We gathered and shipped our big steers to the sale barn for auction tomorrow. I thought you might like to come along for the ride. It was a glorious spring morning in Kansas. Mid-April and knee-deep grass in places. Spring came a month early in the Heartland. T.H. is giving instructions to the cowboys (and me) on how he wants us to bring them in. I’m sure they listen better than me.
Cowboy Mike and Ted are real cowboys. They are “Day-Riders”. They hire out to ranches to gather and take care of cattle and usually get paid by the day. They work at the sale barn on Thursdays too. They’re good friends and I just love riding with them.
We visit all the way out to the cattle. Like the Waddie Mitchell poem “We commune while we’re commuting”.
These are the same steers that made the jail break last Friday. The wheat pasture they’ve eaten down lasted a long time due to the rain. They weighed about 500 lbs when we bought them last fall and we think they’ll top out at 900 lbs today.
The funny part about gathering yearlings is the stuff they do. These cattle aren’t really dog-broke or horse-broke. They come from the local sale barn as calves so we don’t really know how they were handled before. They’re always curious. They have to run at us to see what’s going on before we turn them around and send them in the right direction. Good cowboys like Mike and Ted know how to make that a gentle process. No fuss no muss.
I’ve got Puncher broke enough now that she stays back with my horse until I need her. (most of the time) That lets the cattle ease in the right direction without scattering.
Sometimes I have to let her have a little fun and slip in and bite one then come right back.
We cross another grazed off wheat pasture.
Down the creek and another fence line. To the right is a wheat pasture that T.H. will harvest. Right here I’m hoping I didn’t get too close and they don’t blow through that fence out on T.H.’s wheat. That would be grounds for divorce.
I told Cowboy Ted I didn’t want to go through there because I would get clothes-lined. He quietly traded places with me.
I wonder about this old rock structure. Did someone live there once? This is a leased place. I must ask someone.
The reason I’m so far away from the cattle here is not because I got lost. Ted and Mike are driving them towards us and our presence is stopping them from going back up the creek where they came from. Consequently, turning them into the pens.
Then Puncher has to follow them in and act like she did it all herself. Such a ‘glory-hog-dog’.
I love old cowboys. These guys remind me of my youth in Wyoming. (By ‘youth’ I mean my 40’s) And if I asked, I might find out that Cowboy Mike and Ted they are closer to my age than not. So I won’t ask. This little jaunt took about an hour. Just right.
We drink coffee and commune some more, waiting on the truck. Actually we had an hour so we went to town and got fresh coffee and cinnamon rolls from Lori at Busters.
Ted and Mike back the trucker in to the portable chute. I wonder how many hundred times they’ve done this?
Puncher and I didn’t get invited back in the pens to help load which is OK by me because this is the exact place where I got her foot broke two years ago. It’s tight and dangerous in there and these cattle are BIG. I let her bite a couple from the outside if they stall out and squish themselves up against the panel. A girl’s gotta have a little fun or we get cranky.
They only have a 30 minute ride to town. And I’ll see them one more time tomorrow when they go through the sale ring.I’m not sad to see them go. Just grateful. It was a good winter to have them around. I know a few of them as individuals. Of course the “Weirdos” and friendly ones. Puncher and I had lots of good practice with them. She got to mature as a cowdog because of them.
We went back to Buster’s for a cheeseburger and fries. Then Cowboy Ted and Mike asked me if I wanted to go with them to move someone else’s cattle in the afternoon. Hell yeah!!!!
Love ,Cowgirl Red aka Terah
P.S. Come to think of it, I may have invited myself to go along with Cowboy Mike and Ted.