Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's that time of the month again.

Alright, alright. It is not what you are thinking about! Get your head outta the gutter.

There are a few things that happen once or twice a month around this ol’ ranch. Things like flushing cows, laundry, and Catherine bathing. Let’s take this one step at a time and start with the cattle.

Normally we flush cows every month, sometimes twice. For our city folk out there, when we say flush a cow we give them hormones to send their ovaries into overtime and hopefully they produce multiple eggs. We then fertilize the “donor cow” who has been turned into an egg producing machine. After the eggs are fertilized they are then removed from the cow and put into recipient cows who serve as a surrogate mom. And that concludes you lesson in ranching for today. Take notes, quizzes to follow.

Matt is bringing up the last two. I thought that we were going to have some good penning action in the morning, the kind where we all get to drive like mad-men, but they both ran right into the pen. How boring.

Here are the girls all lined up waiting to come through the chute and get their dose of hormones. Keeps 'em in a better mood.

All lined up in the chute. Sometimes I walk by each one and say something stupid like "Welcome" or "How is your morning going?" Considering that I can only keep one eye open at a time this hour of the morning I have to have my fun.

Matt is measuring the right amount of drugs to give to a certain cow.

Anyway we are now right in the middle of giving shots donors. This involves penning the cows twice a day (morning and night) and giving them a stick with a needle. The only problem with this is that the morning pen occurs right at day break. I usually roll out of bed, put on whatever clothes I can find (sometimes even my favorite Tabasco pajama pants that Catherine despises), grab a Coke or cup of coffee, and stumble to the truck.

But when the morning looks like this, how can I not look forward to getting up with the chickens.

I got real crafty and took a picture of the sunrise in my mirror. I think that I will more than likely win some sort of award for this.

The thin blanket of fog made for a very nice morning.

If the weather is good penning is pretty mundane, you just have to honk and the cows start to head towards the pens. However, sometimes there is a thick blanket of fog and then things get interesting or if a cow breaks away. If a cow breaks away it is all hands on deck!! I mean gravel flies, trucks do wheelies, and if you happen to be a passenger all you can do it grit your teeth, say a few Hail Mary’s and hold on.

After we pen and sort the cattle, we give the shots and go on about our daily routine. Normally, I head back to the house, make some breakfast and take a shower. And today that is when I noticed that it was laundry time. Just look at the picture.

I have on two mismatched socks and one of them is Catherine’s that I stole at some point. First off I have the worst collection of socks ever. I never sort them, I just throw them in a drawer, and wear them until they look like dental floss. The reason that I have smuggled some of Catherine’s socks is because she has little feet. I have feet like elephant. When the little socks are stretched over my boat feet they become very thin and comfortable. I came upon this realization once when I had no clean socks and had to borrow some of Catherine’s. Since then I prolly smuggle one to two pairs each month. Tried the underwear once, but she can keep those. Ha! Don’t worry Mom, that was a joke I am not actually wearing women’s clothing again. That was just a phase in high school.

Back to us needing to do laundry. It never fails, we make a pact that we are going to do a load of laundry every day so it will not pile up. That lasts for a couple days and then goes out the window. One of the great things about living on a ranch is that in general cows smell worse than people. However, sometimes in the middle of the summer when I get back from working all day when it is 112 degrees and 80% humidity, I think that Catherine would rather snuggle up next to a rank bull than get within 10 feet of me. So in keeping with the cow smell > human smell formula (read: cow smell is greater than human smell) clothes can sometimes be worn for multiple days especially in the winter when you have on a jacket and no one really notices that you worn the same shirt for 2 weeks in a row. It is also permissible to wear jeans on multiple occasions. I mean who doesn’t know that it is not until the third day of wearing that they are the most comfortable. And it is that theory that gets us into the predicament that we are now. We have no clean clothes and have used all our “get out of jail free cards” on multiple wears. So hopefully while I am writing this blog, my lovely wife will be washing my clothes.

I know this is one of our longer blogs but I am just going to add a little more. When you are around people every day and stand knee deep in manure with them, it doesn’t really matter that you may have a little bit of smell to you. When it does matter is when someone who did not make an appointment to come look at cattle comes to the ranch and wants to look around. I can think of one time when I was in this pickle. We had been working cows all day and I smelled like a boy’s locker room combined with catfish stink bait and that awful fly attractant that you put in those big jars that hang from the ceiling to catch flys. I was leaning so far out of the window when I was driving these people around the ranch in hopes to blow the stink off me that I am sure they thought that I had problems. I was hoping that maybe I just thought that I smelled worse than I actually did, but when I got home Catherine reaffirmed that I needed to be hosed off with bleach.


  1. If the ranching thing doesn't work for ya, you've got the photography and stand up comedy down pat... of course the mixture of the three is over the top. Love it!

  2. Thanks for the Wednesday morning laugh. Pops and I enjoyed it. I hoped Catherine would never find out about that 'high school girly clothes' thing, but seems you blew it yourself. ;>)

    Seriously, thanks for the FYI on the cow reproduction stuff. Now I can stop that strange fake intense, knowledgeable, with tilted head look ......when Steve, Cassie, you, Catherine and et al are talking cows.

    See you in April.

  3. I love your blog! It is so conversational, and the best part are your photos! Keep up the great work L & C!

  4. I just found out about your blog from Stacey Y's blog. LOVE IT! The photos are so amazing! Looking forward to exploring more.

  5. I want to know what Catherine finds so objectionable about the Tobasco jammies. Could it be that you have had them since high school and they were crazy looking then?