Thursday, August 18, 2011
When Good Steers Go Bad
These are the actual events as stated for the "Official" record.
Monday- 6:30 am. My husband notifies me that we need to gather two steers to start feeding out for customers. I check the schedule.
Tuesday- I decide the calender looks booked solid until Friday. I type the words, "Gather Steers" on my schedule for Friday morning. It's set in stone now.
Wednesday sometime between the hours of 5:45am and 8:26am- The phone rings and the neighbor's number pops up on the caller ID. My stomach drops. The neighbor only calls when the cows are out. His only purpose in life is to be the bearer of bad news. Husband answers phone, says the words, "I'll be there shortly" and hangs up. A steer is out. Specifically, the one that's next in line for butchering. The one that's very docile and has never jumped a fence in his entire life. This seems strange but he goes back into the pasture willingly. We think nothing of it. After all, we haven't got a "your cows are out" call in 2 1/2 years.
Wednesday afternoon...4:30ish -Bearer of bad news rings us again. Husband is in the area, and drives to the pasture. He puts the jail breaker back in and pushes him to the far end of the pasture to join his friends who obey the fence laws. Investigates fence line. No broken wires. No stays are missing. He cusses and discusses the jail break with the neighboring rancher in the lane and they come to the conclusion that the steer hears the distant bawl of newly weaned calves down the road and went to investigate. Why? I don't know. Calves are being moved today and this shouldn't be a temptation anymore.
Thursday morning...O dawn thirty. !@#$% steer is out again. He's on an early morning walk-about. I'm convinced he has caught wind of his fate and is trying to make a run for his life. Husband's superior detective skills find three small black strands of hair on a barb, and he's convinced that this is where he's jumping out of the five strand fence. Husband re-enforces the fence and is tempted to lock him into the primitive corral...except that I would have to haul water and feed from the house (1 1/2 hours round trip) and I don't feel like missing any more of my daily appointments and obligations. Remember, my schedule is "Booked" until Friday. We cross our fingers and hope the re-enforced fence holds for 18 more hours.
Thursday evening 6:27pm- Messenger of bad tidings calls...again. Steer has left the pasture with lush, knee high green grass and left all of his bovine friends to go visit neighbor's dirt patch down the road. He decided to check out their garden too which is the only green thing on their property. Does no damage, but causes major irritation and embarrassment for me. Steer is locked into maximum security corral until morning when the prisoner will be transferred to new home for fattening.
Friday morning- We drive to the corral and I give the wayward steer the stink-eye. Then I cackle aloud and say, "How does it feel to spend the night in the slammer without your little buddies?" He pleads the fifth and I say, "That's what I thought, tough guy!" Then we gather up the other steer, and load them both into the trailer to take them to their new pen.
The black steer gives me a haughty look in the trailer. I decide to name him Carne Asada. We always give the steers we are feeding out some type of meat- related name like, T-Bone or Chuck Steak. It helps the kids not to get too attached, and helps them to remember what we're feeding them for. I love Carne Asada (translated: Roasted beef) from the local Mexican food joint, and the name fits.
here. I don't know what to name him. I can't bear to see him go in a few months. I want to call him Norm or Hank, or Earl. I want to keep him forever for my baby and let them grow old together.
Besides, a wise old man once told me that when it comes to cows, "Fences are merely suggestions."
Starting to feel attached already,
(even though we do this all the time)