When we actually take a break from watching bison, we often cross the Sturgeon River which marks the national park boundary and head for a nearby ranch. The couple who operate the ranch have been welcoming Université Laval students into their home for years now. Their hospitality and good food have become part of the bison study lore.
It all started back when this couple was ranching bison, and one of the Laval students did some comparison studies between the ranch-raised bison and the PANP herd. These days, they've gone back to cattle ranching, and more than one adventure has been the result.
A few weeks ago, it was time to do some cow work - vaccinations, ear tags for the new calves, etc. Being neighborly (or neighbourly, as they'd say in Canada), and always up for the type of fun that involves the possibility of getting knocked face down in the mud, we volunteered.
To top it off, there was the promise of a hearty lunch, which makes up for nearly all the injustices one could suffer at the hands of a spunky calf or belligerent cow. The delightful lady who makes such tasty food recently published a book of poems - country humor - about life on the ranch, aging, etc., that we've thoroughly enjoyed, too.
Here's what the morning's work looked like. See even more images in this online gallery.