Going Out To Pasture

My favorite day of the year.

Moving cows to summer range is my favorite day of the year. It’s better than Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

I don’t go to bed regretting eating too much like I do with the other holidays and moving cows onto Forest Service takes place in the summer not in the middle of winter. Every year on June 1st we turn our herd out on Forest Service.  We run our cows on a permit until mid fall.

Reno and Bean waiting outside for Birde to finish getting dressed in the barn and to go to work

The day is a family event and I love that it’s the one day a year we all get to ride. Well, except this year. We were short a good saddle horse so my husband offered to take the four-wheeler so everyone else could ride. On cow-moving day summer’s just begun, kids are out of school, and it’s not super hot out yet so the day is typically a pleasant one for riding.

Waiting for the boss before moving on

Picnics are a rarity for us more than I’d like them to be, but I look forward to packing a big lunch on cow-moving day. Oftentimes it’s well past lunch by the time we get the cows to their destination and kids are usually hungry.

Every year we switch from two different locations on the permit when we turn cows out. We always push them right to the water tanks but they’ve done the route enough times they pretty much know where they’re going.

Leaving Loring.jpg
Heading to summer range
It’s tough taking pictures on an ansy, moving horse

The biggest trouble we have getting them to the tanks is when they hit fresh grass. The first big meadow they come to they start grazing and we have work harder to keep them moving across it in order to get the last stretch of the way.

This year we also fought with the bull for domination. He was insistent on herding the lead cows back into the bunch once we got them moving again and instead of heading straight, cows zigzagged as the bull tried to herd them and we tried to turn and push them straight ahead. My husband did a lot of the work getting after the bull and eventually the bull relented and trailed ahead like a good boy.

There’s always one calf that lags behind on every cow moving day and this year it was a brand new calf born that day or the day before who lagged behind. At one point he tried to double back and my husband and son went after the little bugger with a rope, four-wheeler and horse (it was undetermined yet which cow was his mother). Once he was caught, my husband loaded him onto our handy calf packer that telescopes out of the back of our four-wheeler.

The little snipe rode the rest of the way since it was unlikely he would’ve been able to keep up the rest of the trip. Eventually his mother realized she’d walked off without him and showed looking for him and we get her number in the calf-record book.


Once we got to Callon spring we all tried to find ourselves the least rock covered spots among the grass to park ourselves for lunch to give the herd time to settle down and pair up.  In between bites we recapped the trip out and discussed what a pain the bull was being. Overall, everyone was content with the way the trailing went. After about an hour it got a lot quieter.



Since the boss was on a four-wheeler, he boogied home after lunch to button up the pasture where we’d kept the cows since branding. The ride back home for the kids and I was long but the conversations we had helped shorten the distance from home.

Once we got back, unsaddled, and turned the horses out, all of a sudden I felt sleepy. I landed my weary bones on the couch and settled in for a late afternoon nap. It felt like Christmas. All the activity and excitement of the day caught up with me.

8 responses to “Going Out To Pasture”

  1. Robyn Avatar

    Amy, Looks like you had a beautiful day to move cattle to grass. I really like the picts of your family members. I remember picnics we had growing up.

  2. JoAnn Avatar

    I love Forest Service Day!!! This year it was just Dan & I as the kids are grown and gone. Enjoy those days while you can – they never last long enough.

  3. Amy Avatar

    Yes, sadly I am becoming very conscious of that already with only three years left with our boy.

  4. Amy Avatar

    Thanks Robyn. There were a lot of blurry pictures I had to delete. I was on the horse that doesn’t like to stop for picture taking when there’s work to be done!

  5. Jennifer Avatar

    Beautiful photos! I know it’s work for you guys but it looks like so much fun, too! Thanks for sharing glimpses of your life. I always enjoy reading your blog!

  6. Sherry Avatar

    I sure miss that did that with my grandpa and dad all the time. My favorite is I would say round up in the fall so glad you ate doing it as a family

  7. Amy Avatar

    I try to savor family moments as much as possible–starting to realize just how fleeting they are! Our fall round up isn’t much work because the cows are ready to go home and pretty much go there without much help. We usually end up doing it spur of the moment on a day when our kids are in school. Still enjoyable though.

  8. Amy Avatar

    Thank you for your compliments and especially for taking the time to read my blog. It is fun especially when all goes smoothly. I’ll have to check out farmgirlfollies first chance I get. Appreciate your comments.

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