Swim boys swim!

You might know that I took a break from documenting ranch life to get some paper work done. In the meantime I was doing a postcard series. I am going to keep that up until I am caught up on my yard work. However today there is a chance to tell you about our day, it is an unusual but essential day. The days work began yesterday when Russell and Morgan and friends brought the bulls home from their winter pasture. I was able to document that effort only because I ran into them on my way to town.

Maybe this will never happen to you, like if you live in Toronto, but this is what it looks like when you come across a herd of bulls while heading out to do errands.
Our bull named “Friday” was hesitant to join the group. So as I got further down the road I came across David and Jim trailing this loner.
Kent was one of the cowboys on duty yesterday.
Russell took this picturesque shot of Morgan and his horse getting a drink in the creek.
Russell’s horse Cinder.
Jim on the road with the bulls, photo courtesy of Russell.

Once the bulls got home they didn’t settle down too well. I am not clear what the issue was but something made them ornery and they deconstructed part of a sucker rod fence. Ron has since fixed it up just like new. I was not sure if it would be a noisy night, would the bulls bugle a bit, only feet from our bedroom window? They did settle down, Knightwing the dog settled down and we all slept well. Whew. The job for today was to get each bull into the chute, get a semen sample and test it for its quality. I have stretched my skill set alot since becoming a rancher’s wife, but thankfully this is not something I have been invited to learn to do. The vets were on duty!

A delay at the start meant there was time for a break for most of the crew before things began. If you have been to our ranch in the last year you might recognize this couch. It sat on our lawn for the winter, and we loved it there, absolutely confirming, beyond a doubt, that we are hillbillies. We just moved it into the poleshed. Breaktime just got comfier.
Our man Ron, his job today was to keep the bulls moving forward toward the chute.
Here is our vet tech Megan hard at work.
This gives a good glimpse of the overall set-up. A bull caught in the chute with Jill running the hydraulics. Megan has just delivered a sample into the inside of the mobile vet unit, where Marcel does on the spot analysis and assigns a score.
Russ gave the bulls their vitamins and after confirming that they passed their tests with Marcel they also got two vaccines. If they had not passed their test they would soon be on their way to the Auction Mart and be heading into the food chain. If an animal has been given these vaccines they may not enter the food chain for a prescribed number of days.
Marcel in position in his vet unit where his microscope allows him to look at several factors such as movement, vitality and shape of the sperm. He also assesses the diameter of the bull’s scrotum and all these factors together lead to a score for each bull. We tested 30 bulls, as a result two will not be used in this coming breeding year, the rest are pretty high scores. The two faulty ones are named “Love” and “Forever”. Seems a bad set of names to take out of the herd! Forever is Russell’s 2nd favourite bull of all time, so he is sad. The best score this year went to our bull named “Family Jewels”. We just bought him. We now try and name our bulls with a connection to the breeder. The head woman at L7 ranch is Crystal. That is like a jewel, hence the name “Family Jewels.”
Marcel invited me to take a picture of the slide in his microscope. This sample was good. I am not sure exactly what I am seeing but its cool and the truth is, this is an essential part of the circle of life and the food chain getting started!
A glitch in the day……..the hydraulic chute busted a bit. Marcel is a jack of all trades, he had a darn good look at the problem, I think he really wanted to fix it, but we needed a welder. Luckily one of our neighbours is a great welder and was not far away. Thanks Connor!
After many days of working at the corral without Jill due to quarantine, it was great to have her back! She totally took the slack off me, I really didn’t need to be there. Jill is standing with our bull named “Cheeseball”. Could be the daddy of those cute red calves jumping around our pastures!
I felt that Maddie and Cheeseball were having a bit of a face-off in this picture!

It was a funny day. Delays were not ideal but everyone seemed to flex and the job got done safely and that is the biggest thing. We had lunch while the welding fix was cooling down. I had been able to prep a meal of ham and scalloped potatoes, luckily the potatoes were cooked even though we ate early. Jill made a dessert for Marcel, one of his faves according to Russ, so we ate well today and it was kind’ve fun to have a “Sunday dinner” in the middle of a ranchy raunchy day!

If you got this far you will have figured out why I titled this post “Swim Boys Swim!”…….we are looking for strong little swimmers in those samples, prepping for 2022.