The conversation that made me a farmer.

Heads up, Folks: Pat’s (double m) surgery scheduled for January 21.  Mark it down and maybe send another card for post-surgery and long, long road of recovery?  You all have been remarkable.  Tea pots and tea?  Scheduled mailings?  Personal stories?  Remarkable.  I am so proud to know you.

Saturday, we brought home 1/2 a steer all trimmed and packaged, ready for the freezer.  This is our second year to have beef from our own stock but the first year to have beef from a steer we raised since its hoofs hit the pasture.  It’s an amazing feeling… to know that we cared for that mom, we cared for that calf, I chased that yearling, I chased that steer, I chased that steer again… and now that steer will feed us for a year.  

It was never our intention to have beef cattle.  We wanted a piece of the Old West and found it in the legacy of the Longhorn.  But, you simply cannot keep every calf that is born.  Thus, the beef portion began out of responsible necessity.  This year, we had 3 steers that we sold to friends and family.

Our steers are processed by the same butcher that handle our deer… or, MY deer– depending on who you ask.  Jones’ Meat Market in Saranac, Michigan is a family operation in the truest sense of the word.  Grandma takes the phone orders.  A son picks up the cattle.  Grandpa works and trains the youngsters in the back.  The girls all work the counter.  They’re maybe the nicest people on the planet.  So on Saturday when I stopped by to pick up our share of beef, we chatted a bit as the boys loaded it into the Subaru.  Friendly people, they are.

But I saw an extra box. Can nothing in my life be normal?

“Hey- whassat on top there?  Doesn’t look like steak.”

Old Man Jones answers, “Nope. That’s the extras.”

“The extras?  I, uh, I didn’t order any extras.”

Old Man Jones doesn’t flinch, “Nope.  But we can’t keep everything your splits don’t want.  So, if the other folks don’t want the extras, then they go home with the farmer.”

He obviously is not talking about me.  Or is he?

“But, Mister Jones. I don’t WANT the extras.  You talkin’ ’bout the liver and stuff?  I don’t want that!”

“Aw, come’ on now… that’s good stuff there!  And like I said, it’s yours.”

“So, I have to take home all that liver?!” [insert childish gagging sound here for effect]

“Yep.  The heart and tongue are in there, too.  Guess I know what you’ll be making for Sunday dinner, eh?”

And really, all I could do was stare at him with my jaw on the floor.  Which was fine, since he wasn’t finished.

“An’ the tail’s on the bottom.  Don’t forget that.”

*#$&@

“And, Miss Mulder?”

“Yessir?”

My hand to heaven, that man made his eyes shine with laughter.

“I’m all set for Sunday dinner.  Don’t invite me, ok?”

Did you hear that?!

He called me a farmer.

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About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

23 responses to “The conversation that made me a farmer.

  • Cathy

    Eeewww, that’s about all I have to say. And sorry to say, no, I don’t think I’d be eating the meat. I’m finicky!!

    • texasnorth

      Oh, Cathy… you would be shocked at how good the beef is. If I sent you downt o the freezer, you’d think I just stocked up at Sam’s Club or something. It’s packaged just like at the grocery store. But it’s sooooo much better (tasting and FOR you!).

  • Amy L

    I will only eat the pretty packaged meat.
    I will pass on the extras…tail included.

  • Meg

    We get beef from my husband’s cousin, and one year, we were the fortunate recipients of the extras. We got down to the end of all the roasts and hamburger and steak, and I told Dan it was time to order up another side. He said, “No, Mam;not until we eat it ALL.” Naive, I asked around about how to prepare extras, beginning with liver. No problem. Cooked ’em up. Problem. The smell was almost as bad as the flavor. After Dan realized that no amount of ketchup can redeem liver, he gave me the go ahead to order a fresh batch.

  • Mandi

    Um, no extras for me, thanks!

  • Nancy Lee

    You could always donate the “extras” to a food pantry? I like liver, but have never cooked it…my mom does that..lol

  • mc@knittwotogether

    Haha! Okay, I can get past all the other extras, but what are you supposed to do with the TAIL?!

  • Miss Laura

    When I placed my order on the phone with Grandma Jones, I said, “You know, what DO you do with that heart? ‘Cause I still have last year’s in the freezer.”

    “Well, you know, mostly it’s something older folks eat. Younger people don’t really want it or know what you do with it. But older folks just boil it up and eat it.”

    (Inwardly) “Okay, I tried to be optimistic about my ability to find a use for that thing, but that sucker is going in the trash!”

    We brought home our liver (in the event we get adventurous and want to try our hand at pate). Sorry to hear you got our tongue and heart. If you have any Mexican friends, they might want that tongue for some lengua tacos 🙂

    • texasnorth

      Let’s just say the kitties will have some lovely Sunday dinners for a bit.

      But honestly… I cannot handle the tongue. It’s the article I saw first and was tipped me off that the box was ‘irregular’. I cannot handle it.

  • Amy B.

    I love Luby’s liver and onions – blame my dad (who really got a kick out of your post). I also liked to eat the gizzard of the chicken when my mom used to cut up and fry whole chickens.

    No one’s heard of ox tail soup? And canned beef broth from the store starts with water and beef bones, including the tail.

    It’s a testament to the affluence of our society (and our generation) today that we can be so ignorant about what to do with these parts and so picky as to just throw away what previous generations considered perfectly fine food.

    • texasnorth

      It’s true that times have changed. I called my dad first and yelled, “They gave me the liver!” And he said, “Kate, lots of people eat liver.” And I said, “WE never ate liver!” And he said, “Nope. And I don’t either. But your grandparents did.”

      I think our generation is really the first to be able to ‘pass’ on the so-called lesser parts. It used to not be an option. You used every. part. of the animal. No waste.

      And, I don’t plan on wasting it.

      But I can’t promise I’ll be eating it personally 🙂

  • Jim

    The liver and heart are the first part we eat when Venison is gotten. Last years beef liver with onions was yum…. And the stock you can make….|-) but I did get a good laugh reading the blog and comments thank you very much….

  • elspethcordelia

    Um, Tim might want the heart. Do you still have it?

  • Midlife Army Wife

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I just love that you are a farmer with longhorns 🙂 I’ve always wanted to buy half a cow for my freezer, but I wouldn’t want the extras either.

  • star

    I love that you have longhorns! My great aunt and uncle live in Dorr MI and also have longhorns, they are amazing animals. (ps. my double m is scheduled for Jan 28, i’ve sent out another card too)

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