Monday, October 3, 2011

Rocky Point

We are headed north, almost to Montana, first thing in the morning to start the annual fall gather of our pairs that summered on the Rocky Point Grazing Association. This job will take a total of three days - one to gather and ship ours home, one to gather, wean, and ship my uncle's calves home, and a third to go back and gather and ship his cows home.
We have been a part of this grazing association my entire life, and while my cousin tells this stroy best, here's how we remember Rocky Point gather (it was one day then) as little kids.
Your dad wakes you up in the dark, you stumble down the stairs at grandma's, eat breakfast, and head out to catch, saddle and load your horse, in the dark. You cram into a single-cab pickup with various siblings and/or cousins, and the two dads drive two pickups and trailers the two hours to the assocation, all in the dark. You grumpily get out of the pickup, put on whatever clothes you need based on the weather that day, in the dark. You get on your horse, ride out to the pasture, and head to the far side to begin gathering, in the dark. Everyone sits on a high hill, and waits for the first glow of daylight on the horizon. Then you start to gather, and in the early dawn light other riders seemingly miraculously appear as you go - people you've never met in your life. You gather and trail into the correls, then sort and load the cattle (it used to be yearlings, now it's pairs) onto trucks for the ride home. Then, after a very big day, you load your horse back up in whichever horse trailer isn't loaded with extra yearlings, or bulls, and climb back into the single-cab pickup to head home, in the dark.
It made for some long days, some of which included snowstorms, and others with bad sunburns at the days end. We didn't enjoy it much as kids, but with time it's changed to one of those jobs that's "not that bad" and actually enjoyable most years (depending on if there's snow usually).
One thing that hasn't changed is we will still be starting in the dark.
Hope you havea great week!

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