Our first branding of the season this weekend! We just did a small group, but it was still a lot of fun. I love branding because it really does mean it’s springtime (even though it’s currently snowing right now!) and that the baby calves are getting big and strong, and summer’s on the way. Plus, Bert works with a really great set of guys, so everything ends up being pretty enjoyable around here, I think :)
I love coming into the barnyard and seeing all of the pickups and trailers and horses.
The guys bringing the cows into the pens to sort the calves from their mothers. I didn’t help gather this time because I was home getting everything together and making breakfast!
If I had a better zoom on my camera, you’d know why the guys call this a “mustache outfit!” Bert and I went out for dinner after the bull sale a couple of weeks ago, and our waiter told Bert that his mustache was “EPIC.” Because it is, folks. Truly!
Staking the forks. Here was use North/Nord/Branding forks instead of team-wrestling all the calves. Keep going to see a picture of how they work!
Another variation: some people use hot irons, like these, heated either directly over a fire or with propane. Others use electric irons on extension cords. Hot irons get hotter and are a little more traditional, but a bigger pain to set up.
Waiting for the action to start.
Hot hot hot!
And we’re off!
Hart is demonstrating how a fork is used! His feet stay roped while the fork keeps him laying down and still. That rope is attached to an inner tube so he doesn’t gets jerked around.
Hurrying to get to the next calf in between needle changes!
Josh holding down the fort (and the calf) like a boss, as usual!
Bert throwing his first loop of the day. Everyone’s always a little rusty at the first branding, but I thought everybody did really well!
Aren’t his new chaps just fantastic? His dad made them for him, he makes such cool stuff! These are batwing-style chaps, and Bert’s pretty much always wanted a pair. I need to get a close-up shot because they have these gorgeous scalloped edges. This was his first time wearing them, so they’ll look even neater when they get worn in a little.
This is one of the guys’ sons. He’s only TWELVE! Can you believe that? I can’t. He’s super handy, and this little mare that he rides is one of the coolest horses. They’re such a good pair.
One down, many to go! We’ll have another one closer to summer for the younger calves (and the ones who aren’t born yet), and all the other guys will have at least one branding each, if not more. I’m glad to get this one under my belt because this is the first time I’ve ever cooked by myself (with prep help from my sis!) and so I was pretty nervous! But, even though I made waaaay too much food, no one died and most of the guys had seconds, so I think it was a success. W
We had blueberry muffins (this recipe is dynamite! I add extra blueberries and a little vanilla) and cinnamon rolls for breakfast (with lots of black coffee), and lasagna (major thanks to my Aunt Marcia for her recipe!) with garlic bread and salad for lunch. Dessert was brownies, and my go-to blondies recipe (I use milk chocolate chips instead of walnuts). Not exactly traditional “branding food,” but I wanted to do something a little familiar but still delicious for my first try. Whew!
After we were all done, everything was fed and all the stuff was hauled back to the house, I made some curtains, cooked some more and scrapbooked a little.
Just kidding. I went home, took off my boots, and fell asleep on the couch.
Ranchy Martha Stewart will have to wait :)