Ranching Life

Cutting off a crooked horn
Nicola Valley Archives Association pr 245

Working Cowboys


We used to have what you call branding parties where our different neighbours used to get together. One weekend, we would do one person's farm or ranch, and then the following weekend we would do somebody else's. We keep on moving like that till whœver participated from the surrounding area [had all their branding done]. You'd brand them, vaccinate, de-horn, all at the same time, and we'd call them branding parties.

Dennis Fraser, Métis, Shell Lake, Saskatchewan, July 1993

Haying scene
O'Keefe Ranch and Interior Heritage Society F45-10


Whoever is working on the ranch stayed working, and if they had time off, or they asked for time off, they came home and helped put the hay up. A long time ago, people worked with each other. There were a whole bunch of little fields all over the Douglas Lake area, and whœver was ready to put up hay, everybody went there . . . whoe;ver's field was ready they went — everybody went. They helped each other out.

I drove a derrick up there. A derrick is a team of horses that brings a load of hay in. They hook [the hay] up to the slings and the two horses pull it up onto a cable and onto a stack. I drove that for years. I worked for just about everybody up there. I worked for twenty-five cents a day. When I got fifty cents a day, I thought I was making a killing. I would use my own team and I made a little bit more money. I would get up at five and ride up to wherever we had to go. Worked all day, and they fed you, then go home in the evening.

Joan Perry, Secwepemc, Cache Creek, British Columbia, August 1995

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