Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Greenish Pastures

Here they come!
And there they go ...
And here they come again!

Our Thursday morning cattle round-up seemed more like a Keystone Cop routine than a snapshot out of "Bonanza." That just continued the comedy of errors that this round of cattle-moving duties encompassed. We had planned to start the process last Monday, but with the wind gusting to 60 mph for three days straight, we waited until Wednesday and Thursday to begin. 
We finally got the cow-calf pairs gathered. And then I don't have a single photo of driving them from Peace Creek to the corrals a half mile away. I was too busy using my right hand to push the 4-wheeler's throttle as we zigged and zagged between two fields of green wheat on opposite sides of the road.

I am not a daredevil in any way, shape or form. I usually contemplate where I can cross ditches without feeling like I'm on the rural version of a roller coaster. But by the time we were done with this cattle drive, I was zooming up and down like I was on Worlds of Fun's Mamba - out of necessity, not desire!

In the meantime, I inadvertently hit the kill switch on the 4-wheeler. I didn't know there WAS a kill switch on the 4-wheeler. Randy rescued me, and we continued the roundabout journey. I am sure we covered a lot more area than a half mile at the time we were done moving the ladies and their offspring to the corrals.

I didn't get any of the sorting process either. No time for that. And, after my coat was baptized with a lovely spray of poop, I was glad I didn't have the camera in my hand anyway. I shed that layer. I was getting hot anyway. (It was my pants the day before. I didn't shed those.)

While driving down Highway 50 on the way to the pasture, we heard a pop. Randy thought a cow had just kicked the side of the trailer. No such luck! The tire was shot, but, thankfully, there was a spare.
Jake had the babies in the other trailer, so he took them to the pens by the old hunting cabin.
While all the babies arrived in one trailer-load on Thursday, the mamas took several trips.
Usually, we transport the mamas to the holding pen to reunite with their babies. This time, they had to hoof it themselves. Evidently, they could hear the babies bawling because they made a beeline for the corral.
Despite the comedy of errors, there was good news, too. Since it was a middle school track meet day, I didn't have to hurry to town to play the piano for middle school choir. 
The camera setting got bumped while it was in my pocket and produced this image that looked like a painting. It was a nice surprise.
By the time we had chauffeured three bulls to the pasture, the blue sky was filled with cotton-candy-like clouds. It was picture postcard pretty.

The grass, on the other hand, is not as pretty as last year when we got more moisture during the spring - albeit some in the form of ice on wheat fields. However, because the Ninnescah Pasture has some underflow, it's in better shape than some other pasture lands.

Our other ladies and babies will have to wait until it rains for their trip to summer pasture at the Rattlesnake. Last year, the guys reduced the herd numbers at the Rattlesnake by a third because of drought. They may have to cut numbers even further this year.
Rain dance, anyone?


  1. At least the cows and calves made it to their destination! :)
    That camera setting picture is beautiful!

    1. Yes, we should always look for the positives!

  2. Kim,
    Yeah for getting one group of cattle to grass. You never know what kind of issues you will face while working with livestock and equipment. At least a blown out tire is an easy fix.

    If I could I would share our moisture with you and my folks. We have the opposite problem, lots of moisture and not enough sunshine. If we could get some warm sunny days things around here would really explode. We are hoping to work calves on Saturday and praying we can.

    They are calling for rain/snow mix on the prairie tonight and several inches of snow in the Black Hills.

    1. We would gladly take some of your moisture. It's a week of upper 90s and low 100s, which is too hot. It's sure not helping the wheat crop or the pastures. Good luck with calves!