This afternoon, Sam and I butchered a 500-lb heifer in the woods behind our house. Her insides smelled like milk, which makes less sense than you might think, since we raise beef cattle.
All that may sound like metaphor, coming from the girl on the right in the wedding dress, but it’s not. I’m a Texas ranch wife and things like this happen. The heifer broke her leg. Sam called me at a friend’s house and said, “hurry home, I need help butchering this calf. Bring ice.”
This post has little meaningful purpose other than to explain the kinds of things I get up to when I’m not sitting at my desk thinking about Jesus. Some of my followers from Kirk Ranch Organics miss crispy, down-home ranch stories like this, this and this, so…
Sure enough, when I got home, Sam was waiting with his .38, a rope, sharp knives and four coolers. He’s kind of a bad-ass in this department, a son of the deep American South with years of deer and elk hunting under his belt; a fact that reminds me, if things go south on this planet, like the doomsday preppers predict, I will be hot on his heels.
I’ve been on plenty of hunting trips, but like most people, I’m usually on the skillet end of the animal, not the slaughtering end. So today was my day.
“Hold her right here,” Sam said. So with both hands, I grabbed the bones of her brisket that he’d just split open. She was well and truly gone, but still warm under my gloves. Then I watched her lungs spill out of her body and I touched her heart – coeur de boeuf tomatoes mean something to me now. Once I got over my revulsion, I got curious about her stomachs, and her veins and the green grass still inching through her intestines.
Maybe this sounds revolting, but if you appreciate a medium rare filet mignon, like I do – well, this is where they come from. Big fatty, steers are better for sure, but we’ll make do. Thanks little heifer #992.
More importantly, when you consider the profound stillness of a rapidly cooling heart in your hands, this life, here, right now, seems much less a smash-up accident, and more the exceptional miracle it is.
“There are two ways to live,” Albert Einstein said. “As if nothing is a miracle, or everything is.”