We branded a little bunch, the last of our Wagyu X calves, yesterday. It was a beautiful morning, despite our hillsides turning as we wait for rain. Three girls roping, Corrine Ainley Manes and Terri Blanke above getting ready to bring one to the fire.
Corrine Ainley Manes catches two.
We even had time for Robbin and Heston Manes to get reacquainted, glove on his right hand just like Mom.
Audrey Maze throws a perfect loop to help the day run smoothly. With plenty of help on the ground, we got the work done and had lots of fun. Thank you all.
Branding calves in Earl McKee’s corrals has always been removed from the rest of the world, separate from the conflicts and politics that we are bombarded with daily. Never more true than yesterday among a few neighbors and friends at our first branding of the year, most of us going ‘old people slow’ as we got the job done.
It’s been hard for me to accept that I’ve worn my body out, always able to do any job on the ranch, feeling secure with the strength of my arms, back and legs. I’ve been lucky, but my knees, among other things, are gone. In the past 45 years, I’ve probably handled, loaded and fed, 15,000 tons of hay with Robbin’s help, but looking back, it was the 500 tons in 2013 that did the real damage.
It’s been a blessing having Lee Loverin and Terri Blanke feed for the past two seasons, as well as fix and build fence, help gather and work our cattle. They know the ranch and our routine and take it seriously.
Cropped and shot with a Canon 100-400mm zoom, I should have known the girls were separately counting cows and calves to make sure everyone was present and accounted for—it’s part of our job when we feed. But at 300 yards away, I took the photo for a different aesthetic. With the photo enlarged, imagine my pride, and my relief, knowing the girls are getting the job done right, and that the ranch can get along fine without me being a part of every single thing. Now that’s a treat.
Weekly Photo Challenge (2): “Treat”