We weaned calves under a gorgeous Wyoming sunrise earlier this week.
In the midst of this busy portraits season, I changed hats and cowgirl’d for the day.
The cows are pretty gentle and they like us a lot so it’s pretty easy to get them to follow us in the truck. Patrick calls for them while I rattle the cake sack. Works every time.
Tom hangs behind to make sure no one breaks off from the herd.
The went right into the corral and then we sorted them. We took the steers to the sale and brought have 5 heifers home, bawling for momma. I’m keeping the bunk full of hay and by day 4 (today), they have settled down quite bit.
Have a great weekend folks!
Have you given up on me? Well, I’ve almost given up on blogging! Not by choice but life has been busy and business is growing and I haven’t had much time to spend here or on social media. It’s all good though.
We made it to another branding a couple of weekends ago and I’ll post that soon. But today I’ll leave you with Patrick hopefully roping you back into the Uprooted Magnolia world. 🙂
This Mother’s Day weekend was a rainy and snowy one. But last weekend the weather was perfect for a cattle roundup and branding. Below are images of that day.
After saddling the colt , he saddled his horse for the round up.
The boss got some help from his daughter with buckling up his chaps.
Making final adjustments to the cinch.
Discussing the route for gathering cows and calves.
Before branding the calves, we worked/doctored the cows in the barn.
Getting the horse ready for roping calves.
We start them young out here in the wild west.
Hot irons sit and wait. The flames are powered by a propane tank.
It was a nice day with friends, old and new. After the calves were all branded, they let them out of the corrals to mother up. By early evening, they all found one another and are doing great.
If you’d like to see more from this day, go to my website HERE.
Thanks for looking… 🙂
This young horse hasn’t worn a saddle much and had to learn how to back out of the barn. It’s all about trust between cowboy and horse. When Patrick saw this image, it made him think of the Charlie Russell painting “Bronc for Breakfast”. Quickly noticing the dust and dirt in this image, he said the next shot would be the bronc bucking around the corral as soon as he left the barn. Happy to say that didn’t happen. He stayed tied to the fence post and was well behaved.
Happy Monday, friends!
We had an eventful weekend full of horses, cows, cowboys, snapping turtles, and good friends and it couldn’t have been better. The rain held off down here but the thick clouds drenched the hills. The river is high and muddy and since we don’t have a boat, Patrick had to cross it horseback to mend fence. Gray did well at a branding and on the ride home, helped us lead our bay horse to the barn so he could go home with the best horse whisperer we know. Oh, and speaking of the river being high, we, ahem, Patrick, captured two HUGE snapping turtles out of puddles in the meadow and relocated them. They are a danger to the cows and especially the calves. Anyway, that was an adventure all in itself. Those things are scary!!
Hope you are having a great start to your week. I’ve got a lot of images to share with you from the weekend, sans turtles. 😉
I’ve been backing up and organizing image files and I found this one that I don’t think I’ve ever shared. This was back in 2012 during a hot and very dry summer. It was actually the summer of the Arapahoe Fire. We were still living on the ranch in the hills and we had our own water truck for fighting wildfires. We decided to crank the old girl up and drive her around while we checked on cattle, just to keep her running. We thankfully never had to use it to put out fire but we did fill up a small reservoir or two for the cows to drink from.
We’re getting saddled up for branding season.
Patrick caught Gray and led him out of the meadow and up to the barn and corral.
Unfortunately the young Bay horse isn’t invited. He’s not even half-broke so he gets to stay in the meadow. His time will come but for now, Patrick can only focus on one horse. He ran and bucked up and down the fence line the rest of the evening. He’s fine now, but the first couple of hours he was full of anxiety.
In the evenings, Patrick saddles Gray up and encourages patience and obedience while running circles. He took a spin around the meadow with him the other day and he did surprisingly well for not being ridden all winter.
Tighten the cinch and git yer spurs on…here we go!
Do not go where the path may lead,
go instead where there is no path
and leave a trail.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
A good friend of ours from back east came out to Colorado on a business trip and drove up to wonderful Wyoming to stay with us for a couple days. Phil went on a tough journey with throat cancer last year and we are excited to see him doing so well. Our celebration and delight called for an old west photo shoot. We love you Phil!
