Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

Well, the Bag Lady had such a busy day yesterday, she didn't have time to compose a blog post in advance! On the other hand, it gives her something to tell you about!

She did some laundry and house cleaning (don't envy her because her life is so glamorous!) and took her truck in to the garage for a tune-up. When she and the Rancher got back from picking it up in the late afternoon, they decided to go for a walk around the place. When they got to the corral, they realized that almost all the cows and calves were actually in the corral. It was another hot day, and the corral is surrounded by big trees, so it's shady (and there's a water source) and the whole herd was lying down, resting.

The Rancher decided it was too good an opportunity to miss, so he and the Bag Lady snuck around and closed some gates and trapped the animals. (She knows you are wondering why they would want to trap the animals, and she's about to tell you - patience, grasshopper!) This sneaking around plan wasn't entirely successful, and the Rancher and Bag Lady did get in a bit of a cardio workout (interval training!) chasing the few who made a break for it. In the end, the humans won, even though the Bag Lady almost collapsed from the exertion. She hadn't had anything to eat since her breakfast cereal, and she prefers to blame that fact, rather than admit she is really out of shape.

One of the necessities of ranching is having to do a few things to the calves when they are young. Sometimes these things can be done almost immediately after the calf is born, but this year, with the Rancher and Bag Lady both a little crippled up, these things haven't been done. Now that the Rancher is feeling a little better, he decided it was time to get caught up. His brother had volunteered to come out from town and give a hand, so after the animals were locked in the corral, the Rancher called his brother.

His brother came out and the three of them separated calves from cows and herded the calves into the barn. It was hot and dusty work, so once the calves were locked in the barn, a wee break for a beverage was taken. Then they set to work ear-tagging and ringing. (Sounds rather charming, doesn't it?) All the calves had an identifying ear tag inserted, and (if you are male, you might want to skip the next part of this sentence!) the bull calves were turned into steers by putting a castrating ring on them.

Here they are, inserting an ear tag:

(click on any of the images to enlarge)


Naturally, this is a rather noisy occasion, as the mothers stand outside in the corral and bawl at their babies to "get out of that barn right this minute and come to me!" (naturally, when the Bag Lady took a second to take a picture, the cows had all turned away....)

After all the ear-tagging and ringing was finished, the calves were released and reunited with their mothers:


As soon as the corral gate was opened, the cows took their calves and left for the furthest corner of the place!



The Rancher's brother stayed for another beverage and a bit of a visit, then he went home to have his slightly delayed supper (it was 9 pm) Shortly after he left, the phone rang. The Rancher answered, and after a few cryptic sentences, hung up, turned to the Bag Lady and said "Get your camera" It had been his brother on the phone, explaining that as he was passing the edge of their property, he saw a deer with a newborn fawn! The Rancher and the Bag Lady jumped in the truck and drove down the road. Sure enough, there was a deer with her baby. As soon as the truck slowed down, the deer took off running across the field, tiny spotted fawn at her heels. The Bag Lady apologizes, and begs you to click on the picture to enlarge it, then use your imagination and try to spot the little brown dots in the centre of the photo, just above the pesky tree branch that was in the way....



Oh, and the Bag Lady took this next photo at 11 pm the night before last, in an attempt to show how light it still is at that time of night at this time of year. The flash went off, but it really didn't illuminate the Bag Lady's entire yard....

And, finally, one last picture that was on the Bag Lady's camera that she has no clue how it got there....


24 comments:

Leah J. Utas said...

Love the ranch day rundown. It sure is a lot of work and I can't imagine the calves being all that co-operative. The late night pic is lovely and I love the moon photo.

kcinnova said...

My brother helped my uncle ring his calves one year. I know it's necessary but I can't imagine doing that work.
My imagination does work (I just don't want to work as hard as you do), but I am sorry you didn't get the photo you wanted.

Tom Rooney said...

All I can say from a male calf's perspective is "ouch".

Geosomin said...

Wow - sounds like a busy day! I can see why the calves might not be all that interested in helping out.
I can only imagine how sute a new fawn would be - all we've got around here are lots of little tiny gophers :)

the Bag Lady said...

