Thursday, January 8, 2009

Steer Clear

(This is graphic so if you're squeamish, don't read it.)

I was awakened at the crack of dawn by my cell phone ringing accompanied by the voice of my charming spouse requiring directions and screaming at some guy in a fit of road rage. Maybe rage is too severe but road annoyance doesn't quite cover the resulting headache. The yelling following all night dreaming of developing thrush did not make for an auspicious day. However, directions duly provided, teeth brushed, tea steeped, computer on. Morning on the farm. Moo, Baa, Bwauk.

It's Thursday, an uninspiring day of the week, middelish (no, that is not a word) with no redeeming qualities but existing just the same there between Hump Day and the weekend. I don't really mind Thursdays since, in most cases, it's a day very like other days. Get up, engage in the (usually) uneventful morning routine: grumbling, tooth brushing, feeding of dogs, letting out of dogs so they can do their morning business, computer booting, email and tweet reading, blog checking in the event that there were comments made since the last blog check. This morning there was even more excitement than usual, aside from the telephonic road rage. This morning there was texting about cookies.

I love cookies. Almost any kind of cookie, particularly those that contain chocolate and to my elation, a friend will be bringing me cookies on Saturday. I love it when that happens.

So while basking in the glow of potential, future cooking snarfing, the day unfolds before me in all its glory.....I have to clean up cow remains. Joy. So much for glow basking.

"Cow remains?" you squawk. "Yep" I reply to your dismay, "cow remains". We decided it was time to butcher one of 2006's steers. Meat for the freezer which has a resoundingly hollow sound due to spouse's intense love of beef products.

New butcher guy came out at which time I discovered he does the killing and preliminary butchering on-site. That's my barn lot. Yippee. So he shot the steer, slit his throat and proceeded to cape him. For those of you who don't have intimate knowledge of butchering things, that means taking the skin off. Those things I didn't mind. I do my own caping and butchering of deer and goats. I don't do the killing; the accompanying twitching alarms me so spouse does that part.

So the guy gets half the caping done and strings aforementioned steer up in the air to complete the process. Again, no biggie on my end although I could have done without the blood on the ground as I didn't know if it would adversely effect the sedate nature of the rest of the cattle who had by now gathered at the fence to find out what was going on.

What got me was when he said he was going to gut it. Right there in my barn lot. Ick. I asked what he planned to do with the innards and he said he planned to leave them right there, again, in my barn lot. Where my animals mill about doing animal type stuff. Where I have to walk during forays of animal husbandry. I don't think so. I don't want steer guts laying about in my barn lot. I wasn't so concerned at this point that it might disturb my other livestock but rather that it WOULD disturb me. And draw predators. And attract rats. And, um, no. I'll pass.

So I rushed out and got a trashcan for him to put said innards into. He looked at me like I'd lost my mind, obviously not considering that many people don't want steer innards laying around on their property especially about 100 yards from their house. Ick. Again.

At this juncture I decided I would go into the house. I'm normally not squeamish but the combination of meds and steer gutting wasn't going to agree with me and puking in the barn lot just didn't seem to be appropriate. In the house I went.

Butcher guy came to the door a short time later for a check. Killing, caping, quartering fee: $60. Fee to keep the hide: $25. What? WTF? I have to pay for my own hide? It's MY steer, MY barn lot, apparently MY steer innards and yet I have to pay to keep the hide? What the hell is that about? It would seem the butcher guy sells the hides so I had to pay him to keep it. Oh, well, he did give me a discount. Since he gets $35 to sell them to a rendering plant, I got it for the bargain basement price of $25. Man, that sucks. Even butcher guys are ripping us off. Damn!

So now that I've had such a glowing morning, I get to go pry a hide and head off of the frozen tundra and somehow carry a trashcan full of steer innards up to the chicken yard for the little dinosaurs to dispose of. Don't you wish you were me? So much for Thursdays.


Jes said...

Ok, I am thrououghly grossed out . . . el yuck-o . . . .

Sherry W said...

I've had to butcher a few of the goats here but I know a nice man with a slaughterhouse that takes my steers and fixes 'em right up for me for a $40 kill bill and $0.36 per pound. He keeps the hide. Can't say I'd want ol' Chuck back once he's been emptied out. Chuck's day of reckoning is coming soon. Looking forward to it too. My freezer has been empty for a couple of weeks.

Marty said...

You had to pay for your own hide... There is something so unjust, but funny, about that.

Naimhe said...'s a twisted world out there. Perhaps that's why I stay in.

Alpaca Farmgirl said...

You are going on my list of really tough farm women. And I will remember the steer remains next time I have to clean up something really gross from my dogs or children. That makes picking up a placenta seem like a romp in the daisies!