The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Gwen Cornwell
Remember When 

Looking Back on the Branding Season of Year's Past

 


Branding time is here. Many cattlemen have already branded their calves for the year, while others still have the event looming before them.

To those not directly involved, there would not seem to be a lot of changes over the years, but do you remember? My memories start with the preparation, packing and getting the meals to the branding corral so those memories first. If you could reach the branding site by vehicle the cook brought lunch to the branding crew. Now, this was not what we currently think of as lunch. Mashed potatoes, pies, baked beans, the main dish: beef, homemade bread or buns (what the heck, everything was homemade back then) just to name a few. Of course, lots of fluids: coffee, water, soda, and, of course, beer.

My first memories of a large branding must have been before paper plates, as tin plates and cups were used, as well as regular eating utensils. My thoughts have always gone to the female of the crew that got to go home late at night to wash all of those dishes! Someone did point out to me however, that many of the men got to clean the Rocky Mountain oysters when they got home. Oh, and I forgot to mention the young ones that enjoyed throwing those same oysters on the branding oven to eat.

That was just the cooking part – what about all those young, and not-so-young, men that got to do the calf wrestling? That was some fun, but mostly a lot of work as well as a little hazardous. And like the cook, there was a lot of pre-work for the crew also. Gathering and corralling the cattle, being sure you had wood or maybe some propane for the branding fire, and of course, the branding oven and irons.

Branding is still reason for families to work together with friends and others. While it may not be quite the social event that included “city” folk looking on, it still requires lots of pre-thought and organization as well as work for all involved. Everyone got a good taste of the outside – rain, wind, heat, or maybe even a perfect day.

 

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