Here’s my Beef

Our Charolais and Black Limo heifers only took up about twenty square feet of space.  But they were the last two cows we had.  When I watched the truck rumble off to auction with their furry faces mooing out of the back of the trailer, our twenty-seven acres suddenly felt infinitely bigger and emptier than the moment before.

When we let our first little herd out to pasture five years ago, I thought this farm would never be without cows as long as we lived here.  But by the end of last winter, we knew this could not be.  It was an especially snowy year, and toting round bales to the feeders with our little tractor became next to impossible.  Equipment broke, fingers froze and tempers flared as we slugged through the mud and the slush to keep the cows fed.  Keeping cows year-round has become impractical until we can afford a bigger, more powerful tractor.

The other day, I was walking to the barn when I spotted what appeared to be a hoof print in the grass.  My heart skipped a beat and I thought “Oh no!  The cows broke out!”  I soon remembered that we no longer have cows, but not before I’d mentally leaped into Operation Bovine Recovery: ‘Approach subjects from south/west one-seven-four-eight to avert dash for the road.  Proffer vessel of yummy, crunchy corn to bait subjects through meadow entry.  If required, alert neighbors for backup.’  Except…we’d used up the last of the corn to draw them into the trailer the day they went to auction.  The trough stands empty and frozen to the floor.

More’s the pity.  I would have loved to be able to lead them back home.

the pasture in happier times

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