Branding season is upon us and that means cowboys as far as the eye can see!
Our neighbors have been a huge help while we adjust to our new location. They came to my rescue one morning when I found a newborn calf clinging to life. They heard the stress in my voice over the phone and came right over. But that’s a story for another time.
Anyway, last weekend before I had to travel to Laramie for a shoot, I had the opportunity to photograph the gather and some of the branding. Here are some shots from that morning.
They have a larger herd than us and helped us a few days before to brand our little grasshoppers. Neighbors helping neighbors. That’s what it’s all about. Am I right? 🙂
Have a great May Day folks! Hang baskets of fresh flowers on the doorknobs of your neighbors’ houses. Dance into May. It’s finally warming up!
“Why do I live somewhere where the air hurts my face.”
A friend posted a meme on Facebook yesterday with that saying and it couldn’t be more appropriate. Our temperatures have maintained a steady below zero temp for days now. It is sooo cold. I’m not complaining because I know there are places in the world much colder but after we came in from feeding the cows, the hair that was exposed from underneath my hat was frozen. Solid. Like I could have just broken it in half. And my face hurt.
Don’t let this bull and his harem intimidate you. I’ve got something they want and they are waiting patiently for the rest of the group to join us before we spread out the cake.
We rolled out a bail and Patrick pitched out even more. There is only one pitch fork down there so I told him I’d take pictures while he pitched hay. It’s only fair. 😉
Most of the river is frozen. As always it’s tempting to skate across it but…I’m smarter than that.
I’m not sure when this extreme winter spell will break but I’ve got photo shoots and a printer workshop lined up this month. I’m very much hoping for some nicer weather in the coming weeks. Frozen fingers are crossed!
The wind finally died down and snow started to stick Thursday evening. When Patrick got home, we went out to feed the cows. They get so excited when they here the crumpling sound of the cake sack.
As you can probably tell, they NEVER miss a meal and Patrick just about got trampled by the excited girls.
Friday and Saturday mornings were overcast and snow squalls blew through several times a day giving us 3 or 4 inches on the ground. Days like these call for bundling up in my snowmobiling coveralls for a wander to the meadows to check on critters.
I got a wink and a smile from Gray. I can tell he’s having fun because he’s covered in mud. Pretty typical for this guy.
Crabby Alice debated on whether or not she wanted to come over and visit with me.
The Bay horse in the background is a bit bashful so he doesn’t get portraits very often. But I’ll get him one day.
Alice needs to wipe her nose. 😉
I love the pattern and chaos of the Cottonwood tree forest that surrounds us.
We celebrated Patrick’s birthday this weekend by chopping firewood, sitting by the river, and enjoying the quiet scenery of home. And of course I demanded a Birthday portrait of us. I used my new trigger remote with the camera on the tripod and my nifty fifty lens.
We have more snow ahead of us this week but the sun came out yesterday and today. Hello February!
It’s been a whole week since I last spoke with you all. My excuse is that I came down with a major head cold that stopped me in my tracks. My ears are still echoing but I’m through the worst of it I hope. It happened when we went from warm sunny days to immediate overcast and rain showers. And this day of weaning our calves on the mountain probably didn’t help much.
I was in the pickup so I didn’t get too wet during the gather. But with assistance from some cowboys and cake (mineral snacks for the cows), we had a successful gather.
It was just a cool mist during the first hour of the gather but as soon as we got to the corrals, it was really raining.
The cowboys separated the cow mommas from the grown calves.
Mommas peered through the fence while I guarded the gate.
Calves called out for momma….
…and momma called out for baby.
This is my least favorite part of ranch life but it’s part of it. The calves are physically ready to leave momma but not emotionally. They never are. Neither am I.
As we left with the trailer load of calves, the rain was really coming down. Then it rained for the entire week. This was two weeks ago and we weren’t able to bring the cow mommas off the mountain until this past weekend. The roads were muddy and washed out and the trailer wouldn’t have made it.
As of this weekend, we are all home and are gearing up for winter. The cows are successfully bred and they’ll have their new babies in the spring. Looking forward to our first winter on our new ranch.
We were delighted to have time in our hectic schedule to make it to a branding this year. We got the invite and jumped in the Ranger for the half hour trek through the hills to the neighbors corrals.
