There is a stereotype about in-laws. You shouldn't like them. I, however, love mine. :) Lucile enjoys the same things that I do. We enjoy hiking, nature, gardening, cooking, and animals. Her and I can enjoy hours talking...well...I do most of the talking, she just patiently listens....something that I am always working on. My father in law, Jim, loves to create wood projects. I didn't get into projects like that until after I left...wish I would have gotten into 'wood crafting' before so I could pick his brain.
So they made the journey to Oklahoma. At the time we only knew our neighbors so we asked for their assistance and told them we'd appreciate if they rounded up others. We called a friend from Texas and we set the date.
This year, we did something different. Even though we have a registered brand, we chose to earmark the calves, band the steers, and give them a shot. Usually we castrate, brand, and vaccinate them. But we are already going back to branding. The ear marks, when they healed, grew over with tons of fur, making it near impossible to tell we had earmarked them.
In addition, we always had old working cattle friends that would rope and drag the calf to the fire. Folks in Oklahoma don't do it like that anymore. I'm finding the old days....are becoming more and more rare.
The day before the branding was great catching up with Jim and Lucile. Here is Reese taking a break to love on the horses, who hadn't dropped their babies yet. (The branding was back in May-and I'm just posting it, in Jan. of 2014!) I'm on top of things!
I gave Lucile a tour of our ranch. Little Lucile helped.
Reese helped Grandpa Jim with food preparation.
Our neighbor boy, Rocky, gave Lucy a ride the day of the branding.
Here is the old chuck wagon.
Jim rebuilt the chuck wagon using only authentic material. It still has wooden wheels. It's amazing!
Lucy inspecting Grandpa's cast iron pots.
And the work began. We just started grabbing and throwing. This is harder than it looks. Which is why we decided to buy a calf table. Yes, we are becoming modernized in Oklahoma.
Chuck, on the left is clipping the ears, Kristy is vaccinating, I'm holding the front leg and Dalton is pulling the back one. In the background, others are flipping and holding. On average we would have two to three grounded at a time.
Some took a bit more help...Ok..a lot more. Some of them were big boys!
Back straight, knees bent, holding a kicking calf. Ohh the posture! Shawnee to the left helped in flipping.
We also banded the steers.
You can also hold the back leg at a sitting position. Towards the end we all were sitting...
Barry flipping and sorting through the maze of calves.
So when we got tired we opened up a larger pen and started to rope and drag. Barry, Rocky, and Dalton roped (as a host, you never rope-it's a rule of thumb, you allow your friends to do this part)..You work! Not play and rope! :) Here I am either taking off a rope or gathering a leg for a two leg catch. If the rope catches only one back leg we down the calf and hand place the rope on both back legs, so the horse can pull both feet. I only got kicked a couple times.
Water breaks were frequent. It was hot out but because of our huge pecan tree, we had shade most of the day.
Finally the work was complete, we were able to enjoy a hot meal from Jim and Lucile. The kids helped cook. Here is Meagan and Jaimie.
Did I mention the food was the bomb! We had brisket, potatoes with green chilies, baked beans, biscuits, and peach cobbler.
The kiddos got to ride Casey, our horse. This is Lilly, one of our friends.
Of course dad put Lucy on....and let her go. Mommy shouldn't have panic attacks but she was only two! But..yet again, she's a natural.
Reese got a turn.
I loved on Boomer. He was good most of the day.
Nate kicking the herd back out.
Bellies full...kids were slowing down.
Like father like son.
Lucile captured a rare moment with us. We really do love one another.
And of course once we saw, we became goofs. I mean, no one needs to see that sissy stuff.
Next day we hiked the property with the dogs. Notice our border collie, Gin, far left and his once a year shave...My husband is no dog groomer.
We also had a calf that had scours and ended up dying. Here we tried to hand milk the mom to keep her milk supply coming but ultimately this was the result. (I wrote about the babies death in a circle of life post).
Kiddos and I enjoying the day after.
We were able to snap these rare photos just before Jim and Lucile left.
Even got one of our family.
Hope you all enjoyed the pictures of our annual branding...that will go back to branding this spring. I will try to be more diligent in posting sooner but on this ranch...it's sorta like we try to get things done. And facebook, blogs, and social media seem to take a back seat to the ranch. As it should be!