Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: The day after | TSLN.com
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Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: The day after

It’s the day after branding at our house. Everyone is a little stiff and a little sore. We’re tired, but at peace with a big job of the year having gone off without a hitch.

The kids had a three-hour breakfast consisting of whole milk, orange slices, and half-empty bags of chips left over from the branding day meal. I am enjoying leftover cake with an extra cup of coffee as I write this.

I am not enjoying the extra pudding dessert, and extend a sincere apology to whoever ate it. We are pondering whether our two-year-old added taco seasoning, garlic or onion powder to the graham cracker crust when I stepped out of the room momentarily. Whichever it was, it was definitely memorable, though not in its usual way.

The calendar was filled in today with all the upcoming brandings neighbors scheduled and advertised over the weekend. Sort here, gather there, bring the kids to the other two. My husband is fussing over, “all the stuff that needs fixed around here,” again, which must mean branding went well. If it didn’t, we would have one more day before he returned his focus to the repair and maintenance pile.


I am happy to have enough leftover meat and salads to ensure I do not have to cook supper.

We will head out this afternoon to check on the calves, and are back to praying for rain, after a brief hiatus from making that request.

Seed, chemical and fertilizer orders are being discussed. Grain needs ground, rations adjusted, and mention was made of going around the fence in the summer pasture.

Just like that, a page was turned. Sure, there are the handful of late calvers still to be worked. But, with a single event, the season of calving, tagging, sorting pairs out of breds, spring blizzards (not that it couldn’t snow), and all the rest is in the past.

The, thankfully unused, prolapse kit was shoved to the back shelf as branding supplies were gathered last week. We are fussing about May rain versus March snow. Wondering whether we will be able to market our calves this fall, instead of focusing on getting them on the ground. Debating if there will be hay to put up instead of pondering how much hay winter will require. Discussing next year’s calf crop as AI and bull turn out dates are now, “Right around the corner.”

We have stepped from the season of new life to the season of growing that life, whether talking plants or animals. There is a certain comfort in both the change of tasks, and the deep knowledge of what comes next. May we all, myself included, remember the good fortune we have been blessed with as we turn the oft-hectic branding day page in our year of work.




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