Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Moving cattle

I made the mistake of going off with the young guys this morning. They wear me out! We still had a few wayward steers to capture, then some heifers to move to some better pasture. We are having to go as hard as we can in the mornings, trying to beat the heat. It's been 102 - 105 degrees every afternoon. Things should settle down and kind of get back to normal after we ship our last load of steers tomorrow.

Tied down, not dead, we'll be back with a trailer to load him in later

Today's crew, Kyle, Chase, and Seth

I figured out a long time ago, that when driving cattle through new country, they need a leader. With me and the gray mare leading the way, Seth and I moved these 50 heifers a couple of miles down a county road without much trouble. Had we both been pushing from the rear, they more than likely would have gone through what passes for a fence on the left when they got tired. We'd of been all day trying to get them out of that place.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The wreck

Monday should have been fairly uneventful. Kyle was off on a trip with his sister and cousins, Joe went north to help Steve gather remnant cattle, and I decided I would put out mineral and look at our cows to the south that haven't had much attention lately.
  Remnant cattle are cattle that, for one reason or another, didn't pen with the rest of the cattle when we where shipping them to the feed yard. Some have gotten through the fence and into other cattle, some wouldn't fit on the trucks and had to be turned back out, and some are just good at hiding out in the brush and avoiding capture. These are what Steve and Joe went to gather up.
 I had made three pastures at a leisurely pace, and was almost to the back of a fourth when my phone rang. It was Joe in a panic, "Steve's hurt bad! Got in a hell of a wreck! Get up here now!
 He managed to tell me about were they where before we hung up, and I called his wife and got her started that way.
 60 mph is way to fast in a pasture, but I drove it getting out of mine. On a normal day this trip should have taken 45 minutes. I made it in 20. I lucked out on guessing which gate to go through to start looking for them, and soon had them spotted. I knew it was going to be bad, first, by the sound of Joe's voice, second by the terrain they were in. This is rolling plains, and there is nothing in this pasture but rocks, prickly pear, and mesquite trees. I drove up as close as I could, then waded through the cactus to the scene. It was as bad or worse than I had been imagining on my trip. Steve was in bad shape.
 Joe's story;
 They had unloaded their horses on the south end of the pasture. There was one yearling that was bad to run off in it, and they wanted to get it caught while it was cool. they spread out about 100 yards apart and started working their way through the brush. Joe heard Steve take off after the cow, and turned his horse towards them to help with the chase. Keep in mind, you don't really run a horse in these conditions, you are hopping and dodging and ducking around cactus, brush, and mesquite at a high rate of speed. When he rounded the corner around the last tall mesquite tree, he came upon the horse, on top of Steve, and both of them knocked out. He had to get the horse back to consciousness to get him off of Steve! With the horse gone, he was finally able to call for help.
 Steve's sons met the ambulance and they soon arrived. The helicopter was buzzing over head, but was having trouble finding a place clear enough to land. He finally did some distance off. I don't think the EMS was used to these conditions. Every plant has a sticker that hurts, and Steve was laying right in the middle of a big prickly pear bush, but they did as good of job as they could getting him stabilized, then with our help, onto a back board, then to the helicopter, who could get him to Abilene and some much needed help at the emergency room.
 For me, the rest of the day was kind of a blur. We got the horses back to the barn and unsaddled. Checked the wrecked horse for injuries, nothing too severe. Then waited for the call to tell us how bad. Joe and I tried to occupy our selves with some chores, but worry wouldn't let either of us make much of a hand. I finally told Joe to go on home.
 The bad news;
 A broken back, broken ribs that punctured his lungs, a bruised heart and torn aorta. Plus numerous things that are minor compared to those.
 The good news;
 He will live. He will also walk, but how well is not known.

 We operate our business using the horse as our main tool. We all know the risks involved. Would it have been any different on a 4 wheeler? Probably not, I know more people hurt by them than horses.  Steve will be back to work as hard as ever when he heals, and I'm sure he will be going after these wild cattle in the same manner he has all of his life, hard and fast. It's in his blood, and nothing can compare with the thrill of the chase through the brush.
Steve doing what he does best

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Another Saturday shipping

Outside of a few that wouldn't fit on the truck, we shipped the last of our steers Saturday morning. These sold at 869 pounds, not bad for as dry a year as we've had. We will start all over in October with these wheat pasture cattle.
Making sure he don't buck

My job was blocking a hole so the cattle would't keep circling back to the brush

As you can see, we had a hard time doing our job

To the pens

Up the alley. I'll bet that was one funny story

Hunter, ready to sort and load the scales


Don't worry about the mule, just load the wagon

See ya at the steak house

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Out this week

A scrap damascus buckle. I cram leftovers from other projects into a piece of  square tubing, fill the voids with steel powder, then forge weld it all together. Thanks Garrett.

D rings for a breast collar, and 1 1/4" conchos for the saddle.

The damascus is made with 1018 and pure nickel. The steel will rust over time, but the nickel will not corrode. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013



She's off.... pulling a trailer.... by her self.... god help us all.

Poor horse

Some last minute instructions from me

The roads will never be safe again

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bridle buckles

I had a billet of steel that was supposed to be a large buckle blank for a buckle builder in California. As I was cutting the blank out, I came upon some bad welds in the damascus steel that I could not, in good conscious, send out. I started cutting out the bad places and this is what I came up with.

So goes making damascus steel. if you are not prepared for a few failures, your going to spend a lot of time being disappointed around the shop.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Weigh day

We shipped 4 more loads of cattle this morning. This grazing season is winding down quick.

Heading out

The easy ones

The hard ones

To the pens

On the scales


Kyle, outstanding in his field