I'm having a rough day today. It's 90+ degrees out, which is just too hot for me...I'll find stuff to do indoors rather than be out in it, but it's hard not to feel like I should be out in the garden or mowing the lawn or doing something outside. But the main reason for my melancholy is not the blistering sun. I know that the trailer will be here tonight to take a cow for processing. And this time, it makes me very, very sad.
I've gotten used to the idea of sending animals to be processed and I don't really get bothered by it anymore. I know that the life we provide for these creatures is a good one, and light years away from the conditions found on feedlots & factory farms. I take pride in being able to offer my customers meat raised without cruelty or inhumane conditions- meat from healthy animals, leading a natural life in the sun and grass. I'm proud of what we do and how we do it, and I know the purpose of the animals when they come to the farm. I don't pretend I'm getting a pet cow, even if I do name them and feed them. I monitor the inventory and make the arrangements with our processors. The process is one I'm totally involved with from start to finish.
So why is it so hard this time? We got a little calf, just days old, two years ago. We fed him bottles and watched him grow. We called him Baby Buzz. He would gleefully run up to people, and like all bottle baby cows, you had to watch that he wouldn't headbutt you trying to get you to feed him. As he grew, he went from the small paddock into the fields with the other cows. As he grew and the heard changed, he went from being the smallest cow to the tallest. Buzz appointed himself the leader of the herd. The girls follow him around, the babies play with him. When Lil went into the barn, Buzz called for her more than Lil's calf from the previous year did- Buzz wanted to know where his herdmate went. And he's still a friendly beast, always sneaking up on you to see if any snacks are to be found. Besides Finni, he is the most sociable cow here. I've been telling Dan that he would make a great ox, because I hate to see him go so badly. But that's just not in the cards. So tonight, the trailer comes, I don't think I'll be there. While I'll help get Buzz into the barn this afternoon, I think, for the first time ever, I'm going to stay out of the barn when they load him up. This time, it's just a little too hard. Dan tries to cheer me up by reminding me that we saved Buzz from his likely fate- veal- and extended his life very considerably. And I know he's had a good one, and that I need more burger for the stand, but...
Some animals are just special for some reason or another. Some have the ability to capture your heart, and it's hard when they go. I'll sure miss this face.