Got to round up all the pics!

Most of this photo essay is about the ranching tasks involving the cattle herd.  There are stories about tagging calves, calves, doctoring in the pasture, branding and cattle drives. Lots of pictures!

Calf Tagging

In the Spring, tagging calves is a routine job but this year we had an extra job, guarding the calf taggers.  Jon made an excellent guard with his martial arts training.

Captions if you click on the pic

Cows being cows....

Six months later the calves look a bit different!

Once the cattle are in the pasture we have to use our cowboy skills to treat animals that have become sick or injured.  This yearling heifer appeared to have a bacterial infection in one of her hooves so we caught her and our resident vet administered the antibiotics.


Branding is required by law in Saskatchewan to ensure proof of ownership.  The brand on the hide is very difficult to alter whereas the RFID tags that are also inserted into the calves' ears may be lost or removed.  The calves are also vaccinated against very common diseases and may also be 'showered' with a parasite control liquid to prevent flies from spreading contamination.

Winning Ways usually holds at least two or three branding days.  Many other ranches wait until all the calves are born and then hold a very long day of branding.  At Winning Ways we want the event to be useful, educational and fun!  Volunteers have an opportunity to try different aspects of the branding process.  They may be taggers, vaccinateers, ground crew who hold the calves, record keepers, insecticide applicators, gate minders or those most important folks--cooks who keep us all fed. 

At the second branding of 2018 we had the crew learn about team sorting on foot.  Since most of the volunteers from Winning Ways, Meeds Meadows or the Two Bar C had little experience with sorting cattle they learned a bit about the skills need to bring a cow and calf out of the herd.  Usually the sorting is done prior to the branding day, but this time we changed it, so more could participate.

In January of 2018 “Give a boy a rope” a song by Ryan Fritz was released. The lyrics and the video are a great testament to the cowboy way of life.  Our resident photographer/videographer caught young Ed in just such a series of learning moments.  Go have a listen to the song then come back and look at Ed’s face.

I think Uncle got ahold of the rope in the third picture and was doing a little bit of pulling on the rope.

We did do some branding that day as well as having fun.

Oh yes we got to eat too! Thanks to all the cooks!

At the end of May we held the first of many Cattle Drives

The cattle are resting in the ditch on the east side of the road while all the riders have a pit stop, and a snack and a drink.

I know we moved another herd of cows and calves at the end of June!

But no one gave me any pictures!

At the end of August the cows escaped from the North Ranch and we had to round them up and put them back where they belonged and repair the fence they had damaged.  A couple days later the herd here at home went for a jaunt when they too knocked down a fence.  The expression "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" certainly seemed true this summer!

Toward the end of October the cows again were looking over the fence and eventually found a hole to escape through.  So were back on the road again returning them to the proper pasture.

Toward the end of November we gathered the majority of the cows and brought them home in a Cattle Drive in the snow.  However there were some errant critters, including the bull, who went through the swamp and ventured over to the neighbours.  Eventually after much riding, my helpers and I, along with Louvic, got them into a corral and Nancy hauled them home!

In the middle of December we held our last Cattle Drive from Winning Ways to the Bar P Ranch.  It was a very nice day and over half the drive was through the bush so the wind did not cause a problem for the riders or critters.  We had a Subway lunch delivered to us on the side of the road by Janet who then got to be one of the riders. I think we may have done the drive in record time too!