Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Branding: When we Give the Calves a Form of Identification

On Friday, we branded our small set of calves, and all of the kids had been anxiously awaiting the day.  Luckily, we keep them in the pastures closest to our house, so we could just walk out the back door once the crew had them gathered.  

 When their separated from their mommas, even for a short day like this, the cows go crazy.
John Paul had been waiting for the day to wear his chinks, but only with his Mickey Mouse shirt of course.
 PoPo (my cousins' dad) even came to help.
 But, Sophie might have been the most interested of all.
It takes quite a few people to get it all accomplished: One to rope and drag, two to flank, one to give shots, one to castrate, and another to actually do the branding.

Genevieve even came out for a bit.

And, I'm sure you can imagine what an appetite you can work up watching all the action.

She raided the Snickers bag - Elley sure had them taken care of.

 Then, sweet Elley helped everyone who wanted to brand a calf.  Peter was very content watching and later told me he just had a hard time seeing the guys hold the calves down.  Bless his sweet heart.

Sophie just wanted to ride.

Then, I think there was a minor mishap where a bad word may have been uttered.  John Paul came home and said, "Momma, you know what you never say?  Shot!  Shot is a bad, bad word.  Tate told me."  Hahaha.
 Then, someone else needed a little flanking.

I know some may not fully understand why this has to be done, and you never want to hurt anything, even animals.  But, we are taking the best care of these animals that we can.  They are our livelihood. More importantly, they are giving these kiddos a chance to see how you care for animals, and I do believe that rubs off on how we care for one another.  We give them medicine when they're sick.  We feed them every day.  We help the cows deliver their babies.  We even get pretty attached to some.  

I don't think I fully appreciated this way of life as a child and young adult.  More than anything, I just saw the hard work involved and the lack of security in the business.  But, from a different view now, I see how excited my kids are to learn...to be out in the beauty of God's creation caring for His creatures.  And, we are doing it all as a family...three generations.  As they watch, perched on the fence, I hear cheers for the one who has just successfully roped a calf.  They shout, "Great job!" after Elley brands another.  And their smiles stretch from ear to ear.  

This is our life...with all of the insecurity and hard work...and I cannot imagine anything better.

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