Friday, June 6, 2008

Old 33's Last Calf

11 X 14 Oil on Masonite Board $110
Includes Shipping and Handling
SOLD to a California Collector
This old cow belongs to a neighbor of mine. We walk past his pasture every morning and I always take my camera with me. Ken is a pretty savvy cattle rancher. He buys older pregnant cows for bargain prices (most are on their way to McDonalds) and gives them one more chance on his farm. Most of the time the results are good. The cows have beautiful calves and often even breed back several more times. I have no idea how old this cow is, but she had one really nice calf this Spring. Unfortunately, it may be her last - she didn't look too thrifty last time I saw her. But at least she's gotten to live on Ken's lush coastal pasture these past few months.
I used to name all our cows and their calves - most would eat out of our hand, and several were even halter broke to lead. One I could milk in the pasture as she grazed (this was YEARS ago!) Unfortunately, the goal of raising cattle is for commercial purposes, though, and the ultimate reason for their existence is our consumption, so I had to distance myself from that thinking - something hard for an animal lover to do.
When we ceased raising registered Simmental 6 years ago, we sold the best of the herd to a fellow rancher and they still have several of our original cows (they can live 20 years), and many of their offspring. Ann still sends me pictures of the babies. And you know something? Most of the cattle ranchers I know care nearly as much for their cattle as we did - happy cows breed better, have healthier babies and fewer expensive problems. I still eat steak, though.
Ecclesiastes 5:19
Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God.

2 comments:

rick nilson said...

From your beautiful painting and my spotty knowledge of beef cattle, I would guess she's a 10+ year old angus-charolias cross. She probably has lost all her teeth. We raised a few of simmentals. The simmental cows were too big a brood cow for our operation. I preferred the thrify shorthorn cross. There is a certain satisfaction watching a cow suckle her a 4 month old calf that is as tall as she is. I rescued a few of those "kill cows" from the slaughter house. Most of them could not be kept inside a fence and that's the reason they made it to market in the first place. Nice painting. mooo yahall.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I still eat steak too, but I feel guilty when I'm painting the cows.
We were raised as carnivores.