The majority of our calves are now gone… loaded on trucks and shipped to the buyer. It was a glorious year for moisture and grass, and the calves sure showed it. They were nice, big, healthy, and uniform. I didn’t get many pictures as it is kind of a hurried and harried time, but did get a few snapped while we were gathering and sorting. I love fall work and shipping days.
Selling calves is always bittersweet. We watched these babies grow and hate to see them leave, but know that the circle continues around and that it is time for us to get ready for winter and for the next batch of newcomers in spring. We always have some that we watch extra close all spring and summer— usually because they came out of a favorite cow, but sometimes because it started its life in our entry because it needed some extra attention, or sometimes because we spent hours with it every day for the first couple of days getting it to suck or getting it to stand, or sometimes because we were there for every part of its birth and it made us laugh when it struggled to stand for the first time, or sometimes even just because the calf was always full of spunk and bucking around in the sunshine.
On shipping days we gather everything in to a corral, sort the calves off of the cows (that is what the Big Guy is doing above and what Papa is helping to do in the picture below), load the calves on to trailers, haul them to town to the scale, weigh them all, and then load them on trucks to be hauled to the buyer. It is always a little stressful as obviously we don’t want anything to go wrong, but also because we want our calves to weigh well and look good as we want to make sure the buyer gets the best calves we can possibly offer him. These calves are our paycheck for the year– the whole year — so an important day it is.
Along with everyone gathering, hauling calves, taking care of all the action in the alleyways, etc., someone is also inside with the guy weighing the calves keeping track of weights, averages, loads, etc. The Wild Child was who I caught a picture of while walking through the scale house, but it is actually my mother-in-law who keeps things in line and the shipping books up to snuff. She knows the value of this day better than any of us as she has taken care of business on the bookkeeping end of shipping for 50 years. She knows that shipping time is our payday for the year. She knows about the heart and soul that went in to the cows and calves. She knows the work that went on all year long. She just knows… she is “just” a ranch wife, as well… what a glorious thing to be!
Until next time… JARW