As the red moon rises and night dawns, we utter our last call to the beeves.
About a month ago, it became clear that the prospect of my managing our beeves solo through the heat of the summer was not a prudent plan. We have a moral contract with livestock to provide the best care possible. This means all matters that arise are tended to regardless of timing or weather. Excuses for inaction are not accommodated. Problems with water, electricity, shade, mineral, equipment, and grass are addressed immediately, without hesitation.
I used to love the intensity of that dance, because our team could execute its part so well. But given the team is now one, I have found myself dreading the unrelenting call to action from this waning pool of energy, especially with the heat of summer in the offing. I thought I could manage our remaining beeves by myself through the next few years, but have come to see the folly in that plan. I have come to accept this man is no longer who he was.
The bulk of this group is thus heading to Lancaster, Ky. on Monday morning, to join their mothers and siblings who travelled there last September. We will keep ten beeves on the farm to carry us through Thanksgiving. We will continue attending Montgomery and Madtree markets through Thanksgiving, but thereafter will periodically deliver preorders by appointment.
It is important to know in life when to stop one activity in favor of another.
The irony is our products have never been better. These 100% grassfed beeves are three and four years old. They have lived a very low-stress life, so their meat is sweet, tender, and flavorful, providing the best steaks we have known. It is costly to carry an animal that long, given current standards and economics, but 70 years ago all beeves were finished over that period of time.
I will miss these noble beasts mightily. I love their power and how the land responds to their impact. Land and animals engage in age-old interaction, and with these animals absent, the land will sing a different song. I love their nutrient-dense meat, so magically transformed from cellulose of grasses to mineral and vitamins which nourish us fully. I love that these animals are immune from inflation, in that grass and water are nearly free. I love their manure paddies that fertilize the soil, and I love how they respond when I call to them to move to the next paddock.
Sunday morning I will utter the last call to these beeves, before they head to their new home in central Kentucky.
Over the next five months, we should have plenty of product - beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and prepared foods for your larder. At the end, we will have referrals for you, spread among various producers. But no one else offers our prepared foods. Carpe diem, as they say. Let us celebrate the next five months together.
A number of soft shell crabs landed our way last week. Susan made a delicious meal of sauteed crab, adorned with curry, avocado, cilantro, lime, fresh strawberries and frozen blueberries. After a bite or two, one wondered if Chesapeake Bay ebbed nearby.
We all face last calls at some point, and may each bring new life to us.