Sir Loin, a Red Angus/Brown Swiss cross was the wild one. He wanted little to do with us and usually would hang back when we fed hay this past winter, letting the two Black Angus fellows rush up to the cafeteria window first.
Yesterday they moved into their temporary corral with little fanfare, loaded right into the trailer, and then they were gone. Mike, one of the guys driving The Boys to their end, said to me later that I looked sad as I told them goodbye and thank you. Yes, I was sad.
All I know is The Nickel and Dime Ranch was an excellent home, pasture and hay for their entire lives and the freedom to meander wherever their hooves took them on the ranch's 100 acres.
There would be no feedlot destination for these guys, fed corn and corn only.
There would be no manure dust kicked up by thousands of cows to infect their eyes.
There would be no foul, stinking air or open sewers.
Yes, they would have had more fat marbling after a stay at the feedlot, but at what cost? Is that any way to treat someone you know?
The processor was small, slaughtering (I hate that word, but that's what happens) about 6 animals a day, so there was less stress for the animals and for the folks doing the work than at a large corporate conveyer belt kind of place.
The small natural foods grocers and restaurants who will buy the beef will be happy to know where the Angus Boys came from and that the rancher raised them with respect and care.
We will miss watching our steers resting in the grass, satisfied, as the light changes in the New Mexico afternoon.
Angus Boys, thank you, and goodbye.