go to the French's as there will be GREAT food at the end of it!! Thanks for yet more tidbits on the life of a farmer...and his wife..Love ya, CG

  2. Yes, CG, I understand there is a rush for the job at French Farm and Mark was the winner this time. He was bemoaning the fact that he didn't get to come very often so I always tried to send a roll back just for him.

    I'm just carrying on the tradition of feeding those who help you, like Mama did for all those years.

  3. Ahh I too enjoyed the saying "the whole world is their toilet"....hahaha how appropriate! I got tired just seeing the pictures, wow what a lot of work, good thing many hands make light work. I appreciated the fact you served them fresh rolls, ahhh,'just like momma would'....bless your heart Julie!