Why Am I A Farmer?

The last forty-eight hours have overwhelmed my natural optimism.

I’ll get that optimism back (he says with natural optimism), but I feel like venting.

If you don’t like meaningless whining, skip the rest of this post.

I was supposed to drop my steers off to the butcher yesterday before school. Everything was going very well.

I was able to hook up the trailer solo without a ground guide. So far so good.

I called the boys and then came out of the pasture and I penned them up. So far so good.

I opened the gate and drove the truck and trailer into the paddock. The paddock is rather hilly.

When I tried to back up to the pen, I slid downhill on the frosty, wet grass.

I spent half an hour trying to get the truck back up the hill and couldn’t. So I had to call my dear sweet wife to come and get me so I could go to work. So my poor wife has to wake up the children, bundle them into the van, and come get me.

Rescheduling a slaughter date in the fall is very difficult. This is the busy season. They finally found a way to work me in the next morning. I was able to get the truck back up the hill that evening after the frost was gone.

Trick of treating was great fun (so the days weren’t all bad). When we got the kids to bed and went to sleep, I didn’t sleep long. I woke up smelling gas.

I couldn’t find the gas leak and the valve on our exterior gas tank was rusted so badly I couldn’t turn it off. We called the gas company to come out.

We finally found the leak and I went back to bed. Exhausted, I must have hit my alarm the next morning. I was supposed to get up at 4 so I could pen up the boys again, load them, and take them in. Instead, my wife and I woke up at 7:30. My first class at school starts at 9:14. It takes an hour and a quarter to get to the butcher. We couldn’t reschedule the slaughter again, so I had to call and embarassingly tell the school that I would be late to work.

When I finally got to the butcher, three of the steers went off the truck well. One got agitated, shoved past me, and jumped the four foot barrier. We couldn’t get him back to the catch pen. The butcher ended up getting his rifle and shooting it. The first shot didn’t kill him right away - he had to reload and take a second shot.

I understand that animals are not humans. But…

These are animals that I work with everyday. I understand their purpose is to provide meat, but I take great pride that my boys have good lives and then die without knowing what hit them. I use this particular butcher because he is so good with the moment of death - the boys walk in, looking around, very calm, and he just touches their forehead with his special .22 killer and they fall down, dead as a stone. They never have any fear or pain.

This one lad had about twenty seconds of pain. I felt terrible. I know it was irrational, but I had a real emotional response to it.

And now I’m mad at myself for being irrational.


Venting off. Carry on.

Eric said:

… the stress and freak-out released hormones will also change the flavor of the meat…. it’ll be interesting to see if you and your family can detect any difference in the taste of that steer’s meat….

Do you think that a few moments of stress would cause the hormones to be absorbed into the meat? I am disinclined to think so. I could see if the animals were herded into pens and spent hours awaiting their doom. But I don’t see it in this situation.

Perhaps I am just being overly positive…

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