The calving season is nearly over. There are a few “late” cows, or cows that haven’t calved yet, in the pasture to calve on their own. The pairs, or mom/baby combinations, are sorted into different pastures. Newt still checks the late calvers, but only once a day. I have been crazy busy with work (an entirely different story) and Newt has been finished calving while starting brandings. His schedule is crazy busy as well.
Brandings are a time when the baby calves receive vaccines from life-threatening diseases, other unpleasant things that hurt less when they are young (I saw a tiny baby with her ears pierced in the mall- same concept), and lastly a brand. Again, the mall, where unusual people walk by with pierced eyebrows/noses, tattoos, and funky earrings that look like a quarter was smashed into their ears. The image of these people who willingly inflicted pain on themselves comes to mind, when people ask, “Doesn’t the brand hurt the calves?” Yes, it does for a while. But if done properly, the brand should only burn off the hair and the very top layer of skin. Cows have thick skins (why our boots and heavy gloves are made of leather). Without a brand, a calf may be lost in a neighbor’s pasture or stolen. I would give ReeRee a brand, if I knew it would bring her back safely to me.
Brandings occur early in the morning. Decades ago, flies were a problem, so ranchers branded before the flies came out. Today some ranchers just across the time zone (Mountain Time) brand at 5:30 am. Most of Newt’s brandings start between 6:30-7:30 am. Calculate driving to the ranch, catching and saddle a horse, and driving to the brandings, Newt leaves our house before the sun comes up, or as Newt refers to the sunrise- the “butt crack of dawn”. Kinda takes the beauty of the sunrise.