The abundant spring rains have cause an overgrowth of brush and broom weeds over most the ranch. These “kiddos,” waiting to be worked, manage through the overgrowth quite well.


Livestock branding has been a practice for Texas cattlemen since the late 1800s. My in-laws have branded their cattle for five generations. Currently we run an “E” brand, which stands for my mother-in-law’s name, Eugenia. Several times a year we round up new calves and run them through the squeeze shoot/calf table. The calf table makes the process less stressful on all of us, especially because it’s usually just two of us doing the work. That and a good set of sorting pens to separate the calves from their mamas and we rarely have much trouble.

Third generation cattle raiser, A. “Robbie” Robertson Jr., prefers a low-stress environment for his cattle. The calf table allows for safe and consistent handling of calves.

In the heat of the Texas summer, we are up well before dawn to make the trip to the ranch and round up the “kiddos” to be worked. This particular branding went fairly well. It was a beautiful, slightly cooler, morning with cloud cover and a slow rising sun. The cows and calves all cooperated for the most part. Though one rowdy steer tried to give us the runaround, in the end he ended up with an “E” on his right hip.

E brand
The “E” brand is one of a few the Hephner/Robertson family has used on their cattle over the years.

As I stood at the front of the shoot ready to catch the last head that morning, I had to chuckle at how far down the road I’ve traveled in life. A city girl from the North spending a Saturday morning catching calves for branding. I don’t know that I would have believed it I weren’t living it. As much as I enjoy my work as a graphic designer, there’s nothing quite like the sense of accomplishment I get from working a successful branding.