Western Wednesday ~ Anderson Valley

Up bright and early…8 AM hunting cattle in the Hill Field BLM grazing allotment for the 3J Ranch…what a spectacular view of Anderson Valley where I’m blessed to live.

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In the center of the photo there is a black butte…the beginning point along Hwy 78 of the Buzzard Fire from last summer that burned 395,747 acres of grazing land. Luckily no homes were destroyed, but a lot of ranches lost cattle and calves and were left without feed for their remaining stock.

As you can see on the ground in front, this side of the valley escaped the devastation, and the cows in this allotment hadn’t even made it up to this elevation (approximately 4750 ft) to feed on the plentiful bunch grass. The high desert is an amazing place.

Western Wednesday ~ Branding Calves

For those who aren’t familiar, yes, we’re western here…and calves get branded and their ears notched just like they did 100 years ago.

Why? Because there are cattle rustlers still today…just like 100 years ago. True story. This is the best way for a rancher to protect his or her property.

Catchin' the Heels

Nice double heel catch by Erik (who BTW, makes a living as a buckaroo).

 

Some ranches catch heels only, but in our area, most ranches catch the head then the heels. The calf is then drug to the fire by the heels.

Your’s truly and Colt holding the front legs while the ears are being notched.

Does that last photo look a little hazy? By the end of the day, the wind was blowing 30 mph and the dust was thick and heavy. My camera had never been so dirty!

Western Wednesday ~ Gathering Pairs at Crowley Ranch

Moving Pairs

Last week I spent two days at Crowley ranch gathering and moving pairs. Fall is when most ranchers gather their pairs from summer pasture, sort the mamma cows from the calves then ship the calves to auction yards. Yes, the clouds were threatening rain, but we were lucky this time.

Searching for Pairs

The cow boss usually runs three border collie cow dogs at a time. I can only handle my one! It was great fun and can’t wait to go back in the spring to help turn out the newborn pairs to summer pasture…and the cycle goes on and on…