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Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

Friday, September 14, 2012

Quality Time

 Sometimes, when I go to check the water and cows, I go solo. Other times, I may take along a dog or two or three. One particular evening about 10 days ago, Boyd and Vesta, decided I shouldn't go alone.
Boyd would have been much happier if Ves had stayed home. However, he decided to make the best of it and put up with her and her bossy attitude just to be able to go.
It was getting close to sunset and I knew the cows would be coming to water. It is easy to get a good look at most of them then. Not always the best time for taking pictures but sometimes it works great for me. I love the golden time of the evening, it really bathes the prairie and the badlands in a wonderful glow.
After making the seven mile jaunt to the pasture I wanted to check, opening the gate, and yelling ten times for Vesta to stay on the truck and not run ahead of me. I started honking the horn as we approached the watering place. Even before we got half way there we had a crowd gathering so I decided to stop. Telling Vesta once again to stay on the truck. She is a blule heeler x border collie, and the selective hearing of her heeler heritage is pretty strong at times..she just plain doesn't listen if it doesn't suit her. She is a great little cowdog most days and is very aggressive when she needs to be. Boyd, being the Border Collie, listens and does what he is told! The dogs took up their position to keep the cows away from the truck like they do when we are feeding.

The cattle started coming quickly. There a a few "pets" that are always the first to get to me. They are just sure I have some thing good to eat and failing that, a good head scratch for them. That evening I had brought along a big bag of cake. They think this is the best stuff there is!!! We do too.  We get it from Muggli Brothers in Miles City, MT by the truckload. Made from 50% alfalfa hay and 50% grains like barley, corn and canola are we use 3/4 inch pellets.
The lead cow here is Dot, who belongs to our oldest grandson, Owen, who picked her out last summer, when she was three and so was he. He was so tickled this spring when he figured out that his Dot cow had a calf "in her tummy" When Dot calved in April, I called him right away and told him that he had a bull calf now and of course put a couple of pictures in the mail the same day! Owen is pretty proud of Dot and her calf.
Tinkerbelle and Dot are both in this shot. No, not all of our cattle have names!!! Ninety-nine percent of them go by their eartag numbers. Often they are known buy a physical characteristic or personality trait. We have "the bob-tailed old cow", "younger bob-tailed cow", "the cow will take a horse", etc. The ones with distinct physical or personality traits you don't need to read the tags, you just know!! Most of our cows are calm and good natured, however we do have two that will be going down the road due to their bad attitudes. One of them I have had a narrow escape from as did my father-in-law and my husband's cousin. The other bad girl will take you horseback whether she has a calf beside her or not. She has done it two different times. Once she took after my horse and I  when we were moving them to the corrals and then a couple of minutes later took after my husband on his horse. The next spring when we were sorting cattle, she rammed my husband's horse, knocking him out of the saddle. Good pony that Badger is, she kept herself between the cow and my husband as he climbed back on. That old rip of a cow will be gone right after we ship calves. We have several cows that constantly are bullies, I guess you would say. It seems like they pick a fight any time they feel like it.

My dogs stayed on the truck, hoping for some action of some sort. They did their best to keep any cow a good distance from the truck for me.
 I get a lot of enjoyment with the time I spend with our cattle. Whether it is working them as we sort, or vaccinate, move to new pasture or just hang out with them if always makes me feel good. As dry as it has been this summer, I feel confident our cattle our in good shape. They were coming into the awful heat of this summer and they don't seem to have gone down hill any. At this time of the year, the calves look almost as big as their moms which is how it is supposed to be. In just little over a month, we will be gathering all of our cows and calves up, sorting off the calves and sending them to the next stage in their life The steers and a few heifers will find their way to a feedlot or maybe be put on grass for time. The best heifers will stay on the ranch and will be fed this winter and bred next summer. Before we do all of that though, we will give them booster shots of their vaccinations and deworm them, so that when they are weaned they are able to handle the stress and not get sick.

Good mama cows raise good calves and we have both on our place!!!


Shirley said...

I like your Boyd dog! I have a soft spot for red border collies. Your cows do look good.

Jake said...

I like heeler X's dont know about full bloods though. lol. Great pictures!!

Far Side of Fifty said...

I like your Boyd too..of course he listens! Lovely photos in your golden evening light. Good news on your hay situation..good for you! :)