Mitch in City Slickers was telling the truth (pre, but I can’t make that claim about Grant-Kohrs. On the official website, it states, “This is a working ranch (not a dude ranch or petting farm) with year-round chores directed by the seasons.” Not a dude ranch, so no nonsense like City Slickers and not a petting zoo, so leave the cows and horses alone! (although Fox will permit it if the cowboy riding him says you can)
But what does a “working” ranch mean? I haven’t had to do any ranch or animal type activities this summer, just avoid stepping in things. It does mean some of our cleaning has been, if not pointless, then not noticed since you can’t truly keep out cats and bugs.
However, I have seen two ranch activities done in historic styles. The calf branding has been modified to their benefit, but most ranchers brand them when they vaccinate them these days, not in a separate procedure.
You know what just occurred to me? Roping is stupid. This is a cow, not a gazelle, watch. Get off the horse, huh? Ok. And then you walk up to the cow. Look at how good this is working. Then you say “Hi. I’m Bob Vila with ‘This Old Herd.’ We’re going to rope you today.” Then you take Mr. Loop and put it around the head of Mr. Cow.
Okay, maybe not like that. The haying was the other activity and it made me glad not to be the other interns here this summer.
They were down in the giant cage or crib tamping down each layer of hay to make this huge square bale as tight and secure as possible. This wooden contraption is a beaverslide, and it’s pretty limited to this part of Montana. Some people still use it around here. The only mechanization possible is switching your horse for a tractor. They had three horse teams (with two sets waiting) working. One set pulled a rope and pulley that moved the platform up. The second used a hay rake to gather the hay at the base. A third followed collecting the loose hay for the second to get again. Earlier that week, they used horse-drawn mowers to cut the grass.
This drew quite a crowd! Although not as much as the calf branding, people still like to see old ways of doing familiar or exotic chores.
Mitch: Those cows trusted us.
Ed: Trusted us? They followed us because we yelled, ‘Yah’. They’re cattle.