This morning we will move cattle from one of the lower pastures to one that is higher up on the ranch. Truck loads of calves have been arriving daily, dropping off about a hundred calves each day. The Alisal will have around 1,000 head when all the babies have arrived. The calves are unloaded into a small green pasture where they hang out for a day or two, calling for their mamas who are far, far away. The first order of business is to vaccinate and brand them - adding insult to injury, I suppose. I tell myself its like having your baby boy circumcised in the hospital. He screams, but then has no memory of it. The freshly branded babies are moved to another smallish green pasture and once they are settled, and all look bright eyed and healthy, they are moved up to the big pasture. Today we will help move one of those groups.
Yesterday, I spent most of the day in the saddle. We were in the saddle at 7:30 am, riding up to the Old Adobe (an hour ride) for breakfast. After breakfast, we rode back. I jumped on Winston and worked him in the arena for about half an hour, before it was time to meet for lunch. In the afternoon, we practiced roping (from the ground) and then mounted up again. We spent two hours or so practicing team sorting in the arena. The head wrangler had chosen a fabulous horse for me. Kersey (same name as our dog!) is a competitive cutting horse so all I did was stay out of his way. It was a blast!! I pointed him at the herd of heifers, and we picked one to cut out. Kersey locked on and methodically walked this way and that until the calf was isolated. Then we moved it down the rail to the other end of the arena. If the calf tried to double back, Kersey jumped in front of it - like lightening. It was easily my favorite part of the bootcamp.
After two hours of free time (collapse in the room time), we climbed into the hay wagon and went back to the old adobe for a candlelit dinner -- steak, ribs, chicken, roasted veggies... wine... singing around the campfire afterwards.
This afternoon, we will drive home. Bummer. ...kind of. Its been wonderful here but I do miss our little ranch and all the critters.