Thanks, cousin! The calves were none too happy with us, but it was over quickly.

kcinnova - I really wish I could have gotten a picture of that fawn - it was only a day or so old!

Tom - I WARNED you not to read that part!!

the Bag Lady said...

Geo - that fawn was absolutely adorable! Only about the size of my dog!

Lucas said...

What? No picture of the castration? :p

Loved the "day in the life"! It was a great mini break for my mind. Thanks as always BL.

Clare2e said...

I am exhausted just thinking about it all, and I'd run to a corner afterward and hide, too : )

Hilary said...

Well no wonder the cows were pissed off. I would be too if my young-uns came home with piercings and other body hardware! I love the unexplained moon shot. It must be magic. :)

the Bag Lady said...

Lucas - I couldn't manage to take one that wasn't X-rated! :)
Glad you enjoyed your day at the ranch!

Clare - I certainly don't blame the cows for taking their babies away! We have bets on how long it will take them to come back to the corral!

Hilary - teenagers these days - always getting body piercings!!
Methinks the moon shot was faeries who spirited my camera away (because honestly? I don't stay up that late!) :)

Reb said...

Great set of photos. Long hard day too. How long since you last downloaded your camera, was it maybe Uncle G?

bunnygirl said...

It's definitely a different kind of working style on the ranch, as opposed to the office.

So when is sunset these days? Our sunrise/sunset times don't vary much down here.

Sagan said...

That's some hard work that you ranchers have to do! How lovely to get to see the deer and fawn, too.

the Bag Lady said...

Thanks, sis. No, I think it was one I took a couple of nights ago, then forgot about.... getting forgetful.

BG - the sun rose today at 5:14 and will set tonight at 10:39 but we have really long twilight hours before it comes up and after it goes down. On the longest day of the year (this coming Saturday), it stays light until after midnight, and the sky starts to lighten again around 3 am. I love it!!

Sagan - It was wonderful to see the mother and fawn - I just wish I could have gotten a better picture! I was surprised at how fast that 1 or 2 day old baby could move!!

Redbush said...

Owwweeee! Putting ear tags on, ringing and castration! Poor little guys, but, I realize it has to be done. Great photos! I've been trying to get the robins to cooperate with me to no avail. They slide down in the nests farther, and all you can see is their beaks!

the Bag Lady said...

Redbush - I know all about trying to get animals to cooperate when you are trying to photograph them! Sheesh!

Aleta said...

That was so cool to read about the tagging and ringing (though I wouldn't want to be the one to do that to a bull - calf or otherwise!!) Loved the pictures and wow - that much light in a day? I could get SO much more done!!

POD said...

I like how you use the term 'beverage' for IV.

Can you send me a castrating ring? I have someone I'd like to use it on?

POD said...

I couldn't see the dearie and her fawn. But I got better pics of my own dearie and fawn this a.m.

the Bag Lady said...

Aleta - I don't seem to be able to get much more done in a summer's day.... well, except, perhaps, beer drinking! :)

POD - you DO understand what'll happen if you use the ring on Chris? And what a unique way to describe him and his... ummm... implement. I've never heard it referred to as a fawn before. I checked your blog and noted that you didn't post said pictures. Thankyouthankyouthankyou!
Oh, wait... your comments were about two different things? Oops.

Miz said...

LOOOOVE the day on the ranch as well.
and what does it say that, initially, I read your title as BACK AT THE BEACH (?!).

so interesting (our bullmastiff was eartattooed at a youngyoung age since he was born in Kenya. Why do I imagine it sorta being like the eartagging? he IS like a calf :))

the Bag Lady said...

Miz - everyday is a day at the beach around here! teehee
And eartagging your bullmastiff would probably be less trouble - at least he's accustomed to being touched by humans!

Missicat said...

I had to laugh picturing you two chasing down cows (sorry!)!
Sounds like a busy day - you are lucky to have so much nature around you. All I saw yesterday on my run was some ducks and a turtle. Though I did see a crane last week (or was it a heron??)

the Bag Lady said...

Missicat - I don't blame you for laughing - I would have too, if I hadn't been so busy trying to catch my breath!