Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Inaugural Weekend

This was my first weekend spent helping the boyfriend's family with cattle work. This is always a potentially tense situation..bringing a girl, or guy home to help out. It can make for a funny, maddening, frustrating, hilarious or great day, and has helped me realize, at times in a matter of minutes, whether the relationship will continue forward or not. Fortunately our families have known each other a long time and they had a pretty good idea that I knew what to do, and it all went very well and neither of us will be dumping the other for our cattle working skills....yet.
I also took my camera along, of course, to document the events.

So the bf (I should ask him if he minds if I use his name on here. I did ask about putting pictures up), his brother, dad and I gathered a couple bunches of cows, moved them, sorted them, and just did general preparation for weaning this coming Friday.
His family lives in the Black Hills, and recently moved their calving date back to May and June so it's warmer when the calves are born and they don't have to feed the cows as much. That's why they are weaning in late November, a month or two later than many producers.

Part of the first days job was trailing cows down the road about 2 miles. We had to go up this big hill first. The bf's house is just off to the left of this photo a little ways.

We stopped a few cars and trucks, mostly hunters, and several people took our picture...ironically enough : )
This is something I did a lot as a little kid, when we lived in this same general part of the state. Today our place is about 20 miles from the nearest highway, so trailing down or across the pavement isn't something I do anymore.
It can present a unique set of challenges. Yearlings, colts and calves tend to have serious issues with the yellow center line. We've had to role out straw before to get yearlings to cross the highway. It also gave little kids a job, and at 2, 3, and 4 years old my job was often to drive (yes drive) or ride ahead of the bunch of cows, waving a flag or flashing the car lights to alert motorists of the cattle clogging the highway just over the next hill.
These cows are used to it and trailed right along.

Then we went down the other side of the big hill,

and cut out across a pasture to the home place to sort, doctor and continue our day.
The bf's dad always has a marker cow in each of his bunches, and that's the gray cow seen here.

The last leg. I love the Black Hills, and enjoyed myself immensely. I also let out a big sigh of relief when all went well and I realized they work cattle in a similar fashion to my family.

Once in a smaller lot, we sorted everything a couple different ways, then doctored a few sick calves. This is a 3 or 4 year old colt the bf is on, who I've been told can really buck. He did great the two days I was there. He would rope a sick calf, and his brother would hold it down....

While their dad doctored it. Newt is the bf's dog and he was there to help too. My dogs sat in the back of the pickup, out of the way. My camera battery died early, which is why these are the only two pictures of anything occurring in the lot.
Maybe when it's not my first weekend helping I'll bring my nice camera along.

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