Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Monday, August 13, 2012

Ow! -or- How Do You Spell Stupid?


Branding Crew. I'm the one in the floppy hat.
Sitting right behind the author of my misfortune.
How many times would you bang your head against a wall before you remembered that the wall was there.
And that banging your head against it . . . hurt?
Sigh . . .
Branding in the early summer is a time of great excitement.
For the humans.
I don't think the calves are all that enthusiastic.
The animals are pushed down a long chute and caught up in a squeeze.
Which then tilts sideways and secures the animal on its side.
Allowing the rancher to brand, tag, and inoculate the creature.
Each animal spends, at most, about two minutes up there.
Because it is attended by several people.
Each with a specific job.
I had just recently graduated from being the 'pusher'.
It's not what you think.
To being the 'inoculate-er'.
To accomplish my assignment, I was charged with the care and use of the vaccine gun.
Which would pump 5cc. of serum into the neck of the calf, quickly and efficiently.
Simply by pulling the trigger.
It was the best of jobs.
And very soon, I had mastered the technique and was injecting with the best of them.
I was the queen of the world.
Then, that squeeze.
Each of these machines have a long lever on them, which is pushed down to force the sides of said squeeze together, trapping the animal.
When the apparatus is flipped sideways, that lever hangs out . . . a trifle.
And that is where I came to grief.
Numerous times.
Having completed my injection, I would return to my post near the back of the squeeze, check my gun, and recharge, if need be.
Concerned for my responsibility, I usually started checking my gun as I walked.
Not too bright.
Smack!
That stupid arm hit me right at nose height.
And I do mean nose.
“Ow!”
Everyone turned to look.
“What's the matter?” Dad asked.
“I hit this stupid lever!”
“Well, watch where you're walking.”
I scowled and, rubbing my sore nose, continued to my station.
The animal we had been working with was returned to the upright position and released.
My younger brother brought up the next one.
Capture. Squeeze. Tilt.
Inject. Check gun.
Wham!
“Ow!”
“What's the matter now?”
“I hit that lever again.”
“Diane! Look where you're going!”
“Okay.”
Tilt. Release.
New calf.
Capture. Squeeze. Tilt.
Inject, check gun.
“Ow!”
This time, my nose started bleeding.
Rats.
I put up a hand.
Dad turned around. “Did you hit that lever again?”
I had one hand over my nose. “Maybe.”
“Diane! Watch where you're going!”
I found a rag, which I quickly stuffed up my nose.
“Okay.”
Tilt. Release.
New calf.
Capture. Squeeze. Tilt.
Inject. Check gun.
You know where this is going, don't you?
I hit that stupid pole six times.
Six.
Before I finally figured out that I could just as easily walk OUT and AROUND.
Sigh.
Maybe it wasn't the pole that was stupid . . .

14 comments:

  1. Hubs is forever calling inanimate objects stupid...I keep telling him you need a brain to be stupid.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't help but wonder what your dad thought about your repeated "OW!".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All I can say is, he was used to me. :-)

      Delete
  3. At least you didn't get what Earl Williams got--more than once. He was branding and oftentimes the calf would excrete a stream of pale yellow doo-doo, which would catch on its tail and then get spread everywhere. Earl had his mouth open and caught a large blob. Dad asked him, "What flavor was that? Butterscotch?" Always keep your mouth shut when a calf is being branded...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. Probably the only thing I did right was keep my mouth closed!

      Delete
  4. You were were "in the moment." The innoculation moment, not the exiting moment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. I think I would have preferred the 'exciting' moment! :)

      Delete
  5. ha ha, oh dear, this made me laugh because it is something I would do too! Stopping by from No Ordinary Blog Hop

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I get so caught up in what I'm doing . . . :)

      Delete
  6. oh dear! Your poor nose!

    You described it perfectly, by the way! I'm kinda glad when one of my kids gets to be the vaccine giver... the pusher, the brander, the rocky mountain oyster cutter, and the ear cutter all come home with some pretty yucky stuff on their clothes! But the vaccine giver stays pretty "clean"... well relatively anyway. ha ha Branding is quite the experience, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's one of the reasons I like talking to you so much! You have lived and are still living the dream! I miss branding!

      Delete
  7. Diane! Oh my goodness! I'm so glad I'm not the only one that needs a few rounds before I really learn my lesson! ;)
    Love you!
    Christy

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow that is a hard lesson, of course we all have hard lessons to learn in life;) I am glad you weren't hurt more;)

    ReplyDelete

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