Thursday, October 29, 2020



I don't believe I'll be entering this photo in a contest or using it for our family birthday calendar. But it's indicative of the quality of photo you get when you're using one hand to hold the end gate of the working chute open and clicking the camera shutter with the free hand.

It may not be a good photo, but I'm kind of guessing Dr. Bruce prefers it to getting a concussion from a falling end gate while in the "business end" of a bred heifer.

Last week, Dr. Bruce came for the first of a series of pregnancy checks for our cattle herd. The heifers were his first patients on the County Line this fall. These 25 ladies are first-time mamas who began life as part of the Class of 2019 calf crop two winters ago. 

They were a lot smaller when they went through the chute in the spring of 2019!

Now, they'll be delivering the first arrivals of the Class of 2021 to The County Line at the end of January and early February.

Just look at the tilt of that head: Believe me, ladies, I can feel this way about my annual ob/gyn appointment, too. 

But back to photo quality: As I learned last year, there is a marked decrease in photo quality when working cattle now that I have more hands-on assignments. With no hired man, I have added a few more roles on cattle-working days. Photographer is not one of them.

I started taking photos as we were gathering the heifers from the Palmer Pasture. 

Here's the ringleader of our little caravan, bringing the heifers along the fence.
So far, so good ...
But, when they began circling back around - away from the open gate - the camera went in the pocket, and I got more serious about urging the ladies to go the direction we requested.

That mission was accomplished. However, getting them to quit turning in circles and go through the open barn door was the next challenge.

I didn't take the camera back out of my pocket until I was guarding the gate while Randy took the first load to the farmstead. 

I didn't fare much better during our appointment with Dr. Bruce. 

Between encouraging the heifers to move the lane for their appointment, then holding the end gate up while Dr. Bruce did his exam, I didn't get many quality photos. And I then went around the table to record each heifer's ear tag number, along with the "degree" with which she was "with child." Most were 5 or 6 months along. 

On a few occasions, I snapped a few photos while Bruce gave vaccines, but alas, those hurried "clicks" didn't yield any memorable shots.

I'll have some other opportunities in the next couple of weeks. We're supposed to work the next group on Saturday - Happy Halloween farm style! That's if we can get the group gathered from the Ninnescah Pasture tomorrow. We'll see whether the rain curtailed those activities ... not that we're complaining about rain. The Rattlesnake Pasture round-up will on the agenda next week. 

My cattle working photos weren't anything to get excited about. But yesterday, we loaded up the three open heifers for their ride to the Pratt sale barn. Sometimes those extra cattle tasks put you in the right place at the right time.

I guess it all evens out in the end.

We also saw 14 whooping cranes on two different days this week. They were too far away to get a good photo, but I tried anyway. 

On Tuesday, they were at a circle just about a mile from our house as the crow - or whooping crane - flies. On Wednesday morning, they were on ground we farm. But again, they were half a mile from a road and my camera zoom just wasn't powerful enough.

On a trip to the pasture, I had Randy stop for a quick snapshot of the fall leaves with our dusting of snow.

So I guess I can't complain about the view - unless it's the one where I'm holding up the working chute end gate.

Sometimes, being at the right place at the right time keeps the vet from getting a concussion from a falling end gate. Other times, it brings you rainbows. Which is more important? Depends on your perspective, I suppose. I'm guessing Dr. Bruce would vote for the end gate - even if it doesn't yield the best photos.


  1. As an avid genealogist, it always amazes me how I wouldn’t be here if my ancestors hadn’t been in the right place at the right time, if you get my drift 😉

  2. All things considered, Kim, this has been a great post, especially when I remembered to click on the photos to make them larger.

  3. I always love your cattle handling "shows". Thanks for posting.


    1. Thanks. There will be more to come, but right now, I'm too busy actually helping to write either.