One morning on our ride to school we took a detour to Bill Reichel‘s farm where we were having a cow butchered. On our ride to Bill’s place I remembered how much it bothered me when I was a little girl and our “Bossy” was butchered. Remembering Bossie was a milk cow, and like a pet, living in our barn I figured I was probably more sensitive to her being slaughtered.
We were going to see Larry and Bill and the cow Bill had raised for us. We had never even seen this cow before. We often bought bull calves from our neighbors dairy to raise for meat. Bill knew how to fatten them up to make the meat just right. We usually raised them at home but once in a while Bill raised one for us.
As we drove up I saw the carcass hanging beside the truck. It was already skinned. For an instant I held my breath fearing someone was going to cry. The girls hardly noticed. Justin had no idea it was even a cow. Adam looked at the carcass hanging there and said, “Wow, that sure looks like a lot of hamburger!” It hadn’t bothered them in the least.
We often had meat from more than one cow in the freezer at the same time. The packaging would always have our name and date on it. If we looked hard enough we could figure out how old the meat was. We decided to change the way the meat was labeled. Instead of our name we would put the animals name on the packages.
The animals we raised were taken care of by Larry and our kids. They were pets until the day they were butchered. Because they were so much like pets they all had names. Among other names we had Roast Beef, T-Bone, Burger-Babe, and Bacon. The kids loved their animals. They gave them attention, fed them, and kept them clean. Some “butcher days” were harder than others simply because some of the animals were friendlier than others.
It was no surprise when I’d send one of the kids out to the freezer to have them ask me, by name, which meat I wanted. Farm life is the best. It teaches kids about life and death. It teaches them what hard work is and the value of a successful crop. It teaches them even if the work is done correctly sometimes the crops fail. It teaches them animals aren’t always pets. It answers many questions before there is even a need to ask them. I wouldn’t trade those years on the farm for anything.