It started out overcast, cold and windy. The cowboys set out across the pasture with me in tow. In an atv of course. I have quickly learned that if I want to shoot, it’s best I don’t mount a horse and try to do both at the same time. I’m not the best multi-tasker.
It’s a good thing I had the atv because I had to pick up a little sickly calf along the way. He just couldn’t make the trail. We treated him and he’ll be fine in no time. Just a touch of an upset tummy.
A few little ones got out of the sorting pen so a couple guys had to rope them back in.
The clouds parted by mid-morning and it warmed up nicely.
While the babies mothered up after getting their hides burned, we all enjoyed a nice meal with old friends and made new friends. Brandings are not just about the calves, but about neighbors, friendship, and laughter after a busy calving season. It also means now they all go out to new pasture for the summer and graze until their hearts (and bellies) are content. Ahh… the circle of life.
It was a pretty sunrise while the guys were getting ready for preg check. I got my papers in order and headed down to the cows. We had a successful check and had a great lunch before heading them up into the hills.
We got them through the first gate and up the main road. You may recognize this road from the fall scene I called Country Road. Not so colorful this time of year.
Got through the second gate.
There is always one that thinks she needs to go on her own. She’s a non-conformist.
Again she separates from the herd.
But Patrick can always show them the way.
Patrick was the gate getter.
If you keep them spread out a little and stay at a steady pace, they tend to travel better rather than keeping them bunched up and moving fast.
Sometimes the sound of a swinging rope will straighten the girls up and keep them moving.
We were heading straight west into the hills and into the sun.
I had to shade my eyes just to see the road.
It’s quite the climb up into these hills and we’re prefer they stay on the road. But as always, a few tend to go their own way.
Patrick and I took a group into what we call the rock pasture (this whole place is rocky, not sure why this one is so special) and down into the canyon to water. The other cowboys took a group to the river.
We went back and checked on them the next day and their bellies were full and they were very content. The ladies will enjoy their Thanksgiving holiday in the hills.
I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week. Thanks for hanging out with me here at our home on the range. I am so grateful for each of you.
Yesterday we preg-checked the cows. Poor girls. But we had great success and then wore them out even more by trailing them up into the hills. It was a steep climb at times and they were glad to get to the river.
I played cowgirl yesterday and this weekend is full of photo shoots. I like wearing two different hats. Let’s just hope I don’t get confused and start herding my portrait clients up into the hills or start asking the cows to stand by that tree and smile!
Have a great weekend my friends and keep smiling! xoxo
Our crew from back east took charge a couple of weeks ago and branded the last batch of calves.
They led the mothers and calves out of the calving pasture,
over the hill,
along the fence line,
and into the branding pen.
They sorted the mothers from the calves and led them out of the corral.
Reagan and Marley were great spectators.
These guys were also in the audience. They snorted and stared and were as grumpy as ever.
And then the roping began.
Tommy and Hillbilly worked hard and did a great job of bringing the calves in so they could be vaccinated and branded quickly.
Once they were down, the ground crew swooped in and had them up and at’em in no time.
A couple of days later, the cowboys and cowgirls led the herd up the hill so they could wait for the trucks to take them to the Laramie Plains
One little one tried to get away but Patrick and Jack guided him to the rest of the herd.
They went right in to the corral, with the encouragement from those on horseback, and waited.
On the last day of their visit, Marley’s mom and sister went shopping so we decided to have a photo shoot.
Marley was a fantastic model and we had a blast taking her “cowgirl portraits”.
We dodged a few raindrops and had moslty cloudy skies. But the sun popped out every now and then and we were dolloped with some lovely light.
All in all it was a great visit and even though we put them to work, I hope they enjoyed it!
We woke up at 3:30 am and left the ranch at 4:30 in the a.m. We arrived at the Laramie Plains by 6 and made our way into the pasture where the cows were waiting.
The cowboys saddled up and waited for it to get a little lighter.
There were plenty of riders so I decided to stay with the trucks at the corral to watch the sun rise and wait for them to bring in the cattle.
And what a beautiful sunrise it was.
Not long after, the cattle started my way. I heard the moos way before I saw them.
All paired up, still with milk on their lips, the babies followed momma toward the paneled corral.
The cowboys and cowgirl got them in the panels and then discussed the game plan.
