Sunday, November 04, 2012

Weanin' Time

All summer long I told myself things would slow down after Labor Day. Then we had a couple of rodeos up by Calgary and a writers conference at Fairmont Hot Springs, a work seminar in Bozeman plus helping my great uncle move to a nursing home in Helena, then back north to the Canadian Senior Pro Rodeo finals for four days. All of the sudden it's November. No wonder I never get anything done.

Like the rest of the world, our cattle refuse to sit back and wait for me to catch up. This weekend it was time to wean the first of our calves. We have purebred Angus cows that we run mostly separate from our commercial cattle. We breed them via artificial insemination and keep the best of the bull calves as herd sires. We can afford to introduce extremely good genetics this way because buying semen is much cheaper than buying bulls. We purchase frozen semen from high quality bulls via companies like Universal Semen Sales. Go ahead, leaf through their online catalog. Better yet, check out their clothing line. Christmas is just around the corner, you know, and who wouldn't want to find a pair of Sammy Semen pajamas in their stocking?

The purebreds are the first to calve on our ranch, giving the baby bulls as much time as possible to grow up before they have to go to work as yearlings. Therefore, they are also the first to be weaned. They spend the summer in our far north pasture, the one that butts right up against Canada. Considering it's an international border and all, you'd think the fence would be straighter.

There is a boundary marker along our fence, and as you can see in this picture, where the terrain allows there is also a double-fenced No Man's Land. All four sides of the marker are inscribed. The name and date of the treaty that established the border are on the east and west sides. This is looking east. And just in case you get turned around, the south side of the marker says "United States". 

And yes, the north side of the marker says "Canada".

Max and I decided to be rebels and venture a tiny bit into No Man's Land. Say hello to Tequila (Tick for short since most of the time she's so fat she's just a swollen belly with legs sticking out). Next spring she'll get to test her mettle as my rodeo horse, in yet another attempt to allow Em the Magnificent to enjoy her retirement. 

Then we had to get back to work, trailing the cows into the corral for sorting and weaning. Max and my dad were in charge of watching the gate. 

Definitely weaning time when you can barely tell the babies from the mamas!

The coolest part of having a good dog? Sending her out and around the cows that get into the bog. Our horses are grateful.



Cynthia D'Alba said...

watching border collies work is fascinating! Love your pictures.

Linda G. said...

So, basically what you're telling me is, if I ever need to escape to Canada, your property would be a good place to slip over the border. ;)

Anonymous said...

Linda: Oddly, no. There are electronic sensors along that fence, plus a lot of nosy neighbors with binoculars and a direct line to the border patrol.

Stephanie said...

Interesting about the sensors. Our neighbors are weaning, and the calves will sing us to sleep for the next few nights.

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

Testing testing... sharing the bloggerly love! :D