Some producers choose to not watch their cattle go through the ring, and on one level, I can understand that. The price you get is the price you get after all, whether or not you are watching. However, many producers, ourselves included, cannot imagine having our entire years income be showcased and sold without feeling a part of it. After all, you've been part of this chain since long before the calf was even born. Cows raised or purchased, bulls painstakingly chosen, range riding and fingers crossed against predators, feed evaluated and fed out for months, and then calving season. This is certainly the most intense time of year on our ranch, and keeps someone up pretty much 24 hours a day, especially in cold weather (which of course, we are famous for here in Anahim Lake!) Trying to keeping the calves warm and vigorous, the cows healthy and nurturing and some semblance of sanity within the ranch family can be quite a challenge some years. Then we turn the wee ones and their momma's out on to range, ride as often as possible and keep our fingers crossed that all the combined efforts will bring in a strong healthy calf with a strong, healthy and pregnant mother in the fall.
So, yes, it's true that we cannot predict or influence the outcome of those calves going through the sale ring, but to not be there is unthinkable.
So we wait. The sale starts at 10am and we crowd in with all the other ranchers by quarter to. An excellent breakfast is served by the Stockyards Restaurant and we dig in. The retired ranchers hanging around are always slightly smug, but certainly empathetic of those about to sell. The jokes run about 'what you are going to buy with all your money this year' and 'the government is going to get everything the banks don't'. There is the usual nervous discussion about how prices have dropped since last week, the lack of trucks for hauling, hay and grain prices going sky high and the nasty snow or ice storm that is bound to appear. Slightly after 10am the auctioneer gets started and that's when blood pressures really rise.
They didn't actually make it to the ring until after 2pm, and after that four hours of waiting, it always seems so anti-climatic! I can hardly hear the auctioneer or the prices as I'm frantically scanning for and counting the tags we put on our calves to identify ours mixed in with mum and dad's. And it happens so quickly, even faster this year as we had previously sold two loads of steers via video, so only about 120 actually went through the ring.
And it went well. Our calves weighted out considerably heavier then ever before, so that was a nice bonus. We were happy with our prices (although they were better last week of course!), and thankfully headed back to the endless 'town list' to get the rest of business done.
Phew, another year officially over!
Hard to believe calving season is right around the corner!! What?
In more current news, Mum and I spent the day canning meat. It is a fairly slow process, but well worth it in the end!
Meat packed and waiting to be put in the pressure cooker.
The pressure cooker, which takes 90 minutes to process the meat. Once it is up to pressure that is!
Delicious! And very handy.
Cheers all, until next time.