SATURDAY, JULY 8
About mid-morning I drove out to the Hooper Ranch to visit with Sam and Nina Hooper. Nina was one of my college roommates. We had not seen each other since my wedding (a month after graduation), when she served as one of my bridesmaids. I would not have recognized her. Today was the least "normal" of my trip so far. Sam and Nina and two day hands were branding and vaccinating calves. I had never before seen that done. Their brand is a cross over two bars.
During this process the cows were standing outside the holding pen bawling piteously for their calves. I had forgotten just how loud cows can bawl! They didn't sound nearly so melodious as the Blue Bell Ice Cream chorus. Then the calves were taken to the weaning pens and, of course, the cows tried to follow. Two of the calves had escaped after they were branded, so the guys had to get on their horses to round them up.
My "job" was to get as many photos as I could. I was perched on the top of the tallest fence where I had a bird's eye view of the activities. The holding pen is across the highway from their house. The work was completed a little after noon and then everyone went to the ranch house for lunch. Nina had prepared a roast beef feast fit for the king of cowboys.
This afternoon I hooked up their new 4-in-1 printer to their computer and installed the software. I also burned all the photos I had taken this morning to a CD and copied them to a folder on their desktop as well. They confess to being not very computer literate and, besides, they are too busy to deal with such things. They were happy to have that little chore finished and the printer box out of the house.