We’ve said it before but the longer we linger in Mexico (12 months and counting for those keeping track at home…) the more it proves to be true: Mexicans can and will turn anything into a fiesta. And they’re willing to work for it.
And so we find ourselves invited to branding day at Rancho San Cayetano which is worked and occupied by Juan Alcaza and his lovely family. In addition to raising cattle, Juan’s beautiful wife, Lupita, helps run an equinotherapy program for physically and mentally challenged children at the beautiful ranch too.
On this day, roughly 50 cows needed to be branded. It’s a job that calls for many helpers so Juan put the call out to his cowboy buddies, including our friends Pancho and Lena from Hacienda El Ahito, and everyone turned up with their horses to lend a hand.
Eric got busy taking pictures and video of the action and Karen tried to keep the cattle running in the right direction once each one was let out into the branding area. Then the “professionals” took over.
To be honest, the crew of charros had mixed success rates with the ropes, urged on by Juan Alcazas shouts of “La cabeza! La cabeza!” (The head! The head!) which is where the first rope needs to land. The second rope needs to catch the back legs, then the cow is tipped onto its side and the branding crew (lead by Lena) kicks into high gear, giving the cow as fast and efficient a branding as possible.
The number being branded onto each cow will help Juan identify it.Each cow’s physical characteristics were meticulously noted down along with its new number as each one was branded. It’s like a cow census.
Once all of the cows had (finally) been branded, we retired–dusty, thirsty and hungry–to the lovely hacienda on Rancho San Cayetano where a huge barbeque of beef and chorizo satisfied the hunger part and free-flowing tequila and cerveza satisfied the thirsty part. No one really minded being dusty.