It is that time of year. We are shipping ALL of our calves to the sale barn. Of course, we don’t have as many as some people, we stay low on the stocking number to keep the pastures in great condition, but still… It’s always kind of bitter-sweet to say, See ya, calvies!
The man who hauls them for us is an old-timer local. He knows everyone and everything about what is going on in this part of the country when it comes to agriculture. His son worked on this ranch when it was owned by a big show cattle operation. They raised Santa Gertrudis.
As we sat and waited for the men to bring the calves into the pens, he told me stories about some of the old timers and how it used to be. He also related a horrifying tale of how a pack of coyotes had recently attacked his dog. She is a big, 65 pound Black Mouthed Cur and he uses her for moving cattle. Apparently, one or two of the coyotes yipped and barked at her from down in the creek bottom. That got her interested and she went down to chase them when a whole pack came out and attacked her.
Tricky, those coyotes. The first nations people don’t call them “The Trickster” for nothing. Anyway, they tore her up pretty bad but she seems to be hanging in there and will make it. I wonder if that will make her stay away from them or just hunt them from now on. I know I’m getting off track but that brings me to another dog story but this time one of our dogs.
We used to have a Blue Heeler, named Sister. She loved to go out exploring and came home one afternoon with a snake bite to her face. She got over that and then one day she came back with a snake bite to the neck. We thought we might lose her that time but she came through it only to be bitten several more times as the years went by. I think that first snake got her mad and she decided she wanted to be a snake killer. Tough profession and probably finally got her because one day she didn’t come home.
Well, where was I? Oh yea…the calves.
Otis got his first taste of calves moving through the chutes and up into the trailer. He watched and listened as the men whooped and hollered to move the reluctant calves along. One turned around and created a traffic jam but soon they were all loaded and I could tell, Otis thought he had probably done the whole thing by himself. He got in the way once but was very good to get off when I called him and told him, That will do, Otis.
San Saba, Texas, has a high dollar sale and many of the buyers go there knowing they are going to be looking at a higher end of cattle in that sale. The cattle sell in a matched group. All uniform and of about the same weight and size. Ours are fat and conditioned for the sale. We won’t go to watch them walk through the sale ring this time but I can imagine the warmth of the bodies pressed into the sale arena seats, some folks standing along the wall. The auctioneer and his rapid tongue rolling the dollar amounts out of his mouth like jelly beans that couldn’t all fit. A hand lifted here and a piece of paper lifted there, the slightest movement caught by the eye of the “ring worm” or men who watch for the bids and yell a signal of acknowledgement to the auctioneer.
I’ll just be watching the mail for the check.