Tuesday, June 1

the three-day weekend

my memorial day weekend began friday at noon, after the paper went to press, when i left the roundup office to meet up with scott, retrieve my little red horse trailer from the mutton marshall's and make the arduous journey into friend jake's to get my horses, which i hadn't seen in a month.

after bs-ing with jake a while, scott and i drove the county road up to the grazing association, where we met up with brother bob and scott's nephew dallas. i unloaded my horses and saddled one, and shortly we were on our way to move some pairs from a corral where they'd recently been unloaded to the water in that pasture and wait until they mothered up. in the spring the grazing association is very busy with the members bringing in their own cows for the summer, as well as the cows they're bringing in on shares. it took us awhile to get that finished up, and we returned to the ranch house for a steak supper becky cooked for us. and went to bed early.

the next morning i was, as always, rudely awakened way too early: 3:45 a.m., to be exact. after catching my second horse and saddling her while the boys also saddled theirs, we left them eating their grain and went to the house for breakfast. we pulled out of headquarters about 5 a.m. and headed down to the mutton marshall's house, where we did a complicated truck and trailer shuffle, illustrated below:

at this point we had seven horses with us, and we headed over to brother b and scott's spring pasture to collect the cows and calves. nephew dallas, brother jay and i were dropped off to bunch the cows up and start heading them for the gate, because we had to trail them down the highway a ways to get to the set of corrals where we could load them in the trailers.

eventually all those who had gone to drop the trucks and trailers at the corrals came back and joined us, and we pushed them to the corner and awaited our sherriff/highway patrol escort.

while we waited the three brothers joined up for a conference - brother b, scott and brother jay. (i'm not sure why a couple of these distorted...maybe they need a reload)

the sherriff showed up, and we waited a few more minutes for hp, then started heading them down the highway. (take note of the little red calf in this photo)

and eventually ended up at the set of corrals, at which the trucks and trailers had been set up to funnel the cows through the gate.

then we had to sort the cows off the calves, load the calves into one trailer and part of the cows in the others.

this is dorothy and brother jay holding the cows, while the mutton marshall sorts them off, brother b runs the gate and scott monitors the trailer door.

my mare jazz and bob's horse lad wait patiently.

jazz sporting my tack, most of which is new in the last year. the saddle i bought used from brother b last fall, the felt pad, stirrups and steer tripper breastcollar i bought from susan here in casper, the reins are from king's saddlery in sheridan, and the headstall and curb strap are from pocatello. the bit i bought in texas while on a horse judging trip with iowa state. never mind the witch's knots in jazz's mane... that's what you get when you neglect your horses' appearance for weeks at a time.

these distinguished gentlemen were in a neighboring pen and were the onlookers to the whole sorting-and-loading event.

and these two gentlemen were the brains behind the whole operation.

up at the association corrals we unloaded everything and let it back together to mother up.

again - take note of the little red calf at the back.

trav and scott counted them off the trailer.... but missed one and i came up with the correct count when tallying bull calves and heifers as they were branded. just wanted to point that out. :-)

the irons are heated with a propane burner. alas, i forgot my C } calf brand at the house.

and i needed it, because scott gave me this little heifer calf. for now she's got my earmark, and scott's brand for the summer. this fall she'll get my brand.

this dog is the general nemesis on the ranch. her name is nipper, and it might rather be 'biter.' she's sneaky, and when a person's not looking she'll tear into you and bite your heels. we're not friends.

the ground crew, who did the wrestling, mostly consisted of martinez family members.

friend jamie's son kolby wrestled several calves throughout the afternoon.

as did her daughter makayla. i hope i'm spelling that the right way. :-)

makayla and kolby also took turns riding jazz around. all parties did quite well working together.

while we were branding the ranch geldings of scott and bob's waited patiently the next pen over.

and at the end of the day we all headed back to headquarters for a full dinner and a little relaxation.

so that was branding day last saturday, and part two of memorial day weekend will be posted later.

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