One Last Branding

There was one last batch of PV calves remaining to be branded this season, and the crew was here to get the job done on Tuesday.

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These were the calves of the first-calf heifers we cared for here at the VX this past spring.  Remember when Mel Lich was here for a few weeks helping us calve?  (Read about that in Mel’s here and all’s well.)  Well, Mel came out to help us brand the calves he helped to deliver.  Here he is with my dad, below.  These two are buddies from way, way back:

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As the regular branding season is behind us and the boys have found other summer work, we were short a calf wrestler, so Dad had stopped on his way to the branding and knocked on doors in Ingomar until he found a kid willing to work for the day.  Here are a few shots of young Ingomar Joe helping Holden wrestle calves:

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(This last one is of a calf which Beau accidentally flanked and had to bring in.  He’s embarrassed for me to share this picture, because he’s embarrassed that he belly-roped the calf, but I tell him no one will know he’s the one on the end of the rope because he’s not actually in the picture.)

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Our neighbor Wally Newman came to help with this branding, and he brought his brother-in-law, a vet from Oklahoma, along for the day.  In this photo below, the vet (in red) is diagnosing for the crew’s benefit a calf with a messed-up scrotum.  (Now there’s a sentence you won’t read in just anyone’s blog.)

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Ever one day older, Asher is wanting to be more and more involved in the work around here.  Above, he helps Beau wrestle.  Below, he’s “helping” to hold the rope on a horse-held calf.  I love how we give kids jobs that aren’t really jobs just so they can think they have something important to do.  It cracks me up.  But I think it’s good for them to have a job… and good for us to slow down and make time for them, too.

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Grandma sat in the back of the pickup with the girls.  Emi has been wearing her cheerleader uniform for, oh, about a week now:

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There were a lot of the same ol’ views at this branding, like this one of Vergal limping back to the pot with an iron:

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And this one of two familiar brands sharing a horse:  the 999 is my dad’s horse brand, and above it, barely visible because it was made with a hot iron whereas Dad’s is a freeze brand, is Joe’s hay hook.  Dad and Joe have traded an awful lot of horses through the years.

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There was an unusual site at this branding, too.  We’re so slow getting the branding done this year that we’ve already turned out bulls for breeding season, which probably hasn’t happened before… not in recent memory at least.  The bulls had to be worked out of the herd before the branding could begin in the corral; if they’d been left in the herd, they would’ve taken up a lot of space and threatened to knock down the panels with their shenanigans.  I wasn’t there, but the story goes that the bulls were none too happy to be worked away from their heifers the morning of the branding.  Here, this fellow bellows and paces outside the branding pen:

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After the branding was over, the crew came into the house to eat:

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Phew.  Good to have that done.  It was another good branding season here at the PV.  As usual, everyone’s exhausted and glad it’s over… but, also per usual, we can’t wait to start again next year!

© Tami Blake

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