Ups and downs

Ranching sure has its ups and downs.

Yesterday I got the phone call no cattle man wants to get. 

“Your cows are out in [the neighbor’s] soybeans.”

Good golly.  I had just moved them into a new pasture earlier that day. What could possibly cause them to get out. A broken gate, that’s what.   I had driven through that gate three times the day before and it was fine then. The broken gate was the result of summer lovin’, bovine style.  Looks like they bunched in a corner fighting flies, while the bulls we’re trying to put the moves on hot cows. It’s less than romantic. And rather hard on wire gates, and subsequently soybean fields.  What’s worse, the only time our cows seem to get out is when they are next to this guy’s fields. I’d rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick than have to call him again to tell him my cows stomped on his crops.  The only positive thing I could glean from the incident was being thankful it was soybeans and not seven foot tall corn. 

But ranching also has its ups.  Like tonight. Tonight I ate a home-raised steak for supper. That’s all.   Just a steak.  And some toast I guess. It was that good.   I didn’t want to ruin it with any other food. I have had the good fortune to eat a $85 filet Mignon (and not have to pay for it).  This steak was not quite worth $85, but neither was the filet.  No food is worth 85 bucks. But this steak I grilled tonight,  it was amazing. I was going to take a picture of it’s perfect gradient of caramelized outer decadence turning to 155-degree juicy medium-doneness in the middle (it was 145 when I took it off the grill) flanked by two pieces of diagonally-sliced buttered toast and a big, cold glass of milk… but I ate it. All of it.  It was not just a meal, it was an experience.  And I got to share it with my wife and kids. I feel bad for them,  because some day we will be at the supper table and I’ll be telling them, “kids, this would be an $85 meal in town so you better enjoy it. And no you can NOT have ketchup on your steak!”