so, january 5th rolled around. d-day for the cows. our cow, and my in-law's two cows. we had made arrangements for them to be taken to a butcher in ironton, missouri. why a butcher? after all, we successfully harvested our pigs. right? well, cows are much bigger. first off, they can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. and need to be hung immediately after being killed. we didn't think we had the expertise nor the equipment. second, beef should be aged for approximately one week. we didn't think this would be possible outside with the spontaneously warm weather we are having. so, we investigated butchers. most butchers we found could not guarantee you get your actual cow back in meat. they could only guarantee the weight and the cuts. we searched high and low for a butcher that would guarantee we would receive meat from the cows we specifically raised on pasture, free of chemicals and processed foods. we found a nice place. and made an appointment back in october. the soonest he could get us in was january. so we waited.
meanwhile, we harvested pigs successful.
so d-day arrives... and i'm having doubts. what about everything i said about raising animals humanely, about them never having to suffer, about them living their entire lives on our farm without a care in the world? as we are rounding up t-bone & blue boy (in-laws cows) into a trailer, jason is having the same doubts. it just doesn't feel right. i don't know who said it first, but we blurted out, "we should harvest stanley ourselves."
but stanley isn't just our cow. we share him with sam (our drummer) and his wife kate. so a quick phone call to sam and our plan is secured. sam felt the same.
we did some research about aging meat. apparently it is possible to age in a refrigerator. the meat might not be as tender. i feel this is a small sacrifice for us to make compared to the sacrifice stanley is making to feed us for an entire year.
so, stanley got a reprieve. at least until the boys prepare a proper hanging/lifting device suitable for a 9 foot long 700/800 pound cow. he is enjoying the extra attention and hay. and feels pretty darn lucky.