Last week, we began gathering up the cows and calves. It's time for weaning, taking the calves away from their mamas. They are big enough to get on by themselves, without milk, and they must, for it's time to load them on trucks and send them away.
It been a few short months since we branded and tagged the babies, delighting in their cuteness. So quickly the days have passed, and it's a bitttersweet time, seeing how big they've grown, but already having to say good-bye.
The view from the roof of the cattle liner. I didn't climb up there to take the picture. If I had, I'd still be up there, too scared to climb back down.
One of today's trucks to be loaded. On this day, there will be four loads of calves.
Taking a break and waiting for the brand inspector.
One of the cowboys visiting with his wife and baby while waiting for the brand inspector.
"Whatcha doing with our kids?"
Some of the cows came around, bawling for their calves. Others seemed unconcerned, getting back to their main task -- eating.
Sometimes, I wonder if it is truly sad for the cows, giving them human emotions, or whether they are responding to maternal instinct and responsibility. Some were obviously ready to be done with their kids, just like human mothers who want to be done with nursing and diapers. Fortunately, we don't put our babies on a truck, never to see them again.
The Cowboy went out to check the cows the next day. They'd been moved to an adjoining field. In the new-fallen snow, there were tracks of a single cow. She'd jumped the wire gate into the field with the loading pens. Her hoof-prints circled the pens, once. Then, she jumped over the gate back into the field with her sisters. Good Mama! Is she sad? Or is it simply a sign of being a good mom, trying to find her baby?
After the rest of the calves have been weaned and shipped in a few weeks, we'll start preg-checking the cows. More "fun" and busy days ahead!