Life on the X-Bar Ranch...

I am an ordinary woman, with an amazing family, serving an awesome God.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Shipping, Part 2

Now that the cattle are gathered together, the cowboys get them into the smaller loading pens. They chase them down the alley, up the ramp, and onto the trailer. The truck driver, outfitted with rubber boots and a cattle prod, stands just at the back of the truck, giving out generous jabs and yells to help with the whole process. Or at least they think they are helping. I don't think the cattle act much differently, whether they are there or not, from what I have observed. No offense to all you truckers. :)
When the trailer is full, the driver yanks the rope, letting the door clatter shut, then the truck pulls away. The next truck in line backs into position. (I always like to see the line of cattle-trailers sitting on the ranch on shipping day - it means that alot of young stock are leaving, and that means less work for My Cowboy!) Anyways, some chutes are easy to get to, unfortunately, the one here on the X-Bar is kinda squirrelly. Someone had the bright idea of building a bunkhouse right smack in the middle of the ranch yard.SO every truck that comes in, has to drive in around the bunkhouse, and then back up at an angle to the chute. They can't do it in one try, so they pull forward, and back up. Pull forward, back up, and so on, sometimes one foot at a time, till they are straight. Some are better than others, and some take forever.. But I am always glad its not me that is behind the wheel. I hate maneuvering vehicles. Finally, they get into position, and start loading again.
Sometimes the loading goes smoothly, and sometimes the ornery critters decide that they don't want to go up that chute today. So the cowboys yell. Make weird noises. Send in the dog, who usually makes things worse. They yell some more. They poke and prod and jump up and down. You wouldn't believe the crazy things cowboys do to make cattle move. I am embarrassed for them. Or at least I used to be. Now its just funny. 'Cause any other time they are so dignified. :)

They will eventually get a steer to run up the chute, and the rest usually follow. Once, a heifer was so worked up that she went running down the alley, and jumped right over the gate. That particular gate was being run by the boss's wife that day, and she was rather startled to have a cow go flying past her face, unexpectedly.

When the last yearling goes on the truck, and the the truck rolls away, the cowboys stand around and exchange bits and pieces of interest from the morning. The Boss gives some instructions, and sometimes they tell a few stories. That is the best part of the day. At least for The Cowboy's Wife.

1 comment:

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