Monday, February 1, 2010

What I Did On My January Vacation

I know it's been a while since my last post, but I've got a pretty good excuse. I've been off gathering cattle.

My family has a place in Hamilton County. The north end of the place is rough and hard to get to. The brush and terrain make it hard to drive the cattle at all. So it turns out that there is some really wild stuff living over there, stuff that has never been caught, or four year old steers that have been caught just once. We've adapted our methods to get them gathered. We put out a round bale as bait and then another guy and I drove in and darted some of the wilder stuff and then radioed in for dogs and cowboys once the herd got spooked. It worked pretty well.

One of the trailers has a winch in the front. After they get tied down, they get hooked to the winch and untied. Once they get off the ground they get drug in. From there we can transfer them to a steel stock trailer when the winch trailer gets full.

We were well on our way to getting the whole bunch taken care of when the rains came. And kept coming. The six inch rain gauge was full before very long. This lead to some complications. The creek got up and we couldn't get the trucks across to load anything. I managed to back up the muddy hill with my stock trailer and get out. Paul managed the same with the winch trailer. My brother did not manage the same.

I tried pulling him out with my truck.

That was a no go, so out came the tractor, right as the rains got heavy.

That made all the difference. Anyway, the flood was the end of our bull catching adventure.

There were some exciting mishaps along the way. Paul took his trailer over a terrace and managed to un-attach it.

Even before the flood came, the creek was slick and steep. The entire trail to the north patch is rough and involves crossing two more creeks. We made it several times, pulling gooseneck trailers. After the flood, there was still hay that had to be put out using a four bale gooseneck trailer. I know Brigid likes her Chevy and JayG likes his Dodge, but for hard use in rough terrain, neither of the two .gov owned manufacturers build anything that will stand up to it like an F250. That answers that question.

I had one occasion to draw my sidearm. Wes and I darted a black dagger horn bull and had to follow it into the thick stuff. Bulls really aren't that distantly related to Cape Buffalo, with all of the exciting Peter Hathway Capstick imagery that that brings to mind. We found him but he wasn't all the way out. We were trying to tie him down when he came to and got up quickly. I was carrying my favorite commander length 1911 in an El Paso Saddlery tortilla holster and made a nice, smooth, four point draw and had that front sight lined up and ready by the time he was up and decided on flight over fight. I was proud that practice had paid off and my draw was smooth when it mattered.

Even if the productivity did end a little sooner than I would have liked, it was a pretty good working vacation.

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