A week ago I hitchhiked from Mount Vernon, Oregon to Cedarville, California. John and Susie were happy to see me again. I had been gone for a week.
A couple of days ago, John, Susie, four of their friends and I drove from Cedarville to a ranch between Burney and Fall River Mills, California. The ranch is forty miles north of Mount Lassen (Lassen Volcanic National Park). John and Susie have a cow-calf herd there; the calves needed branding.
Two guys on horses would rope the calf--one guy roped the calf's neck and the other guy would rope the hind legs. They would drag the roped calf close to where we were standing and then John and I would grab the calf and flip it on its side. One of us would loop the rope around the calf's front legs just under the hooves and make sure it was drawn up tight. We would do the same thing to the back legs. The guys on the horses would then take up the slack in the ropes, so that the calf would not move.
John would then notch the ears and castrate the bull calves. Susie and her daughter would inject the calves with Vitamin E, there was an 8-Way shot, and there were shots for pnemonia, scours and pinkeye--they had two syringes each. I would then take the hot branding iron and brand the calves high on the flank. We used the same brand for all of the calves except three.
We ended up branding around eighty head. We then walked to the house, had a steak dinner and then headed back to Cedarville. We left Cedarville at eight in the morning; we got back at six.
This morning John and I drove out to a piece of ground they own. It is around eighteen miles north and east of Cedarville. There were lots of sagebrush and Juniper trees. This is high desert country (Cedarville is 4600 feet in elevation): they call this the California Outback. This country is much different from the Fall River Mills neighborhood which has a lot more trees, good pasture and some farm ground.
We dug (or tried to dig) a couple of post holes on this ridge--we brought a couple of railroad ties with us. John wants to build a gate that leads out to his property. We also brought a couple of gate panels. There were a lot of rocks in the ground, so we weren't able to dig down very far. We will come back later and pour concrete around the end posts. After the concrete is set up, we will hang the gate panels on the end posts.
The Nevada state line was a mile away on another ridge. It was pretty muddy driving out there. We had to put John's rig into four-wheel drive. They have had a lot of rain and snow this spring. It is supposed to rain off and on for the next few days.