Saturday, June 07, 2008

Our Cattle Branding

Greetings Readers

In keeping with the Cattle theme I will show you readers our family brand for our Black Angus. And yes the brand is registered. I think, this is the second most part of branding that I do not like to do. Except that this year with the new Calving table this year's branding went so smoothly. So smoothly in fact that I did not get one bruise on my body. Fucking amazing. Since we were doing the branding the "old school" way and that meant holding the calf down on the ground for branding. That usually took two people and then another person to do the actual brand. And when that brand touches the Calf you hold onto fucking dear life of that Calf. Otherwise, you will either get kicked, get trampled, or get knocked around. I can laugh about this since it was the worst and best of times for me.

I have to say that I enjoyed holding onto dear life of that Calf. I knew that Calf was going to struggle. I know I would. I earned my keep holding onto that Calf while it was being branded. And at the end of the day I earned a beer. And in my eyes, I am a cowboy. Hah hah.

Though this year, the Calving table took care of holding the calves in place. All we needed to do was to let down a side panel on the Calving table and then brand away. I was still nervous with me being responsible of taking down the panel to brand and then put the panel back into place once done branding. I knew that the Calving table was holding the calves in place, I was still nervous of the hot branding iron that was just inches away from my arms and hands, not to mention the right side of my body.

Oh yes readers, I am very, very familiar with how hot that branding iron is. I have many times gotten burned by the branding iron. I also have ruined many clothes to the branding iron. Nope readers, I was never smart enough each year to bring the same clothes that the branding iron touched / ruined the year before. I have gotten probably a second degree (if not a more severe) burn by just holding the brand due to the heat travel up the branding iron. Let me fucking tell you readers that the handle can get mighty, mighty hot. And you can feel that burn for the rest of the day. Just a dull burning sensation in the palm and fingers of your hand. Mind you that the burn received was received through the work gloves one wears already for branding. That's how hot that branding iron gets and needs to be.

Now, with experience, I can tolerate (basically I am used to) the smell of that burning hair on the calf and skin from the brand itself. There is a smell that once you have smelled the branding smell you can not forget that aroma. Never, ever.. I have had heard that there is about a five percent of people who do get a whiff of that branding process smell and never, ever eat meat from that point on. Me? Nope, I still love the Porterhouse, the T-bone and the occasional sirloin steak. Rib eye is too fatty, but will eat if presented as a meal. After all a steak is a steak.

Although I will state this right now for the record - A Fillet Mignon is not all that and a bag of potato chips. Just a nice cut, well a nice small cut, of steak with bacon wrapped around the sides of the steak. Some places, some people add various spices / seasonings, but after all that - the presentation is just a small cooked cut of steak with bacon wrapped around the sides and over priced. Yes, the Fillet Mignon is delicious, but not my cup of tea nor will I fucking pay 30 bones for a 10 ounce cut of steak that will probably shrink to 8 ounces. That is messed up.

Now, the other picture is the tools that we use for branding these days. Our family no longer needs to build a fire for heating up the branding irons. We hook up a propane tank to this branding device and the irons get placed and heated up inside that little container - hopefully you can make out the container on the picture. And yes we have learned to put dirt over the branding iron handles in order to keep them from getting hot, hot. Of course, the branding irons still get very hot, but the dirt over the handles helps keep the heat from travelling to the handles ends. In addition, we have a extra work glove to use to pick up each iron for branding. And unfortunately, this year my dad got his left hand burned through his work glove while holding the branding iron a bit longer than usual.

Yes, we only have one family brand, but as you can see from the picture we have many branding irons. Depending on fast and how hot the branding irons are we found out that you should have more than one branding iron for use. Also, sometimes the branding iron does not heat up evenly, so with that you have other various brands to "touch up" the branding area in case the brand did not brand right. And once a brand gets used for branding it does take some time to heat up to branding hotness. So, if you do not want to have branding lasting all day we suggest that you get two or three branding irons so you can move and brand Calves one after another without waiting for the one brand to heat up. Branding is fun, but not enough to make it an all day affair.

Until the next time

Daryl Charley
The Fallen Athlete

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