Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Vaccinating Heifers and Longing to Go Back to Bed

First off, let me apologize for the quality (or lack thereof) of these photos today. I think my camera is dying a slow death. Then again, the fuzzy spot may simply represent my present state of mind which is quite unclear at the moment.

I think I need to go back to bed.

Tuesday morning started at 4:30. I reluctantly stumbled out from under our flannel quilt and faced the cold, unfriendly kitchen. I rummaged about for the bacon, fumbled for the coffee and sighed when the coffee began to drip to the floor because I had neglected to replace the pot under the spigot. Sigh.

Can I please go back to bed?

Somewhere in the fog that is my mind, I realized that I should probably get dressed before the crew comes jingling in the door in search of a hot breakfast. That took me back to the bedroom where that flannel quilt was mocking me.

Can I please go back to bed?

Doesn't it seem to you that everyone is extremely chipper on mornings when you are not? Sigh.

This morning's agenda consisted of Bang's vaccinating the heifers here at headquarters. We also had to spend the rest of the day in town so I rushed around getting the kitchen cleaned up after breakfast and started dinner before loading the truck with the water bottles (the water here is just plain horrible so we have to haul it from town ~ sure do miss that mountain spring water!) and various asundry.

The sunshine promised to lift my mood and I was loath to head back inside so I grabbed my camera (surprise ~ surprise!) and trotted towards the fun. The crew had already gathered the heifers (a heifer is a young female calf that has not yet given birth) and were waiting for the vet to arrive. Finding themselves with some downtime, they shared stories (cowboys are voracious storytellers) and were entertained by Clint's bag of rope tricks. This is one talented cowboy folks. Not only is he good with a rope ~ he's got a voice that will knock you out, he can tell stories that will make you spew your tea across the table, he's a very talented guitar player, he's wicked smart and he's a heck of a hand with a horse. Sorry ladies ~ he's married to the coolest gal!

Suddenly everyone else wants to get in on the action:

Notice Clint's stance and skeptical expression. He doesn't hold much confidence in their abilities. Looks like they'll need a bit more practice:

How's that go again?

At this point, my cookly-duties called and I had to scamper back to the house and get dessert in the oven. My dessert loving crew would never forgive me if they had to go without.

I hurridly peel apples, mix the topping and pop it into the oven, glance longingly at the unmade bed and make my way back out to the pens. I can hear the cattle bawling in protest as they are herded through the alley and arrive to find my handsome cowboy working the chute. It takes some finesse and timing in order to make all those levers do what you want them to do. I do not possess either the timing or finesse. They open when I want them to close and they squeeze when I want them to release. Behind the camera is a good place for me to be.

DH gives a shot of Bovishield which is a vaccination for 7 different maladies ~don't ask me which 7 ~ IBR (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis) and 6 something or others.

Clint sprays them with that purple stuff ~ it's called Cydectin and it protects against a broad spectrum of internal parasites and eternal parasites including the Ostertagia Ostertagi or more commonly known as the the brown stomach worm. Eww!

Then they receive a brand on their hip...

While the vet gives them a Bang's (guards against Brucellosis ~ a bacterial disease that can cause the cow to abort her calf ) vaccination, a tatoo and an ear tag on the other side of the chute:

Behind the scenes, Grandpa and Dave bring up small bunches of heifers and let them mosey into the chute. We don't work our cattle fast and furious. We are easy with them and try to keep the stress to a minimum. They bawl a lot, but 3 minutes later they are happy as clams. They're a lot like children.

Here's DD manning the alley. She nudges the reluctant youngsters towards the chute:

Here are DD and DS working the gate. They make a pretty good team when they forget that they are siblings, teenagers, in the midst of adolescence and are just part of the crew:

It's been a long day. Can I go back to bed now?


agent713 said...

So you brand them to show that they've been vaccinated?

Have I mentioned lately how fascinating I find your life?

Karin said...

It always makes me smile when I find a comment from you!

No, we brand them to show ownership. Each rancher has to register a brand with the county or state, depending on where you live. It's like a personal tatoo!It also discourages cattle rustling ~ it still happens today.

And I find your life fascinating! You're always exploring and discovering new places. Your life sounds like an adventure to me!

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