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Soapweed

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We branded a bunch of 162 calves yesterday, using both our new machine and our original prototype. These were the oldest and biggest calves on the place, and about 30 of them were January calves out of cows that I bought. Being right at three months of age, some of them were husky enough that they would have really tested even ambitious football player type calf wrestlers. By roping them with both hind legs and raising their rear ends up off the ground, and then securing the rope, they were fairly immobilized and easy to process.

Our crew consisted of Saddletramp, Mrs. Soapweed, our sophomore son (Brock), his cousin (Brian McCrory, who has just completed a tour of duty in Kuwait), my sister (Sybil), and me. Later in the day, my dad came along and wanted to rope awhile. I let him ride Tom Cat, and between Dad and the horse, they had 105 years of total ranching experience (Dad is 82, and Tom Cat is 23). Saddletramp’s gracious wife had volunteered to make the noon meal, and she did a super job. She works at the Cody School as a secretary, but has experience as a ranch cook and also in operating a café. She hasn’t forgotten a thing about cooking, even though she presently gets more practice typing.

Once again, we were happy with the way the machine performed. It is much more “rope friendly” than our original prototype (which was also set up and in use when we needed it). The original mud flap rubber on the "rope grabber", had deteriorated enough that we had to re-do it. This time we used belting from a hay baler, and after using it on over a hundred calves, hardly any wear is observed. This will undoubtedly be the rubber of choice.

The job took a big chunk of the day, but it was accomplished favorably. We had access to the corrals at my dad's headquarters, so separating the cows from the calves was done with the aid of a sorting alley. The branding took place in this alley, also. Electricity was nearby so we used an electric branding iron. The quietness was enjoyed, in comparing it to the roar of a propane stove. We set up both contraptions at the end of the alley, so when a calf was done, it could be easily dismissed out into a bigger corral. We let twenty calves at a time into the alley, and waited until they were all branded before putting twenty more into the roping area. The weather cooperated wonderfully, and the temperature was near 70 degrees with very little wind. In fact, just a slight gentle breeze would have been welcomed.

I’ll send along a few pictures of our day’s activities.
 

Soapweed

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http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y102/Soapweed/100_0526.jpg
Saddletramp on paint horse, "Chalk-eye", Spearhead branding crew in foreground

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y102/Soapweed/100_0531.jpg
Mrs. Soapweed (Carol), son Brock, my sister Sybil in back

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y102/Soapweed/100_0542.jpg
105 years of ranching expertise, my dad, Bob Moreland (82 years old) astride Tom Cat (age 23)

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y102/Soapweed/100_0524.jpg
Picture showing branding layout, electric branding iron in use

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y102/Soapweed/100_0539.jpg
Who says cowpokes don't pack a pair of pistols?

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y102/Soapweed/100_0534.jpg
Soapweed on paint horse, "Goose", Brian McCrory (recently back from Kuwait), Mrs. Soapweed, and Saddletramp
 

Faster horses

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Loved those pictures, Soapweed!!

Coupla questions, tho. Does Mrs. Soapweed and your sister ever get to rope the calves, or are they always the ground crew? LOL!!!

Enjoyed the picture of your father swinging his loop. (You know you swing your loop and twirl your girl, don't you?) LOL!!! An old PRCA cowboy told us that one when someone said something about twirling a rope~

Your dad AND the horse need a T-shirt that says "Been there, done that, got the t-shirt!" How very neat that your dad still ropes and has a nice horse to take care of him. Bravo!!!

I noticed some of your calves were tagged and some were not. What makes the difference?

Looks like a first-class outfit to me!
 

Soapweed

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Both Mrs. Soapweed and my sister did rope. Carol has a black stocking-legged horse that our daughter named "Clavinova" because it was colored like a piano. My sister roped off of Tom Cat. Both gals did a good job catching calves and dragging them to the contraption. Mrs. S is the chief photographer, also.

In answer to your question about the tags, all of our calves have tags in their left ears. Each tag has two numbers. The top number is the chronological number in order of their birth, and the bottom number corresponds to the cow's number. Our Spearhead brand is between the two numbers. The color of the tag is also important. Yellow tags are out of older Angus cows. Green tags are out of 3 and 4 year old Angus cows. Black tags are from first calf heifers. Purple tags are from the new cows. Blue tags are out of black baldy cows. White tags are out of solid red cows. Pink tags are out of red baldy cows. My sister's calves have orange tags, and Saddletramp's calves have red tags. We ended up keeping fifteen calves for bulls, and in addition to the numbers in their left ears, we gave them new numbers yesterday (numbers 1-15 in blue color) and put these tags in their right ears.

