By Frank J. Buchman
Roundup comes before going to grass, and is truly a cowboy affair.
Before gates for lush eating are opened, every momma must be with their own baby.
That sounds easy, but when they’re going a dozen directions, there’s no room for error. It’s sure not easy to get mix-ups righted when calf is in one pasture, and the old cow is 25 miles away in another county.
So, it takes lots of mounted cowboys to gather from winter pasture before pairing, and going onto Flint Hills summer stomping grounds.
Almost embarrassing when the crew starts arriving in big fancy rigs, unloading mounts tacked out to make us on our mare in 25-year-old, leather-mended,$100 saddle look out of place.
As a dozen-plus helpers go three ways from headquarters’ gathering corrals, one might think “what a waste of horsepower,” to capture a herd that’s been daily following the cowwoman’s hay truck for a half year.
Wrong we are, as horses hilltop the half section, mommas and babies scatter like flies off a cow’s back in the heat of summer. Been there, done that, and even thoughts of summer freedom are overlooked. The betties don’t want penned, moved around, separated, and the rigmarole ahead.
Any trouble one could imagine happening did, and more, before bulk of the herd was corralled. Yet, a dozen was left behind, some cows, others’ calves, and nobody was sure which, where, what, but they were somewhere in the dense-foliage timber draws.
Already mid-morning by then, pairing began, poking with modern-day medicines, surgically altering babies’ gender and additional grass time work. Late afternoon before pasture distribution began, despite too many still hidden somewhere.
A week later, and several still don’t match. It’ll eventually get straightened, if some mommas allow milk snitching from orphaned ones, until the right cow shows up. By fall, it’ll be forgotten, and another roundup permanently separating calves for market.
Reminds us of Second Chronicles 32:4: “So many gathered in the spring.” Then, First Kings 3:27: “Baby must be with the real mother.” Because, Isaiah 49:15: “A good mother cannot forget the infant at her breast, and walk away from the baby she bore.” So, Revelation 14:15: “In the fall, we shall reap the harvest.” Then, Isaiah 60:7: “Great roundups of herds from the hills are welcome gifts in glorious splendor.”