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Posts Tagged ‘wild cow’

When I downloaded the photos for the last post I found the photos I had taken on Sale Day and thought you’d like to see them. 

Sale Day is the day we sell our calves, yearlings and sometimes cows or bulls.  It can come on any day of the year and sometimes we have several Sale Days.  When you are a rancher, Sale Day is also one of the best days of the year.  I took the day off of work – which is easy to do when you have a boss that does the exact same thing.  My boss and I even coordinate our schedules so we both get to see our calves sell.  After all, when you’re a ranch wife, Sale Day is the social event of the season!

Around here Sale Day always starts early – ‘O-dark-thirty’.

I told you it was dark.  We were up and going by 4:00 am.  Do you see all those little white dots?  Those are the eyes of the cows reflected in the headlights. 

It’s sad to see the girls like this.  They are all bunched up in the corner waiting for their calves to come back.  They are good mamas.  The cows usually hang out here for a day or so and then they seem to forget what they’re waiting for and get on with the business of being a cow. 

The first stop on Sale Day was the corrals where we had one more cow to load in the trailer.  Now don’t feel bad for that old girl.  She got a private ride to the sale barn because she was a wild thing, full of piss & vinegar and she had done everything she could not to get on the truck with the other cattle.  She has been a challenge since the day we brought her home to the ranch and my hubby decided it was time to send ‘Alice’  packing before she ended up hurting someone. 

We had left her in the corrals over night with another cow – one that was a lot calmer, who we will call ‘Bess’.  It seemed to work.  Bess doesn’t get stirred up about anything, not even when a pickup and trailer back up to the corral at ‘O-dark’thirty’.  Bess just stood there, chewing her cud and checking out the lights and sounds. I imagine life could be rather boring for a cow as Bess really seemed to enjoy the activity.   ‘Alice’, on the other hand, eyed everything with a healthy dose of suspicion but since her girlfriend, Bess wasn’t concerned Alice decided it must be OK.  We opened the door on the trailer and flipped the lights on inside and Hubby directed the two old girls to the gate.  Bess took one look around and stepped right into the trailer, followed closely by Alice who was starting to snort and blow snot.  But, since nothing scary happened (and there was nothing to eat inside) Bess turned around and calmly walked out, letting me shut the door in Alices’ face. 

Here’s the trailer all lit up with a rather pissed-off Alice inside.  Check out the Moooood lighting inside.  Ha!  Ranch humor.

Alice was locked and loaded – literally.  It was much easier than the day before when we had tried to do the same thing .  That day Alice went through the fence (twice), ripped off the gate, took off at top speed across the pasture and then, when Hubby (and the horse he was riding) politely asked her to return, she put down her head and charged them (several times).  Now you can see why Hubby was determined that Alice make it to her date at the sale barn.

And speaking of the sale barn – here we are:

Belle Fourche Livestock Exchange 

Belle Fourche is pronounced ‘Bell Fooch’ and it’s the name of a town, a river and just about everything else in that country.  It is a French name and means ‘Beautiful Fork’ because of the fork in the river there.  I guess if you have nice flatware you could have a whole set of belle fourches.  HA!  Give me a break – it’s early.

Anyway, here’s a few of our calves.  The guy in the green shirt is the auctioneer doing his job trying to get the buyers to bid.  When they bring in the first batch of calves the auctioneer always stops to say a few words – he names the ranch where the cattle are from, asks if the rancher is there and then asks a few questions or makes a comment or two on how nice the calves look.  Then he kicks it into high gear and starts asking for bids.

From this photo it doesn’t look like there were many buyers around – see all the empty seats, but they were there and prices were high and our calves were looking good.  That is a good combination for us.  The bigger ones almost always bring less money per pound but they also have more pounds.  Our prices ranged from $1.02 per pound to $1.58 a pound.  These prices were towards the high-end for that day although there were some calves that brought $1.87 per pound.  We had yearlings that weighed over 800 pounds and calves that weighted between 400 – 600 pounds each.  Last year we were lucky to get over a dollar a pound for anything but prices have improved lately and from everything we’ve heard people believe they will stay up.

It’s always nerve-racking sitting there waiting but this year things came together and it was a good day.

Here’s a few more calves.  Check out that rather large boot on the railing – that’s our baby, Morgan.  He got the day off too so he could go.  I told you Sale Day is a big event.

And more calves.  It goes on like this until all the calves and yearlings we brought had sold.  Suddenly, it’s done and we sit and watch the next ranchers calves come in.  Our calves ended up going to 5 different places, some went to other ranches as replacement heifers and some went to feed lots to be finished – fattened up before ending up in a butcher shop.  That’s the cattle business.

We picked up our pay check and then headed 20 miles out-of-town to visit our son Dalton and his wife Dani at the ranch where they work.  It was a great day but very long. 

On another subject, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you may remember a post I did last January titled Sun Spots.  I have always had a thing about sun spots or ‘orbs’ showing up in my photos and I watch for them.  When I tried to lighten up the photos for this post I was surprised to find this:

I know these aren’t sun spots because the sun wasn’t even close to coming up yet.  I supposed they could be snow crystals in the air but it wasn’t snowing and look at the ground – there wasn’t any snow to blow around.  I rmember it was a very still morning but if you look at the photo you can see that there is frost on the hood of the pickup.  So who knows?  The spot that really got me was the bright spot right beside one cows face.  It even showed up before I had lightened the shot.

 

This photo only shows a few spots even though it was taken right after the previous one and this photo only has one:

I’m not sure why we get these orbs in some photos but I will keep watching for them.  Well, I better get busy.  There’s still a lot to do before Christmas!

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