So much for my New Year’s Resolution!

… which was to blog every single day in 2020.

Four days have passed in a hurry since I posted last.  We’ve been so busy, and rise so early this time of year, that the days kinda blur together!

Here are a few glimpses into the season we’re in right now…


This time of year we get up way early.  Because there’s a lot of work to be done in a day, and also because the goal is to finish the day’s branding before the heat sets in (we’re supposed to be in the 90s tomorrow).


Nine-year-old Asher has made it his goal to ride at every single branding this year — which means he’s been willingly rising as early as 4 a.m.

Other PV kids have been riding with the crew, too.  Thursday morning 7-year-old Emi rode at South Butte Creek, and on that day there were nine kids between the ages of 7 and 16 horseback!  The PV is definitely in uncharted territory here, but as I wrote last week in New game plan: Coordinated Chaos, Beau and I have come to the conclusion that this just has to be the new normal on this historic cowboy outfit.  Tyrell, who mans the VX Camp, joked the other day that he felt like he was running a Cowboy Daycare.  He wonders if maybe we should get our own YouTube channel!


Speaking of 16-year-olds, these are two of my favorites.  At left, our nephew Nate, with his buddy Andy.  They’ve sure been good help and fun to have around.




And of course there are those who are too wittle to ride.  Here, Muggins and his pal Jameson hold down the back of the truck at a recent branding.




I’ve hauled lunch out to the crew several times the last couple weeks.  Soon we will have branded all the pastures closest to my house, and after that the ladies who live at the cow camps will take their turns cooking for brandings.



This is the time of year I brown 14 pounds of a hamburger at a time.


And the back of my pickup looks like this when I leave:  Coolers, tables for setting the lunch out, a few camp chairs for whoever needs them on any given day, a generator for heating the food out in the pasture, and my saddle — in case I get to rope on somebody else’s horse when I get there.


I try to remember to put on sunscreen before I go but it’s not my favorite thing to do.





The other day we took a break from branding PV calves and instead helped our friends the Ogrens brand their calves.  On that day I took this picture of their Uncle Frank, who is pretty much Uncle Frank to most of us, and who shows up every year to their branding with a panful of his world-famous caramel brownies.





When we get home from a branding day, there are always chores left to finish.  Asher’s 4-H animals can always use some attention, plus we’ve got a couple extra bum calves now.  (That’s Beau, above, feeding a new calf named… well, New, because Muggins named her.  New came to us with some extreme anger issues but she is slowly learning to tolerate the bottles of milk we feed her.)


And then there is the market hog, who surprises and delights us most every day with his piggish antics.  On this day, as Asher was walking him down the lane for exercise, the pig slipped through the fence and into a pen full of fat steers.  The steers were beside themselves with excitement over the pig in their pen, but the pig paid the steers no mind — he was all business, sniffing and rooting about, oblivious to the reality that he was seriously outnumbered and outsized.


The great news is, perhaps because we’re running them ragged most days, the kids have sure been sleeping good at night.

© Tami Blake

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