Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Red Rover, Red Rover ..... " A Glimpse at the beginning of another season.

Here at the ranch we don't go by the typical four seasons.  We have more than four ... I won't spell them all out but here are a few:  Weaned calves coming in about this time of the year, last week of October is round-up and the cattle come out of the mountains, calving begins mid-January, and then we are onto Spring Farming, haying, and the list goes on.

A couple of nights ago I had gone out to check on the cattle that were recently put into the alfalfa pasture.  Because their digestive systems are not yet used to the alfalfa, they need to be checked on a few times a day to ensure they are not bloating.  I had my entourage (sounds important, eh?) of dogs with me.  Kip (the ultimate cow dog & Dad), Mattie (soooo cute & Mom), Meg (timid, cute & from litter #1), and then Rex (cow dog in training & oh so cute!).  Kip needs little to no instruction.  Mattie loves the cattle but would rather have attention from me.  Meg does her own thing & doesn't listen ... yet, doesn't get in the way or chase the cows too bad.  If that makes any sense.  In other words, Meg is good -- just so darned timid and cowers.  We're pretty sure that when she was kicked in the head while working cows that maybe she was damaged 'upstairs'.  And the there is Rex or Rex-nard as Dick affectionately calls him.  Kip is ready for retirement and Rex is ready to work, so it is a good swap.

After we walked through the cows, I wanted to check on the others in the barn lot.  They were enjoying their feed until the four dogs got into the barn yard.  They were chased away from their hay and backed into the lot.  All four dogs were holding the cows, almost daring them to get past the fierce dogs that they are. The dogs reminded me of kids playing "Red Rover, Red Rover ... send the big cows right over".

Every season here at the ranch brings something new, yet familiar.  The calves are filling up the barn lot.  And with freshly weaned calves comes the familiar lullaby we hear at night ... bawling calves.  Seems like just when they begin to acclimate to being away from their Moms, a new set of calves come in and it starts all over again.

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