Shipping and Sorting
It’s been a busy few days. On top of 8 not sleeping, at all ( Hey 8, your sister started sleeping through the night just before she turned one, we really wouldn’t mind if you wanted to follow her example. And when she was up at night it was once or twice, not hourly, all night.)
Thursday we shipped the calves to the sale barn, the sales are on Friday and the father-in-law didn’t think there would be time to get them all there Friday morning before the sale. It took all day, there wouldn’t have been time. I didn’t do anything but watch in the morning, soaking up the sunshine. Wait. Thinking about it we helped feed then went to help get them in, waited at the gate to count, it was still really cold and 8 had a messy diaper. We went home. Then, much later, I went to watch in the warm sun.
After the first loads my hard working husband went into town to his other job and the kids and I played outside.
The afternoon loads were more exciting. It could have been that they had me to help instead of my cow whisperer husband or it could have been that the crazy’s always hang back till last and there was lots of last minute sorting. I was bringing calves up the lane when they started sorting in the front pen. They had decided to pull any heifers that had been ridden. They didn’t sort well. Then a gate got pushed open, they needed sorted again.
There were a few more heifers with the hair gone off their tail heads that he wanted to pull (that’s how you can tell if they’ve been cycling, the other cattle ride them, it rubs the hair off. They are teenagers after all), some trouble loading, I should have been helping I suppose instead of googling info on cow whorls, and at the very end the bulls. There were three in there. One that sorted off nice and easy in the very beginning and two who were in the very last sort. One pulled off easy enough leaving the crazy’s, the very last three head. One that wanted out, one that has my vote for being the one that could jump like a deer and lead the great escape escapade a few weeks ago. She was running back and forth crashing into the fences until her nose was gushing blood, nobody was stepping foot into the pen to sort her off because the last bull was in there and he wanted to eat us. He was just a little guy, a bull only because a band broke after he was banded this spring, but he was on the fight. His head was up and he was charging everyone he looked at. By pure chance, after many laps, he and crazy ran opposite directions and they got them separated, loaded and on the road.
Not the bulls, they stayed home. I went back to check the children and brought The Goblin Child with me to put the little bulls out in the pen with the big bulls and the saved heifers out in a pen of their own. Finally that day, that exhausting part of it was over.
Saturday was gorgeous, warm and calm with lots of sunshine. I started the day, without water actually. My multi talented husband ran out first thing in the morning to get the pump for the well going. Then after feeding kids, dressing kids and so on I started the morning by saddling Coyote. Clint the neighbor who does seem to live here sometimes was back again, with his saddle this time to ride Onna, we’ll leave the princess part out for him, and we went to sort cows.
My cow hating husband held the gate and we started looking for the ear tags of the cattle who had been jumping fences all summer, skinny lame cows and anything else that had to go. We saw lots of cows springing and bagging up, calving is going to start soon. Coyote and Onna were hot and raring to go. I was very glad I had put on my big cow working bit and Clint with a snaffle was getting a workout. Onna turned from black to white with lather. She loves chasing cattle as much as Coyote does and would not slow down. He had no trouble getting her to gait today, she zipped the whole time. She doesn’t know how to work properly, her turns are wide and slow but executed with great enthusiasm. She did very well and he had nothing but good to say about her.
Coyote was a cow eating fool today. He sat down and worked those cows properly, I don’t know that he would have held up to a calf at a real cutting but up against an old cow he was matching step for step. Nose to nose he leaped back and forth holding those old girls. Then he started plodding back after the next cow a little slower every time. I remembered that he is nearly twenty, out of shape and still, rightfully so, wearing his winter coat on a hot day. The father-in-law was out there on his fourwheeler by then so we quit helping sort and stood by the gate to help when they got there. He was still wanting to work them as they came but after he was perfectly willing to stand quietly and so was I. Poor guy.
Of course I can’t get pictures during the exciting stuff, I do have work to do. Ruins all the fun. But taking it easy on Coyote did allow a little time for picture taking. Course I had to stop and get back to work just as it got interesting.