In my mind branding is the final ending to calving season. I don't know if that is rancher accurate information but it is rancher wife accurate. This year we did 3 separate brandings but I only have photos of 2.
It was a BEAUTFIUL day to get the first big bunch branded. We had lots of friends helping and it was a lot of fun!
Tye, Rachael, and Rachael's friend Ali. Ali is a musician (with her 2 sisters..they're amazing if you don't know Joseph go look them up!) so she just had couple of days off and it just happened to fall on branding day. So we handed her a vaccinating gun and told her to get after it! :)
Jake and Matt working the chutes, taking a much needed water break. It was HOT!
Hey look! It's me and Kory! Together! In a picture!
Quinn taking his turn branding. Kory is the best on days like this. He's so patient and gentle and relaxed. It's a busy day for the guys and he manages to get a lot of work done and include a lot of people and help the kids try new things all without getting caught up in the stress of it all. 3 cheers for KP!
Lunch break in the shop! Hayven and Jaylie June
Sayler and Kanyon
Here's Sayler having her turn with the branding iron!
Our friend Aiden, Quinn, and Hayven helping push the calves through the alley. They keep them moving so that the guys running the brands can always have a calf ready to go. They also send heifers to one side and bulls (about to be steers) to the other side so we can sort of streamline the things that have to be done to each one. They get a little bit different vaccines and the bulls get banded. Its a big giant team effort.
Oh man this picture makes me laugh so hard! Tye was working on this giant nasty cyst that one calf had. He was cleaning it out and doctoring it up and it was SO NASTY! Here's Ali and Rachael's face looking on...far enough away not to get splashed by whatever is going to come out of that thing. It ain't a glamorous job y'all. Of course Tye handled it without batting an eye.
We got a new preacher at church and he came to help us with the branding so we thought it was appropriate to give this guy a shot to brand his first calf. He's originally from Kansas so we've gotta introduce him to the Montana life.
When the kids got sick of branding, they headed to Gram's house to play. Sweet little Jona was checking things out with her (backwards) binoculars.
Quinn and Hayven who seem to be loosing teeth way faster than they can grow new ones!
We went back to The Lund's to check on the chicks and other animals we saw back when my mom was in town. Quinn's chicks had grown so much and they weren't really interested in cuddling in his lap anymore.
But he did have one cuddly friend left.
This is one of those pictures that will probably always make me get teary eyed. Daddy carrying the baby girl across the field. They'd spent the afternoon on the tractor getting some ground ready to seed and she was reluctantly leaving her post on the buddy seat. This whole ranching thing is still relatively new to me and we are still figuring out how to make it work best for us. It doesn't take very long to realize that it's not all the romantic, charming, simple, calm life that is sometimes portrayed. It is long, sometimes impossible to balance, hard work, unforgiving demands, physical and never ending (work hours? work days? work weeks? what does that mean?!). But it is also so many other wonderful things and one of the things I'm so thankful for is that even when Kory is working 14 hour days and we don't see him much, if its the right kind of work, a kid can ride along and spend a little time with Daddy. It helps balance things for us and allows them to have some fun time with dad working and learning what he does. Sometimes they love it, sometimes they complain about it, sometimes they beg NOT to go and other times they beg TO go. Like most other things in life it's a mixture of the good the bad and the ugly but at the end of the day, I'm really thankful we get to do this. And I'm really thankful to have photos like this that will remind us of the sweet times.
A few days later we branded another smaller bunch of calves. Sayler did a great job vaccinating with me! She was great help! Yay for growing kids!
Nothin' like father daughter time!
Speaking of.....father daughter time with the branding iron too.
This day we branded on a week day so most of our friends were working. Several of our kiddos in youth group are homeschooled, so we hit them up to help us push calves. They were fun to have around. One kid lives on a ranch, but the other 2 were doing this for the first time so that was kinda fun. They're great guys and we enjoy having them around that day.
This is what happens when mom leaves the corrals to go get lunch ready and leaves Dad in charge..... my daughter ends up in a head catch.