Diane Prather: Fall cleaning on the ranch

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Diane Prather

School will be starting soon, and before long — this year much sooner than ranchers would like — livestock will be moved home from summer pasture.

In the meantime, there’s fall cleaning to do, not only in houses but elsewhere around the ranch, too.

Fall cleaning around the ranch may include:

• Gathering up the empty grain sacks that were supposed to go back to the feed store but instead got left in piles in the building where the grain is stored.

• Hanging up the branding irons that got knocked down during the summer.

• Throwing away baling twines piled by the haystack.

• Cleaning items up from their easy-to-find place under the upside down mineral tub, including a bottle of iodine, knife, fly powder, and an old strainer (used to take ice off a water tank ).

• Repairing the tin, torn loose by wind, on the calving shed.

• Replacing a corner pole, pushed over by itchy cows.

• Cleaning out the glove basket in the house entryway, tossing out all of the lefthand gloves that were saved when righthand gloves wore out.

• Cleaning out the box of calving supplies, which includes vacuuming up all the hay leaves, sorting syringes, and putting all of the ear tags together in a bag.

• Taking inventory of all the livestock “meeds,” cleaning out those that have expired.

• Hanging up ropes and cow halters.

• Hanging the calf pullers and chain together.

• Putting tank heaters where they can be found in a few months.

• Cleaning out cattle water tanks and repairing leaks.

• Cleaning manure from corrals.

• Washing winter chore coats, gloves, and coveralls.

• Soaking calf bottles in Clorox and then shelving them with other calving supplies.

• Pulling out all of the stakes in the garden that marked the rows during spring

• Piling all of the coffee cans and other containers, used to cover tomato and pepper plants during spring frosts, together.

• Cleaning the hay out of the baler and getting other farm equipment ready to be put away for the winter.

• Scrubbing the front entryway rug to get rid of mud and corral stains from winter and spring.

• Sorting out coveralls that need knee patches.

• Sweeping out the “hot box" used to warm newborn baby calves on frigid nights.

• Cleaning hay, twine, staples, grain sack tags, pieces of wire, tissues, twine “cutters” and other miscellaneous items from chore coat pockets.

• Sorting out items found in the pickup truck, which might include a variety of tools, syringes, calf “pill guns” twine, a notebook with hay counts, receipts from feed stores, empty soda cans, coffee mugs, odds and ends of gloves, and numerous other miscellaneous items.

Happy fall cleaning.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2012

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