It was ten after 6 and I was finally headed to the ranch. I used one of the little two-year-old fillies to pen the roping cattle this morning and then cut the calves out. They were staying here. But the steers, they were headed back south. I was going to swap them out for some more roping calves. The penning and sorting went quickly, even in the dark. The loading was the hard part. The only loading chute of any kind is what is formed by one panel and the trailer gate. No problem most of the time. Not this time.
There’s always one in the bunch. This one was actually a heifer, and she was white with some brendal stripes. She had screwing my early morning efforts up down to a fine art. She had two moves (1) Be the first in the trailer, wheel around and hook the other steers on her way back out while taking at least one with her (2) refuse to go in at all until the steers that were loaded decided to come on back out.
Enter Gus. Gus is my right hand man and appears in the top right hand corner of this website every now and then. He’s worth his weight in gold. (even though he was half asleep in the truck bed this morning and i had to go get him) Anyway, once Gus realized that today his work day was going to start before we got to the ranch, he got after it. I just loaded the cooperating steers and let him have that d@&mn heifer while I went to pen the roping calves.
The calves were re-penned in no time and thrown in with the steers. The ones in the trailer were dropped back out and by this time, that white heifer was wanting to be somewhere else. I just loaded them all and cut the calves back out from inside the trailer. Done. Finally. Ridiculous. It’s 5 freakin 30 in the morning and I’m soakin’ wet. The dog days of summer are upon us.
So I head inside to change clothes. I load up Bugzy and Senorita and head south.
I was a little late so Morgan had already gotten everything fed up at the house. We finished up the feeding rounds and then penned a set of bulls. We were branding again. Mick and Dick had a set of replacement heifers to be branded as well. We were going to try and get them all done before lunch. After the irons were hot (one Jh, one number 8 and one O-B) we started the machine. If you don’t know what machine I’m talking about check out this post for pictures and this post for a description.
Anyway, we got it done.
After lunch we caught up the ’08 fillies from the Murphy. It was time to brand them as well. There was just one problem.
They were a little wet.
The news said 105 with a heat index at 115.
Well, sweat, or rain (which we haven’t had to worry about) creates a problem when branding, especially with horses. It’s also more of an issue when you’re dealing with barely halter broke yearlings that you know are going to fret a little which will cause them to sweat even more. The brand won’t run, but when first placed on the hide, the iron will slide putting the brand where you don’t want it. Or worse, burning a spot here and there. So we decided to wait until it cooled off a bit.
One hour later, it’s 102. It’s not going to get any cooler until midnight. Our breeze just wasn’t coming.
We went and got them and got it done. Slowly. When these kinds of situations come up, and they come up ALOT down south, you can’t just wait. Hell, we’d never get anything done. You just have to slow down – Calm diligence.
Always press the limits – But at a walk.