Hope to get some new shots this year, but I'm still missing the kids so much that I'm not sure I can do that just yet. Y'all might have to wait a bit.
We're breaking things up a bit this year. I usually have 14 days of cooking. That's 10-12 men, three meals a day. No dishwasher here either so I wash A LOT of dishes. Off to make the chocolate cake I mention below!
It doesn't seem possible that an entire year has already passed and we are once again smack dab in the middle of our Spring Works. For those of you that aren't familiar with that, it means that we are branding the calves and along with Shipping in the fall, it's the busiest time of the year for us. I spend the majority of it in the kitchen since these guys tend to work up quite an appetite when they work this hard. Mornings start at 4:00 am and by 9 in the evening I am passed out. The nights are short and the days are long, but it's also my favorite time of the year.
This spring is unusual as we are running a short crew. The help we had lined up couldn't make it, there wasn't enough time to track anyone else down and we can't reschedule because the calves will get too big. So we are all pitching in just a little bit more than usual and getting it all tended to. Some outfits use a calf table or brand using a chute, but we still drag calves to the fire.
I love to watch the crew work. Everyone has a job and they are amazingly efficient and work well together. They are like a well oiled machine and within seconds the calf has been innoculated, ear-marked, cut (if it's a bull calf), and branded.
Even with only 8 on the crew, they split into 2 teams and work 2 calves at a time:
When the calves are smaller, DD helps with flanking, but when the calves are this big, she runs the syringes. Everyone get a turn at dragging the calves to the fire. We have a friend who sings a song called, "That's My Boy Draggin' Calves to the Fire" and it goes through my head when DS gets his turn at roping.
Working as a family is one of the biggest blessings of living this lifestyle. Since the kids were little, we've all pitched in together.
It's all too easy for me to lose track of time and before I know it, I've got to scat back to house and put the finishing touches on dinner. I am always reluctant to leave my perch on top of the fence:
We're expecting a cold front tomorrow, but today it was pretty warm although the wind kept it's distance. Actually, it was the perfect day. The bawling calves, the smell of the branding fire, and the sound of the crew's easy banter mingles in the air.:There is nothing like the sounds and smells of branding day. At the end of the day there is a palatable feeling of satisfaction, of a job well done, a second piece of pie, and a good night's sleep waiting around the corner.