The Mountain is Calling....
The last batch of calves needed to be branded and we called on neighbors and friends to come up and help with the task. It seems that no matter how we plan these things, there always something different that comes along. Weather, where the cows are at the time, who can come and help...the list goes on.
We pick a date based on the age of the majority of the calves due to the efficacy of the vaccine. They have to be at least 30 days old, but we also don't want them too old because it's harder on them as they get bigger. So there is a fine line to picking that range. We get that narrowed down and then we call around to see who can join us. Sometimes it works for everyone and sometimes it doesn't and we have to roll with the majority average. It's one of those things we love doing when it isn't our own event! Ha!
Anyway, we thought we had a day picked for the majority of the people who could come and then we watched the weather. It changed every day that week and we had at least 5 people text us and say that there was an 80% chance of rain. Our weather app showed 30% so we kept rolling with it and told everyone we had our fingers crossed. Turns out they were right, but stay tuned and you'll see it....
We rode out of the yard a little after 7MTN time and had to trot to the switch back and then up to the top. Once we hit the top we had to trot across another mile or so to get where we dispersed to gather. The morning was beautiful and the cattle were scattered but gathered well and we all came to the trap in good time. We made it about half way through the bunch when we heard the low rumble of thunder in the distance. It wasn't long before the rain and hail rolled in and the thunder and lightning shut us down while the first round of storms passed. We took a time out and hid in the horse trailer (that needs a dose of FlexSeal) until the storm passed. It cleared enough for us to come out and hustle through the last third or so. We finished just in time and did get through all of the calves. Luckily enough we rode off the mountain with clearer skies and made it in to the yard before we got much more wet and cold. The coldest stretch was the last quarter mile to the yard. Dad and a couple of the other guys who drove trucks down had a fire going in the BBQ pit and it got crowded in a hurry because the last surprise was the power being out. A few of the guys fired up a second BBQ pit so I could heat my bean pot. We ate tri tip, salad, rolls and beans by the remaining light of the day and dried as best we could. The power stayed out until all of the crew had eaten their fill and headed home.
It was a great day all in all and the best part is the story we get to tell about it! But, I'll let you see for yourself! Mom snagged a few pictures when she wasn't taking her turn in the branding pen. If you look closely you might see the rain drops. ;)
We shall see what next year brings!