May 15, 2015

Preparing for Branding Calves

Branding cattle is another exciting time of year on the ranch. Every Spring after the calves are born we bring them in to brand them to show ownership, and so they don't get stolen while out on summer ranges. We also vaccinate them to keep them healthy.

That's all fine and dandy, but someone has to feed the crew that comes to help. We do things the old fashioned way around here, and by that I mean we rope the calves from our horses, drag them to people who are ready to wrestle them and hold them down so they can receive their brands, vaccines and castrate the bull calves. It takes a crew to handle all of the work so some of our friends and neighbors show up to give us a hand and eat some good food! There are usually a lot of kids running around and learning how to work the cattle. We try to make it a family friendly atmosphere and not too serious, just fun. Safe and fun.  ANYWAYS, back to the feeding the crew subject. When you show up to a branding you know there's gonna be a bunch of drinks, it's just expected. I try to cater to all age groups and tastes.

The Ranch Hand loves a good burger, that's what we usually have... can't talk him into anything else!
I got everything prepared minus the cutting of the tomatoes and lettuce.

To go along with the hamburgers I decided to make some baked beans. I got this recipe from a wonderful lady we went to church with in Montana. We call it "Ranch Beans". Here's the ingredients list: 1 Pound of ground beef browned with a cup of diced onion
       1 cup of diced celery
       1 teaspoon dried mustard
       1 teaspoon garlic powder
       1/2 cup brown sugar
       1 can each pork and beans, drained kidney beans, drained garbanzo beans, drained butter beans, 1 can chili beans and 1 can diced tomatoes.

Simply mix all the beans to gather with the tomatoes, celery, brown sugar, mustard and garlic. Add the browned meat and mix well. Pour into a 9"x 13" glass baking dish. Place a few pieces of browned bacon on the top along with some ketchup. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes.

I'm going to put mine in the crock pot in the morning to keep warm until lunch.

Some other people are also bringing salads or sides.

I had to taste it to make sure it wasn't poisonous. It's clear...

Cookies and bars for dessert.  I baked CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES earlier this week and they are in the freezer. Today I made PEANUT BUTTER OATMEAL COOKIES and some BROWNIES. Other people are also bringing something to add to dessert.

We picked up the vaccine today and it made the Ranch Hand SO happy to put it in the mini fridge in our new vet room.

Cleaned and oiled up the vaccine guns so they'd work smoothly. A few extra needle tips. Some markers to mark calves that have received the vaccines. That way we know they've all got what they need.

We got some panels set up for the branding pen.

While we were working on the panels the little kids played on the swing and in the tree house close by.

Tis also the time of year that the snakes come out. The neighbor killed a rattlesnake the other day. This was just a bull snake, but all snakes die on the Orton Ranch. The little kids found it and were running away screaming "Snake, snake!" Just like they were taught. If a kid will pick up one snake what will stop him from picking up another? They gotta die, the snakes that is. You won't catch me touching a snake. I won't even get a shovel length away. I prefer bird shot in the .22.

We're all ready for tomorrow. Should be a great day!

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