Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Traffic jam.


The ranch is getting ready to wean so we spent a lot of time this weekend moving cows to new pastures. Most groups just had to be moved down the road, but we also moved one group under the freeway.

The ranch maintains a tunnel under Interstate-84, so when they need to move groups of cows from one side of the freeway to the other, they just push the cows into a trap pasture and then the cows walk right under the interstate and through the tunnel.  The tunnel has a vent in the median -  I like to think of it as a skylight - and when the cows are going through the tunnel under the freeway, from the top side all you can see is a plume of dust coming up through the vent.  You can imagine the drivers faces when you come out the otherside with a group of cows as they whiz by at 65 mph.  :)

The cows here have become well trained.  When they see Clint pull into or up to a field with his trailer, they usually come running to the gate.  And if they don't - all he has to do is honk the horn, and they'll start coming.  Once the cows are gathered by the gate, Clint unloads his horse, I take over in the driver's seat and we get to work.

Through the open gate, the cows pour out - ready to head to the next pasture.  They'll follow the pickup and trailer down the road, their hooves keeping pace on the warm pavement.  Somehow, the lead cows always know to look for and find the open gate.  When they find it, they lead the herd right on into the new pasture.  Clint usually brings up the rear riding a horse, urging the calves forward and the dogs flank each side and keep everything moving.









And in just a short time -
the road is clear and the cows are happily grazing in their new pasture.


A quick side note story:
While Clint was bringing the group pictured above, I had driven ahead to the gate to stop traffic.  There happened to be two ladies out bicycling that I asked to stop and wait until the cows could get through the gate.  They just thought watching the cows coming down the road was the neatest thing - they even whipped out their phones and started taking pictures.

Normally I have to be stern to drivers who are in a hurry because most people can't understand why they just.can't.drive.through.the.cows!  These ladies though were anything but in a hurry.  They wanted to know how many cows there were, how old they were, how old the calves were, what breed of dogs we used to move the cows, etc. 

It's funny how something that is so {normal} to me, can be such great {entertainment} to someone else.

I guess it's also a good reminder to myself that not everyone may know why we do what we do, and that there's always time to help educate others about farming and ranching. 

2 comments:

  1. something so "normal" can be such great "entertainment" ... wise words there!! :) and so true!

    Neat pictures :) may the weaning go well ~

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  2. Love how trained your herd is :) And, the great pictures you captured!!! Hope the weaning is quick and quiet :) Sweet blessings!

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