My Branding Day Checklists

We’re gearing up for our branding and one of the things I do to prepare for it is make lists to organize my time. Cooking a meal for a large crowd is a lot of work and takes time. I organize my days prior by creating lists I can refer to.

I like to enjoy our branding day stress-free (if that’s possible!) and take in the atmosphere up at the branding corral, so I do as much food preparation ahead of time as I can. I especially like to saddle up and help gather everything horseback in the morning and take in some of the calf wrestling. It’s a mother-son thing (although this year I’ll probably get ditched since my son’s informed me he’s invited some of Hermosa, SD ranch kids buddies).

Doing kitchen stuff up ahead of time puts my mind at ease and I don’t have to worry so much about food being cooked through, ready on time, hot enough, or forgotten. I like the security of knowing everything’s done and I can enjoy our branding without having to think so hard about the food. I have a hard time concentrating on what I have to do when there are a lot of people around and asking me questions. Doing things up ahead of time makes it easy.

My main job on branding day is in the kitchen but I enjoy being outside more, listening to the conversations, watching my husband and son interact with the neighbors and watch them do their branding day job. Oh, and get a headcount; I usually linger to take in the crowd and find out exactly how many people I’m going to be feeding.

I create lists and oftentimes rewrite them as they need updating. My most important list is my grocery list. I generally go by the same menu every year, and people have come to expect some of the things I make that have gone over well, such as the BBQ short ribs, cream corn, and cinnamon rolls.

I have a notebook that I write out my “master lists” to make a list from to take to the store based on what I need and already have. I also make to-do lists for each day, beginning with two days before we brand. Not always, as is the case this year, I won’t have Thursday to start on the things that I can do far in advance.

Each day focuses on what needs done according to how close to branding day it should be done. My daughter prefers helping out in the kitchen versus wrestling calves, so she’s learning the trade so-to-speak and is a great help.


My lists help me out so that I don’t forget anything and they give me a plan for the day. By branding day morning, I only have details to take care of, meats and side dishes to warm up and be free to take in the day and not feel stressed out.


Today, I am doing all my grocery shopping and tomorrow I will spend cooking up as much as I can with the exception of the potatoes. After three consecutive years of blustery, miserable weather on branding day, I am hoping this year we can feed everybody outside in our front yard.

2 responses to “My Branding Day Checklists”

  1. Robyn Avatar

    Good Luck with Branding, Amy! We are getting ready to brand too. Just need to figure out when it’s going to rain. lol.

  2. Jessa in Nebraska Avatar
    Jessa in Nebraska

    I hope the weather is wonderful for you guys! Good luck!!

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