My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Moving Day

Cattle are raised on the coastal prairie for their meat and are also used as a management tool.  Grazing  shortens the prairie grass and opens up areas for new plants to come in, thus increasing diversity. But if the cows stay too long in any area, they degrade it and cause species to disappear. Both the farmers and the government use cows to help manage the prairie.

This means the cows have to be moved a lot. Several times a month, I see cows being rounded up or hauled down the road in the large cattle trailers. Some ranchers have permanent corrals while others set up mobile ones. Last month, I drove past a corral filled with cows and saw the cattle trucks coming in.  I stopped to watch the action. I saw this temporary corral filled with cows while horses rested on the outside. They had been used to round the cattle up and get them penned.

A truck hauling a cattle trailer backed up and gates were opened to the trailer in such a way that they formed a chute.

One guy got his horse and went in and separated the cattle into two groups and rearranged the corral to fence it into two parts. He moved around slowly and did a quiet clucking to get the cattle to move.

Then enough cattle were allowed to jump into the trailer to fill it half full. A guy closed a gate that divided the cattle into two parts, I guess so that a cow  at the back couldn't slide all the way to the front in a quick stop.

 The cows  were allowed to finish filling the truck.  I finally got a picture of one leaping in. Then that truck pulled out and a second trailer got the other half of the load.  All this was repeated with two more trailers for the other half of the herd.


A short way from that field, hay was being harvested. The rolls of hay look so picturesque but they are picked up within two days and either all put in one corner, or hauled off.  

I too am thinking abut moving day. My last work day here at Anahuac will be September 25.  Then I'll be visiting friends and relatives and playing for a month. Then October 30, I'll  leave from Corpus Christi, TX to drive  around 2000 miles to Sacramento NWR in the northern Sacramento Valley, north of Sacramento, CA.  That refuge is very similar to ours in that it provides habitat for ducks and geese of the western flyway and is in a rice-growing area. I'm excited about my new job and new opportunities to learn about different plants and animals and do some hiking, biking, and canoeing while making new friends. I will have to ship some of my stuff so I can fit back into my Honda Fit.  I'll have my canoe and bike on the outside and most of the rest of my stuff on the inside.