They checked the panels to make sure nobody was bustin’ out.
And the cattle waited impatiently for their instructions.
Step one is to sort out the momma cows. Step two is to separate the steers from the heifers and count each group. And step three is to load them on separate trucks.
This little booger got away and gave the cowboys a run for their money. They had to rope her and lead her back to the corrals.
The calves looked good, were big enough to wean and were trucked to their new homes.
We brought a few of the smaller calves home and for the last few nights, I’ve gone to sleep listening to them bawl for momma. It takes about a week for everyone to get over the separation anxiety. The momma cows are still up on the Plains and they spent several days by the panels waiting for their babies to come back. Yesterday was the first day I noticed the calves are calm and are finally comfortable in their new surroundings and their strict diet of hay and water.
You can see more pictures of this day by clicking any picture above or going straight to the gallery on my website here: http://www.leahyetter.com/111005shipping/ .
The cows will be trailed home later this week and then we check them for babies in the belly. Stay tuned for that beautiful experience. Just kidding. I’ll probably put the camera down and just take inventory.
Trailing at sunrise…again. It was a breezy beautiful Thursday morning.
During the fire on Squaw Mountain, Patrick and I, with a little help from a wonderful neighbor and friend, got our cattle out of the meadows on Squaw to the safety of the meadows closer to home.
Now it’s time to truck them to the Laramie Plains to join the rest of the cattle and graze for a couple of months until the calves are shipped to their new owners. These girls have done a lot of re-locating in the past 2 weeks.
The rising sun gave to beautiful silhouettes of Mark and Phil as they crossed the bridge guiding the cattle up the hill.
Once we got closer to the corral, Mark stood guard to make sure the ladies didn’t turn and go the wrong way. They needed to aim for the open gate at the sunburst.
Phil made sure they didn’t run down the fence line. And I… took pictures.
Once we arrived at the plains and loaded the cattle in the corral, we gave them time to mother up and then Mark and Phil led them over the hill to water.
It’s a long drive to the Plains from the ranch and we passed some smoking mountains. Yep, you guessed it. Earlier this week the volunteers were fighting a fire on a section of the plains. Lightning once again created a lot of smoke and flames. I didn’t go to this one so I don’t have much info. Patrick spent a full night and day at the fire until the feds arrived. This thing burned up Pole Mountain and got 50 yards from a ranchers home. Patrick is so ready for snow. I am too, but I’m just not ready for the hurricane winds that comes with it.
We stopped by the South Ranch for the guys to do, well, guy things. Count hay bales, take inventory of machinery, move horses, etc. I did my thing, which as you know, my thang is to find photographs.
This field is covered in Sowthistle. They look like dandelions but they aren’t. They are really sticky and when horses eat them, their mouths are covered in their sticky yellow juice.
Patrick says it’s Rosinweed but it doesn’t look that to me when I look in my Weeds of the West book.
Anyway, the bees like them.
Finally, we got home as the sun was going down. I drove the atv to the house and against the purple sky, I saw a group of bucks roaming the hilltops.
It was a good day and we got a lot done. Now, for a restful weekend…I hope.
Yours till the cow moooooos,
We are going to pick up where I left off from Today,at Daybreak.
We started a little before the sun appeared.
The colt we are calling Crazy Alice (name that movie) ran the fence as the cowboys rode down the drive to the pasture. She wanted to go but being true to her name, we’re not putting a saddle on her just yet.
Patrick and Wayne laughed and told stories almost the whole trail. They had some catching up to do.
Good morning Squaw Mountain, we are headed your way!
It took some convincing but Patrick was finally able to get these calves down the hill to mama.
They mothered up quickly and easily so trailing them was uneventful.
Occasionally they would disappear in the dust and dirt of the sheet grass.
Once we got through the canyon of sheet grass, I turned back to see Wayne checking to make sure we didn’t leave any behind. I was so happy to see these clouds and his silhouette. During the trailing, the sky was cloudy and then blue. The sun would appear and then disappear behind clouds. The lighting was diverse all morning. That’s why the exposures here look like they were shot on different days. But they were actually taken over a 5 or 6 hour period.
The cows were happy to get to this pasture. The sun is high, grass is tall and the water is running. This will be their home for the next couple of months.