Spring has arrived, the 3 Spring Things have proven it. There are 3 things to help you know (if you're in our little corner of the world) if it's spring. You always know it's spring when...
#1) Baby everything (antelope fawns, calves, colts) begin to appear
#2) The wind begins to blow relentlessly
#3) The shinnery buds
What is shinnery? Well it's this little plant that causes us ranchers quite a bit of trouble. In the spring when it buds out, it's poisonous. Those little buds are very tender and tasty, and the cattle love to dine on them. If eaten in small quanitities, along with grass and other feed, it's rather harmless; but in pastures with a large amount of shinry, the cattle are in danger of... well... perishing. =P After it's done budding, it's fine, in fact makes fair feed for the cattle. But until then, we gotta keep them off that little plant.
So this morning I got up early, saddled up, ate breakfast (thank you Mommy) and off we went to save some critters!
When I first woke up (5:30 am), the wind was blowing.
It is now 3:00 pm.
The wind has not stopped, not at all.
If your just trottin across the pasture with not much to do, the wind really annoys you and you find yourself in a miserable mood fervently wishing you were elsewhere. Anywhere but out in the pasture with the stupid wind slapping at your face.But when there are cattle to gather, keep together, herd somewhere, and keep from runnin' off, well the wind isn't entirely ignored, but it doesn't seem such a prominent annoyance. But like I said, it's still a pain in the butt.
First we gathered North Adobe pasture, the cattle were pretty good, everything went well there. It's a gigantic pasture, but all the cattle were in 2 areas so it was all good. The trouble began when we moved them into a little trap. We took 'em on down the road, to put them in Silmon. Well the wind was blowing so darn bad, and I was downwind of them cattle... you can imagine how I suffered. I could not see a durned thing half the time, only dirt, that is all.
Well I was ridin' along wishing I could see, when the wind died down for a moment; when I glanced back, there was a calf that had kinda halted and Clint, who was riding drag, went to turn him. Well as soon as I turned to help, that calf bolted, and we were off to the races!!
Another difference between joy riding and chasing after wild bovines. When you are just riding, you are more concerned about the brush and holes and such, and you try to avoid them and choose the best path possible. When you have a calf runnin' off on ya, you just don't give a darn. Neither did Wyatt; we jumped some brush, but alot of it my good ole boy just plowed right through; he has alot of cow in him and he was pretty focused on that calf. One of us would get in front of him, and that calf would just stop and turn and off again in antoher direction, there was no getting in front of him either really. Those calves are too small to really stop, not like a cow.
Well we got down by one of the rigs and a water tank.... and... haha I'm sorry, Clint, it was amusing to watch. He was riding this one colt Phil, who has a.... problem. Everytime Clint rides him, this horse is a pain in the butt until he bucks, then he is just a great ole fellow. It's weird, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. So anyway, Clint was at a dead run ya'll, and this horse goes to pitchin a little. Now I've seen this horse really pitch, and Clint ended up on the ground, but he rode him a good while, and this little horse can really buck now. But he was just crowhoppin and bucking lightly. (All this I was observing while at a dead run as well, still trying to turn that stupid calf.) Well Clint had enough of that, so he got down his rope (amazes me how he can do that in such a position) and went to poppin that horse a little. Well the calf turned now, so off I went. The calf headed down the road, and I just loped a little behind him, and he headed right back to that herd. Every now and then I would glance back and see that horse by the dirt tank rearin and pitchin a little and Clint and him were just about goin to war. Well anyway...
So we resumed our journey down the road, Clint eventually returned. Well I was riding the side of the herd, kinda the flank of the herd I guess, and Clint was drag like I mentioned. Well he veered off to the side a little to turn some cows, leaving the drag open. By the time I saw that calf, I was already too late. (Different calf this time though.)
Just in case your wondering, there is a reason these calves bolt out. In the midst of moving cattle, they lose their mommas. So they think those momma cows are somewhere back where they came from, so they would like to go find them. When really the cows are- ugh stupid calves.
So yeah this one wasn't running too hard but I couldn't get him turned back for the life of me, it's a wonder that first one went back. I had to leave him. When we got to Silmon, we (Clint, Grandpa and I) held the herd at the dirt tank while Daddy went back to get the calf. (I was feeling extremely low and guilty by now.) He was gone a while, so Clint went after him, and before long they had the calf back at the herd and all was well.
But now... another pasture must be cleared of cattle due to shinnery. Oh how I was hating shinnery by now. Sardine Lake (we have a mountain, more like a HILL, called Sardine, thus the name of the lake) bordered North Adobe and the trap. This pasture not only had shinry, but some cranky cows. Daddy warned us that they are "trotty" (cowboy term of course) unless you were able to get a good hold of them first, then they were fine. So the key to this gather was, get all of 'em together, and hold 'em up, then move the girls outta the place.
Clint and Daddy headed off down the fence to make a weltie around the lake (dry lake might I add) and a dirt tank, where we would hold the cattle. Grandpa and I trotted on to the South of the dry lake/dirt tank, opposite side of Clint and Daddy. It wasn't long before we saw them move in on the cattle (they were all right there thank goodness) and point them towards the dirt tank. Then Grandpa and I moved in and took one side each of the dirt tank, same as Clint and Daddy. The worst trouble we had was 2 calves who got out on Daddy, but he easily got them back in, luckily. Then we moved them out and they were just dandy. Mission accomplished!
Do you think those ornery critters, any of them, thanked us for working in the cruel wind that stunk our faces, to save their darned hides? No!!! They did not! Sorry, ungrateful.... Aww heck whatever, it's done. Whew!
May is going to be a busy month, just thinking about it.
May 3rd & 4th: State Shooting Sports
May 5th: I GET MY BRACES OFF!!! WOOHOO!!!
May 12th: Spring Works Start =D
Okay. Anyway. I shall leave you with another LOL Cat and a little bumper sticker thingy...
Despite the wind, I hope you had a good day!! God bless ya'll!!
In His Grip, Ranch Kiddo