“There’s the green fields, and the animals living off them. And over that there’s us, 
living off the animals. And over us there’s that which tends to us.” 
John Patrick Shanley, Outside Mullingar

Just a few weeks after my husband finished putting in the fence, my husband’s co-worker purchased a bunch of steers and then offered to sell a couple of them to us. The timing was perfect, so we jumped at the offer.

It’s about time we put those couple extra acres to good use. For awhile there, I wondered if it’d ever happen. When I credited my husband’s farming plunge to his friend’s push, my husband said, “No, it’s not because of him. It’s because we finally have fence. I told you we’d get animals when I got the fence up.”

So now we have two steers, numbers 20 and 26. The plan is to sell them once they get big. Or maybe we’ll have one butchered for ourselves (and our beef-eating friends)? We’ll see. In the meantime, the field gets mowed and the animals get fat. It all feels terribly productive, but in a deliciously lazy sort of way.

My daughter wants to train the steers to do tricks and go over jumps. I wouldn’t be surprised if she figures out a way to ride them, too. Less than twenty-four hours after they arrived and she’d already coaxed them into letting her give them hugs.

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (5.18.15), campfire cooking, the quotidian (5.19.14), my favorite things, rhubarb streusel muffins, and caramel cake.


  • melodie davis

    Would you allow us to come visit with a grandson next weekend? At Easter, his constant refrain as we traveled the back roads was "moo cow" "moo cow" and "how now brown cow." He loves horses too. I know there is safety to worry about, so I wouldn't want it to be dangerous for Sam or your daughter. Just thought I would say something. I think you have my private email if you prefer to respond that way. These are gorgeous steers & photos.

    • Ayrie Joyce

      We always changed their names to Fridge and Freezer about 2 weeks before butchering. To people from non-farm families that sounds terrible, but for farm folk it's funny.

  • Becky

    Reading this, I was reminded of the time my father brought home two 'steers' from a cattle raising friend of his. Only they weren't steers. And my 6 year old self got roped into helping to move them. I hope your adventures are as fun, but with slightly less adventure involved.

    • Ayrie Joyce

      If she gets some rope halters and trains them to walk with her while they're young they'll be very, very easy to lead on to the trailer when it comes time to move them. I raised cows and had this experience several times. Since she's such an animal lover, you might consider getting a heifer next time, breeding her each year and then selling the calf once it's grown. She'd love it.

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