Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cutting Bull Calves

Last month we spent a couple of Saturday mornings cutting 200 Corriente bull calves. Those of you who are not versed in this way of life may want to skip this post. Just thought I should put a disclaimer in there for some of my scrapping buddies. However, if you enjoy a good steak, this is part of the reason that steak is juicy and tender. Bulls do not make good beef so after a couple of snips, they become steers. The beef marketing system favors steer carcasses and the steers are generally more docile and easier to handle. However, these pictures are of Corriente cattle and they aren't used for beef - these are roping cattle. We raise both beef and Corriente cattle. Many people seem to be interested in life here on the ranch and this is part of it. Just keepin it real, but wanted to warn those of you who may not wish for quite so much reality.

Seems we picked the coldest mornings to cut them this year. It was only 19 this morning. I thought twice about even heading out to take pictures, but then I thought of you - and how you have requested more about the daily happenings around here so I donned multiple layers and braved the frigid, morning air for you.

DH starts out preparing the buckets with a mixture of hot water and a medicated iodine in order to keep everything disinfected.

Then he gives out instructions to work the cattle easy. No sense getting everything stirred up. We try to keep the cattle from getting any more stressed than necessary. The Corriente cattle are a little more ornery than the beef cattle.

Everyone has their designated job. Here is DD handing Grandpa the emasculators. They go back into the silver bucket when he is through with them, and the nuts, aka calf fries, go into the blue bucket. The dogs make themselves sick on some of them and we divvy up the rest amongst the crew. We usually throw ours into the freezer and cook them up sometime during the summer.

At 6'3, DS is right handy as part of the ground crew.

Actually, everyone rotates. Everyone who wants to rope, gets to rope.

DH loves to rope

and he's good at it:

Gotta love a man on the back of a horse:
with a rope in his hand:

DS tried his hand at bull doggin on this ornery critter as we all cheered him on:

This was our entertainment for the morning:

We're easy to entertain:

5.6 seconds! Not bad!

The kids have never just been just spectators around here.

They have always been integral parts of the daily happenings on the ranch. They started opening gates when they were 2. It was so cute to watch them clamber onto the gate, wrestle with the chain, scramble back down and swing the gate open. This task was always tended to with a huge grin and a great sense of accomplishment. So this year DD was promoted to a new position. She became the official 'Cutter of Bull Calves':

Not sure where that may one day fit in on a college application, but hey, it's all part of a day's work around here! Even a girl makes a hand at the end of this dirt road.


Happy Heifer said...

Cutting calves is always so much fun!! I was always the one who did the honors of cutting. At the ranch we work on now even though it is a commercial herd my husband cuts and tags them not long after they are born so he spends his days cutting claves. We have worked on a lot of places that do it the way you guys do and it is so much more fun that way. It is so funny seeing how everyone does it different though. Since we have always worked on ranches every new place we go to does something different than the last. We never worked on a place that used emasculaters for the calves, only for cutting horses and I have deffinitly helped with a lot of that. Even big calves never got the emasculaters. So much fun!!! Megan

Broken Y said...

So glad DD has this experience - may not be necessary on a job resume, but is sure good to have when checking out prospective husbands!

We're praying for about 30 head of these little suckers to rope - should I be contacting you?

Broken Y said...

Just so you know, "Cowgirl Fever" has hit the Broken Y. We are now on the hunt for a "better" cowboy hat and pink silkie stuff to make a wild rag! Even miles away, DD is being a great role model.

Karin said...

Hi Megan! Where bouts are y'all? Glad to see you're a fellow blogger - I'm looking forward to reading! I agree, It's always fun to hear about how other ranches do things.

P ~ I'll get back to you on the calves. DD's never been known for her fashion before! She bought that hat last November with the money she earned working cattle and halter breaking colts. It's the first decent hat she's had - you should see the hats we've gone through! Cracks us up to look at back at the way they would yank them on when they were little, resulting in a wonky brim. Now that she has spent her own hard-earned cash one one, she takes excellent care of it. LOL!

AmyJoy said...

Yeah. I know you warned me.. but I couldn't help it.

I don't think I want to eat dinner now.

Uh... thanks.

agent713 said...

I think that's fascinating! It looks like hard work though. The cold weather probably isn't noticed as much when you're working up a sweat!

Pony Girl said...

Those are GREAT pictures! Good for DD to moving up from being a gate-holder to a calf-fry cutter, LOL!

Mikey said...

Just love this post! I think this kind of work is excellent for later on in life. Knowing that you can get down and dirty and do a job most people would just rather not do.. it gives a person confidence that's hard to beat.
My boss (the local vet) was giving me guff yesterday morning, and threatening to cut off my coffee. (can you imagine?) and I said to him "You do know I've flanked and castrated calves bigger than you?" and he said "You can have all the coffee you need" lol.
Love this post!

Karin said...

Welcome to the end of the dirt road Mikey! Glad you found us out here! I agree - the kids are learning life skills out here and if nothing else, they will leave home with a good work ethic!
Hope you'll visit again soon - the coffee's always on around here!

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