First things first, after everyone (D, S, K, and I) had eaten breakfast and had our coffee (not necessarily in that order--I drank my coffee on the way to Granddad's though), we headed the three miles over to Granddaddy's place where he was waiting for us. While Granddaddy got into the truck, Daddy started up the tractor. I grabbed the gate, then hopped into the back of the truck (Savannah was in the cab and Katherine was in the back with me). Once we got to the trap, I jumped out of the truck to open the gate. By the time I got it shut and was ready to get back in the truck, Granddaddy had already taken off and started pushing the cows towards the pens! (Daddy told me on the way home, "I really didn't mean for him to leave you stranded like that.") At first I tried to catch up with the truck, but soon changed course and started pushing cows between Daddy on the tractor and Granddaddy in the truck. Now, I'll be honest, I'm no runner so by the time we got to the place where the trap starts to narrow, I was starting to get tired. (Also, running in boots and cow-patties isn't necessarily the easiest.) Daddy hollered at me over the roar of the tractor to get on the back (or if he didn't I got the point...he might have just motioned...can't remember for sure). I did. Hee, hee. I bet it was a sight, me standing on that bar off the back with one foot, the other one on the platform that the seat is attached to, hugging the back of the seat. (Oh, yes. I had forgotten this part--I had a jacket on, which came off as soon as I started running and I stuffed that down between Daddy and the seat.) We were tailing "Blah" (so-named for her voice) pretty closely. She's an old cow and she wanted to walk--slowly; Daddy got her hurried up after a while. Once we got to the pens, I closed the gate on them (I'd hopped off the tractor again once we got close to the pens) and then jumped in the back of the truck, ready to head back down the trap, open gates and then head back to the pens.
Granddaddy stayed outside the pens this year. While it's sad to not see him working the hopper gate, it really is best. He just isn't stable enough. So, Daddy did Granddaddy's job--working the hopper gate. Savannah did my usual job, working the 'beef' gate. (When the guy in the hopper holler's "Beef!" the beef gate is swung open, allowing the calf/cow into the 'beef' pen...these are the animals that are going to market.) I was down in the pens, herding cattle from this holding pen into the next one (Daddy helped during this juncture--er, I should say, I helped). We 'beefed' (that's not a real word to my knowledge) 16 calves. We saved a red heifer out in exchange for our calf who got put over there on Saturday. We've alread named her 'Strawberry'. Maybe she will tame up nicely. After loading up the calves and getting some of the cattle out of the pens, Daddy and I shifted about half of the remaining cows into the beef pen--Moonbat being the target. After that, Daddy, Granddaddy, and Savannah took the calves to market. I usually go along to market, but Daddy told me to stay this time and let Savannah go so she could see how the livestock market operates. So, Katherine and I stayed and ended up watching Fess Parker as "Daniel Boone".
They stopped at Burger King on the way back (tradition, ya know) and got coffee (they brought K and I one to split) which we drank on our way back out to the pens. That was kind of funny...we both got coffee mustaches because of the bumps :) Next order of business--removing Moonbat's horns.
Yikes! It took Daddy a bit to get her horns caught with the chain...and at that he ended up chaining one horn up at a time. (By the way, the only reason for the chains is to keep the animals head fairly stationary--fairly being the key word in that sentence.) While he was sawing off the first horn, Granddaddy had ahold of the other one. Since he's unstable and she was upset and tossing her head some, I went behind Granddaddy and by the end of that first horn, I had a grip on him. I held him up at least once (I'm not sure I didn't actually pull him back some). The second horn was a bit more trouble and poor Daddy looked like he'd been gored or something because of the blood all over him. The front of both pant legs were red and one stream of blood was hitting him in the armpit...kind of looked like he'd been wounded. Moonbat also managed to get blood all over his hat, glasses, and face.
We were ready to let her go. Granddaddy would not come inside the pens but he did move back a little and poised himself in such a way that if she charged he could attempt to climb the fence. I stood in front of him (after all I could stand another broken bone better than he could at this juncture in life) and ordered Katherine, "Give me my hot shot!" which she kindly and obligingly passed through the slats. I was ready to hop up the fence and start kicking Moonbat in the face and jabbing her with my mini-hot shot and yelling at the top of my lungs. Thankfully, at soon as she was released, she took off and didn't attempt to bother anyone.
After taking care of Moonbat, we branded and ear marked Strawberry. (Okay, so
Daddy branded and ear marked her. I did hang on to her tail during the branding
process though and got a not-so-unsual knuckle barking into the deal.) We backed
her out of the squeeze chute (old thing needs some work) and I ran her into the
trailer and Savannah shut the door on her.
Then we cleaned up...I picked up Moonbat's horns (I believe Daddy plans on making us a hat rack), Katherine got the gas bottle, and Savannah grabbed the branding irons. Daddy drove the tractor back to the house and the rest of us rode in the truck--Granddaddy driving. Both times he got behind the wheel today, he forgot to put the truck into gear before hitting the accelarator. Once we got back to the house, we unloaded the truck and then went in and fed Granddaddy lunch. Then we came home.
Once here we unloaded Strawberry and Daddy washed out the trailer (always a good thing to do...makes the floor boards last longer). Then we ate lunch; after some of us cleaned up that is.
Daddy just got back from the feedstore. It looks like he got pellets and 3-4 bales of hay. We have to feed the animals now because there is no grass at present because it froze last week. We need rain and it looks like there might be a chance today. I hope it rains. It will help the grass come back.