We Ate Purple 44 Tonight

I made a nice pot roast from the crock pot for supper tonight — complete with carrots, celery, onions and seasonings. As we were enjoying the savory meat, I informed everyone that we were eating Purple 44. In other words, we were eating the cow with the purple ear tag emblazed with the number 44.

We had looked this cow in the eye – more than once – but no one was upset about eating her. In fact, Sports Girl thought it was great.

Purple 44 actually spent most of last summer in the corrals just over the hill from our house. She ended up not calving or else she lost her calf last spring, and so she was being fattened to be butchered along with two steers Sports Girl has selected to “finish” and show in the county fair for 4-H. Handsome Hubby and Sports Girl provided the cow and two steers with thousands of pounds of corn and alfalfa hay – one five-gallon bucket and pitch-fork full at a time.

Unfortunately the steers never did get halter broke and weren’t tame enough to show. Handsome Hubby and Sports Girl attempted to get close to the steers, but Purple 44 actually seemed to interfere with the process. She must have been the “alpha cow” in the herd, if there is such a thing with beef cattle.

As the week of the fair eminently loomed, Sports Girl’s aunt came to help try to halter the steers one day. All the activity that ensued resulted in the ornery cow bashing through the panels that surrounded her pen and running off into the next field.

Purple 44 was missing for quite some time. In the fall a neighbor found her amongst their herd; the family brand on her left hip showed to whom she belonged. After this she was kept in a corral at the home ranch to be finished again, and then she was taken to the meat shop in February. We picked half of her up in three boxes a few weeks ago and now she’s in our freezer.

She doesn’t provide the most tender meat, and it is strange to know which critter we are actually eating. But at least no one’s too upset to stomach the meat.

The steers ended up in someone else’s freezer. We had spent too much money buying feed for them, and we needed to recoup some of our expenses. Besides, their meat was much too tender; we simply couldn’t enjoy such a guilty pleasure. I keep telling myself that a smart business owner never keeps his best products for himself.

So now I’ll be spending the next six months trying to tenderize the wild cow meat, and we can think of her ornery behavior every time we eat beef!

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