This post could be more aptly titled: A Peek into the Most Stressful Week of the Year.
But that's too long.
I may have mentioned at some point that Jarod works for his aunt, Rosie, on West Fork Ranch. It's been in the family for a long time. Swan Wilson came here from Sweden. His son was Henry Joel Wilson. Then came Henry Boyd Wilson, who begat Roger, who begat Jarod, who begat Henry Boyd III, who was cuter than a literal button.
Anyway, aside from farming and general raising of cattle, they sell bulls, and have a sale every year. I can't decide if there's a ton of work that goes into it that makes it stressful, or if its that there's a few really stressful jobs that go into it. Either way, its stressful.
Here's a few pictures I shot of the process. I'll just let you know what's happening as we go along.
The first order of business is testing and ultrasounding the bulls, but I didn't get any pictures of that. It's pretty boring anyway.
Then we clip the bulls, so around their tail and neck and face where they have big furry leftover winter hair, we give them a haircut so they look nice. My job is usually clipping their faces, but this year I also blew the sand out of their hair, and pushed them into the chute.
After that its time for me to run to the big town and pick up our fliers. She usually orders around four hundred of them, and they all need stapled together, folded, and mailed off. It's mind numbing work, unless you have a baby to help, and then its adorable, mildly panic stricken, mind numbing work. I had Jarod to help some this year, which was nice. I usually end up doing them all by my onesie.
We also have to arrange the pedigrees (family tree of the bulls) in a binder for charolais (white) or Red Angus (self explanatory there on the color, I think). That's usually my job too. The registration associations send a big envelope full of tons of pedigrees for various animals on Rosie's farm, so I have to sort through and find which ones are actually on the sale, then put them in numerical order.
Then we clean the barn. So we haul all the old dirty sand out, and put clean sand and woodchips back in. Put away all the junk that accumulates in a used barn, and then power wash the walls. Power washing is my job. It's a wet business, but it's alright, I suppose. Then once everything is clean we move the fridges in, and set up tables and chairs.
Daddy gave us a ride in the bucket.
Before and after.
Once the barn is ready we get cooking. We always make roast beef, cheesy hashbrowns, baked beans as the main course. And then there's popcorn salad, apple snicker salad, pistachio pudding, taco salad, frito corn salad, sometimes coleslaw, cherry or strawberry salad (this year we did both), broccoli salad. Halley comes from Kansas with breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls that we eat while getting ready sale day. We always have lemon bars, cookies/brownies, and cheesecakes.
This year a friend named Marty, from Oklahoma brought his kid, fiancé, mom and dad, and two friends, and they brought homemade cheesecakes, apple fritter, and pumpkin rolls, and I dove headfirst off my sugar free wagon.
The kitchen crew.
Once all of that is done, we usually look around in horror wondering what we've forgotten, then decide its all good. On sale day we staple all the numbers up on the wall so guys can bid, sort the bulls into smaller pens, set up panels, get the computer station all set up, get the kitchen set up.
And then we wait.
Every year it gets later and later when people show up. So we usually fret for an hour or so wondering why no one has come, and then the floodgates open and everyone shows up at once.
Typically I stay in the kitchen and serve food all day, but Henry wasn't gonna allow that, and we had enough help, so I just floated around and tried to be useful wherever.
All in all, it went pretty good. It was a little chilly, but not bad, and everything worked smoothly.
That being said, I'm not at all sad that its another full year away.