These past two weekends have been all about cows, cows, cows, and more cows. Rounding up the cows, sorting the cows, selling the calves, moving the cows, branding the cows. Finally all the sorting and culling and replenishing the herd was finished, and Dad and Mr. HH drove the herds back to their winter homes.
Lest you think our cattle drives are truly old-school, let me assure you we do use some modern technology. In fact, we don’t really drive the cattle so much as call them where we want to go using the feed truck. How is a herd of cattle trained to follow a feed truck? By the horn, of course!
Winter months upon months of getting fed by a honking feed truck dragging a cake (cattle cubes) trailer conditions our cows to come running when they hear a horn and trailer rattling. So, in addition to the use of horses (or some years, ATVs), the truck and horn are an important part of getting the cattle where we want them to go.
One year, mom and I were riding in the truck, just setting up for the first of 3 cattle herds to move. The feed truck we used was not Dad’s favorite, but it was what we had at the time. Mom had used it before, and was pretty well used to it’s little…..quirks. As she began honking the herd, she said, “Now, if you ever use this truck to do the honking, you’ve gotta remember….” BEEP BEEEEEEEP, “that the horn is a little wimpy. If you honk it too long…” BEEEEEEP BEEP, “then you’ll….” bzzzzzz bzzzzzzz, “burn the horn OUT – OH NOOOO!” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, the dad-gum horn quit on us just for spite.
Not 10 minutes later Dad came banging on the window hollering, ‘HONK THE HORN!” Well, too bad for him, the horn would only make a pitiful buzzing sound, and we had to rely on our voices and the rattle of a cake sack for the whole weekend.
This year went much smoother, luckily for us, and I was even able to get some nice pictures along the way. No riding for this girl, of course, due to my ‘condition’. But next year!