We acquired our first beef cow as a bred Angus heifer in late 2011 from a farmer friend whom we had loaned use of our hay field for a crop of beans followed by corn. He had already named her Judy.
I’d been around cows before, but had never “owned” one – we quickly learned that cows don’t have much personality compared to horses, goats, chickens or barn cats. Sheep are only slightly more personable, but in a more endearing way. At any rate, Judy settled in and bore us a calf the next June. We named her Punch (“Punchie”) after the puppet show duo.
Eventually came weaning time, which was filled with the saddest mooing and bellowing one could imagine coming from a bovine.
Our first winter with Judy had taught us that cows eat and drink several times that which horses do, so we knew we’d have to up our hay storage for the coming 2012 winter. That started with overseeding the hay field.
Which paid off by giving us four fine cuttings of alfalfa hay. We tucked 250 bales up in the hay mow and called it “good.”
Fall came, and as the pasture grass died off, our little heifer (since rejoined to her ma) knew just what to do.
Winter came and both animals were fat and sleek… I’ve been told that a healthy cow will have snow standing on her back, where an unhealthy (or underfed) one will melt the snow since they don’t have a good fat reserve to hold their body heat in.
Come January (2014), we used up the last of our purchased freezer beef and decided it was time for Punchie to fulfill her purpose.
So on a snowy morning, we loaded her up and delivered her to the meat locker for processing.
Three weeks later, Punchie rode home again, in cardboard boxes, this time.
They say you should never name something you plan to eat, but we’ve never had too much of an issue with being too attached in that way. Yes, it was a little sad when I unloaded her into unfamiliar surroundings – she was obviously confused, but once the other animals started up the chute, she jumped right in line.
Judy is back at the farmer’s place to be bred again, so hopefully we’ll start the cycle over again come this fall. And in the meantime, we’ll enjoy God’s provision through the fruits of our labors with beef we raised ourselves.