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Friday, January 10, 2014

The Highest of High and The Lowest of Low

A few weeks ago, we experienced the highest of high and the lowest of low that a rancher can achieve.
All within a day of each!

We shall start with the highest of high...
It was a cold blustery EARLY December morning.
We penned the weanlings.
Let me tell ya folks,
Penning cattle ain't nothing like pinning on Pinterest!
This day was COLD!!
We were thankful for my Sissy, her Hubby and Brother-in-Law.
I should say...
My Sissy and I were thankful for Flower Boy, Sissy's Hubby and Brother-in-Law.
We got to stay in the vehicles!
Thanks guys!
We love you!

Trailers were backed up to the pens.
 Weanlings were loaded.
 Both trailers full.
I kinda like this photo below.
It might be because of the smudge mark from one of the cows nose on the mirror.
It's original!
 I drove one truck and trailer while Flower Boy drove the other.

This is where the penning team split up.
Flower Boy and I headed out for an hour or so drive to the stockyard, 
While my Sissy, her Hubby and Brother-in-Law penned their weanlings and brought them to our weaning pasture.
It is so nice in the ranching world to have others to help and return favors.
They use our pasture...
We use their tractor...
They call for help to put out a bale of hay...
We call them to help us load weanlings...

Flower Boy and I pulled into the stockyards.
Looks like it's gonna be a good day!
We are setting in line.
A long line means a big sale!
Now, this is where I get a little sick to my stomach...
It's what ranchers do.
We do our best to place quality cattle in the market so that, you, the consumer can purchase quality beef.
The question for the rancher is always "Are our cattle good enough?"
The cattle haulers are just waiting for load outs.

Here is where Flower Boy gets a little nervous...
Our cattle are sorted and come into the sale ring.
The auctioneer calls out "Rockin' B Ranch" and the number of weanlings we have brought to the sale.
He asks if "we" are in the audience.
(Although they know we are because we sell most of our calves there.)
Flower Boy, with note pad and pen in hand, proceeds to tell the audience the age of the calves, date weaned and vaccines given.
The bidding starts!
We know we have good cattle.
(not bragging)
We put our hearts and souls into our operation.
We are proud of our product.

All the weanlings sell and top the market!
You want to jump up and down, do chest bumps and high fives.
You don't!
You set quietly, proud but humbled.
(it is part of the code)
You listen for the auctioneer to acknowledge you with a "Thanks folks for bringing in that fine group of calves."
Flower Boy nods, saying "Thank you" and returns to his note taking.
We continue to watch the remainder of the sale, pick up our check and head back home.

The very next day, we lost a baby calf!

The momma was a heifer.
Her name is Fuzzy.
Her ear tag number is 31.
She is a big square framed healthy girl.
She didn't breed when she should have for spring calving.
We held her over for fall calving.
She was our last girl to calve this season.
You worry when one calves this late because you tempt fate with the snow and ice.

We knew Fuzzy would be calving soon.
As always, Flower Boy keeps close watch on our girls.

We pulled into the pasture, took a head count and noticed Fuzzy wasn't with the herd.
We are having a baby!!!
We drive the pasture and find Fuzzy down by the pond.
We see the calf, but when we pull up, we realize something went wrong.
Our hearts sink to the pit of our stomachs.
It is a totally different feeling than we experienced the day before.

The calf was dead.
There was silence inside the truck.
Flower Boy gets out, consoles Fuzzy, grabs the baby, placing it on the back of the truck and says a prayer.
(this too is part of the code)
I cried.

The calf hadn't been birthed for more than a few hours.
It was still warm, wet and covered in afterbirth.
Heifers, like all new mothers, don't always know what to do after giving birth.
Fuzzy was nosing her baby and attempting to clean it.
Without being there during the time of birth, we will never know if the calf was still born or if it died because the birth sack didn't break.

None the less, we failed!
We failed ourselves!
More so, we failed Fuzzy!

That, our friends, is the highest of high and the lowest of low all in a day of a rancher's life.

Rancher Girl

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