It all sounds rather confusing, but the system works well for us.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Great pictures and a good looking crew. So glad your Gizmo works so slick, some of those calves looked like they were almost to big to get off the ground. Noticed that there wasn't any dust in the picture, Our corrals seem to be wet and slippery or hard and dusty, some times in the same day.
 

Faster horses

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..."sometimes in the same day." LOL~I got a good chuckle out of that, BMR.

Yea, Soapweed, your tagging system does sound complicated, but since it works for you, that is great. If my husband worked for you tagging calves, he would get run off the first day. You see, he is terribly COLOR BLIND! Our cows all have yellow tags with black ink. (He could probably see white tags with black ink, but all other colors are impossible for him to see.) Anyway, he could foul up your deal really bad in one day with all those different colored tags!! Nope, he could never last tagging calves there!

How do you get them all tagged? Horseback, or how do you do that? Whew, that is a lot of calves to tag every spring. I am sure you must have a good system, just wondering how you do it.
 

Brad S

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Nice calves Soapweed. Great picture with Mr Moreland roping on TC - priceless endowment to future soapweeds. A good day's work, and you still took pictures. There is something to be learned from soapweed lifestyle.
 

EJ

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Thanks Soapweed
The picture of your Dad ropeing is priceless.
We used electric the last 2 yrs. had a small motors driven generator behind a windbreak fence. I do agree, there isn`t the roar of the propane heater.
 

Denny

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we still use a wood fire adds a little smoke to the occasion but no noise.i tag all my commercial calves with white tags the registered that will be AI 'ed calves are yellow the other registered are red.makes sorting them for pastures alot easier.
 

Soapweed

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Mrs. Soapweed keeps the books, and writes down all the cows that have calved. Then she makes out the tags. Every evening we get the heavy cows into the night corrals for easy checking. The next morning, we turn the cows out into a different day lot than they were in the day before. All new calves and their mothers are held back into the corrals, as the heavies go out the gate. Mrs. Soapweed and Saddletramp go horseback through the new babies. She tags the calves and Saddletramp keeps the cow away. Clavinova helps also, as he stays by his mistress and has been known to turn his backside and kick an oncoming cow with both feet. After tagging, the cows with new babies are paired out to new locations which once again cleans out the day lot for the next day. Our record number of calves in one day this year was 45 which occurred on March 10th.

My main contribution to ranch society is to keep the hay fed, and be on hand in the afternoons to sort heavies. Saddletramp holds the herd while I sort, and we have several different locations where this happens.
 

Faster horses

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Sounds like you have it down to a science, Soapweed! It is impressive that you can run that many cows with 1 great woman and a great hired man, plus some kids thrown in to help with the 'extra' stuff.

I totally agree with Brad S. "There is something to be said for the Soapweed lifestyle." And the best part is that you appreciate it, your wife and Saddle Tramp. And your dad, too, of course.

We have a pretty good chance for a shot of moisture this week, so we are happy about that. Will be happier when it happens!!
 

Rowdy Ranch

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Mrs Soapweed-thanks for the photos-you have a wonderful family and hired hand! What did you vaccinate calves with? By the way-that is similar to our tagging system and bookkeeping even tho our operation is not as large as yours. The system works great for us also agree with dog and cows-our wonderful blueheeler/shepard mix is a pet and knows that is it and stays her distance. Great cattle,horses and working facility. Thanks I best go fix something for lunch and be on my way to go around fence-maybe I will be done some day-Husband and son need to do some farming.
 

nr

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Soap- those were interesting shots from SoapweedLand and wonderful seeing the family working together and hearing how organized the process is. Thank you for taking the time to post them all.

But please tell Bob Moreland a picture of him isn't enough and if he is smart enough to make that rope work, he is smart enough to learn this new-fangled Ranchersnet site. I can safely say we all miss his comments :cry2: and hope he might consider knuckling under and writing again!
 

Silver

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Nice pic's, Soapweed. It's great to see your Dad still taking part, he looks to be in great shape. My grandfather roped his last calves at 90yrs old, I think. It's a special thing to see.
I'm the third generation on our ranch, and if things go right my son will at least have a chance to be the fourth. I couldn't imagine a greater feeling than to be able to pass it to him and his....
Anyway, keep posting the pic's, we enjoy them.
 

ropesanddogs

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Lol, in the picture of your dad roping there appears to be a chute in the background,but youre still roping,lol,thats the way itd be if everyone done it my way ;) Because whether it has a headgate or not,alot of people down here,will run 10 or 15 calves in a chute,get behind them,and start from the back working ther way up.I dont like it because its easy to get kicked before you can get snubbed up close to the calves.And besides,it isnt near as fun :p
 

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