Once again the journal irony has struck. Whenever nothing is happening you have time to write. Whenever there is something to write about, there is no time. Last week was Thanksgiving. I worked on Monday at Liberty Middle School and spent Tuesday and Wednesday preparing for all the activities. Can’t remember at all what I did. We took a bunch of trash to the dump, I think and bought groceries. Melissa spent the weekend with us and we had a lot of fun. On Friday we went to the Renaissance Fair and even dressed up. I had somewhat of a costume, but most of what we had was rented from a great costume shop in Sour Lake of all places. You never know what you will find in the country. It’s not all gas stations and corner stores.
Saturday, Scott, Chaundra, Darlene, and Val came over. Scott works in construction and he helped me put in a device at the foot of the blocking gate that will keep cows from stepping in the track and breaking their foot. The device looks great and will hold up well. It was a new experience for him. “Ranching is not the same as construction,” he said. We kept using scrap lumber and straightening out 50 year old nails for reuse. He had trouble getting used to not just going to the nail pouch. We had a lot of fun with the comparisons. The girls did a lot of straightening up around the pens and cleaned a lot of brush away to make it easier to get around.
Sunday, we took a good rest. Dad and Linda showed up on Monday afternoon and I was not satisfied with what we had gotten done to that point. Nevertheless, we managed to make the necessary pen repairs before dark. We were ready to round up the cows and have them ready for the doc on Tuesday.
Tuesday morning we started early. The cows were completely uninterested in the gator and the cubes so it started out as kind of a rodeo. There was a small bunch just inside the savanna so we went ahead and penned those. The dogs made it difficult. They don’t know what to do and at first they have try to just chase the cows. This splits them up, so we had to work against the dogs for awhile. After we got them moving, however, they started to get it. Dixie especially was working the front of the herd and keeping them bunched up. Once they almost got away from us while crossing the gully, but Dixie set ‘em on course. When she knows what to do, she can be a good cow dog. I think they’ll get better.
We went back for the second bunch and it was the same way. Tough at first, but after the dogs got lined out, things went pretty smoothly. There were about 10-15 head that we never got. We saw them when we came back after lunch, but they just ran off and we didn’t have the horses, so it was no go.
The vet got there around 2:30. We worked them pretty smoothly and the blocking gate worked well. I kept the cows qued up in the chute while Dad worked the headgate, Linda vaccinated, and Anna kept notes on what was pregnant and what wasn’t. She also worked the squeeze chute and the back gate. I kept thinking that I should run forward and do that for her, but every time I did she had a handle on it, so I let her continue. She did great!
The vet checked 38 cows and 31 were pregnant! This is a far cry from what we had before. Hopefully we have turned the corner on our glut. For what we checked we had an 86% pregnancy rate. What we sold so far was about 15%. So, Dad and I culled pretty good based on a visual inspection. Plus, a lot of what we sold we knew were pregnant, just really old.
We also tagged a bunch. The next step in our cattle management will be to go out and take notes on the color, brand, description of all the cows that are tagged and enter it into the management software that I bought years ago. I get to manage cows. I’m very excited. All that college training will go to good work.