After all the guests leave the ranch for the summer we smile, sigh, and cry a little. Then we remember we still have a lot of work to do before winter, and we get back in the saddle. One of the big tasks of the fall is the gathering, hauling, sorting, weaning, and feeding of our cows and calfs. Round up day is probably on of my favorite days of the year.  Here is a photo essay from round up day. 
It all starts as we ride out into the open range, the smell of sage in floating all around us…

 We begin to search high and low. We usually have a general idea of where some of the cows are, but others we have to track the old fashioned way–looking for tracks and fresh pies. Just when I start to think I need to radio the others and tell them I can’t find them,

POOF! There they are, hiding silently and motionless in the trees. I hollar and yip and get them moving.

Down, down, down, they go. 
 Once they see some other cows they really pick up the pace. 
 In comes Super Woman, er, I mean Randy Sue, and she uses her magical powers to get the bovines headed toward the pen. 
 I take a break and enjoy the scenery. 
 Finally, they are in the pen. They moo and bawl a bunch. It’s fun to watch. 
 We decide how to haul them to the fall pasture. Do we take a load of cows then a load of calves? Or do we take cows last? 
 I am not sure what is decided because there is a loud distraction. 
 We start to sort the group. We load them up in the trailer and start heading them out to fall pasture. 
 Meanwhile, our horses wait patiently. They enjoy the rest. 
 This is Randy Sue’s bull. Isn’t he handsome? 

 This is NOT Randy Sue’s bull. Doesn’t he look like a weirdo? He is a neighbor’s bull that got mixed in with our herd. This happens often. Maybe his own herd thought he was weird too and kicked him out. After all the cows are loaded, we are waiting on just one thing, or two things, really. Two people, actually. 
 Oh, yeah! Melanie and Nell are with us too. They arrive after being sent on a wild goose chase by Ryan. He wanted them to ride the back fence line to double check that we didn’t miss any cows. They arrived four hours later, hungry, thirsty, and tired. They have not seen not a single cow but a lot of great scenery.
 Or maybe Ryan was just trying to get rid of them from the start…Hmmm. Suspicious. 
 And so ends a great day. We have a lot of work to do this fall before the snow starts to fly.